Truth, Understanding, Insight

Precious Promises

1st August 2016, hej


1) Promised Jewels

In the Bible there are some people who are called 'jewels' by the God of Israel, who is called Yahweh.

Then they that feared Yahweh spake often one to another: and Yahweh hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared Yahweh, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith Yahweh of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. (Malachi 3:16-17)

This is a promise that those who talk about the God of Israel, and think about his name 'Yahweh' will be considered precious jewels. The Bible, also, contains a record of specific promises to some special people.

A promise is an undertaking by one person to another to carry out a specific action. God's promises are personal undertakings to individuals, and can be seen as covenants, or contracts. When we have given 'our word', or our promise, that we will do something, we must do it, as in Western society verbal contracts are morally binding. The God of the Bible, Yahweh, will not mislead and will always literally deliver exactly what He says. These promises tell us that the inheritance of those called 'Jewels' is the

hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; Titus 1:2

The inheritance promised is eternal life but there is more..

2) The promise to Eve regarding the Seed & the Serpent

I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it (the seed of the woman) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15

The seed, or descendant, of Eve would crush the head of the serpent (killing it), yet in that process the serpent’s seed would crush the heel of the descendant of the woman. In Genesis Chapter 3, all of the other promises happened immediately: the serpent became the one we know today, a snake, Eve bore Seth in sorrow at the death of Abel and Adam worked hard farming in exile from Eden. If this statement by God had been a simple case of serpents biting people and people smashing their heads, why is the language so particular? We are told that Eve understands the significance of the seed. Eve’s first son is called Cain and she says “I have acquired a man of Yahweh”. She thought of Cain as her ‘seed’. Yet Cain fails. Again, at the birth of Seth, Eve tells us in no uncertain terms that she understands the importance of this 'seed'.

she bare a son, and called his name Seth: “For God”, said she, “has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew”. Gen 4:25

We note that it is Eve who names the seed, not Adam. She believed that from Seth was to come the descendant who would crush the “seed of the serpent”. Who are the seed of the serpent? What did the serpent say? The serpent said Yahweh had lied. The seed of the serpent are those who are still saying 'God doesn't mean what he says'. Cain, though the descendant of Eve, was not 'the seed', as he was disobedient.

Why was Eve so concerned about this seed? The answer is that the role of the seed was illustrated to them. Right after this promise an animal is killed to provide a covering of animal hide. The lamb slain at the foundation of the world as we are told later in Revelation 13:8.

Eve and Adam died not having seen 'the seed' crush the head of the seed of the serpent. It was a promise.

The first promise of Yahweh is to the Serpent delivered in the presence of Adam and Eve. Eve sees this as a personal promise to her, for it is about the victory of her seed, overcoming where she failed. We know this, as Eve called Seth ‘the seed’. Luke (3:38) says Jesus is the son of Seth. So the first promise points to Jesus, who in his death killed the 'serpent's seed' (those who lie), by removing the power to kill with eternal death, though at that time the seed of the serpent wounded Jesus.

3) Promise to Noah

Noah, personally, is promised 'the seed'. This is not a new promise but an addition to the first. After Noah offers a sacrifice,

God spoke unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. Genesis 9:8

Verses 9 and 10 state that a covenant is made with Noah, and his seed after him, and it is established also with every living creature. Verse 11 says a covenant is made personally with Noah.

God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9:12-15

This means what it says. We have never had a flood since that destroys all living creatures. This promise means we never will.

It is a covenant with every living creature. This covenant would be broken by sending a fire or a meteor to destroy the earth! Though there may be disasters, there will always be a continuance of life on earth.

After smelling Noah’s offering of the clean animals, we are told that Yahweh determines, while the earth is warm (yome- Hebrew 'day'= yom) that harvest and season and day and night would not cease (Genesis 8:21-22). In other words, that the earth would be suitable for life until loss of the sun's heat. This is despite the fact God knows the inhabitants' thoughts will be evil! Never again would Yahweh destroy life using any mechanism that would affect the natural elements. He cannot lie.

The second promise recorded is given to Noah, his three sons and his 'seed'. It is established with the rainbow sign. It is about the whole earth and all living things continuing. This promise is also for us today.

