“Sometimes there are no easy answers, but His promises remain true.” ~ Bruce Carroll, Sometimes Miracles Hide (1999)
Everyone makes promises. A promise is a declaration that you will do something in the future. Some keep their promises while others forget or had no intention to do so in the first place.
However, there is someone who always keeps His promises. No matter how long it takes, His words stand firm and sure. And if ever such were possible, you can take His words to the bank!
The Promise of Redemption
Genesis 3:15 ~
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
In the Garden of Eden, God reveals His plan to redeem mankind from their fallen state. This promise was heard by Adam and Eve. Did you notice right there that the promise was not spoken directly to them? To prevent getting off on a rabbit trail, I’ll just say that the universal conflict is between God and Satan, not God and man. We were brought into the conflict through Satan’s deception.
Satan became the enemy of mankind. God then told Satan of the Christ our Redeemer, who would bruise his head while receiving a bruise to his heel. God kept His promise!
The Promise of Patience
Genesis 9:11 ~
And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
This won’t take long. God promised Noah He would never again destroy mankind or the earth with a flood. This is God’s promise to be patient with us. He sealed it in the clouds by a rainbow, a reminder to Him. It is the sign of the covenant. So far so good! God is keeping His promise!
The Promise of a Nation
Genesis 12:1-2 ~
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
God called a man possibly of Persian heritage, a Chaldean. His people practiced idolatry, fire-worship, as Ur in Hebrew means light. He was to be the father of a great nation. And that nation would be a possessor of wealth and land. Obviously, the descendants of Noah did not hold on to his preaching after the flood. But God saw faithfulness in Abram and promised him redemption through his seed. He believed and through the children of Israel (Jacob), God kept His promise!
The Promise of Deliverance
Genesis 15:13 ~
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 2 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
Abram was informed that the promised people would go into captivity. In order to confirm the prior promise made to Abram, his people had to be free. Why did these people go into bondage? Read the story of Joseph beginning in Genesis, chapter 37. Simply stated, the nation paid for the sins of their fathers.
It took close to one thousand years, if not more, for the promise to be fulfilled! This was at the time the promise was made to the day Israel entered the Promised Land. As you can see, Abram, after called Abraham, never saw the promise fulfilled. No matter how long it takes, God keeps His promises!
God’s Time Line vs Man’s Time Line
2 Peter 3:8 ~
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Allow me to give you a quick lesson in prophetic interpretation. When attempting to understand God’s timeline for fulfillment, certain biblical principles must be applied. For instance, Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of seventy weeks. Prophetically, a day equates to one year. Also note that we must apply a literal or Jewish year, which is 360 days, not the current Roman or Gregorian year of 365 days.
So the first 69 weeks in Daniel 9:25, equates to 483 days (360*69) or 483 prophetic years. Biblically, this began in 457 BC (Ezra 6:3) and ended about 26 AD (457+26), when Jesus began his earthly ministry (Matthew 4:17). The seventieth week (7 days = 7 literal years) is not a future time frame. It spans from the beginning of Christ’s ministry in 26 AD until the stoning of Steven in Acts chapter 7, which was in 33 AD. Steven was stoned three and one-half years after Jesus was crucified (about 29-30 AD). Most scholars place Jesus death around 33 AD. Remember the Messiah would be cut off in the middle of the week (Daniel 9:26).
Many scholars also believe no one will see Jesus when he returns for the Church because it’s a secret Rapture and Christians will seem to vanish. Okay. Never mind Revelation 1:7 then.
Why explain all of this? Because we need to understand that God’s time is not time as we perceive it. While we live on a linear timeline, God’s time is multidimensional. He exists throughout and outside of time so He sees everything always and at once.
Because He takes in the entire panorama of time at once, He knows what must take place before His promises can be fulfilled. And sometimes that may take many years!
Waiting on the Promises
Luke 21:19 ~
In your patience possess ye your souls.
What exactly does this mean? Let’s write it another way. “Keep your souls through patience”, or “Keep your souls by being patient.” To possess something means to have, own, or control it. If you examine the context from which the verse is taken, you can understand why patience is important.
By nature, we want things when we want them. But life is not always that accommodating. More often we find ourselves being impatient, not wanting to wait. It’s the curse of “instant gratification”. Yes, we have been spoiled by the speed and technology of modern society, hoodwinked by our own genius!
Yet God calls us to exercise patient waiting because it takes time for all things to fall into place.
1 Timothy 3:3 ~
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
2 Timothy 2:24 ~
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
What are His Promises exactly?
Luke 24:49 ~
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
We have seen the promises made to mankind in general, to Noah, and to Abraham, just to name a few. What about the promises to the New Testament church? Today, some Ministers grab promises from all over the bible. If it helps them make their point, they use it! More often than not, it does not apply to us today.
The promise made to Abraham does apply. Since we are branches of a wild olive tree, broken off and grafted into the natural olive tree, the promises to the natural tree also apply to the branches! Yet these must be taken into perspective. For instance, note the blessing that is applied to all of Israel and to the church, Genesis 12:3:
Genesis 12:3 ~
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
God is speaking to Abram before God called him Abraham. Look at verse two. Is the promise to future Israel or to Abram? This promise was made to Abram, not to Israel or us! Now please be aware, the promise of note is the blessing to the families of the earth, which is the Messiah.
That promise is fulfilled. Jesus came and redeemed man and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with us. He is here to help us grow in God and achieve the required perfection for eternal life. For those who think no one can be perfect, here is a verse for you…
Hebrews 6:1 ~
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Paul said we can! And yes, perfection summed up can mean spiritual maturity. Yet how many mature people do you know still behave like children? So Jesus said this:
Matthew 5:48 ~
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Jesus said just do it! Why take “Just Do It!” seriously only when Nike or Shia LaBeouf says it? Hmm… God understands it can be more difficult today. Become mature not only in knowledge but in the application as well. Be not just hearers of the Word, but doers also!
Receive the Promise and live!
Acts 1:4 ~
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
We often use biblical promises to placate the flesh. God’s promises are bigger than that. He fills the needs of life. We are talking about that abundant life, which is eternal life with Him! This is the promise of the Father. Jesus spoke of life in him. This is that same life, eternal life!
John 11:25 ~
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
This is what we should be looking and hoping for. Anything in this life and of this world will pass away according to 2 Peter 3:10. Why look or hope for anything here long-term? We do what we must in order to live here for now. Our true home is yet to come! It will be the culmination, the reason behind all of the promises of God. God kept His promise!
Revelation 21:1 ~
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Acts 2:39 ~
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
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