About Jesus Steve Sweetman
The Abrahamic Covenant And Prophetic History
Nature of The Abrahamic Covenant
covenant is normally an agreement between two people. Both parties have
a part to play in implementing and keeping the agreement, but not so
with the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 15.
though Genesis 15:18 and elsewhere says that God made a covenant with
Abraham, technically speaking, that's not exactly the case.
Yes, God did promise Abraham certain things, but the
implementation and keeping of these promises had nothing to do with
Abraham. Genesis 15 states
the events surrounding the ceremonial ritual that confirmed the promises
God made to Abraham. Remember,
God had already made certain promises to Abraham.
Genesis 15 is the confirmation of these promises with a ritual
that was common practice back then.
asked Abraham to prepare all that was necessary for this ritual, but
once everything was in place, God put Abraham into a deep sleep.
Yes, Abraham wasn't even awake when the agreement was ratified. He
was fast asleep. So if
Abraham wasn't awake to sign on to the covenant, who did God make the
simple. God didn't make the
covenant with Abraham. He made
it with Himself. Hebrews
6:13 and 14 states that there was no one greater than God to confirm the
covenant with so He confirmed it with Himself.
Being the ultimate authority over all there is, He agreed with
Himself to fulfill all aspects of the covenant.
God alone is responsible to fulfill the promises He made to
Abraham. Abraham had no part
in the confirmation process, so he, nor anyone else, has any part in
keeping the covenant. Abraham's
part was to simply trust that God would do as He said. Paul
says in Romans 9:16 that what God decides to do does not depend on man's
ability to get it done, but on His ability alone.
I'm glad about that.
point is this. God will keep
the promises He made to Abraham as they were originally meant to be
understood. That's not our
responsibility. It's His responsibility alone.
He made the covenant with Himself, and He'll work it out Himself.
So I believe that all the promises God made to Abraham, have
either been fulfilled, or will yet be fulfilled, exactly as they were
originally meant to be understood.
Significance Of This Unilateral Covenant
why is all this so important anyway?
One reason why this unilateral agreement is important is because
the New Covenant of salvation works the same way.
There's nothing we can do to bring about God's promise of
salvation. God chose to work
that out Himself, and He'll make sure it's completed.
We simply trust that God will do as He promised, just as Abraham
reason why this is important is because some people think that the
unfaithfulness of Abraham's descendents nullified the promises made to
Abraham. It's like God
redefined the terms of the covenant in mid stream when He didn't like
what Abraham's grandkids were doing.
I don't think God redefined anything, and I certainly don't think
we should redefine things for Him. And
by the way, I don't think the apostle Paul redefined any of these things
believe the Biblical text states that what God promised Abraham, He will
cause to happen as specifically promised, without redefining the terms
of the covenant. With this
in mind, let me briefly state two main views of thinking concerning the
view states that the promises that were personal to Abraham have been
fulfilled. For example,
"he'd live to an old age".
He did, and we all agree on that.
concerning Abraham's descendents have already been fulfilled too, never
to be fulfilled again. The promises concerning land and greatness of Israel's nationhood were fulfilled in the glory days of
after these glory days, Israel
forsook the God of Abraham. At
this point the promises made to Abraham were withdrawn by God.
The rejection of Jesus by Israel
cemented this withdrawal of promises into the ground.
Using the Roman army, God demolished Jerusalem, and dispersed the Jews throughout the world, ending the promises made
to Abraham for good.
the promises are now fulfilled through Abraham's "offspring"
or "seed", and the apostle Paul, in Galatians 3:16 says the
"seed" is Jesus. The
word "seed" is singular, not plural, and therefore can't refer
to a whole bunch of Abraham's descendents.
So this view states that all the promises given to Abraham are
now promised to Jesus, and fulfilled in Jesus.
Since Christians are "in Christ", Christians have
this understanding in mind, people who hold to this view reinterpret all
the Old Testament prophecies directed to
view states that what God promised Abraham, in all three categories I've
previously mentioned, will be fulfilled exactly as specified.
There's no changes, and no redefining of terms.
Israel's backslidden condition does not nullify the covenant because she
didn't participate in the ratification of the covenant. God
made the covenant with Himself and He will carry it through to
completion as He originally intended. Therefore
still has prophetic significance. What
is prophesied about
view is simpler to understand, more literal in nature, and I think more
hermeneutically balanced. I
will proceed to explain why I feel this view to be the correct view.