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Abraham, Jesus, and the Blessing on All Nations


How does Jesus' death relate to the promise to Abraham of a blessing on all nations?God gave great promises to Abraham, one of which was a blessing on all nations. How is this related to the crucifixion of Jesus and the Lord’s Supper?

Consider how God’s promises to Abraham relate to the Lord’s Supper.

God’s Promise to Abraham

In Genesis 12 God made to Abraham a promise which in many ways became the basis of the rest of the Bible story. God had instructed Abraham to leave his homeland in Ur of the Chaldees and go to a land that God would show him. Abraham left not knowing where he would go. Eventually God led him to the land of Canaan. Because of Abraham’s obedience, God gave him a great promise that consisted of three parts.

1) God promised to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation (verse 2). This promise was later repeated several times (Genesis 15:5; 18:18; 22:17,18; 26:4; 32:12; Exodus 32:13). Abraham would have many descendants like the sands of the seashore and the stars of heaven. This was fulfilled when Israel became a great nation.

2) God also promised to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan (verse 7). This promise too was later repeated (see Genesis 13:15,17; 15:7,18; 24:7; 28:4). It was fulfilled when Joshua led Israel to conquer Canaan (Joshua 23:14; 21:43-45; 1 Kings 8:56).

3) Another part of the promise was that Abraham would be a blessing on all families of the earth (verse 3). This is also later repeated (Genesis 18:18; 22:18; Galatians 3:8,16; Acts 3:25,26).

The Blessing

This promise was different from the other two in at least two ways. First, unlike the other promises, God did not specifically say what this promise involved. He simply said it would be a blessing. Second, the other blessings were specifically for the nation of Israel. But this blessing was for all nations. Let us consider what this promise meant and how it was fulfilled.

The blessing

Acts 3:25,26 explains that the promise, “In your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” was fulfilled when God sent Jesus “to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

So the blessing God promised was forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ death. This was the ultimate solution to the problem of sin. Sin and its curse had been introduced in Eden when Adam and Eve sinned. The solution was brought by Christ, the descendant of Abram, as here promised.

All nations

This promised salvation came through the descendants of Abraham because Jesus would be born as an Israelite: a descendant of Abraham through the nation of Israel. This promise became the focal point of Bible history as God worked through Israel to bring Christ into the world.

But the blessing itself (salvation) was to come upon all families or nations. Not just the descendants of Abraham, but all people – regardless of nationality or ancestry – may receive the blessing of forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus.

Revelation 5:9 – Jesus redeemed to God by His blood people of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Mark 16:15,16 – Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

This great blessing that God promised was made available to all people – including you and me – when Jesus died on the cross so we could receive forgiveness of sins. It is this sacrifice that we remember each first day of the week in the Lord’s Supper.

 


(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2019

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