There was a promise made to Abraham:
1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. Genesis 12:1-8
Abraham was promised the land of Canaan. That it would be possessed by his seed.
2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. 4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. 5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. Acts 7:2-5
God had promised him the land, yet God gave him no inheritance in it, no, not so much as to
set his foot on.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:8-10
Abraham was promised the land of Canaan, yet he never received any of it. He sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
Did Isaac ever receive promised land?
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never received any inheritance.
What kind of a promise is that?
Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:11-16
Abraham and his seed, sought a country. They had been promised a country, and they sought it. But, that country was a better country, a better country than the land wherein the Canaanites dwelt. Even an heavenly country.
That Abraham did not take the promise of God to be the promise of an earthly inheritance, is clearly demonstrated here in: (Lot)
2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. 5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. Genesis 13:2-9
God had promised that the land would be his, but now he says to Lot, if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will take the right, or if you take the right, then I will take the left.
This wonderful land that God had promised, was Abraham dividing it up according to the wishes and desires of him who was not his seed?
Evidently, it was not the land that Abraham was seeking, and he was seeking that which was promised would be his inheritance,and therefore the land was not his promised inheritance.
Examine the experience of Isaac, a fellow heir of the promise:
1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. 2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: 3 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 countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; 4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; 5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Genesis 26:1-5
12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. 13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: 14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. 15 For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. 16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. 17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. 19 And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. 21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. 22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. Genesis 26 12-22
Isaac was promised the land. But here, like his father Abraham, he did not contend for it. He was buffeted from pillar to post until finally the Lord “made room” for him. He did not contend for the land, because he looked for an heavenly country.
Even David, upon the throne of Israel, a King of a nation amongst the nations, in the land of Palestine, the land of Canaan, stated the following in 1 Chronicles 29:15
For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. 1 Chronicles 29:15
After Abraham had departed from Lot, the Lord visited him again.
14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. Genesis 13:14-17
Here God repeated his promise. All the land that he could see would be given both to Abraham himself, and his seed, forever.
But as Stephen said, he received no inheritance, no, not so much as to set his foot on. He lived to a good old age, but never received the promise.
But God had promised that HE would receive the inheritance. Both he and his seed. But Isaac died. Jacob died. The twelve sons of Jacob died. None of them ever received the promised
Did God’s promise fail?
Do God’s promises fail?
He says, He promises, that His word will not return unto Him void, but will accomplish the thing spoken of.
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. Genesis 17:7,8
In this scripture we see clearly that the promise that God made to Abraham was a heavenly country.
Note that this everlasting covenant stated that the land wherein he was a stranger, the very land wherein he had not so much as to set his foot on, was given not just to his seed as an everlasting possession, but to him also.
It was the promise of everlasting life in an everlasting country.
The country which Abraham looked for was NOT the land of Canaan as it was then, possessed by the Canaanites.
Abraham believed that God would raise him from the dead and be given an inheritance on the earth made new and dwell in a city which had foundations.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God… 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Revelation 21:10, 14
Now come to Galatians 3:16 – Who was the promise of an inheritance given to?
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Galatians 3:16
The everlasting covenant which God made with Abraham was the promise that He would give the land to Jesus Christ.
Only Jesus Christ?
That Jesus Christ would inherit the promised land was the promise given to Abraham.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:27-29
To Abraham and his seed was the promise made. He said not, to seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to Christ.
And they that be Christ’s, are Abraham’s seed. They that have been baptized into Christ, they that have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man. Jew, Greek, bond,
free, male female, they are all one in Christ Jesus, and all inheritors of the promise.
That Abraham would be an heir WITH Jesus Christ was the promise given to Abraham.
And when Jesus Christ would receive His inheritance, Abraham would receive it with Him.
51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
So the promise made to Abraham was the promise of victory over sin and death through His Lord Jesus Christ.
The promise of the resurrection from the dead and the restitution of all things. An inheritance in the earth made new, and a dwelling in a city whose maker and builder is God.
What then, were the privileges and opportunities of Israel?
1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward… 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it… 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. Genesis 15:1,5-7,13-16
God promised Abraham that in the fourth generation the promised inheritance would be received.
That Israel would be in bondage in Egypt for four hundred years, then would receive the inheritance.
In the fourth generation, Israel would have come forth from Egypt to the coming of Jesus Christ and the restitution of all things from sin and death.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:14
In order for the end to come, the gospel must be preached in all the world for a witness.
Did the Israelites do this?
Could they have?
Did the Israelites know the gospel?
Let’s read one simple text and believe what it says.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:2
The gospel was preached to the Israelites.
The gospel was preached to Abraham. Christ said that he rejoiced to see His day, and was glad.
And God wanted for the Israelites to preach that gospel to the world.
God’s purpose in setting Pharaoh on the throne was this:
13 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. 16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. Exodus 9:13-16
The name of God is His character. Read Exodus chapter 34. God intended that His character would be declared through the whole earth.
To know God is life eternal, and the making known of the way of life eternal is the preaching of the Gospel.
Thus when God brought Israel out of Egypt, He said to them:
19 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Exodus 19:5,6
The Israelites were to be a kingdom of priests.
What is a priest meant to be? A minister of God, a preacher of the gospel?
For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. Malachi 2:7
Through the plagues of Egypt, the crossing of the red sea, and all the other wonders that God had wrought, the earth was ready to receive the witness of the gospel.
Notice here what Rahab said to the spies of Jericho:
And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Joshua 2:9-11
God had said that in the fourth generation Israel would come forth from Egypt and receive the inheritance as the Ammonites would have then filled up their iniquites.
God had given them and all the surrounding nations time to repent, but now their probation was closed.
The gospel was to be preached as a witness against them, and to call out of them any individuals, such as Rahab for example, who would take their stand on the Lord’s side.
God said that he would drive the inhabitants of Canaan out of the land and that they would inhabit the houses and eat of the vineyards and dwell safely in the land.
The women and children would have been safe at home and the men as priests and ministers of the gospel could have traveled to the uttermost parts of the earth preaching the gospel, and then the end would have come.
This is not a fable, brothers, and sisters and friends. This was God’s plan. This was why He brought them out of Egypt.
What a privilege did Israel have open before them.
But they did not enter in!
As they came to the promised land, they sent twelve spies. The spies returned with a negative report.
“My Lord delayeth His coming.”
And today the Jews are fighting to gain the “promised land”.
And so much of Christianity is helping them to gain it.
Let’s return to our Scripture reading:
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:1,2
Friends, let us fear, let us be afraid, that we should never gain the promised inheritance.
Are we living for that which is seen and temporal?
Or do we live as seeing the invisible?
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? That the Amorites, Amonites, Amelakites, and all they that dwell in THIS land, shall be dispossessed of it?
It says that Abraham believed God and that it was counted to him for righteousness.
Abraham did not live a sinless life. There were some serious faults in him. Truly even to the point that the strife in the middle east is due to his mistake with Hagar.
But he believed God.
He believed God’s word.
He believed that God would fulfill His word.
And thus he was counted as righteous.
And an heir of an inheritance which only the righteous could inherit.
Believe that God will fulfill His word in your life.
In whatever your life circumstance may be, no matter how grim and bleak things may appear, how the promise seems so far off from fulfillment, believe God.
And He will cut short His work in righteousness.
Be not afraid.
May God work this within us is my prayer,