Summary: The gospel is preached to Abraham: I will bless thee!
Tonight we’re going to go back and visit verses 2-3 of chapter 12. Last time we studied the nation promised to Abraham and saw that the physical nation foreshadowed the spiritual. There’s a nation made up of the elect people of God which follows the faith of Abraham, and these people are true Jews and are circumcised in their hearts. Now let’s look more closely at the rest of the promise:
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: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
I want to explore this some more because Paul quotes it in Galatians and calls it the gospel (3:8).
This isn’t the only time we find it in Scripture. Later on, Jacob has his vision of the angels going up and down the ladder into heaven and God says: I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 28:10-14).
Right away we can see that this promise of blessing is a family thing. It’s not just for Abraham; it’s also for Isaac and Jacob, and the rest of the seed. We have to remember that the physical promises went to the physical nation, and the spiritual promises go to the spiritual descendants.
So, what does it mean to be blessed and how are the families of the earth blessed through these men? The Hebrew word means to adore, kneel, salute, praise, or congratulate. The idea is that we have favor with God. We’re accepted by Him and approved of Him. That’s a big deal considering Abraham’s idolatrous past and the fact that there is not one righteous (Rom. 3:10).
But we see in the New Testament that the blessing is found in Christ, and this explains how all the families of the earth share in it:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ (Eph. 1:3-12).
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered (Rom. 4:7).
Both Romans and Ephesians go to great lengths to show that all are equally bound to sin and that Christ has taken away any dividing wall between us. The blessing has nothing to do with outward Jewishness; the blessing is according to our standing in Christ.
And this has been the whole point of Scripture. In Genesis they needed a Redeemer and looked for Him, and all throughout the history of Israel they watched for the Messiah, and then when Christ comes He established His kingdom on earth via the church, and finally it says in Revelation: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand (Rev. 1:1-3). This is the complete fulfillment of the promise!