The right of the Jewish people to return to the land goes back to Genesis 12
What we find here:
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives and from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
2 And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you, and make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
4 So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.
6 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land.
7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.
8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.
9 Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev.
The world’s reaction was, predictably, to pay no attention to this Divine Decree
Israel was in the land for a number of years as a sovereign nation
The period of Joshua and the Judges ran from approximately 1250 BC until 1080 BC when the kingship was established, with Saul being the first king.
The kingdom was united during the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon.
Around 931 BC the Nation of Israel split into 2 separate kingdoms when Rehoboam, the son of Solomon inherited the throne, was asked by the elders of Israel for relief from the heavy taxes and harsh punishments and answered them roughly promising to make taxes higher and punishments harsher. (See I Kings 12)
Ten of the tribes rebelled against Rehoboam and selected a man by the name of Jeroboam to be their king. They became known as the Nation of Israel, sometimes referred to as the Northern Kingdom.
Only two of the tribes, Judah and Benjamin remained with Rehoboam. They became known as the Nation of Judah, or the Southern Kingdom.
Of the two nations Israel seemed to rush more headlong into sin and reaped its consequences earlier than Judah.
By 722 BC Israel had fallen to the Assyrians. The Assyrians, in accordance with their usual policies, and in fulfillment of the Scriptures without recognizing it, dispersed the people of Israel throughout their vast empire, resulting in the so called Ten Lost Tribes.
Judah’s history was a little different
When the Assyrian Empire fell in 612 BCE to the Babylonians the Babylonians took the region, sacked Jerusalem, and destroyed the temple in 598 BCE.
The Babylonians transported the aristocracy, scribes, and skilled craftsmen back to Babylon. This is known as the Babylonian Captivity.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego would have been among the captives.
Babylon in turn was conquered by the Persians under Cyrus (sometimes called Cyrus the Great. Cyrus released the Jews to return to their homeland thus fulfilling the promise of Scripture given through Jeremiah.
8 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words,
9 behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation.
10 Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.
11 This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.
13 I will bring upon that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations.
14 (For many nations and great kings will make slaves of them, even them; and I will recompense them according to their deeds and according to the work of their hands.)” (Jeremiah 25)
“For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.” (Jeremiah 29:10)
Daniel, as an old man, realized when the time of the captivity was over:
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans — 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. (Daniel 9)
The Babylonian Captivity was a warning from God to the Nation of Judah (all that remained of the Nation of Israel by that time). The warning was
This was just a small sample of what will happen if you continue in your path of disobedience. This time it was for 70 years in one nation. The next time it will be in accordance with the words spoken by Moses in Deuteronomy:
64 Moreover, the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:64)
However God did not leave the people of Israel without hope. As we have already seen, He promised to bring His people back to their land “in the latter days”
“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3 then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5 The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. (Deuteronomy 30)
We see God’s reaction and a step in the fulfillment of that last Scripture in the Jubilee year of 1917
Remembering what must happen in the year of Jubilee
The right of the original owner must be proclaimed and affirmed.
This was done with the Balfour Declaration
More than a coincidence: The Scripture appointed to be read in every Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath before the Balfour Declaration was
It contained and established the ancestral right to the homeland
Other Scriptures for that week included
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16 I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
7 And He said to him (Abram), “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”
17 It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite
3 Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7 I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Remembering what can happen once the ancestral right to the land is affirmed: The people may return to their inheritance: The people to the land and the land to the people.
In 1917 the stage was set for this to happen.