Advent: Jesus Fulfilled the Covenant
(Scroll down to listen to the audio recording)
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.’ Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, ‘Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.'” (Genesis 17:1–8)
“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together.” (Genesis 22:6-8)
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Read: Genesis 15:1-6; 17:1-14; 21:1-7; 22:1-19
Yahweh is a God of promise, and He keeps His promises. Genesis 15:1-5 is the first of several recordings of the promises given to Abraham. This was not merely a promise for numerous children and ethnic offspring. God promised, repeatedly, that Abraham would be “the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:4-5). God is made a covenant with Abraham that would extend to that offspring. All who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord receive that covenant of sonship with the Father. The Lord promises, “I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8). What greater promise can be made?
Isaac was the first representation of the promise. God gave Abraham and his family signs along the way that pointed to Christ’s coming—the fulfillment of God’s covenant. Genesis 15:7-20 showed us that this covenant was so complete and perfect that only God could fulfill it. Abraham was incapable of keeping the covenant, so God kept it for him. We are unable to keep the requirements of the covenant with God, so Christ fulfills it for us. Covenant keeping was about more than the sign of circumcision for the Israelites. It was about hearts that were completely submitted to the Lord. God knew that the righteousness and holiness of this covenant required more than physical obedience — it required the obedience of faith (in Christ).
“And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together.”(Genesis 22:7-8)
In the moment of Isaac’s almost-sacrifice, Abraham exemplified this faith in God. Abraham trusted God and He trusted God’s plan. At other times in Genesis, Abraham walked in unfaithfulness. Praise be to God, however, that we are not saved by our ability to keep God’s law but rather by the perfect blood of Jesus that covers our weakness. Our hearts and our actions are littered with pride, selfishness, and self-preservation—rebellious postures against the Lord. But, Christ confirmed the Old Testament promises because His Word never fails (Romans 15:8). His promises never falter. In spite of our sin, God reigns true and calls His people to Himself. And, one day, John the Baptist saw Jesus approach and exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). God provided the Lamb for His people.
- God makes and keeps His promises. Remember this daily. It is vital that we read and study God’s Word so that we can discern (by the Holy Spirit) which promises apply to us now. We can be sure of this: God provided the Lamb for our atonement!
- Don’t forget to read the Old Testament in unison. The God of the Old is the same God of the New. Everything in the Old Testament points forward to Jesus’ Advent. And, everything in the New Testament points backward to Christ’s Advent and forward to His second coming. We have the blessing of looking back on the promises that the Lord has already fulfilled. Take confidence that He will also fulfill promises He made while on earth. Jesus said things like “I will not leave you” (John 14:18). Hebrews 13:5 reminds us “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Father, thank you for providing the Lamb of God for my forgiveness. I am unworthy of your love and unworthy to receive your promises. But I praise you that your righteousness and holy love do not depend on my ability to love and obey you. Thank you for sending Jesus to live the perfect, obedient, worshipful life that I am unable to. But, Lord Jesus, give me the joy and gratitude to live a life of thankful worship that brings you glory. Thank you for making me your child and bringing me into your covenant promise.
Family Discipleship Time
- Jesus Storybook Bible – read or watch the videos
- “Son of Laughter”
- “The Present”
- God gives these stories in the Bible so that we know He always keeps His promises. Who is the Son of God that the Bible promised would come? (Jesus who was born as a baby in Bethlehem. He was the Son of God and Son of Man.)
- Did God already know whether Abraham trusted Him or not? (Yes, God knows what is in all of our hearts. He wanted to show Abraham and Isaac that He would always be faithful to them, and teach them how to trust His Word no matter what.)
- Abraham is called the father of many nations. What does this mean? (Jesus was born through the family of Abraham, the Israelites. So, everyone who is a Christian is joined to Jesus in faith. We are adopted by God as sons and daughters once we trust Jesus by turning away from our sin and trusting Him.)
- Compare Isaac and Jesus. What are their similarities and differences? (Isaac was born as a miracle to Abraham and Sarah, but was still just a sinful man. His sacrifice could not erase the consequence of sin. Jesus was also born as a miracle to Mary, without a human father. But, He was perfect and holy in every way. Jesus is the only one who was born without sin and never sinned! His sacrifice on the Cross is able to pay for our sins and give us new life.)
- Audio & article – “Advent: A Promise Fulfilled” by David Platt