God promised blessings to Abraham and his “seed” (Christ and those who are partakers with Christ, the born-again believer).
The Jews consider themselves to be the “seed” of Abraham, when in reality, they are only his fleshly “seeds”. Furthermore, according to Galatians 3:16, the promises were made to the seed and not to the seeds. 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.
The Law was given to the seeds of Abraham. The blessings and curses are found in Deuteronomy 27 and 28. The blessings, which are enumerated in Deuteronomy 28:3-13, are sandwiched between two discourses on curses. Actually, there are more curses listed in these two chapters than there are blessings.
In these chapters Moses is speaking to the children of Israel and he is preparing them to go into the Promised Land. By the time we get to the end of chapter 28, the people are beginning to cross over into the land of Canaan, but Moses himself is not going to go. He’s going to die on Mt. Pisgah.
He tells the people, “When you come to the land of Canaan, you’re going to come to two mountains. One is Mt. Ebal and the other Mt. Gerizim. And when you come to the valley between them, I want you to do some- thing. I want all the Levites, the priests to stand in the valley and I want the people divided, some on one mountain and the rest on the other. I want the Levites to read all the blessings and all the cursings of the Law. I want one group on one side to say Amen, to all the curses, and I want the group on the other side to say Amen, to all the blessings.” (Paraphrase of Deuteronomy 27:9-14)
When we get to chapter 28, we find that it is an extension of the previous chapter because the two are linked by the conjunction, “and.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-6)
I love verse six because it tells us that we are blessed even if we don’t know if we are coming and going.
Verse eight tells us that, “The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, . . .” Notice that storehouses is plural. Verse eleven says that, “. . . the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, . . .” These are for your storehouses!
Let’s take a look at all the blessings in verses 7-13.7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8 The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy store- houses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 9 The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. 10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
Despite these blessings, we go right back into the curses in verse 14. Furthermore, the curses are progressive. The list begins with less serious sounding curses, but the more the people turn their back against the Lord, the worse the curses become. Finally, at the end of the chapter, the curses are so bad that Moses said, “And then if you won’t turn to the Lord, at that time your nation will be dispersed. Your people will be scattered across the face of the earth. Your children will be sold into slavery. Your seed will be scattered among all the nations of the earth.” That’s exactly what happened to the nation of Israel. The people kept turning their backs on the Lord until the final warning came. The final warning was Jesus, God manifested in the flesh. Yet as a nation, they turned against Him and Jesus said, “That’s it. Now the curse has been written above the door. Israel will be dispersed and scattered among all nations until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
All these centuries Israel has been scattered according to Deuteronomy 28. But the time of the Gentiles is about to be fulfilled and that nation will again be restored. We are seeing the seeds of this right now. Because of this, we know the time of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent.
Joshua, the eighth chapter, tells what happened to the Israelites when they got to Canaan. The children of Israel have crossed over into Canaan and they have fought their first battle at Jericho. When they attacked the city of Jericho the Lord told them, “I have put a curse over that city. Those people are cursed. And since they are cursed, all their possessions belong to me. The first city you attack, don’t take anything.” The reason for this is, first fruits belong to the Lord, therefore, Jericho belonged to God. He said, “If you go in there and take anything from them, the curse that’s on them will come on you.” The curse on Jericho was that they all had to die. (Except for Rahab and her family.) God said, “If anyone takes anything out of that city, you take the curse with you.”
You know the story about Achan and his family. Achan stole some gold, silver and a garment. Then he took it back to his tent and buried it in the ground. And so, the next time Israel went out to fight, they went against a little city, which in the natural looked as though anybody could take it. As the armies went out to fight, the men were probably rejoicing and singing praises to the Lord, but there was sin in the camp and when they attacked Ai, the little city destroyed their army. When the few survivors returned, Joshua went on his face before God and said, “God, what’s wrong?” And God told him, “There’s sin in the camp. Someone brought that curse from the city of Jericho.” You know the story, how God led them to Achan and his family. Because the curse of Jericho was on them, the family had to die. Once they did, the curse was removed from the people. They went back to Ai a second time and this time they won hands down. We learn of this in Joshua 8:26-29. 26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took fora prey unto them- selves, according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua. 28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day. 29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.
Now the people are able to do what Moses had told them to do – go up on the two mountains. This is told to us in Joshua 8:30-35. 30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal, 31 As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. 33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Ge-ri’-zim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
I want you to stop and think about this. We often try to envision the Levites in the valley with the ark. Then we envision a few hundred people on one mountain and a few hundred on the other mountain. This is not a true picture of the situation. By the time the children of Israel got into the land of Canaan, they were almost four million strong! I want you to imagine almost two million people on one mountain, almost two million people on another mountain, and the priests (the Levites) reading everyone of the curses. Cursed is the man that maketh any graven or molten image. And two million people on Mt. Ebal yell out, “Amen!”. They go through the curses one by one, “Amen, Amen!” and that valley thunders under the voices of the people agreeing with the curses. “Amen! Amen!” But immediately when that’s through, they turned to Mount Gerizim and began to read the blessings of the law, Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. . . Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. And after every blessing two million people began to yell, “Amen! Amen! Amen!”
