7 ¶ And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
The Holy Spirit has left us two meanings to this covenant, both wrapped up in the Jews and in the Messiah, who is Christ. First, the covenant is to Abraham’s descendants through Isaac. This is a grant of land from which God’s reconciliation of mankind throughout the earth is to begin. As you probably have figured out what God has been doing is directed toward this reconciliation of the breach between man and God caused by Adam and Eve, instigated by Satan, driven by the fallen sons of God, and perpetuated by Noah’s descendants.
The second meaning is that this reconciliation will be completed in Christ. The covenant that God made with Himself is a covenant between the two parts of God the Bible knows as God the Father, the soul and seat of self-identity and will of God, and the Son of God, the visible image, the body of God who is offered for us as payment for our sin against God that separated us from Him. Two parts of God making a covenant for the purpose of reconciling man to God as the Law given to Moses later will show man that his own righteousness is sorely lacking. This promise of reconciliation with man and this covenant with the Jews were not erased by their failure as it preceded the Law and was dependent not on their success or goodness but on God’s goodness and mercy.
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
This absolute covenant represents God’s promise to man through Christ binding man and God together by a promise made by God and satisfied by God, not we ourselves. In Christ, God erased the difference between Jew and non-Jew, called Gentiles or Greeks in the Bible, and made one new person in the church, the body of Christ. Both in this one new man are reconciled to God by the Cross at Calvary.
Ephesians 2:11 ¶ Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
As the sign of the Jews, which the Hebrews became to be called, receiving this covenant they accepted circumcision. In like manner the receiving of God’s promise of reconciliation for the church is being born again by the Spirit and having God the Father, the Son of God, and the Holy Ghost indwelling man by the Spirit of God. It is the proof and the deposit on our eternal inheritance. If you are not born again you have no part in it no matter what your philosophy.
Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Notice then the similarity between the God putting Abraham to sleep and making the deal with Himself and the Cross and the Empty Tomb whereby salvation was delivered with man playing no part. The proof of the receipt was Abraham accepting circumcision in the flesh and the Christian receiving the Holy Spirit by being born again in which a spiritual circumcision is performed by God where the sins of the flesh do not affect the destiny of the soul.
Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Where the Jews were concerned their signs were physical. The church bears spiritual, invisible marks.
Baptism is a symbol, a type, representing, not circumcision but Christ’s burial and resurrection, a symbol acting out the gospel.
As there are two circumcisions; one physical for the Jew and one spiritual for the church, there are two baptisms; one of national confession of sin and repentance for the Jews and one for symbolizing Christ’s burial and resurrection for the Christian as stated in the passage above from Colossians 2.
Baptism as a public confession and repentance of sin for the Jews is shown here;
Matthew 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Notice here in Acts where the Jews engaged in public baptism for the sin of murdering their Messiah and then received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.37 ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Then, when Gentiles are embraced the action is reversed and the Holy Ghost is received before baptism.
Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
So, two circumcisions, one Jewish (Hebrew) and one Christian. Two baptisms, one Jewish and one Christian, both signifying different agreements.
The promise of the land is an everlasting covenant for an everlasting possession. The promise of eternal life is an everlasting inheritance, as well, for the Jewish and Gentile believer in Christ.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God has given Abraham title to a land he does not currently possess, but his descendants will.