Acts 3:25 “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” We are now going to endeavor to determine what this passage is saying, and what it is not!
There are several related Scriptures throughout the Bible pertaining to this same subject, and it is imperative that we understand their context in every instance. There is probably no other group of related passages taken so entirely out-of-context than these. It might appear, at first sight, that these passages are all-inclusive in a universal sense to include all the peoples of the world. Actually, the opposite is true as these passages are exclusive rather than inclusive. And to use the term “exclusive” is an understatement. But before we get into the gist of this thing we must investigate the previous happenings which led up to Peter referring back to the Abrahamic Covenant.
While Peter did quite well, for that period of time, he was not fully aware of who all true Israel was. Therefore, he at times addressed the wrong people by that name. He didn’t really begin to understand until Acts chapter 10 when he had the vision of a vessel being lowered down to him as a great “four cornered … knit sheet” with all kinds of unclean creatures. Now, most of the inept pastors of our day use Peter’s vision as a license to eat unclean food to the detriment of their health. Actually, the unclean creatures which Peter saw were the lost tribes of Israel. It is important to note that it was a “four cornered sheet” that he saw. That “four cornered sheet” represents the four sided encampment when Israel was in the wilderness described at Numbers chapter 2, and Revelation 21:16, as the “city … four-square.” The Greek word τετράγωνος at this verse means “with four equal angles” i.e. four-cornered. And when we read at Acts 10:15:
“And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”
At this point it is necessary, then, to understand what it was that “God hath cleansed.” Israel was cleansed by sacrifice of crucifixion, i.e.: Isaiah 1:25-27; Jer. 13:27; 33:8; Ezek. 36:25, 29, 33; Joel 3:21; John 13:10, 15:3; Heb. 1:3; 10:19-23; Titus 2:14; 1 John 1:7, 3:1-5. William Finck’s translation at Romans 2:12 shows that Paul makes this clear:
“For as many as have done wrong without law, without law then are they cleansed; and as many as have done wrong in the law, by the law they will be judged.” Also note Ezek. 22:26 & 44:23.
It is simply silly for all these modern-day preachers going around proclaiming “we must be born again” so we can be cleansed, for we (like in Peter’s vision) are already cleansed! What we need is conversion! Modern-day churchianity is making the same mistake as Nicodemus did! Jesus meant “you must be born from above”, not “be born again”, and there’s a lot of difference!
At Acts 1:1-4 we are told that Messiah spent 40 days from the Resurrection until His Ascension, which would have left 10 days until Pentecost. Some slickster confusion peddlers nowadays are trying to make it 99 days instead of 50. In Acts chapter 2 we are given the account of the Advent of the Holy Spirit. At Acts 2:17, Peter quotes Joel 2:28, which says:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
It should be noted at Acts 2:17, Peter says that this will “come to pass in the last days”, but Peter’s day of Pentecost here in Acts is not the last days! Peter, in his day, witnessed only an “earnest” (#728 ἀῤῥαβών) of the Holy Spirit alluded to by Paul at 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; and Eph. 1:14, or a down payment or a pledge of what was to come in the “last days.”
I will give you my thoughts about “speaking in tongues.” I would be among the first to affirm that there are heavenly languages among the angels. But, at the day of Pentecost the miracle was in the hearing rather than the speaking, for each group attending spoke in his own language, but those whose language was different heard them speak in his own language. When Paul later mentions that he spoke in tongues more than you all, it simply meant that Paul spoke several languages. At 1 Cor. 14:18, “I give thanks to Yahweh speaking in more languages than all of you”, followed by verse 14:19, by itself reveals the idiocy of the Charismatics and Pentecostals: “but in the assembly I wish to speak five words with my mind, in order that I may instruct others also, than a myriad of words in a language.” (Again, translation by William Finck.)
We should remember that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at the day of Pentecost was only an “earnest” (down payment) of what we would eventually experience in the latter days. Personally, I’m looking forward to the time that I will be able to converse in every language, maybe with the exceptions of Creole and Yiddish. But to answer the question of speaking in tongues: I believe that today’s Pentecostal and Charismatic movements are a cheap counterfeit. I’ve studied extensively their history, and frankly, they’re evil to the core.
