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. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it…
The promise was made to Abraham, although Abraham himself had no portion in the land of promise. According to the preaching of Stephen in Acts 7:2-5,
The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldæans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
Abraham died in faith, not having received the promise, not having a land of his own, but seeing the fulfillment of it afar off. As we have seen, the land promise made to Abraham was not passed to all his descendants, but rather only to his elect seed (though Isaac and Jacob). Additionally, foreigners that would join themselves to Abraham’s family and take God’s covenant upon themselves and their children would take part in God’s blessings as well.
According to Joshua, the children of Israel, Abraham’s physical descendants through the line of Isaac/Jacob did receive the blessed promised land – all of it upon the completion of the conquest of Canaan:
Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for uthe LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:43-45)
But, they would not keep it for long. For later Joshua warned:
And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them …ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you. …Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. …if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.
And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof. Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.
So, the elect seed was to remain in the promised land upon condition that they continued faithful in their covenant with Jehovah. But Israel did not stay faithful to Jehovah did they? They apostatized over and over again, preferring the worship of Idols and pagan gods to the God who delivered them. So, how could God be true to his promise to Abraham that all the land would be given ‘to they seed’ for ever? Would Israel ever have a faithful son of Abraham, a king who, like David would stay true and faithful to God’s covenant.
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. …For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.