Jesus and the land promise

+ Larger Font | - Smaller Font

The Creation Concept

Single file

Abraham was promised a land

The land of promise in the OT

Israel's restoration-which Israel?

Can Zionism deliver?

Did Walvoord sell out the church?

A heavenly city, or literal land?

What does Jesus promise his saints?

What did God teach Jacob at Bethel?

Why was Jacob's name changed?

Is heaven open, or shut?

The ladder to heaven

Holy ground

In the wilderness

What are Israel's borders?

What do landforms represent?

A land of milk and honey

Connection with Eden

An inheritance unseen

Zion's foundations

Enter into the rock

New heaven and new earth

Israel's return to the land

How the land swallows up the serpent's flood

Did God abandon his promise of the land?

Is the promised land a symbol of paradise?

The knowledge of God, a better promised land

Isaiah 6:11, 'How long, Lord?'

Is the promised land a symbol of the earth?

Threshing the mountains

The mountains of Isaiah 40 & 41

Barry E. Horner and the land promise

The desert will blossom as the rose

Links related to the land promise

Zion's foundations

David said Mount Zion is preferred above all of the promised land. It is God's "holy mountain."

His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. [Psa. 87:1-3]

Isaiah said that in Zion, God will lay a stone, a sure foundation, a precious corner stone.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. [Isa. 28:16]

Paul said Jesus is the chief corner stone, and the apostles and prophets are the Church's foundation. They represent the truths of the Gospel in the Old and New Testaments. Paul wrote:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [Eph. 2:19-21]

The blessings and promises of God are represented by the mountains of the promised land. Jacob said, when he blessed his son Joseph:

"The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren." [Gen. 49:26]

Jacob understood that the promises he received had a lofty spiritual meaning, and so he compared them to high mountains. They were also durable, and eternal, and so he referred to "everlasting hills."

God's promise of the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is part of the foundation of the Gospel. At Bethel, where Jacob dreamed of a ladder reaching up to heaven, with angels of God ascending and descending on it, the land he was promised became a symbol of the revelations of God. [Gen. 28:11-22] Jacob anointed his pillow stone, and said it would be God's house.

David wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.” [Psa. 51:17-18]

Mount Zion and Jerusalem are intricately connected in Scripture. God promised that he will build Zion and Jerusalem. Salvation is promised to Zion, and to Jerusalem.

“For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah.” [Psa. 69:35]

“When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” [Psa. 102:16]

“The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.” [Psa. 147:2]

David called mount Zion "the city of the great King," and "the mountain of his holiness," or "his holy mountain." He called it "the joy of the whole earth."

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King." [Psa. 48:1-2]

Jesus, alluding to this psalm in his Sermon on the Mount, said Jerusalem is the city of the great King.

"But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black." [Matt. 5:34-36].

Zechariah said that God will be a wall of fire round about Jerusalem, and the glory in her midst.

"I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her." [Zech. 2:1-6]

Zechariah described Zion as scattered, and dwelling with the daughter of Babylon. God says, "Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon." He promised to dwell in the midst of Zion; her people are encouraged to sing and rejoice.

"Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. [Zech. 2:6-12]

The exodus of the saints from Babylon is described by Jeremiah.

Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. [Jer. 31:8-10]

These prophecies about departing from Babylon are echoed in Revelation:

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. [Rev. 18:4]

Isaiah connected dwelling in Jerusalem with salvation. He wrote:

"In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." [Isa. 26:1]

"Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise." [Isa. 60:18]

The psalmist said,

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy." [Psa. 137:4-6]

Jesus said to his disciples, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." [Matt. 5:14] He meant that his disciples were "the city which cannot be hid," and "the light of the world."

Jesus said, in his conversation with a Samaritan woman, "salvation is of the Jews." But then he said that the time had come when those who worship God will no longer go to (the earthly) Jerusalem.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. [John 4:21-24]

Jerusalem became a heavenly and spiritual city when Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus was made king in Zion, reigning on the throne of David forever.

