The Third Temple  The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!
If you don’t believe Genesis 1-11, how can you possibly believe John 3:16?
“Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.” (2Tim 3:12)
It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith, “but avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile.” (Titus 3:9)

Please Note: Absolutely nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church or anti-Rabbinic. I am not anti-anything or anti-anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth (see “Philosophy”), but sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. I know it certainly upset mine! For example, see “Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?”

Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Bowman]

“It must be clearly and unequivocally stated that theology cannot save you. Only faith in Messiah Yeshua can save you. Theology can only give you sound doctrine.” [RLS]

Unless otherwise specified, throughout the Theology section of my website I use the term “Torah” in the wider sense of including the entire body of inspired Scripture: both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings. I personally do not consder any other so-called “sacred writings” either inspired by God or authoritative for the Believer’s walk of faith. Thus, I do not consider the Mishnah (the “Oral Torah”) as part of Torah. You should make up your own mind.

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]

The Abrahamic Covenant

Adapted in part from
accessed 30 August 2016. Used with permission.[1]

The foundational covenant for Israel’s relationship with God is the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:1-3). It is the foundation for the promises that would be revealed in the subsequent covenants. The chart below outlines the covenants. Notice that the New Covenant augments, not replaces, all the other covenants, and all of them will be fulfilled when Yeshua reigns as King in the Messianic Kingdom (Jer 23:5; Zech 14:9).[2]

God established the Abrahamic covenant in Gen 12.1-3 and confirmed it in Gen 13:14-17; Gen 15:1-21; Gen 17:1-27; Gen 22:17-18; Gen 26:1-5; Gen 28:10-17; Gen 32:12; Gen 48:3-4; Gen 50:24. It was reiterated many times throughout the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) (cf. Exod 2:23-25; Ex 3:6-8, Ex 3:17; Ex 6:4; Ex 12:25; Ex 13:5,11; Judges 2:1; 1Chron 16:13-18; 2Chron 20:7; Ps 105:6-11; Jer 24:6; Jer 31:35-37; Jer 32:40-41; Amos 9:15; Isa 60:21). This covenant is a sovereign promise God made with Abraham. Its validity and fulfillment depend wholly upon God’s sovereign faithfulness.

The elements of the Covenant are:

  1. God would make Abraham great
  2. He and his seed would be a blessing to all mankind
  3. God would bless those who blessed them and curse him that cursed him
  4. Abraham would have innumerable offspring (physical and “spiritual”)
  5. God would give Abraham and his offspring land-- “from the river [or wadi] of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

Within this covenant, God promises Abram three blessings:

Below are specific provisions of the Covenant:

Abrahamic Covenant Promises and Provisions, Based Upon the Character and Sovereignty of God Scripture
God will make Abraham a great nation Gen 12:2
God will bless Abraham Gen 12:2; Gen 22:17
God will make Abraham’s name great Gen 12:2
God will make Abraham a blessing to the whole world Gen 12:2-3; Gen 22:18
God will bless those who bless Abraham and his descendants Gen 12:3
God will curse the one who curses Abraham and his descendants Gen 12:3
Eternal land grant from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates Gen 12:6-7; Gen 13:14-15, Gen 15:7, Gen 15:18; Gen 17:7-8
God will give Abraham innumerable descendants Gen 15:5; Gen 13:16;
Gen 17:2; Gen 22:17
God will make Abraham a father of many nations Gen 17:4-6
God will establish this covenant forever Gen 17:7
Circumcision was the sign of the covenant Gen 17:10-14
Established through the line of Isaac/Jacob, not Ishmael Gen 17:19-21; cf. Rom 9:7
Abraham’s seed will overcome its enemies Gen 22:17

When God told Abram that he would give (נָתַן, nathan) him the land (Gen 12:7) Abram asked God how he could know this for certain. This Hebrew verb is the one used in Genesis 12, Genesis 17, etc. for God’s “making” the covenant with Abraham. The word means “give”, “grant”, “bestow.” In Genesis 15:18, we have a different Hebrew word for God’s making a covenant with Abraham and is used for the ratification of the covenant. This Hebrew word is to “cut” (כָּרַת, karath) a covenant. We have remnants of this idea even today. The military still uses the expression to “cut orders.”

In the ancient Near East during the time of Abraham covenants were confirmed by each party of an agreement passing between pieces of animals cut apart. In the Biblical account, Abram brought God animals and cut them in two. Highly significant in the ratification of the covenant, the deeding of the land, is the fact that God alone passed through the pieces. He did not permit Abram to participate in the ceremony. God put Abraham to sleep and performed alone the ceremony of passing between the pieces of the animals. Through this action God demonstrated He alone was the sovereign and responsible party to fulfill the covenant, specifically that Abraham and his offspring through Isaac and Jacob would have the designated land forever. Despite the failure of Abram’s descendants, God would not fail. He will keep His promise.

God told Abram that his descendants would be slaves in Egypt for 400 years but that they would return to the land that he had given to Abram (Gen 15:13-14)-- a land which extended “from the river (not wadi) of Egypt” (מִנְּהַר מִצְרַיִם, m'nahar mitsrayim) to the Euphrates River. This was the first time the boundaries were given for the title-deed (Gen 15:18, cf. Exod 23:31) “I will set your boundaries from the Sea of Suf [Red Sea] to the sea of the P'lishtimPhilistines [the Mediterranean] and from the [Sahara] desert to the [Euphrates] River, for I will hand the inhabitants of the land over to you, and you will drive them out from before you.”).

At present, right to the land is in conflict. Most Arabs refuse to recognize Israel’s right to the land or even to exist in the Middle East. God is not concerned with what man thinks about such matters. God promised that in a future day He will fulfill His covenant with Abraham and establish Israel’s borders from Egypt to the Euphrates River. The new boundaries will be much more extensive than Israel’s current borders and may include the lands from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, western Iraq, and northern Saudi Arabia. If the entire river is meant for the northeastern boundary, then Israel’s land will extend across most of the Mideast unto ancient Babylon. (See the map under “Land Covenant.”)

In the Genesis 17 passage, we read that God changed Avram’s name (אַבְרָם, “exalted father”) to Avraham (אַבְרָהָם ,“father of multitudes”) and Sarai’s name (שָׂרַי, “she who strives”) to Sarah (שָׂרָ֧ה, “noblewoman, princess”) and the sign of the covenant, circumcision,[3] was established. God gave this sign as a reminder of His promise. In Gen 17:7 God stated that he would “establish” this covenant and the Hebrew word is קוּם rather than נָתַן or כָּרַת. This word means “stand.” The modern sense of meaning is that this covenant will, idiomatically, “have legs.” God meant “it will happen” for he will make it happen. God stated explicitly that the land He promised Abraham and his descendants was an everlasting possession (Gen 17:8). God also stated the line of promise went through Isaac (Gen 17:21), not Ishmael. While some Arab peoples are descended from Abraham through Ishmael (Ishmael had twelve sons, Gen 17:20), they were not in the line of promise, i.e., the line of Isaac and Jacob.[4] Therefore, the Arab peoples (all sons of Ishmael) have no Scriptural claim to the land promised to Abraham and his seed.

The Abrahamic Covenant was, therefore, sovereignly established and eternal. God did all the promising. Throughout the passages above (i.e., Genesis chapters 12, 13, 15, 17, and 22), God repeatedly declared, “I will.” God promised that He would sovereignly accomplish the provisions of His covenant. Since God has stated it was an everlasting covenant, it is impossible, unless God’s sovereignty is abrogated, for it to be nullified or fail. Some maintain the Abrahamic Covenant was conditional. Such a conclusion can be reached only by denying that God is sovereign.

Rabbi Greg Hershberg • “he Deception of Deceptions • 11 March 2023


  1. From that website: “©2002 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.” Much in the original article was based on anti-Semitic Replacement Theology and other gross errors of Church interpretation, but much of it was solid and the outline was too good to not be of very good use. There is much in the original article that I personally disagree with, and I have commented on significant disagreements. [BACK]

 2. The “New Covenant” was made only “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jer 31:31-34). While this covenant will be completely fulfilled in the Messianic Kingdom and in the Olam Haba (the World to Come), it is pre-filled, or partially fulfilled, at present for any Jew who comes into a saving knowledge of and personal relationship with King Yeshua, and is made available to any non-Jew who is grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel through trusting Israel’s King Messiah. Through the work of Ruach HaKodeshthe Holy Spirit, HaShem puts His Torah within them and writes it upon their heart (ineermost being); He becomes their God, and they become His people. (Jer 31:33) [BACK]

 3. The establishment of circumcision as the sign of the covenant is really quite striking. A covenant is generally “cut” by the parties to the covenant “passing through” the bloody corpses of the animals that have been “cut” for the covenant. In Jewish thought, all of the descendants of a man are contained in his “seed.” Thus through the act of circumcision, all the man’s future descendants literally “pass through” the blood of the covenant at the time of insemination. [BACK]

 4. While Abraham is the father of both Jews and Arabs, the heirs of the covenant are the Descendants of Yitz'chak (Isaac) and Ya'akov (Jacob), i.e., the Israelites or Jews. God stated this in Genesis 17.20-21: “But as for Yishma'el, I have heard you. I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But I will establish My covenant with Yitz'chak [Isaac, the father of Ya'akov (Jacob), whom God renamed Yisra'el (Israel)], whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” [BACK]

Originally posted on Friday, 03 December 2021

Page last updated on Tuesday, 26 September 2023 01:32 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return

Blue Letter Bible Search Tool

Range Options:

e.g. Gen;Psa-Mal;Rom 3-9