“Many Christian Zionists proclaim that only Jews have rights to land of Israel today, based on God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:8. They say that since God gave the land originally to Abraham’s seed, this means that modern Israelis have an unconditional right to that land.
But what does the Bible teach?
In Exodus 19:5, God said to Israel, “If you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” Israel’s being “a peculiar treasure … above all people” was conditional upon their obedience to God.
Deuteronomy 28 is the chapter of the blessings and curses. The Lord said, If Israel obeyed Him, the nation would be blessed “the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God” (V. 1, 2). But if they disobeyed, Israel would be cursed “you shall be plucked from off the land … until you are destroyed” (verses 61,63). Israel’s right to the land was conditional upon her relationship with God.
History tells that over a million people left Egypt with Moses. And God repeated His promise to give them “the land which you are going to possess” (Deuteronomy 7:1). But what happened? Almost all of them died in the wilderness because of their sins without entering the land. Paul later wrote, “they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). This proves that even though God promised the land, faith was required to receive the promise. And because Israel sinned, God said, “you shall know my breach of promise” (Numbers 14:34).
Yet as time went on, the majority again disobeyed God’s Law. And the Lord warned, “I will cast you out of this land” (Jeremiah 16:12,13) unless you repent. And before this captivity, God restated the conditional nature of His promises “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation [He was talking to Israel], and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. Now therefore go to speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you ….” (Jeremiah 18:9-11). And because of Israel’s disobedience, the armies of Babylon came and “Judah was carried away captive out of his own land” (Jeremiah 52:27). Again, God’s promises to Israel were conditional.
So, does the modern Jewish nation now have an unconditional right to that land because God originally gave it to their ancient forefathers? The answer lies in whether the Jews as a nation accepted the Messiah or not. Sadly, the nation of Israel rejected God’s Son and crucified Him.
And Jesus rejected them saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37,38).
For this reason, the modern Jewish nation does not have any divine right to the earthly land of Canaan. The only ones who will ultimately and eternally claim the Land of Israel and the whole world are those that have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ “And if you belong to Christ, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).
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