The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

New Covenant Attitude Toward Land Possession

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common… Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 2:32, 34, 35)

This is interesting in light of the old Hebrew laws about land. The Hebrews were supposed to maintain the exact borders of their family inheritance. Yet when these believers entered the New Covenant, they were quick to sell their possessions–including land–in order to help the poor. Today’s dispensational and zionist believers should consider this carefully. Why weren’t the Christians proclaiming their rights to own the land? Why didn’t they publicly condemn the Romans for “dividing the land”? Why do we have no record of their ever preaching about a physical restoration of their countrymen to the land? (In fact, the unbelieving zealots did believe in and fight for physical restoration, but they were overcome in 70 AD.) Why weren’t they asking for money in order to buy up more land for God? Perhaps the next verse gives the answer:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. (Matt. 19:29)

They believed Jesus! They knew the promised inheritance was eternal life!

They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Heb. 11:37-40)

These persecuted Christians were willing to be homeless because of their faith. Notice they “did not receive the promise,” but they shall receive it with us on the same day we do. Abraham and other Old Testament saints who actually lived in “the promised land” considered that land “a foreign country.” They only saw the promise “afar off.” What does this tell us? The promise was spiritual, and these people of faith knew it. They were not seeking a natural homeland, but a heavenly country.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God…These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Heb. 11:8-10; 13-16)

I am not attempting to make the case that land ownership is a sin. However, the fight over “the holy land” is a carnal fight between carnal men. It was carnality in the days of the Jewish-Roman wars, it was carnality in the days of the “Christian” vs. Muslim crusades, and it is carnality today. Today the Muslims and Jews fight over “holy sites,” and even Christians express sorrow for the Christians who can’t access them. However, real Christians are not losing any sleep over being barred from such sites. They know this:

The woman said to Him, “Sir…Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father…the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn. 4:19-24)

Yes, true worshipers are walking in this reality daily:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven. (Heb. 12:22-23a)

Remember that those who have entered Christ are heirs of the promises to Abraham by faith (Gal. 3:16;29). There is neither Jew nor Greek in this spiritual family; Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:11). But in Christ we have not inherited earthly possessions. As children of Abraham in the eyes of God, none of us has the right or calling to go take possession of a piece of the Middle East by force, whether for ourselves or for others. Remember that the earliest Jewish Christians in the book of Acts were doing just the opposite! Like Abraham, true saints have their hearts set on pilgrimage rather than possession of land. Wherever they happen to dwell in the flesh, they seek a homeland…a heavenly country.

Entering into Christ, every Christian enters the “better covenant” with “better promises,” which was foreshadowed and planted in the Old Covenant. The spiritual realities now far eclipse the old shadows. Clinging to the old shadows–when their fulfillment has come in the Lord Jesus–is unbelief.

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