The Conditional Promised Land ?

The Israelis claim that they have a God given right to take all the land in Israel.   Is this true ?  Let's examine the Bible for the factual answers;

First God makes the unconditional promise to Abraham's descendants, What Israelis overlook is that Abraham had more than one son;

“The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."  Genesis12. Then in verse 6 and 7 we further read “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land."  (Not Isaac, not Ishmael, Both "Your offspring" (i.e. plural; your children)

This is also clearly seen in Genesis 17:7-8 when God repeats his promise to Abraham after Abraham had obeyed God’s command: “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

This obviously includes Ishmael, whom the Arabs are descended from because even after Abraham died, Ismael is addressed as "Abrahams's son" in the Bible;

"Then his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him (Abraham) in *the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre,"  Genesis 25:9

Therefore, even the Bible editors recognized Ishmael as Abraham's valid son, a fact latter apologetics try to dilute.

But God made also conditional promises to the people of Israel. A conditional promise is based on the “if-then” principle. This means that God will do or give something if the people meet certain requirements.

In his farewell speech to the Israelites, Moses repeats the pact that God made with them. This speech takes up a major part of the book of Deuteronomy. There is a whole section where God promises all types of promises if they keep His commandments and obey His Law.

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says that “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God…” This is followed by a long list of blessings. The principle of the “if-then” is clear here.

But starting in verse 15 of the same chapter the Lord warns Israel of the consequences of disobedience;

“However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out…”

There are countless fatalities and plagues that the Lord tells Israel that it will befall on them if they disobey. For our present issue at hand verses 63 to 66 of the same chapter point to what has happened and why Israel still has a problem with the so-called promised land.

“Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods--gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.”

As there is an unconditional promise: ownership, there is a conditional promise: Israel will live in the land if she is faithful to God’s commandments and statutes. It seems that Moses’s admonitions to Israel before entered the land for the first time, are more accurate than one can imagine.

On the journey from Egypt to Israel, God killed countless Israelis for not meeting the conditions of the Promise, hence preventing them from ever living in Israel.

11 Rulers; Whom Moses sent to spy out the land, and who returned and made all the congregation to murmur against him by bringing up an evil report against the land, are killed by a plague from the Lord. Num. 14:37

250 Levite princesses; of the Jews who challenged the leadership of Moses. "their wives, sons and little children were swallowed up by the ground", then sent a fire to consume the remaining princes. Num. 16:1-40

3,000 brothers and children; of Israelis "And he said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Put every man his sword on his side, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'" And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men." (Exodus 32:21-28) [note: the surviving Israelis are then told in verse 29 that they are blessed for killing their own brothers and children]

14,700; Israeli protesters killed by plague who object to Moses about the prior killing of the 250 Jewish princesses. Num 16:41-49

The entire generation of the elderly "And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was consumed." Numbers 32 :13

When Moses passed away, the leadership of Israel fell to Joshua (Deut. 34:9). It was Joshua who was to take the people into Canaan and direct the conquering of the land. Joshua was given a charge in Joshua 1:1-9 concerning this, and in verse 4, he was told the extent of the land:


From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

The readers should also take note of the condition given in verse 3 of this passage:


Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given you, as I said unto Moses.

Again, it was going to be necessary for the people to "keep walking" in order to possess the land.

God also stated his condition of obedience in Joshua 1:7-9. Note especially verse 8:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: FOR THEN THOU SHALT MAKE THY WAY PROSPEROUS, AND THEN THOU SHALT HAVE GOOD SUCCESS, (emphasis CC).

Joshua began the conquering of the land with the taking of Jericho (Josh. 6) and then lost at Ai. This loss was brought about by Achan's taking of some of the possessions of Jericho (Josh. 7:1), a violation of God's will (Josh. 6:18-19; compare with Deut. 7:5). Joshua 10:40-43 shows us that Joshua had conquered the country of the hills, of the south, of the vale, and of the springs (v:40). These verses do not say that Joshua had conquered all the land of Canaan, but contextually speak of those lands he had fought against to that time.

Joshua 10:41 mentions that Joshua had conquered unto Gibeon, a land he did not take in battle but subdued in slavery, because he wrongfully made a pact with them (Josh. 9). This was a clear violation of Deuteronomy 7:2. It came about because they "asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord" (Josh. 9:14).

Joshua's conquests continued in chapter 11, and in verse 23 we are told "Joshua took the whole land." Some would cite this as showing that nothing was left that needed to be conquered. However, in context, the term "whole land" refers to that land which Joshua had done battle against. This is evident since verse 22 says that some of the Anakim still remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. Since these were not yet conquered, it follows that the "whole land" included only those lands conquered to this point, which according to Joshua 12:7 stretched from Lebanon to Edom. At this time, they rested from war and divided the land.

Of the land divided, some still needed conquering (Josh. 13:1), and this would have to be done by those who inherited the land (Josh. 13:6). In Joshua's final charge to the people, he reminded them of the condition for possession:

Take good heed unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God. Else IF YE DO IN ANY WISE GO BACK, AND CLEAVE UNTO THE REMNANT OF THESE NATIONS, EVEN THESE THAT REMAIN AMONG YOU, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they unto you: Know for a certainty that the Lord your God WILL NO MORE DRIVE OUT ANY OF THESE NATIONS FROM BEFORE YOU; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you, (Josh. 23:11-13, emphasis CC).

As Judges 1 shows, the children of Israel did not conquer all their possessions. Judges 2:1-5 explains why. Note the following:

And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: BUT YE HAVE NOT OBEYED MY VOICE: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

It is obvious that the Israelites made leagues with these people and quit fighting. Thus, they violated all conditions set forth by God: (1) they quit "walking" (Josh. 1:3), (2) they made pacts with the enemy (Deut. 7:2), and (3) they disobeyed God's commands (Deut. 8:1). Therefore, these people could not fulfill all of what God wanted done.

In conclusion, conditions and commandments were not obeyed by the Israelis, Canceling their right to live in Israel, the land is promised to them, but their occupation of the land is against the will of God. For example, an inheritance of real-estate with a list of rules you have to maintain to receive the real-estate, to live in the inherited property without meeting the rules would be illegal, according to God, it would be lethal.

"And Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you." 1Samuel 15:28


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