The Promise of Land to Abraham
By: John Rosenstern
Obedience To The Faith
The Kingdom of God, and subsequently those within His Kingdom, operates on Faith. Every generation throughout the Bible was given a test of Faith to believe God. Interestingly enough, “Faith” is an ambiguous terminology. Therefore, God gave to each generation an object upon which their faith was to be ever focused. In other words, truly believing and operating in “Faith” cannot be a reality until there exists something for the individual to believe in; thus, the Lord delivered to man a Prescribed Order and focus of Faith. The object of one’s faith determines what that individual believes and trusts in. For example, Abraham believed God pertaining to the Promise of a child and the inheritance of land. The Bible tells us in Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23 that because “Abraham believed God, He (God) accounted his (Abraham’s) Faith to Righteousness.” Righteousness came by Grace (God supplying the source of Righteousness) through faith, but it was specifically Faith in God and what God Promised him. In essence, Abraham and his generation were to look forward to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Today, we look back to the Cross of Jesus Christ and what He Accomplished there for our benefit. This Finished Work of Christ must ever be the Object of our Faith. We must understand that at the Cross, Jesus Christ paid the debt of sin we owed to God, which if left unpaid, would result in death. “For the Wages of sin is death. . . .” Because no sin was found in Jesus Christ, Satan had no legal claim against him. “. . . That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.” No grave could hold Christ down! The fact of His Resurrection proved that His Sacrificial Death was Sinless and Perfect. If one sin had not been atoned for, then He could not have risen from the dead! His Death, as stated, is where our Victory lies, and where our Faith must be placed.
Throughout each Dispensation God would provide illumination concerning His Plan of Redemption, and so it became possible for man to see the intricate weaving of the thread of events in the blanket of history. One of these components that must be essentially understood is that the land promised to Abraham cannot be separated from God’s Promise of Justification by Faith. Let me explain: God promised Abraham that from his seed the nations of the Earth would be blessed. God would bless the nations that would bless Abraham and his seed; conversely, God would curse the nations that would curse Abraham and his seed. From Abraham’s loins would come Isaac and Jacob, the latter whom God called Israel and the one to whom the land was promised. Both the seed and the promise of the land are significant. The seed must ever cooperate through Faith by believing God and His revealed Word in order to possess the Promises of God.
Each generation would have to embrace God’s Promises by Faith, just like Abraham was compelled to do. In the case of Isaac, he would be constrained by the Lord to remain in Gerar during a time of famine, which was in the land of the Philistines (better known today as the Gaza Strip). He was Commanded not to travel into Egypt, but God would tell Isaac where to dwell and then remind him of the Promise given to his father Abraham. Genesis 26:3-5 says:
“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for unto you, and unto your seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham your father; And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the Earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed My Voice, and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Laws.”
Isaac grew great in prosperity before the eyes of the Philistines. However, it was not until he settled in Beersheba that God would reveal Himself again, effectively reminding Isaac of the Promises made to Abraham. Isaac would then build an Altar to the Lord. The expression “build an Altar” means that Isaac offered up sacrifices unto God. Isaac learned as a young man that God was the One who supplied the sacrifice, even as the Lord saved Isaac from being sacrificed by substituting the Ram caught in the thicket. This scenario presents the foundational Doctrine of Substitution, which translates to the individual recognizing that Jesus Christ died in my place for my sin. God’s Only Son Sacrificed Himself and, in so doing, became the Substitution Offering; hence, God would call Isaac, Abraham’s “only son.” And thank God you and I can now sing of Jesus Christ, “He just put Himself in my place!”
In the Eyes of God, Isaac was the Promised Child (seed) to whom all the promises wold pass. In Islam, as I have discussed in previous articles, Ishmael is viewed as the child of promise. The fabric of contention between Jews and Muslims is that the Muslims believe Ishmael is the rightful progeny and succession of Abraham, seeing as Ishmael was the first-born. Islam heralds that Allah no longer awards the Jews blessings because they did not embrace Allah’s last prophet Muhammad. The collective Islamic nations, and virtually all Muslims, do not recognize Israel’s right to possess any of the land, which is today called Palestine, promised by God to her.
