Jesus on Abraham

abrahamMoses tells the story of Abraham, Paul mentions Abraham several times, but did Jesus ever talk about Abraham?  He does at length in John 8.  Jesus is explaining that God the Father has sent him, yet the people do not listen to his words but instead do the will of their father, the devil.  His Jewish audience insists their father is Abraham.  Jesus says that if Abraham were their father they would do the things Abraham did, such as rejoice when he saw the Day of the Lord.  Jesus contends they are not sons of Abraham.

Genetically speaking, the first century Jews were descendants of Abraham.  A good Jew could trace his ancestry back to one of the 12 patriarchs.  Jesus is talking about something else.  Jesus is talking about faith.  Abraham is the first person of faith described in the Bible (specifically Abram, in Genesis 15:6).  Jesus is referring to the people of faith as the children of Abraham, as Paul does in Galatians 3:7.  In Luke’s gospel Jesus says that God could make stones into the sons of Abraham if he wanted.  

God made his covenant with Abraham before the Law was given.  According to Paul in Galtians 3, 430 years before.   Abraham’s faith made him righteous, 4 centuries before the Law was given to Moses.  It is obviously faith that makes one right with God, not the Law.  Paul is clear many times that the Law only makes us guilty.  Read all of Galatians 3.  The covenant of the Law could not supersede the covenant already made through Abraham.  Paul contends that offspring doesn’t mean many (the citizens of Israel) but one, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the offspring (seed) of Abraham. 

Jesus said that Abraham rejoiced to see his day.  The Jews argued that Jesus was not even 50 years old and could not have been alive during the time of Abraham.  Jesus’ reply?  “Before Abraham was I am.”  Then of course they tried to kill him.

Father Abraham had many sons,
Many sons had Father Abraham.
I am one of them, and so are you.
So let’s all praise the LORD.

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14 thoughts on “Jesus on Abraham

  1. Extraordinary! You claim to believe in the message of Jesus (peace be upon him) yet you defend war crimes against children.

    Moderator: Please note that Zanjabila’s comments are more about what I said on his blog than on this post on Abraham. I commented on Israel’s attack on Hamas, which he condemns, and said that Israel has the right to defend themselves against terrorists.

  2. Clark Bunch, my apologies for being obnoxious in my reply, but the destruction of the Palestinians distresses me. I have read too many comments by Israelis labelling the Palestinians cockroaches and inciting their army to wipe them out. Even Israel’s top rabbis have given religious approval for the wholesale massacre of civilians: Eliayahu’s son, Shmuel Eliayhu, himself chief rabbi of Safad, amplified his father’s comments, stating: “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand.” He added, “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million.

    This is not empty rhetoric. And if we stand by and approve of this, then we become complicit in terrible sin.

  3. Evidently you haven’t done your research. Neither Abraham nor Moses ever existed. They are fictional characters invented in the 7th Century BCE. Even Jewish rabbis admit this is true.

  4. Evidently John is a troll.

    In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people… with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

  5. Wow, so quick with the insults.

    I actually found your article via a Google search, and given you were writing on the subject I thought you might be open to expanding your knowledge on the subject. Even Christianity Today’s Kevin D. Miller has admitted: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.”

    That’s pretty telling, don’t you think? That’s a Christian apologist admitting it.

    Now, without going into the vast library of archeological evidence (or total lack thereof), it’s been known for well over 30 years that the patriarchs (Abraham, Jacob, Isaac) and Moses never existed, the Exodus never happened, there was no conquest of the Land of Israel, and there was never a 10th Century United Kingdom. Penned by Judean copywriters between the 7th and 5th Centuries BCE (nearly a millenium after its alleged origin) the Pentateuch is recognised today by even conservative Jewish rabbis to be nothing but a geopolitical work of fiction commissioned to justify a northern land grab after the fall of Mamlekhet Yisra’el (Kingdom of Israel) in 722 BCE.

    • “There is no archaeological evidence for any of it. This is something unexampled in history. They [Judah] wanted to seize control of the territories of the kingdom of Israel and annex them, because, they said, `These territories are actually ours and if you have a minute, we´ll tell you how that´s so.’” (Israel Finkelstein, professor of archaeology, Tel Aviv University)

    Those are the facts, they’ve been in the public domain for over thirty years, but as Prof. Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University observed: “we are witnessing a fascinating phenomenon in that all this is simply ignored by the public.”

