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God's Promises

11th October 2006, hej

 

4) The ‘seed’

The concept of ‘the seed’ is introduced by God when talking to Eve and the serpent. It is the same word as used for that of fruit and herb plants. The Bible does not use the term children (bene) or house/family (bayith), as a 'seed' is the same as its parent plant, and is the product of its parent. The 'seed' does not refer just to natural children as Ishmael is the son of Abraham but is not ‘the seed’ (Genesis 19:19).

Jesus has a discussion on this point, recorded in John chapter 8.

"They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father". Jesus said unto them, "If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham". John 8:39

The seed of Abraham are those that do the works of Abraham. And also that there is another class: those whose father speaks a lie. The seed of the serpent. So seed is about a class of people.

This issue is important as Paul takes it up on a number of occasions and it is a theme of the writer to the Hebrews.

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be. Romans 4:13-18

Paul establishes that the seed is counted of those who have the faith of Abraham. The same faith. Let us put it another way, that just as Abraham believed the promise that they also believe the same promise. What is the promise? That Abraham and his seed should be heir of the world (v13).

To the Galatians Paul thought the issue so important he devoted much of his letter to it.

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 your seed,which is Christ. Galatians 3:16
And if you be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:29

Here we have on authority that the term “your seed” was singular. It was Christ. Paul says that through Christ we become like Christ and are the heir of the promise to Abraham.

Peter puts it like this:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.1 Peter 1:23

There is to be a class of people who are sons born again to be incorruptible, by the word of God. Through the seed, Christ, would all the earth be blessed (Galatians 3:16) and the seed would inherit the land that the patriarchs of Israel walked on and saw.

Gospel & Promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

The Apostle Paul makes a point that the Gospel, or good news, was preached to Abraham. The focus of the whole book of Galations is the one gospel and Paul’s argument is centred on Abraham.

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed. Galatians 3:8
Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

If we go back to the account where Abraham is pronounced righteous we find he believed in the birth of a son, not quite what one would expect. What must the children of Abraham believe or have faith in? Surely they must believe the promises made to Abraham. All of them. Just in case we miss the point Paul points to human contracts where nothing is added or subtracted.

Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannuls it, or adds thereto.Galatians 3: 15.

Jesus makes the following statement.

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. John 8:56

Which son was Abraham expecting when he believed God, Isaac or Jesus? Was not Isaac’s birth the miracle that made the later birth of the seed possible… What personal benefit is gained by having a child, except some minor pride your line is to continue? It only makes sense if the seed was to be a saviour that would personally benefit Abraham.

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