The Boundaries of Greater Canaan -- By: Rollin Thomas Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 095:378 (Apr 1938)
Article: The Boundaries of Greater Canaan
Author: Rollin Thomas Chafer


The Boundaries of Greater Canaan

Rollin Thomas Chafer

The argument that the limited size of Palestine today precludes the possibility of a future repatriation of the Jews scattered amongst the nations of the world crops up perennially. Notwithstanding the fact that the position of those who employ this argument is a weak one in the light of the Abrahamic Covenant, it needs to be met periodically. More than a decade ago I prepared this reply to an editorial in a Church journal, now discontinued, a portion of which editorial appears in the next paragraph, followed by my comments printed in a later number of the same journal.1

“Our good friends, the interpreters of prophecy, tell us, without any proviso too, that the Jews must return to Palestine and set up a government. If you suggest that Palestine could never support as large population as all the Jews in the world, they quietly brush aside all such difficulties by saying that nothing is impossible with God, however it may be with man. Believing as we do that the Lord never works miracles unless really necessary, but that He uses natural means as far as they reach, we have been interested in every plan to colonize Palestine.”

It would be discourteous, indeed, to imply that the editor’s method in this case was born of a conscious desire to make an impression by the setting up of a “straw man” and knocking him over, and I make no such suggestion in this instance. It remains a fact, however, that the method employed by the editor is a favorite one of such authors as Dr. Snowden and the writers of articles inspired by his book on the return of

the Lord. It is easier, of course, to bowl over a supposititious, “straw man” opinion than to tackle a live, brawn and muscle belief which is scripturally armed for defense.

Space does not allow of more than a passing notice of the first misrepresentation, namely, the phrase, “without any proviso.” Because it is intimately related to the second, however, it should not be entirely ignored. It is well known by careful students of the Word that the prophecies concerning the eventual return of Israel to their covenanted homeland and the reëstablishment of their national life are punctuated with divinely inspired stipulations. No teacher or writer of recognized standing in orthodox circles, so far as I know, either ignores or minimizes these scriptural provisos. On the other hand, a careful reading of the literature of the subject by such scholars as J. N. Darby, Sir Robert Anderson, F. W. Grant, W. J. Erdman, A. T. Pierson, James M. Gray, W. H. Griffith Thomas, and many others whose scholastic training, recognized...

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