At Acts 2:25-31 we are told that the Old Testament David was a prophet, and we should keep that in mind when we read the Psalms. With this passage cited by Peter, David foretold of the life, death, burial and Resurrection of our Yahshua the Messiah. While there are many Psalms pointing toward our Redeemer, Peter was citing Psalm 16:10 in particular:
“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
And although Peter was not entirely aware of who all were Israel, he said this at Acts 2:36:
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that Yahweh hath made him both King and Messiah, this Jesus whom ye have crucified.”
“All the house of Israel” (before their division) would be all of the twelve tribes scattered abroad at James 1:1. If there are those who are laboring under the allusion that Peter was directing his discourse towards ‘all the peoples of the earth’, let them be hastily and mightily reproved! (Acts 2:25-28 is an exact quote of Psalm 16:8-11, the Greek of Acts differing from that of the LXX by only one single vowel!)
Then, at Acts 3:12, Peter (not yet having his vision of the “four cornered sheet”) addresses indiscriminately some of the Judaeans (who may have been from various genetic backgrounds) as “men of Israel” at the Temple (v. 1). Later, Paul would very discriminatingly and appropriately address those of them who were truly Israelites as “kinsmen according to the flesh” at Romans 9:3. At Acts 3:15, Peter mistakenly and indiscriminately accuses the same people as he cited in verse 12, and charges them unwittingly “And killed the Prince of life …”
As I have stated before, Peter had not yet been given his vision, and therefore we must take his words in their proper context! And today, many of us are making the same kind of mistake as Peter made (and we also haven’t had our vision of who true Israel is)! Go back and count the number of corners on that “sheet”!
The following are William Finck’s comments on Romans 9:3 and Acts 3:15: “Romans 9:3: Paul spends much of Romans chapters 9 through 11 comparing the children of Jacob and Esau, the true Israelites ‘according to the flesh’ (as opposed to religion or citizenship) compared to the Canaanite-Edomites who claimed to be Israel, practicing Judaism. I perceive that Peter is laying blame for the crucifixion of Christ upon the ‘men of Israel’ at Acts 2:22, 23 and 3:12, 13 in a very general, national sense, much as if all American citizens are responsible for the actions of our current government. Surely at least some of those whom Peter addressed here were a part of the crowd during the events which transpired at Passover only seven weeks prior, and noting Leviticus 5:1, not trying to stop the ‘Jews’, they also share a burden of guilt with them; although we know that His death is not accounted to TRUE ISRAELITES. Note that at Acts 2:23, Peter says ‘and by wicked hands’, which I would translate ‘and through lawless hands.’ It is obvious that Peter did not yet truly distinguish between Israelite and Canaanite-jew-‘Israeli’, except possibly for this one statement.”
This, then, generally brings us to our topic at Acts 3:25.
WHO ARE THE “KINDREDS” HERE?
“… And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”
This demands an investigation into the word “kindreds” as used here. It is the Greek word #3965 in Strong’s. We will use the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon:
“3965 πατριά [patria/pat·ree·ah/] n f. A derivative of 3962; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 5:1015; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Abridged 805; Goodrick-Kohlenberger 4255; Three occurrences; AV translates as ‘lineage’ once, ‘kindred’ once, and ‘family’ once. 1 lineage running back to some progenitor, ancestry. 2 a race or tribe. 2a a group of families, all those who in a given people lay claim to a common origin. 2b the Israelites which distributed into twelve tribes, descended from the twelve sons of Jacob, these were divided into families which were divided into houses. 3 family, in a wider sense, nation, people.”
