Deuteronomy 1:5-8

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Deuteronomy 1:5-8

Copyright © June 14, 2016 Douglas W. Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.

Deuteronomy 1:5-8

The Extent of the Promised Land

The promise to Abraham has never been fulfilled historically as a literal Israelite land-home. The fulfilment of the promise comes through Christ as an international kingdom of God via the salvation of all people, nations, tribes and people who willingly submit themselves to His rule.

Of course, this flies in the face of all premillennialist theology, which assumes that the promises to Abraham in Genesis 15:17-21 are to be taken literally and unconditionally and are therefore applicable to a future Israelite nation that will dominate all the Earth from Jerusalem for a literal 1000 years.

Genesis 15 refers to an inheritance by Abraham’s descendants that would eventually encompass Egypt from the Nile to the extreme north-eastern territories of Lebanon and Syria bordered by the Euphrates River. To date, Israel has never possessed all the land mass that appears to be a part of the Genesis promise to Abraham, not even under the Davidic-Solomonic kingdoms. That is why it is easy for premills to assume that the reference is to a “history” still in the future. (By it’s very nature history cannot refer to a future set of events. That is not history. It is either prophesy, prognostication, or apocalypticism. All three are future-event interpretations of history.)

Genesis 15 is a prophesy of future events for the nation that had at that time not even been in existence. Even if it were a reference to future holdings, it would only include east of the Nile Egypt on the south and north of Syria and Lebanon to the northern boundaries of the Euphrates river. Contrary to premillennialism, the Genesis passage does not speak of an Abrahamic/Israelitic kingdom ascendency that rules over all the earth/planet from Jerusalem. There is nothing in the Genesis Promise to Abraham that even remotely implies that Israel would someday rule over all the nations of the earth.

Moses’ own words in this passage already appear to limit the promise geographically. Strangely, he leaves out any reference to Egypt, and includes only the territories specifically designated as Canaanite up to the Lebanon. Historically, only the Lebanon became a vassal state to the Davidic kingdom. Once again, the only way we can view a fulfillment of the Genesis Promise is by pushing it into the future as do the premillennialists. As such it becomes a non-historical event that at best is a prophecy for the future, and that future “event” is only as valid as the prognostications of premillennialist theology.

Deuteronomy as a whole limits the promise to a conditional one. The whole book implies the conditional character of a unilateral covenant. Deuteronomy 28 is proof enough of this fact. The implication of the whole book of Deuteronomy is that the covenant promises to Abraham’s descendants are always determined by their obedience to the covenant. Mosaic doctrine always interprets the promise to Abraham as conditional upon faithfulness to the covenant. The promise is always conditioned by fidelity to the covenant.

The implications of the Deuteronomic covenant (which is essentially a re-telling of the Exodus Law of the Covenant) is that the geography may be fulfilled upon full and lasting obedience to the covenant. Israel of the Older Testament never met this goal, even under the kingdoms of David and Solomon, when they were at their greatest geo-political point in history.

The promise is reinterpreted by the prophets as the salvation of all mankind under the reign of the future Messiah. Virtually all the latter prophets (Isaiah to Malachi) apply the Genesis Promise to a universal interpretation that goes far beyond mere ethnicity. They imply an international obedience to the covenant based upon commitment to the coming Messiah. The New Testament documents set forth that Messiah, Jesus Christ, as the fulfilment of the Promise without reference at all to ethnicity. If you need chapter and verse for this, all I can say is this: Read the prophets for the OT proof and read Paul in the New Testament. Read your Bible and then tell me you find anything different.

You can’t.

The promise to Abraham was passed on to the faithful in Christ, who are the new Israelite nation. Christ’s kingdom extends to all mankind, thus fulfilling the promise to Abraham. Entrance into the universal Kingdom of God (KOG) is through faith in Christ, not ethnicity of any sort. Jesus Christ Himself made this clear in every parable, almost all which were diatribes against the ethno-centric religion of His peers. Again, read your Bible.

Since salvation is to the Jew and Gentile alike since the time of Messiah/Christ, so is the Kingdom of God. We are not waiting for the KOG to appear as a Jewish/Israelite world-state geo-political entity. As Jesus said, “The kingdom is within you” speaking to those who already were committed to obedience to the covenant and to Him.

The New Testament clarifies the extent of the Kingdom of God. It goes far beyond the geographical boundaries of the Abrahamic Promise found in Genesis 15. As we have seen above, Moses himself limited the geography, and the Davidic-Solomonic kingdoms at their height never fully encompassed them. The universal aspects of the Promise, according to the prophets and the New Testament, are reserved only for those who are faithful to God’s covenant, regardless of ethnicity.

The promise extends spiritually only to those who are the faithful in Christ. There is no future “Jewish” or Israelite millennium that we should be expecting. The Jewish/Israelite millennium of the future is a premillennialist heresy that has no basis in real Biblical theology. It is based on an unbiblical assumption that the Genesis Promise to Abraham was race oriented, when in fact all the prophets from Moses to Jesus insisted on salvation by faith.


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the You may contact him at


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