Prophecy Article
Expanded Internet Edition - April 1, 2001 

The Prophesied State of Palestine

By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 2001
Edited by David Sielaff, January 2009

Read the accompanying Newsletter for April 2001

 

Listen to the Byte Show Interviews on this article:

The Prophesied State of Palestine - ListenDownloadMP3

More Byte Show Interviews...

There is much talk going on in the world at the present about the creation of a State of Palestine next to Israel in the area of the eastern Mediterranean. Whereas it was looked on as nigh improbable a mere twenty years ago that such a “State” could possibly be developed (though I have published material stating in 1974 that prophecy demanded such a State at the End-Time), in this 21st century it is NOT “IF a State of Palestine is possible,” but it is WHEN and WHERE will that “State” be inaugurated? Though it is recognized that the region of Gaza will be included in such a “State,” people often wonder what other areas will be attached. In this regard, the Holy Scriptures have some prophetic teachings on this subject that can go a long way in leading the politicians in the Middle East to construct their new “State of Palestine” along biblical lines.

There are some definite indications in the Holy Scriptures and history that have profound teachings on this important matter. It would be profitable if both Prime Minister Sharon of Israel and Chairman Arafat of the Palestinian Authority were aware of these significant teachings found in the Word of God. 1 They should read this Report. When they (and you) read the research below, it will be seen that the Scriptures describe prophetic events in a clear and understandable manner. Indeed, the Word of God will lead the way for our modern politicians to find their paths in creating the prophesied State of Palestine to exist in the End-Time in the area WHERE the Bible prophesies.

When one surveys the teachings of many prophetic interpreters today, it will be noticed that a dearth of information exists about the Philistines in a prophetic sense. This is strange because from the time of Abraham (and throughout the Old Testament) there is an abundance of teaching (even End-Time prophecies) about the Philistines and their national area comprising five main cities situated on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean Sea. As a matter of interest, even our political and geographical term “Palestine” derives directly from historical references to these people of the area of Philistia who were known as the Philistines. Yet most preachers and prophetic teachers have little knowledge concerning the modern whereabouts of the Philistines or whether they are even existing today as a people. No wonder biblical interpreters are so mixed-up on important prophetic matters when professional theologians are not even aware where these and other biblical peoples are located at this End-Time period. In this Prophetic Report, I will show who and where the Philistines are today. This information is important for the understanding of prophecy. It will reveal that the Bible clearly prophesies the existence of a State of Palestine (alongside one of Israel) at the Time of the End.

This State of Philistia (or, in modern terms, Palestine) will no doubt occupy in its final development the very region in the Land of Canaan where their ancestors always lived from before the time of Abraham (long before the Israelites came into Canaan at the period of the Exodus under Joshua). The Philistines were also a nation and a political state in the time of Solomon, and throughout the whole of the Old Testament period. Even in Roman times, the area of Philistia (with their five city states united under a common ethnic and political banner) was a viable and significant national entity. And so will it be in the End-Time just on the horizon to us. It is important that the world (as well as the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Chairman Arafat) recognize these prophetic teachings of the Bible, because these inspired accounts are as certain of occurrence as the rising of tomorrow’s sun.

The End-Time Political Divisions of the Eastern Mediterranean

The international borders of the present nations in the Middle East are soon to be redefined. Circumstances will soon develop that will make the world at large enter the political arena in that volatile region and force the people to become ten national divisions (along with an eleventh division called “Assyria” which will arise out of the present rogue nation of Iraq when Iraq will no longer exist as a nation). 2 As for the Middle East, the world will NOT allow Israel to assume political control over the present national areas called Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and those regions under the present Palestinian Authority. This territory, however, will be divided into smaller states. The world will allow Israel to be the dominate power in the region, and Israel will economically and influentially control the whole of the territory bordering the eastern Mediterranean.

When this political division of ten national states is realized (they will be ten small states such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg in Europe), a period of peace and prosperity will develop for the region that will make it the envy of the world. This will occur when those ten small political divisions unite together under an umbrella of economic and social cooperation that will be to the benefit of all people in the region. All of this is shown in several prophecies of the Holy Scriptures, but it is pinpointed in detail in Psalm 83 — a Psalm describing a political confederacy of ten small nations around Israel on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. When this new political arrangement becomes evident, peace and prosperity will come to the Middle East. It will last a set period of time.

We need to look closely at what the prophecies actually state will happen. Most prophetic interpreters are at a loss to comprehend even the outlines of this new ten nation confederation (a combination of small states) that is prophesied to exist in the Middle East just before the second advent of Christ. It will profit us in the Western World in a great measure if we begin to recognize what is destined to occur in that powder keg area of the world. Let us look at the history and prophecies about this important and highly significant region.

The Philistines Will Return to Statehood in the Middle East

We first need to recognize an essential point. The Philistines are mentioned prominently in prophetic contexts dealing with the Day of the Lord (a period yet future to us). Much is written about them in prophecies which have not yet taken place: Zephaniah 2:4–7; Zechariah 9:5–7; and Psalm 83. In Psalm 83, in particular, the Philistines are reckoned as one of ten nations that design an attack on the land of Israel to destroy the people of Israel from being a nation. That prophecy in Psalm 83 has not yet occurred in history, and the Philistines will be very much involved in helping to fulfill it! That’s right. There are prophesied to be ten nations in the Middle East that confederate together in an effort to destroy the nation of Israel into oblivion.

Besides Psalm 83, there are only two other sections of scripture, which speak of a ten nation confederacy of peoples that will be evident at the End of the Age just before the second advent of Christ. This confederacy is mentioned in the Books of Daniel and Revelation. As I have stated for the past 27 years, it is entirely possible that the ten nations of Psalm 83 are the same as those referred to in Daniel and Revelation. If so, we have some essential information about the precise peoples who will comprise that End-Time confederacy. And one of those ten nations is the nation of the Philistines (Psalm 83:7). It is important for prophetic interpreters to know who the Philistines are and where they are geographically located at this present time. In this Report I hope to provide some of those answers.

The Philistines in History

A proper recognition of who the Philistines are today can be obtained if one reviews the historical foundations of the people. Indeed, this is necessary for the identification of all the peoples mentioned in the biblical prophecies. This is why the understanding of history is so essential. The reason why so many prophecies are misunderstood today is the lack of a proper discipline being exercised by many prophetic interpreters. So, in order to provide a sound basis to the identification of the Philistines, a brief historical review should be recognized and understood.

The first reference we have to the Philistines is in the Table of Nations recorded in Genesis chapter 10 (and repeated in 1 Chronicles chapter 1). It states that they had their origin from the ancestor of the early Egyptians (Mizraim, Genesis 10:13–14). 3 It also says they were an outgrowth of the people called Casluhim. Since, however, Amos 9:7 and Jeremiah 47:4 both record that they came from the area of Caphtor, it seems the region of Caphtor was where they first settled after the Flood of Noah. 4 These details have been placed in the Bible (in the Table of Nations — Genesis 10) to help us understand where people living today once originated.

Where was Caphtor?

The interpretation of Jeremiah 47:4 is unclear to modern scholars. It certainly indicates a coastal region and may well mean an island area. There are Egyptian and Assyrian texts which suggest the term identifies an area bordering on a central Mediterranean locale.

“Outside the Bible words similar to Caphtor occur in cuneiform texts of the second millennium BC. Kaptara is described as a land beyond the Upper (i.e. Mediterranean) Sea and within the knowledge of Sargon of Akkad. Mari mentions Kaptara and Ugaritic has Kptr but no location is given. In Egyptian texts of the same date mention is made of Keftiu. The fact that this name disappears from Egyptian texts about the same time that Linear B replaces Linear A on Crete suggests that Keftiu was the Egyptian word for the island of Crete”

This interpretation parallels that of Zephaniah 2:5 about the Philistines being a nation of the Cherethites, which almost certainly refers to the island of Crete. 5 That island was probably where the Philistines first settled after the Flood before going to Palestine.

It would be a mistake, on the other hand, to limit the Philistines’ earliest area of influence simply to the insular area of Crete. They spread further afield. There is evidence that the southern coasts of Asia Minor, the island of Cyprus, the North African coastal regions, and other Aegean islands were touched by their cultural, religious, and political persuasions. Indeed, there is documentary evidence coming from Egypt that in the late 13th century BC they were part and parcel of a combined land and sea invasion of Egypt involving other similar peoples from the Mediterranean coastal and island areas. The Egyptian records call them, collectively, the Sea Peoples.

Inscriptions of Pharaoh Merneptah show the Egyptians defeating the Sea Peoples. The number of noncombatants, with their “wagon trains,” indicate they were coming to colonize the area. Some of them even arrived from Libya in North Africa. At the same time, archaeological excavations of Philistine sites on the southwest coast of Palestine show that their pottery and other remains were very similar to those discovered in Crete and other immediate areas of the Aegean. The majority of scholars have no doubt that the Philistines were originally connected with various islands and coastlands around the central Mediterranean areas (plus Cyprus).

