History of the Middle East – the Biblical Basis                         5/06


Genesis 4: 10-16 - The beginnings of the “blessed” lines and the “cursed” lines

Genesis 5 – the line of Seth down to Noah

Genesis 6-9 – the flood – all lines destroyed, except Noah and his sons

Genesis 9: 25-26 – Noah curses Canaan through Canaan’s father Ham, son of Noah – says Canaan will “be the slave of Shem,” another son of Noah, the “blessed” line

Genesis 10: 13 – Mizraim, son of Ham, was father of the “Casluhites (from whom the Philistines came)”

The Palestinians of today are NOT descendants of the Philistines!

Genesis 10: 15 – Descendants of Canaan, son of Ham

Genesis 10: 19 – borders of the land of Canaan, approximately (larger) the same as modern day Israel

Genesis 11: 10-32 – line of Noah’s son Shem, the “blessed” line, down to Terah, father of Abram

Terah takes his family from Ur, (close to where the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers merge in modern day Iraq) to Haran, in northern modern day Syria.


Genesis 12: 1-9 – God’s promise and blessing to Abram. Abram enters land of Canaan, modern day Israel

Genesis 15 – God’s covenant with Abram, and the promise of a son. The covenant had to do with possession of the land (vs 7-8) that was inhabited by the same people (vs 18-21) that were the descendants of Canaan, (listed in Genesis 10: 15)but the descendants of Abram would not take possession for another four generations (vs 16)

Genesis 16 – Abram has a son (not God’s promised son) by his wife Sarai’s maidservant, Hagar. God promises to Hagar that her descendants, through this son, “will be too numerous to count” (vs 10), his name will be Ishmael (vs 11) and he and his descendants will have certain characteristics (vs 12).

Today’s Arab peoples claim descendancy from Ishmael.

Genesis 17 – God gives Abram a new name, Abraham, and Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah. God confirms His everlasting covenant with Abraham (possession of the land of Canaan, in vs 8) the covenant of circumcision, and again God promises a son to Abraham by his wife Sarah (vs 16). God names their future son Isaac (vs 19) and says “I will establish My covenant with him.” God still blesses Ishmael

(vs 20), but says in vs 21, “But my covenant I will establish with Isaac.” The Jewish people have always claimed descendancy through Isaac.

Genesis 21 – Isaac is born. God tells Abraham not to be distressed about Ishmael (vs 12), because He “will make the son of the maidservant (Hagar) into a nation also, because he is your offspring,” but “it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”

Genesis 22 – God tests Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac on a mountain in the region of Moriah (modern day Jerusalem), and when Abraham is faithful, God restates His promise of descendants and possession of the land (vs 17-18).

Genesis 25 – Abraham dies, leaving “everything he owned to Isaac.” But while still alive, he “gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.”(vs 5) The “land of the east” has always been used to describe the land to the east of the Jordan River, modern day Israel’s eastern land border. The twelve sons of Ishmael are listed in vs 13-16. Verse 18 describes the territory that his descendants dwelt in which is a description of the territory of today’s modern Arab nations. “And they lived in hostility toward all their brothers” fulfilling God’s promise to Hagar

(Genesis 16: 12)

Genesis 25, 27, 28, 32 – Isaac bears a son, Jacob. Jacob deceives Isaac and receives his fatherly blessing. Jacob dreams that God blesses him. Jacob wrestles with God and God gives Jacob the new name, Israel.




Genesis 35: 9-15 – God blesses Jacob, (Israel) and extends His covenant through Israel and his descendants. Verse 12 says that God tells Israel “The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Genesis 35: 23-26 lists the twelve sons (tribes) of Israel. One of the sons, Judah, is where the term “Jew” began.


Biblical prophecy begins early telling of God’s blessed line through which the Messiah will come.

Genesis 49:10 states “the scepter will not depart from Judah,” Numbers 24:17 states “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel,” establishing the line of Jacob (Israel) and Judah as the line of the Messiah. All the way into future times we see in Revelation 12: 5 and 19: 15 that Jesus will rule all nations with an iron scepter.

Revelation 5: 5 describes Christ as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Isaiah 11:1 prophesies that “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” One of the sons of Judah was a man named Perez (Genesis 46: 12). Then in Ruth 4: 18-22, we see the line goes from Perez to Jesse.  Jesse was the Father of David, who became the fulfillment of the prophecy of the “Branch of David” (see Jeremiah 23: 5, Jeremiah 33: 15, Zechariah 3: 8, Zechariah 6: 12) God has been working with His chosen, blessed lines for thousands of years!



Genesis 37: 23-28 – Joseph’s brothers sell him to a wandering band of Ishmaelites (Midianites)

Book of Exodus - The Israelites begin their time in Egypt (~1800BC) and are gone for four generations (Genesis 15: 16) actually 430 years, Moses leads them out of Egypt, wanders for 40 years, and comes to the east side of the Jordan River, looking west into the Promised Land.

Numbers 34: 1-12 – God lays out the boundaries of the Promised Land for Moses. Actually more land than we know today as Israel.

Deuteronomy 7: 1-11 – God tells Joshua to drive out the seven nations that have been in the Promised Land, the descendants of Canaan. (see Genesis 15: 16 – evidently, the sin of the Amorites had “reached its full measure” after the four generations!)


Joshua – The conquest of the land of Canaan.


II Samuel 5 & 6 – David conquers Jerusalem, makes it the capital of Israel, and brings the Ark of the Covenant into the City of David.

II Samuel 24: 18-25 – David purchases the threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite providing a place to build the new temple, God’s permanent home.


II Chronicles 3: 1 – Solomon begins building the first temple, on Mount Moriah, (see Genesis 22) which was also the threshing floor purchased by David.


II Chronicles 36: 15-21 – Babylonians destroy temple, take Jews into captivity


After captivity, Zerubbabel rebuilds the temple, Nehemiah rebuilds city walls, see Ezra & Nehemiah


Greeks come into Israel


Dead Sea Scrolls begin to be written by the Jewish sect of the Essenes, in Qumran, by the Dead Sea


Antiochus Epiphanes desecrates the temple by slaughtering a pig. Temple falls into disrepair.

First century BC

Romans come into Israel


Herod the Great begins rebuilding the temple and the modern day Temple Mount. This is the temple described in Luke 2 which Jesus began visiting at an early age.

Time of Christ

Christ and His disciples frequent the temple of Herod the Great. In Matthew 24: 1-2, (about 32AD)

Jesus prophesies that “not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”


Romans sack Jerusalem and destroy the temple, not leaving one stone on another, every stone was thrown down. The temple and Israel, as a nation, cease to exist. The Jewish dispersion begins.


Emperor Hadrian occupies Jerusalem, changes its name to Aelia Capitolina, outlaws all Jewish worship, builds temple of Aphrodite on known site of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb. He renames Israel to a name that will remind the Jews of their historically worse enemy, the Philistines. Israel is now named Palestina, which is the source of the name Palestine.


Emperor Constantine makes Christianity an official religion of the Roman Empire. He sends his mother, Helena, to Israel to find the holy Christian sites and mark them with churches. In Jerusalem, she tears down the temple to Aphrodite and builds the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In Bethlehem, she builds the Church of the Nativity on the site of the grotto where Jesus was born. Parts of these original churches still exist today.


Muhammad is born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (Islam’s holiest site)


Muhammad begins receiving revelations that would later become the Koran, Islam’s holiest book.


Muhammad’s midnight journey where he is transported to a distant place (later tradition says it is Temple Mount in Jerusalem) He ascends into heaven to receive additional revelation. He claims to meet all the prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Ishmael, Jesus.


Muhammad’s flight to Medina, Saudi Arabia (about 200 miles north of Mecca) to escape persecution. This is known as the hijra and began the first year of the Muslim calendar. The year 2005 is 1383 A.H. (After Hijra) on the Muslim calendar.


Death and burial of Muhammad in Medina. (Islam’s 2nd holiest site)


The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque are constructed on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was then decided that the outcrop of exposed rock (Mount Moriah, under the Dome of the Rock) was where Muhammad ascended into heaven on his midnight journey, 70 years earlier.


Crusades – Christian knights take control of holy sites from Muslims


Muslim conqueror Saladin re-takes control of Palestine



British Mandate (control) of Palestine – issuance of the Balfour Declaration that provided for immigration of Jewish people into Palestine


United Nations partitions Palestine into a Jewish state, Israel, and an Arab state, Palestine to take effect in May, 1948. Jerusalem is to be an internationally-controlled city. In the weeks leading up to May 14, 1948 (end of the British Mandate) Arab countries (Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon) tell Arab inhabitants to leave Palestine. The Arab nations plan to attack the new country of Israel, destroy them, and the refugees can return and take whatever they want. From 250,000 to 400,000 Arab people leave Palestine and go to neighboring Arab countries.


For the last 2000 years, Israel and Jerusalem have been conquered, occupied, and controlled by about a dozen different foreign countries


May 14, 1948

Israel declares its statehood. After almost 2000 years (since 70AD) Israel exists again as a nation. See Isaiah 66: 7-11 for the prophecy concerning the rebirth of Israel. May 15, the Arab nations attack the fledgling nation of Israel. Outnumbered over 100 to 1, unorganized, ill-equipped, Israel repels the Arab attackers and takes back some of the land which had been allocated to the Arabs. Israel takes West Jerusalem, Jordan controls East Jerusalem, including the Old City and Temple Mount.

The refugees are stuck in neighboring countries and in areas of what was to be Palestine.


Syria, Jordan, and Egypt amass troops on their borders with Israel. Israel, still the military underdog launches a preemptive strike and again achieves victory over the Arab troops. Israel takes the Golan Heights from Syria; the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and from Jordan, Israel takes more West Bank land and all of Jerusalem. For a day, Israel owns Temple Mount again. Israel, for the sake of peace, cedes control of Temple Mount to the Muslims, with the understanding that all people, including Jews, would be welcome to worship. The Muslims have never allowed Jews or Christians to pray on Temple Mount.

July 2000

U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Liberation Organization President Yassar Arafat meet at Camp David to negotiate a peace plan. Barak offers full control and ownership of 90+% of the West Bank to Palestine. Arafat walks out when Jerusalem is not offered as capital of Palestine with full control of Temple Mount. Also, the ‘right of return’ for the Palestinian refugees, which now number between 4-5 million, is not discussed.

Israel’s current population is almost 7.3 million; 76% Jewish, 20% Arab.

September 2000

Ariel Sharon, (elected Prime Minister of Israel in February 2001) with permission from Muslim authorities, goes up on Temple Mount. A riot is started by Palestinian Muslims and has continued for 4 years, so far. From September 2000 to summer of 2004, no non-Muslim people were allowed on Temple Mount. The Muslims vehemently deny the existence of any previous Jewish temple at this location.


The return. Approximately 3.5 million Jews have immigrated to Israel since 1948. About 1.3 million of these have returned just since 1989, coming from the former Soviet Union. In 2004, American Jews returned to Israel in their highest numbers ever. May 2006 – there are now more Jews in Israel than in any other single location in the world.

See prophecy concerning God’s gathering of His people in Deuteronomy 30: 1-10, Jeremiah 31: 8-10, Ezekiel 11: 14-17, Amos 9: 11-15.