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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Israel - a Two-State Solution IS Plausible (But Not What You May Expect!)

Many of you who have read these articles or know me personally know that I have been at an impasse for some time in regard to the Israel/Palestinian issue.  On one hand, I know what the Bible says about the restoration of Israel, and on the other hand I also know that some Palestinians are actually my Christian brethren with deep roots in the region.  I have butted heads with people - including many Eastern Christians, which honestly bothers me - and have wrestled with the issue myself on many occasions, praying for an answer.  In recent days my prayers may have been answered, thanks in part to a program we were listening to on the road while coming home from work one night a couple of weeks back.   The program, In the Marketplace With Janet Parschal, is broadcast on Moody Radio and I have enjoyed listening to it because she really stimulates your mind with the in-depth discussion she presents.  On that particular program, she had this guest (for the life of me, I cannot remember the guy's name!) who was discussing the Israel/Palestine issue, and what he said was revolutionary - God's plan, at least for now, may actually include two states!  I could just about imagine many of my prophecy-student friends gasping in horror, while some of my Eastern Christian friends would be having a smug "I told you so!" expression on their faces.  However, as I reflect upon it, I have a huge sigh of relief, because it really brings a peace to this situation that allows me to discuss it freely with friends I have on both sides of this issue.  Of course, what I am about to say will probably make some mad, but that is OK - compared to the mental anguish I have had over the years trying to reconcile all of the ill-fitting pieces of the puzzle, it is worth getting a couple of over-zealous nuts p.o'ed at me.  So, that being said, here we go.

My studies have been taking me into some other interesting directions as well, for I have learned that a major problem has caused all this to begin with - Islam, and the subsequent scourge of Arabization.  Much like the Borg on the Star Trek series, Arab Islam has literally wiped out the identities of millions of people worldwide, in essence Arabizing them at the expense of their God-given individualities.  Yet, it seems weird that all of these people could be "Arabs' when there weren't really that many Arabs to begin with.  There have been signs of hope though - many North African nations are eschewing Arabism for their true Amazigh (Berber) roots (the Berbers, as you know, were also a people with a great Christian legacy, as it was their nation that produced such spiritual giants as Tertullian, St. Augustine, and others).  Also, the Coptic Christians of Egypt, the Assyrians and Chaldeans of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, as well as the Maronite-Aramaic people of Lebanon, have hung on tenaciously to their heritage despite the onslaught of often-brutal Arab nationalist and radical Islamic onslaughts (although they appear to be opposite, Pan-Arabism and radical Islam in reality feed off of each other).  Even among the Palestinians, there is a movement (mainly among the Christian communities in their midst) in which many Palestinians are redefining their identities not as Arabs but rather as Canaanites, Moabites, and Edomites (there is truth in that also, by the way, but that is a whole other discussion).  In short, Pan-Arabism is failing, thanks be to God, as people start discovering who they truly are, and I predict that if the Lord tarries there will be a cultural renaissance among these people, and I would support and welcome that.  That being said, let us now talk about one group in particular, neither Arab nor Muslim, but with strong ancient and Biblical roots as part of the Chosen People.

Many students of Bible prophecy often overlook something very significant - they understand that Israel as a nation is supposed to be restored, but the problem is they are missing something in the equation.  And although I have been accused of being a "Christian Zionist" by many, I think what I am about to say will blow that accusation away quickly.   I remember also that Fr. Elias Friedman, a Hebrew Catholic Carmelite priest, wrote in his 1987 book Jewish Identity on this subject when he said a problem with modern support of Israel is not its existence, but rather its completeness - think about that a moment, will you?  The Bible's promises to Israel which the Church affirms strongly must be to all twelve tribes, yet modern Jewry only encompasses two - even the 55 million or so of us in the world who are of the Anusim are only from two tribes, Benjamin and Judah!  So, where are the other ten tribes??  That is where we are going with this, so brace yourself for some revelation knowledge, folks!!

As we read in I Kings 12, after Solomon's death there was a division in the kingdom of Israel, and what resulted were the kingdoms of Judah and Israel - Judah and Benjamin were the kingdom of Judah, while the other 10 tribes became the kingdom of Israel.  After many years - and a lot of BAD leadership! - the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrian Empire in the year 722 BC, as recorded in 2 Kings 17:24-41.  What happened next was that the Assyrian king Sargon II who sacked Samaria, the capital of Israel, settled ethnic Assyrians in the land who intermarried with the remnant of the Israelites, thus producing the Samaritans we read about starting in the book of Nehemiah, when one of their rulers Sanballat antagonized the efforts of Zerubabbel, Ezra, and Nehemiah to restore Jerusalem.  For a number of years the Samaritans are not mentioned in any historical writings until Jesus comes along, and lo and behold, He reaches out to them (Samaritans and Jews, as you read in the Gospels, were not the best of friends!) and many are born again through His ministry and even form an integral part of the early Church in Israel and surrounding areas.   Jesus does that for two reasons:

1.  He is called to reach ALL people, and
2.  Samaritans are as much a part of the heritage of Israel as the Jews are, and Jesus made it a point to illustrate that by His show of compassion to the Samaritans.

