Continuing with our series in honor of Dr. Walvoord’s classic work, “Major Bible Prophecies,” we look at the third major prophecy. The third major prophecy is the most important prophecy in the whole of Scripture – the call of Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant for it brings us the promise of salvation and deliverance through the line of Abraham. As Dr Walvoord notes, “Beginning with Abraham, Scripture charts a new course for God’s people. The choice of Abraham marked a new narrowing of the redemptive purpose of God.”
From the start God has always had His godly line. Adam and Eve had their offspring, and Abel was the one that exemplified the righteous line. After Abel was killed, the godly line followed Seth (Gen. 4:25), then Noah, and Shem. After the tower of Babel, God chose Terah (Gen. 11:26) and through Terah, Abraham was chosen. But the godly line was specific as it continues with the great Abrahamic Covenant to Isaac and Jacob. Thus it was not a mistake that we come to Genesis chapter twelve and find God chose Abram out of the godly line and out of that godly line will come the Messiah – the Savior of the world.
From Genesis 12 through the rest of Scripture, Abraham’s seed, Israel, is the major focus. Notice the promise made to Abram as he is called to come out of the land of Ur.
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. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 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." (Gen. 12:1-3)
The three aspects of the promise are:
1. I will make you a great nation.
2. I will bless you and make your name great.
3. You shall be a blessing.
When the God of the universe promises something then it is sure to come about, and in this case Abram is commanded to leave his current comfortable place to follow Him to a land He will show him. This is an unconditional promise which later turns into an official covenant in chapter seventeen. It is within these three promises that the nation of Israel is created, a future kingdom is established in the land of Israel, salvation is defined as coming through the Seed of Israel based on believing God and the righteousness that God provides through faith.
This promise was given to Abram about B. C. 2000. He and his wife Sari were childless and older established in age. God moved them to the land of Canaan wherein He told them they would have offspring that would inherit the land. So it is that we find expanded in Scripture a land covenant and the promise of eternal possession of the land. A seed covenant with king David promising an eternal king on the throne of David, namely, the Messiah, King Jesus seated on Him throne in Israel. And finally, a New Covenant that promises a new heart and eternal life in the eternal kingdom.
Dr. Walvoord wrote, “First, the covenant anticipated prophetically how God’s hand of blessing would rest upon Abraham. This is illustrated throughout his life in that God made him a wealthy man, a powerful man, and a miraculous channel through which Isaac was to be born. Abraham was blessed above any other person in his generation, andthis promise, like other promises in the covenant, was literally fulfilled. Second, Abraham was promised that his name would be great – that is, he would be a major actor in God’s redemptive program. He is mentioned as Abram or Abraham about three hundred times in the Bible. Unquestionable, he is one of the most important characters of the Old Testament and is mentioned many times in the New Testament as well. This prophecy has been literally fulfilled. Third, God declared to Abraham, ‘You will be a blessing’ (Gen. 12:2). Unquestionably, Abraham was a blessing to his own generation and to his own family, and through the centuries he has been an illustration of faith and obedience that has challenged all who follow the Lord. God’s faithful dealings with Abraham, even when he fell short of perfect obedience, are a great encouragement to the people of God and help to fulfill this promise. The ultimate fulfillment, however, is found in the aspects of the covenant referring to blessings on the whole world… The greatest of all promises, of course, was the promise of blessing to all the peoples of the earth, and it is here that the church of the New Testament comes in (Gal. 3:6-9).”
It is through Abraham, the man of faith, all peoples who trust in God as Abraham did will be blessed through Abraham and his posterity. While we find within the Abrahamic covenant eternal conditions, fulfillment is yet future and centers around the Messianic Kingdom. So it is that we find within the Abrahamic covenant the future Seed, Jesus Christ, who is prophesied and of which the whole of Scripture is speaks, for it is God who is faithful to fulfill His Word, and the His Word is true, as He is the way, the truth, and the life. The importance of the Abrahamic covenant is significant only because there is One who is the significant, faithful, just, and true potentate who backs up His promise by His word.