Seed and Seeds

Paul seems to make a big point about God saying to Abraham in Genesis 12:7 that he willgive an inheritance to Abraham’s seed, singular, rather than seeds, plural.  If you look at the original context the obvious meaning is that the land that Abraham is looking at will be given to the people of Israel.  So now we have a relationship to make clear between the seed that is Israel and the Seed that is Christ.  The church is the body of Christ and the church has inherited the blessing of Israel.  At the risk of sounding covenental, the church is the new Israel.  It is the seed, the inheritance and it is the body of Christ.  So Christ, embodied in his church would be the Seed.

The promiseof the Seed, then, predates the Law by 430 years. Abraham came a long time before Moses.  The Law of Moses did not replace the promise but showed the nature of the life that is fulfilled in Christ.  Without being truly the Seed, the people of God could not live out the law.  It was good in what it showed, by way of limitation, but it was a foreshadowing of the need for the Seed.  The Messiah and his church bring the promise made to Abraham to fruition  … I think.

Galatians 3:15-22

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

 19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.


  1. What can not be added to?
  2. How does this passage further the argument that a Christian’s conduct is not the foundation of their character, but what a Christian believes is the foundation of what they do?
  3. Why was the law added?
  4. What does verse 20 mean?
  5. What did God promise Abraham that concerns (relates to) you?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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