The Birth of a Nation in the Promises to Abraham
The birth of the Nation of Israel began with the promises made to Abraham, and will see their complete fulfilment in the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
In Romans 4:11 Abraham is called the spiritual "father of all those who believe" "the father of us all" (v. 16) and his experiences are set forth as typical of those who would walk in faith towards the Kingdom of God (vs. 23-24). Paul taught that the Gospel was proclaimed to Abraham in the important promises that God made unto him:
In Galatians 3:8-9, we read; "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." Abram was called out by God from Ur of the Chaldees at a time when the world had sunk back into spiritual darkness, and the worship of God had been forgotten. Genesis 12:1 declares: "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." He was to separate himself even from his kindred to obey God. Abram left Ur of the Chaldees, and moved to Haran (Genesis 11:31) about 800 miles northwest of Ur of the Chaldees, and north of the River Euphrates. The Voice of God again came to Abram, urging him to leave Haran, pass over the river Euphrates, and come into the land that God would reveal unto him.The first of the promises that God gave to Abram are found in Genesis 12:2-3 saying: "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." These promises can be divided into four sections:
- A National Promise: "I will make of thee a great nation..."
- A Personal Promise: "I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing..."
- A Family Promise: "I will bless them that bless thee..."
- An International Promise: "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
None of these promises have had their complete fulfilment, for they will all be fulfilled in the setting up of the Kingdom of God on earth. Consider the personal promise made to Abraham. Is he blessed today? Is his name great? Is he a blessing in the earth? The answer is, No! Abraham is dead; his name is far from great in the opinion of mankind, most of whom know nothing of him.
The Family Promise, has relation to those who embrace the promises of Abraham, and who walk in his steps. They will become his associates in the Kingdom that Jesus shall set up on earth, and shall inherit eternal life.
The International Promise, points to the time when Christ's righteous rule will be set up over all the earth, and mankind shall rejoice in it. Then "the Kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ" who "shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11:15). The Law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, bringing all nations in a state of unity and peace before God (Isaiah 2:2-4).
Genesis records a further development in the promises of God to Abram. Abram had prospered with Lot his nephew, their herds had increased and their herdsmen began to quarrel between themselves.They decided to separate, and Abram unselfishly offered Lot first choice of the land. Lot saw the well-watered plain of Jordan, with the prosperous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and chose to go down to Sodom.
After Lot had departed with his herds, God made a further promise to Abram. He was told: "Look northward, southward, eastward and westward; for ALL THE LAND THAT 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 13:14-17. This promise forms the basis of the personal hope of every true believer. Notice that Abram and his seed are promised the land FOREVER, and not merely for life. It is obvious that this promise has not been fulfilled, for otherwise Abram would be alive today. We as gentiles are also included in the promises to Abraham. Paul says in Gal 3:27-29 "As many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ" v.29 "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heir's according to the promise."
Christ is the seed referred to in Genesis 22:17-18, where the angel of the LORD spoke to Abraham, saying; "...and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice" Christ is to return to this earth and subdue all nations, as 1 Cor 15:25 says that He is to "reign till all enemies are under his feet." Then, "the God of heaven shall set up a Kingdom that shall never be destroyed; the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." Dan 2:44.
At that time Abraham will be both blessed, and a blessing, and men will consider it an honour to be associated with him. As it was written in Zechariah 8:23; "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you for we have heard that God is with you."
Thus, in Abraham and his seed, Jesus Christ, shall "all the nations of the earth be blessed." The "Lord shall be king over all the earth" and the fullness of the promises to Abraham will be seen in the Kingdom that Christ will have established in the earth.