During the time of the biblical patriarchs, the nation that we know today as Israel was called Canaan. After the conquests led by Moses and later, Joshua, the land became Israel. The name was still used in the New Testament (Matthew 2:20) though by that time it was a province of the Roman Empire.
The name, Palestine, translates to mean, "land of the Philistines". First used by the Greeks and later the Romans, the area retained this name under other subsequent Gentile rulers which included Great Britain. When the British Mandate expired in 1948, the region known as Palestine was divided into two states, Israel and Jordan.
In the geography of the Near East, the setting of the Bible is in the land of Israel. The Bible is the recorded history of the Jewish people. It is the story of the patriarch, Abraham, who as Abram, was called by God out of the land of Ur, of the Chaldees (present day Iraq) and the pagan moon-god worship of his father's house, and into the land called Canaan, where God promised through covenant, "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you with abundant increase of favors, and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing, dispensing good to others." (Genesis 12:2 Amplified Bible).
This covenant later extended to include Abraham's son, Isaac, and his descendants, and Isaac's son, Jacob, and his descendants. However, before the birth of his son, Isaac, Abraham sired another son, Ishmael, with his wife Sarah's Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. Although God promised Hagar that He would multiply the descendants of her son exceedingly, "...so that they shall not be numbered for multitude" (Genesis 16:10) and later, twelve princes (nations) descended from Ishmael, (Genesis 25:12-18), the land covenant given to Abraham, "And I will give to you and to your posterity after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (Genesis 17:8) remained with Isaac and Jacob and their descendants.
This has been a deep source of contention over the centuries between the children of Abraham, who are the Jews, and the children of Ishmael, described in Genesis 16:12, "as a wild ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man's hands against him, and he will live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen" who are the Arabs.
Adam Clarke's Commentary concludes, "Nothing can be more descriptive of the wandering, lawless, freebooting life of the Arabs than this."
Although God blessed the descendants of Ishmael, unfortunately many of them have turned away from Him to bow their knee to the satanic counterfeit god, Allah, and the religion of Islam. The Muslims claim that their god is really the God of the Old Testament. Here inlies a twisted truth. As I stated above, Abram was called out of the pagan culture of his father, the land of Ur of the Chaldees, which was the center of Babylonian moon-god worship in the ancient world. "Allah" the god of Islam, is one of the 265 moon dieties inscribed on the Kabbah in Mecca in Saudi Arabia. I think what the Muslims are attempting to say is that Abram first worshipped the moon-gods which possibly included Allah, before being called by the One True God into the land of Canaan. Talk about the devil in the details! There is no evidence that Abram worshipped at the altars of the moon-gods. The mere fact that God called him to come out of this evil place and into Canaan leads me to the conclusion that Abram was essentially a righteous man, and like Noah, was living amid a culture of abominable sin. God looked with mercy upon him and saved him from suffering in the pits of hell by calling him out of that land. Christians believe that because of this one man's obedience to the call of God, we have not only been blessed with the nation known today as Israel, but we have been given the glorious gift of God's Son, the Messiah Y'Shua.
For those in the world who are determine to continually refute Israel's right to the land, in 1946, one year before the British Mandate ended by vote of the UN, partitioning the region of Palestine into two independent states, one Jewish, one Arab, a young Bedouin Arab boy discovered a series of ancient Hebrew writings in a cave near Qumran. These text were later known as the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.
On May 14, 1948 the modern state of Israel emerged to take her place among the nations of the world. This was the single greatest fulfillment of biblical prophecy since the coming of the Messiah Y'Shua.
"Who has ever heard of such a thing?
Who has ever seen such things?
Can a country be born in a day
Or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
then she gives birth to her children." -Isaiah 66:8
In one single day, Israel was born as a complete nation, having its own government, armed forces, and all necessary offices of adminstration. Although hastily arranged, all the essential ingredients were incorporated to make Israel a fully sovereign nation.
Meanwhile, the Arabs rejected their half of the partitioned land, and on the day after Israel was declared a nation, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria attacked them. Like David vs. Goliath, tiny Israel emerged victorious against the giant of combined Arab armies. These same Arab countries attacked Israel again in the 1967 Six Day War and in 1973 during Yom Kippur, The Feast of Atonement. Terrorist organizations like the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Fatah, run by Yassir Arafat, Dr. George Habash's group, The Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine, and later, Hamas, and Hezbollah, which is primarily backed by the Shia Islamic government of Iran, sprang up from the ashes of these conflicts with a determination to destroy Israel and her people through heinous acts of guerilla warfare and terrorism. It was not until November, 1977 when one Arab leader, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, decided to extend the olive branch to then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and made his historic trip across the border to Israel. For the first time, people in this troubled region of the world began to hold cautious hope that one day, the descendants of Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac might actually live side by side in peaceful co-existence. Although up until recently Israel and Egypt have maintained a tentative acknowledgement of each other, their truce did not come without a price. President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by members of an Islamic extremist group known as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas recently declared once again that he will never accept Israel’s right to exist. Furthermore, the PA, as well as Hamas and other terrorist groups have never been ordered by the United Nations, the United States of America, and any of the other nations involved in the one-sided "peace process" to change their charters calling for the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of the Jewish people. Iranian President Mahmoud "Mad Dog" Ahmadinejad is foaming at the mouth in anticipation of destroying Israel if and when his country’s nuclear program develops a successful long range missile. Meanwhile, President Obama seems more concerned with demanding that Israel stop building in Judea and Samaria and return to "the 1967 lines." What he is actually asking Israel is for them to sign their own death certificate.
"I will curse thee that curses or uses insolent language against you." Genesis 12:3
By the very words of his mouth, Obama has cursed Israel. Unfortunately, he has also cursed himself. And he has cursed America. God's judgment is inevitable upon this nation. However, believers must continue to stand and pray for our people and this land. Although our leader has incurred God's wrath through his disobedience, God is also a compassionate Father full of mercy and of love and He will never forsake his precious children here.
"If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14