Millennial Series: Part 15: The Abrahamic Covenant and Premillennialism -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 109:435 (Jul 1952)
Article: Millennial Series: Part 15: The Abrahamic Covenant and Premillennialism
Author: John F. Walvoord


Millennial Series:
Part 15: The Abrahamic Covenant and Premillennialism

John F. Walvoord

(Continued from the April-June Number, 1952

Will Israel Possess the Promised Land?

One of the important provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant is the promise of possession of the land. From Abraham’s point of view, this was undoubtedly one of its main features. In the original promise, he was told, “Get thee out…unto a land that I will shew thee” (Gen 12:1). This anticipation of possessing the land is given more content in Genesis 13:15, where Abraham is promised, “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” This promise of the land is subsequently enlarged and given specific boundaries, and the land is promised as an everlasting possession.

All interpreters of the Abrahamic Covenant are faced with the question of the interpretation and fulfillment of these promises. In general, amillenarians tend either to make these promises conditional, and therefore not requiring fulfillment, or to spiritualize them and point to past possessions of the land as fulfilling the promise. Premillenarians consider the promises as given unconditionally as far as ultimate fulfillment is concerned and therefore hold that Israel has a bona fide ground for future possession of the land, particularly in the millennial kingdom period. For practical purposes the problem resolves into the question of whether Israel will ever possess all the promised land.

It has been previously shown that the Abrahamic Covenant is basically unconditional, though the present enjoyment of it by an individual or a nation may have certain conditions. It has also been shown that Israel shall continue as a nation forever. If these two conclusions be sustained, it follows that Israel as such will possess the land. It also is true that all the evidence pointing to ultimate possession of the land confirms and supports the idea that the covenant is

unconditional and that Israel will continue as a nation forever.

The character of the promise of the land. The promise of possession of the land by the seed of Abraham is a prominent feature of the covenant, and the way the promise is given enhances its significance. The promise as given emphasizes that (1) it is gracious in its principle; (2) the land is an inheritance of the seed; (3) its title is given forever; (4) the land is to be possessed forever; (5) the land promised includes specific territory defined by boundaries. It is difficult to imagine how God could have made it clearer that the ...

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