2001-08-25 - Messiah: His Final Call to Israel
At the time of the fall, God appeared in the Garden of Eden and reproved the woman for her conduct and Adam for his behavior. Then turning to the serpent, the Lord said to him, "And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
The expression, "the seed of the woman," as is recognized by all conservative scholars, is a veiled reference to the Savior of the world. In this passage, the promise of the deliverer of mankind is in its embryonic form, but in subsequent revelations, the full-sized stature of the world deliverer is presented.
A second basic passage is found in Genesis 12:1-3: Now Jehovah said unto Abram, "get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make they name great. And be thou a blessing, and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse. And in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. "
In this covenant which God made with Abraham, there are seven marvelous promises. One of the most important promises, if not the most important, is expressed in these words: "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." In these words are reflected the plan and purpose of God in bringing blessings to the whole world.
The Lord repeated to Isaac this Abrahamic covenant in the following words: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 26:4).
To Jacob, the Lord reaffirmed this covenant and showed him a vision in which he saw a ladder connecting the heavens with the Earth, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it. "And, behold, Jehovah stood above it, and said, 'I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the West, and to the East, and to the North, and to the South. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." ( Genesis 28:13-14 )
>From the passages noted above, it is clear that God announced ahead of time that it is His plan and purpose to bless the world through Abraham and his seed. From an examination of all passages bearing upon this subject, it is obvious that the expression thy seed has two connotations -- first, Abraham's literal seed through Isaac and Jacob; and second, an individual -- the Messiah of Israel, the seed par excellence. That thy seed refers to Abraham's literal descendants is evident from the following facts: God appeared to Abraham one night and said, " and he brought him forth abroad, and said, 'look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them.' And he said unto him, 'so shall thy seed be.'" ( Genesis 15:5 )Here seed indicates Abraham's literal descendants, the Jewish nation.
Again in Genesis 22:16-18, God said: And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, "by myself have I sworn," saith Jehovah, "because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice."
Without questionings, seed, in these verses, refers to the literal decedents of Abraham. In the last clause of verse 17, however, seed is used in the singular number: "And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies." When this promise is studied in the light of parallel passages from the various prophets, it is seen that the Messiah of Israel, the God-man, is the only one who can and will overcome the world power and will reign over all the nations. According to Psalm 2:7-9, God the father in conversation with God the Son, the Messiah promises : "I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, 'thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.'"
The prophet Isaiah also shows that the Messiah is to have world dominion:"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6,7)
These two passages show that the promise in Genesis 22:17 means: "And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies."
One sees from the facts in the scripture quoted above that God's plan is to bless all the nations in and through the Jewish people. The term seed finds its highest expression in the Messiah, through whom the world will eventually be blessed - and completely so. Luke 2:32 calls Him "a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
In His Service,