Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Does the Bible teach that the promises to Abraham are merely physical promises?
Believers should have a faith that leads them to look to Christ centered heavenly blessings for the ultimate purposes of God (Col 1, Col 3:1-4). The fact that God has prepared a place for believers is one of the many heavenly highlights of our faith (John 14:2). There should be much anticipation among believers for the day when the present world passes away to establish the new heaven and earth (Rev 21:1). Though heavenly promises of God will one day replace the only world we have ever known, the past has served as an important purpose of being an earthly representation of the heavenly promises to come (Col 2:17). In regards to the promises made to Abraham, they find there significance in both earthly and heavenly fulfillments, with the latter being the ultimate purpose (Heb 8:6). God promised Abraham a physical land that was a representation of an eternal possession for Abraham and his seed in the new world to come (Gal 4:25-26). This promise, as well as the other promises made to Abraham, were completely dependent upon his faith. Because every believer has "the faith of Abraham" they too receive the same promises (Rom 4:12-13). Jesus Christ, who came in the flesh as the seed of Abraham, established the eternal possession of the heavenly land that the physical land represented through His foundational works of the new covenant, which contains all the heavenly promises (Gal 3, Heb 8:6). Jesus Christ did not confuse the physical and spiritual but clearly preached a spiritual kingdom with heavenly possessions as the ultimate purposes of God for the one people of God (John 18:36, John 10:16). There is no place for a physical kingdom for it would be removed at the consummation of all things along with the entire physical world (Heb 12:27-28). Abraham, just like believers of today, did not look forward to physical possessions but heavenly possessions promised in Christ (Heb 11:16). For it would be accurate to believe that Abraham would fully embrace saying, "For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come" to prove that he was waiting for a better country, a heavenly country (Heb 13:14, Heb 11:16). Likewise, every believer should properly understand the things to come, that they are in no way shape or form like what we have ever experienced on earth and that they are for only one people of God, the body of Christ (Heb 12:22-24). Just as we have left our old self to become a new creature in Christ, God will dispose of the old world to establish His new world (2 Cor 5:17). Amen.