Summary: Part 2 in a sermon series on the Middle East. Discusses who has the right to the land of Israel.
It is nearly impossible to pick up any nationally syndicated newspaper today or watch any national morning news broadcast without hearing about the escalating unrest and impending conflict in the Middle East. Every time there is a crisis in the Middle East we move another step closer to the return of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, while many may feel that there remains a possibility for a peaceful solution to the centuries-old conflict between Israel and it’s Arab neighbors, the potential for greater conflict is also very possible.
ILLUSTRATION: Dr. David R. Reagan wrote about an encounter he had with one man on an airplane. The man grumbled, “Why don’t those stubborn Jews just give the Arabs the West Bank so that there can be peace in the Middle East?”
Suspecting that the man did not have the foggiest idea what he was talking about, Dr. Reagan responded with this question. “Where is the West Bank?” he asked the man.
“You know,” he said.
“Yes,” Dr. Reagan replied, “I know, but do you?”
“Well, of course I know!” the man snapped.
“Okay then, where is it?”
“Well…well…” he sputtered, “the West Bank is the west bank of the Nile!”
Dr. Reagan said it was all he could do to refrain from laughing out loud. Yet, it really wasn’t a laughing matter. Here was a man demanding the Israelis surrender the West Bank when he had no idea where the West Bank was even located.
The man was embarrassed when the doctor explained that the west bank of the Nile belonged to Egypt not Israel. And he was astounded to learn that if Israel were to surrender the real West Bank, the nation would be left in an indefensible position, because it would be only 9 miles wide at its narrowest point.
Today we are going to continue our study on the Middle East, but instead of focusing on America we are going to be looking at the Middle East crisis from a Biblical perspective. I feel compelled to address this conflict between Israel and her enemies because every news report I’ve seen from major news networks presents a heavily biased, anti-Israeli account of what is going on over there.
Palestinian officials both in the Middle East and in Washington make propaganda statements that go forth unchallenged and unhindered into the living rooms of naïve citizens of the western world who have no understanding of what is going on other than what they see and hear through the biased reporting of the news media. And yet, those same citizens are willing to sit in their comfortable homes halfway around the world and pontificate about how the Israelis need to stop being so stubborn and start surrendering land for peace. But is that really the answer?
Much has been written about the Middle East crisis from a political perspective, but this crisis will never be truly understood apart from its spiritual roots. For this conflict, from start to finish, is a spiritual conflict, which is why it will never be resolved politically.
I believe it is also imperative for Christians to know from a Biblical perspective what is truly going on. The Bible has all of human history etched upon its pages. From the very beginning to the very end, it’s all there. If we want to know what is happening in the world today and why, all we have to do is study that ancient text, which is just as relevant today as it was when it was first being recorded.
So let’s start our study by laying a foundation to build upon and go back to ancient history and see where this conflict was birthed.
I. The Rightful Owner
The conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors in its very simplest form is a dispute over land. So, let’s see just who it is that holds the title deed of the land in question. And we’ll begin with the very first owner found in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Before we get into all the confusion that human beings bring to any matter I want you to realize something very important. The very first book of the Bible tells us very clearly who owns that piece of real estate in the Middle East that is so hotly contested. It tells us very clearly who owns everything. The Creator, God, the One who formed the land by His Words is the rightful owner and the only One who has the right to decide who gets to utilize His creation.
I hope that you already knew this. But is case you didn’t, I’ll reiterate it. God created everything. Therefore, everything belongs to Him. You belong to Him. The sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, everything belongs to Him, and only He has the right to decided who gets to utilize what. So, according to the Bible, (the only truly reliable source we have) the land being fought over in the Middle East, first and foremost belongs to God.