Abraham and the everlasting nature of the Land.

A Short Study by Steve Montgomery
Caixa Postal 278
19900-000 Ourinhos, S.P.
Brazil

Genesis 17:1-8,19 "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."

Some people question that the physical land promised to Abraham will literally be given to him, and that he will own it forever. Some have even tried to make the word "everlasting" mean something other than forever and ever, because they deny that God will actually and literally give Abraham and his seed the land in the future.

My answer to this question is that God is going to give the actual land promised to the physical seed of Abraham and they shall be placed in it forever. Forever like the eternal life we have in Christ Jesus. This does NOT negate the truth that we Gentiles are the spiritual seed of Abraham, through Jesus Christ, and that we will also inherit the spiritual promises. As God keeps His covenant physically, faithful and true as He is, He will also keep the spiritual part. If He is faithless in ONE part, how could He be faithful in another?

I. The covenant made with Abraham.

  1. Genesis 12 records Godís special call to Abram. We must remember that he was a direct descendant of Adam through Noahís son, Shem. There was NO need of calling out a special nation previous to the founding of nations, the division of languages, and the division of the physical land. After all this had happened, it was Godís time to call out a man to be the beginning of a nation that would witness for Him. Abram was that man.
  2. God promised to make of Abram a great nation, vs.2. God promised to bless Abram and make his name great, vs. 2 and to bless him. Other nations would be blessed or cursed, depending on their treatment of Abram, vs. 3. And in Abram, "all families of the earth" were to be blessed, vs. 3.
  3. When Abram entered the land of Canaan, God appeared to him and promised the LAND to his seed (descendants), vs. 7, and Abram built an altar there to the Lord and called upon His name, vs. 8.
  4. After his experiences in Egypt, Abram returned to the very location where he had build the altar, between Bethel and Hai, where he had called on the name of the Lord, Gen. 13:1-4.
    1. Abram demonstrated his love to the Lord and to Lot by letting the latter decide which part of the land he wanted.
    2. God explained how much land he was giving to Abram, 13:14-18, and another altar was built in Hebron. It was a renewal of Godís promise to him that he and his seed would inherit the land.
  5. Genesis 14 shows Abram being blessed by Godís special priest, Melchizedek, king of Salem. Abram showed he wanted only what GOD would give him, not earthly kings, since, after all, the whole earth belonged to Him, vs. 22-24.
  6. Genesis 15, God encourages Abram and promises a numerous seed, out of his own bowels.
    1. This is a promise of the birth of Isaac.
    2. This also is a promise of the multitudes that would believe in the true seed, Jesus Christ of the stock of Abraham, and thus all nations of the earth would be blessed.
    3. Again, the LAND is promised to Abram and confirmed. Vs.7-21.
    4. This is distinctly called a covenant in vs. 18. It includes the land from the river of Egypt all the way up to the Euphrates River.
    5. The future enslavement and deliverance of Israel was prophesied, vs. 13-16; Also Abramís death was prophesied, vs. 15.
  7. Then comes the story of Hagar and Ishmael in Chapter 16, to which Paul alluded in Gal. 4 where he compares the two covenants of law and grace. Hagar represents the law covenant and Sarah the grace covenant, which is Jerusalem above, the "mother of us all." It is important to consider that Isaac was the child of promise, and Ishmael the child of bondage.
  8. Gen. 17 shows the covenant renewed. I do not believe that this is a different or a separate covenant, but rather a reaffirmation of God to Abram of the terms of the original covenant.
    1. Abraham is promised that he will be multiplied exceedingly, vs. 2.
    2. He is promised to be a father of many nations, vs. 4, 5.
    3. His name was changed from Abram to Abraham. vs. 5.
    4. He was to be very fruitful. Nations and kings would come from him, vs. 6.
    5. The covenant was established by God between Himself and Abraham and Abrahamís seed forever, vs. 7
    6. The LAND was involved as an everlasting possession of Abraham and his seed, vs. 8
    7. Abrahamís God is to be the God of his seed. vs. 7-9.
    8. The sign of the covenant was circumcision, vs. 10-14. All the males were to be circumcised, even those of their slaves. The uncircumcised males were to be destroyed because it was a breach of the covenant. Again it was said that the covenant was for everlasting, vs. 13-14.
    9. This everlasting covenant was continued through Isaac, the son of promise, vs. 19, 21.
  9. Gen. 18 tells the story of how Sarah was told she was to be a mother, and her reaction. She laughed, and then out of fear denied that she laughed. As Abraham was going with the men who brought that message from God, the Lord said that Abraham would be a great and mighty nation, and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in him, vs. 11-18. This is another confirmation of the same covenant.
  10. In chapter 22 verse 2 it is interesting to note that Isaac was considered the only son of Abraham. This was not literally so, for he had a son by Hagar, even Ishmael. But only through Isaac was the royal and messianic line to be established, and it was to Isaac that God confirmed the Abrahamic covenant. God tested Abrahamís faith and steadfastness by ordering him to offer up Isaac, but God Himself provided a lamb to die in Isaacís place. This is a clear reference to Jesus, the Lamb of God, and His sacrificial death for us, in our place. Here, in verses 16 to 18, once again God confirms His covenant with Abraham and his seed.
    1. "In blessing I will bless thee," vs. 17.
    2. "In multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore," vs. 17.
    3. "And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies," vs. 17. This involves the land, without a doubt. Also the seed is a clear reference to Jesus Christ.
    4. And in verse 18, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."
  11. Chapter 26 shows the confirmation of the same Abrahamic covenant with Isaac, vs. 3-4.
    1. This has a distinct promise that Isaacís seed would receive all those countries, and in that seed, all the nations would be blessed. Again, this seed is none other than Jesus Christ, and through HIM, all the nations are and will be blessed.
    2. Psalm 2 shows Jesus is the true King of Kings, and that GOD gave him the nations as his inheritance and possession, vs. 7-8. Verse 9 is quoted in Rev. 2:27 about Christ and those of us who are of Him. It is also a distinct reference to the millennial kingdom of Jesus that is yet in the future. It involves the LAND that shall be given to Abraham and his seed forever.
  12. Jesus Christ has NOT yet taken possession of His inheritance which is the earth. He will. And those who have the faith of Abraham also will reign with him, but not now in this life. The second coming of Jesus to earth is necessary for the fulfilling of all those promises to give the land to His people. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Do the meek inherit it now? Do they wear a crown now, or carry a cross now?
  13. Heb. 11:30-40 teaches that all the Old Testament saints died without receiving the inheritance of the land, but that since God cannot lie, they WILL. But they will not receive it without US. And we donít have it yet. But we will at the resurrection, the blessed and holy first resurrection, when Jesus comes for His own.

