The Word of God:
Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I tell you (Ge 22:2).
When we talk about the sins of Abraham one might imagine that we are speaking of the incidents where he told the Egyptians (Ge 12:13) and King Abimelech (Ge 20:2) that Sarah, his wife, was his sister; but the sin we wish to discuss is Abraham’s far greater transgression of not waiting on the LORD for which the world suffers to this day.
In exercising our faith we should always inquire of the LORD, understanding that patience is a virtue well received by a merciful God who executes His will according to a sovereign timetable. Contrary to what the prosperity gospel teaches, His answer is sometimes “No”, but this is not a measure of our faith. It simply demonstrates that His will shall be done, and not always according to what we ask.
We can do nothing to speed up God’s timetable. Think of Moses who led God’s people to the Promised Land, but the LORD did not let them enter; and even withdrew His hand of favor. So the Jews wandered around the same mountain for forty years until a whole generation died out in the wilderness.
In the Book of Genesis (chapter 15) the LORD came to Abram in a vision promising that an heir of promise will come forth from his own body (Ge 15:4). The LORD told Abram that his descendants would be as many as the stars in heaven. The Bible says that Abram believed the promise of God, and it was counted to him as righteousness (Ge 15:6). On that day, the Bible says, the LORD made a covenant with Abram to give his descendants all of the land from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates (Ge 15:18).
Ten years had passed and Sarai, Abram’s wife, was unable to conceive so she told her husband to go in with her Egyptian maid Hagar to fulfill God’s promise of an heir (Ge 16:2). But neither Abram nor Sarai inquired of the LORD to do this thing, and it was that Hagar conceived and Sarai despised her (Ge 16:4) so Hagar fled into the wilderness.
The angel of the LORD appeared unto Hagar and commanded her to return and submit herself to Sarai’s authority (Ge 16:9). Hagar was told to name her son Ishmael (God hears) for the LORD heard the cries of her affliction (Ge 16:11); and that he will live to the east of his brothers, and be a defiant man at war with everyone (Ge 16:12).
When Abram was eighty-six years old Hagar bore him a son, and she called his name Ishmael according to the angel of the LORD (Ge 16:15-16).
The birth of Ishmael set up the conflict and strife that has plagued the Middle East these many centuries for the Muslims claim that the Abrahamic covenant passed through the Arabic descendants of Ishmael who was Abram’s first-born son.
The LORD appeared once more to Abram when he was ninety-nine years old (Ishmael was now thirteen years of age), and the LORD promised to make Abram the father of many nations (Ge 17:7). God established the covenant of circumcision to reaffirm His unconditional promise to the descendants of Abram (exalted father); and the LORD changed his name to Abraham (father of a multitude) to reflect this covenant relationship.
Abraham was ninety-nine years old and Ishmael was thirteen years of age when the household of Abraham were circumcised (Ge 17:23-27).
Then God told Abraham that Sarai, now called Sarah (princess), would give him a son. Abraham fell on his face laughing for he was one hundred years old, and Sarah was ninety. Abraham asked God that Ishmael might live before Him, but the LORD said that His everlasting covenant would be established with Sarah’s son who would be called Isaac (laughter) for Abraham and Sarah laughed at the thought of having a child so late in life.
To review, when Abram was seventy-six years old God promised him an heir. Ten years later, and impatient, he knew Hagar who bore him a son called Ishmael. Thirteen years after the birth of his first son God promised Abraham a son through his wife Sarah. God promised Abraham that Ishmael would be the father of twelve princes, and a great nation; but the everlasting covenant would be through Isaac and his descendants (Ge 17:19).
So Sarah conceived according to the word of the LORD, and she bore Abraham a son; and Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac was born according to all that God had spoken (Ge 21:2).
As Isaac grew so did the tension between Sarah and Hagar, and God said to Abraham:
Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named (Ge 21:12).
And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant (Ge 21:13).
So Abraham sent Hagar and the boy away, and he lived in the wilderness of Paran (Arabia) in the NE section of the Sinai. The Bible tells us that God promised Hagar to make Ishmael a great nation, and God was with the lad as he grew (Ge 21:18, Ge 21:20).
We noted earlier that Islam contends the covenant promise passed through the first-born son Ishmael; but this is contradictory to what the Bible teaches. The sensitive question, then, is whether the Bible is wrong, or the Qu’ran (for this has profound implications regarding the messianic lineage). Does the Messiah come through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or is He a descendant of Ishmael?
