The promised land

A selection of verses showing that God makes promises about a land to Abraham, the father of the Jews.

God invites Abram (later Abraham) to leave Ur of the Chaldees to go to another land:

Genesis 12 verse 1

1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, and your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.

Abram obeys God. When he arrives in the land, God promises to give it to him and to his offspring:

Genesis 13 verses 14 - 15

14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, “Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for I will give all the land which you see to you and to your offspring forever.

The writer to the Hebrews confirms this:

Hebrews 11 verses 8 - 9

8 By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went. 9 By faith, he lived as an alien 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.

God defines the extent of the promised land, which is identifiable territory in the Middle East:

Genesis 15 verse 18

18 In that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I have given this land to your offspring, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:

The nation of Israel takes the land after the exodus from Egypt. Their control reaches its full extent in king Solomon's reign, but is then reduced again:

2 Chronicles 9 verse 26

26 He ruled over all the kings from the River even to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt.

Abraham does not receive the promised land in his lifetime:

Acts 7 verse 5

5 He gave him no inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on. He promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his offspring after him, when he still had no child.

However, God’s promises are always fulfilled and he will receive it when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth. Jesus tells his enemies that they will not be there:

Luke 13 verse 28

28  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s Kingdom, and yourselves being thrown outside. 

The promised land, with its capital city Jerusalem, is destined to be the centre of God’s Kingdom on earth:

Micah 4 verses 2 - 3

2 Many nations will go and say, 
“Come! Let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, 
and to the house of the God of Jacob; 
and he will teach us of his ways, 
and we will walk in his paths.” 
For the law will go out of Zion, 
and the LORD’s word from Jerusalem; 
3 and he will judge between many peoples, 
and will decide concerning strong nations afar off. 
They will beat their swords into ploughshares, 
and their spears into pruning hooks. 
Nation will not lift up sword against nation, 
neither will they learn war any more. 

These chapters have links to this theme: