Larger font
Smaller font

From Eden to Eden

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font


    In Genesis 17 we find the promises which God made to the fathers taking the specific form of a covenant, of which circumcision was given as the seal. It was the token or sign whereby his children were to be distinguished from other people as a holy nation. “And the uncircumcised manchild whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” Genesis 17:14.FEE 25.1

    Now we have before us the three terms that cover the entire field of the covenant with Abraham; namely, the Land, the Seed, and the Token. We must trace these to their extent or full meaning in order to come to a complete understanding of the covenant. For the benefit of those who have never considered them as having any positive relation to each other in the gospel, we shall take them up in reverse order, examining first those which are to some extent accepted by all Christians.FEE 25.2

    1. The Token. The Lord said to Abraham, “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.” Genesis 17:11. It is generally supposed that the great majority of the people of Israel understood the token of the covenant, circumcision, only in its most literal sense. But that may well be doubted. According to Hebrews 4:1, 2, they who fell in the wilderness of Arabia had the gospel preached to them, though there are many who fail to discover wherein they could have understood the gospel. It is clearly revealed that they were taught the spiritual nature of the covenant with Abraham, and the real intent of circumcision. Thus it was said in Deuteronomy 10:16: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.” And again in chapter 30:6, Moses said to them: “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” And many years after this, the same was spoken by the prophet: “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 4:4.FEE 25.3

    These scriptures show that the true intent of the ordinance was revealed to Israel; and no doubt all the faithful, devoted ones among them, all who searched to know the ways of God, well understood the subject, even as they saw the sacrifice of the Messiah in the daily offerings upon their altars; just as we see the body and blood of the Saviour in the Lord’s supper. No one can doubt that Abraham understood the true nature of the covenant then made, and we are informed that he received circumcision as a seal of righteousness.FEE 26.1

    But in process of time, as traditions supplanted the word of God, and the fear of God was taught by the precept of men, Isaiah 29:13, it is likely that they largely lost sight of the spirituality of the covenant, and regarded circumcision only in its outward sense.FEE 26.2

    The covenant that God made with Abraham has never been disannulled. It is the covenant of salvation from the effects of the fall. And, therefore, it is the plan for carrying out the promise made to Adam, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. He who does not see this relation of the Abrahamic covenant to the original promise of Genesis 3:15, reads it amiss. The token of that covenant remains, the true circumcision according to what God revealed to the children of Israel. The external has passed entirely away, as Paul said to the Romans: “Neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; ... circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter.” Romans 2:28, 29. In Romans 4:11, circumcision is called both a sign and a seal. Therefore in Ephesians 1:13, the apostle says: “Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Also in Ephesians 4:30, he said: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” And as it was said to Abraham, the uncircumcised shall be cut off from among his people, even so now. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9. He has not the true token or seal of the covenant; he shall be cut off.FEE 26.3

    An outward seal was given only to the males, but that distinction is put away with the passing away of the external. The true seal is applied to all, for “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.” Galatians 3:28.FEE 27.1

    That this part of the covenant with Abraham remains, in the sense in which it was spoken of by Moses and Jeremiah, no one denies. And the same may be said of the next point.FEE 27.2

    2. The Seed. First we will notice Paul’s application of that term. “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.” Galatians 3:16. Some have said that the conclusion of the apostle is far-fetched, not truly in accordance with the letter of the promise. But we think not so. Whatever may be thought of the method of his argument, of his peculiar use of the grammatical number of the term, the conclusion itself is so evident that it scarcely calls for any argument. For a moment consider the similar expression in Genesis 3:15. It is here said that the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent; and no one stops for a moment to argue that this promise was not said “of many;” all perceive at once that it must be considered as spoken “of one, which is Christ.” And likewise when it was said to David, “I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne forever” (1 Chronicles 17:11, 12), it is well understood that his seed to whom his throne shall be established forever, is Christ. Compare Luke 1:32, 33. In the promise to both Adam and David, the circumstances imperatively demand that the term “seed” be referred to Christ, and not to their posterity in general.FEE 27.3

    And so also in the case of Abraham. It is just as unreasonable to apply this word here to any but Christ, as in the other cases. But we are met with the objection that all the faithful are called Abraham’s seed; that he is the father of all them that believe. True, but this gives the term one remove from its first, or first-supposed, meaning. Granted that it was for many generations mostly supposed to refer to Abraham’s natural descendants only, and that it referred to all of them. Now it is readily seen that outward circumcision could not serve the purpose for which the seal was given; for, while it was said, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called,” Ishmael and his posterity were circumcised, as well as Isaac and his children. The sons of Ishmael made the same boast, that they had Abraham to their father. And Esau, as well as Jacob, descended from Isaac.FEE 28.1

    The decisive fact on this point is this: Though all true believers are the children of Abraham, they are such only through Christ. “If ye are Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. If ye are not Christ’s, then ye are not Abraham’s seed—ye are not heirs. Christ is the true seed to whom the promises were made; he is the only one that can confer heirship; the only one who can constitute us the seed of Abraham. Being so constituted, we are “heirs of God,” but only as being “joint heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:17. We are not natural heirs; we are heirs by adoption. Verse 15. We are brought nigh unto God by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13, 16. The promises to Abraham belong truly to Christ; he is the heir, and we, being united to him, are Abraham’s seed and heirs of God. This point is quite beyond dispute.FEE 28.2

    3. The Land. While the truth concerning the other two points, the seal and the seed, are quite readily, or even generally admitted, it is quite as generally supposed that the gift of the land was a promise of temporary benefit, and that it was fulfilled to the literal descendants of Abraham, the twelve tribes of Israel. On this point it will be necessary to present several considerations, which clearly show that the promise remains to be fulfilled.FEE 28.3

    1. According to the argument in Hebrews, chapters 3 and 4, the land of Canaan bore the same relation to the true rest that remains to the people of God, that Moses and Joshua bore to Christ. As Christ was the prophet like unto Moses, Deuteronomy 18:15; as he is the true leader of the Israel of God, to cause them to inherit the promise, as Joshua did in type; so the land of Canaan, temporarily possessed by the tribes of Israel, was but a type of the everlasting inheritance promised to Abraham and to his seed.FEE 29.1

    2. The promise of the land was not merely to the twelve tribes of Israel; it was to Abraham and his seed. We have seen that the seed to whom the promise was made is Christ; and it is a fact clearly set down in the Bible, that neither Abraham nor his seed, Christ, ever inherited the land that was promised to them. And therefore, if they do not inherit this land in the future, the words of Jehovah will be broken—a thing that cannot be contemplated for a moment. Of this Stephen spoke in his sermon: of Abraham he said that the Lord “gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.” Acts 7:5. So also it is written in Hebrews 11:9: “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.”FEE 29.2

    So entirely was it true that he inherited no part of the land that was promised to him, that the only part of the land to which Abraham ever laid any manner of claim, was a cave and field in Hebron, which he bought from the Canaanites for a place to bury his dead. But this promise stands on record, as the unfailing word of Jehovah.FEE 29.3

    As with Abraham, so with his seed; Christ spent all his earthly life in the land of promise, yet himself declared that while the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, the Son of man had not where to lay his head. It is a fact, that after the time of his youthful subjection to his parents, he had no home. The coming of night found him at the homes of his friends in various parts of the country, or in the desert, or in the mountain, or over on the trackless sea. But on earth there was no place to which he could go and say he was at home. Yet he was the seed to whom the promise of the land was made, and the promise still stands in the Scriptures of truth.FEE 29.4

    Again, as we, believers in Christ, are the seed of Abraham, to be blessed with faithful Abraham, so says Paul, we are heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29. It is not a vain thing to be heirs of Abraham; he had a valuable inheritance by promise to bequeath to his children. Have the saints inherited the promise? No; they have not been superior in privileges to Abraham and to Christ. Jesus said to his disciples: “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” John 16:22. And Peter said to his brethren, that they were strangers and pilgrims. 1 Peter 2:11. And such they must be if they are partakers in this world with Abraham, the father of the faithful, and with the Lord Jesus Christ their example.FEE 30.1

    3. Another fact, proving that the possession of the land of Canaan was only typical of the true inheritance, is that Abraham is declared to be the heir of the world. Romans 4:13. He and his sons, heirs with him of the same promise, “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:17. Go where they would, they found themselves homeless; they had no inheritance here, but “died in faith, not having received the promises.”FEE 30.2

    4. And as with Abraham, so with all his seed; they are all heirs of the world. Said Jesus, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. To inherit is to possess by heirship. The meek can inherit the earth only as being Abraham’s seed, and heirs with him of the promise of the land—the earth. Jesus quoted this promise from Psalm 37:11, which contains a double promise, namely: “The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Go to Hebrews 11, and learn whether this has been the lot of the meek in the present world. Ask the martyrs if in this world they delighted themselves in the abundance of peace. Ask them that have lived godly in Christ Jesus whether they have inherited the earth with abundance of peace, or whether they had to suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12. Tell us if Jesus did not speak the truth when he said that his followers should have tribulation in the world. But yet the promise stands, that the meek shall inherit the earth. Admit that the time is coming when Abraham, and Christ, and those who are his by faith, shall have a peaceful inheritance of the earth, and the Scriptures are clear, harmonious, and beautiful. And thus, and only thus, can the promises of God be verified.FEE 30.3

    5. Another and most decisive fact is, that the inheritance is to be redeemed. Circumcision was given to Abraham as a token, or assurance of the faithfulness of God to fulfill his promise. And thus Paul says of the true circumcision, the seal of the covenant: “After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest [assurance] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” Ephesians 1:13, 14. Here are recognized, (1) our inheritance; (2) that it has been purchased; (3) that it remains to be redeemed; and (4) that we have the earnest of the Spirit to assure us that we shall certainly possess that inheritance. But from what is it to be redeemed? If our inheritance is just what the Scriptures say it is, namely, the earth, then the question is easily answered. It is to be redeemed from the curse which Satan was instrumental in bringing upon it. But if it is claimed that it is something else, or somewhere else, then we cannot conceive how the question can be answered. And this leads us to notice,—FEE 31.1

    6. That the misapprehension on this subject arises largely from the error of losing sight of the identity of the work of the seed of the woman, and that of the seed of Abraham; from overlooking the harmony and the unity of the divine plan for the recovery of that which was lost in the fall. “The seed,” of Genesis 3:15, is identical with “the seed,” of Genesis 12:7. Christ is the one individual referred to in both promises. It is Abraham’s seed that shall bruise the head of the serpent; and the seed of the woman shall possess the land. What is said in either case applies also to the other. Now it is written that the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8. In order effectually to thwart the designs of the enemy of all righteousness, Christ must reverse every condition, and restore every loss, which resulted from the introduction of sin into Eden. By Satan’s deception Adam was robbed of his innocency, by reason of which he transmitted tendencies to his posterity, and brought them under the influence of sinful surroundings. He brought a curse upon his dominion, so that the lovely earth which God pronounced very good, over the creation of which the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:4-7), was caused to bring forth thorns and thistles and poisonous weeds; and the animals which were made subject to man, have become wild and ferocious, and even man is the enemy of his fellow-man. The earth itself groans beneath the weight of its corruption and its curse, and the angels of Heaven weep over the triumphs of the enemy, temporary though they are. Shall Satan’s triumph be forever? If so, then Christ died in vain; then were the promises made in vain.FEE 31.2

    Let us behold at a glance what was lost, and what must be done for its recovery.FEE 32.1

    Adam Lost He Left Us The Seed Must
    1. His innocence. 1. Sinful. 1. Take away our Sin.
    2. His Dominion. 2. Homeless. 2. Restore the Dominion.
    3. His Life. 3. Dying. 3. Give us Life.

    If there should be a failure in any of these points, then the failure would be complete, for just so far would Satan remain triumphant. But who could entertain the idea that God would suffer his purpose in creating the world to be forever frustrated by Satan? The angel said that Jesus should save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21); and this, to the glory of his grace he is now accomplishing. And he has promised also to give unto his people eternal life (John 10:28); and this promise we all believe will be fulfilled. And he also said that the meek shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5. When all this is accomplished, then all the works of the devil will be destroyed. All that Adam lost will be restored by the seed of the woman; the children of Abraham shall inherit the promise; the inheritance shall be redeemed—that is, the earth shall be made new; the counsel of God shall stand; his purpose will be fulfilled; not a word of the Most High shall fail.FEE 32.2

    7. This is strongly confirmed by the following impressive fact. All admit that Christ bore the curse for man on the cross; “for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Galatians 3:13. But it is not so well considered that there was a peculiar significance in his being crowned with thorns by the soldiers. They put a purple robe upon him; and a reed in his hand, thus signifying that he was a king. They also crowned him, but with thorns—the emblem of the curse put upon the earth. The curse was brought by the wile of Satan. And as they smote him with the reed, and drove the thorns into his brow, and the blood ran down his face, that blood drawn by the thorns, the curse of the earth, was the surety of the earth’s redemption.FEE 33.1

    God made the world to be inhabited; he gave it to the children of men; and his purpose will not fail, for the children of men shall inherit and possess it forever, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace, when God shall make all things new. Revelation 21:1-5.FEE 33.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font