• | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 29:08
  • Passages covered: Genesis 12:6-7, Galatians 3:16, Galatians 3:29, Deuteronomy 30:5-6, Genesis 2:29, John 8:32-33, John 8:37, Romans 9:6-8.

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 12 | 13 |

Genesis 12 Series, Part 6, Verses 6-7

Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight, is study #6 of Genesis, chapter 12 and we are continuing to look at Genesis 12:6-7:

And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And JEHOVAH appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto JEHOVAH, who appeared unto him.

In our last Bible study we saw how the plain of Moreh, a word related to the former or early rain of the church age, identified with Canaan as a picture of the outward representation of God’s kingdom. And God’s elect did dwell in Israel of old. Then after Pentecost in 33AD God’s elect dwelt in the corporate church during the 1,955 years of the church age. During those eras, the Canaanite was in the land (in the kingdom of God) because the wheat and the tares grew together until the harvest at the end of the church age. The Great Tribulation began the end of the church age in 1988 when judgment began at the house of God and the Lord began the process of separating the wheat and the tares.

We have discussed that, so let us move on to Genesis 12:7:

And JEHOVAH appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land…

This statement is a very important statement in the Bible. In fact, it is so important that God repeats it, again, and again, and again. I would encourage anyone to look up the word “seed” in your concordance and you will see how often God made reference to the seed and to the land that they would inherit. We are going to look at some of those verses in a little while and we will see how central it is to the entire Bible that God had given that promise unto Abram: “Unto thy seed will I give this land.”

We have looked at this before, but let us go to Galatians, chapter 3 and we will define the spiritual terms by using the Bible; we will let the Bible tell us what is in view by the word “seed” and, also, the word “land.” The word “land” can also be translated as “earth.” It says in Galatians 3:16:

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.

Then it says further on, in Galatians 3:29:

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The seed (singular) is Christ, but Jesus saved a people for Himself – perhaps, as many as 200 million. They are all Christ’s because He has purchased them and bought them with the price of His own life and, therefore, those that are Christ’s are counted for Abraham’s seed. They are counted for the seed.

This is a good example of something that appears fairly often as we look for spiritual meaning. We see a dual meaning or a dual application. We might look at a verse and we can see, on one level, that it refers to Christ and, on another level, it refers to the body of Christ, the elect.

For example, we can see that with the Scripture that says in Romans 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Then in Isaiah 52:7, it says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good…” One verse refers to the feet of “them” and in the other verse it refers to the feet of “him.” So, Christ is in view, but so is the body of Christ. Christ is the “seed” and the elect are the “seed” because they are in Him. You will find this duality often in relationship to Christ and those He has saved.

We read of the promise unto Abram: “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” God has just explained that the seed is Christ and the seed is also all those whom Christ has saved. If we follow the word “seed” in the Bible, we find this in Deuteronomy 30:5-6:

And JEHOVAH thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And JEHOVAH thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love JEHOVAH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Again, we see the promise. Here, it is delivered in different wording. It says, “And JEHOVAH thy God will circumcise thine heart.” By the way, do not ever try to do that literally. If you take a scalpel and attempt to circumcise someone’s heart, you will be arrested for murder; if you try to circumcise your own heart, you would commit suicide. As soon as you would try to do that on a physical level, you would die. There is no question about it. This is a verse that cannot be obeyed on any physical level. Actually, it is God Himself that must do that circumcision: “And JEHOVAH thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love JEHOVAH thy God…” Obviously, God is not going to take a scalpel and circumcise anyone’s heart. He is not going to “cut off the foreskin of a heart,” because there is no foreskin on the heart and any kind of physical action along those lines would bring tragedy. You see, this is a verse that can be understood spiritually and it is a very helpful verse in understanding the Bible when God says He will make someone “born again” or when He says He has circumcised that individual’s heart. Let us put this idea together with what it says in Romans 2:28:

