Adonai spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai; he said, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘When you enter the land I am giving you, the land itself is to observe a Shabbat rest for Adonai.'”-Leviticus 25:1-2
Today we’re going to explore the very important and critical Biblical principle of land tenure as established by YHWH.
Look at verse 2 of Leviticus 25 where it says “When you enter this land I am giving you…“.
The Hebrew word for “giving” is NATHAN.
That’s right, it’s the exact same word of the name of the prophet who served King David.
NATHAN can be rendered into one of the following words in English….
Now here’s the thing.
NATHAN doesn’t really mean an outright transfer of ownership as though that thing being given to you is completely yours to do with whatever you want.
Think of the office of the President of the United States.
Does Donald Trump own the presidency?
No, he doesn’t (though I think he’d like to).
The presidency belongs to the American people.
Each president starting with George Washington was only holding the office for a period of time.
Or think about if you become a franchisee of McDonald’s for instance.
You are given the right to use the McDonald’s name and accompanying logos, symbols and are given the recipes and operational and management secrets to start up your own successful McDonald’s burger shop.
But what you cannot do is change the name of McDonald’s to some other name or go ahead and sell your McDonald’s shop to another willing buyer.
These examples are similar to the land YHWH gave to Abraham.
In other words, the land was handed over to Abraham as a lease, NOT as a sale.
YHWH retained ownership of the land, but Israel was given the right (from God) to use it.
Now we’ve basically reached the graduate school level in our TORAH studies, I believe this is a key Biblical principle you should understand.
In other words, while God gave Israel possession of the land, they didn’t necessarily own it.
What Israel possessed in Joshua’s day and possesses today is NOT eternal ownership of the land but an eternal lease.
So you may be thinking, what the heck is the difference?!
There’s a huge difference!
Since Israel just has a leasehold and does NOT own the land, the one thing they are not allowed to do is sell the property to foreigners.
Think about it.
If you own a piece of land, you have the right to sell it.
But if you are just leasing the land, you are not allowed to sell the property.
If anybody reading this has ever leased a mansion, building or house, you understand perfectly what I’m talking about.
By the way, there is a specific Hebrew word to refer to the idea of “possessing” something but not “owning” it.
That word is ACHUZZAH and it literally means “holding“.
YHWH makes it clear to Israel that since they do not own the land, they are forbidden from selling the property.
So all of these ridiculous settlement negotiations with the Palestinians or anybody else for that matter is an infringement of the terms and conditions the Lord established with the people of Israel concerning the land of Canaan.
Israel is allowed to use the land given to them by their God minus interference from the owner as long as they honor the terms set forth in the contract.
And one of the NON-NEGOTIABLE terms of this contract is that they absolutely must NOT sell the land because they don’t own it!
If this rule is broken, YHWH will literally see to it that all hell is gonna break loose, which I think just may happen a lot sooner than any of us may think.
And for the non-Jew or non-Hebrew, you had best understand this.
There is only one group of people who are entitled to the land of Israel.
That is the Jewish or Hebrew people, all 12 tribes!
Moving on, another one of the key terms of the “leasehold agreement” that God established in the covenants He made with Abraham and Moses is that Israel is only to make the land produce for six years.
Every seventh year is to be a Sabbath year.
Just as YHWH did His work of creation for six days and then rested on the seventh day, Israel must work the land for 6 years but allow it to rest on the 7th year.
This 7th Sabbath year was not really for the Israelites to rest (though that purpose was also achieved) but it was to give the land a rest.