P3 – Why Israel Acquiring the Promised Land at Jesus’ return matters to Christians: A response to “Episode 2: Bible Secrets Revealed”

Deuteronomy 30:5 “The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.”

Introduction:    

In the Wednesday night, November 20, 2013 airing of the History Channel Program series: “Bible Secrets Revealed”, questions abounded as to whether or not the Bible clearly lays out who has rights of ownership to the Promised Land. In today’s post I want to set the record straight once more as to the Biblical and Theological reasons behind why God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12,15,17,22 and elsewhere stipulates that only the Jewish people are the rightful heirs to the Promised land. Such a teaching of scripture fits under the branch of doctrine that is called “Israelology”, or the study of Israel in Bible history, today and prophecy.  To understand properly God’s plan for Israel not only makes perfect sense concerning the purpose and place of the Promised land and the Middle East situation, but also God’s prophetic promises for Christians who have by grace through faith looked to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, for their salvation.  In today’s post I want us to consider why the promised land belongs to Israel, and why that matters to Christians, with particular attention paid to the land covenant God repeated to Israel in Deuteronomy 30

1. Connecting Abraham’s Covenant to Deuteronomy 30

As we already mentioned, God promised Abraham land, seed and blessing.  We know “what God” promised.  The question is: “how will God bring the promise and prediction to Abraham to be about the Person of Jesus Christ?”  As you go throughout the rest of scripture, God will make three other eternal covenants that amplify the three-fold promise of the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12 (Land Covenant, Davidic Covenant, New Covenant).  The Land Covenant of Deuteronomy 30 amplifies and reinforces God’s promised land to His people Israel.  The figure below summarizes the exposition that will follow on Deuteronomy 30:

Abraham’s (Promise of Land)————-Land (Amplified promise)

Covenant                                                       Covenant

(Genesis 12:1)                                         (Deut 30:1-10)

2. Why the Promised Land to Israel matters to Christians today

I think before we unfold the significance of Deuteronomy 30, it is vital to first see why this even matters to the Christian reader.  The question a Christian reader may ask is: what does a land deed to Israel have to do with me?  As you study both Old and New Testaments on this subject of the Promised Land, here are some applications you find to the Christian:

A. God’s fulfillment of His promises to Israel directly impacts His level of faithfulness in fulfilling the Christian’s salvation. (Romans 11:11-12)

B. The God who guarantees a future for Israel is the same God who guarantees the Gospel.  In fact, Romans 10:6-9, a key passage describing the Gospel, quotes from Deuteronomy 30, the key text for God’s land Covenant with Israel.

C. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)  By virtue of the fact that Jesus is going to restore Israel and her land at His second coming, means that His Promises to the Christian right now stand firm.  Jesus never changes His character nor faithfulness. 

With those three main applications stated, we can now briefly see the prophetic significance of the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 30.

3. God’s Promised Land in Bible Prophecy

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 outlines God’s amplification and prophetic program for restoring the nation of Israel at Christ’s return.  A brief outline of this text shows this point:

A. Rescue Israel.              Deuteronomy 30:3-5

B. Redeeming o Israel.    Deuteronomy 30:6-8

C. Rich blessing of Israel.  Deuteronomy 30:9-10

God’s ultimate will to have a redeemed nation in Israel will come to pass.  Undoubtedly she would have a history of apostasy and rebellion as predicted in Deuteronomy 28-29.  In fact, Deuteronomy 30:1-2  details how she will be scattered all over the globe.  A brief history of Israel from Old Testament to present day demonstrates the truth of her scattering.

An appropriate title for Deuteronomy 30 could be – “The Promised Land”.  Why? Whenever you connect Moses’ words to that generation of Israelites preparing to enter into that land to what God said to Abraham over 430 years prior, you begin to see the connections. God had “promised the land” to Abraham and his descendants. (Genesis 12:1; 13:15; 15:7)  The Land was to be Israel’s portion and proof that God’s Covenant with her was not broken.  God included the boundaries of the land – stretching from the River Euphrates to the East to the Western most limit of the Nile River in Egypt. (Genesis 15:18).  The promise part of the Abrahamic Covenant is clear once you read the corresponding passages in Genesis and Deuteronomy.  

Now we know of course there were times throughout Israel’s history where she came close to possessing the land, nevertheless she has never has possessed all of it. (Joshua 21:43-45; 23:14-15; Nehemiah 9:8)  This tells us that God’s fulfillment of the land to Israel still remains future. In other words, the “promised land” could also be termed “the prophetic land”. Just as God’s promises are sure, so are His predictions concerning Israel’s future and her acquisition of the 300,000 square miles of land extending from the Nile to Euphrates River. 

