called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 7:14; 9:1-6 KJV)
The Messiah's birth would begin an era when many non-Jewish people of all the nations would turn for hope to "the root of Jesse, that standeth for an ensign for the peoples. Unto him shall the nations seek." (Isaiah 11:10 Jewish Publication Society of America) Isaiah was referring here to Jesus' descent from David, son of Jesse. The Apostle Paul made clear that Isaiah was prophesying about Christ, when Paul quoted him: "And again, Isaiah says, 'The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.'" (Romans 15:12 NIV)
For more about prophecies identifying the Messiah and prophecies he has fulfilled, see the chapter of this book titled "Promised Messiah."
With millions of people of all nationalities putting faith in the Jewish Messiah and returning to the one living and true God, it is already true that, as God promised Abraham, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Gen 22:18 KJV) Even greater blessings for all mankind lie ahead when, as promised elsewhere in the Bible, Christ returns to rule the world from Jerusalem, the Holy City.
Chapter 7 Promised Land
Even in the vocabulary of unchurched people the expression "Promised Land" is synonymous with the land of Israel. Where did this expression come from?
Before God confused the languages and scattered the people at the tower of Babel, the world's human population was concentrated in the plain of Shinar near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. After that, when the nations were scattered about to the four corners of the globe, those who spoke Hebrew still resided close
to Shinar. But a small family group began to migrate southward. "And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Cannan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there." (Genesis 11:31)
Ur is the same town where, on April 15, 2003, representatives of various Iraqi exile groups met under the auspices of the victorious United States military to begin talks aimed at forming a new government for Iraq. Haran is now called Harran, a city in modern-day Turkey.
Abraham was in his seventies and still living there when God spoke to him and told him to leave the land of his relatives and to go to a new land that he would give him: "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee." (Genesis 12:1 KJV)
So, together with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot and several dozen servants, Abram set out toward the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
God led Abraham to the land of Canaan, land that today is covered by the nations of Israel and Jordan. (Canaan was named after the forefather of its inhabitants, a grandson of Noah. "And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth...And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan." (Gen 9:18; 10:6 KJV)
The land was sparsely populated, so even the Canaanites felt that there was plenty of room for nomadic Abram and his nephew Lot. They had no way of knowing that God planned to transfer ownership of the land to Abram's offspring. "And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him." (Gen 12:6-7 KJV)
After a while, the two patriarchs found it difficult to share pasture land, because their shepherds kept getting into arguments with each other. Abram and