The Promises to Abraham
Abraham lived about 4000 years ago in the city of Ur, on the Euphrates river. God made a series of promises to Abraham as recorded in Genesis chapters 12 to 22. You may wonder why promises made by God to a man 4000 years ago should be of interest to us today. The reason is that, even though we do live so long after the promises was given, we ourselves can inherit with Abraham the promise that God made, and that involves the receiving of eternal life. It is therefore in our very best interests to read the Bible which tells us, not only about Abraham and God’s promises to him, but also how we can indeed inherit the same promises, and live for ever.
Blessings through Abraham
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” Genesis 12:1-3
Not only would Abraham be blessed through belief in, and obedience to, God’s call, but so also would those who, out of all people on the earth, expressed the same belief and obedience. The apostle Paul explains that those promises comprise the gospel and that faith in them would bring the blessings associated with their fulfilment.
“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” Galatians 3:8-9
Further Important Promises
When Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan (known today as Israel), God made a promise concerning the land:
“So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him:…and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came…And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land” Genesis: 12:4-7
As a consequence of this promise Abraham was content for the rest of his life to remain a stranger and a pilgrim in this promised land. He knew that although the promise would not be fulfilled for a very long time, fulfilled it certainly would be and then he would inherit the land for ever. He was encouraged by God’s reiterations of the promise as we can read in other chapters of Genesis, for example:
“And the LORD said unto Abram,…lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which 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 13:14-18
You will notice that Abraham’s seed is mentioned prominently in these words of God. But who is this seed? We need have no doubt about the answer to this question. Jesus Christ is Abraham’s promised seed, a fact plainly testified by the apostle Paul:
“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
It is therefore Jesus who will inherit the promises with Abraham. He will inherit the land of promise and in him will the faithful out of all families of the earth be blessed.
“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Galatians 3:8-9
Abraham looked forward with happiness joy to the coming of Christ, as Jesus himself said:
“Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad” John: 9:56
All who know and believe these promises look forward to the coming of Jesus with the same anticipation. When Jesus returns to the earth, Abraham, who has been sleeping the sleep of death in the dust of the earth for so long, will awake to inherit with Jesus, the land of promise for ever. Many other people will also experience the same resurrection to eternal life.
These Promises can Affect You!
Although God’s promise is specifically to Abraham and Christ, yet the Lord’s plan of salvation involves a multitude of other men and women being counted as Abraham’s seed and so ultimately enjoying everlasting life in the land of promise with Abraham and Jesus. If we have the same faith as Abraham and demonstrate our faith by what we do in obedience to God, just as Abraham did, then we can also be the inheritors of God’s exceeding great and precious promises. This is the good news (the Gospel) that the apostle Paul declared in his exposition concerning Abraham: later in Galatians 3
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham…So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.. .For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” Galatians 3: 7,9,26-29
Our hope is that you will learn about these promises of God; that you will manifest the same faith and obedience as Abraham did and so that when Jesus comes you will inherit the marvellous blessings contained in his God’s promise to Abraham and his seed.