Actually, #3965 is derived from #3962 meaning “father” or “patriarch” and partially described by the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon: “1 generator or male ancestor. 1a either the nearest ancestor: father of the corporeal nature, natural fathers, both parents. 1b a more remote ancestor, the founder of a race or tribe, progenitor of a people, forefather: so Abraham is called, Jacob and David. 1b1 fathers i.e. ancestors, forefathers, founders of a race. 1c one advanced in years, a senior … 2a1 the authors of a family or society of persons animated by the same spirit as himself …”
If one will check The Dictionary of Biblical Languages, Greek N. T., by James Swanson, it all boils down to:“4255 πατριά (patria), ᾶς (as), ἡ (heµ): n.fem.; … lineage, family line (Lk 2:4; Eph 3:15+) ….”
For the Hebrew word ʾab, which means “father”, we will now go to A Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) #3:“3 אב (ʾab): n.masc.; = Str 1; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 4a—1. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 10.14 father, i.e., the male progenitor of an offspring, or male adoptive parent (Ge 2:24); 2. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 10.14-10.48 grandfather, i.e., the male progenitor of a child’s parent (2 Sa 9:7; 16:3; 19:29 [EB 28]); 3. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 10.14-10.48 ancestor, forefather, i.e., a person many generations removed from a current generation (Ge 10:21); 4. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 68.1-68.10 founder, originator, i.e., one who causes something to begin (Ge 4:20, 21; 1Ch 2:24, 42), note: including profession, or cities; 5. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 35.36-35.46 caregiver, formally, father, i.e., one who cares for persons in need, as a figurative extension of a father caring for a child’s needs (Job 29:16; Isa 9:5); 6. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 87.19-87.57 sir, formally, father, i.e., a title of respect of a lesser to a greater in authority, implying relationship and respect (2 Ki 5:13); 7. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 12.1-12.42 Father, i.e., a title of God or a false god, as the progenitor and creator of persons he has relationship with (Dt 32:6; Ps 89:27 [EB 26]; Jer 2:27); 8. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 10.1-10.13 unit: בית אב (bayit ʾab) clan, formally, house of the fathers, i.e., a subgroup of a main clan/tribe division (Ex 6:14); 9. Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon 10.14-10.48 unit: אב; (ʾab) ancestor, forefather, formally, fathers of fathers, i.e., a person many generations removed from a current generation (Ex 10:6).”
All this should prove that even some of the liberal universalists who write these hard to understand lexicons, when it gets right down to the nitty-gritty of original language, cannot avoid the truth of “kindreds” being a family line.
All these things may not fit our description of “kindreds” at Acts 3:25, but we should now have a better general idea of its meaning, and it doesn’t include non-Adamites.
Rather, it includes Adamites, particularly those listed in Genesis chapter 10! We will now consult the Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament, editors Gerhard Kittle & Gerhard Freidrick, page 1014:
πατριά in the New Testament.
“1. In the sense of ‘father’s house’ or ‘kindred’ (→ lines 8 ff.) πατριά occurs in Lk. 2:4. Joseph is ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυίδ, cf. Lk. 1:27. Does πατριά come from a source used by the author? Even if not, it is readily explicable. ‘House of David’ implies ‘house of the ruler.’ It is thus in place to add πατριά (with καί) in order to make it clear that the reference is simply to ancestral descent. The phrase also carries with it a reminiscence of οἶκος πατριᾶς and approximation to it. Ac. 3:25 is related to the other branch of LXX usage, → 1016, 23 ff. This πᾶσαι αἱ πατριαὶ τῆς γῆς = ‘nations’ in Peter’s address, though it refers to the promise to Abraham, agrees neither with Gn. 12:3 משפהות (φυλαί) nor Gn. 18:18; 22:18 נוים (ἔθνη). It is a further and perhaps independent extension of the customary LXX rendering of משפהות by πατριαί. It again substantiates the influence of the liturgical parts of the Psalter which were of missionary significance and which found a home in the community’s vocabulary of prayer. This prepares the way for an understanding of Eph. 3:14 f. by showing how open primitive Christianity was to this meaning of πατριαί in the LXX.”
