The Old Testament is where we find all the promises “…Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Rom. 9:4). “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed” (Gal. 3:16). They were two kinds of promises. The promises of Jehovah were fulfilled in the Old Testament, and the promises of Jesus Christ were fulfilled in the New Testament. Those of Jehovah were temporal and carnal, but those of Jesus are spiritual and eternal.
We will begin by the promises of Jehovah:
- They were made exclusively to Israel, excluding the other peoples. “For you are a wholly people to Jehovah your God; Jehovah your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth”(Deut. 7:6). “ And what one nation in the earth is like Thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem from Himself as a people” (1 Chr. 17:21).
- Jehovah promised to multiply the offspring of Abraham. “And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered” (Gen. 13:16).
- Jehovah promised the land of Canaan to Abraham as an inheritance forever. “And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:8).
- Jehovah promised to establish a kingdom in Canaan. “and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Jehovah, then, was the king of Israel. “I am Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King” (Is. 43:15).
- The promises of Jehovah were all fulfilled in the Old Testament: “Not one of the good promises which Jehovah had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass” (Josh. 21:45). Solomon confirms it in 1 Kings 8:56.
The serious problem with the promises of Jehovah is that they are yes and no. Nothing is absolute. Jehovah made his promises under oath, and changed them into curses. Let us look at it: “And now, this commandment is to you, O priests. ‘If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,’ says Jehovah of Hosts, ‘then I will send the curse upon you, AND I WILL CURSE YOUR BLESSINGS; AND INDEED, I HAVE CURSED THEM ALREADY’” (Mal. 2:1,2). Whatever Jehovah plants, he himself uproots (Jer. 45:4).
- Jehovah saved Israel from Egypt, and killed them, afterwards, in the desert (Jude 5). The promises of Jehovah were all yes and no.
- Solomon was predestined by Jehovah. “Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever” (1 Chr. 22:9,10). Nevertheless, the kingdom was not confirmed forever. Solomon sinned, and Jehovah changed what he had promised. “So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant” (1 Kings 11:11). Therefore, ten tribes were given to Jeroboam. The promise of Jehovah was not fulfilled. When Jehovah predestined Solomon, did he not know that he would become perverted? The truth is that Jehovah promises one thing and does another.
- Jehovah created Israel for his glory. “But thus says Jehovah, your creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! (Is. 43:1). “Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed” (Is. 43:7). This people were the workmanship of Jehovah. “‘Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?’ declares Jehovah. ‘Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel’” (Jer. 18:6). Later, giving the impression that he has failed in his work, Jehovah declares, “The end has come for My people Israel. I will spare them no longer” (Amos 8:2). And Jehovah said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God” (Hos. 1:9). The same Jehovah destroys the people he has created for his glory. “And Jehovah rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight” (2 Kings 17:20).
- Jehovah confesses that he gives and takes from the righteous with no real reason (Job 1:6-21; 2:1-3).
THE PROMISES OF JESUS:
These promises are not earthly promises, for Jesus declares that his kingdom is not of this world, as He himself is not (John 18:36; 8:23).
- Jesus promised the eternal life. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). — He promised it and gave it.
- As a token of his promise, Jesus gave his life on the cross. The death of Christ reconciled men with God in an irreversible manner, because there is no more imputation of sin. “…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19). —This is the grace of God the Father. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11).
- Christ promised the Holy Spirit. “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, who those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38,39). We read in many translations, “FOR THE SPIRIT HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN” but the Greek rends, DID NOT EXIST, therefore, the Holy Spirit of the Father was not in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit of the Father is an intercessor (Rom. 8:26). He is a teacher (John 14:26). He is a guide (Rom. 8:14; John 16:13). He is love (Rom. 5:5).
- The Holy Spirit of the Old Testament was an enemy and fought against Israel (Is. 63:10). The Spirit of Jehovah was a warrior (Is. 59:19). He was a murderer (Judges 14:19; 15:14-16). The Spirit of Jehovah is the spirit of wrath (1 Sam. 11:6). This spirit of Jehovah has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus.
Closing, Paul reveals that all the promises of God the Father are yes. “For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—WAS NOT YES AND NO, BUT IS YES IN HIM. FOR AS MANY AS MAY BE THE PROMISES OF GOD, IN HIM IS OUR AMEN TO THE GLORY OF GOD” (2 Cor. 1:19-20).
The promises of Christ are superior to those of Jehovah. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted onbetter promises” (Heb. 8:6).
Men, either hold on to the promises of Jehovah and become subject to Israel (Is. 60:9-12; 61:1-6), or accept the promises of Jesus and go to live in the house of the Father (John 14:1-4).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira