If you have not read the first post in this series, please make sure to read it so you can catch the gist of what this series is about. Briefly stated, we must be sure to use the Bible properly rather than trying to make it say what we want it to say. So without further ado, let’s jump into another commonly misused Bible verse.
Commonly Misused Verse #2: Jeremiah 29:11
I can’t count the number of times I have heard this one misused in the past few years.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)
Many Christians love to recite this verse as though it is a promise for God that He only wants or plans the best for our lives. It is used in efforts to encourage the downtrodden. Once again, do you know the context of this verse? Do you know when and why these words were spoken and to whom they were spoken? Were they given as a divine promise to individual Christians? Let’s take a look.
The 29th chapter of Jeremiah makes it clear that these words are part of a letter written by Jeremiah to Jewish exiles living in Babylon under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. Here are some of the verses in the immediate context.
For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:10–14, emphasis added)
This was a promise given to the Jewish people living in exile. The Lord used Babylon as His instrument of judgment, and the Jews were to live in the land of Babylon for 70 years. By comparing Jeremiah 25:11 with 2 Chronicles 36:21, we learn that the reason for this 70 year period of judgment was that the Jews had failed to keep the seventh year land Sabbath for 490 years. They were supposed to allow the land to lie fallow every seventh year, but had neglected to do so. Consequently, God removed them from the land for 70 years so that the land of Israel would lie fallow for the 70 years that the Jews owed to God.
While the Jews were in exile, God sent these encouraging words through a prophet named Jeremiah. This verse shows God’s plan for the Jewish people—plans of peace and of a future and hope. That is what this verse is about.
So is it appropriate for Christians to cite this verse as a promise from God to us? Not really. Yes, God does know the thoughts He has toward us, and ultimately in heaven, we will have a peaceful future and a hope. The idea that God promises to prosper all Christians is not what the Bible teaches, as shown in the following verses:
God told a man named Ananias that Paul (then called Saul) would soon visit him and that He would “show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).
After being beaten by the Jewish leaders, the apostles rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).
Paul told Timothy that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Finally, Jesus told His disciples, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).
Many other verses could be added to this list. The Bible does not promise us that we will be free from earthly trouble. In fact, the opposite is true. We are guaranteed that we will face persecution as believers. We can still experience joy and peace in the midst of these trials through the power of Christ. Eventually, we will have an unimaginably blissful future with Christ in the new heavens and new earth.
So although it is true that we will have a prosperous eternity, this verse was written for the Jews in exile, and we must keep the proper context in mind.
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I really appreciate these posts giving the context of a verse or scripture. In this case, could we interpret Jeremiah 29:11 to mean that God doesn’t guarantee you won’t have difficulties or storms, but through those times you build strength and character, and thereby you prosper, are not harmed, have a hope and future from the character you have built.
Funny thing is the other night I thought the same thing you speak of; was this intended just for the time it was spoken and written and not for application to current times.
Well said. I actually agree with you. I do have a question, though. I often read Psalms to uplift me. I think it’s a beautifuly written book.
Psalm 91, ““He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
And scriptures another scripture, Proverbs 1 ““Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Are not the scriptures promises? They are not for a specific people.
These passages are more general in the scope of who is being addressed. Jeremiah 29:11 is specifically addressed to the Israelite exiles in Babylon. For example, Jeremiah 29:1 states, “Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon.” So the immediate context tells us who the audience is.
For the other passages (I think you meant Psalm 1, not Proverbs 1), they have a broader audience. The Psalms are songs composed by Hebrew poets and musicians over centuries. Much like our hymns and choruses, there are some that describe God’s incomparable greatness and goodness, and there are others that remind the people of eternal truths to encourage them and remind them of what God has done and will do for those who trust in Him. The two you cited fall into that latter category. I think Psalm 1 is a bit easier to apply to our lives, but we need to understand that “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” does not necessarily mean what a lot of television preachers use it for (i.e. “be healthy and wealthy”). Psalm 91 can be a bit tricky to apply to our modern situation. Verse 1, which you cited, is simple enough to apply, but when you read the remainder of the psalm, can we really claim that God grants physical protection at all times to everyone who rests in Him?
