The Columbia Encyclopedia tells us that the word, “Palestine,” comes from the word “Philistine.” When the Philistines moved to the land of Canaan, they settled along the Mediterranean coast, in the area we now call the “Gaza Strip.” The Philistines were an exceptionally united people. They built five major cities, including Gaza, and created a powerful federation. As testimony to their strength, the whole region became known as “Palestine.”
More than 3,000 years ago, a people known as “Hebrew Israelites” conquered Canaan/Palestine, and renamed the land “Israel.” As a tiny nation that worshiped One invisible God, the Hebrew society's values and customs differed from its neighbor nations that worshiped more than 2,000 visible gods. Still, for all its uniquness,Israel survived for over 1,000 years.
Through the Hebrews, the world received the Ten Commandments, which tell men to love God and to “...love your neighbor as yourself...” (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18). If, tomorrow, every human being suddenly began to “love” his neighbors the world over — and, therefore, refrain from doing to anyone what he would not want done to himself —the world as we have made it would instantly change. Yet, it’s hard for us to even imagine that loving world, much less imagine it materializing tomorrow! Nevertheless, if you are among the persons who say, “People will never change” or “The world will always be the same,” you’re forgetting that we can now wreak the prophesied “utter destruction” (Mal. 3:24/4:6) on our world! You’re also totally dismissing the Messiah who, we’re promised, will reign over a world thoroughly cleansed of man’s hateful doings.
Before the Hebrews had even entered Canaan/Palestine, Moses spoke of a time when God would grow weary of their continual disobedience, and they would be “...driven out [of the land] to the farthest parts under heaven...” (Deut. 30:4). Then, they would become “…an oath and an astonishment and a curse and a reproach” (Jer. 44:12), a prophecy we’ve definitely seen fulfilled! But Moses also assured the Hebrews that eventually God “...will have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you” (Deut. 30:3). After that, they will become “…a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth” (Zeph. 3:20) — a prophecy we have yet to witness!
Atheists who, with arrogant certainty, dismiss the Prophets as liars or dupes can deeply offend believers. But people who call themselves “believers,” while arrogantly annulling God’s unwelcome messages about Israel's restoration, could be even more offensive to God. For, as Muhammad told us, “...who is more wicked than he who gives no heed to the revelations of his Lord when reminded of them?” (Adoration 32:22).
The Prophet, Isaiah, warned, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isa. 5:21). Muhammad explained, “They draw a line between God and His apostles, saying, ‘We believe in some but deny others.’” And Jesus cut to the quick of our problem in one sentence: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25).
The Hebrew Scriptures foretold ancient Israel’s eviction, and the same Scriptures promised that someday Israel would be resurrected. No where on earth does a single line of any religion’s Scripture foretell the resurrection of a nation called Palestine!