Israel the First born of the Spirit
Exo 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
This is truly a blessed study. And it reveals something about who the promised seed of Abraham has always been. What about Ishmael the Son of Abraham, was he Abraham’s seed? What about Esau? Esau came through Isaac. What about the Pharisees? Why did God call Israel his firstborn? If we don’t know this, then let us read the scriptures so we can know it. Jesus speaking to Nicodemus gives us some insight :
Joh 3:3-10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Many have read these words and applied them to the dispensation of time after the cross. But being born again of the Holy Spirit was not something that only happened to those after the cross and was an integral part of the Covenant with Abraham as we will see. This was not some new theology that Jesus had come up with but was actually a teaching that was taught to all nations before Christ. In fact Jesus is speaking to nicodemus before the cross. This was something that the masters of Israel such as Nicodemus were supposed to understand. This was something that was a truth even in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That they were to be born of Spirit in order to be the Sons of God.
Abrahams 2 Sons – Who was the Firstborn? Ishmael or Isaac?
Abraham had a son named Ishmael. This son was his firstborn after the Flesh. But he has a second born son named Isaac. This second Son was his firstborn after the Spirt. In fact he was according to the bible “the only begotten of whom the promise was made”(Heb 11:17-18) This child was “born after the spirit”.
Rom 9:7-9 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. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.
The children born after the flesh are not the seed. They have not received that seed. But those who are born of the Spirit are the seed.
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The down payment of the promise that Abraham would be the heir of the world and joint inheritor with Christ was that he would receive the promise of the Spirit. The Spirit was part of the promise. So thus the children of promise are those who are born of spirit. Isaac was a miracle child born from a dead womb. He was born of promise of the spirit through faith in God’s word to do what it said it would do.
Abrahams True Seed was Always the Spiritual seed
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
The story about Isaac is that he was recognized as the child born after the Holy Spirit. A child of promise. While Ishmael was a child of works. A child that was conceived by Abraham and Sarah’s devising that Abraham should go to the bondwoman Hagar to have a child with her. It was not a child of faith, but a child of works.
Eph 2:8-11 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 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;
Abraham’s faith needed to be in the word. Faith in the promise. Not in what he could do, but in what God’s word had spoken. Not of himself, lest he should boast. Thus this was not a firstborn child to God. God didn’t acknowledge Ishmael as the child of promise, but promised through Sara would the seed come and the seed would be Isaac.
In the above verse is a circumcision made by the flesh. But this circumcision only symbolized the crucifixion or cutting off of the flesh in the same sense as Baptism today symbolizes crucifixion of the flesh to us. There is and was always more than a literal circumcision. There is a circumcision made without hands by the Holy Spirit. Circumcision of the heart. Those who are circumcised without hands are truly Abraham’s seed. “Circumcision is that of the heart and spirit”(Rom 2:28, 29). It is a Spiritual seed and as we can see it has always been the spiritual seed who were Abraham’s seed.
So therefore you must be born of that Spirit, circumcised in the heart, not only that, but even before the cross in order to be Abraham’s seed you would have had to have been born of the Spirit. Galatians 3:16 says Abraham’s “seed, which is Christ”(See also Galatians 3:28, 29). Christ is that seed. “The Lord is that Spirit”(2 Cor 3:17). When you are in Christ, you are that seed and joint heirs with him.
Gal 3:28-29 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. if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Yes, God had chosen Abraham and his fleshly seed to give the oracles to. But Abraham’s seed were always those who accepted the promises. Remember Ishmael was Abraham’s seed after the flesh. But the promised seed was only through Isaac, the spiritual seed.
God is Teaching us a Lesson- How Readest Thou?
Before the cross Abraham’s descendants after the flesh thought they had special privileges and thought that just because they were the fleshly descendants of Abraham they were the true seed of Abraham. They being great teachers in Israel didn’t realize that they needed to be born again to become the true descendants of Abraham.
