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The First Great Commission in Genesis (Part One)

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 12:54 PM Comments comments (0)
Text: Genesis 12: 1-3, “The Lord  had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.’”

The first Great Commission in the Bible is found in the call of Abram to leave his country.  He was sent to make God’s name known throughout His creation. In this Journal, I will prove, (1) the Messianic seed-bearers (as promised in Genesis 3:15), (2) Abram grew in his blessing, and (3) the blessing of the world through Abram.  Details of this discussion are in my book, Growing Missionaries Biblically. You can get it on with a good discount.

1.  The Messianic Seed-bearers 

The redemption that God promised, in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, was to come through the seed of the woman (Gn 3:15). This seed came through the ancestry of the seed-bearers.

At the heart of God’s mission was to make His name known to the world as the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Man is a chosen vessel to reach the world. After the Fall of Adam, his son Seth became the seed-bearer for God’s redemptive plan. Dr. Sidney Greidanus is a professor emeritus of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary and a prolific author affirms,[1]

… when one is preaching on the narrative of Cain murdering Abel (Gn 4), the fact that God provides Seth ‘instead of Abel’ (4:25) to continue the line of the seed of the woman constitutes a link in the chain of redemptive-historical progression that leads to the birth of Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman (Gal 3:16), and ultimately to his victorious Second Coming. 

Noah, from the line of Seth, became the Messianic seed-bearer prior to the flood (Gn 6:9-21; 7:1ff). Among the three sons of Noah, Shem was the seed-bearer.

Following another downward step in the fallen state of man at the Tower of Babel, Moses the author of Genesis, reconnected his narrative to the genealogy of Shem.  His aim was to prove that Abraham, the father of faith, hailed from the lineage of Shem (Gn 12:1ff).

God’s choice in selecting Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, and the genealogy that began with Abraham to Jesus Christ (Mt. 1: 1-17) is a matter of debate among biblical scholars. Some question the selection of Jacob while in the womb with his twin brother Esau (Gn 25: 21-26).  This raises the issue whether God is partial.  But there is no partiality with God (Rom 2:11-16).

The Apostle Paul says  God’s choice from Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, instead of Ishmael, Jacob, instead Esau, Perez, instead Zerah, and even the election of Israel, is an act of God’s sovereignty (Rom 9:1-29). He compared God’s sovereignty to that of the potter who has the authority in making from the same clay one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor (Rom. 9:21).  God spoke to Jeremiah in the potter’s house that Israel is in His hand just like the clay is in the potter’s hand.  Like the potter, God can do to Israel as He  pleases.  Paul, a devout Jew, disagrees with those who are questioning God’s sovereignty. 

The truth is everyone is not called to be a pastor. Some are called to be missionaries, deacons, evangelists, apostles, prophets, teachers and elders (Eph 4:10-13). Also, every Christian is called to be minister of the Gospel in a unique way (2 Cor 5: 17-19).  Hence, questioning the role of a pastor, or any leader in the church without being a prayer partner to the leader is rooted in pride, and it may lead one to sin.  It is our Christian duty to support each other in the Lord and allow those God had placed over us do the work of the ministry.   

To be continued. 


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[1] Sidney Greidanus. Preaching Christ From Genesis: Foundations For Expository Sermons (Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007), 3.