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QUESTION: I have always thought that God only gave the jews the sinai penninsula but according to Exodus 23:31 God also includes the area from the desert to the Euphrates river; basically the whole of Saudi Arabia and it's surrounding countries. Can you please tell me what the Jews were promised by God. Thank You Pete

ANSWER: Dear Pete,

Here is the text you mention: (NKJV) “Exo 23:31  And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the River. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.

According the Oxford Bible Atlas (Second Edition) pages 57-59, the territory would extend from the “Brook of Egypt” (in southern Gaza) up the Mediterranean Sea (the sea of Philistia) north to the Euphrates River. It would include the “Negeb”, south of which is the Wilderness of Zin, and to the northwest, the area of that was known as Tyre and Sidon. This isn’t exactly what the text says, but the Jews never realized the fullest extent of the land God gave them, except for the 40 years of Solomon’s reign.

Comparing this to the promise given to Abraham and the actual possession by the Israelites. Compare these two texts:

Gen 15:18  On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—

1Ki 4:21  So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the [Euphrates] River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.

I think I can safely say that under Solomon the promise was realized.

However, both you and I know that the children of Israel were not faithful to God at many periods of their existence. After Solomon the kingdom was divided between the ten northern tribes, who called themselves “Israel,” and the other two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, who became known as “Judah.” The ten tribes were carried away by Assyria in 722 BC, and essentially disappeared (in spite of the claims of the Mormons and other groups). The kingdom of Judah was carried to Babylon by the year 586 BC. Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC and let the Jews (people of the kingdom of Judah) go home. Remnants of these people continue to thrive today—around the world.

It’s good that you’re reading your Bible. Reading the Bible is so important to the Christian. It would be very difficult to maintain a saving relationship with God without it. And learning about God and His requirements for us would be nearly impossible without some connection with God’s Holy Word.

Actually, if we watch for Him, we’ll find Jesus Christ in almost every passage of the Old and New Testaments. Sometimes He’s known as the Creator (cf. John 1:1-4, 10, 14); sometimes He’s known as “the Angel of the LORD” (Ex. 3:1-14; cf. John 8:56-58); sometimes He’s known as the “servant” (Isa. 52:13-53:12); and sometimes as the Messiah. Often He’s behind the scenes, working through those who live according to His will.

If you have difficulty understanding the Bible, there are many aids available to help you do this, (see list below). But above all, read your Bible for yourself, and pray that God will help you understand it.
Stay close to Jesus.

Thurman C. Petty, Jr.
PettyPress@gmail.com
www.PettyPress.com

Sources of Bible study aids and answers for your questions:
Mail order Bible lessons: Amazing Facts Bible Lessons, PO Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678
Telephone questions answered: 3ABN 1-800-752-3226 (pastoral dept., ext. 1)
On-line: Bibleinfo.com; Itiswritten.com (Bible studies/Discover Bible Guides)
Television networks: HOPE Channel (Direct TV #368); 3ABN (Dish Network #9710)

P.S. If you enjoy reading about the late Jewish history before the Babylonian captivity, I’ve written 5 books (non-fiction, written in fictional style) on this era. These are in their 3rd edition, and are on my web site: Check it out.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: so since the jews possess only a fraction of the land God promised to them, could you say that they dont actually possess a Jewish state as God had intended it to be for them?

Answer
Pete,
I’m not sure where you’re coming from, but, no, the Jews do not possess the land that God intended. They live in a very little part of the “promised land.”

Of course, we must remember that the land of Israel, today, was not inherited by the blessed Jews of Bible times. The Jews were dispossessed because of unbelief (Matt. 23:38). They live all over the world, most of them no longer living in the promised land. And just because there are Jews there now, doesn’t mean that God has returned their land to them. What exists in Israel now is merely a political state given them after the second world war.

I do not say this out of any anti-sematic bias: it’s just the facts.

God bless you as you continue to study the Bible.

Sincerely,
Thurman C. Petty, Jr.  

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Thurman C. Petty, Jr.

Expertise

I`ve been a Pastor and Bible teacher for 40 years.

Experience

I`m a writer--author of 18 Bible-based books and over 200 journal articles. Web site: www.PettyPress.com where a lot of my books and writings are posted. I've been married to the same lovely lady for 55 years. We're more in love now than when we married. My wife and I were missionaries to Pitcairn Island, in the South Pacific, from 1982-1984.

Organizations
I've been a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church since the age of 9.

Publications
Books: Pacific Press Publishing Association; PettyPress. Number of titles published: 16. Journal Articles: Adventist Review; Signs of the Times; Guide Magazine; Ministry: A Journal for Clergy; Sabbath School Leadership; The Youth's Instructor; Student Movement; Cord, and others. Total Journal articles: over 200. Web Site: www.PettyPress.com. Contents: 18 of my books; 41 Bible study guides; over 30 sermons; Stories; poems; links to other sites, etc. E-mail address: PettyPress@gmail.com

Education/Credentials
I have a BA and a Master`s degree--both degrees are in Biblical studies.

Awards and Honors
I was awarded the "Golden Cord" from my Alma Mater, Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, for my foreign mission service.

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