Author: Ron Graham
The Seed of Abraham
—The promise of a Son
Throughout history, God has been making "very great and precious promises" (2Peter 1:4). We begin this series of lessons with the promises that the Lord God made long ago to the patriarch Abraham.
Note —Patriarch means the father of a great family, or ancestor of a people such as a dynasty, nation, or race. A mother in the same sense is called a matriarch. An example of a patriarch in the Bible is Abraham.
PATRIARCH —the father of a great family, or ancestor of a people such as a dynasty, nation, or race. A mother in the same sense is called a matriarch. An example of a patriarch in the Bible is Abraham.
God told Abram to leave his homeland and go forth to a land that God had yet to show him. God promised that Abraham's descendants would possess that land, and become a great nation. The Lord also said, "In you all the families of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3, 22:18).
There are two main blessings promised by God to Abraham...
- 1. The Promised Land,
- 2. The Promised Seed (or Descendant).
Abraham believed God, and obeyed. He pointed out to God, however, that he had no child through whom the promise could be fulfilled. God promised in reply that Abraham would certainly have an heir, and have descendants as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:1-5, Genesis 17:1-8).
By this time Abraham was nearly 100 years old, and his wife Sarah was elderly and barren. Yet Abraham and Sarah came to believe completely in God's promises (Hebrews 11:8-16).
1 The Promised Land
The first promise to Abraham, often referred to as “the land promise” actually has two components...
- i. The Nation Promise: At the time Abraham was sent forth from his homeland, God said, "I will make you a great nation" (Genesis 12:2)
- ii. The Land Promise: At the time Abraham passed through the land of Canaan, God said, "To your descendants I will give this land" (Genesis 12:6-7).
Birth of a Nation
It took a long time, several generations, for Abraham's descendants to become a nation and possess the land...
Abraham and Sarah had a son Isaac, just as God had promised. Isaac in turn had a son called Jacob (who was later called Israel, and he in turn had twelve sons who fathered the twelve tribes who later comprised the nation of Israel (Acts 7:8).
Note —Israel The name “Israel” applies to four entities in the Bible...
1. the patriarch Jacob,
2. the kingdom ruled by David and Solomon,
3. the northern kingdom after the division,
4. the church that Christ established.
This nation's womb was Egypt where one of Jacob's sons, Joseph, was ruler (Acts 7:9). Jacob's descendants multiplied in Egypt. However beyond Joseph's time, Jacob's descendants for several generations struggled in Egypt as slaves (Acts 7:17-19).
In time, Moses led them out of Egypt (Acts 7:35-36). If Egypt was the nation's womb, the wilderness wanderings and the long and desultory conquest of Canaan was the nation's cradle.
Eventually, generations later, David became king over the nation, followed by his son Solomon who reigned at the peak of the kingdom's glory, and observed that God had done "according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed." (1Kings 8:56). Solomon had reference to the land promise —that Abraham's descendants would become a great nation in the promised land.
2 The Promised Descendant
This is often called "the seed promise" in contrast to "the land promise". Certainly this seed promise is far more magnificent than the land-and-nation promise. Like that land promise, the seed promise also has two components...
- i. The Seed Promise: God said to Abraham, "In your seed all families of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 22:18)
- ii. The Throne Promise: A long time later, God said to David "When you are dead, I will raise up your descendant after you... and I will establish his kingdom... your throne shall be established forever" (2Samuel 7:12-17).
The “Seed” Wasn't Solomon
If people thought this seed-and-throne promise referred exclusively to David's son Solomon, they were wrong. Although he reigned gloriously, and even built a temple house for God as the promise went on to state, yet one salient thing was not true.
As noted above, God had said to David, "I will establish the throne of his kingdom —your throne— for ever" (2Samuel 7:13, 16-17).
Solomon was not the promised "seed" because he died in disgrace. His kingdom divided, and was eventually destroyed, reduced to a remnant.
The “Seed” in Prophecy
During the dark years of the kingdom's demise, the prophet Isaiah was saying:
"A child will be born to us, a Son will be given us, and the government will rest upon his shoulders. His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace on the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it with justice and righteousness, from then on for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this" (Isaiah 9:1-7).
The “Seed” Comes
This Son was of course our Lord Jesus (Galatians 3:16). He came centuries later "in the fulness of time" (Galatians 4:4). He was "Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1). Peter on the day of Pentecost proclaimed Jesus as the descendant of David who sat upon David's throne (Acts 2:29-36).
Have you acknowledged Jesus as the promised seed of Abraham and the Son of God?