God’s covenant with Abraham was founded on the seven promises stated in Gen 12 : 1 – 3. Of the many promises, the first promise was about a land that God later showed him ( Gen 13 : 14 -17 ) and even marked out the boundaries for him.
‘On that day the Lord made a Covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land from the river of Egypt (Wadi) to the great river, the Euphrates.” (Gen 15 : 18)
“I will confirm my covenant between you and me … the whole land of Cannan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you … My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.” (Gen 17 : 2, 8, 13 )
And then when God confirmed his covenant with Abraham, he swore by himself saying :
1) “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.
2) Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,
3) and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed , because you obeyed me.” (Gen 22 : 17 – 18 )
When the time came to possess the land, under the leadership of Joshua, the Lord marked out the borders of the promised land : “Your territory will extend from the desert ( Negev ) to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates to the Great Sea (Mediterranean ) in the west.” ( Joshua 1: 4 )
God’s covenant with Abraham is an everlasting covenant while the Mosaic covenant with the children of Israel was ‘until the Seed to whom the promise referred to had come’ ( Gal 3 : 16 – 19). So the ‘written code with its regulations stands cancelled’ ( Col 2 : 14 ) but the Abrahamic covenant still stands. Just as ‘the law introduced 430 years later, did not set aside the covenant previously established by God’ ( Gal 3 : 17 ), the new covenant in the blood of Jesus did not ‘do away with the promise’ made to Abraham.
In fact the gospel is the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham. When ‘those who believe are children of Abraham’ (Gal 3 : 7 ) and are ‘blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith’ ( Gal 3 : 9 ), God’s promise to Abraham to give him ‘descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as sand on the seashore’ is being fulfilled among the Jews as well as the Gentiles.
And when ‘this gospel of the Kingdom is preached in the whole world’ ( Mt 24 :14 ), God’s promise to Abraham that ‘all peoples on earth will be blessed through you‘ ( Gen 12 : 3 ) is being fulfilled. Yet one promise remains unfulfilled and it concerns the land!
It was once fulfilled during the reign of Solomon, the son of David : ‘Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River ( Euphrates ) to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt.’ ( 1 Ki 4 : 21 )
It will once again be fulfilled during the Millennial reign of Christ, when he sits on the ‘throne of his father David’ ( Lk 1 : 32 ). Until then, there will be claims by the Jews and counterclaims by the Arabs but it will be settled in favour of Abraham, with whom God had cut a covenant and confirmed it with an oath ( Hb 6 :13 – 17 ), and also had confirmed it with Issac ( Gen 26 : 3 ) and with Jacob ( Gen 35 : 12 ), thus fulfilling the promise : “Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies.” ( Gen 22 : 17)
“In those days and at that time ( Millennium ), when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgement against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land … Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy ; never again will foreigners invade her.” ( Joel 3 : 1 – 2, 17 ) Amen.