God made physical and spiritual promises to Abraham. The physical promises involved physical greatness for his descendants: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great” (Genesis 12:1-2 Genesis 12:1-2 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you:
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:
American King James Version×). These physical, national promises contained assurances of land and other blessings (Genesis 12:7 Genesis 12:7And the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, To your seed will I give this land: and there built he an altar to the LORD, who appeared to him.
American King James Version×; Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:18 Genesis 15:18In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:
American King James Version×).
These physical promises were formally passed on to Abraham’s descendants. First they were passed on to Isaac (Genesis 26:1-4 Genesis 26:1-4 1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines to Gerar.
2 And the LORD appeared to him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell you of:
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you, and to your seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father;
4 And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give to your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
American King James Version×). Next they went to Jacob (Genesis 28:3-4 Genesis 28:3-4 3 And God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a multitude of people; 4 And give you the blessing of Abraham, to you, and to your seed with you; that you may inherit the land wherein you are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.
American King James Version×; Genesis 28:13-14 Genesis 28:13-14 13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land where on you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed; 14 And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
American King James Version×), whom God renamed Israel, telling him that “a nation and a company of nations” would proceed from him (Genesis 35:9-12 Genesis 35:9-12 9 And God appeared to Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, Your name is Jacob: your name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be your name: and 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 be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins; 12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your seed after you will I give the land.
American King James Version×). Then they were passed on to Joseph and finally to Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were to become, respectively, “a multitude of nations” and “a great people” (Genesis 48:15-19 Genesis 48:15-19 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long to this day, 16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the middle of the earth. 17 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head. 19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
American King James Version×, New Living Translation). But because of the enslavement of Israel and later disobedience, the fulfillment of these physical promises was delayed.
Before any of Abraham’s early descendants inherited the land of promise, they became slaves in Egypt (Exodus 1:7-11 Exodus 1:7-11 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
9 And he said to his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falls out any war, they join also to our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
American King James Version×). Israel groaned because of its bondage, and God heard. In His faithfulness, God determined to deliver Israel from bondage to keep His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that Abraham’s descendants would be physically blessed by becoming a great people on the earth (Exodus 2:23-25 Exodus 2:23-25 23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God by reason of the bondage. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked on the children of Israel, and God had respect to them.
American King James Version×; Exodus 6:7-8; Exodus 13:5; Deuteronomy 9:4-6 Deuteronomy 9:4-6 4 Speak not you in your heart, after that the LORD your God has cast them out from before you, saying, For my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD does drive them out from before you. 5 Not for your righteousness, or for the uprightness of your heart, do you go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God does drive them out from before you, and that he may perform the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Understand therefore, that the LORD your God gives you not this good land to possess it for your righteousness; for you are a stiff necked people.
American King James Version×).
Next we find promises of physical blessings being offered to the nation of Israel after coming out of Egypt. Only if the Israelites would obey God and remain faithful to His covenant with them would they receive these blessings. If they would not obey the covenant’s terms, the blessings would be withheld and curses would come in their place (Exodus 19:5-6 Exodus 19:5-6 5 Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.
American King James Version×; Leviticus 26:3-39 Leviticus 26:3-39 3 If you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach to the vintage, and the vintage shall reach to the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And you shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 For I will have respect to you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10 And you shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11 And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright. 14 But if you will not listen to me, and will not do all these commandments; 15 And if you shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that you will not do all my commandments, but that you break my covenant: 16 I also will do this to you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set my face against you, and you shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and you shall flee when none pursues you. 18 And if you will not yet for all this listen to me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. 21 And if you walk contrary to me, and will not listen to me; I will bring seven times more plagues on you according to your sins. 22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. 23 And if you will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary to me; 24 Then will I also walk contrary to you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. 25 And I will bring a sword on you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when you are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26 And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and you shall eat, and not be satisfied. 27 And if you will not for all this listen to me, but walk contrary to me; 28 Then I will walk contrary to you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 And you shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall you eat. 30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses on the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. 31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the smell of your sweet odors. 32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. 33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. 34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate, and you be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. 35 As long as it lies desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when you dwelled on it. 36 And on them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursues. 37 And they shall fall one on another, as it were before a sword, when none pursues: and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And you shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
