Children’s Study – Abraham, Part 8

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Abraham – Part 8, “But your name shall be Abraham”

[by Victor Torres]

Last time we saw that Abraham had a son named Ishmael from an Egyptian slave named Hagar.

Gen 16:15 (ESV) And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
Gen 16:16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

Later in Abraham’s story, we will see that he had another son named Isaac from his true wife Sarah.

In the New Testament, we are told what Hagar symbolizes:

Gal 4:22 (ESV) For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.
Gal 4:23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.
Gal 4:24 (CEV) All of this has another meaning as well. Each of the two women stands for one of the agreements God made with his people. Hagar, the slave woman, stands for the agreement that was made at Mount Sinai. Everyone born into her family is a slave.
Gal 4:25 Hagar also stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and for the present city of Jerusalem. She and her children are slaves.
Gal 4:26 But our mother is the city of Jerusalem in heaven above, and she isn’t a slave.
Gal 4:27 The Scriptures say about her, “You have never had children, but now you can be glad. You have never given birth, but now you can shout. Once you had no children, but now you will have more children than a woman who has been married for a long time.”
Gal 4:28 My friends, you were born because of this promise, just as Isaac was.
Gal 4:29 But the child who was born in the natural way made trouble for the child who was born because of the Spirit. The same thing is happening today.

The same thing is happening today. The many who claim they follow Christ persecutes the few who are the true followers of Christ.

Gal 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Those who are born after the flesh are those who try to worship God with their outward rituals, like water baptism and tithing.

I taught you last time that we are children of the slave woman first, because we are slaves of our flesh first. Then after we are born again, we become children of the free woman, just as Isaac is. This promise by God to Sarah is a symbol of God’s promise to the body of Christ, the true church of God, which is also called Jerusalem above:

Gal 4:26 (KJV) But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

The body of Christ will be the mother of us all. This means she will be used by God to teach all mankind how to serve Him.

Joh 4:24 (ESV) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

We must worship Him in spirit and truth, not with outward show of holiness and lies.

Everyone will be judged and will learn righteousness.

Isa 26:9 (MKJV) …for when Your judgments are in the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.

That’s God’s promise; when His judgments are in the earth, the people of the world (everyone!) will learn righteousness. When God promises something, we had better believe it’s going to happen. God doesn’t break His promises.

Let’s continue the story of Abraham:

Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,

We saw the LORD appearing to Abraham before and even to Hagar. Now when Abraham (still called Abram here) was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to him again, but this time the LORD introduced himself as God Almighty. Almighty means ‘powerful’ [Hebrew:  שַׁדַּי (shadday)] – nothing is impossible to God. At this point, we have already seen Him do all sorts of wonders, including creating the world and every living thing in six days and destroying all animals, except for those that live on water and those that were in the ark of Noah.

Knowing that nothing is impossible to God gives us comfort that He will indeed save everyone, including us and all of our loved ones. Despite the lies that the religions of this world are spreading, God will save everyone through Christ and His body:

Joh 3:16 (MKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.

God loves the world, not only a group of people. He sent His son to save the world, not only a group of people. Do you believe Him? Do you believe the Almighty God? Or do you believe the religions of this world which say only a certain group of people will be saved?

Let’s continue the story of Abraham:

Gen 17:2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”
Gen 17:3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him,
Gen 17:4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
Gen 17:5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

[Q – What is the meaning of the name Abraham?]

Whenever you see someone’s name being changed in the Bible, you should think of someone’s nature being changed. This is what God will do to each one of us. He will change our nature of being sinful to being obedient and holy.

1Sa 25:25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him

Like Nabal, foolishness is bound in our hearts. God will change us from being fools for believing the false churches of this world to being wise for believing the true teachings of the Christ. He will change us from being slaves of our flesh to being rulers of our flesh.

Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give to him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he who receives it.

Abram means ‘high father’ and Abraham means ‘father of a great multitude’. Multitude means a large number. So Abram, a high or exalted father, is being changed to a father of a large number of people. Abraham, like Noah, is a type or symbol of our Lord who will be a Father to everyone:

Gal 3:29 (MKJV) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed [Abraham’s children] and heirs according to the promise.

Everyone “in Adam” will be “in Christ” in the end.

1Co 15:22 (KJV) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Let’s continue the story of Abraham:

Gen 17:6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.
Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant [agreement] between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
Gen 17:8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
Gen 17:9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.
Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Gen 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
Gen 17:13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
Gen 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Gen 17:15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

So the Lord renamed Abraham’s wife also, from Sarai to Sarah. Sarai means ‘my princess’ and Sarah means ‘princess of multitudes’. If Abraham is a symbol of the Lord, then Sarah is the symbol of our Lord’s spiritual wife, His body, the church. As Abraham would have many physical children through Sarah, the Lord will have many spiritual children through His body, the church.

Gen 17:16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
Gen 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

[Q – Why didn’t Abraham believe what God said even though God has shown him many miracles?]

This is how we all are in our walk with Christ. Even after we see so many miracles in our life, we still doubt God will fulfill His promise because of our current situation. For Abraham, it was being a hundred years old and his wife being ninety years old. For us, it could be being so sinful and disobedient at the moment, that we laugh at God’s promise that He will change us. We could also be looking down at someone who is living in sin right now and start to doubt that God is really able to change that person.

Gen 17:18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”
Gen 17:19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.
Gen 17:20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.

Ishmael, who is a symbol of those in Babylon (false churches of this world), is also blessed but only physically. That’s why you see all these churches and their leaders getting rich through the contributions of their many members. That’s why you see them building all these opulent churches and temples.

But the promise of true spiritual riches is only given to the true church of God.

Gen 17:21 (ERV) But I will make my agreement with Isaac, the son who Sarah will have. He will be born at this same time next year.”

God is so sure what He promised will happen, He even gave Isaac his name before He was even born.

Rom 9:8 (KJV) That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Rom 9:9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

God has written every step we will take and every thoughts we will think before we are even born.

Let’s continue the story of Abraham:

Gen 17:22 (ESV) When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.
Gen 17:23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him.
Gen 17:24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Gen 17:25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Gen 17:26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised.
Gen 17:27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

[Q – Why did the people have to be circumcised?]

God commanded Abraham to be circumcised and all the male in his household and all his male descendants. This is the sign of God’s agreement with Him.

Gen 17:10 (ESV) This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.

In a previous study, we learned that circumcision is a symbol of denying the flesh. It has the same message as getting a new name, it is getting our nature changed or having a change of heart.

Jer 4:4 (KJV) Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Jer 4:4 (ERV) Become the LORD’S people. Change your hearts. Men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, if you don’t change, then I will become very angry. My anger will spread fast like a fire, and it will burn you up. No one will be able to put out that fire because of the evil you have done.”

When we are immature spiritually, all we can think of is pleasing ourselves. But when we are given a change of heart, all we’ll want is to please our Father in heaven.

Rom 2:28 (ESV) For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
Rom 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Assignment:

Read the rest of the story of Abraham through Genesis chapter 25, and submit any questions you have to me through your parents. We will have a break next week in order to give you time for this assignment.

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