Whatever the case, it is certain from the biblical point of view that the Philistines first settled the region of Caphtor (the island of Crete and its neighbor regions). But that doesn’t end the story because the first biblical references we have involving the Philistine people were not from Crete or the central Mediterranean coastlands. In the time of Abraham, they had already established themselves at an eastern bridgehead in the Land of Canaan — particularly in the southwestern section of the Holy Land. They were banded together into a confederacy of five cities, known later in Greek times as the Pentapolis of the Philistines.

Philistine Society and Culture

It is not surprising that the early Philistines, being a people located in and around the central Mediterranean Sea, would be involved in maritime activities. Since such enterprises normally embrace commerce through shipping, it is sensible that they would want a site in Canaan for the purposes of trade. It is well known that the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon and those of Byblos (Gebal) were all located north of the main Philistine influence and they were all primarily engaged in trading endeavors. The Philistines of the central Mediterranean were no exception. There is some evidence to suggest that they may have been associated with (or were a part of) the early Pelasgians of Greek fame who first colonized and traded in the Aegean sphere of influence.

Be this as it may, it is reasonable to accept that a central Mediterranean maritime trading power would want some geographical bridgehead in the Levant (i.e. the eastern Mediterranean coastlands). The region on the southwestern corner of Canaan would have proved ideal for commerce and for strategic political purposes. Not only could trade be monitored between the great riverine civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, but the overland route from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean (through the eastern arm of the upper Red Sea) was under the sway of those controlling the southwest corner of Canaan. And who came to occupy this important economic and political region? It was the Philistine people! The Bible places them in that region of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, Gaza, and Ekron even before the time of Abraham.

It is important in a historical and prophetic sense to realize that these Philistine people occupied the region of southwest Canaan LONG BEFORE the Israelites came into the area in the time of Joshua in the period of the conquest by Israel. Indeed, the Israelites failed to drive them out of the land, and God told Israel that the people would be allowed to stay in that area of Canaan as their inheritance (Judges 2:3, 21–23; also 3:1–5). The Philistines remained with a foothold in the Land of Canaan through the periods of David, Solomon and all the kings of Judah (and even throughout the period after the Babylonian Captivity as the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah attest). There can be no doubt that remnants of them still remain in their foothold region of the Land of Canaan. The area of the Philistines throughout the whole of the biblical period was in the territories attached to those five cities of the Philistines (the Pentapolis) that were located south of the Wadi Sorek which empties into the Mediterranean near Joppa. That southwest region was one of the most prosperous in all of the Land of Canaan.

All of the prime area around the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath and Gaza from the coast up to the foothills was (and is) the legitimate territory of the Philistines. It is significant that in all the historical periods of the Bible, the Israelites NEVER occupied these areas around the five cities of the Philistines in any permanent way — and this even includes the powerful time of Solomon (who controlled the area economically, but NOT in an overt political sense). There is no evidence that the Jewish people (those of the tribe of Judah) ever occupied those regions of the five cities, even though the area was given to Judah and partly to the tribe of Dan by lot in the time of Joshua. However, because the early Israelites failed to drive out the inhabitants from those areas, God changed His mind and informed the Israelites that in later times those regions would still be legally inhabited by Philistines. This teaching provides the legal basis for Philistine occupation and its present right to statehood.

The Early Israelites Rejected the Philistine Area for Conquest

Though the northern part of the Philistine inheritance was at first designated for the tribe of Dan, the people of that tribe for some reason did not like the region. The tribe of Dan even left the area assigned to them in the southwest and went north to the base of Mount Hermon to establish their place of inheritance in the Land of Canaan (see Joshua chapter 18). So, this southwest region can be legitimately reckoned (from biblical teaching) as the Land of Palestine and should NOT be included in a greater Israel from the scriptural point of view. Israel either did not conquer the area (and Dan even left the region) or Israel allowed the Philistines to stay in the area in a permanent way, so God reckoned it as a legal area for the political existence of the Philistines (Judges 2:21–23). Philistia was NOT part of Israel.

All of these legal maneuvers are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, and they show what God sanctions as proper for the area. Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon ought to realize these biblical teachings. It means that the State of Palestine (from a purely biblical point of view) should possess some kind of sovereignty over the southwest area of the Land of Canaan (from the coast to the foothills) from the Wadi Sorek and southward to the border of Egypt.

This is no doubt the area that will be assigned to the State of Palestine in the near future when the world finally forces its geographical decisions on those areas now making up the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean.

