The Promise

The Scripture

The Context

The Seed of the Woman is promised that would destroy Satan’s Kingdom.

Gen. 3:15:  “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Ge 3:15 AV)

This is the root promise of the history of the world.  Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman for He was virgin born, conceived by the Holy Ghost, thus escaping the curse upon Adam

The focus is narrowed to Abraham for the promised seed would come through him.

Gen. 1 ¶  Now the 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 show thee: 2  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: 3  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.” (Ge 12:1-3 AV)

The key is the blessing.  We will not even consider the promise of the land and the other periphery issues.  There was to be a great blessing come to the world through Abraham.  It was tied to his seed and is explained in Galatians

The blessing is specific: it is the Holy Spirit who would come through the Seed.

13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Ga 3:13-14 AV)

How were the Galatians under the curse of the law?  It was not given to them, but Paul says the law was written in their very nature [Rom. 2]; hence, Adam’s curse rests on them.

The curse upon Adam which was institutionalize at the giving of the law:  “Cursed be he that does not continue in all things written in the law to do them.”   Gal. 3:10.  This curse stood in the way of the great benefit that were promised to the world through the coming of the Seed of the Woman, or the Seed of Abraham. This curse would be removed from both Jew and Gentile through the Messiah, the Anointed of God.

Further, when Messiah came, the plan of God was to join the elect among the Gentiles to the promises and covenants and blessings that God had made to Abraham in Christ, making the Gentiles heirs also.

11  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 ¶  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God….” (Eph 2:11-19 AV)

The blessing that God had promised Abraham is going to be given through the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles.  They will not be included as an adjunct or separate body to Israel but will be grafted into the very root, into Abraham. [Romans 11:13-26].  Because the root sanctifies the branches, not the branches the root, those in Abraham are made holy, not by virtue of Abraham’s flesh, but by virtue of the promise of the Seed of the Woman which Abraham believed, for Moses included the promise to Abraham within the great scope of the promise made to Adam and Eve. Gen. 12 does not begin a new subject for Moses.

 

This revelation to Paul fulfils the words of Christ, that there will be one fold and one Shepherd. [John 10]

 

This created two huge problems for the Jews.  Even those who believed on Christ, had to face these problems if the words of Paul were to be taken seriously.  Thus we have the controversy that was resolved in the book of Galatians, the Council of Jerusalem, and the Book of Hebrews.

Problem Number One:

What about the Law?  Abraham’s children according the flesh, Israel, was bound to obey the Law of Moses.

Acts 15 and Galatians 2.   “Ok, the Gentiles can come and be part of Abraham’s promises and covenant, but they must keep the law like we do.”

 

 

Early Solution: This was the easier of the two problems, for the law of Moses was not given until 400 years after the promises and blessings were made to Abraham. Hence, the law of Moses could not nullify the promise to Abraham which was received by him by faith, without the law of Moses.  The law was given for another purpose than the bringing of blessing; it was given to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin.  Galatians 3:17-19

The Book of Hebrews codified the permanent solution to Problem Number One.

Permanent Solution:  Hebrews 7:11-18:  Everything that was introduced at Sinai was an addition to the Abrahamic Promise and disappeared when the Promised Seed [Christ] was ordained a priest after the order of Melchisedec, who was greater than Abraham—hence, greater than Aaron and Moses, for they paid tithes in Abraham to Melchisedec.

Problem Number Two: What about circumcision then?  It was given to Abraham, and therefore could not have been included as those Mosaic things which passed away.  If the Gentiles are to become one with the Jew in one body, then they must be circumcised.  This was a powerful argument. 

Several Scriptures:

Romans 4: 9   Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.  10  How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.  11  And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12  And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.  13  For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14  For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15  Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 ¶  (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.  18  Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.  19  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 

The promise to Abraham was according to faith, not the law, so that it might be sure to all the seed of Abraham, not only the natural seed of the law, but the many nations that would come as though from the dead, who would be quickened with Christ.  Even under the law, those under the law were not quickened by the law, but only in terms of faith in the promises.  Salvation and the promise of the Spirit have always been by faith.

 

Even Abraham was blessed because of faith, and not because of the law or because of his circumcision; in this sense, circumcision to Abraham was a sign and seal of his faith.  This indicated that Abraham was to be the Father not only of a natural seed, but also of a spiritual seed, born of faith, as those awakened from the dead.

Objection:  But Abraham WAS circumcised.  His faith was not sufficient, for God required him to be circumcised.  Hence, it is reasonable that the Gentiles should be circumcised, just as Abraham was.

Answer to Objection:  Colossians 2:9-14:

 

9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 ¶  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Col 2:9-14 AV)

 

 

Analysis of Col 1:9-14

 

Vs. 9,10:  Everything is complete in Christ, and there is nothing needed but Him to have all the fullness of salvation promised in the Old and New Testaments.

