Written by Don West
If you have ever received a gift of real or personal property from someone, then whether we give it any actual consideration or not, we act on the assumption that the donor, grantor, or benefactor of the gift is in fact the owner or legal possessor of the object that constitutes the gift and has the power and legal authority to convey and transfer that gift to us. To accept the property which constitutes the gift from one who does not have the right or power to convey ownership or is, unfortunately, a thief is usually fraught with disappointment and ultimate loss of the “gift” or, more seriously, being criminally charged with Theft by Receiving, A.C.A. 5-36-106. I know that this information is of no surprise to you, but it is an attempt to get us thinking again about what is the basis of Israel’s claim to the land it holds as a viable national state.
As the last several articles have indicated, God, that is the God of Israel and all others as well, gave this land, pursuant to His sovereign will, to the Patriarchs of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel and their descendants, FOREVER. Numerous references in the Book of Genesis, which have been cited previously, along with many other references throughout the rest of the Old Testament too numerous to mention at this time, clearly and cogently make this salient point. And since He is God, He can, of course, and does do as He pleases. But as I began to read the Bible with this issue of “The Land” in mind in April 2004, I was confronted with some very interesting passages which state that God regards this land as His first and foremost; and as a result of this fact, He clearly regards it within His power and sovereign will to give it, or lease it, to those whom He has chosen, which in this case is His Chosen People, the nation of Israel. Let’s take a look, and we will start with one of the more profound statements regarding this claim of ownership of the land by God, Himself.
As Moses, after the exodus from Egypt, and at God’s direction, instructs the nation of Israel about their God and their responsibilities in worship and obedience to Him; God, through Moses, gives this admonition to Israel in Leviticus chapter 25:
(1) “And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, (2) ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: WHEN YOU (Israel) COME INTO THE LAND WHICH I GIVE YOU, then THE LAND shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. (3) ‘Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruit; (4) but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for THE LAND, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard... (18) So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in THE LAND in safety (O’ how Israel desires to live in peace and safety with its neighbors). (19) Then THE LAND will yield its fruit and you will eat your fill, and dwell there in safety...(23) THE LAND shall not be sold permanently, FOR THE LAND IS MINE; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.’ ” (emphasis mine)
So here we have God not only reiterating to the nation of Israel that He has given them the land and instructing His people as to how and when to use the land, but He tells them why He tells them so: HE OWNS THE LAND, and as the OWNER and GRANTOR of THE LAND He has conveyed the land subject to what in the law is referred to as a condition subsequent; that is, you must use the land as the grantor has prescribed or risk losing it, either temporarily or permanently. Thus, while He had previously declared a weekly sabbath for the people, God now declares in these scriptures that the land must also have a sabbath every seven years during which Israel is to allow the land to lie fallow in obedience and honor to God. (Unfortunately, it is right here where a seed of catastrophe will be sown by Israel [definitely, no pun is intended]; for after it seizes the land by God’s enabling power from the Canaanites, the Amorites, and all the other “ites” (see the Book of Joshua), it will fail and refuse to obey this particular instruction regarding a “sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord.” And the nation of Israel will pay dearly for its disobedience regarding this (Lev. 26:33-35; 2Chr. 36:15-21), and other commandments and instructions, at the hands of God’s disciplining tools: the Assyrians (722 BC), the Babylonians (586 BC), and the Romans (70 AD). (emphasis mine)
Obviously, this is not a disinterested God when it comes to the land that He has promised Israel. In fact I will digress briefly as to the ownership issue to cite some scripture revealing some very profound and interesting comments made by God, again through Moses, about His land and His feelings for the land recorded in Deuteronomy, chapter 11:
(8) “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong and go in and possess THE LAND which you cross over (the Jordan River) to possess, (9) and that you may prolong your days in THE LAND which the Lord swore to give your fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel), to them and their descendants, A LAND flowing with milk and honey. (10) For THE LAND which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; (11) but THE LAND which you cross over to possess is A LAND of hills and valleys, (you would not believe how deep and narrow some of those valleys in Israel are) which drinks water from the rain of heaven, (12) A LAND FOR WHICH THE LORD YOUR GOD CARES; THE EYES OF THE LORD YOUR GOD ARE ALWAYS ON IT, FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR TO THE VERY END OF THE YEAR.” (emphasis mine)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again risking, indeed, the ad nauseam factor; these comments by God, and recorded by Moses, are about the same land which is at the epicenter of today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And since this is so, attempts by mere man, i.e. the United Nations, to negate God’s gift and grant of the land to the nation of Israel by dividing that land and giving a portion of it to the Palestinians, are the height of conceit and dangerous in the extreme. Not surprisingly, God had something to say approximately 2800 years ago through the prophet Joel (remember, God not only knows, but declares through His Written Word that all may know, the end from the beginning) about this current proposed partitioning of His land which, again, He has given, not to the Palestinians, but to the nation of Israel.
Joel 3: (1) “FOR BEHOLD, IN THOSE DAYS AND AT THAT TIME, WHEN I (GOD) BRING BACK THE CAPTIVES OF JUDAH AND JERUSALEM (possibly 1948 and 1967), (2) I WILL ALSO GATHER ALL NATIONS, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (another name for the Kidron Valley which is immediately east of the present old-walled city of Jerusalem) AND I WILL ENTER INTO JUDGMENT WITH THEM THERE ON ACCOUNT OF MY PEOPLE, MY HERITAGE ISRAEL, WHOM THEY HAVE SCATTERED AMONG THE NATIONS (the diaspora); THEY HAVE ALSO DIVIDED UP MY LAND (creating, by the way, the West Bank, otherwise known as Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and whatever else, only the “creative” minds of the U.N. can know)... (4) Indeed, what have you to do with Me, ... all the coasts of Philistia (remember, Palestine means land of the Philistines)? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head...(6) ALSO THE PEOLE OF JUDAH AND THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM YOU HAVE SOLD TO THE GREEKS (gentiles) THAT YOU MAY REMOVE THEM FAR FROM THEIR BORDERS (the diaspora). (7) BEHOLD, I WILL RAISE THEM (Israel) OUT OF THE PLACE TO WHERE YOU HAVE SOLD THEM, AND I WILL RETURN YOUR RETALIATION UPON YOUR OWN HEAD.” (emphasis mine)
BE AFRAID, PALESTINIANS AND UNITED NATIONS, BE VERY AFRAID!!! For GOD, the OWNER of THE LAND and the CREATOR of ISRAEL, has already granted it to HIS PEOPLE, ISRAEL, FOREVER; and NOTHING can thwart His intentions, His will, and His endowment. For this simple truth echoes down through the ages: God is not only the basis of Israel’s claim to THE LAND, God is the basis for Israel’s ABSOLUTE AND IRREVOCABLE RIGHT to THE LAND . (emphasis mine)
(adapted from The Boone County Spotlight; used with permission)
Don West is a new columnist and speaker for Prophecy Matters. His passion for Israel and prophecy is instantly contagious. He is a professor at North Arkansas College in Harrison Arkansas. Dr. West holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas.