Aug 20, 2009

Promised Land for Today?

Arnold Fruchtenbaum
By Arnold Fruchtenbaum

Q. According to the Abrahamic Covenant, the Land belongs to the Jews by divine right. But how do we know from Scripture whether the entire Promised Land rightfully belongs to the Jews today, or whether it will rightfully belong to the Jews only when the Lord gives it to them in the future?

A. When the promise of the Land was stated, it was stated in the future tense as being for the Patriarchs and their seed. However, in Genesis 15, God also specified the timing of that future event to be after the sojourn to Egypt and return from Egypt. The Exodus and the time of the conquest is when God actually gave the whole Land to Israel as a divine possession, though to this day the nation has never enjoyed all of the Promised Land.

A distinction must be made, then, between the divine ownership of the Land by a divine title deed and actual enjoyment of the Land. Ownership was rendered unconditional on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant and reaffirmed by the Palestinian or Land Covenant; and this came fully into effect once the Jews entered the Land under Joshua. But enjoyment of the Land is based upon obedience, as stated in the Mosaic Covenant. For that reason, to this day the Jews have never enjoyed all of the Promised Land, and even at the present time are withdrawing from territories they've held since 1967.

Indeed, they will not enjoy all of the Land until they become a saved nation, at which point the Messiah will give it to them. But, again, the ownership of the Promised Land is already a fact, with God’s promise of Genesis 15 having been fulfilled, as described in the Book of Joshua.