I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you.(Genesis 12:3, emphasis added)
Understanding these scriptures to mean precisely what is written should be foundations of our Christian faith. Mr. Sprenger explains, “This is the original and foundational promise made by God, revealing His redemptive purpose and plan for all of mankind.” Think this through. God is making a profound statement to Abraham. “In you, Abraham, all the families of the earth will be blessed.” God is not designating only Abraham’s people. God is clearly saying “all the families of the earth.” No person from any nation is excluded from this promise. Who are “all the families of the earth?” There can only be one conclusion. “All the families of the earth” are “ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH.”
Dr. John MacArthur is highly regarded as a Biblical Scholar, Pastor and Teacher. He is a man worthy of much respect. Dr. MacArthur gave a sermon message entitled “Inward, Upward or Outward” 1 in which he explains this verse. Dr. MacArthur states, “Nothing so much glorifies God as His gracious redemption of damned, hell-bound sinners. It was for that ultimate purpose that God called Abraham, that in him ‘all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”
The idea as Dr. MacArthur teaches is that Israel is chosen by God “to use that specially chosen and blessed nation to reach all other nations of the world for Himself.” Israel is a light to all nations in the same manner Christ Jesus is the Light. He says, “Like her Messiah, Israel was to be ‘a light to the nations so that [the Lord’s] salvation may reach to ends of the earth.’” Ostensibly the mission given to Israel, that is to be a light in the world, is now the purpose of the traditional denominations and congregations. “The great mission of the church is to so love, learn and live as to call men and women to Jesus Christ.” It is fair to question Dr. MacArthur’s substitution of “Israel” for Abraham. Abraham is the “father of many nations.” Israel is a small part of “all the families of the earth.”
Dr. MacArthur’s commentary on this verse wonderfully supports the doctrine of universal reconciliation. I know Dr. MacArthur believes in eternal conscious torment, but the words he provides here could put the lie to eternal conscious torment. He provides spiritual motivation to be the evangelical church proclaiming “The Blessed Hope.”
God made the way to reconciliation through His Son, Christ Jesus. Our reconciliation to Him brings glory. All of mankind is reconciled to Him. The glory given God cannot be mistaken because of the magnitude of His mercy and of His love. The worst, most heinous man ever to have lived will be reconciled to God. God, Almighty, will “fulfill” His will and win the lost. He will drag all men unto Himself. Abram was not Jewish nor Hebrew. This is not a promise to any one nation, but a promise to all nations. This promise is fulfilled in the Life, Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Dr. MacArthur is right to suggest God would draw believers to heaven immediately if all He wanted was fellowship with them, or to teach them His Holy Word, or even to hear their praises. Dr. MacArthur believes God wants more from His believers and that is to answer the true call of “winning the lost.” In fact, Dr. MacArthur admonishes believers to examine their level of Christian living and to get into the game of “winning the lost.”
Dr. MacArthur points to two distinct groups in this commentary. The first group is “lost.” The second group is “lost, but found.” Dr. MacArthur provides the distinction where none is necessary. It is God’s Holy Word that says, “In you Abram all the families of the world will be blessed.” That would include the families of the “lost” and of the “lost, but found.” The plain meaning of these scriptures is superior to adding meaning and intent to them. To declare there are some who are “lost” and others who are “lost, but found” adds discrimination that is not found in the simple reading of these scriptures. Is the impact of God’s Word diminished by adding this distinction? Perhaps, so. This verse defines Impartial Grace.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.(Matthew 1:1, emphasis added)
God’s Holy Word tells us Christ Jesus is the promised blessing. The blessing promised to Abram is alive in Christ Jesus. “All the families of the earth” are the beneficiaries of the blessing given to Abram. Jesus is that blessing to “all the families of the earth.”
For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may 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. As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” This is in the presence of him whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were. Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So will your seed be.”(Romans 4:16-18, emphasis added)
The religious scholars; the Levites, the Pharisees and Sadducees, the zealots, Pastors, teachers and church authorities agree the promise was made to Abram. The promise is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Unfortunately, we disagree on whom the blessing is bestowed. We disagree on the meaning of “all nations” and “father of us all.”
Impartial Grace concludes that Abram believed with all his heart that he would have a child despite his old age. Religious scholars agree that the Seed is Christ Jesus. Because of his belief Abram is counted among the truly faithful. He is described as righteous. Abram, now Abraham, is “father of many nations” just as his Seed is over many nations. Abraham is the father of all nations just as Jesus is over all nations. Scriptures regarding “all” men and those regarding “every” man support God’s will and is universal reconciliation. God is love and all men, every man will be reconciled to Him. Even the dead for “their spirits have returned to the One Who gave it.”
The plain meaning of scripture is that all families on the earth are blessed because of Abraham’s faithfulness. That’s all families. Hindu families, Communist families, dysfunctional families, Baptist families, Methodist families, Catholic, Buddhist and on and on. All families are blessed. Blessed with what? Their promise is the Promised Land. The family of Abraham is blessed for having set out to the Promised Land. Every family is blessed by God because Abraham sought God’s promise. What is our promise? What is our blessing? We are blessed because God promised to bless all the families of all the nations.
That’s not complicated. These scriptures stand without contradiction. Not one is excluded
1Dr. John MacArthur. “Inward, Upward or Outward?” Publication date unknown. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A187/inward-upward-or-outward. Date accessed: 04/02/2018.