Genesis 12:1-3
Of Whom do the Scriptures Speak?

By Dr. Ken Matto

Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: {2} And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: {3} And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

If you ask any dispensationalist about who Genesis 12:1-3 is speaking about, without batting an eye or even checking their bibles, they will tell you that this is pointing to the nation of Israel. This verse has been used by deluded pastors and theologians to promote their crypto-Zionism from the pulpit. Genesis 12:1-3 is not a political group of verses but they are spiritual in nature and we will see openly what they are pointing to. One of the greatest proponents of this view was C.I. Scofield and there were others who worked with him on his notes. Two such notables from the dispensationalist movement were A.T. Pierson and A.C. Gaebelein. It must be noted that Scofield met with a man named Samuel Untermyer who later became chairman of the American Jewish Committee, president of the American League of Jewish Patriots, and chairman of the Non-sectarian Anti-Nazi League. Untermyer was an advocate of the Zionist Liberation movement and was also active as a member of the Federal Reserve. Untermyer introduced Scofield to many prominent Zionist and Socialist leaders such as Jacob Schiff and Bernard Baruch. In 1901 Untermyer helped Scofield join the Lotus club in New York City which promoted literature and fine arts. It was here where Scofield came under the tutelage of Untermyer.

Scofield then went on to author and publish the Scofield Reference Bible which made its first appearance in 1909. It was then revised in 1917. Below are notes from two editions of that Bible the 1917 and 1967 edition of which I have in my possession. Let us look at the study notes on Genesis 12:1-3 in both editions.

1917 Edition - Genesis 12:1-3
12:1  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

The Fourth Dispensation: Promise. For Abraham, and his descendants it is evident that the Abrahamic Covenant (See Scofield "Genesis 15:18") made a great change. They became distinctively the heirs of promise. That covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional. The descendants of Abraham had but to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing. In Egypt they lost their blessings, but not their covenant. The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law Exodus 19:8. Grace had prepared a deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by divine power brought them out of bondage Exodus 19:4 but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law. The Dispensation of Promise extends from Genesis 12:1 to Exodus 19:8, and was exclusively Israelitish. The dispensation must be distinguished from the covenant. The former is a mode of testing; the latter is everlasting because unconditional. The law did not abrogate the Abrahamic Covenant Galatians 3:15-18 but was an intermediate disciplinary dealing "till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made." Galatians 3:19-29; 4:1-7. Only the dispensation, as a testing of Israel, ended at the giving of the law.

12:2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

And

For analysis and summary of the Abrahamic Covenant, See Scofield Genesis 15:8

If you notice in these study notes, there is nothing about the nation of Israel or anything overly-Zionist. Now let us see what the notes in the 1967 edition have to say.

1967- Genesis 12:1-3
Since the notes are quite long I am going to include the pertinent sections which were added to the 1967 edition that were not even intimated in the 1917 edition. These can be checked out and confirmed by any 1967 New Scofield Reference Bible.

(2) God made an unconditional promise of blessings through Abram’s seed (a) to the nation of Israel to inherit a specific territory forever. (Gen 12:2; 15:18-21; 17:7-8); (b) to the Church as in Christ (Gal. 3:16, 28-29); and to the Gentile nations (Gen. 12:3).

(3) There was a promise of blessing upon those individuals and nations who bless Abram’s descendants, and a curse laid upon those who persecute the Jews (Gen. 12:3; Matthew 25:31-46).

(1) The promise of a great nation: “I will make of thee a great nation” (Gen 12:2). This had primary reference to Israel, the descendants of Jacob, to whom the everlasting possession of the land is promised (Gen. 17:8), to whom the everlasting covenant is given (Gen 17:7), and to whom God said, ‘I will be their God” (Gen 17:8). Abraham was also promised that he would father other nations (Gen 17:6, 20), principally fulfilled through Ishmael and Esau.

(3) Promises to the Gentiles. (a) “I will bless them that bless thee” (Gen. 12:3). Those who honor Abraham will be blessed. (b) “and curse them that curseth thee) (Genesis 12:3) This was a warning literally fulfilled in the history of Israel’s persecutions. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew-well with those who have protected him. For a nation to commit the sin of anti-Semitism brings inevitable judgment….The Abrahamic covenant reveals the sovereign purpose of God to fulfill through Abraham His program for Israel, and to provide Christ the Saviour to all who believe. The ultimate fulfillment is made to rest upon the divine promise and the power of God rather than upon human faithfulness.

As you can see the 1967 study notes focus on the belief that the Jews are God’s chosen people and that no one is to be at odds with them or else you will be judged. We find nothing like that in the 1917 edition but 50 years later, we are told these things because the modern nation of Israel was formed in 1948 and these notes are basically telling us that we need to unconditionally support Israel. If Israel wants it, then God wants it is what the basic premise is. What despicable manipulation of the Scriptures to get gullible church people to bow the knee to the Jews and Israel. Do the same judgments come on the Jews when they persecute the Christians? I guess the Israel worshippers would never countenance such a thought, especially in the dispensational churches. Let us look at what Genesis 12:1-3 is speaking about.

Genesis 12:1
Genesis 12:1 (KJV) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Terah, Abram’s Father had now died at the age of 205 in Haran. Genesis 11:32 (KJV) And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. This covenant points out how God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees and commanded him to go to a land which God would show him. Within this covenant we see promises which must be examined very closely to determine their meaning. Abram was now commanded by God to leave Ur and to leave his family and follow God to the land which He would show to him. At this point, God did not tell Abram where he was going, instead Abram followed God by faith. Hebrews 11:8 (KJV) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Genesis 12:2
Genesis 12:2 (KJV) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Here God gives Abram a promise that he will become a great nation. The word "nation" is the Hebrew word "goy," which may be translated "Gentile, foreign nation, or heathen." Right at the outset we see that the nation God has in view will not be limited to a single country. We establish this because within this nation there are going to exist Gentiles. We may conclude this nation will be worldwide in scope. Matthew 21:43 (KJV) Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Matthew 21:43 gives us an insight as to what type of nation will be built through Abraham’s seed. The nation which will be bringing forth much fruit will be the church of Christ or the body of believers. The fruit in view is to make other believers as the Gospel is sent forth to the world. It must be worldwide if foreign Gentile nations are to be included. God also promised to make Abram’s name great, and this has been fulfilled. The nation of Israel proclaims him, the Arab world proclaims him, and the Christian world proclaims him. God says he would be a blessing, but a blessing to whom? I believe the answer to that lies in the end portion of verse 3.

Genesis 12:3
Genesis 12:3 (KJV) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

And I will bless them that bless thee
There is probably no greater example of the blessing of God on a nation than that of the United States. When we were founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, their first desire was to advance the Christian Faith as they recorded in the Mayflower Compact of November 11,1620. Our nation was founded on Christianity and the majority of the founding fathers were Christians. This nation was blessed as even the unbelievers who lived here had a fear of God and did not persecute the Christians as is being done today. The Government was formed according to Christian principles and the acknowledging that Christianity was the true faith. This led to the formation and building of a mighty nation under God. God blessed this nation because it acknowledged Him as the Supreme ruler over this country and He has protected it through the years. He blessed this nation as the breadbasket to the world and with great wealth. People flocked to the shores to start a new life here. All of my grandparents came from Hungary around the turn of the twentieth century.

and curse him that curseth thee
We continue to look at the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram, we need to look at countries that have cursed Christianity and even showed desire for it to leave the shores. In India, Hinduism has been very physical against Christianity and as a result they are a very poor nation worshipping cows. Saudi Arabia where Christianity is illegal, they may have much oil wealth but their people worship a black box called the Kaaba. To have no gospel is a greater curse because there is no chance for salvation. The old Soviet Union persecuted Christians and in 1990 they dissolved. North Korea persecutes Christians and their country is just about broke. Israel hates Christians and the Lord Jesus Christ and they have become a haven for sodomites which totally negates the ridiculous moniker of “holy land.”

