The origins of the royal promise (part 1) by sdfsb346f


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									                                                                    Week 2 – Session 3

The origins of the royal promise (part 1)                           Notes
Jesus is presented as the anointed ‘Son of David’.

Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy that traces the
ancestors of Jesus from king David to Joseph, his father by

In setting out this genealogy, Matthew does not begin with
David, but with Abraham.

      Abraham looked forward to the coming of a king who
      would play a very significant role in bringing God’s
      blessing to the nations of the earth.

      This future king will overthrow those who are opposed to

One of the defining features of the story of Abraham in
Genesis 12-25 is the prominence that is given to various
divine promises.

      Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country
      and your kindred and your father's house to the land
      that I will show you. And I will make of you a great
      nation, and I will bless you and make your name great,
      so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who
      bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse,
      and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
      (Genesis 12:1-3; ESV)

The contents of the promises look well beyond the lifetime of
Abraham into the future.

Initially, the emphasis is upon the closely related promises of
land and many descendants – the components necessary to
become a great nation.

These promises come to the fore in Genesis 12-15.

      On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram,
      saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the
      river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the
      land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the
      Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the
      Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
      (Genesis 15:18-21)

God covenants to give Abraham’s descendants the region that
we often refer to as Israel or Palestine.

                                 Christ in the Old Testament                   Page 9
                                                                Week 2 – Session 3
The covenant described in Genesis 15 makes no reference to
the ‘families of the earth’ being blessed.                      Notes

This promise is developed in Genesis 17 and beyond.

In chapter 17 we have what is commonly called the covenant
of circumcision.

The emphasis is not upon Jewish exclusiveness.

      "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be
      the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall
      your name be called Abram, but your name shall be
      Abraham, for I have made you the father of a
      multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly
      fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings
      shall come from you.” (Genesis 17:4-6)

Abraham is to be the father of a ‘multitude of nations’.

The covenant introduced here links into the earlier promise
about the nations being blessed through Abraham.

The term ‘father’ is sometimes used in a metaphorical sense,
denoting someone who brings benefits to others.

Joseph describes himself as Pharaoh’s father in Genesis 45:8.

God states that this covenant will be established with
Abraham’s son Isaac.

      “… Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you
      shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my
      covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his
      offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard
      you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him
      fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father
      twelve princes, and I will make him into a great
      nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac,
      whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year."
      (Genesis 17:19-21)

The continuity of the eternal covenant is tied to one
individual in each subsequent generation.

While the covenant will be established only with Isaac,
Ishmael and all the male members of Abraham’s household
are circumcised.

The covenant is established with one person; the benefits of
the covenant may be enjoyed by many others.

                                 Christ in the Old Testament              Page 10
                                                                    Week 2 – Session 3
In Genesis 17 there is a very clear reference to Abraham and
Sarah having royal descendants.                                     Notes
      And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you
      shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her
      name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a
      son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become
      nations; kings of peoples shall come from her."
      (Genesis 17:15-16)

In Genesis 22, after Abraham has demonstrated his
willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, the Lord says
to him:

      "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because
      you have done this and have not withheld your son,
      your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely
      multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the
      sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall
      possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring
      shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you
      have obeyed my voice." (Genesis 22:16-18)

With this oath, God reassures Abraham, as strongly as he can,
that the promises will be fulfilled.

In the first part of the oath, Abraham is reminded that he will
have numerous descendants.

The second part of the oath switches from thinking about
numerous descendants to one descendant.

In the Hebrew text, a clear break occurs after the term

The oath speaks about a single descendant who will
accomplish two things.

      Firstly, he will take possession of the ‘gate of his
      enemies’ - ‘gate’ refers to ‘city’.

      Secondly, this descendant of Abraham will bring
      blessing to all the nations of the earth.

This divine oath looks forward to the coming of a special king.

The author of Psalm 72 writes:

      Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness
      to the royal son! ... May his name endure forever, his fame
      continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him,
      all nations call him blessed! (Psalm 72:1, 17)

                                 Christ in the Old Testament                  Page 11
                                                                     Week 2 – Session 3
The whole psalm is about an exceptional king.
The brevity of the divine oath in Genesis 22 means that it
may be interpreted in other ways.

It is very important to interpret these passages in the light of
the larger context within which they come.

Observe the content of the paternal blessing which Isaac
pronounces upon Jacob.

      "See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that
      the LORD has blessed! May God give you of the dew
      of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of
      grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow
      down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your
      mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone
      who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses
      you!" (Genesis 27:27-29)

Isaac speaks of universal dominion and, echoing God’s call
to Abraham, repeats the idea of cursing and blessing.

In the light of this blessing, it is not surprising that Jacob was
prepared to take a great risk by pretending to be Esau.

Eventually, Jacob receives divine assurance that the promises
given to Abraham and Isaac will be continued through his
family line.

      God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from
      Paddan-aram, and blessed him. And God said to him,
      "Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be
      called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name." So he
      called his name Israel. And God said to him, "I am God
      Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a
      company of nations shall come from you, and kings
      shall come from your own body. The land that I gave to
      Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give
      the land to your offspring after you." (Genesis 35:9-12)

We can observe a pattern in the book of Genesis involving

While the establishment of this monarchy lies in the future,
various hopes are associated with it.

The future king will bring blessing to the nations.

With this we have the beginnings of the messianic
expectation that comes to fulfilment in Jesus Christ.

                                  Christ in the Old Testament                  Page 12

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