God’s land promise was originally made to Abraham in roughly 2,000BC. The Bible first tells of the land promise in Genesis 12:1-3 and it is repeated several more times to Abraham and descendants Isaac and Jacob (aka Israel). As a result, the “Promised Land” became the great quest of the tribes of Israel.

“On November 29, 1947 the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states in May 1948 when the British mandate was scheduled to end.” (U.S. Sec of State)

Many evangelical Christian leaders today teach that the land promise was only, finally fulfilled in this 1948 action by the UN that established the modern day nation of Israel. Was it really roughly 4,000 years later that the land promise was fulfilled? What does Scripture say?

how Scripture answers "Was the land promise fulfilled in 1948?"

The land promise was fulfilled long ago (approx 1,300 BC) when the twelve tribes of Israel, led by Joshua, conquered the land1,2all of it3. It’s not only explicitly stated at the time, but repeated by God4 and written into Israelite history by subsequent Bible writers5,6,7,8,9 spanning more than 1,000 years following. God fulfilled a promise that was conditional on their obedience1,3,4,7,8, and it was their disobedience that caused them to lose the land7,8.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks
1
I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.
I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I will give it to you to posses. I am God.
God’s instruction to Moses of what to tell the people in preparation for their imminent exodus from Egyptian bondage for 400 years.
How does it inform?

God is recalling a promise from about 700 years prior, reminding a new generation – the generation that would actually see and have opportunity to enter the Promised Land.

Does it apply? Yes

2
Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.
God gave all the land to Israel that he had sworn to give and they possessed and settled there.  God gave them rest from all their enemies just as he promised.  Not one enemy overcame them, for God delivered them.  All of the good promises of God came to pass, not one failed.

The closing of the book of Joshua following the detailed accounting of the distribution to the land to each of the twelve tribes.

How does it inform?

The writer of Joshua believed the land promise was fulfilled in his day.

Does it apply? Yes

3
And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.

And now I am about to die, and you all know to a truth that not one word of God’s promises have failed concerning you. All has come to pass; not one has failed.

Joshua’s final words to the people following the detailed accounting of the distribution to the land to each of the twelve tribes.  After affirming God’s promises, he warns the people that they must not “transgress the covenant of the Lord your God.” (vs 16)
How does it inform?

Joshua believed the land promise was fulfilled in his day. In his final words, he also warns them to remain faithful or they will be case out of the land.

Does it apply? Yes

4
But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
If you turn away from my commandments and worship other gods, then I will remove you from the land that I have given you, and this house that’s been consecrated for my dwelling.  I will cast you out of my sight, and make you a footnote of history.
Solomon has completed the permanent temple complex in Jeruslaem.  God is responding to Solomon after his prayer of dedication.
How does it inform?

God believed the land promise had been fulfilled, but reminds them it is conditional.

Does it apply? Yes

5
And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil, that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the Lord!
God gave them the lands of the nations/Gentiles, and they possessed it and worked it, that they might keep His commandments and live by His laws.  Praise the Lord!

A song sung by the nation of Israel, recounting and summarizing their history.

How does it inform?

Around 1,000BC, The Israelites believed the land promise had been fulfilled.

Does it apply? Yes

6
Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
Did you, our God, not drive out the inhabitants of this land for us, and forever give it to the descendants of Abraham your servant?

A prayer by Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, when he was afraid (vs 3) of a mounting force coming against him for battle (vs 1-2) and was seeking God’s help.

How does it inform?

At around 850BC, King Jehoshaphat believed the land promise had been fulfilled.

Does it apply? Yes

7
You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the Lord persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, saying, Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever.
You have not listened or paid attention even though God repeatedly sent you prophets speaking His word [true prophets].  They said, “Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever.”

The message from God through Jeremiah – a message he personally had been giving for 23 years at this point (vs 3).  The northern ten tribes have already been taken away by Assyria for their disobedience.  Now, the southern two tribes will follow suit at the hands of the Babylonians.

How does it inform?

At around 580BC, Jeremiah believed the land promise had been fulfilled but was jeopardized by their disobedience. His personal sentiment about God having fulfilled his promise (the land) and their disobedience is repeated again in his prayer (Jeremiah 32:22-23).

Does it apply? Yes

8
You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would.

You [God] multiplied their [Israelites] children as the stars of the heaven and brought them in to possess the land you had promised to their fathers. So their descendants went in a possessed it and you subdued the inhabitants and delivered them over to the Israelites – their kings and their people – that they might do with them as they pleased.

A great scene of repentance and confession by the people that had returned to the land after seventy years of captivity in Babylon.  It was led by several Levites (vs 5).

How does it inform?

At around 450BC, the Levites and the people believed the land promise had been fulfilled, while acknowledging their loss of the land due to their disobedience.

Does it apply? Yes

9
And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance.

After destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he [God] gave them their land as an inheritance.

Paul’s gospel sermon while in the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia on the Sabbath day.

How does it inform?

In the first century, Paul believed the land promise had been fulfilled.

Does it apply? Yes

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