The Blessing of Abram & God’s Promised Land to His Offspring
The Blessing of Abram & God’s Promised Land to His Offspring
Because Abram left his country as the LORD had told him, he was greatly blessed.
Abram would father a great nation who would receive the Promised Land.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8
Abram did not question the LORD, but faithfully obeyed and embarked on a journey to an unknown land.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3
Abram, who was later named Abraham, became the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob went down to live in Egypt where he and his offspring were referred to as the Hebrews. When the Hebrews were delivered from the bondage of Egypt after 400 years of slavery, they emerged as the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel was divided after the death of King Solomon. The Northern Kingdom which was comprised of ten of the twelve tribes was taken into captivity by the Assyrians and dispersed among the nations. Over a century later, the Southern Kingdom endured 70 years of captivity in Babylon. The captives who returned to Judah were henceforth referred to as the Jews.
God has made the Jewish people an extraordinary blessing to “all the families of the earth.” They have contributed scientific and technological breakthroughs in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, biology, electronics, and many other area of study that have literally transformed the world. Jews on a percentage basis have won more Nobel prizes than any other ethnic or religious group. Jews also have disproportionate accomplishments and achievements in the fields of business, entertainment and the humanities.
Jewish Pioneers in the Fields of Science and Medicine
Dr. Jonas Salk created the first Polio Vaccine.
Dr. Abraham Waksman coined the term antibiotics.
Casmir Funk pioneered a new field of medical research and coined the word "vitamins."
Dr. Simon Baruch performed the first successful operation for appendicitis
Dr. Paul Ehrlich is considered the father of chemotherapy
Dr. Abraham Jacobi is considered America's father of pediatrics.
Dr. Albert Sabin developed the first oral polio vaccine.
Dr. Albert Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics
the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. Romans 9:4-5
From God through the nation of Israel came the patriarchs, the divine covenants, the Law of Moses, the prophets, the apostles and Messiah Jesus. Surely all nations have been blessed through Abram.
According to Hal Lindsey’s article 'I will bless them that bless thee' that was published by World Net Daily:
“God promised that He would curse them that curse you. The precision with which God kept this promise is nothing less than astonishing.
During the Crusades from 1095 to 1270, Jews in Southern Europe fled to Spain, England, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe as the result of severe persecution and wholesale massacres of the Jews.
England turned out to be the wrong place to go, because in 1290 King Edward I expelled the Jews. King Charles II did the same thing in 1394 by forcing all Jews from France. Interestingly, Spanish Jews found peace and security in Spain and Portugal while those countries were under Muslim rule.
At that point in history, Europe was fractured, ignorant and in constant turmoil, while that same period of time is known to history as the Golden Age of Islam.
The Moors were world-renowned for their knowledge of astronomy, medicine and science, and the Islamic world boasted the most extensive libraries that had ever existed to that time.
In the 1400s, the Moors were kicked out of Spain by the Papal forces of Europe. In 1492, on the same day Columbus set sail for the New World, Spain expelled any unconverted Jews who had survived the Spanish Inquisition. This time they fled back to England where the Protestant reformation now welcomed them.
Spain’s global empire lasted less than a century after it expelled its Jews, to be replaced by the Jew-friendly British Empire whose reach extended to every corner of the globe. In 1917, the British captured Palestine from the Muslims. The British Crown offered the Jews a homeland via the Balfour Declaration, and a year later, England won the First World War.
After the war, the British broke most of their promises to the Jews, restricted Jewish immigration to the Holy Land, and in the years since have increasingly turned their backs on the Jews that brought them such great blessings for more than 300 years.
The British Empire upon which the sun never set in 1900, had, by 1948, lost its last colony when Burma declared independence, and the British Empire was no more.
In 1933, Germany was among the most cultured and sophisticated nations in Europe. Old Berlin was Europe’s Crown Jewel. The Nazis turned on the Jews, together with most of Eastern Europe, and 12 years later, Europe’s Crown Jewel was a pile of burning rubble.
The Arab world, which had been so blessed during its Golden Age, collapsed into its present state of affairs, with most of it still operating as if electricity had never been harnessed.
The Arab Muslims supported Hitler, opposed Jewish immigration, waged repeated wars against Israel, deny Israel its rightful territory, and now mount a global jihad to finish Hitler’s goal of total extermination. The backward nature of modern Islamic culture and society are the fruits of those efforts.”
