James Patrick’s Blog

October 20, 2009

Promised Land in Hebrews [I&NC #13]

Filed under: Prophecy — alabastertheology @ 3:36 pm
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In this final exegetical post on the subject of the Promised Land in the New Testament, we will consider the book of Hebrews.  As we would expect, a book of the New Testament written specifically to Jewish believers does not neglect the subject of land inheritance.  However, as with all the other passages we have looked at in the Gospels, Acts, and Romans, the writer to the Hebrews situates the time of the inheritance in the future rather than the present.  There is a task of world evangelisation to finish before Jewish believers can finally receive the promise of the ultimate Sabbath rest in their land.  They must learn to live by faith as their ancestors did, welcoming the promise from a distance, because perfection will be attained only together with the full number of nations descended from Abraham by faith.

Hebrews 3:1–4:11 – After demonstrating that Jesus was not an ‘angel’ but flesh and blood like us (chapters 1–2), but before explaining three ways in which Jesus had made the Law obsolete (priesthood, Temple and sacrifices; chapters 5–10) the writer to the Hebrews first dealt with the question of the promised land.  He showed that trusting in Jesus is more reliable than trusting in Moses, who bore witness to future things (3:5), but whose generation died in the wilderness through unbelief.  Clearly Joshua’s generation had not fulfilled the prophetic promise of a permanent ‘rest’ in the promised land (4:8), because David and later prophets still spoke of a future time of restoration (4:7).  Furthermore, even in the present generation there was still ‘work’ to do (4:10), and the future ‘Sabbath rest’ for Jewish believers [as for those from every nation] was a promise that would only be inherited by trusting in Jesus [‘Joshua’ in Greek] ‘until the end’ (3:14; 4:3, 11).  Believers might still ‘today’ be disqualified from inheriting the promise through unbelief and disobedience (3:19–4:2), as had the generation of Moses who died in the wilderness even after being ‘saved’ from slavery.

Obviously the writer here is not saying that the promise of ‘rest’ has been withdrawn since the Mosaic Law has been abolished, nor even that it has been ‘spiritualised’.  On the contrary, the entrance into the land under Joshua is treated as the best example so far of a fulfilment of the promised ‘rest’, and if even Joshua’s inheritance of the land was not the fulfilment, how much less could Jewish believers in the mid-first century AD think that their generation was the final fulfilment.  The writer reminds his listeners that in earlier times they endured great persecution from fellow Jews, but “accepted joyfully the seizure of your property”.  The implication is that they should again be willing to give up their land in the present age, knowing that they will inherit “a better, lasting possession” (10:34‑35).  What makes the inheritance of land in the future ‘better’ is its permanence.

Hebrews 11:8-16 – Our writer has explained how Jesus has made the Mosaic sacrificial system obsolete, and furthermore how continued reliance on it is now actually evidence instead of unfaithfulness towards God’s new covenant, deserving of terrifying judgement.  He then returns to his earlier theme of future inheritance of the promised land, inheritance that is only ensured by faithful endurance in the present (10:32‑39; cf. 3:5–4:11).  This may involve accepting present seizure of property within the land of Israel, but we can be joyful in this because we have a greater birthright (12:16‑17), a permanent inheritance in the future.  With this, our writer recalls that the ages of creation were “prepared” by God’s promise, which made them without having to use pre-existent materials (11:3; cf. Isa 66:8).  What is more, not a single one among the righteous heroes of the past actually received their promised inheritance, because their ‘perfection’ will happen at the same time as ours (11:39‑40; cf. Luke 13:28‑29).  Instead they wandered homeless and persecuted, condemning the rest of the earth’s inhabitants by their faith, and looking forward to the resurrection (11:7, 13, 27, 35‑38).  In fact, such was their righteousness that this present world was not even a worthy inheritance for them (11:7, 16, 38).  The question is, then, what is the inheritance of which the faithful are worthy?

In 11:8‑16, our writer focuses attention on the physical territory in which Abraham wandered, the country in which his listeners were now living (cf. Acts 7:4).  If he had wanted, this would have been the ideal time to tell Jewish believers that the land was no longer important, that they should hope for a ‘different’ country, or perhaps ‘living in heaven for ever’.  However he says quite the opposite.  That territory is “the land of promise”, the place “he was to receive for an inheritance”.  If none of these people of God in this chapter have yet received what was promised (11:13, 39‑40), this means that Abraham will still receive this territory at some future point.  He then writes that Isaac and Jacob lived in tents also, as “fellow heirs of the same promise”, meaning that they too will receive this territory along with Abraham (cf. Luke 13:28).

What made their behaviour unusual was that they did not actually own any of the land in their own day (cf. Acts 7:5), choosing to live in it as if they were foreigners rather than heirs.  They “confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the land”, and yet chose to remain there rather than return to the land from which they had left.  Clearly, they were wanting an inheritance, but they believed they were already in the right place.  Even so, it was not quite what they were looking for; they wanted a ‘better’ country, that is, a more permanent one (cf. 10:34), and they were prepared to wait right there until it was delivered (cf. Gen 26:1-6).  True to His word, God has been preparing a city for them, even a country, built not by their own hands but by God Himself (i.e. ‘heavenly’ – 11:10, 16; 12:22; 1 Cor 15:47‑53; 2 Cor 5:1‑4).

This is our own hope also, in every land on earth that we ourselves have been called to:  When we choose not to abandon the mission God has given us by returning to the country from which we left, it is because we are looking forward to God’s promised, prepared inheritance for us in the age to come – the very lands in which we presently live as strangers (cf. Gen 13:14-17).  On the other hand, we might choose to leave the land of our inheritance in order to help other nations receive their inheritance, just like the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh chose not to receive their own territories until the rest of the tribes had conquered theirs (Num 32:16-24).  They did not give up the hope of inheriting their land, but they postponed it for the sake of the rest of God’s people.  Heaven itself is not our inheritance; rather it is God’s workshop where He is preparing our earthly inheritance for us, “a better possession and a lasting one”.

In summary, therefore, we have seen how the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles all teach clearly that Israel will indeed permanently possess the territory promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the resurrection age to come.  This will happen after the Messiah returns, as a result of the whole nation of Israel being reconciled to their God when they see God’s mercy shown to the full number of Gentile nations.  Israel is not alone, therefore, in inheriting a promised land.  Paul saw that just as Adam’s sin affected all humanity and all creation, so Jesus’ obedience will bring restoration to all humanity and to every land on earth (cf. Acts 17:26), because by faith they too can become adopted ‘sons of God’ and the ‘seed of Abraham’.  The hope for every nation, and for every believer, is that as they move in faith to the place to which God has called them, God will grant them a permanent inheritance there in the time of resurrection and ‘restoration of all things’.  Thus ‘the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord’, for Jesus will be ‘the king of all the earth’, ruling from Mount Zion, the ‘city of the great king’ (Num 14:21; Psa 47; 48:1‑8; Mat 5:35; Rev 20:4‑9; 21:10, 22‑27).

The next post will offer a summary of the New Testament teaching concerning the promised land.


September 8, 2009

Refuting NT arguments against ‘promised land’ [I&NC #5]

Filed under: Prophecy — alabastertheology @ 10:33 pm
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There are some teachers who think that the Early Church no longer believed in a promised land for the children of Israel (i.e. Jews).  They cite various different New Testament verses to show this, but in each case this is not the best understanding of the passage:

Matthew 21:43 – “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruit of it.”  The image of a ‘vineyard’ in this parable typically refers in the Old Testament to the Jewish people themselves rather than their land (cf. Psa 80:8-11; Isa 5:1-7).  In line with this, Matthew (21:45), Mark (11:27) and Luke (20:19) all specify that Jesus intended the tenants to represent the leadership of the chief priests and elders / scribes / Pharisees rather than the whole Jewish people.

John 4:21 – “An hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”  This passage is teaching that in this new age of God’s dealings with mankind, worship is not restricted to a specific geographical location such as Jerusalem, and particularly not for Samaritans and other ‘foreign’ nations (John 4:22, Mat 10:5-6, Luke 17:15‑18).  This does apply to Jews also, because the Holy Spirit (4:24) is present everywhere, and because His ‘temple’ is now the Church (Mark 14:58; 1 Cor 3:9-17).  That does not mean, however, that Jerusalem will also lose its various other functions, specifically as the geographical capitol for Jewish people, and the earthly dwelling place of the coming Messiah.  Jesus spoke of a future time, long after the imminent capture of the city by the Gentiles, when Jerusalem will again be under Jewish sovereignty, and calls it ‘the city of the Great King’ (Luke 21:24; Mat 5:35).

