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Section 9B .. The Future

 

003white   Index to Section 9B... The Future         >        Index To Heaven       >       Heaven: The Location and Nature of Heaven

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What And Where is Heaven?..
Part II... The Location and Nature of Heaven

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

God made three interconnected and inseparable promises to Abraham. Yet we forget the third was firmly rooted in real estate

Index To All Six Sections

 Part I... Defining "Heaven" as The Promised Kingdom of God

You Are Here 001orange Part II... The Location and Nature of Heaven... The Promises and The Prophecies

Part III ... Jesus' Second Coming and The Resurrection of The Body

Part IV... A New Heaven and A New Earth

Part IV B... No More Sea?

Part V... What The Bible Says About The Resurrected Body

Part VI... Will There Be Time and Space In The New Earth?

 Part VII... The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ, and Rewards in Heaven
 

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On This Page

Part II... The Location and Nature of Heaven... The Promises and The Prophecies

The Promises (Location)
A Tangible Place
The Kingdom of God in Jewish Thought
God's Three Interconnected And Inseparable Promises to Abraham
Abraham's Descendants
A "Type", or Literal Fulfillment?
The "Land"
A Real City Spoken of in The Book of Hebrews

The Prophecies (Nature)
The Prophets "Saw" The Coming Kingdom
A Summary of The Location and Nature of Heaven

How The Promise Of Earthly Land Became A Promise of an Unearthly Heaven?

 

The Promises

A Tangible Place
Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them (and us). In His words...

    "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place [topos] for you. "If I go and prepare a place [topos] for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. [John 14:2-3 NASB]

In the Bible the Greek word topos, used many times in the New Testament, refers to a particular location.. For example

    "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place [topos] where He was lying. [Matthew 28:6 NASB]

    "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place [topos] where men ought to worship." [John 4:20 NASB]

But where is this place located? It may surprise many to learn that the Bible teaches that "heaven" is going to be right here on earth, ample evidence for which is provided by the Scriptures. For example, a simple reading, minus preconceived ideas, tells us that Jesus was, more than likely, referring to simple geographic directions when He said...

    "...many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 8:11 and Luke 13:28, 29). (which is a reference to the Messianic end-time banquet. See for instance, Matthew 8:11 and Luke 13:28-30).

We have already established that the Old Testament prophecies about the coming kingdom, and the Jewish expectations regarding the promised kingdom, cannot be separated from the Christian idea of "heaven .

So what what did the Jews expect, and what prophecies were made about the nature and location of this coming kingdom?


The Kingdom of God in Jewish Thought
The promise of the kingdom was a major source of hope for the Jews and, consequently, never very far from Jewish thought. While it is true that there were differences of belief as to how the reign of God would come back to the earth, the one common factor between all the possible scenarios was the expulsion of the gentiles who ruled over Judea. As Rev. Dr. Mark Roberts points out...

    There were a variety of answers to the question of how God's reign would come on earth. Some Jews believed that the kingdom would come through a rebellion against Rome. The Zealots and others with a revolutionary bent continually plotted ways to undermine and ultimately depose the Romans. Others rejected this approach, preferring instead to wait for God's dramatic intervention. The Essenes at Qumran had grand visions of an apocalyptic war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness, in which God would finally vindicate his people and restore both his temple and his kingdom. They were disinclined to look for human agents who might bring the God's kingdom, probably because their experience of Hasmonean (Maccabean/Jewish) rule of Judea had been such a negative one.

    In many of the Jewish kingdom scenarios, God would act through a human being who would execute divine justice and restore divine rule over Israel. ...There wasn't one established set of expectations for the messiah, however. The Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, actually speak of multiple messiahs, including a priestly messiah and a royal messiah. [13]

But, in no case was the kingdom expected to be anything but an earthly one. For example Luke says

    And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. [Luke 2:25 NASB]

Christian theologians have taken the phrase "consolation of Israel" to mean that the Jews of the day were looking for the Messiah. In a sense that is true, because the Jews were anticipating someone who would lead the way in throwing off the yoke of the foreign oppressor and free them once and for all. However, the Messiah would have been a means to an end... what they were really looking for was that their beloved land and holy city would once again be free, as the next verse makes perfectly clear.

