February 28, 2024

The Extension of Eden: From Promised Land to New Creation

The Extension of Eden: From Promised Land to New Creation

Brian King

15 Minute Read

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering”

~ Hebrews 12.22

The question of the promises regarding the land of Israel has always been a vexed one. At first glance it appears to be limited almost entirely to the Old Testament, with the New Testament writers seemingly uninterested in it as a theological category.[1] This disinterest in turn raises the question of hermeneutics: how the New Testament relates to the Old, and how to interpret the Bible as a whole. Furthermore, in contemporary discourse, the place designated as the “Holy Land” often becomes enmeshed with questions of Christian fidelity, global politics, and social justice.[2] On the one hand, the strong rhetoric of David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, is typical of a large segment of Christians:

“I believe the modern-day state of Israel is a miracle of God and a fulfilment of Bible prophecy…Woe to anyone who joins those nations to gather against the Jewish people who are now back in the city of David…[Evangelicals] must choose carefully which side to uphold.”[3]

On the other hand, there is also the perspective of those such as the Palestinian theologian, Naim Ateek, to consider:

“For most [Palestinian Christians], this land [of Palestine] is their watan, their homeland. This is the land of their birth. It is the land which God, in his wisdom, has chosen to give them as watan; in the same way as God has chosen to give you your own watan…[B]ecause they have been given the land, they have a responsibility before God. They would like to live in dignity as human beings on their land and as good stewards of it.”[4]

Such perspectives show that the question of land is not just of academic interest, but one that is pertinent to our lived experience. Craig Bartholomew suggests that the whole concept of place is fundamental to human existence, as it forms a part of our creatureliness, since “part of being embodied involves being in a particular place”.[5] This attachment to land is never just theoretical, but is always of particular significance for all peoples, since place always has a social, cultural and historical dimension, shaped by the activities of the humans who dwell in it.[6]

This article will not pretend to adjudicate on every aspect of this complex debate. Instead, it will concentrate on presenting a biblical theology of land. In particular, it seeks to show that the Old Testament land promises must be understood typologically, both as looking back to Eden and looking forward to the new creation. Once this is established, we will see how these land promises find their fulfilment in Jesus and continues to be understood eschatologically by the New Testament writers.

1. The land promise in Old Testament theology

To begin with, it is crucial to situate the story of Israel within the larger story of God’s dealings with humanity. If we understand eschatology broadly to mean the goal of history, then the Bible is eschatological; that is, God’s revelation flows progressively from creation to new creation via the means of redemption.[7] As such, Genesis 1-3 is the “starting point for the story of redeemed humankind in a renewed world.”[8] If so, then we need to understand the land promises to Israel in particular within the larger canonical context. In Genesis 1, the entire universe functions as the geographical backdrop against which God reigns, for he created and rules it.[9] However, the earth has also been created for human dominion, reflecting the divine rule, and a domain is needed for humans to “realise their humanity”. [10] Thus, the geography of Genesis 2 is focused on Eden.[11] Much recent scholarship has made much of the fact that the garden of Eden is to be considered the archetypal sanctuary, where God dwells with humanity, who serve as his priest-kings.[12] However, more significantly, Adam is not only meant to serve as a priest-king in the initial stage of the Edenic sanctuary, but he is to extend the geographical boundaries of Eden and hence, sacred space, until it covers the whole earth as part of his creation mandate.[13] In other words, the garden-temple does not just serve as a pattern for future Israelite temples, but is eschatological in orientation. It is the new creation in miniature. This can be substantiated, for instance, by the description of the river of life that flows from this garden-temple, which is later echoed in eschatological visions such as Ezekiel 47:1-12 and Revelation 22:1-3. Genesis 2, then, describes the “ideal environment in which there is complete harmony between humanity and God…and between humanity and nature.”[14] 

