14: Genesis 26:2-5


COPYRIGHT WARNING

365 Prophecies: Prophecy 14

As the Lord promised Abraham, He continues his promise to his son Isaac, that the Messiah shall come from his line.

Old Testament Prediction:

Genesis 26:2-5 “Then the LORD appeared to Isaac and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

Application:

Faith is a gift that keeps on giving. As Abraham trusted in the Lord, so also does his son Isaac. The promises that God made to Abraham were intended to bless every generation that came after Isaac—those who would also believe what God has said.

In this 14th Old Testament prophecy, the Lord continues His promise and prediction that Isaac will be the line through which the Lord will bring the Messiah into the world.

Why does God repeat His promise to Isaac that He first made to Abraham?

What the Lord began in Abraham—He continues in Isaac, and to every person after who trust Him. The reason that this promise is repeated again to Isaac is so that we might understand—what God pledged from the first prophecy of the Bible in Genesis 3:15, eternal life through the Messiah, He intended that this guarantee would be available to all people—for all time. God imparts the complete forgiveness of all sins, and eternal life, to those who believe what He has said. He said that eternal life is found in His Son, and no other.

1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The saving faith that designated Abraham as “righteous” before God, continues in his son Isaac. The promises of Salvation by faith continues through every generation of people who believe that Jesus death and resurrection is the basis for their salvation.

The purpose of all the Old Testament prophecies, is to build faith in us. Line upon line, verse upon verse, a pattern of promises that we can base our life upon. When we come to the New Testament and read the testimony of those who wrote concerning the events surrounding Jesus Christ, we see that each of these Old Testament predictions are fulfilled in His birth, life, death, and resurrection. When God makes a promise, men may either believe what He has said and trust Him, or they can reject Him and walk away. For those who believe, and live their lives for Jesus, they are acceptable to God based on their trust. Salvation is really just that simple.

I have often heard it said by people who have read or studied a doctrine or particular verse in the Bible, “I have heard this before.”

If it was necessary to read the Bible only once, if we could grasp everything that we read the first time—then a single reading would be sufficient. What is often not considered is the fact that the Bible is not a book of single dimension. Amongst the pages of scripture are the eternal words of God—which have infinite application. Even after a lifetime of studying the Bible, there is always something new to be gleaned from every verse of the Scriptures, regardless of how many times we read it. After studying and teaching the Bible for nearly 38 years, during every occasion in which I read a verse of scripture again, a new insight and depth of God is gained.

The reason that this is true, is that the Bible is not simply a book penned by men, it is the work of the Holy Spirit of God who is eternal. Therefore, the words in the Bible are eternal and have multi dimensions that can never be fully grasped without diligent study. It appears that even in eternity, we will continue to study, learn, and grow in our knowledge of God’s word. In the book of Micah, the prophet describes the fact that during the one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ over the earth, all the nations will go to Jerusalem to hear the word of God, as Jesus will teach us the height, depth, and width of all God’s word.

Micah 4:2 Many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

When Paul and Peter wrote many of their letters to the churches described by the New Testament, they would often refer to the fact that those whom they were speaking, already knew what they were writing. The intent of Paul’s repetition of these principles, was made necessary by our need to hear these essentials repeated over and over again. By the repetition of these fundamentals which I have written in this book, many readers will no doubt feel as if they have heard them before. The truth is that every time we read or hear, if we are expecting the Lord to reveal a deeper meaning to us, He will open our eyes and heart to realities—unknown to us previously.

2 Timothy 1:6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…

2Peter 3:1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder)

Think of coming to a particular study as if you were about to attend a great banquet where there will be amazing and wonderful food to eat. Knowing that the food was going to be great in variety, and the certainty of plenty, you would pick up two plates and ask that they both be filled to their capacity. When something is good, we want as much of it as we can get. It is very much the same when we come to read our Bible, or study these 365 prophecies of the Old Testament. If we have prayed before we open our Bible or a particular Bible study, and have asked the Lord to fill up our plate with everything that He wants to give us, then by our anticipation and desire, He will overflow our hearts and minds with much more that we ever expected.

If on the other hand, we are casually reading with no fervent desire to know God more and have a deeper relationship with Him, we will not see the depth within the verses which the Lord has intended for us. Equally important—we do not study so that we can learn more about the Bible, but that we would desire to know who God truly is, by our personal time in the study of His word.

Our goal is not to know the Word of God, but to know the God of the Word.

We can read something a hundred times, but when we have adequately prepared our heart beforehand to receive something new from the Lord, on that one hundred and first occasion, we will come away from our time with the Lord with greater revelation to our heart and mind, than any time before. Even something as basic as the principles of our salvation, can come alive with greater clarity, if we just pray first and ask the Lord to show us what He wants us to see.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Although this 14th prophecy might appear insignificant, when we get to the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, we will understand just how important this promise that God made to Isaac is.

Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

Isaac was the intended recipient of Abraham’s faith up on the mountain. Isaac was the beneficiary of his father’s trust in God. It is in the seed of Isaac that all of us find our greatest blessing. The promise of God to Isaac in Genesis 26:4 was that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven. There is a subtle hint when the Lord told Abraham to number the stars, that is often missed. Many, including myself, who spend their lives studying the Bible, see that there is much more here in Genesis 15:5, than the Lord simply instructing Abraham to try and count stars. Counting stars could not save anyone. All people, for all time, are saved in the exact same way; by believing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Either by looking forward from the Old Testament to the coming of the Messiah, or in looking back from the New Testament to the arrival of the Messiah, we are all saved in the same way. The Gospel is taught in the Old Testament, by this verse here in Genesis 15:5 as one of the first places in the Bible where the plan of salvation is revealed.

In the Hebrew language that Genesis 15:5 was originally written, it may be that God is asking Abraham to recount the number of the stars, or tell the story of the stars. God created the stars to speak forth a message that there is one God who made all that we can see, and that He has an eternal plan for the salvation of all people.

Genesis 15:5 Then the LORD brought Abraham outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count (number or tell the story of) the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

The words count, tell, and number are all english words that can be translated from the Hebrew word sephar, which means: to mark, to list in sequence, to make a role call or to tell a story.

It is possible that the Lord is asking Abraham to list the stars in the sequence that they appear as twelve individual constellations which can be seen each month, during the twelve months of the year, and describe the story that is understood in their names. David in writing Psalm 147, said that when God counts the number of the stars, He calls them all by name.

Psalm 147:4 “He counts the number of the stars; he calls them all by name.”

It is interesting that the language of Psalm 147:4, is almost identical to that of Genesis 15:5: Count the stars if you are able to number them…

The names for all of the stars in the universe, were given by God. He named each star, and each name has a particular meaning.[1]

The following list contains the familiar secular names for each of the twelve constellations, then the name given to each constellation by God, and third, the meaning of each of these names—as intended by God:

1. Virgo-Bethulah-Virgin, seed of a woman.
2. Libra-Mozanaiun-Man insuffiecient, unable to pay the price.
3. Scorpio-Akrab-The Dragon underfoot, seeking to destroy.
4. Sagittarius-Kesith-One with two natures (God/man), conquering.
5. Capricorn-Gedi-The Lamb’s Atonement for the Redeemed.
6. Aquarius-Deli-Living Water poured on the redeemed.
7. Pisces-Dagim-The Redeemed blessed, though earth bound.
8. Aries-Taleh-The Lamb that was slain.
9. Taurus-Shur,Reem-The Messiah coming to rule.
10. Gemini-Thaumim-The two natures of the King, God and man.
11. Cancer-Al Sartan-The Possession (Church) held fast
12. Leo-Arieh-The Lion destroying the serpent.

The authenticity for whether the names of these stars are actually defined in this manner, is still under debate. There are many credible scholars who believe that the names for these stars, handed down in the oral tradition, are absolutely reliable. There are also many who do not hold this view, although their opinions seem to me, to originate from a bias that they could not be reliable, instead of examining the evidence of history and allowing the facts to dictate opinions and conclusions.

The ancient world which did not have the ability to write, publish, and distribute materials to the masses, relied on the oral tradition. More than the telling of stories, the oral tradition was a major part of education and viewed as essential to conveying the facts of history—which required preservation. In the Hebrew oral tradition, teachers memorized entire books, by simply listening to them being spoken over and over. Students were taught to memorize everything that their teachers said or taught. When accounts of what God had said were being revealed, students memorized these accounts word for word, and were then tested for accuracy by recounting what they had learned—back to their teachers. In this early world before the distribution of books, this was considered the greatest and most important part of their life as followers of God. Because of their high regard for the oral tradition used by those who memorized the words of God, we have great confidence today that what is written in the Old Testament scriptures are absolutely reliable and are an accurate account of the true words of God.[2]

It is well understood today that oral tradition held a very high degree of authenticity and reliability also in the early days of the Christian church. Because of the high regard for oral traditions handed down to the writers of the New Testament, the Gospel accounts of Jesus are considered today, absolutely reliable and credible accounts of the actual events which took place in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.[3]

For this reason, the telling of the story of God’s redemption was widely known in the ancient world, by these accurate oral traditions. It is reasonable that what God was requesting of Abraham—to speak what he remembered of this oral tradition—describing God’s redemption, is observed by His request to recount the number of the stars if you are able to number them.

The fact remains that the Lord did not convey to Abraham, righteousness simply because he looked up and counted the stars and then believed that God would make His descendants just an numerous, so that they could not be counted. There is an implied message that some kind of story existed in the recounting of these stars that both Abraham and God were aware of, which originated from some past oral tradition.

If God was asking Abraham to recount the story that is seen in the names that He gave each of the twelve constellations, He would be telling the Christian Gospel:

A virgin will conceived, Man is insufficient by his sin, A dragon seeking to destroy man, One with two natures of both God and Man will come to conquer the dragon, The Lamb will die for those insufficient by redeeming them, Living water-the Holy Spirit is poured out on the redeemed, The Redeemed are blessed although they are still bound in mortality and sin, The Lamb that was slain paid the price for their sins, The Lamb is the Messiah who will rule the universe, The Messiah will be both God and man, The church will be the Messiah’s eternal possession, The Lion of the tribe of Judah will destroy the devil forever.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is accurately told in recounting the meaning of each name that God gave to the twelve constellations. The secular name that is listed first, is insignificant and not important to the designation of God—by which He called each constellation. These secular names were given to the twelve constellations by man, and have a satanic origin. The importance is in the Hebrew names that God gave the twelve constellations, and what each of these names mean.

Abraham understood the Christian Gospel of redemption for the sin of man, long before Jesus arrived. This narrative in the names of the twelve constellations was well known—from the time of Adam, being recounted by each generation.

Jesus told the Pharisees that Abraham saw His day, and he was glad…

John 8:56-58 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

When did Abraham see Jesus day, and by what means? It is certainly reasonable that this account of Genesis 15:5, when God asked Abraham to recount the names of the stars, as well as the time when Melchizedek came out to meet Abraham as the Priest of God—fulfills this timeline described by Jesus. Many Bible teachers such as myself, believe that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ as He appeared in the Old Testament. If Genesis 15:5 can be attributed to John 8:56-58; Abraham rejoiced to see me day and he saw it, then it is certainly possible that the One speaking to Abraham in this verse of Genesis; Look now toward heaven, and count (number or tell the story of) the stars if you are able… was also the pre-incarnate Jesus speaking to Abraham.

What Abraham believed, and then conveyed to his son Isaac, has been passed down to all of us. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, according to the Old Testament Prophecies, and rose from the dead, according to those prophecies, then we have eternal life. This book is the record of these events, with their New Testament Fulfillment.

If you are living and trusting in Jesus Christ today as your Lord and Savior, then you are one of those included in the descendants of Abraham and Isaac. You might not be a Jew. You may not be able to trace your ancestry back to Abraham. If however, you have the same reliance upon what God said concerning salvation and eternal life, that Abraham believed, then you are grafted into the line and lineage of Abraham.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

Someday, when we all arrive in heaven and all the trials and burdens of this life are over, we will be gathered together into one family, as those who have lived their lives by faith. The number of us will be so great, we will be as the stars of heaven, too great to number.


NOTES:
[1] The Witness of the Stars, E.W. Bulinger, 1895, ISBN: 1614270783
[2] Rediscovering the Traditions of Israel by Douglas A. Knight 1973. Semeia (1976a), The Hebrew Bible and Its Modern Interpreters (1984) An encyclopedia on oral tradition by Robert E. Coote in 1976 Leander E. Keck, “Oral Traditional Literature and the Gospels: The Seminar” (1978). Werner Kelber’s work (1979, 1983) Güttgemanns (1979, original German 1971)
[3] Gerhadsson, B. (1998). Memory and Manuscript: Oral Tradition and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity with Tradition aand Transmission in Early Christianity Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co

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