    And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant-- As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old-- Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear [Luke 1:69-74 NASB]

It was the redemption of their city and their land that they were looking forward to, which they saw as the kingdom of David and the kingdom of God.

    At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. [Luke 2:38 NASB]

    "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. [Luke 24:21 NASB]

    Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: "Hosanna! blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!" [Mark 11:9-10 NASB]

    Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. [Mark 15:43 NASB]

It is particularly telling that when the disciples asked Jesus if He was about to restore the kingdom to Israel, He did not correct them, which He would have done had their expectations been baseless. Jesus simply told them it was not for them to know the times and the seasons, or when it would happen. All they needed to know was that they would have the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to be His witnesses.

    They therefore, when they were come together, asked him, saying, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within His own authority. But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. [Acts 1:6-8]

But one has to ask where the Jews got this idea that one day the land and the holy city would be restored to them, and no longer under the thumb of the Gentile oppressor. The answer to that question is because, unlike us, they took the promises made by God to Abraham very seriously. Promises that the modern day church seems to have little or no interest in. Consider this part of Paul's speech to king Agrippa, in which he pointed out that the rock solid basis of the expectations of the Jews was a promise made by God, to their fathers.

    "And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. [Acts 26:6-7 NASB]

However, there were three promises made to Abraham, two of which had already been fulfilled. So what was the third, yet unfulfilled promise, that Paul referring to?


God's Three Interconnected And Inseparable Promises to Abraham
God's promise to give Abraham an entire country for an everlasting possession, is one of the most solemn declarations He ever made and is the third of three interconnected and inseparable promises

    The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. "I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. "Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you." [Genesis 13:14-17 NASB]

What would Abraham have seen as he lifted his eyes? As said by Anthony Buzzard

     As he looked northward Abraham would have seen the hills of Judea marking the border with Samaria. Towards the south the view extended to Hebron where later the Patriarchs were to be buried in the only piece of the land ever owned by Abraham. To the east lay the mountains of Moab and to the west the Mediterranean sea. The divine oath guaranteed to Abraham perpetual ownership of a large portion of the earth. [14]

Note that God not only told Abraham to look in all four directions, but also to walk length and breadth of the land which the Lord was giving him and his descendants. In other words there can be little doubt that the reward for Abraham's faith was firmly rooted in real estate. Not only is the promise of land by God to man absolutely unique among the all religious traditions, but the promise was a central theme, running like a gold thread through the Genesis, the very first book of the Bible.

The first time this covenant promise was made was before Abraham even left his home country of Ur, and the second was when Abraham was journeying through, what was then, Canaanite territory...

    Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; [Genesis 12:1 NASB]

    Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him. [Genesis 12:6-7 NASB]

It repeated many times thereafter, not only to Abraham, but also to Isaac and to Jacob. Certainly none of them took this promise lightly. Isaac repeated it to Jacob who, in turn, repeated it to Joseph. Joseph then reminded his brothers that God would bring them up to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham.

    Abraham
    And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it." [Genesis 15:7 NASB]

    On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: [Genesis 15:18 NASB]

    "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." [Genesis 17:7-8 NASB]

Note: The Hebrew text of Genesis 15:18 reads, "To your descendants I have given this land. This promise was made to Abraham before he even had any descendants to give the land to. Nevertheless, God states His promise in the past tense to emphasize the certainty of the event. (The KJV, YLT, and NASB etc do reflect the correct tense).

    Isaac:
    Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. The LORD appeared to him and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. "Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. [Genesis 26:1-3 NASB]

    When Isaac instructed Jacob to take a wife from the daughters of Laban, His mother's brother, he sent Jacob away with the following words... "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." [Genesis 28:3-4 NASB]

    Jacob:
    God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name." Thus He called him Israel. God also said to him, "I am God Almighty; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you. "The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, And I will give the land to your descendants after you." [Genesis 35:10-12 NASB]

    Jacob to Joseph: "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.' [Genesis 48:3-4 NASB]

    Joseph To The Twelve Tribes
    Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob." Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, "God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here." [Genesis 50:24-25 NASB]

The land was not the only promise God made to Abraham. In fact, as said before, it was one of three interconnected and inseparable promises made in the first three verses of Genesis 12. God also promised to make Abraham's descendants into a great nation, and most importantly of all, promised that "in him" all the families of the earth would be blessed, which was the promise of the Messiah.

    Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." [Genesis 12:1-3 NASB]

Since the promises that Abraham's descendants would be made into a "great nation", and that "in him" all the families of the earth would be blessed, have both been literally fulfilled, why do we understand the promise of the "land" to be a type of a heaven to come, and not be literally fulfilled as well?

And why are we not paying attention to all facets of the fact that we, through our faith, are spiritual descendants of Abraham.

Abraham's Descendants
In God's world, a mere blood relationship is not the criteria in determining salvation, or inheritance in the kingdom. Only those of faith could claim Abraham as a father and could partake of the blessing promised to the patriarch.

    and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. [Matthew 3:9 NASB]

    For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, [Romans 4:13-16 NASB]

    Even so Abraham believed god, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "all the nations will be blessed in you." So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. [Galatians 3:6-9 NASB]

Paul, writing to gentile Christians, uses the exact phrase from Genesis 28:4, telling them that through faith in Christ they could receive the "the blessing given to Abraham"

    "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." [Genesis 28:4 NASB]

    in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. [Galatians 3:14 NASB]

Yet, traditional Christian theology seems to have absolutely no interest in the last of the three promises made to Abraham, in spite of the fact that the Bible says

    And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise. [Galatians 3:29 NASB. Emphasis Added]


A "Type", or Literal Fulfillment?
In order to preserve the tradition that a heaven, located somewhere out there, is the reward of the faithful, it is argued that the geographical land of Canaan is a type of "heaven" to be gained at death. However, this New Testament passage specifically says that Abraham actually lived in the place designated as his future inheritance.

    By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; [Hebrews 11:9 NASB]

Abraham physically lived in a geographical location on earth, which was designated as his future inheritance.

However, as the book of Hebrews also makes perfectly clear, he never actually owned that land, therefore if we consider the land of Canaan as a 'type' of a celestial heaven, we might be in big trouble, since Abraham lived in Canaan as an alien. The Greek word paroikeo, translated sojourner in the NASB, means to reside as a foreigner, or to be a stranger.

    By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he became a sojourner (Gk. paroikeo) in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God. [Hebrews 11:8-10]

The New Testament confirms that Abraham never actually owned his inheritance..

     "But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him. [Acts 7:5 NASB]

Abraham lived out his life as a stranger owning nothing but a single field, which he bought from Ephron the Hittite, to bury Sarah (Genesis 23). Abraham himself told the Hittites that he was "an alien and a stranger" among them (Vs. 4). Yet, God's words were unambiguous... the physical land in which Abraham lived as a foreigner, forever belongs to him and his descendants. He was given this land by God Himself, yet he had to buy a field to bury his wife in. Was this an enormous and cruel joke perpetrated by the Lord of the universe, or are we simply not getting it?

I am afraid that we not getting it is the only option...

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are all dead, so unless the God of the universe was joking or lying, the only way for this promise to be fulfilled is at the bodily resurrection of believers when Abraham will rise from the dead to receive the land God promised him. This is a million light years from the idea we so unthinkingly accept... that the Patriarchs have already gone to their reward 'in heaven'.


The "Land"
Are we to be surprised then at the numerous references the Bible makes to the "land" as being the inheritance of the faithful? References that we have, once again, either overlooked, or spiritualized.

