Intimacy With God
An intimacy like his relationship with Abraham the friend of God. An intimacy with one who trusted in His Word.
Paul tells us that: Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness. We are His bond-slaves, and yet He is not only looking for servants… for His dear desire for you, is not just in getting the job done. We are His children, who delight to do His bidding..
Call of the Lord
He longs to tell you the precious thoughts of His heart… as He did with Abraham - shall I tell Abraham that thing which I do? But are we too busy to draw near in faith? Are we too fearful to open our ears – to hear His whispers of love? Happy is the one whom God chooses and draws into His counsel.
Jesus loved Mary and Martha dearly – so why would He delay their cry for help? Daniel was beloved of the Lord – so why did he have to wait for an answer? God was the friend of Abraham – so why the unendurable delayed promise?
Four days or twenty-one days is difficult enough, when an answer is desperately sought, but Abraham had a 400 year delay for his descendant’s pledge to be redeemed!
and since no days-man could be found among the sons of Adam, the strong arm of the eternal Son of God, must bypass the nature of angels. To be made seed of Abraham; to be made seed of David; to be made seed of the woman.
the Devil And there is MORE- His death also freed those who were held in slavery all their lives, by the fear of death, for it’s clear that He doesn’t reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring.
Noah had no visible outward proof that the waters of judgment would swamp the earth, but he obeyed God, by faith and Abraham owned no land and had no evidence of his innumerable descendants – but He trusted God.
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness' (Rom. 4:3), when his faith apprehended the promise of God; yet it was nearly 40 years after that this Scripture was fulfilled, when he offered his son.
Song Of MARY - STUDY
He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy- as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.Luke 1:54
And so as Mary sang:- He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. Mercy that had its roots in God’s dealings with Adam that fateful day. Adam was filled with shame, he was afraid and hid from the Lord God. He found himself nakedly exposed before the eyes of God. His nakedness was open and revealed before God. The apron covering, which Adam constructed did not satisfy. It did not even satisfy his own conscience. His humiliation caused him to dread the consequences and he hid – Yes, Adam hid himself from God
In 1943 Abraham Maslow proposed his own 'Hierarchy of Needs', in every area of life. Starting with basic physiological needs, he progressed up his graduation ladder:- physiological needs; safety needs – the need to love and be loved and to have a sense of belonging; the need for esteem and self-actualisation.
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham… Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus Who is called the Messiah.Matthew 1:1
Matthew started his gospel (whose targeted audience were the Jews) with a royal genealogy that started at Abraham and ended with Joseph, the husband of Mary. It was a regal lineage that traced Jesus’ ancestors through the great kings – David and Solomon and terminated with the Messiah’s adoptive father, Joseph the carpenter.
Like all descendants of Abraham and David, Jesus had a right to the throne of Israel, but unlike all of David’s other descendants, Jesus alone fulfilled biblical prophecy.
He was raised from the dead on the 3rd day and ascended to the Father in heaven. Hundreds of prophecies were fulfilled to the letter in Jesus, Who is called – Messiah. Like all descendants of Abraham and David, Jesus had a right to the throne of Israel, and two unbroken genealogies were recorded in Scripture to affirm His legitimacy. But why was there a need for two genealogies for the Lord Jesus Christ? Would not one illustrious genealogical table have fulfilled all the criteria?
Scripture is replete with promises fulfilled and vows completed:- The Lord visited Sarah – and He did unto Sarah as He had spoken. Joseph told his brothers – God will bring you up out of this land. The Lord fulfilled promises to Abraham, Hannah, Mary, Zechariah, Simeon. Similarly His people, the nation of Israel. We read in Hebrews 11:32 I have seen the affliction of my people..
Abraham waited 100 years to have his Isaac – his son of promise from God.
Looking to Jesus
Abraham, Job, Hannah ‘et al’ each had to be brought to the end of themselves. Each had to wait until they were ready to hear the Lord’s gentle knock and quiet voice, Each learned to patiently endure so that patience could have its perfect work in them.
Words of Faith
AMAN – Abraham was given a promise, and he trusted God: he BELIEVED.. (aman) which means that Abraham was propped up, supported or carried by God.
Abraham rested on God’s character. Abraham trusted God’s word.
OMAN – Isaiah exalts and praises the Lord because He is faithful and TRUE.. (oman) and just as God was faithful and true for Abraham, He is faithful and true to all His children and we can trust Him and put our faith in His word.
Zacharias rejoiced that the promise made to their forefather Abraham was to be realised and that they would be enabled to serve the Lord in freedom and without fear – for the Seed of the woman would be manifested and the Messiah of Israel would redeem His people. Emmanuel was to come.
Zecharias the Priest
Without a doubt, this was a shout of victory, for the enemies of Israel were to be routed, and Israel was to be rescued from the hands of all that hate them… The walls of their enemies were to be broken asunder, as pictured in the walls of Jericho, so long before. Zecharias rejoiced that God’s promise to their father Abraham was to be realised, and his nation would be enabled to serve the Lord in freedom and without fear.
But Zacharias trusted God to fulfil His promises – to raise up a horn of salvation in the house of His servant David… to save His people from their enemies and from the hand of all who hate them… to show mercy promised to the fathers and to remember His holy covenant, which he swore to Abraham… that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life – and that day is coming… very SOON.
Although the promise of great blessings and a land inheritance came to the people of faith through Abraham, perhaps the most stupendous promises given to man – were made to Israel’s King David.
Faith of Abraham
But what does it actually mean to ‘believe’ – to ‘believe on the name of Jesus’? Well, Paul cites Abraham as a man of faith – an example of one who believed God.
Abraham did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform. Romans 4:20-21
Trusting God’s Word
Abraham believed God when he was called to leave Ur – to travel to a distant land. Abraham trusted God when he was told that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham had faith in the truth of God’s word and trusted Him to fulfil His promises. Oh, Abraham did some stupid things like trying to help God – but the bottom line is.. God knew his heart and KNEW Abraham depended on God to keep His promises. And the trust that Abraham had in God was credited to him as righteousness.
Abrahams’s dependence upon God was counted to Abraham as righteous.
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.
The eternal Son of God became the incarnate Word and was made flesh by being conceived of the Holy Spirit in a virgin’s womb and was born into the human race in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ – the only begotten Son of the Father – so that He could claim of His renowned ancestor, before Abraham was I AM. The religious leaders of the Jews knew without a doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was making the bold pronouncement that He was God – for He had dared to use the sacred name of God in reference to Himself, I AM – before Abraham was..
Claim to Deity
Christ’s claim that He existed before Abraham was inconceivable to these closed-minded and spiritually blind religious leaders of the Jews.
Father of Faith
Abraham, is often called the father of faith, and God gave him some truly amazing and wonderful promises.
God pledged to make Abraham into a great nation.
Messiah of Israel
And when He called him out of the city of Ur of the Chaldeans, God promised Abraham a land inheritance.
This promise was to Abraham’s offspring – to his descendants – to his “SEED“.
And so it was that the time was accomplished that Christ was born as a son of Abraham: the father of Isaac who was the father of Jacob, from whose loins came forth the Jewish nation – and through whom was born the Messiah of Israel – the Lord Jesus Christ.
The True Seed
Scripture as always is its own interpreter – and should there be any confusion about the identity of the ‘Seed’ mentioned in the Abrahamic Covenant, the Holy Spirit moved Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, to clarify the true identity of the SEED… we read:- The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed.
For sixty-odd years Israel has laid claim to the Land by virtue of their descendency from Abraham and Isaac, while Islam has similarly declared ownership of the same land – falsely claiming it was promised to them through Abraham and Ishmael – but Christ is the promised SEED of Abraham through Isaac, and only through Jesus Christ will Israel be finally settled in their promised land and find true rest, while all the nations who trust in the true Seed, Jesus Christ will be blessed.
It was Israel who was the first adoptive son of God – for God called his son, Israel, out of the land of Egypt to bring them to the land that had been promised to Abraham and his descendants forever.
As the son of God and Son of Man, the Lord Jesus could rightly claim of His renowned ancestor, before Abraham was I AM….
for only a true descendant of the physical seed of Abraham could go to the cross as the perfect Man, Who would shed His sinless blood – to save His people from their sins.
But the seed of the woman was to crush the serpent’s head, and later we read that Mary sang: He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
He revealed Himself as a relational God that showed mercy to Abraham and to Israel.
Every one was carried out to the letter – in and through the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The eternal Son of God took upon Himself human flesh and became the perfect Son of Man – but had the Man Christ Jesus been anything but fully human, He could never have fulfilled this plethora of prophecies that authenticate – to the letter, His descendancy from His father Abraham and His legitimate right to the throne of David:– His anointed position as Israel’s coming Messiah and their rightful King.
Christ’s First Advent
The inerrant Word of God authenticates to the letter the fulfilment of every single prophecy of Christ’s first advent, but had the Lord Jesus not been fully Man as well being undiminished Deity, many of those prophecies could never have found their true fulfilment in Christ – for the Messiah of Israel must be born of the seed of a woman – He must be the offspring of Abraham.
Promise to Abraham
It was to be a time when all the land promised to Abraham would, at last, be rightfully inhabited by Israel – from the river of Egypt to the great river – the river Euphrates. It was to be a time when the Dead Sea would be healed and filled with a multitude of fish and a river of water was to flow out from beneath the Temple of the Lord.
Oh, there were many times He professed to be the eternal, omnipotent God of Israel. And during His time on the earth Jesus told the Pharisees, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.” …the exact words that the Lord God applied to Himself when He spoke to Moses at the burning bush, revealing Himself as, “I AM that I AM.”
In John 8:58 He told the Pharisees, “Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I AM.” The term “I AM” are the exact words that God used in Exodus, in reference to Himself! Jesus certainly professed to be the eternal God of the Bible – many times over.
Deferred hope is not something that only you are facing today; it is Job – in his tempest; it is Abraham, on the long and dusty road to Moriah; it is Moses, in the blistering deserts of Midian; it is Elijah, beside the evaporating brook of Cherith. It is Habakkuk, trembling in his Shigionoth. It is the Son of Man, prostrate in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is no patience so hard to bear as hope that has been deferred. This is waiting for a delayed hope, which requires endurance, patience, perseverance.
Job 42:2 Abraham saw His Jehovah Jireh as the One Who provides Himself a Lamb. Genesis 22:8 In the cleft of the rock Moses watched, as the glory of the Lord passed by and Elijah wrapped his face in his mantle as he heard whisper the still small voice… and the Son of Man?
He is simply looking for people of faith – people who will trust Him and believe His word – and throughout Scripture we see one here and we discover one there. He is looking for men of faith like Abraham and He is searching for leaders like Moses.
We may not know specific answers to so many unanswerable questions; we may not know the peculiar reasons for so many imponderable issues, but my heart always flies back to those wise words of faithful Abraham.
Abraham – was the friend of God, whose trust in God was counted as righteousness. Abraham..
Abraham in faith pleaded for mercy, when faced with Sodom’s destruction.
Abraham trusted the God of righteousness in all things.
It was Abraham who in Genesis 18 who said:- Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right– without us knowing why or how?
No surprise that He could claim, before Abraham was, I Am – and boldly stated – all authority in heaven and earth is given to Me, for He was a Man Who walked in spirit and truth and He was the Son Who did only those things He heard from the Father. The child was to be born of a human mother.
By the spiritual eye of faith a believer is to understand that:- 1) God ordered the ages through Christ. 2) The spiritual eye of faith sees the order in God’s wider plans and purposes. 3) The eye of faith sees God’s design as separate and distinct from today’s disorder. 4) The eye of faith looks beyond the chaos of today to the order of God’s future. 5) The eye of faith looks with Abraham to: a city….whose builder and maker is God.
To Abraham and his seed forever He was El Shaddai (God Almighty). And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect.
To Abraham and his seed forever He was El-elohe-Israel, (The God of Israel), and he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel” Gen.33:20 To Abraham and his seed forever He was El Elyon (God Most High), and Melchizedek of Salem was the priest of the Most-High God [El Elyon]” – and blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram of the Most-High God, possessor of heaven and earth” Gen 14:18
Gen 5:2 And Abraham, the man of faith, who trusted God’s word said… My Adonai – My Lord, (and Master) if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Gen 18:3
In Eden they were to be fruitful, multiply, subdue the earth, tend the garden and not eat of a certain tree, while the fathers and patriarchs like Job, Noah and Abraham showed evidence of obeying God and trusting His word.
Men of Faith
Abraham is a highly esteemed prophet, who is honoured as the great father of faith, and rightly so for when called he trusted God and it was credited as righteousness. Moses was the great prophet, who is held in honour by the religions of the world, and rightly so, for He was the one who gave God’s perfect Law to the people of Israel.
Repentance and Grace
Abraham was a highly esteemed prophet and honoured as the great father of faith. Moses was the great prophet – reverenced by the many religions of the world, but John the Baptist is the greatest of all the prophets that have been sent by God.
There was no more blessed nation that the little nation of Israel, for God had chosen their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the patriarchs of the nation to whom was given the holy Scriptures and through whom the Saviour of mankind was to be born.
The little faithful remnant of Israel were encouraged to look back to Abraham and to Sarah, whom God chose to be the founders of the nation.
For Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Both Abraham and Sarah, though reproductively dead and incapable of parenthood, trusted God's Word and became the pattern for Israel to follow - trusting God's promise, believing His Word, and living by faith.
They were well aware that children are a gift from the Lord, and a productive womb is His reward... and their lack must have been a great sadness to them.Elizabeth would be well aware of Sarah, the barren wife of Abraham who became the proud mother of Isaac at the age of 90.
Both books of Ezra and Nehemiah detail the fulfilment of these prophesies, and no doubt we will see a full, final, and lasting fulfilment, following Christ's return at the end of the Tribulation, when Israel will be brought back to her homeland and dwell there in peace and prosperity - never again to be uprooted from the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
He describes Israel's stumbling and the partial blindness they entered into due to unbelief and the rejection of their Messiah King, and He incorporates warnings from Old Testament saints like Moses, Abraham, David, and Isaiah to authenticate the truth of his words.
Israel was the nation God chose to be His mouthpiece, to tell the world of the goodness of God and to be the nation through Whom the promised Seed of Abraham would secretly travel, until the appointed time.
Israel as a nation, may have transgressed 2000 years ago when they rejected their Messiah King and had Him crucified - but God is good and full of mercy and His promise to Abraham through David and his Seed stands forever.
God's plan to set up Christ on the throne of His Father David still stands - for salvation comes through Jesus, the promised SEED of the woman, the promised SEED of Abraham, the promised SEED of David.
Let us never forget that like Adam and Eve, Noah and Abraham, Daniel and Peter - James and John, we have been saved by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God's unimaginable mercy, incalculable grace, infinite wisdom, and amazing kindness - not as a result of works, lest anyone should boast.
The Law was given to Moses through God's angelic agents, 430 years after the Lord had made His covenant with Abraham, promising blessing and redemption through his Seed.
It was necessary for Paul to explain the purpose and character of the Law and to show how it did not alter, in any way, the covenant made with Abraham, but rather complemented it in a most unusual way.
The Law is not contrary to the promise that God gave to Abraham - for the Abrahamic covenant still stands, and Paul further explained how long the Law was to be implemented: from the time it was given to Moses until the Seed (Jesus Christ the righteous) was sent.
Luke includes Christ's genealogy at this point as a special marker showing the sovereign hand of God touching Christ's human lineage, which he traced back through David the king and Abraham the patriarch, through Noah, Enoch, Seth, and Adam.
Attempts were made to incorporate Jewish rites into Christian worship, to confuse Israel with the Church, and to combine the programme God must carry out through His chosen nation, Israel, with the work He is currently undertaking through the Body of Christ.'Circumcision' was a special sign which God specifically gave to the nation of Israel, through Abraham.
They are men and women of faith, who are not only physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but Israelites who have trusted God – and their faith is credited as righteousness.David, Daniel, John the Baptist, Paul the apostle, Mary of Bethany, Barnabas, and many others were physical decedents of God's chosen nation... and because they believed God and trusted His Word, they were justified in God's sight.
They are rightly called 'the Israel of God' which is a label that is given to ALL believing Jews. Gentiles who trust God have physical, Gentile ancestry, while Jews remain physically linked to Israel's three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Indeed, Scripture labels Jews as 'the Circumcision' to identify their physical link to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to differentiate them from 'Uncircumcised Gentiles'.HOWEVER, as Abraham was also the father of FAITH, Paul identifies ALL believers, both Jew or Gentiles, as 'the True Circumcision' who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh.
Christ's kingly lineage was traced back from Joseph the husband of Mary, through David's kingly line, to Israel's celebrated forefather, Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed.
Hebrews identifies Melchizedek as greater than the venerated Abraham, for he blessed Abraham, who paid him homage and gave him tithes.
He was of greater importance than Abraham's descendants, who had yet to be born.
The greater ALWAYS blesses the LESSER and the blessing Melchizedek gave to Abraham, is one more piece of evidence, showing the supreme superiority of the person, work, ministry, status, office and sacrifice of Christ over everyone else and every other thing in heaven or on earth.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the three original patriarchs of the Jewish nation, and their history began when Abram was called by God to leave the Ur of the Chaldees, and to go into a land which God would show him.The genealogy of Abraham and the ongoing history of his descendants, continues into Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and can be tracked throughout the writings of holy men of God whom the Lord used to pen the Old Testament Scriptures.Israel's lineage can be tracked to Jesus, His disciples, and the early Church.
Although his writing was not laid out chronologically as one would expect... nestled between his pronouncements of great judgement are little sections of comfort and hope which promise restoration to the people of Israel and a full and final fulfilment of God's promise, to their forefather Abraham.
Although Israel was identified as God's chosen nation through their covenant agreement with the Lord and the sign of circumcision given through Abraham - salvation for Jew and Gentile alike is given by God's grace - through faith in Christ Jesus.
Hagar, the slave-mother of Ishmael who was born to Abraham through works of fleshly intercourse, represents the Old Covenant - i.e.
This first covenant was given to Israel at Mount Sinai - and this earthly covenant represents the earthly Jerusalem while the slave-woman, Hagar, represents Abraham's earthly seed.
Sarah symbolises the New Covenant and the spiritual seed of Abraham.
The child she bore was the one that had been promised to Abraham.
Like Abraham, Sarah was as good as dead, yet from Abraham came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as immeasurable as the sand on the seashore - and Sarah, the barren, desolate woman became the mother of multitudes.
Too often, Sarah's child is linked with the Old Covenant - and Isaac was, indeed, the father of Jacob, Israel, and the Jewish nation who will one day inherit the earthly Jerusalem, as God promised to His servant Abraham.
We read of the two sons of Abraham 1) Ishmael and 2) Isaac and we read of two women 1) Hagar, the bond-woman and 2) Sarah, the free-woman.
The historical record of Abraham is used to teach a fundamental truth which, if understood, would help to remove much of the legalistic confusion that surrounds 1) Israel and the dispensation of Law, which was pre-Cross and 2) the Church and the dispensation of grace, which is connected with post-Cross teaching.
The story of Abraham's two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, and the struggle that took place between the two women - Hagar, the bond-woman (who represents slavery to the Law) and Sarah, the free-woman (who represents our freedom in Christ) resulted from the fleshly schemings of Abraham who decided to help God to fulfil His promise to give him a SON.
Legalists like to say that because Sarah is the free-woman and also linked to Abraham, Christians are linked to the Law.
Abraham was told that the Lord would provide HIMSELF a Lamb and by God's grace, Israel took part in that first Passover meal four hundred years later, in preparation for its final fulfilment on God's final and perfect Passover - at Calvary's Cross.
It unfolds the need for a Kinsman-Redeemer Who is able to satisfy the righteous judgement of a just and holy God, and it prophesies of a coming Messiah - Who would be born from the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah and the house of David
He would be anointed of God and He would be the One Who would set up an everlasting kingdom as promised to their forefathers.. Abraham, Isaac, Israel and David.
Only God in His grace, can give a repentant sinner a new heart of flesh – and God the Father has determined that it is by grace through faith in Christ.Jesus came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to establish His kingdom, which was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.
There is no more beautiful, yet poignant foreshadowing of the sacrificial death of God's dearly beloved Son on Calvary's Cross, than this scene in Genesis 22.Earlier, Abraham had received the horrifying instruction from the Lord to, Take your son, your only son, whom you love... and offer him as a burnt offering.
He was to do this in a certain place of which God would tell him.No doubt, we can all imagine the anguish of heart that must have cut his soul to the quick, when Abraham heard this command from God.
Nevertheless, we do not read that he questioned the Lord, argued with Him, or ignored His instructions.In obedience, Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled His donkey, and taking two of his young men together with Isaac, they set out to the place of which God told him, with wood, fire, and a knife.
Abraham was to express his inner faith by an outward word.
This was a task that would help him grow in grace and mature in his walk with God.After three days, they saw the place of sacrifice and Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on the shoulders of Isaac, his precious son.
He left the two young men, and taking the fire and knife in his hand – together, father and son walked to the appointed place of sacrifice.Isaac was to be a burnt offering unto the Lord – a freewill offering – a sacrifice of love that was to be given to the Lord by Isaac's father, Abraham.Like Isaac, the Lord Jesus was made to be a sacrifice unto the Lord.
He too was to have His heart pierced with a sharp blade.The poignant picture of Abraham and Isaac, points to the stark reality that God was ready and willing to sacrifice the innocent and sinless life of His only begotten Son – but after three days, Christ rose from the dead, having conquered Satan, sin, death, and hell.
The precious picture of Abraham and Isaac is a foreshadowing of the glorious truth that God the Father gave God the Son as the innocent offering Who walked willingly to the Cross as our sacrifice for sin.Christ was not only the sin offering to take away the sin of the world, and Israel's perfect and final Passover Lamb, but He was also a burnt offering – a freewill offering – a willing offering.
Paul first identifies Abraham as the 'father of faith' and reminds us that when God called him to leave his home and family in Ur of the Chaldees, Abram believed in the Lord, and God reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Paul quickly moves from the righteousness of Abraham (who lived before the Law was given) to David (who lived during the time of the prophets and kings).
There is nothing we can say or do to justify ourselves - nothing we can do or say to earn His favour - there is nothing we can add in order to improve our salvation or make it more secure, for like Abraham and David, salvation is by faith alone in God's Word and when a man or woman believes in their heart by faith, God declares us righteous in His sight.
From the day the Lord called Abraham to leave his family and his hometown of Ur and go and settle in a distant land that God promised to give him as an inheritance, to the day he obeyed His command to take his beloved son to a particular mountain and offer him to the Lord as a burnt offering... Abraham's faith in God was sorely tested in many ways.
Having been called to leave all he knew behind him, Abraham was then required to live among the wicked Canaanites, as an alien in a foreign land.
Abraham's faith was severely tested when he had to wait for 25 years for his 'son of promise' to be born to his elderly, barren wife and it was similarly a great test of faith when he had to send Ishmael, his 13-year-old 'son of the flesh' far away.
The day finally arrived when Abraham's faith was tested in the extreme, for the Lord called his servant to, take now your son, your only son, whom you love... Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering, on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.
The sacrificial offering of his beloved son through whom God's promised Seed was to be born, was the ultimate challenge to Abraham's faith, and yet he did not falter in his resolve to obey the Lord and trust in Him - even though he did not understand.
When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood.
Because Abraham demonstrated His utter trust in the Lord through the actions he took and the inner resolve of his heart, God in His grace prevented Abraham from slaying Isaac by providing an alternative sacrifice... but God used it as an illustration of His own beloved Son, Whom He would send to be a sweet-smelling burnt offering before the Lord and the one-and-only sacrificial offering to pay the price for the sin of the whole world.
Abraham believed God when He told him that through Isaac His redemptive plan would be fulfilled, and the old man's faith had become so secure that he believed, without question, that God would raise Isaac back to life.
Abraham may have enrolled in 'the school of faith' when he left Ur and was justified at the age of 75, but he demonstrated that secure, sanctified faith which had matured and developed over time and through various tests, when he took his son Isaac to the place about which God told him and built an altar, arranged the wood, bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar - on top of the wood.
The incredible picture that Abraham painted as he obeyed God's command to offer up his only son, was one that would take place hundreds of years later when Jesus, the only Son of the Father would walk to the mountain upon which He was to be sacrificed.
Just as Isaac carried the wood for the offering and Abraham built the alter - so a wooden Cross was laid upon Christ as He walked to mount Calvary - the place appointed by the Father to sacrifice the Lamb of God - Who was nailed on the Cross as the sacrificial offering for the sin of the world.
There are many such parallels that can be identified between the offering of Isaac by his father Abraham and the sacrificial offering of the Lord Jesus Christ by His heavenly Father, Who loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to be man's Kinsman Redeemer and the sacrifice for sin.
How amazing that Abraham's life of faith painted a poignant picture of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, for our learning.
While Matthew chapter 2 determines the historical timing for the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist... in the days of 'king Herod the Great', chapter 3 pinpoints the start of John's witness, in preparation for the ministry and mission of Jesus the Messiah, the royal Son of David, the promised Seed of Abraham.
We are encouraged as we hear that Abraham was imputed with righteousness because He believed in God and trusted His Word.
Jesus tells us: Abraham rejoiced to see My day; he saw it and was glad, and yet Abraham was only given a fraction of the truth that God has graciously given to us, through His completed canon of Scripture.
Abraham looked forward to the day when God's promised Saviour would come, while we look back to Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection - but unlike us, Abraham did not know the many details that God has been gracious enough to share with the Church, through his holy apostles and prophets.
