13 February 2009

Abrahamic Covenant – 2.13.09

Psalm 105:8-11 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

Genesis 11. We're 2 chapters removed from God's covenant with Noah, and mankind is at it again. A man named Nimrod is heading up a building project in the plain of Shinar (Babylon). In the spirit of unity, all of mankind has joined together to erect a tower whose top may reach to heaven.

The Lord comes down and intervenes. He wrecks the men's purposes by confounding their language and scattering them abroad upon the face of the earth. History teaches us that, in general:

  • Ham's descendants moved south
  • Japheth's headed west
  • Shem's set up tent in the lands of the east

Our study of this next covenant, then, begins in Genesis 12 with one of Shem's descendants. God calls a man named Abram out from Ur of the Chaldees and promises to make of him a great nation. He says his seed will be multiplied as the stars of the sky and as the sand upon the seashore AND THAT THEY WILL FOREVER INHERIT THE LAND OF CANAAN.

This is the focus of the Abrahamic covenant. It is always associated with the land. This may seem very insignificant. But it is so very important in properly understanding your Bible.

Genesis 12:1-7; Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15; Genesis 17:1-8; 1 Chronicles 16:15-18; Nehemiah 9:7-8

So many people get twisted up in their doctrine because they fail to recognize that the Hebrew people, the nation of Israel, has always been and will always be a physical people with physical promises, physical blessings, and a physical inheritance. By way of contrast, God's church has always been and will always be a spiritual people with spiritual promises, spiritual blessings, and a spiritual inheritance.

Genesis 15 (verses 18-21) gives the borders of the land grant God made to the Hebrew people. It stretches all the way from the Nile to the Euphrates River. Take out a map of the Middle East today. The modern nation of Israel occupies a little strip of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea that's no larger than the state of New Jersey. This is not the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. God keeps His word. Israel will forever inherit all the land God promised to Abraham.

It is important to note that this covenant was passed down through Isaac (not Ishmael) and through Jacob (not Esau). Jacob (whose name was changed by God to Israel) had 12 sons; hence, the 12 tribes of Israel.

Genesis 26:1-5; Genesis 28:10-15; Exodus 2:24; Exodus 33:1; Leviticus 26:42; Numbers 32:11; Deuteronomy 1:8; Deuteronomy 6:10; Deuteronomy 9:5; Deuteronomy 30:20

It is also important to understand that this covenant is everlasting and unconditional. There are no ifs. God promised Abraham that His descendants would forever possess that land, and they will. No matter what (see Genesis 17:7-8). Thus, it has been because of this covenant that God has delivered and protected His people throughout history (Exodus 6:1-8; Exodus 32:9-14; 2 Kings 13:23).

And one final note: the token of this covenant was the sign of circumcision (Genesis 17:10-14; Acts 7:8). It symbolized the fact that God had separated this nation and made them His peculiar treasure. He had many purposes for doing so, not the least of which was preserving a pure seed for the coming of the Redeemer.

John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

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