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CHAPTER IV

String 3: The Abrahamic Promise



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SOME time after Adam and Eve were driven from Eden children were born to them, who grew to the estate of manhood and womanhood and they in turn had children. Cain obtained his wife by marrying his sister. Thus the peoples of earth gradually increased. They all wandered about in the earth, earning their bread in the sweat of their face. Some of these children were bad and some were good. God showed his favor to the good, as he always favors those who are good. Satan exercised his wicked influence amongst the people and most of them turned to evil.
93 Noah was a good man and he and the members of his family served the Lord Jehovah. Sixteen hundred years and more passed from the time of the judgment in Eden (during which time the people became very wicked) and there was great violence in the earth. God purposed to destroy all the wicked of earth; so he directed Noah to build an ark and to take into the ark the members of his family; and this done, a great flood of waters came upon the earth and all living creatures were destroyed except those in the ark. There were only eight persons left on the earth after the flood. (Genesis 7: 21-23; 1 Peter 3: 20) Noah and his sons begat children and the peoples of earth again increased. Amongst them were some good and some bad. Amongst those who tried to do the will of God was a man named Abram, which name was later
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The Harp of God changed to Abraham. He is spoken of in the Scriptures as the friend of God. Abraham's wife was named Sarah.
94 When Abraham was seventy-five years of age, Jehovah said to him: "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: . . . and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3) Abraham with his wife and others left Haran for the land of Canaan. When they had reached a point in that land known as Sichem, the Lord appeared unto him and said: "Unto thy seed will I give this land." Abraham builded an altar there, and the place has since been known as Bethel, which means the house of God. Afterward Abraham dwelt in the plains of Mamre, which is just above the present site of Hebron in the southern part of Palestine! While there; God made a covenant with him, saying: "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates."  — Genesis 15:18.
95 Thereafter, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared unto him and said: "I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly, . . . and thou shalt be a father of many nations. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17: 2,4, 8) Some time later, when Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent, which was pitched in the plains of Mamre, there stood before him three men, messengers from Jehovah. In the plains of Mamre,
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a short distance above the town of Hebron, still stands a very ancient oak tree. It is about thirty feet in circumference. It is claimed that this is Abraham's oak, where he pitched his tent at the time these holy messengers appeared to him. Of course we can not believe this is true, because an oak would not live that length of time. It is interesting, however, to note this ancient tree standing approximately at the point where Abraham is supposed to have resided in his tent. Here it was that Abraham prepared refreshments for his distinguished visitors; and "he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat". Here it was that the messenger of Jehovah told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would be given a son. — Genesis 18:1-14.
96 In due time a son was born unto Abraham and Sarah and his name was called Isaac. (Genesis 21: 1-3) Afterward, when the son Isaac had grown up, Jehovah put Abraham to a great test, and in doing so he made a picture which foreshadowed the redemption of the human race. This record appears in the twenty-second chapter of Genesis. God said unto Abraham: "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (Genesis 22:2) It is interesting here to note that Mount Moriah is inside of the walls of the present city of Jerusalem. It was the site of the temple of Solomon, and supposed to be the very spot where Abraham was met by Melchizedek. It is the place where Abraham was directed to offer and did offer up his son Isaac.
97 Providing himself with wood to be used for the fire, Abraham and his son and servants journeyed for three days from the plains of Mamre to Moriah;
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and arriving there, he at once prepared for the burnt offering. Isaac was not aware of the purpose of his father to offer him; so he said to his father: "Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering." Abraham then informed his son that he was to be the offering. Then he bound Isaac and laid him upon the altar and stretched forth his hand and took the knife with which to slay his son. This was a great test to Abraham's faith. Isaac was his only son and he loved him dearly; but Jehovah had commanded him to offer him up as a sacrifice, and because of his love for Jehovah he proceeded to obey God's command. As he raised his hand to strike dead his only beloved son, "the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, . . . Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me." "When Abraham looked he saw a ram caught in a thicket nearby and he took the ram and offered it for a burnt offering.
98 Then "the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham . . . the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars in the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies: and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: because thou hast obeyed my voice." — Genesis 22:15-18.
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99 In this wonderful picture Abraham was a type of Jehovah, while Isaac was a type of Jesus, the beloved Son of Jehovah. Abraham's offering his beloved son on the altar pictured how God in due time would offer his only beloved Son as a great sacrifice that mankind might be redeemed from death and have an opportunity to live. Abraham did not, as indeed he could not, understand God's purposes, for the reason that Jehovah did not reveal them to him; but he knew that God had here made a covenant with him and bound it with his oath; and that by these two certain and unchangeable things, his word and his oath, God would carry out his covenant in due time, and that covenant would result in the blessing of all the families and nations of earth.
100 The word covenant means contract; and it is the solemn form for expressing a compact, agreement, or contract between parties, or particularly on the part of one whereby he promises to do a certain thing. With Jehovah a covenant or a contract is sacred and inviolate, because Jehovah changes not. (Malachi 3:6) Having promised it, he will fulfil it. (Hebrews 6:18) It is always necessary that there be two parties to a contract. There may be more. Where one party only is bound to do a certain thing that contract is called unilateral, or one-sided; and where both parties are bound to perform certain things, the contract is called bilateral, or two-sided.
101 It will be observed that this oathbound covenant that Jehovah made with Abraham contained no conditions or limitations, but was merely a promise of Jehovah bound by his oath, and is therefore properly called a unilateral or one-sided covenant; for the reason that God's purpose was and is to carry out his plan to bless the human race, regardless of what
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any one may or may not do. There was no need for him to make any conditions to the covenant. He merely announced his benevolent purpose toward mankind. The covenant does not even say that the blessing of the people will follow upon the condition that Abraham should do a certain thing, or that the people should seek him. The covenant does not say that every person will be blessed with life everlasting; but it does say that all the families of the earth shall be blessed, which means that every one must in God's due time have a full, fair opportunity for life everlasting. It means, further, that in God's due time knowledge will be brought to all in order that every one may avail himself of the opportunity thus provided for life. It means, furthermore, that assistance will be given to every one, that he may profit by this blessed opportunity; and all who prove their loyalty under the test that will come by reason of the opportunity will be granted life everlasting.