Vs.11:  Circumcision is fulfilled in Christ and the Gentiles do not need to be circumcised with the circumcision of the flesh, because what circumcision meant: the putting off of sins has been accomplished by Christ.  He was cut off from the land of the living for the transgressions of the people of God, both Jew and Gentile:  Isaiah 53:8-12.

 

Vs.12.  This circumcision [the one of Christ] is signified by the baptism of the Gentiles into Christ, for union with Christ means a participation of life from the dead, from which Isaac came in a figure and which every Christian arises: Eph. 2:8-10, which combines two of the most common figures of regeneration:  resurrection and creation;  Other figures are a new birth, light shining in darkness, opening the blind eyes, and water giving life to barren desert, among others.  It is even called an anointing, after the anointing of Christ, for we partake of the same Spirit of God.

 

All of these figures represent the work of the Holy Spirit, which baptism signifies according to John the Baptist and Christ Himself [John 3:5].  In fact regeneration is called a washing and is connected to the “renewing of the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:5

 

  Vs. 13,14.  Hence, those baptized do not need to be circumcised, for their baptism nullifies their uncleanness signified by uncircumcision.  Hence, physical uncircumcision does not hinder their union with the promises made to Abraham and to his seed forever.   Peter had summed up this doctrine on the Day of Pentecost, but it was fleshed out in the days and controversies that followed: Peter himself being culpable by not fellowshipping with uncircumcised baptized Christians at Antioch, in the famous controversy with Paul.  Even Barnabas didn’t understand.

 

Paul goes further and says that to require circumcision to the baptized would be to overthrow the gospel and nullify the grace of God, for it would be an implicit denial that the Messiah had come and taken away sins, the true meaning of circumcision.

 

Hence, the children of believers must be baptized, for only baptism can remove the ceremonial uncleanness of uncircumcision.    One Christian parent qualifies them to be treated as clean and therefore a candidate for baptism.   1Cor. 7:14.

Summary Doctrine, delivered on the day the blessing of Abraham was poured out upon the Gentiles according to the Promise:

37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

 

Pentecost did not nullify the promise made to Abraham and his seed.  Peter confirms that the promise is not being fulfilled and all who are included in Promise are to be baptized: the Jews who believed who were standing there that day, and all the Gentiles and their children who were to be called.  The Gentiles are to be included with the Jews and their children, and are to be baptized.  It would be an incredible thing, not worthy even of being mentioned, that the Jews and their children would be baptized in terms of the promise and the children of the Gentiles excluded.  This was fulfilled throughout Acts as households were baptized into Christ; even Lydia at Philippi where no man is mentioned.

The Fatal Baptist Error

The Baptists have created a monstrosity contrary to the word of God: a church disconnected from Abraham and the promises.  Hence, most of them must erect a carnal kingdom of Israel that comes into being only after the church is taken out of the way, for the church is a hindrance to the promises of God to Abraham.  The mystery of the ages that there would be one body in Christ is not only subverted in this regard but also results in every church being subverted from every other church, and the unity of the church completely destroyed, and even baptism is subverted from the witness of the promise of God concerning the Spirit, but made to represent an individual’s conversion experience, contrary to Scripture. 

 

The result is a whole host of errors: chiliasm, antinomianism, spiritual elitism for those with “real faith,” divisions without number, misdirection from catechizing children to various children evangelization efforts and milking of decisions from the weak and impressionable and calling that regeneration, anti-credalism for opinions are to be counted, not weighed.  The unity of the church is therefore based upon individual experiences of faith rather than the promises of God given to Abraham fulfilled in Christ, making us one with the Israel of God, one with the saints of the Old Testament, under the law to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; free from the law with respect to the curse, free in Christ to serve Him.  The result is a church fragmented and divided as everyone seeks his own advantage and power and “ministry” without authority, without sanction, without the power of God.  The Apostle’s rule of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” is a mockery.

 

This fragmented church collects the unclean birds and bats of all kinds, antinomianism, legalism, individualism, authoritarianism, sectarianism, Arianism, Donatism, Arminianism of every stripe.   A small dose of Calvinistic Soteriology [5 points] will not cure the disease of this church though it may create some excitement for a while.

 

These churches are not all called Baptist churches, for independency and adult baptism is the disease that affects a great number of American denominations and individual churches. People wander from church to church, seeking a pure enough church to grace with their attendance.

 

Are there elect in Baptist churches?  Of course.   But that is beside the point.   Righteous Lot was in Sodom, but that didn’t sanctify Sodom.  This does not mean that this writer thinks that Baptist churches are Sodom, because I do not; it just illustrates that the presence of the elect does not make an unbiblical church a biblical one.