Earthly and Heavenly Promises

by Roel Velema

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Hebr. 3:1 ESV).

The covenant God made with Abraham contains both earthly and heavenly promises. Most Christians don’t see this and limit this covenant to earthy promises. Most believers don’t even bother about this distinction because they find so much to do in this life that they don’t want to pay much attention to the future and the outworking of God’s most important covenant He made.

Christians presently are seed of Abraham through their positional standing in Christ (Who is Abraham’s Seed) and in line to inherit the heavenly promises and blessings within the heavenly sphere of the kingdom which Israel rejected (Gal. 3:29; Eph. 1:10-14).

Through Israel and the Church God points to two firstborns sons. The word “firstborn” refers to supremacy. God said to Pharaoh through Moses: “Israel is my son, even my firstborn”. This means that God has two firstborn Sons (Jesus, and Israel). And following the adoption of Christians, God will have a third firstborn son (the Church). Jesus is God’s only begotten, firstborn. God’s adoption in time past was limited to Israel alone (Rom. 9:4; cf. Amos 3:1, 2).

It’s important to see that God has never adopted, nor will He ever adopt, a Gentile nation. But God will adopt Christians in time future, resulting in the manifestation of the “church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23). Then God will have two created, firstborn sons — one with heavenly promises and blessings, and the other with earthly promises and blessings. In that day, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus, will exhibit His “firstborn” status over all things in heaven and in earth. God’s adopted son, the Church, will exercise her “firstborn” status over the nations from a heavenly sphere; and God’s adopted son, Israel, will manifest her “firstborn” status by exercising supremacy over the nations from an earthly sphere.

Every believer should be fully aware of his or her heavenly promises, i.e. “Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking” (Hebr. 2:5), but to “the many sons He brings to glory” (Hebr. 2:10).

There is a presently kingship of Christ by grace in our spirits (Rom. 5:21), where we walk in two-oneness with Him. But there is also a future millennial two-oneness kingship in which we may partake as overcomers (Rev. 2-3). The latter is dependent on the former, and the latter is the motivation for the former. We always live in the present in view of what comes. A race is ever run anticipating on the finish! A war is always fought in view of its victory, how to endure for it and how to attain to it.

… Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross …” (Hebr. 12:2).

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