Wednesday, June 27, 2007

REPLY TO PRESIDENT AHMEDINAJAD PART II

Contrary to what the President Ahmedinajad (boy, that is a long name) alleges, the age of Ishmael is not at all crucial to either the Jewish or the Christian theological viewpoint. There is no magic to the age of 14, or 17 in his incorrect calculations. The reason Isaac, not Ishmael, is the son of promise is "election", God's sovereign choice.

God elected, or chose, Abraham to be the father of his people, which we often call his "chosen people". He also elected to form this covenant people beginning with this man through his covenant marriage with his wife, Sarah. The Bible is clear about this. In Genesis 17:15, God told Abraham: As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her. So, not only did God elect Abraham as the father of his people, but Sarah as their mother.

Abraham clearly understood this, and, thus, understood Ishmael was not the son of the promise, for he replied to God "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing". (v. 18) God answered that he would establish his covenant with Isaac as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

In other words, God confirmed to Abraham that the chosen line for the blessing would come through Isaac all the way to Christ. Because Ishmael was also Abraham's son, and because Abraham asked him, God did bless Ishmael and made him a great nation, just not God's chosen nation.

Further, all through the Old Testament, God refers to himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This was the chosen line. He revealed himself to Moses this way, and to the Israelites in slavery in Egypt.

Paul also explained for us in the New Testament that Isaac is the son of the promise. That is the message of the passage in Galatians 4 that led to the President's post. This is an illustration of the doctrine of election, that runs all the way through the Bible. God elects whom he will. He elected, or chose, Abraham out of all the men on earth to do his will and to form a people for his glory. He chose Isaac over Ishmael. He chose Jacob over Esau. Romans 9 tells us this.

Now, in our day, God elects who will know him through Christ. Those he chooses become the church. 1 Peter 2:9 says "But you (believers in Christ) are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to god, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

God chose his son, Jesus Christ, to be the heir of the promise to Abraham. All is fulfilled in Christ. Those who want to inherit the promise of God to Abraham must do so in Christ, whether Jew, Arab, or a mutt like me. I invite you to receive Christ as God's only son, who died for our sins according to the scriptures, who was buried, and who was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures. There is no other way to escape God's judgment on sin and to receive eternal life.
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