Nazarene Space

Geography by Faith - Being Faithful to the Land Mandate

Geography by Faith
By
Jason Jordan

“And I will give to you, and to your zera (seed) after you, the land in which you are a ger (sojourner), all the land of Kanaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their Elohim.” (Genesis 17:8)

A Western middle-class family settles in for the evening as their favourite sitcom is rudely interrupted by a news report showing another eruption of violence in Israel. The man of the house makes a flippant comment before changing the channel to see what other escapism he can find until the correct program resumes. The average materialistic comfort-seeking Westerner is dumbfounded by what drives the Muslim and the Jew to continue fighting each other with no sign of reprieve on the horizon.

The unrelenting nature of the Middle East conflict is incomprehensible to the average Western person who has no vested interest in the historical, cultural and religious context of the situation. In other words, a person who sees himself as being insular from the crisis and therefore qualified to comment and discuss it with a premise to offer a solution, will find himself perpetually handicapped in anything he says that pertains to it. This is because a person without or disinterested in attaining knowledge of the deeper religious significance of the crisis runs the risk of offering a solution that appeals to a completely different mindset. The process is like offering a koala bear a bowl of water. Koalas primarily receive their water from the moisture of eucalyptus leaves and though they may accept water in small quantities during a drought, it is not the type of sustenance they naturally seek.

Even the trained journalist fails to comprehend the basic anatomy of the dispute because they persist in viewing it through the haze of current socioeconomic and political trends whilst ignoring its religious implications. The correct religious context even fails to be marshalled by many Christians because of the baggage of their dispensationalist and replacement theological interpretation. Most Christians remain inept at comprehending the crisis because they accept a false view that the Almighty abandoned His chosen people and abolished His Torah.

Even a noble act of providing medical aid to either Palestinians or Israelis (without the will to understand the deeper religious motivations that cause the casualties) gives rise to exploitation of such a person until either side’s overall cultural and religious objectives are fully achieved. At the end of the day if either side’s religious attitude prevails in full, they are both contrary to the philosophy of the West. In fact Islamic and Judaic religious laws are completely incompatible to the values and creeds of the religious and nonreligious Western world. Even despite the fact that 70% of Israelis are nonreligious, their participation to preserve Israel as a nation is the fulfillment of a scriptural mandate. If this mandate is successfully achieved it will enable the country to prosper and expand, which will inevitably allow its religious percentage to put YHWH’s judicial and governmental will into action across the board.

Greater Israel and the Real Deal

According to Scripture the Land of Israel stretches from the Nile to the Euphrates River, encompassing all the Palestinian territories, including Lebanon, large parts of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The first mention of its geographical size is found in Genesis 15:18-21. Descendants of Jacob (aka Israel) are scripturally mandated to remain unequivocally tied to the Promised Land, to the point that if they deserted it, the Almighty would force them back by whatever means necessary. The Holocaust is cited by many religious historians as being the essential catalyst that allowed Israel to be reborn as a nation.

If Israel actively tries to minimise portions of the Land whilst living in it, they historically receive grief. The relinquishment of the Gaza and the inevitable use of this land by Hamas as a staging post to fire rockets into deeper parts of Israel is a prime example of the result that follows the act of surrendering land. History shows that Israel’s attempts to live peacefully by trying to appease and coexist with its enemies usually results in increased hardship. But when Israel moves aggressively against its enemies it frequently experiences prosperity. Having stated this, it is supremely important to point out that Israel is currently only made up of those from the tribe of Judah, Benjamites and Levites. Therefore it is virtually impossible to expect such a small nation to conquer, occupy and defend the entirety of the Land of Israel according to its Scriptural dimensions. However, should the Almighty will it, even this could happen.

The militant action in Lebanon against Hezbollah laboured because of Israel's failure to move with convicted aggression and thoroughness, which was brought on by the pressure of negative world press concerning the conflict. The nature of the media and its use as an effective propaganda tool against Israel will be examined shortly.

Torah is clear on Israel’s correct course of action against its neighbouring enemies, and the result of not executing this task is clearly prophesied. “But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which you let remain shall be thorns in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall distress you in the land in which you will dwell.” (Numbers 33:55) At no time does the Word of YHWH Elohim deviate from the directive to “drive out” the heathen.

Punch and Judy on a Merry-go-Round

The main problem in modern-day Israel is the degrees of flawed logic exhibited by both sides.

Palestinian logic is this: Being delayed at a checkpoint and having a field bulldozed equals blowing up a bus full of civilians.

Israeli logic is this: If we give away this piece of land and add these concessions, our enemies will be happy and leave us alone. Oops, no they won’t, we have to respond militarily. Bless Hashem, we prevailed. If we give them this piece of land and add these concessions, our enemies will be happy and leave us alone. Oops, no they won’t, we have to respond militarily. Bless Hashem, we prevailed. If we give them this piece of land …and so on ….

YHWH promised Israel victory over its oppressors in ancient times. "Then will YHWH drive out all these nations from before you, and you shall possess greater nations and mightier ones than yourselves.” (Deuteronomy 11:23) And so too YHWH promises this same victory today.

Lashon Hara - The Mechanism that Keeps the Problem Airborne

In Psalms 120:2-6 King David writes of a personal trouble that is startlingly similar to the trouble facing the whole nation of Israel today. Quite often the TaNaK exhibits happenings in the lives of the patriachs that foreshadow the experiences of Israel in general. In this instance David relates the problem of Lashon Hara (Evil Speech). “Deliver my being, O YHWH, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given to you? Or, what shall be done to you, you false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty; with coals of oak. Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech; that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My being has long lived with him that hates shalom (peace).” With today’s modern technology powering the media, deliberately slanderous exaggerations and lies about Israel have never been easier to circulate. King David’s time amid the tents of Kedar is mimicked whenever Israel is forced to compromise with its enemies. Kedar were the most powerful Arab nation in David’s time, comprising the descendants of the twelve sons of Ishmael. This was prophesied in Genesis 16:12 where it says they will “dwell in the presence of their brethren.” Today this attempt to compromise has brought with it some acceptance of slanderous teaching that is present in some Jewish schools who describe Israel’s modern day existence as an occupation with apartheid elements.

Thorns Build Faith

The ancient land of Canaan sat in between many great eastern civilizations. Egypt was located to its southwest, Phoenicia and Syria were to the north, and Assyria and Babylonia resided in an easterly direction. Canaan’s geographical location meant that its dwellers could not isolate themselves from these other nations. As a consequence settlers were forced to weather political, social and economic pressures from all sides. The placement of these kingdoms around Canaan, though chosen for a range of divine reasons, was to teach Israel (as a nation) to rely on YHWH by faith. Any surrounding nation that had a grievance with another kingdom would have to tread through Canaan to make war. Today Israel is faced with similar challenges. It is a nation that is smaller than California and is surrounded by twenty-two hostile Islamic dictatorships. Amazingly Israel still manages to exist whilst occupying only one-sixth of one percent of a land that is otherwise populated by diametrically opposed Islamic nations. “A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you observe and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made YHWH, who is my refuge, even the most High, your dwelling place; There shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.” (Psalm 91)

The Seven Canaanite Squatters

Think for a moment. Would you be angry if your husband built you a beautiful house, but before you moved in, it was being lived in by messy squatters? Accusing Israel of banditry by taking the Promised Land is the same as accusing a person who was promised a gift as having stolen it by the one who was not its intended recipient.

From the very outset YHWH makes it clear that he wants His people to possess and live in a specific geographical earth location. Much like the original Garden of Eden, the Land of Israel is a specific place with specific dimensions. It supports a special place that serves as a direct portal from heaven to earth that was recorded in a vision by Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22). Right from the Book of Genesis through to the Book of Revelations Scripture attests to Israel’s spiritual connection and longing for the Holy Land. “If I forget you, O Yahrushalayim, let my right hand forget me. (Psalm 137:5)

Question: But……“The Canaanites were then in the land” (Genesis 12:6).

Answer: Yes, that’s right. The Torah attests that the Promised Land was already inhabited by a people. In fact it was teaming with foreign nations well before Israel settled there as a nation. “In the same day YHWH made a brit (covenant) with Avram, saying, ‘To your zera (seed) have I given this land, from the river of Mitzrayim (Egypt) to the great river, the River Euphrates: The land of the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephayim, And the Amorites, and the Kanaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Yevusites.’” (Genesis 15:18-21)

Did Israel Rob the Land from Seven Canaanite Nations?

The first commentary of the entire Torah discusses the ownership of the Land of Israel. Expounding from Genesis’s opening passages Rambam writes, “The entire universe belongs to Elohim. He created it and he granted it to whomever He deemed fit. It was His desire to give it to them (the nations) and then it was His desire to take it from them and give it to us (Israel).” This understanding is certainly echoed in Psalms 111:6; “He declared to His people the power of His works in order to give them the heritage of the nations.” The seven Canaanite nations cannot accuse Israel of stealing land that was predestined to be taken by force for the purpose of showing YHWH’s greatness.

Question: So how did Israel conduct itself when faced with these pagan nations occupying their land?

