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And God said, "From the river... to the sea"

Protesters hold a banner that reads: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," standing in front of the president's palace in Warsaw, Nov. 5, 2023 (Photo: IMAGO/Marek Antoni Iwanczuk via Reuters)

We have all seen the pro-Palestinian protesters chanting the slogan, “From the River to the Sea”, and know that many of those same protesters have no idea what those words mean, nor the implications they carry. It is a call to eradicate the State of Israel and drive all the Jews (and other Israelis) from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, and to replace it with a Muslim State. The intent is crystal clear in the Arabic version of the chant which translates to “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab”, and sometimes the word “Arab” is replaced by “Muslim”. At best it is a call for population transfer, but more realistically it is a call to genocide, the genocide of the Israeli people.

I suspect too that few, if any of the protesters, know that the phrase ‘from the River to the Sea’ was first used over 3,400 years ago not by Muslims, Arabs, nor ‘Palestinians’, but by God himself. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and as they were about to enter the Promised Land, He said to them,

“Every place where you set your foot will be yours: your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the River, the River Euphrates, to the Western Sea” (Deuteronomy 11:24).

These words echo God’s even earlier delineation of the borders of the Land promised to Abraham’s descendants. In Genesis 15:18 it says,

“That day the Lord made a covenant with Abram: “To your descendants, I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River”.

Again, when the Israelites came out of Egypt to possess the Land, God said, 

“I will establish your borders from the Reed Sea [the Nile River delta] to the Sea of the Philistines [the Mediterranean Sea], and from the desert [the Negev] to the Euphrates River” (Exodus 23:31).

In today’s terms, then, the Promised Land extends from the edge of the Nile River delta, includes the Gaza Strip, all of present-day Israel, including Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and parts of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, as far as the Euphrates River.

Not only did God give this land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that is the Israelites, but he gave it to them as an everlasting possession. He said to Abraham,

“The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God”  (Genesis 17:8).

And later God said to Jacob, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you” (Genesis 48:3-4 ).

We know too that in the end times, Israel will again take possession of all its Promised Land, and the Messiah, Yeshua, will rule the world from it, as it says in Zechariah 9:10,

 “He will proclaim peace to the nations.
  His rule will extend from sea to sea
  and from the River
[Euphrates] to the ends of the earth.

And, in Obadiah 1:17 God says, 

“But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob [Israel] will possess his inheritance”.

There are some who say that this promise to the people of Israel was made null and void because of their disobedience. Notice however that when God made his promise to Abram (Abraham), as recorded in Genesis 15, God was the only ‘signatory’ of the covenant. In those days covenants were sealed when the two parties passed between the lines of animal parts. Abraham however did not pass between the lines. He merely observed. The covenant promise was sealed solely by God, as represented by the smoking firepot and the burning torch. Nothing was required of Abraham, except that he would recognize the covenant by the circumcision of his male descendants.

The God-given right to possess the Land therefore was not conditional, but their ability to enjoy its blessings was. When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land, God set before them blessings and curses dependant upon whether they kept His commandments or not (Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26).  Israel again and again disobeyed God’s commandments and brought upon themselves the punishments of which God had warned. Twice their sin was so great that they were driven from the Land, first by the armies of Assyria and Babylon, and secondly by the Romans. God however promised that he would always restore them again if they returned to Him, gathering them from the farthest corners of the Earth and restoring their fortunes (Deuteronomy 30:6,8; Leviticus 26:44-45).

In our times we have seen God restore the people of Israel to part of their Promised Land in an amazing way, even though we have not yet taken possession of its full extent. This year the population of Israel reached 10 million, and the Land is becoming somewhat crowded. Perhaps we are reaching the point prophesied in Isaiah 49:20 when “The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’ Has the time come that God will expand the borders of Israel and she will take possession of the whole of her God-given Promised Land? I don’t know but the generation of those born ‘during your bereavement’, that is before 1948, will soon pass away.

There is also coming a time when Israel will be restored to its spiritual inheritance. Many are today asking if the current war between Israel and Hamas is the beginning of the war against Gog of Magog, as prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39. I do not know but the nations are forming alliances which seem to align with the prophesied confederation that will come against Israel. According to the prophecy, God will fight on behalf of Israel and defeat the armies of Gog, and as a result, many nations, including Israel, ‘will know that God is YHVH’ (Ezekiel 38:23). This will be the beginning of a spiritual awakening.

God also said, through the prophet Zechariah, that in the end times, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling”, and the nations would besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day, God will again fight on behalf of Israel and all her enemies will be destroyed. At that time the people of Israel will see Yeshua, whom they rejected, and will repent, and God will cleanse them from sin and impurity (Zechariah 12:1 –13:1).

It is interesting to note that in Zechariah 12:6 it says, “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves”. This clearly refers back to the covenant made with Abraham, in which God was represented as a smoking oven (firepot) and a flaming torch (Genesis 15). The covenant is not forgotten, and it will be fulfilled.

In Acts 17: 24-26  the Apostle Paul explains to the Athenians,

 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven .... From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands”.

Those who chant ‘From the River to the Sea’, and all those who accuse Jews of being ‘occupiers’, are directly challenging God himself. It is God who has given the land from the River to the Sea to the people of Israel. The chanters therefore should be very afraid, for God also said, “The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you” (Deuteronomy 30:7).  They are calling down upon themselves the curses of God, confusion, sudden financial disaster, diseases, plagues, droughts and famine, and ultimately, defeat by their enemies.