4) Promises to Abraham

It is not long after Noah's promise that the next promise is made. Shem the son of Noah, who stood with Noah while that promise was made, is still alive when Abram (Abraham) is given a promise, when he is told to leave his native land to go to Canaan (now Israel).

And Yahweh appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto your seed will I give this land: Genesis 12: 7

This was extremely remarkable as Abraham had no son and there is emphasis on the seed. If this is the seed that is to crush the Serpent’s head, this seed is to be given ‘this land’, then known as Canaan. Again

Look from the place where you are...For all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed for ever. Genesis 13:14-15

This is a personal promise to Abram that he would be given the land he sees and walks in forever. His seed would also be given the same land, forever. He is also told this seed would be a multitude, something that could only occur long after he is dead. This is further dealt with in “The man Promised the Earth”. One promise we will note again,

By myself have I sworn, said Yahweh, for because you..have not withheld your son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice. Genesis 22:16-18

What is significant, is that Abraham just acted out the method of the blessing. He had just offered his son as a sacrifice (for which the ram became a proxy). We note also, that even though Ishmael is alive and is a son of Abraham, Isaac was the 'only son', the one son of promise. Isaac is the 'seed' from which would come 'the seed' promised to Eve. This seed is Jesus who was offered by his Father as a sacrifice. How do we know this? The seed will also possess 'the gate' of his enemies. To possess the gate is to conquer and to defeat. We are also told this by the apostle Paul,

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

This particular promise is according to the word sworn by Yahweh Himself. But when has a descendant of Abraham conquered his enemies? And when have all nations on the earth been blessed?

The 'seed' of Abraham is the same as the 'seed' of the woman. The seed will take complete control, which is possession of 'the gate', when Abraham's seed is multiplied. And this will occur at some time in the future when Abraham and his multitudinous seed receive the land.

Significant People & their relationships

To put this in perspective, we look at the promise made to Hagar.

5) Promise to Hagar

And the angel of Yahweh said to her, I will multiply your seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of Yahweh said unto her, Behold, thou are with child, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael; because Yahweh has heard your affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. Genesis 16: 10

This promise is for another seed that cannot be numbered, and this seed would be a wild warlike man (in multiplicity) dwelling in the presence of his brethren. At this time Isaac had not been born. Abraham had no other sons and Ishmael had no brothers. History has borne out this. The descendants of Ishmael live close by Isaac's descendants (and fight them regularly). Abraham was told there would be 12 princes. This promise is not about victory, inheritance or land acquired forever. This ‘seed’ of Ishmael would be many and be in proximity to the seed, but untamed. There was no eternal inheritance promised to them.

6) Promise to Isaac

Yahweh appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for unto you, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Genesis 26:2

This seems a repeat the promise to Abraham. However it is made personally to Isaac. Just as Abraham is assured he would be personally given the land he was living in, the land of Canaan (modern Israel). Isaac is also personally promised this.

At this time Isaac has two sons, of whom, before they were born, Yahweh has said the elder will serve the younger. Genesis 27 recounts how the blessing is given to Jacob, the younger. Isaac can only give one blessing, reinforcing the idea of the ‘seed’ being singular.

See 'The man Promised the Earth' for all the promises to Jacob. Just two are focussed on below: that of the inheritance and the seed.

7) Promises to Jacob

Yahweh said, “I am Yahweh God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed; And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places where you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of” Genesis 13-28

Jacob is promised that he personally would be given the land he had slept on, also his 'seed' would inherit it. And that this seed would be many. In both Jacob and the seed would all people be blessed. Jacob had no children at this time, and his children would only be 'many' after he was dead. So we can read it as ‘behold I am with you (now), and will keep you in all places where you go (even in death into the dust) and will bring you again to this land (Israel). .. and I will do all I have promised’. For Jacob died in Egypt and just before he dies he said to his son that Yahweh had promised his seed an everlasting possession,

And said unto me, Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession. Genesis 48:4

8) Conditional promises to Israel through Moses

Moses went up unto God, and Yahweh called unto him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus shall thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians.. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. Exodus 19:3-6

This is a conditional promise. Unlike the ones made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It says “ if you will obey my voice”. Again, conditionally,

For Yahweh thy God blesses you, as he promised you: and you shall lend unto many nations, but you shall not borrow; and you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you. Deuteronomy 15:6
And Yahweh has contracted with you this day to be his peculiar people, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments; Deuteronomy 26:18

Israel are blessed to be made a treasure or made holy, if they obey.