Answer: They bought blocks of land for generous sums of money. They allowed the Canaanites to co-exist with them, even allowing them to retain the heavenly portal (Temple Mount) to house a place of pagan worship. They even gave them and other foreign nations parts of Jerusalem to live in. After that they gave back sections of additional land because Canaanites violently protested the natural growth and success of Israel. In response Israel put up checkpoints and protective walls between them and the Canaanites, because the Canaanites started strapping bombs to their children and sending them into crowded marketplaces to detonate. Despite Israel receiving constant threats to its wellbeing in the form of kidnappings, terrorist bombings, missile launches and civil unrest they continued to seek avenues of peaceful co-existence that seemed to always make them worse off than they were before. Don’t laugh. That’s precisely what Israel is doing today. And as I’ve pointed out it’s getting them nowhere. People are quick to say that Israel’s secular government handles its enemies wrongly. The only problem is if you ask anyone who shares this view, particularly the average Christian, they will not be able to deliver any solution beyond what has been already proposed.

The Real Answer: YHWH commanded Israel to take possession of the land through repeated stringent militant action. Judges 1:17-18; “And Yahudah went with Shimeon his brother, and they killed the Kanaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah. Also Yahudah took Azah with its border, and Ashkelon with its border, and Ekron with its border.” At times when Israel shrank away from the sword, even to the point of sparing some of their enemies YHWH was displeased. Numbers 33:55; “But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which you let remain shall be thorns in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall distress you in the land in which you will dwell.”

Since Joshua’s conquest of Canaan over 3200 years ago Israelites have lived in the land continuously, though for a considerable time in small numbers. When Mark Twain travelled through the Land in the 1900’s he remarked on how it looked like the most forsaken place he had ever seen, as if cursed by G-d. Ezekiel 36:34: “And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it had been in ruin in the sight of all that passed by…”

In less than sixty years from that time, as Judah began returning in greater numbers, the Land awoke from its slumber. Gradually a barren desert grew into a garden that yielded fruit and vegetable produce of such abundance and quality that Israel’s economy increased to the eighth largest in the world. Ezekiel 36:35-36; "And they shall say, This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities have become fortified and inhabited. Then the gentiles that are left around you shall know that I YHWH rebuild the ruined places, and planted what had been desolate: I YHWH have spoken it, and I will do it.” YHWH kept His promise.

With the labour pains of the Jewish holocaust over, the United Nations Security Counsel made history when they moved to vote Israel as a recognised nation in a single day fulfilling Isaiah 66:8; “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or, shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Tzion (Zion) travailed, she brought forth her children.” After an exile by Rome in 135CE Israel, albeit almost exclusively represented by Jews, returned as masters of their own domain. Ezekiel: 36:24; “For I will take you out from among the gentiles, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” Scripture tells us that soon the lost sheep of the house of Israel will join them. Micah 4:2; “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YHWH, and to the Bayit (house) of the Elohim of Yaakov; and He will teach us His halachot (ways), and we will have our halacha in His paths: for the Torah shall go forth from Tzion (Zion), and the word of YHWH from Yahrushalayim (Jerusalem).”

Who is the Real Owner of Any Land?

Man needs all inferior levels of creation to survive. He is nourished by the animal kingdom, which in turn is nourished by the inferior vegetative kingdom, which is nourished by the earth, which is nourished by the rain that falls from the heavens. Man has been created from the earth and remains dependant upon it until the day of his death. Each level of creation is a glimmer of a glimmer of a glimmer of the Divine.

A dispute arose between two tribes of Israel over the ownership of a piece of land. The heads of each tribe approached a rabbi to settle the dispute. The rabbi insisted he be taken out to the land in question. Upon arriving there he told all present that he must consult with the land itself. After placing his ear to the ground for a short time he arose and said, "Neither tribe owns this land. It owns you. For from the earth you were formed and to the earth you will return." At that every member of the tribe departed in silence.

A substantial amount of Torah cannot be performed without actually dwelling in the Land of Israel. Numbers 33:53 confirms that it is a commandment for Israel to take possession of the Land. A Torah observant believer in Yahshua as well as an Orthodox Jew are considered as not existing in their optimum natural state while they live outside the Land of Israel, much like Adam was not able to live in his primary state outside the Garden of Eden.

What amazes me is the world’s current negative attitude toward modern-day Israel as they try in vain to explore avenues of peace whilst occupying just a small sliver of the Land. In contrast the Scriptures clearly show that Israel is commanded to take the entire Land to fulfill the promise made Abraham.

