This school of thought uses Biblical Theology and picks up the
obvious fact that the whole Bible is connected together with The
Promise. The Promise is spoken of frequently throughout the
Scriptures, and most particularly in the Apostolic Writings (Acts 7:17,
13:23,32, 26:6; Romans 4:13-21, 9:4,8,9, 15:8; 2 Corinthians 1:20, 7:1;
Galatians 3:14-29, 4:23,28; Ephesians 2:12, 3:6; Hebrews 6:13-17, 7:6,
8:6, 9:15, 11:9-39; and 1 John 2:25). Paul (and most of the other
writers) uses the Greek word transliterated epangelia (promise) to sum
up the goal of the covenants. The Promise is the Messiah, and we feel
that all Theology should be centered on Him. It is the promise of the
Messiah that binds the whole of Scripture and the divine plan of the
Promise Theology includes the concept of progressive revelation and
possesses true continuity which allows the message from God to mature as
revelation progresses. An illustration can be seen using a seed and a
tree. The seed carries with it all the information to reproduce the
tree, but there are obvious differences. There is a connection between
the seed and the tree that may not be immediately apparent to the casual
observer but speaks of a clear progression.
Below is an excerpt from our book
Whole Bible Christianity
15And I will put enmity Between you and the
woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the
head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15,
Adam and Eve got expelled from God’s presence, but He said it
wouldn’t last forever. God made a promise not to leave us hanging, cut
off from Him. This promise was that the seed of the woman was going to
come and destroy the Satan’s authority and kingdom. God was saying that
His kingdom will ultimately triumph through the birth of a man who would
also be God. Everything in the Word relates to this promise in some way.
Every event, every covenant, every law, every blessing, every genealogy,
every king and every war has, as its backdrop, the promise.
Another word for promise is “covenant.” A covenant between people is
a legal agreement where each one “promises” to behave in a certain way
or face a penalty. But when God is part of a covenant there is no one to
force His obedience. So His part of a covenant is the same as a promise.
God always holds up His end, no matter what we do. If I don’t follow
through on my promise, God still follows through on His. His promises
(or covenants) never fail (1 Kings 8:56).
God gives a promise to Noah (and to us, Genesis 6:18, 9:9, 9:25-27)
but calls it a covenant. It’s one-sided, so we can easily see it’s both
a covenant and a promise. The covenant of Genesis 3:15 is still in
effect. Noah’s covenant fits right in with it, and is part of what is
called progressive revelation. God is going to reveal over time exactly
how He will deliver the Promise.
The promise shows up again with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). It is just
given more detail, and fulfillment is connected with a specific person
now. God says He will bless Abraham; that Abraham would also be a
blessing, and “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
The word “bless” or “blessing” is intimately connected with the presence
(and promise) of God. To be blessed is to have God, the source of all
blessings. It is impossible to be blessed without God. One cannot bless
something God curses, and cannot curse something God blesses.
So when God tells Abraham that through him all the nations of the
earth would be blessed, it is an extension of the Promise. It means that
God will literally be given to the nations. God tells Abraham that the
seed of the woman, spoken of before, will come from his loins.
After Abraham, God chose Isaac, then Jacob (Genesis 13, 15, 17, 22,
24, 26, and 28) to inherit the promise of the Messiah’s birth. Dr.
Walter Kaiser calls it “the accumulating divine blessings.”
Isaac was chosen to show God’s promise isn’t going to be sidetracked,
and that it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God.
Jacob was chosen to show that it is God’s choosing that counts, not who
is born first (among other reasons). When Israel was delivered from
Egypt, it was because of this promise of God.
24So God heard their groaning; and God
remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Exodus
25“When you enter the land which the Lord
will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.
(Exodus 12:25, NASB95, italics added. See also Exodus 6:8).
The giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai was more of the promise (Exodus
19:5). It was "God with us." He established His Word in writing and set
up His tent in the desert to advance His eternal kingdom. Way after
Sinai, David was given even more detail about the promise (2 Samuel
7:11-16). He was told by God that his son, who we now know is Jesus (the
seed of the woman again) would be God’s agent for taking God’s Kingdom
David summarizes the promise in a psalm of thanksgiving, after he
brought the Ark back to Jerusalem and set it up in a tent.
14He is the Lord our God; His judgments are
in all the earth. 15Remember His covenant forever, The word which He
commanded to a thousand generations, 16The covenant which He made with
Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. 17He also confirmed it to Jacob for a
statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, 18Saying, “To you I will
give the land of Canaan, As the portion of your inheritance.” (1
Chronicles 16:14-18, NASB95)
The “covenant forever” or “the word which He commanded to a thousand
generations” is not limited to the Land. The land of Israel was (is)
just the focal point for God’s kingdom (and promise) on earth (remember,
the kingdom has no end, both in time and space, Psalm 45:6; Daniel 6:26;
Luke 1:33). David combines all of the parts of the promise together
(Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel). The
written Law was simply “added” according to Paul (Galatians 3:19) which
makes the Law part of the promise. The Law is not contrary to the
promises of God, but complementary. Notice in Galatians 3 verse 22 that
Law is equated to Scripture (and Scripture cannot be broken says Jesus
in John 10:35).
15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human
relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been
ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the
promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And
to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,”
that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four
hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant
previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the
inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God
has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. 19 Why the Law then? It
was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels
by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the
promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only;
whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of
God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to
impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22
But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by
faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
(Galatians 3:15-22, NASB95)
The promise of blessing is the focus of the written Word. It is the
glue that binds it. The apostles spoke about it a lot. They were able to
teach about Jesus from the Old Testament because the promise was there
from the beginning. Jesus is the promise and the goal.
38Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of
you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your
sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39“For the
promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as
many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:38-39,
NASB95 italics added.)
23“From the descendants of this man,
according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, 24after
John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the
people of Israel. (Acts 13:23-24, NASB95 italics added)
1Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called
as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which He promised
beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning His
Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4who
was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the
dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
(Romans 1:1-4, NASB95 italics added)
16For this reason it is by faith, in order
that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be
guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law,
but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of
us all, (Romans 4:16, NASB95 italics added)
29And if you belong to Christ, then you are
Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians
3:29, NASB95 italics added)
12remember that you were at that time
separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in
the world. (Ephesians 2:12, NASB95 italics added)
9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as
some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to
perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, NASB95
25This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
(1 John 2:25, NASB95 italics added)
The point is, God’s plan is continuous, not a series of stops and
starts. As writings were added to the Bible they all revolved around
God’s Law and unified message of promise. The wisdom literature
(Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs) extols the
virtues and benefits of living according to God’s promise (a.k.a.
the covenant). The prophets continued telling the people of God’s
promise and filled in many details of the coming King, His kingdom,
and ultimate victory. They called people to repent and turn back to
a relationship with Him through His promise (or Law, or covenant).
The New Testament records the incarnation of the promise (Jesus) and
realization of His benefits (and there’s a lot more to come). Jesus is
the fulfillment of all parts of the promise. God in the flesh, Immanuel,
the blessing for all, arrived in a human body, and began crushing the
authority and kingdom of the serpent. Only a little longer and the
crushing will be complete.
This is another doctrine that needs a whole book to properly explore,
and cannot be covered completely here. However, enough is given that you
should be able to get a handle on the general drift of the whole Bible
and the unifying Promise of Scripture.