Abraham looked forward prophetically, but we rejoice to keep in remembrance that historic occasion when Christ died for our sins, was buried, and raised from the dead.
Yes, it is through faith in His sacrificial crucifixion and glorious Resurrection from the dead that we have been justified - it is by God's grace through faith that we are been justified, just as Abraham was justified by grace through faith in Him.
He wanted to rejoice in the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting, by faith in Christ.But the Body of Christ had been slowly and stealthily infiltrated by certain vulgar individuals who were denying the efficacy of the blood of Christ, and adversely influencing the faith of others.And so Jude wanted to remind his fellow believers of the fate of those people who deny the truth of the gospel and blaspheme the name of the Lord, with their satanically inspired lies.He reminded them of the terrible fate of corrupt cities in the time of Abraham.
He provided manna in the wilderness and water from the Rock for His people Israel, and He prepared the Seed of the woman - the promised Son of Abraham, Who would shed His blood as the purchase price for the sin of the whole world.
She willingly broke all her ties and left all she knew behind to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Elimelek and Naomi.
Let us pray for the day when the current blindness to the truth is lifted from Israel's eyes, and Jesus returns as their Messiah and King to set up His earthly kingdom as promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and His Seed, forever.
He was the promised Seed of Abraham, of the house of Judah, and the kingly line of David.John the Baptist's voice crying in the wilderness would prepare His way, and He would be the Prophet like Moses and be declared 'the Son of God'.
Just as Abraham was justified because he believed what God had said, so we too are declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
God's dealings with Abraham had nothing to do with what Abraham did but rested entirely on that fact that he believed the Word of God.
Abraham was declared righteous by faith and we also are justified in the same way - by the hearing of faith - by believing God's Word - by trusting all that He has written for our learning.
And Paul argued that being justified has nothing to do with being a physical descendent of Abraham.
Being a son of Abraham is a matter of faith - both in the Old and New Testaments.
Abraham believed God when He called him out of his home town to a place that God had promised as an eternal inheritance and Abraham obeyed by faith - and his faith was credited to him as righteousness.
We have greater revelation than Abraham, Noah, David, and others in the Old Testament, for we have the whole council of God.
We are not called by God to believe God by leaving our home and going to a certain place by His direction like Abraham.
When we believe this by faith... just as Abraham believed God by faith, it is credited to us as righteousness and we are declared justified in the eyes of God.
Israel may have been the physical descendants of Abraham and even chosen to be entrusted with the Law, the prophets, and the promised Messiah, but they were saved by faith in the Word of God, not simply because they were physical descendants of Abraham.
In this Church dispensation, it is those who believe by faith who are reckoned by God as the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
Believing Jews and believing Gentiles alike are the spiritual offspring of Abraham - we are justified by faith.
In this dispensation of the age of grace, those that do not trust in the only begotten Son of God, whether Jew or Gentile, are not considered by God as the spiritual seed of Abraham.
However, certain Jewish teachers were unable to let go of their insular religion in the Church in Galatia and Paul gave a strong and severe warning - that the sons of Abraham are those of faith.
He reminded them of a verse from Habakkuk: The just shall live by faith, and that Scripture itself foretold that God would also justify the Gentiles by faith in the same way that He justified the Jews by faith - for the Lord told Abraham: In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Eve knew her Seed would crush the serpent's head and Abraham looked for a city, whose Builder and Maker was God.Israel were promised a land and a kingdom of peace and prosperity, with a descendant of king David sitting on the royal throne – and the Lord Jesus was sent to earth at God's appointed time, to take up His position as King of Israel and Saviour of the world.Repent Israel, for the kingdom of God is at hand, was the cry of John the Baptist, but Israel rejected the kingdom and their King – and they crucified their Messiah.
And so it was that starting from Abraham... Stephen began his defence.
He started with Abraham's biography and pointed out that The Lord God didn't give Abraham an inheritance in the land of Canaan - not even a foot of ground, but He promised to give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him, even though he was childless.
Stephen was explaining that even though God's promises may be delayed for a season, as in the case of Abraham, His promises are altogether sure.
Indeed, His promise to Abraham was being fulfilled in Christ Whom they had crucified - and He had come to set up the kingdom of God on earth as their promised Messiah-King.
God had promised Abraham a special inheritance in the land of Canaan which would be possessed by his descendants after Him... and although he did not see this come to pass in his own life-time, Abraham believed God.
The fulfilment of this promise was through Jesus Who was the promised Seed of Abraham about Whom the Scriptures spoke.
Although Abraham's inheritance, about which Stephen spoke, is still yet future, it is secured for his descendants in Christ, for God's promises cannot fail.
Although the Promised Land which God pledged to Abraham's descendants as a permanent possession is not yet realised - a believing remnant of Jews will, one day, be settled securely in their land forever - following the terrible future time of 'Jacob's trouble'.
Both Abraham and Stephen demonstrated an unshakable faith in our Almighty God, for they knew that nothing in the heavens above, the earth beneath, or the waters under the earth, is able to thwart God's perfect plan of redemption for both the people Israel that the Christian Church.
Many people returned to Jerusalem following their Babylonian exile, and although attempts were made to cleanse the collective heart of the nation, both priests and people fell into apostacy and soon all prophetic voices that warned of judgement and called for repentance were stopped - and Israel was plunged into 400 silent years, before the arrival of Jesus the Messiah - the son of David, the son of Abraham.
God's promises to Israel will never fail and those that love the Lord, trust His Word, obey His commands, and honour His name, will one day receive the reward that was promised to Abraham and His seed.
He was to be a descendant of the great king David, as foretold by prophets of old, and He would bring salvation to His people, Israel.Zechariah quoted many Old Testament verses in his beautiful song of thanksgiving, which pointed to the Lord Jesus Who would bring salvation to Israel, deliverance from their enemies, and freedom from the hands of all who hated them.He rejoiced that God remembered His holy covenant with Israel and gave thanks that the Lord had not forgotten the oath which He swore to his forefather, Abraham, that He Himself would rescue His people from the hand of their enemies and that they would serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of their life.Zechariah proclaimed that the One to come would give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
It was Abraham who did not waver in his trust of God and because of his faith, he was declared righteous.
Abraham was not justified by good works... his righteousness was gained through faith in God's Word.
Abraham believed implicitly that the Kinsman-Redeemer would be born through his seed – through Isaac, his own coming son of promise.
Through the life and example of Abraham, we are taught: With respect to the promise of God, Abraham did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Abraham did not live a perfect life.
Although he did not understand how this was possible and even tried to assist God in its fulfilment, Abraham became the forefather of faith, because he trusted what God had said.
A major lesson that we learn from the life of Abraham, is that righteousness is not gained by works of the flesh.
As Abraham journeyed through life, we discover that trusting the promises of God and holding fast to his Word, is a vital key to developing our faith.
It is a great tribute to Abraham that Paul records that with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God... and we should seek to achieve an equivalent faith that stands firm on the promises of God.Not one of us should stagger at the Lord's promises within His Word, for what God has said He will carry out to completion, for God cannot lie and will never change His mind, and the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Abraham is often called the father of faith because: Abram believed God, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
The Lord knows the thoughts of our heart and knew that Abraham had become fearful that the promised Seed through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed, had not been born and God spoke to his silent sadness with the words stop being afraid, and reminded Abram that He was his shield and his exceeding great reward.
Like Abraham, we are to have confidence in His power and His faithfulness to carry out all that He has purposed and all that He has promised, which means that we do not rely on our own understanding or abilities, our merit or righteousness, but rest on the veracity of His Word.
But He takes and uses all our failings to develop and deepen our faith in Him until, like Abraham, we eventually realise that He alone can supply all our needs, according to His grace and not our feeble works.
We finally read in Scripture that Abraham was not weak in faith; he staggered not at the promise: he was strong in faith; he was fully persuaded.
Abraham is the supreme example of a man of faith whose life bears witness of the never-failing faithfulness of our good and gracious God... and whose life experience encourages us to maintain the hope we have in Christ - our sure and steadfast anchor, on Whom to secure our soul.
God's promise to Abraham is equally pertinent for all God's children, for the faith of ALL who believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, is credited to them as righteousness.
When God declared Abraham justified by faith, He swore by Himself because He could swear by no one greater... and that same oath stands firm for ALL who are the spiritual seed of Abraham.
Using someone like Abraham as an example of faith in a passage on developing faith, is to encourage us to follow in his footsteps of faith.
The day is coming when the Son of Man will return in heavenly glory to judge the Gentiles, to fulfil His promises to Abraham, to set-up Israel at the head of the nations, and to establish up His millennial rule on earth.
Melchizedek appeared on the scene soon after Abraham rescued his nephew Lot from an alliance of evil kings who had ransacked the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and taken all their residents captive.
After his tremendous victory, when he slaughtered the kings and rescued his nephew and the rest of the people, Abraham returned them and their stolen goods to their hometown.
With the return of his citizens to Sodom, the king went out to meet Abraham to reward him, but at that very moment we read that Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, brought out bread and wine to Abraham.
Abraham had already trusted in God when he left his hometown to go to the land of Canaan.
He believed that the Lord would keep His promise to make him into a great and blessed nation, and Abraham knew that to take the spoils of war from this pagan king was dishonouring to the Lord his God.
This seems to have been a pivotal point in Abraham's life.
The king of Sodom, who represents all that is worldly and ungodly, offered Abraham a tenth of the spoils of war.
The mysterious figure of Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, also met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and he blessed him with bread and wine.
Melchizedek pronounced a beautiful blessing on Abraham, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.
And we read that Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of all.
Although we are not told in Scripture, it is likely that the tithe Abraham gave to Melchizedek was a tenth of his own, personal wealth, in thanksgiving and praise for God's protection and providential care during his dangerous rescue mission, for he vigorously refused to accept so much as a shoelace from the wicked king of Sodom for saving the people of Sodom and returning their stolen wealth.
By faith, Abraham chose to forsake the temptations of Sodom for the promises of God, which he considered of greater value than the transitory riches this world offers.
The freewill offering Abraham made to the Lord should be a reminder that our God Most High is Possessor of heaven and earth and He has redeemed us from the pit of hell, through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son.
When considering the choices Abraham was required to make between accepting God's permanent promises of eternal reward and great blessings through faith in the Person of Christ and taking the temporal treats and passing perks of this fallen world system, we understand that the renouncing the things of this present life, and the suffering we may have to face, are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred upon us.
Abraham was sitting in the door of his tent in the heat of the day, when he saw three men standing opposite him.
It seems he was snoozing in the midday sun for we read, When Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him.
Then we read that Abraham, bowed himself to the earth and said, 'My Lord, if now I have found favour in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.'
Abraham recognised one of the men was the Lord.
Is it possible that the Lord had appeared to Abraham earlier?
His reaction and response during this encounter, demonstrates that Abraham was well aware that this was the Lord, for he said, My Lord, if now I have found grace and favour in your eyes, do not leave me.
We do not know HOW Abraham recognised this to be the Lord, but throughout the Old Testament, there are many places in Scripture where the pre-incarnate Christ is seen by different people.
In Chapter 21 He appeared to Abraham a second time, when he was preparing to offer his son Isaac, as a sacrifice to the Lord, as God had directed him.
In Genesis 31, the Angel of the LORD appeared to Jacob to confirm the covenant He made with His fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and in Exodus 3 the angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush, when he was commissioned to go to Egypt and instructed to challenge Pharoah to let My people go.
Abraham was saved because he believed God's Word, and his faith was credited as righteousness.
Abraham knew the Lord for only those who are saved can enjoy fellowship with Him.
There were times during his walk of faith when Abraham enjoyed fellowship with the Lord, and times when he was out of fellowship, those times he followed his own human logic instead of God's divine direction, such as the time he went down to Egypt during the famine, instead of trusting God to provide for his needs; and the time he took Hagar as his concubine, instead of trusting God to keep His word, concerning the promised SEED, Who would be born through his wife, Sarah.
When he was sitting in the door of his tent and saw three 'men' standing opposite him, Abraham was walking by his faith and not by his sight.
It was at the oaks of Mamre, sometimes called 'the terebinth trees', that the Lord met Abraham on that astonishing day in Genesis.
This was the place to which Abraham returned after his sojourn in Egypt.
This was the place where he built an altar to worship the Lord and this was the place where he purchased a cave, in which to bury Sarah his wife, after her death, This was the place that Abraham was buried and the place that Isaac, the son of promise was also laid to rest.
Mamre was obviously a very special place for Abraham.
But we do not need a certain place to meet with the Lord and He will not appear to us in the same way as He did to Abraham.
God met with Abraham one way, and He meets with us in a different way.
But He is the same Lord, yesterday, today and forever, and like Abraham, we can trust His Word and we must obey His will, and by faith in Him, we also have found grace and favour in His sight, and have been given His promises that He will never fail us.
To the earthly nation of Israel, through their forefather Abraham, the Lord promised an earthly inheritance - and to His heavenly people, the Church, God Himself has laid up for us an inheritance in heaven.
