“Land Therapy” for Christian Zionists? What does this mean? It’s a kind of therapy that we recommend for those who do not believe God kept His word to give Israel the land promised to them in the Abrahamic Covenant. God made a promise to Abraham that he would give to his descendants the land of Canaan for a possession. He describes the land as follows:
“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates– “the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, “the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, “the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”(Gen. 15:18-21)
The time in which God promised the fulfillment of the promise names the fourth generation of Israel’s descendants. That brings us to the time of Moses and Joshua. “But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (Gen. 15:17).
God in his long-suffering and forbearance refused to remove the nations from the land undoubtedly hoping they would repent. However, their continued transgressions filled their “cup of iniquity.” By the time of the Exodus when the promise drew near, he led Israel to dispossess those nations.
When Abraham asked God how would he know that he would inherit it, God cut a covenant with him. Later, we’re told that God swore with an oath that the patriarch’s descendants “shall possess the gate of their enemies.” (Gen. 22:17). And because God could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, (Gen. 22:16; Heb. 6:13-14). Thus, we have God’s own integrity and truthfulness at stake regarding the land promised to Abraham’s descendants.
In other words, if God did not fulfill his promise in the fourth generation, to give Israel the land of their enemies, then God did what the Bible says it is impossible for Him to do, i.e. to lie, Heb. 6:18.
“So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass. ”
The promise says God gave Israel all the land He swore to them. The process moved gradually along, i.e. by conquest of the nations “little by little.” God used those nations to keep the balance of nature in tact so that the beasts of the field would not destroy Israel. (Deut. 7:22-23). Yet, all the nations mentioned in Genesis are included in the land Israel possessed, (Deut. 7:1).
1 Kings 4:21
“So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.” Solomon’s kingdom named the same land borders mentioned in Gen. 15:18. This undoubtedly served as confirmation of God’s fulfillment of the land included in the Abrahamic promise.
Nehemiah 9:8, 22-25
After the Babylonian captivity, Nehemiah again records that God gave Israel the land of its former inhabitants, saying of God, “You have performed Your words, For You are righteous.” In other words, God’s own righteousness verifies the truthfulness of the claim.
Thomas Ice’s article, “What About the Land Promises to Israel (See at RaptureReady.Com) argues that because Israel did not conquer all of the nations at once or even after they settled the land, that it means God never gave them all the land, i.e. that the verses above prove nothing. Ice’s argument is sophistry and grossly simplistic. Two conditions are true of real estate.
First, ownership of land is a legal issue. It is conferred by the terms of a covenant or contract. Had God covenantally and contractually conferred all the land to Israel? Was it their legal right? The answer to that question is yes. Those were the terms of the promise to Abraham and the covenant of Moses. If Ice rejects that argument, he has no basis on which to contend for a present possession of “modern Israel.” (which bears no relationship to the ancient Israelites of the Bible and no legal covenant rights of God to Palestine)
Ice would argue that Israel has divine right to the land by title, and thus, “owns” all of the land even though they currently occupy only a part of it. Their “alleged” ownership is the basis of possession and not the other way around. The modern state of Israel is doing just the opposite. They are possessing land which does not belong to them, then claiming legal title.
Could not one ask the same question regarding modern Palestine? If it were true that God gave modern Palestinian land to Israel (which I maintain he did not), then how could Zionists and their “Christian Zionists” fanatics maintain that Israel owns the land in view of Palestinian resistance? Would not that be proof positive that they do not own any of the land occupied by the Palestinian resistance?
What about the 56 million acres of Indian Trust Land in America? Native American Indians were not completely destroyed and removed from America. Does that mean the U.S. Government does not own America? Would Ice contend that the seven nations that God was driving out of Canaan still owned the land until their emigration? If so, then do the Palestinians today still own the land they occupy? If so, by what or whose right does Israel seek to remove them from the land?
Secondly, one may own land they do not possess or while others occupy that land. An owner of a duplex may live in one half and lease out the other side. Does he or she own the entire duplex or only the part owner-occupied? Ice will have to abandon his Zionist position entirely to maintain his logic that God never gave Biblical Israel the land promised to Abraham.
Thirdly, Abraham bought and received title deed to the cave of Machpelah, (Gen 23). Did he possess it when he received the deed even though he did not live there? In fact, the only time Abraham occupied that land was after his death. Did the sons of Heth give it to him before he occupied it? If the covenant God gave to Moses did not confer title, from where do “Christian Zionists” find a claim which supports their Zionist position on the land?
God Owned the Land and Leased it to Israel
According to Leviticus 25:23, God owned the land. He controlled what Israel did with the land. “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. ” This means God conferred the land similar to what we might call a “land contract.” It’s only permanent if all the terms are met. Israel broke the terms of the covenant, violating the contract, thus the land reverted back to its owner. They were merely leasing it from God. (Matt. 21:33)
Land Therapy For Christian Zionists?
Finally, Ice contends that the reason God did not fulfill the promises to Israel is because (1) Israel was removed them from the land and (2) because he made future promises of land to Israel.
It is true that God removed Israel and Judah respectively from the land during the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. However, God restored Judah to the land as we noticed above from Nehemiah. The prophecy in Amos 9:14-15, is Messianic and finds fulfillment in the New Heaven and earth at the termination of the Old Covenant. Israel returns, i.e. is planted in the land under the new King David (Christ) Ezk. 37:25; Hos. 3:5; Rom. 9:25-26; 1 Peter 2:9-10.
These prophecies are all fulfilled spiritually in Christ when God brings in the Gentiles to share in Israel’s kingdom blessings. The Lord would gather Israel, “Isaiah 11:12, raise up the tribes of Jacob, restore the preserved ones to Israel and give Christ as a light to the Gentiles, (Isa. 49:6). The time of the fulfillment of these prophecies is clearly stated in Isaiah 49:8-10, which includes the land.
“Thus says the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped you; I will preserve you and give you as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, [land] to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages.” (49:8). Paul quotes this prophecy in 2 Cor. 6:1-2, tying it together with Ezekiel 37 and says the following of the fulfillment in the first century.
“For He says: “in an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” For Paul, the time of Isaiah’s prophecy of restoring the land, raising up Jacob and Israel with the Gentiles was now, –meaning at the time of writing, i.e. the first century. Thus, God gave Israel the land promised in Amos 9:14-15, fulfilling it through Christ. Now cannot be a time in the 21st century.
But James, quotes Amos in Acts 15:14-17, to demonstrate that God had called the Gentiles through Peter’s ministry in direct fulfillment of Amos 9:11-15, saying the Gentiles were coming in fulfillment of the prophecy. But, when the Gentiles come in, God is fulfilling the land promises to Israel, just as in 2 Corinthians 6 above. Now, meant then, in the first century.
Now cannot mean the land of Palestine as Judah had not yet been removed from the land by the Romans in 70 A.D, at the time Paul wrote. Therefore, the land could not be referent to Palestine but to the kingdom of God through Christ.
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