Today Israel is fighting a war on many fronts and is being attacked from Gaza, Lebanon, Judah and Samaria, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Iran. Our enemies are backed by Russia and China and all the protesters around the world. In addition, more and more Western nations are taking a stance against Israel. Ironically, Israel is not only fighting for her own survival, but also for the survival of those very nations that are turning against us. We are also fighting for the freedoms the protesters so vocally promote.

The full slogan that protesters chant continues with the words “Palestine will be free”. Over the last 18 years in Gaza, we have seen what Palestinian ‘freedom’ means.

In 2005 Israel evacuated all its citizens from the Gaza Strip in the hope that the continual rain of rockets being fired into Israel would stop. From that moment, the people of the Gaza Strip had an opportunity for self-rule. Elections were held there the following year, and the terror organization Hamas, after winning a majority of the votes, formed a coalition unity government with the other main party, Fatah (PLO). The very next year however, in 2007, Hamas seized total power by brutally massacring the Fatah leaders. In the following years, with the billions of dollars of aid money they received, Hamas could have turned the Gaza Strip into the Dubai of the Mediterranean, but they cared nothing for the people under their rule.

Hamas has oppressed the Gazan population with savage violence and kept them in poverty while they (Hamas) invested the billions of dollars of aid money received into building an army 24 battalions strong, a huge stockpile of weapons and a massive, mainly underground, military infrastructure, all with the sole purpose of destroying Israel. They did not give their people schools, hospitals, build power stations or water desalination plants, provide other basic services, or even homes. A sizeable portion of the aid money also found its way into the private pockets of the Hamas leaders.

In Gaza, there is no freedom of speech, belief or action. Dissenters are arrested, tortured, beaten or summarily killed. Women are oppressed and often violently abused and enslaved. Homosexuals are brutally beaten and sometimes killed. So why do we see women and the LGBQT community protesting in favour of a Palestinian state?

What kind of freedom does Hamas offer? Under Hamas how can Palestinians ever be free?

There is much pressure on Israel today to accept a two-state solution for the Palestinians, and recently we have seen several Western countries recognize the “State of Palestine”. There is no State of Palestine. At the very least, a State must have a government. There is no government in Gaza, only a terror organization which, by its own admission, does not care about the fate of the Gazan people.

Gazan self-rule has been a total disaster, for them and for Israel. In Judea and Samaria, where they have had partial self-rule for many years, that too has been a failure. Widespread corruption in the Palestinian Authority, not only has milked funds from public services, but allowed the infiltration of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS and other Jihadist terror groups, and the proliferation of terror cells. Those who think that the PA or Hamas can be reformed and made to work together are deluded. They are sworn enemies, not only of Israel, but of each other.

Some who dream of a State of Palestine think that a reconstituted Palestinian Authority (led by Fatah) can govern the Gaza Strip, although polls there have shown that only about 7% of the people want the PA back. What is more, these Western dreamers do not understand that these terror organizations do not want a ‘two state solution’, they want only one state, that encompasses all the Land of Israel, from the River to the Sea.

On October 24 last year, Ghazi Hamad of the Hamas political bureau said on LBCTV (Lebanon), that Hamas is prepared to repeat the "Al-Aqsa Flood Operation [the October 7th massacre] time and again until Israel is annihilated', adding that the Palestinians are willing to pay the price and that they are "proud to sacrifice martyrs." Hamad said that Palestinians are the victims of the occupation, therefore no one should blame them for the events of October 7 or anything else, adding: "Everything we do is justified."... "Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country, because it constitutes a security, military, and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation, and must be finished. We are not ashamed to say this, with full force..."We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again. The Al-Aqsa Flood is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve, and the capabilities to fight. Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.

When Hamad speaks of ‘the occupation’, he is not meaning the (non-existent) occupation of Gaza, but the 'occupation' of the whole Land of Israel. Muslims see the land now controlled by the State of Israel as Muslim land and therefore all Israelis are, by their definition, 'occupiers'.  

Not only do the Palestinians not want a two-state solution, but polls show that around 70% of Israelis reject it too. We have tried that option by evacuating Gaza and look where it got us. For the 17 years that Hamas has controlled Gaza, we in Israel have been subjected to endless rounds of rocket and missile attacks across the border, and multiple periods of serious armed confrontations. Each time, Israel has been prevented from defeating Hamas by calls from the nations for 'proportionality', 'negotiation' and 'humanitarian concerns'.

Clearly this approach has not worked, it has only encouraged and affirmed the evil Jihadist monster we are facing today. The monster must be totally destroyed or it will not only eat up Israel, but the USA, Europe and the so-called free world. They have made their intentions to do so crystal clear. A ceasefire at this stage would be surrender. Israel is not only fighting for its own survival but for the survival of the freedoms enjoyed by the Western world. If the protesters really cared about the Gazan people, they should support Israel’s efforts to free them from the oppression of Hamas and the other Jihadist terror groups.

We must not make peace with Evil. Even if all the world turns against us, we must stand strong. God will judge all those nations that come against Israel (Joel 3:2). It may not be today, but it is certainly coming. We must believe and trust God when he says,” On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:9), and again in Micah 4:11-13,

But now many nations
are gathered against you.
They say, “Let her be defiled,
let our eyes gloat over Zion!”

But they do not know
the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan,
that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.

“Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion,
for I will give you horns of iron;
I will give you hooves of bronze,
and you will break to pieces many nations.”

Talia Voice grew up in New Zealand but came to Israel about 40 years ago. After teaching science in various schools, she is now retired and lives in Mevaseret Zion where she leads a home group and attends a congregation in Mevaseret. She is the author of the book “I’m Single, OK?” and writes on

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