How was the earth originally peopled? ¶ 02.
Where did Cain get his wife? ¶ 92.
To whom does Jehovah show his favor? ¶ 92.
What effect does Satan's influence have on the people? ¶ 92.
What kind of man was Noah? and whom did he serve? ¶ 93.
Why did Jehovah direct Noah to build the ark? ¶ 93.
How many persons escaped destruction at the time of the flood? and who were they? ¶ 93.
How was the earth peopled after the flood? ¶ 93.
What man is mentioned in the Scriptures as the friend of God? and what was the name of his wife? ¶ 94.
What was the age of Abraham when God spoke to him? and what did Jehovah say? ¶ 94.
What was Abraham's native land? and to what land did he go in obedience to God's command? ¶ 94.
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At what places did Abraham stop in Canaan that are specially mentioned in the Bible? ¶ 94.
What promise did God make to Abraham at Bethel? and what promise did he make while Abraham dwelt in the plains of Mamre? ¶ 94.
Describe the place of Abraham's residence at the time Jehovah promised him a son. Quote the Scriptural account. ¶ 95.
How many sons did Abraham have by his wife Sarah? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 96.
To what special test did God put Abraham with reference to his son Isaac? ¶ 96.
Describe in detail the offering of Isaac. ¶ 97.
Repeat God's promise to Abraham at the time of his offering of Isaac. ¶ 98.
Whom did Abraham typify in this offering? and of whom was Isaac a type? ¶ 99.
What did the offering of Isaac picture? ¶ 99.
Did Abraham understand the full meaning of God's promise? ¶ 99.
What is the meaning of the word "covenant"? ¶ 100.
How does God regard his covenants? Give Scriptural proof. ¶100.
How many parties are required to make a covenant? ¶ 100.
Where only one party is bound, what kind of covenant is it? ¶ 100.
Where both parties are bound to perform certain things, then what do we call the covenant? ¶ 100.
Why was God's covenant with Abraham a one-sided covenant? ¶101.
What is the important statement of the Abrahamic covenant or promise? ¶ 101.
Whom will the Abrahamic covenant ultimately affect? ¶ 101.

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"IS IT COME?"

Poet and seer that question caught,
Above the din of life's fears and frets;
It marched with letters, it toiled with thought,
Through schools and creeds which the earth forgets.
And statesmen trifle, and priests deceive,
And traders barter our world away;
Yet hearts to that golden promise cleave,
And still, at times, "Is it come?" they say.

The days of the nations bear no trace
Of all the sunshine so far foretold;
The cannon speaks in the teacher's place;
The age is weary with work and gold;
And high hopes wither, and memories wane;
On hearths and altars the fires are dead;
But that brave faith hath not lived in vain;
And this is all that our watcher said.

 — Brown.
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