It all started with a similitude of something extremely important to come: a mysterious work of sacrifice that God Himself would someday perform in the world. Abraham received a command from the Holy Creator unlike any other written in the Scriptures, and his faith and obedience- even while devastated and lacking comprehension of his Lord’s transcendent purpose- set the highest standard of devotion to God for all who would follow in his steps and learn to trust in the universal King.
Abraham’s heart must have skipped a beat at such an evil demand from his loving and just God- the same Elohim whom had repeatedly given him favor over the years with promises of eternal blessings through his lineage. Yet, as Abraham learned, and we shall see, God has purposes to perform that are oftentimes outside of our immediate comprehension. Evil was not the intention except to confess the evil that God would allow to come upon His own beloved Son, Yeshua haMashiach, for the salvation of those who are called and believe. Abraham sacrificing his only son on Mt. Moriah, or at least going through the motions of it, was a sign. Mt. Moriah is the hill of Jerusalem where King Solomon built the Temple of God for sacrifices; the story of Isaac foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice at the same location approximately two millenniums later.
We mortals grieve at injustices in our lives, for we look at the smaller pictures of God’s panoramic work, but in the Divine view even evil things serve a larger purpose of revealing love, grace, and glory. God had previously promised Abraham that his “Seed,” meaning Christ coming from Jews, would be a blessing for many nations, bringing them into the ancient faith, so it was necessary that God also orchestrate a prophetic similitude of this through his command of Abraham taking his only, beloved son to sacrifice him. And, God did not mistakenly say “thine only son,” although Ishmael was alive, for the Divine inheritance comes through the will of God rather than by the flesh.
So the child [promised son, Isaac] grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, who she had borne to Abraham, scoffing [laughing, mocking, ridiculing]. Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” (Gen. 21:8-10) NKJV; intrpl. mine
Abraham had recently cast out the bondwoman Hagar and her son Ishmael at the demand of Sarah, and God gave her insistence His blessing in disinheriting the unruly boy, with the blessings of the covenant given to his younger son, Isaac. For most Bible readers, this event seems cruel, that Sarah and God would command Abraham to send Ishmael away, but God can see what the future holds. Ishmael was a barbaric, violent child who would grow to mock and torment the family, specifically in resentment of the promise of God’s blessing through Isaac.
Indeed, Ishmael should never have been born, from a biblical perspective, but he came via a lapse in faith on Sarah’s part- her thinking that God would not bless her with a child in her old age. Likewise, many people find it cruel for Bible-believers to demand that unruly Muslims be cast out of Christian nations. They were invited in by progressive leaders to compensate for the low birth rates in Western nations. Nevertheless, their vision in also shortsighted, and they bring mockery on Christ and terrorism to their own national families. They have no faith in God, and so they’ve sought to socially engineer an alternative to ensure a larger workforce, to increase economic growth for their national houses.
After this, and God miraculously providing water for Ishmael (Gen. 21:19), Scripture informs us that he matured into a man and prospered in the land of Paran. Then, the Text immediately proceeds to inform us of an argument between Abraham and the Philistine Abimelech involving the captain of Abimelech’s army, Phichol. Abraham and the Philistines (from which we have the name “Palestinians”) had sought to dwell peacefully together, yet some of Abimelech’s servants violently seized a crucial piece of property with a watering well that belonged to Abraham, unbeknownst to their master. Responding to this act of treachery, Abraham confronted Abimelech, and Abimelech pleaded his innocence via absence of knowledge and consent.
Thus, the two of them resolved the trying situation in accordance with the ancient custom of tribes people, which was to make a covenant with witnesses. Abraham sacrificed seven consecrated lambs as a testimony between himself and Abimelech that the well, which sustained his flock and likely his family’s survival, belonged to Abraham and his household. Likewise, the disinheritance of Ishmael was prophetic of the Palestinians and Muslims not having a part in Christ’s waters of the Word and the Household of Salvation. Only those who depend upon God for their water will be shown mercy. (NB: To this day Muslims claim their inheritance of the Holy Land through Ishmael rather than Isaac, for the false prophet Mohammad claimed his lineage through Ishmael.)
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham…For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus [Yeshua HaMashiach]. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ [His sacrifice] have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs to the promise. (Gal. 3:7, 26-29) KJV; intrpl. mine
Paul, who was an Israelite, as were probably all the first apostles, was not saying that Jews who keep the Law will be disinherited, for he himself kept the biblical ordinances and statutes; what he was indicating is that the Law alone, and the fleshly inheritance alone, can only draw us near to the higher things of God.
Those who inherit the Kingdom with Messiah, the Kingdom coming from God, have faith in the Word and New Covenant given by God (see Jer. 33:21-34). The ordinances of the Law are dead if they are done in ignorance of what they actually profess, for they are shadows of the Substance we have in Christ. They confess Him, but if He whom they confess is denied and mocked, as was the promised son Isaac by Ishmael, the witnessing shadows are of no effect for the ones who carry them out; they cannot save. The works must be met by faith and understanding, and then it becomes a sacrifice acceptable to God. If we deny the sacrificial Lamb, as with the seven lambs of Abraham’s covenant, we cannot drink from the saving waters of Beersheba, meaning well of covenant/oath. Covenants cut both ways.
We often think of the appointed feasts, delivered by Moses from God, as the prime example of the faithful Israelites following the letter of the Word of God, but the truth is that the ordinances could not be fully kept in the wilderness, where they lived on manna for forty years, for they were centered upon harvests of the Promised Land, and it was only after Yehoshua (a.k.a. Yeshua, Jesus) led them in that they were able to fully keep them.
Only after entering the Promised Land did they have the substance of the harvest that they would present before God. Nor did the Israelites keep the covenant of circumcision in the wilderness (see Josh. 5:4-5), but Joshua had them fully keep it at the entrance of the awaited Promised Land- their promised kingdom to come. Likewise, the things we do now are not fully done according to the Law, for we are not able to perfectly keep them in the wilderness of the world, but when Messiah comes, the shadows will be fully performed at the Temple to witness to Him and the panoramic works of God that profess His means of salvation.