So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. Genesis 12:4-5
We know from the genealogical account of Genesis chapter 11 that Abram’s family originally was from Ur. Many scholars associate Ur with the ancient city of Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia. Ur was situated on a former channel of the Euphrates River in what is now southern Iraq.
But Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review, commented in a Los Angeles Times article published on October 18, 1999 that, “…the Iraqi Ur is 1,000 miles southeast of Haran. No one going from Ur to Canaan would first go north all the way to Haran, as a glance at any map will show. Ancient cuneiform records--from places such as Ebla, Ugarit, Nuzi and Alalakh--refer to an Ur (or several Urs) that appear to be in the vicinity of Haran…”
He goes on to argue that “… Abraham's grandson, Jacob, worked 20 years for Laban, the father of Rachel and Leah, in the land of Abraham's birth. When Jacob finally returned to Canaan, he had to cross the Euphrates River. Yet the Iraqi Ur lies west of the Euphrates River. You don't have to cross the Euphrates to get to Canaan from the Iraqi Ur. This is just one more reason why the Iraqi Ur is unlikely to be Abraham's birthplace.
There are several candidates for Abraham's Ur near Haran. One of them is Urfa, in southern Turkey, where local tradition insists that it is Abraham's birthplace. The local mosque is called the Mosque of Abraham, and Urfa's pool of sacred fish is called the Lake of Abraham the Beloved.”
Although Hershel Shanks proposes some strong arguments for a closer location of the city of Ur in southern Turkey, the longer route from Ur in Iraq to Hara would avoid making a cross of the Arabian Desert.
Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran. Genesis 11:31
Haran is located in present day Turkey, about 10 miles north of the Syrian border.
This was no easy journey. Terah had to transport his family, servants, goods, and animals on a hard trek, probably walking with possessions and provisions loaded on donkeys, covering perhaps 20 miles for each day on the road.
Terah's clan had good reason to make a prolonged stay in Haran. In the first place, it was important, after the arduous journey from Ur to Haran, to allow their flocks to recover by a long rest with good pasture. Losses in animals must have been appreciable. Before setting out on the second leg of their journey from Haran to the south of the land of Canaan, a distance of approximately 700 miles, they would need to restock their herds by natural means. That would require several years for ewes normally drop only one lamb each spring.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:6-7
Was God’s promise to give the land to the descendants of Abram fulfilled under the Old Testament and is no longer in effect under the New Covenant as Replacement Theologists claim?
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31: 31-33
Note that it is very clear who the people God is speaking about. They are referred to as: The House of Israel (the Northern Kingdom/10 tribes) and the House of Judah (The Southern Kingdom/Judah, Benjamin and the Levites). Even if you wanted to symbolize away the terms House of Israel and House of Judah to claim that the LORD is speaking about the church, there is a major problem.
The New Covenant is described as: It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt…
The New Covenant is promised to the physical descendants of the Hebrews who experienced the Exodus.
God foreknew the inability of any man or any nation, except for the perfect God/Man Jesus, to keep his commandments. Therefore the New Covenant was given because the Children of Israel broke the Mosaic Covenant – the one that was made after the Exodus on Mt. Sinai.
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”
The New Covenant which has been ratified and instituted by the blood of Jesus is the law of God now written on the hearts and minds of men by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
“I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Who are the “they” referred to as God’s people? They are those people whose forefathers were delivered out of Egypt and are presently known as the Jews.
God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel? Romans 11:2
The promise of the land was given to Abraham 400 years before the Mosaic Covenant. The Abrahamic covenant is not bilateral. It was not based upon his performance to fulfill the law but unconditional and irrevocable.
The Jews broke the Mosaic Covenant and have suffered the curses for disobedience. But the promise to Abraham that was reiterated to Isaac and to Jacob is still in full effect.
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates- the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." Genesis 15:18-21
This gift of the land is a picture of grace and salvation. It had nothing to do with the works of the law. Abram believed the LORD's promise of a seed coming from his body (the Messiah). It was by faith that he was deemed righteous. Abram was given blessings that he did not earn – a picture of grace.
Read the Book of Hosea carefully. Hosea's family life reflected the “adulterous” relationship which Israel had built with polytheistic gods. Hosea’s children's names made them like walking prophecies of the fall of the ruling dynasty and the severed covenant with God. Hosea is often seen as a “prophet of doom,” but underneath his message of destruction is a promise of restoration. Understand that Israel was a prostitute like Gomer. But eventually the marriage covenant breaker came back to her husband. It is God's faithfulness not our ability to keep covenant that we are saved. The Jews have been called by God back to their land.
