Friday, August 26, 2005

Israel and the Gaza Strip

The Israeli government has forced Jewish settlers to leave the Gaza strip. Some Christians are upset about this withdrawal, because the believe that God gave the land to Israel. The problem is that the promise of the land was conditional on obedience. While promising to bless Israel, God also warned that if they failed to obey him, they would be removed from the land.

You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the LORD your God. Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other (Deut 28:62-64).
God did not give the land in perpetuity. He warned that if they rejected him, they would be scattered among the nations. This warning was fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed and the people scattered throughout the earth. Given that God scattered them, they cannot claim title to the land until God gives it back to them. His word promises that he will do this after he has poured his Spirit on Israel. He has not yet poured out his spirit on Israel, so they do not
yet have a right to the land.

Nation of Israel does not have a divine right to the land (as many people claim). The land was given to Israel on condition of obedience. The Jews lost their land in AD 70, because they rejected Christ. Until they acknowledge Jesus (Matt 23:38,39; Luke 21:24), they do not have God's blessing on their ownership of the land. At present, Israel's right to the land depends on a United Nations decision and a successful defence of the land. This title is as legitimate as that of many other nations, but it is not a divine right. Israel will only have a divine right to the land when it fulfils the covenant by coming to faith in Christ (Deut 30:1-5).

For a more detailed study of this topic see the parable of the
Three Sons.

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