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Sunday, June 24 2012
A Biography Of Abraham: Abrahamic Religions
As we've explained in detail in this series, Abraham lived long before Israelites, Jews and many of the Arab nations existed - Abraham was not one of them, genetically or religiously, but rather they were descendants of Abraham. As revealed in the quotes below, much of the Israelite, Jewish, Arab and Christian world, who differ greatly in their politics and religion, nevertheless each claim Abraham as their genetic, political and religious patriarch (the English word "patriotism" originated from the same root word as "patriarch" i.e. "patriotism" means political and/or religious faithfulness to the father).
To get some idea of the present "Babylon" (see also What And Where Is Babylon Today?) world's conflicting and error-riddled views of, and claims to, Abraham, consider these summaries from an online encyclopedia (the choice of verse references are their own):
A "Jewish" View:
"For Jews, Abraham is, through Isaac and Jacob, the founding patriarch of the children of Israel. God promised Abraham: "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you."[Gen. 12:2] With Abraham, God entered into "an everlasting covenant throughout the ages to be God to you and to your offspring to come."[Gen. 17:7]
A "Christian" View:
"Christians view Abraham as an important exemplar of faith, and a spiritual, as well as physical, ancestor of Jesus - a Jew considered the Son of God through whom God promised to bless all the families of the earth. For Christians, Abraham is a spiritual forebear as well as/rather than a direct ancestor depending on the individual's interpretation of Paul the Apostle, [Rom. 4:9-12] with the Abrahamic Covenant "reinterpreted so as to be defined by faith in Christ rather than biological descent" or both by faith as well as a direct ancestor; in any case, the emphasis is placed on faith being the only requirement for the Abrahamic Covenant to apply. In Christian belief, Abraham is a role model of faith, [Heb. 11:8-10] and his obedience to God by offering Isaac is seen as a foreshadowing of God's offering of his son Jesus. [Rom. 8:32].
A "Muslim" View:
"For Muslims, Abraham is a prophet, the "messenger of God" who stands in the line from Noah to Muhammad, to whom Allah gave revelations, [Quran 4:163], who "raised the foundations of the House" (i.e. the Kaaba)[Quran 2:127] with his first son, Isma'il, a symbol of which is every mosque. Ibrahim (Abraham) is the first in a genealogy for Muhammad. Islam considers Abraham to be "one of the first Muslims" (Surah 3) - the first monotheist in a world where monotheism was lost, and the community of those faithful to God, thus being referred to as "Our Father Abraham", as well as Ibrahim al-Hanif or "Abraham the Monotheist". Islam holds that it was Ishmael, (Isma'il, Muhammad's ancestor) rather than Isaac, whom Ibrahim was instructed to sacrifice. In addition to this spiritual lineage, the northern Adnani Arab tribes trace their lineage to Isma'il, and thus to Abraham. Abraham is also recalled in certain details of Muslim Hajj (pilgrimage)." (A brief excerpt from the Wikipedia article "Abrahamic Religions" on June 23 2012).
"Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham"
The Holy Scriptures provide two genealogical listings for the Messiah - one by Matthew, who was a Jew, and one by Luke, who was a Gentile. Matthew's listing begins with Abraham - the typical and customary Jewish reckoning of the Messiah's ancestry.
"1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Luke, who was a Gentile, wrote two books of the Bible - the Gospel book of Luke and the Book of Acts, both of which were actually epistles, letters, to a man named Theophilus (Luke 1:1-3, Acts 1:1; see The Gospel By The Gentile). Luke, a Gentile, didn't list the ancestry of Jesus Christ as merely the Jewish reckoning from Abraham. Luke went beyond Abraham, right to Adam, then to God - just as Abraham himself would have done.
"3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph [see Primogeniture and Descent], which was the son of Heli, 3:24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, 3:25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 3:26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda, 3:27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, 3:28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 3:29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 3:30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 3:31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 3:32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 3:33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, 3:34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 3:35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 3:36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 3:37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam [see The Church In The Garden], which was the son of God." (Luke 3:23-38 KJV)
"O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
Many people regard themselves as "the chosen people" (i.e. one of the three major "Abrahamic" religions) merely because of their happenstance birth; they base their supposed favor in the eyes of God solely on ancestry or nationality - something that Abraham never did. All of the three major "Abrahamic" religions do it. But the warning is the same to all of them: "think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea [see The Ministries Of The Two Greatest Prophets], 3:2 And saying, Repent ye [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners]: for the kingdom of heaven [see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God] is at hand. 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Salvation is open to anyone who truly obeys the true Word of God. Invented religions, or perversions of the true religion, are worthless in the eyes of the LORD.
"8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum [see Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?; also The Cities Of Lake Galilee], there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
The reason that the religious authorities rejected the Messiah was because He truly obeyed the Word of God - not their self-worshipping traditions and political sycophantism.
