Everywhere Abraham went, he built an altar to the Lord. As you read this, remember that the promise that all nations should be blessed in Abraham, specified even families. The religion of Abraham was a family religion. The family altar was never neglected in his household. This is not an empty figure of speech, but comes from the practice of the fathers to whom the promise was made, and of which we are partakers if we are of their faith and practice. An Example for Parents: God said of Abraham, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Gen. 18:19).
The Promise To Abraham: In studying this promise, two portions of Scripture must ever be kept in mind. The first is the words of Jesus: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39, 46-47 NKJV). The only Scriptures in the days of Christ were the books now known as the Old Testament; these testify of Him. They were given for no other purpose. The Apostle Paul wrote that they are able to make men wise to salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15); and among those writings the books of Moses are specially pointed out by the Lord as revealing Him. He who reads the writings of Moses, and the entire Old Testament, with any other expectation than to find Christ, and the way of life through Him, will utterly fail of understanding them. His reading will be in vain.
Redemption means to buy back. And what is to be bought back? Evidently that which was lost; for that is what the Lord came to save. And what was lost? Man, for one thing; “for thus says the Lord: “You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money” (Isa. 52:3). What else was lost? Necessarily all that man had. And what was that? “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:26–28). This was man’s original dominion, but it was not retained. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we have these words of the Psalmist quoted in the following passage: — “For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower [or, “for a little while lower”] than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower [or, “for a little while lower”] than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:5–9 NKJV & R.V.).
When the humble shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem were astonished by the shining of the glory of the Lord round about them, as they watched their flocks by night, their fears were quieted by the voice of the angel of the Lord, who said, “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2.10,11. The words, “good tidings,” are from the one Greek word which elsewhere is rendered “Gospel;” so that we might properly read the message of the angel thus: “Behold, I bring you the Gospel of great joy, which shall be to all people.” In that announcement to the shepherds we learn several important things. 1. That the Gospel is a message that brings joy. “The kingdom of God is . . . righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Christ is anointed “with the oil of gladness,” and He gives “the oil of joy for mourning.” 2. It is a message of salvation from sin. For before this time the same angels had foretold to Joseph the birth of this infant, and had said, “Thou shall call his name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1.21. 3. It is something which concerns everybody, —“which shall be to all people.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3.16. This is assurance enough for everybody.
God Helps His People Receive Their Everlasting Possession: What is the main point in what we are making here? The children of Israel, after they came into the Promised Land of Canaan, after many of them lost their inheritance due to unfaithfulness to God, or all of them to death, cannot be the complete fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham, because it was to be an ‘everlasting possession!’ Therefore this implies that there must be a great change that would come over God’s people, which would enable them to live holy lives for Him, and not lose their everlasting possession due to death or sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 KJV. But how would this great change come about? Now that is the gospel message! This is righteousness by faith! This is a topic for further articles! But we will give you a hint here: 1) God needed to provide for the forgiveness of His people. And: 2) God needed to circumcise the hearts of His people and give them the Holy Spirit:
God’s Promise of the Everlasting Possession: We want to show you from the Bible what God had promised Abraham, and why this promise to Abraham could only come to him personally through the Resurrection, and why the children of Israel could only fully get this promised inheritance through the Resurrection as well. Note what God promised Abraham regarding the land the He showed him: ‘to thee will I give it’ and ‘to thy seed forever.’ God promised this land to Abraham personally and to Abraham’s children forever! It was to be their possession forever! Do not miss this! If either Abraham or Abraham’s children (those faithful to God) did not receive this possession forever, then this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Note what Abraham said: ‘How will I know that I shall inherit it?” This makes it clear that Abraham expected to receive the inheritance for himself, not just for his posterity. For those who think that the children of Israel, delivered from their bondage in Egypt, coming into the Promised Land of Canaan was the complete fulfillment of this promise, think again, because it was not forever. In the dream that Abraham had, God answered Abraham and said that his posterity would come out of the land of Egypt with ‘many possessions.’ We believe that this was a partial fulfillment of the promise, when they got their inheritance in the land of Canaan. This was the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise.