American King James Version×; Deuteronomy 28:1-68 Deuteronomy 28:1-68 1 And it shall come to pass, if you shall listen diligently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command you this day, that the LORD your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you shall listen to the voice of the LORD your God. 3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep. 5 Blessed shall be your basket and your store. 6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. 7 The LORD shall cause your enemies that rise up against you to be smitten before your face: they shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways. 8 The LORD shall command the blessing on you in your storehouses, and in all that you set your hand to; and he shall bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 9 The LORD shall establish you an holy people to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and walk in his ways. 10 And all people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the LORD shall make you plenteous in goods, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The LORD shall open to you his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain to your land in his season, and to bless all the work of your hand: and you shall lend to many nations, and you shall not borrow. 13 And the LORD shall make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shall not be beneath; if that you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day, to observe and to do them: 14 And you shall not go aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. 15 But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you: 16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be your basket and your store. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your land, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep. 19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. 20 The LORD shall send on you cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand to for to do, until you be destroyed, and until you perish quickly; because of the wickedness of your doings, whereby you have forsaken me. 21 The LORD shall make the pestilence stick to you, until he have consumed you from off the land, where you go to possess it. 22 The LORD shall smite you with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue you until you perish. 23 And your heaven that is over your head shall be brass, and the earth that is under you shall be iron. 24 The LORD shall make the rain of your land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down on you, until you be destroyed. 25 The LORD shall cause you to be smitten before your enemies: you shall go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shall be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 And your carcass shall be meat to all fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. 27 The LORD will smite you with the botch of Egypt, and with the tumors, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof you can not be healed. 28 The LORD shall smite you with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: 29 And you shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways: and you shall be only oppressed and spoiled ever more, and no man shall save you. 30 You shall betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: you shall build an house, and you shall not dwell therein: you shall plant a vineyard, and shall not gather the grapes thereof. 31 Your ox shall be slain before your eyes, and you shall not eat thereof: your ass shall be violently taken away from before your face, and shall not be restored to you: your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have none to rescue them. 32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long; and there shall be no might in your hand. 33 The fruit of your land, and all your labors, shall a nation which you know not eat up; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed always: 34 So that you shall be mad for the sight of your eyes which you shall see. 35 The LORD shall smite you in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. 36 The LORD shall bring you, and your king which you shall set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known; and there shall you serve other gods, wood and stone. 37 And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations where the LORD shall lead you. 38 You shall carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. 39 You shall plant vineyards, and dress them, but shall neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your coasts, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olive shall cast his fruit. 41 You shall beget sons and daughters, but you shall not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. 42 All your trees and fruit of your land shall the locust consume. 43 The stranger that is within you shall get up above you very high; and you shall come down very low. 44 He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him: he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. 45 Moreover all these curses shall come on you, and shall pursue you, and overtake you, till you be destroyed; because you listened not to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded you: 46 And they shall be on you for a sign and for a wonder, and on your seed for ever. 47 Because you served not the LORD your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 Therefore shall you serve your enemies which the LORD shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron on your neck, until he have destroyed you. 49 The LORD shall bring a nation against you from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies; a nation whose tongue you shall not understand; 50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young: 51 And he shall eat the fruit of your cattle, and the fruit of your land, until you be destroyed: which also shall not leave you either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of your cows, or flocks of your sheep, until he have destroyed you. 52 And he shall besiege you in all your gates, until your high and fenced walls come down, wherein you trusted, throughout all your land: and he shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land, which the LORD your God has given you. 53 And you shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, which the LORD your God has given you, in the siege, and in the narrow place, with which your enemies shall distress you: 54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: 55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he has nothing left him in the siege, and in the narrow place, with which your enemies shall distress you in all your gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, 57 And toward her young one that comes out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and narrow place, with which your enemy shall distress you in your gates. 58 If you will not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; 59 Then the LORD will make your plagues wonderful, and the plagues of your seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. 60 Moreover he will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt, which you were afraid of; and they shall stick to you. 61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring on you, until you be destroyed. 62 And you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. 63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land where you go to possess it. 64 And the LORD shall scatter you among all people, from the one end of the earth even to the other; and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known, even wood and stone. 65 And among these nations shall you find no ease, neither shall the sole of your foot have rest: but the LORD shall give you there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: 66 And your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you shall fear day and night, and shall have none assurance of your life: 67 In the morning you shall say, Would God it were even! and at even you shall say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of your heart with which you shall fear, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see. 68 And the LORD shall bring you into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spoke to you, You shall see it no more again: and there you shall be sold to your enemies for slaves and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
American King James Version×).
Because of the flagrant sins of Israel and Judah—the nation of Israel having been split into these two kingdoms—the national blessings were still withheld. There were only brief periods of greatness under a few righteous kings. But, because of God’s faithfulness, He eventually would bless Abraham’s descendants with the greatness He foretold.
