Author Topic: The better land  (Read 11155 times)

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Doug

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The better land
« on: September 01, 2012, 05:59:15 PM »
The land promise is one of the central themes of the Old Testament; the story about God's promise of the land of Canaan to Abraham, his sojourn in it, and anticipation of inheriting the land, Israel's Exodus from Egypt, and their wanderings in the wilderness under Moses, and taking possession of the land under Joshua, and the distribution of land, and dwelling in the land, and ruling it, and their eventual loss of the land, forms the outline of the Hebrew scriptures.

After some of the Jews returned from exile in Babylon the prophets spoke of another exodus. They said Israel will yet be brought back to possess the promised land. And they will never be removed from it again.

What happens to the land promise in the New Testament? There are only a few references to the promise of the land in the New Testament. One of these is the reference to a "better land," that Abraham and the other patriarchs looked for, in Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:13-16 Weymouth New Testament
All these died in the possession of faith. They had not received the promised blessings, but had seen them from a distance and had greeted them, and had acknowledged themselves to be foreigners and strangers here on earth; for men who acknowledge this make it manifest that they are seeking elsewhere a country of their own. And if they had cherished the remembrance of the country they had left, they would have found an opportunity to return; but, as it is, we see them eager for a better land, that is to say, a heavenly one. For this reason God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has now prepared a city for them.

This speaks of a better land. It is heavenly, and it is a "better" land, because possessing it is not limited to the short human life-span; it is an eternal inheritance, a city prepared by God.

Hebrews 3:16-19 refers to the Israelites in the wilderness, when the spies brought their report to Moses. "For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."

There is a parallel here, between the experience of the Israelites, and Christians. Belief is required to enter and possess the "better land" of the saints. And being heavenly, it is spiritual. It is not referring to a place where one goes after death, but something that believers may have in this present life.

Hebrews 4:1-2
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

The "better land" has to do with believing the gospel.

Hebrews 4:11-12
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

It requires labour, to enter the rest. The "better land" is called a "rest," and it is not the land of Canaan, but Canaan in the Old Testament was a metaphor, that foreshadowed the rest promised to the saints. The rest is connected with the word of God, which has much to say about the land of Canaan, in various prophecies, that need to be interpreted, and viewed in a new way, in the light of the gospel. This is a most interesting and rewarding study.

Doug
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 06:02:21 PM by Doug »

Offline jugghead

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Re: The better land
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 05:14:01 AM »
It is the labor of understanding that God is the land (love) that we will enter into. Love (God, land) is the firm foundation upon which we stand and proclaim Him (love) to others.

If love was a substance, it would be the ground upon which we walk.
If love was a substance, it would be water to quench our thirst.
If love was a substance, it would be the air we breath that sustains our life.
If love was a substance, it would be the fruit that tastes so sweet.

Need I go on. God is everything that gives and sustains life.
Wisdom is not measured by time, it is measured by understanding

Offline Molly

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Re: The better land
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 05:38:12 AM »

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God

--Heb 11:9



.Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.


Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.


For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Cor 5

Offline reFORMer

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Re: The better land
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 08:00:00 AM »
2 Corinthians 317-18:  "Now the Lord is the spirit; yet where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  18 Now we all, with uncovered face, mirroring the Lord's glory, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the spirit."

"You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin."  Smite your chest, point at your arm and proclaim, "This is the Holy Land!  God will have a people who possess it by the power of the Holy Ghost Who is with us."  In the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacle we will possess our bodies as no longer merely born of Adam, but born of God.  Salvation is to result in incorruptible immortality.  We must overcome many things, be victorious in many ways, conquering all things destroying man to obtain complete salvation.  These victories are accomplished by the Holy Spirit Who will never leave or forsake us.  As Jesus said, "Of mine own self I can do nothing.  It is my Father Who is with me; He doth the works."

We have regenerated spirits.  We have come out of Egypt, partakers of the Passover Lamb.  Now, in the Holy Place, the mid heaven, this salvation is worked out through the soul.  It is a transformation into God's likeness, His similitude.  Due to keeping His Word in our hearts and yielding to the Holy Spirit to do the Father's will, we come to think and emote like Him, aligned with His will.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit within us by which this is accomplished.  Ultimately our bodies will be transformed into a body like unto His body of glory.  The land is our body.  It is also the promises worked by the Holy Spirit as an earnest or foretaste of our inheritance as born of God, that we shall have deathless bodies of glory, that we shall possess the substance of the Spirit.  There are warfares to be accomplished to obtain the incorruptible life for our bodies  These are typified, they're presented symbolically in the account of the Israelites obtaining a land and a kingdom, driving out the nations which were there before them. 
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 05:07:47 PM by reFORMer »
I went to church; but, the Church wasn't on the program!  JESUS WANTS HIS BODY BACK!!  MEET WITHOUT HUMAN HEADSHIP!!!

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 03:48:33 PM »
It is the labor of understanding that God is the land (love) that we will enter into.


The labour mentioned in Hebrews 4:11 is labour that is connected with belief, and understanding the scriptures, as verse 12 shows. Paul said to Timothy, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." [2 Tim. 2:15]

The promised land contrasts with Egypt, the wilderness, and with all other lands. In relation to the lands of other nations, the promised land was Yahweh's land. His eyes were always on it. "But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year." [Deut. 11:11-12]

In the law of Moses, the priests and Levites received no inheritance of land. God was their inheritance, in lieu of land. [Num. 18:20; Deut. 10:9] This could be the foundation for development of the idea that "God is the land."