In other words Jesus came for all of Israel, Jew and Samaritan alike, and ultimately for all humanity.  Jesus, by doing this, also got across something many churches forget today - you have to reach those of your own house first before you can be a witness to others.  THAT is the ultimate lesson of the Gospel, at least as far as this part of it is concerned.

The Samaritans have continued to exist until this very day, and as I am writing this there is still a community of 700 of them near the city of Nablus in Israel.  However, it gets very interesting here, because over the centuries, especially with the onslaught of Islam (I see the average Islamic mullah being something like the Borg Queen in the movie Star Trek - First Contact - their message of "convert or die' sounds like the Borg mantra of "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.") many of them have been lost in the sea of Islam and were forcibly converted by Muslim fanatics, after which the "Arab" culture of the Middle East after Islam infected it completely overwhelmed, annihilated, and buried the true identities of many people.   A Wikipedia article I read preparing for this lesson notes that a genetic test done on many Palestinian Muslim families around Nablus revealed that they had cultural ties to the Samaritans, and may have descended from the Samaritans themselves at some point but their families were forced into Islam and Arabized over the centuries.  Even former Israeli President, the late Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, said that as much as two-thirds of the residents of Nablus and surrounding villages as of 194o were of Samaritan origin (www.wikipedia.org/Samaritan, quoting from Ben-Zvi's Oral Telling of Samaritan Traditions, Vol. 780-785, originally published on October 8, 1985).  That being said, what this means is that many self-identifying Palestinian "Arabs" may in reality have a birthright to the land of Israel!  And, in a sense then, it gives some validity to the Palestinian claims, for they are Biblical being these particular Palestinians are descended from the lost Ten Tribes!!  Told you this would get interesting, didn't I?? 


Samaritans observing Passover near their Temple site on Mt. Gerizim, near the Israeli city of Nablus

If this be the case - we all know obviously that the 700 Samaritans are of Israel anyway, a fact both prophecy scholars and Israeli authorities have no issue with - what this means is that all Twelve Tribes of Israel are in the land!!  And, as a faithful Remnant of all Twelve Tribes is prophesied in Scripture, it is high time we pray for these Samaritans and their descendants - wouldn't it be wonderful if there would be a Messianic Samaritan congregation in Nablus one day??  And, it also means that some of the Palestinians may have more right to the land than many originally thought, especially since DNA research has revealed that they are connected to the Samaritans!  What times indeed we live in!  And, it also must be noted that some of these Samaritan-descended Palestinians are also Christians already - as a matter of fact, the Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron, Saidna Gregory Mansour's, family originally came from that same region, which means the Lebanese Maronites in the US may have a Samaritan bishop possibly! (the Assyrian Church of the East already has a Converso chancellor, my dear friend Fr. Charles "Qasha" Klutz in Chicago, whose family were Portuguese Anusim, so Bishop Gregory - who I also have known as a friend for close to 30 years since he was parish priest in Uniontown, PA - may not be the only member of the House of Israel leading a portion of the Church, but there are others, also a prophetic sign). 





Elazar ben Tsedaka, the late Samaritan High Priest (1927-2010)

In lieu of this, many of us who have loved Israel - as we should, by the way - may have to begin to see the bigger picture.  Again, that involves two things:

A.  God may have in his plan, at least for this time, a two-state solution for the Holy Land
B.  Many Palestinians may already be of the House of Israel and not know it

Again, new evidence arises on these things all the time, so be aware that I may on occasion be revisiting this subject in future lessons as I want to share this knowledge with others, so that they also may "rightly divide the Word of truth" and also see more fully God's work in our time.  These little signs and facts also tell us that the return of the Lord is nigh, and as Christians that should excite us - it surely does me, which is why I talk about this stuff with you.  Anyway, I am aware this teaching may be a little different, a little tough to digest as a lot of ingrained thinking will have to be reconsidered regarding what we have been taught, but one thing is for sure - Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour, and He is coming again!  Even so, come Lord Jesus, amen!