As seen in the very first words of the Bible, the Hebrew word 'erets, literally means earth or land, and is used 309 times in Genesis alone. ("ground", as in dirt, is 'admh)

    "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Heb. 'erets). [Genesis 1:1]

 A mere nine verses later, God says that the entire area of dry land on the planet was called 'erets

    Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. God called the dry land earth (Heb. 'erets), and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. [Genesis 1:9-10 NASB]

While the word is also used in terms of a particular country with political boundaries ... in all cases it refers to physical land on the earth.

    and "'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land (Heb. 'erets) of Egypt to give you the land (Heb. 'erets) of Canaan and to be your God [Leviticus 25:38].

With that in mind, note some uses of 'erets in the Old Testament... 

Jeremiah

    'For behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.' The LORD says, 'I will also bring them back to the land (Heb. 'erets) that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.'" [Jeremiah 30:3 NASB]

Zechariah

    And the LORD will be king over all the earth (Heb. 'erets) ; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. All the land (Heb. 'erets) will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin's Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses. People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security. [Zechariah 14:9-11 NASB]

Isaiah
In fact, the idea of a restored and peaceful land inherited by the the righteous, is a recurring theme in Isaiah's prophecies...

    Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places; [Isaiah 32:18 NASB]

    "I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants will dwell there. "Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks, And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds, For My people who seek Me. [Isaiah 65:9-10 NASB]

Note: The valley of Achor (the word means "troubled") was a valley near Jericho where Achan was put to death. However, it seems that a place that was once the scene of great calamity would become the source of blessing and peace. Sharon was a fertile plain near the coast of the Mediterranean extending from Caesarea to Joppa.

    Thus says the LORD, "In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land (Heb. 'erets), to make them inherit the desolate heritages; [Isaiah 49:8 NASB]

    "When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry all of them up, And a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me will inherit the land (Heb. 'erets) and will possess My holy mountain." [Isaiah 57:13 NASB]

    "Violence will not be heard again in your land (Heb. 'erets), Nor devastation or destruction within your borders; But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise. "No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. "Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over. "Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land (Heb. 'erets) forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified. [Isaiah 60:18-21 NASB]

    Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land (Heb. 'erets), Everlasting joy will be theirs. [Isaiah 61:4-7 NASB]

Proverbs

    "The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked will not inherit the land (Heb. 'erets) " (Proverbs 10:30).

    For the upright will live in the land (Heb. 'erets) and the blameless will remain in it; But the wicked will be cut off from the land (Heb. 'erets) and the treacherous will be uprooted from it. [Proverbs 2:21-22 NASB]


The Psalms
Psalm 2:6 predicts that Christ will be "installed as King upon Zion, God's holy mountain",

    "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 (Heb. 'erets) as Your possession. [Psalms 2:6-8 NASB]

When the Lord said "I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession", surely he did not mean it as a temporary gift. However, that would be exactly the case if the "nations" are either in heaven or hell, and the earth is either destroyed or empty.

    This promise is again seen in Zechariah 9:9-10.... "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth (Heb. 'erets)

Psalm 48 says Zion will be the glory of the earth.

    Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth (Heb. 'erets), is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold. [Psalms 48:1-3 ]

Psalm 24: While Psalm 22 prophesies the crucifixion of Christ, Psalm 24 predicts His reign on earth.

    Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah. [Psalms 24:7-10]

Psalm 37 makes several references to the land

    But the humble will inherit the land (Heb. 'erets) And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity...For those blessed by Him will inherit the land (Heb. 'erets), But those cursed by Him will be cut off...The righteous will inherit the land (Heb. 'erets) and dwell in it forever.... Wait for the LORD and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. [Psalm 37:11, 22, 29, 34, NASB]

Psalm 72 is a Psalm of David, and was probably composed when his son Solomon ascended the throne. In it David asks God to pour out his blessings on the king and the people. However while the Psalm directly relates to Solomon's reign, there are a number of expressions which cannot literally refer to Solomon. For example, it says the king's reign would be universal... his dominion would stretch from sea to sea, from "the River to the ends of the earth" (Vs. 8), and all the kings of the earth would submit to Him. Since several passages of Psalm 72 are almost parallel to other descriptions of the Messiah in the Old Testament (Compare Psalm 72:2-4 with Isaiah 11:4), we can safely conclude that, in the spirit of Hebrew typology, David's prayer for a glorious and peaceful reign for His son Solomon, looked forward into the distant future to the coming reign of the Christ. [See Typology]

    May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust. Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. [Psalms 72:8-11 NASB]

The psalm closes with the prayer,

    And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth (Heb. 'erets) be filled with His glory. Amen. [Psalms 72:19]

Jesus and The Book of Revelation
Jesus reiterated the words of many of the prophets in the Sermon in The Mount

    Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth (Gk. ge). [Matthew 5:5 NASB]

Revelation 5 says

    And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth (Gk. ge)." [Revelation 5:9-10 NASB]

Like the Hebrew 'erets , the Greek word ge means the earth or land (as opposed to the sea or heavens), and can also mean an area of land within fixed boundaries... [15]. Other uses of the word in the book of Revelation leaves little doubt as to it's meaning.

    saying, "Do not harm the earth (Gk. ge) or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." [Revelation 7:3 NASB]

    "And the kings of the earth (Gk. ge) , who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning....And the merchants of the earth (Gk. ge) weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more [Revelation 18:9, 11 NASB]

    "And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth (Gk. ge)." [Revelation 18:24 NASB]


A Real City Spoken of in The Book of Hebrews
There is another significant Greek word (polis) used in more than one verse in Hebrews, in connection with Abraham and the coming kingdom.

    By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the city (Gk. polis) which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God. [Hebrews 11:8-10]

    These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such thing make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city (Gk. polis). [Hebrews 11:13-16]

Additionally Hebrews 13:14 says

    For here we do not have a lasting city (Gk. polis) , but we are seeking the city which is to come. [Hebrews 13:14 NASB]

In the over 160 uses of this word in the New Testament, I do not believe there is a single instance when polis is used as anything other than a literal city. For example

    And he entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city (Gk. polis) . [Matthew 9:1]

    But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city (Gk. polis). [Matthew 22:7]

    for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee: for I have much people in this city (Gk. polis). [Acts 18:10]

    Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city (Gk. polis), and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: [James 4:13]

    For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city (Gk. polis), as I gave thee charge; [Titus 1:5]

In other words, when the author of Hebrews said we are waiting for a city which is to come, the foundations of which are built by God, he was referring to a real city, prepared by God for the faithful.

Note: While it is certain that Abraham's faith looked beyond the possession of the promised land, to a permanent home in a future world, it is unlikely that he knew that there would be a capital city from which the Messiah would reign. However, by using the Greek word polis, translated "city", the author of Hebrews imported "into the patriarchal faith the contents of a later and more developed faith - that of himself and his readers" (Vincent's word studies).

The author of the book of Hebrews did not come up with a new, or novel concept, but was simply echoing the words of the prophets who had gone before him.

The Prophecies

The Prophets "Saw" The Coming Kingdom
A plain reading of the words of many of these men of God, makes it impossible to deny that they looked ahead to an undetermined time in the future when God would return to establish a literal, earthly kingdom. Over and over again, they prophesied of a time when the Lord's anointed, a descendant of David and the Messiah, would rule as king, from Jerusalem. Over and over again, the kingdom is seen as a fulfillment of the promise that the Lord would physically return to this earth.

Perhaps Daniel's prophecies are the clearest of all.

Daniel's Five Kingdoms...
Because they were often viewed as messages from the gods which revealed fragments of the future, the ancients gave dreams careful attention. Therefore when king Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which he apparently could not remember the next morning, he summoned his "wise men" to both tell him what the dream was, and what it meant, something that was obviously well beyond human ability. However, Daniel asked God to supernaturally reveal what men could not possibly know, and having obtained God's favor, was able to do both (for which he thanks and praises God in chapter 2, verses 20-23).

