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Seed of Promise, Seed of Satan: The Origin of the Middle East Conflict

The first prophecy of the Bible, The Granddaddy of All Prophecies, if you will, is Genesis 3:15.  It is also referred to by scholars as the “Protoevangelium” or, translated, “The First Gospel.”  In this passage, God Himself is prophesying against satan and also declaring the promise of “The Seed,” who will, at the end of days, completely crush satans head.  It reads:

“And I will put enmity (war)
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall (crush) bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Scholars note there is a disproportionate amount of times that the words “seed” and “generation” occurs in the book of Genesis, with mentions occurring much more frequently in Genesis than in any other part of the Bible combined.  God is clearly emphasizing the beginning of “The Seed,” Jesus, through the time of the Patriarchs.

I would like to also provide some more background regarding the term “seed.”  The term “seed” involves imagery of fatherhood, which, in the Old Testament, also connoted “originator” or “source.”  It also connotes lineage and heritage.  It is interesting that later, Jesus is born as a result of the “seed” of the Holy Spirit impregnating Mary, because Jesus’ father/originator was actually the Holy Spirit/God the Father.  Also interesting to note is that the term here is “her seed.”  Women are not associated typically with the term “seed” because we look to a father to provide the “seed” for his line.  In retrospect, this leads us to conclude that God the Father knew the plan of impregnating a virgin with His “seed” all along.  From the beginning, He impregnates Israel with all the favor and blessing she needs to “give birth” to Jesus!

In this article, I would like to propose that Genesis not only tracks the origin of “The Seed” (Jesus) through God’s chosen lineage, but also tracks the origin of the enemy’s seed (the murderous, coveteous spirit that especially resides in the nations surrounding Israel, both historically and in modern times).  Simply put, the book of Genesis closely tracks the origin story of the “enmity,” or essentially “war” between “her seed” (God’s blessed and chosen) and “satan’s seed” (those who come into agreement with satan and participate in the murderous spirit set against God’s chosen).  There are certain nations that are constantly oppressors to Israel, threaten her spirituality and her survival throughout all of Scripture.  This conflict continues into present day, and especially since the day that Israel became a nation again in 1948 until now.  The ancient nations that surrounded Israel also are the current oppressors of national, physical Israel.  This is no coincidence.  The hostile nations that historically and presently surround Israel also have their birth and original expansion during Genesis.  It is crucial to understand their origin and their role throughout the Old Testament so we can understand the role they play in Jesus’ end time plan.

My thesis is that every time God chose a certain branch of mankind’s family tree to send His blessings, favor, and redemptive line through, an enemy nation was born in opposition to the redemptive line.  The nations that oppose Israel are the enemy’s seed.  

See the following pdf file for a visual illustration of what is being discussed in this article:  seed of promise 2

Family Tree Split 1 – Cain and Abel – Genesis 4:3-5 –

Long story short, it seems that Adam and Eve possibly had twins or at least they had sons who were similar in age.  Abel’s offering, and one can assume, the posture of his heart, is pleasing to the Lord; in contrast, Cain’s offering is not pleasing to the Lord.  It seems that Abel is God’s choice to send His favor, blessings, and redemptive line through, based on the fact that Seth (Genesis 4:25) was later stated by Eve that he was the son who replaced Abel.  We can also make the conclusion that Seth’s line was the redemptive lineage because we can fast forward and find out later in Genesis that the redemptive line goes through Seth’s descendant, Noah.

Genesis 4 highlights Cain’s sin, his consequences, and gives a glimpse at his descendants’ wickedness.  Cain’s descendants immediately begin to increase in wickedness.  Genesis 4:23-24 describes Cain’s great, great, great, grandson Lamech as a man who also killed a man and seems proud of it.  Cain’s “seed” continues as Cain their father did.  Obviously, the sin crouching at Cain’s door grabbed ahold of both Cain and his descendants and won.

Genesis 5 then highlights, in contrast to Genesis 4, Seth’s descendants, the line of promise.  Seth’s descendants eventually lead us to Noah, who was the last righteous man in his day.  As we know, Noah’s wife, his three sons (Shem, Ham, and Japeth) enter the ark and are chosen to repopulate the earth.  All of Cain’s descendants are removed from the earth during the flood.  Only a certain line of Seth’s descendants are left after the Flood.

Family Tree Split 2 – Noah’s Sons

In Genesis 9, descendants of Seth, Noah and his sons, step off the ark to restart the earth’s population.  Genesis 9:18 states:  “Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.”  It is interesting to note that no other sons of Shem, Ham and Japeth were highlighted other than Ham’s son Canaan.  The question is why?  Keep in mind that Genesis was penned by the hand of Moses through the knowledge given to him by the Father Himself.  And for what purpose?  It showed Israel her origin story.  The story restored her identity after hundreds of years of slavery to the Egyptians.  It is also highlights the origin story of the Canaanites who had taken over the region of land that was promised to Abraham.  Remember, the story of Genesis was given to Moses as a backstory for where the children of Israel came from, thus restoring their national identity as well as revealing to them the relational and covenantal nature of their God.  

The story of Genesis was given to Moses by God supernaturally.  The book of Genesis is a restoration of the identity of the people of Israel because they had lost their identity after 400 years of slavery to the Egyptians.  The people of Israel had just gone through the Exodus and were getting ready to enter back into a region promised to them by God.  They were going to encounter the Canaanites and they were going to have to destroy them.  God is giving them the backstory of both Canaan and God’s chosen people here in Genesis 9.

