Promises to Israel – 2. The Seed

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In a previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Seed.  So “let’s get at ‘er”

THE SEED PROMISE

Growing up with the KJV, I always read the following verses with “seed” being used instead of “offspring”. Paul makes a deal about this in Galations. I am using the ESV below (and throughout the post) for clarity sake.

This promise is murky in my mind, and I am thankful we have an Apostle defining the intent of the promise in Galations 3.

Murky, cause it seems to emphasize Abraham’s genetic offspring, that is, all of his children. This isn’t Paul’s point in the New Testament. Paul emphasizes “the seed” as referring to Christ, not “the seeds”, referring to the multitudinous children of Abraham.

The offspring in this verse are linked directly to the promise of the land. We’ve considered the land promise and if this was the only verse relating to the “seed”, we might conclude that when the land was forfeited, the offspring would be effected somehow. (After all, where would the offspring settle without the land?)

Genesis 12:7

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Genesis 15:5 seems to be defining the promise in relation to the volume of Abraham’s offspring. Abraham’s offspring would be innumerable!

Genesis 15:5

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Genesis 17:7 gets hairy – What is He promising? This promise relating to Abraham’s offspring has the intended result of an everlasting covenant of God being God to the offspring.

Genesis 17:7

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

How did this work out? Before we get to Galations, lets consider the story of Elijah.

1 Kings 19:18

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Abraham’s physical offspring resided in the nation of Israel at the time of Elijah, and yet God informed Elijah that a remnant existed within the nation. The apostate nation could not be considered to be included in the “everlasting covenant” since they were apostate. (God was not their God!)

But they were the physical offspring! This distinction is critical to note. Jesus made much of this concept in His teaching.

Matthew 3:9

“and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

 Matthew 8:11

“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 19:9

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;

 John 8:39-40

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.

Notice that Jesus did not associate Abraham’s children as physically related, that is by blood, but by the actions performed in their lives.

It think my point is obvious and I don’t want to get too distracted so lets move on. (How ‘bout John the Baptist talking about repentance – No – I said I would stop!)

Galations 3:16

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.

If Paul’s point is that the covenant promise was between God and His Messiah, things become somewhat clearer. The Christ is the only One who truly established an everlasting covenant for the offspring of Abraham. That is, the offspring of Abraham, those who have the faith of Abraham. Physical lineage was not crucial. Consider Ruth, Naaman, the Egyptians that joined the exodus, Rahab…. The remnant has always existed and that remnant recognized the Savior when He arrived.

OK, so we made a few minor detours going through the post. Sorry bout the remnant rant, but finding that thread of truth through the Word has helped me understand so much!

What is the conclusion of the matter? Does God have any responsibility to the people of Israel?

Oh nooo! That is another problem – Who specifically are the children of Israel today? Can a Jewish person prove his lineage back to Abraham Isaac and Jacob? I understand that it is impossible to trace lineage back to the fathers since all the records were destroyed in the temple fires during the Roman siege. But that is another rabbit trail that I may tackle at a later date.

It looks like the New Testament confirms God’s promise of the Seed to be an accomplished fact in the person of Jesus Christ.

Contact me or make comment to further our discussion in Considering the Bible.  I look forward to your thoughts.

Hope to see you in the next post.

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Promises to Israel – 1. The Land

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In our previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Land.  So, as my brother used to say – “Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er”

THE LAND PROMISE

 Genesis 17:8

And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

There you have it – He promised Father Abraham all the land of Canaan. Genesis 13:15 states that the land will be given to Abram and his offspring forever. The verse above speaks of an everlasting possession.

But there seemed to be a condition, as the next set of verses seems to indicate.

Deuteronomy 19:8-10

And if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land that he promised to give to your fathers—provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the LORD your God and by walking ever in his ways—then you shall add three other cities to these three, lest innocent blood be shed in your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, and so the guilt of bloodshed be upon you.

Joshua 23:15-16

But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”

Even with this condition stipulated, and the nation of Israel rebelling constantly, the Old Testament speaks of God fulfilling His end of the bargain. Remember that this land promise was a bilateral contract / covenant and One of the parties in this agreement kept His word.

Nehemiah 9:7-8

You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.

Joshua 21:43-45

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 the 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.

If these verses are to be believed, it looks like the concern over God’s honor is misplaced. He is faithful, and has performed all His promises in relation to the people of Israel in occupying and possessing the Promised Land.

It looks like the Old Testament confirms God’s promise of the Land to be an accomplished fact.  Contact me or make comment to further our discussion in Considering the Bible.  I look forward to your thoughts.

Hope to see you in the next post. 

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Promises to Israel – An Introduction

brown book pageThere is a new end times book based on the US recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel!

First off, I need to say that I have not read this book, and that I found out about this publication based on a conservative talk show commercial.

Nevertheless this commercial got me to considering a time when this end times topic would have grabbed my attention. Now it just makes me angry. Anger due to the bare faced profiteering off of the modern day church, but more so due to the distraction and confusion the topic causes believers.

Distraction from the Word of God. (How often have I chosen man’s thoughts over God’s?)

Confusion in that so many books elevate the nation of Israel as the focus and purpose of all that God does. (Spoiler alert – The focus and purpose of all that God does is to reveal Jesus Christ.)

Of course, this raises a central question in my thinking that will provide the fodder for the following posts. The overarching question is…

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future?

I suppose if the promises God made to Israel in the Old Testament have not been fulfilled, two consequences occur to me.

  • The promises have yet to be fulfilled, for no other reason than to maintain the honor of God. This thinking fuels the futurist theology that seems so popular in the modern American church.

  • God is a liar.

No one wants to think of the second bullet – Dang I had a hard time typing it! The desire to see God honored is fantastic. No denying that.

But wait – The two consequences above are a false dichotomy – I think I’m seeing another possibility!!

What if the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament have been fulfilled?

Lets consider.

God made three big promises to Israel in the Old Testament. The next three blogs will deal with these promises, with a final post supplying a conclusion, that hopefully ties together the discussion and provide some insight.

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land

  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed

  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation

Each post will offer a chance for discussion and comment, which I look forward to receiving.  Hope to see you in the next post.

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