4. When God will Rescue, Redeem and Richly Bless Israel with the land

As we mentioned before, Deuteronomy 30 outlines God’s future guarantee of granting Israel the promised land.3  This three-step process of rescuing, redeeming and rich blessing is spoken of in the passages that point to the return of the Lord to set up His earthly Kingdom here on earth.  For instance, Isaiah 11 speaks of Christ returning to rule the earth with a rod of iron (11:4), rescuing Israel (11:11) who will be redeemed (11:13) and thus be a rich blessing among the nations (11:16).4  According to Revelation 19-20, this future time period will last 1,000 years and is called by Bible teachers “The Millennium” (a term meaning 1,000 years). 

So Israel as a nation can be expected to be rescued and redeemed at Christ’s return (Romans 11:25-26) and thus be richly blessed in her own land as originally promised to Abraham.

5. Why the Promised Land to Israel matters to Christians today

What does a land deed to Israel have to do with Christians?  As we have seen, this top Bible prophecy has implications reaching into the future beginning at Christ’s return.  However the fulfillment of this land covenant ties into determining God’s faithfulness to the Christian as Savior Lord and Treasure.  As we noted at the beginning:

A. God’s fulfillment of His promises to Israel directly impacts His level of faithfulness in fulfilling the Christian’s salvation. (Romans 11:11-12)

B. The God who guarantees a future for Israel is the same God who guarantees the Gospel. In fact, Romans 10:6-9, a key passage describing the Gospel, quotes from Deuteronomy 30, the key text for God’s land Covenant with Israel.

C. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) By virtue of the fact that Jesus is going to restore Israel and her land at His second coming, means that His Promises to the Christian right now stand firm. Jesus never changes His character nor faithfulness.

Closing Thoughts

Bible Prophecy (also called “eschatology” meaning study of last things) is designed to energize hope and expectation of Christ’s return.  My prayer is that these studies are giving you the reader an orderly way of considering the vast and rich terrain of God’s prophetic message in His Word, that is built upon His character, His promises and centered in the Person and work of the soon coming King – Jesus Christ.  

End Notes__________________

1. 722 b.c Assyrian Exile of the Northern Kingdom of Israel;  605-586 b.c Babylonian Exile of the Southern Kingdom of Judah; 516 b.c-Jesus’ day.  Though the Jews did return in large numbers to Jerusalem, yet many were still scattered throughout the Medditeranean world and were termed “The Dispersed ones” by Jesus day. In today’s world, even though many have been steadily returning since the reconstitution of Israel in 1948, many are still scattered throughout the world.

2. Dwight Pentecost in His Book: “Things to Come”, mentions the following cross-references that also refer to God’s continuing promise of the future promised land to Israel: Isaiah 11:11-12, 14:1-3, 27;12-13, 43:1-8, 49:8-16, 66:20-22, Jeremiah 16:14-16, 23:3-8, 30:10-11, 31:8,31-37; Ezekiel 11:17-21, 20:33-38, 34:11-16, 39:25-29; Hosea 1:10-11; Joel 3:17-21; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4:4-7 and Zephaniah 3:14-20.

3. In Deuteronomy 30:3-5 we see Him rescuing Israel as seen in the words “restore” (30:3), “gather you again” (30:3), “gather you” (30:4), “bring you back” (30:4) and “bring you into the land” (30:5). Then in Deuteronomy 30:6-8 we see God redeeming Israel as demonstrated by the phrase “circumcision of the heart” (30:6), which is an Old Testament version of the more glorious New Birth spoken of by Jesus in John 3. Thirdly, we see God richly blessing Israel in Deuteronomy 30:9-10 through the language of “prospering” (30:9).  

4. Another passage that speaks of Christ’s future earthly reign over His people Israel is Zechariah 12-14. Zechariah prophesies of Israel being rescued (12:1-9), redeemed (12:10-14:8) and richly blessed (14:9-21) in her own land with her Messiah. 

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About pastormahlon

By the grace of God I was converted to saving faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 10 and called into the Gospel ministry by age 17. Through the Lord's grace I completed a Bachelors in Bible at Lancaster Bible College in 1996 and have been married to my beautiful wife since that same year. We have been blessed with four children, ranging from 7-18 years of age. In 2002 the Lord enabled me to complete a Master of Arts in Christian Thought at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield PA. For nearly 25 years I have been preaching and teaching God's Word and have been studying the original languages since 1994. In 2016 God called my family and me to move to begin a pastorate at a wonderful Southern Baptist Congregation here in Northern New York.
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2 Responses to P3 – Why Israel Acquiring the Promised Land at Jesus’ return matters to Christians: A response to “Episode 2: Bible Secrets Revealed”

  1. Pingback: Bible Verse Of The Day-Sunday December 01, 2013 | LSW Ministries "No One Left Behind"

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