"22:15 Then went the Pharisees [see also The Passed Over Pharisees], and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 22:16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians [see A History Of Jerusalem: The Herodian Dynasty], saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Many of the parables of the Messiah were warnings that the only way to salvation is the Way that the LORD declares it to be. The parable of "Lazarus and the rich man" is moreover about everyone who ignores God's Law when they otherwise could have understood and obeyed it (see Parables Of Jesus Christ: Lazarus And The Rich Man).
"16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Many of the teachings of the Messiah are actually a progression of a single point. Notice how the incident of Zacchaeus in Jericho flowed into a lesson about the Kingdom of God - and how, like Zacchaeus, people must follow the LORD as Abraham did.
"19:1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 19:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 19:3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 19:4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
As we've covered in this series, Abraham understood that "far country" parable/prophecy because he lived it.
"11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV)
"If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham"
Many of the people of Judah (just as many of the people of the other "Abrahamic" religions) claim to be "saved" by means of nothing more than their birth. But the Messiah rebuked all of the Abrahamic religions with the statement "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." Abraham wouldn't recognize the religions of "Judaism," "Islam," or Christ-rejected "Christianity."
"8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
When the LORD spoke with Abraham, he got humility and obedience in return. When He spoke to those who make their own religions, in Abraham's name (including those who make their own religions in Christ's Name), He got defiance and rebellion.
"8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." (John 8:42-47 KJV)
When the Messiah told them plainly "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am" (see Appearances Of The LORD God) - they tried to murder Him.
"8:48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
Consider the vast difference between Abraham, and the religions that claim Abraham as their "father."
"3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:6-9 KJV)
People become true followers of God in the same way that Abraham did. If Abraham were alive today, he would have nothing to do with "Judaism," "Islam," or Christ-rejecting "Christianity.
"3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26-29 KJV)
Some have even perverted Abraham's faith into a doctrine of lawlessness.
"6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners].
Abraham was born in Babylon. His father Terah was an idol worshipper. But when the LORD revealed the Truth to Abraham, Abraham began a journey of obedience to the LORD. Abraham did not create a religion for himself.
"11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went [see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees]. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God [see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God]." (Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV)
The very basis of the "faith chapter" of the Bible, Hebrews 11, is perseverance in obedience (see Lessons Of Perseverance And Faith).
"11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised [see A Biography Of Abraham: Sarah]. 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
The statement from the Wikipedia article quoted above, "faith being the only requirement for the Abrahamic Covenant to apply," is incorrect. Abraham was a man of obedient faith in the True Word of God.
"2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone [see Works Means Obedience].
Fact Finder: (a) Who invented the present-day Church of Rome/Protestant churches? (b) Who invented the Muslim religion? (c) Who invented the present-day Jewish religion?
This Day In History, June 24
109: The Aqua Traiana was inaugurated by Roman Emperor Trajan. The aqueduct delivers water from Lake Bracciano, 40 kilometers / 25 miles from Rome.
637: The Battle of Moira, the largest battle in the history of Ireland. The High King of Ireland fought the Kings of Ulster and Dalriada.
1292: Adolf of Nassau was crowned as German king at Aachen.
1310: Solomon ben Abraham Adret died at age 75. The religious leader of Spanish Jews of his time, he is remembered partly for his 1305 decree threatening to excommunicate all Jews under 30 (except medical students) who studied philosophy or science.
1322: Jews were expelled from France.
1340: During the Hundred Years war, the British fleet battled the French at Sluys.
1441: Eton College in England was founded by King Henry VI.
1497: John Cabot, navigator and explorer, sighted Cape Breton Island and claimed North America for England.
1509: Henry VIII was crowned king of England, the second monarch from the House of Tudor.
1527: King Gustavus of Sweden assembled the Diet of Wester's for the purpose of carrying through the Protestant Reformation in Sweden.
1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier landed on what is today Prince Edward Island, Canada.
1604: Samuel de Champlain discovered the mouth of the Saint John River, site of Reversing Falls and the present day city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
1611: Henry Hudson, his son, and several sick men were set adrift in present-day Hudson Bay by mutineers. After more than a year at sea, the crew of Hudson's ship, the Discovery, were afraid of going any further. Nothing is known of Hudson's fate. The only record of the voyage and mutiny is an account by Abacuk Pricket, a survivor of the Discovery.
1664: New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey in Britain's Channel Islands, was founded.
1812: During the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River, thereby beginning the invasion of Russia.
1813: The Battle of Beaver Dams during the War of 1812 (1812-1814). After being warned by Laura Secord of an impending U.S. attack on a British outpost at Beaver Dams, about 500 U.S. invaders, including their commander, were taken prisoner after a firefight. The site of the battle was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1921.
1916: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the First Battle of the Somme began. More than 1 million men were killed during the five-month battle.
1947: U.S. pilot Ken Arnold reported seeing strange objects in the sky over Mount Rainier (in Washington State) looking like "saucers skipping across the water." The incident led to the first use of the term "flying saucers."
1948: The Soviet Union began the Berlin Blockade.
1985: Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became the first Arab, and first Muslim, in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
1994: The European Union and Russia signed a landmark friendship accord in Corfu, Greece.
2002: The Igandu train disaster in Tanzania killed 281 people, the worst train accident in African history.