TRACING THE SEED OF ABRAHAM
BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
Where can the TRUE seed, and descendants of Abraham be found? It is imperative that we understand what the Scriptures teach concerning the SEED of ABRAHAM. Failure to understand has resulted in a misguided theology that dominates the thinking of many of God’s people. It has taken their eyes off of Christ, and onto that which is not of Christ or within God’s ongoing purposes. “Abraham OUR father” is the phrase used in Romans 4:1, and in verse Sixteen he is described as “THE FATHER OF US ALL.”
Who are the children or true seed/descendants of Abraham? More specifically who is the TRUE SEED? Various answers are given depending on ones theology. Many see a NATURAL people, others a SPIRITUAL people. My father, George Greatorex, once got some folks upset while teaching Ephesians for saying, “God thought of you before He thought of the Jew.” BUT, this is the truth of Ephesians Chapter One. God did use a people for a SEED LINE, or as a WOMB to fulfill His promise to Adam and Eve, and to Abraham. This was necessary in order to have a linage from which The Christ would come to redeem man back to Himself.
God promised Abraham that through him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3), and that he would become “a great nation.” In Genesis 17:21 God became specific: “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac.” God repeated Abrahamic promises to Isaac in Genesis 26:3-4, and to Jacob or “Israel” in Genesis 35:10-12. The new name of Jacob – ISRAEL – is powerful in meaning. Various sources give it the meanings of PREVAILING, or OVERCOMING, being a PRINCE WITH GOD, or “let El contend” (BDB Heb./Eng. Lexicon). The Strong’s Concordance # 3478 gives the meaning, “HE WILL RULE AS GOD.” Young’s Concordance says, “RULING WITH GOD. This is the calling of the SEED of Abraham. Our objective is to trace the intent of The Eternal One’s purpose with the “Abrahamic Seed” to its’ ultimate destiny.
One least believed Bible verses is Galatians 3:16. It says, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.” He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your seed,” who is Christ.” The issue is WHO IS THE SEED OF ABRAHAM? Who does God see as the SEED today? A natural or a spiritual people? Stay with me as I quote a couple of scholars on the Biblical meaning of the word SEED.
Lawrence O. Richards in his Expository Dictionary says, “The Hebrew word for “offspring” in most verses is “zera.” It is also translated “seed” and “descendants – A great many O.T. uses of ZERA’ are in connection with God’s covenant promises to the patriarchs. – The Hebrew word always appears in the singular, even when it refers to many descendants. This distinctive aspect of ZERA makes it possible to designate a SINGLE PERSON who represents the whole group – The apostle Paul picks up on this feature of ZERA in two passages. Using the common Greek word for “offspring” [sperma, also translated “seed” – Paul states that “the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not ‘say and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ MEANING ONE PERSON, WHO IS CHRIST.”
Scholars C.F. Hogg and W.E. Vine comment, “It is true that the use of ‘SEEDS’ would have been un-natural and meaningless, in Hebrew and Greek as in English, but had it been the intention of God to refer only to the natural descendants of Abraham, another word could have been chosen, one with a plural in ordinary use, such, e.g., as ‘children’. But all such words were passed over in favor of one that could be used only in the singular. Was this accidental? No, the Apostle declares, it was designed, THE INTENDED SEED WAS THE MESSIAH. – The earth was to be blessed through Abraham’s seed, NOT through his descendants in the mass, but through ONE among them.
The Prophet Hosea says: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.” (11:1) In Isaiah 49:3 we read: “… You are My servant O Israel, In whom I will be glorified.” With verse five continuing: “… Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant.” Matthew 2:15 quotes the Hosea phrase as being fulfilled by Jesus’ time in Egypt. “… Out of Egypt I called my son.” This Son is none other than the promised “Seed” also known as Israel. The promised SEED was always singular and referred to One Person. Although Abraham had many descendants, God’s goal was bound up in the Promised Seed who is JESUS CHRIST, not in a natural group of people who Scripturally can be proven to be a very genetically mixed nation.
Did Christ have any “seed” or “descendants?” Isaiah 53:8b asks” “And who will declare His generation?” Spiros Zodhiates gives this meaning for the Hebrew word DUWR #1755, “DUWR is the conception and birth of a man until the conception and birth of his offspring.” (3) Verse Ten says: “He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days.” We know who the True Seed of Abraham was. Now we must consider who the true descendants of the Seed are. It becomes abundantly clear in Romans 9:6a to 8 that: “… they are not all Israel who are of Israel.” (That is the issue is not one of natural descent) For, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. The issue of Abraham’s two sons is addressed in Galatians 4:22-26 and clearly sets aside the natural from the spiritual. Verse 28 reads: “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.”
Dividing the SEED OF CHRIST, or of Abraham, into NATURAL and SPIRITUAL GROUPS is contrary to the principle of 1 Corinthians 15:46, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterwards the spiritual.” Note, it doesn’t say, “and then the natural again.” That, “He is our peace, who has made both ONE” (Ephesians 2:14) is the summation of the work of Christ between the warring camps of Jews and Gentiles resulting in, “one new man from the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:15). Read verses 11-16 of Ephesians Chapter Two. We are now in Christ, and according to Galatians 3:29 “- – are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” There are multitudes of descendants of Abraham throughout the Middle East, it is only, “those who are OF FAITH are sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:7)
Watchman Nee asks, “Again, what does God mean when He speaks today of ‘Israel’? Is there a larger meaning in the term than appears on the surface? For answer let us look at the end of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, where he writes of the new creation in which there is neither Jew nor Greek (6:15), but where all find their common ground in the Cross of Christ. Desiring peace and mercy for all who are Christ’s, Paul uses of them the remarkable expression, ‘the ISRAEL OF GOD’. I tell you, we who believe in the Lord Jesus ARE the ISRAEL OF GOD, one with all the true Israel, not a separate people.”
It is sad that so many focus on the WOMB, where the SEED WAS, and yet, not really the womb, but the AFTERBIRTH. It HAS served it’s purpose. We are indebted. The True Israel is, Christ the Promised Seed, and His descendants, the Church the Body of Christ.
In God’s view there is only one Israel or Jew today. Romans 2:28, 29 makes this very clear, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not from men but from God.”
The Israel of the Bible was, even as the Jewish people of today are, was always composed of a multitude of converts. In the early status of the lineage of Jesus Christ there were Canaanites and Moabites. Therefore we know that the calling is for ALL regardless of our religious background, be it Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Judaism, paganism or atheism. It is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His cross for there is NO other way!
REJOICE THAT WE ARE A PART OF THE TRUE SEED OF ABRAHAM!
TRACING THE SEED OF ABRAHAM [Kenneth Greatorex] 1