In summary, Daniel told the king that he had dreamed of a great and formidable statue, which had a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay. This composite statue was then struck on its feet by a huge stone. Interestingly, the statue did not merely topple over, but disintegrated, and was blown away by the wind like so much chaff. Where the image had stood, the rock that destroyed it, grew to the size of a mountain and filled the earth.

    "You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. "The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. [Daniel 2:31-35 ]

As we should all know, Daniel then interpreted the dream to the king [2:36-45], telling him that four great kingdoms or empires would, in succession, dominate history. Although Daniel was very clear that the statue's head of gold was Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon (2:38), he said little in this chapter about the second and third kingdoms, except that they would each arise in turn after Babylon, but would be progressively inferior. Daniel ended the interpretation by telling the king that the vision was from God, and was given to indicate what would take place in the future. His words.... "the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy." [Vs. 2: 45].

The identity of the kingdoms following Babylon has been soundly debated, but there seems to be little doubt that, viewed both in the light of Daniel's second vision in chapter 8, and what we know of history...

    The shoulders and chest of silver represented the Medo-Persian empire which overthrew the Babylonian Empire.

    The bronze torso and thighs represent the Grecian empire under Alexander the Great, which conquered the Medo/Persian Empire. The Greeks were eventually usurped by

    'The Roman Empire, represented by the iron legs in the statue. (It wasn't until many years later that the Emperor Diocletian [284-305] saw the vast Roman empire as ungovernable, split it in half and created what would become the Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire... the two legs of the statue). However, this fourth kingdom does not end at the legs of the statue, but trickles down to the feet and toes. The ten toes have a symbolism which has been discussed elsewhere.

[Also note that Daniel's vision of four beasts in chapter 7, corresponds with the four empires of chapter 2, which corresponds with the beast that John saw rising up from the sea in Revelation 13. [See A Dragon and Two Beasts

What is especially telling is the fact that when the feet of the image is struck by the stone, it is not only one empire that is crushed. All of the other kingdoms were also reduced to dust and blown away. Their place is then taken by the stone that was made without human agency, which grows and fills "the whole earth".

Is it logical to believe that the first four kingdoms, represented by various parts of the statue, were real earthly kingdoms, but the rock that fills the earth is not. Or does a simple reading of the account tell us that God will destroy all earthly kingdoms, and inaugurate His own. Since, as several verses in the New Testament show, Christ is referred to as a rock, it is logical to believe that it is He who will bring about the destruction of man's kingdoms and, on His return, will inaugurate His own literal and everlasting kingdom.

    Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. [Matthew 7:24]

    Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? [Matthew 21:42. Also See Mark 12;10, Luke 20:17 and Acts 4:11]

    just as it is written, "behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in him will not be disappointed." [Romans 9:33]


Zephaniah
According to this prophecy, at the right time the LORD himself, the "King of Israel" would be "in the midst of" His people, would gather them from exile, restore their fortunes, deal with all those that afflicted them

    Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. the Lord hath taken away thy judgements, he hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not fear evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; O Zion, let not thy hands be slack. the Lord thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that sorrow for the solemn assembly, who were of thee; to whom the burden upon her was a reproach. Behold, at that time I will deal with all them that afflict thee; and I will save that which is lame, and gather that which was driven away; and I will make them a praise and a name, whose shame hath been in all the earth. At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord. [Zephaniah 3:14-20]

The word translated "in the midst of thee" is the Hebrew qereb, which is used more than 200 times in the Old Testament, and literally means, or strongly gives the sense of, "among". Note the following examples.

