Fulfillment of the Land Promise in the Old Testament -- By: Jeffrey L. Townsend

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 142:568 (Oct 1985)
Article: Fulfillment of the Land Promise in the Old Testament
Author: Jeffrey L. Townsend


Fulfillment of the Land Promise in the Old Testament

Jeffrey L. Townsend

[Jeffrey L. Townsend, Pastor, Grace Bible Church, Nacogdoches, Texas]

The nature of the fulfillment of the land promise made to Abraham and his descendants is an eschatological watershed, as Pentecost observes.

Since the Abrahamic covenant deals with Israel’s title deed to the land of Palestine, her continuation as a nation to possess that land, and her redemption so that she may enjoy the blessings in the land under her King, it is of utmost importance to determine the method of the fulfillment of this covenant. If it is a literal covenant to be fulfilled literally, then Israel must be preserved, converted and restored. If it is an unconditional covenant, these events in Israel’s national life are inevitable. The answer to these questions determines one’s whole eschatological position.1

Pentecost’s observation is borne out by the current premillennial-amillennial debate.

Premillennialists such as Pentecost maintain that the Old Testament land promise demands a future, literal, millennial fulfillment. Amillennialists on the other hand turn back this argument for the millennium by taking any one of a number of different views on the fulfillment of the land promise.

Older amillenarians tend to see a nonliteral fulfillment of the land promise in the spiritual blessings of the church.2 More recent amillennial studies have moved toward a literal fulfillment of the land promise. Many of these maintain that the land promise was conditional and forfeited (and so never fulfilled) because of Israel’s disobedience and/or that the land promise was fulfilled totally

either in the Conquest or during the monarchy.3 Recently a novel amillennial approach to the fulfillment of the land promise has been set forth by Anthony Hoekema in his book, The Bible and the Future. He sees multiple fulfillments of the land promise during Israel’s history and an ultimate antitypical fulfillment in the new heavens and new earth with the land expanded to include the whole earth, and the recipients enlarged to encompass all the redeemed.4

Thus it is apparent that the kind of fulfillment of the land promise carries with it major implications in millennial eschatology. The purpose of this study is to determine the nature or kind of fulfillment of the land promise in the Old Testament and its application to the millennial ...

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