This biblical description means that Chairman Arafat should concentrate on inheriting the former southwest area of the five Philistine cities (a very prime and prosperous area of Canaan) and abandon Hebron and Nablus as being a part of the Palestinian State. Those areas were NEVER part of the Philistine hegemony throughout the biblical period.

Interestingly, neither was Jerusalem ever a part of Philistine sovereignty. In the time of Solomon, the king allowed his wives — who represented the families of kings around the world in league with Solomon (including the Philistines) — to have their own houses or what we call “embassies” in order to have some kind of government presence in the capital city of Jerusalem. It appears that this principle of “family style government” will be reinstated in the near future in regard to government matters in the Middle East.

In fact, as people get more orientated to accept the Bible (as prophecy shows they will), all nations will one day want a stake in the capital City of Jerusalem. The period of Solomon will serve as an example of what will be done in the period just before the second advent of Christ — and certainly in the Millennium when Christ is ruling on earth. The truth is, the Philistines could have a subsidiary capital (or presence) in Jerusalem, but it could not be the prime and only capital of “Palestine” if one went solely by what the biblical revelation teaches on this matter.

The History of the Philistines

History and archaeology are now revealing that the early Philistines (as a people amidst the other Middle Eastern civilizations) provided profound influence throughout all historical periods — unlike what historians of the last century thought the Philistines were like. Before the advent of archaeological study of Philistine remains, it was believed (in the most scholarly circles), that these people represented the epitome of an uncultured society. So ingrained did this concept become that even the dictionary definition of a Philistine (or one like a Philistine) was: “a crass or priggish individual guided by material rather than intellectual or artistic values.” But the decipherment of ancient Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Aegean texts (also the uncovering of Philistine sites by archaeology and analyzing the remains) have convinced scholars that the dictionary description of the Philistines is so far wide of the mark that it seems to be a classic example of showing the exact opposite of what the truth really was.

One should read the latest information about ancient Philistine culture and it shows the antithesis of the common opinion. Prof. Trude Dothan (recognized as the top authority on the Philistines) in her authoritative book The Philistines and Their Material Culture 6 has shown how contrary to the truth the common conception has been. By the way, for a summary of the history and archaeology concerning the Philistines, see the Biblical Archaeology Review for July/August 1982. 7 Prof. Dothan has given an excellent survey of the present state of understanding regarding the Philistines.

The archaeological evidence shows that these peoples were highly sophisticated in their civilization and that they rivaled any people of the Middle East and Mediterranean worlds (and this was especially so in the 13th and 12th centuries BC — the exact time the Bible says the Philistines were the supreme controllers of the civilized arts in the Land of Canaan). A new image of the Philistines is now emerging, and it is about time. In no way were they the “uncultured” and “backward” peoples as some have conceived. Just the opposite was the case. There is no doubt that the descendents of these early Philistines (those who still remain in the region until modern times) should be able to become highly prosperous and influential in the area even before the second advent of Christ.

The Philistines in the Bible

It is clear that the original abode of the Philistines (after the dispersal of the nations at the Tower of Babel) was Caphtor — the island of Crete (principally) and the mainland areas to the north and south. This geographical location necessitated their interest in maritime enterprises. Commerce was of vital importance. Being positioned in the central Mediterranean gave them an advantage for trade throughout the whole Mediterranean basin — from the Levant to Spain. This is why a bridgehead on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean was essential. And they picked one of the best places possible — the southwest coast of Canaan.

As early as the time of Abraham, the Philistines had already established an enclave in the southwestern part of Canaan. Abimelech was then king of Gerar (Genesis chapter 20), and later he (or his son) was called “king of the Philistines” (Genesis chapter 26). They secured this colonial region in the Land of Canaan so powerfully that when the Israelites left Egypt at their Exodus, Israel decided it prudent not to encounter this strong Philistine territory (Exodus 13:17), so Israel changed directions and journeyed towards the Red Sea and the Sinai peninsula. After forty years, when Israel invaded the Land of Canaan, they found the Philistines still entrenched in five major city states: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath and Gaza. These five cities constituted the main areas of Philistine influence in the Land of Canaan. The Bible reckons the kings in charge of these city areas as “the lords of the Philistines” (Joshua 13:3). This means that the Pentapolis of the Philistines should remain Philistine territory — even today!

It is true that the Philistine area was assigned by Joshua to the tribes of Judah and Dan. This was a part of Canaan that they were to conquer, but Judah and Dan failed. The Israelites were not able to subdue all the native peoples. A number of Canaanites were left in the land, and the Philistine cities were allowed to remain.

“Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them... namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon.”

The fact remains that God assigned the Philistine area to the descendants of Philistia.

This reference shows that many Philistines and Canaanites remained in the land and still within their original areas of influence. But this is not the end of the story. There are historical and traditional records of an extended exodus of Philistines and others, into areas of Egypt and also into North Africa. Only in the last seventy years have historians been able to put together an account of the traditional teachings of many North African races. In a book published by the Jewish Publication Society (Nahum Slouschz’s Travels in North Africa 8) many early Jewish and North African tribal traditions were first made public. It was a revelation! It was found that many of the peoples who first came to the areas of North Africa (from Libya to Morocco) were people who once lived in the Land of Canaan. I can only give a summary of the information in the book in this Prophetic Report (the many references from the classical records can be found in Slouschz’s book).

Among other things, the traditions of the Berbers (who live from Libya to Morocco) relate that they are descendants of Philistines who once lived in Palestine. Indeed, there was once a monument located at Tangiers (on the Straits of Gibraltar) which said that Joshua, the son of Nun, pursued certain of the Canaanites up to that point. This was reported by more than one classical author — but notably by the 6th century writer Procopius. Even the celebrated church father, Augustine, related that many of the people around Carthage in North Africa were once from the Land of Canaan. Evidence shows that these people were not only native Canaanites, but Slouschz’s compilation of North African traditions indicates that there were some Amalekites, Moabites, and especially Philistines (Berbers).

Indeed, Slouschz’s summation of the traditional ethnology of the region has him saying: “One might almost reconstruct in Africa a Greater Palestine” (p.109). This does not mean that all the North African nations are pure representatives of Palestinian peoples, but there are more people who came from Palestine in the area than some scholars have imagined. As a result of this immigration so long ago, most of these peoples in North Africa have lost their quest to return to their original homes in Palestine. Yet, it may be that these people of “Philistine” origin who moved into other parts of the world will want to join in some kind of communal cooperation with the original peoples who still live in the southwest areas of Palestine.

The Great Arab Invasion

In the early 7th century waves of tribes from Northwestern Arabia under the leadership of Muhammed and his generals came into Palestine, Egypt, Persia, and finally throughout North Africa, Spain, and in time they continued eastward into India, Malaysia, etc. They conquered most of the Middle East and North Africa, and in doing so they forced upon most of the people the religion of Islam. Since their holy book was the Koran, written in classical Arabic, that language quickly began to be used by many of the native populations that the Islamic invaders had conquered. It is the Arabic language imposed upon these people that gave all of them the name “Arab.” While this designation is acceptable in a linguistic sense, it is a big mistake to think that the nations of North Africa and the Middle East (with the exception of the Arabian areas themselves) should be reckoned as racially Arab. In no way is this true! This particularly applies to the Palestinians. They are “Arabs” in the sense they speak the Arabic language — but they are no more pure Arabs than some Japanese who speak English are Anglo-Saxons by race.

The fact is, most of the Palestinians are (as their very name suggests) descendants of the ancient Philistines. God recognizes that some of the people are of mixed ethnic characteristics (note Zechariah 9:6), but this biblical indication does not mean that the main people are disqualified from being “Philistines.” This is because that area of Canaan had been given to the Philistines since before the time of Abraham. It is really modern Israel that now lives in Philistine lands in Ashdod and Ashkelon.

As a matter of fact, it is important to realize that the biblical record plainly shows that there were Philistines in southwestern Canaan in the days of Abraham, in the time of Moses, and in the period of King Saul and King David they were prolific and quite prosperous. In fact, in the period of Saul and David the Philistines were at the height of their power and culture in the Middle East. They were not only strongly entrenched in their traditional enclave on the coast, but they had extended their influence into all areas of Judah and Israel. This Philistine colonization of the hinterland was effectively curtailed by Saul and David — with most Philistines finally pushed back to their coastal cities.

But note this! After the Jews were taken out of the land by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC, Philistines from the coastal areas (and others) re-settled much of the inland parts of the Holy Land. From this time, most classical geographers began to call the whole region “Palestine” — after the Philistines who had re-settled many inland areas. However, the bulk of the Philistines remained in their cites from Joppa to Gaza. There has never been any legitimate reason for Philistines to leave this prosperous and highly significant land. And since God gave it to them (when Israel refused it), it is legally Palestinian.