    And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the striving of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among (qereb) us, or not? [Exodus 17:7]

    Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that profaneth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among (qereb) his people. [Exodus 31:14]

    And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to-day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that it may come among (qereb) us, and save us out of the hand of our enemies. [1 Samuel 4:3]


Micah
clearly states that Jesus was to be ruler in Israel, which did not happen during His first advent. Was Micah sadly misinformed, or is the ruling part yet to happen?

    But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. [Micah 5:2]


Ezekiel
Since Israel has not had a king since Ezekiel's day, the prophet had to be speaking of a time yet in the future, when Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, would rule over all. Besides which, the tabernacle and temple were outward symbols of God's presence.

    And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgements, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [Ezekiel 37:21-22, 24-27]


Amos
The prophet Amos wrote about a physical kingdom on earth, complete with cities, vineyards, gardens, and fruit. The emphasis is on Israel's regathering to the land she had been given...

    In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations that are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God. [Amos 9:11-15]

I am sure that there are those who will claim that this prophecy was fulfilled when Israel was declared an independent nation in 1948. However, the context shows that this cannot be the case. In the verses immediately preceding the ones quoted above, Amos said that God would sift the house of Israel, and all the sinners of His people would die by the sword, which did not happen in 1948. Nor was any "sinful kingdom" destroyed from off the face of the earth.

    Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us. [Amos 9:8-10]


Zechariah:
Over and over again, this prophet reiterates that the Lord will return and again choose Jerusalem and Judah, where His house will be built.

    'Therefore thus says the LORD, "I will return (Heb. shb) to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it," declares the LORD of hosts, "and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem." "Again, proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem." [Zechariah 1:16-17 NASB]

    "The LORD will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. [Zechariah 2:12 NASB]

    "Thus says the LORD, 'I will return (Heb. shb) to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.... and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.... 'So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.' [Zechariah 8:3, 8, 22 NASB]

The Hebrew word shb, used extensively in the Bible, means to turn back, as when the dove released from the ark, found no dry land on which to alight, and returned to the ark (Genesis 8:9). It is this word that is often translated "repent" which, quite literally, means to return to God. See for example Psalms 7:11-12, Jeremiah 5:3-4, Ezekiel 18:30-32). [See Repentance]

Zechariah also says that a) everyone will go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, b) outlines the boundaries of the kingdom, and c) specifies the conditions that will exist at that time,

    a) And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso of all the families of the earth goeth not up unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Lord of hosts, upon them there shall be no rain. [Zechariah 14:16-17]

    b) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. [Zechariah 9:9-10]

    c) Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.....For there shall be the seed of peace; the vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things. [Zechariah 8:7-8, 12]


Isaiah:

Perhaps it was the prophet Isaiah who had the most to say about this coming kingdom, which will have Jerusalem as its capital. Very early on, Isaiah said the following (Note that verse 1 specifically saying that this was a prophecy concerning "Judah and Jerusalem").

    The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. [2] Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. [3] And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. [4] And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. [Isaiah 2:1-4]

In chapter 52, Isaiah clearly prophesies the good news that when the Lord restores Zion, Jerusalem will be redeemed, His people will be comforted, the effects of His salvation will be seen to the ends of the earth, and He will reign from Zion.

    How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, and says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the LORD restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God. [Isaiah 52:7-10 NASB]

    For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. [18] But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. [19] And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. [Isaiah 65:17-19]

    Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. [Isaiah 24:23]

    And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem. [Isaiah 27:13]

    And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. [Isaiah 35:10]

    So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. [Isaiah 51:11 NASB]


Revelation:
 
Finally, Chapter 21 of the book of Revelation speaks about the God dwelling among men, and Christ sitting on His throne.

    [3] Revelation 21:3-5 NASB And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,  [4] and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." [5]  And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He *said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."

The English word "dwell" was translated from the Greek skenoo, which means to occupy, reside or dwell. This word has not been used very often in the New Testament, but a couple of examples suffice to show that it literally means "to live amongst".

