• | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 29:51
  • Passages covered: Genesis 13:17-18, Genesis 13:15, Joshua 21:43-45, Genesis 17:8, Genesis 24:6-7, Galatians 3:29, Genesis 26:1-4, Exodus 13:3-5, Deuteronomy 4:30-31, Deuteronomy 7:7, Deuteronomy 7:8-9, Deuteronomy 9:4-6, Numbers 30:2, Leviticus 6:1-3.

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Genesis 13 Series, Part 12, Verses 17-18

Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight, is study #12 of Genesis, chapter 13 and we are going to be reading Genesis 13:17-18:

Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto JEHOVAH.

Again, God is reiterating the promise that He would give the land. We saw the same declaration in Genesis 13:15:

For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

Since it is an eternal promise of the land, we saw that the land must be the new heaven and the new earth. The land was representative of the new heaven and new earth, although it does say in Joshua 21:43-45:

And JEHOVAH gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And JEHOVAH gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; JEHOVAH delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which JEHOVAH had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

This is a passage that theologians and other people go to when they insist that God promised Israel the literal land of Canaan and they say, “You see, God did give Israel all the land He swore He would give them. It came to pass and, therefore, the land is, indeed, the physical land of Canaan.” Yes, we could come to that conclusion, except that it says in Genesis 13:15: “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” This verse does not stand alone. It says in Genesis 17:8:

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

As we talked about before, there is no way that the land of Canaan or any part of this present earth can be given for an everlasting possession because the earth will be destroyed, so it is not possible for God to give the land to Abram and his seed forever when it is God’s plan (in a short period of time) to burn up the land of Canaan, the Middle East and all the rest of the world with a fervent heat, destroying the world eternally with an everlasting destruction.

What is the answer? The answer is that there was an earthly aspect to the promise given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Israel. Yes, God did give the land of Canaan to them. That was why He brought them out of the land of Egypt as a nation and they crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan and conquered it. Through right of conquest, they took the land, so there was a literal and physical aspect to the fulfillment of the promise and, yet, based on the way God gave the promise that the land would be an everlasting possession and they would dwell in it forever, there must be a deeper spiritual meaning to what the land represents in the Gospel. We have looked at many passages and we know that the word translated as “land” is the same word translated as “earth,” and we know that the Bible says, “But the meek shall inherit the earth,” like the seed of Abram will inherit the land. It says in Genesis 24:6-7:

And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. JEHOVAH God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

God was continually referring to the promise of giving the land. Notice in Genesis 24, verse 7, it said, “which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying Unto they seed will I give this land.” God did not just say He would give him the land, but He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would give them the land. Yes, it was the land of Canaan, in the first instance, which has been fulfilled, but on a deeper spiritual level it is the land of the new heaven and new earth that the spiritual seed of Christ will inherit, along with all the promises. That is what it says about the seed in Galatians 3:29:

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The heirs inherit the promise of the will that the testator affirmed. Christ is the one that wrote the will (the covenant) and He has named the beneficiaries. They are the elect of God and the heirs will receive the promise. If the promise was only the physical land of Canaan, it would be to Abraham and to his physical seed, which was fulfilled. But as we have seen previously, the reference to “seed” is to Christ, in the first instance, and all those that are in Christ and, therefore, heirs of the promise. There are many verses that say that those that are only outwardly circumcised are not “true Jews,” but it is the circumcision of the heart – it is spiritual Israel saved by the faith of Christ that is the seed.

Again, it would be a complete “mess of things” for theologians to think that the only basis for the promise was the physical land of Canaan given to the physical seed of Abraham. They missed what God said completely. The physical land is a much lesser thing. Yes, God did work that out in history and Israel had a time of living in that land of Canaan. But then they were unfaithful and God disinherited them, did He not? God raised up enemy nations to conquer them and to place them in submission to heathen lands, like Babylon or Assyria. Then in the 1st century AD God allowed Israel to be scattered across the face of the earth. That does not sound like much of a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob concerning the land that the seed should dwell in for evermore. What seed? The end-time Jews? What about all the Jews that lived (and died) in the thousands of years in between? Again, it is a completely erroneous understanding of the Word of God, the Bible. The land points to the kingdom of God, spiritually, that will take effect in the new heaven and new earth and the seed are the children of God, all those God has saved. God swore to Abraham this would happen in Genesis 26:1-4:

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And JEHOVAH appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

God did not give the promise and then forget about it. He repeats it continually as we travel through the Bible. It says in Exodus 13:3-5:

And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand JEHOVAH brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month Abib. And it shall be when JEHOVAH shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.

This took place in the year 1447BC. God gave promises to Abraham in Genesis 17 regarding the land when Abraham was 99 years old in the year 2068BC. Even before that in our current chapter of Genesis 13, the promise was given, which is over six hundred years before the time when Israel is coming out of the land of Egypt. It has been over six hundred years and they are still recounting the promise given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As you read the Old Testament, you will find that promise declared again, and again. It says in Deuteronomy 4:30:

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days…

By the way, this verse has spiritual application to those of us that have gone through the Great Tribulation and are living on the earth in the Day of Judgment in our present time.