A flash point of this controversy is Ge 22:1-2 where God commands Abraham to offer his only son as a sacrifice:
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” God said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I tell you.”
[We believe that Moriah is also the location of the Temple Mount, and the place where Christ was crucified.]
Islam teaches that the only son whom you love can be none other than Ishmael for he was (before Isaac) the only son of Abraham. Muslims insist that the Bible is corrupt, or the Jews lied about whom Abraham offered upon the altar.
Whereas the Bible teaches that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac the Qu’ran teaches that Abraham simply had a dream:
…and when he was old enough to go about and work with him, (one day) Abraham said to him: “My son, I see in my dream that I am slaughtering you (Surah 37:102).
The son, who is not named, consents to the will of Allah until the angel intervenes to halt the sacrifice. Later, the messengers of God give the good news to Abraham about the birth of Isaac (Surah 37:112).
So we see, then, that in the Qu’ran Abraham sacrifices his unnamed son before Isaac is even born though a number of Muhammad’s companions identified Isaac as the son Abraham placed upon the altar thus adding confusion to a multitude of discrepancies.
It is problematic that the Qu’ran is consistently out of step with the Bible. In the Genesis account the angel of the LORD appears to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre to reveal that Sarah will have a son, and the Bible says that Sarah laughed to herself upon hearing the news (Ge 18:12) thus her son was to be called Isaac (laughter).
In the Qu’ran, Sarah laughs upon hearing the news of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and only afterwards is told of the birth of Isaac.
There are hundreds of factual errors and historical inconsistencies in the Qu’ran, but its most egregious is its denial of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Muslims do not believe in the atonement of blood sacrifice).
Indeed, it’s as if Islam shuffled the Biblical accounts of both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) to produce a counterfeit copy of Holy Scripture which denies essential Judeo-Christian doctrine.
Even more alarming is that Islam teaches the messiah will come from the lineage of Abraham’s son Ishmael. The 12th Imam, or Mahdi will come at the end of the age to correct the errors of Judaism and Christianity; proclaim Islam as the one true religion; and destroy all those who refuse to submit.
The servant of Allah who will announce the coming of the Mahdi will be, they say, the prophet Jesus.
All of this is unfolding because Abraham did not wait on the LORD to fulfill His promise of an expectant heir. What causes Muslims, and we dare say most sects, cults and even the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to stumble is their misunderstanding of Bible terms such as begotten, and only son, or yachiyd in Hebrew which means unique or special.
The story of Abraham and his son Isaac was an archetypical revelation of the relationship between YHWH and His son Jesus Christ. We have two sons uniquely begotten. Isaac was a type of Christ, and legal heir to the Abrahamic covenant, who pointed to HaMashiach Yeshua the only begotten Son of God.
Of course, the Qu’ran rejects the Biblical plan of redemption and salvation claiming that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Jesus were Muslim prophets of Allah which begs the question: Which came first, the Bible or the Qu’ran?
Islam teaches that the “Book” was given to Moses and the ancient prophets (even to Jesus), and was delivered verbally to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel from 610-632 AD. It was passed on through recitation and memorization (Qu’ran means recite) until Muhammad’s death. Muslims believe the text is uncorrupted.
The Bible established the testimony of two or three witnesses to confirm what is true (2 Cor 13:1, Mt 18:16, Dt 17:6, Dt 19:15). We have defended the Biblical account of Abraham and Isaac from the pages of Genesis, but there is yet another testimony from scripture that corroborates what we read in the Torah, and that is from the writer of Hebrews in the B’rit Chadasha:
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son, it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called” (He 11:17-18).
We need to tread carefully at this point, or we may find ourselves seeking refuge with Salman Rushdie; but Satan is the father of all lies. He lied to Eve, and has been deceiving the world ever since the expulsion.
It is frightening that the Mahdi and his prophet (Jesus?) sound very much like the beast and the dragon in the Book of Revelation who deceive many with false signs and wonders. Could it be that the end time Antichrist is actually the Islamic messiah?
Is the Dome of the Rock atop the Temple Mount the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet and Jesus Christ?
Could it be that the restoration of the Roman Empire refers not to the papacy, but to the Eastern (Constantine) Empire which is today very much Islamic?
Finally, are you waiting on God—for anything? Don’t be impatient like Abraham, but meditate on the words of Isaiah the prophet:
The LORD longs to be gracious to you … Blessed are all who wait for Him (Is 30:18).
Video Series: The Sons of Promise
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