Genesis 3, however, reveals the fundamental problem of humanity. As a consequence of their disobedience, they are exiled from their geographical home, “to live east of Eden as dispossessed royalty.”[15] If human identity and place are intertwined, then God’s judgement involves displacement – a sense of restlessness that will characterise humanity’s fallen condition.[16] In fact, as we read the rest of the Old Testament, it becomes clear that “the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden is the archetype of all subsequent exile.”[17] Moreover, the creation project is compromised, for the relationship between man and the land is now characterised by hardship, pain and toil.[18] The earth, like its now-defiled priest-kings, is in decay and subject to futility (Rom. 8:18-25). Adam can no longer expand the borders of Eden. Consequently, the question of how God’s kingdom will now extend to the whole earth is raised.[19]

It is against this wider narrative that we must read the (land) promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12. Abraham’s links with Adam cannot be missed. Firstly, he is identified as the son of Terah (Gen. 11:27), who continues from the line of Noah and Adam.[20] Secondly, Adam’s commission also passes on to Noah and Abraham (Gen. 9:1,7; 12:2-3).[21] In fact, the language of the Adamic commission can be traced throughout Genesis (e.g. Gen. 17:2,6,8; 26:3ff; 26:24, 28:3). The key elements found in Genesis 1-2, such as a special dwelling place, the harmonious relationship between all parties, and the multiplication of human beings are repeated in the blessing to Abraham, all pointing to the fact that the Abrahamic covenant is God’s renewal plan for creation.[22] Therefore, the Promised Land must be understood as the space within which God intends to work out his eschatological objectives, like Eden. To sum up: “Abraham’s children are God’s true humanity, and their homeland is the new Eden.”[23]

There are more clues within the Pentateuch and Historical books that suggest that the Promised Land is to be viewed as a type of Eden. It is spoken of as “the rest and the inheritance that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deut. 12:9)[24] Indeed, it is a divine gift that offers the possibility of rest from oppression by enemies, hard labour and wandering.[25] This is reinforced by its description as a fertile land, “flowing with milk and honey” (Exod. 3:8,17; Lev. 20:24; Num. 14:8; Deut. 6:3, 11:9), depicting it as a place where God’s favour rests.[26] Similarly, the construction of the tabernacle also lend support to the idea that the Promised Land is in part a re-creation of Eden, for the tabernacle marks it as the place where fellowship with God can be enjoyed.[27] Furthermore, it is interesting that while specific geographical boundary markers are highlighted, they are often actually rather imprecise (Gen 15:18; Exod. 23:3; Deut. 11:24; Josh. 1:2-4, cf. Numbers 34:1-12).[28] Wazana suggests that the differences “reveal that these are two separate genres that convey two different conceptions of the Promised Land, but not two different territorial units.[29] Those land descriptions that seem to reflect undetermined boundaries employ stock terminology from Neo-Assyrian imperial claims to refer to universal rule, thus embodying God’s promise that he will bring his blessing to every place.[30] This fits with God’s programmatic agenda outlined in the Abrahamic promises: it is finally blessing to the nations, and not just the establishment of a nation, that is the goal.[31]

The land promises appear to be fulfilled in the Old Testament itself, via Joshua’s conquest (Joshua 11:23). However, that might be a touch of authorial hyperbole, since Joshua 13:2-6 tells us there remain large swathes of land that remain unconquered.[32] In fact, the focus of chapter 13 becomes non-possession and non-fulfilment.[33] The implication is that no tribe has actually been fully obedient, and the presence of enemies negates any possibility of complete rest.[34] Nevertheless, there is some progression. Joshua 18:1 presents the land as being subdued and the tent of meeting being set up, thus recalling the sanctuary of Eden.[35] However, it also presents a “not yet” aspect to the fulfilment of the land promise.[36] After all, the fulfilment of the land promises have fallen short, not just in terms of geography, but also ideology.[37] This is true of the later period including David and his successors as well. The Promised Land could not stomach the wanton idolatry and social injustice of the people, and so complete possession and true rest eluded them as well; in fact, the land “vomited Israel out”![38]

However, the land promises do not recede even during Israel’s period of exile.[39] The prophets who correctly foretold exile from the Land as a punishment also foretold an eventual return (e.g. Amos 9:15).[40] Jeremiah 16:14-15 describes this return as a new exodus, where the land will be restored (Jer. 30:18, 32:15). However, these land promises now more explicitly form part of the nexus of Israel’s eschatological hope, which includes the hope of a new land, a new city, and a new temple. In Jeremiah 31:38-40, the restoration of an eternal Jerusalem deemed sacred to the LORD is foretold.[41] The restored Land also forms part of Ezekiel’s vision in chapters 40-48, but interestingly, not only is it different from the original allocation under Joshua, but also completely defies the geography of Palestine![42] In Isaiah 4:2-6, the eschatological vision combines a fruitful land with the holy city. This eschatological Zion fuses the imagery of Eden with the tabernacle. Earlier on in Isaiah 2:1-4, we know that nations will stream to this Zion. Thus, what we find is a picture of the new creation as a place where God’s people dwell and worship him.[43]

To sum up, the Promised Land in the Old Testament can be understood as both looking back to Eden and forward to a new Eden. It is a territorial space promised to a particular people, but its orientation is ultimately eschatological, in that it looks forward to a new creation where God will dwell with and bless all peoples, who enjoy rest with him.

2. The land promise fulfilled in Jesus and transformed in the New Testament

It is commonplace to note Jesus’ rather surprising silence regarding the territorial aspirations of his day. Indeed, his central message, the kingdom of God, seems quite devoid of nationalistic interests.[44] This silence is significant given that in 1st century Judea, territorial nationalism, a yearning for land restoration was everywhere.[45] Hints of this can be found in the disciples’ remarks themselves in Luke 24:21 and Acts 1:6. Nonetheless, it is important to note first of all that Jesus does display some continuity with Israel’s strong identification with the land.[46] He began his ministry at the Jordan River, evoking memories of Joshua’s conquest of the land, and ended his life in Jerusalem. His selection of 12 disciples suggested a reconstitution of Israel was happening, and he mostly worked within the sacred geography of Israel’s promised Land.[47]  He anticipated a time when the Son of Man would be seated on the throne and the Twelve will sit in judgement over the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28). In other words, Jesus anticipates and to some extent works within the expectations of Jewish national restoration, which must surely include the land.

The key difference, however, is the way in which the New Testament presents Jesus as the fulfilment of various Old Testament motifs (including the land and various themes, see 2 Cor. 1:20), in ways that were unexpected and perhaps even outlandish to his audience. Thus, at the beginning of the New Testament, in Matthew 1:1, the phrase “the book of the genealogy” is used elsewhere only in Gen. 2:4 and 5:1[48], which suggests that Matthew is self-consciously connecting Jesus to Adam and Noah and the first creation. This implies that with the arrival of Jesus, a new creation is about to take place.[49] Within this genealogy, he is also presented as the son of Abraham, Israel. By mentioning the exile (Matt. 1:17), Matthew is signalling for us that in Jesus, the promised return from exile is happening.[50] These twin eschatological hopes of the Old Testament, then, seem to be reaching its culmination in Jesus!

Jesus is then presented as a figure like Moses. These parallels are seen in the circumstances surrounding Jesus’s birth, where like Moses, Jesus is protected as an infant from a murderous pagan king (Matthew 2:13-23), as well as Jesus’ ascent of a mountain to deliver the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1).[51] As the new Moses, then, Jesus is bringing in the new exodus.  In Matthew 2:17-18, Matthew applies to Jesus a passage from Jeremiah 31:15 about Israel’s bondage in Babylon, which was immediately followed by a promise of restoration.[52] Like Moses, he will lead them to the Promised Land, except that this is now to be understood eschatologically. In Matthew 5:5, Jesus echoes Psalm 37:11, where the land is promised to those who trust God to be righteous and deliver them from the wicked. As such, Jesus’ hearers would have understood him to be referring not to the earth, but the Promised Land.[53] The difference, however, is that Jesus, in keeping with the Old Testament prophets, applies this eschatologically and enlarges the promises to his disciples, not just ethnic Israel.[54] This new exodus imagery is applied somewhat differently in John’s Farewell Discourse. Again, there are allusions to Moses’ farewell speech, but the Promised Land is now the world into which the disciples are sent.[55]

