Do the Jews have a divine right to the land of Israel today?

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God’s Conditional Promise

Many Christian Zionists claim that only Jews have divine right to the 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 God’s promise was conditional on their obedience to Him. 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.

We again read about God’s conditional promise in Deuteronomy 28 where God says, “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” (verse 1, 2). But if you disobey, you will be cursed “you shall be plucked from off the land … until you are destroyed” (verses 61,63). 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).

The Jews’ Apostasy

Almost all the Israelites 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).

As time went on, the majority of the Israelites 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).

But 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. And even when they returned from exile they again backslid greatly.

The Divine Right to the Land of Israel

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 (Luke 23:33; John 19:18).

Before His death, Jesus declared, “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). At that time, the Jewish probation ended and they were finally utterly destroyed as a nation by the Romans in 70 AD.

For this reason, the modern Jewish nation does not have any divine right to the earthly land of Israel. 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 as Savior and Lord. The Bible affirms this truth, “if you belong to Christ, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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