Who Owns the Land of Israel?
A Call for Christians to Recognize Israel’s Homeland
by Robert D. Pace
In recent years, the United Nations has vigorously pursued a plan for the Palestinians to become an autonomous nation within the Biblically etched borders of Israel. This two-State solution demands that the Israelis surrender the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, territory that encompasses the ancient regions of Judea and Samaria where Christ, the Prophets, and the Apostles ministered. Known as the “Land for Peace” doctrine, it comes with the pledge that Israel will have peace with its neighboring States as it surrenders land. But is this the solution that will assuage the Arabs’ “ancient hostility” toward the Jews (Ezekiel 35:5)? And most importantly, what does the Bible say about this proposition?
While it is beneficial for the world to understand God’s determinations, it is imperative that Christians understand them. In fact, God has placed a mandate upon Believers to support his purposes.
Thousands of years ago, starting in the book of Genesis, God made it clear that the Jewish people had a unique destiny. God chose them to give mankind the Holy Scriptures and the Savior of the world. Distinct in destiny, God also assigned a unique parcel of real estate to the Israelis that is to be theirs in perpetuity! When you compile the Scriptures that disclose Israel’s borders you discover they stretch from the Euphrates River in the North to the River of Egypt in the South and from the Jordan River in the East to the Mediterranean Sea in the West (Genesis 15:18; 32:28; Numbers 34:1-12; Joshua 15:20; 47).
In Genesis, Moses shows God bequeathing this property to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That’s what Genesis 15:18 means when God said to Abraham: “Unto thy seed have I given this land.” And this is no obscure citation, because the Bible discloses fifty-five references to God giving the Israelis this territory. Notable among the many notations are the words God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 17:8, when he says, “The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
But the Bible furnishes yet more evidence to establish Israel’s claim to this land. Three thousand years ago, King David purchased the entire Mountain of Moriah, where Solomon would later build the Temple. In so doing, David secured the entire 45-acre plot that is known today as the “Temple Mount” (2 Samuel 24). Thus, the Bible supplies trilateral testimony that the Israelis own this property. They own it by (1) God’s pledge to Abraham, (2) by the Lord’s repeated pledge in Scripture, and (3) they own it by David’s purchase.
Despite the witness of Scripture, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount remain the most disputed real estate on the planet. In recent months there has been renewed determination from international leaders that a two-State Israeli-Palestinian presence is the solution. The “Land for Peace” doctrine is touted as the ultimate dealmaker. And this effort to transfer Israeli property to the Palestinians moves forward even though Palestinians are without artifacts from antiquity or cultural documentation to justify their claim upon the land.
In the not-too-distant-future, Palestinian pressure will convince the international community (the United Nations) to grant Statehood to the Palestinians. While God has undying love for the Palestinians he also has undying commitment to his immutable Word!
Psalm 105:8–9 says, God “remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, (9) the covenant he made with Abraham.”
Leviticus 25:23 says, “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is Mine.”
And especially notice the repeated warnings of the prophet Zechariah:
Zechariah 2:8 says, “whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—(9) I will surely raise my hand against them.”
Zechariah 8:2 records this: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.””
Notice Zechariah 12:4 that says, “On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the LORD. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations.”
And then finally note Zechariah 12:9, “On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.”
The Bible couldn’t be clearer in disclosing God’s disposition toward the Israelis and the Holy Land: the Jews are forever God’s chosen people and the land God pledged to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob forever belongs to their descendants—the Jewish people.
But there’s one more notation that must be overlooked concerning Israel’s land. The Bible repeatedly calls this property the “Holy Land” (Psalm 78:54; Ezekiel 48:12; Zechariah 2:12). And this phrase identifies the sole proprietor of the land. And it belongs to the holy God who made this land holy! That means this land is actually God’s property on-loan to the Israelis.
The God who created 196,940,400 square miles of earth’s surface has sanctified a mere 12,000 square miles of landmass and called it the “Holy Land.” That means, in God’s eyes, the issue is settled! He has eternally etched the borders of Israel and then issued a “Hands-Off!” ultimatum to man. Had Israel’s borders been negotiable, or temporally assigned to the Jews, the Lord would have noted that; but he didn’t! This is why world leaders get it wrong when they insist that the Israelis must “Give peace a chance!” and redraw its borders. God has strongly warned of the consequences of “dividing his land” and it’s always to man’s detriment to disregard that warning (Joel 3:2).
While God wants everyone to recognize this, evangelical Christians, who recognize that the sacred Scriptures are fixed, must especially acknowledge that the Israelis are sole proprietors of this hallowed property. Christians must look deep into their heart and solemnly pledge allegiance to God’s Word, remain stedfast on this volatile issue, and pray for the welfare of all people living in the Middle East.
Alexander the Great once said: “I am not afraid of an army of lions lead by a sheep. But I am, afraid of an army of sheep lead by a Lion.” And this describes God’s relationship with the Jews. Christ, the divine Lion of God, is the indomitable One that leads the sheep of his pasture—Israel—before the world.