Israel's Enemies Today...Edom, the Philistines & Amalek

Steven LeBlanc

09 01 2014Supporters of Hamas (Gaza Strip) celebrate over their war with Israel

History has a way of repeating itself, or as Mark Twain astutely observed—History rhymes. Hamas’s war with Israel has ancient roots, roots that go back well over 3,000 years. Understand that the ongoing hostility is happening in the context of old wounds and unrelenting hatreds. There are prophecies found in the books of the prophets that tell us the descendants of Edom, the Philistines, and Amalek make trouble for Israel right up to the Last Days. I believe many of the Palestinians in Israel today are the latter day descendants of Edom, Amalek and the Philistines. These people often intermarried with one another and with the Ishmaelites (much of the Arab world is descended from Abraham’s son Ishmael).

Blood Feud and Prophecy
The Bible traces the roots of this vicious blood feud between Israel and the Palestinians to the days of the Patriarchs. Two great sibling rivalries of the past impact us to this day—one between Abraham’s sons Ishmael and Isaac (see Genesis 16–17; 21) and the other between Isaac’s sons Esau and Jacob (see Genesis 25; 27–28). Ishmael was the father of many of the Arabs while from Isaac, through Jacob, came the Israelite tribes.

Isaac remember, had twin sons, Jacob and Esau, by his wife Rebekah. Amazingly, before they were born, “the children struggled together within her” (Genesis 25:22). God pronounced: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (verse 23). Both brothers were to become powerful nations—nations are often, simply families that have grown large.

Jacob and Esau were very different from each other in their personality and interests. And as is sometimes the case, each parent had a “favorite”. Esau was “a skillful hunter, a man of the field.”—Jacob was a mild man, a man who chose to stay near home “dwelling in tents”. Tensions escalated when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew (verse 33), showing he viewed the birthright as a small thing. In the process of time Jacob deceived his father into giving him the birthright blessing (chapter 27). Esau believed the blessing was stolen from him– “Esau hated Jacob” (verse 41).

This hatred and jealousy of Esau continued through the centuries and still exists as you read this. The descendants of Esau (often called Edom, Genesis 25:30) intermarried with Ishmael’s descendants (consisting of many of the Arab people today). Of special note is Esau’s grandson Amalek (Genesis 36:12) being the father of the Amalekites, who became Israel’s great enemy. A prophecy about Amalek foretold endless war between Israel and Amalek “from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16). Certain Rabbis and scholars believe that many of today’s Palestinians are largely the descendants of the Amalekites (Amalek, being a grandson of Esau: Genesis 36:12).

Remember it was Edom (Esau) who refused to allow Israel free passage to the Holy Land (Numbers 20:14-21); Saul had to deal with Edomite and Amalekite aggression (1 Samuel 14:47; chapter 15), David conquers them (2 Samuel 8:14), so did Jehoshophat (2 Chronicles 20), and Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:17). Malachi reveals the hostility was very much present in his day (Malachi 1:2-5).

Once ancient Israel and Judah both had gone into captivity (punished for their egregious sins), Edomites quickly moved in to take possession of the Holy Land. This is Edom’s ambition in the end time—to seize control of the Holy Land. We believe that the Edomites are scattered and located in Jordan, Gaza, Israel, Southern Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. They are a violent people who cause trouble wherever they are. Isn’t it interesting that the end-time prophecy recorded in Psalm 83 speaks of the “tents of Edom”—this would include the Palestinian “refugee” population scattered throughout the Middle East. Also, Amalek—the grandson of Esau is mixed in among the Middle East nations as well. Psalm 83:12 declares that the Arab/Edomite union wants to destroy Israel in order to take over the Promised Land—notice the prophecy clearly mentions Edom and Amalek (Psalm 83:6-8).

History books and encyclopedias have lost track of the Edomites. The Jewish Historian Josephus tells us that when the Romans conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the second Jewish temple in AD 70, they also fought against the Idumeans (Edomites). About 40,000 remaining Idumeans/Edomites survived the war and were freed by Caesar to go wherever they desired enabling them to keep residence in the area of the Holy Land.

End time prophecy tells us that because the descendants of Edom were continually attacking Israel (motivated by jealousy and hatred), they themselves will suffer violence and humiliation. The first judgment of Edom occurs when “the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near.” (Obadiah 1:15) This same verse also declares: “As you [Edomites] have done– it shall be done to you”. This will be a reminder that God will deal with Esau (Edom & Amalek) because of the ongoing violence committed against Jacob’s descendants—especially the Jews. The Edomites and their Psalm 83 cabal will seek to destroy Israel militarily, but they will not succeed.

Ezekiel 35:10-11 tells us that the Edomites are envious of Israel and the Jews. We are told God will deal with Edom of the end-time—they will be severely punished for their hatred: Because you have said, ‘These two nations and these two lands will be mine, and we will possess them,’ although the LORD was there, therefore as I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will deal with you according to your anger and according to your envy which you showed because of your hatred against them; so I will make Myself known among them when I judge you.…

The coming execution of God’s vengeance against the Palestinians (many who are Edomite), is recorded in Obadiah 1:18– The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble; they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the LORD has spoken.

And the Philistines?

Anciently the Philistines occupied the southern coast of Canaan, controlling five major cities, including Gaza, Askelon and Ashdod. It is from the Philistines that the term Palestine is derived. Geographically this would essentially describe the Palestinian territory known as the Gaza Strip. They will be punished for their ongoing hostility against Israel. We believe many of the “Palestinians in Gaza, including Hamas, are modern day descendants of the Philistines. Notice Ezekiel 25:15-17: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, Behold, I will stretch out My hand against the Philistines, even cut off the Cherethites and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes; and they will know that I am the LORD when I lay My vengeance on them. These prophecies were often anciently fulfilled, but end-time fulfillments are yet ahead of us.

Christ will deal with all the nations—punishment will be applied. Only He can sort out the endless conflicts that plague the Middle East. Peace treaties with the Edomites, Philistines and Amalek will not calm the hatred that drives these people! The solution is the military intervention of Christ himself!–

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 11:15.

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