And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers…
These are the words of Paul when he was on trial for his life. What is the promise to which he was referring?
After Adam and Eve, as the population increased, man became increasingly wicked. As a consequence God decided to destroy all mankind by a flood – except Noah and his family (Genesis 6:5-8). Noah had to build an ark in which they, with certain animals, would be saved. God promised Noah that He would not destroy the earth again (Genesis 9:9-12) – God has a purpose with the earth.
We can parallel the wickedness of man in Noah’s time with our present time. As God judged mankind then, so He will again when Christ returns (Matthew 24:37 and 2 Peter 3:6-12).
God also made specific promises to Abraham.
He said that He would give him and his family the land of Canaan for ever (Genesis 13:3, 14-17).
Further, God made a covenant with Abraham, saying,
To your offspring [singular] I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates…
This is backed up by Paul’s writings where he says,
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.
The promise is not only to the Jewish nation but also to non-Jews who believe in Jesus Christ. God is going to give them the land forever when He establishes His Kingdom, on this earth, at Christ’s return.
God always keeps His promises. The time is coming when Abraham and all the others to whom God made promises will be rewarded (Hebrews 11:13, 39-40) with everlasting life in His Kingdom.
This is the promise Paul was referring to and we too can be part of it.
Further reading on this and other topics is available on the website of the Christadelphian Office: