Israel and the Promised Land
Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
God led Israel from Egypt. He worked mighty wonders. He led them through the red sea unto the borders of the Promised Land. They fell short of the fulfilment of the promise of God. Today ancient Israel is still seeking the fulfilment of that promise. The land which was flowing with milk and honey now flows with war and bloodshed as the Jewish nation endeavours to gain the Promised Land. They will never gain the Promised Land because that is not what God promised them. God would lead them all the way. Yet today we find not just the Jewish nation but every nation leading themselves in that way which seemeth right but the ends there of is Armageddon.
We know well that the very reason that in 1948 Israel became a nation, was so they would drink of that cup in Jeremiah 25 to fall and never rise again.
They claimed that Abraham was their father and according to blood line he was. But was he their father according to promise? We are looking at the privileges and opportunities of Israel. God made a covenant with Abraham.
Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram [was] seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite [was] then in the land. 7 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. 8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, [having] Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.
This is the first mention of promise of an inheritance to Abraham. The inheritance of land. The promised land. The land of Canaan. The promise was that the land would be given to his seed.
The Land in Which Abraham sojourned
Stephen was speaking to the Sanhedrin. If you want a summary of the experience of the Hebrews, Stephen speaks clearly;
Acts 7:2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. 4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. 5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not [so much as] to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when [as yet] he had no child.
Here was this promise to Abraham was that the land you are will be yours and your seeds. But he had no inheritance in it. He had nowhere to set his foot on. Is that like dangling a carrot before a horse? Here is this land flowing with milk and honey and God says here it’s yours you can have it but he was never able to set his foot upon his inheritance. What really was his inheritance? What was it that Abraham longed and waited for?
The Land of Canaan
Abraham left his kindred.
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. :9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
Abraham sojourned in the land of his inheritance. Living in tabernacles. It was a strange country. What does strange mean? It means you don’t know it and here is this promise of God this land will be yours but he dwelt in tabernacles in a strange land.
Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.
Do you think that God came to him and said I make this promise to you and you will receive this and then Abraham said no, I’m going to look for this. He looked for the very thing which God had promised him. He looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.
He dwelt in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob. Isaac died before Jacob went into Egypt. They never received any inheritance yet God had said I give it to you, you are going to have it and they died never having received that inheritance. What kind of a promise is that? Do the promises of God fail? Abraham was not looking for the land of Canaan as it was then. That was not the promise of God. Was is Israel fighting for today? Not the promised land. It is not the promised land. The land was promised to his seed.
Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, [so many] as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
A city which hath built. A better country. Better than the land flowing with milk and honey. That is what God promised Abraham. Even a heavenly.
Abrahams Regard for the Land before Him
Genesis 13:2 And Abram [was] very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we [be] brethren. 9 [Is] not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if [thou wilt take] the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if [thou depart] to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
Here is this promised land and Abraham says you choose whatever you want Lot. If you want to go that way, I will go this way. Only an attitude could be had in seeking a difference inheritance. What did Abraham care if Lot went that or this way. It wasn’t the land he was seeking, he sought a different land.
Isaac also tabernacled in a strange country. Isaac had the same appreciation of God’s promise as his father.
Genesis 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. 2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
God makes the same covenant with Isaac as he made with Abraham. This land I will give to you and your seed will inherit it. Unto thee and unto thy seed. Did Isaac regard his land as that land?
Genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. 13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: 14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. 15 For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. 16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. 17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. 19 And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water [is] ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.
Isaac dug a well and there was water springing out of it in this land and along came the herdmen of Gerar and said that is our water. Do you think if Isaac regarded this land as his inheritance he would have said no that’s my water, the God of heaven gave me this land.
Genesis 26:21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.
And they came along again and said that water is ours. He didn’t contend but said ok you can have it and he went and dug another well. He hit water again and the herdsmen came again and said that is our water as well. He said ok and moved on.
Genesis 26:22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
The Lord hath made room for us in this promised inheritance. Did he push a few aside and said fit Isaac in there?
Kind David is in the heights of his kingdom in the land of Palestine having conquered many of the surrounding nations and his borders being vast says;
1 Chronicles 29:13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. 14 But who [am] I, and what [is] my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things [come] of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. 15 For we [are] strangers before thee, and sojourners, as [were] all our fathers: our days on the earth [are] as a shadow, and [there is] none abiding.
Here they are as powerful nation in the midst of the land of Canaan and the prophet David says we are strangers and sojourners even as our fathers were. Lot went his way and Abraham went his way and God came to speak with Abraham again to repeat his promise;
Genesis 13:14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
Hasn’t Lot just gone off to the left and right, east to west? But God said look that way to the way Lot has gone and he said;
Genesis 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then] shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
North, south, east and west is a long breadth. That is the whole entire earth. As Stephen said he received no inheritance not so much as to set his foot on. Abraham lived to a good old age but he never received the promise. God had promised that he would receive it. Not just his seed but he himself would receive the inheritance.
Isaac, Jacob died and the twelve sons died and none of them received the promised inheritance. Did Gods promise fail? God says in Isaiah that the word that proceeds from his mouth will not return void but will accomplish the thing said. God’s promises do not fail. Abraham died in faith. He died in hope knowing that he would receive his inheritance. He took the word of God and believed it.
Genesis 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
For what? A possession for a couple of generations or so many centuries? For an everlasting possession. The promise of God was for a heavenly country. An everlasting possession, an everlasting country. This land which was promised that he had not set his foot on, he himself was to inherit it. Those who live and possess an everlasting possession, what must they be and have? If you are to enjoy something eternally what kind of life must you have? You must have eternal life. The promise to be was a promise of eternal life. Abraham believed that God would raise him from the dead and that he would be given an inheritance on a earth made new. To dwell in a city which had foundations. We know what city that is.
Revelation 22:10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
This city that had foundations John saw it coming down to earth. This is the inheritance that Abraham looked for and nothing short of it. You can dig your wells, you can go whichever way you want, I don’t care. I am waiting for an earth made new. This earth made new was promised to Abraham and his seed. To who was the promise of inheritance made to?
Galatians 3:16 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.
The promise of God was that he would give immortal inheritance, the everlasting possession to Jesus Christ. This was the heir who would inherit. We know that when Jesus receives his kingdom, when he comes to claim it as his own, it will be renewed and he will come and dwell with man. The everlasting covenant that God made with Abraham that he would give the land to Jesus Christ. Only to Jesus Christ? Would Jesus Christ be the only inheritor of this land? No he had said to thee and thy seed.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
We have, if we will an everlasting inheritance promised to us. They who are Christs are Abrahams seed. Those baptised into Christ that have put off the old man with the deeds. Jew, Greek, bond and free are all one in Christ and are all inheritors of the promise.
1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56 The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the promise made to Abraham the victory over sin and death. The victory over this earth and its corruptions through the Lord Jesus Christ. The promise was, the resurrection from the dead and the restitution of all things. That is the promised land. That earth made new and a city who’s maker and builder is God is what God covenanted. Not a temporal kingdom in Palestine.
God Made a Covenant
Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward.
What was God’s gift to Abraham? Jesus Christ. He was his reward, he is what he would receive as an inheritance.
Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I [am] the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
He divided a heifer and walked amongst it.
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
It shows that Abraham was not expecting a land in his own time because God said to him you are going to die at a good old age and that Israel will be in bondage 400 years.
Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites [is] not yet full. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
God promised Abraham that in the fourth generation the promised inheritance would be received. Israel was to come forth from the bondage of Egypt to the coming of Jesus Christ and the restitution of all things. Really? Here is a particular prerequisite of the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end.
The Israelites and the Gospel
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
In order for Christ to come and to restore all things, the gospel must be preached in all the world for a witness. Did the Israelites do that? Did they preach the gospel in the whole world? Could they have? There are some will say no, they didn’t have the gospel. How could they preach the gospel when they didn’t even have the gospel. They were under a dispensation. We don’t have time to enlarge that but every word of God is pure. Let us read one simple text and believe what it says;
Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
Who is them? Ancient Israel. The gospel was preached to ancient Israel. The gospel was preached to Abraham who partook of the Lords ordinances. Melchisedec priest of the most high God brought forth bread and wine. Abraham rejoiced to see Christ’s day. He knew the gospel. He knew of the resurrection of the dead because when he took his son to mount Moriah he didn’t flinch at all. He knew God would raise Isaac from the dead and that through the gospel the power of salvation would come. The Israelites drank of that rock which was who? Jesus. They ate bread from heaven. Who is the bread that came down from heaven? They showed the Lords death till he came. Is that not the purpose of the Lords ordinance? The gospel was preached to ancient Israel. They knew it. Gods intention was that they would preach the gospel to the whole entire world an in the fourth generation Christ could come and renew the world. This was the reason why Pharoah was place on the throne at that time. Pharoah had a character which he had formed. As Moses came and God dwelt with Moses, no presetting response did God cause but it ws the natural response that he created himself in regards to the works of God in Egypt.
