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by Dr. John Thomas
If the children of the flesh had a right to share with Abraham when he obtains possession of the world which God has promised him, then all descended from Ishmael and Esau, his son and grandson, as well as from Isaac, would have equal rights.
But God, who not only promises the estate, but specifies the conditions of heirship, has restricted the inheritance to those termed the "children of the promise as Isaac was".
He has proclaimed the great truth that "the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman".
To be a son of the free-woman, a man, although a Jew, must believe in the promise made to Abraham; he must be of a like disposition with Abraham; he must be obedient like Abraham; he must have faith in Jesus as the seed of Abraham associated with him in the promise; he must believe in his name; he must be constitutionally inducted into Christ by immersion into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: -- being the subject of these conditions he is included in the Family of God, to whose members it is said, "Ye are all the children of God in Christ Jesus through the faith.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is no distinction of Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female among you; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise".
These are the children of the promise, the children of God, the brethren and joint-heirs of Jesus Christ, the sons of the free-woman, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob's seed, who are alone entitled to possess the world with him.
Jesus came to preach the gospel.
"The Spirit of the Lord," saith he, "is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord".
It is admitted, then, that Jesus fulfilled his mission; consequently, in his proclamation he preached the good news of the acceptable season, or blessed era of the Lord.
But, what was the great focal truth of this acceptable year?
Let Jesus answer the question in his own words: "I must preach the kingdom of God; for therefore am I sent"; and so much did he preach about this kingdom that the people become impatient and sought to take him by force and make him King.
But he would not permit it; "and because they thought that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear, he spake a parable to them," in which he gave them to understand that he must first take a journey into a far country to be presented before the Ancient of Days to receive from Him the kingdom, and then to return; when he would bestow upon his servants power and authority over the cities of the world.
According to this arrangement, Jesus rose from the dead and took his departure; when he ascended to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, where he is now.
He has not yet received the kingdom, glory, and dominion, or he would have already returned.
He is waiting for this, "sitting at the right hand of God until his foes are made his footstool".
He will then appear in his kingdom and rule as King over all the earth.
The gospel, then, was preached to Abraham by the angel of the Lord; and it was preached by Jesus to his own nation, and to them only; for "he was not sent, save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel".
Paul also declares that it was preached to that generation of Israelites whose carcases fell in the wilderness; but it did not profit them because they did not believe it.
Therefore, God sware in His wrath that they should not enter into the rest it proclaimed.
Before he suffered on the accursed tree, Jesus sent his apostles, and seventy others, throughout the land to "preach the kingdom of God".
In recording their obedience to his command, Luke says, "They went through the towns preaching the gospel"; so that it is clear that to preach the kingdom is to preach the gospel; and to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom of God.