Summary: Several groups claim to be descendants of Abraham. The Bible gives us an answer to this important question. As a result of this study, we will see that the story of Abraham is really a story that focuses on JESUS. We will learn that God’s promises can
Today’s passage brings us to a question that is at the heart of the Middle East conflict. It is also at the heart of one’s relationship with God.
In Genesis 15, God repeats the covenant that he established with Abraham when he left Haran. Now God is emphasizing the fact that the promise given for a great nation would begin with a son born from Abraham’s own body. God also repeated and explained the boundaries of the land that was promised to him in Genesis 12.
Genesis 15:18 "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—"
This sermon will focus on the middle phrase of this verse, “to your descendants I give this land...” Who was the land promised to? Who are Abraham’s Children?
Ask that question and you will get several different answers.
Is it JEWS who certainly claim to be Abraham’s descendants?
Is it CHRISTIANS?
Is it MUSLIMS? They believe that they are the descendants of Abraham through Ishmael.
Is it MORMONS who believe that a Jewish scribe named Nehpi and his two sons; Jacob and Joseph fled Israel before the Babylonian Captivity and sailed to America, in 600 BC, 2,000 years before Christopher Columbus?
Is it BLACK ISRAELITES? They claim they are descendants of Abraham too.
Is it the NATION of ISLAM under LOUIS FARAKHAN who believes that all black people descended from Abraham? They take the prophesy in Genesis 15:14 as applying to African people who were enslaved for so many centuries.
When you think about it, there is a whole lot of fuss centered on this question: Who are the children of Abraham? It seems that everyone wants to be in some way connected to the great patriarch. This, I believe, is powerful evidence that the central story of the Bible is the overall story of humanity. Satan’s plan from the beginning was to stop the deliverer that God promised in Genesis 3:15.
We will focus our attention on studying what the BIBLE has to say about Abraham’s children.
As a result:
- We will see that the story of Abraham is really a story that focuses on JESUS
- We will see that God’s promises can be trusted
- We will see that Biblical Prophecy will be fulfilled
- Prayerfully, those who are not yet the spiritual children of Abraham will be able to express faith in CHRIST and so become a faith-child of Abraham.
The Promise to Abraham.
This was FIRST in Gen 12. NOW it is repeated in Genesis 15:17-20. There are three aspects to the promise. God would give Abraham
SEED (offspring), and
BLESSING (all nations would be blessed through him).
Each of the three aspects of the promise is REPEATED to ABRAHAM.
Each of the three aspects of the promise is EXPANDED in a SPECIFIC COVENANT established with Abraham’s descendants. Let’s look at the three aspects of God’s covenant with Abraham.
It is FIRST GIVEN in Genesis 12, when Abraham is 75 years old. God promised Abraham LAND . Genesis 12:1 “Go to the land that I will show you.” This part of the covenant is re-emphasized to Abraham 10 years later, when Abraham is 85 years old in Genesis 15:18.
The land covenant is further EXPANDED in Deut 1:8; Deut 29:1-2 where further specific boundaries are given to Moses and the children of Israel.
The second aspect of the covenant is SEED. Genesis 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation.” This aspect is re-emphasized to Abraham 24 years later, when Abraham is 99 years old, in Genesis 17:1-9. It is EXPANDED in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. We call this passage The DAVIDIC COVENANT, because God specifically names DAVID as the man who would be in the line of the promised seed, ultimately leading us to the birth of Christ.
Finally, God promised Abraham BLESSING in Genesis 12:3. “Through you all nations of the earth will be blessed.” This is the foundation for the NEW COVENANT that would be established in Jeremiah 33:13-33. This portion of the covenant was also re-emphasized to Abraham 38 years after he left Haran, when Abraham is 113 years old (Genesis 15:18).
This covenant, its expansion and its expression through Christ can be seen in the following chart
It is clear that the Abrahamic covenant forms the foundation for God’s relationship with men, his redemption for mankind, and the preservation of the birth line through which the Savior of the world would be born.
BUT here is a vital part of this story. Don’t get overwhelmed by the focus on Abraham in both old and new testaments. Ultimately, this story is NOT about Abraham - It’s About CHRIST! Every expansion of the three parts of the Abraham covenant reveals a vital aspect of the person and ministry of Christ.