Can you remember someone who made a promise to you, and then they broke the promise?
Well, unlike us human beings, when God makes a promise He never breaks it. He is a Promise-Keeper!
We want you, to receive all of the blessings and promises that God has for you! So, let’s take a look at what a covenant is and the promises God made to each of us — Jew or Gentile — through His covenant to Abraham.
The Hebrew word for covenant is brit, which appears 284 times in the Tanakh (Old Testament).
This word implies pact, contract, treaty or agreement between two parties and is likely derived from the Hebrew verb barah, which means to cut.
The Abrahamic Covenant is also called the Covenant of the Pieces (Brit bein HaBetarim or Covenant Between the Parts) in which God appeared in a smoking firepot and blazing torch and passed between the halves of the heifer, goat, and ram that Abraham cut:
“When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.” (Genesis 15:17)
Because the word brit (covenant) is related to the word “cut,” it is associated with blood, which is how many agreements in the region were ratified; through animal sacrifice or some exchange of blood.
This was an ancient, binding custom throughout Mesopotamia.
But in Abraham’s covenant, only the smoking, burning Presence of God, passed through the blood pathway.
This covenant depended on God alone to fulfill.
Mankind already had a poor track record: Adam and Eve, Cain, the sin of Noah’s generation, and the list goes on.
It was vital that this covenant be fulfilled for the eternal salvation of mankind.
But God needed to find someone He could trust to begin the process of restoration.
He found it in a man from the land of Ur named Abram.
“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land (Canaan/Israel) that I will show you.
“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
“I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” (Genesis 12:3)
God promised that Abram would become a great name.
Abram (אַבְרָם) means Exalted Father.
But God added the Hebrew letter hey (ה) to his name and made it Abraham, (אַבְרָהָם).
Many believe that God took this “hey” from His own personal name YHVH – יהוה, a symbol of His intimate involvement in the covenant that He alone is going to fulfill through Abraham.
God said to Abraham, “I have made you the father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:5)
But Sarah couldn’t believe that she could get pregnant at her age, proving once again that the terms of this covenant are up to God alone to fulfill. God would have to work a miracle in the barren womb of Sarah.
God said to Abraham, “I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.” (Genesis 17:21)
Both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the promise of having a natural childbirth (Genesis 17:17, 18:12).
But, “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14)
When Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, she gave birth to a son and named him Isaac (laughter).
“Now Sarah said, ‘God has brought laughter to me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.’” (Genesis 20:6)
In Genesis 17, right after God changed Abram’s name to Abraham God explained to him the final part of His Covenant:
“You must keep My covenant of circumcision, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. Every male among you must be circumcised on the eighth day… It shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.” (verses 7,11)
This was certainly speaking about the Jewish people as there has only been one people group in history which circumcises their male children on the eighth day — even up to this day in 2018.
Yesterday, a newborn son of one of our ministry staff cousins in Tel Aviv had a brit milah (circumcision).
Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel
From Abraham and the miraculous birth of his son Isaac, and then the birth of his son Jacob would come forth a people chosen (created) by God to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
Their job was also to be a light to the world (Exodus 19:6).
“I have chosen Abraham, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what He (the Lord) has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19)
Isaac’s son, Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel, had 12 sons (the twelve tribes of Israel).
Not standing on God’s promises to us
Sometimes, after God speaks to us about a promise and we don’t see it fulfilled right away, we question if God really spoke to us. Many times we lack faith and patience and go about things our own way and mess up.
In the case of Abraham, well, you know the story. Before Isaac was born, Abraham had another son.
God appeared to Abraham in his early years in Canaan and said, “‘Look towards heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5)
Although Abraham believed the Lord, several years passed by with no son.
Both he and Sarah lost patience for God to work this miracle as they were old.
Having also lost faith, Sarah told her husband Abraham to take her maidservant as a wife and have a child through her, since Sarah could not give birth. (Genesis 16:3)
Abraham named his son Ishmael, who became the father of the Arab nations.
Certainly, Abraham lived up to God’s promise to make him a Father of many nations.
Nevertheless, God made it clear in Genesis that the covenant promises would be established through Isaac, not Ishmael.
