Updated date:

Beulah Land

I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.

beulah-land

Beulah Land in Song and Scripture

Beulah Land is a Christian hymn written by Edgar Page Stites in either 1875 or 1876. This is not to be confused with the hymn written later by C. Austin Miles called Dwelling in Beulah Land, in 1911. Nor should we confuse it with the one written much later by Squire Parsons in 1973 entitled Sweet Beulah Land.

Many Christians have heard one or all of these hymns, yet few know where this term is found in Scripture, or to what the Bible is referring when it uses the word. It is, in fact, quite rich in meaning and is well worth our exploration.

At the same time, the writers of these various hymns have added their own take on the word Beulah and have introduced the Christian world to their interpretations. Let us look at the different views of this term as seen in God's Word and by the writers we just mentioned in order to get a better understanding of how it is used.

I. Biblical View

Beulah actually comes from the Hebrew verb בעל (ba'al), meaning to own, rule, exercise dominion over or to lord over. A small group of the uses of the verb deal with owning or ruling. The group that we are concerned with here deals with a man marrying a woman. For Beulah means "married" and is used of God's relationship with his chosen people, the Jews.

To see the word Beulah we have to go to the King James version of the Old Testament in Isaiah 62:4. If we read the first five verses of this chapter, we will quickly learn that the context is the future return of the Jews from their exile in Babylon. And as we view this chapter and Scripture as a whole, it looks beyond this time to the future Millennial glory of the people and their holy city, Zion or Jerusalem. Isaiah begins:

"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burns. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shalt thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah (i.e. My delight is in her), and thy land Beulah (i.e. Married). For the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee" (62:1-5).

II. Stite's View

The ideas for the song that Edgar Page Stites wrote are based not so much upon the passage in Isaiah as upon John Bunyan's book Pilgrim's Progress. In the book, Bunyan depicts Heaven as the place that can be seen from Beulah land. He states: " "Therefore it is, I say, that the Enchanted ground is placed so nigh to the land Beulah and so near the end of their race [i.e. Heaven]." Elsewhere, this same book gives the definition of the Land of Beulah. It is said to be "the peaceful land in which the pilgrim awaits the call to the Celestial City". We see Bunyan's influence in the concluding chorus:

"O Beulah land, sweet Beulah land! As on thy highest mount I stand, I look away across the sea, Where mansions are prepared for me. And view the shining glory shore. My heaven, my home forever more."

III. C. Austin Miles' View

C. Austin Miles was a pharmacist who left this profession to become a hymn writer. For those who know old hymns, he also wrote In the Garden. His hymn Dwelling in Beulah Land isn't speaking of going to heaven when you die but is talking about a beautiful intimate relationship between the songwriter and God in the here and now. This relationship is so good and he feels so safe that he wishes to continually tarry there. He expresses his idea of this land like this:

Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling.
Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand.
Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling.
None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.

Refrain

I'm living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky.
I'm drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry.
O yes! I'm feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.

Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating.
Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand.
Safe am I within the castle of God's Word retreating.
Nothing then can reach me-'tis Beulah Land.

Refrain

Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
I am safely sheltered here, protected by God's hand.
Here the sun is always shining, here there's naught can harm me.
I am safe forever in Beulah Land.

Refrain

Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation.
Hearing now His blessed voice, I see the way He planned.
Dwelling in the Spirit here I learn of full salvation.
Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land.

Refrain

IV. Parsons' View

The popular Southern Gospel song, written by Squire Parsons, entitled Sweet Beulah Land seems to see this land as Heaven itself. The song is from the perspective of one who is weary with this life and longs to be in that beautiful eternal land where there are no sad goodbyes and faith will then be site. Here are the lyrics:

I'm kind of homesick for a country

to which I've never been before.

No sad goodbyes will there be spoken,

And time won't matter anymore.

Beulah Land I'm longing for you,

and someday on thee I'll stand.

There my home shall be eternal.

Beulah Land... sweet Beulah Land.

I'm looking now across that river

to where my faith is gonna end in sight.

There's just a few more days to labor,

Then I'll take, my heavenly flight.

Beulah Land I'm longing for you,

and someday on thee I'll stand.

There my home shall be eternal.

Beulah Land, Sweet Beulah land.

Conclusion

Whether it be the original biblical meaning of the word, or the acquired meanings over time, the term Beulah Land has come to mean a lot to the people of God. It represents a land and a time where the relationship between God and man is fully restored. It represents the end of the struggles and hardships of this present earth, caused by sin and rebellion. And it is a time where faith is rewarded by actual experience and sight. It is a beautiful picture of the Millennial reign of Christ and finally the eternal state of all true believers in Heaven.

It's no wonder that these songs, sung so sweetly, have become so beloved to all who hear and sing them. As we go through this life, let us never forget that land where 'no sad goodbyes will there be spoken' and our 'faith is gonna end in sight'. But instead, let us long for it. And let us use our longing for that land to cause us to desire to live lives worthy of being citizens of it. And by our actions, may we draw many others to desire God's Beulah Land as well.

© 2013 Jeff Shirley

Comments

Jeff Shirley (author) from Kentwood, Michigan on July 02, 2013:

Thanks for dropping by MsDora.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 02, 2013:

I know and like both songs, and John Stamos is one of my favorite tenors. Just thinking of the lyrics make me joyful. Thanks for these happy, heavenly thoughts.

Jeff Shirley (author) from Kentwood, Michigan on July 01, 2013:

You are quite welcome. And God bless.

sheilamyers on July 01, 2013:

It's true that an old Christian can learn something new. I didn't know there were two meanings. I always though it always referred to Heaven. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Jeff Shirley (author) from Kentwood, Michigan on July 01, 2013:

Thank you shofarcall and lifegate for your comments. And yes lifegate, I am familiar with that hymn. It is another fine song that uses the term from that Old Testament passage.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on July 01, 2013:

Hi GodTalk,

Thanks for the information. Backgrounds always help to bring things to life. Are you familiar with the hymn, Dwelling in Beulah Land?

shofarcall on June 30, 2013:

Very interesting and inspiring hub. Thank you. Loved the music. God Bless