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PROMISE - prom'-is (most frequently in the Old Testament dabhar, "speaking," "speech," and dabhar, "to speak" also 'amar, "to say," once in Ps 77:8, 'omer, "speech"; in the New Testament epaggelia, and the verbs epaggellomai, and compounds): Promise holds an important place in the Scriptures and in the development of the religion that culminated in Christ. The Bible is indeed full of "precious and exceeding great promises" (2 Pet 1:4), although the word "promise" is not always used in connection with them. Of the more outstanding promises of the Old Testament may be mentioned: (1) the proto-evangelium (Gen 3:15); (2) the promise to Noah no more to curse the ground, etc. (Gen 8:21,22; 9:1-17); (3) most influential, the promise to Abraham to make of him a great nation in whom all families of the earth should be blessed, to give to him and his seed the land of Canaan (Gen 12:2,7, etc.), often referred to in the Old Testament (Ex 12:25; Dt 1:8,11; 6:3; 9:28, etc.); (4) the promise to David to continue his house on the throne (2 Sam 7:12,13,18; 1 Ki 2:24, etc.); (5) the promise of restoration of Israel, of the Messiah, of the new and everlasting kingdom, of the new covenant and outpouring of the Spirit (Isa 2:2-5; 4:2; 55:5; 66:13; Jer 31:31-34; 32:37-42; 33:14; Ezek 36:22-31; 37:11 f; 39:25 f, etc.). In the New Testament these promises are founded on, and regarded as having their true fulfillment in, Christ and those who are His (2 Cor 1:20; Eph 3:6). The promise of the Spirit is spoken of by Jesus as "the promise of my Father" (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:4), and this was regarded as fulfilled at Pentecost. The promise of a Saviour of the seed of David is regarded as fulfilled in Christ (Acts 13:23,32, 26:6; Rom 1:2; 4:13; 9:4). Paul argues that the promise to Abraham that he should be "heir of the world," made to him before circumcision, is not confined to Israel, but is open to all who are children of Abraham by faith (Rom 4:13-16; compare Gal 3:16,19,29). In like manner the writer to the Hebrews goes back to the original promises, giving them a spiritual and eternal significance (4:1; 6:17; 11:9, etc.). The New Testament promises include manifold blessings and hopes, among them "life," "eternal life" (1 Tim 4:8; 6:19; 2 Tim 1:1; Jas 1:12), the "kingdom" (Jas 2:5), Christ's "coming" (2 Pet 3:9, etc.), "new heavens and a new earth" (2 Pet 3:13), etc. For "promise" and "promised" in the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) has frequently other terms, as "word" (Ps 105:42), "spake," "spoken" (Dt 10:9; Josh 9:21; 22:4; 23:5,15, etc.), "consented" (Lk 22:6), etc. References to the promises occur repeatedly in the Apocrypha (Baruch 2:34; 2 Macc 2:18; The Wisdom of Solomon 12:21; compare 2 Esdras 3:15; 5:29).

W. L. Walker

Also see definition of "Promise" in Word Study

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