9) A Promise to Moses Personally

Yahweh spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. ..
Moses said to Yahweh, “See, you say to me, Bring up this people: and you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in my sight'. Now therefore, I pray ye, if I have found grace in they sight, show me now thy way, that I may know you, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is your people”.
And he said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest”. Exodus 33: 11-14

This is a personal promise to Moses. We note two things are promised :that Yahweh would not leave him and that Moses is given rest. Rest? Leading a nation that caused him much trouble? What is meant by rest?

Hebrews 4:9 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.

It is clear from Hebrews that the ‘rest’ refers to a future time of peace. To continue, Moses was told he had found grace when he asked for Yahweh to be with the nation and asked to see His glory (Exodus 33:15).

Number 34: 5 And Yahweh proclaimed the name of Yahweh..and Yahweh, Yahweh God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the 3rd and to the 4th generation.

Moses worshipped, and asks Yahweh to go among Israel and,

“pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance”.
He said, “Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which you are shall see the work of Yahweh: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with you. Numbers 34: 9-10

Israel was to obey commands and he would give them the land of Israel and if they went 3 times a year to worship he would enlarge their territory in the land of Israel. This was a covenant (Numbers 34:11-27). There Yahweh wrote “upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments”.

This time the sign that goes with the covenant is the 10 commandments. Moses becomes a mediator between his people and Yahweh and asks and receives the pardoning of their sin. Moses is endorsed as faithful and it is recorded Yahweh speaks straight, with no similes, analogies or visions.

My servant Moses is faithful in all my house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, & not in dark speeches. Numbers 12:7

Despite all this, Moses after leading the nation to the land is then told,

“Get you up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered unto your people, as Aaron..” Numbers 27: 12-13

And again on a second separate occasion (see Numbers 33), just before Moses dies, he is taken to another mountain.

Moses went the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And Yahweh showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
And Yahweh said to him, “This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, 'I will give it unto your seed': I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there”. Deuteronomy 34 1-4

Is Moses shown the land twice to underline his failure? Or, is it so he can see his hope? If we compare Yahweh’s dealings with Saul, where he refuses to talk to him, we see that though Moses is reprimanded, Yahweh is still with him (to the extent that no less than God buries Moses body!). The second exchange at Nebo does not mention, as at Abarim, Moses' sin in striking the rock. Instead it seems Yahweh is doing something special this 2nd time as he says to Moses, “I have caused you to see with your eyes” this land. At Abarim Yahweh shows Moses the land he had given to Israel. Then at Nebo Yahweh shows Moses the land he has promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the seed. Now Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were dead. Imagine you are Moses, knowing that Jacob died in Egypt, and you are told that Jacob will be given this land you see, and not only that but the seed of Jacob, of whom you are one, will also be given this land. This is a promise of ‘not now but later’. This point is further explained in the New Testament commentary on Moses

The commentary on the promises to Moses in the N.T

Jesus said Moses wrote of him, pointing out we must believe Moses.

'If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead'. Luke 16:31
'For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me'. John 5:46

Twice the Disciples refer to Jesus as a prophet like Moses

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. Acts 3:22
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. Acts 7:37

Paul in a summary of his ministry says he has been adding no new information and is only preaching things Moses had written about.

witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: Acts 26:22

Moses is shown as a great example of faith. If eternal life is to be inherited, Moses will inherit it!

Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; Hebrews 3:5

He is also an example of faith in the letter to the Hebrews,

24 By faith Moses.. refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11 24 -27

There is one statement that is a key. Verse 26, says Moses had 'respect' (or had fixed his eyes) to the 'recompense' (or wages), “of the reward”. It does not say he had fixed his eyes on the reward, but to the wages of the reward. The wages is an agreed thing, the deliverable of a contract. Yahweh says to Abram that He is Abram’s exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1). Perhaps it could be paraphrased as 'Moses fixed his eyes on receiving the wages of the reward promised by Yahweh'.

The writer to the Hebrews is stating Moses’ beliefs. Where in the Bible does it say what Moses believed during his exile? In Hebrews 11 the writer make statements regarding Abraham, Isaac and Jacob declaring they are ‘strangers’ in the land. Moses does this also,

Exodus 2: 22 And she (Zipporah) bare him a son, and he (Moses) called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Moses does not say “I am a now a stranger” but rather “I have been”. He is not, therefore, referring to his exile in Midian, but rather to another exile. Moses had understood that while in Egypt the children of Israel were all strangers, just as Yahweh had told Abraham (Genesis 15:13). Moses in naming his son declared he was a “stranger” and that he believed the covenant Yahweh had made with Abraham.

Moses was looking to the time when he would not be a stranger and would inherit the Promised land. This concept of being a stranger was his motivation for rejecting his position in Egypt, and for enduring the wanderings. Moses died a stranger in Moab. He was allowed to see the Land where he would 'rest' and not be a stranger in the future. Moses, like Abraham, is still awaiting the recompense, which is the land, the wages Moses fixed his eyes on, is eternal life. The reward is the land.

There is one reference to Moses that could be missed.

Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

In the song in Exodus 15 Moses boldly speaks of a specific and absolute victory of Yahweh over all nations. The second song in Deuteronomy 32 ends with an explanation of the judgement and justice of Yahweh.

10) National Promises through Moses confirmed

Blessed be Yahweh, that has given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there has not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses. 1 Kings 8:56

A distinction is made here. Solomon does not mention Abraham, but rather the specific conditional national promises made by the hand of Moses. Those promises spoke of Israel’s temporal possession of Canaan achieved under the command of Joshua.

Jeremiah (600BC) writes about the promises to Moses. Yahweh says,

Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. Jeremiah 32:42
Behold, the days come, said Yahweh, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. Jeremiah 33:14

This promise through Jeremiah for this latter good was despite Israel's wickedness. It is not conditional.

11) Promise to Phinehas

The LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. (Numbers 25:10-13 )

Phinehas killed with a javelin a Simeonite with his female companion a Midianite, who were leaders in an idolatrous rebellion in Isarel that led to plague. The promise of the covenant of peace equalled an everlasting priesthood. It was given to him personally, see where it says “he shall have it”. His seed are those who follow him, not necessarily his physical descendents. If we look about the world we don't see that priesthood at all; we don't see peace at all. Phinehas and his seed are dead. In the resurrection we may be sure that Phinehas will obtain personally an everlasting priesthood of peace, in the city of peace.

12) Promise to Caleb

Moses swore to Caleb at the time he returned from spying the land that,

“Surely the land whereon your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance and your children's for ever, because you have wholly followed Yahweh my God” (Joshua 14:9)

This shows that Moses knew for certain that Caleb, though he was to wander 40 years in the wilderness, would inherit the land forever. The only way one could inherit the land forever is to live forever.

13) Promises to King David (~960BC)

David after conquering Jerusalem and making it his capital, wants to build a house there for his God. The reply is a very public promise. The promise to David was delivered by the prophet Nathan and recorded in the book of Samuel, which was always intended as a public history.

This says Yahweh of Armies, “I took you from the sheep pen, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people, over Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the name of the great ones who are in the earth”. (2 Samuel 7:8)

First David was given a personal promise. And this has been fulfilled: who does not know of this king David? It goes on to speak of Israel.

I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more,.. and I will cause you to rest from all your enemies. (2Sam 7:9-12)

This was not talking about the kingdom of Israel BC 1000. Why would they need a place appointed then? They had a reasonable territory (somewhat larger than present day Israel). They only lost it later. In fact at that time also their enemies were quiet. The key to the time frame is that this promise is to take effect at some point in time long after David was dead. Then he would have a descendant who was also to be the son of God.

Yahweh will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; but my loving kindness shall not depart from him.. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before you: your throne shall be established forever. (2Sam 7:12-16)

If there is no future for David on earth, there seems nothing in this for David. Does it really matter if he has a son whose throne goes on forever, if he can't enjoy it? But David is promised that his kingdom would last forever in his presence. That is, David is promised that he will see “before him” his descendant who reigns forever on his throne in Jerusalem. David would not sit on his throne, but he would see his son on it, after he is dead or 'asleep with his fathers'. This promise is for resurrection and life forever.