Πατριά In The LXX
Again Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament, editors Gerhard Kittle & Gerhard Freidrick, page 1016:
“The word is common in the LXX, esp. in 1 and 2 Ch. It is used more often than the Heb. demands … This proves that it was a favourite word. a. The organisation of the tribal life of the Hebrews is based on the primary cell of the family with the father as head. The union of several families (1 Ch. 23:11) forms the ‘father’s house’ as a sept (in Scotland, a division of a family or clan), the בית־אב pl. בית־אבות, shortened אבות,1 Ch. 7:11. Cf. the stereotyped לבית אבתם. Nu. 1:2 etc. This terminus technicus ‘father’s house’ is rendered οἶκος πατριᾶς or πατριῶν in the LXX. The formula לבית אבתם is almost without exception translated κατ᾽ οἴκους πατριῶν αὐτῶν`, Nu. 2:2, 32; 4:2; 2 Ch. 35:12 etc. b. But the bigger union, the clan (משפחת) into which the septs (clans) combine as a military organisation (אלפים ideal number), can also be rendered in the LXX by πατριά, οἶκοι πατριᾶς (Ex. 6:17, 19) as well as δῆμος (Nu. 2:34; 4:22). Sometimes, then, when we find משפחים with אבת in the Masora, obscurity can arise in the LXX through the twofold use of πατριαί, 1 Ch. 6:4 [sic πατριά (plural πατριαί) does not appear at 1 Ch. 6:4. The reference should probably read 1 Ch. 6:48.]. The heads of fathers’ houses, Heb. נשיאים, ראשים, שרים, are mostly οἱ ἄρχοντες (αὐτῶν) κατ᾿ οἴκους πατριῶν, so Nu. 17:17 [sic. This reference to Num. 17:17 actually intends Num. 17:2 in the LXX. Hatch & Redpath Concordance recognizes this discrepancy and cites the verse as 17:2(17)], though sometimes also ἀρχηγοὶ οἴκων πατριῶν, e.g., Ex. 6:14, and about the same number of times ἡγούμενοι πατριῶν, e.g., 2 Ch. 5:2; Ex. 6:25: ἀρχαὶ πατριᾶς. Other terms are used on occasion. The ministering classes, the main divisions of the priesthood of Israel, can also be called בית־אבות = οἶκοι πατριῶν in Ch.: 1 Ch. 24:4; 2 Ch. 31:17; 2 Εσδρ. 22:12 abbreviated אבות (πατριαί). [2 Εσδρ. 22:12 in the LXX is what we commonly call Ezra (and is the Ezra of the A.V.), which by many LXX editions has Nehemiah incorporated into it, so that 2 Esdras 22:12 is actually Nehemiah 12:12. Both Brenton and Hatch & Redpath recognize 2 Esdras (Ezra) and Nehemiah as separate books. The Apocryphal Esdras is titled 1 Εσδρας by LXX editors.] If these senses, which also apply to the Levites, stand within the framework of the tribal division of Israel, there is in the LXX a further usage which applies to the nations … Esp. important, however, is αἱ πατριαὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν τῆς γῆς (always for משפחות) in the sense of the ‘nations’ or ‘races.’ … The enthronement Psalm 95, which is influenced by Deutero-Isaiah, made a deep impression on Israel through its liturgical use. This is shown by its employment in 1 Ch. 16:23-33, v. 28 πατριαὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν (עמים משפחות) ….”
Note: “Deutero-Isaiah” is a designation, meaning “second Isaiah”, made by those who doubt the author of chapters 40-66 of Isaiah was the same as that of chapters 1-39. Note that these chapters address the restoration of an Israel that had already left Palestine and even in the isles of the west (Isaiah 41), or headed there (Isaiah 66:19).
Because this reference led at times toward “universalism”, it was necessary to use ellipses deleting lexical error. Also above, I inserted in brackets explanatory notes by William Finck which were not part of Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament commentary.
