and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. — Isaiah 29:24
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,
|July 14, 2007||
Volume 6 Number 14
A Better Promise
Even though Abraham (Abram) was old and had no children, he believed the promise of Yahweh that his descendents would be as numerous as the stars of heaven:
5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if you are able to number them: and he said to him, So shall your seed be.
6 And he believed in Yahweh; and he counted it to him for righteousness. -Genesis 15
Yahweh confirmed His promise as a covenant. He told Abraham to take three animals, a heifer, a female goat, and a ram, each three years old and to divide them in two. He then confirmed His covenant as He demonstrated His glory and power by sending smoke and fire to pass through the pieces of the animals that had been offered (see Genesis 15:8-17).
Because Abraham believed Yahweh, he obeyed Him. Therefore, Yahweh gave him the promise that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed:
18 And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice. -Genesis 22
Paul explains that this is the "word of promise:" Sarah, who was the wife of Abraham, would have a son:
9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. -Romans 9
While Isaac was that son, the seed of Abraham was to be passed through the generations until the promise was finally fulfilled in Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ):
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is the Messiah. -Galatians 3
In each generation, Yahweh chose a person through whom the promise of the inherited blessing would be passed. We can follow the genealogy of the promise in the Gospel of Matthew:
1 The book of the generation of Yahshua the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham begot Isaac; and Isaac begot Jacob; and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers;
3 And Judah begot Pharez and Zarah by Tamar; and Pharez begot Hezron; and Hezron begot Ram;
4 And Ram begot Amminadab; and Amminadab begot Nahshon; and Nahshon begot Salmon;
5 And Salmon begot Boaz of Rachab; and Boaz begot Obed of Ruth; and Obed begot Jesse;
6 And Jesse begot David the king; and David the king begot Solomon of her that had been the wife of Uriah; -Matthew 1
The promise was fulfilled through three sets of fourteen generations:
16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Yahshua, who is called the Messiah.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon to the Messiah are fourteen generations. -Matthew 1
Those who believe God, as Abraham did, also inherit the promised blessing through the "seed of Abraham," who is the promised Messiah. He is also called the "Son of David," the "Son of Abraham," and the "Son of God." We who believe the promise receive it by faith. We are even called the "children of Abraham:"
6 Even as Abraham believed God [Yahweh], and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. -Galatians 3
Yahweh gave Israel the law through Moses several hundred years after He made the promise to Abraham. However, the law was not the promise. Because the promise is greater than the law, it could not be inherited nor received through the law:
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in the Messiah, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot annul, that it should make the promise of no effect.
18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. -Galatians 3
Yahweh showed Israel miracles, delivered them from slavery, led them through the wilderness, gave them the law, revealed His name to them, and showed them sacrifices, feasts, tabernacles, and even a house to bear His name. However, none of this fulfilled His promise. He was only showing them the way to the promise.
Nevertheless, Yahweh chose Israel and told them that He would send His promised blessing:
1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:
2 Thus says Yahweh that made you, and formed you from the womb, which will help you; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and you, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring:
4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. -Isaiah 44
When He fulfills His promise, people will say "I am Yahweh’s." They will also call themselves "Jacob" and "Israel." He declares that He is the only God. His name is Yahweh, and He is both the King of Israel and the Redeemer:
5 One shall say, I am Yahweh’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto Yahweh, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
6 Thus says Yahweh the King of Israel, and his redeemer Yahweh of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. -Isaiah 44
The promise is not for Israel (who are sometimes called "Jews") only. It is also for the Gentiles:
24 Even us, whom he has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As he said also in Hosea, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. -Romans 9
If the promise is for the Gentiles also, for what purpose did Yahweh choose Israel? When Paul went to Antioch, the rulers of the synagogue read the Scriptures and then asked if anyone had anything to say. Paul then stood up and delivered an oration concerning the purpose of Israel:
21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.
22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
23 Of this man’s seed has God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Yahshua: -Acts 13
Yahweh fulfilled His promise through Israel, although they would not received it. The Gentiles received the promised Savior and His righteousness by faith. Israel (the "Jews"), on the other hand, could not attain righteousness because they sought it by the works of the law, rather than by faith:
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Why? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone; -Romans 9
Yahshua the Messiah is the mediator of a better covenant than that which is under the law because it was established upon better promises:
6 But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. -Hebrews 8
Both Israel and Judah are invited to join the Gentiles as partakers of the new covenant, which is received by faith:
31 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says Yahweh, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. -Jeremiah 31
Yahweh’s promise is for all who believe Him.
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