Editor’s Note: This material was first published in book form in
1989 by the John Ankerberg Evangelistic Association (now known as
the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute).
And Jehovah said to Abram… "I
will make of you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name
great, and you will be a blessing… and in you shall all families of the
earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:2-3)
[Almighty God says to Abram]:
"…For I have made you a father of many nations. And I will make you
exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you and kings shall
come out of you." (Gen. 17:1, 5-6)
[God states to Abraham]: "And
in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Gen.
The Context of
Genesis 12, God has commanded Abram to leave his own country and travel to
"the land I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). There God promises He will make
him into a "great nation" and that the entire earth will be blessed
In Genesis 17,
when Abram is ninety years old, the Lord appears to Abram and again tells
him He will make him fruitful. God also tells him that nations and kings
will come forth from his seed.
In Genesis 22,
Abram (who is now Abraham because God changed his name) has been tested by
God. Abraham showed God he is willing to do anything God asks. God sees
this and promises Abraham that from his seed all the nations of the
earth shall be blessed.
of These Texts
Note here the
number of times God promises Abraham that all peoples on the earth will be
blessed because of his seed. It is likely that Abraham knew of the promise
made by God to Adam and Eve that from the woman’s seed a male descendant
would come and crush Satan’s head.
Now, God extends
His promise through Abraham’s seed. The question is, "Who is the offspring
of Abraham God is speaking of who will bless all nations?"
At this point,
it is too early to identify the person in the future who will bless all
the nations. But whoever the specific person or seed will be, he must
come from the seed of this one man, Abraham. Also, we must join
God’s promises to Eve with those He gave to Abraham. Thus, God’s promised
seed must not only be a man, but also a descendant of Abraham. As we will
see, God further adds to the description of the promised seed, even while
He continues to limit the line from which the special One will come: God
next says He will come from the line of Abraham, then Isaac, and then
returning to this prophecy; we know from history that God blessed
Abraham’s seed both individually and collectively since: 1) God made
Abraham into a great nation—the Jewish nation; 2) God did bless Abraham
abundantly; 3) God did make his name great (e.g., He is honored by both
Jews and Muslims). We also know that all peoples on the earth were blessed
through Abraham, both culturally and spiritually.
In matters of banking and
commerce and finance, the world owes Israel an immense debt. In matters
of statesmanship, particularly international statesmanship, the debt is
also large. From the time of David until now, Israelitish public men
have been at the helm, sometimes in one nation and sometimes in another.
In science and literature and music, the debt is likewise great. But
high above all these things, the literature of Israel’s prophets has
been translated into all languages. Israel has been made the channel for
communicating to mankind the monotheism of the religion of Yahweh….
Suppose we stop at this point, and ask: Has the promise been kept? Have
all the families of the ground been blessed in Abraham and his seed? Who
can answer otherwise than in the affirmative?25
But there is
much more for us to consider. In the New Testament we discover that Jesus
Christ was also a physical descendant of Abraham. The facts clearly show
that no man has had such influence upon the world as Jesus Christ.26
Matthew places at the front of his book this important statement: "A
record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of
Abraham" (Mt. 1:1). Why? Because Matthew had read the Hebrew
Scriptures and knew God had promised to bless all the nations through
Abraham’s seed. For Matthew, Jesus was the One God described to Abraham.
The spiritual blessing of Abraham is also evident to the Apostle Paul who
writes in Galatians 3:8-9: "The Scripture foresaw
that God would justify the Gentiles by faith [in Christ], and announced
the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you
[Abraham’s seed].’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham,
the man of faith."
We will not here
describe completely the increasingly narrow parental line God revealed,
but a brief outline of the scriptural promises reveals that God’s special
Person could only come out of the following lineage and circumstances:
• from the
seed of the woman (any possible man)
• from Abraham
(one man’s descendants are selected from all men on earth)
• from Isaac
(not Ishmael: one half of Abraham’s lineage is eliminated—Genesis
• from Jacob
(not Esau: one half of Jacob’s lineage is now eliminated—Genesis
• from Jesse
(Isaiah 11:1; Luke 3:23, 32)
• from David
(Jesse had at least eight sons; seven are now eliminated—1 Samuel
Bethlehem (all cities in the world are now eliminated but one—Micah
Identify the Messiah
Messiah is, He must fit the following descriptions:
a male child (the Hebrew text specifically uses a 3rd person, singular,
masculine pronoun—"he"), will be born of the seed of the woman.
will come from the race of the Jews, and specifically from the seed of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.