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Romans 11:28-29
God's gifts and calling are not taken back. Israel is loved on account of the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The LORD's promises to them including the Land of Israel were given before the Mosaic Covenant and are irrevocable.
Many have been influenced by poor theology that started with the lie that the Jews are Christ killers who have been cast off as the Chosen People and now have been replaced by the church. God has not rejected his people nor has He taken back his promises to the Patriarchs.
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious... do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. Romans 11:11, 18
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. Genesis 12:8-9
Abram had built an altar to the LORD at Shechem after the LORD said that the land would be given to Abram’s offspring. Shechem was located in the hill country of Ephraim. Shechem means “shoulder.” From Shechem, Abram headed south and pitched his tent between Bethel, which means “House Of God,” on the west and Ai, which means “Heap of Ruins,” on the east. The city of Ai was later burned to the ground by Joshua and became of heap of ruins.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
The government will be shouldered by Messiah. At Shechem, meaning “shoulder,” the promise was first given that the descendants of Abram, the nation of Israel, would settle in the Promised Land. Messiah will rule and reign from Zion over the 12 tribes during the Millennium.
Then Abram pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai. A tent or tabernacle is symbolic of our mortal bodies. It is a temporary dwelling. We must make a choice in this life if we are to dwell eternally in Bethel (the house of God), by placing our trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Bethel was to the west of Abram’s tent. The sun sets in the west. There will be no need for the sun in the New Jerusalem.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. Revelation 21:23
Ai, which was named and later was set ablaze to become a “heap of ruins,” was located to the east of Abram’s tent. The sun rises in the east to blaze upon the wandering nomads of the Middle Eastern deserts. If while still dwelling in our mortal tents, we reject God’s gracious gift we will eternally be separated from God to wander aimlessly in “a smoldering heap of ruins.”
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. Genesis 12:10
Almost as quickly as Abram enters into Canaan, he leaves. Isn’t this strange? Abram trusted God for over 1,000 miles from Ur to Canaan. He followed. He left behind his culture, his friends, and his possessions. He traveled to a country where he had never been. Why? Because he believed that God was going to make him into a great nation. But when Abram arrived in Canaan and a famine hit the land he does not think he will survive for more than a few weeks. What does he do? He goes to Egypt and tries to solve his problems himself. The man who trusted God for the ultimate, his future, was unwilling to trust God for the immediate – food. It doesn’t seem to make sense. Abram trusted God for huge promises to extend through generations, but didn’t have faith when it came to immediate needs. Yet faith means trusting God for both His eternal promises as well as for our daily bread. This is where we often fail. We trust God with our eternal salvation, and then we worry about the struggles that we are going through and the decisions we have to make.
As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” Genesis 12:11-13
We understand that according to the account in Genesis 20:12, Abram’s wife Sarai was his half-sister. They had the same father, Terah but different mothers. Abram trusting in his own wisdom sought to protect himself by telling a half-truth. But half a truth is still the sin of omission.
When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. Genesis 12:14-16
Abram’s ploy seemed to be very successful and he prospered from his deception.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. Hebrews 11:24-25
Moses was commended as a great man of faith because he chose to be identified with the people of God rather than enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin provided by Pharaoh. Moses trusted in God’s provision and was willing to be mistreated. Abram, on the other hand, was fearful and sought to be treated well by the Egyptians.
But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. Genesis 12:17-20
Pharaoh and his household get sick. In his inquiry to understand why, Pharaoh discovers that he has taken Abram's wife as his own and is being punished for it. Pharaoh is angry. He blames Abram for not telling him the essential truth – that Sarah is Abraham's wife – rather than that she was his sister. Because Pharaoh senses that he is being judged for taking Sarah, he doesn't punish either Abram or Sarah, but instead sends them out of Egypt.
God was not going to break His promise to Abram nor have his plans thwarted. God tested Abram by striking Canaan with a famine. Abram fell short when he acted in fear rather than faith. Pharaoh who served the many gods of Egypt was afflicted, even though he did not intentionally sin by taking Sarai as one of his wives. Sinning in ignorance or unintentionally still has its consequences.
Abram who had failed a test of faith was blessed by God and left Egypt with all he had acquired. This was not accomplished by Abram’s works but by God’s mercy.