The promised land was a place of rest, [Josh. 1:13; 14:15; Jud. 3:11] but when Israel possessed the land, another rest was spoken of. "For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day." [Heb. 4:8] It was rest of a spiritual kind, which was why the psalmist said, "Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness." [Psa. 95:8] The promised land, and the sabbath are both called a "rest," and represent the same thing.

The promised land was set in the midst of the nations of the world; [Ezek. 5:5] the NIV says "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her."

The words of the law of Moses were written upon the land. [Deut. 27:3 Josh. 8:32] It is called "a land flowing with milk and honey," [Ex. 3:8; 13:5; 33:3; Lev. 20:24] where grapes, pomegranates, and figs flourish. [Num. 13:23]

Ezekiel called Israel's land "the glory of all lands." [Ezek. 20:6, 15] Daniel referred to Jerusalem as "the glorious holy mountain." [Dan. 11:45] The scope of the promised land becomes progressively smaller in Old Testament history; at first, it stretches all the way "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." [Gen. 15:18] The boundaries of Israel are more limited in Numbers 34. In Ezekiel's description, which outlined a profoundly different distribution of the land among the tribes, it was even more limited. Portions of the promised land east of the Jordan River were left out. [Ezek. 48:1-8] After the return from exile, the land was limited to the area in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

As the extent of Israel's land was diminished, the prophets spoke of its elevation. Jerusalem would be raised up, Isaiah said. He wrote, "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]

Similarly, Zechariah said Jerusalem would be raised up, and the country around about would become a plain. "All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up." [Zech. 14:10]

In the New Testament, Jerusalem is described as "Jerusalem which is above," [Gal. 4:26] and "heavenly Jerusalem." [Heb. 12:22] Thus, mount Zion, and Jerusalem, are raised up to heaven, and "established in the top of the mountains" and "exalted above the hills;" the New Testament shows that Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled. No doubt this happened when Jesus ascended to his Father's throne, after his resurrection. He was the "sure foundation" in Zion. Isaiah said, "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]

The elevation of Jerusalem, and mount Zion, spiritually fulfilled in Christ, who has inherited all the promises of God, [2 Cor. 1:20] establishes the continuity of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the "better land" of Hebrews 11:16. The New Testament interprets the promises of the Old Testament in a spiritual way; the land in the Old Testament foreshadows the reality of spiritual promises brought in by Christ. These are represented by the "better land."

The earthly temple foreshadowed the spiritual reality, which is Christ and the church. [Eph. 2:20] The new covenant is founded on better promises than the old one; "They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: 'See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.' But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises." [Heb. 8:5-6 NIV]

As shown above, continuity exists between the promised land and the better land of the new covenant. Thus, prophecies about the land of Israel apply to the heavenly, spiritual promised land. After Jesus Christ ascended to his Father's throne in heaven, the Israel of prophecy is the church, and the Jerusalem of prophecy is the heavenly city.

Further study of the topics mentioned in this quick survey will be needed to bring out the full significance of the land promise and its connection with the gospel.

Doug




Offline jugghead

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Re: The better land
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 05:02:25 PM »
For me, the understanding of "all in all" is this, when I read His word, I become the words, meaning that I am "all in all".

At any given point in time, the time frame of my life, I am a character in the Bible, I also am everything described in the Bible. When I read the word "stone" I ask myself (examine myself) how am I a stone? Am I a stone that the law is written upon? Am I as stone in a foundation? Am I a stone used by another to cause the death another?

Am I a tree? What kind of tree am I? How am I the ground? Am I just ground that others walk on? or am I ground that is a firm foundation of love?

How am I like Paul? How am I like Babylon? How am I like Lucifer? Even understanding the differences in how Lucifer is described is at any point how I could be. Lucifer who was given a new name "Satan" who is also called the devil "the accuser".

If I do not understand that I can be anything described in the Bible at any given point in my life, I walk away from the mirror and forget who I am.

My understanding of "all in all" is not just a description of the lives of others or a description of other things, it is a description of myself at any given point in time. It has become a mirror to me, and God reveals to me who I was when I made a bad choice and who I was when I made a good choice.

This is what I see will happen on the last day of judgment by God the Father, and we will see (understand) who we had become through sin so that we can see (understand) who we are to become through righteousness.
Wisdom is not measured by time, it is measured by understanding

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 06:18:59 PM »
One of the classic works on the study of the land promise in the light of the New Testament was by W. D. Davies (1911-2001), a Welsh Congregational minister and theologian and a professor at Yorkshire United College, Duke University, Princeton University, and Union Theological Seminary in NY.

W. D. Davies. The Gospel and the Land: Early Christianity and Jewish Territorial Doctrine. University of California Press, 1974.

Davies said Jesus has become the focus of the Old Testament promises; he fulfills the land promise in many ways.

A notable example was when Jesus said to Nathanael that he would see angels ascending and descending on himself, identifying himself with Bethel, perhaps implying that He replaces the land, or at least, fulfills the land promise made to Jacob in Genesis 28. Davies wrote: [Ibid. p. 298.]

