Did God promise Himself into a corner?

God called Abram and told him to settle in the land of Canaan.  God gave Abram specific promises: 

  • He will become a great nation.1
  • All peoples on earth will be blessed through him (that referred to the Messiah).2
  • The land Canaan (Israel) would be the property of his descendants. 3

#  God is very specific about who He is.  

He is not just any deity.  God’s promises are closely tied to who He is.  He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob (the Jewish people who now live in Israel). 4  This specific God made the specific three above promises to the three descendants in that family.  

#  Did they receive it?  

No!  Hebrews 11:13 is clear, ‘All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.’ 

#  Does that verse mean that God failed?  

  • No.  It means that their faith was a ‘guarantee’ of things to come ( things that we can also hope in).  When the apostle Paul defended himself before king Agrippa, he said, ‘…it is because of my hope in what God promised our fathers that I am on trial today.’ 5
  • Paul understood that there will be a resurrection and that some of God’s promises will only be fulfilled then.  He said, ‘Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?’ 6

#  God did not promise Himself into a corner.

  • God could make those promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because His whole plan was worked out before He began to create this present universe.  His magnificent goal and project is a New, Eternal Kingdom.  
  • As the all-powerful God He had the resurrection of Jesus in view from the beginning.  It would lead to the resurrection of all people.    
  • Through the resurrection, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will live in God’s new country and they will see their offspring through the Messiah – all the people who were saved and prepared for eternal life.

Conclusion

We can have full confidence that what God promised will happen.  ‘God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind.  Does He speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfil? 7  O course not.  If it is in the Bible it will happen.   We can trust God and His promise of the future Kingdom and all its blessings

References

  1. Genesis 12:2; 22:15-18  
  2. Galatians 3:16  
  3. Exodus 3:15  
  4. Genesis 15:18
  5. Acts 26:6  
  6. Acts 26:8  
  7. Numbers 23:19

Why Genesis 1 leads to big benefits

Scripture clearly outlines a chain of events that are dependent on God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth in 6 days.  It is only because God is the all-powerful Creator that He could steer history towards the big benefits He promised, in the following way:

Creation, Fall and Promise of Restoration

  • God created the garden of Eden.  He put Adam and his wife there and allowed the serpent, the devil, to test their loyalty and love for God.
  • Adam failed and both he and his wife, Eve, were expelled from the Garden so that they would not live forever in their fallen state.
  • At the same time, the omnipotent Creator promised a Saviour to restore them, ‘…He [the coming Messiah] will crush the head [of that ancient serpent, called the devil, or Satan].’ 1  The work of the Messiah would be to bring anyone who desires it, back to Eden.  Eden is a type of the heavenly Kingdom.  By the work of the promised Messiah people will once again have the blessed relationship with the Father and walk and talk with Him as they did in the garden.

The all-powerful Creator steered history to accomplish the goal of Genesis 3:15.

  • God called Abraham (to be the father of the eventual Jewish nation) and promised him that he will be a blessing to the whole world (it happened through his offspring, Jesus). 2
  • God promised king David that He will establish one of his offspring to rule eternally (it would be Jesus). 3

The momentous event to fulfil Genesis 3:15 arrived.

  • The angel Gabriel went to Nazareth and announced to a virgin called Mary, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; His Kingdom will never end.’ 4
  • Only because God is the Creator, could the angel tell Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’ 5
  • Through the ages people scoffed at the idea of a virginal conception.  They forget that the Most High showed His omnipotence in the six days creation of the universe.

The resurrection

  • The resurrection of Jesus was only possible because God is the omnipotent Creator of Genesis 1.
  • There was a titanic clash between God and the ancient serpent to prevent the resurrection of Jesus, but Scripture shows God’s superior strength, ‘That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.’ 6

The arrival of the Holy Spirit empowers believers

  • John the Baptist promised, ‘He [Jesus] will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’ 7   The authority God the Father gave to God the Son, Jesus, after His accession, is the reason we can be baptised with God the Holy Spirit.  He enables us to learn to live in victory over the serpent’s lies and accusations.

Jesus’ omnipotence as Creator and Saviour finishes God’s plan. 

