In the Bible, the "Promised Land" was the geographic area God declared to give to his chosen people, the offspring of Abraham. The promised land was placed in ancient Canaan, on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. Numbers 34:1-12 discusses the location of the Promised Land:
The Promised Land of Canaan
“The LORD said to Moses, “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance is to have these boundaries: “Your southern side will include some of the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. Your southern boundary will start in the east from the southern end of the Dead Sea, cross south of Scorpion Pass, continue on to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Mediterranean Sea. “Your western boundary will be the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This will be your boundary on the west. “For your northern boundary, run a line from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Hor and from Mount Hor to Lebo Hamath. Then the boundary will go to Zedad, continue to Ziphron and end at Hazar Enan. This will be your boundary on the north. “For your eastern boundary, run a line from Hazar Enan to Shepham. The boundary will go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain and continue along the slopes east of the Sea of Galilee. Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Dead Sea. “This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side.”
According to learnreligions.com, for migrating herders like the Jews, having a stable home of their own was a true blessing. The promised was a place rest from their constant wandering. But this promise came with qualifications. First, God commanded that Israel, the name of the new nation, had to trust and follow him. Second, God demanded faithful worship of him (Deuteronomy 7:12-15). Idolatry was such a grave transgression to God that he threatened to remove them out of the promised land if they worshiped other gods.
Through a famine, Jacob also entitled Israel, went to Egypt with his family, where there was food. Over the years, the Egyptians turned the Jews into slaves for labor. After God delivered them from that slavery, he returned them to the promised land, under the guidance of Moses. However, because the people neglected to obey God's law, he made them wander in the desert for 40 years until that generation had died.
Moses' heir Joshua finally led the people in and served as the military commander in taking over the Promised Land. Following Joshua's death, Israel was ruled by a succession of judges. The people frequently regressed to idolizing false gods and suffered due consequences. Eventually, God allowed the Babylonians to destroy the Jerusalem temple and take most of the Jews into bondage to Babylon.
Ultimately, they returned to the promised land, but under Israel's kings, devotion to God was inconsistent. God sent prophets to remind His people to repent, concluding with John the Baptist.
The New Promised Land: Kingdom of Heaven
When Jesus Christ arrived in Israel, he brought a new covenant accessible to all people, Jews, and Gentiles alike. At the end of Hebrews 11, the popular "Hall of Faith" section, scripture remarks that people of the Old Testament "were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised." (Hebrews 11:39) They may have received the land, but they still looked to the future for the Messiah—that Messiah is Jesus Christ.
Whoever believes in Christ as their Savior becomes a resident of the kingdom of God. As Jesus explained to Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
Read important Bible verses about the Promised Land and find related articles, videos, and audio sermons for this Bible story below: