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 and eschatology (doctrine of future events) that dominates the thinking of so 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, true seed or 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 with him while teaching Ephesians because he said, "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 fulfil 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 and fully restore man back to himself.
God promised Abraham that through him "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 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 this promise to Abram to his son Isaac in Genesis 26:3-4, and then 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 promised seed of Abraham to its ultimate destiny.
One of the least believed, or perhaps better said understood, 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? Whom does God see as the SEED today? A natural people in a secular state and elsewhere, 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 THE CHRIST.”
Scholars C.F. Hogg and W.E. Vine comment, "It is true that the use of 'SEEDS' would have been unnatural 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 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." Verse five continues, "- - Who formed me from the womb to be His Servant." Matthew 2:15 quotes the Hosea phrase as fulfilled by the time Jesus and his parents spent 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 which include the descendants of Ishmael (God hears), God's goal was bound up in the Promised Seed who is JESUS CHRIST, and 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. We quote from the Weymouth New Testament.
“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave-girl and one by the free woman. But we see that the child of the slave-girl was born in the common course of nature; but the child of the free woman in fulfilment of the promise. All this is allegorical; for the women represent two Covenants. One has its origin on Mount Sinai, and bears children destined for slavery. This is Hagar; for the name Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, which is in bondage together with her children. But the Jerusalem which is above is free, and she is our mother.” Verse 28 affirms, “But you, brethren, like Isaac, are children born in fulfilment of a promise.”
Dividing the SEED of CHRIST, or of Abraham, into NATURAL and SPIRITUAL groupings is contrary to the principle of 1 Corinthians 15:46, "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterwards the spiritual." Note that it doesn't say, "and then the natural again." Dare we believe Ephesians 2:14, "He is our peace, who has made BOTH ONE." This 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, however it is only, "those who are OF FAITH that 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 its purpose and we are indebted. The True Israel is, Christ the Promised Seed, and his descendants, the Church, which is the Body of Christ as the hymn, All Hail the Power of Jesus Name says. “Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race, Ye ransomed from the fall, Hail him who saves you by his grace, And crown him Lord of all.”
In God's view there is only ONE Israel, one true 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, composed of a multitude of converts and people absorbed in because of being conquered in war. In the early lineage of Jesus Christ there were Canaanite and Moabites. Therefore, we know that the calling is for ALL peoples regardless of ethic or 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 OF THE TRUE SEED OF ABRAHAM!