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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

"Gospel" is a word which signifies good news, or glad tidings and the gospel some particular good news.

"Blessed," say the scriptures, "are they who know the joyful sound," or the gospel and the reason is, because it makes known the "blessedness" which is to come upon the nations, and will give every one an interest in it who believes and accepts it.

The gospel of God is the good news of blessedness promised in the scriptures of the prophets, and summarily expressed in the saying, "In thee, Abraham, shall the nations of the earth be blessed".

The making of this promise to Abraham is termed by Paul the preaching of the gospel to Abraham; for, says he, "The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed".

This he styles "the blessing of Abraham," which is to come upon the nations through Jesus Christ.

Abraham holds a conspicuous place in relation to the blessedness of the gospel.

He is named by Paul six times in the third chapter of Galatians, which he concludes by saying, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise".

Hence, men are required to be Christ's that they may be Abraham's seed.

But why is it so important to be of the seed of Abraham?

For the very obvious reason that, as the promise was made to Abraham, it is only by being constitutionally "in him" that any son of Adam can obtain a participation in what belongs to Abraham.

This idea may be illustrated by reference to the law of inheritance among all civilized people.

If a man be possessed of an estate, the members of his family alone have any right to it at his decease.

Though all the world may be his friends, unless they are named in his will, they can have no part in the inheritance he may leave behind.

And again, if he have no heir, his estate and property would escheat to the lord of whom he happened to hold his title; but, to avoid this, it would be quite competent for him to adopt an heir according to the law.

The person so adopted would become his seed in every respect save that of natural birth.

In the case before us, God hath promised an estate to Abraham; therefore he is styled "the heir of the world" (covsmo") -- that is, of the glory, honour, and power, of the nations throughout the globe in their millennial blessedness -- a gift worthy of Him that hath promised it.

Now the promise of this to Abraham and his seed is a promise to no one else.

No stranger can lay claim to it.

He must be Abraham's seed, or he has no right to Abraham's property.

On this principle, no one who is not a lineal, or fleshly, descendant of Abraham can inherit the world with him when God fulfils the promise.

This is the view taken of the matter by the Jews, who found their hope of participation in the world when it becomes Abraham's and his seed's, upon the acknowledged fact that they are Abraham's flesh and blood.

This would be very well, if no other condition of inheritance were specified.

But the word saith, that "the children of the flesh are not the children of God; but the children of the promise (those who believe it) are counted for the seed".