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Who are Abraham's children?
promises to Abraham and his seed. There is a family tree of his
physical descendants given in the Bible. Does being a physical
descendant of Abraham entitle a person to inherit the promises made to
Abraham? The answer is central to understanding the work of
Christ during both his first and second advent.
time of Jesus' birth Jewish religious leaders believed the messiah
would come to rule earthly Israel as a restored sovereign
nation. They looked for and sought a messiah to restore the
kingdom of Israel and free them from Roman rule. Their
theological views were man centered and earth bound. They
thought only in terms of the temporal kingdoms of this earth.
Present day Jewish religious leaders and most evangelical Christian
leaders suffer from the same earth centric views. The Jewish
leaders of Jesus' time did not look for a messiah whose mission was
spiritual instead of political. They did not expect messiah to
offer himself as a sacrifice and die in place of those who would have
faith like Abraham. Their evil hearts entertained political
aspirations which blinded them to eternal life and the meaning of the
would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest
ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come
in." (Romans 11:25, KJV)
Christian evangelicals are following similar misleading paths in their
quest to understand messianic prophesies. Their discussion of
prophesy centers around Abraham's physical descendants and the
physical nation of Israel. They fail to distinguish between the
lineage of faith and the lineage of flesh. This failure causes
them to view messianic prophesies with an earth bound political focus
similar to the Jewish leaders of Jesus' time. Along these
specious paths are false teachers who have set up "TV ministries"
(sic) which sensationalize news about earthly Israel's politics to
feed the emotions of those who keep sending money to keep it all
going. Entertaining it may be but truth it is not. Turn
off the voices of falsehood and read the Bible while relying upon the
Holy Spirit who alone gives understanding.
chapter 8 records Jesus teaching in the temple where he engaged the
Pharisees in a dialogue about ancestry. I encourage all to read
the full chapter. This chapter is an essential text to
understanding the distinction between the lineage of faith and the
lineage of flesh. Jesus' teaching was not welcomed by the
pharisees because his doctrine stripped away the veneer of credibility
covering their corrupt and false theology. Their theological
views were founded entirely on the genealogy of the flesh. They
felt secure as children of Abraham but Jesus' words placed them in
danger of eternal damnation. They suddenly found themselves
supported only by their kinship to their earthly forefather who,
according to Jesus, does not make one Abraham's child.
examine the dialogue recorded in John chapter 8. The Pharisees
were children of Abraham through Isaac the physical seed of Abraham
but Jesus said to them, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are
of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23, KJV)
Jesus acknowledged in verse 37 of this chapter that the Pharisees were
the children of Abraham but in verse 39 he declares they are not the
children of Abraham. "I know that ye are Abraham’s
seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in
you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do
that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said
unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, if ye
were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of
Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you
the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
(John 8:37 - 40, KJV) Jesus declares them to be children of the
devil, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts
of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and
abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the
father of it." (John 8:44, KJV)
How is it
possible for descendants of Abraham to be children of the devil rather
than Abraham's children? Because they did not possess true
lineage to Abraham. Their lineage was in flesh and blood but
what is needed is the lineage of faith. The lineage of the flesh
is not a valid passport to heaven nor does it provide understanding of
the work of the messiah in bringing salvation and complete redemption
to those who share Abraham's faith. The lineage of flesh is
temporal. The lineage of faith is eternal.
acknowledged the pharisees were children of Abraham but said they were
not children of Abraham but children of the devil. They
understood only physical ancestry. Spiritual ancestry, which is
inherited by faith, was unknown to them as shown in the conversation
between Nicodemus and Jesus in John chapter 3 verses 1 through 21
(please read in your Bible). Nicodemus asked, "How can these
things be?" "Jesus answered him, Are you the teacher of
Israel and yet you do not understand these things?
(John 3:10, ESV2011) Nicodemus and the other pharisees
understood physical birth and lineage but had a complete lack of
knowledge and understanding of spiritual matters. This lack of
understanding is still present among the Jews. Something
other than physical ancestry is needed to be a child of Abraham and
inherit the promises made to him. This article examines who are
the children of Abraham.