The point of John 1:51, in part at least, is that it is no longer the place, Bethel, that is important, but the Person of the Son of Man. It is in his Person that "the house of God and the gate of heaven" are now found. Where the Son of Man is the "heaven will be opened" and the angels will ascend and descend to connect that heaven with earth, that is, in 1:51 Jesus is not to be set over against Jacob or the ladder of his dream, but over against the sanctuary at Bethel itself, which had been a link between heaven and earth and the place of God's habitation on earth. This interpretation has the advantage over many others proposed of relying simply on the Biblical text at Gen. 28. Furthermore, it comports well with the idea of the humanity of Christ as the dwelling place of God with men and as the new temple with which we have already dealt, and especially with the concept of the Logos becoming flesh in 1:14.

Davies summarized the way Jesus 'transformed' traditional Jewish ideas about the land: [Ibid. p. 375.]

In the last resort this study drives us to one point: the person of a Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, who proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord only to die accursed on a cross and so pollute the land, and by that act and its consequences to shatter the geographic dimension of the religion of his fathers. Like everything else, the land also in the New Testament drives us to ponder the mystery of Jesus, the Christ, who by his cross and resurrection broke not only the bonds of death for early Christians but also the bonds of the land.

In his discussion of the land in John's gospel, Davies wrote: [Ibid. p. 331.]

We need not here examine the question how far the concept of "life," as a symbol of salvation, remained inseverable from the land and how far the land became a secondary element, if at all, in the understanding of "life." What is noteworthy is that in the Fourth Gospel the concept of "life" or "eternal life" assumes a significant role. At no point is it connected with the land in any way. Rather it is always centered in Jesus himself, who in this sense, has become "the sphere" or "space" where life is to be found. True, there is one passage, 5:25 ff, when the life of the Age to Come is apparently conceived within the framework of the traditional eschatology of Judaism.

    25 Truly, truly, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those that hear shall live,
    26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself,
    27 And has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.
    28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
    29 and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.

    Here John doubtless conceives, in verse 29, of resurrection in the land: compare with Dan. 12:2 (LXX). But the main emphasis in the gospel is that expressed in 11:24 ff where the traditional doctrine is quietly laid aside in favour of a new.

    Jesus said to her [Martha], "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection, and the life, he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die."

    The point of reference for understanding life in this world, and in the world to come, is Jesus Christ. Any traditional concepts, geographical and other, governing the understanding of "life" are dwarfed by the centrality of Christ.


Davies showed that in the New Testament, a literal interpretation of the land promise has been eclipsed. However, he may have missed some of the great results and implications of his own thesis. For example, his list of scripture references omits anything from Genesis 3, where we find:

Genesis 3:17
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.

If the land represents Jesus, wouldn't this be significant?

Doug

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 07:23:36 PM »
Gary M. Burge, a professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, is the author of two books that are relevant to the discussion of the significance of the land promise.

Gary M. Burge. The Bible and the Land. Zondervan, 2009.

On pp. 21-22 Burge wrote:

The land is the cultural stage-setting of the Bible. Biblical stories assume we know something about altars, sheepfolds, cistern water, and the significance if the wind blows west out of the desert. To project European or American notions of farming (seed distribution) or fishing (cast and trammel nets) or travel (at night or day) onto the Bible is to immediately distance oneself from what the Bible may have intended to say.

All literature is born within a cultural landscape. It will pick up themes and images from within that landscape, use them generously, and build a framework from which stories can be told. This is no less true for the Bible. The land and its culture, not merely the history that happened there, are an indispensable part of the biblical story.


I certainly agree with the concept expressed here. God has chosen to reveal himself through the people of Israel, and by his promises to Abraham, where he was promised the land of Canaan. So in the language of the Hebrews, and in the context of the history of Israel, Jesus came and ministered on earth; Paul said, the main benefit in being a Jew was not that they were promised the land of Canaan, but that they received the oracles of God. "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." [Rom. 3:1-3]

Through the oracles of God, and Jesus Christ, we have the hope of eternal life. So of course possessing the word of God is of far more value than possessing a rather small tract of land in Palestine.

Burge was also the author of the following:

Gary M. Burge. Whose land? whose promise?: what Christians are not being told about Israel and the Palestinians. Pilgrim Press, 2003.

On this book, reviewer E. Johnson wrote:

This is a book that you will either love or hate depending on your view of Dispensationalism v. Covenant Theology. Here, Burge--a professor at Wheaton College--shows why Zionism is not biblical, as he utilizes history and the Bible to show his point. The Tim LaHayes of the world will wrench their hands in disgust and say that Burge is missing clear evidence in the Bible regarding the place for the Jews in the end times. Yet many of these hyper-Dispensationalists need to not take their peripheral view of eschatology so seriously. Yes, end times are important, and yes, I think compassion on the Jews is needed. But as Burge points out, what about human rights for everyone? I just finished reading through Isaiah and Jeremiah, and boy, they sure were tough on "God's people" for their sins. I think it is important to show how a person's heritage should not matter since all people are created equal in God's sight, as Paul mentioned in Galatians that there is neither male nor female and neither Jew nor Greek. To classify an entire people as above the moral law and allow their government to persecute another people in the name of biblical presuppositions is immoral and should be condemned. And Burge explains this side very well.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, and to his Father's throne, the territory of Palestine lost its significance; this was pictured by Isaiah's prophecy that "every mountain will be made low," which was taken up by John the Baptist. The "mountains" in the prophecy are God's promises. The promise of literal land to ethnic Jews, descendants of Abraham in the flesh, was "made low." The earthly Jerusalem was no longer the "apple of his eye." [Zech. 2:8] That privilege belonged to the heavenly Jerusalem, the saints.

