We’re all running the race of life with our eye on a prize or reward for those who endure to the end or till Christ returns. Some believe that the reward of this race is simply the riches, accolades, fame and material things they have picked up along the way. Others think this reward is only the promise of eternal life in heaven or better stated, the new kingdom. And yet others don’t even believe they are in a race at all and can’t seem to understand what the hype is about. So, first things first…we most definitely are in a race! Hebrews 12:1-3 urges us to run the race set before us with perseverance so we do not faint and can endure to the end.
Now, to understand the promise and who it was given to, we must go back to the old testament and pick up with our father Abraham. Genesis 12:1-3 describes Abraham as the father of the promise on this side of the flood.Terah who was Abraham’s father was an idolator following the idolatry of Nimrod (a well respected and feared leader of his people) who ordered the death of Abraham when he was born. Terah presented a baby of one of his servants to Nimrod to be killed instead of Abraham, and sent Abraham to live with Shem. Shem is also known as Melchizedek and he was both a king and a priest. Shem taught Abraham about the one true God, and when he died, Abraham became the king and priest. As a quick side note, Before Melchizedek died, Abraham presented his priest with a tenth of the spoil he acquired after battling the kings of Sodom. This was when the tithe was established before it got put into the law, and thus is not done away with. The position of the king and priest was always supposed to be a one person position, but it got divided during the division of the twelve tribes, and the Levites held the position of priest. This order of Melchizedek is what Christ came to restore by bringing the priesthood and kingship back under him – Hebrews 6:20.
As we all know, Abraham married Sarah and she was barren. By trying to help her husband out, she gives her Egyptian handmaid named Hagar to him to conceive a child with. The handmaid gives birth to Ismael, the first born of Abraham, the father of the Saudi Arabians, and he has always stayed in his land of promise in the middle east. However, he was not the child of promise. The child of promise was to come through Sarah, who later conceives a child with Abraham and gives birth to her own son, Isaac. Isaac gave birth to two children, Jacob and Esau, and the promise was to be established with Jacob through his twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of Israel.
In Genesis 15:5-21, Abraham was told that his seed would be innumerable as the stars and would be in slavery for 400 years. After this, they would come out with great substance, and posses their land. Verse 18 through 21 describes the vastness of this land, many, many, many miles of land. The promise given to Abraham includes actual physical land! In the new heaven and earth, the children of Israel will have their land that was promised to them. Deuteronomy 7:6 tells us that God chose Israelites to be a special people over all the people of the earth. While Deuteronomy 10:15 confirms that the promise is not in the past and still stands for His people today. The bible tells us that God never changes, neither will the children of Jacob be destroyed – Malachi 3:6. Therefore, we have land to claim when we make it to the end. That is the promise we have to look forward to! Whatever you think you have acquired here before Christ’s return is peanuts compared to what God has in store for us 1Corinthians 2:9.
Finally, the good news according to Romans 9:4-5 is that even though we sinned and continue to sin, The Most High has not forgotten us. There are two covenants, the one in the old testament and the one in the new testament and they both belong to us. Our forefathers are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are the children of Israel through bloodline, (not spiritual Israelites, since there is no such thing in the bible), we are the children of the promise. All other nations have received their promise on this earth, and when Christ returns the children of the promise will finally claim theirs. Keep your eye on the prize, run the race set before us with perseverance, there is great reward on the other side for those who endure!
Till the next time shalom and blessings.