Pharisees were born as physical children of Abraham through Isaac the
promised physical seed. However Jesus clearly said the
Pharisees were not the children of Abraham. The Pharisees
claimed Abraham as their father during the discourse with Jesus and
Jesus acknowledged this to be true. The Pharisees valued their
ability to trace their physical ancestry back to Abraham. God
made promises to Abraham and Jews claim these promises based
exclusively upon their physical kinship to Abraham. This
claim is the root of the ownership controversy between Jews in the
modern day state of Israel and others who also are physical
descendants of Abraham by Ishmael (son of Hagar) who was a son by
flesh but not promise. Jesus made it absolutely clear that to be
Abraham's child is not determined by being physical descended from
Abraham. This fact must be believed and accepted in order to
understand who are Abraham's children and inherit the promises made to
Apostle Paul addressed this issue in his letter to the church in
Rome. "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also
bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and
continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were
accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the
flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the
adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law,
and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers,
and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over
all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 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." (Romans 9:1 - 8, KJV)
taught the same when he wrote to the church in Galatia. I
suggest reading the entire 3rd chapter of Galatians. "Even as
Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for
righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith,
the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture,
foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,
preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all
nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith
are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:6 - 9,
KJV) Faith (believing God's word) determines who are Abraham's
children, NOT being a descendant by flesh.
continues in Galatians chapter 3 to teach that the giving of the law
to the physical nation of Israel did not annul or invalidate the
promises made to Abraham. The promises to Abraham, who received
the same by faith, came 430 years before the law given on Mount
Sinai. The promises to Abraham were to those who demonstrate
faith like Abraham, not those who only share physical kinship with
Abraham. Being a physical descendant of Abraham does not
obtain/receive the benefits of the promises to Abraham. The
church in Galatia was composed of Gentiles and Jews. Some of the
Jews taught circumcision plus faith for salvation. Paul set the
record straight. "And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye
Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."
(Galatians 3:29, KJV) To be a child of Abraham does not involve
the flesh. Anyone, Jew or Gentile, who demonstrates faith in
Christ is Abraham's child and inherits the promises made to him.
blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s
covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth
thereto. 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. And this I say, that
the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law,
which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul,
that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the
inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it
to Abraham by promise." (Galatians 3:14-18, KJV)
The covenant of the law did not cancel nor supersede nor replace the
promises made to Abraham who received it by faith. The blessings
of Abraham are for all his children, Jew or Gentile, who receive
the gospel by faith.
LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy
kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew
thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee,
and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will
bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in
thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
(Genesis 12:1-3, KJV)
promised blessings to ALL families of the earth through Abram.
This includes the Gentiles as Paul said in Galatians 3 as quoted
above. Those who bless those who have faith like Abraham will be
blessed; those who curse those who have faith like Abraham will
be cursed. This blessing or cursing pertains to those who, like
Abraham, believe God's word, not to the physical descendants of
Abraham. God's promises to Abraham preceded the covenant of the
law made with the physical nation of Israel through Moses.
LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed
[Christ] will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the
LORD, who appeared unto him." (Genesis 12:7, KJV) God
promised Abraham an heir from his own body; a physical seed.
"And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall
not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own
bowels shall be thine heir." (Genesis 15:4, KJV) Isaac was
Abraham's physical seed and the physical Jews are descended from
him. Jesus was from this lineage.
same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed
[Christ] have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the
great river, the river Euphrates:" (Genesis 15:18, KJV)
God promised Abraham's seed land on this earth. The writer of
Hebrews tells us Abraham looked for something other than the land of
Canaan. Abraham was seeking a city designed and built by God,
not a city designed and built by man.
