The name Palestine originated from the Greek word pronounced Palaistina, which is derived from the Hebrew word pronounced pel-eh-sheth, meaning land of the Philistines (one of the most famous of whom was Goliath). The original word referred only to a small coastal territory corresponding to what is today Gaza, never to all of the land of Jacob, who God renamed Israel.
The definition of Palestine was first expanded when the conquering Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome) used the name Syria Palaestina during the second century before Jesus Christ. They used it to designate the southern portion of the province of Syria, which then took in Judea, including Jerusalem.
In modern times, the accepted meaning of Palestine was again greatly inflated after the First World War. Britain, which then held control of the land of Israel under a mandate of the League of Nations (British control eventually made possible the birth of the modern state of Israel, thereby fulfilling a vital Biblical element of Prophecy), revived the name as an official title for practically all of the land - from Dan to Beersheba, and from The Mediterranean Sea to The Jordan River. And so it has been ever since.
Humans have been fighting over "Palestine," for a very long time. A vital, very often overlooked point of the struggle, which continues right this very minute, is that the earth belongs to God. It is His property. He created it, and He has held full ownership of it before humans ever existed.
So, who does the Owner of the land say is to be living there, not for their benefit, or out of any sort of favoritism, but to fulfill the practical, physical aspects of His plan of salvation for all people, of all nations? Let's see -
- "No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17:5-8 NIV)
- "Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it [see Stairway To Heaven]. There above it stood The Lord, and He said: "I Am The Lord, The God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land." (Genesis 28:10-15 NIV)
- "After the death of Moses the servant of The Lord, The Lord [see Rock Of Ages] said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses, My servant, is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them - to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - to the Great Sea on the west." (Joshua 1:1-4 NIV)
Fact Finder: Why are Jews called "the chosen people"?
See The Chosen People