1. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
a. Rather than making unconditional promises, what does God expect? Jeremiah 18:7–10.
“There is no safety except in strict obedience to the word of God. All His promises are made upon condition of faith and obedience, and a failure to comply with His commands cuts off the fulfillment to us of the rich provisions of the Scriptures.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 621, 622.
b. What qualities does the Lord look for in people, regardless of their status or privileges? Acts 10:34, 35.
“In the kingdom of God, position is not gained through favoritism. It is not earned, nor is it received through an arbitrary bestowal. It is the result of character. The crown and the throne are the tokens of a condition attained; they are the tokens of self-conquest through our Lord Jesus Christ.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 549.
2. TRUE ISRAEL
a. What is promised concerning the future of Israel? Jeremiah 33:16; Romans 11:25–27.
“God is abundantly able to transform the hearts of Jew and Gentile alike, and to grant to every believer in Christ the blessings promised to Israel.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 379.
b. What is the only path to salvation, whether one is Jew or Gentile by birth? Acts 4:10–12.
“It is claimed by some that the human race is in need, not of redemption, but of development—that it can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. . . . The history of Cain shows what must be the results. It shows what man will become apart from Christ. Humanity has no power to regenerate itself. It does not tend upward, toward the divine, but downward, toward the satanic. Christ is our only hope.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 73.
c. What characterizes the true Israel? Romans 2:28, 29. In light of this, to whom do the promises really apply? Romans 9:6–8.
“The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory.
“The same danger still exists. Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 309, 310.
3. ABRAHAM’S SEED
a. What promise was made to Abraham regarding his relationship with the rest of the world? Genesis 22:18.
“It was a high honor to which Abraham was called, that of being the father of the people who for centuries were the guardians and preservers of the truth of God for the world—of that people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 140, 141.
b. What was meant by the term “seed” in this promise? Galatians 3:16. What does it take to be a recipient of the blessings? Verses 8, 9.
“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).”—Ibid., p.170.
c. Study the conversation recorded in John 8:31–45, then describe the type of character needed in order to participate in the spiritual relationship mentioned there.
“The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 466, 467.
4. INHERITING THE LAND
a. How were the patriarchs themselves included in the promise of inheriting the land? Exodus 6:8. What must happen in order for this promise to be fulfilled? Luke 20:34–38.
“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.
“But the word of God had not failed; neither did it meet its final accomplishment in the occupation of Canaan by the Jewish people. ‘To Abraham and his seed were the promises made’ (Galatians 3:16). Abraham himself was to share the inheritance. The fulfillment of God’s promise may seem to be long delayed—for ‘one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ (2 Peter 3:8); it may appear to tarry; but at the appointed time ‘it will surely come, it will not tarry’ (Habakkuk 2:3). The gift to Abraham and his seed included not merely the land of Canaan, but the whole earth.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 169, 170.
b. What shows that the patriarchs understood this? Hebrews 11:13–16.
c. Who are considered to be true descendants of Abraham, and thus the heirs of the promise? Galatians 3:27–29; Matthew 8:11, 12.
“Christ recognized no virtue in lineage. He taught that spiritual connection supersedes all natural connection. . . . Only those who prove themselves to be spiritually in harmony with Abraham by obeying the voice of God are reckoned as of true descent.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 268.
5. A GLORIOUS INHERITANCE
a. What state will the earth be in when the promise is fulfilled? Isaiah 65:17–19.
“In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called ‘a country’ (Hebrews 11:14–16). There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.”—The Great Controversy, p. 675.
b. How does Scripture describe the spiritual unity of the inherited kingdom? Jeremiah 23:3–6; Ezekiel 37:24–27.
“One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. . . . From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.”—Ibid., p.678.
c. When the earth is made new, what will God do with His place of dwelling? Revelation 21:1–3.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When God makes a promise, how can its fulfillment depend on conditions?
2. What is needed besides a profession of faith in Christ?
3. What makes someone a real child of Abraham?
4. When will the promise of inheriting the land be fulfilled?
5. What will be the attitude of the saved in the New Earth?