The Bible Magazine About Bible in the News Contact Us
"Disappearing Palestine" Bus Ads in Vancouver
A series of anti-Israel bus ads in Vancouver Canada is causing controversy.
September 1, 2013 - Audio, 9.50 MIN
(Links at bottom of page to download free viewers.)
A series of anti-Israel advertisements in Vancouver, sponsored by the "Palestine Awareness Coalition" is causing controversy in the city, with Jewish groups demanding that they be taken down. The public transit ads have four maps, showing supposed Palestinian borders disappearing into the State of Israel. The maps show what has happened within the state of Israel to some degree — of course they leave out the important fact that Arabs make up over 20% of Israel's population and would be able to vote and so on. However, the ads leave out the wider context of the region. When this context is taken into the picture it changes the situation considerably.
First there never has been a nation called Palestine at all, never mind with the borders depicted on the map. The area was part of the Roman Empire when the Jewish inhabitants were expelled after 70AD, although Jews continued to live in some areas of the country for many years. After the Roman and Eastern Roman Empire, the area was overrun by the Mohammedan Saracens and later became part of the powerful Ottoman Empire. The Turkish Ottoman Empire receded and was driven from the area of Palestine in the First World War after joining in with the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary by Britain and the Allies. So the area of Palestine fell under the rule of the British Empire.

Second, the area of the British Mandate called Palestine comprised of much more territory than just that shown on the map. The Mandate for Palestine was formally confirmed by the League of Nations for Britain to administer these former areas of the Ottoman Empire including forming a National Home for the Jewish People. So the creation of some sort of a National Home as shown on the maps, was an outcome of international law and cooperation. Exactly how the area was to be divided was not laid out in the British Mandate. The area of Jordan was part of what was called Palestine and is essentially a Palestinian nation and should have been included on the maps.

Third, the maps do not show the many destroyed Jewish communities in Arab lands. A fact brought out very well in the book, "From Time Immemorial, The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine".  Quoting from page 25 under the heading "The Exchange of Populations" it reads:

"For every refugee - adult or child - in Syria, Lebanon, or elsewhere in the Arab world who compels our sympathy, there is a Jewish refugee who fled from the Arab country of his birth. For every Arab who moved to neighboring lands, a Jew was forced to flee from a community where he and his ancestors may have lived for two thousand years. The Jews escaped to their original homeland, where their roots are even older; the Arabs also arrived where they were in the majority, where they shared the same language and culture with fellow Arabs, and often only a few dozen miles from their places of origin.

"An exchange of populations has in actuality taken place and been consummated; by coincidence, even the total number of Arabs who reportedly left Israel is almost exactly equaled by the number of Jews exchanged."

So what the maps show is the result of the British Mandate, but only part of the result. The maps also do not show the many destroyed Jewish communities in Arab lands. They show the National Home for the Jewish people, but not the rest of the area known as Palestine when these nations were created. Well, so far we have briefly considered some of the historical context and a little of the wider context to what the maps show. But, we have not yet considered what the Bible might say about Palestine and the National Home for the Jewish people in the time in which we live.

The maps actually depict the fulfillment of Bible Prophecy. They show an area that is devoid of Jews, transformed to one that is filled with Jews. Consider the following verses.

Jeremiah 33:24-26 "Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.  Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them."

Ezekiel 36:11 "And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD."

Some would say that these prophecies only apply to the time when the Jews returned from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah. From the context of the above prophecies, we can see that this claim will not stand. A second regathering is also spoken of clearly by the prophet Isaiah, who in the same passage says that the Jews would return from many Arab lands in the middle-east.

Isaiah 11:11-12
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."

The idea of the restoration of the Jews to their ancient homeland is also carried forward into the New Testament. For example, after Jesus' death and resurrection he taught his apostles about the things concerning the kingdom of God. As a result of this teaching, the apostles come to him and ask when these things would happen. "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power."

Again, this time in Acts 3, Peter teaches that Jesus would remain in heaven until the time when the kingdom of Israel would be restored. Acts 3:21 - "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."

The words of Jesus in Luke 21:24 - "And they (The Jewish people) shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

From these passages we see that the Jews would have an opportunity to return to their ancient home land, God would have mercy upon them and regather them from the nations to which they had been scattered and bring them back and settle them in their former estates. In fact ultimately God would do greater for them than he had done in the beginning. We have seen clearly that the prophets speak of a second restoration, after the regathering from Babylon. The idea of the restoration of the Jews is carried forward into the New Testament, this again showing a second regathering is required by Bible Prophecy.

While attempting to delegitimize Israel, these maps are actually showing the fulfillment of Bible prophecy - the restoration of the Jews to their ancient land. The controversy surrounding them is also a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, part of which the Bible calls the controversy of Zion - Isaiah 34:8.

We have to recognize that the return of the Jews to the land of Israel, is the work of the God of Israel and if we refuse to acknowledge this, we will be in the position of fighting against God. This is the position which many nations of the world have taken. Two nations which tried to erase Israel from the map are Egypt and Syria. Where are these nations today? Have they succeeded in this work?

Come back again next week, God willing for another look at the Bible in the News! This has been David Billington with you on www.bibleinthenews.com.




Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!