How often in our church circles do we hear reference to Abraham as a Jew. It’s wrong of course, but it seems only those of us who have been blessed with knowledge of our identity realize it, despite no mention of his being a Jew being found anywhere in the Bible. The phrase came up again recently in my church and it prompted me to write this article.
How should we refer to him? As a Hebrew? Patriarch? Or Observer of the Law? Faithful? Friend of God? I suppose all of these would be appropriate, but I prefer to call him “Christian.” Let me explain.
After Abraham defeated the five kings under the leadership of King Chedorlaomer, he came to Salem to meet the high Priest. Logically, he would do so to give thanks for the victory that God had given him. Quoting Genesis 14: 18 – 20, “And Melchizedek King of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. And he blessed the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”
Clearly, Christ Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Communion, the Eucharist. “This do, as oft as ye eat, in remembrance of me” But when did he do so? At the last supper? Yes, as recorded in the gospels, but to me it is obvious that the high priest Melchizedek was aware of the coming sacrifice and presented the emblems to Abram when he came to worship God and do his tithing. But perhaps there is a second witness, a confirmation that would secure this thesis, such as the words of Jesus in John 8: 56, “Your father Abraham rejoiced-to see my day; and he saw it and was glad”.
Still, what about the other great men of the Bible? Were they Christians also? Again, quoting Jesus, St. Luke 24; 27, “And beginning at Moses and ALL the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Of course, this occurred when Jesus walked with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. Can you write about Jesus and His mighty works without believing? No! All of the prophets declared Jesus’ mighty works before they were achieved, being counselled by the Spirit. They were believers!
So, what does all this mean? Well, for one thing, we speak regularly of the Judeo-Christian religion and it is widely thought that the Christian religion grew out of the Jewish faith, the Torah and the Prophets. Yet, this is not so and the name “Judeo-Christian is a misnomer. Any Christian who gives this any thought at all can but come to this conclusion. Certainly, our Jewish friends know this.
In any event, Christ gave the law to Moses on mount Sinai and as you will recall, presented Himself before the 70 elders with Moses. Over time, the Christian religion was changed by introducing and adopting writings of the rabbis. It was this evolved form of religion that was condemned by Jesus when He declared that they had made the law of Moses of no effect! St. Matthew 15: 6 & 9 “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
We all value the scriptures as the Word of God. The Word made flesh was Jesus. Jesus was the messenger from heaven throughout the Old Testament and there are many studies that demonstrate this. Christ occupies the Scriptures from the first words of Genesis to the last words of Revelation. Let us look as just three examples: Moses, Deut 34: 10 “And there came not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses whom the Lord knew face to face;” Joshua 5 : 14 “And he said, Nay but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and DID WORSHIP, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant;” and Judges 6: 22 & 23, And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, “Alas , 0 Lord God! I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; Fear not; thou shalt not die.” These men had seen Christ, the messenger of God, and, being believers, were Christians, although that term had not been used at that time.
Frankly, at a time when the forces of evil are striving to obliterate the words “Jesus Christ” from use or exposure in any context, including public religious ceremony, we must resist! Friends, we can’t take this lightly as it is a enormous responsibility of every Christian. I firmly believe that resistance must involve a change in our thinking. For example, we cannot simply echo the term “Judeo-Christian faith, despite its popularity. Our Jewish friends certainly do not use this term to any great extent, after all they know Christianity is based on Christ, His Resurrection and His Divinity. From the very beginning they have rejected Him and have no desire to change, whatever we think. No, there is a Christian faith, we should be very proud to keep it separate and always acknowledge that its development is recorded in ALL the pages of the holy book, the Bible.
I encourage you to begin the resistance by proudly stating, with perfect conviction, “Abraham was a Christian!”