 
 
 
 

II. Israel will return and be re-gathered to the land of Canaan.

  1. Micah 2:12 "I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel." Although Micah is directly referring to the return of the remnant after Assyria carried away all of north Israel and made Samaria a heap, it is also a prophecy or principle that can have a double fulfillment. It can apply also to the future gathering of Israel back into her land.
  2. Isaiah 11:10-12 "And IN THAT DAY there shall be a root of Jesse (Jesus), which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek (which we are doing now in the times of the Gentiles): and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass IN THAT DAY, that the Lord shall set his hand again the SECOND TIME to recover the remnant of his people...and he shall set up an ensign for the NATIONS, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the FOUR CORNERS of the EARTH."
    1. This is unmistakably future. "In that day" refers to the day described in verses 1-9, when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord. The first time after this prophecy was made, was when the Jews would return from Babylon. But Isaiah speaks of the SECOND TIME. This is the future re-gathering of Israel. These things certainly did not happen at the return of the tribes from Babylon! Isaiah prophesied BEFORE the Babylonian captivity. He refers to a future, second recovery from the isles of the sea and all the countries of the world. This is fulfillment of what God promised in Deut. 30:3-5. "Then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shall possess it..." Even if Israel be scattered to the end of heaven, God will gather them and bring them back. This was dependent, however, upon their repentance.
  III. Jerusalem will one day be free of strangers (foreigners) or gentiles.
  1. Joel 3:15-17 "The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; (not a bellowing preacher from the pulpit!); and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more."
  2. When has this EVER taken place? Jesus said: "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24. Was this fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD? No, for the times of the Gentiles were not yet fulfilled. The fact is, Jerusalem is still partly possessed by Israelís enemies. It is full of strangers, both tourists and residents.
  3. This is also mentioned in Rev. 11:2, "and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." In this book of symbolism, here is a definite figure. In another place it is said to be 1,260 days, and in another it is a time, times and a half of a time. Why is this same amount of time mentioned three different ways? By days, by months and by years? This is to show us that it IS literal and not to be "spiritualized" away. It has not happened yet. When has Jerusalem ever been totally free of foreigners? That is their problem right now. Muslims, Catholics and the nations want to internationalize it and this may occur. But will God's promise to free Jerusalem totally and forever of Gentiles yet be fulfilled? How can it be "spiritually fulfilled" NOW, if this is now the time of the Gentiles? Isn't it AFTER the times of the Gentiles that Jerusalem shall be free of them? After being trodden down 42 months, or three and a half years? We find that figure over in Revelation also! Why do you suppose people try to prove that the book of Revelation was written BEFORE 70 AD? Because they believe that Jerusalemís destruction at that time was the fulfillment of that prophecy. There is absolutely no proof that Revelation was written before Jerusalem fell. Early Christian writers place it after 70 AD. John prophesied of a future 42 months when Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles. It is future, not history.
  4. Since Jesus and John both prophesy that Jerusalem is overrun by Gentiles until after the 42 months or 1,260 days or three and a half years is finished, then it is evident that Godís prophecy that the Gentiles will all be removed is yet in the future.
  5. .It also is evident that Danielís seventieth week was not fulfilled at Jesusí death or three and a half years afterward, but it is still to be fulfilled in the future.
IV. Jerusalem is forever.
  1. Joel 3:20-21 "But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." Here is a prophecy that Jerusalem will not be destroyed. It also speaks of her future cleansing.
  2. Israel will be cleansed only when she repents and mourns the ONE that was pierced. Zechariah 12:9-14 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart." This scripture speaks of the literal return of Jesus when every eye shall see Him. This is future, not history.
  3. This same promise was quoted in Rev. 1:7, and was written AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 D.C.! Jesus is YET to return, and when He does, He will find a repentant nation (remnant) of Israel. Jerusalem shall be trodden down during the times of the Gentiles, but will survive and go into the millennium.
  4. This truth is seen also in Matthew 23:38 compared with 24:30. Godís house of worship, the temple in Jerusalem, was deserted by Christ and he will not return until the repentance and mourning of Israel. When the repentance takes place, "they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other," Matt. 24:30-31.
  5. This is exactly what Peter preached to the leaders of Israel in Acts 3:19-21. 26. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive (or retain, keep) until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." This clearly teaches that the return of Jesus Christ to the earth hinges upon or is dependent upon the repentance and regeneration of a remnant of Israel.
  6. When Jesus returns, He will cleanse the land and consecrate the city of Jerusalem. The "city of peace" will become just that, for the first time in her history. Is not this the city Abraham looked for? "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles (tents) with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Heb. 11:9-10. This is also seen in Heb. 13:14 "For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." It is STILL future for us today. We belong to that city, hence we "are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," as far as our spiritual position before God is concerned. But it is STILL heavenly, and future. It is like the kingdom of God which is YET to come, for we pray for it to come, but there is a sense in which we can say, "wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, etc." Heb. 12:28. By faith it IS ours. But we have NOT possessed it yet. We WILL possess it at the same time the Old Testament saints possess it, Heb. 11:39-40.
V. Israel will return to her land from all nations.
  1. The return from Egypt in Mosesí day was symbolic of the later return from Babylon; the return from Babylon was symbolic of a future return from ALL nations. The OT prophets looked forward to the return of the tribes carried off into Babylon. This future return is a type of the complete fulfillment when a united Israel will return from all nations.
  2. Jer. 23:7 mentions their return from Egypt, but verse 8 refers to ALL countries where they were to be driven out and then come back. The "second time" as Isaiah said, refers to the time AFTER the one when they came from Babylon. The first was from one country. The future return will be from all countries.
  3. Deut. 30:1-6 says they would be scattered because of their sins, but would be gathered from all nations and then given a new heart.
  4. Isa. 43:5-7 says that God will bring the Jews back "from far" and from all directions, that is, "from the ends of the earth." This is not the return from Babylon.
  5. Jer. 29:10-14 teaches that Israel would certainly be taken to Babylon and remain there 70 years but would return. This prophecy is what caused Daniel to get excited about the fulfilling of those years and looked forward to the return of Israel to her land. They had no king. Would God at that time restore the crown to David's seed? Daniel was told there were 70 sevens yet in the future for that. Verse 11 promises peace and not evil at the END, "an expected end" which means there would be hope at the latter end. Daniel was told he would have to wait for the fulfillment. He will receive it only at his resurrection. That was HIS hope, and it is ours. Also Israel's repentance and receiving a new heart was promised, vs. 12-14 but Israel did NOT repent when Jesus came to them the first time. They rejected Him. But they WILL call on the Lord and seek Him, and find Him. THEN they will be "gathered from all the nations."
  6. Jer. 31:8-9 shows that the Jews will come from all countries, weeping and repenting. Verse 15 was fulfilled in Matt. 2:18 with the slaughter of the children. God tells them to stop weeping in verse 16 because one day "there is hope in thy end" and they will be rewarded and come again from the land of their enemy into their own border, vs. 17.
  7. Ezekiel 37:15-28 declares that God will unite Judah and Israel one day, and gather them from all places they have gone, and then they will have one King, one Shepherd, and that David will be their Prince forever. God will make an everlasting covenant of peace with them, and his sanctuary will be in their midst forever. THEN the heathen (Gentiles) shall know that God sanctifies Israel and that He is God. This promise has never been fulfilled. It will be when King David, Shepherd David and Prince David returns. That is, when Jesus Christ unites Israel and gathers them from all over the earth and places His dwelling place among them.
  8. Micah 4:7 prophesies that the nation of Israel that was cast off will become a strong nation and the "Lord shall reign over them in Zion from henceforth, even for ever." This has NEVER happened. After the Babylonian captivity there has never been peace in Jerusalem, nor has Jehovah God ruled over them in Zion. He will one day when the times of the gentiles are fulfilled. This does NOT deny that we Gentiles are the spiritual seed of Abraham through Jesus Christ. We are included in the promise. But this does NOT replace the literal promises to the physical seed of Abraham, both Judah and Israel.
