20. Abraham, Justified by Faith and Works

This is a painting showing Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac and the angel stopping him by grabbing his hand.
Sacrifice of Isaac, Caravaggio, 1603, Baroque

There is a grand unity to the Bible. The story of Abraham itself can seem confusing because there are so many moving parts to it. But the story of Abraham fits together as a unified whole around the theme of covenant. Below is the outline that I will use to discuss the Abrahamic covenant so that hopefully it makes more sense as you grasp the big picture of this remarkable story.

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19. Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac

Here is a painting of the angle stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac. Abraham was the father of faith.
The Sacrifice of Isaac, Domenichino, 1626, Baroque Classicism 

There is a grand unity to the Bible. The story of Abraham itself can seem confusing because there are so many moving parts to it. But the story of Abraham fits together as a unified whole around the theme of covenant. Below is the outline that I will use to discuss the Abrahamic covenant so that hopefully it makes more sense as you grasp the big picture of this remarkable story.

Continue reading “19. Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac”

18. Abraham and the Covenant

This is an icon of Abraham and Sarah that represents the Covenant and  Abraham as the father of faith.
Icon of Abraham and Sarah

There is a grand unity to the Bible. The story of Abraham itself can seem confusing because there are so many moving parts to it. But the story of Abraham fits together as a unified whole around the theme of covenant. Below is the outline that I will use to discuss the Abrahamic covenant so that hopefully it makes more sense as you grasp the big picture of this remarkable story. Below is a summary of the Abrahamic Covenant up to this point in our story:1

Continue reading “18. Abraham and the Covenant”

17. Abraham, Blessing of All Nations

This is a picture of the Milky Way illustrating the promise of God to Abraham that he would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens.
 

After the blessing by Melchizedek, God appeared to Abraham in a vision and said: 

“Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your reward shall be very great.” 

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16. Abraham and Melchizedek

This mosaic shows Melchizedek bringing bread and wine out to Abraham when the met.
A mosaic of the meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek

In the last post, I discussed how the flocks of Abraham and Lot grew so large that they had to separate. Abraham gave Lot first choice on where he wanted to settle. He chose to be close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Eventually we find him living in the city of Sodom.

Abraham Goes to War

One day, a messenger came running into Abraham’s camp with some very bad news.

A massive war had broken out in the Dead Sea region, probably one of the biggest wars ever. There were three kings against two, but the two were more powerful and they captured the city of Sodom where Abraham’s nephew Lot was living.

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15. Abraham, Worshipper of God

Ancient Altar in Mesopotamia similar to that which Abraham built to be a worshipper of God since he was the father of faith.
Ancient Altar

As mentioned in a previous blog, after Abraham’s father Terah died in Haran, God renewed His call to Abraham to go to the land of Canaan. At that point, the text in Genesis 12:5 says:

“He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan and they arrived there.” 

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14. Abraham and the Covenant

A beautiful rainbow signifies the covenant that God made with mankind through Noah and Abraham. We also call this the Noahic covenant.

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your relatives and your father’s household to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and him who curses you I will curse and by you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”

 -Genesis 12: 1-3

The above promise to Abraham has seven parts to it. The significance of this number would not have been lost on Abraham. The number seven in the Old Testament represents the concept of covenant and goes all the way back to the creation account in Genesis with the seven days of creation.1

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13. Abraham, Called by God

Abraham was called by God. Here is a watercolor painting showing Abraham discussing God's call to Sarah.
Abraham’s Counsel to Sarah, by James Joseph Tissot. c. 1898

Abraham left Ur at about the same time that wandering tribes were entering what would eventually become Greece. For reference, this was about 1200 years before Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey.1 

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12. Abraham the Idolater

This is a cylinder seal that illustrates how the moon god was worshipped in Mesopotamia by people like Abraham before his conversion.
Worship of the Moon God, on a Cylinder Seal from Ur courtesy of pinterest.dk

Ancient Apostacy

Was Abraham an idol worshipper before he met God? The evidence seems to say yes.

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11. Abraham, the Father of Faith

This is traditional iconography of Abraham, the Father of Faith.
Greek Orthodox Icon of Abraham

As Socrates is considered the father of philosophy in the West, so the patriarch Abraham is considered the father of faith for really the entire world. The three major monotheistic religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – all claim Abraham as their forefather.1 

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