It’s funny that you are quoting Romans 8:28 in a reply because I read in a book, and I can’t remember it’s title, that Christians also use Romans 8:28 in the wrong context because it is talking about the content in the previous verses and not what’s happening in Christian’s lives.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I may not express it exactly as you have, but I think we are saying pretty much the same thing. The way I normally say it is that there is one proper interpretation (in this case, God promised Israel that even though they were exiled, He still had good plans for them), but there may be many applications. Since I’m not a Jew living in the Babylonian exile, this verse is not specifically about me. However, we do know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)
I think you should explain how Romans 8:28 does not directly apply to Christians. Paul is writing this letter to Christians. He did not single out a certain group of believers in this chapter. The context of this chapter is about those who are “in Christ,” “in the Spirit,” and those called “saints.” So it is about Christians. It doesn’t mean that everything that happens will be good, but that everything, which includes the difficult times, will eventually be worked together for our good.
Thanks for responding so quickly, Tim! I appreciate the clarification. I love the book of Hebrews because it maps out so clearly just some of the ways in which Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of the practices and promises given in the Hebrew Bible. But at the same time, there is a layer of those promises that was tangible. They were given to a people, on specific land, about their particular situations, and it wasn’t me. Thanks for all your work!
As I was reading through some of these “commonly misused” verses, I was thinking about how I had perceived them as being “for” me at times. I understand that they were given in a particular context, and that that is always crucial to keep in mind.
2 Corinthians 1:20 just came to my mind, however. All of God’s promises are “yes” in Christ – affirmed in Christ. That doesn’t mean we can take any promise and turn it into anything we want. Jeremiah 29:11, for example, does not promise me happy outcomes in every trial, and a large bank account. But Jesus is the affirmation that God is for me, loves me, and has always wanted good for me, even though I was an enemy. I may walk, and certainly will, through the shadow of dark days, but the Prince of Peace will guide me. His purposes for my life are always good, even though bad, and even evil things may happen. He can, and will redeem every pain and grief that I place in his faithful and loving hands. And so, I can say that in Christ I see the words of Jeremiah 29:11 as being beautifully fulfilled and “affirmed” for those who have turned to him (Jer. 29:12-14).
This is not an attempt to argue, at all. I very much like the warning to be careful about yanking verses out of context!!! I just wanted to bring up 2 Corinthians 1:20, and hold up the idea of perhaps not “misuse”, but a “new” layer, or Spirit given eyes to see that layer. (????) Does that make sense? Again, the context is important, and caution needs to be always observed. But I do think there are times when Christ walks a follower through an OT passage, and reveals that it is speaking directly and powerfully to her, and her situation. Isn’t God’s Word amazing?!?!?!?!?!
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I may not express it exactly as you have, but I think we are saying pretty much the same thing. The way I normally say it is that there is one proper interpretation (in this case, God promised Israel that even though they were exiled, He still had good plans for them), but there may be many applications. Since I’m not a Jew living in the Babylonian exile, this verse is not specifically about me. However, we do know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). So even though we may go through very difficult trials, and maybe we’ll even be called to die for our faith, God gives us love, joy, peace…, and ultimately eternal life with Him. So in a sense, His plan is to prosper us beyond anything we can comprehend. In Jeremiah 29:11, we can see a principle that God is good toward His people and He keeps His word to His people.
Tim, why do you preach the lie that everyone will go to heaven when God intended and Jesus said that humans will live forever on a respotred to Paradise Earth?
Yes, 144,000 saints who died in the ministry will get to heaven but all the other dead lucky enough to be resurrected to a second chance may pass the test on Judgement Day and live on Paradise Earth.
I did not say that everyone will go to heaven. Believers will spend eternity with God in the new heavens and new earth, more specifically, in the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21–22. It is not limited to 144,000 saints, which is what the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult teaches. The 144,000 mentioned in Revelation are made up of believing Jews from the various tribes of Israel (12,000 from each one listed). They are not Gentile believers.
Nothing in the Bible indicates a separation where in which the best believers, or those who die in ministry, will go to heaven, while every other believer lives on in a restored earth. By the way, there have been far more than 144,000 saints who have died in ministry. What happens to number 144,001? Does he or she miss out?
I agree totally with you. But at the same time people go through different things in life. So maybe when faced with a particular situation i think we are free to use these bible verses to pray. I stand to be corrected.
Thank you for this article. I hear fellow believers pull this verse out of the hat (along with others) at different times. I remember when I read this in context and realized that many of the the original hearers would not see this promise fulfilled. I’m anxious to read the other articles on your site.
The Bible tells us that all nice and good promises in Scripture ultimately gets its fulfillment in our glorification. There is really no outwardly reward here in this time. If we are to be like Jesus, we might expect to suffer like Him too. We collect treasures in heaven and stay a faithful servant here. We do not even deserve to be God`s slave. It is all by His grace.
At my age 14 (1972) someone read some nice verses from OT over me when praying. I did not know the Bible so well, and thought this was a real prophesy for me. I did not take long time before I was totally confused. Why did I not get all these blessings I was promised? Taking verses out of context is immense dangerous. The cults do it all the time, and sorry to say many Christians too. Thank you for fighting for the truth.
It is true that when we pluck out certain verses from the Scripture, we have to consider the very context from where they were taken,but then, we could not neglect the fact that, the God who revealed His plans for His people in the past, is still the same God who reveals His plans for His people in the present. And I would say that God still uses Jeremiah 29:11 as a promise to those who are experiencing (in some sense), “diaspora” in our present time. If God had spoken this particular verse to the Israelites, He could still speak this verse to any one He chooses today.
I’ve been very clear throughout this series that we can look at principles from these verses, but you must be careful in trying to apply promises made to one group to our modern situations. Jeremiah 29:11 is not a promise made to Christians. The context is the key to understanding the passage. To make this verse about modern Christians is to make the Bible say what you want it to say rather than allowing God’s Word to tell us what to do. It’s equivalent to putting yourself in God’s position. Can God comfort and bless modern believers? Absolutely. Is He the same God today as He was when these words were spoken over 2,500 years ago? Yes. Does He promise us plans for a future and to prosper us here on earth? No.
Our goal must be to rightly divide the word of truth rather than trying to make it say what we want it to say by pulling verses out of context and then trying to push them into a different context.
Thank you for your response to my post. Now, I know which theological background you’re coming from. I’m an open minded person. I always practice discernment to what I read or hear, and I respect your perspective.
the bible was written centuries ago, so i dont think i can read that God would say to me “alley I promise you this and that”… is God’s word limited only to the ones it was speaking to at that time…. so what promises of God do you think would apply to today’s christians????
I think you’ve asked a very important question. How can we know when a command was only for a certain time, place, and/or people group or when it is for all people (or all believers) in all places at all times? This is indeed one of the tricky parts of interpreting Scripture. Oftentimes, it is fairly easy to figure out. For example, “You shall not murder” is one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13), so this law obviously applied to the Israelites from the time of Moses at Sinai. But the command is also repeated in the New Testament (Matthew 5:21; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 13:9; James 2:11), and it existed prior to Moses, going back as early as Noah (Genesis 9:6).
The context of a passage, or even the words of the command itself will help you identify whether the command is for all believers throughout history of only for those of that particular setting. Consider the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20). Jesus told His disciples that as they went into the world they were to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Notice that this was a command from Jesus to His disciples (so they were to obey it), but part of that command was for His disciples to make other disciples and to teach them everything He had commanded. Since the Great Commission was part of what the next generation of disciples would be taught, then it is safe to assume that it was to be obeyed by that generation of disciples, who would then teach it to the next generation, and then the next, and so on. So we can safely deduce that the Great Commission is a command that all believers should follow today.
There are some tricky examples that have led to divisions within the church. Some fellowships believe footwashing (John 13) should be an ordinance like baptism and the Lord’s supper, while many believe this type of action fit that particular culture because of how dirty a person’s feet would get throughout a day of walking in fields or dusty roads while wearing sandals. Others believe that women must wear head coverings while praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:2–16) while most believe this command was only for the women of that particular culture. I’m not speaking for or against either one of these issues, but just want to bring them up as some of the tricky topics that come up when studying how to rightly interpret.
So check out the context, and even the purpose of the book being written, to see if you can identify reasons why a given command does or does not apply to us today. I hope this helps.
Would it be misquoting to use this scripture to explain the principle in it that is repeated often in scripture, jobs friends knew the process well. You sin, pay the natural consequences, repent, god only wishes well for his children who are righteous and obey him. Even for job Suffering was to teach him something which he finally recognized at the end and repented of. It is a revelation of Gods character which never changes. Assuming we Christians are as important as his children the Jews where to God back then.
The Bible never promises Christians that we will have smooth sailing through life if we are obedient. In fact, Paul told Timothy that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). Jesus said that if they hated Him then they would hate His followers too, and that if they killed Him, they would kill His followers too. Ultimately, God will work out all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), but that doesn’t mean that everything that happens will be good. Paul was extremely faithful, but he endured a tremendous amount of suffering and was eventually executed.
So yes, I do believe it would be an example of misquoting Scripture to use Jeremiah 29:11 to say that if you are faithful, then bad things won’t happen to you.
