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The Abrahamic Covenant And Prophetic History

Part 6

Wrapping Things Up


Galatians 3:16 is the pivotal verse that distinguishes between the two ways of viewing Israel in prophetic history.  Those who believe Israel has lost her prophetic and historic significance point out that Abraham's offspring is Jesus, and rightly so.  They say that all the promises made to Abraham's descendents are fulfilled in Jesus because He is Abraham's offspring.  The problem with this thinking is that the word "offspring" differs in meaning from the word "descendents".  So you can't lump all the promises made to Abraham's descendents onto the lap of Abraham's offspring Jesus.  Paul is only addressing one word in Galatians 3, and that's the singular word "seed", or "offspring" as seen in the Genesis account.  He is not addressing the plural word "descendents" that is also seen in the Genesis account.  Galatians 3:16 does not redefine the word "descendents" and make it mean the same as word "offspring".


The Genesis account refers to three specific recipients of God's promises.  They are, Abraham, his descendents Israel , and his offspring Jesus.  In Galatians 3, Paul is only speaking of the offspring Jesus, not the descendents Israel.  According to Paul's logic, if the word "offspring" is singular, then the word "descendents" remains plural.  Therefore the singular offspring and the plural descendents can't refer to the same person, that is, Jesus.  I maintain that Galatians 3 does not exclude Israel from the promises spoken to Abraham in Genesis because Paul was not speaking about them in Galatians 3:16.  I'd suggest you read Galatians 3 carefully to understand what I've just said.


One thing we should note is that all of the promises concerning greatness, land, foreverness, and number of descendents, are promised to both Jesus and Israel.   These promises are linked together because when Jesus returns to earth as the King of the Jews, He will fulfill these promises and include Israel in the fulfillment.  For example, Jesus will inherit the land, and give it to Israel. 


Genesis 12:2 and 3 clearly state that it is God Himself who will fulfill all the promises.  We can't view present day Israel as being in any condition to bring about the fulfillment of any promise.  I don't think the church is in any shape either to help God out in this matter.  Besides, it's not Israel's place, or the church's place to make sure these things come about.  And when it comes to the church, we're more like Israel than what we want to admit. 


Some people talk as if Israel has some kind of ability  on her own to get the promised land.  I don't see this happening.  All the Old Testament passages clearly state that God Himself will make sure what He has promised will indeed take place. 


I'd like to close with some isolated passages that I haven't commented on.


Stephen, in Acts 7:1 to 5 spoke about the promised land.  If you read what he said, you'll note that he understood the land to be literal land and not spiritual land.  I suggest Stephen knew what he was talking about.


After Jesus gave the disciples final instructions before His ascension, in Acts 1:6 the disciples asked Him, "are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel"?  Jesus didn't answer by saying, "sorry guys, I've changed my mind, it's no longer a literal Kingdom but a spiritual kingdom".  He simply said that it was not for them to know "the times and dates the Father has set".   That implies that God has set a time and a date when Israel would repossess their kingdom, clearly pointing to Israel's future significance.


If you want to get a good picture of what the end of this age looks like, read Isaiah 13 and 14.  It's not a pretty picture.  The coming of our Lord is a destructive day, but a day that ends in the salvation of both Israel and the church.    


Isaiah 13:19 says, "Babylon, the jewel of nations ... will be overthrown by God".  After this mighty overthrow,  Isaiah 14:1 says, "the Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again He will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land the house of Israel will possess the nations "  The land is literal. Israel is literal, and along with Jesus, Israel will possess their land and rule the nations of the earth.  


Concerning people and nations blessing Israel today based on Genesis 12:2 and 3.  God said that He'd bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse him.  Some people say we should ignore this passage because Israel is way outside of God's will today.  I don't see it that way.  Abraham left God's will in Canaan to go to Egypt.  While outside of God's will,  Abraham lied to Pharaoh, and tricked him into believing that Sarah was his sister, not his wife.  He did this to save his own skin.  He wasn't thinking of Sarah when he gave her to Pharaoh to be his wife.  This was all premeditated by Abraham.  His lie and trickery caused another man to take his wife for himself.  You might say that Abraham at this point wasn't much different than Israel today.   Yet even though Abraham was outside of God's will, God still cursed Pharaoh for taking Sarah to be his wife, even though Pharaoh didn't know Sarah was already married. 


God fulfilled his promise to curse those who curse Abraham by cursing Pharaoh, even though Abraham was clearly outside of God's will, just like Israel is today.  Israel does not have to be walking in God's will in order for God to bless or curse those who bless or curse Israel.  The promises don't depend on man's faithfulness to God, but God's faithfulness to Himself and His sovereign choices. (Romans 9:16)


In the Abrahamic Covenant, God spoke many promises to Abraham, mostly of which concerned Jesus and srael.  Both will be reunited at the end of this age when God alone pours out a spirit of repentance upon Israel.   At that time, both Abraham's descendents Israel and his offspring Jesus will together receive all the remaining promises.  You can count on that.        


So this has been my thinking.  Consider what I say and the Lord give you the understanding in all things. 

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