Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, God made a covenant with Abram
Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 17:2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
The name of Abram is changed to Abraham; and he is promised millions of descendants: Abraham is now promised to become the father of many NATIONS!
17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 17:4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 17:6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
Then God covenants to be the God of Abraham and his descendants.
17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
God promises to give Abraham the land of Canaan through Isaac.
17:8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
There are two sides to any agreement and Abraham and his descendants are pledged to obey and live by every Word of God; and to circumcise all their males, as the sign of this covenant with God.
Physical circumcision is a type of the spiritual circumcision of the heart, which is a removal of the barrier between us and God through sincere repentance from all past sin and a dedicated commitment to live by every Word of God and to go and sin no more.
Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
God’s people are commanded by this covenant with God and again in the law given to Israel to circumcise all males on the eighth day of life, and that commandment is still binding as a physical lesson and reminding sign that we are to also become circumcised in heart.
In the millennium no uncircumcised person may enter the Ezekiel Temple [or the spiritual Family of] God.
Ezekiel 44:9 Thus saith the Lord God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.
Paul said that adults who are already circumcised in heart, need not go through the physical operation in this dispensation; but our children are not converted and circumcised in heart and we are still to obey the command regarding our children in the hope that they also may become circumcised in spirit.
Genesis 17:9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 17:12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 17:13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant [the sign of circumcision] shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Sarai means “argumentative”; and her name was changed to Sarah, meaning “exalted” or “princess” when God exalted her from barrenness to become the mother of many nations and kings.
17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Abraham is quickly taught that nothing is impossible with God.
17:17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac [laughter]: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Ishmael would be greatly blessed, but Isaac will be the inheritor of the promise to Abraham.
17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
As soon as God left off speaking Abraham obeyed God and circumcised everyone in his household; and to this day the sons of Hagar and of Judah circumcise their male children.
17:22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
17:23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. 17:24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 17:25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
17:26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 17:27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
Genesis 18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him [Abraham] in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
Then the one who later became Jesus Christ came to visit Abraham with two others, and Abraham offered his hospitality; perhaps recognizing the man as the Melchizedek he knew.
18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 18:3 And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 18:5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
18:6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 18:7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
Here I would like to point out to our Rabbinic friends that they did indeed eat milk and butter with their meat through their father Abraham; and the Eternal did likewise. Now the law was later to say that one might not simmer a kid in its own mother’s milk which was a Canaanite fertility rite; this law has nothing to do with the eating of milk products and meat together.
18:8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
God then reiterates his promise to Abraham that Sarah will have a son saying that in the fulfillment of her time [pregnancy in 9 Roman months and ten days; or ten lunar months] she would bear a son.
18:9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.
The natural child bearing years of Sarah had passed and God had allowed that to come so that the power of God could be revealed to them and to us; and that if we trust in God’s promises and keep his Word physically and spiritually we will inherit all of his promises in his good time.
18:10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
Then God knew what Sarah was thinking and asked right out; why she did not believe the promises of God.
18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Sarah was afraid and ashamed and denied, but God also knows us and all our very thoughts.
18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
They then rose and took the way to Sodom, and Abraham went with them a short way to see them off.
18:16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
Abraham diligently taught his children to live by every Word of God just as we should also do, for it is the keepers of the whole Word of God who may enter the Promised Land of eternal life.
18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Melchizedek goes towards Sodom to see if it is as evil as the reports and he is prepared to destroy that city as an example for us; that all those who depart from the Word of God, if they remain unrepentant will likewise perish in the final lake of fire.
God made an object lesson out of those people, but they will be raised up in the main harvest and they will have their chance at eternal life.
God has this to say about Jerusalem which is a type of Judah, and spiritual Judah the later day Ekklesia. Our sins are greater than Sodom’s sin for we are supposed to know better. Physical Judah had the Mosaic Covenant, and Spiritual Judah has the Holy Spirit of God; Sodom had neither.
The sin of Sodom was PRIDE which caused them to do as they pleased instead of living by every Word of God; and today’s Ekklesia is also filled with PRIDE which has caused us to turn from any zeal to live by every Word of God to do as we decide for ourselves.
Ezekiel 16:48 As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.
16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 16:50 And they were haughty [proud], and committed abomination [all compromise with the Word of God is an abomination] before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
Genesis 18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry [reports about] of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 18:21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry [reports about] of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
When these “men” told Abraham of their intention to destroy Sodom and then went towards Sodom, Abraham lingered and then drew near to them to ask about destroying the righteous with the wicked.
Surely Abraham was concerned about ANY possible righteous person in Sodom, but he must have also been very concerned about his nephew righteous Lot and Lot’s family.
18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
Abraham begins by asking about fifty righteous being destroyed along with the wicked.
18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 18:26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
Abraham then begins to bargain and keeps changing the figures.
18:27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD, which am but dust and ashes: 18:28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 18:29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.
18:30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 18:31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. 18:32 And he said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
Melchizedek the God who later gave up his Godhood to become flesh as Jesus Christ, agrees to save the city if only ten are found righteous and then proceeds on his way.
18:33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
Abraham was bargaining for the entire city, that if even ten righteous persons were found there the WHOLE CITY would be spared. God did not find ten righteous men in Sodom and therefore removed the righteous out of the city before destroying the wicked.
Strangely the Ekklesia of today would declare that removing the faithful so that the wicked can be corrected is causing division in the church! They would accuse God of dividing their corporate church groups when it is they who have divided the people from GOD!
I will not lie to anyone, this work, by calling the brethren to a zeal for God and his Word and calling people to a sincere dedication to full spiritual unity with God; IS dividing the idolaters who exalt men and corporate entities above the Word of God from those faithful who stand unshakable on the solid foundation of the whole Word of God [which is the righteousness of God].
Those who are zealous to live by every Word of God are being separated out from lukewarm spiritually indolent Laodicea, so that the unrepentant of Laodicea [spiritual Sodom] might be corrected in tribulation.
The lesson is that; just as God delivered righteous Lot out of the city and Sodom was totally destroyed by fire from heaven; those who live by faith and by every Word of God will also be separated out from those who lack any zeal to learn and to live by every Word of God; before he corrects today’s idolatrous Ekklesia in the affliction of great tribulation!