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The Promises

22nd April 2008, mgh

 

1) The Promise to Abraham

The Bible contains promises that unify the whole book and remain consistent from Genesis to Revelation. The secret to the understanding of God's promise is to let the text speak for itself. The following quotations are just a few of the many references made to the wonderful hope that has been given to those who search the pages of the Bible.

There is a promise made several times to Abraham in the book of Genesis. God promises Abraham, who had been instructed to leave the idolatrous land of Chaldea, that his descendants would become a great nation, which was to be the ancient nation of Israel. His name would be great and through his offspring all the earth would be blessed.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.Genesis 12: 1-3 (see also Genesis 18: 18)

Having been obedient to the Lord's command to leave his homeland, Abraham arrived in the land of promise and the promise was renewed.

And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed for ever....
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.(Genesis 13: 14,15, 17)

As a test of his faith Abraham was told to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The principlet of animal sacrifice was for the forgiveness of sin and instituted by the Lord in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned. Despite the fact that his son Isaac was the promised seed, Abraham prepared to follow this command but was stopped and a sacrificial offering of a goat was provided. In type Abraham saw that one of his descendants would be the offering for the sins of mankind. This is shown in verse seventeen of the following quote. There is now the mention of a seed that “shall possess the gates of his enemies.” This is a singular 'seed' who would be the Redeemer.

By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because you have done this thing, and 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 thy 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)

The Promise Renewed

Isaac, the son of Abraham was also given this promise.

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for unto you, and unto your seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
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; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. (Genesis 26: 3)

The promise was also given to Jacob, Abraham's grandson.

And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon you lay down, to you will I give it, and to your seed;
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 28: 13, 14)

2) The Promise of a Saviour King

Before his death Jacob spoke to his sons and he made a significant statement about his son Judah. From the line of Judah a line of kings would emerge, as indicated by the use of the term 'sceptre'.

Judah, you art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father' children shall bow down before thee.
Judah is a lion' whelp: from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Genesis 49: 8-10)

The first king of the nation of Israel was Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin. He was succeeded by King David who was of the tribe of Judah and a kingly line was established from the tribe of Judah as predicted by Jacob. David also received the promise. The emphasis in this promise is on the 'seed' singular, who would sit on David's throne forever. The two passages from the Psalms below reinforce this promise.

And when your days be fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, which shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you.
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before you: your throne shall be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7: 12-16)

Also, again,

My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.( Psalm 89: 34-36)

It is established,

The LORD has sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne. (Psalm 132: 10-11)

The Prophets Believed the Promises calling the king 'Messiah'

The following quotations are only a few of the many places in the prophetical writings that identify a future King, of the seed of Abraham and David who will rule in righteousness on the earth.

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)

And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me. (Isaiah 65: 9-10)

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23: 5-6)

In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; (Jeremiah 33: 15- 17)

You will perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which you have sworn unto our fathers from the days of old. (Micah 7: 20)

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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