In Genesis 12-17 God promised Abraham three things: 1) to make him into a great nation, 2) to give the nation a bunch of land and 3) that from the great nation and within the promised land he would bring the Messiah.
The Old Testament is the story of how God fulfilled promises one and two. The New Testament is the story of how God fulfilled promise three. In this post I want to focus on how God fulfilled promise 3 in the New Testament.
Matthew recorded in his gospel in chapter 1 v.17, “Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.” This verse shows that Messiah came from the line of Abraham, just as God promised.
When Mary was told she would be the mother of Messiah she declared of God in Luke 1:54-55, “He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Messiah was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.
Zechariah said in Luke 1:69 that “He [God] has sent us a mighty Savior [Jesus]..” and then went on to say that this was in keeping with “…the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham” (Luke 1:73).
Jesus said in John 8:56, “…Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day…” Why? Because Messiah’s arrival was the fulfillment of God’s third promise to Abraham.
As Stephen rehearsed Israel’s history in Acts 7:17 he said, “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham…” When he said this he was referring of course to the time when Messiah would come.
The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:16, “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.” Paul here records that Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.
Every promise of God has been fulfilled for the Lord keeps his word and does exactly as he promises (Genesis 21:1). Therefore, we have every reason to believe the promise of John 3:16, “…that whoever believes in him [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life.” After all, that’s why God sent Messiah into the world. It wasn’t merely about fulfilling a promise to Abraham. It was about helping mankind find salvation through Christ.