Promises not yet fulfilled

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QUESTION: The Bible lists many promises God made. Which of them has he not yet kept or fulfilled?

ANSWER: The subject of Bible promises is vast and listing all of them, and whether each one was fulfilled or not, is beyond the scope of this article. We will, however, take a look at a few examples from Hebrews 11. Written by the apostle Paul, this inspiring chapter lists several faithful men and women who all died before God fulfilled all the promises he made to them.

The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all died without receiving promises made to them regarding their eternal possession of the "land of promise" (Hebrews 11:8 - 10). Their collective pledge of land begins in Genesis 17 when God promises Abram (Abraham) that he will have countless descendants. Both he and those who trace their lineage back to him (Isaac, Jacob and so on) are told that someday they inherit all the land of Canaan as an "everlasting possession" (Genesis 17:8).

God's promises of an eternal reward are also reiterated to both Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 26:3 - 5, 28:13 - 15). It is interesting to note that these righteous patriarchs understood that they would receive their reward sometime in the future (Hebrews 11:9 - 10, 13). They were not expecting it to come to them during their lifetimes.

Covenants in the Bible
Prophecies fulfilled between testaments
The life of Abraham!

Moses also received promises that were unfulfilled during his lifetime. Paul writes that he was willing to endure rejection and affliction because "he was looking intently to the reward" (Hebrews 11:26, HBFV) which would come to him in the future.


Adoration of the Shepherds
God kept his promise to
send mankind a Savior

Hebrews 11 also lists righteous men and women like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Sarah, Rahab, Gideon, Samson and countless others who lived by faith. Many of them not only did amazing deeds but also suffered persecution, torture and even death for their willingness to obey the Lord (Hebrews 11:33 - 38).

The Apostle Paul, although he does not list himself in Hebrews 11, was also a man of great faith. He endured tremendous hardship and trials for the sake of the gospel possibly unlike any of the other apostles. Yet, as he tells those in Phillipi, he had faith and confidence that what he experienced ultimately was more than worthwhile as he waited to receive the promises of reward from God (Philippians 3:7 - 8).

As Paul approached his martyrdom he wrote one last letter to his best friend and fellow evangelist Timothy. He encouraged his friend to be vigilent in spreading the gospel in spite of any hardships or trials that came his way (2Timothy 4:5). Timothy was to do this so that he, too, could share in the promises God made to Paul and all believers, "From this time forward, a crown of righteousness is laid up for me . . . and not to me only, but also to all who love His appearing" (verse 8).

All true Christians look forward to God fulfilling his many promises to them. The greatest of these is being resurrected from dead, given a glorious spiritual body, and entering the Kingdom he has prepared for those who love him (Luke 12:32).

Additional Study Materials
Is the Kingdom of God within us?
Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus
Abraham's Journey to Promised Land Map
The Life of Apostle Paul!
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