David wrote:

"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." [Psa. 2:1-7]

In the New Testament this psalm is quoted in Acts 13:33 & Heb. 1:5. At Pentecost, Christ was established as king in the heavenly mount Zion, and has reigned since then upon the throne of David, while the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing. For example, some imagine Jesus does not reign, but that he aspires to reign in the future. They say he will not reign even for a minute upon the throne of David, until the Jews allow it! They depict Jesus as like Prince Charles, who has never been king, but has spent his whole life in anticipation of reigning some day, in the throne of the U.K. But the New Testament teaches that unbelieving Jews have been cut off from the heavenly Jerusalem, and from Israel, and from the promises of God. Jesus was made Christ by God, not by Jews. [Acts 2:36] Paul said the Jews who reject Christ are branches broken off from their olive tree.

Isaiah wrote of Jerusalem,

"The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." [Isa. 2:1-2]

Jesus was the "mountain of the Lord's house." He was God's only begotten son. He was raised up, and established "in the top of the mountains," in the throne of his Father, in heaven. Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus ascended to heaven. Jerusalem and mount Zion were raised up to heaven in a spiritual sense. From then on, the Old Testament prophecies about Jerusalem apply to the heavenly city, not the earthly city, which was cast out, and identified with Hagar the bondwoman. [Gal. 4:24-31]

Zechariah wrote of Jerusalem:

"Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city." [Zech. 14:2]

This depicts the Church in a state of desolation, such as exists today. Christians are scattered in tens of thousands of sects and denominations.

"Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." [Zech. 14:3-4]

Jesus fulfilled part of Zech. 14:4 during his ministry, when he stood upon the mount of Olives and gave the Olivet Discourse to his disciples. We know that Christ did not fight against the Romans in 70 AD. The mount of Olives did not "cleave in the midst."

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus presented a synopsis of the present age. In Zech. 14:4, his prophecy is represented by the mount of Olives. Mountains are symbols of prophetic revelations. The mount of Olives being cleaved in the midst, and half moving north and half moving south represents the two opposite schools of interpretation of the Olivet Discourse: preterism and futurism, or dispensationalism. These theories each displace the prophecy that Jesus gave, represented by the Mount of Olives, by applying it either to Jews in the first century, or to Jews in a future seven year tribulation. This is depicted by the parts of the mountain being displaced from their positions, in opposite directions. Those who promote these flawed interpretations are among the armies which come against Jerusalem, which take people captive, and divide up the spoil.

Zechariah said,

"And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." [Zech. 14:5]

The great valley formed when the two halves of the mount of Olives separate represents the present age of the church. To flee to the valley means forsake the flawed interpretations that displace the Olivet Discourse and other prophecies from their intended application in the present age. The saints who flee to the valley are blessed by the promises of God, which are represented by mountains, and by his Spirit. The valley is called "the valley of the mountains."

The great valley formed as the two halves of the mount of Olives separate from each other is where he directs us to flee. The prophecy means, apply the Olivet Discourse, and other prophecies, to the present age, rather than to the first century, or to a future seven year tribulation.

For the literalist who assumes Zechariah refers to a literal, violent tectonic movement, causing dramatic changes in the topography, the earthquake mentioned in Zech. 14:5 presents a problem: of what benefit is a prophecy about violent earth movements, that says to flee after it occurs? And why flee towards the epicentre? That would be foolish, because of the danger of aftershocks. What would they need to flee from? I think Zech. 4:5, "the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee" is a promise that Christ will send his holy Spirit, and blessings on Christians who abandon the flawed theories of preterism and dispensationalism.

The prophecy is parallel to a similar promise in Zechariah 1, which applies to the Church:

“Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.” [Zech. 1:16]

Paul wrote of Christians, "Ye are God’s building.” [1 Cor. 3:9] He continued,

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [1 Cor:10-11]

The temple is now being built. Jerusalem is the heavenly Jerusalem. Mount Zion is spiritual, and "cannot be touched." [Heb. 12:18] The saints from out of all nations are "lively stones" in the temple. Peter wrote:

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. [1 Peter 2:5]

The heavenly Jerusalem is the city that Abraham sought.

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. ... But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." [Heb. 11:8-10, 16]

Abraham looked for an eternal city which is made and built by God. [Heb. 11:9-10] Its foundation is Christ, a sure foundation. Paul said, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." [2 Cor. 1:20]

Copyright © 2010, 2012, 2013 by Douglas E. Cox
All Rights Reserved.