About Jesus Steve Sweetman
The Abrahamic Covenant And Prophetic History
Long Journey For Me
It's been a long journey
for me when it comes to this subject.
One reason for the length of the journey is that as a young
Christian my two favourite Bible teachers in the early 1970's took
opposing viewpoints on the subject of
Abraham Get What Was Promised?
had a son by Sarah. You can
put a checkmark beside promise
number 1 on my list of 13 promises.
Abraham died in peace as an old man.
Put a checkmark by promise 6.
Abraham didn't get to see the fulfillment of the other promises
in his lifetime because although
they were spoken to him, they were specifically addressed to his
descendents and to his offspring.
are two important questions we need to address.
When did, or when will all the promises be fulfilled?
And, were the promises that weren't fulfilled in Abraham's life
directed towards Abraham's descendents, or towards his offspring, or
towards both? How you answer
this will determine how you view prophecy.
It may even effect how you vote in a national election. Let's
checkout Paul to see what he says.
Teaching In Romans 1 Through 4
Romans chapter 1 through 3 verse 20 Paul states that both Jew and
Gentile are in the same boat when it comes to sin.
Even though Israel
had the advantage over the Gentiles, she was just as wicked.
Paul lumps us all together; wicked at heart, and in desperate
need of a Saviour.
argument shifts gears in Romans 3:21.
He says that there is "now a righteousness from God that is
apart from law". The
word "now" might suggest
that this is something new, but Paul says it's not new.
Abraham experienced this righteousness way back in his lifetime.
is the state of being in which one is perfectly right in the essence of
who he is, just as God Himself is perfectly right in the essence of who
He is. You might want to
think about that for a bit. Paul
tells us that if we trust our lives to Jesus, God declares us as being
in this state of perfect rightness.
I like to say it this way. Trust
your life with Jesus and God will view you as being perfectly right
all the time, even as He Himself is perfectly right all the time, even
though you're far from perfectly right most of the time.
says that this state of being perfectly right is a free gift from God to
both Jew and Gentile upon trusting your life to Jesus.
We can't earn it or work for it.
We trust for it.
brings Abraham into the discussion in Romans 4:3 when he states that
because Abraham believed what God promises he was credited, or declared as
being righteous. Paul quotes
directly from Genesis 15:6 and 22, the confirmation of the Covenant
chapter. God viewed Abraham
as being in this state of perfect rightness even though he wasn't, just
because he trusted what He said. For
this reason alone God declared Abraham as righteous. The same is true
for us today.
Teaching In Galatians 3
book of Galatians is also about God declaring us
righteous by our faith. In
the book Paul vents his Holy Spirit led frustration with the Christians
at Galatia. These people once
understood that God would view them as righteous if they'd simply trust
that He'd do as He promised. That
was changing. Certain men
had infiltrated their midst and were successfully convincing them that
Paul was all wrong. They
claimed that you had to do
lots of things before God would declare you righteous.
For men, circumcision was at the top of
the ”things to do list".
Imagine grown men getting circumcised in those days. These
infiltrators actually spied on the Galatian men to see who was
circumcised and who wasn't. I
wonder what covert spy techniques were employed to gain this
verse 15 Paul states that if a human contract, or covenant, can't be
broken, it makes no sense that God would break His covenant.
With God's covenant in mind, he then makes the statement in verse
16 that we've argued about for centuries. He says, "the promises
were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.
The Scripture does not say and 'to seeds', meaning many people,
but, 'to your seed', meaning one person who is Christ." Paul
says that the promises God spoke to Abraham were promised to both
Abraham and to his seed who is Jesus, and that these promises won't be
broken. So what does
One Seed Of Galatians 3
3:16 says that God made promises to
two people, Abraham and Jesus.
Here's the problem we have to solve.
When we list all the promises from Genesis, there are three
recipients of God's
promises, not two as Paul says in Galatians 3. The three recipients in
Genesis are, Abraham, his descendents, and his offspring who we now know
is Jesus. The two recipients
in Galatians 3 are, Abraham and his offspring Jesus.
Galatians says two. Genesis says three.
What's going on here?
is the issue that separates the two views concerning
I study all of Paul's writings, not just Galatians 3, I conclude that
God promised Abraham, his descendents, and Jesus certain things.
Here's why I believe as I do.
Paul's point in Galatians 3 is that God declares us as righteous
when we trust him for it and not our good deeds.
Everything else he says is in support of this fact.
3 is not an exposition on the Abrahamic Covenant with a detailed
explanation of all the specific promises within the covenant.
The Abrahamic Covenant is a side issue to help explain
righteousness by faith. No
specific promise like the promise of land or Israel
becoming great is addressed. That's
not why Paul wrote Galatians 3. He
covers those issues elsewhere, especially in Romans 9 through 11.
do learn one main thing about the Abrahamic Covenant from Galatians 3.
We learn that when we read the word "offspring", or the
word "seed" in Genesis, it applies to Jesus.
We therefore can replace the word "offspring" with
Jesus when we read Genesis. What
we cannot do is replace the word "descendents" with Jesus when
we read Genesis. Paul isn't
explaining the word "descendents" here, he's only explaining
the word "offspring". Descendents
aren't part of the
discussion in this chapter. Therefore
Galatians 3 does not discount the fact that God promised specific things
to Abraham's descendents Israel.
Paul emphasizes the word "offspring" as being singular, we can
emphasize the word "descendents" as being plural.
Offspring refers to one person, descendents to more than one
person. So both words can't
refer to just the one person Jesus.
Therefore the promises were made to both Jesus and Israel. Those who say
me it's simple. God promised
Abraham certain things, his descendents Israel
certain things, and Jesus certain things. This
approach to prophecy makes all the difference in the world concerning