Many people have heard, read or been taught that blessing the (alledged) descendants of Abraham and/or, the present participants of the nation state of Israel, is Gods emphatic will and will insure “blessing” for themselves or their country.
This brief article will explain the fallacy of that understanding of Gen 12:3.
*[[Gen 12:1-3/KJV]]* v 1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: v 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: v 3 And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Point 1. Its wotthy to note that the passage doesn’t say “I will bless those who bless your descendants and curse those who curse your descendants”, but the statement is first spoken of Abraham himself. It’s later repeated to and about Isaac, and then by Isaac to and about Jacob in Gen 27:29. Thus the statements were made first to and about them as individuals.
About 430+ years later, in Numbers 24:9, this statement of blessing/cursing is used concerning the people or ‘nation’ of Israel because they posessed the testimony of monotheism in contrast with the people of idolotry. See Point 9 below.
2. The historical setting of the words.
From extra-biblical literature we learn that Nimrod had claimed virgin birth status for himself or his son as the fulfillment of the promise of Gen 3:15. He had made a tower to the heavens, shot an arrow in the air, and claimed to have killed the God of the clouds of heaven as the activator of the flood, thus securing temporary cult status for himself. He started subsequent babylonian multi-deity religions of superstitious rituals and sacrifice.
Abraham was told to get up and out of this environment and that through him (Not Nimrod) God would deliver his son and through him [not Nimrod] all nations of humanity would be blessed.
Thus, there is a strong aspect of individual contrast between Abraham and Nimrod intended by the words ‘thee’ and “in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed”. God was primarily stating that the promised seed of God would come through Abraham and monotheism, not Nimrod’s false counterfeits and polytheism.
3. The equality of this blessing with the protoevangelion of Gen 3:15.
Since the redemption and blessing of humanity had already been foretold to occur through the seed of the woman (and God) in Gen 3:15, (as understoid by Abel, Lamech [Gen 4:24,25] and others, the life blessing promised through Abraham and his ‘seed’ is the same blessing & promise through the crushing of the serpents head in Gen 3:15 by the atonement for, and ending/changing of the law of sin/death to faith & life.
*[[Gen 3:15]] KJV* And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
4. The covt or promise of mercy/blessing (Gen 3:15) was called ‘my covt’ as it passed through Noah in Gen 6:18 & 9:9,11,13,15; and through Abraham & Isaac in Gen 17, and it took on types and elements of its future fulfillment through these mens experiences and lives.
Some of the typologies the “my covt” aquired as it passed through Noah were:
A. 8 being saved in the ark, with 8 being the number of the new creation,
B. the release and removal of some “cursedness” through the event, (Gen 5:29, Gal 3:13, Rev 22:3; )
C. the changing of some aspects of a ‘heaven & earth’ through a ‘flood’, (compare Dan 9:26, Is 54:9,10 Is 59:19; 2 Pet 3:7)
D. and a judgement upon the people who remained with the former ‘heavens & earth.’ ( Deut 18:15-19; 1 Pet 4:17, 2 Pet 3:7)
Some of the aspects aquired as the covt passed through Abraham were;
A. the miraculous birth of what was called a ‘only’ son;
B. he was named and circumcised on the 8th day;
C. righteousness was declared to be by faith in God’s, then future, good coming and his good interventive power; (John 6:28,29)
D. Tha act of circumcision as a “sign” that righteousness is imputed and recieved by faith and not works of the flesh or law; (Gal 4:11) Circumcision symbolizes open exposure of the head/heart to Gods grace by the cutting away of the flesh (works). The word “flesh” is equated with attempting to appease God or gain or maintain merit, favor or power with God through some sort of works in Rom 4:1,2; Gal 3:2,3.
E. the characteristic that the blessing would, by Gods election, be passed through Isaac thus signifying the election of the miraculous through faith over the way of doubt or striving in self. (Ishmael) See also Gal 4:21ff.
F. the characteristic of a sacrificial offering of his ‘only son’ which then continued to live; ( Gen 22)
G. that God would provide “himself” a sacrificial lamb (Gen 22:8).
The statements of being multiplied exceedingly, of a generational fullfillment, and I believe the land promise, were attatchments to ‘my covenant’ signified by the word ‘and’ in Gen 17:2-9. They were not part of the blessing itself, ceased with the fulfillment of “my covenant” through Christ, and may have spiritual continuance in the eternal (new) covt and its peoples. See point 13 below.
