ABRAHAM: THE BEGINNING OF MONOTHEISM AND THE COVENANTS OF REDEMPTION;
ABRAHAM AND SARAH: THE EXPONENTIAL POWER OF TWO RIGHTEOUS HUMAN BEINGS WORKING TOGETHER IN LIFE
Biblical salvation for mankind begins with Abraham and the Patriarchs. It includes their spouses, the Matriarchs of the Covenants of Redemption. There were foreshadows before, such as the great prophecy of the Seed of the Woman in Genesis 3:15 and the implicit revelation of blood covenant demonstrated through the life of Abel (see Hebrews 11:4 and 12:24), but the covenants of God with Abraham and the Patriarchs and with Sarah and the Matriarchs firmly established the plan of God to redeem all of mankind through the blood-atonement that is fully realized in the offering of God’s own Son, our Lord Jesus the Messiah. This is the great revelation of the bible as prophecy foretold it and as the Gospel actualized it.
Who was this man, Abram—soon to become the friend of God and have the “H” of God’s holy name placed into it, changing him from Abram (mighty father) to Abraham (father of many nations)? And who is his half-sister spouse Sarai, soon to bear the miraculous Promised Seed of Abraham, Isaac, and to have the “H” of God’s name likewise placed into her name, turning Sarai (“my princess”—as the STONE commentators say, because of her great status as Abraham’s wife) into Sarah (“princess of YAH,” that is, her far greater status as God’s covenantal mother for all humanity; similarly, Mary the mother of our Lord was God’s vessel to bring forth redemption for the world)? These two are the rock from which our saving covenant with God has been miraculously hewn, for both Abraham and Sarah were past the time of begetting and conceiving when God gave to them their only-begotten Son of Promise, just like Mary was a virgin^ when the Holy Spirit caused her to become pregnant with the Logos of God Made Flesh.
[^ Isaiah 7:14*, Hebrew, “almah” a young woman of marriageable age; in the case of Mary, espoused but as yet unconsummated with Joseph, her legal husband; to emphasize the fact that “…Mary was a virgin….,” see Genesis 3:15 with Isaiah 7:14—as just noted, the Hebrew of Isaiah 7:14 is “almah”*, a young woman of marriageable age; in Genesis 3:15, Eve became elevated to the Archtypal Mother of Prophecy before she and Adam came together to conceive natural seed in their own time. In Mary’s case, she was espoused to Joseph and was therefore his legal wife (Matthew 1:19), but their marriage was unconsummated; therefore, she was still a biological virgin; see 1 Corinthians 7:36-38 for men of that time who “kept their (espoused) virgin” wives without consummating the marriage; as to Mary’s virginity, see John 1:18; Matthew 1:18-23; and Luke 1:26-35.
*the child of Isaiah 7:14 in its immediate context was a child designated as a sign by God (thus, it could not have been an ordinary child even as the sign that God himself later gave to Hezekiah, the turning back of the sun dial of Ahaz ten degrees, was miraculous in nature); this divinely-designated child became “a sign” to King Ahaz and to all Israel at a time of great national distress (“…a sign”: thus, etymologically from the Hebrew word OHT, “a miraculous, prodigious wonder”); the far fulfillment of this sign in Mary’s case became literally “a virgin birth”; in the LXX, the Greek term used by the Jewish translators in Alexandria, Egypt (two centuries before Messiah) to translate “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 is “parthenos”—“a virgin”; thus, biblical prophecy often is seen to have multiple layers of meaning in the same utterance, one near and the other far, one earthly and the other heavenly, one temporal and the other eternal, one concrete and the other metaphysical, one for the immediate context when uttered, the other for the prophetic future beyond the local vision.]
While Abram was living in Ur of the Chaldees he was in the house of his father Terah. Jewish tradition tells us that Terah was a maker of idols, but that one day the realization came to his son Abram that a god which humans could carve out was not capable of being a true God. And Abram came to understand, either by inner intuition or by divine revelation, that there could only be ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD who could create the universe and mankind upon the earth. With Abram began monotheism—the belief in the single, one true God, Creator and Maker of heaven and earth.
This parashah, then, is the unfolding of Abram’s awakening through the account of the promise of God to him to make him a blessing to all families of the earth and of God making that promise real by sending him forth with his wife Sarai and their retinue from pagan Chaldea on the east bank of the Euphrates river (the eventual land of the Babylonian empire), causing him to “cross over” (and thus to become their first “Hebrew”—one who crosses over), and then leading him to the land of promise, thereby setting the biblical pattern of “spiritual sojourn” for all followers of God. In the book of Hebrews, chapter 11 and verses 7-10 the scripture says of him,
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out [“Lech Lecha”] into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.
“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
“For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
That city is seen in the last two chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21-22.
And the next verses say of Sarah,
“Through faith also Sarah 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.
“Therefore, sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”
The scripture goes on to apply to us in our generation the principle involved in this text: we too are sojourners through this world as we, like Paul the Apostle in Philippians 3:14, “press toward the mark for the prize of the upward calling of God in Messiah Jesus.”
We are the children of the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. We are the Heirs of the Blood Covenant that God initiated in Abraham and consummated in Jesus.
Therefore, let us also go forth toward the upward calling, for we have been ordained of God to bring into the world salvation and holiness through him who loved us and gave himself for us.