The Birth and Death of Modern Jordan

By Gary Stearman –

With increasing alarm, Mideast observers are beginning to say that Jordan’s government, now headed by King Abdullah II, may soon fall in a way similar to the Mubarak government of Egypt. For Israel, the consequences of this event could be dire, indeed.

The very existence of modern Jordan is the result of a series of peculiar twists of fate. Its brief history is the stuff of modern legend and diplomatic perfidy. It is a country conjured up by the British out of thin air, in the wake of post-World War I upheavals in the area.

The story begins with the First Zionist Congress in 1897, and its decision to revive national Israel as a Jewish homeland. Then came the tragedy of World War I, lasting from 1914 through 1918. The allied victory brought to an end the empires of Germany and Russia, as well as the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. The Ottoman Turks at that time commanded the territories of today’s Turkey and the land southward into the Arabian Peninsula. They also controlled the territories of Egypt and the Sudan.

But as the war approached its end, British troops had entered the Mideast from Baghdad to Damascus, to the Mediterranean Sea. Their victories in Palestine, as it was then called, finally resulted in the taking of Jerusalem by General Edmund Allenby, (below) on December 9th, 1917. Much was made of this date, which in the Jewish calendar was the 24th of Kislev, the festival of Hanukkah, the anniversary of the overthrow of Antiochus IV, Epiphanes in 164 BC.

Allenby’s victory had been foreshadowed a month before by the issuance of the Balfour Declaration. Many in the British government had been disposed to grant Israel its ancient territory as a modern homeland. This sentiment was augmented by an event that enabled the British to move toward victory in the great World War. Britain had found itself running short of acetone, necessary for the manufacture of high explosives. The prospect of defeat loomed large.

But then, a Russian Jew who had lived in England for about 25 years, rose to save the day. He was Dr. Chaim Weizmann, (below) a chemist who had discovered a way of extracting acetone from maize. He offered the government his discovery and saved Britain from certain defeat.

He became an instant national hero who could have asked for a fortune from the British government. But he told them that he didn’t desire money. Instead, he asked for a promise that British power might be used to free the territory of ancient Israel, making it available for occupation by returning Jews. The result was the famous declaration by Lord Balfour, (below) addressing Lord Rothschild, the first Jew ever to become a peer of the realm and member of Parliament:

“Foreign Office, November 2, 1917 “Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

“‘His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’

“I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

“Yours sincerely,


It should be pointed out that the reason the land of Israel was consistently referred to as “Palestine” dates back to 135 AD, when the Roman Emperor Hadrian smashed the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt. In a classic insult, he gave the land the names of its two traditional enemies, the Syrians and the Philistines. It became “Syria-Palestina,” and is still called Palestine by Israel’s enemies.

It should also be noted that the declaration carefully stated the need to protect the rights of Arabs living there at the time.

Diplomatic Duplicity

In the years following the Balfour Declaration and the accompanying good news it foretold, it could be assumed that all would go well for the Jews. This was not at all the case. The year before, in May of 1916, a secret agreement between Britain and France had been signed. It was called the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and it became the basis for the future map of the Middle East.

It mapped out the establishment of two new Arab states from Damascus southward to the Gulf of Aqaba, where the Ottoman Turks had ruled. The real goal of the infamous agreement was to establish British, French and international control on the Mediterranean coast and on the West Bank of the Jordan River.

And so, what began as a grant from the British government to the Jews, became a series of exercises in political subterfuge. Zionist planners wanted one thing; the British wanted another.

The western border of the Zionists’ map of Palestine (the new Israel) had run from the Mediterranean coast between Rafah on the south and Sidon on the north. Its new eastern border would have run along the Hedjaz Railway that ran from Damascus all the way to Mecca. It was a natural border that would have given the new Israel the ancient territory of ancient Manasseh, Gad and Reuben, lying along the east bank of the Jordan River. Since the Hedjaz Railway ran through the city of Amman, the new Israeli border would have approached, but not included the limits of that city, which is now the capital of present-day Jordan.

In 1919 and 1920, more than ten thousand Jewish immigrants had come to Palestine, mostly from Russia. In September of 1920, in response to growing Arab riots, British authorities placed a limit on the Jewish influx at 16,500 people per year.

Through 1921,
increasing numbers of Jewish immigrants came back to the land. Arabs living there and in the land east of the Jordan River – called Trans-Jordan by the British – began to demonstrate against the Jews. This included a number of attacks on Jewish settlements. In May of that year, the British High Commissioner Sir H. Samuel (who was himself a Jew) ordered the cessation of all Jewish immigration. The British began to demand that the influx of Jews should “never exceed the economic capacity of Palestine to absorb new immigrants.”

Arabs were placated, but the Jews became alarmed. In that same year, Winston Churchill was appointed as Colonial Secretary of the British government. Noting Arab objections and their resistance in general, he concluded that the territory east of the Jordan River should be closed to Jewish settlement. He and others felt that it should remain culturally Arab.

Writing to the Palestinian Arabs on March 28th, 1921, he said, “… it is manifestly right that the Jews, who are scattered all over the world, should have a national center and a National Home where some of them may be reunited. And where else could that be but in this land of Palestine, with which for more than 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated? We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews and good for the British Empire …”

If considered only up to this point, the statement seemed well-measured and benevolent to the Jews. But then it continued as a thinly veiled warning to the Jews:

“… But we also think it will be good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine, and we intend that it shall be good for them, and that they shall not be sufferers or supplanted in the country in which they dwell or denied their share in all that makes for its progress and prosperity.”