Doug
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 07:43:11 PM by Doug »

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 07:59:34 PM »
Another author who has contributed to the discussion of the land promise and its significance for Christians in the present age is O. Palmer Robertson, an American Christian theologian and biblical scholar, and the author of The Christ of the Covenants. He was a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary, Knox Theological Seminary and principal at the African Bible Colleges of Malawi and Uganda.

O. Palmer Robertson. The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. P & R Publishing. 2000.

On p. 13 he wrote:

The possession of the land under the old covenant was not an end in itself, but fit instead among the shadows, types, and prophecies that were characteristic of the old covenant in its presentation of redemptive truth. Just as the tabernacle was never intended to be a settled item in the plan of redemption but was to point to Christ's tabernacling among his people (cf. John 1:14), and just as the sacrificial system could never atone for sins but could only foreshadow the offering of the Son of God (Heb. 9:23-26), so in a similar manner Abraham received the promise of the land but never experienced the blessing of its full possession. In this way, the patriarch learned to look forward to "the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Heb. 11:10).

Robertson warns, "By claiming the old covenant forms of the promise of the land, the Jews of today may be forfeiting its greater new covenant fulfillment." [p. 20.]

Bob Hayton wrote in a review:

The book shows how the essence of the land promise was spiritual fellowship with God. This is enjoyed by the church today (Matt. 5:5, Rom. 4:13, Eph. 6:3). It argues that the worship and lifestyle of Israel is radically altered with Christ's provision of a better covenant (Heb. 7). It goes on to examine how Scripture defines the people of Israel, and it details how Gentile believers in the church are Abraham's children and heirs, true Jews, yes, even the Israel of God (Gal. 3:26-29, 6:16; Rom. 2:28-29, 4:11-12; Eph. 2:14, 19).

Robertson also wrote: O. Palmer Robertson. Understanding the Land of the Bible: A Biblical-Theological Guide. P & R Publishing, 1996.

Doug
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 10:55:14 PM by Doug »

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 08:03:28 PM »
Another resource:

Walter Brueggemann. The Land. Augsburg Books, 2002.

Brueggemann is Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, and on the Amazon.com site he is said to be "the world's leading interpreter of the Old Testament."

See a review here.

Doug

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2012, 03:32:33 AM »
Many of the things that are commonly said to be fulfilled in the millennium are actually referring to the better land, which the saints may enter now by faith in Christ. Things that the prophets said about the land often seem fantastic, or contradictory, if applied to the earthly Canaan in a literal way. This is true of tectonic events, animal behaviour, agriculture, and strange events affecting mountains, hills, deserts, and rivers. Understood spiritually, and interpreted, these prophecies make sense, and describe the spiritual benefits Christians may possess.

Isaiah 2:2-3 says Jerusalem will be "established in the tops of the mountains," and mount Zion will be raised up "above the hills." In the New Testament, Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled; Paul refers to the "Jerusalem which is above." [Gal. 4:26] Jerusalem has been raised up, to heaven. This must have occurred when Jesus ascended to heaven, where he reigns on the throne of David, in "the city of the great King." Hebrews 12:22 refers to the "heavenly Jerusalem." When Jesus called Jerusalem "the city of the great king," he referred to the heavenly city, not the earthly one, which he declined to defend when it was besieged by the Romans in 70 A.D.

An example of the contradictions and absurd conclusions to which literalism leads is seen when Isaiah's prophecy about the elevation of Jerusalem is compared with Ezekiel's prophecy about the river flowing from the temple, in Ezekiel 47. Ezekiel's prophecy describes a gradual increase in the depth of the water, as the waters of the river flowed eastward. In a distance of about half a mile the change in level was about three feet, which implies that the slope of the land was comparable to the gradient of a football field, or a large parking lot. This low gradient of the land is incompatible with Isaiah's prophecy that said Jerusalem would be raised up. Any elevation of Jerusalem would mean an increase in the gradient of the adjacent land. It is also inconsistent with the existing topography. The relief in the area of the river which Ezekiel described does not fit his description, as the river became deepest in the place now occupied by the mount of Olives. In the probable location of the crucifixion, was where the waters in the river became so deep, Ezekiel could not walk across it, but would need to swim. If the river is taken to be symbolic of the message of the Gospel that flows from the church to the world, there is no contradiction. But Ezekiel's description makes no sense, if the river is interpreted as a literal stream.

Isaiah's prophecy about mountains being made low, and valleys exalted, the message proclaimed by John the Baptist, seems mysterious, and its meaning is obscure, when the land is taken literally. [Isa. 40:4] Why would God need a road in the desert? But the prophecy makes sense, if the mountains represent the promises of God. Israel's land promise was one of the mountains "made low" because of the Gospel; the literal land was relegated to the status of a mere shadow of something "better." The Levitical system of worship in the temple was "made low" as a result of the ministry of Jesus and his sacrifice which fulfilled those shadows and types. Isaiah said, "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." The glory of the Lord is revealed in the Gospel, and when the meanings of Bible prophecies are explained and understood. IMO, this is what is meant by the rough places being made plain, and the crooked straight.