The Jewish-Roman Wars

The Jewish war against the Romans from 66 to 73 AD (and more particularly the one from 132 to 135 AD) brought disaster to the political existence of a Jewish nation in the Land of Canaan. Indeed, by the end of the war in 135 AD, the Jewish population in their ancient homeland had been so decimated and the remnant population forbidden by the Romans from entering certain parts of the Holy Land, that it could almost be said that the hill country of Judaea and Samaria was left destitute of Jews. This was the second period when many of the coastal peoples (not being Jews) re-entered the normally Jewish regions of Judaea and Samaria and settled there. Many must have been Philistines.

It was common custom for the Romans to call the whole region as “Palestine” (since some of the Philistines had once before established themselves over the interior lands as far back as the Babylonian Captivity period). This provided historical reasons to the Romans why these coastal peoples could once again re-establish themselves over land outside the original area of the Philistine Pentapolis.

This is one of the reasons why many Palestinians today want all of the Holy Land as a Palestinian state since their ancestors have occupied much of the territory from the 2nd century AD. History, however, shows that the original land of the Philistines represented only the prime lands in the southwestern coastal region. This was the land they traditionally occupied in a political sense during all the period of Israel’s existence in the Holy Land. If one would apply biblical principles, the Palestinians should only have their Pentapolis area.

What Prophecy Shows

What does all this mean? In Psalm 83 we have a graphic description of ten separate nations (peoples) surrounding the nation of Israel. The account in this Psalm has NEVER occurred in history. The end of the Psalm relates how the events described will lead up to YHVH being most high over all the earth. The time setting of Psalm 83 is shown by its position in the Book of Psalms. 9 The Psalm describes a time just before the Kingdom of God is established over all the earth. Since this is true, we may have a prime prophecy revealing who the ten nations of Daniel and Revelation are and the area from which the Beast of Revelation (the Antichrist) will arise. And importantly, we find one of those ten nations called the Philistines (verse 7). This reference in Psalm 83 is a significant key to End-Time events in the Middle East that all prophetic interpreters should recognize.

This biblical prophecy indicates that the Philistines (or, as we say today, the Palestinians) will obtain their statehood. But in the biblical descriptions, the State of Palestine WILL NOT include what we call the West Bank. Yes, there is talk that the Palestinians ought to be given the West Bank (some of Judaea and Samaria) as well as the Gaza strip, but the Israelis have (up to now) disapproved. Why? This is because the West Bank (Judaea and Samaria) is the heartland of ancient Israel and it is patently obvious in the Bible and history that the Philistines NEVER inhabited these interior lands wholesale until after the Jews were dispersed from them by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. The West Bank has always been Israelite territory (in an original sense), or it was also the home of the Samaritans who colonized the area in the north called Samaria in the 7th century BC.

The fact is, the Philistines coming into the West Bank was a late intrusion. The people of Nablus (who in the main are descendants of the early Samaritans who converted to Islam after the Arab Conquest) are NOT Philistines! They are a separate people altogether though some westerners may not be aware of the differences. The West Bank, as stated before, is NOT former Philistine property in the original sense.

If the Israelis ever agreed to allow parts of the West Bank to be a part of the State of Palestine, the approval would only be temporary. There is only ONE AREA that the Israelis would consider as a clear contender from the records of the Bible and history as a possibility for a State of Palestine (and even then it would be difficult for most of them to concede it). That area is the Gaza strip, plus the other coastal cities (the Pentapolis region) of the ancient Philistine homeland. That land is some of the best territory in the former Land of Canaan. It includes some of the most prosperous cities: those of Ashdod and Ashkelon. It will be difficult for Israel to concede, but Ashdod and Ashkelon belong to Palestine.

What the world should be looking for is the creation of ten small states within the area now composed of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Arabia, and the Gaza Strip (Iraq will become “Assyria”). This is what Psalm 83 states. Being small states will help to stabilize the area. They will be dependent on one another for economic prosperity and security. Remember, the details of that Psalm have never occurred in history. The events are to be fulfilled in our day. What we need to realize is the fact that the End-Time cannot begin until the world establishes the ten national states that Psalm 83 describes as being in operation and functioning. There are, indeed, quite a number of verses in Scripture that attest to the fact that these small nations will be created in the near future. Let us look at some of those Scriptures.

Modern Geographical Prophecies for the Middle East

There are key geographical prophecies that establish this fact. We have a reference in the Book of Daniel that when the Antichrist returns once again to the Land of Canaan and establishes his palace in the highest mountain of Jerusalem (in the Mount of Olives), people who live in the area at that time will witness that the lands of “Ammon, Moab, and Edom” will NOT then be subject to the direct rule of the Antichrist. Daniel said:

“He shall enter also into the glorious land [the Land of Canaan], and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, Moab, and the chief of children of Ammon.”

