A HOLY COMMUNITY OF NATIONS
A. A Righteous Community of Nations – We also learn in Genesis that God’s blessing to the nations in and through Abraham and his seed is unto those nations also being fashioned and shaped into a righteous community/company/assembly of nations worthy of the age to come. In other words, God’s blessing to the nations in Abraham and his seed would result in them also being remade into the image of God.
Genesis 28:1-5 (ESV)
1 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. 3 God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples (NIV – “community of peoples”; NKJV – “assembly of peoples”; LXX – “sunagogue”=often interchangeable with ekklesia, or “assembly”). 4 May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring (seed) with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham (the blessing necessary to inherit the land)!”
Genesis 35:9-15 (ESV)
9 God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body (Heb. “from your loins”).
Revelation 7:9 (NIV)
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
B. The blessing of God (the Spirit) would have the same effect on the nations that it would have on the people of Israel: molding, purging, and refining unto the nations being made worthy of the age to come and inclusion in the resurrection of the righteous, and actually being resurrected in the Day of the Lord.
C. God also promised Abraham that he would not only be the father of a great nation, but also the father of a community/company/assembly of nations.
Genesis 17 (ESV)
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations (cf. v. 15; focus not on biological descendants through other sons – Ishmael and sons of Keturah, cf. Gen. 25:1-4). 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram (“exalted father”) but your name shall be Abraham (“father of a multitude”), for I have made you the father (governmentally – as ruler in the age to come, cf. Rom. 4, Gen. 48:8-9) of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring (seed) after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring (seed) after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring (seed) after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”…15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai (“princess”), but Sarah (“princess,” but root also means “contend, have power, contend with, persist, exert oneself, persevere”) shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give(ESV note Heb. – “have given”) you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her (not simply talking about biological reproduction here).” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac (“he laughs”). I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring (seed) after him.
Romans 4:16-17 (NIV)
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring (seed)—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all (Jewish and Gentile believers). 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
D. Governmental and Instructional Fatherhood
Genesis 48:8-9 (NIV)
8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.
Psalm 105:20-22 (NIV)
20 The king sent and released him (Joseph), the ruler of peoples set him free. 21 He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, 22 to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
E. God tells Abraham that he will rule many nations in the age to come, and that these nations would come as the result of the multiplication of his seed. But He also stresses to Abraham that His covenant will be with Abraham’s seed through Isaac. So, here was the big question: How would it be possible for Abraham to end up as the father of many nations in the age to come, when God had made it very clear that He was establishing His everlasting covenant specifically with Isaac and his seed – one nation? How could Abraham become the ruler of many nations in the age to come, by virtue of the fact that he was the biological father of only one nation in covenant with God in this age?
THE INHERITANCE OF THE EARTH IN THE RESURRECTION
THE INHERITANCE OF THE EARTH IN THE RESURRECTION
A. God also promised that Abraham and his seed would inherit the land of Israel, and ultimately the entire earth, as an everlasting possession in the age to come.
Genesis 12:6-7 (ESV)
6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring (seed) I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
Genesis 13:14-18 (ESV)
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring (seed) forever. 16 I will make your offspring (seed) as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring (seed) also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Genesis 24:7-8 (ESV)
7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring (seed) I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.”
Genesis 28:10-13 (ESV)
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring (seed).”
B. For Abraham to receive the land as an eternal inheritance, meant that Abraham himself would have to actually be alive to receive the land! His hope and faith was that he himself would receive the land in a new body. Inherently bound up to the promise of the eternal land inheritance, therefore, was the promise of inclusion in the resurrection of the righteous.
Genesis 15 (ESV)
1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue (ESV alternative – or “I shall die”) childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring (seed), and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son (ESV note – Hebrew – “what will come out of your own loins”) shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring (seed) be” (not just quantitatively, but also qualitatively in the resurrection, cf. 1 Cor. 15). 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. 7 And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half (cf. Jer. 34:18-19), and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring (seed) will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring (seed) I give (or “have given”) this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
Matthew 22:29-32 (NIV)
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (cf. parallel in Lk. 20:38 – 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”)
Hebrews 6:13-19a (ESV)
13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you” (Gen. 22:17). 15 And thus Abraham,having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things (1. the promise; 2. the oath), in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul (God’s promises in the Abrahamic a steadfast anchor for hope in the resurrection!), a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain…
Romans 4:17 (NIV)
As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead (the resurrection promised in the Abrahamic covenant) and calls things that are not (I “have made” you a father) as though they were (as a way of expressing of the certainty of the promises).
Hebrews 11:17-19 (NIV)
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring (seed) will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.