Genesis 17:8
And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land wherein you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
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Genesis 17:8. And I will give thee Canaan for an everlasting possession — As a type of heaven, that everlasting rest which remains for the people of God. This is that better country to which Abraham had an eye, and the grant of which was that which answered the vast extent of that promise, that God would be to them a God; so that if God had not designed this, he would have been ashamed to be called their God, Hebrews 11:16. As the land of Canaan was secured to the seed of Abraham, according to the flesh; so heaven is secured to all his spiritual seed for a possession truly everlasting. The offer of this eternal life is made in the word, and the earnest of it is given to all believers.17:7-14 The covenant of grace is from everlasting in the counsels of it, and to everlasting in the consequences of it. The token of the covenant was circumcision. It is here said to be the covenant which Abraham and his seed must keep. Those who will have the Lord to be to them a God, must resolve to be to him a people. Not only Abraham and Isaac, and his posterity by Isaac, were to be circumcised, but also Ishmael and the bond-servants. It sealed not only the covenant of the land of Canaan to Isaac's posterity, but of heaven, through Christ, to the whole church of God. The outward sign is for the visible church; the inward seal of the Spirit is peculiar to those whom God knows to be believers, and he alone can know them. The religious observance of this institution was required, under a very severe penalty. It is dangerous to make light of Divine institutions, and to live in the neglect of them. The covenant in question was one that involved great blessings for the world in all future ages. Even the blessedness of Abraham himself, and all the rewards conferred upon him, were for Christ's sake. Abraham was justified, as we have seen, not by his own righteousness, but by faith in the promised Messiah.Thirdly, the temporal and the spiritual are brought together. The land of promise is made sure to the heir of promise, "for a perpetual possession," and God engages to "be their God." The phrase "perpetual possession" has here two elements of meaning - first, that the possession, in its coming form of a certain land, shall last as long as the co-existing relations of things are continued; and, secondly, that the said possession in all the variety of its ever grander phases will last absolutely forever. Each form will be perfectly adequate to each stage of a progressive humanity. But in all its forms and at every stage it will be their chief glory that God is their God.8. I will give unto thee … the land—It had been previously promised to Abraham and his posterity (Ge 15:18). Here it is promised as an "everlasting possession," and was, therefore, a type of heaven, "the better country" (Heb 11:16). And to thy seed; unto thee, not in thy own person, but in thy seed. See Genesis 13:15,17.

For an everlasting possession; upon condition of their obedience to God, as is oft expressed; wherein seeing they so notoriously failed, it is no wonder if they possessed it but a little while, as the prophet complains, Isaiah 63:18. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee,.... To him in right, and to them in possession, and for an inheritance:

the land wherein thou art a stranger; or "the land of sojournings" or "pilgrimages" (l), which were many; for he often removed from place to place, and sometimes sojourned in one place, and sometimes in another:

all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; this respects only the natural seed of Abraham, and those in the line of Isaac and Jacob, to whom this land was given to hold for ever, in case they were obedient to the will of God; and therefore whenever they were disobedient, they were carried captive from it, as they are at this day; but when they shall be converted, they will return to this land and possess it to the end of the world; and which was a figure of the heavenly inheritance, which is an eternal one, and will be enjoyed by all his spiritual seed to all eternity:

and I will be their God; as he was to all the natural seed of Abraham in a spiritual sense, to whom the adoption belonged, and whom he chose and separated as a peculiar people to himself, and bestowed in providence many peculiar favours upon them, both in a civil and religious way; and as he is to all his spiritual seed in an evangelic sense, to whom he stands in the relation of their covenant God and Father in Christ, in whom he blesses them with all spiritual blessings, and will continue to be so unto death, and to all eternity.

(l) "terram peregrinationum tuarum", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

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.
8. the land of thy sojournings] This is explained to be “all the land of Canaan.” The word “sojournings” denotes “residences of a stranger” (cf. Genesis 15:13). The stranger (gêr) has no fixed possession in a land. The land where he has been a stranger is now promised to become his settled possession. The promise, therefore, reverses Abraham’s present position. The land will be no longer one of “sojourning” (megûrîm), but a “possession” (aḥuzzah). Cf. Genesis 28:4, Genesis 36:7, Genesis 37:1, Genesis 47:9; Exodus 6:4 (all in the P narrative). For “everlasting possession,” see Genesis 48:4 (P).Verse 8. - And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, - literally, of thy sojournings (Genesis 12:9; Acts 7:5; Hebrews 11:9) - all the land of Canaan (vide Genesis 10:19), - for an everlasting possession. Literally, for a possession of eternity; i.e. the earthly Canaan should be retained by them so long as the arrangement then instituted should continue, provided always they complied with the conditions of the covenant; and the heavenly Canaan should be the inheritance of Abraham's spiritual children forever (vide Genesis 9:16; Genesis 13:15). And I will be their God. Literally, to them for Elohim (vide supra). The covenant had been made with Abram for at least fourteen years, and yet Abram remained without any visible sign of its accomplishment, and was merely pointed in faith to the inviolable character of the promise of God. Jehovah now appeared to Him again, when he was ninety-nine years old, twenty-four years after his migration, and thirteen after the birth of Ishmael, to give effect to the covenant and prepare for its execution. Having come down to Abram in a visible form (Genesis 17:22), He said to him, "I am El Shaddai (almighty God): walk before Me and be blameless." At the establishment of the covenant, God had manifested Himself to him as Jehovah (Genesis 15:7); here Jehovah describes Himself as El Shaddai, God the Mighty One. שׁדּי: from שׁדד to be strong, with the substantive termination ai, like חגּי the festal, ישׁישׁי the old man, סיני the thorn-grown, etc. This name is not to be regarded as identical with Elohim, that is to say, with God as Creator and Preserver of the world, although in simple narrative Elohim is used for El Shaddai, which is only employed in the more elevated and solemn style of writing. It belonged to the sphere of salvation, forming one element in the manifestation of Jehovah, and describing Jehovah, the covenant God, as possessing the power to realize His promises, even when the order of nature presented no prospect of their fulfilment, and the powers of nature were insufficient to secure it. The name which Jehovah thus gave to Himself was to be a pledge, that in spite of "his own body now dead," and "the deadness of Sarah's womb" (Romans 4:19), God could and would give him the promised innumerable posterity. On the other hand, God required this of Abram, "Walk before Me (cf. Genesis 5:22) and be blameless" (Genesis 6:9). "Just as righteousness received in faith was necessary for the establishment of the covenant, so a blameless walk before God was required for the maintenance and confirmation of the covenant." This introduction is followed by a more definite account of the new revelation; first of the promise involved in the new name of God (Genesis 17:2-8), and then of the obligation imposed upon Abram (Genesis 17:9-14). "I will give My covenant," says the Almighty, "between Me and thee, and multiply thee exceedingly." בּרית נתן signifies, not to make a covenant, but to give, to put, i.e., to realize, to set in operation the things promised in the covenant - equivalent to setting up the covenant (cf. Genesis 17:7 and Genesis 9:12 with Genesis 9:9). This promise Abram appropriated to himself by falling upon his face in worship, upon which God still further expounded the nature of the covenant about to be executed.
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