Palestine #1

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Allow us to extend apologies in advance, for today we are enlisting all of you as active participants in a real estate case. You are being empaneled as a jury to deliberate a significant matter concerning a vast piece of land. Picture this expanse: it stretches from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in Iraq. Yes, it’s a colossal piece of land. The pivotal question before you today is: Who owns Palestine?

As the saying goes, possession is nine points of the law, but that doesn’t deter us from bringing this matter into the courtroom and delving into the fundamental inquiries of moral and legal rights to the land. Whose land is it by rightful ownership? The Palestinians have raised grievances, asserting that the Israelis arrived later and usurped their land. Conversely, the Israelis claim historical precedence, contending they occupied the land long before the Palestinians did. Yet, there were inhabitants even before the ancestors of the Israelis, the Israelites, laid claim to it.

To illustrate the complexity of establishing ancient land titles, allow us to share an analogous situation. Some time ago, our endeavor involved attempting to purchase a piece of property near Lake Palestine. We sought lakefront property, contemplating the possibility of relocating our offices there at one point. This property, however, was held as an undivided interest by several families, all descendants of a slave to whom the land had been originally granted after the Civil War. The property, a mere 40 acres, had never been willed to anyone. It continued to pass by right to his children, their children, and so forth. It seemed nearly impossible to buy the property as unanimous consent from all the descendants was required.

Interestingly, many properties in this region trace their ownership back to Spanish land grants. These grants were bestowed by the King of Spain to settlers in this part of the world, and they were based on the divine right of kings, where kings, as representatives of God on Earth, could deed God’s property to the people. Similar historical patterns are discernible in various regions, such as the Louisiana Purchase from the King of France and the land grants from the King of Spain in Texas. Examining these historical documents reveals that the deeds trace back to the rights granted by a king or a governing body that acted in the role of a king.

Similarly, the original titles to Palestine, and even more, were granted by a king. This narrative begins in Genesis, Chapter 12. The Lord spoke to Abraham, instructing him to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house and venture into a land that God would reveal. This land was promised as an inheritance: I will make you a great nation… and I will give this land to your descendants.

Abraham, accompanied by his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot, embarked on this journey. However, the Canaanites already occupied the land, possessing it, though without any established ownership. The Lord appeared to Abraham, reaffirming that the land would belong to his descendants. Abraham marked his presence by building altars, a religious act, yet perhaps akin to planting surveyor’s stakes, signifying the promised inheritance. These altars symbolized benchmarks as Abraham surveyed the land, claiming it as the land promised to him and his descendants.

Later, in the 13th chapter of Genesis, God reiterated this promise, extending the boundaries of Abraham’s future inheritance: For all the land that you see, will I give it to you.

In our quest to understand the ownership of Palestine, we must explore these historical intricacies, acknowledging the divine promises, human possession, and the delicate balance between moral and legal rights. The ancient deeds, though rooted in time, continue to shape the narratives and disputes of our contemporary world.

So, as we venture deeper into this historical inquiry, we invite you, our esteemed jury, to unravel the layers of the ancient deed, exploring the nuances that define the rightful ownership of this land. Welcome to the journey through history, faith, and the intricate tapestry of human existence.

Find out more by listening to Palestine #1, and thank you for joining us on this insightful exploration.


Palestine #2 >>


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

Click here for more posts by Ronald L. Dart

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