Believers Of The God of Israel, We Have A Decision To Make!
On my previous blog post, we spent a lot of time trying to establish just what Paul meant when he spoke of a “true” Israelite (or Jew), and that we had decided to describe that true Israelite as a “Spiritual” Israelite. That is, one who has the spirit of the Living God in Him, and who by means of faith in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, now embodies the ideals of Israel, which are expressed primarily in Torah.
These ideals were originally only existent in Heaven, and were essentially contained in an attribute or essence of God who is called the Word (in Hebrew, Memra…and in Greek, Logos). These Heavenly ideals were introduced in physical form at Mt. Sinai, and given to Moses as the Constitution of Israel…what we call The Law, or the Torah. Later, the Word Himself donned flesh and blood, and visited us in the form of Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, what has this all to do with Genesis 48?
Well, we’re closing in on that. Recall that the central theme of Genesis 48 is this Cross-Handled Blessing of the last Patriarch, Jacob (called Israel) upon Joseph’s two Egyptian born sons.
And the effect of the blessing was that those two sons of Joseph were adopted by Jacob and placed on par with his other 12 sons…those sons who we today call the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Further, Jacob (called Israel) blessed the two boys with an especially important blessing upon Ephraim, who was the younger of the two. And, that blessing indicated that Ephraim was in some undisclosed manner going to be a blessing to all the nations of the world… that by definition means GENTILE nations.
Let’s remember that at this point in history, and in Scripture, that God saw the world as composed of two basic groups: Israel, and the nations, or, Israel and the Gentiles.
Let’s continue with our study.
READ Numbers 34:13-28
Here’s the context of this passage: after 4 centuries in Egypt, the Israelites are free and being led by Moses. They had approached the promised land some years earlier, but when spies were sent our to explore the land, the majority of them said that although the promised land was just as wonderful as God said it was, the inhabitants were too many, too fierce, too powerful, for the Israelites to conquer.
So, due to this lack of faith and an essentially rebellious attitude, God drove those 3 million Israelites back into the desert wilderness to wander for 38 more years.
Fast forward. Now with 40 years having passed since Israel left Egypt, and with the extremely elderly Moses still leading, at God’s direction the Hebrew tribes are again ready to move upon Canaan and take the land. The time at which God gives the land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has arrived. Up until this time, God always spoke about giving the land to the Hebrews in the “future” tense: that is “I will give it you”. But, many things had to happen first. Now, the time has come and He gives it to them.
Look at Numbers 34:1-2 “Adonai (the Lord) told Moses to give this order to the people of Israel: ‘when you enter the land of Ken’an (Canaan), it will become your land to pass on as an inheritance…’ That is, the answer to the question “WHEN will the land become the property of Abraham’s descendants?” has been answered: it occurs the moment this enormous throng of Israelites crosses over the Jordan, and sets foot on the land of Canaan. At that moment in history, Canaan became the property of the Israelites…in God’s eyes… and is to remain so…forever.
Let me pause for a moment to let that sink in and to make a point. As we are Believers of the God of Israel, we have a decision to make.
Do we believe His Word, or not?
If we do, then right here in Numbers we understand that from the ONLY viewpoint that really matters…Yehoveh’s… that land in the Middle East that is today called Israel was transferred to all those folks Moses was leading, and it would remain so in perpetuity. If anyone ever asks you where it says that the Promised Land was actually given to Israel…when ownership and possession was transferred… it is here in Numbers 34.
Even more, do you ever once see in Scripture the issue raised (as regards Canaan) of “who was there first”, or “what is fair” from a man’s point of view as a factor in who owns the land?
Or do we ever find God directing Israel to take whatever action avoids war and brings peace raised in the Scripture concerning the land of Canaan?
None of these issues has any bearing whatsoever upon God giving that land to Israel as a permanent possession.
Therefore, as we can see by the various books and articles and debates about Israel…whether it belongs to the Jews, whether parts of it should be given to the Palestinians out of someone’s sense of “fairness”, whether it just makes sense for Israel to have less land for their people in exchange for peace… that in the end, none of this should matter one whit for a Believer of the God of Israel.
The one and only issue that overrides all others is this: did God give the land to Israel, or not?
And, that question is answered right here in Numbers 34. Not only did He give it to them, but also they took possession of it around 1300 BC.
Hear me: don’t EVER fall into the trap of debating someone on the issue of Israel’s legitimacy on the basis of its historical or modern day geo-political realities. Because from that standpoint…which is, by definition, merely men’s various points of view and ideas of morality or fairness… there are indeed reasonable sounding arguments as to whether Israel ought to have all that land or not. God is not the least bit impressed by those arguments.
What matters is that God declared that land to belong to His people, Israel, and that is that?
In fact, the Genesis 15 warning to all mankind that whoever curses Abraham’s Hebrew descendants will themselves be cursed, and whoever blesses them will be blessed, revolves around only two matters: the land of Israel and the people of Israel. Not one OR the other, but both.
Do you stand with the Israelites as the apple of God’s eye, or do you see them as the source of many of the world’s problems and as rejected and replaced?
Do you stand with the land of Israel as belonging exclusively to the Israelites…. without compromise… or do you see this as simply a matter international political intrigue, strategic borders, obtaining oil, and making nice with the Muslims so they don’t keep blowing us up?
To Be Continued…