William D. Barrick on the church inheriting the promised land
In Romans 8:32 Paul wrote: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” But there is something that many Christians adamantly deny that God has ever given to the church: the land and mountains of Israel. Therefore, they implicitly reject the above statement of Paul; they do not believe it.
Dr. William D. Barrick, Professor of Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary, in his article Thy Kingdom Come wrote:
Now, back to Ezekiel 37:21–28. With regard to this text, Hal Lindsey correctly asks that we consider the following points:
(1) The Church has never been scattered in discipline among the nations. (2) The Church has never been in a civil war that resulted in two kingdoms called Israel and Judah. (3) The Church has never been promised restoration to the land and mountains of Israel. (4) The Church cannot be in view when it says, “They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived.” (5) If this were in any conceivable sense referring to the Church, why does it say that the Gentiles will recognize who God really is when He makes Israel holy and His sanctuary is among them forever?
Thus, the Church is not Israel and Israel is not the Church. Bible readers must be equally distinguishing in their comparing the future Eternal Kingdom of God to the future Messianic Kingdom on earth.
Barrick quoted from Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust [Bantam, 1989] pp. 107 – 108.
In a comment to this post, a similar statement from Barrick is quoted:
The Church has never been scattered in discipline among the nations, so how can it be the one regathered? The church has never been in a civil war that resulted in two kingdoms, called Israel and Judah, so how can the church fulfill Ezekiel 37? The church has never been promised restoration to land and mountains of Israel. The church cannot be in view when the scripture says they will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. That’s not true of the church. If this were in any conceivable sense referring to the church, why does the scripture say that the Gentiles, seeing this occur, will recognize who God really is when He makes Israel holy and makes Israel His sanctuary and abides among His people Israel forever?
For Barrick, Lindsey must appear as a “giant.” Lindsey’s words are clear enough, and they are forcefully put. The land was promised to Jacob, not the church; and who would dare to question Hal Lindsey?
Hmm… Barrick’s attitude is a lot like that of the Israelites in the wilderness, when they heard the report of the spies Moses sent to survey the land. Ten of the spies gave a negative report. There were giants in the land of promise, and in comparison to them, in their own sight they seemed as grasshoppers. [Numbers 13:33] Barrick cannot believe what Paul said in Romans 8:32 because the Old Testament declares the land was promised to Jacob! But, it was also promised to Abraham, and to Isaac. And Jesus said, all three men will be in his kingdom.
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
How does the land promised to Abraham relate to the church’s inheritance? The promised land was a token, or a symbol of something greater, and more desirable than the land of Canaan. In the New Testament, it is called “a better country.” [Hebrews 11:16] The land of Canaan represents the spiritual inheritance of the saints; dwelling in the land typified the knowledge of God. That is why the Israelites were expelled from the land, when they turned from the worship of God to idols. God scattered them in other lands.
If the promised land represents the truth, exile from the promised land, and captivity in foreign lands, picture spiritual ignorance, and delusion. This is the sense in which Christians, like the Israelites of old, have been scattered in discipline; they are scattered in tens of thousands of denominations and sects. They disagree on numerous points of doctrine, which separate one Christian from another as effectively as if they were in separate countries. But God promises to search for his sheep bring them back to the mountains of Israel. [Ezekiel 34:13]
Jacob said, when he blessed Joseph, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.” [Genesis 49:26] This connection between his blessings and the lofty mountains implies there was a higher, spiritual significance to the promise of land that he received at Bethel. And since he said “everlasting hills,” they were eternal. The promise of land was not limited to the area of Palestine which Israel eventually possessed. Jerusalem was established in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills, as Isaiah foretold, when Jesus ascended to the throne of God in heaven. [Isaiah 2:1-3] The promised land is the spiritual realm of Christ’s kingdom. When Jesus brings us into this better country, we depart from darkness, and enter into the light, and the knowledge of God. Paul alluded to this, I think, when he wrote:
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.