These national states must be in existence at the time of this conquest by the Antichrist. These are three of the countries that will escape that particular thrust of the Antichrist in his quest to finally conquer the world to himself. Isn’t it interesting that even our Lord (Christ Jesus himself) told people who will live in Jerusalem and surrounding areas at that time to “flee into the mountains” (Matthew 24:16). He meant the mountainous land of Edom to the southeast of Jerusalem. The Land of Edom where the city of Petra was once prominent was known in the Bible as a mountainous region where people could hide themselves from various oppressors. David said:

“Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me to Edom? Will not you O Elohim, which has cast us off? And you, O Elohim, which did not go out with our armies? Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly; for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.”

Those two Psalms speak of a time in the future (at the start of the Millennium when Christ begins to rule) when God will again measure out the Land of Canaan and give it to the people of Israel. In measuring out the Promised Land at that time, God states:

“Moab is my washpot [to keep God “refreshed”]; over Edom will I cast my shoe [for judgment]; over Philistia [the State of Palestine] will I triumph.”

This again, shows that these nations will certainly be in existence at the beginning of the Millennium.

One should read all of Isaiah chapters 15 and 16 where the Scriptures show Moab as being a strong and prosperous state before Christ’s Second Advent. In Isaiah chapter 11 (from verse 4, the apostle Paul quoted about the Man of Sin and the Son of Perdition in 2 Thessalonians 2:8), we read that at the very start of the Millennium when the people of Israel return to their inheritance in the Land of Canaan under Christ Jesus that:

“They [Israelites] shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west [the Philistines live in the western part of Canaan]; they [Israel] shall spoil them of the east [those in Arabia] together [together with the Philistines]; they [Israel] shall lay their hand on upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them [Israel].”

These are major geographical and political references that assure us that these nations will certainly be in existence in their original lands in the Middle East. Indeed, the last major battle conducted by the armies of heaven as described in Revelation 19:11–21 will occur in the Land of Edom southeast of Jerusalem (see the whole of Isaiah chapter 34 where the nation of Edom is described in the King James Version as “Idumea” — a variant spelling of “Edom”). Indeed, you should take a concordance and look up the word “Edom” or “Idumea” in its various contexts in the Scripture. You will discover prophecies of Edom (and Moab and Ammon) that have as their contexts the Day of the Lord that are yet future to us. The start of the Day of the Lord is just over the horizon.

As to the exact time schedule that these events will take place, we are told by our Lord himself that it is NOT given to us (even to those who have the Holy Spirit and have a great deal of knowledge of history and prophecy) to know precisely the chronological periods in which God will perform these prophecies. Jesus said: “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Christ devoted the whole of Matthew 24:36–51, and all of chapter 25, to show that none of us (even who live at the time) will be able to understand the exact time periods when the prophetic affairs of the Time of the End will transpire.

God certainly gives us hints, and He tells us in Daniel 12:4 and 9 that as the hour approaches for the prophetic events to be fulfilled that “knowledge shall be increased.” God meant the knowledge of Daniel’s End-Time prophecies will be increased. But God has not graced any of his people (including Ernest L. Martin) with exact chronological sequences that we can rely upon for a detailed description of those End-Time prophecies. 10

As far as God is concerned, all we need to know is the fact that they certainly will be fulfilled in the precise time periods that God the Father has determined before the foundation of the world (Acts 15:18). There is not a person on earth who knows those exact time periods selected by God for the occurrence of His divine prophetic events. What Jesus did tell us to do was to “watch” (and this means to “watch” for some of the primary prophecies to be fulfilled that one could not mistake as being real prophecies). This is what I have been trying to do over the years.

One such prophecy is the creation of a new State of Palestine that will exist in the original homelands of the Philistines. It is in that very region that God geographically places them in some of His major prophecies. There are other preliminary prophecies that will be harbingers for the development of the main prophecies that introduce the End of the Age to the world. These threshold prophecies are important to watch for. One such prophecy is written in Zechariah 9:1–7 that describes a great destruction of the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. As I have shown in other research articles, 11 a natural disaster such as tsunami (a huge and destructive ocean wave that strikes the land) is prophesied to engulf the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean that will destroy the areas in its path up the interior foothills of Israel. And note this: When that ocean wave strikes, we find that the Philistine cities in the southwest corner of the Land of Canaan are very much in existence to receive the brunt of its judgment. This again, shows that there will be a State of Palestine in existence before the End-Time events can occur.