I will now use William Finck’s showing every occurrence of πατριά in the LXX from the Hatch & Redpath LXX Concordance:
Every πατριά Occurring In The LXX
Used of a family as a unit within a tribe of Israel: Exod. 6:14, 15, 17, 19, 25; 12:3;
Lev. 25:10; Num. 1:2, 4, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 47; 2:2, 32, 34; 3:15, 20, 24, 30, 35; 4:2, 22, 29, 34, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46; 26:2, 55; 31:26; 32:38; 33:14; 36:1, 4, 7; Deut. 18:8; 29:18; Josh. 14:1; 19:51; 21:1; 22:14(twice); 2 Kings 14:7; 3 Kings 14:6; 1 Chron. 4:27, 38; 5:7, 13, 15, 24(twice); 6:19, 48, 54, 60, 61, 62, 63, 66, 70, 71; 7:2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 40; 8:6, 10, 13, 28; 9:9, 13, 33, 34; 11:25; 12:30; 15:12; 23:9, 11, 24(twice); 24:3, 4(twice), 6, 30, 31(twice); 26:13, 21, 26, 31, 32; 27:1; 29:6; 2 Chron. 1:2; 5:2; 17:14; 32:2; 25:5; 31:17; 35:4, 5(twice), 12. Apoc. 1 Esdras 1:4;
2:8; 5:1, 4, 37 (or their race), 44, 63, 68, 70; 8:28, 59; 9:16; Ezra 1:5; 2:59 (and their seed), 68; 3:12; 4:2, 3; 8:1, 29; 10:16; Neh. 7:61 (or their sperm), 70, 71; 8:13; 10:34; 11:13; 12:12, 22, 23; Tobit 1:9; 5:10, 11, 13; Judith 8:2, 18; and (if I must) Esther 4:17; 9:27. The word appears in the prophets only at: Jer. 2:4; 3:14; Ezek. 45:15, and is used ambiguously at Psalm 106 (107):41. It is used synonymously as a term for one of the 12 tribes of Israel at: Num. 7:2; 13:3; 17:2(twice), 3, 6; 25:14.
This term is also used to distinguish a division of a foreign, non-Israel – and also non-Adamic – people, where we are told also who those people were specifically: Num. 25:15 (Midianites); 1 Chr. 2:55 (Kenites); and Jer. 25:9 (Chaldaeans). It is where the term “families of the nations” appears, at 1 Chron. 16:28, Psalm 21 (22):27; and Psalm 95 (96):7 only, that Kittle and Freidrick and so many others attribute “missionary significance” to the term. Everywhere else, except the few examples just given, the term is applied only to the clans of Israel! Yet how could Psalm 21 and 95 (22 and 96 in the A.V.) and 1 Chron. 16:28 be referring to any other but the Genesis 10 Adamic Nations?
Πατριά Outside The New Testament, Theological Dictionary N.T.
“Already in Herodotus πατριά means the family as derived from the father. It is used specifically for the father’s family tree, III, 75: II, 143. But πατριαί can also mean tribes in I, 200 (= φυλαί). Elsewhere it is used for πάτρα, which can mean not only ‘country’ or ‘native city’ but also ‘house,’ ‘tribe,’ ‘family.’ So Pindar Pythia, 8, 38; Nemea, 6, 36: ‘tribe,’ ‘race.’ The central pt. is always derivation from the same father or ancestor no matter whether the reference be to nation, tribe, caste, or family. It should be noted that by linguistic formation πατριά is collective and thus concrete, not abstract.”
Surely πατριά can mean “country” or “native city” but only in theme sense of fatherhood (see Liddell & Scott, πατριά “… one’s fatherland, native land, country home …”) and in this sense Pindar used the word, which is necessarily diluted in English if one wishes to keep a translation in simple language, for not all Greek ideas fit neatly into single English words. The Greek cities were of a tribal nature, and inhabited by citizens who were generally of a single tribe, whether they be Dorian, Danaan, Ionian etc. So surely Pindar’s use of the word does not allow for any universal application of the word.
