Our Bible is full of promises and prophecies, especially the Old Testament and to a lesser extent the New Testament also. Promises and prophecies are not the same, even though they are often overlapping and intertwined. Promises are by and large expressions of God’s intent as to what He will do, and what is in store for His people. These are always in the definite tense, whereas prophecies are often in the abstract depicting an occasion or event to take place at some future time or date. In other words prophecies are most often the affirmation of the promises of God to be realized at an unconfirmed period in time. This said let’s see what the Bible has to say.
“As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations …and I will make thee exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Gen. 17:4,6,7) Now, when we look at these three verses we will see that God actually promised four things. Firstly, God would make Abraham the father of many nations, secondly, the people of these nations would be an immense multitude, thirdly, that kings would come forth from among Abraham’s progeny and fourthly, God would be a God unto the descendants of father Abraham forever.
Although Abraham is the progenitor of all the Islamic and Hindu nations, through Ishmael and the sons of Keturah, certainly a multitude; and part of God’s promise to Abraham, we will in this essay concentrate only on Abraham’s offspring through Isaac and Jacob, for it is to these people that the Bible is addressed. It is through the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel, whom eventually became known as the Caucasian people, the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian, some Germanic and kindred people, who constitute the Christian Israelite nations of the West, that the promise to Abraham as to the nations and multitude is realized.
Even though the Israelites were banned from their original Canaan-land and dispersed throughout the world, God never forgot His promise. A good prophetic example of this is found in Hosea where we read as follows: “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them who were not my people, thou art my people; and they shall say, thou art my God.” (Hos. 2:23) “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince and without a sacrifice and without an image … Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David, the King, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” (Hos. 3:4,5) The verse in Hosea 2 is in fact a prophetic promise, note the “I will’s”, whereas the verses of Hosea 3 confirm the promise made in Genesis 17 that we would always be under the Abrahamic Covenant and that God would be a God unto the people forever. Another corroboration of this promise is found in the prophetic words of Jeremiah 31 where we read as follows, “Thus saith the Lord, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,…If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever.” (Jer. 31:35,36) Thus, we can see that that promise still stands firm and has never been abrogated.
The third part of the Abrahamic promises pertains to kings being amongst Abraham’s progeny and for that we have to go to Genesis 49 first and look at Jacob blessing his twelve sons just prior to his death. We must look at verse 10, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Gen. 49:10) So, we see that in this prophecy Jacob-Israel designates Judah as the king-bearing tribe. This is confirmed in 2 Samuel, “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee; thy throne shall be established forever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.” (2Sam. 7:16,17) This prophecy of Nathan is further confirmed by Jeremiah. “For thus saith the Lord, David shall never lack a man to sit upon the throne of the House of Israel.” (Jer. 33:17)
Now we all know that the last king to rule in Jerusalem was King Zedekiah, who was put to death by the King of Babylon. No Israelite king ever again reigned in Jerusalem after that. Mainstream Christianity believes by and large that this is the end of the story, but is it? Definitely not! Let’s look at Ezekiel for a continuation to this story. We read, “Thus saith the Lord God: I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar (king), and set it out; I will crop off from the top of its young twigs (sons) a tender one (daughter), and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent; in the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it.” (Ezek. 17:22,23) Again we have here a promise within a prophecy. Next, we need to go to Jeremiah. Jeremiah was commissioned by the Lord to build and to plant. “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jer. 1:10)
We know from Jeremiah 43 that Jeremiah took the King’s daughter to Egypt, where the Biblical account ends, but history confirms that they went on to Spain and then to Ireland where the King’s daughter, from the Judah branch of Pharez, was reunited and married to the High King of the Irish, of the Zarah branch of Judah, thus the Royal Line of Judah continues until this day, and shall until the Lord Jesus Christ comes to claim it.
We could go on and on, for the Bible is full of prophecies which all in one way or another reflect an occasion or an event directly tied to one or more of the promises of God. The ones we have looked at up to this point are all tied to the Abrahamic Covenant, but in closing I would like to look at one more promise, and its reflecting prophecies, and for that we must go to Gen. 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This is the first indication that a Redeemer would come to save His people from the sin and depravity that they had just fallen into. What is remarkable is that this promise was made before the Adamic race even got started. It certainly shows here the concept of predestination. Job was aware of this when he said that he knew that his Redeemer would stand on the earth in the latter days. (Job 19:25) In Isaiah we find the first concrete confirmation of the Genesis promise when he said, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel [God with us]. (Isa. 7:14) Then Isaiah confirms this fact when he prophesied, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)
These prophecies of Isaiah were made more than three thousand years after the initial promise was made, and they took another eight hundred years to come to fruition, when Christ was born in Bethlehem. We surely serve an amazing God, a God who will always keep and fulfill His promises. The Bible is full of prophecies depicting events and occasions that have or still will have a direct impact on His people and the world at large, and even if they do not seem related in the long run, all prophecies are directly or indirectly tied to the promises of God. I hope that the Lord will guide all of us in the quest to understand the Holy Scriptures and to guide us in serving Him to our utmost.
May the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob bless us. Amen.