America And Israel Past
Has American policy always been in favor of Israel? Yes and no! Harry S. Truman pledged America’s support and backing to the creation of Israel in 1948. American support of Israel enabled her to be recognized as a legitimate sovereign nation by the United Nations. On a sad note, the U.S. often behaved in a manner that either opposed Israel or placed her on compromising grounds with her Arab-Islamic neighbors. For example, soon after the British left Egypt in 1954, Egyptian President Al-Nasser was expected to join the Middle East Defense Organization (MEDO). This was the brainchild of then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to defend the Middle East region from communism and protect U.S. interests, especially in oil. Nasser would not join MEDO until Dulles agreed to address his concerns over Israel. The withdrawal of the British left friction between Israeli and Egyptian forces. Al-Nasser insisted that Dulles compel Israel to forfeit land as a down payment on peace before Egypt would join MEDO.
The offer appealed to Dulles since he “reviled the Jewish state” and called it “the millstone around our necks.” The State Department believed Israel could achieve peace by ceding land to its Arab-Islamic neighbors. At the end of 1954, Dulles arranged a mediation attempt between Israel and Egypt with a self-devised plan called “Alpha.” It was a covert plan in which Israel would give up land for peace with Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion explained how he refused to reward Egypt for its aggression against Israel in 1948, the time of Israel’s War of Independence.
Dulles made a second effort, dubbed “Gamma”. This time he attempted to arrange a meeting between Israel’s Ben-Gurion and Egypt’s Al-Nasser. Although the American emissary arrived in the region, Al-Nasser had no intention of discussing peace.
In a third effort by Dulles to get his way in the region, he authorized another plan that was called “Omega”. Omega sought to strengthen and promote Saudi King Al-Saud as an “Islamic pope” who would supersede Al-Nasser as the Arab leader. It seems American policy since Dulles’ day has been the mantra “land for peace.”
America And Israel Today
Israel is currently facing her greatest test of tolerance. For many years it was understood and agreed upon that Israel and the Palestinian Authority sat at a table of negation that is upheld by four primary components – or “legs” – for a two state solution. The components are as follows:
1. Settlement building;
2. 1967 Borders;
3. Right of return of refugees; and,
4. Jerusalem divided, East Jerusalem the new Capitol of Palestine.
The Obama Administration has caused the negotiating table tremendous instability by knocking out the first two legs, namely the settlement building and the 1967 borders! There are several all-important questions that must be asked at this point: Is Israel able to steer through the avalanche of obstacles created by America’s current administration? Will the Palestinian people be able to persuade the United Nations to recognize them as a full-fledged member without negotiating with Israel? Will America sacrifice our protection from God by throwing Israel aside?
The Arab Spring
Will the transformation of the Middle East by the Arab Spring and exaltation of the Muslim Brotherhood place Israel in a more compromising and vulnerable position in the world? How much has our American government been affected by Islamic influence? When our President came into office, he said that he would make a “partnership with the Muslim world.” A leader of a sovereign country that represents the beacon of freedom to the world said he is going to partner with a religion and NO ONE in the media, government, or citizenship of America realized what he said! Is U.S. assistance to the rebels in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen a cause for concern? Furthermore, is the close friendship of President Obama with Turkey’s leader Erdogan something to be concerned with? Has Islam been given the necessary freedom to spread its intolerance?
In answering the latter, consider the following: the personal aide to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, travels with our Secretary of State all over the world. It is documented that Miss Abedin’s brother and mother belong to Islamic organizations that are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as other affiliations that some would consider of terrorist familiarity and sensitivity. Michelle Bachman recently raised concern about Huma Abedin’s family ties, and she was immediately criticized not only by a sitting Muslim Representative, Keith Ellison, but also by the likes of John McCain! Our national defense is possibly at risk of compromise and a call for political correctness is more important! It would seem that our national safety is something easily sacrificed for the sake of not offending anyone.
God Promised Israel land with specific borders. As a nation, do we want to be involved in dividing God’s land to appease the world? Should we cooperate by supporting a globally accepted decision made by the Peel commission in England in the late 1930’s that lays out the premeditated conclusion of a “Two State solution”? I believe, at least in part, that our nation, along with many others in the world today that once had the Light of the Gospel, are being divided from within because we have chosen to divide God’s land. Our nation is politically divided, economically divided, racially divided, and worst of all, spiritually divided. The only way we can truly be the United States again is for us all to come back to the Cross!