Prophecies of the Earth made New, where God dwells with His people in the New Jerusalem: Here is a prophecy for the end of time, showing that God will dwell at Jerusalem: “The LORD roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, and strangers will pass through it no more.” Joel 3:16-17 NASB. Notice that God is dwelling in Zion here, His holy mountain. He utters His voice from Jerusalem. When this prophecy takes place, God will dwell in the city of Jerusalem! Jerusalem is the city which was built on the mountain of Zion. Jerusalem and Zion are used somewhat synonymously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion . How do we know that this is talking about the New Jerusalem at the end of time? Because the book of Joel is about the end of the world, and how God would pour out His Holy Spirit on His people, those who repent, and save and restore them: Judah and Jerusalem. Study the whole book and you will see. See especially Joel 1:1-3; 2:32; 3:1. And because its message: God will dwell in Zion, His holy mountain, is similar to Revelation 21:22-23, where the city of the New Jerusalem has God and the Lamb as its temple, and is illuminated by God and the Lamb’s glory. There are also other places in the Bible that prophesy something along these lines. Compare these prophecies with the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21. We think it is clear that the New Jerusalem will be located where the Old Jerusalem, the city of David was.
Abraham’s Promised Possession Fulfilled: We declare to you that ‘the everlasting possession’ made to Abraham, is an ‘everlasting possession,’ possessed only by those who live forever. Everything we have discussed and brought up thus far is to bring us now to this point: this is the great focal point of human history, in the Bible! Everything prophesied in the Bible eventually moves us to this point: God’s plan to save the world and restore it back to its former state in the Garden of Eden, that He promised to Abraham! Yes God promised to save the world through Abraham’s offspring, but Abraham did not have all of the details of this plan. Oh what a joy it is to serve God! Oh what a privilege! Abraham will indeed have a very rich reward in Heaven for all of the souls he helped to get there! God is so wonderful! Now let’s examine the evidence for Abraham’s promised ‘everlasting possession’ from the book of Hebrews, and we will then proceed to what it means.
God’s Mercy and Plan to Save the offspring of Abraham. Thus we see that the ability of Abraham and his offspring to have or to hang on to their ‘everlasting possession,’ must mean something more than just God’s people having a temporal possession, and losing it at death or because of infidelity to God. Because God’s best continued blessings are given to the faithful - to those who are obedient to His word. Abraham and some of his offspring were obedient to God, but not all of them were, and they were prone to wander from God. Is there no hope for the children of Israel’s wandering from God? Is there to be no hope for ‘the lost tribes of Israel,’ like the tribe of Ephraim? Was there no plan to rescue the ‘lost tribes of Israel’ and give them their inheritance that God had promised Abraham? God always keeps His promises, and will yet save as many as possible from these ‘lost tribes of Israel,’ who defected from God as a tribe and were exiled by the Assyrians, where they were transported lock-stock-and-barrel to other countries far from their home, never to return again to their inheritance that God gave to their forefathers, that He had promised Abraham. Does God have a plan to save the Jews of the other tribes of Israel too? Many of them are in need of spiritual reviving as well. Yes! God has a plan to save as many as possible of Israel, from all twelve of the tribes, to fulfill His promise to Abraham: to give to as many of them as possible their land for an eternal possession! God always keeps His promises!
God’s Conditions for the Everlasting Possession: After the children of Israel came out of Egypt, they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, after many of them lost faith in God and rebelled against Him. Then they came into the Promised Land. But they lost a lot of their promised possession after the days of David and Solomon, when the Israelite kingdom was at its peak, power and size. They were not able to get or continue to keep all of their inheritance after they came into the Promised Land, because of lack of faith, fear, and slackness at times to do what God had commanded them to do, in conquering the land that was given to them, and repeated infidelity to God. After Solomon died, because of Solomon’s sins and the sins of his wives sacrificing to the pagan gods, Israel was split into two different kingdoms, with 9 ½ tribes going to Israel and 2 ½ tribes going to Judah. Then later these tribes left God, never to return again as a whole back to Him, and many of them lost their national and religious identity as Israelites, and served other gods and idols! And since then, the remaining tribes of the children of Israel have lost even more of their inheritance, until we get to our day. Throughout their history as God’s chosen people, there was almost a constant round of backsliding by them, then God would raise up someone to help save them and help them to return to Him, then later they would backslide again. But this constant round of backsliding also describes much of the history of Christianity as well. This is human nature at its best, when they don’t continue to put their trust in God all-the-way. That is why Isaiah later declared that ‘all we like sheep have gone astray,’ because humanity is prone to wander from God. Isaiah 53:6 KJV.