God’s Plan For The Palestinian Arabs
With so much in the news about Israel and Palestine, or the West Bank and Gaza, and the fact that I have written so much recently about Israel, and the history of the situation there I felt led to delve into the Word and look at God’s heart for the Arabs in Israel, Palestine and all of the nations. I tell people I have a heart for the nations, but certainly all believers should because that is God’s heart.
I recently wrote detailing the events of the modern state of Israel and how the current situation came to exist. For more details refer to my January 14 article entitled “Rashida Tlaib, Trump and 1967.” I present a lot of facts and delve into God’s heart and plans for Israel, and the Blessings and Curses mention in Genesis 12. There are six promises or “Abrahamic blessings” as they are often called. They are specific to the son of ‘promise’, Isaac, not Ishmael. So, if Israel is God’s chosen people, and even though they rejected His Son whom He sent them first, what do we do with the Arabs who now reside in Israel and Palestine? Are there specific verses mentioning them?
There are in fact several passages that mention Edom, or the descendants of Esau. Most scholars agree that the descendants of Esau are the Arabs of Jordan, and the Palestinians Arabs. The land of the Edomites was southeast of the land given to the children of Israel, and was also in the path they took as they went to cross the Jordan and enter the promised land. The Israelites and Edomites often fought, and sometimes Edom allied with the Southern Kingdom and occasionally the Northern Kingdom against common enemies like the Moabites and Syrians.
Also, when Mt. Seir is mentioned it is referring to Esau and Edom. Edom has been a natural enemy of Israel since the two brothers parted ways. Even though Jacob and Esau met and reconciled in the wilderness, their descendants continued to be at odds. After the Children of Israel went into the promised land the Edomites continued to taunt them, but occasionally as mentioned before they united against a common enemy. Several prophecies were written where God basically said he would wipe Edom out. Consider the short book of Obadiah is a record of the vision that the prophet had demonstrating God’s intent to ‘wipe out’ Edom. Other prophets that prophesied against Edom include Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Joel, and Amos.
What was it that caused God to have His prophets declare Edom to ‘become a wilderness?’ Consider Psalm 137:7, “Remember Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down”, they cried, “tear it down to its foundations.”! Or look at Obadiah 10-14. Vers 10 declares, “Because of violence to Your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame, and you will be cut off forever.” Amos 1:11 speaks of Edom pursuing his brother with the sword, and God not revoking their punishment.
Basically, what Edom did was when Babylon finally came into Jerusalem and began removing people and loot, etc. the Edomites said, hey let us destroy the temple, we will help you empty it of its contents. This is what the prophets are crying out for in demanding justice against the Edomites. They basically participated in the destruction of the first Temple. As time went on the Edomites spilled over into the Negev or southern area of Israel and Judah. By the time of the Romans there was even a province named Idumea after the Edomites. It is not clear how many were actually descendants of Esau, scholars and historians generally agree there were Jews living in the area we now call Palestine, as well as some Edomites. Over the 2,000 years following the second Temple destruction various empires, kingdoms, and nations ruled that area.
By the time of the Balfour Declaration there were Jews and ‘Arabs’ living in the area known as Palestine. These Arabs, as I mentioned are considered to be descendants of the Edomites. Also, the southern and central Jordanians also considered descendants of Edom, and some Moab. We all know that this has been going on for thousands of years. But, what is God’s plan to bring reconciliation to the children of Jacob and Esau, or is it possible until Jesus comes back? Psalm 83 lists a number of nations that wish to conspire to ‘wipe Israel out from being a nation’. Among them are the ‘tents of Edom.’ This speaks of of refugees or tent dwellers, much like the Palestinian Arabs lived after the 1948 War. Does God have a plan for the Palestinian Arabs?
The plan for the Palestinian Arabs is the same as the plan for the Jews, and the same for all nations. Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the gospel to all nations and make disciples of all nations. (mark 16, Matthew 28:18-20) He also said that the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all nations as a witness, Matthew 24:14. In Revelation 4 and 5 we see all of the nations gathered around God’s throne worshipping the lamb. So we see God intends for all nations discipled, saved and worshipping Jesus. ‘My house shall be called a House of Prayer for All Nations.’ Isa. 56:7.
However, we saw God sent various prophets to denounce what Edom did in helping Babylon, and further it seems He intended to wipe them out and punish them. Yet, there are still a few million of them around. Does God really want to save the descendants of Esau? Of course. I have actually met many such believers. But there is a greater purpose than just salvation. First of all there is an obscure verse that speaks of this. Amos 9:12 is part of the group of verses that speak of restoring the Tabernacle of David. Further these verses were quoted in Acts 15 by James as he decided that the gospel was for Jew and Gentile, and that the Gentiles could receive it without converting to Judaism, i.e. circumcision.
Amos 9: 11 ‘ In that day I will raise up the fallen down booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.
12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all of the nations who are called by My name, Declares the Lord who does this.’
The Tabernacle of David was a tent with the ark of the covenant open to all worshipers. Restoration of the tabernacle of David has a few manifestations, including Jesus, who restored the Davidic kingdom as a ‘spiritual’ one, uniting all nations through the Gospel and New Covenant. There is then the Messianic aspect, and then the prayer and worship aspect, for all nations. The remnant of Edom seems to be talking about just what we see today. Some interpret that verse as Israel occupying Edom, but I see the Jews brought the gospel through Jesus and yet they denied Him.
The final and greatest plan God has for the Palestinian Arabs is not just salvation, but being part of the One New Man, and provoking Israel to jealousy as Paul wrote. Ephesians 2:14-16 deals with the idea of the ‘One New Man.’ What do we mean by that? In Jesus the middle wall that seperated gentiles, or nations, from Jews was broken down. In Jesus we all have access to Father God and eternal life and all that He has provided in His death and resurrection and ascension to sit on His throne at the right hand of the Father, and His soon coming!
In Romans 11 Paul is speaking to the Church at Rome regarding Israel and the fact that God has not forsaken her, and in verse 29 he declares, “All Israel will be saved”. However, he mentions his ministry to the gentiles that was magnified in that he might move some Israelis to jealousy to come to Yeshua. Likewise I believe that as Arabs, whether Palestinian, Jordanian, Saudi, or whatever come to salvation in Jesus that more Jews will come to that same saving knowledge.
So, the ultimate plan of God is that the remnant of Edom, or Palestinians be saved. He desires that they be part of the ‘all nations’ worshipping Him around His throne, and ultimately by their salvation Israel will to salvation in Yeshua. Pray that as events unfold, and terror continues to abound that many Arabs will come to know salvation through Jesus, and likewise many Jews. I have personally witnessed this and know that Jesus’ heart is full of love and joy when He sees esau and Jacob come together through Him.