Exodus 9:13 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that [there is] none like me in all the earth. 15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. 16 And in very deed for this [cause] have I raised thee up, for to show [in] thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
To show in him his what? The power of God which is what? The gospel. Through this demonstration of power his name would be declared through the all entire earth. What is the name of God?
Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
The name of God is his character and God interned through the plagues on Egypt Gods character would be revealed to the whole entire world. To know God is life eternal and the making known of who God is of making known this way of life is nothing less than the preaching of the gospel. This is why when God brought Israel out of Egypt he gave them a commission, titles and responsibilities.
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
God’s purpose for Israel was that they would be priests. What is a priest? What does a priest do?
Malachi 2:7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he [is] the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
The knowledge of God was to be shed abroad through his priests. The Israelites were to be a kingdom of ministers of preachers of the gospel. The plagues of Egypt had already made themselves to be known around the whole earth. When they crossed the red sea, this amazing event was broadcast and all the other wonders that God had wrought, the earth was ready to receive the witness of the gospel.
Notice what Rahab said to the spies sent to Jericho;
Joshua 2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that [were] on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard [these things], our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he [is] God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
The world was ready for the witness of the gospel. The fourth generation, it had to be the fourth because the Ammonites had not yet filled up their cup of iniquity but by the time of that fourth generation, the Ammonites would have filled up their cup. God gave them time to repent. God gave the surrounding nations time to repent but in that fourth generation their probation was closed. The gospel was to be preached as a witness against them. To fully justify with no excuse their condemnation. The other purpose was also to call out the other individuals who would take their stand on the Lords side. God said they would go into this land and he would drive out the inhabitants from before them and they would just move straight into their houses and pluck from the vineyards and dwell safely.
The women and children would have been safe at home while the priests and minsters of the gospel could have travelled to the uttermost parts of the earth and then the end would have come. This was God’s plan and purpose in bringing them out of Egypt. This is why he gave them his oracles to the world to either receive Gods way or not but the world was ripe. What a privilege was open before them. What amazing opportunities. Let your mind consider what privileges and opportunities they had. They were to usher in a new eternal era, to be proclaimers of the love of God to a world which is dying in sin and to preach the message of restoration, redemption form sin, salvation form death and then through Jesus Christ to take that victory yourself and then to live ever after. Forget the milk and the honey and angels food.
There were the Twelve fruits of the tree of life, what privileges and opportunities. How many centuries and we are still here. They did not enter in. The gospel was preached to them but it had no effect. Why? They came to the borders of the promised land and there they sent twelve spies who were gone forty days and they returned and ten had a evil report. They said we be not able to go up. Did you know that even if there was only two that brought a evil report they would have led them that way? We be not able to go up. They are too strong for us, we can’t make it, it’s too hard but God had said. So in essence what did they say? They said my Lord delayeth his coming and so they delayed his coming. Today they think they have to gain this Promised Land before the Lord can come and they are fighting so hard for it. To add salt to the wound, How much of Christianity is fighting for them to gain it? Who reads their bibles today? They knew not the time of their visitation or the privileges and opportunities open before them.
Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
They did not believe the word of God. God said to Abraham this is what I will give you and Abraham said amen. God said to the Israelites this is what I will give you and they said no it’s not possible. You can’t raise me from the dead, you can’t do away with my sins and transgressions, I can’t be forgiven, I can’t inherit what you’ve promised. Let us be afraid. Not just afraid but terrified that we like them shall not enter in because of unbelief. Do we live as seeing the invisible? Do we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God believing and trusting it? Did you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? The Amorites and the Canaanites etc.. shall be disposed of it. What do we consider to be our inheritance and do we believe what God has said he will fulfill?
Yes Abraham did not live a sinless life, he made faults, so much so that the strife in the middle east is due to his association with Hagar. The strife in the middle east between the Arabs and the Jews, Ishmael and Isaac, but he believed God. He believed Gods word. He believed God would fulfil his word therefore it was accounted to him as righteousness. Only the righteous could inherit and therefore he became an heir of an inheritance. Did you know that Jesus Christ said that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from stones. What are our privileges and opportunities? Are we proclaiming the gospel to the world? We can only proclaim it if you have it as yours. Jesus said he will take way our heart of stone. If we are willing, God will take us stony ground hearers and he will plough our lives and we will blossom. Preach that gospel and then the end will come. Believe that God will fulfil his word in your life. No matter your circumstances, bleak or depressive it appears, no matter how much it seems the word of God can never be fulfilled, believe it. Be not afraid. Only believe. May God work this within us.