Why Does the Bible Talk So Much about Land?

God Will Share a Home with His People

In Romans 4:13 Paul says that Abraham is the heir of the whole world. If you've read the Old Testament this might seem a little puzzling because God promised Abraham a land with specific boundaries. It was essentially the modern area that we call Palestine or the Holy Land, from Egypt in the south to the northern part near the border of Syria and Turkey.

How then could Paul say that Abraham is the heir of the whole world, not just one particular piece of land? To discover an answer, we need to understand how the land functions in the whole message of the Bible.

God will dwell with his people forever, not just in one piece of property, but in the whole world.

The point of God's land promises were never just one strip of territory in the Middle East. Rather, God's land promises are ultimately about the whole world.

In the beginning, God put his people in a garden—a land—to dwell with him as his people who enjoy his presence. When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, they were cast out of the land God had given to them. Then God promised a land to Abraham where he would live with his people.

As that promise continues to develop in the storyline of Scripture, we see that the land is ultimately not just about a place to set up borders or to mark out territory in distinction from a bunch of other countries. The land is a place where God dwells with his people.

The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words

Chris Bruno

This accessible overview of biblical theology traces the development of sixteen key themes from Genesis to Revelation, showing how each theme contributes to the one main storyline of Scripture.

Ultimately, we see throughout the Old Testament and the Prophets that God promises to reign over, and dwell with his people in, the whole earth. So Zechariah 14 can say, "The Lord will be king over all the earth." His land will be the whole earth. This is why Paul can say about Abraham that he was the heir of the whole world.

God will dwell with his people forever, not just in one piece of property, but in the whole world.

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