"And the seventh angel
sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms
of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his
Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
(Revelation of John 11:15, KJV)
faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he
should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not
knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in
the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles
with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and
maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV)
land of Canaan was the fulfillment of the promises God made to Abraham
then why did Abraham look for another city designed and built by God
himself? The writer of Hebrews also states that the promises
were not fulfilled during Abraham's life. "These all died in
faith, not having received the promises, but having
seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
(Hebrews 11:13, KJV)
apostle Paul wrote the following to the Galatians. "For it is
written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other
by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after
the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one
from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar
[Hagar]. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth
to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her
children. But Jerusalem which is above is free,
which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice,
thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that
travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she
which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the
children of promise." (Galatians 4:22-28,
KJV) Here Paul distinguishes between the covenant of law given
to the Moses and the Israelites on mount Sinai and the Jerusalem which
is not of this earth but is above. The covenant of the law
corresponds to this present earth; Jerusalem, mount Sinai. The
covenant of promise made to Abraham corresponds to the heavenly
Jerusalem. Paul was indeed a pharisee of the pharisees but after
he passed from death unto life in Christ he was instructed by Christ
himself in these matters.
Isaac and Ismael were both
physical children of Abraham. Ismael was conceived because Sarah
and Abraham conspired to fulfill God's promise through the
flesh. Their human reason did not understand how God could
fulfill his promise any other way. Be careful of the sin tainted
human intellect. Man's intellect has reason and logic but God is the
creator who can and does all things after the counsel of his own
will. Isaac was conceived because God fulfilled his promise
supernaturally, not through the flesh. The promised seed was
Isaac not Ishmael. Jesus was physically descended from
Isaac. Jesus is the promised seed through which the
promises to Abraham are fulfilled. Faith is not part of the
lineage of the flesh.
which unlocks the understanding and bestows the blessings of Abraham
is the seed. Paul writes the "seed" is Christ. Christ is
the seed of promise; the seed of Abraham; the seed through whom the
promises are fulfilled. All who are in Christ are Abraham's
children and heirs of the promises made to Abraham. These are
children by faith, not flesh. These children in Christ are not
distinguished by any fleshly attribute. "For ye are all the
children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as
have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is
neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is
neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs
according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26 - 29, KJV)
Theological systems invented by men obscure the simplicity of
Abraham's seed and confuse the covenant of bondage (law) and the
covenant of promise (faith). Believe God's word as written not
the confusion created by man's theology.
Jesus said, "Let not
your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."
"In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would
have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,
and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
(John 14:1-3, KJV)
revelation given to the apostle John tells of a city whose designer
and maker is God (sought by Abraham) and comes down out of heaven to
earth. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first
heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more
sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride
adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven
saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell
with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with
them, and be their God." (Revelation 21:1-3, KJV) "Heaven
and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
(Luke 21:33, KJV) (Parenthetical note: those who
believe heaven will be on this earth do not believe the words of
apostle John also wrote in Revelation 21 that this present heaven and
earth will pass away. The apostle Peter wrote, "But the
day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens
shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall
melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are
therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all
these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be
in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto
the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall
be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter 3:10-13,
promises to Abraham will not be fulfilled on this present earth but
under the new covenant in a new earth, a new heaven and a new
Jerusalem in which God dwells among his people. The theology of
physical ancestry is not part of God's eternal plan. Those who
share the faith of Abraham share in the promises made to him not those
of physical lineage nor any other physical attribute. All
families of the earth will share in these blessings through faith.
look for the old covenant of law with temple worship to be restored
with the physical nation of Israel in the earthly Jerusalem will be
disappointed. "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made
the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to
vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13, KJV) "Then said he, Lo, I
come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may
establish the second." (Hebrews 10:9, KJV) When Christ
died the temple in earthly Jerusalem was no longer needed because the
work of the law (the school teacher) was finished. The temple
was destroyed in 70 AD. Christ nailed the law to his cross
therefore another temple will not be needed. A new covenant
secured by the blood of Jesus Christ, a new heaven, a new earth and a
new Jerusalem for the children of Abraham who receive Christ by faith.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that
we might be justified by faith.
after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs
according to the promise.