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Thursday, December 1, 2016
The Seed – 1 December 2016, Anno Domini
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (Gospel of Saint John 12:24)
The matter of the promised Seed of Abraham is vitally important for us to understand if we will not go down with our lights darkened and alone at the coming long sleep of death. I can think of no greater sorrow than to die alone and without a Friend beyond Jordan Waters upon whom we may hang our hopes as did Israel on the willows by the rivers of Babylon. (Psalm 137:1-2) The context of today's leading verse is found in the verses which embrace it:
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. (John 12:21-28 (KJV)
From this text, the Seed is revealed though veiled in mysteries that only the redeemed can fully grasp. This text is preceded by the announcement that certain Greeks came down for the Passover feast inquiring of Philip to see Jesus. We are reminded in our Lord's response that the hour comes when it will be too late to seek our Lord. Just as the five virgins without oil in their lamps arrived too late to be admitted to the Marriage Banquet and found the door closed and barred; so will the day come when time will be no more and appeal can no longer be made to the Throne of Mercy. The Greeks come too late, for it is the time of the Lord's Passion.
The greater mystery revealed here is of the Seed of Promise made to Abraham and reaffirmed through the lineage of David the King - Jesus Christ. Jesus makes reference to Himself as the corn of wheat (or seed) that must fall into the earth and die if newness of Eternal Life is made available to those who are the Elect of God. The death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord has borne fruit far greater than one hundredfold. Now it is this Seed of which our devotion is written today. We too must die to self and live for Christ as He died for us and rose for us.
Remember when the Sower of Matthew 13 went forth to sow - observe what happens: Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matt 13:3-9)
The four different types of soil represents the different kinds of heart that receive the Word of God (Seed). Jesus clearly expresses this: Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matt 13:18-23)
Well, now, what is the Word of the Kingdom? It is none other than the Eternal Word of God pre-existent from all eternity past - that Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us. That Word is the fruitful Seed promised to Abraham. Please bear in mind Isaac came by miraculous birth. He was placed on the altar by his father as an offering to God. Any offering placed on an altar is holy and dedicated to the Lord - thus the spiritual descendents of Isaac (you and me) who believe in the miraculous "new birth" in Christ.
We all know that Jesus is the lineal descendent, according to the law of descent, of King David. There are two lines of descent given in Scripture for the 'legal' descent of Christ who was the only Begotten of the Father in reality. The first lineage given in Matthew renders the legal lineage of Christ through the Royal line of David and Solomon. That given in the Gospel of Luke provides the priestly and prophetic lineage of Christ through Nathan. Interestingly, there is one harlot (Rachab) and one Moabitess (Ruth) included in the lineage of Jesus. Matthew's lineage begins at Abraham to whom the Promise of a Redeemer was given, and descends down to Joseph - the 'presumed' father of Jesus. Luke's Gospel begins with Jesus and goes all the way back up to God because He made the privileges of Heaven available to His people and ascended to the Father.
In all of this, we see the Seed of Promise being fulfilled and culminated in Christ. Please note the mathematical precision of biblical prophecy: So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. (Matt 1:17)
Knowing that the Word is the Incarnated Christ, we must love every single word of it without omission, and every jot and tittle thereof. Each Word of the Bible is a direct reflection on the greater Masterpiece of which the image of our Lord is comprised. So the Word is also the Seed of Promise made to Abraham.
Let us examine a few germane verses on the topic:
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Gal 4:21-26) The child of Hagar was carnally conceived, but Isaac was the child of promise which was forerunner to the miraculously conceived Lord. We are subject to one of two covenants - that of the Law, or that of Grace. If that of the Law, we are doomed for none can be perfect in obedience. If by Grace, then none of our works or actions could satisfy God's justice. Therefore we are drawn according to the Grace of God to the Throne of Mercy.
23 Of this man's seed (David) hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel (both the Old testament Church as well as the New) a Saviour, Jesus. (Acts 13:23)
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. (Romans 4:13-16) When these verses are read without some theological bias, one can see clearly that no race of people stands in favor with God apart from Faith in His only Begotten Son. Many of national Israel felt they were children of God by right of carnal descent, but God does not view the matter that way. We are heirs and children of Abraham through faith in the promise made to Abraham of the Redeemer who has now come.
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 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. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.) (Romans 9:6-11) Does God here say anything about a chosen race apart from the varied peoples, nations, and tongues that have believed the promise made to Abraham? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (Gal 3:6-7) What did Abraham believe? The Promise! Through the eyes of immeasurable faith, Abraham believed. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (John 8:56) Our Father is not the God of the dead, but of the LIVING!
18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Gal 3:18-19)
Are we of the modern true church the children of Abraham? I hope so for the Bible clearly tells us: 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:29) Does the world, and her worldly church, hate us? Yes, they may, but what a blessed hate it is! 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (Gal 4:28-29)
Yes, even so now does the fleshly people of the world and of the church persecute the children of promise - the children of the Promised Seed of Abraham.