John 18:33-38 – “My kingdom is not from this world.”  Jesus had been charged with claiming authority as the ‘King of the Jews’, and when He asked if this was Pilate’s own opinion, Pilate said he could not possibly decide on that because he wasn’t Jewish.  The real issue for Pilate, therefore, was finding out the source of Jesus’ authority, and in his view, authority came from those who followed you.  This is why he could not understand why Jesus’ own nation through the chief priests had handed him over to the Roman authorities.  Jesus then explained that His kingly authority came from God, not from the allegiance of the ethnic Jewish nation, and His subjects were rather those who had an allegiance to the Truth.  This meant that Pilate himself must also choose to submit to Jesus as king, but instead he side-stepped the underlying question of Jesus’ authority, the issue that was clearly behind the accusation of the Jewish leaders.  Jesus’ statement, therefore, is by no means a rejection of His claim over territory on earth; precisely the opposite.  Jesus is claiming to have supreme authority, not only over the Jewish nation who were rejecting Him, but even over the Roman empire.

Acts 2:45; 4:32-37 – “All who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet.”  Jewish believers selling real estate in the ‘promised land’ is certainly significant, because Ezekiel 48:14 teaches that Levites (such as Barnabas – Acts 4:36-37) must not sell land that belongs to them in the eschatological era.  Nevertheless, as Hebrews 10:34 and 11:8-16 demonstrate (see below), the Early Church clearly understood that the era of inheritance (cf. Acts 1:6-8) would not arrive until mission to all nations had been fulfilled (cf. Mat 24:14), so until that time Jewish believers could view themselves as exiles even within their own promised land, as had the Patriarchs.

Romans 4:13 – “The promise to Abraham or to his seed that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law.”  Here Paul evidently sees the promise to Abraham of the land of the Amorites as having been expanded to encompass the whole world.  Some therefore argue that the promise of a particular land is no longer in effect, but this is clearly not the intention.  Abraham is similarly called the “father of many nations” in 4:16-17, but this in no way prevents him from being the ethnic ancestor of the Jewish nation also.  John 11:50-52 similarly describes Jesus’ death for the nation of Israel, but at the same time also for the elect from all nations.  The key to understanding this ‘inheritance of the world’ is the mention of ‘seed’, elsewhere understood to be a direct reference to the Messiah (Gal 3:16).  The prophets are agreed that it is through the Davidic Messiah that the Abrahamic promise of blessing to the nations, and even ‘fathering’ of many nations by faith, will be fulfilled (e.g. Psa 2:6-8; 110; Isa 49:5-7; 51:1-5; Mic 4:1-4; Zec 14:16‑19).  Jesus therefore came first to the Jewish people as their promised king, ethnically the ‘seed of Abraham’, and so became the ‘heir of the world’ by unlocking Abraham’s covenant blessings for every nation through allegiance to Himself (Rom 15:8-12).  By trusting that God truly brought to life the promised Son, every nation (Jew and Gentile alike) can imitate Abraham’s righteousness and become his ‘seed’ also (Rom 4:16‑25).  Only in this way will they, like the future redeemed nation of Israel (the ‘Israel of God’), receive their own portion of the whole world which has become Christ’s inheritance (cf. Zec 8:10-13, 20-23; Eph 1:9-14; 2:11-22).

Hebrews 8:13–10:1 – This passage is the source of the common idea that the nation of Israel, or perhaps even the whole Old Testament, is ‘only a shadow’ of the Church and the present Kingdom of God.  Apart from being a woefully ignorant dismissal of the richness of God’s promises, such an idea ignores the evident concern of this passage with the Mosaic covenant alone.  Its regulations for sacrifices, tabernacle and priesthood are indeed ‘only a shadow’ of the new covenant realities.  However, the new covenant was designed to improve on the old covenant precisely as a more effective way for God to permanently fulfil His unconditional promise of land, part of the world-changing covenant with Abraham (Gen 15:7-21).  In fact, Galatians 3:15-21 makes it clear that the laws of Moses that were appended 430 years later to the covenant with Abraham were only temporary, and cannot possibly invalidate the established promises.

Hebrews 11:8-16 – The physical ‘land of promise’ that Abraham “was to receive for an inheritance” was understood by him to have a ‘heavenly’ origin, that is, something he could not attempt to build for himself now.  He declared himself an ‘exile’ on the earth despite living in the land he and his descendants would inherit, because the land was not yet his; God was still making it ready for him.  This is our own hope also, in every land on earth that we ourselves have been called to; when we choose not to return to the country from which we left, it is because we are looking forward to God’s promised, prepared inheritance for us – the very lands in which we presently live as strangers (cf. Gen 13:14-17) – in the age to come.  Some of us will choose to leave the lands of our inheritance temporarily in order to help other nations receive theirs, like the two and a half tribes crossing the River Jordan with Joshua (Num 32:16-32), but whether we stay or go, our permanent rest in the land of our inheritance will be granted by Jesus only when He returns from heaven.

