Jehovah’s purpose for mankind was made evident at the very beginning of human history. God clearly indicated that Adam would live forever if he was obedient. (Gen. 2:9, 17; 3:22)
Adam’s early descendants no doubt learned about man’s fall from perfection, which was confirmed by visible evidence. The entrance to the garden of Eden was blocked, and people grew old and died. (Gen. 3:23, 24)
With the passing of time, the human life span declined. Adam lived for 930 years. The Flood survivor Shem lived for only 600 years, and his son Arpachshad for 438 years. Abraham’s father, Terah, lived for 205 years. The life span of Abraham was 175 years, that of his son Isaac was 180 years, and that of Jacob was 147 years. (Gen. 5:5; 11:10-13, 32; 25:7; 35:28; 47:28) Many people must have realized what this decline meant—the prospect of everlasting life had been lost! Did they have reason for hope in its restoration?
God’s Word says: “The [human] creation was subjected to futility . . . on the basis of hope.” (Rom. 8:20) What hope? The very first prophecy of the Bible pointed to a “seed” that would ‘bruise the serpent in the head.’ (Read Genesis 3:1-5, 15.)
To faithful humans, the promise of that Seed provided a basis for hope that God would not abandon his purpose for mankind. It gave men like Abel and Noah a reason to believe that God would restore the blessings that Adam had lost. These men may have realized that the ‘bruising in the heel of the seed’ would involve the shedding of blood.—Gen. 4:4; 8:20; Heb. 11:4.
Consider Abraham. When being tested, Abraham “as good as offered up Isaac, . . . his only-begotten son.” (Heb. 11:17) Why was he willing to do this? (Read Hebrews 11:19.)
He believed in the resurrection! Abraham had a basis for his belief in the resurrection. After all, Jehovah had brought back to life Abraham’s reproductive powers and had made it possible for him and his wife, Sarah, to produce a son in their old age. (Gen. 18:10-14; 21:1-3; Rom. 4:19-21)
Abraham also had Jehovah’s word. God had said to him: “It is by means of Isaac that what will be called your seed will be.” (Gen. 21:12) Therefore, Abraham had sound reasons for expecting that God would resurrect Isaac.
Because of Abraham’s outstanding faith, Jehovah made a covenant with him regarding his offspring, or “seed.” (Read Genesis 22:18.) The primary part of the “seed” proved to be Jesus Christ. (Gal. 3:16) Jehovah had told Abraham that his “seed” would be multiplied “like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore”—a number unknown to Abraham. (Gen. 22:17)
However, later that number was revealed. Jesus Christ and the 144,000, who will rule with him in his Kingdom, constitute the “seed.” (Gal. 3:29; Rev. 7:4; 14:1) The Messianic Kingdom is the means by which “all nations of the earth will . . . bless themselves.”
Abraham could not possibly have understood the full significance of the covenant Jehovah made with him. Nevertheless, “he was awaiting the city having real foundations,” states the Bible. (Heb. 11:10) That city is God’s Kingdom.
To receive blessings under that Kingdom, Abraham will have to live again. Everlasting life on earth will be possible for him through the resurrection. And life eternal will be possible for those who survive Armageddon or those who will be raised from the dead.—Rev. 7:9, 14; 20:12-14.