All one has to do is just look at who persecutes Christians, whether corporately or individually, and you will see God’s curse upon them. The greatest curse that one can have is to be the enemy of God by means of persecuting Christians. Remember what the Lord Jesus said to the Apostle Paul when he was on his way to Damascus. Acts 9:4-5 (KJV) And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? {5} And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. What these hate mongers fail to understand, that when you hate Christians, you are in actuality hating the Lord Jesus Christ who will be their judge on the last day.

and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed
Now we must look at what God chooses to bless as these blessings are not man made but divine. Let us pose three questions:

Has God blessed Judaism?
Has God blessed Islam?
Has God blessed Christianity?

The answer to the first two questions is no because both of these systems deny Christ in His deity. 1 John 2:23 (KJV) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. The answer to the third is yes, because Christianity is not a world religion with a cultic overtone. True Christianity exalts the person of Christ, and God promised to bless those who are in Christ.

Now we must realize that the only way all families on the earth can be blessed is if the gospel is preached to them. There is not a country on earth which is void of Christians, Christianity, or the knowledge of Christ. Now when Russia relaxed its strict control on the people in 1990, the cry was to send Bibles, not other religious books. Wherever Christianity was permitted, it left an indelible mark on that country. Many times hospitals were built, schools were built, housing was built, humanitarian aid was given in Christ’s name, when there is a tsunami or other disaster, Americans are quick to offer help, whether believers or not. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, there were many Christian groups on the scene to help. The atheists in this country hate Christianity and yet I did not hear of one atheist group on the scene in New Orleans.

It is common knowledge that whenever mission stations were built in different countries, they became centers of refuge for people. They normally helped with their medical and dental needs, education, clothing, and other necessities. They were normally built in the poorer sections of a country. I have been saved for 34 years and have yet to see a humanitarian station built in foreign countries by either Muslims or Jews. It is always the Christians who go in and not only help with the physical but bring the eternal gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ which when indigenous people become saved, it changes their life eternally and they in turn go out and preach the gospel to their fellow countrymen, thus fulfilling God’s promise to Abram that all the families of the world would be blessed.

Summary
Genesis 12:1-3 is in no way speaking of the modern nation of Israel. When this promise was given to Abram, Israel was 600 years from being formed as an official nation. In these verses, God is telling us that the Lord Jesus Christ would come through the nation of Israel, the line of Judah and once He completed His salvation program on Calvary and ascended back to Heaven, then would come Pentecost which would usher in the last days and the sending forth of the Gospel to the entire world. So God makes the promise to Abram that it would be through his family line that the Messiah would come and that is why neither Eliezer his steward or Ishmael could be the child of promise. It had to be Isaac who gave birth to Jacob who gave birth to Judah until his line came to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is unfortunate that so many Christians believe that the modern nation of Israel is some type of holy land. As stated before it has become a haven for sodomy.

Genesis 12:1-3 when interpreted properly yields only one focus and that is the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ along with world wide evangelism in His Name. Those who try and claim that it is speaking of modern Israel are doing disservice to these passages and will never come into truth on this subject. This is also why so many churches and Christians have been derailed into thinking that modern Israel is the place to keep their eyes on for prophecy. The place to keep their eye on is the church and its persecution and infiltration by false gospels. No one is seeking to change Judaism but yet there is a great satanic movement to change the truth of Christianity. This is why Satan has come up with counterfeit bibles, counterfeit gospels like the emerging church with Rob Bell, Tony Campolo, and Rick Warren and other unsaved deceivers who are vying for the souls of people and seeking to derail the truth to lead astray the Elect.

When looking at the covenant in Genesis 12:1-3 and when we understand it to mean the eternal church, then we will understand much better when God states that He will give Abraham a land forever. Genesis 13:15 (KJV) For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. What is the only thing in Scripture which will last forever? It is the eternal Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and that is what is in view when we read “forever or everlasting.” Genesis 17:7-8 (KJV) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. {8} And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. When will we claim that everlasting possession? It will be after Judgment day when God remakes this entire world and universe. Isaiah 66:22 (KJV) For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. Notice the similarity between Genesis 17:7 and Isaiah 66:22. They are both speaking of the seed. Who is that seed? Galatians 3:16 (KJV) Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. It is the Lord Jesus Christ and all His followers, AKA Christians. It is so clear once we analyze these verses properly. Please do not get caught up believing false prophecy books and dispensationalism which only spews more lies and causes more confusion.

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