Abraham Rejoice to See Christ’s Day?

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Hi M____,

Thank you for your question. You ask how Abraham could rejoice to see Christ’s day when Abraham is dead in the grave?

The first thing to notice is that Christ did not say ‘Abraham is rejoicing’. He said, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day.” Notice also that Christ said this right after saying, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”

Joh 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
Joh 8:52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
Joh 8:53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
Joh 8:54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
Joh 8:55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
Joh 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Joh 8:57  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
Joh 8:58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Joh 8:59  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

“I Am” is the name of the God of the Old Testament. Christ is I Am, and therefore He knew Abraham intimately. He knew Abraham would rejoice to see what He would do when He came in the flesh.

Exo 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Now you and I could do what these “Jews which believed on Christ” (vs 30-31) did and call Christ a liar for saying that He is ‘I Am’ and that anyone who kept His saying would never see death. After all, Christ Himself died, and all of His apostles are dead. Nevertheless, just as Abraham saw Christ’s day and rejoiced in it, in the same spiritual manner, those who keep Christ’s sayings will never see death for this reason.

Luk 20:37  Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
Luk 20:38  For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

That is why physical ‘death’ is referred to as sleep throughout the New Testament.

Joh 11:11  These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Joh 11:12  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Joh 11:13  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Joh 11:14  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

So yes, Abraham is physically dead, but he is alive to God, and just as Jesus rejoiced to see what He would be doing in His apostles and in all of His saints down through the generations. What He is now doing in you and in me, long before you and I were born, so too, in that same manner of faith, Abraham rejoiced to know that Christ would come to save all men and to make His seed “as the sand of the sea”.

Joh 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

As Heb 11 also points out, Abraham died having the faith that someday he would see Christ.

Heb 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.

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Heb 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

I hope this all helps you to see how Abraham, “the father of the faithful”, was able to “see Christ’s day and rejoice in it” while he was yet alive, long before Christ came into this world. I hope it also helps you to see that Christ was the God of the Old Testament, and knew Abraham much better than Abraham knew himself.

Your brother in Christ,

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