Most evangelical Christians, because they’ve been taught to think this way, simply believe that Israel’s presence in the Land today is not only a God-given promise, but there is a future eschatology tied to that presence in the Land. In fact, many today think the Temple will be rebuilt and Israel will rule in the Land. In other words, many think Israel’s recognition as a nation and having their “location” in the Land of Israel today is by divine-appointment in such a way that it both fulfills promise and portends a fuller possession of the land someday.
But not all are so sure, and very few Christians today have given a serious look at what the NT says about Land — and how little is actually said about the Land. And those who have studied it have written technical books very few read. Until Gary Burge: Jesus and the Land
Gary Burge, professor at Wheaton (and my predecessor at North Park), soberly and fairly and responsibly sketches every text in the NT to provide what amounts to two things:
1. A theology of “land” in the NT and among early Christians.
2. A challenge to so much of today’s “holy land” theology.
The big point: the NT shows no territorial theology; the “land” promise expands in the NT beyond Israel’s border; most of what many say today is not therefore supported by the NT itself. The early Christians did not see the land promise as theirs. Ownership of the land is not a Christian issue. The land is about historical remembrance, the land has become Christ himself and we are “in Christ,” and we are both “landless” (not in the holy land) but “landed” (we have a location in this world).