The Known Land

I can’t remember if this gem was passed along to me by the hand of another or if I came across it myself in my Bible reading, but in any case I wrote it down in my notes, and came across it again today, and it is too beautiful to keep to myself. (And regardless how I came across it I certainly know where it originated.)

Here is what I wrote down:

          The promised land becomes the known land.

“…Them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised” (Num. 14:31).

That to me is a telling illustration of the kind of knowledge we have in the new covenant. God’s new covenant promise is that “they shall all know Me,” and He means this in much the same way He meant it when He promised that the new generation would “know the land.” Back then, this meant that God brought them into the land, and they walked in the length and breadth of it, and searched it out, and dwelt therein, and enjoyed its bounty and riches. Thus the promised land became the known land.

That is just what it means to enter our spiritual heritage in the heavenlies in Christ. It means knowing God Himself in just this way—abiding in Him, living in Him, walking in Him, searching out (not just mapping out) His unsearchable riches in Christ.

Yes, searching out. Knowing the land. Coming to know the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.

The apostle John wrote, “everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

That is new covenant knowledge. That is new creation knowledge. The kind of knowledge that makes us like Him.

Lie not one to another seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge [Gk. unto full knowledge] after the image of Him that created him (Col. 3:9,10).

What wondrous knowledge is this– new creation knowledge: it is the kind of knowledge that makes us like Him, more and more like Him, in all we say and do.

God gave the patriarchs and their progeny a promise back then—the promise of a land. And He was faithful to cause them to know that land. In the fullness of time He gave a further promise—that those in new covenant relationship with Him would know Him, each one of them, from the least to the greatest. He is faithful to His promise yet.

The apostle John wrote, “This is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 Jn. 2:25).

And what is eternal life?

This is life eternal,” Jesus prayed, “that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (Jn. 17:3).

And so, dearly beloved family of God, let the promise of eternal life become more and more for each one of us the knowledge of eternal life. Let eternal life be the land in which we live and walk—our heritage in Christ Jesus. Eternal life. Knowing God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent…

…In just the same way those of old came to know the land.

 

10 responses »

  1. Thank you Allan. Rich musings.

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    • Amen. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:12).

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  2. Allan – this truly is a gem! *The promised land becomes the known land.* I’ve been turning this over in my mind these past few (busy) days until I finally had some time to be quiet and meditate on how the Numbers 14 and John 17 passages come together. So many things came to mind as I read and reread your post. I knew this would be worth spending some time on!

    “Knowing the land” is a wonderful concrete picture of knowing the Lord. The land was promised and they were redeemed for its possession – but it didn’t become theirs until they conquered (through dependence upon Him) the enemies of God that inhabited it. That would tend to connect them to the land all right! Sadly, failure and restoration to fellowship became a pattern for those Israelites. Boy! Doesn’t this all sound familiar?!

    That word *know* in John 17 is a very powerful kind of ‘knowing;’ it’s the same word used to speak of connection or union between a man and a woman (Joseph knew her not until the child was born). Vine’s Expository Dictionary says “What is known is valued by the one who knows – hence the establishment of the relationship. Such knowledge is obtained by the operation of the Holy Spirit.” On the flip side is this use of the same word: “Depart from me, I never knew you.” I discovered that these two verses used the same “know” as I was looking this up — sort of puts a punch to that second verse! I suppose this is what the Savior will say to those who think they should be admitted to His kingdom on their own merit.

    I learned so much as I looked at these Scriptures with the light you shed on them – too much to put into a blog answer – so I will spare you! Thanks for sharing this illustration.

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    • Lori, the word “know” in the Bible comes alive when viewed this way. I especially like 1 Cor. 2:12. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.” Know, not just know about. Backing up a couple of verses gives us the context. First Paul writes of the unseen, unheard things of God that have not even entered into the heart of man, but which God has “prepared for them that love Him.” But God does not mean them to be continually unheard and unseen, for immediately upon this, Paul adds, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” That is better translated, “the depths of God.” So, the Spirit doesn’t just show us these things, doesn’t just point them out to us, but leads us into them and searches them out. The depths of God Himself. Or, as John puts it, the Spirit of truth guides us INTO all truth (John 16:13). New covenant knowledge is an exploration and apprehension of reality.

      This is what Peter is saying when writes of adding to faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge (gnosis), and to knowledge, temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. And the he says that when “these things be in you, and abound, they make that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge (epignosis, full knowledge) of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pt. 1:8). He concludes his epistle by saying, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

      Oh, to know Him… more and more!

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      • Allan, I have read these verses many times over the years – but right now reading what you have said here just has a ring of amazing depth. I’m thinking how rich it would be to trace the word *know* throughout the Scriptures. I was made aware of the wonderful meaning of epignosis and gnosis many years ago, but now it seems that I completely missed their meaning! And this especially stands out to me “The Spirit doesn’t just show us these things, doesn’t just point them out to us, but leads us into them and searches them out. The depths of God Himself.” Excellent!

        Freely given to us . . . unseen and unheard of things of God . . . prepared for us who love Him. I surely needed to be reminded of these things.

        And then there’s the example of Peter: Don’t you love the way the Lord took this formerly impulsive, impatient man and used him to write about grace, godliness and the fruitfulness of knowledge? Peter knows what it means to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and he dearly loved to tell others about it!

        The word of God made alive by the Spirit of God; you have been His instrument to make this alive to me. Thank you, my brother!

        PS You might like this – I recently found it: “The word of God is FROM God . . . not ABOUT God and we come to His word to MEET WITH HIM . . . not to learn about Him.”

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        • Thank you, Lori. Yes, I do like what you said: “The word of God is FROM God . . . not ABOUT God and we come to His word to MEET WITH HIM . . . not to learn about Him.”

          That is something to remember. To be in His word is to commune with HIM.

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          • Love is of GOD,and everyone that loveth is BORN of God and KNOWETH God , He that loveth not , knoweth not God , for God is Love . This a knowledge that can only come through REGENERATION. We can only truly KNOW HIM. by being LIKE HIM.The ONLY true purpose for the NEW COVENANT- not only being born of his Spirit, but living BY the LAW OF THE SPIRIT ,–BUT ALL THIS ONLY POSSIBLE IN AND THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS.

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          • “We can only truly KNOW HIM by being LIKE HIM.” Amen, dear brother Robert. That is the nature of new creation, or regeneration, knowledge. And that is the purpose of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus– to bring forth men and women, once fallen so low, into the very image and likeness of God. Once that image was effaced; now they are like Him. Once they were alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in them; now they know God, for they have come to “learn Christ”: in Him they have put off the old man, and are being renewed in the spirit of their minds, and have put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

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