And yet there are many men and women of faith who similarly compromised their faith in God, such as Abraham with Hagar, King Saul who offered a sacrifice to the Lord instead of waiting for Samuel, Elijah, who was intimidated by the ungodly Jezebel, and even apostles like Peter, who stopped eating with Gentile believers, for fear of the Jews... and Paul who chose to take a Jewish vow, so that he could testify of his innocence, instead of trusting God to fulfil His will through his life.
He was of the house of David and of the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.Yes, God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to Israel so that they would be blessed by turning, in faith, from their evil, idolatrous ways to Christ.
There are names of biblical prophets like Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Isaiah, that are more highly esteemed and widely recognised than John the Baptist, and yet the Lord Jesus said that among those that are born of women, there is none greater than John.The voice of God’s holy prophecy had been silenced for 400 years, due to Israel’s continued apostasy and refusal to repent... and their punishment for breaking their covenant with the Lord continued under the cruel captivity of the brutish, Roman empire.The three previous kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, and Greece, had risen to world dominance, conquered nations, and been defeated by their enemies, just as Daniel prophesied... and so the intense longing for the promised Messiah of Israel grew stronger with every passing year.Israel longed for the prophesied Seed of the woman to come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
John the Baptist was most certainly the singular voice of prophecy in Israel, because He was making way for Jesus... the SEED, promised to Abraham.
Because Abraham was the 'friend of God', he was given special revelation about the imminent destruction of the wicked cities on the plain.
In the wider context of God's dealings with Abraham and the part he played in God's redemptive plan, we see the Lord teaching His servant about many issues in this passage, including God righteous judgement on the wicked.
The intimate relationship between God and Abraham is a beautiful picture of the intimacy that all God's people can enjoy with our heavenly Father.
The Lord had just confirmed His promise to Abraham, that Sarah would shortly bear a son through Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
He then told Abraham that if the wickedness of Sodom was as grievous as He had heard, they would undergo His severe judgement.
God in His omniscience, knew their sin had reached its fullness, but He wanted Abraham to understand that He is a righteous God and His judgement does not fall indiscriminately.
It was when the Lord revealed His plan to destroy the wicked cities and their inhabitants that Abraham not only considered the fate of Lot and others in that city who had trusted God for salvation, but also had pity for the many souls who were dead in their sin.
Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, is Abraham's opening remark, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike.
Abraham not only KNEW God's plan, but became a personally involved participant in the fulfilment of His will.
Because he had been given prophetic insight into God's impending judgement on these wicked cities, it ignited pity in Abraham's heart for the lost souls who lived there, and concern for those like Lot who were credited with righteousness because of their faith in the Lord.
The character of Abraham is revealed through his prolonged, persistent, intercessory prayer.
Abraham probably assumed that among the people of Sodom there were a substantial number who were righteous, when He pleaded with the Lord not to sweep away the righteous with the wicked and asked his poignant question, Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?
This episode in Abraham's life taught him... and us, a number of important lessons.
Our thoughts immediately turn to Sarah, the wife of Abraham through whom the promised Seed was to be born, and to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist who was born to be the voice, crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord Jesus.'We also recall Rebekah and Rachel, and in the book of Psalms we read that God makes the barren woman abide in the house, as a joyful mother of children.Perhaps the woman who touches our heart most powerfully is Hannah.
And though they were rebuked by the prophet Samuel for this grave, rebellious sin against the Lord, God in His mercy was still prepared to bless His covenant nation, which He had called into existence through Abraham, Isaac, and the twelve sons of Jacob.
Matthew opens by announcing that Jesus is the Son of David and Son of Abraham, and throughout his Gospel, Matthew refers to things which were fulfilled by Old Testament prophets as it was written...
Starting with Abraham, he finally reaches Jacob, the father of Joseph - the husband of Mary, where Christ is finally identified as JESUS, Who is called the Messiah.
Having just catalogued Christ's complete genealogy, Matthew emphasised the significance of Christ's lineage by explaining that all the generations from Abraham to David were 14, and from David until the exile to Babylon were also 14 generations, and from the exile to Babylon until the Messiah were another 14 generations.
It was the fallen children of Adam that God purposed to redeem For assuredly, we read the Lord does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.
Abraham was the man through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed.
He will save Abraham's physical descendants (the Jews) at the end of the Great Tribulation and He saves Abraham's spiritual descendants (the Church) during this post-Cross dispensation of grace.
Abraham was a man who believed God and his faith was credited to him as righteousness - such that all men and women who share 'like-faith' with Abraham are also credited with righteousness and become his descendants.
What amazing grace that God should send His only begotten Son into the world to save sinners: For assuredly, He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.
However, it continues with a reminder of God's never-failing faithfulness to His people and uses Abraham to illustrate this truth for we read, when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.
The God of glory made a number of promises to His servant, Abraham.
Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Promises were made when Abraham set out from Haran by faith to go to the promised land, and again by the oaks of Mamre, when the birth of Isaac was reaffirmed.
But it was not until Abraham obeyed God's command to, take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you..... that God swore this oath to keep His promise.
As Abraham lifted the knife to slay his son, the Lord halted him and provided a ram as a substitute.
It was at this critical time in Abraham's life, that God gave His greatest promise to His obedient servant, and when He made this promise, since He could swear by no one greater, God swore by Himself.
Because Abraham is the father of faith and all believers are his 'spiritual seed', God's pledge and guarantee to Abraham encompasses every man, woman, boy, and girl who has believed in God... and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent to be the Saviour of the world.
It is a pledge and a guarantee to all the spiritual seed of Abraham - not only to those who are of the Law, but also to Gentiles of faith - not only to the Israel of God (believing Jews pre and post Cross) but also to believing Gentiles.
When the enormity of God's oath to our father Abraham takes root in our heart and mind, how can we ever doubt God's goodness towards us or question our eternal salvation and the eternal security that is ours in Christ.
God's promise to Abraham includes ALL who believe in the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting - and since God could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.
The Lord showed the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan of salvation when He made His oath to Abraham - and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever - and it is impossible for Him to lie.
The promises made to Eve and Abraham about their Seed, the covenant God made with His people Israel through Moses, the promise that a Man would sit on the throne of David eternally, and the numerous prophecies that foretold of the coming Messiah, were all to be accomplished.
And God promised that through him, all the nations of the world would be abundantly blessed - for one, very special Seed of Abraham was to be born - the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Abraham had many sons and daughters, but it was through Isaac (the son of promise) that Jesus, (the promised SEED) would be born - for Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob's sons became Israel, the great nation under God through whom the promised SEED was to be born.
I will bless those who bless you, Abram was told and the one who curses you I will curse. And down through the centuries, this promise to Abram - the pagan from Ur who trusted God and became Abraham, the father of many nations, has been carried out.
He was the promised SEED of Abraham Who was preordained be born through Abraham, Isaac, and Israel - and through Him all the families of the earth have been blessed - and all who believe in His death, burial, and Resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, will be saved.
The extermination of the Jewish race has been the primary target of Satan's fierce attack on humanity, in his bitter conflict with God and his hatred of mankind... for the Lord destined Israel, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to be the one nation through whom the world would be blessed.
That blessing would come through Abraham's Seed - Jesus Christ the righteous One Who would crush the head of that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan.
Before the Cross, the enemy did everything in his power to exterminate forever the promised Seed of Abraham, Who would come from the tribe of Judah and of the house of David.
His ancestry, which is traced through David and Abraham, and His prophesied advent as 'Immanuel' which means, 'God with us', sets the stage for Christ's ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
God's forward-planning is also seen in Naaman's household, for employed in his home was a little slave-girl from Israel who knew that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was able to heal her master's illness.
There is perhaps no more poignant picture of the sacrificial Lamb of God, than the beautiful portrayal of Abraham, the heart-sick father walking alone with his beloved son, Isaac, as they trudged together up the slopes of Mount Moriah.
Only a few verses earlier, we read how Abraham had been called by the Lord: Take now your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.
God had been silent for many years and Abraham had been waiting to hear from the Lord, but the instruction he was to receive broke his heart despite the fact that he immediately obeyed the crushing instructions and prepared for the sacrifice.
Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, My father!
Abraham replied, Here I am, my son.
Despite the inevitable price that had to be paid, Abraham assured his two young servants that he and Isaac would go alone to offer the burnt offering to the Lord and both would return after worshipping God – for Abraham trusted the Lord to fulfil the promise He made so many years before: I will make of you a great nation and through Isaac your offspring will be born.
Abraham believed God would restore his son even after his death, for he knew God’s Word was true.
This poignant picture of Abraham’s offering of his son, Isaac, is simply a foreshadowing of God the Father and His beloved Son, the sinless lamb of God Who went to the Cross out of love.
The poignant picture of the sacrificial Lamb of God through the lives of Abraham and Isaac, finally became a historical reality for us all – at Calvary.
However, God remembered the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; that He would give them the land of Canaan and make them into a great nation through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
It was made clear to Joshua that the unconditional promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the conditional covenant Israel made with the Lord, would continue, unbroken, through the generations.
God chose His people, Israel, for a specific purpose, and although they broke their promises following their miraculous escape from Egypt, the Lord will not go back on any of the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or David.
He uses the great patriarch Abraham and Rahab the Gentile prostitute, to illustrate the importance of faith in action... and contrasts a wealthy man, dressed in fine clothes and wearing a golden ring with a poor man, clad in dirty clothes - to emphasise the evils of prejudice and the need for impartiality.
In chapter 15 we read of the covenant God made with His servant, whom He renamed Abraham (father of many nations), and chapter 17 tells us that circumcision was to be the sign of God's unconditional covenant with this man and his descendents.
Arriving in chapter 18, we read that Yahweh, the God Whom Abraham had trusted nearly 25 years earlier, appeared to him as a Man.
He came to Abraham as the pre-incarnate Christ, accompanied by two holy angels.
God came in person to visit Abraham as he camped by the oaks of Mamre, Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, we read.
This was no mirage Abraham saw during the brightness of the noon-day sun.
Abraham was in no doubt about his honoured Guest, for when he saw Him standing opposite him, he ran from the tent door to meet Him and bowed himself to the earth, and said, My Lord - if now I have found favour in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.
Abraham knew that this was the Lord his God.
His eyes were opened and Abraham saw the LORD GOD, and ran from the tent door to greet his visitors.
Abraham bowed before the Lord - for He alone is worthy of all praise and glory.
Scripture identifies Abraham in various ways.
He is known as the father of faith and the great patriarch of Israel, but perhaps one of the most beautiful titles of this God-fearing man is found in James, who calls Abraham, a friend of God... demonstrating an intimacy he enjoyed with the Lord that each one of us should seek to emulate.
Maybe this visitation was a test that God had set for Abraham concerning the imminent destruction of Sodom or maybe it is a reminder to us to be mindful to show hospitality to strangers, for in so doing, 'some have entertained angels without knowing it'.
When this dear man of God reflected on the depths to which his nation had sunk, due to their rebellious apostasy against the Lord and the spiritual bankruptcy that had ensued, he confessed his sin and the transgressions of the nation and pleaded with the Lord to forgive their sins and fulfil the promises He made to their forefather Abraham and his seed, forever.
And despite many preachers of righteousness (like Noah), men of faith (like Abraham), and God's covenant people (Israel), all of whom knew the truth of their origin and their need for salvation, man in general was ignorant of their roots and estranged from the God Who created them and Who came to earth to redeem them from their sins.
When walking the earth with His disciples, He pronounced His eternal deity by declaring: Before Abraham was I AM. Jesus could rightfully make this proclamation because He is fully God, with all the perfect attributes of God. Yet during His earthly sojourn, He set aside His glory for a time. During His earthly lifetime the Lord Jesus was limited because he only said and did those things that He heard and saw from the Father.
Many believing pagans would trust in Christ as Saviour, and would come from the east and west and dine at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven... before many of the unbelieving children of Israel.
In the first section of Isaiah, we find the nation of Israel being told that God is going to judge their enemies, but He is also going to punish His people if they refuse to turn away from their wicked ways and return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Many people consider that Jesus never claimed to be God or professed equality with the Father, and yet when the Lord Jesus declared, Before Abraham was, I AM, He was making the most blatant and incontrovertible declaration of His Deity, claiming equal status with YHWH of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.
When Jesus declared, Before Abraham was, I AM, (which in the Greek language is EGO EIMI), His claim was not only pre-existence to the greatest prophet and patriarch of the Jews and father of the Jewish nation, but ALSO He was claiming to be nothing less that the great God of the universe.
The description of Israel and her place in the coming Millennial Kingdom of Christ, as promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, together with the promise of the eternal ages to come, will be realised in their lives and is spelled out in graphic detail in this passage.
God revealed Himself to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many other holy men of God, and each time He gave a greater revelation of Himself.
