The Promises to Abraham
The Faith Of Abraham
Abraham’s life, after God called him, was a testimony to patience and faith. He was 75 years old when God told him to leave his home and go to Canaan, and promised him that his descendants would be blessed. Abraham spent 25 years in the Promised Land before God gave him a son—and some time after that son did come, he was asked to sacrifice him. God, however, had a great purpose for this.
In Genesis 22 we read about that special test God gave Abraham. Notice the words which God said, “Now I know that Abraham fears God.” God had been trying to find something out, and now He had the result. God knew that Abraham was willing to put Him first no matter what. Nothing in Abraham's life was more important than God. Abraham had total obedience and living faith.
Because Abraham obeyed God, and God now knew that he always would, He swore—He took an oath. God made His prophecies about Abraham’s seed iron-clad, unbreakable. Today, although they have yet to be fulfilled, we can depend on them just as Abraham had faith in God’s Word.
Hebrews 6:13-20; Hebrews 11:8-19
These promises have everything to do with the New Testament church. Both a “promise” and an “oath” are mentioned in Hebrews 6 as pertaining to Christ and to all who are to be blessed like Abraham. The church is composed of heirs of the same promises Abraham will receive. And, like Abraham, we in the church have to wait a long time to see them. We may die first before we see them, like those who have gone before us who died in faith. That doesn’t change the fact that we will inherit them.
Romans 4:13-22; Galatians 3:6-9, 14-19
Romans 4 praises Abraham’s faith and reminds us that dedicated obedience and trust in God is why Abraham will inherit such great promises. It is a lesson for us all. Verses 13-22 reiterate the fact that these things will most definitely come to pass.
What about ancient Israel, who were also inheritors of the promises to Abraham, but lost their blessings due to disobedience? The apostle Paul reminds us that this doesn’t cancel out God’s Word or make those promises invalid (see Romans 3:1-4). It simply means that the Israelites of Old Testament times were not righteous as Abraham was. We in the church are to be like Abraham. He stayed faithful his entire life. That is how we can make our inheritance sure and certain. We are “Abraham’s seed” if we, as he was, never turn back from obedience and faith to God.
These things point to Christ. Great care is taken in the Bible to point out that Jesus Christ was the literal descendant of Abraham—He is “the Seed” that inherits the promises, and all who are Christ’s are therefore also of Abraham’s true lineage. Offering Isaac at Mount Moriah was a type of Christ’s sacrifice as well as a test for Abraham. It all points to New Testament Christianity.
In Acts 2, God sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It filled the church with the same, obedient attitude Abraham had. In Acts 3:22-26 Peter explains that it is the church now filled with a unique, right attitude which is the true blessing of God. Receiving the Holy Spirit is what was meant when God promised that the whole world would be blessed through Abraham.
“Nations and Kings”
You’ll read in Genesis 17:6 that God promised Abraham “nations” and “kings.” Looking at this from the perspective of the New Testament, where we understand Jesus’ sacrifice and how it ties in to what is pictured by the Holy Days, we can see that, from the beginning, God was promising that the World Tomorrow would come—that God would do His part to ensure things are set up to make the Millennium come about exactly on time, just as described throughout all Bible prophecy. The “nations” are the humans who will populate the earth in the Millennium. The “kings” are the saints who will be changed into immortal God beings and will form the world-educating, world-ruling government that will keep the World Tomorrow peaceful and happy.
Matthew 19:27-30; Revelation 1:5-6; 2:26-27; 5:10; 11:15; 20:4, 6; 22:5
Our role as kings, co-ruling the world with and under Jesus Christ in the Millennium, is a major part of the ultimate fulfillment of the promises to Abraham.
When this promises good shepherds to Israel—good government—this refers to the “kings” of Genesis 17:6. When the saints rule in the Millennium, this will be truly fulfilled.
Notice how it mentions both nations and kings! The Millennium is what God promised to Abraham!
These Things Are Yet To Be Fulfilled!
Don’t think these promises haven’t happened yet or that God failed to fulfill His Word. Joshua 21:43-45 does indeed say God had fulfilled His words to Abraham. But the situation you read about when Joshua died and Israel was living in Canaan was not a permanent situation. It was not the ultimate goal God had in mind when He promised Abraham land, children, and blessings.
We noted earlier how Israel at first had God’s blessings, but lost them. However, not being given the Holy Spirit, they only had a precursor of the promises to Abraham. They were blessed for being flesh-and-blood children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel merely set a model for the future. The old covenant was always intended to be temporary—just a model of a later, permanent covenant (that which God makes with the church).
Old Testament Israel never had the same faith as Abraham or other true servants of God. Israel received physical blessings, but never the spiritual blessing of God’s mind and character. They couldn’t have real peace or prosperity because of this. God’s intention is, eventually, to lead all humanity to Christ (who sets the model for humanity in His perfect obedience to God the Father).
Leviticus 26:14-16, 21-25, 40-45; Genesis 17:7-8; 1 Kings 9:1-9
Here we see that God always knew Israel would turn incorrigibly wicked and have to be cut off for a time from the promised land. The entire nation is waiting for the total restoration God promises. It will come, and when it does, it will be permanent.
God’s blessings on national Israel were always contingent upon their obedience. If they were to disobey, the promises would be withdrawn—for a time—until the lesson of real faith was learned.
Daniel 9:2-13, 17-26
Daniel was writing at a time when the curses of Leviticus 26 had befallen Israel. Daniel knew the nation hadn’t been obedient and deserved punishment. But he still looked to the future restoration. God revealed to Daniel that literally thousands of years would pass before Israel would be finally and ultimately restored. There was at that time a movement to return the Jews to Palestine. But what was going on in Jerusalem at that time was not the final fulfillment of what God promised Abraham! The reality will be much, much greater.
Luke 1:30-33, 54-55, 69-73; 22:25-30
Here at the start of the New Testament, God is still in the process of fulfilling His promises to Abraham. He has not forgotten them! Jesus’ first coming and events surrounding it all tie in to these unbreakable promises, as God works out human history towards the coming rule of His kingdom on earth.
God is allowing a full 6,000 years to go by before He intervenes to bless humanity with utopia—by bringing His government to earth to preside over all nations. Until that time, He is in the process of teaching and training His church, the saints, who will be the kings that rule the world’s nations for one thousand years. God is preparing His government right now—building His own character into a select few humans, so that once Christ comes, the government is ready to rule immediately.
Our job as Christians is to make good use of the time we have left in our lives, allowing Christ to work in us and prepare our minds so that we think as He thinks. Jesus is preparing us for positions in His kingdom. We must not be rebellious, but be faithful and true to God and Christ, and obedient to the laws and teachings in the Bible. We will be kings and priests! We will rule the earth’s nations by God’s laws, with Christ, with Abraham and the rest of the saints. This is what God has been looking forward to ever since He first chose Abraham to set the example of faithful obedience upon which these rock-solid promises are based.
This Bible study was given by Matthew Kalliman on 7/5/07