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

All male Jews were to be circumcised physically, in accord with the Old Testament commandment. God gave that command to Abraham that all the males in his household were to be circumcised. So, the Jews consider themselves to be the “seed” of Abraham. We will look at how that can be true, but for now let us go back to Romans 2, verse 28, where God has just said, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly,” and then He goes on to say in Genesis 2:29:

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

We just read in Deuteronomy 30:6: “And JEHOVAH thy God will circumcise thine heart.” So, this is also another evidence that salvation is of the Lord – a man cannot circumcise his own heart. It takes God’s action; God must perform the spiritual circumcision of the heart. Likewise, a man cannot say some words to get himself “born again.” It takes God’s action. No man is born of the will of the flesh, but of God, as it says in John 1, verse 13. The action of salvation is always performed by God and He will save whom He will save. He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy and He will have compassion upon whom He will have compassion. God saves His elect according to His own will and His own good pleasure. And when God saved a man, He made that person a spiritual Jew of spiritual Israel because that person has become circumcised of the heart.

What if that man is Chinese? What if he is from Africa? What if he is from Australia or Sweden? How can they be Jews? It is because God can make them a Jew through spiritual circumcision. He has taken out their heart of stone and given them a heart of flesh. According to the language of the Bible, God has performed that circumcision and the individuals are counted as Jews and as the seed of Abraham, despite the fact that they do not have any Jewish descent physically. He is not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they are Jews in another way.

God says of those that are physical Jews that can trace their heritage and descent back to Abraham: “That is not a Jew and that is not the circumcision.” We can gather from that He is saying that they are not Jews if they are of the physical descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That is not what God counts as a Jew, but you are a “true Jew” if you have been circumcised in heart. In other words, the Lord reckons the spiritual circumcision of the heart (performed by Him) is of greater value than physical circumcision performed by man. There is a spiritual Israel and a physical Israel. God’s people are spiritual Israel. He has already cut off Israel of old. He cursed the fig tree and never again would be have a relationship with national Israel. Since the time of the cross when the veil of the temple was rent in twain, they are no longer His holy people. Earthly Jerusalem is not His holy city. If there were a temple, it would no more be a holy temple. That is over and done with, because it was only for the period of time when they were the outward representation of the kingdom of God on the earth. But God divorced Israel and He began to use the churches and congregations as His representatives to the world.

This is a huge point that is often misunderstood by natural-minded theologians. There are numerous verses about God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the promise of the land to the “seed.” They completely ignore that Genesis, chapter 17 says it is an “everlasting possession.” They completely ignore Galatians, chapter 3, verse 16 that speaks of Christ as the “seed” and all those that are in Him as the “seed.” It is definitely blindness and it is, perhaps, a willful blindness. They have their minds made up about Israel and no truth of the Bible can convince them otherwise because they are firmly locked in to the natural reasoning that governs them. They think it has to refer to physical Israel – that nation in the Middle East – and, therefore, national Israel is of supreme importance to them because they think that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their physical seed that they would inherit the land. You can see how that has been involved in the politics regarding the Middle East region for a long, long time and this issue is “off to the side,” but it is in the back of people’s minds when they think about these things, but it should not be thought of in this way. The Promised Land is the new heaven and new earth, which is the eternal habitation of the “seed,” all those people God has saved, whether they are physical Jews or Gentiles. They are counted for the seed. It is everyone God has saved. Abraham was saved. Isaac was saved. Jacob was saved. Joseph was saved. David was saved. They were all Jews and they are counted for the seed because they are in Christ and they will receive the true land of the kingdom of heaven, the new earth. For the rest of the (physical) Jews that were never truly saved and born again, they were never circumcised in their hearts. They were only circumcised in the flesh.

