For decades the debate has ensued over who has rights to the land of Israel. One key argument of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is whether Israel or the Palestinians have right to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and parts of Jerusalem. (See The Palestinian Problem and Terrorism)
But the Word of God tells us precisely the mind of God regarding the land. The Abrahamic covenant clearly states that God promised Abraham descendants and land. The promised passed through Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob. Here are some examples:
- Genesis 12:1-2a: “Go forth from your country and your relatives and from your father’s house to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation…”
- Genesis 12:7 : “To your descendants I will give this land…”
- Genesis 13:14-15: “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.”
- Genesis 15:18: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.”
- Genesis 17:8: “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
- Genesis 26:3: “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.”
- Genesis 35:12: “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.”
Most assuredly, God promised the land of Israel to the Jews. But did the Jewish people remain connected and in possession of the land? Here are some facts:
- Archeological and historical evidence indicates a continued Jewish presence in the land for over 3000 years.
- A political Jewish kingdom existed from around 1000 BC – 586 BC and 165 BC – 63 BC when Israel became a client state of the Roman empire.
- Roman emperors acknowledged Jewish traditions and Judaism. They also recognized Jerusalem as the seat of Judaism.
- Jerusalem is mentioned almost 700 times in the Hebrew Bible.
- Sacred texts of both Christianity and Islam confirm the Jews’ connection to the land of Israel. (Acts 7:3-4, Hebrews 11:8-9, plus those above found in Genesis) From the Qur’an: “And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land.” (Sura 17:104, as well as Sura 17:7 and 34:13)
- After the Jewish population in Jerusalem was decimated during the Crusades (12th century AD), it rebounded. By the 1880’s, Jews were once again the majority, and have been ever since.
Not only did God promise the land to the Jewish people, but He insured a continuous Jewish presence in the land, and other religions and people groups acknowledged it. It has only been in the last 50 years or so that the Palestinians have laid claim to the land. (Prior to that, the term “Palestinian” referred to Jewish people!)
God’s Word tells us to bless Israel (Genesis 12:3) and warns us sternly against dividing the land (Joel 3:2). The Lord has spoken and we would be wise as individuals, and as a nation, to heed His Word. Pray for our nation and for our leaders. Let us not be the generation that turns our back on God’s chosen land and God’s chosen people.
Happy Lord’s Day…and thanks for stopping by!