Ezekiel said that the land will no longer "devour its inhabitants." When the spies brought their report about the land to Moses in the wilderness, they said "it is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof."

Numbers 13:32
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

Ezekiel said this would cease.

Ezekiel 36:13-15
Thus saith the Lord God; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations:
Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord God.
Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord God.

The land of Canaan, like other lands, was a place for the burial of the dead. It was said to devour its inhabitants; i.e., in the grave. "Death and the grave are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied." [Prov. 27:20]

Those who dwell in the better land, in Christ, are promised immortality, and so it is a land that does not devour its inhabitants. The land of Canaan is transformed to the heavenly mount Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem; it was a shadow and a type of the spiritual reality brought in by Christ.

Doug

Offline jugghead

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Re: The better land
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2012, 03:39:58 AM »
Can I say something without offending anyone. explain all that to a child and they will look at you very strangely, the simplest answer a child, with childlike faith can understand is, GOD LOVES EVERYONE, why do we (including myself) complicate such a simple understanding
Wisdom is not measured by time, it is measured by understanding

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2012, 03:51:27 AM »
Can I say something without offending anyone. explain all that to a child and they will look at you very strangely, the simplest answer a child, with childlike faith can understand is, GOD LOVES EVERYONE, why do we (including myself) complicate such a simple understanding

Simplistic, I think you mean.

Doug

Offline eaglesway

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Re: The better land
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 08:17:59 AM »
Beautiful post Doug. Altho we have had a few disagreements, I do agree with you that all the prophecies of scripture are fulfilled in the better land. This land, flowing with milk and honey, is available now, today, if we hear His voice and enter His rest. It will eventually(an administration suitable to the fulness of times) be the dwelling place of all, the lion laying down with the lamb, the joy of the whole earth, beautiful for situation, Mt. Zion, the dwelling place of the great king and the place where the soles of His feet are exalted above every name and so-called name.



But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church(ecclesia-called out ones) of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN." This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
(Heb 12:22-29)

"But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
(Psa 2:6-8)

He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
(Eph 1:9-12)

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Php 2:9-11)

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
(Rev 5:11-13)








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Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 06:33:00 AM »
Beautiful post Doug. Altho we have had a few disagreements, I do agree with you that all the prophecies of scripture are fulfilled in the better land. This land, flowing with milk and honey, is available now, today, if we hear His voice and enter His rest.


Thank you John.

The phrase "the land of milk and honey" implies that there is a connection between the promised land and the Scriptures. The apostle Peter said, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." [1 Peter 2:2]

Milk connects land with the word of God. Milk is contrasted with strong meat, in Hebrews. It represents the basic teachings of the gospel, while meat, or solid food, represents more advanced teachings, that require some mental "chewing." Milk is food for infants, who don't yet possess teeth, so cannot chew. It is symbolic of "the first principles of the oracles of God."

Hebrews 5:12
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Honey is also connected with the word, and especially with prophecy.

Revelation 10:9-11
And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

Honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers. It is processed, and converted to honey. Likewise, prophecy has to be processed, or interpreted.

The manna that the Israelites collected and ate in the wilderness tasted like wafers made with honey.

Exodus 16:31
And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

Jesus identified himself with the true manna, the bread of life.

John 6
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Eating Christ's flesh is a metaphor, a saying that must be interpreted, and the meaning is similar to the symbolic meaning of John eating the book given to him by the angel. I take it to mean understanding and believing the words of Scripture.

The teachings of Jesus contrasted with those of the Pharisees. Referring to them, Jesus said, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." [Matt. 16:6] Later he explained this saying.

Matthew 16:11-12
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Jesus used "leaven" as a symbol representing doctrine.

The scriptures that connect the word of God with milk and honey, also connect the promised land with the word of God.

The connection between the land, and the revelations of God, was implicit in Jacob's dream at Bethel where he saw a ladder reaching to heaven, and angels ascending and descending upon it. [Gen. 28:11-22] In the same dream, God promised to give him the land of Canaan. Angels ascending and descending on the ladder represent revelations from God. The promised land was the site of many revelations of God, over many centuries, and those given elsewhere were often about the promised land.

In the New Testament the angels ascend and descend upon Jesus, [John 1:51] which suggests that the promised land, or at least, Bethel, was a type, which foreshadowed Jesus.

Doug


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Re: The better land
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2012, 06:50:40 AM »
Yea,  like in 1 Samuel 14

Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was honey on the ground. And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened.
(1Sa 14:25-27)

His countenance was brightened, his spirit was restored, as ours is when the following verses are fulfilled in us.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him(honey), the eyes of your understanding being enlightened(as Jonathan's); that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Eph 1:15-21)

All of the following verses(after "the eyes of your understanding are enlightened") essentially describe the better land, in what are, in my opinion, the clearest description of the scope of the promised inheritance in Christ that exist in any one place in the scriptures.
Grace and Peace, John
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Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2012, 05:24:50 PM »
Yea,  like in 1 Samuel 14

Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was honey on the ground. And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened.
(1Sa 14:25-27)

His countenance was brightened, his spirit was restored, as ours is when the following verses are fulfilled in us.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him(honey), the eyes of your understanding being enlightened(as Jonathan's); that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Eph 1:15-21)

All of the following verses(after "the eyes of your understanding are enlightened") essentially describe the better land, in what are, in my opinion, the clearest description of the scope of the promised inheritance in Christ that exist in any one place in the scriptures.
Grace and Peace, John

I agree, and especially if one includes the second chapter, which contains:

Ephesians 2
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Believers "sit together in heavenly places," which alludes to the "better land," and to Christ's kingdom. "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." [Heb. 12:22] Paul also said,

Colossians 1
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Those who believe the gospel are delivered from darkness, and partake of the inheritance of the saints in light. Christ's kingdom of spiritual light is the territory of the "better land."

