Bible passage: Genesis 26:2-5
Written: As early as 1400 BC
Gen. 26:2-5 is a reiteration of promises made in Gen. 17:18-19 and Gen. 21:12, that God's covenant would continue through the line of Isaac, rather than any other of Abraham's children. This time, though, in chapter 26, the promise is made directly to Isaac himself:
2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions." (Gen. 26:2-5, NIV)
The prophecy involves the promise of land - the land that later became known as Israel - to Isaac's descendants. Also, the phrase in verse 4, "and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed," is viewed by Bible scholars and commentators as being a Messianic prophecy.
That is because of the language involved, the use of the word "blessing," which often refers to the role that the Messiah would eventually play. The Messianic connection becomes clearer in later prophecies of the Old Testament, where we see echoes of this prophetic promise being made to descendants of Isaac, such as in Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1-10 and 2 Samuel 7:16.
For now, though, in Genesis 26, we see that God now is personally promising a future worldwide impact to the descendants of Isaac.