DIVISION I

THE ROYAL LINE OF DAVID AND THE ROOTS OF ISRAEL:
POINT TO THE PROMISED SEED OF DAVID, THE COMING
MESSIAH OF THE WORLD, THE Lord JESUS CHRIST, 1:1–9:44

 

A. The Genealogy from Adam to Jacob: Remember God’s Wonderful Promise to Preserve the Human Race Through the Promised Seed and the Hope for the Promised Land, 1:1-54

(1:1-54) Introduction: most people in the world profess to believe in God, but few people follow the only living and true God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the living God, the great Creator of the universe, who sent the Lord Jesus Christ into this world. And God sent His Son for one primary purpose: to save the world from sin, death, and judgment to come. Before Christ, most people in the world had turned away from the only living and true God, had turned away and begun to worship false gods created by their own imaginations. By rejecting God, they were dooming themselves to lives of eternal rejection, for God had given them a free will. And if the people chose to live separated from God, they would be allowed to live separated from Him—eternally. However, despite the people’s false worship and rejection, God longed for people to return to Him. For this reason, He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to save mankind from its sin and rejection. Jesus Christ came to this earth to reconcile us to God, to bring us back to Him. This is the reason Christ preached repentance, that we must turn away from our lives of rejection and turn back to God.

From the beginning of human history, God declared this glorious message of the coming Savior. When the first man Adam sinned, God promised to send a godly seed, a Savior, into the world. This Savior was to crush the head of the serpent, the terrible tempter of man, the devil (Re.12:9). God’s great promise to send a Savior into the world who would turn people back to God and create a godly line of believers is the practical message of this chapter of Holy Scripture.

For almost 50 years the survivors of the Southern Kingdom of Judah had been exiled in the land of Babylon. During these years the power of world empires shifted from Babylon to Persia. King Cyrus of Persia consolidated his empire by defeating the nation of Babylon. Thus his empire was the dominant power in the world from 539-331 B.C. Sometime around 538 B.C., Zerubbabel and any Jewish exiles who wished to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple were allowed to do so (Ezr.1:1-6:22). About 50,000 exiles chose to return. Some 48 years later (458 B.C.), Ezra was allowed to lead a second But smaller group of exiles back to their homeland (Ezr.7:1-10:44). Their purpose was to carry out spiritual reform and to rebuild their nation. (See discussion—Division I; also see—Introduction to First Chronicles for more discussion.)

As the Israelites returned, they needed to be faithful to the Lord. They were the chosen people of God, the promised seed or descendants whom God had appointed to be His witnesses to the world. To arouse them to make a deeper commitment to the Lord, the author of Chronicles set out to remind them just who they were.

⇒ They were the faithful followers of the Lord, and their faithfulness was being demonstrated in their return to the promised land of God.

⇒ They were proof that God’s promise of a godly seed of believers would always exist upon the earth. Moreover, their godly heritage could be traced through the genealogies that had been kept by their forefathers since the very beginning of human history. Unlike any other nation upon earth, the genealogy of godly believers could be traced all the way back to Adam, who had been created by the very hand of God Himself.

By seeing that they were linked to the hand of God through creation, the small and weak band of returnees could know that God loved and cared for them. And He would continue to look after them as they sought to stir revival and to rebuild their nation and their capital Jerusalem. This is, The Genealogy from Adam to Jacob: Remember God’s Wonderful Promise to Preserve the Human Race Through the Promised Seed and the Hope for the Promised Land, 1:1-54.

1. Remember the descendants from Adam to Noah: they point to God as the Creator and to His promise of a godly seed and line of believers, Ge.1:25; 3:15; 5:1-32 (vv.1-3).

2. Remember the descendants from Noah to Abraham: they point to God’s preservation of the human race and to the promised line of godly believers, Ge.6:8 (vv.4-26).

3. Remember the descendants from Abraham to Jacob (Israel): they point to God’s assurance of the promised seed and to the giving of a new promise, the promised land, Ge.12:3; 22:18; Ga.3:16, 29 (vv.27-34).

4. Remember the descendants of Esau, the Edomites: they point to the carnal unbelievers of the world (who lose their inheritance of God’s promises and refuse to be followers of the Lord), Ge.25:29-34; 36:1-43, esp. 10-14 (vv.35-54).

