To accurately interpret Bible prophecy, it is essential we understand the “Federal Head” principle. This is how it works: Speaking to his chosen servant(s), the Lord calls them to initiate an action that will continue through the generations and only completed by their offspring. It makes sense that we see this principle often in Genesis, the book of beginnings.
Noah and family obeyed the Lord and were saved from the global deluge. We have all come from this righteous man and his wife. After the waters subsided, the Lord made a covenant with his Federal Head. “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1 NIV)
Noah’s sons and their wives would initiate having lots of babies, but they could not complete the assignment. Not until the end of the next age, the Millennium, will Noah’s family cover the earth.
No one in the Old Testament exemplifies the Federal Head more than Abram. Because this servant believed God, he became known as “the Father of our Faith”. To him, the Lord promised: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3 NIV)
Becoming a great nation implies generations of fruitful, happy and prosperous sons and daughters. In Abram’s case, this meant they would number like the stars (Gen. 15:5). (See also Genesis 17:3-8). Whoever blesses the Jews, for instance, will themselves be divinely blessed.
Other Old Testament models of the Federal Head are Jacob’s sons (Exodus 3:8), Job (Job 5:25), David (2 Samuel 7:16) and Phinehas (Numbers 25:10-13). Each of God’s promises has prophetic significance. Each has yet to be fulfilled.
Next, we will find the Federal Head in the New Testament, then, I believe, draw some interesting conclusions.