Hebrews 11:18

Friday, 15 March 2019

…of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” Hebrews 11:18

The author now cites Scripture to support his previous statement. Taken together, the two verses read –

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’”

The translation here leaves a question concerning the words, “of whom.” Does this mean, “in regards to whom,” meaning Isaac, or “to whom,” and thus meaning Abraham. The answer is, “To whom,” and it should be translated that way. It is referring to Abraham (it is terminology used in the same manner as in Luke 19:9). This is cleared up by the actual citation from Genesis 21:12 –

“But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.’”

God made the promise to Abraham concerning the calling of his seed through Isaac. The importance of these words concerning Isaac are realized in the meaning of the phrase “shall be called.” The word qara, or “call,” at times carries with it the sense of “to be.” When God created the light in Genesis 1, it says, “God called the light Day.” He named the light Day, and from that time on it has been this way. It is a verbal state of being – the light equates to Day.

Therefore, when God said to Abraham, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” it is stating that the existence of Abraham’s seed will be reckoned through Isaac. And yet, in the very next chapter, before Isaac had borne any children, the Lord directed Abraham to offer Isaac up as a burnt offering. Despite this lack of descendants from the one upon whom the calling was named, Abraham followed through with his instruction. It demonstrates the highest faith to have done so.

Life application: It is worth comparing the accounts of Abraham’s faithfulness as recorded in the Bible to that in the Koran. It is claimed by adherents to Islam that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was the child by which Abraham was tested –

“We called him: ‘O Abraham.’ ‘You have believed the dream.’ We thus reward the righteous. That was an exacting test indeed. We ransomed (Ismail) by substituting an animal sacrifice. And we preserved his history for subsequent generations. Peace be upon Abraham. We thus reward the righteous. He is one of our believing servants.” Sura 37:104-111

First, notice that the name “Ismail” is surrounded by parenthesis. This indicates that the translator chose to insert the name as no name is mentioned in the Koran. Both books, therefore, indicate that Abraham was tested; however, only the Bible records the name of the son – Isaac. Further, the Koran acknowledges elsewhere that Isaac was the son of promise; a fact agreed upon by both faiths. The Bible’s complete and thorough use of the pattern whereby the first is replaced by the second is confirmed in the Ishmael/Isaac account. Finally, the biblical account predates that of the Koran by over 2000 years and the oldest documents still in existence actually predate the Koran by over 800 years. The Bible proves itself historically, scientifically, anthropologically, and prophetically concerning the nature of God, and in a host of other ways. The Koran fails in all of these. If you are one of the religious pluralists of the world who believe “all paths lead to God,” you need to study these matters and think them through. Jesus makes absolute claims and these are absolutely exclusive in nature. Make the right choice today. Choose Jesus.

Lord, as truth is immutable, and as Your word claims to be truth, please give us understanding in it as we read it. And also, give us faith to accept it as Your inspired word. Help us not to be sidetracked by false systems of belief which can only take our eyes off of You. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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