Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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The Bible gives a consistent message throughout  it’s pages of the purpose of God.  His plan is to fill the earth with men and women who show His character and give Him glory.  He has given great promises which show the way this will be accomplished when His kingdom will be established in the earth.

In order for God’s purpose to be achieved, He provided His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection men and women have a way of being part of God’s great kingdom if they respond and believe in Him.

In this leaflet we will look at two major promises given before Christ was born which all point forward to Him and His work.


The Promise in Eden

Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden.  Both they and the serpent were punished.  Men and women would die, and would be unable to save themselves from this.  But a ray of hope for man comes into this dark picture when God says to the serpent:


A “seed “  means a descendant or child, but it can also refer to the people associated with the particular “seed”, e.g. we become the seed of Abraham if we are  “in” Jesus by baptism (Galatians 3:27,29).


The Seed of the Serpent

The serpent, because of his lie, came to represent a sinful way of thinking.  The seed of the serpent refers to those with the family likeness of the serpent, those who distort God’s Word, lying and leading others into sin.  They allow these characteristics to rule their life.  In the time of Christ the corrupt religious rulers were referred to as a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 3:7).


The Seed of the Woman

The seed of the woman refers to one who would bruise or crush the serpent’s head, i.e. sin, dealing it with a death-blow.  This was a prophecy of Jesus Christ and his work:


Christ was ‘wounded in the heel’ through his death for three days.  Yet His resurrection proved that this was only a temporary wound, compared to the death-blow that He gave sin.


What does this mean to us?

On the cross Jesus destroyed the power of sin in Himself.  He has invited us to share in His victory.  If we are “baptized into Christ” we can share in the promises about Jesus, like that in Genesis 3:15.  No longer are they just interesting parts of the Bible, they are prophecies and promises which are made directly to us!

Although sin and death are still experienced by true believers, by being baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27-29), they can have forgiveness of their sins now and eventually be saved from death.  God has promised a time when the righteous will be raised from the dead and given eternal life:


Jesus was the true ‘seed of the woman’, but we can be part of that seed of the woman too by being baptized into Christ.  Our lives will then reflect the words of Genesis 3:15 – there will be a constant sense of conflict (“enmity”) within us, between right and wrong.  The great apostle Paul described a conflict between sinful thoughts and the love of God’s ways that raged within him (Romans 7:14-25).  But he concludes this by saying:


So right from the beginning God promised Christ as a Saviour.  This incredible promise given to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden has been fulfilled in Christ, and we too can benefit from it.





The Gospel preached to Abraham

The Gospel taught by Jesus and the apostles was also given in a series of promises to Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel.  God, through the promises, “Preached the gospel to Abraham”  (Galatians 3:8).

If we can understand what was taught to Abraham, we will then have a very basic picture of the Christian Gospel.  There are other indications that the Gospel is not something which began at the time of Jesus.


Two Themes

The promises to Abraham have two basic themes:


The New Testament comments on these promises.  By letting the Bible explain itself, we can combine the teachings of both Testaments to give us a compete picture of the promises made to Abraham.


Abraham – a Man of Faith

Abraham originally lived in Ur, a prosperous city in what is now Iraq.  An extraordinary call of God came to him – to leave that sophisticated life and embark on a journey to a promised land. This required faith because exactly where he was to journey was not made completely clear. It turned out to be a 1,500 mile journey.  The land was Canaan – modern Israel.

During his life, God appeared to Abraham and repeated and expanded His promises to him.  Those promises are the basis of Christ’s Gospel. so that same call comes to true Christians as it did to Abraham, to leave the transient things of this life, and go forward in a life of faith, taking God’s promises at face value and living by His Word.


By showing a similar faith and acting upon it, we can have the same honour as Abraham – to be called the friends of God (Isaiah 41:8), to find the knowledge of God (Genesis 18:17) and to have the sure hope of eternal life in the Kingdom.  To truly believe in the Christian message we, too, must firmly know the promises to Abraham.  Without them our faith is not faith.  With eager eyes we should therefore read and re-read the dialogues between God and Abraham.


The Land




We see here a progressive revelation to Abraham:




Abraham did not receive the fulfilment of the promises in his lifetime:


Notice the four stages:




God keeps his promises.  There will come a day when Abraham and all who have those promises made to them will be rewarded.


All true believers will therefore be rewarded at the same point in time, i.e. at the judgment seat at the last day (2 Timothy 4:1,8;  Matthew 25:31-34).  In order to be judged, Abraham and others who knew those promises must be resurrected just before the judgment.


The Seed

As with the promise of a seed in Genesis 3:15, this seed of Abraham applies primarily to Jesus and, secondarily, to those who are “in Christ” and therefore are also counted as the seed of Abraham:


all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever” (Genesis 13:15,16).



Again, Abraham’s understanding of the “seed” was increased as God gave him further promises.




Notice that the seed was to bring “blessings” to be available to people from all over the earth.  In the Bible the idea of blessing is often connected with forgiveness of sins.  After all, this is the greatest blessing a lover of God could ever want. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven” (Psalm 32:1).

The only descendant of Abraham who has brought forgiveness of sins to the world is Jesus, and the New Testament commentary on the promises to Abraham provides solid support.


Notice here how Peter quotes and interprets Genesis 22:18:

The seed = Jesus

The blessing = forgiveness of sins.


Joining the Seed

The basic elements of the Gospel were understood by Abraham.  But these vital promises were to Abraham and his seed, Jesus.  Can anyone else be involved?  Even physical descent from Abraham would not automatically make someone part of that one specific seed (John 8:39).   To share these promises we have to become intimately part of Jesus.  This is by baptism into Jesus (Romans 6:3-5); frequently we read of baptism into His name (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5).


The promise of eternal life on earth, through receiving the “blessing” of forgiveness through Jesus, is by being baptized into Christ, the seed, so that we can share the promises made to him.  Romans 8:17 calls us “joint heirs with Christ”.

The blessing was to come on people from all parts of the earth, through Christ’s work.  The seed was to become a world-wide group of people, like the sand of the shores and the stars of the sky.


In Summary

We can summarise the two strands of the promises given to Abraham:


Abraham and his seed, Jesus, and those in Him will inherit the land of Canaan and by extension the whole earth, and live there for ever.  In this life they would not receive it, but would do so when Jesus returns.


This was primarily Jesus.  Through Him the sins (“enemies”)  of mankind would be overcome, so that the blessings of forgiveness would be made available world-wide.

By baptism into the name of Jesus we become part of the seed and share in the promises to Abraham.


The Hope of Israel

Paul could define his hope as “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20).  The true Christian hope is the original Jewish hope, the promises made to Abraham the father of the Jewish people (see also John 4:22).

The Early Christians preached:


These were the very two things explained to Abraham under slightly different headings:


The good news about this Kingdom which was preached to Abraham played a big part in the early preaching of the Gospel (Acts 19:8; 20:25; 28:23,31).

A Life of Faith

Just technically being Abraham’s seed through baptism does not mean that we are acceptable with God.  The Jews are Abraham’s seed naturally speaking, but this does not mean that they can be saved without being baptized and conforming their lives to Christ and the example of Abraham (Romans 9:7,8; 4:13,14).

The “seed” must have the characteristics of its ancestor.  If we are to be the true seed of Abraham we must therefore not only be baptized but also have a very real faith in God’s promises, just as he had.


Real faith must then show itself in action, otherwise, in God’s eyes, it isn’t faith (James 2:17).

God’s Purpose Revealed in Promises

“God had sworn with an oath…He would raise upthe Christ, to sit on David’s throne”ACTS 2:30
God’s Purpose Revealed in Promises  (Part 2)

The Bible gives a consistent message throughout its pages of the purpose of God.  His plan is to fill the earth with men and women who show His character and give Him glory.  He has given great promises which show the way this will be accomplished when His kingdom will be established in the earth.

In order for God’s purpose to be achieved, He provided His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection men and women have a way of being part of God’s great kingdom if they respond and believe in Him.

In this leaflet we will look at a promise given to Israel’s great King David, 1000 years before Christ was born, which points forward to Christ as the King of God’s great promised kingdom.

We will also look at the way this promise and other great promises of the Bible, especially that given to Abraham the father of the Jewish people, can have a special relevance in our own lives.


David’s idea, but God’s reply

David, like Abraham and many other recipients of God’s promises, did not have an easy life.  After many trials of faith he eventually became king of Israel.  To show his appreciation of God’s love toward him during his life, he decided to build God a temple.  The reply from God was that David’s son, Solomon, would build the temple and that God wanted to build David a house (2 Samuel 7:4-13).  Then followed a detailed promise which repeats much of what was told Abraham, and which also filled in some other details.


The promise in Eden (Genesis 3:15) and the promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:22) talk of a promised “seed” coming.  This is discussed in Bible Basics Leaflet 7.  Having seen that the “seed” in those promises pointed forward to Jesus, it would be logical to assume that the seed promised to David is none other but the Lord Jesus Christ also.  The Bible presents a consistent message and the promises of Christ are a key theme of the Old Testament.  His description as the son of God (2 Samuel 7:14) confirms this, as do many other references in other parts of the Bible:-



With the seed firmly identified as Jesus, a number of details now become significant:-

1.  The seed


Jesus, the seed, was to be a literal, bodily descendant of David, and yet have God as his Father.  This could only be achieved by the virgin birth as described in the New Testament.  Jesus’ mother was Mary, a descendant of David (Luke 1:32), but he had no human father.  God acted miraculously upon Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit in order to make her conceive Jesus, and so the Angel commented, “therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the son of God” (Luke 1:35).

2.  The house


This shows that Jesus will build a temple for God – both literally and spiritually.  Ezekiel 40-48 describes how that in the Millennium (the first 1,000 years of God’s Kingdom after Jesus returns to the earth) a literal temple will be built in Jerusalem.  God’s “house” is where He is willing to live, and Isaiah 66:1,2 tells us that He will come to live in the hearts of men who are humble to His word.  Jesus is therefore building a spiritual temple for God to dwell in, made up of the true believers.  Descriptions of Jesus as the foundation stone of God’s spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:4-8) and of Christians as the temple stones (1 Peter 2:5) now slot into place.

3.  The throne


Christ’s kingdom will therefore be a re-establishment of David’s kingdom of Israel.  To fulfil this promise, Christ must reign on David’s “throne” which was literally in Jerusalem.  The kingdom must be established here on earth in order to fulfil these promises.

4.  The kingdom


David would witness the establishment of Christ’s eternal kingdom.  He must therefore be resurrected at Christ’s return so that he could see with his own eyes the kingdom being set up world-wide, with Jesus reigning from Jerusalem.

Salvation promised

These things which were promised to David are absolutely vital to understand.  David joyfully spoke of these things as “an everlasting covenant…this is all my salvation and all my desire” (2 Samuel 23:5).  These things relate to our salvation too; rejoicing in them should likewise be all our desire.

These doctrines are important and it is a tragedy that Christendom teaches doctrines which contradict these marvellous truths:


The Implications of the Promises

Through baptism, the promises to David and also the other great promises of the Bible can apply to us – we too can have the hope of salvation in God’s Kingdom.  We can become spiritual Israel, and therefore the people of God, separated from this world.  Abraham, the natural father of the Jewish race, can become our spiritual father.


Having looked at this promise, and also the promise to Abraham, implications emerge in relation to the way we live if we accept them through baptism.  For example, we become a separate people.  We become spiritual Jews.  What God spoke to men like Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, He therefore spoke to us (Hosea 12:5; Geneses 28:15; compare Hebrews 12:5,6).  We therefore will seek all our associations only among the people of God, with whom we will share the kingdom of God.

Abraham’s example of consciously shunning the things of this world will be matched in his ‘children’.  If we truly believe the promises, we too will separate ourselves “from the corruption that is in the world” (2 Peter 1:4).  We would be happy to have a light hold on possession of property, knowing that this earth is ours.  For now, we are just passing through it, surveying it, like Abraham did.


All those in true covenant relationship with God will realize the fullness of commitment which He has entered, and will make a whole-hearted response and sacrifice (Malachi 2:4,5).  Psalm 103:18 parallels “such as keep his covenant” with “those that remember his commandments to do them”.  The extent of the implication of being in covenant with God ought to preclude the possibility of worshipping any other god.  The covenant we can enter into demands loyalty.

If we take part in the promises of God, it should enable us to live godly lives now in this evil world.  We can be sure of God’s mercy and truth towards us, so that whatever happens to us in this life we can have confidence that God will bring us to His kingdom.


Galatians 3:27-29 explains that through baptism into the covenant made with Abraham, there is a special unity between all in that covenant.  Slave and free, male and female, Jew and Gentile are all thereby united, as they were in the early church.  Through the power of the most basic facts of the Gospel preached to Abraham, this incredible unity is possible amongst believers.  Believers are all united in Christ as ‘Abraham’s seed’, therefore they must show kindness, patience, etc.

Present and Future Blessings
By being baptised we can have the blessings of forgiveness now (Acts 3:27-29), and also look forward to the blessings of the future Kingdom of God.

In Galatians 3:15-20 Paul is pointing out that the promises to Abraham offer eternal inheritance in the Kingdom on the basis of faith and grace, and neither the Law of Moses nor any other form of legalism can change that basis.  An appreciation of the promises will enable us to see the wonder of salvation by grace, to the point that we will reject all forms of legalism and seeking to justify ourselves by works achieved.

The Promise to Abraham can be ours

Abraham was promised that his seed would have the Almighty God as their personal God, and would eternally inherit the land.  If we acknowledge Abraham’s God as our God and can see in faith that God has promised the true believer the world, we will live now in the confidence that one day these promises will be completely fulfilled and by God’s grace and mercy we can share in them.  The time is coming when God’s purpose from the beginning will be complete, and the “earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||