1. (1:1-3) Adam, Genealogy of—Godly Line, Believers—Seed, Godly, Genealogy of—Godly Seed, Genealogy of—Israel, Duty of—Believers, Duty of—Godly Seed, Meaning of—Prophecy, Concerning Christ—Adam, Descendants of: remember the descendants from Adam to Noah, for they point to God as the Creator and to His wonderful promise of a godly seed or godly line of believers (Ge.1:25; 3:15). In looking at these early descendants, the returning exiles could trace their heritage back to the hand of God Himself. No other nation or people were able to do this, for no segment of their population had remained followers of God. Consequently, they had not kept a record of their roots that stretched all the way back to the creation of Adam. Thus, the heritage of the small band of Israelites who returned from exile was unique. The account of their genealogical records traced their origin all the way back to Adam, who had been created by the hand of God Himself (Ge.1:1-31, esp.26-27).

By reminding the returnees that they had been created by God, the author was stressing that God had not forsaken them. As the creation of His hand, the Lord cared for them and would look after them. He would richly bless them in the promised land just as He had done with their forefathers when they walked faithfully and obediently before Him.

Knowing that the Lord created them should arouse them to make a personal commitment to the Lord, to restore true worship in the temple, and to be a strong witness to the world. For in looking back to the beginning of creation, the returnees would be reminded that they had a common heritage with all other people, even with the unbelievers of the world. Because of this common heritage, the returnees must be a strong witness to all unbelievers. And to be a strong witness, they needed to focus upon the Temple of the Lord. The returnees needed to worship the only living and true God in the home that stood for His Name. If the Lord was truly worshipped in the temple, the temple would stand as a strong testimony to the worship of the Creator of all humanity, the only living and true God. It should be noted that rebuilding the temple worship and helping the earlier returnees rebuild the nation were the very reasons that King Artaxerxes, king of Persia, had released Ezra and the Israelites to return to the promised land (Ezr.7:6-28).

The returnees could again find encouragement when they traced their heritage back to Adam. After Adam’s terrible sin and fall, the Lord gave the great promise of the godly seed, which referred to both Christ and a godly line of believers. (See outline—Ge.3:15 and notes—Ge.3:15 for more discussion.) Note what God said when He executed judgment upon the serpent or the devil (Re.12:9):

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Ge.3:15).

In executing judgment, God said there would always be enmity between the seed (offspring) of the tempter and the seed of the woman. Who are the seed being referred to? The seed (offspring) of the devil refers to the ungodly men and women upon earth, and the seed of the woman refers to the godly men and women upon earth (Jn.8:44; Ro.5:10; Col. 1:21; James 4:4; 1 Jn.3:8; 1 Jn.3:10). There are two seeds or groups of people upon earth, two offspring, two descendants:

⇒ those who follow the way of righteousness and those who follow the way of unrighteousness

⇒ those who follow the way of good, the way of God Himself, and those who follow the way of self and the way of the devil himself

The godly seed of the woman is in a struggle against the ungodly seed of the devil. Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy of human history. History pictures a great struggle between good and evil among men and nations. History is a stage upon which the play of conflict is acted out, a conflict between the godly and the ungodly—between the good and the evil—upon the earth. There is a good and godly seed upon earth, and there is an evil and ungodly seed. There is a godly humanity and an ungodly humanity upon earth, and there always will be.

But note this fact: God will not let Satan triumph. There will always be godly people upon earth. No matter how much Satan tries to destroy godliness, God will make certain there is always a remnant of godly people somewhere upon earth. Satan and his followers will never be free from the enmity they feel toward the godly, the true followers of God. The ungodly will burn with antagonism toward true godliness as long as the earth stands.

In reviewing the genealogy from Adam to Noah, the small band of returning exiles could take heart. For the Lord had promised a godly line of descendants stretching all the way back to Adam. And the returnees were descendants of the godly line of true believers. They had demonstrated their faith in the Lord by returning to the promised land for the very purpose of restoring true worship in the temple and rebuilding their nation.