It is similar to the New Testament churches when God gave them the ceremonial Law of baptism and all kinds of people were water baptized and they think that because they were baptized in water, they are saved and will enter into the kingdom of heaven. They think they have the blessing of God because they were baptized with water outwardly. It is the identical mistake that was made by Israelites of old when they thought obedience to an outward commandment like circumcision would bring the blessing of God. They completely misunderstood the nature of the Bible. The Bible hides truth and you must look for the deeper, spiritual meaning – always and not just sometimes. It is not just when God makes the statement, “Here is a parable,” but you always have to look for the deeper truth and the hidden meaning of a verse, passage or chapter. Always. Regarding baptism, God hid the same truth as He hid regarding circumcision. When we are baptized of the Holy Spirit, it has to do with the washing away of sin and we were baptized in Christ at the foundation of the earth when Jesus made payment for our sins, but there was application of that salvation through the hearing of the Word of God. Through the hearing of the Word of God, we became “born again” or “circumcised in heart” or “baptized by the Holy Spirit.” They all mean the same thing. The circumcision of the heart means the “cutting off” of iniquity. Being baptized by the Spirit means the washing away of iniquity. It is the same result, as we are cleansed from all sin and guilt and responsibility to pay. The penalty is death, but Christ made that payment and, therefore, we are free.

This is exactly what brought about this statement from the Jews in John 8:32-33:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Do you see what they are saying? They are saying, “We do not need whatever freedom you are talking about. We are Abraham’s seed.” You can hear their pride and arrogance. They think they have the blessings and the promise, do they not? God had said repeatedly to Abraham and his seed that He would give them the land. God said to Isaac and his seed that He would give the land. God said to Jacob and his seed that He would give the land. Repeatedly, God made promise to the seed and these Jews were probably no different than millions of Jews throughout the history of Israel as they said what they had been taught and convinced of: “We be Abraham’s seed.” Surprisingly, Jesus acknowledged that was true in John 8:37:

I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

So, we might wonder if we have made a mistake with our original conclusion that the seed are both Jews and Gentiles or all those God has saved in Christ. How can it be that Jesus would agree with their statement that they are Abraham’s seed? You see, this is the nature of the Bible and this may be a point where some theologians have fallen: the Jews say they are Abraham’s seed and Jesus agreed. Theologians of a “premillennial” persuasion are especially prone to feel that the nation of Israel plays a major part of future prophesy. They might come here for their proof text where Jesus said, “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed.” However, again, we must compare Scripture with Scripture and we must check out all the verses that speak of the seed, in order to understand it properly. When we do, we find an explanation for this in Romans, chapter 9. There is no contradiction and we were correct in our earlier assessment that the “seed” are those saved by Christ, which includes a vast number of Gentiles. They are part of spiritual Israel because they have been circumcised in heart, even though they are not physical Jews. It is explained in Romans 9:6-8:

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Here, again, when we put this together with Romans, chapter 2 where it says, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart,” and then God says, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel,” the nation of Israel. That is, the nation of Israel was at one time as many as a couple million people, but God said there were (only) seven thousand that had not bowed the knee to Baal, so there were many Israelites “in the flesh,” like the ones that Jesus spoke with in John, chapter 8 who told him “We be Abraham’s seed.” Yes, that may be true on a physical level. You may descend from Abraham and you are the seed in that respect, but on the spiritual level, you are not through Isaac, the promised son. You would have to read Galatians, chapter 4 to see what God is saying as He discusses those two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. One was by promise and represented God’s elect and the other son represented the Law. God is doing the same thing here when He says, “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” The children of the flesh are of the Law and they are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed and they are those that are saved by grace. They are those that are saved by the faith and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are those God has saved. God has circumcised their hearts and turned them into true “Jews” or spiritual Israel and they are “counted for the seed,” and not the others. This seed is the promised seed, the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that will inherit the land for an everlasting possession. The earthly seed or the physical Jew will not inherit the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession because the land of Canaan is a picture of the new heaven and new earth in eternity. Living upon that land for evermore is a picture of living in the kingdom of God for evermore. The physical Jew that is only circumcised in the flesh is not going to receive that promise.

Again, we can see there is physical Israel and a spiritual Israel, just like there is a physical or corporate church and there is a spiritual church. The language of the Bible is so wonderful in its beauty and complexity and there is a “key” which unlocks its mysteries. God grants to that key to His people. He gives them ears to hear and eyes to see.