Messiah Out Of The Seed
After Shem, the Messianic lineage continues at least nine generations before his descendant,
Abraham, is called by God. Abraham lived in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, the cradle
of civilization, when he received the following call from the Lord:
your country, your people and your father's household
bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be
blessed through you. (1)
The calling here was three-fold : There is first the physical calling to the land of Israel; there is secondly the national calling, that Abraham would be the progenitor of a great nation; and, thirdly, there is the spiritual promise that the Messiah would descend from Abraham.
Regarding the spiritual promise of the Messiah, God says in [Abraham] all nations of the earth shall be blessed. (2) He clarifies this in a later passage by stating, In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. (2) The word for seed contained in this passage refers to the one descendant, the Messiah, who would descend from Abraham and who would bless the nations.
The Abrahamic promise was transferred to Isaac when God said, For in Isaac shall thy seed be called. (3) Isaac was the result of a miracle. Sarah, previously barren, conceived him when she was 9O years old, well past the age of child bearing. Abraham was 100 years old. Although Abraham's eldest son by Hagar, Ishmael, would have been Abraham's natural heir, God chose Isaac as the one through whom the Messianic lineage would continue.
The selection of Isaac as heir to the promise was confirmed when Abraham showed his willingness to sacrifice his only legitimate son. This call was God's way of testing Abraham's faith. God did not intend to let Isaac die. After Abraham proved his faith. God said to him:
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
because thou hast obeyed my voice. (4)
Jacob was the next heir to the promise, even though he was the younger of Isaac's twin sons. This selection was made by God while the children were still in Rebecca's womb, when He told her, The elder shall serve the younger. (5)
Jacob wrested his brother Esau's birthright from him. This occurred when Esau, hungry after an unsuccessful hunt, begged Jacob for some of the stew Jacob was preparing. Jacob agreed to share it after Esau chose to trade his birthright in return.
Jacob was assured of the Messianic promise in a dream, when God spoke to him saying, And in thee and in thy seed shall all families of the earth be blessed. (6) Jacob, then, undoubtedly knew that he would continue the lineage of his father, Isaac, and of his grandfather, Abraham, in some significant way known by God.
The Rabbis Know of the Messiah by Rachmiel Frydland
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