In that year, Churchill met with Emir Abdullah, son of Sharif Hussein, who was already viewed as a power broker in Trans-Jordan, and convinced him to become ruler of this newly-created land east of the Jordan river.

Abdullah told the British that he wished to control the land all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, but they persuaded him to limit his rule to Trans-Jordan. And thus was born what we now recognize as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The British congratulated themselves on having brought peace to a feuding region. But following the end of World War II, and its resulting Jewish immigration, a series of wars (1948, 1951, 1957, 1967, 1973) forced Hashemite rulers (most especially the late King Hussein) to deal with another problem. After losing to Israel in each of these wars, and the minor ones that followed, great numbers of refugees fled across the Jordan River.

The wording of the British mandate had identified Arabs living in Israel as citizens of the new country of Jordan. In effect, after Israeli statehood in 1948, they had become dual citizens of both Israel and Jordan. But after Israel won each of its wars, many Arabs fled to Jordan.

Wave after wave of these war refugees flocked into Jordan from the new state of Israel. Over three million had arrived following the 1973, Yom Kippur war, and closer to four million at the present time. Furthermore, under the 1921 British agreement, they are considered full citizens of Jordan, with all civil rights.

At present, the Jordanian economy is strained to the breaking point. King Abdullah II is faced with a growing challenge from within. Housing, education, health, and employment costs are set to break his bank.

The Muslim Brotherhood

As if that weren’t enough, Jordan is now seen as increasingly vulnerable to a rising tide of Islamic protest that is sweeping unpredictably across the whole of the Middle East. Now, Jordan, which for the ninety-one years since the fateful year 1921, has served as the lynchpin of support for the “Palestinian” movement, is itself threatened with collapse.

The “Arab Spring,” is now being seen for what it is: the rising power of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Looking back, the current destabilization of the Middle East began in December of 2010 with the self-immolation of a government protestor in Tunisia. Riots ensued in many other countries, including Lebanon, Oman, Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Morocco. In mid-January of 2011, the government of Tunisia was overthrown. Soon afterward, thousands of protestors began to gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, demanding the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Their outcry was backed by the U.S. government and in mid-February, Mubarak resigned, throwing Egypt wide open to the advance of the Muslim Brotherhood.

There is no doubt that this group would like to topple Abdullah II, whom they consider moderate and pro-Western. This would give them control of Israel’s eastern flank which, when joined to the land they already hold along Israel’s southern (Egyptian) border, would place Israel’s government into an ominous stranglehold.

As has so often happened in the past, Israel would be forced into a war as the only means of preserving its existence.

Ironically, the 1921 British establishment of Trans-Jordan subsumed all the land of another, earlier “Trans-Jordan.” This one was formed 3,500 years ago, when the Israelites entered the Promised Land and settled it in the period of 1200-1400 BC. The tribes of Manasseh, Gad and Reuben were situated on the land across the Jordan River. Manasseh’s territory began near today’s Syria, and Gad’s ran from the Jordan River eastward to present day Ammon, Jordan. To the south of Gad, Reuben’s land ran from the east bank of the Dead Sea and eastward. And south of Reuben’s territory were Moab and Edom.

“A Perpetual Desolation”

Modern Jordan, then, is situated upon these ancient lands, originally laid out for the Israelites.

So what is to become of it? Experts say that, like Egypt under Mubarak and Syria under Bashar Assad, its days are surely numbered. They are saying that the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in Egypt in 1928 as a Pan-Islamic movement, has its eyes on these territories, just as it did on Egypt, which it now controls.

Its motto is, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

Its first significant rise to power was in 1936, in opposition to British rule in Egypt. In a strange way, the British under Churchill gave the Brotherhood the strong motivation which brought it to power. And that cycle of rule seems now to have come full circle, as the bitter fruit of British occupation once again threatens the very existence of Israel.

But as much as the Brotherhood desires rule in the region, biblical prophets say that it will never happen.

The prophet Zephaniah foresees the Day of the Lord. Looking in four directions, he pronounces judgment upon the nations that surround Judah. Clearly, he is speaking of a time in our near future … the Tribulation period. As he looks east, toward Moab and Ammon, he sees nothing but absolute desolation:

I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them. This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, everyone from his place, even all the isles of the heathen” (Zeph. 2:8-11).

He foresees that what, today, is the land around Amman, Jordan, will one day be like the land that now lies at the southwest end of the Dead Sea … the land of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah. There, we find nothing but salty, mineral wastes. That land will be devastated.

Furthermore, the war that lays it waste seems to be that described by Ezekiel in his famous prophecy of “Gog, the land of Magog.” The aftermath of that battle brings forth pictures of smoke, fire and the twisted shards of destroyed weaponry. But the worst part will be the thousands – perhaps millions – of dead bodies.

Notice the location of their burial in the opening verse:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamon-gog. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD. And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog. And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land” (Ezek. 39:11-15).

This is the aftermath of the great war that opens the Tribulation period. A multitude of combatants will drop dead in their tracks, leaving fields of bones that must be located and transferred to a massive burial site east of the Dead Sea … “The Valley of Hamon-gog,” i.e., the valley of the multitude of Gog.

This cleansing of the land of Israel, which takes at least seven months, has as its destination, the territories of Moab and Ammon, described by Zephaniah as a desolation, and by Ezekiel as a graveyard.

The Islamic Brotherhood may rise to obtain the land now known as Jordan, but they won’t keep it for long. Like other fanatical groups before them, they fanatically seek to destroy the Jews. Instead, they will themselves, be destroyed in the exact manner in which they sought to annihilate Israel.

Categories: Bible Prophecy, Breaking News

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"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 God's call to the world! Are you ready?

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