The fact that they did this after the wicked king of Ai was hanged on a tree is important. Why? Because 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: That the blessings of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; (Gal. 3:13) That wicked king of Ai is a type of the Lord Jesus. When Jesus hung on the cross, He became the curse. He now became the wicked king hanging on the tree. But the moment they cut Him down and Jesus arose from the dead, we were redeemed from the curse of the Law once and for all! Aren’t you glad He didn’t redeem us from the blessings? He redeemed us from only the cursing mountain (Ebal) so that we still have the blessings! You say, “But that’s the blessings of the Law”, but the New Testament calls it the blessing of Abraham. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law that the blessings of Abraham might come on the Gentiles. The blessings of the Law are nothing more than an extension of the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant. The same things promised in Deuteronomy 28, are promised to us. Those blessings can come upon us and overtake us when we follow after the Lord. Furthermore, we don’t receive them by keeping the deeds of the Law. We receive them by faith through Jesus Christ.
One part of the blessing is the fact that we can walk in prosperity. Deuteronomy 8:17-18, tells us, And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Who are their fathers? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Prosperity is a fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, and it’s a fulfillment of the blessings that are listed in Deuteronomy 28.
Genesis 13:1,2 tells us that Abraham walked in prosperity. And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. Notice it doesn’t merely say he was rich. If it just said he was rich, I’d trust God that he was rich, but when God uses a superlative such as very to enhance a word and says he was very rich, he truly must have been very rich. Did you ever notice that when God created man, He said it was very good? He created all the earth and said it was Good, but when it came to man He said, This one’s very good. Genesis 13:6 tells us that Abraham and Lot were so rich that, And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their sub- stance was great, so that they could not dwell together. God blessed Abraham materially. Also, God accounted him righteous in Genesis 15:6. Health is another blessing of Abraham.
Genesis 25 tells of the end of Abraham’s life. At this point Sarah has died and Abraham is one hundred and thirty years old. Genesis 25:1&2 tell us that he has taken another wife, Keturah, and had children by her. He got to see his sons, his grandsons, and his great grandsons before he died forty-five years later at one hundred and seventy five.
Genesis 25:8 tells us, Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people. The point is the Lord has redeemed us from sickness, but not from old age. We are all going to get old. Should Jesus not come, there’s going to come a day when we die, but why die with sickness, disease or poverty? Why not die like Abraham? Just give up the ghost. The words give up the ghost in the Hebrew simply means, he breathed out and he was gone. After all, he breathed in when he was born, and when he died, he breathed out. He took breath in one day and he let it out a hundred and seventy-five years later and went on to be with the Lord. What a better way to die than to just breathe out and go on to be with the Lord.
When Jesus went to the cross and hung on the tree, He took the curse upon Himself. Likewise, the wicked king of Ai was seen as taking the curse upon himself so that the moment they cut him down from the tree they could go build a peace offering unto the Lord on the cursing Mountain. Then, only the blessings remained. These blessings are available to us today because Jesus became the curse for us.
According to II Corinthians 8:9, Jesus became poverty on the cross. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, thatye through his poverty might be rich.
Some people interpret this scripture to mean spiritual poverty; however, we know that it refers to finances because the context of the entire chapter deals with money and giving to the Lord. Health is another blessing we have. Matthew 8:17 in quoting Isaiah 53:4 says, . . . Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Jesus took the curse that we might have His divine health. That’s why III John 2 says, Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper (Because He took the curse of poverty) and be in health, (because He took the curse of sickness) even as thy soul prospereth.
We are also freed from spiritual death and given everlasting life according to II Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Jesus took our curse; we received His blessings. That is a covenant relationship, a total exchange of lives, one with the other, the absorbing of all debts and assets and liabilities of each other.
Remember, the Abrahamic covenant wasn’t drawn up with the physical race, it was drawn up with the spiritual race. Genesis chapter twelve tells of a day when Abram was in Ur of the Chaldees worshipping the moon god. He was in poverty. You know what the wages of the devil are, don’t you? He doesn’t pay very well, does he? He lures you and tantalizes you but the final result is, he steals, kills, and destroys. He had Abram right where he wanted him, worshipping the moon god. Abraham was a heathen of heathens. He was involved in witchcraft and astrology. I know he wasn’t in very good health. His wife was barren; they couldn’t have children. And there they were, serving the devil. But one day the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him and gave him these promises. He said, “you follow after me and all these promises will be yours.” Abraham followed after Him and the Lord redeemed him. God drew up a covenant between Abraham and his seed. It says, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. . .” What are the promises? The blessings.
While it is true Abraham needed the blessings of righteousness, prosperity and health, these promises or blessing were made not only to him, but to his seed. God drew up a covenant between Abraham and his seed and the same promises were made to both. The seed was the Lord Jesus Christ. Did he need righteousness? No. Did he need prosperity? No. Did he need divine health? No. It seems rather unusual to give these blessings to Abraham who needed them and to Jesus who had absolutely no use for them. He had all those things already.
Why then was the covenant drawn up between Abraham and his seed? Galatians 3:29 answers this question, And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Do you know why Jesus Christ was there that day? He was a representative for you. He didn’t need it, but He came there as a representative for you! If you are in Christ, then the promises are for you. You can put your name in there. If you’re Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. All those blessings that have come on the Gentiles through faith in the Lord Jesus are yours.