God spoke with Abraham in Genesis 12 and made some great promises that would not only affect the rest of his life, but the lives of everyone that would come after Abraham. God made a three-fold promise to Abraham: 1) land, 2) God would make from Abraham a great nation, and 3) Abraham would be a blessing to all the families of the earth. These promises began to be fulfilled in the life of Abraham, but were never fully brought to fruition during his day (Hebrews 11:13). So God reiterated these promises to Isaac, Abraham’s son (Genesis 26:3-5), and to Jacob, the chosen son of Isaac (Genesis 28:13-15).
After the descendants of Abraham were living in Egypt, the Israelites were multiplying at such a fast rate the Egyptians were fearful of them (Exodus 1:9, 20). Egypt was no slouch from a military standpoint, neither were they a small nation. So considering the children of Israel were greater in number, the Egyptians enslaved them. The descendants of Israel were being formed into a great and mighty people on the earth. Moses eventually led the Hebrews out of Egypt to go to the land God had promised Abraham. The number of the men (20 years old and older, who were able to fight) that came out of Egypt were 603,550. This number excluded women children under the age of 20, and those who were unable to fight due to reason of age, disease or some other ailment. Also, the tribe of Levi was excluded from the number that came out of Egypt. So the over half a million men that were numbered, was just a fraction of the people that came up out of Egypt. God was delivering His promise to make a great nation from the descendants of Abraham.
Eventually the children of Israel were given the promised land of Canaan. The Scripture records that God was faithful to fulfill His promises, “So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it…Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass,” (Joshua 21:43, 45). God had formed from one man, and one tribe on the earth, a great nation which now possessed a land to live in. God was fulfilling His promises to Israel and not one of them had failed.
There is much debate about the land of Israel and whether God has fulfilled all His promises to Israel. Premillennial doctrine teaches that God is not done with Israel and that He will restore to them the land. They argue that Joshua 21:43-45 was not a complete satisfaction of the promise to Abraham. God promised Abraham the land from the Euphrates all the way down to Egypt (Genesis 15:18). During the reign of Solomon, Israel’s borders and rule extended from the Euphrates River to the border of Egypt (2 Chronicles 9:26). God was faithful to complete His promises.
However, Israel was unfaithful to God and committed gross sin by accepting the idols of the Canaanites. Moses warned Israel of God’s wrath and punishment by using other nations to conquer Israel if they were unfaithful. God warned of the future destruction and captivities by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Israel would be scattered among the nations and the land would be desolate (Leviticus 26:32-34). Deuteronomy chapters 28 and 29 show the plagues which would be brought against Israel for her disobedience.
There was also the promise of restoration, though. God would deal graciously with Israel even after their sin and captivity. Moses said, “then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you,” (Deuteronomy 30:3). God restored the land of Israel, Cyrus issued a decree that Jews could leave Babylon to go back and build the temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). Artaxerxes allowed Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city. The book of Nehemiah emphasizes the restoration of Israel in the land of Canaan. The restoration of Israel to the land was fulfilled.
The promise of the Seed of Abraham that would bless all nations was yet to be fulfilled. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of that promise. Thus, He is the “son of David, the son of Abraham,” (Matthew 1:1; cf Luke 3:31, 34). The apostle Paul argued the promise to Abraham regarding the seed that would bless all nations was in reference to Christ (Galatians 3:16). Through the Seed (Christ) the blessing of Abraham has come upon Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:14). Salvation has been accomplished through Jesus of Nazareth.
God has been faithful to all of His promises and has done exactly as He said He would. Through God and the promises He made to Abraham all nations and all peoples of the earth might be blessed and enjoy the salvation from God.
by Sean P. Cavender