Why is Israel Referred to as the “Promised Land?”

WHOSE PROMISED LAND IS IT? – Part 3 4000 Years of Jewish Presence

For thousands of years, the land of Israel has been referred to as the “Promised Land.” The term comes out of Jewish tradition, but has become a term used freely throughout the Christian faith, as well.

According to scripture, God made a promise to Abraham and his descendants that He would give to him the land of Israel for their prosperity. This promise was first made in Genesis 15:18-21, which reads:

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’”

This promise is then confirmed to Abraham’s son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob, in the following passages:

Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.”—Genesis 26:3

There above it stood the Lord, and he said: ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.’”—Genesis 28:13

 The idea of the Promised Land appears over and over again in scripture. At first, it appeared merely in the form of the promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But during the time of Exodus and the captivity of the Hebrews in Egypt, the “Promised Land” became not just the Hebrew homeland, but a symbol of freedom.

In talking to Moses, God referred to the Promised Land as a land flowing with milk and honey:

“Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, ‘I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.’ So I said, ‘I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.'”—Exodus 3:16-17

So that is a brief history of the term Promised Land. This tradition, and God’s covenant with Abraham, is the reason why it is so important that we continue to support Israel—the Promised Land—and her people.