5. It is easy to assume that since God promised to make a “great nation” through Abraham that this referred to a geographic-religious nation of “Israel’. But Abraham had been declared righteous for believing God’s promise that he (not Nimrod) would bear the blessing of the seed of God; and later, that he would miraculously father a child in their later age. This birth foretyped the miraculous conception of God and the woman. ( Gen 3:15) Thus, the great nation eventually made through Abraham was/is the righteous nation (Is 9:3; 26:2,5; 55:5; 60:22; 66:8; and in other OT passages) of justification and righteousness by faith in, and subordination to, Christ as God (John 6:28,29). I peter 2:9 calls the new covt people a “holy Nation” See also Matt 21:43, Rom 10:19. Though many individuals within the progression of the descendancies of Abraham/Israel held faith in the living God and his covt of mercy, both before and during the mosaic covt, the ways and means of the eternal, good covt and the mosaic covts are dissimilar and in contrast. This righteous nation is the nation redeemed from the fall of the law of sin/death and thus redeemed from the presence and fear of death through the law and way of faith.
6. The ‘nation’ of mosaic covt Israel wasn’t birthed until Moses spoke the words of the covt from Mt Nebo just before Joshua crossed Jordan to accept the stipulations and eventual latter end and judgements of the covt.
The words of Deut 5:1-3 make it clear that the national mosaic covt was NOT made with the fathers, but began that day, at least 430 or more years after the last statements were made to Abraham as passed through Jacob.
*[[Deu 5:1-3/KJV]]* v 1 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. v 2The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. v 3 The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
7. Paul so openly declares that God was ultimately speaking of blessing all humanity through his miraculous, loving and exemplary coming in Jesus in such places as;
*[[Gal 3:8]] KJV* And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Deut 12:3)
*[[Gal 3:16]] KJV* 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.
*[[Gal 3:17-18/KJV]]* v 17 And this I say, that the covenant,[of love, grace and mercy] that was confirmed before [through Abraham] of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. v 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
*[[Gal 3:29]] KJV* And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Peter adds the same;
*[[Act 3:25]] KJV* Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
By contrast, those who would misinterpret this as if it was intended to refer to a blessing upon only the genetic descendants (seeds) of Abraham or upon the later, temporary nation of the law of Moses
invoke error and a ‘cursed’ doctrine and way upon themselves as Paul affirms;
*[[Gal 1:8-9/KJV]]* v 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you [such as blessing genetic or national “Israel” to recieve blessing] than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. v 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The everlasting covt would come to/through his physical descendants but not exclusively for them. And its elements are actually in contrast against the conditional, ritualistic, temporary ways and means of the national covt as stated by Jeremiah.
*[[Jer 31:32-34/KJV]]* v 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: v 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my [New] laws [John 6:28,29, Rom 3:27-31 etc] in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. v 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, [Good God] from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
See also Ez 25:20 & Isa 65:1,2
Sometimes we as people need to subjectively experience, and see the wrong, negative, way of striving in fear and works of the flesh or religious law to help clarify the right, good way of life, truth and grace.
8. Abraham testified that he himself was not the source of the blessedness of the covt when he gave tithes to Melckizedec, the king of the city of Peace. Heb 5-7 develops this.
9. In numbers 22-24 Balaam blesses the people of Israel at a time when they posessed and embodied the testimony of monotheism and the covt of mercy from Gen 3:15 and the patrirchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel). This blessing is in direct contrast with the idolotrous beliefs of Balak and his people. Balak had even attempted to ‘curse’ the israelites by causing them to stumble against their own Good beliefs of the monotheistic GOOD God of heaven by enticing some of them into idolotry. Numbers 24:9 then, is given as a blessing to the people of, and the eventual victory of, the truth of the living monotheis creator God of heaven; in contrast with peoples believing ‘God’ was to be found or made in inanimate objects. Balaam then goes on to tell of the eventual ends of the idol worshiping groups of the area. This blessing has nothing to do with genetic identity and is not directly related to the national covt created shortly afterwards. It is related to these people posessing the truth of the living creator God of heaven and the testimony of his covt of love and mercy, in contrast with the curse of the fallacy of idols and their worship.
*[[Psa 96:5/KJV]]* For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
Just as Balaam’s would not (after being corrected by the donkey) compromise Gods election of blessing to the people entrusted with the testimony of the truth of the living God and the (then future) miraculous covt of mercy & life expressed through Abraham-Jacob; so also, the blessing to the people and way of the now fulfilled miraculous new covt of grace & truth through Jesus and His indwelling Spirit dare not be compromised. The sons/daughters of God through faith and life in the GOOD name of Christ are the heirs of the promise as explained in Gal 3:8-29. See also Gal 1:8,9.
10. The writer of Hebrews says that Abraham, Isaac, Israel were looking for a ‘heavenly country’ with GOOD foundations and statutes of God. Thus, they nor the participants of the mosaic instructions had yet recieved the complete principles, instructions and powers of the kingdom of creator God/heaven.