But in noting God’s promise of a godly seed, the promise also referred to one particular seed or descendant of the woman. Some descendant of the woman was to destroy the serpent. The serpent would strike the descendant’s heel and bruise him, but the descendant of the woman would strike the final and fatal blow. The descendant of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. This is definitely a promise of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And note: this is the first promise of the Savior in the Bible, and the promise is unconditional. The Savior would definitely come and destroy the serpent (tempter) in order to reconcile man with God. The New Testament clearly explains just who the promised seed is. The seed may sometimes refer to the godly descendants, but the primary meaning of the promised seed is singular: it is Christ Jesus Himself.

"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Ga.3:16).

Note this fact as well: the Scripture states that the promised seed is the seed of the woman, not of the man. This points toward the virgin birth—the incarnation—of Christ. Remember that Jesus Christ crushed Satan when He died upon the cross (Jn.12:31-33; Col. 1:13-14; Col. 2:12, 15; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 Pe.2:24; 1 Jn.3:8).

Thought 1. Looking back to Adam in First Chronicles’ genealogy should encourage us, for it points to God as the Creator of Adam who is the father of all humanity. Adam was created by the very hand of God Himself, which means that we came from the hand of God. This is a wonderful truth, for it means that God loves and cares for us. As the Creator, He will help us through the difficult circumstances of life. We can look at this genealogy and trace our origin back to God Himself, back to the sovereign Lord and Majesty of the universe. We are the creation of His hand; and being His creation, we can rest assured that He stands ready to help us in all the trials and temptations of life. If He sent us into this world, He will take us out of this world to live with Him eternally. But there is a condition: we must acknowledge Him as the Creator of life, the source and provision of life. This is exactly what God’s Holy Word says:

"For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring" (Ac.17:28).

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Ge.1:1).

"And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Ge.1:25-26).

"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created" (Ge.5:2).

"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Jb.33:4).

"Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Ps.100:3).

"Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?" (Mal.2:10).

Thought 2. In looking at the descendants from Adam to Noah, the reader can see God’s wonderful promise of a godly seed. The list of these ten names is the godly line of believers stretching from Adam to Noah (vv.1-3). But always keep in mind this wonderful truth: the promise of the godly seed refers to Christ as well as a godly line of believers. It was Jesus Christ who crushed Satan’s head by dying for man, by bearing all of man’s guilt and punishment for sin. In behalf of humanity, Christ took everyone’s sin upon Himself and bore the judgment of God against sin. It is Christ who is the Ideal Man, so His death becomes the Ideal Death. Just as His Ideal Righteousness stands for and covers every man, so his Ideal Death stands for and covers every man. Consequently, the penalty and punishment for sins has now been paid. Man no longer has to die and be separated from God (see DEEPER STUDY #1, Death—Heb. 9:27). The way for us to live forever in the presence of God is now open. Satan’s power is broken and destroyed forever.

"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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (Jn.3:16-17).

"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die" (Jn.12:31-33).

"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Ro.8:11).

"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth" (Ro.8:33).

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:13-14).

"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead…And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:12, 15).

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:14-15).

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Pe.2:24).

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Pe.3:18).

"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 Jn.3:8).

2. (1:4-26) Preservation, of the Human Race—Humanity, Preservation of—Man, Preservation of—Noah, Preservation of the Human Race—Noah, Descendants of—Believers, Preservation of—Godly Line, Preservation of—God, Promises of, Preservation of Humanity—Promises, of God: remember the descendants from Noah to Abraham, for they point to God’s preservation of the human race and of the promised line of godly believers (see outlines—Ge.6:9-9:29 and notes—Ge.6:9-9:29 for more discussion). By looking back to Noah, the returning exiles would know the surety, the certainty of God’s promise. No matter how wicked human behavior became and no matter how terrible the circumstances of life for believers, God would preserve and keep alive the promised line of godly believers. There would always be godly believers upon earth as long as the earth stood. In the first civilization and society of earth—between the days of Adam and Noah—two streams of people had been developing upon earth:

⇒ the godly stream (line) who worshiped and served God.

⇒ the ungodly stream (line) who neglected and denied God and who lived wicked lives.