Therefore, the Old Testament promises regarding the Promised Land are now being fulfilled typologically, that is, in a way that no longer ties it to the physical, geographical region. This is further buttressed by the way the promise of land is now centred onto the person of Jesus himself. For instance, Jesus calls himself the true vine in John 15:1, applying the image of a vineyard, which primarily referred to Israel in the Old Testament, to himself! He offers what the land itself once promised: rest, freedom, and hope.[56] Furthermore, those who abide in him are expected to bear fruit, perhaps echoing the expected fruitfulness of those in the land.

At this juncture, it might be worth interacting very briefly with some dispensational objections to the account presented here. Although there is a spectrum amongst dispensationalists, one key characteristic is the distinction they make between Israel and the church.[57] For Ware, a progressive dispensationalist, the territorial promises still hold for Israel even if other new covenant promises are fulfilled in Christ.[58] Horner, another dispensationalist, asserts that while Jesus does represent and embody the nation of Israel, he does not replace the promises made to Israel.[59] However, the fatal flaw to their objections is an inconsistent application of typology.[60] If it can be shown beyond reasonable doubt that the land is to be interpreted typologically, as contended for in this essay, then their objection fails, for they are willing to interpret other Old Testament institutions such as the sacrificial system typologically.[61]

The rest of the New Testament affirms this view of the Old Testament land promises. In all of Paul’s discussions concerning the Abrahamic promises (e.g. Gal. 3), he omits the land promises preferring to concentrate instead on the blessings to the world.[62] In Romans 4:13, Paul reinterprets the promise of a particular land to Abraham to suggest he will be the heir of the whole world.[63] This is in keeping with the presentation of the Land as a new Eden spanning the whole earth, as already argued earlier. Romans 4:16-17, furthermore, no longer defines the descendants of Abraham along ethnic lines.[64] In Hebrews 3-4, the writer assumes that the divine warning of Psalm 95 is directly applicable to his audience as well, which requires that the understanding of “rest”, originally referring to entry into the Promised Land, now be understood as eschatological salvation.[65] In Hebrews 11:9-10, reference is made to the “land of promise”, but this is linked with Abraham “looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God”. Hebrews 11:13, 16 confirm that this city is eschatological.[66] This eschatological picture finds its consummation in Revelation 21-22. The vision that the prophets paint is beautifully intertwined, as temple, city, and land all merge into an end-time vision portraying the final reality of God’s covenant presence with his people.[67] What God intended for his people in Genesis 1-2 is finally achieved, and even surpassed.


In conclusion, the Old Testament from the very beginning, hints that the Promised Land should not just be understood as a territorial piece of land given to Israel, but as a type of Eden that looks for eschatological fulfilment. In the New Testament, these land promises are now fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus, who brings in the new exodus and new creation. If land in the Old Testament refers to life in Canaan, it is now transmuted to life in Christ in the New.[68] Nonetheless, there is still an already/not yet aspect to these promises, and so we still look forward to a land where the New Jerusalem and Christ, the true temple, dwells with his people.


Alexander, T.D.  “Beyond borders: the wider dimensions of land”, in The Land of Promise, edited by Philip Johnston and Peter Walker, 623-627. Leicester, Eng.: Apollos, 2000.

Ateek, Naim. “A Palestinian Perspective: Biblical Perspectives on the Land,” in Voices from the Margin, edited by R.S. Sugirtharajah.Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis, 1995.

Bartholomew, Craig. Where Mortals Dwell. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011.

Beale, G.K. The Temple and the Church’s Mission. Nottingham, Eng.: Apollos, 2004.

Blaising, Craig and Darrell Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism. Wheaton, Ill.: Bridgepoint, 1993.

Burge, Gary M. Jesus and the Land. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2010.

Chapman, Colin. Whose Promised Land? Rev. ed. Oxford, Eng: Lion Judson, 2002.

Dempster, Stephen G. Dominion and dynasty. Nottingham, Eng.: Apollos, 2003.

