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                         "THE TIME OF THE END"

                      Israel And The Land Promise

INTRODUCTION

1. Previously, we examined the relationship between the kingdom and the
   church...
   a. Noting that dispensational premillennialists view the kingdom of
      God to be the earthly, theocratic kingdom of Israel yet to be
      established
   b. While others (including historic premillennialists) view the
      kingdom of God to be spiritual, with the church as a visible
      manifestation of God's rule through Jesus Christ

2. One's view of the kingdom is directly related to one's understanding
   of the role of Israel...
   a. Those who look to an earthly, theocratic kingdom of Israel do so
      because they believe there are
      promises to that nation which have not been fulfilled
   b. Thus they believe the end times will involve the fulfillment of
      such prophecies

[One such promise is that made to Abraham concerning the land of Canaan.
In this study, we will the examine that promise.  First, let's do so in
the context of...]

I. GOD'S THREE-FOLD PROMISE

   A. THE LAND PROMISE...
      1. Made to Abraham while still in Ur of Chaldees - Ac 7:2-3; Gen
         12:1
      2. Repeated several times to Abraham - Gen 12:7; 13:12-14; 17:8
      3. Confirmed to Isaac, and later to Jacob - Gen 26:3; 28:13
      4. Its borders were to extend from:
         a. From the river of Egypt (the Brook of Egypt, or Wadi el
            Arish) - Num 34:5; Jos 15:4
         b. To the Euphrates River - Gen 15:18
      -- This promise refers to the land of Canaan, later known as
         Palestine

   B. THE NATION PROMISE...
      1. Made to Abraham - Gen 12:2
      2. Repeated to Abraham several times - Gen 13:16; 17:6
      3. Confirmed also to Isaac and Jacob - Gen 26:4; 35:11
      -- This promise refers to the nation of Israel, the descendants of
         Jacob

   C. THE SEED PROMISE...
      1. Made to Abraham - Gen 12:3
      2. Repeated to Abraham - Gen 22:18
      3. Confirmed also to Isaac - Gen 26:4
      -- This promise refers to Jesus Christ - cf. Ac 3:25-26; Ga 3:8,16

[All professing Christians agree that the nation promise and the seed
promise have been fulfilled.  But what about the land promise...?]

II. THE LAND PROMISE EXAMINED

   A. WAS THE LAND PROMISE FULFILLED...?
      1. Most dispensational premillennialists believe the promise is
         yet to be fulfilled
      2. Some say that it was never fulfilled
      3. Others say it was fulfilled, but that the land was to be
         Israel's:
         a. "forever" - Gen 13:15
         b. "as an everlasting possession" - Gen 17:8
      -- Thus their belief that Israel needs to be restored to the land
         today

   B. THE LAND PROMISE WAS FULFILLED...!
      1. As stated by Joshua
         a. God gave the land - Josh 21:43
         b. Israel possessed the land - Josh 21:43
         c. Israel lived in the land - Josh 21:43-44
         d. "not a word failed...all came to pass" - Josh 21:45; cf.
            23:14
      2. As implied by the cities of refuge
         a. Six cities were promised, 3 on each side of the Jordan - Num
            35:9-15
         b. Three were given in the trans-Jordan, three more promised if
            God kept His promise to give Israel all the land promised to
            their fathers - Deut 19:7-9
         c. Six cities were given; so God must have kept His promise!
            - Josh 20:7-9
      3. As experienced during the reign of Solomon
         a. The extent of the land promised described to Abram - Gen
            15:8
         b. The extent of the land ruled over by Solomon - 1Ki 4:21
         c. God's promise regarding the land had been fulfilled!
      4. As praised by the Levites upon their return from Babylonian
         captivity
         a. God made a covenant with Abraham concerning the land - Neh
            9:7
         b. God performed His words - Neh 9:8,23-25
      5. As praised by the Psalmist
         a. God remembered His promise to Abraham - Ps 105:42
         b. He gave His descendants the land - Ps 105:43-45
      -- Without question God fulfilled the promise to give Israel the
         land!

   D. WAS THE LAND PROMISE UNCONDITIONAL...?
      1. The promise to receive the land was unconditional - cf. Deut 9:5
      2. But the promise to retain the land was conditional - cf. Josh
         23:15-16
      3. Captivity and return to the land was foretold - Deut 4:25-27;
         28:15-68; 30:1-10
      -- The OT thus describes the history of Israel's captivity and
         restoration

   F. WAS THE LAND PROMISE TO BE FOREVER AND EVERLASTING...?
      1. It was indeed promised "forever", "as an everlasting
         possession" - Gen 13:15; 17:8
      2. However, the Hebrew word translated 'forever' and 'everlasting'
         is olam
         a. "meaning a very long time" - TCWD
         b. "may cover a person's lifetime (Exo 21:6; 1 Sa 1:22) - ibid.
         c. "a period of many generations (Josh 24:2) - ibid.
         d. "the time of the present created order" (Ps 73:12) - ibid.
         e. "The term 'forever,' for a perpetual possession, means as
            long as the order of things to which it belongs lasts."
            - Barnes
         f. "...to the end of the present dispensation" - Clarke
      3. If 'everlasting' always meant lasting forever, then we should
         still be observing:
         a. Circumcision - Gen 17:10-13
         b. The Passover - Exo 12:14
         c. The Feast of Unleavened Bread - Exo 12:17
         d. The priesthood of Aaron - Exo 29:9
         e. The Sabbath - Exo 31:16-17
         f. The sacrifices, with their portions for the priests - Lev
            6:18; 7:34-36; 10:15
         g. Fasting and animal sacrifices on the Day of Atonement - Lev
            16:29-34
         h. The Feast of Tabernacles - Lev 23:39-42
         i. ...and many other elements of the Law described as
            'everlasting ordinances'
      4. Yet the New Testament teaches such ordinances were not
         permanent
         a. They were fleshly ordinances, imposed until a time of
            reformation - He 9:6-10
         b. Circumcision is clearly no longer binding - Ga 5:1-6
         c. Even Sabbath days are no longer bound - Col 2:14-17
      -- Thus the promise of the land was to last only as long as it
         fulfilled God's purpose

CONCLUSION

1. God fulfilled His promise for Israel to receive the land...
   a. So says Joshua, the Psalmist, and the Levites
   b. At the very least Solomon ruled over the entire land described to
      Abraham

2. Israel's retention of the land was always conditional...
   a. Moses and Joshua warned Israel that it was conditional
   b. The Assyrian and Babylonian captivity illustrates how Israel lost
      the land
   c. The Restoration described in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah
      illustrates how Israel regained the land

Dispensational premillennialists, however, contend there are still OT
promises regarding Israel's restoration that have yet come to pass.  We
shall consider those promises in our next study.

Meanwhile, have you received the blessings of the Seed promise made to
Abraham...? - Ac 3:25-26
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