[ -top- ] [ -prev- ] [ -next- ] [ -bottom- ]

Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Here, however, he stands watching the exposed sacrificial victims until even, and then he is laid powerless in the similitude of death, and in the intense darkness of the grave.

While he was in this state, the Lord revealed to Abram the fortunes of his descendants in the ensuing four hundred years, the judgment of the nation that should oppress them, their subsequent exodus from bondage with great wealth, his own peaceful death in a good old age, and the return of his descendants into the land of Canaan again.

The following are the words of the testimony: "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation whom.they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward they shall come out with great substance.

And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full".

I suppose the reader need hardly be informed that all this was literally accomplished.

Jacob and his family, consisting of seventy persons, migrated into Egypt two hundred and fifty years after the revelation was made to Abram.

When a king arose in Egypt who knew not Joseph, the saviour of the country under God, the Israelites were sorely oppressed till the end of four hundred years from Abram's deep sleep.

After this four hundred years had expired, even thirty years after, God having judged the Egyptians, they left the country with great substance; and in the fourth generation re-entered the land of Canaan, as God had said.

The iniquity of the Arnorites was then full; and Israelites, under Joshua, became the executioners of divine vengeance upon them.

But God had said to Abram at Bethel, I will give THEE the land of Canaan FOR EVER, and in the answer to this question "whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it"?

here tells him that he should die and be buried in a good old age!

Now the promise to Abram rests upon the veracity of God.

If we attempt to interpret it by the history of the past, we are brought to the conclusion that the promise to Abram has failed.

Stephen alludes to this apparent failure of the promise to Abram in his speech before the Sanhedrim in these words, "God said to him come into the land which I will show thee.

Then came he into this land in which ye dwell.

And He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: YET he promised that He would give it to him for a possession and to his Seed ( tw spermati , in the singular, to one person called the Seed) after him when as yet he had no child" (Acts 7:5).

What shall we say then?

Shall we dare to say that God hath lied to Abram; or, that He meant something else than what He promised?

Far be it from the writer or reader to insult God by any such insinuation; but rather let us say with the apostle in reference to this particular incident that "God cannot lie ;" that in promising to Abram an everlasting possession of the land of Canaan, and nevertheless, afterwards declaring that he should die and be buried, and his posterity be oppressed for four hundred years -- "He promised" to him a resurrection to "eternal life" before the arrangements of the times ( pro kronon aionion , Tit.

1:2).

If Abram were sentenced to die, how could the promise of God concerning the land be fulfilled unless he were raised from the dead?

And as he is to possess it for ever, when he is raised, he must be also made incorruptible and immortal to enable him to possess it everlastingly.