“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’ 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Right now, I am reading in the Torah once again, Genesis to Deuteronomy, and these verses are coming to life right before my eyes as I am teaching through the book of Hebrews. It is important to see the Old Testament as relevant to us in the New Testament era. There has been a push of late among even prominent church leaders to treat the Old Testament as not necessary in the New Testament era. Nothing could be further from the truth. The faith we have in the New Testament is a faith rooted and built on the promises that God gave to the Patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
There are two stages to the covenant: a physical one in that, through Abraham, God would build a literal nation called Israel. The second is a spiritual one for all who believe in God by faith. Abraham, one man and his wife, they being 75 and 65 respectively, would have children as numerous as the stars of heaven or the sand of the seashore. They had one son, Isaac, at the age of 100 and 90 respectively, and he, Isaac, had just 2 sons. But today, in spite of persecution and centuries of hatred that still persist to this day, there are approximately 9,200,000 people living in Israel (and in the vicinity) of the 14,800,000 Jews living in the world today. God’s promise to multiply the children of Abraham is being fulfilled and played out right before us, and there is nothing anyone or any nation can do to stop it.
The nation of Israel continues to be a blessing to the world in technology, medical discoveries, and financial prowess. There are communities of Jews everywhere; even my little Barbados has one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere, established in 1654. About 300 Jews settled in Barbados in the 1600s, many of them skilled in the sugar industry. Today, it is a museum in Bridgetown, Barbados. The prosperity of the Jews and their seeming ability to survive any and all attacks and not just to survive but thrive is all a part of the promises that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You need to know these promises as a child of God. The faithfulness of God to the Jews, even in the midst of sin and rebellion, is a comfort to us and provides a sure footing for our growth in Christ.
Please, please remember that Jesus is a Jew. Our salvation was brought by a Jewish Rabbi named Jesus, God and Man in one, who died on the cross. The whole reason for God’s promises to Abraham was to pave the way for the Jewish God-Man, Jesus, to be our salvation.
- God Made a Covenant with Himself, 16-18
God swore an oath that He could perform all that He had promised to Abraham. There is the Abrahamic covenant recorded for us in Genesis 12: 1-3 (NKJV), but this covenant was further secured via an ancient ceremony that was often performed between two warring kings. We find the record of this in Genesis 15. In this ceremony, the two kings would cut an animal in half, then walk between the two halves in the blood. This action secured peace or secured whatever covenant they made until one of the kings died, and then it was back to war or whatever was before. In Genesis 15, if you read verse 12, Abraham falls asleep, and God does the ceremony with Himself. And since He cannot die, the covenant will never expire. The covenant is recorded in verses 1-6:
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’ But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ Then Abram said, ‘Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!’ And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (NKJV).
Our promises in God, through Jesus, are as secure as this covenant, which has not nor will ever go out of existence, because the promises are to Jesus as well, as a descendant of Abraham.
- The Anchor of our Souls, verse 19
This is the hope we have in Jesus; this is the hope we have in God’s promises and the hope we have that transcends the trials and storms of life. It even transcends our failures, our sinfulness, and our faithlessness. In all of our shortcomings, God is faithful, and He will NEVER renege on His promises to Abraham since they are also promises to His Son, Jesus. We are secure in Jesus, not because we are good but because God is good. We can trust in His salvation when He calls us His children (1 John 3:1). Thus, we have an anchor for our souls, and we have a security that is guarded by God himself. He will never die, so the covenant is secure, and He cannot lie, so he will not go back on His word.
But, you say, the covenant was with Abraham; what has that to do with us? Genesis 15:6 (NKJV) is repeated for us in Romans 4: 3, 22. We see that Abraham believed in God, and it was accounted to him for ‘righteousness’; therefore, when you and I believe in God by faith, just like Abraham, we are declared righteous as well. By the way, it was not until Genesis 17, when Abraham was 99 years old, that God made him get circumcised. So, Abraham’s righteousness was accrued to him before circumcision, so not by the law but by faith.
There are still so many who want to be saved by keeping the Law, but this is impossible. Abraham was saved by faith. He simply believed in God, he took God at His word, and he, Abraham, was declared righteous. This is still how we are saved today, ‘whosoever believes in Him will be saved.’ Our hope, our security, and your future and mine are in God’s hands, the most secure hands ever, the Anchor of our soul.
Who anchors your soul?
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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