The godly walked with God, and the ungodly walked after the flesh and the things of this world. But eventually the ungodly began to influence the godly believers and the two began to intermarry. The result was the same as it has always been down through history: the ungodly pulled the godly down, leading them into a life of sin and wickedness. Throughout the succeeding generations, the descendants of the human race became so corrupted that God had to execute judgment and destroy every family upon earth. Only one family was saved and preserved, the family of Noah. Through Noah, the human race was preserved. But even more importantly, the godly line of believers was preserved and saved by God. His promise of the godly seed, a godly line of believers, was protected and assured until the end of the earth.

By tracing their roots back to Noah, the small band of returning exiles could rest assured of God’s preservation. God would keep them safe and secure them in the promised land. Of this they could be certain if they followed the godly example of Noah and his son Shem through whom the godly line was continued.

Note that the genealogy of Noah’s sons Japheth and Ham are listed before that of Shem:

⇒ the descendants of Noah’s son Japheth, who was the father of the Indo-Europeans (vv.5-7; see outline and note—Ge.10:2-5 for a full discussion of his descendants).

⇒ the descendants of Noah’s son Ham, who was the father of the Orientals, Africans, and Canaanites (vv.8-16; see outline and note—Ge.10:6-20 for a full discussion of his descendants).

⇒ the descendants of Shem, who were the Middle Eastern people from whom the promised seed or line of godly descendants were to come (vv.17-27; see outlines and notes—Ge.10:21-32; 11:10-27 for a full discussion of his descendants).

From these three sons of Noah, the human race repopulated the earth. But the genealogy was important to the returnees because it reminded them that they were descendants of the godly line of believers. They were the godly seed promised by the Lord. Knowing this fact and the fact that God had preserved the godly seed through the most difficult days of human history was a strong encouragement to the returning exiles. For as they undertook the rebuilding of the temple and of Jerusalem, they would face difficult and trying days. Nevertheless, God had proven that He would preserve the godly line of believers.


Thought 1. The lesson for us is straightforward: if we trust God, follow Him, obey His commandments, and serve Him, He will take care of us. As we labor day by day, working at our tasks and responsibilities, God will be there for us. No matter what may happen, God will help us and strengthen us. He will hold us in the palm of His hand, walking with us through the fiery trials and temptations of this world. If we are descendants of faith—of the godly seed, genuine, true believers—the Lord will preserve us. He will guard, secure, shelter, shield, sustain, uphold us. This is the promise in His Holy Word.

"And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2 Ti.4:18).

"Let your conversation [behavior, conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Heb. 13:5-6).

"And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day" (De.6:24).

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them" (De.33:27).

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars" (2 Chr.16:9).

"For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock" (Ps.27:5).

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him" (Ps.28:7).

"Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues" (Ps.31:20).

"O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer" (Ps.31:23).

"Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield" (Ps.33:20).

"For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off" (Ps.37:28).

"But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God" (Ps.40:17).

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps.46:1).

"Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress" (Ps.71:3).

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Ps.84:11).

"He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler" (Ps.91:4).

"O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield" (Ps.115:9).

"As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever" (Ps.125:2).

"He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints" (Pr.2:8).

"In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge" (Pr.14:26).

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" (Pr.18:10).

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him" (Pr.30:5).

"For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall" (Isaiah 25:4).

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10).

"Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:1-2).

3. (1:27-34) Promised Seed, Assurance—Seed, Promised, Assurance of—Promised Land, Assurance of—Land, The Promised, Assurance of—Promises, of God, the Promised Land—Abraham, Descendants of—Genealogy, of Abraham—Israelites, Returnees from Exile, Duty, to Remember Their Godly Heritage: remember the descendants from Abraham to Jacob (Israel). These descendants are a reminder of God’s assurance of the promised seed and the fact that God gave a new promise to Abraham, that of the promised land itself (see outline—Ge.12:1c-3, note—Ge.12:1c-3, outline—22:15-18, note—22:15-18, outline—Ga.3:16, note—Ga.3:16, outline—Ga. 3:29, and note—Ga. 3:29 for more discussion). When the returned exiles looked back to Abraham, they saw that God took a single man and gave two great promises to him: the assurance of the promised seed and the assurance of the promised land. And they knew that God had taken the descendants of Abraham and brought them into the promised land. God had even made them into a great nation under the kingship of David.