God promised to give Abraham’s descendants The Land
On the day that God passed through the animals, making the covenant with Abram, He said to Abram, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadie of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates….” (Genesis 15:17–21; see also Jeremiah 34:18)
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, God reiterates this promise and clearly tells us which descendants will receive this promise of land.
God again promised Abraham, “To your offspring I will give this land.” (Genesis 12:7) and again in chapter 13:14–18.
God promised Abraham’s son, Isaac, “to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I swore to your father Abraham.” (Genesis 26:3)
God promised Isaac’s son, Jacob: “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;” (Genesis 28:13)
While many argue that the land of Israel belongs to the Palestinians, God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham, promising this land as an everlasting possession to the Jewish people.
God promised that all the families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham.
The Jewish People have certainly blessed the world in physical and spiritual ways.
Did you know that 22% of all Nobel prize winners have been Jewish (they only comprise 0.2% of the world’s population).
AIPAC, America’s pro-Israel lobby, states that Israel contains “the most scientists, technicians, start-ups, and published scientific papers per capita in the world.”
In a land mass where oil dominates natural resources and exports, tiny Israel stands uniquely apart in that its primary export is technology in all Industries. Its resource is the Jewish people behind the innovations, as this CIA Factbook map shows:
More importantly, through the Jewish People came abundant spiritual blessings.
The Jewish people through Abraham gave this world both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Brit Chadashah (New Testament). Reading the Word of God builds faith and nourishes our souls.
The New Covenant came through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), a descendant of the Tribe of Judah, God in the flesh (John 1:1).
Through Him, salvation was made available to the entire world, including you.
God promised blessings to those who bless the Jews and curses to those who curse them.
This is a method God uses to ensure His Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled.
For instance, even before Isaac was born, the entire nation of Israelites could have become extinct, but God intervened.
Twice, Abraham took his wife Sarah into a foreign land and told the leaders (first a pharaoh and then a king) that she was his sister.
(That is true because in Genesis 20:12, Abraham says they both had the same father but different mothers, which was acceptable during that time of history.)
And because Sarah was beautiful, each time these leaders took her, intending to lay with her, God cursed them.
To get her back from Pharaoh in Egypt, “the Lord cursed Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.” (verse 17)
And Pharaoh gave Sarah back to Abraham.
Then, in the other instance, to get her back from Abimelech the king of Gehrer, God came to Abimelech in a dream and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” (Genesis 20:3)
Then God closed the wombs of all the women in the land. The people of Gehrer would now become extinct. (Genesis 20:18)
That is until Abraham prayed for them and God lifted the curse upon them.
Many centuries later, when Moses was born, the Pharaoh of that time tried to kill all the Hebrew baby boys. Eighty years later, God cursed the Egyptians with ten plagues, including killing the Egyptian firstborn sons.
Throughout the millennia, the Jewish People have continuously faced curses of extinction.
And God has continuously fulfilled the curse for curse terms in His Covenant.
Sometimes, we don’t see those curses fulfilled until a much later time. One of the most recent examples is Britain.
The British government issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, promising to help the Jewish People establish a Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel.
But after the Holocaust and WWII ended in 1945, when the Jews needed safe passage to the land of Israel, Britain forbid it. In essence they cursed the Jews.
Since that time, the Great British Empire declined and never regained its strength!
On the other hand, the United States has stood by Israel and the Jewish people, being a blessing to them. About six million Jews live in the United States.
Could this be why the United States has become the most powerful nation in the world?
This principle of curse for curse and blessing for blessing is not only for nations. It is for every person who has a choice to welcome, comfort, and help a Jewish person.
The Final Fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant
God repeated the promise he made to Abraham to the Jewish prophets — about a full restoration to the Land of Israel.
While the Jewish People were restored to the land of Israel after the Babylonian exile (2,600 years ago) and then again in 1948, there are still promises to be fulfilled about them accepting their Messiah.
The Prophet Zechariah reveals how the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant will also include a spiritual restoration of the Jewish people when they see Yeshua (Jesus) as He is returning soon!
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, regarding one whom they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
Then, they will be cleansed of their sins:
“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”
“This third I will put through the the Refiner’s Fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.
“They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”