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The Promises

22nd April 2008, mgh

 

3) The Promises in the New Testament

The early chapters of Luke record the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. John prepared the people for the appearance of Jesus Christ, which was a requirement of the promise or covenant made with Abraham and David. Here we have the promised seed (singular) and thus the future King of Righteousness, who would sit on the throne of David. The writers of the New Testament claim that Jesus Christ was the promised 'seed' of Abraham.

And, behold, you shalt conceive in your 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)

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
And you, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1: 72-79)

Mark in his gospel states:

And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11: 9-10)

Abraham and his descendants have not received the Promises

The following quotations show clearly that these promises have never been fulfilled. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all died without receiving or inheriting the promised land.

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11: 9-13)

Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.
And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. (Acts 7: 4-5)

The Promise Extended to the Non Jews

The writers of the New Testament all state that Abraham is yet to receive his inheritance in the future. The promise to Abraham included the Jews and other nations, or Non Jews known as the 'Gentiles'. Jesus Christ will return to the earth to reign over all nations. Paul in his letters shows that the Gentiles who have faith and believe in the promises, and have like the faith of Abraham, can be included in this promise. They all state that Jesus Christ is essential to the fulfilment of the promises. He is the descendant of Abraham and of King David and is the promised seed in whom all nations will be blessed. He is the King who will rule the world in righteousness. This requires Jesus' return to this earth and the resurrection of the faithful to receive eternal life.

Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse (the father of King David), and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Romans 15: 8-12

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham....And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3: 7-9, 29)

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:...Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. (Romans 4: 13-14, 16-17)

The New Testament emphasises the necessity for the extension of the hope of eternal life to all people. Paul states that he was prisoner because of the “hope of Israel” and Peter tells us that we have been given these precious promises that we “might be partakers of the divine nature”.

The following quotations, just a few of many similar statements by New Testamant writers, reveal the role of Jesus as saviour, redeemer and future King, the hope of Israel given to Jew and Gentile through the promises to Abraham and at the return of Jesus to the earth there will be a resurrection of the faithful, both Jew and Gentile.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40)

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. (Acts 2: 29-32)

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3: 13-14)

For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. (Acts 28: 20)

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:(Acts 13: 22-23)

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 2 Timothy 2: 8

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, (2 Peter 1: 4)

This says that knowing the promises is knowing how we might be made to be divine or live forever, that is how we are saved.

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