The better land which is promised to the saints represents knowledge of God, and the truth. It contrasts with other lands, which represent spiritual darkness, superstition, and delusions. This concept underlies the exile, which is so prominent in the O.T. After Israel had possessed the land promised to the patriarchs for a few centuries, they were taken into captivity. The ten northern tribes were taken to Assyria, and the Jews to Babylon. Many were scattered in other nations of the world, the diaspora.

Differences in doctrine and belief can separate people as effectively as if they were removed to a different country. The gathering of God's people to their land, foretold by the prophets, is spiritual; it involves a return to "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." [Jude 3]

The prophets described this under the figure of a "second" exodus. Christ is bringing together the saints, not to the earthly Canaan, but to the "better land," and the knowledge of God, and the truth of the gospel.

Isaiah 11
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

The second exodus was also foretold by Ezekiel; he said not one will be left in the land of the heathen, but all will be brought back to their land, which is not the earthly Canaan, but the "better land," which is the true inheritance of the saints, where God's Spirit will be poured out upon them.

Ezekiel 39
25 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;
26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
28 Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.

In another story about honey in the Old Testament, it is the subject of a riddle. Samson was attacked by a lion, and he killed it. Later, bees made a honeycomb in the carcase. Samson noticed, and he collected some of the honey. Later he proposed a riddle about the event to the thirty young men of the Philistines who were guests at his wedding feast. The riddle was, "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." But Samson was tricked into revealing the mystery to his new wife, and she told the Philistines, who then provided the correct answer, and so Samson had to pay them.

The story connects honey and riddles; the honey associated with the promised land is also associated with a riddle; the question of the meaning of the promised land in the Old Testament. The solution to it is hidden from Philistines, who remain in darkness.

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2012, 05:36:54 PM »
Romans 413-14 (KJV):
[13] For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, [was] not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. [14] For if they which are of the law [be] heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Romans 413-14 (CLT):
13 For not through law is the promise to Abraham, or to his Seed, for him to be enjoyer of the allotment of the world, but through faith's righteousness.
14 For if those of law are enjoyers of the allotment, faith has been made void and the promise has been nullified,

The English word "world" in Romans 413 represents the Greek cosmos of the original.  That the entire universe is interpreted by the apostle, recorded in scripture and accepted by the Eclessia to be what is meant by "the land" promised to Abraham and his seed should put to rest the continued attempt to claim the sliver of land in the Sinai peninsula as the literal and intended meaning in the scope of this particular promise.
I went to church; but, the Church wasn't on the program!  JESUS WANTS HIS BODY BACK!!  MEET WITHOUT HUMAN HEADSHIP!!!

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2012, 05:58:21 PM »

The English word "world" in Romans 413 represents the Greek cosmos of the original.  That the entire universe is interpreted by the apostle, recorded in scripture and accepted by the Eclessia to be what is meant by "the land" promised to Abraham and his seed should put to rest the continued attempt to claim the sliver of land in the Sinai peninsula as the literal and intended meaning in the scope of this particular promise.

According to Molly, if I have understood her right, all the Christians of the world, of whatever nationality, race, ethnic origin, are Israelites, physically descended from the 12 tribes. But Ezekiel 39:8, quoted in my previous post, says every single one of them will be brought back to their land, none will be left in the lands of the heathen. If it means the small sliver of land in Palestine that wears the label "Israel" today, it would become a very crowded place.

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2012, 08:05:50 PM »

The English word "world" in Romans 413 represents the Greek cosmos of the original.  That the entire universe is interpreted by the apostle, recorded in scripture and accepted by the Eclessia to be what is meant by "the land" promised to Abraham and his seed should put to rest the continued attempt to claim the sliver of land in the Sinai peninsula as the literal and intended meaning in the scope of this particular promise.

According to Molly, if I have understood her right, all the Christians of the world, of whatever nationality, race, ethnic origin, are Israelites, physically descended from the 12 tribes. But Ezekiel 39:8, quoted in my previous post, says every single one of them will be brought back to their land, none will be left in the lands of the heathen. If it means the small sliver of land in Palestine that wears the label "Israel" today, it would become a very crowded place.

Doug

wow.  I keep forgetting about my inheritance as a child of the promise.

We are co-heirs with Christ who is "appointed heir of all things." [Heb 1:2]

 :mshock:

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2012, 09:49:24 PM »
In the story of Samson and the lion in which he found honey, there may be an allusion to the honey of God's word, and especially prophecy. [Judges 14]


Samson killing the lion

The image above from the Telegraph newspaper in the UK is a lot like one in The Story of the Bible by Charles Foster.
 
The Psalmist said that God's judgments are "sweeter than honey and the honeycomb."

