I have pondered this for a couple of years now. I am wondering if any of you could help me out with this question. It concerns Israel and the land. I don’t doubt Israel being a unique people group that God has made promises to and will keep. I don’t doubt a future for them. My hope is that someday God will bring about a great revival once again in the Jewish people. However, in my study of the covenants, people, and the land I do not understand the insistence that 1947 is somehow the fulfillment of that. Or that Israel is currently entitled to the land now. And here’s where my pondering begins. In the Pentateuch God makes the promise with the Patriarchs of land, seed, blessing. Throughout the Pentateuch we see God’s providence in bringing this about for the people of Israel. When God is beginning to bring them into the land he warns them, that if they insistently rebel against Him, He will discipline them. He doesn’t break the covenant. But if they disobey this is what He says, He will do:
But if in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me, then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you sevenfold for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. And I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars and cast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies of your idols, and my soul will abhor you. And I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing aromas. And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.
Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it. And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues. They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though none pursues. And you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And you shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And those of you who are left shall rot away in your enemies’ lands because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them. (Leviticus 26:27-39 ESV)
We this promise come true throughout the rest of the Old Testament. Whenever Israel insist in rebellion God takes a wicked nations, destroys their land, temple, etc. and uproots them from the land. And should they repent of their sin then God says this:
“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. (Leviticus 26:40-42 ESV)
We see this also throughout the O.T. Israel wakes up from a stupor of Idolatry and confesses their sin and God amazingly turns the hearts of wicked kings to bless Israel. So let’s flash forward to the New Testament. The long awaited Messiah, the fulfillment of ALL the covenants in right before their eyes, and the leaders and the people reject Him. This would be a good place to read the parables with this all in mind. They will begin to make a lot more sense to you with this history in mind. Scriptures aren’t in a vacuum; they always have a context and history behind them. Here’s example of what I am talking about.
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22:1-10 ESV)
In the Old and New Testament God the King continued to send “servants” or prophets to the people who had the land “farm.” Israel the tenants continued to kill of the kings servants. The last one was Jesus. As a result Jesus says that the King will be angry (sound like Leviticus 26:27?) and will destroy their city and give the land to someone else( sound like Leviticus 26:31-33?). Then after some more parables, Jesus gives his woe cries against the leaders of Israel and the nation saying:
Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:32-36 ESV)
What generation would fall into “this generation?” The generation Jesus was speaking to of course. Well Jesus is making some bold prophecies here! Did any of them come true? Well, if you know your history you know what happened to the generation Jesus spoke to in 70 A.D. Israel as a nation was scattered into their enemies land. Their city was burned and destroyed. And their temple demolished. All as God in Leviticus and Jesus promised. So here’s my question. Why then do we now insist that Israel has rights to the land when they have yet to repent? They have not received the Messiah. In fact, they think less of Jesus than the Muslims. Both wrong I may add, because Jesus is God and the Messiah. But back to the question, what has Israel done, that we believe would remotely fulfill what God, who is currently disciplining Israel, calls them to? There’s the question, your thoughts?