The Middle East in general, and Israel specifically are an integral part of the biblical story.
[Darris McNeely] As I speak today on this "Beyond Today Daily," there's been a ceasefire declared between the State of Israel and the Hamas group, firing rockets out of their place in Gaza upon Israel. This whole two-week period and the most recent flare-up between Hamas and Israel and the rockets and the fighting that has been taking place has once again brought to the fore of the Middle East, Israel, the Palestinian problem, and really the question of why does all of this matter?
To me, it gets rather personal because, in this most recent flare-up, there have been two places mentioned in Jerusalem that I have personal acquaintance with from a time when I actually spent a summer in Israel working at an archeological dig on the Temple Mount. The two places that have been at the center of the recent controversies are the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a place called the Sheikh Jarrah quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, where there has been a property dispute. And these were the triggers for the most recent problems. I stayed in a hotel in that Arab quarter of Jerusalem, the Sheikh Jarrah district in 1971 and also dug every day in an archeological dig pictured here, in the shadow of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. There you see a group of volunteers, students from around the world, working in uncovering the remains of the Second Temple period at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Now, all of this works together. And all of this really does help us understand why this matters. I wanna cover one point in this today in our Daily to help us begin to unpack all of these conflicts, all of these experiences, and why it matters.
Here's the first point to understand. The Biblical story tells the story of the Middle East and of Israel, and believe it or not, even the Palestinians. And really the origins of the conflict that we see continually reoccurring in the Middle East between the Palestinians, the problems that they face, which are very real, and the State of Israel, and its existence in that land. It goes all the way back to the story in the Bible of Abraham, both peoples, the Israelis, the Jewish people, the Palestinians, part of the Arab nations, they are both descended from Abraham, both understand that. A fact of history and certainly a fact of the Bible. These two peoples are divinely chosen.
They're divinely appointed, Israel, the Jewish people, one of the tribes of Israel, the Palestinians, part of the Arab peoples, they are part of that divine story and they have an attachment to Abraham. And they both claim this land that they live in. When you look at that picture that I was showing you earlier of the archeological dig in Jerusalem there, what you see here are some interesting features that are part of the story of Jerusalem. This is the Southern wall that extends along the Southern wall of the Temple Mount. And part of it was built during the time that the foundations that are still there show what was built by the Great King Herod, these huge, massive stones. The summer that I spent there, one of the stories that came out was the fact that what we and this group of students were actually uncovering that was the most important find, archaeologically, historically, was those Herodians stones, proof of the temple, proof of that Temple Mount and all that stood there and proof then that the Jews were in the land 2,000 years ago and hadn't had a title to the land.
The Israelis then and now want that point proven, understood, and verified. We were part of that, and in one sense, tools in their hands to help make that happen. It goes back to this Biblical story, that the Middle East is part of the Biblical story, Israel, and the Jews are as well. What people don't understand is as they fight over the land, is they're fighting over a piece of land that is not either one of theirs. It actually belongs to God. When you go back in the story to Genesis 17, and we can just look at verse 8, where we see that God gave to Abraham, remember, Abraham being the father of both the Israel, the Jews, and the Palestinians, the Arabs, God gave to Abraham that land. Look at what it says in verse 8 of Genesis 17. "Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all of the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."
Here's the point, God gave the land because it's His land. Today, these peoples are squabbling over a piece of land that really belongs ultimately to neither one of them. It belongs to God. And that's a fundamental part of the story. And that needs to be understood. At the heart of this whole matter is an ancient feud that goes back 4,000 years, in the sense of the entire story of Abraham, and his family, and what happened there. You can read about it in the Scripture. We've done articles and Beyond Today programs on that. And, of course, in more recent times, the existence of the Jewish state, since 1948, has been a thorn in the side of all the Arab states in the entire region. But it's all part of a larger Biblical story.
And really, if you're going to understand why the Middle East matters, you've got to understand this critically important truth from the Bible. The present religious and political turmoil that we see in the Middle East is at its heart, a family feud between two descendants of Abraham. Frankly, it's going to take the return of another descendant of Abraham, Jesus of Nazareth, coming as Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, to rule over the nations that will take His coming to finally unravel all of the problems that all of the treaties and all the peace processes have not been able to secure. And that is a lasting peace in the land.
And so, the fact that this is a part of the story of the Biblical story, the entire Middle Eastern problems, and especially centered as it is with the Israelis and the Palestinians, that's an important reason to understand that it matters. It matters because it's part of the greater Biblical story. I'm gonna come back and do another Daily on this topic and show you from prophecy, why this story in the Middle East matters to Biblical prophecy in the next "BT Daily."
Join us then. That's "BT Daily." Join us next time.