The Remnant of Israel: The Unconditional Promises of the Abrahamic Covenant Guarantee a Believing Remnant Will Always Exist in Israel Lesson # 15
As we can see thus far from our study of the doctrine of the remnant, God will never totally abandon the nation of Israel and in the future she will as a nation accept Jesus Christ as Savior and thus experience a national regeneration and restoration to the land promised to her by God centuries ago.
This regeneration and restoration of the nation of Israel will fulfill the four unconditional covenants to Israel, which are the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic and New covenants.
The unconditional nature of the promises contained in these covenants guarantees that a believing remnant will always exist in Israel in every generation of human history and thus in every dispensation or in other words, if a believing remnant does not exist at any point in history, then God has not kept these promises.
There are seven great features that are distinct in each of these four unconditional covenants to Israel: (1) Israel will be a nation forever. (2) Israel will possess a significant portion of land forever. (3) Israel will have a King rule over her forever. (4) Israel will have a throne from which Christ will ruler, forever. (5) Israel will have a kingdom forever.
The Abrahamic covenant was originally established with Abraham when he left Haran and is recorded in Genesis 12:1-3.
The Abrahamic covenant contained three categories of promises: (1) Personal (2) National (3) Universal and Spiritual.
(1) Personal: “I will bless you and make your name great” (Gen. 12:2), which refers to the fact that the Lord would make Abraham a famous character with a great reputation among men and before God.
This fame and reputation is expressed in that Abraham is called a “father of a multitude” in Genesis 17:5, a prince of God in Genesis 23:6, the man in God’s confidence in Genesis 18:17-19, a prophet in Genesis 20:7, the servant of God in Psalm 105:6 and the friend of God in 2 Chronicles 20:7 and James 2:23.
(2) National: “I will make you into a great nation” (Gen. 12:2), which refers to the nation of Israel.
(3) Spiritual and Universal: “And all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3) refers to the fact that through Jesus Christ, Abraham would be a blessing to all mankind (Deut. 28:8-14; Is. 60:3-5, 11, 16) since it is only through Jesus Christ that one becomes Abraham’s seed and heirs of the promise (Gal. 3:29; Eph. 2:13, 19).
The phrase “and you shall be a blessing” is “not” a promise since the verb hayah, “you shall be” is in the “imperative” mood expressing a command and literally means, “so become a blessing” indicating that Abraham had a responsibility to walk by faith, which is expressed by obedience to the Lord’s commands.
The promises “I will bless them that bless you and the one who curses you I will curse” refers to the fact that the Lord is identifying Himself with the cause of Abraham and guaranteeing protection for Abraham and his descendants.
The promise “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” refers to the fact that through Jesus Christ, the Promised Seed of Genesis 3:15, Abraham would be a blessing to all mankind (Dt. 28:8-14; Is. 60:3-5, 11, 16) since it is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that one becomes Abraham’s seed and heirs of the promise (Gal. 3:29; Eph. 2:13, 19).
This promise was the Gospel of salvation proclaimed to Abraham (Gal. 3:8) and reaches back to the divided “families” (10:5, 20, 31) of the earth at the Tower of Babel who were alienated from God due to sin and rebellion and the deception of Satan but who would be blessed through faith alone in Christ alone.
Galatians 3 teaches that Gentiles and Jews who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior become the “spiritual” posterity of Abraham and heirs according to the promise made to Abraham in relation to the nations.
This covenant with Abraham was reaffirmed and confirmed after Abraham’s faith was tested (Gen. 22:15-18) and was confined to the Jews who are the racial descendants of Abraham (Gen. 17:1-14).
The “Abrahamic” covenant serves as the foundation for the message delivered to the nation of Israel by the Old Testament prophets and writers.
The “Abrahamic” covenant is declared to be eternal or everlasting in Genesis 17:7, 13, 19; 1 Chronicles 16:17 and Psalm 105:10 and is confirmed repeatedly by reiteration and enlargement.
The “Abrahamic” covenant was solemnized by a divinely ordered ritual symbolizing the shedding of blood and passing between the parts of the sacrifice (Gen. 15:7-21; Jer. 34:18).
This ceremony assured Abraham that his seed would inherit the land in the exact boundaries given to him in Genesis 15:18-21.
The Lord gave circumcision to Abraham and his descendants to distinguish those who would inherit the promises as individuals through faith from those who were only physical seed of Abraham (Gen. 17:9-14).