One has to wonder why the Church, the supposed new and improved spiritual Israel, cultivates its headquarters in Rome and why it continues to view itself as separate from YHWH’s people that He foreknew despite the warning in Isaiah 56:2 that says “Neither let the son of the ger (stranger), that has joined himself to YHWH, speak in this manner, saying, YHWH has utterly separated me from His people…” Or why the Church has fostered generations of the most vocal anti-semites in history and why it just stood idly by during the holocaust whilst preaching from a book that states, “For if you keep silent at this time, then shall their relief and deliverance arise for the Yahudim (Jews) from another place; but you and your abba’s bayit (house) shall be destroyed…” (Esther 4:14)

Have the words of the Christians’ own Messiah fallen on deaf ears when he said to a woman who professed to worship the same Elohim as the Jews? “You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is from the Yahudim (Jews).”(John 4:22) Or did the Sha’ul (Paul) speak in a vacuum when he said in Romans 3:1; “What advantage then has the Yahudi (Jew)? Or, what profit is there in brit-milah (circumcision).”?

The nation of Israel’s survival against all odds throughout the centuries is testimony that they were YHWH’s people in ancient times just as much as they are His people today, though temporally blinded to Messiah. "I say then, did YHWH cast away His people? By no means. For I also am a Yisraelite, of the zera (seed) of Avraham, of the tribe of Benyamin. YHWH has not cast away His people whom He knew and chose beforehand”(Romans 11:1-2). One doesn’t have to go as far back as the Scriptures to read about miraculous battles in which YHWH caused Israel to defeat enemies of far greater numbers and superior weapons. Between the time of June 5, 1967 to June 10, 1967 Israel fought and won a war against the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq that is known as the Six Day War. The statistics of the war speak for themselves:

The Six Day War

The Reason Israel makes a preemptive strike against an assembled and ready to deploy army of Egyptian forces after their government expelled a United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from the Sinai Peninsula, which had been stationed there since 1957 to provide a peace-keeping buffer zone.

Force Capacity Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq unite with a collective strength of 280,000 troops and 812 combat aircraft and attack Israel who has 264,000 troops (incl. 214,000 reserve troops) and 197 combat aircraft.

The Result Israel receives 779 killed, 2,563 wounded, loses 15 troops as POWS and loses 19 aircraft.

The coalition of Arab nations receives 21,000 killed, 45,000 wounded, lose 6,000 as POWS and loses 400 aircraft.

The Yom Kippur War

The Reason This war was part of an ongoing dispute and began with a joint surprise attack by Egypt and Syria on the sacred Israeli holiday of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Egypt and Syria sent legions of tanks across the cease-fire lines in the Sinai and Golan Heights, which had been captured by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War.

Force Capacity Egypt has collective strength of 800,000 troops, 2,400 tanks, 2,400 armoured carriers, 1,120 artillery units, 690 airplanes, 161 helicopters and 104 Navy vessels.

Syria has 150,000 troops, 1,400 tanks, 800–900 armoured carriers, 600 artillery units, 350 airplanes, 36 helicopters and 21 Navy vessels.

Iraq commits 60,000 troops, 700 tanks, 500 armoured carriers, 200 artillery units and 73 airplanes.

All together their collective force equals 1,010,000 troops.

Israel has a force of 415,000 troops, 1,500 tanks, 3,000 armoured carriers, 945 artillery units, 561 airplanes, 84 helicopters and 38 Navy vessels.

The Result Israel receives 2,656 killed, 7,250 wounded, loses 400 tanks and loses 102 planes.

The coalition of Arab forces receives 15,000 killed, 35,000 wounded, loses 2,250 tanks loses 432 planes.

“And it shall come to pass in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Yahrushalayim (Jerusalem).” (Zechariah 12:9)

Conclusion

West Point Military Academy in the United States has surprisingly very little strategy analysis of the Six Day and Yom Kippur wars in their core curriculum, despite the miraculous nature of Israel’s decisive victories against far superior numbers and weaponry. According to a three star general who taught military tactics and field strategies at West Point, the unofficial reason for side-stepping the Jewish wars was because of the obvious presence of divine intervention. His final comment to a querying Jewish cadet was, “G-d does not fit into military textbooks.”

Ultimately the Promised Land is Israel’s perpetual honeymoon destination. “You shall no more be termed: Forsaken (`azab {aw-zab'}); neither shall your land any more be termed Desolate (shimamah {shee-mam-aw'}): but you shall be called: My Delight Is In Her, Chephtziybahh {khef-tzee'baw – literally “my darling”}, and your land Beulah-Married (or literally “Land of your husband”); for YHWH delights in you, and your land shall be married.” Amein.

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