Galatians 4:26 / Hebrews 12:22 / Revelation 21:2, 10 – The ‘new’ / ‘heavenly’ / ‘from above’ Jerusalem is a further development of the idea found throughout the Old Testament that earthly institutions are temporary representations of ‘heavenly’ realities.  This applies particularly to the tabernacle (Exodus 25:40), the temple (2 Chronicles 28:11-19), and Jerusalem itself, whose greater ‘heavenly’ manifestation was called ‘Zion’ by David (e.g. Psalms 48, 87, 110, 125, 132) – that is, the promised city of God’s dwelling (see references below).  This does not necessarily mean, though, that ‘heavenly’ means either ‘non-physical’ or ‘located in heaven’.  James 3:13-17 uses the same idea of ‘from above’ as opposed to ‘earthly’ to speak of the source of wisdom, rather than its location, as is also the case with the ‘new Jerusalem’ in Revelation 21.  Like the resurrection bodies we will receive in exchange for our present mortal ones in order to live eternally on the new earth, the ‘heavenly’ Jerusalem will be the future physical manifestation of the present worldly city, originating with God rather than being built by men (Heb 11:10, 16; 1 Cor 15:44‑49; 2 Cor 5:1‑2; cf. Acts 26:19; Heb 3:1; 6:4‑5).  When Hebrews speaks of the ‘heavenly Jerusalem’ we have already come to, this is not the walls and buildings yet to be made, but rather the “general assembly and church of the firstborn”, “righteous spirits made perfect”, equivalent to the “great cloud of witnesses” of 12:1.  That is, we have joined the growing company of citizens of that physical city “which is to come” (Heb 13:12-14; cf. 10:34; Php 3:20-21).  It is worth noting that in New Testament times, the occupants of Philippi and certain other cities were officially treated as ‘citizens of Rome’ even if they didn’t actually live there; in the same way, regardless of where we will actually live in the age to come, we will be considered ‘citizens of Jerusalem’.

Of course, these verses do profoundly undermine undue confidence in God’s special love for the modern-day city of Jerusalem, something the prophets also had to work hard at (cf. Jer 7:1‑15; 8:19; 26).  While it is undoubtedly the ‘place where He has caused His name to dwell’ (Gen 14:18-20; 22:1-14; Deut 12:4-27; 1 Sam 17:54; Jer 7:12-14; Psa 78:60-69; 132; 1 Kgs 8:27-30; Isa 62; Neh 1:9; Eze 43:1-9; 48:35; Mat 5:34-35; Rev 3:12), He has never been afraid to bring desolation on the earthly city in judgement for sin.  He allows it to be rebuilt time and again, but in these verses He promises that He will ultimately build for Himself an enduring city in that very place for the honour of His Son (Heb 11:10, 16).

Perhaps an even more significant argument against the cancellation of the land promise is what the apostle Paul does not say.  With his passion for Gentiles from every nation sharing in the inheritance of Abraham, he still takes no opportunity to declare the Jewish claim on the promised land void because of unbelief, whether in heated passages written against the Judaisers (e.g. Gal 4:21-31; Col 2:8–3:11), or in passages mentioning both believing Jews outside the land and unbelievers within it (e.g. Rom 15:30–16:11; 1 Thes 2:14-16).  He knew that the nation could finally now inherit their land permanently by turning to their Messiah, but he also knew that Jesus had returned to heaven in order to equip His people with the Holy Spirit to go to all nations first (Acts 1:6‑11).  He recognised that the temporary hardening of hearts among the Jewish people, which disqualified that generation from inheriting, was actually God’s way of encouraging Jewish believers to go and help other nations to inherit also (Rom 9–11).  Even so, he did not treat the Jews as just like any other nation (Rom 3:1-2; 9:4-5; Php 3:4-7), but rather they were in a sense ‘firstborn’ among many brethren nations (Eph 1:11‑14; cf. Jas 1:1, 18).  Eventually every nation would receive their own part of the Messiah’s worldwide inheritance, but only when all were ready to inherit.

