Saturday, March 29, 2008

God Promised Abraham and His Seed an Everlasting Possession

Genesis 17:8 says, "8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."

How could God make this promise uncondtionally to ethnic Israel, since unbelieving ethnic Jews will be in hell suffering everlasting destruction? The only Israelites that will enjoy Canaan as an everlasting possession are believing Israelites. And, believing Gentiles will be enjoying it right alongside of them (Matt 5:5; Rev 21:1-3).

Thus, the promise of Canaan as an everlasting possession is infallibly certain, yet it is only certain for Israelites who meet the condition of faith. This promise will certainly be fulfilled because God will work faith in all elect Israelites, guaranteeing that they will inherit the promised blessing along with the believing Gentiles, who are one people in Christ (Eph 2:11-22).


  1. Isn't this promise to Abraham about Christ? Jesus is the everlasting inheritor of the land grant. He is the seed. We are co-inheritors because we our found IN HIM.

  2. Jerry,

    The word "seed" or "offspring" is a collective noun, which can be both plural and singular. It does refer to Christ singularly, but it also refers to those in Christ collectively. So you are right. The promise is principally to Christ, but also to those who are actually/vitally in Him by faith.

  3. I was thinking of the application of Gal 3:16 to the Abrahamic promises. While the intended audience would understand the promise to be ethnic Israel, Paul's application is to Christ alone. He even goes out of his way to say that these promises are not "for the many."

    Obviously we are arriving at the same conclusion that those found in Christ reap the benefits of the promises.

  4. Hi Jerry,

    I don't think Paul's statement in Gal 3:16 intends to exclude the "many" who are federally in Christ from the Abrahamic promises. Rather, it excludes the "many" who are outside of the "one."

    I believe he's talking about the two aspects of the covenant of redemption. In that covenant, (1) the Father makes promises to Christ on the basis of His meritorious obedience, but (2) the Father also makes free and gracious promises to those in Christ. Same covenant; same promises; two different aspects.

    Christ earns the promises (of land and life), but by being joined to Him, those same promises are also ours in Him.