Israel Past - Whose land is it?
It's all His. Not just Israel, but the entire earth.
"The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1).
He simply allows us to be stewards over it. We're just passing through.
"The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me" (Leviticus 25:23).
Israel is His property. Even though this sliver of land is small in stature, it's huge in God's economy.
"Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there; and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel" (2 Chronicles 6:5-6).
He can give it to whomever He chooses.
God exercises His personal prerogative and gives the title deed to Abraham (forefather of the Jews) and his descendants as He commands Abraham to separate himself from pagan society.
"Now the LORD had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed' " (Genesis 12:1-3).
It's a promise of property, people and prosperity.
He gives exact details regarding its boundaries.
"?I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18).
"Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho; view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession" (Deuteronomy 32:49).
Why did God give His land to Abraham?
For two reasons:
1. The wickedness of the world
"It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you ?" (Deuteronomy 9:5a).
2. The witness of His word
"I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake ?" (Ezekiel 36:22).
"? that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (Deuteronomy 9:5b).
He brought them back into the land not because they deserved it, but because His reputation rested upon it. The Lord is declaring to the world what He will do in advance, so when the world looks on and sees this small band of people conquer and control against all odds, without much military might, everyone will know that this is indeed the Lord at work.
The destiny of the entire world hangs on God's faithfulness to His promises, not on the faithfulness of man.
His is an unconditional covenant. The Israelites couldn't blow it if they tried.
"When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them" (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Along the way, He disciplines His children, twice, by removing them from the land (Jeremiah 27:4-8; Matthew 23:37-39). This is His way of taking His children to the proverbial woodshed for their disobedience. The second of these dispersions, known as The Diaspora, has lasted since 70 AD.
"Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word, But complained in their tents, And did not heed the voice of the LORD. Therefore He raised up His hand in an oath against them, To overthrow them in the wilderness, To overthrow their descendants among the nations, And to scatter them in the lands" (Psalm 106:24-27).
Dry bones will one day come to life.
In Ezekiel 37, God pulls Ezekiel into the spirit realm to illustrate how Israel will one day come to life, just as if dry bones were to come out of the grave to re-establish themselves among the living (Ezekiel 37:1-14). Isaiah echoes Ezekiel's words and brings us to a more literal return of Israel to her rightful place among the nations:
"It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left / From Assyria and Egypt / From Pathros and Cush / From Elam and Shinar / From Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:11-12).
After wandering the earth in many different cultures, the Israelites had the miraculous ability to instantly galvanize and come together as a unified people. This happened on May 14, 1948.
"For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land" (Ezekiel 36:24).
This shouldn't shock or surprise anyone. Why? Because God said it was going to happen (Isaiah 48:3-5).
God's children are truly a special, protected people.
"And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will drive you" (Deuteronomy 28:37).