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by God to Abraham and his seed, and proves that the promise was not made to his seed through the law; nor to those only who were of the cir. cumcision ; but that the promise was to all who were of faith, though they were uncircumcised. He proves this by showing,-1. That the promise was made to Abraham, not after his circumcision, but before it. 2. That it was made him on the ground of faith, and not of the works of the law; so that he might be the father of all them who believe, though they be not circumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith, that he might be the father of the circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision ONLY, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had, being yet uncircumcised. 3. He shows that the promise to Abraham and his seed, that he should be “HEIR OF THE WORLD," (not of the land of Canaan only,) was not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith; to the end the promise night be sure to all the seed : not to that only which is of the law, (the Jews,) but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
The promises to which the apostle refers, are evidently those above quoted. The promise is not, therefore, to the literal descendants of the patriarchs, but to their spiritual seed. And this is yet more clearly illustrated by the same apostle in Galatians iii.
1. He shows, verse 8th, that as God was to justify the heathen through faith, he preached the gospel to Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed. He shows,
2. That the seed to whom God made the promises, was not to all the literal descendants of Abraham, but to Christ. “As of one,” and to thy seed, “ which is Christ.”
3. That the law and Jewish polity was only ordained because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made. So that at the appearance of Christ the distinction between Jew and Gentile was to cease; the Mosaic or Jewish dispensation, and the distinctions formed by it, being only of a temporary character.
4. That Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, known under the gospel as being heirs of the promise of God, “ for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
THE TIME WHEN THESE PROMISES ARE TO BE
1. They were not fulfilled to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange land, dwelling in tabernacles. Heb. xi. 9. These also “ all died in the faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth :" verse 12.
2. They were not fulfilled to the Jews under the Mosaic dispensation. For the promise or grant of that inheritance was " for an everlasting possession.” But the Jews have not inherited the land of Canaan eren one half of the time since they came out of Egypt, and should they again be restored to that land, and retain the possession a thousand, or even 360,000 years, it would not be an “everlasting possession.”
3. They have not been fulfilled to Christians under the Christian dispensation. For Canaan has, during most of the Christian dispensation, been in the hands of either heathens or Mohammedans. Those promises have not, therefore, been fulfilled.
4. Those promises relate to an heavenly inheritance, and are to be fulfilled in an eternal state. Heb. xi. 10: "For he (Abraham) looked for a city which had foundation, (the New Jerusalemsee Rev. xxi.) whose builder and maker is God." Also verses 14th, 16th : “For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashained to be called their God; for he hath prepared for thein a city.”
But these promises can only be fulfilled in an eternal state, because there can be no such thing as an everlasting possession in time. They will be fulfilled, therefore, “when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, (the seed of Abraham to whom the promise was made,) and he shall reign forever and ever."
THE MANNER IN WHICH THOSE PROMISES ARE TO
1. The promise of the possession of that land was given to Abraham personally, in connection with his seed, for an everlasting possession. But Abraham has never possessed it at all. But when Moses at the bush called the Lord “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” he taught the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and especially the fact, that those patriarchs would live again, and enjoy the fulfilment of the promise made them. See Luke xx. 34–38. In that state they die no more, and may enjoy an eternal or everlasting inheritance ; neither do they marry or are they given in marriage, but are equal to the angels. Among Abraham's seed there shall be “neither male nor female."
2. Abraham offered up his son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called ;" "accounting that God was able to raise him from the dead ; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Heb. xi. 17-19. Is it not more than intimated by the above text, that it was only by a resurrection of the dead Abraham expected the covenant of God to be fulfilled to him and his seed ?
3. Paul, in his plea before Agrippa, Acts xxvi. 6-8, declares, “ And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead ?” He taught the same thing, Acts xxiv. 21, where he declared it was the hope of the resurrection for which he was called in question. From this text we learn that, in the estimation of the apostle, the promise of God to the fathers was a promise of the resur. rection; and, furthermore, that the twelve tribes so understood it, and served God with the hope of gaining that blessed state, not a literal earthly inheritance. Other evidence of the same fact will appear in the subsequent pages.
The second point is, to examine those texts which are supposed to predict the RESTORATION of THE JEWs to the land of Canaan, and show their agreement with the original promise.
The first text which presents itself on this point, is Isaiah xi. 11, 12: “ And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
From this text it is argued,-(1.) “ That it promises a restoration of the Jews. (2.) That that restoration was not their deliverance from Babylonish captivity, because that deliverance was from Chaldea; this, from the four corners of