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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Who were the Philistines?

The hostility of the Philistines and their war-mongering dates back beyond the Jewish Exodus from Egypt (around 1450 B.C.).

No one is absolutely sure where the Philistines came from, but most scholars agree that they originated from the north coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Caphtor, or the Island of Crete, is a likely place (Amos 9:7).

Deuteronomy 2:23 states, " . . . the Caphtorites from Crete invaded and destroyed the Avvites, who had lived in villages in the area of Gaza."

Jeremiah 47:4 says, " . . . the Lord is destroying the Philistines, those colonists from Crete. The city of Gaza will be demolished."

The Philistines were not "Pirates of the Caribbean", but "Pirates of the Mediterranean". When they arrived on the coast of what is now Israel, they forced a foothold there and invaded the land. These pirates were in power in their new land at least as early as the Exodus (1450 B.C.), Exodus 13:17.

God clearly told the Israelites about the boundaries for their new land.

"I will fix your boundaries from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the southern deserts to the Euphrates River. I will help you defeat the people now living in the land, and you will drive them out ahead of you. Make no treaties with them and have nothing to do with their gods. Do not even let them live among you! If you do, they will infect you with their sin of idol worship, and that would be disastrous for you (Ex. 23:31-32).

Would to God that the Jewish people had obeyed these simple instructions from the Lord. But they did not. The Gaza war with Hamas and the Lebanon War with Hezebolah are the present-day results.

The Philistines have always been a thorn in the side of Israel. During the period of the judges the Philistines dominated five great capitals: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza. Samson was the man who killed 3,000 of them when he pulled down the pillars in their temple, Judges 16:26-27.

Their disappearance as a nation from history occurred about the time of the conquest of Cyrus of Persia, 600 B.C. But the bloodline never went away. The terrorist tactics of their ancestors remained in their genes. Long before Mohammad was born (570 A.D.) these people were killing, raping, and taking what was not theirs to take.

We don't use the word "Philistine" any more. But we are all familiar with the word "Palestinian", which came into wide usage around 1967. These are, undoubtedly, the same people group. No wonder they are such a thorn in Israel's side.

Most people do not know that the term "Jewish Palestinians" was once a common term. Today this term is certainly not politically correct.

I was visiting with an Arab in Israel recently. He was a "Palestinian". We chatted for several hours and I learned a lot from him by asking him questions and just allowing him to talk.

At one point he made a very interesting statement. He said, "I don't know why we can't get along with the Jews like my ancestors did. My great grandfather lived right next door to Jews and they were very good friends."

Prior to that statement I had asked him the definition of the word "Palestinian". He told me it was anyone who had lived in the Holy Land for hundreds of years.

So, according to his definition, and according to his own admission, Jews had lived in the Holy Land for centuries.

I made my own statement then, "So . . . Jews are "Palestinians", too!"

His immediate response, "Oh, no! Jews can't be "Palestinians."

"But you just told me that the definition of a "Palestinian" is anyone who has lived in the Holy Land for centuries."

He just stared at me for a moment as though a bell had been rung in his head and then exclaimed, "Well . . . I'll have to think about this for a while."

The word "Philistines" is mentioned 255 times in the Bible.

The Menorah

The Menorah
Ready for the Third Temple. 92 pounds of gold ($17 million) 6 1/2 Feet High

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock
The abomination of desolation




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