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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Smith :: Portraits of Christ

Don Smith :: Gen-Rev; The Promise Doctrine

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The Promise Doctrine
Genesis – Revelation

The Promise Doctrine Is the Biblical Record of God’s Promise of Christ

  1. The Old Testament is the record of God in His good providence propagating, prospering and preserving the Seed of Christ until He entered time and space to fulfill what He ordained before the foundation of the world and promised through the prophets of old.
  2. The Old Testament is an intentionally selective history, “God-breathed by the Holy Spirit” through the ancient prophets to tell the glories of Christ to come.
  3. The Old Testament is like a photo album of Christ’s ancestors from the beginning of time to the fullness of time, so that we might believe He is the Promised Deliverer—the Christ.
  4. Genesis and Revelation are the bookends of the Bible, one anticipating Christ’s incarnation and the other the culmination of Christ’s coronation.

“Portraits of Christ”
Christ’s Photo Album

What Is the “Promise Doctrine”?

  • It is God’s promise from all eternity to propagate, provide and preserve a seed through Whom the Christ would come to redeem a people for God’s glory and pleasure.

What Examples Are there of God’s Promise of Christ in the Old Testament?

  • God promised Christ to Adam:
  • “And I will put enmity between you (serpent) and the woman (Israel/Church), And between your seed (serpent’s seed) and her Seed (Israel/Church); He (Christ) shall bruise your head (serpent’s), and you (serpent) shall bruise His (Christ’s) heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
  • Enoch prophesied of Christ’s coming:
  • “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:21-24)
  • “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’” (Jude 14-15)
  • Abraham saw Christ’s day and rejoiced:
  • “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
  • “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
  • “No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.” (Genesis 17:5-7)
  • God promised Jacob a lineage of kings:
  • “Also God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.’” (Genesis 35:10-12)
  • God promised Judah the lineage of the Christ:
  • “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” (Genesis 49:10)
  • God promised David a Son with an eternal throne:
  • “Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. ‘When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.’” (2 Samuel 7:12-14)
  • David prophesied of Christ’s resurrection and ascension:
  • “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:30-31)
  • “For David says concerning Him (Christ): ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover, my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” (Acts 2:25-35)
  • God promised the Good Shepherd in the Psalms and Prophets:
  • “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!” (Psalms 80:1)
  • “Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” (Isaiah 40:10-11)
  • “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment. And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.’” (Ezekiel 34:11-17)
  • “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.” (Zechariah 13:7)
  • Jesus claimed, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11-12)
  • Peter said of Jesus, “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” (1 Peter 5:4)
  • God recorded David’s genealogy leading to Christ:
  • In Ruth, “Now this is the genealogy of “…Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.” (Ruth 4:18-22)
  • In Matthew, “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)
  • “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
  • In Luke, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” (Luke 1:31-33)
  • “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets.” (Luke 1:68-70)
  • “The son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon…the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham…the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” (Luke 3:31-38)
  • In Romans, “He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:2-4)
  • Jesus claimed, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16)
  • The prophets prophesied of Christ’s coming:
  • “God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21)
  • “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.” (John 12:41)
  • “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
  • “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the Gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
  • “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
  • God promised Micah the Great Shepherd would be born in Bethlehem:
  • “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; And they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; And this One shall be peace.” (Micah 5:2-5)
  • “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (John 7:41-43)
  • “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
  • God promised Malachi a messenger to prepare the way for the Lord:
  • “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD, an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:1-3)
  • “This is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:27-28)
  • God the Father announced Jesus as His beloved Son, quoting Psalm Two:
  • “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” (Psalms 2:7)
  • At Jesus’ baptism: “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (Matthew 3:17)
  • “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’ When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone.” (Luke 9:35-36)
  • Hebrews claim Jesus is the Son of God, “For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’? And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son.’”? (Hebrews 1:5)
  • Hebrews claims Jesus was glorified by the Father, “Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” (Hebrews 5:5)
  • Christ spoke through the Old Testament prophets about Himself:
  • “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the Gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
  • “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:18-21)
  • Jesus taught His disciples about Himself from the Old Testament:
  • He taught the Christ must suffer: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26)
  • He taught the Christ must rise again the third day: “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” (Luke 9:22)
  • He taught the Christ would be preached to all nations: “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)
  • The Apostle Peter preached Christ from the prophets: “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” (Acts 3:18)
  • The Apostle Paul preached Christ from the Scriptures: “He reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead.” (Acts 17:2-3)
  • After Christ’s resurrection He taught about Himself, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)
  • Jesus opened their eyes to understand the Scriptures, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:44-45)
  • Jesus taught so that His name could be preached to all nations, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)
  • Jesus taught His disciples about Pentecost:
  • From the Prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” (Joel 2:28)
  • The Apostle Peter understood Pentecost was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh.’” (Acts 2:16-17)
  • Jesus taught His disciples about David’s Psalms that foretell of Christ’s betrayal:
  • “An evil disease,” they say, “clings to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more. Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalms 41:8-9)
  • The Apostles in the upper room sought a replacement of Judas based on the teachings of Jesus from the Psalms, “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’” (Acts 1:20)

Biblical Principles of Interpretation:

  • Let the Scriptures interpret Scripture
  • Consider the weight of all the Scripture before interpreting a particular text
  • Doctrinal Scriptures have more weight than narratives in interpreting an obscure, difficult text
  • Keep in mind the Big Picture of Scripture when looking at individual texts
  • Realize that Christ is the focal point of all history.

What can be learned by studying and preaching the promise doctrine?

  1. God’s Word is a faithful and reliable testimony, so we may believe in Jesus Christ.
  2. Preaching Christ in the Old Testament helps create a greater understanding of God’s eternal power and purposes throughout history on planet earth.
  3. Preaching Christ in the Old Testament enables New Testament readers to better understand and appreciate Who Christ is, what He did, and what He will do.
  4. By God’s sovereign power He will propagate, prosper and preserve His Seed, the Church.
  5. God’s sovereign pleasure can never be thwarted…it will prevail over the evil intent of Satan, fallen angels and sinful humanity. He will fulfill every prophetic promise and every eternal purpose.

What questions need to be asked when studying the Old Testament?

  • What promise does God make in this photo concerning His promised Seed?
  • Who is in this photo from the Seed of Christ?
  • What in this photo is threatening the Seed?
  • How is God providing, propagating and preserving the Seed in this photo?
  • In what way does this photo anticipate Christ’s life and ministry?
  • How does this photo help us better appreciate and understand Christ’s relationship to us?

What Is the Gospel?

  1. We are saved BY God’s sovereign grace.
    • Salvation is by the Spirit and the Word, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for Christ’s glory alone.
    • “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  2. We are saved FROM God’s righteous wrath.
    • “We all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:3)
    • “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
    • “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
  3. We are saved FOR God’s holy purposes.
    • “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
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CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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