Among many such references in scripture, Zephaniah the prophet foretells the future destiny of Gaza – the Philistine seacoast of ancient Israel, lair of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority of today, and scorpion’s nest of hatred toward Israel. The prophet pronounces ‘Woe’ upon them:
Zephaniah 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. 6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. 7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
This prophecy was written nearly 2,500 years ago but has never been fulfilled. Today it is being fulfilled as Askelon, specifically, is now an Israeli city of some 100,000 inhabitants just north of that area designated as the Gaza Strip. So God’s people are already encroaching upon their inheritance there.
But more drastic events are in the offing in order for Israel to possess and dwell in Gaza without disruption or disturbance as reflected in the words of Zechariah. It is among the judgments of Obadiah 1: 19, that … they of the plain (Israel, shall possess) the Philistines. In Isaiah 11: 14 the same actions are indicated in the words, they (Israel) shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines (the Gaza Strip of today). But in this reference we learn that much greater victories of Israel are incurred at the same time: they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon (Jordan) shall obey them. And through wider research we determine that this is only the beginning of Israel’s conquests of that same time frame.
The Gaza Coast, like that of Israel further to the north, is a pleasant, languid, comfortable habitat, lending itself to rest and peace in future time, but is today a hostile enclave of animosity toward God’s people, and source of hundreds of rocket and howitzer attacks upon Askelon and nearby Israeli cities each week. In the future time of the Kingdom of God, this aggression shall be eternally in the past, when He giveth rest to the people of God. But its pacification awaits that Saviour’s arrival and His thundering intervention against the Edomites of Philistia (the “Palestinians”).