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Okay, we’ll turn to Genesis chapter 15. Remember we’re on the second part of this Abrahamic Covenant. Last week I think we pretty well touched a lot of the verses that dealt with that they would become a great nation of people. And remember that by the time they leave Egypt there’s going to be anywhere from three to seven million of them, and like we were just saying after our last break that all you have to do is look at the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, and you drive through, that’s about three and a half maybe four million people now. Imagine that many people just pulling up stakes and moving out into a desert wilderness and you’ll get some idea of what Moses had to put up with.
Now in the next few moments we’re going to be looking at several verses and portions of Scripture that deal with the promise of a "land." And like I said in our closing moments last week, this is the problem in the Middle East tonight. Israel has territory that the rest of the world thinks she should give up and let the Palestinians have it, for the sake of peace. Israel says, what? "It’s our land!" And they haven’t even got all that God has deeded to them. So I can sympathize, I can identify with the nation of Israel tonight as well as with the Palestinians.
They’ve been there now for hundreds of years, its home to them and nobody likes to be uprooted from home. And I can empathize with that. But we’ve still got to recognize that what God has said is Sovereign, its set in concrete and the nations of this world are never going to change it. We might as well get ready. There is not going to be peace in the Middle East because you see, with the thousands upon thousands of Jews coming in from Ethiopia, Russia, Albania, Europe and other places, everyplace except America, there aren’t too many Jews leaving America yet. One day they will.
But they have to have room. And I can see the handwriting on the wall for the Palestinians. Bless their hearts, I know they’re going to hate to be uprooted and I empathize with that, but God has promised it thousands of years ago through this Abrahamic Covenant.
Now I think, in order to give you some idea of how much real estate is involved in that last verse we saw last week as we closed, and you might want to be looking at it in Genesis chapter 15 that last three verses, and I don’t want to erase this, but I’m just going to put a small map up here. And again I always have to remind people, this is not according to scale.
But, here is the Mediterranean Sea, and over here is the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea and that puts Jerusalem right about there. Present day Beirut, I suppose somewhere up here on the seacoast and then way out here to the east; no where to scale, but way out there is the Euphrates River. As we’ve seen in Desert Storm in the last several months and the Tigris coming down from the other direction and then down here of course, is the tip of the Red Sea and over here is the River of Egypt. Not the Nile. I think the Nile is over here, but this river is no longer there, but I think in Bible times it was and so we’ll just call this the River of Egypt. Now do you see what that verse says?
This is God speaking, and He says to Abraham
"…Unto thy seed have I given (what’s the verb tense…past tense. It’s already done. It’s not something in the future. God has already done it. He said, I have given) this land, from the river of Egypt (down here in the corner all the way out) to the River Euphrates:"
And then we know from the geography of these various tribes mentioned that their northern border is going to be clear up here north of Lebanon and the southern border is going to be clear down here to the Rea Sea. But in rough terms the nation of Israel, land-wise, is all the way from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates River to the Red Sea to the river of Egypt and back. That’s the biggest part of the Middle East, isn’t it?
Now that has already been deeded to the Nation of Israel. That’s all in the Abrahamic Covenant.
Now even at Solomon’s height, they never even got close to enjoying this much land. So no one can say, well that’s all been fulfilled, that’s in the past. No it isn’t, as they didn’t even come close. Now tonight of course, Israel is sitting there, and again I can’t draw this again perfectly, but see, the West Bank comes clear out of there. The Gaza Strip comes out of there. And all Israel has left is this little narrow neck of land with a lot of it taken out. You want to remember this is only, about 40 miles from the sea to the Jordan Valley. Forty miles.
Now when you read the account of Jesus going from Jerusalem down to Jericho, which is up here on the north shores of the Dead Sea, that’s only about 18 miles. And yet you know, we think of it in terms from America’s standpoint of maybe a hundred miles, or a hundred and fifty. But everything is so small and they’re only a hundred and eighty miles long from the Red Sea to, well their border now would be up here somewhere south of Lebanon. But see, Israel tonight is cramped. They’re packing them in like putting them in a little postage stamp territory and they’re going to have to have more room. Well, they’re going to get it. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But God’s going to see to it because He has given His word.
All right, let’s go up through Scripture now and pick out some more of the verses with regard to the Land promised. Come over with me to Deuteronomy chapter 30 and let’s start with verse 1.
"And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee…"
Now in the previous two chapters, God has listed all the blessings that would come if they’d be obedient but all the curses if they’d be disobedient. And when you read those chapters you can see how they have all been fulfilled to the last jot and tittle.
"…the blessings and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whether the LORD thy God hath driven thee."
Now does that ring a bell? Isn’t that exactly where they’ve been? Oh, they have been out there scattered in all the nations of the world now for over 2000 years. You want to remember that this is one of the miracles of Scripture. If you ever run into a friend who has a doubt about the veracity of the Word of God, remind them that the living proof that the Bible is true is the Jew, the Nation of Israel.
Even though they’ve been in dispersion, they’ve been out there scattered among all the nations of the world, yet tonight with rare exceptions a Jew is still a Jew. They have not lost their identity, whereas you take we American with our ancestors, most of us as I look over you, probably came from Europe, Great Britain, the Mediterranean or wherever, but here America has only been a nation a little over 200 years and most of you can’t even trace your roots to one nation any more. Why? Because we’ve all intermarried, we’ve amalgamated; we have lost our national identity. But not the Jew.
The Jew has been in Russia. He’s been in Germany. He’s been in Timbuktu; he’s been all over this world. He has put down roots, he has become part and parcel of their various governments and societies, but he’s still a Jew. And as God brings them back now to the land of promise, they are not an amalgamated people. Now the Samaritans were, and that’s why the Jews of Jesus’ day hated them. They had lost their purity, they had intermarried. But the Jew is for the most part still a relatively pure race of people. And God has seen to it.
And this is why we want you to understand that the Bible is so true! And this is why God is saying that after He has scattered them among all the nations:
"And you shall return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all of thy heart, with all thy soul; 3. That then the LORD thy God will turn (or end) your captivity, have compassion on thee and will return and gather thee from the nations whether the LORD thy God hath scattered thee." And then come down to verse 5:
"And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the (what’s the next word?) land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above all thy fathers." Israel hasn’t reached their place yet, but it’s getting close. The time is coming and we don’t think it’s that far away, when all these prophetic utterances concerning the nation of Israel will become a reality.
All right, let’s move on. Go to the book of Joshua chapter 1. And again we’ll just skim the first six verses, because all we’re trying to establish is that God has promised a nation of people coming out of Abraham who would be congregated within a geographical area, a land that will be promised to them.
"Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 2. Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel." How do they get it? God is giving it to them. Now granted as they come in this time under Joshua, they’re going to have to fight wars. They’re going to have to fight battles, but nevertheless, God has mandated that it’s going to be their land.
All right, let’s go a little further up through the Old Testament. Let’s go all the way to Ezekiel 37, that portion of Scripture that should just ring a bell with almost anybody who has ever heard the old spiritual "Them Bones." And here’s where it came from. And again we won’t take time to read all these verses, I wish we could, but we just can’t take the time for that but Ezekiel is shown in a vision this valley floor just covered with bones. Now remember this, this is a vision. But out of this vision, we’re going to get a literal truth. And as he sees these bones, the Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy upon them, and he does so. Verse 5:
"Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live; 6. I will lay sinews (or flesh) upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD. 7. (So Ezekiel says) I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone." Well I think you’ve all had dreams that almost come real, haven’t you? Well, this is what Ezekiel saw. All these bones, they’d been there for centuries, they’re very dry, they’re bleached, but all of a sudden they began to move and they began to come together. Now remember this is just a symbolic lesson. This isn’t a literal thing, but he’s got a literal lesson in it.
And as all these bones that had been out there for centuries are now coming together, and right before his eyes, they take on flesh. The skin comes upon them and then finally, he says, verse 10:
"So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are (what?) the whole house of Israel:" Oh, in symbolic language, in a symbolic vision, he saw that Israel was out there in those Gentiles nations for hundreds, yes thousands, of years. Nationally dead. But all of a sudden, what’s God going to do? He’s going to put life back into that nation and we’re seeing it right before our very eyes. They’re coming home! They’re coming back by the thousands every day.
The Jew had almost given up of every having a homeland until finally it happened in 1948. But I want you to come on down to verse 12 where God says to Ezekiel:
"Therefore Prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold O My people, (remember he’s talking to Israel) I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel." In other words, a Jew living out in Gentile territory is just like being in a grave. He’s dead. He is spiritually out of it.
"And I shall put my Spirit in you, you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land…" That’s what I wanted you to see. It just keeps coming up over and over that God has not forgotten that that land He deeded to Abraham is still the same land only now it’s going to be given to the children of Abraham, at a much later time. And then he goes on to say,
"how that they will no longer be a split nation, no Northern Kingdom and a Southern Kingdom; it’s going to be a one Nation, under their Messiah."
All right, now then let’s go a little further to Jeremiah 23, and let’s pick up at verse 5:
"Behold the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and King…" Now that word Branch is capitalized – used several times – who is it? Christ! It’s in a prophetic naming again of the Messiah. And He says,"I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a (what?) King."
Now we’re also going to use this verse when we come to the third part. But, pass over it for now; we’re going to come back to it. And "A King shall reign and prosper." And then come on down to verse 7 because this is exactly what we’re seeing in our news every day now, the fulfillment of this which was written 600 years BC, verse 6:
"In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely…"
That hasn’t come yet, but we’re building up to it. And then verse 7:
"Therefore, behold, the days come saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8. But, (they’ll say) the LORD liveth, who brought up and who lead the seed of the house of Israel out of the North Country; (what’s that? That’s Russia, straight north of Israel, they’ll come out) and from all the countries whether I had driven them; and they shall dwell (where?) in their own land." Can you beat that? God said it and don’t you worry for a minute the nations of the world, the United Nation, the Kings and Prime Ministers can peace talk all they want – Israel is going to end up in her own land!
And she’s only got a portion of what she’s going to have some day. So, I don’t see Israel giving up a big chunk of territory. I can envision the day when the Palestinians will be pushed out, or they’ll be amalgamated; they’re going to have a choice. And I don’t know why they rebel at that because we were given the opportunity to go to Israel many years ago and at that time we had an Arab guide and an Arab bus driver and they both made it so plain that the best situated Arabs in the whole Middle East, other than the oil rich of course, but those who had it the best were those living in Israel, who were part and parcel of the Israeli economy, they had businesses, they were thriving.
We’d drive through the countryside and there would be a big nice school and our guide would say, now until the Israeli’s came on the scene these kids never had an education. But Israel provides schools for them. Provides their education and yet they’re rebelling against it. And so I take 90% of the news coming out of the Middle East with a great big dose of salt because the whole media is slanted against Israel because Israel is God’s Covenant People.
Now I tell my classes all the time, "Now look, don’t expect the present day Israeli government or the Jewish people to be super-spiritual, or super-moral, if anything they’re quite the opposite. But, they are still His Covenant People." God has His thumb on them. And God doesn’t sanction much of what they’re doing but nevertheless, they are His Covenant People and I think a lot of times people think, well if they’re the people of God, why don’t they behave like it?
Well, listen they’re the people of God only by virtue of the Covenants as yet, but, when Israel becomes all that God wants them to be, as it says in chapter 31. And since I’m on that line of thought here in Jeremiah, and we’ll finish that thought. The Scripture says it better than I can. The day is coming when their ungodliness, when their unbelief will come to an end and you’re going to find that the Jew once again is the apple of God’s eye.
"Behold, the days come,…" Now even though Jeremiah wrote this clear back in 600 BC, yet it’s still future from our time. But it’s coming, God has said it is. And He expects us to believe it.
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:" Now He could not make a new covenant until this one has run its course. The Abrahamic Covenant is still going to be fulfilled. She’s going to be a nation of people, living within their geographical area, with a super, super government – God Himself in the person of Christ the Messiah, their King and when that has become a full reality, now look at Israel’s spiritual condition.
"Not according to the covenants that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt;…"
What covenant was that? Law. And Law was harsh. Law was a burden. Peter and others in the New Testament referred to it as a yoke of bondage that no one could bear. But oh the day is coming; it’s going to be something far better than that covenant of Law, the one that they broke.
"…which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the LORD. 33. But this shall be the covenant that I will make (now you see I’m emphasizing the verb tenses here, this is future. A covenant, he says that I will make) with the house of Israel; After those days saith the LORD, I will put my law (not on tables of stone but where?) in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Oh, they’ll just have full knowledge without having to sit down and read the Torah, or study under a Rabbi; it’s just going to be there by an act of God.
"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor,…" As they were taught back there in Joshua, you remember when they came into the land. In fact you remember what the instructions were? When they rose up in the morning, when they sat down to eat, when they lay down to sleep, what were they to be doing? Memorizing the Word. Just letting it saturate them. God says, the time is coming they won’t have to do that because they’ll have it inwardly.
"…from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD, for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Now that’s going to all come to pass when this Abrahamic Covenant comes into full fruition, the Messiah will finally be their King and they will enjoy this whole Middle East as their homeland. There will not be an unbelieving Jew anywhere in that kingdom, they will all be believers. And it’s going to be that glorious kingdom that all the Old Testament has been looking forward to.
Now next week I’ll make a little more mention of the fact that all these promises given to Israel are earthly, I’ll shock you. Never does the Old Testament teach a Jew dying and going to heaven. Never. Y ou can’t find it. But he knew that he would die and be resurrected and come back to this earthly Kingdom. He didn’t really understand it. He didn’t really have a full knowledge of it as we have now with the Word of God complete, but nevertheless,
the Old Testament Jewish believer had no concept as we do, of dying and going to heaven. So, Israel was an earthly people with earthly promises. The Church, the Body of Christ, is a heavenly people with heavenly promises.
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