“And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” (Lev. 26:12)
In the narrative of the Bible we find many direct promises made by God and of course innumerable prophecies throughout the Old and New Testaments depicting the intentions that God has in store for His people in the latter days. In this essay, I would like to look primarily at the promises of God as made to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in reverse order. In Gen. 35 we read these words which God spoke to Jacob-Israel, “And God said unto Him, I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;” (Gen. 35:11). Now we know that Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, that later would become the nation of Israel. This, thus, would be the seed of Jacob, twelve tribes or nations. Next let’s take a look at what God promised to Isaac. In Gen. 26 God said, “And I (God) will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of Heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed, shall all the nations of the Earth be blessed;” (Gen. 26:4). We also know that Isaac had only two sons, Esau and Jacob, thus Isaac’s accumulative seed numbers two plus twelve is fourteen. Now, let us look at the promises made to father Abraham. For that let’s go first to Gen. 12 where God said, “And I make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” Gen. 12:2 and Gen. 13:16 says “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the Earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the Earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”, with other words innumerable. Abraham was the father of eight sons, one by Hagar, one by Sarah and after Sarah’s death, six sons by Keturah. Thus, Abraham’s seed or offspring numbers his own eight plus Isaac’s two, plus Jacob’s twelve making a total of twenty-two. That wee line would grow into an immense multitude of diverse peoples and nations. Although Abraham’s progeny would become immense, God had already told Abraham that in Isaac would his seed be called (Gen. 21:12). In other words, though all of Abraham’s descendants would be important in their own way, the focus would be on Isaac and Isaac only.
When Isaac was about one-year old, Abraham gave unto Hagar bread and water and sent her and her son Ishmael away. They settled in what is known as the Sinai Peninsula and Ishmael’s descendants eventually settled in all of Arabia and North Africa. In the same way, seventy plus years later, Abraham gave gifts to his six sons by Keturah and sent them away eastward. (Gen. 25:6) No mention is made about those people, but it is believed that they became the East Indian peoples of South-East Asia, but to Isaac, Abraham gave all that he had, all his possessions, all his wealth and also the blessings of God contained in the Covenant that God had made and promised to Abraham.
About Isaac, the Bible does not give us much information as to his accomplishments or his walk and relationship with God, although God twice confirms His Covenant promise to him, once in Gerar in the land of the Philistines and once when Isaac returns to dwell at Beersheba (Gen. 26:2 and 24). The reason for this lack of information may lie in the fact that Isaac was basically only an interlude between Abraham and Jacob-Israel, seeing that Jacob and his family become the main focus of the Bible. From here on the only focus point of Isaac’s life is that he is the father of both Esau and Jacob, two distinct peoples that will strive with each other throughout the ages until the end of time.
Abraham was the friend of God, Jacob-Israel is a Prince ruling with God, but Isaac is just Isaac, the medium through which the seedline of the elect is established. The Covenant blessing is first bestowed on Jacob when Isaac blessed him, as Jacob was being sent away to find a bride from among his mother’s people. (Gen. 28:3,4) But, while on this journey God Himself confirms His promise to Jacob. (Gen. 28: 13,14,15). Should be noted that of Jacob’s twelve sons, eleven were born in a foreign land, a foreshadowing of the fact that Israel, in the dispersion, would dwell many years separated from God among nations that had no knowledge of the Lord God Almighty.
The Abrahamic Covenant of blessing is an unconditional Covenant that was freely given by God and never abrogated. In Mal. 3:6 we read these words, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye son’s of Jacob are not consumed.” If the sons of Jacob are not consumed then that must mean that somehow and somewhere Israel is still in existence on this Earth. Not as mainstream Christianity claims that the church is Spiritual Israel that includes everybody, but as a real physical entity. God would in no way forsake His beloved people for which He, in the person of His Son, freely died.