The “Abrahamic” covenant was confirmed by the birth of Isaac and Jacob who also received the promises repeated in their original form (Gen. 17:10; 28:12-13).
A comparison of Hebrews 6:13-18 and Genesis 15:8-21 records that the “Abrahamic” covenant was immutable and was not only promised but solemnly confirmed by an oath from God.
Genesis 12:6-9 records Abraham’s journey through the land of Canaan, which the Lord had promised to Abraham and his descendants.
Genesis 13:14-18 records the Lord promising land to Abram and is called in theology, the “Palestinian” covenant, which is in fact an extension of the “Abrahamic” covenant, which is recorded in Genesis 12:1-3.
Like the “Abrahamic” covenant, the “Palestinian” covenant that the Lord established with Abram denoted the Lord’s gracious undertaking for the benefit of Abram and his descendants.
Like the “Abrahamic” covenant, the “Palestinian” covenant was “unconditional” meaning that its fulfillment was totally and completely dependent upon the Lord’s faithfulness.
Genesis 15:7 records the Lord reiterating and confirming His original promises to Abram recorded in Genesis 12:7 and Genesis 13:14-17 to give him and his descendants the land of Canaan.
Genesis 22:15-18 records the Lord reconfirming the promises of this covenant and then enlarges upon them.
Every time Abraham made a sacrifice for God the Lord responded by giving Abraham more:
(1) God commanded Abraham to leave his hometown and as a result God rewarded him with a new one (Gen. 12:1; Heb. 11:8).
(2) Abraham offered the best of the land to Lot and separated from Lot and as a result God rewarded him by giving him more land (Gen. 13:5-18).
(3) Abraham gave up the King of Sodom's reward (Gen. 14:17-24) and God gave Abraham more wealth (Gen. 15:1-6).
(4) God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac after he waited so long for him to be born (Genesis 22:1-19; Hebrews 11:17-19) and as a result the Lord rewards Abraham by enlarging upon the previously made covenant (Gen. 22:15-18).
In each case, where Abraham was obedient to God, God rewarded Abraham with a deeper and more intimate fellowship with Himself.
“Your seed” in Genesis 22:18 refers to not only Isaac but also those who like Abraham exercise faith alone in Christ alone, which would include the church and regenerate Israel and regenerate Gentiles who lived in dispensations outside of the church age and ultimately it refers to Jesus Christ (cf. Gal. 3:13).
The Scriptures teach that the “seed” of Abraham is four-fold: (1) Abraham’s biological or racial descendants, which would include: (a) The Ishmaelites through Hagar (Gen. 17:20; 21:13; 25:12-18) (b) The Midianites and others through Keturah (Gen. 25:1-4) (c) The Edomites through Isaac and Rebekah (Gen. 25:23; 36:1-43). (2) Abraham’s biological or racial descendants the Israelites of Jews through Sarah and Isaac and Rebekah and Jacob (Genesis 12:2, 7; 18:18; Rom. 9:6-9). (3) Abraham’s spiritual descendants, which would include those individuals, both Jew and Gentile racially, who exercised faith alone in Christ alone (Gal. 3:6-29). (4) The Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16).
The Lord statement that “in your seed (Christ) all the nations of the earth will be blessed” echoes the Lord’s promise in Genesis 18:18 and is an enlargement upon the Lord’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 that in Abraham “all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Galatians 3:8-14 reveals that the promise in Genesis 18:18 that “in (Abraham) all the nations of the earth will be blessed” and the promise in Genesis 22:19 that “in your Seed (Christ) all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” are references to the fact that Abraham’s descendent, Jesus Christ, would bring salvation to the Gentile nations through faith in Him.
In Genesis 26:3-4, Isaac received reconfirmation of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant by means of a theophany and in Genesis 26:23-25, the Lord appeared in a theophany to Isaac at Beersheba and gave him reassurance by reconfirming to him the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.
In Genesis 28:3-4, the blessing that Isaac bestowed upon Jacob before he left home echoes the promises of the Abrahamic covenant and in Genesis 28:14-15, God’s reiteration of the promises to Abraham and Isaac assures Jacob of God’s faithfulness.
Genesis 28:13-15 records Jacob receiving from the Lord reconfirmation of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant and reassurance that the Lord would protect and prosper him in exile in Paddan Aram.
Genesis 35:9-13 records the preincarnate Christ appearing to Jacob and reconfirming the change of his name to “Israel” and reconfirming the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.