Again, it says in Deuteronomy 4:30-31:

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to JEHOVAH thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For JEHOVAH thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

We can understand this to mean that God will remember, even in the latter days and even in Tribulation. He will remember the covenant that He made with Abraham concerning his seed and concerning the land that will be given to the seed for an everlasting possession. In other words, God will remember that He will save a people for Himself, the elect that are counted for the seed, and He will bring them into the new heaven and new earth in fulfillment of the promise He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It says in Deuteronomy 7:7:

JEHOVAH did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

This refers to God’s elect: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

It goes on to say in Deuteronomy 7:8-9:

But because JEHOVAH loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath JEHOVAH brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that JEHOVAH thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Of course, the “thousand” is pointing to completeness and “generations” would identify with eternity. God is the Faithful God and faithfulness is recognized by what is said and what is done; that is, God declared something and He make a promise and He fulfilled the promise, proving that He was faithful. To be unfaithful means that God promised something, but He does not fulfill the thing He had promised. Of course, we could look at the earthly giving of the land of Israel as an aspect of the fulfillment of the promise.

Or, we could look at promises in the Bible regarding the sending forth of the Messiah to the earth in history, such as we find in the Book of Isaiah, where it said, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” That promise was given about seven hundred years before the birth of Christ. Or, we could look at Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Was that promise fulfilled? Yes. Christ was born of the Virgin and entered into the world and a son was given, as we find Him called in the Gospel account: “This is my beloved Son.”

God promises and God fulfills (His promises). He is a faithful God. He is dependable and steadfast. He can be trusted when He speaks. When He makes a declaration and when He says anything – from the least thing to the greatest thing – every Word of God is certain and sure. It is truthful and faithful because it is the Word of God and that is the nature of God – He is Faithful and True.

Here, again, in Deuteronomy 7, verse 8, it says, “…because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers,” God brought them out of Egypt.

In Genesis, chapter 15 God told Abram that His people would be a stranger in a strange land and that they would be afflicted four hundred years and then they would come out in the fourth generation. Did God fulfill it? Yes, very precisely. They came out in the selfsame day they had entered in, four hundred and thirty years later.

This is the nature of God: He speaks and He fulfills the thing which is spoken. The Lord Jesus was very zealous to fulfill all righteousness or to fulfill the Scriptures that had been declared long ago. God knows every Word He has spoken and every promise He has made. Not only has He spoken these things, but God has sworn concerning the thing He has spoken. It is enough that He has spoken it. There is no need for Him to sware, but because of our weakness, He has gone beyond just speaking these things and He has sworn that they will be fulfilled.

Let us keep reading in Deuteronomy 9:4-6:

Speak not thou in thine heart, after that JEHOVAH thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness JEHOVAH hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations JEHOVAH doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations JEHOVAH thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which JEHOVAH sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that JEHOVAH thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

Again, there is an element of this that applies to the casting out of the nations in the land of Canaan and the giving of the land to Israel, but there is a greater application to God casting out the wicked of the earth (the unsaved of the world) and giving the earth to His people, the elect. As He has said, “The meek shall inherit the earth.” It is not this present earth, of course, but the new earth.

The Lord wants us to know that it is not because of our righteousness. The Bible tells us that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. It is because of the righteousness of One, the Lord Jesus. But mankind is wicked. The original world was given to mankind through Adam and he was to have dominion over it, but he sinned and fell into wickedness. Because of his wickedness, God pronounced the curse upon the creation and the condemnation of man was that he would die. That led to man’s dispossession of his inheritance of this world and it led to man’s destruction and the destruction of the world he had originally been given. Then the Lord gave it to His people by performing His oath and observing His Word. The keeping of the things He has said is incredibly important to God – incredibly important. It is not a light thing like it is with man. Well, with many men it is important to them to keep their word, but we all know that we do not keep our word perfectly, do we? Yet, with God, it is an incredibly important thing that He keep His Word always, in all things, without any word falling to the ground and without any mistake or lack of ability. A man would say, “Well, I did not mean to say it exactly like that. I cannot follow through because I lack the power or ability to do this aspect of the thing I said.” That is man’s excuses and our attempts to justify it when we fail to keep our word. That never applies to God. God does not and cannot break His Word on any point.

We see this in Numbers 30:2:

If a man vow a vow unto JEHOVAH, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

God says that if a man swears an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word, but he shall do according to all that proceeded out of his mouth. What is the principal we have learned that applies to a great many important truths? It is that God has placed Himself under His own Law. God does not give a Law to mankind that He Himself does not have to submit to and God always submits Himself to His own Law. He is not “above the Law.” He has placed Himself under it, so God commands a man that swears an oath, that he binds his soul with a bond and he must do according to what he said. If man is under that Law, so is God, which means that God cannot just say things and, especially, He cannot just swear something and not do according to the thing He has sworn. What if He did so? It says in Leviticus 6:1-3:

And JEHOVAH spake unto Moses, saying, If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against JEHOVAH, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein:

To swear falsely is a sin. It is a sin and it goes against the commandment of God. What if God swore and took an oath? And what if God did not fulfill the thing He said? Then He would have sworn falsely and He would have been guilty of sin. What does the Bible say is the penalty of sin? “For the wages of sin is death.” That would be horrible. That would be as bad as anything could possibly be, if God were not faithful in the things He had sworn.