About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Seed Of Abraham
our post-modern Christian world, being Biblically precise no longer
seems to matter. That sure
wasn't the case with the apostle Paul.
Galatians 3:16 reads, "the promises were spoken to Abraham
and his seed. The Scripture
does not say 'and to his seeds', meaning many people, but, 'and to your
seed', meaning one person, who is Christ".
"promises" Paul speaks of are in reference to the promises God
spoke to Abraham in what we call the "Abrahamic Covenant".
Paul says that certain promises were spoken to two recipients,
Abraham and his seed. He
then goes on to make a big deal over one letter, the letter
"s". In reference
to the Abrahamic Covenant, Paul says the word "seed" is
singular, not plural. So,
"seed" can only refer to one person, not to many people.
He concludes that the seed is Jesus.
This verse has prompted much controversy over the centuries. It's
also a foundational passage to what is called "Replacement
make a long story short, Replacement Theology states that only Abraham
and Jesus are recipients of the promises God spoke to Abraham, as Paul
says in Galatians 3:16. Israel
is excluded from these promises because she rejected Jesus the seed.
However, the church is included in the promises because she
embraced the seed and is now found in Christ.
Therefore, these theologians interpret all Old Testament
prophecies directed towards
for the rest of the story. God
spoke a number of promises to Abraham throughout the book of Genesis.
In these promises the Hebrew word "zera" is used to
denote the recipient, or recipients, of these promises.
"Zera" corresponds to our English words
"seed" or "offspring".
Every time "zera" is used in these Genesis passages,
the King James translators translated "zera" into the one word
isn't so with the New International Version.
The NIV translators translated "zera" into the two
words, "offspring" (another word for seed) and
the understanding of the word "seed" in Galatians 3:16 being
the one person Jesus, the KJV translators would have translated
"zera" as a singular "seed" instead of plural
reason for this could be due to the fact that Replacement Theology was
the common understanding of the day.
Theologians for the most part had an anti-Israel bias that would
not allow them to include Israel
as a recipient of the Abrahamic Covenant, thus excluding her from
prophetic history. Besides,
there was no national
the NIV translators did, and do, have
English word "seed" can be both singular and plural, while the
word "descendents" is clearly plural.
In Hebrew the word "zera" can also be singular or
plural. Here lies the root
of our differing translations. Should
we think of "zera" as being singular or plural in the Genesis
is the point. The NIV
translates "zera" as both "offspring" (seed) and
KJV translates "zera" as "seed".
How you understand "zera" or "seed" makes all
the difference in the world. Those
studying the KJV with Galatians 3:16 in mind will think that only
Abraham and the seed Jesus are recipients of the promises spoken to
Abraham. Those studying the
NIV will think there are three recipients of the promises spoken to
Abraham; Abraham, Jesus the seed, and
know what side of the fence I've fallen on.
I've climbed the fence and looked in both directions.
After teetering for a number of years on the top of the fence, I
finally fell onto the other side. I
once believed that Israel
was excluded from the Abrahamic Covenant, making her of no consequence
today. I no longer believe
in case you think that Paul always understood "seed" as being
singular, I'll quote what he says in Galatians 3:29.
"If you belong to Christ, you are Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise".
The word "seed" here is in direct reference to the
plural word "heirs". So,
"seed" in this sentence must be understood in the plural
sense, not singular sense. Clearly,
Paul doesn't always understand "seed" to be singular.
context of "seed" in Galatians 3:16 concerns salvation in the
name of Jesus only. Paul is
not discussing the prophetic and historic significance of Abraham's
as it relates to the Abrahamic Covent.
He does that in Romans 9 through 11.
conclude that there are three recipients of the Abrahamic Covenant, not
two. They are Abraham,
Jesus, and Israel. That means
is still prophetically and historically significant in the mind of God.
I'd suggest that we keep an eye on