Who is Dividing God's Land?
Jun 08, 2011
Isaiah speaks of a great battle in 34:4-6 against Edom:
(4) And all the host of heaven will wear away, and the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; all their hosts will also wither away as a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree. (5) For My sword is satiated in heaven, behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom, and upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction. (6) . . . For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Like so many prophecies, this one puts together a number of different elements without really explaining them. It is left to later generations to see how it is actually fulfilled. Many prophecies cannot be deciphered until other prophets have brought further knowledge to clarify the picture.
In Isaiah's case, he puts together the two themes of the "fig tree" (vs. 4) and the judgment of Edom (5, 6). Isaiah even speaks of the "leaf" of the vine and/or fig tree. So this is tied to Jesus' prophecy when He cursed the fig tree in Matt. 21:19 and then later prophesied that this fig tree would come to life in the latter days and bear more leaves.
Isaiah, then, makes the link between this fig tree nation and the nation of Edom, many centuries before the two nations became one under John Hyrcanus in 126 B.C.
As long as we believe what Jesus said in Matt. 21:19, we will not go astray in our interpretation of Isaiah. If we believe that Jesus spoke truly that this "fig tree" would never again bear fruit (of the Kingdom), but would only produce more fig leaves, then we will understand that the Jewish nation called "Israel" is NOT the Kingdom of God.
It is unfortunate that Zionists--Christian or otherwise--do not believe the words of Jesus. All they can see is that this fig tree nation came back to life, and they call this a miracle. Well, of course. That is precisely what Jesus prophesied in Matt. 24:32. It was the divine plan that this fig tree would come back to life and sprout more leaves, but Jesus never reversed His earlier curse. That tree will never again bear the fruit of the Kingdom that is required to be part of the Kingdom of God.
The Bible teachers were fooled by the leaves. Then they taught the people that the leaves were evidence of FUTURE FRUIT. They seemed totally blind to the plain truth of Matt. 21:19, where Jesus said, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you."
Yet Christian Zionists support the Israeli state on the grounds that they will convert to Jesus Christ at the last minute--when they see Him coming in the clouds. They take passages about the biblical Israel and apply them to the Israeli state, in order to contradict Jesus' prophecy. They know not what they do. They make Jesus a false prophet and the coming Messiah at the same time. It is very strange, especially because Jesus concluded in Matt. 24:35,
(35) Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.
Surely, those words included His curse upon the fig tree. Hence, if a Jew wishes to live and to bear fruit unto God, he must detach himself from the leafy fig tree and attach himself to the other tree whose root is Jesus Christ and whose branches are the true believers.
There is no life and no salvation in becoming a Jew. Christian Zionism has moved from the living Tree to the dead tree of Judaism, thinking that its temporary life of leaf-bearing is evidence that this tree is truly alive. No, the real solution is for men to leave the dead tree and attach to the living Tree of Life that is found in Jesus Christ.
The current deception and blindness in Christian Zionism has caused them to pin their hopes on the Israeli state and its planned "third temple" in the Old Jerusalem. They believe that Judaism will be Christianized at some point, when the fact is, it is Christianity that is being Judaized. This is the very problem that the Apostle Paul fought against so strenuously. (Read my books on Galatians and Hebrews.) The big Church problem of the first century has emerged once again in the 20th century.
Dividing the Land
In the political negotiations among nations, there is much talk of a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli state. Christian Zionists continually point out the "sin" of "dividing My land" (Joel 3:2). In quoting this, they always assume that the Palestinians are the ones dividing up the land and that the Jews are the only ones with the right to own land in Palestine.
But Joel does not tell us directly WHO was dividing the land. The context speaks of Judah and Jerusalem, but none of the OT prophets distinguish between the two Jerusalems, and only Jeremiah distinguishes between the two fig trees of Judah. We are left to discern who is who by the light of the New Testament, where John and Paul make those distinctions very clear.
If we look at Ezekiel 35 and 36, we are told exactly who is responsible for dividing up the land. These chapters deal with God's judgment upon Edom (or Mt. Seir, the inheritance of Edom). On what grounds? Ez. 35:10 says,
(10) Because you have said, "These two nations [Israel and Judah] and these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them" ...
Verse 12 puts words in the mouth of Edom, "They are laid desolate; they are given to us for food." In other words, because Israel and Judah were removed from the land, Edom desired to divide up the land for itself. This continues in 36:2,
(2) Thus says the Lord God, "Because the enemy has spoken against you, 'Aha!' and "The everlasting heights have become our possession. . ."
(5) Therefore, thus says the Lord God, "Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul, to drive it out for a prey."
When the United Nations created the state of Israel in 1948, they became "the nations" who helped Edom appropriate the land for themselves. It is Edom who has divided the land among themselves--not the Palestinian people. Edom did this when they conquered the land by immigration and took it from the Palestinians--with the help of those Christians who did not understand the prophecy. Neither did the prophecy teachers tell the people that Edom was absorbed into Jewry and ceased to be a separate people after 126 B.C.
The Palestinians did not understand the Bible either. Most had not even read it. They did not understand that their problem was caused by Jacob in his dealings with Esau. They did not know that Esau-Edom would have to get his due according to biblical law. All they knew was that they were being dispossessed. They did not know that God had devoted Jerusalem to destruction (Jer. 19:11) and that the whole land would become like burning pitch (Is. 34:9).
The Palestinians did not know that God was causing many of them to be exiled from their homeland, in order to save their lives in the coming destruction. All the horrendous things being done to them are actually God's mercy upon them in the long run. The Israeli law forbidding any Palestinian to return sounds terrible to them, only because they do not know or believe that Jerusalem and that land is going to be destroyed.
They, too, need to see that Hagar and Ishmael will be cast out. But the Islamic religion makes Hagar and Ishmael the true inheritors of the promises to Abraham. Hence, they think that their expulsion is an evil thing, and they fight hard against it.
It is important to know who's who.
Dr. Stephen Jones