The Abrahamic Covenant

God's Promise to Abraham


The Lord's unconditional covenant to Abraham is one of the most important things to understand in all the Bible. God's program for salvation, and plan for the world in many ways, has specific and practical beginnings here. There is a great need today to know and understand this prophecy. A summary of its key components and how it flows in Genesis is given below.


Genesis 12:1-3 The Covenant is Given

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)


The Abrahamic Covenant Consists of Three Main Promises

Land God will give certain land to Abram. (verse 1)

Nation God will make a nation from Abram's seed. (verse 2)

Blessing God will bless all people through Abram. (verses 2,3)


Genesis 13:14-17 The Covenant is Clarified

And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. (Genesis 13:14-17)


Land   God reveals the Promised Land. (14-15, 17)

Seed   God will multiply Abram's offspring. (15-16)

Forever The Abrahamic Covenant lasts forever. (15)


Genesis 15:1-7 The Covenant is Compared

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. (Genesis 15:1-7)


Seed God promises a son (he) to Abraham. (4)

Offspring God's promise illustrated with the stars. (5)

Land God restates the land promise. (7)

Note: The Lord imputed righteousness to believing Abram.


Genesis 15:8-21 The Covenant is Cut

And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided [cut] them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs [Egypt], and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates. . . (Genesis 15:8-21)


Custom Covenant cut (made) as in eastern culture.(8-11)

One-sided Abraham sleeps during ceremony. (12)

One party God walks through the pieces alone (furnace & lamp). (17,18)

Note: This covenant is conditioned upon the Lord only.

Israel Bondage in Egypt and exodus prophesied. (13-16)

Land Land specifics are given and named. (18-21)


Genesis 17:1-8 The Covenant is Specified

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 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. 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. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. (Genesis 17:1-9)


Parties - Covenant between God and Abraham. (2,4,7)

Heritage Kings & nations come from Abraham. (4,6)

Blessing God will make Abraham fruitful. (6)

New name God gives Abram a new name. (5)

Offspring The covenant extends to his offspring. (7-8)

Everlasting God's covenant is everlasting. (7)

Land Abraham and his descendents get Canaan. (8)  

Ownership The land is given to the Jews forever. (8)


Genesis 17:9-27 The Covenant is Signified

And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 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. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 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. 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. 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. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. (Genesis 17:9-27)


Sign The sign of the covenant is circumcision. (10-27)

Mother Sarai's name is changed to Sarah. (15-16)

Laughter Isaac shall be the new son's name. (17,21)

Heir Covenant passes to Isaac, not to Ishmael. (18-21)

Obey Abraham, his son, and men are circumcised. (22-27)




The Abrahamic Covenant is probably the most significant Covenant in the Bible. All major covenants are extensions of this one. The Palestinian (Land) covenant is an extension of the land promises to Abraham. The Davidic covenant is an extension of the seed promise. And the New Covenant is an extension of the blessing promise.


Land promise is expanded in the Palestinian Covenant

Seed promise is expanded in the Davidic Covenant

Blessing promise is expanded in the New Covenant


The covenant promises from God to Abraham are passed to his son Isaac and then to his grandson Jacob. All descendents of Jacob inherit the Abrahamic covenant. Believing Jews will enjoy the benefits of the covenant. Often the Lord refers to this covenant not just by mentioning Abraham alone, but by naming the three key men to whom it was passed: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 50:24; Exodus 2:24; 3:6; 2 Kings 13:23; Matthew 22:32; Acts 3:13)


God promised that he would bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse Abraham (Genesis 12:3) This blessing and cursing promisewas passed on to the entire nation Israel (Numbers 24:5,9). Those who bless Israel (the Jewish people) are blessed, those who curse Israel are cursed  Compare Matthew 25:40 regarding treatment of the Jews during the Tribulation)


James Utter 10/2012


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