"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.VII Pg.6-8a
February 1942

The Abrahamic Promises

John T. Lewis

Abram and Sarai were ninety nine and eighty nine years old respectively, when God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah. In these articles I will speak of them only by their God given names, unless it be in quotations where their original, or shorter names appear... God appeared to Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and told him to get out from his country, from his kindred, and from his father's house, and go unto the land that he would show him. Abraham, Sarah his wife, Terah his father, and Lot his nephew, left Ur of the Chaldees and came to Haran. Thus for Abraham had not left his "Father's house," it appears that God stopped Abraham in Haran till his father died, then he came into the land of Canaan. Read Genesis 12:1-3. "Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Out of this two-fold promise Abraham was to become the progenitor of two great nations. The first was made up of his fleshly descendants, and constituted the earthly kingdom of Israel, God's chosen, and favored people for fifteen hundred years. The second great nation was to be a spiritual kingdom, made up from all nations of the earth, of those who would obey the gospel, which was, the climax and culmination of the promises. but as the earthy and earthly are always before the heavenly and spiritual, so the earthly kingdom of Israel had to come before spiritual Israel. God not only promised Abraham to make of his descendants a great nation, but prescribed the metes and bounds of the territory over which the nation should rule. These promises of an earthly kingdom, and the territory over which it should reign, were made forthright to Abraham, based on his faithfulness, and not on any contingency of his posterity. These promises therefore have been fulfilled or they will be. This must be admitted by all who believe in the omnipotence of God, because if God has not, and does not, fulfill his promises to Abraham, how could we have any assurance of our hope in "the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?" Premillennialists declare that these Abrahamic promises of an earthy kingdom have not been fulfilled. "Therefore the premillennial theory of unfulfilled promises becomes the foundation of the colossal superstition, with all the wild fancies, vagaries, and absurdities, with which the premillennialists have draped the restoration of the earthly kingdom of Israel. To me, this foundation is as absurd, and as vulnerable, as the foundation upon which the Roman Catholic church was founded. Yet there are millions who believe in the Catholic Church, and there are other millions, in all the Protestant denominations, who believe in the restoration of the earthly kingdom of Israel. There are two causes for these unfortunate conditions. First, because of teaching, not studying. Second, because the masses of people in religion are what they are because they are where they are. The average man always follows the course of least resistance and naturally accepts the popular teaching, and "Customs of his day, and of his country."

If it can be shown from the Old Testament that every promise God made to Abraham concerning his fleshly descendants, and the countries over which they should rule, has been fulfilled, then the foundation of premillennialism is gone, and the theory becomes untenable. Because the only thing that gives their speculations even a shade or a shadow of truth is their, contention the Abrahamic land promises have hot been fulfilled. Beginning from this point they spin and weave a labyrinth, out of what they call unfulfilled prophecy, and wind up in Jerusalem with Jesus Christ sitting on an earthly throne, and ruling over an earthly kingdom, where David sat and ruled more than a thousand years before Christ was born. I wonder how "He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory" will appreciate this wonderful (?) premillennarian ascension (?) promotion (?), and coronation over an earthly kingdom?

I propose to show from the old Testament that God did make of the fleshly descendants of Abraham a "great nation," and that they possessed, and ruled over all the lands God promised to Abraham, and thereby prove that every promise God made to Abraham concerning an earthly kingdom was fulfilled in every particular. When Abraham came to Shechem unto the oak of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, God appeared to him and said: "Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him" (Gen. 12:7). This was the first land promise, and it included the land of Canaan. When Abraham and Lot separated after their return from Egypt, Jehovah appeared to Abraham again, and said: "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and, to thy seed for ever" (Gen. 13:14, 15). This was the second time God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and to his seed. In Genesis 15:7, we read: "And he said unto him, I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it." This was the third land promise, and it was still limited to the Land of Canaan. After God had made these promises three different times to Abraham, he wanted God to tell him how he might know that the promises would be fulfilled. God told him to take "a heifer three years old, a she goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle-dove and a young pigeon." When Abraham had divided these animals and birds as God told him to do, and had driven the birds of prey away," when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon 'him. And he said unto Abraham, know of a surety that thy seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years" (Gen. 15:8-13). God here told Abraham that his descendants would be in bondage four hundred years before they inherited the land of Canaan, the land of promise. In verse 18, we read: "In that day Jehovah made covenant with Abraham, saying unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." God here extended the Abrahamic land grant to the river Euphrates—back to Abraham's native country. Did Abraham's descendants ever inherit this country? We will see. It was during the Egyptian bondage, and oppression, that Abraham's descendants developed into "a great nation." I will admit that that was a hard way to develop a nation, but that is the way it was done. The most oppressed people in the world have always been the most prolific, and it was by multiplying that Abraham's seed was to become as numberless as the stars of heaven or the sand upon the sea shore.

God later made the same promises to Isaac and Jacob. In Genesis 26:3, 4, God said to Isaac: "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father; and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." In Genesis 28:13, 14, God makes the same promises to Jacob. We read: "And, behold, Jehovah stood above it, and said, I am Jehovah the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed: and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." So, Isaac and Jacob were made heirs with Abraham of the same promise. In Hebrews 11:8-10, Paul says: "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out not knowing whether he went. By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, or in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, If this does not show that God fulfilled every promise he made to Abraham concerning his fleshly descendants, and the territory over which they as a nation should rule, then no fact can be shown from the Old Testament.

The heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Paul knew all about the promises God had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he certainly believed they had all been fulfilled when he wrote the book of Hebrews, because he was showing the superiority of the promises and blessings of spiritual Israel, over the promises and blessings of fleshly Israel. How any one can read, study, and compare the promises and blessings peculiar to each of these nations, and come to the conclusion that God will reverse his order and turn spiritual Israel back into fleshly Israel is beyond my comprehension.

Joseph was the first of Abraham's descendants to be carried into what turned out to be the "Egyptian bondage." He was seventeen years old when his brothers sold him, for twenty pieces of silver, to the Ishmaelites and Midianite Merchantmen. The Ishmaelites and Midianites were descendants of Abraham by his concubines, Hagar and Keturah. Hagar was an Egyptian and her descendants were carrying on commerce with the Egyptians, so they carried Joseph into Egypt and sold him to Potiphor, the captain of Pharoah's guard. Thus through the providence of God Joseph was carried into Egypt to prepare a place for, and the reception of Jacob and all of his family. When Jacob died Joseph's brothers naturally feared that Joseph would wreak vengeance on them, and they came to Joseph and pled for mercy. "And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? And as far you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:19, 20). Thus God used the wickedness of man to carry out his purpose, and I believe the same God rules today. Twenty-two years after Joseph was sold into Egypt, Jacob and all his household went into Egypt. At that time Joseph was second only to Pharaoh, and having "bought all the land of Egypt for Pharoah," it made it possible for Pharoah to turn all "the land Goshen" over to Jacob and his sons without the protest of the people. "And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; and they got them possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly" (Gen. 47:27). It may seem paradoxical; but Israel grew into a great and wealthy nation while in bondage. In Exodus 12:40, 41, we read: 4 "Now the time that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it, came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the-host of Jehovah went out from the land of Egypt." "The four hundred and thirty years" was from the time God made the promise to Abraham till the day the children of Israel were delivered from Egyptian bondage. Abraham was seventy-five years old when the promise was made to him; he was one hundred years old when Isaac was born. (Genesis 21:5). Isaac was sixty years old when Jacob was born (Gen. 25:26). Jacob was one hundred and thirty years old when he went into Egypt (Gen. 47:8, 9). It was therefore two hundred and fifteen years from the time of the promise till Jacob went into Egypt. That left two hundred and fifteen years for Israel's actual stay in Egypt. If you count from the birth of Isaac, Abraham's first heir, and seed, and allow five years for Abraham's stay in Haran, you have four hundred years. This is the number of years stated in Gen. 15:13, and quoted by Stephen in Acts 7:6. It makes no difference which number you take, Abraham's fleshly descendants have become "a great nation," and have been delivered from their bondage. Thus far God has fulfilled his promise to Abraham. We will now see if the nation ever possessed the lands that God promised Abraham.

It was forty years after their deliverance from Egypt before they crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, the land of promise. Moses finally led them into the land of Gilead, over against Jericho, where they were to cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan; but Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh did not want to cross the Jordan, so they asked Moses to let them remain in Gilead because that was a good cattle country. That stirred within Moses the memories of the mistakes, miseries, and sufferings of forty years. "And Moses said unto the children of God and to the children of Reuben, shall your brethren go to the war, and shall ye sit here? And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which Jehovah hath given them. Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadesh-Barnea to see the land. For when they went up unto the Valley of Eschol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which Jehovah had given them. And Jehovah's anger was kindled in that day, and he swore, saying, surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun; because they have wholly followed Jehovah. And Jehovah's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wonder to and fro in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of Jehovah, was consumed" (Numbers 32:6-13). The land of Gilead was in the extended land grant that God made to Abraham, so on the condition that the men would cross the Jordan and fight till their brethren possessed the land of Canaan, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half tribe of Manasseh were permitted to settle on the west side of the river Jordan. Moses had been so aggravated, and worried by the murmurings of the children of Israel while wondering in the wilderness, that he himself had failed to sanctify Jehovah in the eyes of the people at the waters of Meribah and was also barred from entering the land of Canaan." Read numbers 20:10-13. When the time come for the children of Israel to cross the river Jordan, Moses went "to the tops of Pisgah," where he could see over into the land of Canaan. "And Jehovah said unto him. This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither" (Deu. 34:4).

Joshua succeeded Moses as leader, led the children of Israel across the river Jordan, and into the possession of the land of Canaan. Before he delivered his valedictory speech, recorded in Joshua 24:1-15, he said, "So Jehovah gave unto Israel all the land which he swore to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it and dwelt therein. And Jehovah gave them rest around about, according to all that he swore unto their fathers:: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which Jehovah had spoken unto the house of Israel; all come to pass" (Joshua 21:43-45). Joshua here declared that God had fulfilled his promise to Abraham to give the land of Canaan to his seed for an inheritance. This was the original promise that God made to Abraham when he called him to leave his country, his kindred, and his father's house, and go "unto the land that I will show thee." That Joshua was only speaking of the land of Canaan, is clearly seen from the first six verses of the twenty second chapter, where he told the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh that the victory was won, and they could go on back across the Jordan to their tents. But what about the extended and grant, was it ever fulfilled? "And after this is came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took the bridle of the mother city out of the hand of the Philistines. And he smote Moab, and measured them with the line, making them to lie down on the ground; and he measured two lines to put to death, and one full line to keep alive. And the Moabites became servants of David, and brought tribute. David smote also Hadadezer the son of Rehob, King of Zobah, as he went to recover his dominion at the River" (2 Sam. 8:1-3). This shows that David conquered all the countries from "the seas to the Philistines, and from the wilderness unto the Euphrates." This covered all the land that God promised to give to Abraham's seed. As our final proof we read 2 Chronicles 9:22-26, "So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the Kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And he ruled over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt." Thus we see that every promise God made to Abraham, based solely upon his faithfulness was fulfilled in every particular.