We’ll begin by tying the significance of Isaac and Ishmael in the Old Testament with the New Testament.
“For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise…Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.” Galatians 4:22-23, 28-29
Paul used the word ‘persecuted’ while the Old Testament used ‘scoffing.’ ‘Persecuted’ in the Greek is dioko meaning to ‘pursue with repeated acts of enmity.’ Paul also confirmed that the conflict between the brothers had not changed over two millennia.
Then Paul quoted the words of Abraham’s wife Sarah.
“…what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.” Galatians 4:30-31
Thus ‘according to the flesh’ means trying to accomplish God’s plan by impotent human means, whereas, ‘according to the Spirit’ means depending on faith to take God at His word, even if God’s promise is beyond human ability.
While Paul was teaching the Christians in Rome, he doubled down on the difference between works and promise; between Ishmael and Isaac.
“…for they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.’” Romans 9:6-9
Consider the children by Abraham and Ketura after the death of Sarah.
“And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of (Ketura)… and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east.” Genesis 25:5-6
It is significant that those who were not sons of promise were sent to the ‘east.’
Always remember, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah…David…Jesus.
Let’s consider the major characteristics of the heirs of the bondwoman. Jesus explained in detail such traits to the scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus proclaimed that God was His Father, while the Pharisees contended that Abraham was their father.
“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” John 8:37-38
As the discussion continued, the Pharisees stated that God was also their Father.
“If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God…Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil…” John 8:42-44a
Jesus went on to say that He had been seen by Abraham; but Jesus was not yet fifty years old. How could Abraham have possibly seen Him.
“Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58
‘I AM’ means ‘always been,’ ‘before creation,’ and ‘first and the last.’
Jesus Christ is God!
The Bible confirms that anyone who denies the deity of Jesus, as did the Pharisees, are sons of the devil. And the ultimate seed of the devil is the ‘little horn’ spoken by Daniel, which is the anti-Christ.
“…every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4:3
Jesus Christ is also fully man!
To be continued.