Who Are the Palestinians?

By Dan Payne

Just exactly who are the Palestinians anyway? The answer to this question can be found in two parts: the ancient Philistines and the modern-day Palestinians.

The modern-day Palestinians have taken up the mantle of the ancient Philistines in that they are Israel’s closest and most intimate enemy.

Palestine was first used as a name to describe a small portion of the ancient land of Canaan. It is a translation of “Philistia” and refers to the ancient land of the Philistines. The ancient Philistines were a “sea people” migrating from the Aegean Islands (Crete) and Asia Minor to the Eastern Mediterranean at the beginning of the 12th Century B.C.

Philistia in ancient Israel consisted of an area of land approximately twice the size of the current Gaza Strip. It stretched from near the southern border of modern-day Gaza, to approximately twice as far north as the Gaza Strip’s northern border, and about twice the width.

Israel largely avoided direct conflict with the Philistines in its earliest history prior to the Exodus. Later, the Philistines became known as the non-Israelites of the Promised Land, as well as also becoming the main enemy of Israel prior to the Babylonian captivity.

Today, the name Palestine is nothing more than another form of the name Philistine, and it is just another name applied to the land of Israel by the world, as is the Southern Levant, etc. There is no evidence that anyone of ancient Philistine lineage is alive anywhere on earth today, let alone the Gaza Strip.

But even if so, those claiming to be of ancient Philistine lineage would have to identify with the true meaning of their name from the adjective “Peleshet”, meaning “dividers” or “invaders”.

Modern Palestinians are not ancient Canaanites, as the Canaanites assimilated into the peoples of Israel: “Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar” (Matthew 1:3). See also Genesis chapter 38.

Modern Palestinians are not ancient Philistines, as the Philistines were conquered by King David (2 Samuel 8:1), and finished off by Sargon II, and no further record of them is found in history.

The birth of modern-day Palestine began in December of 1920 as a movement led by the dethroned Hashemite king, Amin Husseini, as a nation composed predominately of Arabic speaking peoples from neighboring lands.

In the following generations, more specifically during the past quarter century, the world at large, led by an underground Marxist agenda, has endeavored to force Israel to give up most               of its land in exchange for “peace” with the newly created state of Palestine.

These so called land-for-peace deals are never realized because the Palestinians have no interest in peace, they only have an interest in the land; all of it.

The God of the Bible is a benevolent God. He gives land to all peoples.

“In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance’” (Isaiah 19:23-25).

The Islamic God wants to take all land away from all peoples and leave none for anyone else except his own people. The world saw a prime example of this truth at the Middle East Peace Summit in 2000 when former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat rejected a 90 percent land-grab for his people; he wanted 100%.

It just so happens that the Creator of the universe decided to give the land of Canaan to a particular man and all of his following genetic descendants:

“Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God’” (Genesis 17:3-8).

God also renamed the land “Israel”:

“And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’ So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: ‘I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land’” (Genesis 35:10-12).

After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Israel also became a Spiritual inheritance for all who trust in Jesus for their salvation as their Messiah.

“For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are           of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’” (Romans 4:13, 16-17a).

Paul tells us that God’s sovereign choice for the people of Israel was not just confined to Abraham’s earthly descendants, but also to all who put their trust in the Lord, the same way that Abraham did.

The promise of Israel to all who are of the faith of Abraham will be fulfilled during the millennial reign when Abraham’s seed, the Lord Jesus, reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords upon His throne in Jerusalem.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Genesis 49:10).

On one very fine Day, the Spiritual inheritance of Israel for all who trust in Jesus, along with all of Abraham’s genetic descendants of like faith, will be realized as a physical inheritance.

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

True born-again Christians believe in Yeshua as the One and only Mashiach:

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’” (John 14:6).

We also believe in the eternal covenant Elohim made with Abraham: 

“In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates’” (Genesis 15:18).

Jews who live in Israel along with us true believers who support Israel, both Jew and Gentile, face a common threat. Let us all of like faith stand united in support of Israel.

“Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: ‘If those ordinances depart from before me,’ saith the Lord, 'then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever’” (Jeremiah 31:35-36).

Israel forever!