    • “The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.” (Prof. Ze’ev Herzog)

    • “I think there is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.” (Professor Magen Broshi, Head of Archaeology at the Israel Museum)

    • “It’s been decades since we’ve known… what’s the hold up?” Israel Finkelstein, chairman of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University.

    • “The period of the patriarchs, exodus, conquest, or judges as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed,” asserted Robert Coote, Senior Research Professor of Hebrew Exegesis at San Francisco’s Theological Seminary.

    • “The Genesis and Exodus accounts are a fiction,” noted the biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche of the University of Copenhagen.

    • “The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” concluded Baruch Halpern, Professor of Jewish Studies of Pennsylvania State University.

    • “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land. Those who take an interest have known these facts for years,” declared famed Israeli archeologist, Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University.

    • “Scholars have known these things for a long time, but we’ve broken the news very gently,” explained one of America’s preeminent archaeologists, Professor William Dever of the University of Arizona.

    If you doubt the world’s archeological experts and heads of Israeli University departments, then I’d urge you to look at the Jewish rabbis who now openly admit to these facts. Specifically, read the Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary; the first authorised commentary on the Torah since 1936. Published in 2001 by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (in collaboration with the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Publication Society) the 1,559 page long Etz Hayim concludes with 41 essays written by prominent rabbis and scholars who admit the Pentateuch is little more than a self-serving myth rife with anachronisms and un-ignorable archaeological inconsistencies, and rather than triumphant conquest, Israel instead emerged slowly and relatively peacefully out of the general Canaanite population with monotheism only appearing in the post-Exilic period, 5th Century BCE.

    • “Defending a rabbi in the 21st century for saying the Exodus story isn’t factual is like defending him for saying the Earth isn’t flat. It’s neither new nor shocking to most of us that the Earth is round or that the Torah isn’t a history book dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.” Rabbi Steven Leder of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

    • “The rejection of the Bible as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.” Rabbi David Wolpe

    I hope that helps.

  6. This is what Christianity Today’s Kevin D Miller actually wrote:

    “But before anyone scribbles “Fiction” over the title page of the Old Testament, some scholars want to tell another side to the story, one that Kenneth Kitchen, James Hoffmeier, and a handful of others are meticulously piecing together. Through top university presses and in academic conferences, they are exposing a fundamental problem with the conclusions of the biblical minimalists: the skeptical, narrow lenses through which they read the Bible serve them a bit too conveniently—allowing them not only to dismiss uncritically the historical value of the Bible’s texts but also to avoid certain bothersome details that get in the way of their own accounts of the origin of Israel.”

    The entire article can be read here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/september7/8ta044.html?start=1 Your Miller “quote” was actually an example of the kind of rhetoric he was making a case against. I did not continue fact checking your argument after that point. Is all your research done with such the precise handiwork?

    It should come as no surprise that I disagree with many respected Jewish rabbis. It was well-educated and highly respected Jewish rabbis that rejected Jesus as the Messiah/Christ in the first century. We could go on for months like this, but how many posts have you read at this blog? I accept the Bible as divinely inspired by God. From cover to cover it tells one story, and that’s how a holy and righteous God deals with a sinful, fallen and broken people. I’m not going to suddenly reverse my position based on a lifetime of faithful belief and study because of a handful of internet comments on an old blog post. (Especially ones that are incorrectly attributed to Christian pop magazine writers.)

  7. Are you mad or something? Miller said it quite clearly: there is no evidence for any of it. If you want to single out a part of the article (which I have read) where he’s trying desperately to keep the story alive then that’s your prerogative. It’s being disingenuous, though.

    So, you’re not going to look into the fact that every single Israeli archeologist is in complete agreement: the OT is bunk. Typical reaction of a fundamentalist. It doesn’t change the fact that even Jewish Rabbi’s now admit their own book is myth. Jews, though, can overcome this. It’s not that important to them. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but it’s not the end of the story. For Christians and Muslims (whose central characters both make clear and specific claims to the existence of the fictional heroes of the Pentateuch) it’s utterly devastating. In Islam, Musa (Moses) is considered a prophet and is mentioned 136 times in the Qur’an, and Abraham (mentioned 69 times) is even described as the Middle Eastern gods best friend: (4:125) “Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend.” For Christians Jesus is equally careless, naming Moses in Luke (3:8), John 5:45 (“If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me”) and twice in Matthew, including a face-to-face meeting detailed in 17:3-4: “While they watched, Jesus’ appearance was changed; his face became bright like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus.” Moses is in fact mentioned eighty-five times in the New Testament, and Abraham seventy-five times with Jesus specifically identifying him eighteen times in John 8 alone, including (8:39): Jesus said, “If you were really Abraham’s children, you would do the things Abraham did.”

