Dr. Couch, what are some of the verses the amillennialists use to claim that the Abrahamic covenant is almost exclusively about spiritual descendants with no physical promises given to the physical descendants of Abraham?
ANSWER: They use Matthew 5:5; Galatians 3:29; Romans 4:13-15, and Revelation 21-22. On:
(1) Matthew 5:5. This passage is to the Jews in regard to the "kingdom of heaven" which we know by Jewish history is the messianic Kingdom. The promises have to do with spiritual blessings, and physical blessings (the land) that will be given to Abraham's physical seed, Israel, in the Kingdom. The Jews will then "own" the world. First of all, it only has to do with those who are "gentile". If they have certain spiritual and emotional qualities, they will be blessed by the things of the earth, and then only in the Kingdom. This section even closes by saying that those Jews who are persecuted "for the sake of righteousness," theirs "is the Kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:10). All of the good things about that Millennial Kingdom will belong to them. The amils will do anything to broaden their point so that they can say these verses "indicate that the blessisngs promised to Abraham pertains not so much to his physical descendants but to his spiritual descendants through faith in Christ." Christ gave these Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-11) in offering the Kingdom to Israel. This is not aimed at Abraham's spiritual seed!
(2) Galatians 3:29. Paul says in Romans 4:16 that we are "of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all." We are Abraham's seed by faith in Christ not by our physical relationship to him (Rom. 3:29). I am therefore a son of God by faith and "an heir through God" (Rom. 4:6-7). Galatians 3:29 says "if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise." The only thing this has to do with us is salvation as Paul explains in Galatians 3:6-9. "By faith I am a son of Abraham" (v. 7). And Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'All the nations are blessed in you (Abraham).' So then, those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham the believer" (vv. 8-9). The physical seed receives both the land promises and the spiritual promises but the spiritual seed (the Gentiles) receive the spiritual promises. We read in the OT, to Abraham, "To your seed I have given this land" (Gen. 15:18). Read Genesis 17:6-8. To Abraham's seed Isaac it was said: "For to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will give your descendants all the nations of the earth [they shall be] blessed" (26:3-5). And Joseph said to his brothers "God shall bring you up from this land (Egypt) to the land (the Holy Land) which He
promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob" (Gen. 50:24). That's not me!
(3) Romans 4:13-15. All this passage says is that Abraham's descendants would be heir of the world, not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. By context, this has to do with his physical seed not his spiritual seed. It was the Jews who were trapped in Law keeping not the pagan Gentiles. This is true in that the Kingdom is worldwide. Christ will reign from shore to shore in the Millennium. And of course the church will be there but this is not a spiritual promise but the physical promise from the verses above and many, many more!
When studying the Bible keep the lines straight. Don't wrongly mix the various parts that should not be mixed.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch