The Lord has provided incredible predictions in the Bible about the nation of Israel in the last days. Some of these prophecies involve detailed descriptions of what would happen to the Jewish people after they returned to their land in the end times. As incredible as it may seem, the prophets of old accurately predicted even the Palestinian problem and the conflicts surrounding it, which has been the main issue that has perpetually caused war in the Middle East since Israel was reborn in 1948.
A passage from Isaiah chapter 11 is particularly relevant to the Palestinian problem today. This prophecy was quoted earlier in the section on Israel entitled Trembling and Fear regarding the Middle East wars. Verse 14 says that the regathered nation of Israel would…
“…fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west”.
This short statement actually represents one of the most amazing prophecies of the last days, and it clearly shows the astounding omniscience of the God who inspired the Bible. The location of the Philistines, called Philistia, existed over 2,500 years ago in the southwestern portion of the region now known as Palestine. The nation was along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and bordered by ancient Israel to the north and east. Throughout Israel’s history, the Philistines were a constant enemy of the Jewish people, especially during the reigns of their first three kings Saul, David, and Solomon. Wars with Philistia were common during those years. No doubt Isaiah’s prediction of ultimate defeat for one of the most bitter of Israel’s enemies gave his listeners great satisfaction that someday they would be dealt a decisive blow.
The ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy, however, would not come for many centuries into the future from Isaiah’s time, and at first glance its fulfillment seems to present a problem. In all the thousands of years that have gone by since Isaiah wrote these words, Israel never did completely subdue the land of Philistia. In fact, the prospect of Israel fulfilling this prophecy today is made even more difficult because the nation and people of Philistia no longer even exists! How could this prophecy ever come true when the Philistines were destroyed long ago by the expanding empires of the Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks—and not subdued by Israel? The answer to this question reveals how the Philistines fit into end times prophecy in an unexpected and fascinating way and demonstrates how God is fulfilling this incredible prediction in our time.
Over the intervening centuries since Kingdom of Israel existed, the ancient Philistines either completely died out or were slowly assimilated into the surrounding Arab nations after many empires wreaked destruction upon this region. One of those empires was actually instrumental in renaming this whole region of the world. When the Greeks began to dominate the Middle East in the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s swift battle victories in the fourth century B.C., they renamed the territory that the Jews called “Pleshet” (Land of the Philistines), to “Palaistina”. Eventually, when the British were given the mandate for the territory in the twentieth century they revived this term and renamed it “Palestine” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. VII, s.v. “Palestine”)…[more]