To Abraham and the patriarchs the Lord was known as 'Yahweh' - God Almighty; 'Yahweh-Rapha' - the Lord our healer; 'Yahweh-Maccaddeshem' - the Lord your sanctifier; 'Adonai' - God is the Lord over all.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph came to an understanding of God's almighty power but they did not know Him as deeply and intimately as Moses and the children of Israel, who would come to know God in a deeper, more personal way than ever before.
And as with other prophetic books we discover that the promises God made to Israel through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David will never fail - giving hope that despite their widespread apostasy - there is a remnant of Israel that will one day receive all that God has promised for He is the Lord Who changes not and Whose promises stand fast for ever and ever.
He had shown Himself to Abraham and to Moses, to Isaiah, and others, and yet Philip had not understood all that the Lord Jesus Christ had been teaching them during His sojourn on earth.I and the Father are One, He had told them.
Following the fall, mankind had a sinful nature and continuously rebelled against the Lord, but He purposed to call one faithful man, through whom the world would be blessed, and in Genesis 12, God called Abram (Abraham) to leave his land, his family, and his home and go to a place the Lord would show him.
Abraham believed God, and set out... not knowing where he was going, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness.
There were times when Abraham was faithful in his walk of faith and other times when he was disobedient, but God's promise to this man was unconditional, and the day came when God again spoke to His servant and told him to lift up his eyes and look to the north; the south; the east and the west; and God promised to give all of that land to Abraham's descendants - through Issac, the son of promise, who had yet to be born.
The land that Abraham saw was Canaan - the land of Israel - the Promised Land.
He promised to make them as numerous as the dust of the earth and to give them the land that Abraham could see.
Abraham is called 'the father of faith' and God's promises were given to him - through Isaac and Israel, and all his earthly descendants who would also place their trust in God would inherit the promises given to Abraham.
While believing Israel are Abraham's physical descendants, who will inherit all the earthly promises given to their forefathers, the Church, are Abraham's spiritual descendants, for we are IN Christ - born of the Spirit of God, and we have also been given many precious promises, including a heavenly inheritance.
He enjoyed close fellowship with the Lord and was so in tune with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that it had been revealed to him, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
We read in Hebrews that without faith it is impossible to please God, and we discover many places in Scripture where the faith of people like Abraham, who believed God's Word and placed his trust in Him, are credited with His own righteousness.
And obviously they fully expected Him to immediately set up His earthly kingdom, which had been promised to Abraham and Israel - as we can see from some of the questions the disciples asked Him, as recorded in Scripture.
He was greater than Moses and greater than Abraham, and after He rose from the dead, He passed into the heavens, to sit on the throne of His Father in heaven.
He explained that Jesus was superior to Aaron and Levi, just as He is greater than David and Solomon, for He could boldly pronounce, before Abraham was I AM.
He reminds them that this great king-priest, met Abraham, blessed him, and gave him bread and wine.
He used this passage in Genesis to teach that without any dispute, the lesser is blessed by the greater, for Melchizedek blessed Abraham and not the other way around.
When greeted by Melchizedek, after defeating the four kings who enslaved his nephew Lot, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of his wealth.
Recognising that Melchizedek was greater than their forefathers, Abraham, Aaron, Levi, and Judah must have been a catalyst in understanding that they were no longer under the Law of Moses but had stepped into a new dispensation.
While the covenant given to Abraham was unconditional, the covenant God made with the children of Israel, was conditional.
While Israel broke the conditions of their covenant with God, Jeremiah speaks of a New, unconditional Covenant that God will make with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, when He will plant them back in the land He promised to Abraham - a time is coming when the New Covenant, that was cut at the Cross, will be ratified when He will put His law within them and write it on their hearts and minds, through an appointed Man Who will be called 'The Branch of Righteousness, and He (the Lord Jesus Christ), will execute judgment and righteousness - not only in Israel and Jerusalem but throughout the entire earth,
It is a catalogue of men and women, named and unnamed, that stand as witnesses to lives that honoured the Lord – men like Abraham who looked for a city whose Builder and Maker is God; women like Sarah who considered God was faithful to keep His promise.
While circumcision was given through Abraham as a sign in their flesh of God's covenant promise, the Sabbath day was also to stand as a witness of the covenant He gave through Moses - from one generation to the next.
And because Israel were covered by the blood of those little Passover lambs, they were declared righteous, like their forefather Abraham - and together with all Old Testament saints, the Israelites, who were saved from Egypt, had to wait for the Real Passover Lamb to come - the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the WHOLE world.
God made a covenant with Abraham back in Genesis 15 when the Lord asked him to leave his homeland and family and go to a land that He would show him.
Abraham believed God, and what joy and laughter he experienced when... twenty-five years later, his baby son, Issac, was born to Sarah. (ch 21) However, we read in ch 22 that the Lord tested Abraham when He asked him to offer up Isaac - his beloved son of promise, as a burnt offering to the Lord.
Abraham trusted God from the beginning and his faith was credited to him as righteousness, but the Lord continued to build up his faith over many long years through various trials, temptations, and tests.
Later, when Abraham set off to Mount Moriah and laid his beloved son on the altar - his inward faith in God's word was demonstrated outwardly and openly by his actions.
But as Abraham stretched out his hand for the knife, God called from heaven and graciously prevented him from killing his son, and reiterated His incredible promises to this faithful servant.
It was after Abraham's display of faith in God, by offering his son on the altar, that the Lord restated His promise and said, By Myself, I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—with blessing, I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.
Jesus was the Seed of the woman promised to Eve in the garden, who would crush the serpent's head, and Jesus was also the Seed about Whom the Lord spoke when He said to Abraham, through your seed all the families of the earth would be blessed, - for He was the sinless Son of God who came to earth as the perfect Son of Man.
Jesus, the Seed of Abraham, willingly gave His life to pay the price for the sin of the world - so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.
It is doubtful that Abraham was aware of the enormous and eternal significance of his actions when he obeyed God and set out to Mount Moriah to offer his beloved son, as a sacrificial offering to the Lord.
Paul further expanded his teaching to show that Abraham was promised both a spiritual seed, with a heavenly inheritance: (the Church) - through faith in Christ, as well as physical descendants, who would inherit the earthly kingdom: (believing Jews) - also through faith in their promised Messiah.
As members of Christ's body, all Christians are blessed to be among the spiritual seed of Abraham, while believing Jews, both pre-cross and post-cross, whom Paul identifies as 'the Israel of God', (Gal. 6), will enjoy an earthy inheritance during the Millennial rule of Christ.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us clearly that faith is the substance of things hoped for - the evidence of things not seen, and Abraham, who is often called 'the father of faith', is a wonderful example of a man who trusted God's Word, even though most of the promises he hoped for would not be fulfilled until many centuries after his death.
As members of Christ's Body, we are identified in Scripture, as the spiritual seed of Abraham and if we are to learn the lesson of faith that Abraham demonstrated, we should lay aside all self-dependence and live our lives in total dependence on the Lord.
Abraham's faith rested on the Lord Who made certain promises to him and Abraham believed God and acted on all that God had said... and those promises can be found in a few chapters in Genesis.
Who would have thought that a 7-day march around the walls of Jericho, the blast of the trumpet, and a mighty shout from the people, would bring down the reinforced walls of that mighty stronghold and begin their conquest of the land of Canaan - which had been promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
Not only did she love her mother-in-law with a deep and tender love, but confessed her inner longing to unite with the people of Israel and to forsake all so that she might follow after the God of Abraham, Isaac, Israel, and Naomi.
The promises given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, are repeated and renewed in this exciting passage and bear witness that 'replacement theology' is a fallacious doctrine, and the teaching that the Christian Church has replaced Israel is a figment of man's arrogant imagination, that is spawned from the creative fancy of theologians who fail to rightly divide the word of truth.
The same maxim is clearly displayed in the call of Abraham, the giving of the Law, the responsibilities of the Aaronic priesthood, the design of the sacrificial feasts, the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and the building of Solomon's Temple.
Nevertheless, Paul promised that if they were able to confess JESUS, as the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and if they believed in their heart that the Messiah was raised from the dead - they would indeed be saved.
To them was given the Priesthood, Temple worship, the feasts of the Lord, and the promise of a Messiah Who would come through the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David.
Starting with Abraham whose faith was reckoned as righteousness, Paul begins to expound God's sovereign choice of Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob over Esau... and explains the difference between the spiritual seed of Abraham and the natural descendents of these great patriarchs.
God demonstrated His sovereign choice through Abraham, when He determined that the child of promise would come through Sarah (his wife) and not Hagar (his concubine).
One of the most controversial verse in James, if not in the New Testament, is James 2:21 which states, was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac, his son, on the altar?
The natural result of being saved is the production of good works and James cites Abraham as an example of a man who had been justified by faith... and whose works demonstrated his trust in God.
He could have written - we know Abraham our father was justified, because of his works - when he offered up Issac his son on the alter.
God called the idol worshipping Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees in Genesis 11, to go to a land He would show him.
Abraham believed God.
He left his home by faith, not knowing where he was going... and in chapter 15 when God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to give him a son through whom the whole earth would be blessed - we read, Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Abraham was saved / justified in chapter 15 (if not before) because of his faith.
This incident took place many years after Abraham had been saved or 'justified'.
The verse could read; Was not our forefather Abraham shown to be justified through his works, when he brought to the altar as an offering, his own son Isaac?
Didn't Abraham demonstrate that he was already justified when he obeyed God's command by sacrificing his son?
Perhaps the most beautiful and poignant name of God is the one that the Lord gave to Abraham when he and his son Isaac were travelling to the place where God had called him to offer his beloved son as a sacrifice, in obedience to God's command: Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, 'Father?' 'Yes, my son?' Abraham replied. 'The fire and wood are here,' Isaac said, 'but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' Abraham answered, 'God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.' And the two of them went on together.
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him.
Abraham, who had already received God's promises by faith, was also ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again.
And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead because by faith, he obeyed God's Word, even when circumstances seemed to scream the opposite: So Abraham called that place Yahweh-Yireh - Jehovah-jireh - The Lord Will Provide.
It must have been hard to be a Jew listening to Paul declaring that a real Jew is not one that is descended from Abraham but one who manifests a godly life and that true circumcision is a matter of the heart and not in the cutting of the flesh on the 8th day.
The 'heavenly people' are to engage in a spiritual war, to demolish spiritual strongholds in high places so that God's 'earthly people' may receive the earthly inheritance promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.
Some consider that this refers to the liberation of the souls of a multitude of Old Testament saints who were freed from their confinement in Sheol (which is sometimes called Hades, Paradise or Abraham's bosom).
There is no division in the Church, for we are all fellow members of His Body, fellow-partakers of the unconditional promise made to Christ through Abraham, and fellow-inheritors with the same birthright that is given by grace through faith to all the redeemed in Christ.
Before the Cross, the only way for a Gentile to be included in the unconditional promises made to Abraham was to become a Proselyte Jew.
In that day, the gospel of the kingdom will be taught throughout the earth, the land covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be fulfilled, and the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will be set up - as promised to David the king.
And no doubt the old apostle understood that if the kingdom promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were postponed indefinitely, we would all be sentenced to live forever in our fallen state - dead in sin, at enmity with God, and with no prospect of being resurrected in a new body.
The unconditional covenant promise that was made to Abraham was the same promise that was made to Christ.
Jesus Christ was the Seed to Whom this Abrahamic promise was made: Now to Abraham and his Seed (the Lord Jesus Christ) were the promises made.
Abraham was saved by grace through faith, and God credited it to him as righteousness.
The promise to Abraham, that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him, was to come about through his unique Seed, Christ Jesus our Lord, for it is through His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection that all the peoples on earth would be blessed, both Jew and Gentile.
For God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, the promised Seed of Abraham, to die for the sin of the whole world so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but be blessed with the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
Jesus Christ is the Seed to Whom this particular, staggering Abrahamic promise of world-wide blessing was made, for only the eternal Son of God and perfect Son of Man (Who is the single Seed of Abraham) is able to save His people Israel from their sins, to die for the sin of the whole Gentile world, and to unlock that precious promise that God made to His forefather: That all the families of the earth will be blessed.
It was to Abraham that this staggering promise was made.
It was to Abraham and his Seed, Christ Jesus our Lord: For God did not say, 'and to seeds, as of many - but as of One - and to thy SEED, which is Christ.'
God had already revealed Himself to Abraham as 'the Lord God' 'the Almighty God' and 'the everlasting God'.
He also identified Himself as Abraham's 'Provider', when He spoke those words, which are pregnant with meaning, I will Provide Myself - a Lamb.
And as the attributes of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob continued to be revealed to His chosen people, as the years rolled by, so each of God's revealed characteristics, was one more beautiful picture of the coming Messiah - the Mighty God and Prince of Peace, Who would also be the one Who would heal His people Israel, the nation whom Isaiah described as being sick, 'from the crown of their head to the sole of their foot'.
