ABRAHAM HAD TWO SONS
Galatians 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
One of the things we do not seem to understand in this age is that the Scriptures are not a history book. Though historically accurate, they are not a record of the history of man, but a record of the history of redemption. Therefore we must understand that although Abraham had eight sons, we are only interested in these two regarding that history of redemption!
For after the issue of redemption concerning Sarah and Isaac is over in Abraham’s life, he has six sons by Keturah. Genesis 25:1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
For one of the often overlooked phrases in the Lord’s blessing of Abraham is the phrase, all the nation’s of the earth. For the effects of Abraham’s faith before the Lord God, would be more than just the domestic circumstances with Sarah, Isaac, Hagar, and Ishmael. Take note of that Genesis 25:6 verse, listed above. The son’s of Abraham are sent away by him from Isaac into the east country. That is where we find the man of faith, Job! Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
The wisdom of the east is also brought forth to show the superior wisdom of the wisest man in the Old Testament world – Solomon! 1Kings 4:30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. And that is where the star appeared to guide those wise men to Christ! Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Therefore, with Ishmael, who brought forth a people without number – Genesis 16:10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. – and with these six sons, bringing forth nations, along with Isaac, Abraham truly did affect all the nations of the earth!
The Lord God had lost the entire population of the earth in the flood of Noah. But now he shall gain much more back in the posterity of Abraham. Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Due to the flood God had lost all his tares! The entire line of Cain, which had polluted the human race, was gone! And of the righteous only Noah remained! But now, through Abraham, there would be both the earthy, ‘sand seed’ recovered, as well as the spiritual, ‘star seed’ brought back in innumerable quantity. 1 Corinthians15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
Dear Reader, tares are very essential to the growth and maturity of the spiritual soul. Notice in Matthew 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Notice that both the tares and the wheat grow together! Consider these verses of instruction concerning this. Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Now let us go back to our first verse listed in our article – Galatians 4:22. And let us notice two phrases. First, there is “the one.” Secondly there is “the other.” The one son was born by a bondmaid. And that, of course was Hagar. And how does that figure in the history of redemption? And how does that have any edification value to today’s believer?
Just remember that Sarah represents the new covenant. And Sarah, like the new covenant of salvation by grace, desires fruit! So she convinces Abraham (faith) to couple with Hagar (the law) to produce a son. But when you couple faith with the works of the law you obtain the fruit of a “wild man!” For that is how the Lord identified Ishmael! (Genesis 16:12).
The law has to serve the new covenant. Genesis 16:9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. But after it directs us to Christ – salvation not of works, but by grace through faith, – its job, as far as steering us to Christ for our justification is done! Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
We must also consider that Abraham (faith) was not yet circumcised when he coupled with Hagar (the law). Faith must always be severed from the flesh and the works thereof! Therefore faith must always be tried to render it pure. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
So before the Lord God did unto Sarah as he had spoken (Genesis 21:1), Abraham had been circumcised. The spiritual fruit of the new covenant (Isaac) was not brought into being until Abraham was severed from the flesh. So must the faith of the believer be purified through effectual afflictions in order to bring forth spiritual fruit unto God! 1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
We read in Genesis 17:18 of Abraham’s strong desire regarding Ishmael’s wellbeing. Down through the ages, holy fathers have had weeping hearts for the salvation of their natural offspring. David did for Absalom. The Apostle Paul did for natural Israel! Genesis 17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 2 Samuel 18:33 And the king (David), was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!
Then of Paul’s desires for Israel, we read: Romans 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
But God’s answer to Abraham reveals his will concerning this matter. He would not be without merciful kindness towards Ishmael, but the realm of spiritual regeneration would always be through Isaac! Genesis 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
Compare these verses which the Apostle Paul wrote in the midst of his heart desiring the salvation of national Israel, even though they afflicted him so savagely! Romans 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 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.
For it was not those who were the natural seed of Abraham, but those who are of the spiritual seed of promise in Isaac which are the true Israel! Romans 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
To national Israel the Lord spoke these words: Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And that ‘nation’ is the church! 1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
And now let us look at the second of the two phrases in Galatians 4:22. The first was, “the one” speaking of Hagar, let us now look at “the other,” referring to Sarah. When we were first introduced to her we were informed that she was barren. (Genesis 11:30). And later were are told that her womb was dead! (Romans 4:19). She is a picture of the sinner, dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), requiring a resurrection into life. For regeneration (being born again), is nothing less than a resurrection! Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
A Christian is not one on earth who looks towards heaven. That is just a religionist! A true, spiritual Christian is one sitting in heavenly places, with a spiritual heart and mind, looking back towards earth, judging it from a heavenly view point!
Sarah, like her husband Abraham, believed that God himself would have to preform his promise. Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. And because this faith pleased God (Hebrews 11:6), he honored Sarah as a partner with him in establishing the covenant that was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Genesis 17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
And this miraculous birth not only affected the world then, forcing out Ishmael to start the Arab race, but also at that time (v.22), the King of the Philistines, so overcome by it that he makes a covenant with Abraham, opening up his peaceful sojourn in the Philistines’ land many days (vs.34), but it also still has bearing on all believers today! For our verse 28 of the above listed text states, Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Pastor Gene Breed
January 23, 2016