    And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (skenoo) among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:14 ]

    And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell (skenoo) in heaven. [Revelation 13:6 ]

    "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell (skenoo) in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time." [Revelation 12:12]


A Summary of The Location and Nature of Heaven
The prophets and the book of revelation painted a glorious picture of the new earth, which will be our heaven. I don't know about you, but it certainly sounds like a marvelous place to me... far, far, superior to an ethereal realm somewhere out there, in which it doesn't seem like there will be much to do. On the new earth, Christ will reign from Jerusalem. There will be peace and joy, to say nothing of earth, trees, plants, fruit, houses and, I presume animals, birds, flowers and waterfalls. In short... pretty much the world He originally created... a world without crime, fear, ugliness, disease and death.

How could it possibly get any better?

As a reminder of some of what the prophets said.

    God will destroy all earthly kingdoms, will bring about the destruction of man's kingdoms and  will inaugurate His own literal and everlasting kingdom [Daniel 2]. God will "dwell in the midst of Jerusalem" [Zechariah 8:7]. the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. [Isaiah 24:23]. And the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [Isaiah 2:3]. This will not be the old Jerusalem, but the New Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Revelation 21:2).

    The ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. [Isaiah 51:11]. They shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them [Amos 9:14].

    God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4) "The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." (Isaiah 35:1). The ground shall give its increase, and the heavens shall give their dew [Zechariah 8:12]. "They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit". (Isaiah 65:21) The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox (Isaiah 65:25).

    He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,  [4] and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." [5]  And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He *said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."


How Did The Promise Of Earthly Land Become A Promise of an Unearthly Heaven?
If you look back through the Bible, Jewish hopes and aspirations were centered around their land and the holy city of Jerusalem. Jacob made Joseph swear that he would not bury him in Egypt, but take him back to the promised land and bury him with his fathers [Genesis 47:29-31]. When Daniel realized, from reading the book of Jeremiah, that the seventy years of exile were almost over, he confessed the sins of the nation and asked the Lord to turn His anger and wrath away from His holy city Jerusalem [Daniel 9]. When Nehemiah heard that the remnant of Jews in Judah that had survived the captivity were in "in great distress and reproach", and that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and its gates burned with fire, he also confessed the sins of the sons of Israel, and acknowledged that they were scattered because of their many sins. He also reminded the Lord that He had once said that if the people return to Him and keep His commandments, He would gather them from wherever they were and bring them to the place where He had chosen to cause His name to dwell. Nehemiah then pleaded with the king to let him return to Judah, to the city of his fathers' tombs, that he could rebuild it [Nehemiah 9-10].

The bedrock of the attachment to the land was that it was theirs by right of inheritance. It was promised to Abraham and His descendants forever

However, as also said by Anthony Buzzard (cited earlier)

    A non-biblical view of the future, divorced from the land and the earth, was promoted by Gentiles unsympathetic to the heritage of Israel, for whom the promise of the land to Abraham was the foundation of the nations deepest aspirations. In direct contradiction of Jesus, Gentilized Christianity has substituted "heaven at death" for the biblical promise of life in the Land. The message of Jesus' famous beatitude, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the land" (Matthew 5:5) can no longer be heard above the din of endless funeral sermons announcing that the dead have gone to heaven!

    Gentile antipathy to the covenant made with Abraham has rendered large parts of the Old Testament meaningless to churchgoers. Worse still, it has put the New Testament under a fog of confusion, since the New relies for its basic understanding of the Christian faith on the promises of God given to Israel through Abraham. All the major doctrines of the faith are adversely affected when the Abrahamic Covenant is disregarded or misinterpreted. [14]

If all of the above wasn't enough...


Continue on To Part III... Jesus' Second Coming and The Resurrection of The Body HERE


Endnotes

[13] Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts. What Was the Message of Jesus? http://www.inplainsite.org/html/the_message_of_jesus.html

[14] Anthony Buzzard. The Christian Hope: Life in the Land of the Promise Made to Abraham.
http://focusonthekingdom.org/articles/christianhope.htm

[15] http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G1093&t=NLT

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