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The Earth and the Land

Studies about the Value of the Land of Israel in the Old Testament and Afterwards


Edited By Hendrik J. Koorevaar and Mart-Jan Paul

In the Bible, the land of Israel is more than a piece of ground. It is a theological symbol, because it was an essential part of Israel’s practice of its relationship with God. The land is connected to a lifestyle and to the carrying out of religious acts, like the sacrifices and the celebrations. Aspects of this are the use of the land and the enactment of ecological and humanitarian obligations. In this volume, we concentrate on the religious viewpoints, especially how the promised land can be seen from the Old and New Testament perspective. Before practical conclusions are drawn, it is important to have a good overview of the subject in the entire Bible. The chosen approach is historic-canonical and implies that we use the order of Bible books from the Hebrew canon. Two additional chapters show the Jewish and Islamic viewpoints.

This book has received the Franz Delitzsch Award 2018.

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Chapter 1 Objective and Overview of the Study of the Earth and the Land (Hendrik Koorevaar)


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Hendrik Koorevaar1

Chapter 1 Objective and Overview of the Study of the Earth and the Land

The importance of the earth as a residence for man through God’s creation is presented. After a semantic presentation about the locality, especially from Genesis, two places are brought forward as foundational: the garden of Eden, and the Land of Canaan. The final purpose of the study is to answer the question: Who is entitled to the earth?

1. Purpose

The purpose of this study is to research the value of the earth for mankind, from God’s light on this topic. The research on this topic in the Old Testament serves as a broad base for the study. The earth as a whole is of importance for mankind (Ps 115:16). Nevertheless, the Bible does focus on some specific places with special value. First is the garden of Eden, planted by God himself, for the first people (Gen 2:4-3:24). Man receives a task in the garden of Eden. Second, many centuries after the loss of Eden, after the flood, God again points to a special area, which is the land of Canaan. God points to this place when he calls Abraham to go there (Gen 12:1-3). The land Canaan would later be called the land Israel. What is God’s purpose with the special location of Eden and of the land of Canaan for the rest of the earth and the...

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