Lesson 23

Abraham, God's Friend

"Now the Lord said to Abram . . . in you shall all families
of the earth be blessed."
Genesis 12:1, 3 (Lamsa Translation)

Abraham became the friend of God because of his great faith (Exodus 3:11). He followed God’s instructions to leave his own country and go to Canaan. Abraham became heir to the promise of our text: "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." This is called the Abrahamic covenant. A covenant is an agreement or contract between two or more individuals or parties. God had changed Abram’s name to Abraham because he would become the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5).

Many stories in the Old Testament are pictures of things that will happen later—and on a larger scale. These stories are called types, and the things which happen later are called antitypes. These are very helpful to us in understanding God’s plans and purposes.

Abraham’s beloved wife, Sarah, waited and waited to have a child (Isaac), just as the Abrahamic covenant had to wait and wait for the Messiah, Jesus, to be born and begin the work of that covenant.

Rebekah represented (or typified) the 144,000 saints, the church, because she was Isaac’s bride and the mother of his children. The church is called the Bride of Christ, and will help him resurrect and restore the world of mankind to perfect life in the kingdom.

The offering of Isaac in sacrifice on Mount Moriah was a type of the sacrifice our Lord Jesus made for all mankind at Calvary. Just as Isaac was willing to let his father, Abraham, kill him in sacrifice, so Jesus was a willing sacrifice when he was hung on the cross. God intervened for Isaac and provided a ram as a substitute sacrifice. Not so with our Lord Jesus, because his perfect human life was a necessary sacrifice for the life of Adam.

Hagar represented the Law Covenant (Ten Commandments) because she was a servant in Abraham’s household and mother of his child, Ishmael. The Law Covenant served a purpose in God’s plan by helping the Israelites realize their need of a savior as, being imperfect, they could not keep a perfect law.

Ishmael was like the nation of Israel. He was a part of Abraham’s household, but not the promised seed. The nation of Israel is a part of God’s plan, but not the heavenly seed, which is Christ and the church.

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