Truth, Understanding, Insight

God's Promises

11th October 2006, hej


6) Concrete Promises

The concrete and specific nature of the promises cannot be ignored. The are not vague promises of eternal life. Abraham when asking for assurance regarding life after death is given a detailed history of his children and an assurance that his seed would inherit the land from the Euphrates to the Nile! Therefore this is life after death. The term ‘life eternal’ or ‘eternal life’ does not occur in the Old Testament at all, 'everlasting life' only occurs once in Daniel speaking of a Resurrection from dust. It occurs only 30 times in the new testament. With a further 11 references to 'everlasting life' or 'life everlasting'. Compare how small a number this is to the 149 times that ‘the kingdom’ is referred to or 73 times the judgement is referred to or the 69 times Abraham is referred to. It cannot be that only since the time of Jesus has eternal life been available. If we look we are told the promises in the old testement were the promise of eternal life. No less than Jesus said this:

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

So the Jews of Jesus’ day, using the O.T, thought eternal life was promised to them, not in one passage, but many. The conclusion cannot be escaped. It must be that eternal life was promised from the very beginning. Can the coming of Jesus effect the promises understood for some 4000 years before? No, rather Jesus coming established the Genesis promises, which is what Jesus means when he says he fulfilled The Law (The Law is all 5 books) (Matthew 5:17).

The Kingdom of Heaven

If the natural descendants of Abraham for 2000 years understood that the promises were literal, and Jesus said nothing to change this, how relevant is more recent interpretation?

The Kingdom of heaven only occurs 32 times and all occurrences are in the book of Mathew, but the disciples do not ask Jesus regarding this Kingdom of Heaven but rather the Kingdom of Israel.

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

The majority term is the kingdom of God. This occurs in both Old and New testaments. The writers of the New Testament were Hebrews in their thinking. They had the scriptures that said that the kingdom of David and Solomon was the Kingdom of the Lord.

And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.1 Chronicles 28:5

Abijah a king of the 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

According to Mark the crowd welcomes Jesus as the heir of the kingdom of 'our father David'. The disciples understood the Kingdom of the LORD, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven to be synonymous.

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

The scriptures never say the kingdom is in heaven, and the term Kingdom of Heaven is limited to only one book of the bible. The scriptures say plainly that the kingdom of Yahweh was the kingdom of David until it was destroyed by Babylon. One would be bold indeed to categorically state that Jesus will not rule from Jerusalem from the throne of David, while David looks on, and that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would not walk in the land of Israel in the future. After all they were promised this.

Abraham was counted righteous because he believed implicitly Yahweh Elohim’s promise. The implication is that the belief in the detail is important for our salvation.

Those who doubt there is power to deliver these promises may like to look at some other items this God of Israel has promised. Things like that Babylon would never be inhabited, that's never (Saddam was thinking of doing some building there and never got to it...). That Egypt would be a 'base nation' and they still wonder what happened to that mighty civilization. That Israel would exist again and dwell safely (written 1400BC).

The focus is The Land of Canaan, sometime Palestine, now Israel, and it cannot be ignored. There are many quotes to supoort this- so many that it Christians call it 'the Promised Land'. Moses is one who calls this land the promised land

And if the LORD your God enlarge your coast, as he hath sworn unto your fathers, and give you all the land which he promised to give unto your fathers;Deuteronomy 19:8

Nehemiah, much later speaks of it again

Their children also multiplied as the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land, concerning which you had promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.9:23.

The promise was acted on despite the disobedience of Israel. It is clear that Israel was the land that was promised to their fathers.

The focus of the promises is The Land – Eretz Yisrael. This is the location. However the substance is,

And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life. 1 John 2:25