Table of Contents / Overview
- The Call of Abraham
- Abraham's Obedience
- The Terms of the Promises
- Promises not Fulfilled in Abraham's Lifetime
- The Sacrifice of Isaac
- The Nation of Israel
- The Lord Jesus Christ, The Seed of Abraham
- The True Christian Hope
- The Fulfillment of the Promise
The purpose of God is to fill the earth with His glory through a race of immortal beings who will reflect His glory. The promises to Abraham have a vital bearing upon this scheme of human salvation.
After the flood when men began again to multiply upon the earth, God proposed to centre His purpose in one man of His choice. His name was Abram, later changed to Abraham, which means "Father of a Multitude". He is called the friend of God and is set before us as an outstanding example of faith.
Abraham dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees near the head of the Persian Gulf about 2,000 B.C.
- Genesis 11 v 28-31
- Acts 7 v 2-4
He was called from an idolatrous city to serve the one true God. He was commanded to leave Ur and to travel to a land which God would show him.
- Genesis 12 v 1-3
Abraham did not argue or question the command - he simply obeyed with full trust and implicit confidence in God's word of promise and God led him to the Land of Canaan (now known as Israel).
- Genesis 12 v 4-5
- Hebrews 11 v 8
- Romans 4 v 20
- God would lead him to a land he was to inherit.
- This land to become the possession of Abraham and his descendants for ever.
- Genesis 13 v 14-15
- Abraham's "seed" or descendants would develop into a great nation as numerous as the dust of the earth.
- Genesis 13 v 16
- One of his descendants would have power over his enemies.
- Genesis 22 v 17
- Through this "seed" (or offspring) all nations would be blessed.
- Genesis 22 v 18
- Galatians 3 v 8 & 16
- Here we have the beginning of the Gospel message.
- Galatians 3 v 8
- Abraham believed the Gospel.
- The Land of Promise was a clearly defined part of the earth … read carefully Genesis 13 v 14-17. This means that the Gospel message has nothing to do with going to heaven.
The New Testament tells us they were not fulfilled.
- Hebrews 11 v 13
- Acts 7 v 4-5
Abraham had to buy a field in the land to bury his wife.
- Genesis 23
- Acts 7 v 16
The promises were repeated to Abraham's son and grandson.
- Genesis 26 v 2-5
- Genesis 28 v 13-14
- Hebrews 11 v 8-9
Evidence that Abraham looked beyond his own lifetime for the fulfillment of the promises is provided by his willingness to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Isaac was the one through whom the promises had to be realised and to test his faith God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham was willing to do this because he believed God would raise him from the dead. God intervened and the sacrifice did not take place. In a sense Isaac came back from the dead.
- Genesis 22 v 1-14
- Hebrews 11 v 17-19
Nineteen hundred year later, Jesus, the seed of Abraham, died as a sacrifice and was raised from the dead by God.
The people of Israel are the descendants of Abraham through Isaac. When Israel entered the land under Joshua and eventually became a strong nation, this partially fulfilled the promise to Abraham. But when they rebelled against God they were driven out of the land of promise.
- I Kings 4 v 20-25
- Leviticus 26 v 23
They will be fully restored when Christ comes back to the earth and then the promise will be fulfilled completely.
- Luke 1 v 68-75
- Hebrews 11 v 39-40
- Romans 15 v 8
Jesus was descended from Abraham.
- Matthew 1 v 1
The Promises were made to Abraham and to his "seed", that is his offspring.
- Galatians 3 v 16
Abraham looked forward to the coming of Christ; by the eye of faith he "saw it".
- John 8 v 56
The promise to Abraham is the basis of the Christian Hope.
- Hebrews 6 v 13-20
The Bible Hope is a Jewish one.
- Acts 26 v 6
- John 4 v 22
- Acts 28 v 20
The promise is the basis of the covenant called in the Bible the NEW COVENANT.
- Jeremiah 31 v 31-33
NOTE: The OLD COVENANT was based on the law of Moses. Although this came into being after the covenant with Abraham, it has been taken away, making it the old covenant. The Abrahamic covenant remains as the new covenant confirmed by Christ's death.
- Romans 15 v 8
- Matthew 26 v 28
Testament = Covenant.
THOSE WHO BELIEVE THE TRUE GOSPEL AND OBEY IN BAPTISM BECOME THE SEED OF ABRAHAM AND HEIRS OF THE PROMISE.
- Galatians 3 v 2-29
- The Lord Jesus Christ is to return to the earth.
- Acts 1 v 11
- He is to destroy those who rebel against him and then rule as king on
the earth. ("Possess
the gate of his enemies".)
- Psalm 2
- Genesis 22 v 17
- His throne will be in Jerusalem in the land of Israel and will last
- Luke 1 v 32
- Isaiah 9 v 6-7
- Isaiah 2 v 1-4
- Genesis 13 v 15
- With him will be a great multitude of believers who will share his throne
and kingdom. ("I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven.")
- Revelation 3 v 21
- Revelation 5 v 9-11
- Genesis 22 v 17
- Most of these will have been raised from the dead and amongst them will
be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- Daniel 12 v 1-2
- Matthew 8 v 11
- Christ's reign will result in peace and happiness for all mankind. ("In
thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.") This will be the Kingdom
of God on earth.
- Psalm 72
- Isaiah 11
- Genesis 12 v 3
- Genesis 22 v 18
- The meek will inherit the earth.
- Matthew 5 v 5
- Psalm 37 v 11
The promise of God we have just considered is fundamental to the purpose of God. It provides conclusive evidence that God has a plan for the earth, a plan centred in Abraham's descendants, the nation of Israel, and in particular in Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said "Salvation is of the Jews". We can only share this salvation by believing the gospel which was first preached to Abraham and obeying God's command to be baptised. We then become part of Abraham's seed, "spiritual Israel". Paul wrote that Abraham "is the father of all them that believe".
We need to have complete faith in God as did Abraham, and to follow his outstanding example of obedience.
"Come ye out from among them and be ye separate" is the gospel call. Abraham forsook the city in which he once dwelt "for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God".
He became a "stranger and pilgrim" on the earth because he had complete faith in the promise of God for the future.
As we grow in knowledge of God's purpose so our confidence in it must increase and our faith grow until we desire in humility to show our faith by our obedience. Then we can look forward to sharing that future which God promised to Abraham and his descendants; "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".
Using references where possible to support your reply, answer the following:
- Why did God require Abraham to leave his city, his relatives and household?
- What did God promise to Abraham if he obeyed him?
- How was the gospel preached to Abraham?
- " … to Abraham and his seed were the promises made" (Galatians 3 v 16). Explain what you understand by this statement.
- How and when will the promises to Abraham be fulfilled?
- How can one become associated with the promises to Abraham?