• Who owns the Holy Land?
• Who are God’s “chosen people” today?
Scroll down to find the answers to these questions.
The promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Genesis were never limited to their descendants alone, but included people of many other races.
Who owns the Holy Land?
The region called the Holy Land, once known by such names as Canaan, Israel and Judah, Philistia, and Palestine, has been under military occupation for most of the last 3,000 years. Among the outside occupiers were the Assyrians (8th and 7th centuries BC), the Babylonians (6th century BC), the Greeks (Alexander the Great and successors, 4th through 1st centuries BC), the Romans (1st century BC through AD 7th century), the Ottoman Empire (AD 16th through 20th centuries), and Great Britain (1917–1948).
At the conclusion of World War I, Palestine (which had been governed for centuries by the Ottoman Empire) became part of Great Britain and was known as British Mandate Palestine. Then, after World War II, with significant pressure from the United States and other Western nations, the United Nations carved out territory for the modern state of Israel from British Mandate Palestine. This new state constituted 54 percent of the land of British Mandate Palestine. The Palestinians rejected this partition as a grave injustice, as they were 66 percent of the population and owned over 90 percent of the land. The state of Israel was established in spite of Palestinian objections.
Who are God’s “chosen people" today?
Many Christians assume that the Jews are God’s “chosen people.” Both Hebrew and Christian Scriptures insist, however, that God’s people are identified by their faith, not their ancestry.
In the Old Testament
The promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Genesis were never limited to their descendants but included people of many other races.
Psalm 87, for example, affirms that many nationalities—Egyptian (Rahab), Iraqi (Babylon), Palestinian (Philistia), Lebanese (Tyre), and African (Cush)—share the same status as the Israelites on the basis of their faith:
I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me—Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush—and will say, “This one was born in Zion.” Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” (Psalm 87:4–6 NIV)