This book (Apollos imprint) shows the Bible’s amazing unity and excites the reader concerning the way in which God fulfils his purposes.
The ‘land promise’ to Abraham has induced bizarre interpretations over the centuries. While dispensationalists emphasise the literal land of Canaan, non-dispensationalists tend to spiritualise the land theme.
This book is a sane and helpful treatment of the subject showing that the land promise is both a reminder of the lost ‘land’ of Eden and a type of the reality that is to come in the new heaven and earth.
Many have written useful articles and books on this subject in recent years, but Martin has skilfully brought this material together in a lucid and readable way (with added material of his own). He indicates how themes such as God’s kingdom and the biblical covenants interconnect with the land theme.
There are ten chapters, a bibliography and an index of authors and Scripture references. The book begins by surveying how scholars have approached the promise of land and indicating the biblical-theological basis on which the author proceeds.
In his concern to show how one gets to the New Jerusalem from Eden, the author first considers the importance of Genesis 1-11 in anticipating the Abrahamic promises that include the land.
Chapters 4 and 5 review the progress and partial fulfilment of the land promise throughout Israel’s history. In chapter 6 the loss of land due to the exile is examined. The way the prophets looked forward to a universal restoration associated with the new covenant (often using language reminiscent of Eden) is also explored. The Promised Land becomes a ‘type of something greater that will come through Abraham’s seed and David’s son’ (p.29).
Chapters 7-9 consider the Gospels, epistles and Revelation, indicating how the fulfilment centres on Christ and his new creational kingdom. Here Jew and Gentile will be united and participate in the final, physical fulfilment of a new heaven and earth.
The final chapter is headed ‘Theological Reflections’ and aims to apply the interpretative findings of the previous chapters. Christians are encouraged to live as sojourners in this world and to seek that city whose builder and maker is God. This is biblical theology at its best and deserves a wide readership.
Philip H. Eveson