This throne was real, physical, and over a territory that we can identify today. Solomon the son of David did build a temple to the Mighty One of Israel, but Solomon was not the promised 'seed'. Solomon himself is given a personal but conditional promise.

And if you will walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of your kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David your father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if you shall at all turn from following me, you or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes ...and serve other gods.. Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them;.. and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: (1Kings 9:4-7)

Solomon, his sons and the people did serve other gods, and Solomon's throne will not be established before him forever. The house of David was to continue to provide another son – or rather 'The Seed'. Later when the sons of David do not serve their God, the prophets write that the promise to David must still be honoured.

2 Chronicles 21:7 Howbeit Yahweh would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.
2 Kings 8:19 Yet Yahweh would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him always a light, and to his children.

We can look back over history and note the last of the descendants of David were carried away to Babylon and the kingdom ceased in BC 580 a mere 400 or so years after the promise. Until 70 AD Judeans, or Jews as they came to be known, knew who were of the royal line. Jesus was a descendant from David from a son named Nathan (not Solomon). However in AD 70 the records were lost with the destruction of the temple. The promise to David is yet to be fulfilled or the people were deluded. The second option has surprising reasons for being unlikely.

14) Promise to Daniel (Ruler in Babylon 600-540BC)

The account of Daniel is extraordinary. Not in the fact that Daniel becomes one of the most powerful men in Babylon, as after all Jews have risen to prominence often in history. It is how he comes to this position. The Bible account has a section by Nebuchanezzar that confirms the miracles. The book also contains some very detailed prophecies that take us up today. We are told they are given as Daniel pleased his God. He is told by an Angel,

“Don't be afraid, Daniel; for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard: and I am come for your words' sake. .. Now I have come to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the latter days; for the vision is yet for many days” (Daniel 10:12-14).

So despite there being at this time no kingdom of Israel and no king Daniel is told that there is a future for his people. Daniel is told that it would be a long time and in that time the 'Anointed', or 'king', as Messiah means, would be cut off or killed.

Know..understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Anointed(Messiah) the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks (69 weeks): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Anointed be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the commander that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with an overflowing, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,..(Dan 9:25-27)

The 69 weeks is 434 days, and in prophecy a day is a year, making 434 years. This is not good news for Daniel. It does, however, indicate the promise to David is alive. In 434 years the long looked for Son of David would live. But then this son would be killed after confirming the covenant, or the promise.

Daniel was of course distressed. So he was shown the fluctuating fortunes of the land, which now reads like a concise history with the names left out. He was also shown 'the end' when the Anointed, Michael, the “one like God”, finally stands up for his people (Daniel 11) and is given two long time periods until this time. Daniel is told many would die and then at the end they would live again on the earth. The end of the book ends with the record of a personal promise to Daniel.

But go thou thy way, till the end be: for you shall rest, and stand in your lot at the end of the days. (Daniel 12:13)

Considering what has been said, regarding 'the end' and the length of time and that many would 'sleep', it can be concluded that the 'rest' is after Daniel's death. After his death he was promised he will stand “in his lot”, which means in the portion he is assigned. And he would see the end of days, the time far distant in the future when “the one like God” stood up for his people.

15) Promise to Jeremiah (prophet in Jerusalem 630-580BC)

Jeremiah spoke to a generation who did not wish to listen, and suffered much. He was personally promised by Yahweh,

If you return, then will I return (or reward, or bring back) you, and you shall stand before me: and if you take forth the precious from the vile, you shall be as my mouth: let them return unto you; but return not you unto them. And I will make you unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you: for I am with you to save you and to deliver you”, said Yahweh. “And I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the hand of the terrible (or who cause fear)” (Jeremiah 15:19-21).

There are 5 promises, all conditional. In reverse order. 1. redemption, 2.deliverance, 3. he was to be a wall, 4. to be as Yahweh's mouth, 5. to stand before Yahweh. The promise 'to stand before Yahweh' was to be a blessing in the future, even though Jeremiah was doing that. Also, he is to be in the future 'as Yahweh's mouth', even though he was a prophet already. Then in addition, he will be redeemed. This promise was enough to make Jeremiah endure terrible treatment, therefore, 'to stand before Yahweh' is most likely a promise of his role in the resurrection.

16) Promise to Ezekiel (prophet in exile 590-560BC)

When we read Ezekiel's book it is easy to miss a very vital section. It is so astounding an investigation of the Hebrew text was carried out to make sure that the translation was accurate.

The book is a personal communication to Ezekiel

The word of Yahweh came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; (Eze 1:3WEB)

And he, like Jeremiah, is sent to speak to people who will not hear.

Son of man, I send you to the children of Israel, to nations that are rebellious, which have rebelled against me: ..;and you shall tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh. They, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house), yet shall know that there has been a prophet among them. (Ezekiel 2:3-5 WEB)

It is expressly said that some will not hear, but still they will know he was a prophet. He is then shown a House in a vision.

Son of man,.. set your heart on all that I shall show you; for, to the intent that I may show them to you, are you brought here: declare all that you see to the house of Israel. (Ezekiel 40:4 WEB)

Here we note that Ezekiel is special. He is addressed directly as “you” and the vision is for him. This is easy to understand. He is in addition, as an afterthought, to declare things he sees to Israel.

Then in chapter 43 Ezekiel is addressed again. Ezekiel is told to show those in captivity the Temple and its measurement, or its size, to make them ashamed of their sins. He then is to show them the shape of the Temple, specifically its physical form and circulation pattern and the customs and laws. They were to appreciate these laws, to again be obedient to the Mosaic laws. Ezekiel is to teach and write them in the sight of those of the captivity.

But note the end. Ezekiel, not Israel, is to guard and keep the forms. This passage is an instruction to Ezekiel, only. Israel is “them” and “theirs”, and Ezekiel is to teach them. Ezekiel is told of the dimensions and shape of the altar and then he is addressed directly again, (my translation word for word, please note that this is not easy to read)

And said to-me “son-adam like this” say Adonai Yahweh “do these ordinances the altar in-the-day they-make the-offering on-it, the burnt-offering and to-sprinkle on-it blood”
And give unto-the-priests the-Levites which are of-seed Zadok that-approach unto-me” saith Adonai Yahweh “to minister-to-me bullock, son-of a bull, of the sin-offering”. (Ezekiel 43:18-19)

It says Ezekiel, on the day they make the offering on the altar (the one described to him in the temple), you are to give the sin offering to the sons of Zadok.

Could this command have related to the day he wrote this? After all, Ezekiel is a Priest. No, for there was no altar and no place to make a sacrifice. Ezekiel was in Babylon. It was the twenty fifth year of the exile and the fourteenth after the temple had been destroyed. The Babylonians had all the equipment from the Temple (Belshazzar brings it out later from storage). Also there seems to have been some sons of Zadok around, for Ezra, who later goes back to Israel, is a descendant of one of them, but the passage does not identify any individuals, indicating that the individuals names are not known. This is consistent with Ezekiel's actions being yet to occur in the future and the sons of Zadok being a group made up of all the family through the ages.

Ezekiel is instructed that he is to take the blood and put in on the horns on the altar. This clarifies that Ezekiel's actions are to take place in the future on the altar he saw in the vision of the Temple. There was no altar, at all, anywhere, when he recorded this. Also Ezekiel is not the High Priest, so he wouldn't sprinkle the blood as described. Not only that, he is to burn the sacrifice in the appointed place of the Temple in the outdoors of the Holy. In the Temple built by Solomon there was no outdoor space of the Holy. In Ezekiel's vision there is an outdoor place in the Holy.

On the second day he is to take a goat to purge the altar.

It is clear Ezekiel is making the sin-offerings. In fact he is instructed to do all these things. Why would Ezekiel write it, if he could not do it? He must believe that he could. When would he be doing it? When the altar he had seen would be built. Yahweh had shown him all through his life what he must suffer for revealing the true, but often unpopular, future to Israel. Now Yahweh was declaring emphatically to Ezekiel that Ezekiel would do all these things, on a specific day, one day in the future.

