Abraham and the Promised Seed
Genesis 21:8-13
And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.…

1. In particular we see first that the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, in their full and ultimate significance, are precisely identical with those of the Gospel. The Church began in Abraham's household — as Paul has emphatically put it, the Gospel was preached before unto him, and so if the initiatory rite of that covenant, which was not a mere national thing, but included in it spiritual blessings for all the nations of the earth, could be administered to infants we need have no scruple about the baptism of infants. In Abraham's case, an adult circumcision, as the Apostle affirms, was a seal of the righteousness of his faith. That is to say, faith was necessary to his circumcision, and yet he was commanded to circumcise Isaac upon the eighth day when it was impossible that Isaac could have faith. Why, then, though faith be required of an adult for his baptism, may we not baptize the infant of a believer, just as Abraham circumcised Isaac, being eight days old?

2. Again, the view which I have brought out concerning the promised seed, sets vividly before us the ultimate number of the saved. Abraham was to be the father of many nations, and to have a seed as the dust of the earth, or as the stars of heaven innumerable — and that, as we have seen, refers not to the Jewish nations, but to the seed of believers.

3. Finally, we have brought out into distinct relief by this view of the promised seed, the character of the saved. Abraham "is the father of all them that believe," but this faith is inseparably connected with a spiritual birth-a birth resulting not from the operation of natural causes, but from the agency of the Holy Ghost. Now see how plainly that is foreshadowed tin the birth of Isaac as contrasted with that of Ishmael. Ishmael's birth was of the flesh, but that of Isaac was in fulfilment of promise. It was really supernatural, it was a divine gift; and one great reason for the long delay was just that this might be made apparent. Isaac thus stands for those who are "born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."Let me conclude by giving in plainest language what I judge to be for us now the spiritual truths suggested by this old history.

1. In the first place, the Deliverer for whom Abraham looked, whose actual coming in the future was made sure to him by the birth of Isaac, and whose day he saw afar off and was glad, has appeared among men. By a yet more striking miracle than that which issued in the birth of Isaac, "The Word who was God was made flesh and dwelt among us."

2. Secondly, we learn from this old history, that in connection with the exercise of this faith, we must be supernaturally born, in order to enjoy the full blessings of salvation.

3. Finally, there is no inheritance without spiritual sonship. Ishmael who was born of the flesh, was cast out. Isaac who was born of the promise was the heir — the promised land belongs to the promised seed. "If children, then heirs."

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

WEB: The child grew, and was weaned. Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

The Rejoicing of Isaac's Birth
Top of Page
Top of Page