Hi Tim. I find your posts very interesting. I have also been on a quest so to say to find the truth behind misused scriptures, scriptures taken out of context, and scripture used to further mans plans; (Such as the tithe scripture in Malachi.) What do you feel on the doctrine of the Trinity? I have been researching and studying on this a lot, and my belief in a trinity is definitely challenged. I believe in God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son as our Messiah and Savior, and I also believe God sent His Spirit to help us and to convict of sin. But there is nothing in scripture, except the usual ones we are given to convey such a doctrine. Not to mention in Jewish belief there was never such a suggestion or belief in a triune God. The Shema states that there is one God. Also, this doctrine came about 3 to 400 years after Christ. So I would just like another brothers opinion on this mattter. I don’t believe that believing or not believing in this doctrine is a deciding factor for God to either send us to hell or heaven, but I would enjoy some clarity from someone else.
Thanks for your time and God bless you.
Thanks for the kind comments. I believe the doctrine of the Trinity is firmly established in Scripture, even though the Bible does not use the term (nor does it use “hypostatic union” when referring to the dual natures in the one Person of Christ). The Shema states that Yahweh (the LORD) is one. It doesn’t actually say specifically what most of us modern Christians typically say it does. Yahweh is the name of the one true Creator God of Scripture. There is one Yahweh, and He exists eternally in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible actually acknowledges the existence of many “gods” (i.e. many “elohim”) but there is only one Yahweh. Yahweh is an elohim, but the other elohim are not Yahweh. He is eternal and uncreated. They are created by Yahweh, but are still called gods in Scripture on several occasions (see Ps. 82 for example). I plan to write a lengthy blog post explaining this in the near future. So the idea that the OT is strictly monotheistic or that there is no indication of a plurality in the Godhead in the OT is not entirely precise. The OT is mono-Yahwistic (and we could say monotheistic, if by “theistic” we are referring to all-powerful, eternal being). But even in the OT there is more than just a hint at other persons in the Godhead. Again, I’ll write more on this in the near future to explain what I’m talking about.
Also, it isn’t accurate that the doctrine of the Trinity wasn’t established until 300-400 years after Christ. The word was used by Theophilus of Antioch about 150 years after Jesus, but the teaching goes back even further. It did receive an extensive formulation in Augustine’s De Trinitate. Because of this and the debate that raged over the doctrine in the previous century highlighted by Arius (denied Trinity) and Athanasius (affirmed Trinity), many people have thought that people didn’t really believe in the Trinity until that point. But the Bible clearly teaches that all three persons of the Godhead are God. So there is one Being, yet three persons. It is confusing, but not illogical.
Regarding your final question about whether belief in the Trinity is essential for salvation, please see the blog post I wrote on this very subject: http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=196
I hope this helps. Again, check back in a couple of weeks for more information on the first subject mentioned above.
Hi Tim, I Read Your Comment On Trinity And I Was Very Interested And Like Your Comment. Tim I Have A Question About What You Said , “… It doesn’t actually say specifically what most of us modern Christians typically say it does…” I want to know more clear. May God Bless Your Ministry. Thanks In Advance.
Until I actually get around to writing more on this subject, I would encourage you to check out this excellent article by one of the leading experts on the subject, Dr. Michael Heiser. I hope this helps.
If this doesn’t address your question, feel free to reply here and let me know exactly what you need clarification on. Thanks for your kind words. God bless!
Sam, the questions you raise are very important for Christians. I do think there are indications in the Old Testament that God, while existing as one in essence, also exists as more than one person. For example, we are taught from Scripture that no one can see the Father. And yet several OT saints report seeing God. Who were they seeing? If not the Father, then it is reasonable to consider the possibility that they were seeing the pre-incarnate Christ, who is also God. This link elaborates:
[Editor’s Note: also check out Tim’s article on the Answers in Genesis website on this topic: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2012/01/13/feedback-old-testament-theophanies%5D
You referred to the Shema of Deut. 6:4. Yes, that verse does say that God is one. But it is worth considering that Numbers 13:23 refers to a composite unity, in describing the grapes brought back by the spies from the Promised Land. I am no Hebrew scholar, but I have read that the Hebrew literally says “one grape” when a cluster of grapes is the clear intended meaning and that this is the same word for “one” in Deut. 6:4. So while this line of reasoning does not conclusively prove the triune nature of God, it does show that reading the phrase “one God” in the Shema does not automatically restrict us to understanding God as unitarian, with no plurality of persons.
Jesus is certainly the Son of God, as you wrote. But he is also described as God himself, in John 1:1 and many other places in the Bible.
The Holy Spirit is also called God, in Acts 5:3-4.
Yet the Father is not Jesus, Jesus is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father or the Son. Each is a distinct person.