Kittle and Freidrick state here that πατριά means the family as derived from the father. It is used specifically for the father’s family tree” and then “it should be noted that by linguistic formation πατριά is collective and concrete” and so one should certainly not attempt to “spiritualize” this word! When Abraham was first given the promise that “And in thy seed shall all the kindreds (families) of the earth be blessed”, recorded at Acts 3:25 and Genesis 12:3, Abraham was standing in Haran, the ancient land of Arphaxad, the land of his own fathers. Around him dwelt a circuit of descendants of all the Genesis 10 families – the White race of Adam. These, and no other, are “all the families of the earth”; those of them who had a common father in Adam!
The other branches of the Adamic race were blessed in Abraham’s offspring, because Israel was preserved by Yahweh to perpetuate the Adamic race, to carry on the battle against Satan, the children of the enemy, and from them came forth Jesus Christ, without whom resurrection would not be possible. The other White Adamites, while not Israel, also have the spirit which Adam had, and while this is barely within the scope of the Bible, they too will be resurrected: i.e. Luke 11:32-33, and Acts 17:22-23 (where Paul addresses Japhethite Ionians, the tribe of Athens).
πατριά In The New Testament by William Finck
“In the New Testament πατριά is used only three times: (1) Luke 2:4 ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς (Genitive singular) Δαυείδ: From the house and family of David (literally). There is good reason why both terms are used: for “house”, refers to legal inheritance, while ‘family’ refers to bloodline. (2) Acts 3:25 καὶ ἐν τῶ σπέρματί σου ἐνευλογηθήσονται πᾶσαι αἱ πατριαὶ (Nominative plural) τῆς γῆς (quote of Gen. 12:3): ‘And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.’ (A.V.). Here πατριά is in the plural and refers to those Genesis 10 families all derived from a common father, Adam through Noah. (3) Eph. 3:15 ἐξ οὖ πᾶσα πατριὰ, (Nominative singular) ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς ὀνομάζεται (3rd person singular verb = ‘it is named’): from whom the whole family in the heavens and upon earth is named, (literally). Here Kittle and Freidrick failed to distinguish between πατριά in the plural at Acts 3:25, and in the singular at Eph. 3:15, where Paul means something entirely different. Eph. 3:15 discusses not ‘every family’, but ONE FAMILY: Not only is support for this found at Amos 3:1-6 and Matt. 15:24, but elsewhere in Paul’s own writing; at Galatians 6:10, Romans 8:29-30; 9:4-8 and many other places not so obvious in the English translation of the A.V. Eph. 3:15 clearly refers only to Israel!” [end of Finck’s remarks]
We will again see that the nations to be blessed were the Genesis 10 Adamic nations. For this we need to go back to Genesis 2:7:
“And the LORD <3068> God <430> formed <3335> man <120> [of] the dust <6083> of <4480> the ground <127>, and breathed <5301> into his nostrils <639> the breath <5397> of life <2416>; and man <120> became a living <2416> soul <5315>.”
You will notice that the Strong’s number for “ground” is 127, which is the same number as used for “earth” at Gen. 12:3 & 28:14 when the Covenants to Abram and later Jacob were made:
Genesis 12:3: “And I will bless <1288> them that bless <1288> thee, and curse <779> him that curseth <7043> thee: and in thee shall all families <4940> of the earth <127> be blessed <1288>.”
Genesis 28:14: “And thy seed <2233> shall be as the dust <6083> of the earth <776>, and thou shalt spread abroad <6555> to the west <3220>, and to the east <6924>, and to the north <6828>, and to the south <5045>: and in thee and in thy seed <2233> shall all the families <4940> of the earth <127> be blessed <1288>.”
Now the Masoretic Text is inconsistent with the parallel passages at Gen. 22:18 & 26:4 where only the Strong’s #776 word for “earth” is used. In the above verse both #127 and #776 appear, but #127 applies to “families” as it does at Gen. 12:3.
Therefore it is as much as saying, “And in thee shall all the nations of the Adamic earth be blessed.” This is a far cry from how Jew-deo-unchristianity is trying to apply Acts 3:25 today!