The Land Is Mine – Part III
Leviticus 25:23 “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.”
OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH
THE KINGDOM OF GOD operates on faith. Every generation throughout the Bible was given a test of faith to believe God. “Faith” is an ambiguous statement though. Therefore, God gave to each generation an object on which to focus their faith. In other words, believing isn’t believing until it believes in something, more particularly, that which God gives us. The object of one’s faith determines what that individual believes and trusts in. For example, Abraham believed God pertaining to the promises of a child and an inheritance of land. Because he believed God, God accounted his faith for righteousness. Righteousness came by grace (God supplying the source of righteousness) through faith, but faith in God and what God promised him.
Today, we look back to the Cross of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished there for us. This must ever be the object of our faith. We must understand that by the Cross, Jesus paid the debt of sin we owed God, which was death. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Because no sin was found in Jesus Christ, Satan had no legal claim against Him. “That through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil” (Heb. 2:14). No grave could hold Christ down! His sinless, perfect death was proven by His resurrection. If one sin had not been atoned for, He could not have risen from the dead. The Resurrection is proof of His finished work on the Cross. His death, as stated above, is where our victory is, and where our faith must be placed.
Throughout each dispensation, God would reveal a little more light on His plan of redemption. Although this series is dealing with God’s land covenant promises, we must understand 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. Those who bless Abraham - and his seed - God would bless, and those who would curse Abraham - and his seed - would be cursed. From Abraham’s loins would come Isaac and Jacob, i.e., Israel, the seed to which the land was promised. Both the seed and the promise of the land are intrinsic. The seed must ever cooperate through faith by believing the light God has revealed in order to possess the promises of God.
Each generation would have to embrace God’s promises by faith, just like Abraham. In the case of Isaac, he would be constrained by the Lord to remain in Gerar - located in the land of the Philistines and better known today as the Gaza Strip - during a time of famine and was commanded not to travel into Egypt. God would tell him where to dwell and then would remind Isaac of the promise he gave to his father Abraham in Genesis, Chapter 26, Verses 3–5:
“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. But it wasn’t until he settled in Beer-sheba that God would reveal Himself again, reminding Isaac of the promises He gave his father Abraham. Isaac would then build an altar to the Lord. The expression, “build an altar,” meant he made sacrifices to God. Isaac knew that God was the One who supplied the sacrifice because he was the one who God spared and substituted with a ram. The foundational doctrine of substitution - Jesus Christ died in my place for my sin - was established in the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice the miracle child Isaac. God would call Isaac Abraham’s only son. He was the promised child (seed) to which all the promises of God would pass. Abraham was again tested, as was Isaac, to obey God.
In Islam, as discussed in earlier articles, Ishmael is viewed as the child of promise. The fabric of contention by Muslims is they believe Ishmael is the rightful progeny and succession of Abraham, being his firstborn. Islam believes Jews are no longer awarded blessings by Allah 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 (today called Palestine) promised by God to her.
AMERICA AND ISRAEL PAST
Has American policy always been in favor of Israel? 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 a brain child idea of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to defend the Middle East region from communism and protect U.S. interests, especially with 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. Nasser insisted 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 would arrange a mediation attempt between Israel and Egypt with a plan he devised 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 - Israel’s War of Independence.
A second effort by Dulles - this one dubbed “Gamma” - was to arrange a meeting between Ben-Gurion and Nasser. Although the American emissary arrived in the region, 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 Saud as an “Islamic pope” who would supersede Nasser as the Arab leader. It seems American policy since Dulles’ days has been the mantra: “Land for peace.”
AMERICA AND ISRAEL TODAY
Israel is now facing its biggest test of tolerance. For many years it was understood and agreed that Israel and Palestine were to negotiate four primary components for a two-state solution:
Right of return of refugees; and
Jerusalem divided, East Jerusalem the new capitol of Palestine.
The first two negotiating legs that supported the negotiating table have been kicked out by President Obama. Will Israel be 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 its protection from God by throwing Israel aside?