Recently I heard a well informed pastor tell of the many biblical events that happened in Judea and Samaria – that part of Israel that the modern world has come to call the West Bank. Although I’ve studied these events many times and am very familiar with them, I don’t believe I had ever lined them up to have actually happened in Judea and Samaria – I knew it, I just hadn’t thought about it.
It was here, on the mountains, valleys and in the streams of Judea and Samaria that Israel grew and became a nation, united and then divided, but a nation the same. When Joshua brought the people into Israel it was first a Jericho then again at Shechem, between the mountains called Ebal and Gerizim, where the power of God flowed down on them. They marched to Shiloh where they set up the Tabernacle they had carried through the wilderness and they established worship on that holy mountain. It was this same valley that God brought Abraham through and promised him the land as far as he could see; then two generations later, he brought Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, back into Israel through that same valley. These are the mountains of Samaria, in northern Israel, where life is established and thriving today by religious Jews who know and believe the promises of God.
The mountains and valleys of Judea are the settings for so much of biblical history. Bethlehem was the place where David was first anointed king of Israel; Hebron was the place where David was first crowned King of Israel and where he reigned for seven years before taking his kingship to Jerusalem. The prophets, Amos and Jeremiah were born and ministered in Judea. Battles were fought by Gideon and other leaders in the hills and valleys of Judea as well as Samaria. Israel grew and became a mighty nation in these same hills, valleys and mountains.
It was on the mountain top of Moriah where Abraham offered up Isaac, and where the Temple Mount now stands, in the Old City of Jerusalem, surrounded by modern Jerusalem. Steeped in history, powered by God, maintained and kept by the Jewish people, all in Judea.
Jesus was born in Bethlem of Judea – that’s right, Judea. Think about it. He lived and grew up in Nazareth, a village north of Samaria and no doubt, as he made his many journeys to Jerusalem he must have traveled through Samaria to Judea, the location of Jerusalem.
If the so-called Palestinians were to win in the court of world opinion and be able to rip Judea and Samaria – the West Bank – from the hands of Israel due to world pressure, there is a strong possibility this would all be lost. As surely as they’ve attempted to rip all vestige of Jewish life from the Temple Mount, the Temple Steps, and anywhere else Jews have walked, they would try to erase this history as well. It wouldn’t be just Jewish history they would be erasing, it would be Christian history as well. We can’t have one without the other, for it is our savior – Jesus, the Christ – the Jew – who lived, worked and walked the mountains, hills and valleys of Judea and Samaria, His country, His homeland, along with his Jewish brothers and sisters.
Stop and think about it. Not understanding the situation is no excuse – we must understand and we must stand – the West Bank is the ‘west bank of the Jordan River’ and it IS Biblical Judea and Samaria. Can we afford to lose that?