The Idumean Prophecy
Vol: 120 Issue: 28 Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The desperate effort by the Palestinian Authority to obtain official recognition at the United Nations is primarily aimed at calling attention to the plight of the Palestinian people.
The intent is cynical; it is the Arabs themselves that are responsible for the Palestinian refugee camps.
In an interview with the Lebanon Star dated September 15, PA Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah revealed that the PA effort was not aimed at ending the war. It seeks leverage, not peace.
“When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game.”
Despite the PA demand for statehood as a homeland for displaced Palestinians, not all Palestinians will be automatically granted Palestinian citizenship. Palestinian refugees living in ‘Palestine’ (whom one would expect would be the first to become citizens of their own state) will remain stateless.
…Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, an issue that has been much discussed. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he says. “But … they are not automatically citizens.”
Abdullah said that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinians of Gaza continue to build ties, not with the Palestinian Authority, but with its natural ally and pre-1967 homeland of Egypt, while the Arab world in general continues to prepare for war.
What today is the modern Gaza Strip is part of historical Philistia. The cities of ancient Philistia were Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath. Philistia’s northern border city was the city of Joppa, or Jaffo.
The Gaza Strip comprises the southern third of ancient Philistia, and the modern cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron are still claimed by the Palestinians as part of their land, extending up the coast to Jaffo, south of Tel Aviv.
“Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, BEFORE the day of the LORD’s anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.”
“For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.” (Zephaniah 2:1-6)
Most commentaries on these verses either view these verses as history, or see them as an allegory for the nations that will be judged in the last days.
However, when most of these commentaries were written, Philistia was a forgotten part of the Ottoman Empire, not one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.
At the time most commentaries on Zephaniah were published, the “Israel” of the last days was assumed to be a euphemism for the Church and not a real place.
“The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither. Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:” (Amos 1:2-3)
The phrase, “three transgressions of Damascus, and for four” doesn’t mean Damascus committed only four sins. It simply conveys the idea of ‘sin upon sin upon sin’.
In any case, Damascus is the oldest continually-inhabited city on earth, so its prophesied destruction remains yet a future event. Amos uses the same phrase to describe the judgment against the Phillistines;
“Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom:
“But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.” (Amos 1:6-7)
Gaza is home to several million ‘Palestinians’ who derive their name from the Roman name for ‘Philistine’ or ‘Palestina’. Like the prophecies concerning Damascus, those concerning Gaza have never been completely fulfilled in history.
The Edomites are the descendants of Edom, or Esau, twin brother of Jacob. Jacob (which means, “supplanter”) and later renamed by God, “Israel” was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Bible says that after an unsuccessful day of hunting, Esau came home “famished” and found Jacob cooking a pot of red bean stew, or ‘pottage’.
He asked for some, and Jacob asked if he would be willing to trade his inheritance for it. Esau agreed. The whole story only occupies a few lines of Scripture, so I am sure the exchange was broader than that.
The Bible account makes it sound like Esau was being flippant: “thus he despised his birthright.” Maybe Esau meant it, maybe he didn’t. But Jacob clearly intended to take it seriously.
So Jacob made good on the deal by tricking Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing that traditionally would be reserved for the first-born.
The blessing, once given, could evidently not be retracted. When Esau found out, he swore to kill Jacob.
After Isaac died, Esau took his wives, his children, his servants and his cattle and moved away from his brother to Mount Seir in Edom, a territory bordered by the Jordan River and including much of modern Jordan, including Petra.
After the Babylonian captivity the Edomites, (called Idumeans by the Greeks and Romans) were driven north by the Nabataeans to the areas around what is today southern Judah and Samaria in the West Bank.
The Idumean’s capital city was Hebron, not Jerusalem. Hebron was captured by Judas Maccabeus in 163 BC. The rest of the West Bank area was conquered by John Hyrcanus in 127 BC, who compelled the Idumeans to be circumcised and convert to Judaism.
King Herod Antipater and his son King Herod the Great were Idumeans, or Edomites, who were set up as puppet kings by the Roman occupation.
Here is where I want you to see how in God’s perfect justice, even Esau’s righteous claim against Jacob was satisfied in Jesus Christ.
Once Jesus, a direct descendant of Jacob, was condemned by the Sanhedrin, He was sent for judgment before Herod, the Idumean king. Thus Esau’s son judged the Son of Jacob guilty, but not for any sin of His own.
God so arranged the details that Jesus not only redeemed humanity in general, He redeemed Jacob (“the supplanter”) and He redeemed the Land of Promise from any lingering Edomite claim.
Perfect justice was satisfied. But the descendants of Edom want vengeance, not justice.
They’ve been seeking it for four thousand years.
According to Bible prophecy, Israel must face at least two more major military alliances aimed at her annihilation. The first alliance is that of Edom and his descendants, often referred to as the Psalms 83 War.
It is so-called because Psalms 83 outlines the precise scenario facing Israel today. It names all the parties to the conflict according to their ancient tribal names, which trace forward in history to include the modern Arab states now allying themselves against modern Israel.
It is an alliance of ethnic Arab states, and only ethnic Arab states. The majority of the combatants are Muslim, but this is not an Islamic effort. Psalms 83 makes it clear that this is an ethnic battle, a proxy war between Jacob and Esau in which Esau intends to make good on his oath to kill Jacob.
The purpose isn’t to conquer Jacob. It is to destroy Jacob. We learn two other salient facts about the Psalms 83 conflict. The first is that Israel survives intact. The second is that after that, the Edomite nations of Psalms 83 vanish from the prophetic record.
The second great conflict facing Israel in the last days is the Gog Magog invasion prophesied by Ezekiel. This conflict differs from that of the Psalms 83 War in several significant ways, all of which suggest that it occurs at some point after the Psalms 83 conflict.
First, at the time of this conflict, Ezekiel says, Israel is living in relative peace and safety, a “land of unwalled villages” rather than as a nation on high alert surrounding itself with security walls and fences.
Israel has never lived in peace and safety because of the Edomite threat that surrounds it. Every nation named in Psalms 83 is absent from Ezekiel 38’s alliance and every nation named by Ezekiel is absent from Psalms 83’s roster.
The nations in the Gog Magog alliance are linked primarily by religion, with the exception of Gog (Russia). The prophet says that Gog is reluctantly drawn in, as if it had a hook it its jaw, whereas the rest of the alliance seems quite eager.
Persia (Iran), Libya (Islamic North Africa excluding Egypt) Ethiopia (Cush, black Africa) [Cush means “black”] Gomer (Cimmerians, Kurds) and Togarmah (Turkey).
Turkey continues to make noises as if it intends to participate in the next big war with Israel, but it won’t. It can’t afford to risk its NATO status and other alliances, especially now that Greece has signed a mutual defense agreement with Israel. It will sit out Psalms 83.
Ahmadinejad continues to bluster and threaten Israel and generally give the impression that Iran will leap aboard any military confrontation with Israel, but Ahmadinejad’s star has faded within Iran’s mullocracy.
Ahmadinejad has pushed Iran too close to the brink with the rest of the world for Ayatollah Khameini’s comfort. Debka is also reporting this morning that France is warning Iran of an imminent strike against its nuclear facilities while Russia is practicing for reprisal strikes on its soil.
The entire world is debating whether to seize Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria from the descendants of Jacob and hand it over to the descendants of Esau. All of the Psalms 83 combatants are threatening war as an alternative.
The UN is well aware of Esau’s real plan, which is to continue the conflict until it destroys Israel, but is pretending to believe the plan is to create a peace-loving state to provide citizenship status to stateless Palestinian refugees.
Here is what I want you to see this morning. I want you to see the incredible accuracy of Bible prophecy and contemplate what it says about its Author.
The world is seemingly in a state of chaos, to put it mildly, economically, politically and socially. At the heart of it all is tiny Israel, a nation the size of New Jersey, and Jerusalem, a city the size of Indianapolis.
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)
There are two separate and distinct geopolitical alliances in development, both of them aimed at the destruction of Israel, but for different reasons and on differing timetables.
The Idumean allies want to destroy Israel and take the land, whereas the Persian allies simply want to destroy Israel.
Both alliances were named by name, numbered and listed according to intent and motive, thousands of years in advance and both alliances were scheduled to rise concurrently with that of the nation of Israel.
The Gog Magog alliance could not exist without the prior existence of a Jewish state called Israel, neither could the Idumeans.
But from the time the prophets first prophesied the restoration of Israel during the Babylonian Captivity until May 15, 1948 no such place as Israel existed on any map. In a single generation, out of all the generations to come before, the entire scenario has moved into view.
It looks like chaos to the world. But it isn’t. Things continue to unfold precisely according to the detailed blueprint outlined in Bible prophecy.
It is proof positive that God is not dead. The Throne is still occupied. The enemy has not won. And there is still time to get out the message and share the Promise.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
The Lord is coming!