Study 7 - The Promises of God
God promised Abraham that in him and his seed (descendant) all families of the earth would be blessed. Study 5 showed that the one descendant who would bring blessing to the earth was Jesus. This is the subject of clear teaching in the New Testament (Galatians 3 v 16).
Abraham is used as an example of faith, and we are told that if we want to show our faith we must live our lives as Abraham did, trusting God and being obedient to His will.
The nation of Israel, who descended from Abraham, were slaves in Egypt. They were led out of Egypt by Moses after ten terrible plagues had forced the Egyptians to recognize that there was a God in heaven who was in control of world affairs. The Book of Exodus (the name means 'departure') tells us about these events.
At last the nation of Israel settled in the land of Canaan where Abraham had lived. Their first king was Saul, and the second was David, who wrote many of the Psalms.
THE PROMISE TO DAVID
In the Psalms David says that God had made a special promise to him. "The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne" (Psalm 132 v 11).
David, when his kingdom was established and the nation was at peace, wanted to build a temple, or a house of worship, for God. The prophet Nathan was sent to David to tell him that although God did not want him to build a house, God would establish David's royal house, and one in his royal line would rule over his kingdom for ever.
"And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever" (2 Samuel 7 v 12-13 & 16.).
There are three important points in these verses:
- The promise did not refer to Solomon, David's son, because God said that the "throne of his kingdom" would be established for ever. Although Solomon was noted for his riches and for his wisdom, he certainly did not reign for ever. In verse 14 Nathan the prophet tells David that God would be the father of this great king who would come in his line. "I will be his father, and he shall be my son" (2 Samuel 7 v 14).
- The king would rule on David's throne (2 Samuel 7 v 12).
- God declares that He will bring it to pass (2 Samuel 7 v 12).
THE TEACHING OF THE PROPHETS
The same points are emphasized throughout the Bible. Read the following passage from the book of the prophet Isaiah which is often quoted at Christmas time and see the same three points.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9 v 6-7).
The same points are stressed:
- "Of his government ... there shall be no end."
- "Upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom."
- "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this".
JESUS WAS THE ONE PROMISED
There is no doubt as to who the great king in the line of David will be.
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary before the birth of Jesus and told her, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1 v 32-33).
Notice the same three points again -
- The kingdom would be established for ever.
- He would rule on David's throne.
- God would bring it to pass.
MARY'S SONG OF REJOICING
Later in the same chapter Luke records a wonderful song of rejoicing in which Mary praised God for His promises. A remarkable feature of it is that although the angel told Mary that the child would be born to fulfil the promise God made to David, Mary thanked God for the promise that He had made to Abraham. She must have realized by her understanding of the purpose of God that both of these promises would be fulfilled in the same individual.
"He hath holpen his servant Israel...as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever" (Luke 1 v 54-55).
There can be no doubt that the kingdom which Jesus came to proclaim was a real kingdom on the earth. He would be the king and his followers would also have positions of rulership. Jesus told his disciples "When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matthew 19 v 28).
It was the purpose of God in the beginning to fill the earth with His glory and with peace:
"As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Numbers 14 v 21).
This will happen when Jesus returns to the earth as King.
One of the main points that Peter made in his address on the Day of Pentecost was that Jesus was the great descendant of David that God had promised. Peter referred to the Psalm we have already quoted to show that David looked forward to the establishment of the Kingdom with Christ as king:
"Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne" (Acts 2 v 29-30).
The apostle also explained that the resurrection of Jesus was a sure sign that the promise God had made to David would be fulfilled. "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2 v 32).
Peter said that David understood that the time would come when the Almighty would say to the Lord Jesus Christ, "Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool". The apostle then said, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2 v 34-36).
Paul summed up the wonderful hope which the Bible offers when he was speaking to the people of Athens:
"He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in
righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he
hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him
from the dead" (Acts 17 v 31).
- In the Bible God has revealed His purpose with the earth.
- Abraham and David were told by God that the one through whom this purpose would be fulfilled would be in their line.
- Jesus was the one promised.
- He will rule the world in righteousness when the kingdom of God is established.
- This hope, based on the foundation of Old Testament teaching, was contained clearly in the message of Jesus and the apostles.
PASSAGES FOR BIBLE READING
Isaiah 11; Acts 2; Romans 4; Isaiah 35; Psalm 132; Luke 19
STUDY 7 TEST
Check the correct answer to each question, and then submit them.