1. To Abraham, see Gen. 12:1-3' "Now the Lord had said unto
Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy
father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee; and I will make of thee
a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great, and thou
shalt be a blessing, and in thee shall all families of the earth be
Gen. 17:4-8: "As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, trod thou shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham, and I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant. And I will give unto thee and to thy seed after thee all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession: and I will be their God."
To Isaac the promise repeated, see Gen. 26: 2-4.
The promises renewed and enlarged unto Jacob: Gen. 48: 1-20; also Gen. 28-13-1,5.
1. The everlasting possession of all the land of Canaan,
from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates.
2. A numerous offspring, like the stars of Heaven, innumerable.
3. A blessing to all nations of the earth.
4. Jacob's blessing to the two sons of Joseph.
These several blessings are all to be fulfilled literally.
1. The possession of the land.
The promise to Abraham was specific: "All the land which I will show thee, to the East and to the West, to the North and to the South, from the river of Egypt unto the great River Euphrates, to thee and thy seed, in their generations, for an everlasting possession." Was ever a deed made more specific as to its boundaries; the parties to whom the land is given more definitely named, and the warranty of the deed more surely established ?
2. A numerous offspring.
This promise was made while as yet Abram had no child, but the promise was made by Him who cannot lie -- that a son should be born to Abraham, through whom this numerous offspring should arise' "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." And that these descendants were to be compared to the stars of heaven or to the sands of the seashore, innumerable. These multitudes of descendants of Abraham, then, must be veritable flesh and blood, living men and women, for they are to possess, by actual inheritance, the whole land of Canaan. Spiritual belongs cannot inherit landed estates.
3. It will be Shown hereafter that the seed of Abraham is now numbered by many scores of millions.
As to the fulfillment of this promise, there can be, I think, no differences of opinion. That the promise made to Abraham was to extend to all the nations of the world, is, so far as I know, believed by all who receive the Bible as divinely inspired. But as to the manner in which this blessing is to be manifested, there may be some doubt. My own opinion is that this blessing is to be universal, both in kind and in extent; in other words, it is to be both spiritual and temporal--that all nations are promised the highest degree of temporal prosperity, as certainly as the greatest of spiritual blessings.
4. The blessings of Jacob to the two sons of Joseph were, that "Ephraim should grow into a multitude of nations," but Manasseh should become "one great people."
The language in which these promises are given can admit, as it seems to me, of only one interpretation, and that is a literal interpretation, viz.: That the descendants of Ephraim are actually to become a multitude of nations, and that Manasseh is actually to grow into one mighty nation in the world.