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Monday, November 19 2012
Gaza In History And Prophecy
Gaza (also rendered into English as "Azzah" e.g. Deuteronomy 2:23, 1 Kings 4:24 and Jeremiah 25:20 in the KJV), meaning strong, is an ancient Philistine ("Palestine" is an alternate English pronunciation of Philistine) city on the southeastern Mediterranean coast. Much of its history was due to its location on a major trade and military route between Egypt and the Middle East. That "way of the land of the Philistines" is prominently mentioned in the Scriptures at the time of the Exodus:
"13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus], that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
The Philistines were cousins to the Canaanites. Noah's son Ham was the father of Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan (Genesis 10:6; see also The Family Of Ham). The Philistines ("Philistim" in the verse below) were descendants of Mizraim, while the Canaanites were the descendants of Canaan. While the Canaanites held Gaza within their inhabited territory, subsequent history records that the Philistines, who were a more militarized and aggressive people, inhabited Gaza and the surrounding area and cities.
"10:13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 10:14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
When the Israelites entered the promised land in the time of Joshua, the Israelites advanced far into the Gaza area and beyond, "even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon."
"10:40 So Joshua [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Joshua] smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. 10:41 And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
When the promised land was divided among the tribes of Israel, "Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea" were given to Judah (see Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates).
"15:20 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families ... 15:47 Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof" (Joshua 15:20,47 KJV)
Later, in the time of the Judges (the era of Israelite history that followed the era of Joshua), Judah was given to begin driving back the invaders that had been allowed to encroach upon Israel's dominion. "Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof."
"1:1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
The two or three centuries of the Judges (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Judges) were a time of repeated unfaithfulness by the Israelites, for which the LORD allowed Israel's enemies to grow strong over them for a while, after which the LORD gave the Israelites a deliverer, or judge, to take back their lost territory. Gideon and Samson are two of the most famous of the Judges.
"6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
Samson's battles were mostly with the Philistines of Gaza (see Delilah: Why The Fatal Attraction?). It was at Gaza that Samson was eventually captured and blinded by the Philistines - and where he died.
"16:21 But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. 16:22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
At the time when Eli permitted the capture of the Ark, when Samuel was just being established as a prophet of the LORD (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Samuel), the Ark was taken to Gaza and the nearby Philistine towns - each one eager to pass the Ark on because of the wrath that the LORD inflicted upon them for as long as they held it.
"5:8 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?
Despite David's also fighting the Philistines (e.g. David's famous battle with the Philistine giant Goliath), during the civil war between David and Saul (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Saul and David and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War), David sought refuge in the Philistine area of Gaza for some time.
"27:1 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand." (1 Samuel 27:1 KJV)
After Israel divided into Israel and Judah, the battles with the Philistines of Gaza became a federal fight for Judah against the Philistines (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah), rather than a tribal fight against the Philistines when Judah was merely one of the tribes of the united kingdom of Israel (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah).
"18:5 He [i.e. Hezekiah Of Judah] trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. 18:6 For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.
Gaza was still on the ancient route between Africa and the Middle East at the beginning of the "New Testament" as it had been at the time of the Exodus (the Exodus was a journey of the Israelites from Africa to Asia). The famous incident of Philip and the Ethiopian happened at Gaza.
"8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip [see also The Crossing Of Philip And Saul], saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Gaza is mentioned by the prophets of ancient time, and the yet future. Jeremiah described how the wrath of the LORD came upon the Philistines at the same time as His wrath came upon unfaithful Judah, just before Judah was taken away to their seventy years exile in Babylon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Back To Babylon).
"47:1 The word of the LORD [see also What Does Word of God Mean To You?] that came to Jeremiah the prophet [see The Prophets: Jeremiah] against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.
Gaza is also mentioned in yet-future prophecies of the wrath of the LORD that is going to come upon the entire world. With Gaza so close to the "ground zero" point of Christ's return at Jerusalem, it's inevitable that "the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD" (keeping in mind the resurrection that all unconverted people will have in their due time; see The Eighth Day: Empty Cemeteries and, for the unconverted people of Judah, Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant).
"1:6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom: 1:7 But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: 1:8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD." (Amos 1:6-8 KJV)
The wrath of the LORD is coming upon all of humanity, so that they will cast away their heathen man-made religions, and their lust for war, and turn to the LORD (see What Is The Day Of The LORD? and What Happens After The Messiah Returns?).
"1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
In that day, "Gaza shall be forsaken" because its people will have found the LORD.
"2:4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. 2:5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
Fact Finder: How are the people of Judah and Canaan related today?
This Day In History, November 19
1095: The Council of Clermont began. It was called by Pope Urban II for sending the First Crusade (see also Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1493: Christopher Columbus discovered (it wasn't a "discovery" for the people who were already there) the island that is today known as Puerto Rico (Columbus called it San Juan Bautista) during his second voyage to the New World (for a map of the four voyages of Columbus, see Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1521: Milan was invaded by papal armies under Colona, beginning the war between the Hapsburg and Valois dynasties.
1600: Charles I, king of Scotland and England, was born. His authoritarian rule led to civil war and his eventual execution.
1620: The English "Pilgrims" on the Mayflower sighted land on the east coast of North America.
1703: The "man in the iron mask," a prisoner in the Bastille prison in Paris, died. His true identity is unknown; he was the subject of literary works by Francois Voltaire and Alexandre Dumas.
1809: During the Peninsular War, 30,000 French defeated 50,000 Spanish at the Battle of Ocana.
1858: British Columbia became a military colony of Britain. It had been administered by the Hudson's Bay Company (the company that Britain made contract with to develop commerce routes and trading posts through much of Canada), but thousands of U.S. gold miners and outlaws ignored the border and refused to heed the company's established legal authority (mostly by shooting at company officers). To prevent the lawless horde from violently taking over the territory and its people, it was temporarily made a military colony of Britain, whereby law and order was restored.
1866: As requested by the people who lived there, Vancouver Island (named after British Captain George Vancouver, an officer in the British navy who explored much of the west coast of North America), which had been a separate British colony, was included in the territory of British Columbia.
1897: The start of the Great City Fire of London.
1911: The first Marconi wireless transmission from Italy was received in New York.
1941: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the Australian warship Sydney engaged the German raider Kormoran in a fierce naval battle in the Indian Ocean, 300 miles west of Australia. After the battle the Sydney sailed off and was never seen again, with 645 presumed dead.
1942: During the Second World War (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion), Russian forces began a counter-offensive against the invading German army at Stalingrad.
1947: King George VI declared Philip Mountbatten to be the Duke of Edinburgh, in preparation for Mountbatten's wedding to George's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth (today Queen Elizabeth II), the next day.
1954: The U.S. and Canada began the construction of a radar warning system across northern Canada to give warning of approaching Russian nuclear bombers (Canada has the U.S. on its southern border and Russia on its northern border).
1977: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat departed for his peace visit to Israel. As his Presidential aircraft entered Israeli airspace, Israeli fighter jets escorted it to Ben-Gurion Airport. 10,000 police were on alert upon his landing.
1998: During the Monica Lewinsky fornication in the Oval Office investigation, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee began impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton.