Truth, Understanding, Insight

Precious Promises

1st August 2016, hej


23) The concrete nature of the promises

These promises are not vague promises. Adam and Eve are not promised eternal life, but rather that the 'seed' would be victorious. Noah, also, is not given any assurances about living forever. Instead he is told the earth would continue. Abraham is told he and his seed would inherit the land. David is told he will see his son, also the son of God, reigning on his throne before his face. Daniel is told he will be given rest and stand in his lot at the end of time. The concrete and specific nature of the promises cannot be ignored. ‘Life eternal’ or ‘eternal life’ does not occur in the Old Testament. 'Everlasting life' only occurs once in Daniel, where he speaks of a resurrection from dust. It occurs only 30 times in the New Testament. Yet no less than Jesus said that eternal life was promised in the Old Testament:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.. John 5:39

Jesus’ thought eternal life was promised, not in one passage, but many. The conclusion is clear, these promises are about eternal life.

They are concrete and specific promises. If a professional architect contracts to deliver a design for a suburban house, I don’t think any clients would expect a palace fit for the shores of the Mediterranean. In fact architects could be sued for doing that. Even if it was a gift, if we were happy with the promise of a suburban home, would we be happy with a palace that turns up in exchange? You'd need an army to clean it. The promises, in the same way, are all about a future lifestyle. And if our society expects to the dot and letter of the law fulfilment of human contracts and promises, why do we expect less of Yahweh, the God of Israel?

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