1. THE GOSPEL PROMISE
a. What was the first promise given to Abraham, and how does that promise depict the gospel? Genesis 12:1–3; 15:6; 22:18; Galatians 3:8, 9.
“[Abraham] trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness. The covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God’s law.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 370.
b. What is the gospel? Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:17, 18; Colossians 1:20. How was Calvary illustrated to Abraham in a practical way? Genesis 22:2–13; John 8:56–58.
“The offering of Isaac was designed by God to prefigure the sacrifice of His Son. . . . All the agony that Abraham endured during that dark and fearful trial was for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1094.
2. CHRIST—THE MAIN PROMISED BLESSING
a. Did Abraham understand the blessings that were to come through faith in the cross of Christ? Galatians 3:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
“When to Isaac’s question, ‘Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham made answer, ‘God will provide Himself a lamb;’ and when the father’s hand was stayed as he was about to slay his son, and the ram which God had provided was offered in the place of Isaac—then light was shed upon the mystery of redemption, and even the angels understood more clearly the wonderful provision that God had made for man’s salvation (1 Peter 1:12).”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 155.
b. How does Paul explain the important promise made to Abraham? Galatians 3:16, 27–29; Colossians 2:10–13. What blessings do we receive through Christ, the Seed of Abraham? Romans 3:23–25; Titus 2:11–14.
“Though [the people of Israel ‘according to the flesh’] had despised God’s mercy and forfeited their blessings as His chosen people—yet God had not cast off the seed of Abraham; the glorious purposes which He had undertaken to accomplish through Israel were to be fulfilled. All who through Christ should become the children of faith were to be counted as Abraham’s seed; they were inheritors of the covenant promises; like Abraham, they were called to guard and to make known to the world the law of God and the gospel of His Son.”—Ibid., p. 476.
“Descent from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. A life actuated by the apostles’ spirit, the belief and teaching of the truth they taught, this is the true evidence of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors of the first teachers of the gospel.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 467.
“No one will be entitled to the heavenly inheritance who has not been purified, refined, ennobled, and sanctified. Then let us be diligent to make our calling and election sure.”—The Messenger, May 10, 1893.
3. HEAVENLY CANAAN
a. What did the inheritance promised to Abraham include? Genesis 17:8; Romans 4:13. Why couldn’t he inherit immediately the land of Canaan? Genesis 15:16.
“The heritage that God has promised to His people is not in this world. Abraham had no possession in the earth, ‘no, not so much as to set his foot on’ (Acts 7:5). He possessed great substance, and he used it to the glory of God and the good of his fellow men; but he did not look upon this world as his home. The Lord had called him to leave his idolatrous countrymen, with the promise of the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession; yet neither he nor his son nor his son’s son received it. When Abraham desired a burial place for his dead, he had to buy it of the Canaanites. His sole possession in the Land of Promise was that rock-hewn tomb in the cave of Machpelah.” —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 169.
b. What was the actual hope of Abraham, based on God’s promise—a hope that is shared by all the faithful? Hebrews 11:8–10; Daniel 7:27; 2 Peter 3:13. How did he consider himself in this world? Hebrews 11:13–16.
“The word of God had not failed; neither did it meet its final accomplishment in the occupation of Canaan by the Jewish people. . . . The gift to Abraham and his seed included not merely the land of Canaan, but the whole earth. So says the apostle, ‘The promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith’ (Romans 4:13). And the Bible plainly teaches that the promises made to Abraham are to be fulfilled through Christ. All that are Christ’s are ‘Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’—heirs to ‘an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away’—the earth freed from the curse of sin (Galatians 3:29; 1 Peter 1:4). For ‘the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High’ (Daniel 7:27).”—Ibid., pp. 169, 170.
4. HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM
a. What kind of people will inherit the heavenly Canaan? Matthew 5:5; 1 John 3:2, 3; Isaiah 60:21.
“A title to a possession in this world must be without flaw, or it is valueless, and the right of inheritance is not given. And will heaven be given to those who have a faulty title? The apostle reveals the line through which the heavenly inheritance is to come. He says: ‘If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’ (Galatians 3:29). If we are Christ’s, our title to the heavenly inheritance is without flaw, for we are then under the only saving covenant, the covenant of grace; and through grace we shall be able to make our calling and election sure by putting on the excellency of Christ in faith, in spirit, in character; for no one will be entitled to the heavenly inheritance who has not been purified, refined, ennobled, elevated, and wholly sanctified. Those whose lives are hid with Christ in God, who have been clothed upon with His righteousness, will have a right to the inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”—The Signs of the Times, May 2, 1892.
b. What target regarding character is set before us to be reached before we can receive the seal of God’s approval? Ephesians 3:19; 4:13; Colossians 1:26–28; 2:10. When the people of God have attained to the stature of complete men and women in Christ, what declaration will be made concerning the work of the gospel? Revelation 10:7.
“We may talk of the blessings of the Holy Spirit, but unless we prepare ourselves for its reception, of what avail are our works? Are we striving with all our power to attain to the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for His fullness, ever pressing toward the mark set before us—the perfection of His character? When the Lord’s people reach this mark, they will be sealed in their foreheads. Filled with the Spirit, they will be complete in Christ, and the recording angel will declare, ‘It is finished.’ ”—Our High Calling, p. 150.
5. ENTRANCE INTO THE HOLY CITY
a. How many gates are there in the New Jerusalem, whose names point to distinct character traits, and which are open to the redeemed? Revelation 21:10–12. How are the 144,000 classified by their different victorious experiences to fit in with the characteristics of each gate? Revelation 7:4–8.
b. Mention some of the characters that will find no open gate and that will be debarred from entering the Holy City. Revelation 21:27; 22:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
“Amid the ransomed throng are the apostles of Christ, the heroic Paul, the ardent Peter, the loved and loving John, and their truehearted brethren, and with them the vast host of martyrs; while outside the walls, with every vile and abominable thing, are those by whom they were persecuted, imprisoned, and slain. There is Nero, that monster of cruelty and vice, beholding the joy and exaltation of those whom he once tortured, and in whose extremest anguish he found satanic delight.”—The Great Controversy, p. 667.
“Into the city of God there will enter nothing that defiles. All who are to be dwellers there will here have become pure in heart. In one who is learning of Jesus, there will be manifest a growing distaste for careless manners, unseemly language, and coarse thought. When Christ abides in the heart, there will be purity and refinement of thought and manner.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 24, 25.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
a. In essence, what is the gospel, and how was it preached to Abraham?
b. Who is Abraham’s seed? How is it possible to be a part of that seed?
c. What inheritance was promised to Abraham?
d. Describe the character required to receive the promised inheritance.
e. What are the conditions of admittance into the Holy City? Who will be kept out?