When the Prophet Daniel predicted the invasion of Judea by Antiochus hundreds of years before it occurred during the power struggles of the collapsing Greek Empire, he used a unique term, saying, “He shall … enter the Glorious Land…” (Daniel 11:41). “ERETS HAZVI” (אֶרֶץ הַצְּבִי) in the Hebrew.
The term appears nearly 30 times in the Bible, and given the context of Daniel’s prophecy, it is clear that this “glorious land” refers to the territory of Judah and Israel. This was the contested territory caught in the vice between the northern and southern Greek generals vying for control over the Middle East. It can also mean, “The land of the ornament” or “The land of the gazelle,” alluding to the natural beauty and splendor of the embattled territory.
From this, we learn that from God’s perspective the Land of Israel was glorious. What else can we learn from the Bible about God’s thoughts and sentiment for the Land? Actually a lot. From Genesis to Revelation, the word of God offers us bright insights and clear indications revealing God’s feelings for the little territory called Israel today.
Humility. The very first time the Land of Israel appears in the biblical record by name is in Genesis 11:31, describing Abraham’s journey to the “Land of Canaan.” Canaan in the Hebrew language is a derivative of the root verb “KANA” (כָּנַע), which speaks of bending the knee in humility and submission. So primarily, we can conclude, the Land God promised Abraham and his seed after him would be a place of humility and surrender to the sovereign rule of the Almighty. It is the land where God’s rule, favor and blessing are the only way forward. There will be a time when God’s Kingdom rule will be enforced over all the earth, but for now it is every man and woman’s choice to surrender and bow the knee before the Almighty.
Bountiful. Preparing Israel to enter and possess the Promised Land, Moses told the people that “the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing…” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9). God describes a land of plenty. Plenty of water; plenty of vegetation, plenty of food and plenty of resources. Clearly, the land of Israel today is yet in the early stages of restoration following thousands of years of neglect, reproach and intentional ecological abuse, but our solid hope and expectation is for the fullness of God’s blessing and grace according to His Word, and in His own good timing.
Personal. When Ezekiel declared God’s plan to draw Gog and Magog (the northern-led federation of hostile nations) into the final epic conflict on the mountains of Israel, God said to Gog, “You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:16). As the Lord prepares His trap for Israel’s enemies and sets the stage for His miraculous victory and deliverance, note that He uses the term “MY LAND,” or “ARTSI” (אַרְצִי) in the Hebrew.
This is not a technical theological exercise for the Lord; rather it is personal! God is not apologizing nor minimizing His interest and feelings about the Land of Israel. He openly calls it “MY LAND,” making the conflict surrounding it a very personal matter for the Almighty. Biblically, the land of Israel does not belong to any one people group. Rather it belongs to God, and it is He who defined its boundaries and gave its territory to the sons of Israel as an everlasting homeland in covenant promises.
The Bible has much to say about God’s special relationship with His Land. Though He is indeed the Creator and Owner of the whole world, He has chosen the Promised Land of Israel as the focal point to reveal His Character and His salvation to all mankind.
We hope that you are making plans to join us here in Israel to taste and see that the Lord is good, faithful, and greatly to be praised.
With blessings from Jerusalem,
Your SAR-EL TOURS team