Duguid, Iain. “Exile.” In New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, edited by T.D Alexander and Brian Rosner, 475-478. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Dumbrell, William. The Search for Order: Biblical Eschatology in Focus. Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2001.

Gentry, Peter J. and Stephen J. Wellum. Kingdom Through Covenant. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2012.

Holwerda, David E. Jesus & Israel: One Covenant or Two? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995

Horner, Barry E. Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism must be challenged. Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2004.

Hubbard, Robert. Joshua: NIVAC. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009.

Martin, Oren. Bound for the Promised Land. Nottingham, Eng.: Apollos, 2015.

Meadowcroft, Tim. “The Gospel and the land of promise”, in The Gospel and the land of promise, edited by Philip Church, Tim Bulkeley and Tim Meadowcroft. Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick, 2011.

Millar, Gary. “Land.” In New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, edited by T.D Alexander and Brian Rosner, Downers Grove, IL. InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Quarles, Charles. The Sermon on the Mount. Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2011.

Scobie, Charles H. H. The ways of our God: an approach to biblical theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2003.

Walker, Peter W. L. “The land in the apostles’ writings,” in The Land of Promise, edited by Philip Johnston and Peter Walker. Leicester, Eng.: Apollos, 2000.

Waltke, Bruce. (with Charles Yu) Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007.

Ware, Bruce. “The New Covenant and the People(s) of God,” in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, edited by Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1992.

Williamson, Paul “Promise and fulfilment: the territorial inheritance,” in The Land of Promise, edited by Philip Johnston and Peter Walker. Leicester, Eng.: Apollos, 2000.

Wright, Christopher J.H. The Message of Jeremiah. Nottingham, Eng.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2014.

Wright, N.T. The Climax of the Covenant. London: T&T Clark, 1991.

[1] Gary Millar, “Land”, in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, ed. T.D Alexander and Brian Rosner (Downers Grove, IL.L InterVarsity Press, 2000), 623, who notes the contrast with the theme of sacrifice, which the New Testament discusses at length.

[2] To further complicate the matter, there has also been a long history of conflict over the Holy Land, with serious disagreements over how to even present that history. See Colin Chapman, Whose Promised Land? Rev. ed. (Oxford, Eng: Lion Judson, 2002),37-41, for a bullet-point presentation of the main differences between Jewish and Arab interpretations of the recent history of the land.

[3] Cited in Gary M. Burge, Jesus and the Land (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2010), 112-113.

[4] Naim Ateek, “A Palestinian Perspective: Biblical Perspectives on the Land”, in R.S Sugirtharajah, ed. Voices from the Margin (Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis, 1995), 275.

[5] Craig Bartholomew, Where Mortals Dwell (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011), 2. Tim Meadowcroft, “The Gospel and the land of promise”, in Philip Church, Tim Bulkeley and Tim Meadowcroft, eds. The Gospel and the land of promise (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick, 2011), 161, makes a similar observation when he states, “Just as it is not possible to live a disembodied life, so it is not possible to live a life detached from land.”

[6] Bartholomew, 3; Meadowcroft, 161.

[7] William Dumbrell, The Search for Order: Biblical Eschatology in Focus (Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2001), 9.

[8] Dumbrell, 16.

[9] Oren Martin, Bound for the Promised Land (Nottingham, Eng.: Apollos, 2015), 34. This is affirmed in other places in Scripture, such as Psalm 95:5 and perhaps significantly, in the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 4:11.

[10] Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and dynasty (Nottingham, Eng.: Apollos, 2003), 48, 62.

[11] Bartholomew, 25, observes that the move from Genesis 1 to 2 “involves a movement of progressive implacement culminating in the planting of Eden as the specific place in which the earthlings Adam and Eve will dwell…[T]he nature of Adam and Eve as embodied earthlings means that the human story must begin in a specific place, in this case, Eden.”

[12] See for instance, G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission (Nottingham, Eng.: Apollos, 2004), 66-70. He argues, as part of a cumulative argument showing that Eden is to be thought of as the first archetypal sanctuary, that when the Hebrew words abad and samar (“to work and keep it” are used together, they refer to Israelites serving and keeping God’s Word, or serving and guarding the tabernacle/temple.

[13] Beale, 80-81.

[14] Dempster,65.

[15] Dempster, 67.

[16] Bartholomew, 29.

[17] Iain Duguid, “Exile,” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, ed. T.D Alexander and Brian Rosner (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 475.

[18] Dumbrell, 28.

[19] Martin, 40.

[20] In addition, there is a literary parallelism in the biblical narrative: Adam and Eve have 3 named sons at the beginning of Genesis 5, and the chapter ends with a genealogy Noah’s 3 named sons, which is how the genealogy at the end of chapter 11 also ends. See Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, Kingdom Through Covenant (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2012), 224.

[21] Beale, 94.

[22] Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism (Wheaton, Ill.: Bridgepoint, 1993), 130, who write from a progressive dispensationalist perspective. Bruce Waltke, Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007), 150, who is not a dispensationalist, observes that in fact, the entire story of the Old Testament contains elements found in Genesis 1-3, such as people, law, land, king, rebellion, exile, and hope.

[23] N.T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant (London: T&T Clark, 1991),22-23.

[24] All Bible quotations come from the English Standard Version.

[25] T.D Alexander, “Beyond borders: the wider dimensions of land”, in Philip Johnston and Peter Walker, eds. The Land of Promise (Leicester, Eng.: Apollos, 2000), 37. Millar, 624, speaks of God’s giving of the land as deriving from his ownership of the whole earth (Ps. 24:1), an expression of his covenantal commitment to them. This giving of the land, again, echoes that of the LORD’s planting of the garden of Eden and subsequently putting man in it.

[26] Alexander, 38.

[27] Alexander, 40-41. Geoff Harper also suggests that it could mark the return of the Lord to a territorial abode.

[28] Paul Williamson, “Promise and fulfilment: the territorial inheritance”, in Philip Johnston and Peter Walker, eds. The Land of Promise (Leicester, Eng.: Apollos, 2000), 20.

[29] Bartholomew, 46. Emphasis original.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Williamson, 17-18.

[32] Robert Hubbard, Joshua: NIVAC (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009), 398.

[33] Waltke, 524.

[34] Millar, 625; Williamson, 30.

[35] Martin, 89.

[36] Waltke, 525, suggests that the land promise in the Old Testament must be understood fundamentally in terms of an “already/not yet”. If we envisage a continuum of fulfilment, there is a sense in which God has kept his promise, and yet there is an ultimate fulfilment to look forward to.

[37] Williamson, 31.

[38] David E. Holwerda, Jesus & Israel: One Covenant or Two? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995), 94.

[39] For Diaspora Jews living later in the Hellenistic period, the reality of life in the land was also eschatological. See Burge, 21.

[40] Charles H. H. Scobie, The ways of our God: an approach to biblical theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2003), 552.

[41] Christopher J. H. Wright, The Message of Jeremiah (Nottingham, Eng.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2014), 339, shows that since Jerusalem was destroyed again in A.D70, we have to conclude that either Jeremiah was mistaken in his prophecy, or that this prophecy finds its ultimate fulfilment in the new creation. Given that Revelation 21-22 seems to pick up on the imagery of the New Jerusalem, the latter has to be the case.

[42] Scobie, 553.

[43] See Gentry and Wellum, 468-470, for a more extended discussion of these eschatological visions of Isaiah.

[44] Scobie, 556.

[45] See Burge, 25-27 for a sketch of the tensions that were boiling under the surface. Duguid, 477, notes that the sense of exile was still operative: “Israel’s land was still governed by foreigners, not by a descendant of the line of David; many (the diaspora) were still scattered through other lands; and those who returned persisted in all kinds of sin, obdurately resisting God’s word. Because of the people’s hardness of heart, the exile was in some respects still a reality.”

[46] The remainder of this paragraph is indebted to Burge, 30-33.

[47] Scobie, 557, makes a similar point.

[48] In the LXX.

[49] Martin, 120-121.

[50] Martin, 122.

[51] Holwerda, 37 (although he downplays the Moses typology); Charles Quarles, The Sermon on the Mount (Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2011), 21-22. Quarles notes that Matt 2:20b is a direct quotation of the LXX version of Exodus 4:19 with minimal change, which indicates that the Moses typology is stronger than Holwerda allows.

[52] Quarles, 25.

[53] Burge, 34.

[54] Quarles, 57. He shows that the Dead Seas Scrolls had applied this psalm eschatologically as well. In addition, this promised land should not be simplistically equated with a spiritual heaven but the eschatological future.

[55] Peter W.L. Walker, “The land in the apostles’ writings” in Philip Johnston and Peter Walker, eds. The Land of Promise (Leicester, Eng.: Apollos, 2000), 93. In Acts 1:8, Jesus responds to the disciples’ questions regarding the restoration of Israel by commissioning them to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.

[56] Walker, 95-96.

[57] See the volume edited by Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, Dispensationalism, Israel, and the Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1992).

[58] Bruce Ware, “The New Covenant and the People(s) of God,” in Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, Dispensationalism, Israel, and the Church, 94.

[59] Barry E. Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism must be challenged (Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2004), 195.

[60] John Feinberg, another dispensationalist, admits, “the type is shadow and the antitype is reality”, and the implication, therefore, is that the meaning of the antitype supersedes and cancels the meaning of the type in its own context.” See Gentry and Wellum, 123. If so, then Horner’s objection is already rendered incoherent.

[61] Gentry and Wellum, 122. This is especially so if the Old Testament itself offers encouragement and develops its presentation of the land typologically, as this essay has attempted to show.

[62] Walker, 84.

[63] Walker, 87; Scobie, 558.

[64] This is affirmed by other Pauline texts such as Ephesians 2:11-22. For an interpretation of Ephesians 2:11-22 that defends a non-dispensationalist interpretation against dispensationalist alternatives, see Sam Storms, Kingdom Come (Fearn, UK: Mentor, 2013),180-189.

[65] Walker, 89. Hebrews 4:11 further encourage us to see this as a place of rest, not just a state.

[66] This also accords with Paul’s distinction between the Jerusalem below, which is associated with slavery, and the Jerusalem above, which is associated with salvation, in Galatians 4:21-31. See Holwerda, 108-109. Thus, according to Scobie, 561, the land and its focal point, Jerusalem, has now been relativized by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

[67] Beale, 350.

[68] Waltke, 560.

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Pastor Brian King currently serves as the pastor of BEM Kuching Evangelical Church. He is married to Chin Yin and they have 2 children. Born and bred in Kuching, Pastor Brian holds degrees in English Literature from the University of Oxford, an MA in Publishing from the University of the Arts, London, as well as a Master of Divinity (M.Div) from Sydney Missionary & Bible College. He is grateful to Jesus for rescuing him while he was still lost in sin, and longs for people to grow in Christ and follow him wholeheartedly as they hear his Word taught. Pastor Brian enjoys reading all sorts of things, playing badminton, following the NBA and watching crime shows.

In addition to his role as pastor of BEM KEC, Pastor Brian has been serving on the committee of KVBC NextGen since 2015, including as its chairman (2020-present).

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The Extension of Eden: From Promised Land to New Creation

Too often we hear of Christians attending church being burnt out, tired, and needing a break. Many times, such people are not in leadership positions. They just feel burnt out from the demands of church: Sunday Service, Sunday School, Bible Study, Prayer Meetings, and another ministry meeting each week. On top of all these demands from church, there are family responsibilities, work deadlines and maybe some leftover time for friends. The church, whether explicitly or implicitly...

Yee Siew Meng
Pastors, Are We Burdening Our Church Members? (Part 1)
The Extension of Eden: From Promised Land to New Creation

Why are so many Christians in “gospel-centered” churches tired, burnt out, and feeling that they are failures because they haven’t been committed enough? Or been able to lead “x” number of their colleagues to God? Or brought “x” number of people to the church? If they’re in a gospel-centered church, then how is it that they’ve developed such a legalistic focus on works?

Yee Siew Meng