Q: #221. Who or what is Abraham's seed?
By: Steve Shirley
A: To understand this, we need to start in (Gen 12:1-3). It is here that God first made a covenant with Abraham (sometimes called the Abrahamic Covenant). God promised He would do 7 things for Abraham in these verses: 1. "I will make you a great nation," 2. "I will bless you," 3. "I will make your name great," 4. "I will make you a blessing," 5. "I will bless those who bless you," 6. "Those who curse you, I will curse" 7. "In you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
Later, God made 2 more promises to Abraham in (Gen 13:14-17): He would give the land of Canaan to him and all of his seed (descendants) forever and that his seed (descendants) would be many (as the dust of the earth). This promise of numerous descendants appears to have been on Abraham's mind later in (Gen 15:1-6). Abraham (actually Abram to this point) did not appear to understand how God would give him numerous descendants when he was childless (Gen 15:2-3). God then reaffirmed his promise of many descendants and told him that he would give him a child (Gen 15:4-6). God also reaffirmed that He would give Abraham the land of Canaan (Gen 15:7-8,18) (and one more time in Gen 17:8).
God then sealed this covenant in (Gen 15:9-21). It should be noted in these verses that God alone made this covenant and not Abraham (usually it took both agreeing parties to seal a covenant). This meant that God would fulfill the agreement regardless of what the other party did.
Later, in (Gen 17:1-21), God told Abraham that all of the promises made to him would also extend to all of his seed (descendants): (Gen 17:7) "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee." (Also see Gen 17:19,21)
God made the promise to bless Abraham and multiply his seed (descendants) one more time in (Gen 22:17). And, in (Gen 22:18) says again, "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed" (said earlier in Gen 12:3, and later in Gen 26:4). These verses (Gen 12:3 and Gen 22:18) are a key for us today, because they point to Christ. Two places in the New Testament repeat these verses. In (Acts 3:25), Peter repeats this phrase when speaking to a Jewish audience and Paul uses it in (Gal 3:8) when speaking to a Gentile audience. Both places make it clear this was speaking of Jesus: (Acts 3:26) says it and (Gal 3:8) says it was "the gospel preached beforehand to Abraham." It is also important to note that Jesus was in the direct lineage of Abraham (Lk 3:23-37).
That the "seed" refers to Jesus is made most clear in (Gal 3:16) "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ."
What does all this mean? We can clearly see in scripture that God blessed the "physical seed" (descendants) of Abraham (the Jews), and most agree that blessing occurs today. However, the other component of this blessing is the "spiritual seed" of Abraham. This blessing comes through Jesus Christ, and is not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles as well. (Rom 9:6-8) makes this clear.
(Rom 9:6-8) ...For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; (7) nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants (seed)... (8) That is, it is not the children of the flesh (physical seed) who are children of God, but the children of the promise (spiritual seed through Jesus) are regarded as descendants (seed). (in quotations mine)
So, in other words, the seed of Abraham that blessed all of the nations was Jesus Christ. Therefore, the promises that God made to the "seed" of Abraham belong to those in Jesus Christ. The Israelites were the seed of Abraham and God's chosen people. The promises to the seed pointed forward to Jesus. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Rom 4:3). (Rom 4:23-24)(NIV) continues, "The words "it was credited to him" were not written for him alone, (24) but also for us, to whom God will credit with righteousness-- for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."
Therefore, today, all who have faith in Jesus Christ are God's chosen people, Abraham's seed, and heirs to the promises God made.
(Gal 3:29) And if ye be Christ's, then ye are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.