Paradise Lost, and God’s Plan to redeem, re-establish and restore His Kingdom. First part of the program is to own the land.
This post on Prosperity, Posterity and Pilgrimage is a work in progress. I need to convince myself in these meditations, and validate my conclusions. However not having any theological training, I resort to reading excerpts of best books in particular fields, using “cheat sheets” from reviews, synopsis, sample chapters in Kindle, or the “Look Inside” feature in Amazon books. While my reading / search might not be exhaustive, I believe my conclusions have been made with prayer and due diligence and would satisfy my personal quest for meaning and relevance, giving sense and convictions for my faith to “go into the deep”.
And behold, this morning as I was reviewing the previous posting, the term ‘Paradise Lost” crept in! I wonder whether anyone really is familiar with this ancient ‘dinosaur’ classic? I googled. Wow – John Milton published his ten poems / books in 1674. The first is about Satan, aided by Beelzebub and Mammon sabotaging and stealing man’s paradise. The former commonly known as lord of the flies (carrier of diseases) and the latter associated with the greedy pursuit of gain or wealth. Did Milton had insights then that the temptation of Eve had to do with health and wealth?
God’s purposes cannot be thwarted! He would and could redeem the paradise that was lost when Adam sold out to satan, and restore His Kingdom!
His Plan began with a person, then a plot (of land), and then a people!
And God would empower and enrich them to do so, with prosperity and posterity; and purposefully in the Progeny of Jesus to be the Redeemer of the corrupted and contaminated earth, and finally Redeemer of lost souls.
Graeme Goldsworthy, writing in ‘The Kingdom of God and the Old Testament’ said
“we see nothing less than the promise of the kingdom of God. Abraham’s descendants are to be God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule.”
It is Goldworthy’s recurring theme in his foundational Introduction to Biblical Theology – “According to Plan”
God called Abraham and promised him a nation and a land. This is getting exciting – I just found this in Wikipedia on Abraham –
“Abraham (Hebrew: אַבְרָהָם, ….
The narrative in Genesis revolves around the themes of posterity and land. Abraham is called by God to leave the house of his father Terah and settle in the land originally given to Canaan, but which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. Various candidates are put forward who might inherit the land after Abraham, but all are dismissed except for Isaac, his son by his half-sister Sarah. Abraham purchases a tomb (the Cave of the Patriarchs) at Hebron to be Sarah’s grave, thus establishing his right to the land, …”
The contest for the land is still ongoing at this very moment. UNESCO robbed Israel of the Abraham’s legacy of Hebron see http://www.timesofisrael.com/unesco-votes-to-declare-hebron-an-endangered-site/). Clashes and attacks upon Abraham’s descendants break out almost every day over Mount Zion. Again it’s about land, and Jesus would return and set foot on Mount Olive and then in the Millennium, reign from Jerusalem.
The Old Testament has details of Abraham’s future generations and genealogies – in owning earthly real-estate for the eternal Kingdom – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
Gen 15: 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land
Gen 26: 2 And the Lord appeared to him (Isaac) and said, …. dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,
12 And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. 14 He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him.
Gen 35: 10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. 11 And God 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 from your own body.12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”
Walter Brueggermann said in ‘The Land – Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith” =
“… see that the Old Testament, in its theological articulation, was not all about “deed,” but was concerned with place, specific real estate that was invested with powerful promises and with strategic arrangements for presence in the place as well. Once I had seen that much, then it was a ready development to see the dialectic in Israel’s fortunes between landlessness (wilderness, exile) and landedness, the latter either as possession of the land, as anticipation of the land, or as grief about loss of the land; it was on that basis … all aspects being referred to God of the covenant Torah”
.. The land was one of the most vibrant symbols for the people of ancient Israel. In the land-gift, promise, and challenge-was found the physical source of Israel’s fertility and life, and a place for the gathering of the hopes of the covenant people.
Within the entire Old Testament, there are more than 2700 references to land. According to Elmer Martens, “The term ‘land’ is the fourth-most frequent substantive in the Old Testament.”
Read Deut 8:7-18
7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless theLord your God for the good land he has given you.
11 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
From a reviewer of “The Land”, by Norman Habel, he goes in depth in his study of the Israelite people’s relationship to the land, and discovers six ideologies of land and its meaning to the Israelite people in the Hebrew Testament.
The ideologies (partial) are as follows:
– The Land as the Source of Wealth (for the nation)
– God has conquered the land for Israel
– Land assigned by God
– Up to each tribe to subdue the land and claim it for God’s people
· The Land as God’s inheritance
– The land, ultimately, is God’s
– The healing of the land is coming
– God is owner of the land
God first dwelt in the landed holy tabernacle, from which He reveals Himself through the people He chose, before He could tabernacle in our midst, born in the land of Bethlehem, and then tabernacle in our very lives in the Spirit. Our lives are His real estate.
We are sojourners in this earthly land, pilgrims on the way home!
Prosperity and posterity must be understood as the promises and blessings given to the chosen people in the Old Testament as empowerment to occupy the land on God’s behalf at a particular period of His program. Prosperity and posterity (wealth and health) is not as what the WOF proponents advocate!
2 Cor 5: 1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
“The Exodus Song”
This land is mine, God gave this land to me
This brave and ancient land to me
And when the morning sun reveals her hills and plain
Then I see a land where children can run free
So take my hand and walk this land with me
And walk this lovely land with me
Though I am just a man, when you are by my side
With the help of God, I know I can be strong