Idolatry was the reason that God called Abraham out of the idol-worshipping city of Ur and determined to use him and his chosen descendants to circumvent Satan's nefarious plans to corrupt and enslave mankind by saturating the earth with alternative deities, disgusting demigods, and a satanic worldview.
for she was to participate in the fulfilment of Bible prophecy, by becoming the mother of the Messiah - the promised Seed the woman - the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David, Who would save His people from their sin.
He had just reminded the assembled company of the history of the nation, from the time God took Abraham from the region beyond the Euphrates River, led him throughout the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants, to their conquest in the promised land, when the Lord gave Israel a land for which they did not labour, cities which they did not build, and provision from vineyards and olive groves they did not plant.
The book of Isaiah is predominantly written to the people of Israel and takes them on the journey of God's redemptive plan, where the increasingly apostate nation is called to repent of their sins and return to the Lord their God. They are reminded that a Messiah is coming, but unless they repent of their sin, their continuing apostasy would seal their exile from the land that was given to their forefather, Abraham.
As Son of God and the Seed of the woman through His forefathers Abraham and David, the Lord Jesus was born without sin, and lived a sinless life in order to pay the penalty for the sin of the whole world..
Those days arrived when Christ was born, and had Jesus been accepted as Israel's prophesied Messiah, He would have set up His earthly kingdom there and then - a kingdom which had been promised to Abraham and his Seed many years before - for God's anointed King was in their midst and all Israel had to do was to repent, turn back to God, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ Whom He had sent.
They had to come to terms with the truth that Christ fulfilled the promise of God, given to Abraham, and that due to faith in Christ's death, burial, and Resurrection, they were now ministers of a new and better covenant.
The Lord promised Abraham that through his Seed, the whole world would be blessed.
And to underline the point that God has not rejected His people, Israel, Paul makes the point that he himself is an Israelite: A descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Paul is reminding us that God always keeps a remnant of faithful people that He will work through and use to His glory.
After Abraham's great victory in rescuing his nephew from his captors and rejecting the king of Sodom's sly, but tempting offer, we are introduced to an intriguing individual called Melchizedek, which means 'king of Righteousness'.
He was governor of a city in the centre of the Canaanite stronghold of paganism, satanic evil, and demonic wickedness... and yet he greeted Abraham with the most cherished emblems of our Christian faith - bread and wine.
Abraham had just won a great victory over a number of pagan kingdoms and resisted the temptation to rely on the spoils of the battle for his supply, rather than on God Who is the great Provider of all we need, according to His riches in glory.
And this incident with Melchizedek would be a reminder to Abraham of his call, by God, to go to Canaan, a land of promise which God would show him.
But this incident with the intriguing individual called Melchizedek - king of Righteousness, king of Peace, king of Jerusalem, and priest of the most High God, no doubt heightened Abraham's faith in the Lord and strengthened his resolve to fight the good fight of faith.
Many suppose that Melchizedek, the mysterious King-priest who brought out bread and wine for Abraham, was a Christophany - i.e.
Although Abram would soon be renamed Abraham and become the great father of faith and renowned patriarch of Israel - through whom the priestly line of Aaron would come - the greater blessed the lesser.
Some are identified by name and Abraham, the father of faith, is mentioned a number of times within this chapter.
Abraham stepped out in faith when he set out from Ur of the Chaldees to a place that God promised to show him.
Abraham stepped out in faith and lived as a 'sojourner' in a foreign land.
There are those who could argue that God failed to give His servant the Land of Canaan, that was promised to Abraham and his seed, forever.
But the final chapter of the story has yet to be lived out, for Abraham was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Abraham's faith has yet to be played out in a future reality.
Yes, Abraham did indeed step out in faith..
Abraham trusted God to fulfil ALL the precious promises He made, to him and to all mankind.
Abraham demonstrated a belief that the promises of God have an eternal perspective as, like us, he looks forward to the New Jerusalem - to the new heaven and the new earth and the eternal ages to come when the kingdom has been restored to the Father and the Man, Christ Jesus, rules and reigns in righteousness and peace.
Their disobedience would result in their eventual downfall and dispersion from the land of Canaan (which God had pledged as an eternal inheritance to Abraham, and his Promised Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ) - until the entire nation repented of their sins.
And let us thank God that His grace towards His covenant people will continue... until Jesus comes to set up His eternal kingdom on earth in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel - for He longs to be gracious to all His children and waits on high to have compassion on us all.
But the Lord chose Abram, a pagan from the city of Ur, to become Abraham - the federal head of His chosen nation, through whose Seed, all the families of the earth would be blessed.
Abraham was justified in God's eyes when he believed God's Word, and left his past behind, to go to the land that God had promised him.
The birth of Abraham's promised son would happen in a years' time.
The Lord said, 'shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?'
He knew that His purpose for Abraham was to become a great man and a mighty nation and that through his Seed, (the Messiah of Israel), all the families of the earth would be blessed.
God knew that the only One good enough was the Seed of Abraham, Who would one day be born into the world as the sacrificial substitute for the sin of the world - Jesus Christ - the Seed of the woman - the Seed of Abraham - the Messiah of Israel - the Son of God.
And so the Lord said to Himself, shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
But the Lord recorded this for our learning and He revealed to His servant Abraham, the gravity of judgement that was about to fall on five, wicked and prideful cities that only did evil continuously.
God wanted Abraham to abhor evil and choose the good.
God has kept the oath which He swore to Abraham our father - that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness all our days.... The Messiah has come to give to His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God - and to guide our feet into the way of peace!
Paul reminded Timothy that a day is coming when Christ would return to take His Church to be with Himself and that He would - at the proper time - set up His earthly kingdom which was promised to Abraham and his seed forever... for He is the blessed Son of the Almighty God, the only true Sovereign Lord, the almighty King of kings and eternal Lord of lords.
They should have known that faith... not works, worldly wisdom, or religious knowledge, is credited as by God righteousness, for we read in Genesis that Abraham believed God, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness.
While Abraham combined both the kingly and priestly offices in his own household, the Lord separated these roles later, whereby the line of Judah became the kingly line, while the priesthood and high priestly office were given to Levi - with Aaron becoming Israel's first high priest.
He did this through the actions of Abraham, when he encountered this revered Person, after rescuing of Lot from his adversaries, for this Melchizedek—King of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham and blessed him, and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything... whose name means king of righteousness.
Just as the greater (Melchizedek) blessed the lesser (Abraham) in verse 1, we see the same reverence and respect being shown in verse 2.
We read that Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything he owned - the lesser (Abraham) deferring to the greater (Melchizedek).
There are times in the Bible when Abraham is a type of God the Father, but in this instance, he is representing spiritual Israel - believing Israel.
It shows believers in Israel (Abraham) as lesser than Christ (Melchizedek) and subservient to Him (through worship and the giving of a tithe).
The author of the Hebrews is demonstrating that Abraham and all his physical descendants and spiritual offspring, including Levi, Judah, Aaron, and those of us in this present dispensation, are lesser and subservient to the lovely Lord Jesus Christ - the righteous King-Priest and the antitype of Melchizedek - to Whom be all honour and glory, might, majesty, dominion and power, forever and ever, amen.
The Law, the covenant, the prophets, the priesthood, and Israel's high priestly office, were part of the old order that was replaced by a new and better covenant, with its heavenly High Priestly office after the order of Melchizedek - the king-priest who was honoured by Abraham - the father of faith.
Abraham knew that God's promised Seed, Who was to crush the serpent's head and release humanity from slavery to sin, was to come through Isaac, his own precious child of promise.
Isaac had been born to Sarah, his elderly wife, when Abraham was 100 years old and he knew the importance of finding his beloved son a virtuous wife, of God's choosing.
Before setting out on his momentous mission, the servant, who was probably called Eliezer, had sworn to Abraham, that he would not choose a Canaanite woman, nor would he let Isaac visit his relatives - who remained idol worshippers in a pagan city.
Over the years, Eliezer had witnessed Abraham's faith in God and seen the Lord working in his master's life.
No doubt the servant was very aware that God's promise to bless Abraham'was intricately tied up with Isaac and his future bride.
We also discover that the first girl who arrived at the well, not only gave this stranger a drink of water, willingly... and offered to water his camels, but she was the daughter of Abraham's own brother, Nahor, and her actions and attitude indicated that she was as kind-hearted and industrious as she was beautiful.
The Lord had foreordained the union of Isaac and Rebekah, before the world began, but Abraham and Isaac, as well as the servant and the girl, had learned the lessons in life that caused them to be willing participants in carrying out the will of God.
Abraham understood that the local Canaanite women would corrupt his son, and so he wisely looked for a wife from his own kith and kin.
Abraham also realised that his son's wife must be brought into the family while Isaac needed to submit to his father's choice of a bride, and understood the dangers of associating with those outside the commonwealth of faith.
No doubt the Lord had His hand of blessing on His handmaiden from her birth, as He does with all who are called and chosen - and no doubt the young woman had heard how her uncle Abram had been called by the Lord to go to a place that He would show him - and how Abraham believed God and was credited with righteousness.
That Seed Who would be born into the human race, would pass through a man called Abraham and his descendants.
The promised Seed was to be born through Abraham's dearly loved son Isaac, of the nation of Israel, of the family of Judah, of the house of David - of the Son of Mary.
The apostle Paul used both Abraham and David as evidence that salvation in the Old Testament was similarly by God's grace, through faith in His Word.
Abraham believed God... and that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.
It was not what Abraham did that caused God to credit him with righteousness.
It was what Abraham believed.
Abraham did not earn his salvation, but received it as a free gift of God's grace - by faith.
And Abraham was one of many men and women who believed God would keep His Word - and their faith was credited to them as righteousness. When we trust the Word made flesh - that He died for our sins according to the Scriptures and was buried and rose again the third day - we will be saved by God's grace - through faith.
Abraham was living in a pagan society which had strayed far from the God Who had saved them through the flood waters of judgement due to Noah's faith in God.
But Abraham's first encounter with the Lord was when God called him out of the Gentile city of Ur to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.
But Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going.
We are told in Hebrews that he obeyed God by faith and we are told in Romans: Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Abraham looked forward to the coming Saviour by faith.
Faith is obeying the Word of the Lord, just as Abraham obeyed when he was called to leave his homeland to gain an inheritance, even though he had no clue where he was going.
Like Abraham, we were saved by faith, called out of the world, credited with God’s righteousness, promised an inheritance, and are travelling along the path of life towards the goal of our calling. We are now to live our life by faith – listening to His voice, trusting His Word, obeying His instructions, believing His promises to be unquestionably true.
This is what was commended in Abraham and this is what will be commended in all who live – by faith.
Other scriptures inform us that this coming Prophet Who would speak only the Word of the Lord, would arise from the Seed of Abraham, through Isaac, his sons of promise, and Israel - God's chosen people.
God had already made an everlasting covenant with their forefather Abraham, when He promised to bless him and give him and his descendants, (through his son Isaac) the land of Canaan as an everlasting inheritance.
As His disobedient children, Israel had to be punished for their rebellious ways, but God never reneged on His covenant with Abraham not did He cast off His covenanted people.
Circumcision, like the sacrificing of animals, was given by God to Abraham and Israel as a sign between the Lord and His chosen people that they were to be a family that were separated from the world – a race that was sanctified unto the Lord – a peculiar people - an adopted son of God who trusted the Almighty Yahweh and not the world systems.
The Lord made some very specific promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David.
God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that the promised SEED Who would save the world, would come from their loins, and He pledged that a King from David's lineage would be seated on His eternal kingdom.
It describes the events preceding His millennial rule on earth, and speaks of universal peace and prosperity, when Israel will be regathered forever into the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses reminded them of their historical past, of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the nation of Israel - and He brought to their remembrance the long-suffering faithfulness of their good and gracious God - despite their own rebellion and apostasy.
The dedication of God's Temple was perhaps the high-point of Israel's history - which is more correctly called His Story, but from Abraham onwards, the one unchanging fact is the goodness, grace, long-suffering, and faithfulness of God to all His people - for even when we become faithless, HE remains faithful.
An extended discourse on the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, begins in verse 8, together with a testimonial of the faith of Abraham's wife, Sarah.
We are told that many years earlier Abraham believed God and obeyed His Word when he was called to leave his homeland and go to a place where he would receive as an inheritance from the Lord.
We read it was by faith when Abraham was tested that he offered up Isaac - his only begotten son.
Abraham's faith in God did not waver when he was tested in this way, even through he knew the inheritance he was promised could only come through his son, Isaac.
Abraham did not understand why God instructed him to offer his beloved son as a sacrifice on an alter, but he trusted God's Word, and considered that if Isaac was to die, God is even able to raise people from the dead.
By instructing him to offer his son as a sacrifice, not only appears to be breaking the covenant God made with Abraham, but it also seems to be a violation of God's holy character... but the final part of the verse gives us a clear insight into the reason Abraham was tested in this way, he considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead - from which he also received him back as a type. The death (and resurrection) of his son was to act as a type... or pattern of the coming Messiah.
