The Effects of Abrahamic Covenant Upon Israel-Part 2
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Renald Showers; ©2001|
|This month Dr. Showers explains how and why the Abrahamic Covenant guarantees Israel permanent ownership of the land. They have the right to live in and exist there as a nation. That right will not terminate even if they are forced out again in the future.|
The Guarantee of Israel’s Permanent Ownership of the Land
Our previous article dealt with the first of two effects that the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant has upon the nation of Israel—It guarantees Israel permanent existence as a nation. This present article will examine the second effect—The Abrahamic Covenant guarantees Israel permanent ownership of the land.
Since the Abrahamic Covenant is an unconditional covenant (not dependent upon Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their physical descendants, the people of Israel, meeting conditions for the fulfillment of the covenant’s promises), and since one of God’s promises in that covenant was to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and the people of Israel as a possession forever (Genesis 12:7; 13:14-15; 15:18-21; 17:8; 1 Chronicles 16:15-18; Psalm 105:8-11), Israel must hold ownership of Canaan through the end of history. This does not mean that Israel had to live in this land continuously in order to maintain ownership. Many landlords own property which they do not personally inhabit. Thus, ownership does not require personal inhabiting of property by its owner. Israel’s dispersions from Canaan because of sins have not ended its ownership of the land. Thus, Israel has rightful claim to the land both today and in the future.
In line with this rightful claim, many of the prophets foretold a total, permanent restoration of the people of Israel to the land which God promised to their fathers and them in the Abrahamic Covenant. For example, God said to the Prophet Isaiah, “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified” (Isaiah 60:21).
Jeremiah foretold that in the future, when Jerusalem becomes “the throne of the LORD” and all nations are gathered to it, all the tribes of Israel will be reunited in the land which God gave to their fathers as an inheritance (Jeremiah 3:17-18). Again he declared that when David’s righteous Branch, the Messiah, reigns as King, God will regather the sons of Israel from the nations of the world and restore them to their own land which He gave to their fathers (Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:5-8; 30:3). Further, through Jeremiah God promised that when He restores Israel to the land, he will make the people of Israel dwell in safety, will do them good, and “will plant them in this land assuredly” with all His heart and soul (Jeremiah 32:37, 41). The language of these promises indicates that God is fervently committed to this future restoration of Israel to its land and that this restoration is dependent upon God’s faithfulness to His Word expressed in the Abrahamic Covenant.
Ezekiel prophesied that God will restore the sons of Israel to their own land, the land which He swore to give to their forefathers. At that time God will make Israel one nation; no longer will it be divided into two kingdoms. Israel will have one king. The Israelites will live securely in their own land. No longer will they be a prey to other nations or have to endure their insults, for God will execute judgments upon all who scorn them. The restored Israelites and their descendants will live in their own land forever. God will not hide His face from them any longer. He will make an everlasting covenant with them, in spite of Israel’s evil and the fact that the nation does not deserve it. God will do it to vindicate the holiness of His name, to make Israel recognize their true God, and to impress all the other nations with Himself (Ezekiel 20:42, 44; 28:25-26; 34:13, 27-29; 36:22-32; 37:11-26; 39:25-29). These divinely stated purposes indicate once again that Israel’s future, permanent restoration to its own land is ultimately dependent upon God, not upon Israel’s obedience.
The Prophet Amos declared that God will restore the captivity of Israel. At that time the people of Israel will rebuild their ruined cities, plant vineyards and gardens, and enjoy the fruit of their labors. God declared, “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them” (Amos 9:15).
Several things should be noted in light of these prophetic passages. The present restoration of Israel to its homeland that began in the middle of the 20th century is not the fulfillment of these prophecies. Two things indicate this. First, these prophecies foretell a total restoration of the Jews to their land from all the nations of the world. By contrast, the 20th century restoration has not been total. Those Jews who are still scattered among the nations of the world are considerably more numerous than those living in the state of Israel.
Second, these prophetic passages indicate that all the Jews who will return to their homeland in this future restoration will be righteous. They will dwell in complete safety. No one will insult or make them afraid. The Messiah, the righteous Branch of David, will reign over them as their King. They will recognize their true God. None of these things is a reality for the Jews in the present state of Israel. These conditions will not become reality for Israel until the Messiah will come in His Second Coming to reign as King. Thus, the restoration of Israel foretold in these prophetic passages will not take place until His Second Coming.
Another observation to be made on the basis of these prophetic passages is that the divine promises of these passages indicate that God regards the nation of Israel as the continuous owner of the land of Canaan in spite of its various dispersions from that land. They indicate this by God’s use of such expressions as their own land. God punished Israel for its sins by temporarily removing it more than once from its own land, but He will never punish it to the extent of abolishing its ownership of that land. To do so would be to violate His promise in the Abrahamic Covenant to give the land of Canaan to the fathers and people of Israel forever.
There is, then, an inseparable link between the Abrahamic Covenant and the prophetic passages that promise Israel’s total, permanent restoration to its homeland and future blessing. The covenant is the foundation or basis for these prophetic passages, and the passages are the natural outgrowth or result of the covenant. They foretell the ultimate, final fulfillment of the divine promise to Israel contained in the Abrahamic Covenant.
Some Important Conclusions
The twofold effect of the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant upon Israel prompts some important conclusions.
First, the fact that the Abrahamic Covenant guarantees Israel permanent existence as a nation prompts the conclusion that Jews will always be present in the world. No matter how ugly and powerful anti-Semitism may become, it will never be able to annihilate the Jews totally. This guarantee of the Abrahamic Covenant stands as an unyielding, immovable stone against which anti-Semitism will dash itself to bits in the future Tribulation period when it will make its last and greatest effort to destroy Israel.
Second, the fact that the Abrahamic Covenant guarantees Israel permanent ownership of the land of Canaan prompts the conclusion that Israel has the right to live in that land and exist there as an independent nation state at any time, even when world conditions do not permit it to do so. Even if future world events were to force Israel out of its homeland again in the future, the Abrahamic Covenant would forbid the conclusion that God had revoked the nation’s ownership of that land and its right to live there. God’s Abrahamic Covenant promises to that nation and its fathers are irrevocable (Romans 11:28-29).