Star Seed

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.

To Abraham

‘I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered’ (Gen. 13:16).

‘Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be’ (15:5). ‘In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore’ (22:17).

To Isaac

‘I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries’ (26:3,4).

To Jacob

‘And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham’ (28:3,4).

‘The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth’ (28:13,14).

Referred to by Jacob

‘And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude’ (32:12).

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:

‘Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom Thou swarest by Thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever’ (Exod. 32:13).

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.

  1. It is unscriptural to attempt to distinguish between the covenant promises made to the three patriarchs. They are looked upon as being jointly heirs of the same promise. The word sugkleronomos being used in Romans 8:17, ‘joint heirs’, and in Ephesians 3:6, ‘fellow heirs’, shows how full this equal participation of the three patriarchs must be.

  2. No indication of a heavenly country, a heavenly city or a heavenly calling is found in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Old Testament. That they were looked forward to ‘by faith’, Hebrews 11 makes clear, but to believe that they were entertained by Abraham and Isaac to the exclusion of Jacob is impossible in the light of that same chapter.

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.

An Alphabetical Analysis

| About LW | Site Map | LW Publications | Search
Developed by © Levend Water All rights reserved