  9. Hosea 3:3-5 declares that Israel will be a long time without king, priest, sacrifice, etc. This is a present reality. The Lord God is NOT called their "Ishi" today. When their True King and High Priest appeared, Jesus Christ, they rejected Him and asked that His blood be on their hands and the hands of their children. They were scattered among all the nations. The name "Jew" has become a byword. But has God forgotten all those promises to restore them if they will repent? Of course not! Will He ignore His own promises to Israel just because He has allowed us Gentiles to be grafted into His chosen people in our time? No! One day "shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord, and David their King; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the LATTER DAYS." Now we know this has NOT happened yet. Hosea said it will be in the latter days. I believe Israel will be brought back in repentance to God and will say "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Rev. 1:7 says "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." Part of this is a quote from Zechariah 12:10 which deals with the destruction of Israelís enemies that come against Jerusalem, and deals with Israelís national mourning, tribe by tribe and family by family, over the one they crucified, Jesus Christ!
VI. Zionistís return to Palestine was NOT the fulfillment of the Old Testament
  1. Ezekielís prophecy of the dry bones is significant. Ezekiel 37:1-14. The bones represent the nation of Israel cut off from God, or dead. God brings the bones together, puts sinews and flesh on them, but they still lack life. This is the condition of Zionist Israel today. It lacks the Spirit of God. They will only receive this when they return to God in repentance and then they will be placed in their land with Godís approval.
  2. Ezekielís prophecy of the uniting of the two sticks is also significant. Ezekiel 37:15-28. Joseph and Ephraim are not united now. God will bring them together as one nation from all nations and give them their land and King David, Jesus Christ, will be King and Shepherd over them. God will make an everlasting covenant of peace with them and will dwell among them. He will be their God and they shall be His people.
  3. Ezekielís prophecy in chapter 36 explains in detail how that Israel will repent and be brought back into fellowship with their God as well as brought back from all nations of the earth. God will give them a new heart, forgive their sins, consecrate them and bless them. God said, "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do they. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people and I will be your God." Eze. 36:24-28. The verses to follow speak distinctly about the LAND that shall be restored and become "like the garden of Eden." This is not to be spiritualized, but received as a literal promise of God to fulfill His promise to give the land to the heirs of the promise.
In conclusion: When God promised the land to Abraham (Gen. 15:7-8), he wanted to know how he could be sure God would give it to him. God told him to take the animals and lay them out. When Abraham did that he had to drive away the birds until deep sleep and great darkness fell on him and he received the news his people would be in Egypt for a long time before being delivered. He was promised that they would receive the LAND. Stephen said that although it was promised to Abraham and his seed, he never received it in this life, Acts 7:5. Abraham died without receiving the END of that promise. Will he ever receive it? Well, if you believe in Abraham's resurrection to inherit (with us) the land, you can see that he will indeed inherit the actual land. Only then will the meek inherit the earth, Mt. 5:5. Only then will the twelve apostles rule over the twelve tribes of Israel, and those who have left all to follow Jesus shall receive their recompense, Mt. 19:28-29 We will have all this PLUS eternal life! Our martyred brethren in the past believed they would receive all this in the resurrection. I do too. They, like the OT saints, wandered about, lived in caves, and suffered many trials but did NOT receive the inheritance. I believe that one day they will receive it. It will happen at the same time that we receive ours. Heb.11:38-40. This will be at the resurrection of the just, the time of our reward, Luke 14:14. This will be "at the last day," John 11:24; John 6:39,40,54. This is the day when Paul said he would receive a crown of righteousness, II Tim. 4:8. When the Lord comes, he will give His people "power over the nations," Rev. 2:25-27. This is a literal promise, and God keeps His promises!

After all, all of Godís children will be somewhere in eternity. Why should we not be in the very place where God promised to put His name forever?

Ps 122:6 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee."
 

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