Part of the punishment for Israel’s sins was sending them into national captivity. Many Jews of the southern kingdom of Judah, though deported to Babylon, later returned to the land of Judea. However, the Israelites of the northern kingdom of Israel who were deported to Assyria did not return to resettle in their former homeland. They became what are now known as the “lost 10 tribes” of Israel. Over the course of time these people migrated to northwestern Europe.
The descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh have received the blessing of ascendance to national greatness. Ephraim has become the promised company of nations (Great Britain and the Commonwealth peoples of British ancestry, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand), and Manasseh has become a great nation (the United States of America). It is through these people that the prophecies of the Bible concerning Israel are being primarily fulfilled (Genesis 48:16 Genesis 48:16The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the middle of the earth.
American King James Version×; Genesis 49:22-26).
However, the tribes of Israel today also exist in other nations of or emergent from northwestern Europe. The Jewish people today are descendants of the people of the ancient kingdom of Judah—meaning that while Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews.
God intended Israel to be a model nation in obedience to Him for other peoples to see and want to emulate (Deuteronomy 4:5-8 Deuteronomy 4:5-8 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
American King James Version×). He gave the people His laws and covenant, but they did not have a proper heart to continue in obedience (Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
American King James Version×), and thus they failed in their example, leading to national punishment.
Severe judgment will come yet again in “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7 Jeremiah 30:7Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
American King James Version×) when, shortly before Christ’s return, many end-time prophecies regarding the modern-day descendants of Israel will be fulfilled. A major lesson of Israel is that a people given so much will still not truly succeed unless given what is needed most—the means for a true spiritual transformation of character.
Also contained in the promises to Abraham was the more important spiritual promise of salvation to all men who would become Abraham’s “seed” (his descendants). Through Abraham all families of the earth were to have access to God’s blessings (Genesis 12:3 Genesis 12:3And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
American King James Version×). God confirmed the promises to Abraham because he obeyed God’s commandments (Genesis 22:18 Genesis 22:18And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.
American King James Version×; Genesis 26:5).
The apostle Paul understood that salvation was not just for Jews or Israelites, but for all humanity. He explained that the “Seed” to whom the promises applied was Jesus Christ, and that all must become one in Him (Galatians 3:8 Galatians 3:8And 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.
American King James Version×; Genesis 3:14-16 Genesis 3:14-16 14 And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life: 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. 16 To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.
American King James Version×; Genesis 3:26-29 Genesis 3:26-29
American King James Version×).
The priest Zacharias, at the birth of his son John the Baptist, prophesied that God would remember the oath He had sworn to Abraham (Luke 1:69-72 Luke 1:69-72 69 And has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
American King James Version×). Paul records that Jesus Christ came to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Romans 15:8 Romans 15:8Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers:
American King James Version×). The promise of salvation comes from God through the Holy Spirit as a part of the New Covenant made available to us through Christ’s death and resurrection.
The Holy Spirit is the key to the “better promises” that come under the “new” and “better” covenant that was established on those better promises (Hebrews 8:6 Hebrews 8:6But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
American King James Version×). It would make obedience possible, so that Israel and all others joined to Israel through it would be able to succeed in being the model nation God intended.
The apostles were told to wait at Jerusalem for this better promise (Acts 1:4 Acts 1:4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.
American King James Version×; Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×). They waited to receive the seal of the Holy Spirit “of promise,” which was the guarantee of their inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14 Ephesians 1:13-14 13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.
American King James Version×). It is by God’s Spirit that we can know that we are the children of God and in Christ (Romans 8:9 Romans 8:9But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
American King James Version×; Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
American King James Version×) and thus Abraham’s seed (spiritually) and heirs of salvation according to the promise (Galatians 3:28 Galatians 3:28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×).
This promise is not based on race, but on God’s calling and on individual repentance, regardless of race or national origin. By this means, through faith, all can be renamed “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16 Galatians 6:16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.
American King James Version×).
When Jesus Christ establishes His New Covenant with Israel and Judah at His return (Jeremiah 31:31 Jeremiah 31:31Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
American King James Version×)—the covenant in which the Church of God is now a forerunner—then the physical nation of Israel will at last be able to serve as the model nation God intended it to be (Zechariah 8:23 Zechariah 8:23Thus said the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
American King James Version×; Jeremiah 31:1 Jeremiah 31:1At the same time, said the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
American King James Version×; Romans 11:12 Romans 11:12Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
American King James Version×)—having been transformed into spiritual Israel and leading the whole world into the same saving relationship with God.