Although Abraham was stopped by the angel before his son was literally killed, Scripture informs us that God was using this encounter as a type of Christ.
By obeying God's instructions, Abraham effectively received his son back from the dead when he was halted at the last moment, and serves as a great example of a man of faith who believed God and lived his life by faith.
Like Abraham, we are all not only called to be saved by faith but also to live by faith, even though we may not understand some of the painful circumstances we are called to undergo.
May we remember the beautiful picture of Abraham's offering of his only begotten son and give thanks to God that He was ready and willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son on the Cross for our redemption.
Abraham was to be the man through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
Abraham was to be the father of many nations, and he was also told that through him, the promised, supernatural Seed of God would come.
The Seed of Abraham was to be both fully God and fully Man, for only God is good enough to pay the price for sin, but only a Kinsman-Redeemer could shed His blood for the sin of mankind.
Abraham believed God, and by faith he left his native city of Ur, and obeyed the Lord's instructions, to leave the place of his birth.
Despite many years of waiting and in spite of Abraham's foolish attempts to help God carry out His promise, by producing Ishmael, the child of the flesh through Sarah's servant, Hagar - Isaac, the true and only child of promise, was eventually born when Abraham was very old and Sarah was beyond child-bearing age.
God blessed Abraham greatly because of his obedience, and he became fabulously wealthy.
The son of promise had been born through Sarah, as God had said, and God had even cemented His covenant with Abraham, through the sign of circumcision..
Many long years passed, and the Lord was silent in his love towards this man of God, and Abraham may have thought that this happy state of affairs would continue on - but his life was soon to be shattered by the next communication he received from the Lord, for we discover in the following verses, that God instructed him to, Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.
I imagine that when Abraham first realised that God was speaking to him once more, he must have been delighted.
Abraham probably thought that God was going to carry out His promise to its full and final completion - and they would all live happily ever after.
It is quite probable that he was very pleased to hear God call out, Abraham, Abraham... after such a long silence, and his quick response was, Here I am!
For the great patriarch, Abraham, this was his greatest test of faith, for God commanded him to offer up Isaac, his dearly beloved son of promise, as a burnt offering to the Lord - the very son through whom the Messiah of Promise was to be born.
We see men like Abel, Noah, Job, and Abraham, making burnt offerings to God, before any of the Levitical sacrifices were instituted for Israel.
And Abraham was instructed to take Isaac, his dearly beloved son whom he loved, and offer him voluntarily, as a freely-given burnt offering to the Lord.
We are supplied in the verses that follow, with the reason that God spoke to Abraham on this occasion.
God wanted to demonstrate that He was Abraham's trusted Source of supply - his Provider and Benefactor.
And God continues to test the faith of all His children today, because He knows that the sort of decision Abraham had to make, would develop and increase his faith and reliance on God.
It is unlikely that God will speak to us in the clear, audible voice which Abraham heard, but God's plans and purposes for all his children remain the same - that we trust Him in all things and do not allow the problems, pain, and persecution, to cause us to waver in our resolve to believe God's Word - even when He says things we do not want to hear.
Abraham believed God when he left the pagan city of Ur, but his faith was tested and deepened when he was commanded by God to set out for Mount Moriah to offer his one and only beloved son of promise, as a love-offering to the Lord.
Abraham believed God and was justified at the start of his journey - Abraham continued to believe God, throughout various tests and trials he underwent - and Abraham grew in grace and in a knowledge of the God in Whom he trusted.
Through it all, Abraham found that God was faithful to His Word - and He is no less faithful to fulfil the promises He has made to you and to me.
However, although His nation was faithless towards Him, God remained faithful... and in His grace He promised to regather the scattered people of Israel and Judah back to the land of Israel, where each tribe will each receive the inheritance that was promised to their fore-fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - but which had to be postponed because they rejected Christ 2000 years ago.
The promises that God gave to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and so many of the heroes of faith in Old Testament Scriptures still stand, and they believed God and their faith was reckoned to them as righteousness.
The Law is not contrary to God's Word, nor did it set aside His promises to Adam, Abraham, Israel, or the Church.
From the opening verse of his Gospel, Matthew begins to open our understanding that Jesus Christ is the promised Seed of Abraham through Whom all the families of the earth will be blessed.
He starts by rattling off a long list of Jesus' descendants, taking us back over centuries of time - to Solomon and David - to Jacob and Abraham.
Matthew opens his book with the words, This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
The Gospel of Luke takes the lineage of Jesus back through David and Abraham to, Adam, the son of God, while Matthew's genealogy places its foundational root firmly in Israel - the chosen people of God.
It was through the nation of Israel that the promised Messiah was to be born; it was Israel that was promised, a Star would come forth out of Jacob, and a Ruler would rise out of Israel, and it was from Abraham, the patriarch of Israel, that Matthew begins to list Christ's Jewish ancestry.
The significance of David and Abraham being the two identifying descendants of Christ are unprecedented, in this opening verse of New Testament Scripture.
Unless Christ is able to be traced back as the promised Seed of Abraham, through the royal line of King David, every other prophecy of His first and second comings would be null and void.
Christ was certainly to be the Seed of the woman as promised to Adam in the idyllic garden, but His ancestry must also be traced through Abraham's promised Seed, and through the royal line of David, Israel's great shepherd-king.
We see Christ's ancestry being traced through Abraham to Nathan - a second son of the great king David, rather than King Solomon - his son and heir.
He was, the son of David and son of Abraham, Who was born of Mary and gained regal legitimacy through Joseph.
The name 'Shiloh' means 'the Bearer of Rest'. 'Shiloh' does not refer to a city or a group. 'Shiloh' is the name of the coming Messiah - the promised Seed, through Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed - the One Who brings rest for the soul and is the fulfilment of all Scripture - Jesus the Messiah - the son of David - the son of Abraham - the father of Isaac - the father of Jacob - the father of Judah and his brother.
He is the Lion from the tribe of Judah, Who has broken the chains of sin and Satan, death and hell, and by faith in HIM, we are credited with righteousness, just like Abraham, the father of faith.
The call of Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 12 sets the stage for much that follows.
Abraham knew nothing of God's plan nor was he told where he was going.
Abraham was not told where he was going or what would happen along the way.
Ur to Canaan), was embarked upon by faith. Abraham was saved because he believed God - saved by grace through faith in God's Word.
The company of travellers arrived in the town of Haran but remained there for about five years because Abraham's father worshipped idols... and the Lord would not allow his servant to continue to Canaan while his father was alive.
It was only after his death that the excursion to the Promised Land was resumed, and at 75-years of age, Abraham once again set off on his journey-of-faith.
Hebrews 11 tells us that Abraham left his home and set out on to receive his inheritance by faith.
It was because of this action that we read elsewhere, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Not only did God promise to give Abraham a land-inheritance, make him into a great nation, and bless all the families of the earth through him, but also that his vast estate was to be a permanent one.
The Promised Land was to pass on to Abraham's descendants and in the previous verse the Lord appeared to Abram and said, to your descendants I will give this land.
Considering that Sarah, his 65-year-old wife, was not only barren but too old to conceive a child, provides an insight into Abraham's trust in the Word of the Lord.
Having the wonderful blessing that was to be his inheritance, this hero of the faith went a little further on and in verse 8 was read, Then Abraham proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent... with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
Abraham was in the land he had been promised, and the two towns mentioned would later be identified as important landmarks in the ongoing history of Israel, as recorded in Joshua and other biblical texts.
When Israel crossed the Jordan into the land promised to their forefathers following their 40-year-long wilderness wanderings, it was the same land that the Lord had promised to Abraham and his descendants so many years before.
This is the first time 'Bethel', which means 'House of God', is mentioned in Scripture, and it was the place where Abraham, pitched his tent.
The Lord had brought his servant to the 'House of God' and once again Abraham built an alter to the Lord and 'called on the name of the Lord'.
This was the first time we read that Abraham, called upon the name of the LORD.
The saving faith that brought Abraham out of a pagan land and a godless world, was deepening into an ongoing sanctifying faith where God would continue to prove His faithfulness to his servant - provide for him, protect him from his enemies, make his name great, bless him abundantly, and cause him to be a great blessing to all the families of the earth.
There was one occasion when the Lord revealed Himself to Abraham as his Provider, but in this unique and touching episode, God disclosed Himself to the aging Abraham as Almighty God (El-Shaddai).
Abraham had been promised the Seed through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed.
Yet, in this gracious encounter, God reveals Himself to Abraham in a new and wonderful way - as 'God Almighty' - 'El Shaddai' - 'the All-Sufficient God'.
He gently admonished His doubting child, while giving Abraham ample reassurance that His Word is true, and would be fulfilled in His time, and His way.
And as it was with Abraham, so it is with all of God's people.
Abraham was granted further revelation into the essential nature of the God, in Whom he had placed his trust so many years before... for there were still lessons for this man of God to learn.
And in the same way that He overshadowed and stirred the womb of the elderly Sarah, and empowered old Abraham to father this child, so God is able and willing to work His all-sufficient grace in the lives of each of His children.
The eternal Son of God became the perfect Son of Man, Who alone could justifiably proclaim, before Abraham was - I AM. He could therefore legitimately proclaim, I AM the Root of David and I AM the Stem of David.
Israel's millennial rest in the land promised to Abraham and his descendants, is one part of their promised Sabbath-Rest, and the 'rest' that Christians enjoy through faith in Christ's finished work on Calvary, is a down-payment for the full Sabbath-Rest in which we will one day participate - for as we read in Hebrews 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, in the eternal ages to come.
As his treatise unfolds, James uses Abraham's offering of Isaac and Rahab's actions in protecting the Israelite spies to prove we are justified by works.
Abraham believed God's promise and was justified in God's sight in Genesis 15 - but many years later when he offered Isaac in Genesis 22, he demonstrated to us that he was justified by producing a work of faith.
James continues to use Abraham and Rahab in his ongoing reasoning on the close connection between faith and works by saying, just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
The Jews proudly relied on their family connection with Abraham and the keeping of the Law for their salvation, but we are not justified by works of the Law but by faith in Christ.
Paul had to refute this deep-seated deception and set out to clarify who were Abraham's natural seed and who were his spiritual seed.
Indeed, the ultimate Seed of Abraham was Christ Who was the promised Son through Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed by His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection.
It is Abraham's spiritual seed (believing Jews and believing Gentiles), not his physical seed that are justified through faith.
When we were saved by grace through faith, we were positioned in Him and became one with HIM - making us spiritual descendants of Abraham where there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.
All who belongs to Christ are Abraham's spiritual descendants and heirs according to promise.
A truth that was given in its embryonic form to Abraham, was opened up to the apostle Paul for our learning - and it was that all those who exercise faith in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord (our Kinsman-Redeemer), are justified by grace through faith.
Abraham was justified by grace through faith because He believed God's Word.
Everyone could be justified in the same way as Abraham was justified - by grace through trusting God's Word.
Because we believe God's Word, we are blessed in the same way that Abraham was blessed - by grace through faith.
Praise God that despite their continued rejection of their God and King, it is by His by grace that a faithful remnant will one day be restored and God's unconditional covenants to Abraham, David and His people Israel, will eventually be fulfilled.
Christ's glorious Second Coming to earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom, which God promised to Abraham and his seed forever, is the focal point towards which God's wonderful plan of salvation has been continuously and consistently moving since the creation of the world (and when the human race was corrupted, through sin).
He give meticulous insight into justification, sanctification, propitiation and many other important doctrinal issues and uses Abraham as his object lesson that the righteous man shall live by faith in the written Word of God - and insists that the object of that faith is Jesus Christ, the righteous.
Paul reminds us of Abraham who with respect to the promise of God, did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was also able to perform.
Our Father's promise to us stands as firm as His promise to Abraham.
So much in the family of Abraham and the nation of Israel is used by God to teach us lessons on living a sanctified life that is honouring to Him, while highlighting many fleshly behaviours and carnal attitudes we should avoid.
Just as Abraham told his sons about the promised Seed, Who would come through Isaac and his descendants, so Isaac and Rebekah were similarly told that the younger of their twin sons would be preeminent. Two nations are in your womb and two peoples will be separated from your body, Rebekah was told by the Lord when she enquired why her pregnancy was so difficult, One people shall be stronger than the other and the older shall serve the younger.
How tragic that Abraham's son of promise declined so greatly in character and conduct.
But this verse does not end with the first coming of Christ but reaches down centuries of time into His second coming, when Israel will remain in the land that was given to their forefather Abraham, in peace and security..
As both the root and stem of king David, the Lord Jesus alone is qualified to fulfil this eternal role as heavenly Shepherd of Israel, for we discover that a future adversary of the nation, will rise up in the end times - but he will be fully and finally defeated by Israel's Shepherd King and as promised to Abraham, David and His seed forever.
for we read in Micah: You will remain true to Jacob, and merciful to Abraham, as You promised our ancestors.
Abraham is often referred to as the father of faith, because the Lord used His trust in God's promises as the foundational example of a man who is credited with the righteousness of Christ, by grace through faith.
Among other things, God appointed Abraham as the father of many nations - the spiritual father of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles.
But Abraham is one of many men and women of faith who believed God's promises and took Him at His Word.
And Paul explains WHO this great God of Abraham is: He is the God Who brings the dead back to life.
Abraham was justified by God's grace because He simply believed God's Word.
The Law was not given to save men, but to point them to the Saviour of men and, like Abraham, we are not saved by keeping the works of the Law, but by grace through faith in Christ.
And the righteousness of God is extended by grace to all who believe in God - both Jew and Gentile - for Abraham became the spiritual father of many nations as well as the physical forefather of God's chosen nation, Israel.
That is what Scriptures means when God told Abraham, I have made you the father of many nations.
He did this because Abraham believed in God and trusted His Word.
Abraham believed in the one and only God Who brings the dead back to life and Who creates new things out of nothing.
Paul took the historic figures of Isaac and Ishmael, the two sons of the great patriarch Abraham, and used these two characters to symbolically illustrate the great difference between the Christian’s supernatural freedom in Christ and legalistic bondage to sin and the Law.
Isaac was the supernaturally born 'child of promise' who was the son of Abraham and his freeborn wife, Sarah... in fulfilment of God's covenant promise with Abraham and his Seed (the Lord Jesus Christ).
God promised that through Isaac, the Messiah would be born - the promised 'Seed' through Whom the promises God made to Abraham would finally be fulfilled.
The promised Seed would come through Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob - and through the nation of Israel.
He was born to Abraham and Hagar, the slave-woman.
Ishmael was born in fulfilment of human choice and not the result of God's promise to Abraham.
Paul wanted to show that being a descendent of Abraham does not automatically make you an heir or a child of promise.
Paul uses the great historical figures of Abraham and David to demonstrate that it is not through righteous living or good works that we are declared righteous, but by faith in the Son of God Who died for the sin of the whole world.
To hammer this truth home, Paul reminds all those who seek to elevate the physical genealogy of Jewish people to their forefather Abraham above the rest the nations and to magnify their importance in God's redemptive programme, that they are misguided.
Paul reminds them that Abraham was an uncircumcised Gentile when God called him out of the Ur of the Chaldees, and Abraham believed God and was credited with righteousness, due to his faith in God's promise.
It was by grace though faith in the coming Messiah that Abraham and David were credited with righteousness, and it is by grace through faith in the finished work of the Messiah that you and I are credited with righteousness.
Abraham lived to the ripe old age of 175 and was buried alongside his wife, Sarah, in the cave he purchased from Machpelah.
Although he had many other children by his second wife, Keturah, and all were well provided for materially, Abraham made sure they were all sent far away from the land that God had promised to His Seed, through Isaac - his unique son of promise.
Isaac had been witness to his father's faith in God, and Abraham had told his son all that the Lord had promised to do through him.
All those who, like Abraham, are to be declared righteous by the Lord must believe in their heart, by faith.
Thirdly, Paul explained that because we are members of the Body of Christ and belong to Him, we are in Christ... we are positioned in Him and enjoy spiritual union with Him - and as such we are all considered to be the spiritual descendants of Abraham and heirs of the promise: And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise. But what is the promise to which is Paul referring... and Who is the Seed that He mentions in this verse?
Well, Paul previously explained that Christ is the one, single SEED of Abraham through Whom the promises of God are to be fulfilled: Now the promises, Paul writes, were spoken to Abraham and to his SEED.
As members of Christ's spiritual Body, we are also the spiritual seed of Abraham.
Abraham had a physical seed through Isaac, Jacob, and his sons, as well as a spiritual seed through the Lord Jesus Christ.
And just as Abraham was credited with righteousness by faith, both his physical and spiritual descendants must also be declared righteous by faith.
Within Abraham's natural, physical seed, there is a remnant of Jews who believe God and their faith is credited to them as righteousness.
Abraham also has spiritual descendants in this Church Age (some from a Jewish background and many from a Gentile background) but all are justified by grace through faith in Christ.
There is now neither Jew nor Gentile in the Christian Church, because we are all ONE in Christ and are privileged to be His spiritual heirs: For if we belong to Christ, then we are Abraham's descendants - Abraham's seed and heirs, according to the promise, by faith in Christ.
It was through Jacob, and not Esau, that the promised Seed of Abraham was to be born.
It was a benediction that had its roots in the unconditional promise the Lord gave to Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed, and is reflected in the blessing that Jacob himself, passed on to his own sons and their offspring, many years later.
The blessing Jacob received from his father covered an abundance of food at harvest times and a plentiful supply of drink, but in reality, the blessing he gave to Jacob came from God, and confirmed the things that the Lord had promised to Abraham - first through Isaac, and then through Jacob - just as the prophecy given to his mother stated - two nations are in your womb; two peoples will come from your body and the older shall serve the younger.
From Abel to Abraham, from Moses to David, and from Amos to those men in the fields of Bethlehem who were keeping watch over their flocks by night, we see God using shepherds as an illustration of His loving-care for the needs of His people Whom He describes as little lambs and wandering sheep - lambs and sheep who have been led astray by false, destructive, and idle shepherds.
Isaac also knew about the prophecy given to his father, Abraham, that God's promised Seed would be born through one of his own children, and God's revelation to Rebekah identified Jacob as the heir, chosen by the Lord, through whom the promise would come.
This simple snapshot within the history of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel, provides us with a multiplicity of lessons that we all need to learn and the dangers of unbelief and resisting God's will.
Abraham is often called 'the father of faith' because he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
We find a third reference relating to the faith of Abraham in James chapter 2 for we read, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Abraham did many good works that were commended by men. And down through centuries of time, Jewish leaders proudly proclaimed that being Abraham's physical descendants, they too were imputed with some of his righteousness and meritorious acts.
They taught that because they were the physical descendants of Abraham - through Isaac - they were automatically reckoned to be justified in God's eyes.
They believed (incorrectly), that because Abraham was declared righteous before God, they were also righteous - by association!
Paul pointed out that, if Abraham was justified by works, he would certainly have something to boast about.
However, he quickly pointed out that although he carried out many commendable works which merited man's approval, they certainly did not justify him in the sight of God. Although Abraham may be justified - or considered righteous in the eyes of man, good works will never justify a man in the eyes of God.
Abraham did many admirable things that justified him in the eyes of men!!
However, it is important to realise that although this deed caused Abraham to be justified in the eyes of man, it was not the offering of Isaac that caused Abraham to be justified in the sight of God.
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
Abraham had placed his trust in God many years earlier (Genesis chapter 15) when he left his birthplace and set out to go to a land that God had promised to give him, not knowing where he was going.
When Abraham trusted God's promise and obeyed His instructions... that was when his faith was counted as righteousness by God - as Paul records.
God declared Abraham righteous because he trusted God - he believed His Word.
To consolidate our understanding, we find the author, once again illustrating his teaching from Old Testament Scripture and reminding us of Abraham's significant meeting with Melchizedek - the Sovereign Priest of the most high God - the King of righteousness and King of peace.
Jesus explained that after the death of these two men, Lazarus was taken to Paradise - to 'Abraham's bosom' where he was comforted, while the rich man was sent to Hades where he was tormented and in deep distress.
Throughout Scripture, Abraham is identified as the 'father of faith' and his faith was reckoned as righteousness. The reason that Lazarus was taken to 'Abraham's bosom' - to 'Paradise' was because of his faith in God's Word.
Like Abraham, and all Old Testament saints who were looking for their coming Messiah, the soul of Lazarus was taken to a holding place called 'Paradise' or 'Abraham's Bosom' UNTIL Jesus died on the Cross as payment for their sins and rose from the grave to set these captive souls free.
But like Abraham and other men of faith... those that trusted God's Word and believed His promises were credited with righteousness - as they looked forward to the coming Messiah Who would redeem them from Satan, sin, death, and hell.
Israel was chosen to be the one way through which mankind could be redeemed, for the Messiah was to be born from the seed of Abraham, through the tribe of Judah, of the house of David.
God told Solomon that He would honour the unconditional promises He made to both David and Abraham as well as the conditional covenant, which was made through Moses - but if the nation failed to honour their covenant promises to God, (made through Moses and re-established at Solomon's Feast of Dedication) - then the nation of Israel would forfeit their peace, be uprooted from their land - and their Temple would be cast out of God's sight.
It was love for the little nation of Israel that caused God to take Abraham out of his pagan country in Chaldea, and it was by grace that God promised to make him into a great nation - through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
The Seed of the woman that was to crush the serpent's head travelled secretly through the generations, first through Seth to Noah, then from Abraham to the sons of Jacob, via Ruth to David, and on and on through the royal line of Judah to great David's greater Son, the Lion of the tribe of Judah - the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
This Commander was greater than Joshua, greater than Moses, greater than Abraham, greater than king David!
During His earthly walk, the Lord Jesus was able to claim, Before Abraham was - I AM. Jesus could equally have proclaimed that before Moses, David, and Solomon, I AM, for the Commander Who stood before Joshua was the One Who had spoken to Moses in the burning bush when He proclaimed, I AM that I AM.
He would be a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David... and it was foretold that He would herald in a wonderful time of peace and prosperity for His people, Israel.
God turned the greatest tragedy into the greatest triumph, for through Christ's death, the penalty of sin was paid and by means of His resurrection, the power of death in the lives of all who believe was broken forever - for although Christ was delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, glorified His servant Jesus Whom today is seated on the right hand of the Almighty in power and great glory - and He deserves our everlasting glory, thanks, honour, and praise.
Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus was sent by God to care for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and that He came to fulfil the oath that God swore to their forefather, Abraham, and his seed forever.
Habakkuk was given a great assurance that Israel's coming terrible time of tribulation would have a purifying effect on God's people, and the Lord gave Habakkuk the assurance that, like Abraham, the just shall live because of their faith and that their faith would be credited to them as righteousness.
The land was filled with cities that had to be defeated... and their indigenous kings united against the Israelite army who had come to challenge their authority and claim the land which God had promised to Abraham, as an everlasting covenant.
Despite the influence of Abraham's nephew, Lot, who was a citizen of Sodom and who warned them to escape from the wrath to come, these pagans were all destroyed when fire and brimstone rained down on these apostate people.
As Hebrews 2 reminds us, it was not angels but the descendants of Abraham that Jesus came to help.
It is the prison in which the fallen angels of Genesis 6 are kept in chains of darkness, while Paradise, which is sometimes called 'Abraham's Bosom', is where believers were kept until Christ, took the spirits and souls of the righteous, into heaven, following His glorious Resurrection from the dead.
While Genesis takes us from the beginning of creation to the call of Abraham and his migration to Egypt because of a worldwide famine, and Exodus relays Israel's escape from slavery, the giving of the Law, and their wilderness wanderings, Leviticus is the book that outlines the Feasts of the Lord, the Levitical priesthood, and the various sacrificial offering and requirements of the Mosaic Law.
They were practiced by Noah, Abraham, and other holy men of God, and became an integral part of Israel's ceremonial and civil laws.
Jesus came to the Jew FIRST, to fulfil God's unconditional covenant to Abraham, and His coming to Bethlehem in the land of Judah was one of numerous prophecies given to Israel, so they would recognise the eternal Son of His love - Whom God gave to be the Child, born of a virgin, so that whosoever believes on HIM would not perish but have everlasting life.
Old Testament characters like Abraham and David are used to show that being justified and declared righteous by God is not based on race, parentage, nationality, education, morality, or anything else, but on faith.
The promised Seed passed secretly through the generations, first through Seth to Noah, then from Abraham to the sons of Jacob, via Ruth to David and on and on through the royal line until Christ was born of Mary - and she was to name Him Jesus, for He was both the Stem and the Root of Israel's great king David.
The Lord purposed to fulfil His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel... but the nation's persistent refusal to repent, ignited God's burning anger against them, so national judgement became the inevitable consequence.
The promise of a long life that accompanies the honouring of one's parents, may not only refer to longevity of life in this age, but may also refer to the promises that God gave to Abraham, Isaac, David, and the nation of Israel.
But decades passed, and God wanted to test his servant, Abraham, so God said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.
So, Abraham rose early in the morning...
Abraham obeyed immediately and set off early the next morning to carry out the task that God had set.
He did not delay or prevaricate, He did not question or argue, but his action demonstrated a trust in God that has caused Abraham to be called the father of faith.
Abraham's confidence in God had been tested before and although he did not always understand, he had learned that God's ways are unlike his own, but can always be trusted.
And so, after decades of weary wandering, a new generation of young Israelites were given another opportunity to cross the Jordan into the land flowing with milk and honey which the Lord had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so many years before.
He saw, with his own eyes, Christ's garments become shining white and he heard, with his own ears, the God of Abraham speak from heaven and proclaim Christ to be His only begotten Son and so he wrote: We ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.