*[[Heb 11:9-10/KJV]]* v 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: v 10. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God…………. v 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. v 14. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. v 15. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, (Eden) they might have had opportunity to have returned. v 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city………… v 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: v 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
*[[Heb 12:18-19/KJV]]* v 18. For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, v 19. And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: v 22. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, v. 28. Wherefore we (first century believers/followers) are receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
11. In contrast and comparison with the false axiom that to bless national or genetic Israel will insure blessing, we have this declaration about the new covt peoples of Christ in Isa 65:16;
That he who blesseth himself in the earth (in his body/life) shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
12. Though its true that Abraham recieved a promise that his physical descendants (through Isaac) would, after a captivity in egypt, become as numerous as the stars, and also that he would be a father of MANY nations, this multiplying aspect of procreation applies to almost any pair who’s descendants are recorded over time.
I know of a few Amish and old order mennonite folks who number their children above 10, grandchildren above 100 and great granchildren towards 1000, all within 80 or so years. And my personal paternal namesake has likely tens of 1000’s of present living “cousins” descending from a documented pair in only 250 years and about 13-14 generations.
In addition to the miracles of fatherhood in his later years, was God just telling Abraham that the fulfillment of the promise of blessing & mercy to all peoples of the earth by Gods interventive seed, atonement and love was to come after MANY, MANY generations, and that God would protect the recording of this lineage to help confirm this promised ‘seed, until the seed would come’? The geneologies were destroyed in 70 AD.
Thus, the blessing is not to be equated with having numerous descendants, as it might seem, but with the redemption from edenic death, and forgiveness of ‘sins’, through faith in the life and new law of Christ as the incarnation of the Good, Loving God in fulfillment of Gen 3:15.
13. Paul makes a strong point in Rom 3-5 and Gal 3 that the promise to Abraham was made BEFORE the sign of circumcision (Rom 4::9-14). Circumcision, Paul says, was a sign of righteousness by faith apart from works of flesh and law. (Rom 4:11) He adds that righteousness was imputed for faith in the miraculous birth. (Ron 4:18-22) And in Gal 3 he adds that it was 430 years before the formation of the nation of the law !
Thus the fulfillment of the covt of mercy (gen 3:15) and promise of blessing to Abraham did/does not only apply to/through the physical descendants nor to/through the way and nation of the works of law, [flesh] but to all/any peoples of the earth through GOOD faith apart from those aspects.
*[[Act 17:26]] KJV* And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
*[[Deu 32:8-9/LXXE]]* v 8 When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, [Noah] he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. v 9 And his people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, Israel was the line of his inheritance.
Though the line of his inheiritance was through Isaac & Jacob/Israel as ‘sons of God, the reciipients of the inheiritance through the good truth of the living God as revealed in Jesus are any/all of the sons of Adam (Noah).
14. Rom 11:25 & 26.
*[[Rom 11:25-26/KJV]]* v 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. v. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Many might still believe in a needed continuation of Israel because they believe and have been taught that Rom 11:26 prophecied that all national Israel is to one day be saved after God is finished with saving and rapturing ‘gentiles. But this is not what this passage teaches.
In first century pre-70 AD timeframe, some individuals of the jews who originally disbelieved the gospel were temporarily blinded to the gospel (rom 11:7-10, 25) and some were prophecied to eventually come to faith through the testimony and fullness of God in believing people of the gentiles, before the soon coming judgement.
Those who disbelieved were prophecied to, and did, become jealous to the point of hounding and persecuting those who proclaimed Jesus and his words as lord, not moses, the rabbis or Caesar. Some eventually became emulators if their faith and believers in Jesus.
The believers and followers of Christ [identified as “all Israel” in ch 9], were prophecied to be relieved from this persecution and recieve continuance, preservation (saving) and favorable judgement by the deliverer coming to the believers through the roman armies.
And this was indeed the manner in which (and so) the “All Israel” [of God through Christ] were to recieve deliverance. (saving)
For more information and a study on Rom 11 see: http://wp.me/p1tI8S-9
Abrabam, Isaac, Jacob/Israel all had faith in the living, monotheistic creator God of heaven and walked in Grace and faith of his goodness and future seed of mercy. (Gen 3:15)
These three individuals also pre-characterized and foreimaged the three progressive places of God during the progressive revealing of his will and person.
Abram/Abraham, represents the father; Isaac represented Jesus, the Son, and Jacob/Isrsel represents the changed, good, empowered life of those who become sons/daughters of God by faith recieving Jesus’ person, doctrine, example, will and intent (spirit) within. (Rom 9:6-13,24) This “tri-unity” is also symbolized by the root (Father), trunk (Son/Jesus) and branches (disciples, children of God) of the olive tree and vine and by Jesse, David and Solomon. (Rev 22:17.
Thus, Abrahams “seed”, spiritually speaking, is the people of faith in Christ as God and adhearance to his way and will of peace. They, (we) experience the LIVING presence, power, person, truth and grace of God (John 17:3) through Jesus; casting out and mortifying dead idols from “Canaan” of our bodies (new earth) and the Peace city of new Jerusalem of our hearts during the sojourn of our lives.