Abraham

Table of Contents / Overview



ABRAHAM

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.

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THE CALL OF ABRAHAM

Abraham dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees near the head of the Persian Gulf about 2,000 B.C.

READ
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.

READ
Genesis 12 v 1-3

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ABRAHAM'S OBEDIENCE

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).

READ
Genesis 12 v 4-5
Hebrews 11 v 8
Romans 4 v 20

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THE TERMS OF THE PROMISES

  1. God would lead him to a land he was to inherit.
  2. This land to become the possession of Abraham and his descendants for ever.
  3. READ
    Genesis 13 v 14-15
  4. Abraham's "seed" or descendants would develop into a great nation as numerous as the dust of the earth.
  5. READ
    Genesis 13 v 16
  6. One of his descendants would have power over his enemies.
  7. READ
    Genesis 22 v 17
  8. Through this "seed" (or offspring) all nations would be blessed.
  9. COMPARE
    Genesis 22 v 18

    with
    Galatians 3 v 8 & 16

NOTE PARTICULARLY

  1. Here we have the beginning of the Gospel message.
  2. READ
    Galatians 3 v 8
  3. Abraham believed the Gospel.
  4. 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.

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PROMISES NOT FULFILLED IN ABRAHAM'S LIFETIME

The New Testament tells us they were not fulfilled.

READ
Hebrews 11 v 13
Acts 7 v 4-5

Abraham had to buy a field in the land to bury his wife.

READ
Genesis 23
Acts 7 v 16

The promises were repeated to Abraham's son and grandson.

READ
Genesis 26 v 2-5
Genesis 28 v 13-14
Hebrews 11 v 8-9

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THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC

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.

READ
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.

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THE NATION OF ISRAEL

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.

READ
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.

READ
Luke 1 v 68-75

PROMISES NOT YET FULFILLED

READ
Hebrews 11 v 39-40

JESUS CAME TO CONFIRM THE PROMISES

READ
Romans 15 v 8

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THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE SEED OF ABRAHAM

Jesus was descended from Abraham.

READ
Matthew 1 v 1

The Promises were made to Abraham and to his "seed", that is his offspring.

READ
Galatians 3 v 16

Abraham looked forward to the coming of Christ; by the eye of faith he "saw it".

READ
John 8 v 56

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THE TRUE CHRISTIAN HOPE

The promise to Abraham is the basis of the Christian Hope.

READ
Hebrews 6 v 13-20

The Bible Hope is a Jewish one.

READ
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.

READ
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.

READ
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.

READ
Galatians 3 v 2-29

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THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PROMISE

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ is to return to the earth.
    READ
    Acts 1 v 11
  2. He is to destroy those who rebel against him and then rule as king on the earth. ("Possess the gate of his enemies".)
    READ
    Psalm 2
    Genesis 22 v 17
  3. His throne will be in Jerusalem in the land of Israel and will last for ever.
    READ
    Luke 1 v 32
    Isaiah 9 v 6-7
    Isaiah 2 v 1-4
    READ
    Genesis 13 v 15
  4. 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.")
    READ
    Revelation 3 v 21
    Revelation 5 v 9-11
    Genesis 22 v 17
  5. Most of these will have been raised from the dead and amongst them will be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
    READ
    Daniel 12 v 1-2
    Matthew 8 v 11
  6. 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.
    READ
    Psalm 72
    Isaiah 11
    Genesis 12 v 3
    Genesis 22 v 18
  7. The meek will inherit the earth.
  8. READ
    Matthew 5 v 5
    Psalm 37 v 11

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CONCLUSION

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".

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QUESTIONS

Using references where possible to support your reply, answer the following:

  1. Why did God require Abraham to leave his city, his relatives and household?
  2. What did God promise to Abraham if he obeyed him?
  3. How was the gospel preached to Abraham?
  4. " to Abraham and his seed were the promises made" (Galatians 3 v 16). Explain what you understand by this statement.
  5. How and when will the promises to Abraham be fulfilled?
  6. How can one become associated with the promises to Abraham?

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