  • Jesus not only forgives our sins when we repent.  The New Testament tells us of His omnipotence as Creator. 8
  • The book of Revelation shows how Jesus wraps up this present creation on our behalf.  It begins with a magnificent scene in Revelation 5.  A mighty angel asks in a loud voice, ‘who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’   The scroll sets the end of this creation in motion and therefore represents our future inheritance, the new heavens and earth.
  • Apparently there is nobody worthy to open the scroll.  The tragedy of it struck the disciple John and he cried his heart out.  Then, “…one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 9

The promise of Genesis 3:15 is finally fulfilled.

  • In Revelation 6-8 Jesus opens the seals, the trumpets and the bowls that are necessary to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.  Only then can the glorious New heavens and earth, the New Jerusalem, the Bridegroom and the Bride’s banquet, and the eternal reign of peace, finally come.  At last Satan is completely crushed and banished to the lake of burning sulphur where he will be tortured for ever.
  • Just imagine this glorious scene!  ‘Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb….  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants [we, the faithful followers of Jesus, resurrected and renewed] will serve Him.  They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.’ 10 

Conclusion

All this is only possible because the message from Genesis 1 rings loud and clear: God is powerful, He promises (speaks) and He fulfils.  Cut Genesis 1 out of the Bible, and you lose the rest of the revelation of Scripture.  Without God, the Omnipotent Creator, there is no power to do what needs to be done.  Only God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who were all involved in the six days creation event, have the power to see that what God promised, will come to pass.

References

  1. Genesis 3:15, Revelation 12:9
  2. Genesis 12:2-3
  3. 2 Samuel 7:12-16
  4. Luke 1:30-33
  5. Luke 1:35
  6. Ephesians 1:19-21
  7. Luke 3:16
  8. John 1:1; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2
  9. Revelation 5:5
  10. Revelation 22:1,3,4

Is the resurrection a myth?

The resurrection of Jesus has been and will always be questioned.  That is easy to understand: the ruler of the world, the devil,1 does not want people to know that he lost the battle against Jesus.  He does not want people to understand clearly that with the resurrection, God’s plan of an eternal Kingdom of Peace is a given, it is guaranteed, it will come to pass.

The new heaven and earth

We notice in Revelation 5 that only the resurrected Jesus could open the seals that will lead to the new heaven and earth.  Jesus’ resurrection is also the guarantee that we will be resurrected into new bodies and live eternally with our Lord.  Thus the resurrection is a huge problem and threat to the devil’s attempts to deceive the whole world.

The spread of the Gospel

There are many explanations why the resurrection is true.  One is the spread of the Gospel throughout the world (without the sword).  This could not have happened if Jesus was not resurrected.  The disciples were on their way back to secular work, when Jesus appeared and demonstrated He is alive and will return to His Father.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit they and subsequently other followers of Jesus, filled the earth with the Good News.

The breath of life

  • There is another reason why we can trust the resurrection.  In Genesis 2 we read how God formed the first man from dust.  What is dust other than atoms? God combined the atoms and then breathed life into the dust ‘statue.’  God has the ability to breathe life into lifeless atoms.  This life giving ability is naturally decried by unbelievers.
  • Since they mostly believe in evolution, they believe that life came from dead, non-living atoms.  The problem is that there is no scientific evidence for it.  Millions have been spent, and many researchers are kept busy to prove that life appeared on the planet in natural ways.  All the efforts lead to nothing.  To give life to the dead belongs only to our Lord God Almighty and His glorious Son, Jesus.
  • What does God’s life giving ability have to do with the resurrection?  If God could fashion a dust or clay image of a man, and breathe life into it, why can’t He breathe life into a dead body?  He did it with Lazarus.2  He did it with the son of the Shunamite woman. 3  Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s only son.
  • It is obvious that resurrection is easy for God.  The only reason God exerted all His might 4 is that the devil and his demons fought till the last to prevent it.  They lost and God won.  Hallelujah!

Conclusion

  • Jesus is the Creator.
  • God is the Creator.

They both have the ability to resurrect.  The resurrection of Jesus makes perfect sense right from Genesis 1&2.

References

  1. 1 John 5:19b
  2. John 11
  3. 2 Kings 4
  4. Ephesians 1:19-23