Skip to comments.DO JEWS HAVE A DIVINE RIGHT TO THE PROMISED LAND?
Posted on 03/06/2007 11:42:17 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
How should Bible-believing Christians align themselves in the Jewish-Palestinian conflict? There are Biblical reasons for treating both sides with compassionate public justice in the same way that disputes should be settled between nations generally. In other words, the Bible does not teach us to be partial to Israel or to the Palestinians because either has a special divine status.
I do not deny that Israel was chosen by God from all the peoples of the world to be the focus of special blessing in the history of redemption which climaxed in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. "The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy 7:6).
Nor do I deny that God promised to Israel the presently disputed land from the time of Abraham onward. God said to Moses, "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, 'I will give it to your offspring'" (Deuteronomy 34:4).
But neither of these Biblical facts leads necessarily to the endorsement of present-day Israel as the rightful possessor of all the disputed land. Israel may have such a right. And she may not. But that decision is not based on divine privilege. Why?
First, a non-covenant-keeping people does not have a divine right to hold the land of promise. Both the blessed status of the people and the privileged right to the land are conditional on Israel's keeping the covenant God made with her. Thus God said to Israel, "If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples" (Exodus 19:5). Israel has no warrant to a present experience of divine privilege when she is not keeping covenant with God.
More than once Israel was denied the experience of her divine right to the land when she broke covenant with God. For example, when Israel languished in captivity in Babylon, Daniel prayed, "O Lord . . .we have sinned and done wrong . . . To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame . . . to all Israel . . . in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you" (Daniel 9:4-7; see Psalm 78:54-61). Israel has no divine right to be in the land of promise when she is breaking the covenant of promise.
This does not mean that other nations have the right to molest her. She still has human rights among nations when she has no divine right. Nations that gloated over her divine discipline were punished by God (Isaiah 10:5-13).
Secondly, Israel as a whole today rejects her Messiah, Jesus Christ, God's Son. This is the ultimate act of covenant-breaking with God. God promised that to Israel "a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6-7). But with tears this Prince of Peace looked out over Jerusalem and said, "Would that you . . . had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. . . . You did not know the time of your visitation" (Luke 19:42-44).
When the builders rejected the beautiful Cornerstone, Jesus said, "The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits" (Matthew 21:43). He explained, "Many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness" (Matthew 8:11-12)
God has saving purposes for ethnic Israel (Romans 11:25-26). But for now the people are at enmity with God in rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ, their Messiah (Romans 11:28). God has expanded his saving work to embrace all peoples (including Palestinians) who will trust his Son and depend on his death and resurrection for salvation. "Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith" (Romans 3:29-30).
The Christian plea in the Middle East to Palestinians and Jews is: "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). And until that great day when both Jewish and Gentile followers of King Jesus inherit the earth (not just the land), without lifting sword or gun, the rights of nations should be decided by the principles of compassionate and public justice, not claims to national divine right or status.
For the glory of Christ and the pleasure of God's will to bring all the world to His feet at a time of His choosing.
If not back to Israel, where?
I am not going to read this article because I'm too angry already today and don't want to risk of being even angrier. So to answer your question: YES! Yes they do have a right to the promise land.
Oh give me a break.
In case anyone is interested. Myself, I've never heard the Israeli government purport a divine right to the land. Neither Lord Balfour, nor any of the Brit administrators, nor any participants in the Treaty of Paris, the League of Nations or the UN for that matter. The only people I'm aware of are Muslims, who claim a divine right to kill Jews.
The Mufti suggested the Mediterranean.
To be consistent, the pro political Israel lobby should work for an independent Kurdistan, or so it seems.
I'm assuming this is the muslims.
The problem for Israel today is they have become so secular and leftist they don't have the will to do what has to be done to survive. They are dependent on the cheap labor that the muslims provide and are dependent on our aid. If they truly returned to their religious roots they might find the strength to survive, but do you really see them doing this?
That's interesting. This article was posted in light of a discussion we were having regarding dispensationalism and some kind of Scriptural support for the statehood of Israel which I do not find in the Bible.
I believe Israel has a right to exist and defend its citizens and its borders because they are a sovereign nation and an American ally.
If Israel wanted to take over the entire Mideast, it's fine by me.
So, what are you saying DE? You personally support a Jewish Israel, but other Christians don't have to because.....Jews don't believe in Jesus as the Messiah? Have I got that right?
I don't see why, but in fact Israel has been involved in and supportive of the Kurds since the 1960s.
I didn't post the article to make anyone angry. I, too, believe the Jews have a right to the land of Israel. I just don't find Scriptural support for that belief. It's based on political realities and historical events.
As I said, I think it would be just fine if the Jews eventually took over the entire Mideast. They turned their desert into pastures. They could probably do the same for the rest of the arid sand.
I believe in a sovereign Israel for political reasons, not for theological reasons.
I don't think that's inconsistent.
I certainly wasn't suggesting you were. Maybe I shouldn't have pinged it, but the subject does come up. In a sense this is kind of a Christian vs Christian debate. Israel has always been a secular state.
Yes, that seems accurate.
Questions I would like to have answered:
Who are the Jews? Can you you be half Jewish, quarter Jewish? Do cultural Jews count or only practicing orthodox Jews? St. Paul said "Not all are Jew who are born of Isreal".
However, I support Israel because I feel led by the Holy Spirit to do so. Isreal is symbolic of the old and new covenants revealed in scripture and is the land where Lord conquered sin and death at the cross.
Would you mind answering my question? Particularly the second part?
lol. No harm, no foul. I hate to be the cause of anyone's blood pressure rising. 8~)
Casper Weinberger was pardoned. I think Libby will be, too. His entire trial was bogus.
Ironically the movement dates to secular Jews in the late 19th century, reacting to the Dreyfus affair, concerned Europe might not be safe for Jews in the 20th century.
Michael Oren has some interesting comments in his recent book "Power, Faith, and Fantasy" both relating to early Zionism, though the term hadn't been coined in America, dating to the founders, as well as the impact of American Christian missionaries in the middle east. For better or worse he credits them for indirectly creating Arab nationalism, which he considers less a problem than Jihad, since it's objectives tend to be regional.
My favorite quote, not at my fingertips, from John Adams, wishing the Jews a nation in their homeland, and hoping to see an army of 100,000 marching with the skill of the French.
and is the land where Lord conquered sin and death at the cross.
Ah, but that land resides in the heart.
I you don't think my earlier response answered your question, then I guess I don't understand your question.
From the perspective of citizenship, which is what's relevant in a political sense, an individual with a single Jewish grandparent who had not converted to another faith. That's purely secular, based on the Nuremburg Laws, on the theory that persecution as a Jew was enought to establish citizenship. Not all those people would necessarily be considered Jews in a religious sense, which in Israel would mean a Jewish mother or a convert, and of course no conversion to another faith. Israel has 14 or 15 official religions.
"Ah, but that land resides in the heart"
Yeah, but I's still prefer the tour bus to be owned by a man named Abraham Zimmerman rather than Mohammed Akbar.
I don't think Israel should give up so much as an inch of land willingly. Let some of the Arab neighbors give their land to the terrorist palestinians. Ah, but then they couldn't use them as an excuse for their pathological hatred of Jews.
"To be consistent, the pro political Israel lobby should work for an independent Kurdistan, or so it seems."
I think an independent Kurdistan would be great.
Politically, it needs to work it out with Turkey. They can kill the Iranians all they want.
I'd prefer Abe to any "raghead" on the planet.
(Oops. Off to rehab.)
Is not his purpose served in their return?
"Who are the Jews?"
The Orthodox Jewish answer to this question would be anyone who's mother is/was a Jew or who agrees to abide by the Covenent and converts.
And here I thought I was taking it out of the religious arena into the secular, political domain.
Others are the ones who want to make it a theological debate.
I can honestly say I am astounded at the articles and TV shows coming out recently that blatantly deny Biblical truth.
More signs of the times, I suppose.
I agree. And that's where all this is headed.
My mother converted to Judism. That doesn't make me one, does it :>)
Justice is hunting down the killers of innocent men, women, and children, and their backers and supporters, and destroying them.
Too late to do this for the Israeli terrorists that fought the Brits, but not too late for the Palestinian terrorists active today.
And the article misses the entire point that it is not just Jews against Arabs, but a war of extermination by the Muslims against Israel and the West. both must be prepared to defend themselves. And nothing that can be found in the Bible is against that.
NO! The Holy Land ought to be put under the authority and control of the Catholic Church!
You can't use "God's will" for everything you like and then negate it for things you don't like.
Yes, in the larger scope everything is God's will, including the Jews' return to Israel.
However, not everything is correct or right or according to Scripture. Some things occur in spite of Scripture. We're supposed to discern the difference.
The Holocaust was so horrific, so satanic, that I think it was good the Jews were given what they believe to be their birthright, even if I disagree with the theology behind that belief.
Personally, I'd prefer the Judeo-Christian ethic and the morality of the Ten Commandments not be exclusively limited to Israel, but to spread throughout the planet.
"My mother converted to Judism. That doesn't make me one, does it :>)"
Did it occur before you were born? If so, yes, you are a Jew.
(I would temper this by stating that mine is the Orthodox opinion, and would temper it futher by saying that Orthodox do not recognize anything but Orthodox conversions, with certain rare exceptions. The Reform answer is probably more of the, "what religion are you now?" approach.)
"The Holy Land ought to be put under the authority and control of the Catholic Church!"
Yes, the Romans did so well there before.
If Christians want to support Israel (and I would hope they do) it should be for the same reasons a non-Christian would support Israel -- for valid political arguments and compelling ethical concerns.
I didn't know that. So the child of a convert is automatically a Jew? What if he isn't religious? I thought children of converts had to convert (be practicing Jews), unlike children of ethnic Jews.