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Confusion on the Covenants: God’s Fourfold Covenant with Abraham

Genesis 12:1-4, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”

God’s promise to Abraham in these verses contain a “fourfold” promise. Because this is not understood, many have stumbled and false doctrine has been the result. Let us study the text and do so with and an open mind and open Bibles.

(1). The first part of this covenant was to make a great nation through Abraham (verse 2). Jehovah restated His covenant with Abraham when he was almost one hundred years old (Gen.17:1-8) and fulfilled His promise to give him a son through which he would become the “father” of the great nation of Israel (Gen.21:1-5). Isaac married Rebekah (Gen.24:1-67) and to Isaac was born a son named Jacob (Gen.25:26). Jacob’s name was later changed to Israel (Gen.32:24-28). To Jacob (or Israel) were born twelve sons (Gen. chapters 29-30). These sons became the “fathers” of the twelve tribes of Israel and thus fulfilled God’s promise to make a great nation of Abraham. The greatness of it is seen as they were finally brought out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:37-41). The Lord had promised that He would give Abraham and his descendants all the land of Canaan for an inheritance (Gen.17:5-8) and contrary to the belief of those who teach that the Israelites, or Jews, must possess the land of Canaan before Jesus comes again (for, they say, they never possessed it), the Word of God declares that they DID possess and live in all the land that God had promised them (Josh.21:43-45).

(2). The second of the fourfold promise to Abraham was to make his name great (verse 2). God fulfilled this in Abraham’s lifetime and his name continues to be great today (Gen.25:5-8; Romans 4:9-16).

(3). The third of the four-fold promise to Abraham was to bless them that blessed him and to curse those who cursed him (verse 3). We see the evidence of this promise fulfilled in Genesis 20:1-18.

(4). The fourth and final part of this four-fold promise was that all families (nations) of the earth would be blessed through him (verse 4). This, in simple terms, is God’s promise to save both Jew and Gentile through Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the main focus of this lesson. God’s promise to Abraham that “all families (nations) of the earth” would be blessed through him was a reference to the salvation that would come to all men through our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus was born in the flesh through the lineage of the tribe of Judah (Heb.7:14). God’s Book tells us the following: Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” John identifies Jesus in the following way: John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” Jesus is the fulfillment of the covenant that Jehovah God made with Abraham.

There are those in the world and even some among God’s people who declare that the covenant of Abraham is a continuing covenant that is everlasting in nature. They say there is no such thing as a “new covenant” that God was to bring to mankind replacing the Old Testament covenant. The Holy Spirit declares through Paul the following: Galatians 3:16-17 “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.” Man says the covenant of Abraham is a continuing one, but God says it was confirmed (fulfilled) in Christ! Who do you suppose is correct? The Lord God had promised through the prophet Jeremiah that He would establish a NEW covenant with mankind, (Jer.31:31-34) and Divine inspiration records that new covenant becoming a reality (Heb.8:7-13). This new covenant is the one Jesus shed His blood for, under which man lives today (Heb.9:14-15), and receives the reality of remission of sins (Heb.10:16-18). It is through this fulfilled covenant to Abraham that man has a “better hope” and through which he “draws near to God” (Heb.7:19).

Jehovah removed the Old Testament (covenant) when Jesus died on the cross (Eph.2:14-18; Col.2:14) because it had been fulfilled (Romans 8:3-4) and there was no forgiveness of sin under it (Heb.10:1-4). Note the words of Divine inspiration

    Romans 3:9-18 “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’ ‘Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit’; ‘The poison of asps is under their lips’; ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.'”Romans 3:20-26 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

The Old Testament having been fulfilled and thus replaced by the New Testament of Jesus Christ, man no longer worships the Lord on the Sabbath (Saturday) but, on Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Jesus truly is “the Lamb of God” who became the supreme sacrifice for all men as he “tasted death for every man” (Heb.2:9). He stands with outstretched arms today seeking all to come to Him (Matt.11:28-30).

On that great Pentecost recorded in Acts chapter two, God’s grace was preached to mankind for the first time in its completeness. When men were convicted of their sins (Acts 2:36-37) they asked, “men and brethren, what shall we do?” These apostles spoke as the Holy Spirit gave them the word (Acts 2:4). What they said is recorded in the following: Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Reading further we are told, Acts 2:41 “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Then we are told what God did with those who were baptized in the name of Christ. Acts 2:47 “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

Precious souls, what we have observed in our study is that God fulfilled the covenant He made with Abraham. The last part of that covenant was the promise to bless all nations of people on earth with the offer of salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord! Have you submitted to the call of our Lord? He still stands with open arms and calls. The choice is yours. What is your answer? What your answer is today will determine what the answer of the Great Judge will be on that Great Day!