In an article on "The Promise Of The
Land To Israel," dispensationalist
John F. Walvoord discussed the land promises, and tried to show that
must apply to ethnic Jews.
He presented five arguments to support this position, which are
Walvoord wrote, "The careful
analysis of these many promises
Israel's possession of the land and their regathering from the ends of
the earth makes clear certain important principles. First, as intimated
in previous discussion, the land, though subject to delay and Israel's
temporary dispossession, is promised unconditionally to the seed of
Abraham. Its ultimate possession is therefore based on the grace
principle rather than the law principle."
God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:7, "Unto thy seed will I give this land."
And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.
Who is the seed? Genesis shows that the line of descent, of the "seed" who would eventually inherit the promises was to be through Isaac, and then Jacob, who obtained the birthright by stealth. His older brother Esau missed out.
In the New Testament, Paul shows that the promises to Abraham focus upon a single person, Christ. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." [Galatians 3:16]
Paul says all the promises of God were fulfilled to Jesus Christ. "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." [2 Corinthians 1:20]
Whether the "land" promises were conditional, or not, Jesus qualified to inherit them. He kept the law, and was found to be "without sin."
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
The apostle Peter said Jesus was offered up for us, as "a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Walvoord wrote, "Second, it should be evident that the promise of the land is not given to Gentiles, but to the physical seed of Abraham; to be sure, not all the seed, but nevertheless to be fulfilled literally by the future generation of Israelites on earth at the time of the second coming of Christ."
Actually, Christ already has obtained possession of it! Jesus said "all power" has been given to him. "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." [Matthew 28:18]
The entire earth belongs to Christ!
The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Walvoord wrote, "Third, the title of the land is declared to be unending in its character. By this we should understand that the land belongs to Israel as long as the present earth endures."
To possess the land forever, one would have to live forever. Jesus is the only person who has obtained immortality. Referring to Jesus, Paul wrote:
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Walvoord wrote, "Fourth, not only is the title to be given forever, but the land is actually to be possessed as long as the earth endures, once it is given to Israel at the beginning of the millennial kingdom."
The saints are promised an "inheritance incorruptible." It is far greater than that tiny strip of land in the Middle East!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Jesus said the saints who overcome are promised "all things."
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Could that be what the universe was created for?
Walvoord wrote, "Fifth, it is clear that the promises are geographic and that the boundaries announced in Genesis 15 will have specific application when Israel is finally installed in their land in the millennial period. Only by indiscriminate spiritualization of all the terms and promises relating to the land can these prophecies be nullified. The fact that they are stated and restated so many times in so many different periods of Israel's history, even in times of apostasy and departure from God as in the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and by so many of the minor prophets makes dear that God intended them to be taken at their face value."
The dimensions of the holy city that John describes in Revelation 21 suggest it would be too big to fit within the boundaries of the literal territory of the promised land.
Walvoord's claims about "indiscriminate spiritualization of all the terms and promises relating to the land" are invalid. How is it "spiritualizing" the promises, to say that Christ has qualified to receive them, and since God has "given all things into his hands" [John 13:3], has therefore gained the promised inheritance due to Him? And is it "spiritualizing" the promises, to say that because Christ has obtained eternal life, He possesses the land forever? And not only that, but He has power to give life to whomever He chooses?
Jesus has power over "all flesh." He has power to give eternal life to those who follow him. "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." [John 17:1-2]
It would not make much sense to say Jesus has power to give eternal life to man, if humans already possessed immortality at birth.
Consider, what value is possession of "land," without "life"? This is the point Jesus made, when he said:
34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The "land" promises to Abraham were about obtaining eternal life, which Jesus has power to give. Abraham did not inherit the land during his lifetime, but he died in hope of receiving them. That is what the gospel is about. It is not about Jews taking possession of a piece of land in the Middle East, and ruling over their neighbours! Those who think it is, have a seriously distorted view of the gospel.
Following Christ is the way to life! Jesus already possesses the
and gives it to whom he will. "For the earth is the Lord's, and the
fulness thereof." [1
Walvoord and other dispensationalists gained notoriety by trying to profit by the sale of books promoting their flawed interpretations of prophecy.
Copyright © 2010, 2012, 2013 by Douglas E. Cox
All Rights Reserved.