This article provides an overview of God’s long-term plan to bless all nations in Christ. The promise that God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – that in their seed all the families of the earth would be blessed – was set against the backdrop of the 70 nations listed in Genesis 10. In the days of Amos, those families were distinct from Israel and, unlike Israel, God did not know them. When Peter and Paul recalled the promise given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they affirmed that Jesus came to bless Israel first, but it was also the time for the nations (distinct from Abraham’s seed) to be blessed in Christ.
Circa 2200 BC
“These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the  nations were divided on the earth after the flood” (Genesis 10:32).
- At this time there was not yet a nation of Israel, but generations later Abraham/Isaac/Jacob came from the family line of Shem (Genesis 11:10-26) and gave birth to Israel.
Circa 1900 BC
“Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 28:14; cf. Gen. 22:17-18, Gen. 26:3-4).
- On one side were [A] Abraham/Isaac/Jacob and their seed/descendants, and on the other side were [B] all the families of the earth.
- Abraham/Isaac/Jacob and their seed would be the channel through which all the families of the earth would be blessed.
Circa 760 BC
“Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, ‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities‘” (Amos 3:1-2).
- Israel was one family and God knew this family.
- There were many other families of the earth besides Israel.
- God didn’t know those other families of the earth; God only knew the family of Israel.
- (The Israelites had not yet been scattered, because Amos prophesied about 40 years before the Assyrian captivity.)
Circa AD 30
“You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:25-26).
- God sent Jesus first to the family of Israel to bless them.
- All the remaining families of the earth, who God previously promised to bless through Abraham’s seed, were next to be blessed in Christ.
Circa AD 50
“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Galatians 3:8-9).
- When Abraham was told that he and his seed/descendants would be the channel through which all the nations would be blessed, he heard the gospel.
- Genesis 10 provides a background where 70 nations were in view, having come from the families of the sons of Noah.
- Israel came from one of the family lines recorded in Genesis 10.
- The patriarchs of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) were promised that their seed would be a channel through which all the nations would be blessed (Genesis 22, 26, 28).
- Amos told Israel that they were the one family whom God knew, and Amos contrasted Israel with all the other families of the earth who God did not know (Amos 3).
- Peter said that Israel was the first family that Jesus was sent to bless, in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham to bless all the families of the earth through his seed. Israel was the first, but not the only, family of the earth to be blessed in Christ. The family of Israel was the channel through which the other nations were to be blessed.
- Paul said that the gospel was preached to Abraham when he was promised that in his seed all the nations would be blessed.
Israel was the family that was blessed first in Christ, but that wasn’t the end of God’s mission. Israel was not the last or the only family to be blessed in Christ. They were the first of many families to be blessed in Christ.