Abraham’s Dual Lineage of Faith & Faithlessness

Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name . . . ”  Almost everyone has heard or read this well-known verse initiating the Christmas story in Luke.

Only this verse is not from Luke and refers not to Christ’s incarnation. This verse highlights one facet of the Abrahamic Covenant. First, let’s look at the “Christmas verses” from Luke:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent . . . And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end’” (Luke 1:26-33).

So the key prophecies about Jesus are:

  1. He will be great
  2. He will be called the Son of the Most High
  3. He will be given the throne of David
  4. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever
  5. His kingdom will never end.

Now read the cognate verses from Genesis:

Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, . . . [and] He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers . . . I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count” (Gen. 16:11, 12, 10).

Take note of the prophecies in the Ishmael verses.

  1. He will be a wild donkey of a man
  2. He will fight against everybody
  3. Everyone will fight against him
  4. He will live to the east of His brothers
  5. His descendants will be multiplied greatly.

I use these contrasts between Ismael and Christ in my new book, Before the Final Trump. Now note the contrasts and the similarities.

Hagar’s child, Ishmael, was born out of sin, faithlessness and rebellion against God.  Mary’s son was born out of faith, believing God’s promises.  Both were from Abraham’s lineage.

God promised that Abraham’s seed, both conceived in belief and unbelief, faith and faithlessness, would be multiplied like the stars in the heavens (Genesis 13:16).

From the seeds of Ishmael came a people of contention, the Arab race; a race not only hostile to the Jews but also venomous and violent to the whole world.  All of this was the natural outgrowth of the Curse in the garden; the beginning of the ancient antagonism between Abraham’s seed of sin and his seed of righteousness through Sarah.

The seeds of Jesus lead to an eternal nation, made up of those who come to Christ in faith alone and righteousness.  Jews, Gentiles, and even Arab may become descendants in Abraham’s righteous lineage—by faith (Hebrews 11: 1-10; John 14:6).

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