    Now let’s be brutally honest here; such barefaced testimonies raise some enormously unpleasant credibility problems for both religions. It doesn’t, after all, speak too highly of a god-man’s authority, intelligence, competence, insight and judgment if he couldn’t distinguish the difference between inventive theological-geopolitical myth and actual historical fact. Indeed, if the claims of Yahwehists are to be taken seriously then there can be zero tolerance for even minor blunders in their god’s knowledge of earthly events, and yet here is a bungle so outrageous that it is the equivalent of a charismatic preacher three-hundred years from today proclaiming Batman existed.

  8. @Clark Bunch
    The article printed at this link is around 15 years old. Did you not notice?
    Are you seriously suggesting this should be seen as relevant? That Christian leaning archaeologists have not managed to come up with anything else since 1998?

    If this is the case then it is disappointing.

  9. Furthermore, even if the biblical archaeology records turns out to be spot on, are we supposed to then accede to superstitious beliefs pertaining to a deity’s intervention regarding the Ten Plagues, The Parting of The Reed Sea etc?
    Are we to regard as truth the tales that Joshua was instructed by a deity to liquidate Canaan?
    At what point are we to draw the line between literal and analogous?

    And if we must accept one god story why not them all?
    Why must I laugh at Noah and accept Moses?

    Which are credible and which are patently fallacious?

    The believer is always going to be faced with this issue: finding a way of fitting superstitious nonsense into the realm of reality and eventually this proves impossible to do.

    Plain old fashion common sense will usually dispel such fanciful notions.
    At some point inserting the phrase “God did it” is not a panacea and those who promote such an idea must step up to the plate and demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt or remain seated.

  10. You’re right about Jesus making numerous references to Moses and let’s go a step farther: the Apostle Paul references Moses and the O.T. history of Israel man times. Paul is the author of nearly two-thirds of the New Testament. Old Testament history/writings are central to New Testament theology.

    Once again, the Jewish leaders of the first century dismissed Jesus as the Messiah and had not only had him crucified buy also persecuted the early Christian church leaders/ followers. What Jewish rabbis are teaching today has little bearing on my faith – I’m not Jewish.

    The Old Testament of the Bible is central to New Testament Christianity, and on that we agree. At the heart of your argument is this: you don’t believe the Bible. I’m an ordained Baptist minister. Christianity is not a debate that I’m trying to win. Do you think that your lack of faith, combined with the teachings of modern Jewish leaders, will sway me from the faith?

    This will be my final response. I’m putting all my eggs in the Bible basket. Good luck with… whatever you’re doing.

  11. The article I linked to was referenced by John Zande who misrepresented what he was trying to say. Christianity Today is a little pop-Christian for my taste.

    Jesus and the Apostle Paul took Noah, Abraham, King David and the Hebrew prophets seriously. Christians should do the same. I find myself having none of the “issues” you take issue with. As I told John, I’m putting all my eggs in the Bible basket. I’m an ordained minister with a Christian theology blog. I’m not tossing my faith because of a couple of blog trolls find God’s word “fanciful.”

  12. Why on earth do you keep bringing up Jesus? I’m talking about the OT being bunk… which, of course, does ruin Christianity and Islam in the process.

    Putting all your eggs in the bible basket…. Well, in the age of information ignorance is a choice.

  13. And Clark, just reading your comment to Ark above, I really have no idea why you’re implying I misquoted Miller. I provided a direct word-for-word quote: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.” This is Miller ADMITTING the fact, then, being an apologist, cautions his readers not to jump to conclusions REGARDLESS of the FACTS he just outlined.

    That’s pretty clear.

  14. Thanks For Sharing this nice Topic

    Finally, Paul tells us who the true seed of Abraham is and the nature of that promise. We learned earlier that the Seed of Abraham was singular, one person, i.e. Christ.
    Next Paul says, “For you are all the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as we baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:26-29).
    Those who accept God by faith and are baptized into Him become a part of that one Seed of Abraham who is Christ . We become one Seed with Christ, not many seeds, but one with Him. As the Seed of Abraham through Christ, we then become heirs/inherit the promise. The promise is salvation in Christ, i.e. the kingdom of God. See the post “Flesh and Blood Cannot Inherit the Kingdom of God.” The true seed of Abraham is Christ and the inheritance is the salvation in him to all nations (families of the earth) who are blessed in Him.

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