In this section of the Bible, the Lord began to lay down revelation of His plan of redemption. In what we will call the pre-historic period, we see God moving to limit the manifestation of evil through (a) the flood, (b) the shortening of lifespan and (c) the confusion of languages at Babel. With these things accomplished, God initiated a plan that would require millennia to complete. It began with the call of Abram. Abram was on the leading edge of this revelation and, today, we find ourselves on the trailing edge. We believe that the completion of the redemption process is near.
Abram lived in Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamian valley was an early civilized area. To the west was Egypt, which was also a civilized area from very early times. God called Abram to leave his home and go to the place that He would show him. God led Abram to the land of Canaan, an area between these two main civilized areas of the ancient world. We must ask the question, “Why did God choose to bring Abram to the land of Canaan”? We will attempt to answer this question later.
When God called Abram, He promised him three things: (a) blessing, (b) ministry and (c) land. Later, this was made official by cutting a covenant (Genesis 15:18) which God confirmed to be an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:7). God promised to bless Abram and to favor him in the human community.
“And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.” (Genesis 12:3a)
Furthermore, God promises to give to Abram a unique ministry to all of mankind.
“And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3b)
Of course, the people of Israel are descended from Abram. From this people would come the revelation knowledge we have in the Bible. This includes the Hebrew prophets whose message brings hope to all Bible believing people. From this people also would come the Messiah who has also become the savior of the world and who will ultimately reign over the whole human community bringing peace and righteousness.
Finally, God gave to Abram and his descendents the land between the “river of the Egyptians and the Great River, the Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18a) When God spoke of the “Egyptian River” He was obviously speaking of the Nile. We conclude that God meant that He would give the land lying between these two great civilizations of that day to Abram’s descendents.
Originally I considered this promise as a special land grant like that made by a father to his favorite son. Later, after much study, I realized that Abram and his descendents were made special custodians of this land while God Himself maintained ownership of it. It remained His land. With this in mind we must once again visit the question of “Why this land”? As we do we realize that almost all of the revelation of the Bible came through Abram’s descendents in this land. Perhaps, more significant, there are many Biblical accounts of translations of people and angels from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven. This has led me to believe that the land of Israel constitutes the primary crossover point between heaven and earth. For Christians, the most familiar event is recorded in the book of Acts.
“And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
This event occurred on the Mt. of Olives which lies just east of Jerusalem. This is in the center of the territory given to Abram. Many other examples of this type of phenomena could be cited. (Please see my new work, “Israel, God’s Interdimensional Portal” available on Amazon.) So we conclude that God chose the land before He chose Abram and, in turn, the Hebrew people to be special servants for His purpose of redemption. The land is unique in its own right. Indeed, it is the “Holy Land”.
When Abram first moved through this area, we read that he met God and constructed altars. He built altars at Elon Moreh (Shechem), Bethel, Hevron and, finally, in Jerusalem. These sites are all along the mountain ridge running north to south from Shechem to Beersheva. Abram met God in an extra-ordinary way at these sites. I have come to think of this area as God’s front porch. Abram was very near to heaven as he traversed this area.
The land that God made Abraham’s descendants special custodians of is the most highly contested real estate in the world. This has become a burning issue today because God’s people have returned and are living in the land. The areas which are the most significant relative to redemption are the most highly contested. Judea and Samaria are the two regions which the vast majority of Biblical revelation occurred. All the world powers are acting in concert to wrestle these areas away from the Israelis. Real Biblical believers should arise with one voice to announce their identity with and support for the brave settlers who have exercised the faith to conquer and occupy these territories.