That means Ezekiel, who has long been dead, must stand alive in the future on the earth and be able to lay his hand on the son of a bull and to place blood on the horns of the altar. He must be resurrected to do this. This is a personal promise by Yahweh to Ezekiel. Actually it's a command to Ezekiel, but in essence it is a promise.

The simplest way to read this as is if it is an ordinary communication by one person to another. Yahweh said Ezekiel will do a number of things on two specific days, the days when they consecrate the new altar in the House Ezekiel was shown in the vision. As assuredly as other things Ezekiel wrote of have come to pass, he will do in the future what Yahweh has commanded.

17) Promise to the Sons of Rechab

Jeremiah records a personal promise to the Rechabite family in Israel.

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts..Therefore .. Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever. (Jeremiah 35:18-19)

To stand before God is to worship in his place of worship. This is forever

18) Modern Jewish understanding of the promises

Comprehension of text, unfortunately, due to reader pre-conceptions, tends to be more than just understanding the individual words. For example, to a person who has a conception in their mind that Abraham has gone to heaven, the promise of the land he was looking at seems nonsense and they feel they have to interpret it as meaning something else. The idea of a soul living forever and going to heaven is of pagan (non-Jewish) origin. The Bible says souls die. When we look at Jewish writings we can find evidence they understand that the land promised to Abraham is Canaan (now modern Israel).

One source, a Jewish source for Jews, is Hayim Halevy Donim’s, ‘To pray as a Jew’. In the Chapter on grace after meals Donim points out that the Jew is required by scripture to recite a blessing after eating. The grace has four blessings. Donin summarises, “The first blessing speaks of God providing food to sustain all the life that He created in the world. The second blessing speaks of Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) and the Torah, and the covenant of circumcision. The third blessing…expresses a prayer that God rebuild Jerusalem and its holy temple and restore the Davidic Dynasty – all elements in Israel’s redemption”. As Donin points out most religions pray before eating and thank God with something resembling the first blessing.

Following is the beginning and end of Donin’s translation of the second blessing

We thank the Lord our God, for the desirable, good and spacious land that Thou gave our forefathers as a heritage, for having brought us up out of the land of Egypt and redeemed us from slavery: for thy covenant that Thou sealed in our flesh: for thy Torah which Thou taught us…… as it is written: ‘when you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you’. Blessed art thou, Lord for the land and the food.

Donin then proceeds to explain that the Torah referred not to the land where the food comes from, but to Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. He says the context makes this clear. This has forced the sages to understand why this may be! Donin suggests that Judaism was sustained by this hope of one day going to Eretz Yisrael, “it (the land) lived within them: in every prayer, in every holyday, in every ceremony, day in and day out”. As the sages understood the Torah to be speaking of Israel, they added the section dealing with the covenant to remind people that, “God made a covenant with Abraham, giving to him and to his descendants as an everlasting possession, the land that was then known as Canaan”. The sages said that if one left out the reference to ‘the desirable, good and spacious land’ the grace has not been said.

The third blessing begins and ends as below:

Be merciful, Lord our God, to thy people Israel, to thy city, Jerusalem, and to Zion, the dwelling place of thy glory, to the royal house of David, Thine anointed, and to the great and holy temple that was called by thy name…….rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, soon in our days. Blessed art thou Lord who in his mercy builds Jerusalem.

The sages say that the blessing has not been said unless the kingdom of the house of David is mentioned and Donin suggests, “this phrase reflects the national yearning for political sovereignty as symbolised by the coming of the Messiah”. We remember at this point that this blessing is said after eating every meal, and it is said despite Israel being in occupation of Jerusalem since 1967. It is clear the sages of the Talmudic era understood the promises to David as being literal, concrete and deliverable despite Israel’s disobedience (for it is in His mercy that Jerusalem is to be re-builded).

These issues are raised in blessing after each meal, and also on the Sabbath when the Amida of 18 blessings is recited. These blessings are recited standing facing Eretz Yisrael. In Israel they are said facing Jerusalem. In Jerusalem they face the Temple Mount. It is said twice. Six of the 18 blessings speak of the stages of redemption and it is agreed they refer to a chronological order of events. With the ingathering of Jews to Israel, followed by the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple followed by the coming of Messiah. Donin notes that Maimonides(1135- 1204CE) states Messiah will come first, and these events follow with an initial ingathering being only partial, with Messiah completing the task.

Donin understands the hope of the Jew to be a political one. His modern interpretation makes the application of the scripture to be even more concretely related to the land of Israel, than older interpretation. He is possibly influenced by the nationalism of Zionism.

19) The New Testament Promises

The themes of the promises made in the Old Testament to individuals continue in the New.

The term 'kingdom of God' first appears in the New Testament. But the New Testament is written in Greek, and the word God, Theos, Greek for Deity, is interchangeable for LORD in the Old. We find also the term 'kingdom of the Lord' is used, and this was used in the Old Testament.

The history of the Kingdom of the Lord

The kingdom of David and Solomon was the Kingdom of the Lord.

Of all my sons, the LORD... has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 1 Chronicles 28:5
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD. 1 Chronicles 29:11
Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his (the LORD's) kingdom. 2 Chronicles 2:12

The Queen of Sheba says Solomon is sitting on the throne of the LORD.

Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in you to set you on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice. 2 Chronicles 9:8

Hiram and the Queen of Sheba both acknowledge that the Kingdom at that time in Israel is Yahweh’s. It was at that time the Kingdom of God.

Abijah royal line of David calls his kingdom 'the Kingdom the LORD'.

And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. 2 Chronicles 13:8

The promise of the kingdom of the LORD

In the Prophecy of Immanuel (which Christians are happy to apply to Jesus) which was given at the time of Hezekiah, the throne of David is called the throne of the Kingdom.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:7

This is a promise. A promise with the word 'forever' in it. The promise to David was given here again through Isaiah to Israel, with more detail.

20) The Promise to Mary

Mary is personally given a promise, before the birth of Jesus.

behold, you shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)

Mary is promised her son would have the throne of his father David and reign over the house of Jacob, forever. From this she understands that she personally is saved, for she says God is her saviour to Elizabeth, and adds this salvation is, “As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever” (Luke 1:55). Jesus understood this was his heritage, as when Jesus comes to Jerusalem they cry, and Jesus does not forbid them,

Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. Mark 11:10

21) Promises to the Apostles

The disciples understood the Kingdom of the LORD, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven to be synonymous. The disciples ask Jesus regarding the time when Kingdom will be restored to Israel.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? Acts 1:6

He did not say they were wrong, but rather that the time was in God's power. The apostles would be interested in the time as they were given a very personal promise.

That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:30
Jesus said unto them, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel”. Matthew 19:28

Twice they are promised to sit on 12 thrones, judging over Israel. They are also promised some very literal things, such as eating and drinking at a table. We note that this is only to occur when Jesus himself sits on a throne. It was promised before Jesus' birth that he would sit on the throne of David. The Apostles are promised special places beside Jesus, 'in the regeneration' or restoration of the kingdom of Israel.

22) The promises to the Congregations

There are promises made by Jesus to the seven Congregations of believers in Asia Minor in the book of Revelation. To those at Ephesus

To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

The 'tree of life' was on earth in Eden. To those at Smyrna,

He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:11)

That is, in the resurrection they will live forever. To those at Pergamos

To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it. Rev 2:17

Which is a very specific promise! To those at Thyratira

he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. Rev 2:26-28

Being given the 'morning star' is about rulership over the nations (the king of Babylon was a 'morning star'), but note Jesus promises to give a bit of what he himself has been promised, as he 'received'. To Sardis,

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelation 3:5

This is very detailed and specific. To Philadelphia

Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Rev 3:12)

A pillar of society is a prominent person, so these will be leaders in the temple, and bear the name of God, the name of New Jerusalem and Jesus' new name. To Laodicea,

To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Rev 3:21

That is just as Jesus is now set by God, so in the future will they be set beside Jesus' throne, just like the Apostles.

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?

24) How we can inherit

No Angel has come to us personally and made a promise to us, yet we can inherit the substance, or the wages, of these promises.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature. 2Peter 1:4
This is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life. 1John 2:25

How? Firstly by understanding them and believing them, as

He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.. Mark 16:16

For more on the Resurrection

For an over view of the promises see The Promises
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