Session 2: The Calling of Abraham

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I.                 Prayer

II.             Purpose of Today’s Class
To understand...

A.               [Review schedule, timeline on overhead]

B.                ...Abraham’s role as the father of the Jews.

C.                ...the promises made to Abraham and their relation to other promises made later.

D.               ...the unconditional nature of the promises made to Abraham.

E.                ...the line of promise  -  through Isaac and Jacob/Israel - through David to Jesus Christ.

III.         Abraham As Father of the Jews

A.               Genealogy of Jesus

1.                Matthew 1:1 - from Abraham, why important? [promises!]
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. (Matthew 1:1-2 NKJV)

2.                Luke 3:34 - from Adam
... [the son] of Jacob, [the son] of Isaac, [the son] of Abraham, [the son] of Terah, [the son] of Nahor, [the son] of Serug, [the son] of Reu, [the son] of Peleg, [the son] of Eber, [the son] of Shelah, [the son] of Cainan, [the son] of Arphaxad,


[the son] of Shem, [the son] of Noah, [the son] of Lamech, [the son] of Methuselah, [the son] of Enoch, [the son] of Jared, [the son] of Mahalalel, [the son] of Cainan, [the son] of Enos, [the son] of Seth, [the son] of Adam, [the son] of God. (Luke 3:34-38 NKJV)

B.                The calling of Abraham is extremely important

1.                Initiated by God - ‘elect’

a)                 Scripture reveals that Abraham’s father Terah was an idolater (Josh. 24:2)[1]

2.                Parallel to coming to faith  -  believer’s called

a)                 Learn about our role from studying Israel

3.                Israel becomes the “chosen nation” not because of merit, but because of God’s sovereign choice - never forget this! He has His purposes.

IV.            God’s Promises to Abraham.

A.               Genesis 12:1-3 - Abrahamic covenant, part 1

1.                the conditions: (1) a great nation; (2) blessed; (3) make name great; (4) shall be a blessing; (5) bless those who bless; (6) curse those who curse; (7) in you all families of the earth will be blessed

a)                 bless who bless, curse who curse

(1)              Num 24:8-9 - Balaam’s prophesy (curse turned into a blessing)
"God brings him out of
Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce [them] with his arrows. 'He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?' "Blessed [is] he who blesses you, And cursed [is] he who curses you."

(2)              Charles Feinberg
"No nation under heaven could touch
Israel for ill without bringing down upon them the wrath of almighty God. The pages of history are strewn with the wreckage of nations who, though great in the eyes and councils of the world, incurred the just wrath of an outraged God. While God reserved the right to judge His chosen people for their sins, He also reserves the right to judge those who spitefully treat the Jews, and thus bring reproach on the One who made an everlasting covenant with Israel."[2]

(3)              Isaiah 49:25-26 [if needed]

b)                 “in you all families of the earth will be blessed”

(1)              echoes Gen. 3:15 - the seed of the woman will crush the serpent

(2)              blessing extends beyond Abraham’s family

(3)              those who are “in Christ” - the seed (singular) of Abraham are also Abraham’s seed by faith [3]

(a)              Rom. 4:11-13 - Abraham is the father of all those who believe

B.                Genesis 13:14-17 - Abrahamic covenant, part 2

1.                land promised

2.                to descendents forever

C.                Genesis 15:1-21 - Abrahamic covenant, part 3

1.                v5 - numerous descendents from barrenness!

2.                v6 - salvation by faith prior to the law of Moses

3.                v7 - God brought Abraham out from Ur of the Chaldeans

4.                v12 - Abraham has no part in fulfillment of the covenant

5.                v13 - prediction of Egyptian bondage out of which the nation Israel will be born

6.                v16 - iniquity of Amorites not yet full - Israel’s conquests are as a tool of God

7.                v17 - God ratified both sides of the covenant
Nothing like this recorded anywhere else in scripture!

8.                v18 - land promised

D.               Genesis 17:1-11 - Abrahamic covenant, part 4

1.                v2 - multiplied exceedingly

2.                v4 - father of many nations

3.                v6 - kings shall come from you [Davidic Covenant]

4.                v7 - everlasting covenant with descendants

5.                v8 - promised land, an everlasting possession [Land Covenant]

6.                v11 - circumcision as sign

E.                Genesis 22:15-19 - Abrahamic covenant, part 5

1.                v16 - God swears by Himself!
[Because He could swear by no one greater. Heb. 6:13]

2.                v17 - blessed

3.                v17 - multiply descendants [focus is on Isaac here]

4.                v17 - descendants shall possess gate of their enemies

5.                v18 - in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed

V.                Abrahamic Covenant as a Foundation

A.               What does “Old Testament” and “New Testament” mean? What is a “testament?”

1.                the term “Old Testament” (or “Old Covenant”) generally refers to the Mosaic Covenant (ten commandments +) which has been superceded by the New Covenant

B.                other important covenants remain in effect

1.                all of these were given to Israel/Jews

a)                 Romans 9:4 (NKJV) 
who are Israelites, to whom [pertain] the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service [of God], and the promises

(1)              covenants is plural - not just the Mosaic

C.                Covenants  [ overhead ]

Source:  Enns, Paul, Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 35.



1.                Unconditional Covenants (shown above): Abrahamic, Land, Davidic, New

a)                 The promises are unilaterally guaranteed to be fulfilled by God.

b)                 Enjoyment of the promises is conditioned upon the obedience of the nation.

2.                Conditional Covenant (not shown above): Mosaic

a)                 The Mosaic covenant (not shown above) was broken by Israel as a nation. God then unilaterally established the New covenant (Jer. 31:31-34) which supercedes the Mosaic covenant.

VI.            The Line of Promise [ overhead ]

A.               Gen. 17:18-21 - Isaac is line of promise, not Ishmael

B.                Gen. 27:28 - Jacob is line of promise, not Esau

C.                Gen. 49:10 - Judah will be kingly line

D.               2S. 7:12 - Davidic covenant (develops out of promises made to Abraham)

E.                Luke 1:31-33 - Jesus on Davidic throne over house of Jacob

1.                Jacob means the man Israel - not the church

VII.        Implications

A.               God unilaterally called Abraham and gave him unconditional promises.

B.                These promises have two sides

1.                guarantees by God

2.                expectations (based on normative meaning) as the promises were heard and understood by Abraham

C.                Aspects of these promises are yet unfulfilled but will surely come to pass.

D.               Many are challenging or denying that the promises are to be fulfilled in the way in which they were originally given - including many Christians.

VIII.    Prayer
Has God called you like Abraham?  God has made wonderful promises to each person Who responds to His call.

[1]    Unger, Merrill Frederick, R. K. Harrison, Howard Frederic Vos et al&period;. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Revision of: Unger's Bible dictionary. 3rd ed. c1966. Rev. and updated ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1988.

[2]    [Feinberg, Charles Lee. The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1969.], p. 146.

[3]    Ge 12:3; Isa 59:21; Lu 3:8; Lu 19:9; Ro 4:12-18; Ro 9:6; Ga 3:7; Ga 3:29; Ga 6:16; Php 3:3;
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