Children of the Devil and Not Abraham’s Seed
Speaking of being born again and being the true seed of God. In John chapter 8 the Pharisee’s said they were literally born of the loins of Abraham, and they became very upset believing that this was what was important. Then Jesus told them they were not Abraham’s seed at all because they continue in sin and don’t live by faith in the word as did Abraham. And finally Jesus closes by telling them I proceeded forth from God referring to his first birth indicating that Jesus was born again of that Holy Spirit dwelling in a fleshly body so that we could be born again of Spirit and finally have a spiritual body. Read the following exchange:
Joh 8:33-42 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever:but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 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. Ye do the deeds of your father.Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Jesus said I am the Son of God, the seed of God. That seed is Christ. God is his Father, and our Father. But look further, notice these other children who call themselves the descendants of Abraham. They are not God’s children at all. They are not even Abraham’s children but jesus tells them in verse 44 “Ye are of your father the devil”.
So being a fleshly descendant of their father’s who held high standing in the temple made with hands for many generations, being a direct descendant even of Abraham did not make them Abraham’s seed at all. Just as it didn’t make Ishmael Abraham’s firstborn.
Esau and Jacob(Israel)
God doesn’t change. We see what it truly means after the cross and before the cross to be the seed of Abraham.
Isaac had 2 sons, Esau and Jacob the second child who was renamed Israel. We see again here another descendant of Abraham. Regarding the children of Isaac we read:
Gen 25:25-26 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
Esau was the firstborn. Jacob was born second. But Esau was not the firstborn of God because God said:
Exo 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
It is interesting that the gospel was preached unto Pharaoh in this verse which I will bring us back to in a moment. First, there was a spiritual seed of Abraham. Since Jacob was born again, he was renamed Israel because he overcame with God. He was the first born of the spirit. Regarding Jacob we read about his overcoming the flesh in Genesis 32:
Gen 32:26-28 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said,Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
Jacob was born again, having wrestled with God he asked God for the spiritual blessing and there God blessed him and renamed him Israel. The seed of Abraham was blessed. Jacob was now Abrahams seed, Jacob was now Israel, born again of that Holy Spirit, the true firstborn. Of Abraham it is written:
Gen 22:17-18 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Why was Jacob blessed? Because he obeyed the voice of God just as his Father Abraham and thus was truly born of Spirit, born of God, a child of God, the firstborn. Jacob could receive the blessing because he walked by faith in the promise of the Spirit not letting go of God.
Deu 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
Pharoah was told that Israel was the firstborn. So when Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again and asked why Nicodemus being a leader in Israel didn’t know these things, Jesus was telling him something that had been preached for many years. Being born again was something that was preached in Egypt to Pharoah and his Father’s for over 400 years. Israel was the firstborn of Spirit, Esau was the firstborn after the flesh. The concept of being born again was not a new concept in the time of Nicodemus. This concept could be and was to be understood by those who were truly the seed of Abraham.
Even in the Old Testament the heathen could become Abraham’s seed through Christ. Pharaoh could have become Abraham’s seed and an Israelite grafted in by faith. In fact when the literal circumcision of Abraham’s household took place all of those who joined themselves to Abraham’s household were circumcised. They were gentiles, heathen. In fact, Paul tells us that Abraham was a Heathen, a gentile himself.
Gal 3:7-9 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.
God justified Abraham, a heathen called out of Babylon. He through Abraham preached the gospel to all nations. Ishmael was the child of an Egyptian bondservant Hagar.(Gen 16:1,3, 21:9). She was an Egyptian whom God gave the gospel to and God even spoke to her through his angel. (Gen 16:8-10)
The promised seed was to all nations through Abraham. Not just to Jews, or Israelites, but to the gentiles as well. It has always been a spiritual seed. God called out a mixed multitude out of Egypt. (Exo 12:28) He called out a mixed multitude out of Babylon. It was never the literal descendants that were truly Abraham’s seed. It was always the spiritual. And this is the “Everlasting Covenant” the gospel given to Abraham and to his seed who are Christ’s, the everlasting gospel given to all nations, kindred, people and tongues. (See Rev 7:9, 14:6)
Cain and Seth – The Sons of God and the Sons of Men – Two Seeds
There were 2 lines after the creation. After Cain killed his brother Abel, Adam and Eve had another Son. This Son was considered a Son of God. Cain was considered a Son of the Devil as we shall read he was “of that wicked one” or as Jesus put it “of your father, the devil”.
Gen 5:1-3 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
Seth was the child of whom the Seed was to come.
Gen 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
The seed that was promised was to come through the line of Seth. Seth was not the literal firstborn, Cain was, but yet again Seth was the child of whom the promised seed was to come through. It is interesting that the literal firstborn never seemed to be the spiritual heir. And the law teaches that the firstborn is to receive a double portion of the inheritance.
Seth was spiritually the firstborn. The firstborn of God. The lesson is about being born of the Holy Spirit, those are the true children of God and always have been, the spiritual seed did not replace the fleshly seed at the cross, it has always been the spiritual seed who were the seed of God. John saw it when speaking about Cain he said this:
1Jn 3:9-10 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain,who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
2 different seeds of children here. Clearly Cain is not the seed of God, Cains children would be called the seed of men in Genesis 6. Being the children and sons of God was a “message that ye heard from the beginning”. In the beginning is creation. Cain was not of that spiritual seed, though he was the firstborn of Adam and Eve. He was not a child or Son of God as he was not born of God, and that seed which is Christ was not in him. He was not born of Spirit. He was a child of the devil, “of that wicked one”.
We read in Genesis 5 Seth was a child after the image of Adam. This is the line of the children of God. Genesis 5 talks about this line of the children of God. Seth was a Son of God, Cain was a Son of the devil, in this we know the children of God and children of the devil. There is a line of the children of Seth in Genesis 5 up to Noah and then in Chapter 6 we read:
Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
The children of God, who are the children of Abraham, who are the spiritual seed, who are Israel, his firstborn after the Spirit and not after the flesh as was Isaac and are the true seed of God who are not of that wicked one as was Cain. These children looked on the children of men, especially the women, that they were beautiful and took themselves wives from the unbelievers and thus the seed was corrupted.
The Everlasting Covenant that was made then was made always to the spiritual seed to the spiritual children of God who walk not after the flesh. The everlasting gospel was given to the people even in the days before the flood, the same gospel that was given to Abraham was given to us since God “preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”(Galatians 3:8).
Another point to note is that the fleshly descendants always tried to destroy the spiritual descendants. Just as Cain did to Abel, Just as Ishmael to Isaac, as Esau to Israel, as national Israel did to all the prophets including Elijah, Isaiah, and John the Baptist, as the literal seed of Abraham did to Jesus, just as the so-called Christians of the dark ages, the Protestants after that, and finally today in this last age, we have fleshly Seventh day Adventists who are doing the same thing to their brethren after the Spirit who truly worship the Father in Spirit and truth.
As John the Baptist once said:
Mat 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
There is nothing new under the Sun. Think not to call yourself a Christian because your fleshly father was one. Or a Jew, or an Israelite, or a protestant, or a Seventh Day Adventist God can raise stones to be Seventh Day Adventists.
Rev 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
They may be Jews, Israelites, Abraham’s Seed, Christians, Protestants or Seventh Day Adventists in name(nominal), but except they truly do the works of Abraham, except that they are truly born of spirit, and born of God, the seed of God, they are not the true Jew, Israelite, seed of Abraham, Christian, Protestant or Seventh Day Adventist.
1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
God is able to graft in his children contrary to nature, the spiritual seed, Israel after the spirit. He can turn stones into Abraham’s seed or even into Christians and Seventh Day Adventists. If that is the case let us become dirt so that he might form us into that perfect image.
Rom 11:25-26 For I 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. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
May the God and Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be your God and Father and may you truly be his firstborn after the spirit. True Israelites indeed.
1Jn 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.