Hopefully, by reviewing the genealogy of Abraham, the returnees would be stirred to follow the example of Abraham and his godly son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Trusting God, the returnees could restore true worship in the temple and help rebuild Jerusalem. For after all, the Lord had given the promise of the promised seed and the promised land to Abraham and his godly descendants—and the promises were given eternally.

In looking at the list of Abraham’s descendants in First Chronicles, the reader notices that the descendants of Ishmael are listed first and then the descendants of Abraham’s concubine Keturah, all of whom became founders of Arabic tribes. (For Ishmael, see outline and notes—Ge.25:12-16 for more discussion; for Keturah’s descendants, see outline and note—Ge.25:1-4.) Down through history the Arabic people had been a thorn in the side of Israel, and they were to continue to be a serious problem for Ezra and the small group of exiled returnees (Ne.2:19-20; 4:7-12; 6:1-14).

The godly seed was continued through Abraham’s son Isaac and his grandson Jacob or Israel (v.34; see outline—Ge.21:1-7 and notes—Ge.21:1-7 for more discussion). Note that Isaac also had a son named Esau. His genealogy follows in verses 35-44, and then Jacob’s descendants take up the rest of the genealogies given in First Chronicles (chs.2–8).

The promised land represented at least three major things to Abraham and to the true believers of Israel. When thinking back to Abraham and the godly descendants down through the generations, the Jewish exiles returning to Jerusalem from Babylon were bound to yearn for a restoration of the promised land. Nothing would arouse their longing any more than looking back to Abraham and seeing just what the promised land had meant to him.

1. To Abraham, the promised land was the assurance of a personal inheritance, that is, the possession of a new country, of his own property with all its good land, wealth, and rights. Abraham believed that he would live in a new city within his own land and country—all given by God Himself. Furthermore, the land was to be his forever, for it was promised by the eternal God Himself.

Note this, for it is important: Abraham’s hope was for a permanent, eternal city and country. True, he was physically journeying all throughout the promised land of Canaan, believing that God was going to give him and his seed (descendants) the land of Canaan. But while he was journeying, his hope was for the permanent, eternal city and country of God. Abraham knew that God’s promised land referred to the heavenly as well as to the earthly land. Note how clearly Scripture states this:

"For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" (Ge.13:15).

⇒ God’s promise included the eternal, permanent possession of the promised land, and Abraham knew this.

"By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:9-10).

⇒ This refers to the heavenly Jerusalem, the capital of the new heavens and earth (see Heb. 12:22; 13:14. See notes—Ge.12:1c; Re.21:2.)

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11:13-16).

⇒ Note v.15: it clearly states that Abraham’s mind was on the heavenly and eternal country. If it had not been, he would have returned to his former home. He would never have wandered about, suffering the hardships he bore.

Thought 1. Note how the promise given to Abraham parallels the promise given to the believer. Abraham was to inherit the promised land if he turned away from the world and followed God. We are to inherit the promised land of heaven if we turn away from the world and follow God. The promised land is a symbol, a type, a picture of heaven.

1) The promise given to Abraham.

"And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (Ge.17:8).

2) The promise given to the believer.

"In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (Jn.14:2-3).

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Cor. 5:1).

"For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Phil. 3:20-21).

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:8-10).

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11:13-16).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pe.1:3-5).

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city [New Jerusalem]" (Re.22:14).

2. The promised land was the assurance of conquest and rest, of spiritual victory and spiritual rest. The promised land was to bring a God-given peace and security, freedom and liberty, deliverance and salvation. To Abraham the promised land meant a God-given victory and rest...

To Abraham the promised land meant the assurance of victory over all enemies, both physical and spiritual, a victory given by God Himself.

Thought 1. Note how the spiritual victory and rest promised to Abraham represents the spiritual rest promised to the believer (see note—Heb. 4:1 for more discussion).

1) The promise given to Abram.

"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Ge.12:2-3).

"After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Ge.15:1).

"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Ge.22:17-18).

2) The promise given to the believer.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Mt.11:29).

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest" (Heb. 4:1-3).

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb. 4:11).

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Re.14:13).

"And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (Ex.33:14).

"And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Ps.55:6).

"Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee" (Ps.116:7).

"To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear" (Isaiah 28:12).

3. The promised land was the assurance of God’s own presence, that is, of God’s love, care, provision, and protection. Abraham was bound to know this: if G