By Charles H. Welch
Star Seed, Dust and Sand. Students of prophecy sometimes speak of the ‘star’ seed, and the ‘sand’ seed of Israel, and by so differentiating them intend the reader to understand a reference to two spheres, the ‘star’ seed being heavenly, the ‘sand’ seed being earthly. Let us first of all have the passages that are involved before us.
Referred to by Jacob
It has been seriously maintained that the ‘star seed’ was allocated to Isaac only (Gen. 26:3,4), and the first promise namely that of the ‘dust seed’ was passed on to Jacob. This however is not supported by the next reference:
If the ‘dust’ seed stands for the earthly calling of Israel, and the
‘star’ seed stand for the heavenly, then the ‘sand’ seed must stand for a
third sphere -- but what? Yet Hosea 1:10 has no hesitation in using the
figure of the ‘sand’ to refer to the earthly seed of Israel. When God spoke
of Abraham’s seed being as the dust of the earth, one likeness and one only
is mentioned, namely the exceedingly great number of its particles. When God
spoke to Abraham of the stars, He did not say ‘As the stars are heavenly
bodies, so shall thy seed be a heavenly calling and company’. He did not
refer to their light, or to their rule, the only likeness is that of infinite
number. Yet again when the seed is likened to ‘sand’, no attempt is made to
explain any intended difference between ‘sand’ and ‘dust’ for yet again the
only likeness that is recorded in that of limitless number. Moses, in line
with subsequent writers of holy Writ, calls the Lord, the God of ‘Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob’ (Exod. 3:6,16; 4:5), making no distinction, but regarding
the three patriarchs as heirs together. This is entirely in line with the
language of Hebrews 11:9,10 where Isaac and Jacob are said to be ‘heirs with’
Abraham of ‘the same promise’, and moreover, the promise particularly in view
in Hebrews 11, was the ‘heavenly’ one. This passage proves two things.
No Scriptural warrant can be discovered that would make the references to ‘dust’, ‘stars’, or ‘sand’, refer to three, or even two different callings. These three figures are employed because they have one thing in common, that is the impossibility of the human mind to ‘number them’. No other likeness is ever mentioned, nor is any intended. In every case, inheriting the landfollows the promise of the seed, whether that seed be likened to dust, to stars or to sand, but if the ‘star’ seed indicated a heavenly calling and a heavenly inheritance, it would be natural to expect that some differentiation would have been made. But this is never done. Some have seen in the promise made on Mount Moriah, introduced with such solemnity with the words ‘By Myself have I sworn’ (Gen. 22:17), a third promise never allocated to either Isaac or to Jacob. This however does not agree with the equally solemn words of Exodus 32:13, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are specifically mentioned together as those ‘to whom’ the dual promise concerning ‘the stars’ and ‘the land’ was equally given.
It has been assumed that there must be an essential difference intended by the Lord when at one time He uses ‘dust’, another ‘sand’, and yet another ‘stars’, when speaking of the seed of Abraham, but when Job spoke of ‘multiplying’ his days as the sand (Job 29:18), or of ‘heaping up’ silver as the dust (Job 27:16), there is no essential reason why he might not have exchanged his figures and spoken of ‘multiplying’ his days as the dust, and of ‘heaping up’ silver as the sand, the same ends would have been attained. Again, when the Psalmist would speak of the greatness of God’s power and the infinite range of His understanding, he looks to the stars, and says ‘He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names’ (Psa. 147:4); whereas Isaiah when he would illustrate the same greatness, speaks of God ‘measuring the waters’ in the hollow of His hand, of Him Who ‘meted out’ heaven with a span, and of ‘comprehending’ the dust of the earth in a measure (Isa. 40:12). It would destroy the intentions of the prophet to begin to make a distinction between the waters, the heavens, the dust, the mountains and the hills, for behold ‘He taketh up the isles as a very little thing’.
We have devoted this much space to this matter because it involves a principle of interpretation, a principle often transgressed when every item of local colour found in a parable is pressed into service and made to yield up some spiritual lesson. The reader is referred to the article entitled INTERPRETATION, for a fuller exposition of the principles that must be observed.