Important promises made by God

 The Promises Stated

When Paul was on trial before Agrippa he declared concerning his faith:
“And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers” (Acts 26:6)

Concerning these promises he wrote to the Galatians:
“Unto Abraham and his seed were the promises made” (Galatians 3:16)

The promises made to Abraham are to be found in the book of Genesis. They may be summarised thus:

1) There was a NATIONAL PROMISE

“I will make of thee a great nation” (Genesis 12 :2)

In some way God would make of Abraham a great nation (See also Genesis 18:18).

2) There was a PERSONAL PROMISE

“I will bless thee and make thy name great” (Genesis 12:2)

“All the land that thou seest to thee will I give it, and to thy 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 13:14-17)

Thus Abraham’s name, one day, would be great and he together with his seed would possess the land of Canaan for ever (Also see Genesis 15:17-18; 17:18).

3) There was an ANCESTRAL PROMISE

“Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies”(Genesis 22:17)

Abraham would have a descendant who would possess the gate of his enemies in triumph.

4) There was an INTERNATIONAL PROMISE

“In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3)

“In thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed”  (Genesis 22:18)

Through Abraham and his seed all nations of the earth would one day receive the divine blessing.

The Promises Repeated

These same promises were repeated to Abraham’s son Isaac, and to Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 26:2-4,24; 28:3-4,13,14; 46:3; 48:4).

The Promises Were Not Fulfilled

These promises were not fulfilled in the lifetime of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. Concerning the personal promise about the land, Stephen said:

“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 7:5)

Since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) these promises are yet to be fulfilled.

The Future Fulfilment of the Promises

1) NATIONAL PROMISE

Abraham had a son, Isaac, who had a son Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. He had twelve sons and from them were descended the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. When Israel has been regathered to their own land, and has become God’s Kingdom on the earth with Jesus as King and the faithful followers of Jesus as the government, THEN Israel will be the GREAT NATION.

2) PERSONAL PROMISE

When Jesus returns he will raise the dead (We shall examine this in detail in a later study). Among those raised will be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus said to the Jewish people:
“There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets in the
kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:28)

Abraham’s name then will indeed be great for he will no doubt occupy an important position in the Kingdom. When Jesus restores Israel as God’s Kingdom, he will also bring about the restoration of the land so that once again it will be a “land flowing with milk and honey”:
And the desolate land shall be tilled whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited”  (Ezekiel 36:34-35. Also see Leviticus 26:34,42)

This land, made like the Garden of Eden, will be the land that will be possessed for ever by Abraham and his seed.

3) ANCESTRAL PROMISE

Abraham’s seed is Jesus Christ. Of this there is no doubt at all:
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1)
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)

When Jesus, the seed of Abraham, returns to set up the Kingdom he will have many enemies:
“The LORD said unto my Lord (i.e. Jesus) Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies” (Psalm 110:1)

Jesus will break all opposition to his rule. All nations will ultimately come to serve and obey him:
“Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him” (Psalm 72:11)
“And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever”  (Revelation 11:15)

4) INTERNATIONAL PROMISE

The blessing promised to Abraham and his Seed has already commenced to be fulfilled in the experience of those who accept the gospel. This is indicated in Acts 3 where the Apostle Peter first reminds the Jews to whom he is speaking that they enjoyed a special relationship to Abraham being “the children of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all kindreds of the earth be blessed” (Acts 3:25). He then says to them:-
“Unto you
(Jews) first, God having raised up His Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you from his iniquities”   (Acts 3:26)

But the blessing was to be for ALL NATIONS not just Jews. So, writing to the Galatian Gentile believers, Paul says, “The scripture forseeing that God would justify (= to declare righteous) the Gentiles by faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed”. (Galatians 3:8 RV). He then adds:-
“They that be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:9)

Thus the blessing, in the first place, consists of the forgiveness of sins, or, the granting of righteousness on the basis of faith.

But the future will see an extension of this promise. When the nation of Israel has been restored as God’s Kingdom - the GREAT NATION promised to Abraham - then all nations will be blessed. Righteous laws will go forth from Jerusalem to the nations and will be enforced. Thus gradually as a result of the reign of Jesus all nations will be blessed with a knowledge of God’s ways, and walking in His ways, they will be blessed in every aspect of their lives by the God of Israel and his son the Lord Jesus. (See notes on pages 12 and 13 where some of these blessings are detailed). The Psalmist summarises the situation:

“Men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed” (Psalm 72:17)  

 

 

 

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