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Yeshua in Context » Abraham

The Symbolic Use of Abraham

I asked my congregation a test question. I said, “What does Abraham represent in the gospels?” The answer I got was, “Faith.” It’s not a bad answer considering that this was before we had read a few Abraham texts in the gospels. Yet, before we would jump to Paul’s explanation of Abraham (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:7), it is good to consider a step earlier than the realization that Abraham represents faith. It is eye-opening to re-read some of the Abraham texts in the gospels with an eye for first century Jewish ideas about election, covenant, and afterlife. Let’s begin with three texts: Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones … Read entire article »

Filed under: Abraham, Afterlife, Background to Gospels, General, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Teaching of Yeshua

Abraham in the Gospels

What does it mean to be an Israelite? This is the sort of question that was on the mind of people in Yeshua’s time. Rome had power. Israel was a subjected people. But God was expected to show up any time. And being a child of Abraham meant privilege in God’s eyes. Israel’s story begins with Abraham, the one who was chosen by God. His children would be in covenant relationship with God without regard to merit (free election) and forever without condition (irrevocable election). Being an Israelite meant secure covenant standing with God. Yet the story of Abraham is not merely about national privilege for Israelites, but blessing to all the families of the earth as well. At several places in the gospels we see how this dynamic idea, being a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Abraham, Background to Gospels, Gentiles, Salvation and Covenant