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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Let the reader, then, bear this in mind as one of the first principles of the kingdom.

Deny this, and there is an end to all understanding of the truth.

Having built an altar at Sichem, to commemorate the Lord's promise concerning his Seed's inheritance, and sojourned there for a while, he removed to a mountain between Bethel and Hai, where he built another altar, and called upon the name of the Lord.

After this, he journeyed, going on still toward the south.

Having been driven into Egypt by famine in the land of Canaan, he sojourned there for a time, and acquired much wealth.

After it had subsided, he left Egypt and returned to the station between Bethel and Hai, where he called on the name of the Lord.

Soon after this, Lot separated from Abram, and went and dwelt among the cities of the plain, now submerged under the Dead Sea.

After this separation the Lord appeared to him again, and said, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to THEE Will I give it, and to thy Seed FOR EVER.

And I will make thy seed (plural here) as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

Arise, walk through the land in the length of it, and in the breadth of it: for l will give it unto thee".

This was an amplification of the promise given at Haran and Sichem.

At the former place, the promise of blessing which was to come upon him and the nations, and in which his seed, in the sense of a multitude, was to become great -- was given in general terms; at the latter place, the Christ was promised as descending from him to inherit the land of Canaan: but in these promises, nothing was said about what Abram was to have, nor as to how long the Christ was to possess the country.

In the promise, however, amplified near Bethel, these desiderata were supplied.

Abram was informed that be should inherit the country as well as Christ; and that they should both possess it "forever".

Having received this assurance, he, removed his tent from Bethel, and went and pitched it near Hebron, in the plain of Mamre, and built there an altar to the Lord.

When Abram had resided nearly ten years in the land of Canaan, the whole country was in arms east of the Jordan, and to the north and south of Abram's encampment.

A rebellion had broken out against Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, who appears to have been the principal potentate of the time.

During the war, Sodom was attacked and, taken, and Lot and all his goods carried away with the spoil of the city, for he dwelt there.

Abram having heard of this, hastily collected a company of three hundred and eighteen retainers, and started in pursuit of the spoilers, whom he overtook and put to the rout as far as Hobah on the west of Damascus.

He recovered all the spoil, and returned south, considerably disturbed in mind, doubtless, on account of the danger of the times.

At this crisis, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, and comforted him with the assurance, saying, "Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thine exceeding great reward".

Abram was now eighty-five years old, and he had no child.

How then, could the promise made of God at Haran, and repeated at Sichem and Bethel be fulfilled, seeing that he was childless?