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.. yet His yearning towards us is that we obey the Father’s commands. His desire towards you, plunges the depth of human understanding. His yearning toward you, is that you walk with Him in the cool of the day. His longing toward you, is to share the deep mysteries of His love.
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 Ido? 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. Blessed in the one who responds to His call. Favoured is the one who is thus drawn into the inner circle of His loved ones.
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. Bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh – Behold the Babe : the Boy; the Youth : Behold the Man : Behold our God manifest in the flesh.
Eve who was bone of His bone, and who became one with her Bridegroom. Abraham : the one who so clearly typifies the deep love of God the Father – Abraham who in faith, gave his only begotten son as a offering.
Hagar:- the bondwoman who so exemplifies Israel and the covenant of LAW – fleshly Hagar and the law – which was set aside for spiritual Israel and grace. Sarah:- the free-woman so exemplifying spiritual Israel and the covenant of GRACE – chosen Sarah : the barren wife who was set aside and buried – by her husband. Keturah:- the second wife of Abraham – who exemplifies Israel’s future role – a fruitful people, restored to favour.
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
Hierarchy of Need
We all have a number of needs in our lives. 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. However applaudable and true this gradation on the human ‘need’ scale is, two of the most important human needs were overlooked or ignored by Maslow – needs that should have been the capstone of his research and pinnacle of man’s hierarchy of need:- 1 My need of God Himself and 2 And my need of the things in life that God alone can supply.
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..I have come to deliver them..
A Pleading Man
Nehemiah knew God and was prepared to remind the Lord of His precious promises – promises that had been made to Abraham; Isaac and Jacob – to Moses and Israel. He confessed the failure of His people – but reminded God of His faithfulness. He rehearsed many of the promises that God made to Israel in the ears of the Lord.. and then he pleaded with the Lord on behalf of the disobedient people of Israel. Nehemiah is a fine example of a man who knows his God and pleads for his people, and we too can intercede for the Church – the body of Christ if we know our Lord.
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. And what a joy it must have been to at last foretell that his own son would be the voice crying the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord – make His path straight.
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’s 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 for 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.
Role of Israel
It was Joshua who led Israel into the promised land of rest, so many centuries ago and it will be the Lord Jesus Christ Who provides the true millennial rest in His coming glorious kingdom – a future time when Israel will be the head of the nations and not the tail. 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 as 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… And indeed the King was born – and Mary and Zacharias like their fellow countrymen must have anticipated that this miraculous birth would immediately usher in the glorious reign of the Messiah and the promised millennial kingdom, which the entire nation of Israel had been anticipating for many centuries.
Claims to Deity
But there are passages that claim His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, for He promised to be with us always – and will reign forever as King of kings. He spoke of His equality with the Father – and accepted worship for many people. 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.”
Claim to be Eternal
If Jesus Christ isn’t eternal, he has no authority or power to give “eternal life” Micah states that Jesus Christ is “from everlasting“, which is exactly what Psalm 93 and Isaiah 63 say about God! In John 8 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…
Seed of Man
For 4000 years fallen man, in a fallen world waited for the Seed of the woman, and silently, secretly, deep within each generation.. the Seed traversed the centuries.. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah.. Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Boaz, David, Nathan, Mary…….
called the devil, and down through the centuries the Seed was passed from one generation to another. The Seed travelled through Enoch to Noah – from Noah to Shem and on to Abraham. It continued through Isaac and Jacob, whom God renamed as Israel, prince with God.
Patience in Hope
So refuse to despair. Rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of your salvation. 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.
Examples of Hope
Job’s eyes were opened, discovering, Thou canst do everything’. Abraham saw His Jehovah Jireh as the One Who, provides Himself a Lamb.
Qualities of Christ
The qualities of the Lord Jesus can be seen reflecting from the faces of many people. Daniel was beloved of God, Moses meek and humble and John was the apostle of love. David was a man after God’s own heart and Abraham displayed a great trust in God.
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.
The Four Gospel
The gospels tell the story of Christ’s revelation to mankind – and His rejection. They show Christ as the promised Seed of the woman who would crush Satan’s head. The gospels tell of the prophetic fulfilment of the promised Passover Lamb of God. They show Jesus as the Seed promised to Abraham – Who will reign in great power. They identify Christ as the fulfilment of so many Messianic prophecies and promises.
He could have called down twelve legions of angels to silence them, but this God-man confounded them with His staggering proclamation, Before Abraham was – I AM. The significance of His pre-existence is not mere embroidery or a nice embellishment. The foundation and superstructure of Scripture rests on Christ as both God and Man.
He alone is Christ for He alone could pronounce those earth shattering words: before Abraham was I AM.
His forgiveness traversed the centuries of time. His forgiveness spanned the extremity of the universe. His forgiveness flowed down into the bowels of the earth.. to Hades, to Abraham’s bosom – to the place of the dead. His forgiveness tore down the veil to the Holy of Holies.. and the wall of partition was removed – FOREVER.
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..
by faith offered up his only begotten son to God. 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?
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart. (Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV)
There is no question that Isaac was given of God to Abraham; he was a perfect miracle, impossible unless God had given him.
And then we read, God did prove Abraham.
Abraham... gave him up and he got him back; got him back with a whole kingdom.... He has the kingdom by letting go – the foreshadowing of this Son of God Who let go.
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.
Almighty to Save
Abraham discovered Him as My master : Almighty to save, but was taken to a depth of understanding that he could not have conceived. For the LORD (YHWH) unveiled Himself to Abraham as: “I AM your Provider Who sees and cares, and Abraham called the name of the place…. The-LORD-Will-Provide – JEHOVAH JIRAH, In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Gen.22:14. Yes, God both provides and He is the provision – what a 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.33:20To 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. John was no more that a voice crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. His witness was to both Jew and gentile – a double message of repentance and grace. The LAW of Moses was given to REVEAL sin. But GRACE through faith in Christ REMOVES sin.
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.
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.
The Law was given to Moses through God's angelic agents 430 years after the Lord had made His covenant with Abraham ..
It was necessary for Paul to explain the purpose and character of the Law and to show how it did not in any way alter 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..
Luke includes Christ 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 – which is the Church.“Circumcision” was a special sign, which God specifically gave to the nation of Israel – through Abraham It was a sign that sealed the unique and important role they were to play in God’s plan for man’s redemption.
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.People like David, Daniel, John the Baptist, Paul the apostle, Mary of Bethany, Barnabas and many others were physical decedents of God’s chosen nation..
Jesus, however, clearly labels unbelieving Jews, both before and after the cross as “children of their father – the devil”.Gentiles who trust God have physical, Gentiles ancestry, while Jews remain physically linked to Israel’s three patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Indeed, Scripture labels Jews as “the Circumcism”, 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.
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.
estled 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.
Hagar the slave-mother of Ishmael, who was born to Abraham through works of fleshly intercourse, represented the first 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, represented Abraham's earthly seed.
Sarah symbolises the heavenly Jerusalem, the New Covenant and the spiritual seed of Abraham.
Hagar represents the fleshly seed of Abraham, and the earthly city of Jerusalem, while Sarah is a type of the new, heavenly Covenant, which is recorded in Jeremiah.
The child she bore was the One that had been promised to Abraham.
Like Abraham, Sarah was as good as dead, yet from this one man 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 becomes 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 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 represented slavery to the Law) and Sarah, the free-woman ( who was 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.
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.
She discovered in her heaven-sent interview that she was to be the mother of the prophesied Messiah, the sacrificial Lamb of God Who was so clearly typified through Abraham's offering of Isaac - the Seed of the woman, spoken of in the early pages of Genesis.. - and that her Son was to save His people from their sins.
Just as Abraham was justified by grace through trusting the Word of the Lord, so we too are justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus - the living, incarnate Word of God - but the Law that was given to Israel through Moses caused an instant and bitter division to be set up between Jew and Gentile.
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.
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.
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.
NOW, many years later, that hidden, invisible faith within his heart was to be tested by an outward demonstration of obedience – Abraham was to express his inner faith by an outward word.
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.
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 his father, Abraham Like Isaac, the Lord Jesus made to be a sacrifice unto the Lord.
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.
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)..
The only way we can receive salvation is by faith There is nothing we can say or do to justify ourselves - nothing we do or say to earn His favour - there is nothing we can add 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 declared 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.
through whom God's promised Seed was to be born was the ultimate challenge to his faith, and yet Abraham 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..
Abraham's 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 a secure, sanctified faith that matured over time and developed with each succeeding test, when he took his son Isaac to the place about which God told him..
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 the 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 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 and work, 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 only was 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.
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.
Just as Abraham was justified because he believed what God had said..
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 had 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..
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.
who are reckoned by God as the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
Believing Jews and believing Gentile 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 of Gentile, are not considered by God as the spiritual seed of Abraham.
and Paul gave a strong and severe warning - that the sons of Abraham are those of faith.
that 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.
Following this final prophesy in Malachi, we have the gospel of Matthew, which opens with a record of the life of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. The combined facts from the four gospel-writers, paints the perfect picture of Christ's life and ministry.
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..
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..
He 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 'though 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.
But God restates in the strongest possible terms that He is with Israel and will keep her and bring her back to the land, promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and will fulfil His covenant to reinstate them in the land of Israel, and to finish the work He started in 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.
It was Abraham that did not waver in his trust of God.
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; he believed what God had promised and he had faith that God would fulfil His covenant promise in every detail, even if he did not understand how or when.
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 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.
From the beginning, the nation of Israel learned about bodily resurrection. Abraham and his seed had been promised an inheritance, in Canaan, and Isaiah foretold, your dead will live. Their corpses will rise.
Only those who have faith like Abraham will be declared righteous.
Only saved men and women who are Abraham's descendants, by faith, and heirs according to promise, will rise again and be part of the resurrection unto life.
The day is coming when the Son of Man will return in heavenly glory, to judge the gentiles; to fulfill His promises to Abraham; to set-up Israel at the head of the nations and to establish up His millennial rule on earth.
To the earthly nation of Israel, through their forefather Abraham, the Lord has promised an earthly inheritance and to His heavenly people, the Church, God Himself has laid up for us and inheritance in heaven.
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.
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.
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. One cannot get away from the Jewish nature of Matthew's gospel, and for good reason, for salvation is from the Jews - because salvation must come through faith in JESUS, the Jewish Messiah.
Having just catalogued Christ complete genealogy, Matthew emphasised the significance of Christ's hereditary 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.
The Lord began to unveil His holy name and perfect attributes from the first verse of Genesis, where we discover Him to be the all-powerful Creator. To Adam He became his relational Lord and Abraham saw Him as the Almighty God, Who was His Master and Provider.
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.
For assuredly, we read, He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to men, who live by faith - and their faith is credited to them as righteousness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
But the day is coming when this Church dispensation will come to an end and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will one day re-establish His work through His chosen people Israel, and in that day everyone who calls on the name of the Lord - will be saved.
The seed of the woman had been passed down the centuries of time from our first fallen mother - through Seth and Enoch; Noah and Abraham; Isaac and Judah – David and Nathan and finally to Mary… and she was to conceive and bear a Son Who would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High God….
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 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.
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.
Together they journeyed for over two days with a couple of servants – but on arrival at Moriah father and son set out alone, towards the summit, carrying the wood, fire and other sacrificial instruments, required to complete the painful task at hand. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” Abraham replied, “Here I am, my son.” And Isaac said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
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 an historical reality for us all – at Calvary.
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.
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..
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 I AM of the Scriptures, Who led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt and Who spoke with Moses in the burning bush, declaring I AM that I AM.
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.
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: anyone who has seen Me, has seen the Father, were Christ’s earth-shattering words.
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 their trust in Him, are credited with His own righteousness.
In Romans 9, when Paul gives some clear teaching about the nation of Israel, he says: they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel. Not everyone who is born a Jew is a true Jew. The true Israel of God are physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who have also trust in Christ as their promised Messiah.
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.
Hebrews gives us a wonderful list of people who are commended by God for their faith. It is a catalogue of men and women, named and unnamed, that stand as witnesses to lives that honoured the Lord – and who like Abraham looked for a city, whose Builder and Maker is God.
God's covenant with Abraham was unconditional but the covenant with the nation of Israel depended upon their faithfulness and the first condition was the “Shema' - the Jewish confession, which means “to hear', and which states: Hear, O Israel!
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?
What a glorious confession of love and devotion we see in Ruth's words to Naomi: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 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.
God chose to take a people for His name from the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to proclaim to the nations the goodness of God, and for thousands of years the only way that mankind could approach a holy God was through Israel's high priest and their God-ordained sacrificial system.
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 began to expound God's sovereign choice of Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob over Esau... and explained 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..
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.
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? - Wasn't he shown to be upright by his good deeds, namely, by offering Isaac his son upon the altar?
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.
God will provide a lamb for the burnt offering, my son, Abraham answered.
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 – and Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh – Jehovah- Jireh (which means 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).
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.
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.
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 (i.e.
Abraham was saved by grace through faith and God credited it to him as righteousness - and 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..
It is only by means of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ that this very specific, Abrahamic promise:- (that all families of the earth will be blessed) could come to pass - 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.
However, Jesus Christ is the one and only 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..
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.
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.
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 prophesised Messiah, He would have set up His earthly kingdom, there and then - a kingdom which had been promised to Abraham, 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.
But for the benefit of those early Jewish converts as well as for all who have been saved by grace through faith -God used a promise, that He made to Abraham, as a second witness to the trustworthiness of His Word.
The Lord promised Abraham - that through his Seed, the whole world would be blessed.
God had already revealed Himself to Abraham as 'the Lord God'; 'the Almighty God'; 'the everlasting God' and Abraham's 'Provider' and He it was Who saved His people Israel after 400-years of bondage in Egypt, when they applied the spilt blood of the Passover lambs to the lintels of their doors - a striking picture of the true Passover Lamb, Whose shed blood at Calvary would be the means of saving His people from slavery to sin and its terrible consequences.
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 attributes was a one more beautiful picture of the coming Messiah - the Mighty God and Prince of Peace, Who would also be the one Who heals.
This little, believing remnant of Israel’s were not only promised spiritual renewal and restoration but that the glory of the LORD would be their rear guard. The faith of this remnant of Israel – and indeed of all Old Testament saints is credited to them as righteousness, as it was to Abraham of old.
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.
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.
In Hebrews we discover that Melchizedek was without father or mother, and possessed no genealogy - having neither beginning of days nor end of life'. He came out to greet Abram - the blessed servant of God... who would become Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel and exemplary father of all who live by faith.
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.
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.
God has kept the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies - and we are able to 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!
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..
The apostle Paul used both Abraham and David as evidence that salvation, in the Old Testament, was similarly..
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 that, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Righteousness is credited by grace, through faith in God’s anointed Saviour – and by faith we are to continue living lives obeying God’s word. Abraham looked forward to the coming Saviour, by faith.
Faith is believing that God’s promises to be true… and then by faith, we are to obey 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.
This is what was commended in Abraham and this is what will be commended in all who live – by faith.
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 his 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..
Although Abraham was stopped by the angel before his son was literally killed, scripture informs us that God is 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 a father of many nations, and he was also told that through him..
He was to be the incarnate son of God and supernatural son of David. 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 die for the 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 probably Abraham thought that this happy state of affairs would continue on - but his happy 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..
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.
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 in God and reliance on Him.
It is unlikely that God will speak to us in the clear voice, which Abraham heard, but God's plans and purposes for all his children remain the same.
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 an love-offering to the Lord.
Abraham believed God and was justified..
and 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.
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.
God's promises to these men still stands and we read about them in the Word of God. The promises that God gave to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so many of the heroes of faith in Old Testament scriptures still stand, for 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.
Although this long list of descendants, trailing back through David to Abraham, may appear to be somewhat meaningless, it date-stamps legitimacy on the authority, authenticity and ancestry on Jesus Christ..
Luke's lineage of Christ goes back through David and Abraham to Adam, the son of God, but Matthew's genealogy places its foundational root, firmly in Israel, the chosen people of God, who were promised that a Star would come forth out of Jacob, and a Ruler would rise out of Israel.
The significance of David and Abraham, being the two identifying descendants of Christ, are unprecedented in this first verse of New Testament scripture.
Unless Christ is able to be traced back as the promised Seed of Abraham, through the royal line of 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 Israel's great king David.
Starting with Adam, the first created man, we see Luke's ancestry tracing through Abraham to Nathan - a second son of the great king David- rather than his son and heir, king Solomon.
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 that 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, which would later be identified as important landmarks in the ongoing history of Israel..
When Israel crossed the Jordan into the land promised to their forefather, 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.
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.
A Saviour would be born from that SEED, which would secretly travel through the offspring of Seth and Noah - through Shem and Abraham - through Isaac, Jacob and the nation of Israel - through the royal house of Judah and the family line of king David - to the righteous and sinless Man..
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. Book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse, God's perfect plan of redemption and His eternal purposes for mankind continued to unfold, until Jesus came in the likeness of human flesh.
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.
However, fear of the enemies and a lack of trust in God's promise to deliver the land into their hands, caused a whole generation to wander in the wilderness and die there, without receiving all that had been promised to them, through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
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) who 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 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..
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.
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..
And Paul explains WHO this great God of Abraham is..
Abraham was justified by God's grace..
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..
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 - the One and Only God..
Paul took the historic figures of Isaac and Ishmael, the two sons of the great patriarch Abraham, and used these two characters to illustrate, symbolically, the great difference between the Christians' supernatural freedom in Christ, and legalistic bondage to sin and the Law.
Isaac was the supernaturally born 'child of promise', who was born to 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 would be born the Messiah - 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.
Isaac was the son through whom the promised Seed of Abraham would be born, and Paul symbolically compared Isaac, the supernaturally born child of promise..
Ishmael however was the naturally born child of the flesh, who was born to Abraham and Hagar..
Ishmael was born in fulfilment of human choice, and not the result of God's promise to Abraham.
Paul wanted to show that not all Abraham's children are his heirs.
and she also represented the earthly Jerusalem, which is in the earthly land promised to Abraham.
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..
that theyare misguided, for 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.
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 - who have been led astray by false, destructive and idol shepherds.
He authenticated His claims to deity through His mighty miracles, which were prophesised in the Scriptures, and He claimed eternal, equality with the God of Israel; the Lord of Hosts - with His declaration: before Abraham was I AM.
Abraham is often called 'the father of faith' because he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
while in James chapter 2 we read: Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.
Abraham did many works that were commended by men..
and Jewish leaders, liked to proudly proclaim that being Abraham's physical descendants..
Because Abraham was declared righteous before God, his ancestry like to boast that they too were righteous by association. But righteousness is no inherited, not is it gained by doing good works or keeping the Law - righteousness is a gift of God - received through faith.
Paul agreed that:- if Abraham was justified by works, he would certainly have something to boast about.
Abraham did many admirable things that justified him in the eyes of men!! (e.g.
It was not any of his works that cause God to declare him justified - Abraham trusted God and it was his faith that was counted as righteousness.
God declared Abraham righteous because he trusted God and 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.
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.
that the coming terrible time of tribulation would have a purifying effect on Israel - God gave Habakkuk the assurance that... like Abraham, the just shall live by his faith and that their faith would be credited to them as righteousness.
He reminded them of God's precious promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - of how He led them into the land of Canaan; multiplied their descendants; saved them from the bondage of Egypt and slew Pharaoh' army in the Red Sea.
There was one occasion when the Lord revealed Himself to Abraham as his Provider, but in this unique and touching episode, God showed Himself to the aged Abraham as: Almighty God (El-Shaddai). The word 'EL' signified the strength and power of the great Creator EL-ohim, but Shadai additionally speaks of the tender nourishment; gentle reassurance and the provision of strength that a tiny babe derives from the comforting breast of his mother.
Abraham had been promised the Seed through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed, but his advanced years appeared to contradict God's former Word.
It seemed impossible that the 90-year-old Sarah and her 100 year old husband could parent a child and yet in this gracious encounter God reveals Himself to Abraham as the All-Sufficient God - as He gently chides His doubting child while giving ample reassurance that His Word is true and will be fulfilled in His time and His way.
And as it was with Abraham, so it is with all of God's people.
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.
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.
Are the Jews still part of God's plan and what about the kingdom promised to Abraham?
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.
He is full of tender-kindness and loving mercy, but He is also a righteous God of justice, Who is honest and fair. 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.
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 became 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.