September 1, 2009

Permanence of covenants with Abraham and Moses [I&NC #3]

Filed under: Prophecy — alabastertheology @ 3:38 pm
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God made the covenant promise of land to Abram 606 years before He renewed the covenant with the Israelites through Moses at Mount Sinai (Gen 15:1‑21; Exod 34:27‑28; 40:17).  Fourteen years after the promise of land, He instructed [the renamed] Abraham to circumcise all his physical offspring, because now he would be the father of a multitude of nations, and it was necessary to distinguish between those descended from him physically and those descended from him spiritually (Gen 17:1‑16).

The renewed covenant with the Israelites through Moses [hereafter the ‘Mosaic covenant’] was temporary from its very beginning, and has now been entirely fulfilled and abolished by Jesus as we will see in the next post.  However the covenant with Abraham promising land and a multitude of descendants, which was linked to the ethnic marker of circumcision and later reissued to the descendants of Jacob, has not been revoked in the new covenant.

A.  Circumcision

Circumcision was reaffirmed for the Israelites through Moses, but it had been established by Abraham.  Moses knew that circumcision was an important condition for inheriting the specific promises passed on by Jacob / Israel.  It is the physical sign throughout all generations that a male belongs to the ethnic ‘children of Israel’ and therefore qualifies to share in the promises made to Israel.  Gentiles, however, can now become the ‘children of Abraham’ by faith alone, becoming part of his wider promise of blessing to the nations, without having to become ethnically Jewish through circumcision.  Circumcision was thus not abolished for Jews in the new covenant, but rather declared irrelevant for Gentiles.  Sons of Jewish parents who are not circumcised can still inherit Gentile promises (that is, ‘salvation’), but are not qualified to share in the specific ‘salvation’ promises made to Israel, including the particular land promised to them.  The New Testament does not teach that any part of the Abrahamic covenant has been abolished.

John 7:19-24 – In this fascinating interchange, Jesus is perceptively pointing out that the Mosaic covenant is both inadequate and superseded by the earlier covenant with Abraham.  Moses commanded that one must not work on the Sabbath, which would certainly include cutting (cf. Num 15:32-36), but in order to keep the Abrahamic command to circumcise male children on the eighth day (Gen 17:10-14; Lev 12:3), the Mosaic Law could be broken.  Jesus was therefore claiming similar authority to supersede the Mosaic covenant, but not the Abrahamic covenant.

Galatians 5:2-15; 6:12-16 – In this letter written to Gentile believers (that is very important), Paul is fighting against the teaching of certain Jewish ‘believers’ that “Unless you [Gentiles] are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, 5).  Paul makes it clear that the real issue was not circumcision, but whether Gentile believers had to observe the Law (5:3, 14; 6:13).  It was Mosaic circumcision not Abrahamic circumcision that was being advocated by Paul’s opponents; for them, conversion to Judaism was complete only when the Gentile ‘God-fearer’ went so far as to become circumcised, thereby becoming Jewish.  At this point the Judaisers could ‘boast’ of having made another convert (6:13; cf. Mat 23:15), and it also enabled them to avoid persecution from fellow Jews who accused them of no longer valuing the Law (6:12; cf. Acts 6:11-14; 13:39-45; 21:20‑21).  To persuade Galatian Gentiles, they even claimed that Paul himself taught circumcision of Gentiles (cf. Acts 16:1‑3; 1 Cor 9:20).  Paul replied by pointing out that in that case the Jews would hardly keep persecuting him (5:11).  He was not against circumcision, because this was still the mark of physical descendants of Abraham, even with the Law of Moses abolished; rather, it was entirely irrelevant for salvation (5:6; 6:15).  Paul therefore spoke a blessing over all true believers, specifically including true Jewish believers – the ‘Israel of God’, unlike his opponents (cf. Rom 11:1-7) – who rightly put higher value on new creation than on (their) circumcision (6:16).  The reason Paul commanded Gentiles not to get circumcised was that their only reason for doing this would be to become Jewish according to the Mosaic Law (5:2-4).  This would indicate that they didn’t actually believe that Christ had taken on Himself the curse of the Law to open up the Abrahamic blessing to all Gentiles as well (3:8-14).  They were therefore enslaving themselves to the Mosaic Law and rejecting the gospel of grace.

B.  Mosaic Covenant

The covenant renewed with the Israelites through Moses, unlike the covenant with Abraham, was a temporary covenant, even from its inception.  The prophets at the time of exile clearly prophesied a ‘new covenant’ that would supersede the ‘old’ broken one, as had Moses himself.

