Who is the underdog?
In the wake of the Nazi Holocaust, most of the world saw the Jews as underdogs. This was enough to allow the State of Israel to be established in 1948 with United Nations approval. However, since that time Israel has become stronger and more prosperous. Starting in the 1980s, many began to see the Palestinians as the real underdogs.
However, this point of view displays ignorance regarding the context of this conflict.
The heart of this conflict lies with Islam.
Muhammad proclaimed that the Jews had once been God’s Chosen People, but were replaced by the Christians. Then, according to Muhammad, the Christians were in turn replaced by the Muslims, who became God’s Chosen People. I call this Islamic supersessionist displacement, “Replacement Theology on steroids.”
For many centuries the history of sovereignty and control of the Holy Land seemed to confirm this Muslim theology. For much of the 1,400 years leading up to the time of Messiah, it was mainly inhabited and controlled by the Jews. Later came the Christian Byzantine Empire. Then, in 638 A.D., the Muslims took over and controlled this territory until 1917. The most concrete and visible promise to the Chosen People was the Promised Land, and the history of this Land seemed to prove Muhammad’s theology to be correct—it was controlled first by the Jews, then by the Christians, then by the Muslims.
However, starting in the late 1800s, the situation began to change. The Jewish people began to return. In 1917 the Christian British Empire took over from the Muslim Turks. Then in 1948 the Jewish State was established and subsequently survived several wars with multiple Muslim armies against all the odds.
So now, the reverse of Muhammad’s displacement theology has happened. Sovereignty of the Promised Land went from being Muslim to being (British) Christian to being Jewish in a period of several decades. It began to look as though God had miraculously restored this Land to Jewish sovereignty. It began to look as though the Jews had not been replaced by Christians or Muslims after all.
If so, then Muhammad was WRONG about this important Islamic theological doctrine that the Muslims are now God’s Chosen People. If the “Prophet” Muhammad was wrong about this important doctrine, that would seem to make him a false prophet of a false religion!
Could that be why—among the 50 Muslim-majority nations in the world—only three of them (Egypt, Jordan and Turkey) actually recognize Israel’s right to exist? The total population of the other 47 nations exceeds one billion people! Israel has 8 million.
So who is the underdog?
In 2005 Israel uprooted all the Jewish inhabitants from Gaza, giving the Palestinians there the opportunity to actually build a Palestinian State. Instead Hamas has focused their resources on their stated goal of destroying Israel, not on building a viable state and benefiting and developing their own people. They are totally dependent on foreign ‘aid’ from the UN and Muslim countries such as Iran.
The true conflict is not essentially between Israel and the Palestinians. It is with Islam. The Palestinians have been victimized by being deliberately kept as refugees by Muslim leaders, to be used as a tool and a weapon against Israel, because the very existence of Israel proves Islam to be a false religion.
Where—According to Scripture—is All This heading?
“…in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3 NKJV).
This is happening all over Europe and also in North America. Those who once stood with Israel are now turning against her.
What is the LORD’s answer to this?
“In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem…” (Zechariah 12:8).
And then, the greatest news of all:
“…in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4a).
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication;then they will look on Me whom they pierced“ (Zechariah 12:10).
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, November 2018, and reposted with permission.
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Eric and his wife, Terri, are congregational leaders at Kehilat Poriya, in Poriya Illit, near Tiberias.