This means we have a few years left before the End-Time can begin. Though this is certainly the case, this is no time to sit back and bask in the pleasures of prosperity and security. There is much work for us who are Christians to do to teach the people of the world about these End-Time events. God is giving us time to teach His Gospel to the world before the End begins (Matthew 24:14). We need to be about our Father’s business by putting our contributions (and certainly any extra funds) into getting the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures to all in the world to whom God is sending the truth. We do not have long to do the job.

I believe the start of these preliminary prophecies will commence within our generation (in the Bible a generation is shown to be 40 years). 12 I cannot pinpoint the exact dates these things will occur. But when we all begin to witness before our very eyes the official establishment of a State of Palestine, then you can know for certain that the Time of the End is on the threshold. When that tsunami (and a few other prophetic events that I have catalogued in my various Prophetic Reports) happen before our eyes, then is the time to know that the End-Time is near — it is just over the horizon. This is what I have been saying over the years since I started my independent study of the Holy Scriptures back in 1974. I have been consistent in my teaching. Let us be assured of one thing, prophecy will take place just as Christ Jesus has stated (Matthew 24:33–35).

When you and I begin to see the preliminary prophecies take place, the fulfillment of all the prophecies will follow in the exact chronological time sequences that God has designed from the beginning. Get ready for some exciting times. It is my belief that we will not have long to wait until we witness the start of End-Time events. Be prepared, and be working hard to get the Gospel to the world. 

This map shows the general areas that will become the ten small nations in the Middle East. Note that the present Kingdom of Jordan will be divided into three new political areas: Edom, Moab and Ammon. To the east of these three nations will be the Ishmaelites who will comprise almost the whole of Saudi Arabia today, with the Hagarenes in the northern part around present day Kuwait and including some of the Gulf states. Syria will be divided and it will become the nation of the Amalekites (the ancient and continual enemy of Israel — see Exodus 17:16). A new nation of Gebal (the ancient Byblos) will be created on the north coast of the eastern seaboard. Tyre will become Lebanon. Philistia will be the State of Palestine and will include the ancient five ancient cities of the Philistines (the Pentapolis). Israel itself will be slightly reduced in size (it will lose Ashdod and Ashkelon) but remain in the same place as it is today. The rogue nation of Iraq will be eliminated and the world will accept the name “Assyria” for the new state, and its modern capital will be at a renewed “Babylon.” This is the primary teaching of Psalm 83 in prophecy.

 

Ernest L. Martin, April 2001
Edited by David Sielaff, January 2009


1 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel was removed from office by a sudden brain embolism in January 2006. As of January 2009 Sharon remains in a vegetative state with little apparent brain function. Chairman Yassar Arafat died in November 2004. Dr. Martin’s encouragements are actually addressed to whatever rulers Israel and the Palestinian authority may have.  DWS

2 Babylon is not mentioned as one of the 10 nations. The Kurdish territory in the present day approximates ancient Assyria. While Assyria is mentioned, it is an adjunct 11th nation separate from the 10 nations.  DWS

3 Genesis 10:13–14:

“ And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, And Pathrusim, and Casluhim (out of whom came Philistim), and Caphtorim.”

4 Amos 9:7:

“Are you not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? says YHWH. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?

   Jeremiah 47:4:

“Because of the day that comes to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remains: for YHWH will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.”

5 Zepheniah 2:5:

“Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of YHWH is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy you, that there shall be no inhabitant.”

6 New Haven: Yale University Press, c1982.  DWS

7 Most public libraries have the Biblical Archaeology Review, including older volumes.  DWS

8 Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1927.  DWS

9 See Appendix 1 of my book Restoring the Original Bible, Preliminary Suggestions for the Structure of Psalms" at http://www.askelm.com/restoring/res040.htm for the prophetic reason why the Third Division of the Psalms (in which Psalm 83 belongs) refers to events associated with the End-Time.  ELM

10 We can, with God’s blessing, know the sequence of prophetic events, but we cannot know the precise times when those events will occur.  DWS

11 Notably in my Prophetic Report titled “The Damascus Phase in End-Time Prophecy” at http://www.askelm.com/temple/t991101.htmELM

12 See the last article that Dr. Martin wrote before his death: “The ‘Great Generation’ and Modern Prophecy” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p021201.htmELM

Go to ASK Home Page •  Print Page

© 1976-2014 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions