English blog

God’s high five

19-10-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

… inasmuch as hearken did Abraham, your father, to My voice and kept My charge, My instructions. My statutes, and My laws. Genesis 26:5

anachronism In response to the previous blog in which I, based on Galatians 3, showed that the giving of the law, at Mt. Sinai, took place four hundred thirty years after the covenant promise was made to Abraham, I got a question about the above verse in Genesis 26. Is in this passage not said to Isaac that the law, the commandments and statutes have certainly been known to Abraham? Indeed, that’s right. But… do not make the mistake of filling in Genesis 26:5 with a meaning that it would not receive until centuries later. Such a mistake, is called an anachronism. Imagine a teenager, reading a book from 1900 about a meal that was warmed-up and from that assume that they already had microwaves. Such a conclusion is an anachronism: it completes a word with a meaning that it could not have at that time. GOD’s obligations Since the days of Moses, the words “commandments”, “statutes” and “laws” obtained for Israel a specific meaning. It was linked to the legislation and the Sinai-covenant. But in Abraham’s day, more than four centuries earlier, was all of this still out of the question. God had sworn an oath to Abraham (26:3). Unilaterally, all obligations (= commandments, statutes and laws) were to be GOD’s (26:4). Abraham had listened and he believed God. He took into account what God had promised and would fulfill (cp. Rom.4:20). five That Genesis 26:5, indeed, is focusing on GOD’S promise(s), is illustrated by the fact that God’s words in FIVE different ways are named: 1. my voice 2. my service 3. my commandments 4. my statutes 5. my laws. FIVE marks the number of GOD’S promises to Abraham. Both Abram as well as Sarai were given with the promise, also “the FIVE” of God: to both their names, the fifth letter (‘hé’) was added. Abram became AbraHam (Gen.17:5) and Sarai became SaraH (Gen.17:15). When, at an earlier occasion, God established His covenant with Abram and took upon Himself all the obligations, unilaterally, He demonstrated this by FIVE slain animals (Gen.15:9). And while Abraham slept, GOD spoke His promise (Gen.15: 12,13)… ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema

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