Abraham's Dual Legacy
The Stars in the Sky and Sand of the Sea
Essential to resolving the secrets of the kingdom, is a correct understanding of Abraham's dual legacy of promise. Like two threads, winding their way through time, these two covenants of promise expand to engulf all of mankind in God's redemptive purposes. These lines start with Abraham ('grandfathering' previous generations), wind through the history of Israel, continue into the Christian era, blossom at the end-of-the-age, and remain active into eternity. Because of the progressive changes, personalities, and functions of each line, the simple truth of God's redemptive continuity has been obscured from systematic theological interpretation. There seems to be a prophetic purposes for the Scripture's veiled presentation of these two lines. As with so many other truths, God has purposely intended that this truth also finally yield to the coming of 'all truth' at the end of the age. Resolving this mystery is consistent with so many other mysteries in that the 'forest' of truth has resisted comprehension because of the many 'trees'. The component from which these two redemptive lines are made are very familiar to all Bible lovers and elicit strong emotions, rightly so, when they are held up for interpretation.
The two lines simply represent the life lines of God's developing revelation and redemptive purposes with mankind. The first is defined in spiritual terms and the second natural terms. Abraham was the father of both. He embodied the needed characteristics of both purposes. When initiating the spiritual line we see this exchange between Abraham and God:
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir." Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Gen 15:1-6
The first test was to see if Abraham would offer mankind's first and primal offering to God - his will. In simple belief, or faith, Abraham responded to God's call, exercising an active, trusting and fervent faith, that when coupled with simple acts, and duplicated in multitudes of people responding likewise, would produce a race of perfect people and a kingdom of perfect peace. By this incident God is showing that, in fact, faith is the highest and perhaps only offering that man can give to God. Once that is given, if it is truly given, God will provide everything else, including the breath and grace to take the thousands of small but necessary steps to a perfect kingdom. Man has nothing to boast about. Even if one were to obey onto death it is only by God's revelation that he would know to, and by God's grace that he did. There is no room to boast even in the great number of obedient steps taken. Each step was revealed, requested, empowered and rewarded by God. It is vital for us to know, in all our good stepping, that God has enabled it all. This is lesson number one and when compared to this faith, everything else is secondary. Faith is supreme, but faith is not independent of its subsequent actions. Even faith, without actions, is dead.
And so, with this lesson years behind him, God tests
Abraham a second time, and for a second reason.
The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. Gen 22:15-18
Through his natural offspring