Genesis 9:18-28 states that Noah had planted a vineyard and gotten drunk one day off its wine.  Ham saw that his father was in his tent, drunk, naked and reported to his brothers what happened, most likely in a dishonoring manner.  He should have kept the news to himself and took it upon himself to cover his father’s nakedness.  Shem and Japeth did the honorable thing and chose to cover their father’s nakedness.  Noah then woke up and cursed Canaan, Ham’s son.  The reason why he skipped over Ham and directly cursed Canaan is an article in itself and will not be addressed in this current article.

In contrast, Noah blessed Shem and set his descendants above the descendants of the other brothers:  “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”   So the order of “blessing hierarchy” if you will, was Shem, then Japeth, and then Ham.  However, Ham’s descendants were under a curse.  

Family Tree Split 2 Extended – Ham’s Descendants:  Founders of Egypt, Babylon and Assyria

As we look at Genesis 10, let us keep in mind that the lineages are there for a reason.  They intentionally tell us a story, the story of the origin of the redemptive line and the story of the origin of the enemies of God’s redemptive line.

Genesis 10:8-9 tells us about some significant descendants of Ham, who was the son of Noah whose descendants were cursed:  “Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.’  The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”  Nimrod was one of Ham’s grandsons.  Nimrod was the founder of the kingdom of Babylon (Shinar was the ancient name for Babylon). 

Genesis 10:10-11 states:  “From that land he (Nimrod) went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.”  Nimrod also founded the major cities of the kingdom of Assyria.  

Who took Israel into captivity in 722BC?  Assyria.  Who took Judah into captivity in 586BC?  Babylon.  The descendants of Ham, who were under a curse, took the Israelites captive.  And from Ham even another major oppressor to Israel was born:  Egypt.  Genesis 10:6 – The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.  Clearly, the conflict that was prophesied by the Lord in Genesis 3:15 (conflict between “her seed” and “satan’s seed) is highlighted here in Genesis 10, which is commonly labeled “The Table of Nations” because it shows the heritage of the nations located in the area now known as the Middle East.  

Family tree split 2 resulted in the birth of three of Israel’s major future oppressors, Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon.  

Family Tree Split 3 – Canaan

Canaan, the son of Ham, was also the father of many nations who became enemies to Israel.  “Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth and the Jebusite (the Jebusites had control of Jerusalem until David conquered them) and the Amorite (inhabited Palestine; another branch of Canaanites known for their witchcraft) and the Girgashite (more descendants of Canaan) and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad. 19 The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.”

The Book of Jubilees highlights how Canaan illegally took the land that was originally destined for Israel, resulting in Israel having to later fight them for the domination of that territory.

An interesting passage to note here is concerning what I see as God’s patience and mercy towards the Canaanites.  God speaks to Abraham in this passage concerning his descendants being captives in Egypt for four generations and then makes this statement in Genesis 15:16: “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”  One of the reasons that it took so long for the land to be ready for Israel’s occupation was that the Amorites were not ready to be judged yet.   Essentially God was giving them time to repent.  He was showing His patience.

Canaan is the father of many of the “ites” in Scripture that God wants driven out of the land of Israel during the time of the conquest:  Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites.  All were known for their terrible idolatry that included human sacrifice.

Family Tree Split #4 – Isaac and Ishmael

Genesis 16 highlights another split in the family tree where the blessing of God goes one way and at the same time another nation who oppresses Israel is born.

Abraham is swayed by his wife to have a son with Hagar, her maidservant.  This was a common and acceptable practice in their day.  Hagar conceives and has a son, Ishmael.  It is interesting to note that Ishmael is one of the very few people who are named by God before birth in the Bible, keeping company with the likes of John the Baptist, Jesus, Solomon, and interestingly enough, his own half brother, Isaac.

Ishmael is prophesied over by an angel of God:  Genesis 16:10-12 “The angel added, ‘I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.’ The angel of the Lord also said to her: ‘You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son.  You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.’”

Wow.  A promise of very fruitful descendants, similar to the promise give  to Abraham and Isaac, however a very different tone.  The angel is declaring that Ishmael will be a wild beast of a man (which includes his descendants) and be at odds against all his brothers.

Ishmael later has 12 sons (which is interesting since Jacob [Israel] later has 12 sons as well).  Genesis 25 gives us a little insight into Ishmael:  Genesis 25:16, 18 “These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.”  Ishmael’s descendants became a nomadic, tribal people who lived at odds with their neighbors, just as the angel prophesied.

“And Ishmael and his sons, and the sons of Keturah and their sons, went together and dwelt from Paran to the entering in of Babylon in all the land towards the East facing the desert.  And these mingled with each other, and their name was called Arabs, and Ishmaelites.”

—Book of Jubilees 20:13

“Satan’s Seed” are his “sons” who follow in the same coveteous/murderous spirit that satan operates in:  

Jesus makes reference to the murderous spirit that opposes “The Seed” in the following passage in John 8, however in this passage, the same spirit resided within the Jewish leaders, those who opposed Jesus:

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants (or Abraham’s seed) and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.” 39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children (or seed),” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.41 You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

Conclusion:

It is obvious to see that the ancient hatred of the Jews slowly evolved over time and is now solidly embedded into the religion of Islam, which, if you look at a map of the Muslim world, completely surrounds the land of Israel.  Israel is once again surrounded by enemies and oppressors that threaten her existence and peace.  Jesus will one day bring an end to the “enmity” between the nations and bring all nations in obedience to Him.

Currently there is a move of God throughout the Middle East.  Revival is breaking out in places like Egypt, Iran and other Mid-Eastern countries.  God’s loving heart for the Muslims is obvious and the harsh terminology used by Him throughout the prophets and throughout end times passages should not sway us from the fact that God desires none to perish but all to come to repentance.

A good article to read about Genesis 3:15:  http://www.studylight.org/language-studies/difficult-sayings/?a=456

 

 

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