Deuteronomy 29:22–30:10; 31:16-29 – God tells Moses explicitly that in later generations the children of Israel would be so rebellious that his covenant would be broken, and God would bring on them all the curses threatened in it, removing them from the land.  After this, though, He would surely restore the people to the land, and once there would circumcise their heart to love Him heart and soul, “so that you may live” (cf. Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:4-10).

Isaiah 59:9-21 – In a passage that deliberately interprets the above predictions about exile from Deuteronomy 28–32, Isaiah describes Israel’s inability to keep the law of Moses (cf. Deut 31:27; 32:36), their groping along in the darkness of exile (cf. Deut 28:28-29), God’s promised decision to redeem and atone for His people single-handedly through a ‘redeemer’ (cf. Deut 32:39-43), and a coming covenant of God’s words ‘in your mouth’ (cf. Deut 30:14) and His Spirit upon them (Deut 31:7-8, 14; Num 27:18; 11:28-29).

Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:36-42 – Jeremiah further explains this ‘covenant’ Isaiah prophesied as a “new covenant”, different from the one made one year after the Exodus from Egypt that had been broken.  This “everlasting” new covenant would involve sin atoned for and God’s law written on the hearts of the people.

Ezekiel 11:17-20; 16:59-63; 36:24-33; 37:21-28 – Ezekiel, writing in exile, picks up Jeremiah’s prophecies and similarly promises a “new spirit” put within the people who have been restored to their land, and a new heart of flesh to keep God’s commands, now that their sin has been cleansed.  This is similarly described as an “everlasting covenant of peace”, not like the one that had been broken, and it is specifically connected with the promised descendant of David who would be their king for ever.

August 27, 2009

Heirs of Abraham’s promise of land [Israel & New Covenant #2]

Filed under: Prophecy — alabastertheology @ 10:29 pm
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The ‘eternal’ land covenant made with Abraham was reissued to Isaac, to Jacob/Israel, to the patriarchs of the twelve tribes in Egypt, and to their ethnic descendants whom God promises will never be permanently rejected.  The promise of land, therefore, is a cheque made payable specifically to the ethnically Jewish people, whether or not this particular generation is permitted to cash it in.

Genesis 15:6-21 – As a reward for his faith, Abram was promised the land of the Amorites as a permanent possession, confirmed by God through a highly unusual covenant ceremony in which God promised it unilaterally, without any conditional requirements for Abram.  The closest parallel is Jeremiah 34:17-20 where passing between the carcasses is a self-curse if the covenant should be broken.  Effectively God is saying that if the descendants of Abram are denied their promised land, God Himself will be slaughtered to atone for His broken covenant.

Genesis 26:2-5 – When Isaac trusted God and in obedience did not leave the land of promise in a time of famine, God reaffirmed the land covenant of his father with him also.

Genesis 35:9-12 – When God officially changed Jacob’s name to Israel, he reaffirmed with him the covenant promises made to Abraham and Isaac of both descendants and land.

Genesis 50:24-25 – Joseph reminded his brothers that God would surely bring the children of Jacob / Israel up out of Egypt and bring them into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 9:4-6 – God explicitly warned Israel not to assume that they deserved His gift of the land of Canaan; He drove out the other nations for their wickedness, and He granted the land to Israel despite their stubborn rebellion, to confirm His promise to the Patriarchs.

Deuteronomy 11:21–12:1 – At the beginning and end of this passage God clarified that his promise of land to the Patriarchs and their descendants (Israel) will endure “as long as the heavens remain above the earth”, and “as long as you live on the earth”.  This was despite his warning that if they broke the commandments He was giving them, they themselves would perish quickly from the good land being given them.

Deuteronomy 30:1-5 – The endurance of the promise beyond exile from the land is made explicit here, where God promised that when the people return to their God, He would bring them back to possess the land which their fathers possessed, and multiply them even more than their fathers.

Jeremiah 29:10-14; 30:3 – At the start of the Babylonian exile, Jeremiah wrote to the exiles promising that after seventy years God would fulfil His promise to bring them back to the land from whence they were sent into exile.  30:3 makes it explicit that this promise is the gift of the land to their forefathers.

Jeremiah 31:1-14, 35-40 – After declaring to the distant nations that He would again gather His scattered flock Israel, ransoming them and returning them to their land, God declared that only if the laws of physics are overturned, or the universe is measured, will Israel cease to be a nation before God for all their sin (cf. Jer 33:19-26).

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