Of all God’s covenant promises to Abraham, I believe the most amazing is His promise concerning the land. God told Abraham to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house and go “to a land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). God then led Abraham to the land that would belong to his descendants forever.
The Promised Land Is Larger Than Modern Israel
The land promised to Abraham and his descendants was described with clear geographical boundaries. It takes in all the land from the Mediterranean Sea as the western boundary to the Euphrates River as the eastern boundary. The prophet Ezekiel fixed the northern boundary at Hamath, one hundred miles north of Damascus (Ezek. 48:1), and the southern boundary at Kadesh, about one hundred miles south of Jerusalem (v. 28).
The strange thing is, Israel has never, in its long history, occupied anywhere near this much land—not even at the height of its glory days under David and Solomon. This fact has caused many biblical scholars to spiritualize the meaning of the term land and equate it with heaven. Others claim these promises were conditional and were forfeited by Israel’s disobedience.
In refutation of these interpretations, Dr. John F. Walvoord wrote:
Any normal reading of Scripture recognizes Canaan as an actual place, a piece of real estate, an expanse of soil that belongs to Abraham’s descendants forever.
Israel Has Not Lost Its Claim to God's Promise
The fact that Israel has been dispossessed of the land in three periods of its history is not an argument against its ultimate possession. Occupation is not the same as ownership. After each dispossession, God brought Israel back to its originally promised land. God has consistently kept His promise to Abraham, and that gives us absolute assurance that He will keep it in the future.
The turmoil over Israel’s right to its land will not cease till the end, for the land provision of the Abrahamic covenant is at the core of the hatred of Middle Eastern nations for Israel today.
What Is the Abrahamic Covenant?
1. God promised to bless Abraham.
2. God promised to bring out of Abraham a great nation.
3. God promised to make Abraham a blessing to many.
4. God promised to bless those who blessed Israel and curse those who cursed her.
But ignoring God's care an protection of Israel is extremely dangerous. The land of Israel is so important to God that, according to Deuteronomy 11:12, it is “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.”
A Prophetic Glimpse of Israel’s Future
…There are still two pivotal prophecies concerning Israel that have not yet been fulfilled: Israel does not yet occupy all the land originally promised to it, and its people have not yet turned to Christ. The numerous prophecies of Israel’s return to its homeland were explicitly fulfilled in 1948 when Israel began to be restored to its land. This gives us assurance that full restoration is on the horizon and the prophecies concerning Israel’s return to God will also be fulfilled.
As we wait for the fulfillment of these prophecies, Israel continues to grow as a nation. Against all odds, the people of Israel lead the Middle East in productivity, wealth, order, freedom, and military power. Yet as these assets increase, the nation becomes more and more isolated, continually terrorized by the murderous hostility of its surrounding neighbors.
The most dramatic events lie ahead of us. Israel today is an island of less than nine million immigrants surrounded by a sea of three hundred million enemies, many of them eager to wipe the tiny nation off the map.
From a purely human point of view, it would seem inevitable that, sooner or later, Israel will be destroyed. Indeed, Israel has been attacked over and over since its founding, sometimes in all-out wars and incessantly by terrorists. The Jewish people have survived by remaining vigilant, but they long for peace. According to the Bible, a future leader will fulfill this longing by brokering a peace deal with Israel’s enemies. But Scripture also tells us that this peace plan will be broken, and Israel will be attacked once again, this time as never before. Countless armies will amass against the boxed-in nation, leaving it with no human hope of victory. Only Christ's return, His judgment, and His reign will finally bring true peace to Israel.
It is then that God’s covenant with Abraham will reach its ultimate fulfillment. The Jews will return to the Lord, and they will be His people, and He will be their God. The borders of the land will expand to the dimensions described in Genesis 15 and Ezekiel 48. Christ’s return will also fulfill the prophecy that God would gather the Jews. “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them . . . I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Jer. 32:37–38).
This is an excerpt from chapter one of David Jeremiah’s The Book of Signs—31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse (W Publishing, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, all rights reserved).
1J. F. Walvoord, “Will Israel Possess the Promised Land?” in Jesus the King Is Coming, ed. Charles Lee Feinberg (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1975), 128.