What Answer Shall Be Given?
Trumpet Sounds - September 27, 2000

The existence of the modern state of Israel is not merely historical happenstance. It was realized in accordance with the declaration of the God of Israel through His prophets. In fact, every significant event in the history of Israel has been foretold by the prophets of the Lord. They saw glimpses of the future, fragmented visions of God's redemptive plan. Why did He disclose these future events? He did it so that Israel would know that He alone is God, and that they should obediently trust in His promises to them. As He says, "I have declared the former things from of old; yes, they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them: suddenly I did them, and they happened... I have declared it to you from of old; before it came to pass I showed it to you." (Isaiah 48:3,5 WEB) But not only did He tell them of events of those days, He also announced events of the distant future.

The establishment of the modern nation of Israel, the restoration of the land to the Jewish people, and the regathering of the people from around the world were all foretold and described in detail in the Bible. But, if in fact God speaks concerning all major occurrences for Israel, what has He said about the current "peace process?" The Bible does speak of a time when Israel, after having been gathered back into the land, will "live in safety," free from concern about their "malicious neighbors."

'"No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Lord God." This is what the Lord God says: "When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God."' (Ezekiel 28:25-26)

Could this really happen? Will Israel really experience what the prophet describes: the removal of their "malicious neighbors?" The people of Israel have returned to "live in their own land," but they do not now live in safety. Soon, however, they will, after the Lord "inflicts punishment" on those who clamor for their destruction. Notice that this does not happen as a result of the ill-advised "peace process" with the Palestinians. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah has instructions for Israel about the proper response to the Palestinian representatives.

It is common knowledge that today's Palestinians have identified with the Philistines of ancient times, even though there is no direct physical link. They see themselves as the successors to that group, which contended with the Israelites for that same land. In fact, if you listen to an Arab-speaking person refer to "Palestine", it is pronounced "Philistine" in Arabic.

In a reference to those "Philistines," (or as the King James Version translates, "whole Palestina") Isaiah provides us with a question that prophetically refers to the current peace process with the Palestinians. In chapter 14, Isaiah asks this question: "What answer shall be given to the envoys of that nation?"

This Scripture is one of God's replies to the claims of today's Palestinians for the land of Judea and Samaria. The "answer" to be "given" is in response to their impudent demands for land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

Examine the question. An envoy is a representative, a messenger, an ambassador. "That nation" is the Palestinians. So, we see a group of Palestinian envoys waiting for an answer to their demands. But the answer is not one that will be to their liking. It comes from God Himself.

What answer shall be given to the envoys of that nation? "The Lord has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge." (v. 32 NIV)

How shall we answer the messengers that come to us from Philistia? We will tell them that the Lord has established Zion and that his suffering people will find safety there. (v. 32 GNT)

What an answer! The modern nation of Israel, which came into being in 1948, was a direct act of God. He established it, not the Zionists alone. It was His doing to found it, and He did it to provide a place of refuge for His afflicted people! In this one short incredible verse, we see implicit historical references to the suffering the Jewish people endured throughout history, culminating in the Nazi holocaust, and to the fact that the nation of Israel was founded in response to that suffering. After so many centuries of being afflicted wanderers among the nations, they finally have their homeland back, the land that was promised to their fathers. God did it, and He is not about to retract His sworn pronouncement!

Oh, if only the Israeli government officials would throw away their foolish offers of appeasement, and simply quote this phrase to the Palestinians! "The LORD has founded Zion, and the afflicted of His people will find refuge in it."