After the previous conditions, the land opens up to us, as it were. Here is the first time out of three times in this chapter which talks about entering the land. And every time it is added that God has sworn it (verses 10,18,2310“Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build,18You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to [give] your fathers,23He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’). When God affirms His own words with an oath, He does so to meet us in our weakness and thereby provide additional confirmation of His promise (Heb 6:17-1817In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,18so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.). The oath makes it clear that no matter what happens, God will give His people the land and thereby give them the full enjoyment of its blessing. The foundation is the work of Christ. If God has sworn like this, why should we still doubt?
We always find an oath of God under special circumstances. God swears by four occasions, each time in connection with the land:
1. God promises to Abraham on the basis of the sacrifice of the son of the promise a rich seed in the land of the promise and in his seed a blessing to the whole world (Gen 22:16-1816and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,17indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.18In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”).
2. If the people apostates from God, He swears that the people will not enter the promised land (Psa 95:1111“Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”).
3. If the people are unfaithful, God will fulfill His promises in the Man of His right hand (Psa 110:1,41A Psalm of David.
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
4The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
4. If Christ reigns in the land, every knee will bow before Him, and the repented remnant of His people, who will then be all Israel because all the wicked are cut off, will be in the land (Isa 45:2323“I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear [allegiance].
The blessings are ready for us, there is nothing of us in it, God has prepared them. In the land are in the first place “great and splendid cities”. The church is compared to a city (Rev 21:2,102And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,). Cities can be seen as a picture of local churches, as representations of one church. The cities here find themselves in the land. It proposes local churches that have their permanent foundation in the land, where they live in the riches of the heavenly blessing.
Secondly, there are “houses, full of all good things”. A city consists of houses. A church consists of families. In the letters that especially speak about the heavenly blessings –the letter to the Ephesians and the letter to the Colossians –, Paul also explicitly discusses the family (Eph 5:22-3322Wives, [be subject] to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself [being] the Savior of the body.24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives [ought to be] to their husbands in everything.25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also [does] the church,30because we are members of His body.31For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must [see to it] that she respects her husband.; 6:1-41Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.2Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),3so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.; Col 3:18-2218Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.20Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.21Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.22Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who [merely] please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.). That is the place where the riches of Christ are shared with each other.
Thirdly, the “hewn cisterns”. These are water basins where the water is collected and from which it can be drawn. It represents ministry through the Lord’s gifts to perfect the saints (Eph 4:11-1311And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers,12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.).
Fourthly, we find in the land the “vineyards and olive trees”. The vineyards show us that the land is an area of joy. Wine is a picture of joy (Jdg 9:1313But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’; Psa 104:15a15And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make [his] face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.
). Fellowship with the Father and the Son and with each other gives a “joy” that is “complete” (1Jn 1:3-43what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.). The olive trees represent the rich fruit and blessing of the Spirit (Gal 5:2222But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,). Oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit (1Jn 2:2020But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.; 1Jn 2:2727As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.).
In between it is pointed out time and again that God’s people did nothing for these blessings. By free grace God has given them His people. So it is with our heavenly blessings. There is no contribution from us. We have received them out of free favor on the basis of the work of the Lord Jesus, only because God has had it in His heart to give them to us. Three times we are reminded that we were slaves of sin, but God has delivered us from it (verses 12,21,2312then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.21then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand.23He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’).