“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it (Matthew 21:43).”
We are continuing our examination of the doctrine known as Premillenialism – the belief that Jesus will return to establish an earthly kingdom and reign in Jerusalem for 1,000 years. A particular point of this doctrine held by Premillenialists (PM’s) is that God still has unfulfilled land promises to the nation of Israel.
When God issued His covenant with Abraham He promised the patriarch that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan and its borders would extend from “the river of Egypt to…the Euphrates (Genesis 15:18).” PM’s assert that Israel has not received all of the land promised and God’s everlasting covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:7) remains, as yet, unfulfilled.
God however did indeed fulfill this promise with the nation as Joshua testified; “So the LORD gave to Israel ALL the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it (Joshua 21:43). Joshua goes on to affirm that “not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. ALL came to pass (Joshua 21:45).”
The issue is that those who believe God still has unfulfilled promises fail to recognize that covenants are conditional and there are consequences for one party failing to uphold their end. God never fails to uphold His covenants (Deuteronomy 7:9). When they entered into the Land of Promise God warned Israel that if they did not keep His covenant they would be cursed (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) and plucked from the land (v.63). God brought the Assyrians to carry away the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity (Ezekiel 23:4, 9). Then God allowed the southern kingdom of Judah to be taken captive by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25) because they had broken His covenant (Jeremiah 11:1-10).
God did bring Judah back from captivity into the land He promised and even at that time it was confirmed that God had been faithful in His promise (Nehemiah 9:7-8). Even though the covenant had not been faithfully kept God promised to make a new covenant with Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Jesus shed His blood to establish that new covenant (Matthew 26:28) which is a better covenant established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). Please don’t miss this – those looking to the old covenant are looking to one that is inferior and based on lesser promises. God kept ALL of those promises but Israel did not. God has taken away the first covenant so as to establish the second, better covenant (Hebrews 10:9).
God’s promises in the new covenant are indeed much better towards us, the church, the kingdom, and the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16). Like that old covenant, the promises of the new covenant are conditional upon our faithfulness. There are many “if” conditional terms for Christians as well. “If” we won’t forgive others God will not forgive us (Mark 11:26). “If” we do not abide in Christ we will be cast into the fire (John 15:6). “If” we continue steadfastly in the faith we will be presented holy and blameless before God (Colossians 1:22-23). “If” we continue to walk in the light His blood keeps on cleansing our sins (1 John 1:7). “If” we confess our sins He will forgives us (1 John 1:9). We must remain faithful just as God has commanded His people in every covenant (Habakkuk 2:4).
It is a shame that so many longingly look for the material promises of the old covenant instead of realizing the beautiful spiritual promises of the new covenant Christ ushered in. Why look to land promises of an earthly Jerusalem when He promises so much more (Hebrews 12:22)? Christians who understand the better promises of God and the nature of that kingdom do not hold such materialistic views (Colossians 3:1-3). We are that holy nation (1 Peter 2:9) that is seeking a heavenly country in the city God has prepared for us (Hebrews 11:16).
“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:2).”