Is the Trinity an essential of the faith? I would say the answer is yes and no, depending on the situation. Did the thief on the cross understand the Trinity? Most likely not. Do most new believers understand it? In many cases, probably not. Yet if a professing Christian receives extensive Biblical instruction regarding the nature of the triune God, but then rejects the idea of the Trinity, in favor of some form of Arianism or Sabellianism, then we have good reason to ask if that person is truly regenerate.
I so much agree with your writing I have read so far, not many, BUT, I do have questions, like agree to disagree. Its true that most of the time we take the scripture out of context to benefit our self whilst treading on God’s word. However it seems as if you are saying we can’t quote what God used to comfort and promised the children of Israel on those scriptures to our own situationsl. It might not be disobeying to let the land fallow but another case. Josuah 1:8 (para-quoting) says this book of the law should not depart from thy mouth meditate on it … so you may prosper… will you also say if I quoute it for my self I am taking it out context because it was Josua being spoken to and for a certain reason – he was taking on Moses shoes? I do agree with your Malachi comments, thanks for your kind response.
I would say that in many cases, if not most of them, there is a principle in the verse/passage that can be applied to our situations. However, we need to be careful when trying to adopt these things in our own lives since they weren’t necessarily intended for us. In this particular verse (Jeremiah 29:11), God promised the Jewish people who were in captivity in Babylon that He would bring them back to their land. Are Christians given this promise? No, we aren’t in Babylon and we don’t have a physical land to return to. In one sense, we’re given a better promise…that Christ will return to take us to be with Him. But in another sense, we’re also told that we’ll be persecuted and that some believers will be killed for their faith. How would Jeremiah 29:11 apply to those people? Is God not keeping His Word when a Christian is martyred? Of course not. He never promised to protect us all from harm. But if we were to adopt Jeremiah 29:11 as a verse for us, we would have to conclude that God is unfaithful when those things happen. We need to be careful to properly read God’s Word in context to make sure we aren’t misusing and abusing it.
Well said, Tim.
A really good article, Tim. I have heard Jer. 29:11 used carelessly many times. I think of the stoning of Stephen. Why was he being stoned? For preaching a Godly sermon to a hard-hearted audience. Would Stephen have thought, “Why is this happening, Lord? I thought you promised me a plan for success and prosperity!”
On the other hand, God does have plans for His people to prosper and have good success — but those plans will not be completely fulfilled until we see the new heavens and the new earth. Regarding those who teach that Jer. 29:11 must apply to all Christians right now, I have heard theologians refer to such thinking as ‘an over-realized eschatology.’
Well said. Christians like to think that the Jews failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah in part because they were only focusing on the good things the Messiah would bring them (e.g., conquering the Romans, establishing Israel over the whole world, etc.), but they didn’t pay attention to the OT passages that spoke of His death and rejection.
In a very similar way, many in the church today completely ignore the statements like, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution,” or like the statements near the end of Hebrews 11 about those who were destitute, sawn in two, etc. I wonder if Paul thought God had plans to prosper him, after all, he was extremely faithful and he was flogged, shipwrecked, imprisoned, etc., and God told Ananias that Paul was going to suffer many things. Instead they focus on the good things promised and act as if the others don’t exist. We need to have a good balance to our thinking, and we certainly need to make sure we aren’t ripping verses out of context, which is being done in this case–although I think most people don’t even realize that.
Thanks for the comments!
It isn’t like I was looking for someone to agree with me… but just affirm what bristles inside of me everytime I hear someone pray this over someone or declare it as a truth for the church today. While I do understand that God is the same, Yesterday, Today and Forever and the principle of his guidance in all things is to be found in this verse, still I wonder why people don’t pray other verses that specifically speak of his plans for us, instead of misquoting this verse that was spoken SPECIFICALLY to the Israelites
One point I wanted your thoughts on. While this is a promise made for a specific people at a specific time regarding a specific place, Jer. 29:10-14 speaks volumes to God’s character. For example, I specifically have used either verse 11 or the larger passage itself to point out our suffering as Christians at our present time. Though we currently endure a sojourn on this earth, eventually, all believers in Jesus will be at peace and living in the new Earth he is preparing. This is in my estimation an appropriate use of the passage to show God’s character and how He acted then and continues to act towards us. Excellent job of explaining the misuse of the passage and clarifying its purpose toward Israel. I always appreciate your articles.
Thanks for the kind words. I think your explanation is right on. God’s character does not change so it makes perfect sense that God rewards those who are faithful to Him. The Jews went through 70 years of captivity and then God blessed them by bringing them back to their land. We also go through trials and He will reward those who trust in Him.
In many of these cases, there are definitely principles that can be carried over and applied to the church, but the particular promises were made to and for Israel.