Psalm 19:9-11
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Ezekiel was given a scroll to eat, which he said was "as honey for sweetness;" the scroll seems to be a symbol for prophecy.

Ezekiel 3:3
And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

This is similar to John eating the book given to him by the angel, which he said tasted like honey in his mouth. This book can also be identified with prophecy.

Revelation 10
8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

The honey from the lion gave rise to Samson's riddle, with which he challenged the Philistines: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." If honey represents prophecy, as the scriptures quoted above suggest, perhaps the lion alludes to Christ. In scripture, Christ is represented by the brazen serpent Moses made in the wilderness; [John 3:14] by the pascal lamb slain at passover; [1 Corinthians 5:7] also also by a lion.

Revelation 5:5
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Honey seems to be associated with strength, and is contrasted with milk, which is excellent as a food for infants.

Doug

« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 10:05:18 PM by Doug »

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Re: The better land
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2012, 05:54:52 AM »
Amen Doug,

and following on into Ephesians 4 we see the better land, our inheritance(being conformed to the image of Christ- many sons unto glory) as a corporate inheritance among the ecclesia.

until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
(Eph 4:13-16)

Of course, the problem often is that we fail to read the beginning of Ephesians 4, where the way into the inheritance is revealed;

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
(Eph 4:1-7)


This is echoed in Romans 12:1-5

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
(Rom 12:1-5)

and Phillippians 2

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
(Php 2:5-13)

It seems we are too often focused on destinations, while seemingly ignorant of the way into them.

I am the door to the sheepfold, if anyone seeks another way into it he is a thief and a liar. My sheep kno my voice, and another they will not follow.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--
(Col 3:1-10)







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Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2012, 06:05:36 PM »
Amen Doug,

and following on into Ephesians 4 we see the better land, our inheritance(being conformed to the image of Christ- many sons unto glory) as a corporate inheritance among the ecclesia.

until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
(Eph 4:13-16)


Yes, this is precisely what the "better land" is about. It is about the knowledge of God, and growing up to a mature understanding of the truth.

In comparison to all other lands, the promised land represents the knowledge of God, and the truth; in other lands, people are captive to delusions, and are in darkness; in the promised land there is light, and understanding, and freedom. Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." [John 8:32]

The apostle Paul speaks of "every wind of doctrine;" in comparison to the opinions of men, and the human point of view, the word of God is rock, while their interpretations are winds and mists. Peter said false teachers are "clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." [2 Peter 2:17]

One of the deceitful schemes of men involves the idea that the words of the prophets should be understood literally. For example, Isaiah's prophecy, that Jerusalem and mount Zion will be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, is said to mean that it will be literally raised up. However IMO, this idea obscures its true meaning.

E. W. Hengstenberg mentioned that some of the Jewish commentators viewed Isaiah's prophecy about the elevation of Jerusalem and mount Zion literally. He wrote (on Micah 4:1, which is equivalent): [Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg. Christology of the Old Testament, vol. 1, T. & T. Clark, 1868. pp. 443-444.]

The sense can therefore be this only: "Zion, in future, so pre-eminently stands out from among the other mountains, that these serve, as it were, only for its foundation." Now, the elevation of the temple-mountain is considered, by several interpreters, as a physical one. Passages from Jewish commentaries, in which the expectation is expressed that, in the days of the Messiah, Jehovah would bring near Mount Carmel and Tabor, and place Jerusalem on the summit of them, will be found in Galatinus, de Arcams Catholicĉ Veritatis, L. v. c. 3. The literal explanation has, in recent times, been defended by Hofmann and Drechsler.

The literalist approach was also promoted by rationalist German critics. Karl Marti (1855-1925) said the mountains will be lifted up physically. [Karl Marti. Das Buch Jesaja. Tübingen. 1900.]

G. H. Box and S. R. Driver wrote on Isaiah 2:2, "Upon the top of the mountains: Mount Zion is to be physically raised, so as to assume the position assigned to the mythical mountain of the gods, which reached from earth to heaven. Cf. Zech. 14.10; Ezek. 40.2." [George Herbert Box, Samuel Rolles Driver. The Book of Isaiah. p. 32.]

They also stated: [Appendix III., pp. 363-364]

From other passages it is made evident that Zion is destined in the final drama of the world to become the highest mountain on the earth (cf. Is. 2.3 = Micah 4.1; Zech. 14.10). If as Gunkel conjectures the highest mountain is the mountain in the north (the mythical mountain of the gods which reached from earth to heaven) on which, in the original form of the myth, the heavenly city of the great King lay (cf. Rev. 21.10), then all is clear. In the last days, according to eschatological prophecy, Zion is to be elevated to the position occupied by the great mountain of tradition in the north.

These critics viewed Isaiah's prophecy as myth, and they stood aloof in unbelief. Yet, they have influenced many who were believers. Some promoted a literal interpretation along with a figurative or symbolic one. Benjamin Wills Newton wrote in Thoughts on parts of the prophecy of Isaiah (1868) p. 64,

Shall be established in the top of the mountains, and be exalted above [or away from] the hills.] This exaltation of Zion like the cleaving asunder of the Mount of Olives (see Zech. ziv.) will be one of the results of Jehovah arising to shake terribly the earth. Zion will be raised high above all the other mountains that will begirt (see Ps. cxxv. 2,) Jerusalem and thus the light of the glory of the Lord, even as from an exalted besuion, shall be made manifest afar off. This physical exaltation of Zion will be one of those symbolic facts with which the millennium abounds. (See Occasional Papers No. iv. Vol. 2, p. 245.) It will indicate the established supremacy of the Divine government over all the subordinate authorities of earth. Then "the mountains [i. e. the greater authorities of earth] and the little hills [the lesser authorities] shall bring peace to the peoples by means of righteousness." They shall be ministers of righteousness, and the fruit of righteousness shall be peace.


Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--
(Col 3:1-10)

Viewing the elevation of mount Zion in Isaiah's prophecy as the elevation of literal mountains and hills is a flawed approach, and one that ignores Paul's advice, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

God's words in prophecy express not man's point of view, but God's. And the language is not the language of men; Isaiah said, "with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people." [Isa. 28:11] The words "another tongue" imply that prophecy needs to be interpreted. It is the language of parable, metaphor, and similitudes.

Joseph Addison Alexander wrote on Isaiah 2:2: [Isaiah translated and explained. 1851. pp. 38-39.]

The prophecy begins with an abrupt prediction of the exaltation of the church, the confluence of nations to it, and a general pacification as the consequence, vs. 2-4. In this verse the Prophet sees the church permanently placed in a conspicuous position, so as to be a source of attraction to surrounding nations. To express this idea, he makes use of terms which are strictly applicable only to the local habitation of the church under the old economy. Instead of saying, in modern phraseology, that the church, as a society, shall become conspicuous and attract all nations, he represents the mountain upon which the temple stood as being raised and fixed above the other mountains, so as to be visible in all directions. And it shall be (happen, come to pass, a prefatory formula of constant use in prophecy) in the end (or latter part) of the days (i. e. hereafter) the mountain of Jehovah's house (i. e. mount Zion, in the widest sense, including mount Moriah where the temple stood) shall be established (permanently fixed) in the head of the mountains (i. e. above them), and exalted from (away from and by implication more than or higher than) the hills (a poetical equivalent to mountains), and the nations shall flow unto it.

Alexander applied the prophecy to the church. Isaiah's prophecy came to pass when Jesus ascended to his Father's throne, after his resurrection, when he was "made Christ." [Acts 2:36] This meant he fulfilled all the prophecies about the promised Messiah, who was to be given the throne of David, reigning over all the twelve tribes of Israel, in Jerusalem. Jesus represented the "mountain" of the Lord's house, the foundation stone laid in Zion.

Isaiah 28:16
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.

In prophecy, a "mountain" signifies a promise of God; mountains were the highest and most prominent parts of the promised land, and so they stand for the lofty, and high, spiritual revelations. This was understood by Jacob, when he blessed his son Joseph. He said, "The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." [Gen. 49:26] The blessings he received were high, as they were spiritual in nature, and eternal, so he compared them with the "everlasting hills." This is the foundation for a biblical interpretation of mountains in prophecy. The promise of a Messiah is one of the great mountains in the better land, that represents the spiritual inheritance of the saints. His kingdom is over all, so it is a mountain that fills the earth. [Dan. 2:35]

Doug

« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 06:12:16 PM by Doug »

Offline redhotmagma

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Re: The better land
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2012, 07:27:38 PM »

The story connects honey and riddles; the honey associated with the promised land is also associated with a riddle; the question of the meaning of the promised land in the Old Testament. The solution to it is hidden from Philistines, who remain in darkness.



The word for riddle in the LXX of the Samson story is the word Enigma.  That word is only used once in the NT.

1 Cor 13:12
For now we see in a mirror an enigma, but then we will see face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I will fully know, just as I have been known.

Mirrors reflect

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

This is the better land no?


The beginning of the Samson story in Judges 14 has him going down to Timnah.  That word is the exact same word as image/form/likeness (different vowel points) here:

With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings (enigma), And he beholds the form(temunah) of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness(temunah) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

The riddle in the land of the form/image.

Doug

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Re: The better land
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2012, 08:51:13 PM »

The story connects honey and riddles; the honey associated with the promised land is also associated with a riddle; the question of the meaning of the promised land in the Old Testament. The solution to it is hidden from Philistines, who remain in darkness.



The word for riddle in the LXX of the Samson story is the word Enigma.  That word is only used once in the NT.

1 Cor 13:12
For now we see in a mirror an enigma, but then we will see face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I will fully know, just as I have been known.

Mirrors reflect

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

This is the better land no?


The beginning of the Samson story in Judges 14 has him going down to Timnah.  That word is the exact same word as image/form/likeness (different vowel points) here:

With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings (enigma), And he beholds the form(temunah) of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness(temunah) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

The riddle in the land of the form/image.

This is interesting. The KJV has in 1 Cor. 13:12, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face."

When we consider the state of glass making in Paul's time, it is likely that viewing through a glass gave only a very obscure image, as clear glass was not developed until about the end of the first century. So glass could be used both as a mirror, and as a translucent material.

There is another metaphor, that pictures the better land, and involves glass.

Revelation 15:2
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Here, those who have victory over the beast and his image stand on the sea of glass, that is before the throne in Revelation 4:6.

Their view of things in the "better country" is much clearer than that of a person who views the things of God through the sea of glass, that is, from an earth-bound point of view.

Doug