Bible passage: Genesis 12:7
Written: As early as 1400 BC
In Genesis, chapter 12, Abraham is given the first of many prophecies that his offspring will inherit the land on which he was standing, which later became the land of Israel:
The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. (Gen. 12:7, NIV)
Abraham's story is found mostly in Genesis, chapters 11-25. He had found favor with God because of his faith in God, and God had selected him for special blessings. At the time when this promise was made to Abraham, about 4,000 years ago, the land was occupied by Canaanites.
The prophecy found a fulfillment about 3,400 years ago, when the descendants of Abraham, through his grandson Jacob, conquered the Canaanites and took control of the land of Israel. The conquest is described in the Bible's book of Joshua.
But some Bible scholars regard Gen. 12:7 as a prophecy about a Messiah, a single descendant of Abraham, who would preside over the land of Israel. This is view consistent with the writer of Galatians, a book of the New Testament of the Bible, which was written about 1,900 years ago:
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. (Gal. 3:16, NIV)
This verse in Galatians alludes to Gen. 12:7, as well as to Gen. 13:15 and Gen. 24:7. In these verses, many English translations use the word "seed" or "offspring," a word that can point to an individual descendant person, rather than to a group of descendants. The writer of Galatians is saying that it is Jesus who is the true and ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy in Gen. 12:7.