FYI, Pesach is this month on the 18th, that is the the 14th of Aviv at twilight (e.g., Leviticus 23:4-8). (This is not the same as the pagan holiday, Easter, which some churches celebrate in its stead. This feast was prophetic of the Yeshua’s first coming and can be celebrated in memory of the sacrifice that He made for us.)
Ishmael and Isaac
It is interesting to note that Jews (Genesis 21) and Muslims (Genesis 16) are children of a common ancestor, Avraham, and Christians are spiritual children of Avraham (Galatians 3:6-14) and Yisra’el (Romans 11:17-25). Galatians 4:21-31 talks about the present state of affairs, which is really a spiritual conflict with roots that go back thousands of years. Consider how we arrived at this point in time.
Avram was promised a son by Yahweh and a particular piece of land for his descendants (Genesis 15). Sarai, his wife, asked him to take her maid (Hagar) and attempt to bring children into their family through Hagar (Genesis 16). Like Adam with Eve, Avram listened to his wife apparently over the Word of God and impregnated Hagar. God’s Word states that once Hagar had conceived that she forgot her place and apparently no longer submitted herself to Sarai’s authority. However, when Sarai brought the situation to Avram’s attention, Avram affirmed Sarai’s authority over Hagar.
Then Sarai harshly asserted her authority over Hagar, and Hagar fled. After she fled, Yahwah’s mal’aḵ (angel) met Hagar, instructed her to return and submit to Sarai and prophesied about Yishma’el. Hagar acknowledged Yahweh as God, did as He instructed her to do and bore Avram’s son, Yishma’el.
Later, God again prophesied about the Child of Promise who He would give to Avram through Sarai, his wife, and God renamed Avram to Avraham and Sarai to Sara (Genesis 17). God delivered on His promise to Avraham and gave him Yitschak through Sara (Genesis 21).
One day, Sara found Yishma’el mocking at Yitschak, which prompted her to request Avraham to expel Hagar and Yishma’el from the family. This request was obviously displeasing to Avraham, as it would be to any father who loves his son. However, God affirmed Sara’s request to Avraham, and He reaffirmed the fact that Avraham’s descendants would be named through Yitschak.
Thus, Avraham obeyed God and sent Hagar and Yishma’el away with virtually nothing (apparently into a harsh, desert environment). However, God took care of Hagar and Yishma’el, and he (through his descendants) became a great nation, as God had promised to Hagar before his birth.
Today, it is interesting to talk with Muslim’s about their culture, beliefs and practices. For example, in Islam, the mother appears to be esteemed above the father. One can (most probably correctly) assume that it is because Avraham put out Yishma’el and was left with his mother (and, oh yeah, the God of Avraham) to take care of him. Furthermore, the descendants of Yishma’el have a strong, irrational hatred of the descendants of Yitschak, and the descendants of Yishma’el clearly articulate their desire to see their relatives (the descendants of Yitschak — that is, the Nation of Israel) destroyed.
However, from what I have been able to discern, Israel is beyond patient in its dealings with those (descendants of Yishma’el) who seek their destruction. Perhaps this is due to some innate sympathy for their distant relatives or some of the Light of God reflecting off from them onto the world. (The Salvation of the world, including that of Yishma’el and his descendants, did come through the Nation of Israel, after all.)
Furthermore, from what I can discern from Ezekiel 37 and 38, Israel will (most probably in the very near future) live in peace and safety, and then, after some time, it will be attacked by the nations of the world, but, strangely enough, that final coalition of nations may not include some of the current enemies of Israel (although, that is debatable). Most notably, this coalition does not seem to include Egypt (from where Hagar and Yishma’el wife both came). Furthermore, Isaiah 19:24-25 prophesies a day when Egypt, Assyria and Israel will be one in Yahweh. (Although Daniel 11:43 seems to indicate that Egypt will come under the power of the antichrist; so, the spiritual union between Israel and Egypt may take place in the Millennium.) So, clearly, God’s Salvation (that is, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach) will eventually received by remnants of all of Avraham’s descendants.
BTW, from what I can discern, the Quran is a badly corrupted version of the Christian Bible (i.e., Word of Yahweh Elohim), and it even affirms the validity of the Bible — e.g., Sura 2:40-41 (Mishari-Rashid), Sura 2:40-41 (Hilali-Khan), Sura 2:136 (Mishari-Rashid), Sura 2:136 (Hilali-Khan), etc., etc. Actually, after studying so many false religions, I came to realize various “slivers” of similarity between most of them.
First, most (perhaps all) false religions appear to have enough of the Truth to allow one of their practitioners to realize the Truth and, thus, turn and repent and receive the One, True God — the God of Avraham, Yitschak and Yisra’el; He is, Yahweh. This is key, I believe, since if they contained nothing but lies, their practitioners might be able to claim, when they stand before Yahweh, that they had been completely deceived (i.e., had no knowledge of the True Word of God). However, the devil’s fate of torment in hellfire (which was designed for him and those other angels who followed him) is already sealed, and if my supposition that he obtains some amount of satisfaction from the knowledge that he will not be suffering there alone is true, then it is most certainly his desire to disable those who choose to receive his lies from having a defense before God. Thus, he leaves the obvious Way to God right clearly displayed in damnable texts of his deceitful doctrines.
For example, it is possible for a Jehovah’s Witness to realize that Yeshua (Jesus) and Jehovah (Yahweh) are one by critically considering what is written in their New World Translation of the “Bible.” One of many such proofs include comparing John 12:41 (which talks about the fact that Isaiah had observed Yeshua’s glory) and Isaiah 6 (which describes the same observance but being of Jehovah’s glory). Also, two Hindu mantras teach that one should worship the one with five wounds and He who walks on water. (Yeshua clearly fits both of those descriptions.) Similarly, the Quran says that the Bible is the Word of God (see above). Thus, anyone of the followers of any of these traditions who is truly interested in knowing and obeying the Truth already has been given the Way, but they have to be willing to set aside their preconceived notions and accept it.
Second, most (perhaps all) false religions incorporate the concept of “good works” to obtain salvation. Christianity (i.e., Judaism which recognizes Yeshua as the Ha’Mashiach) appears to be truly unique in that our God (that is, the One and Only God) accepts us for who we are (that is, who we are when we receive Him as the Master of our lives), and He made the Way for us to become acceptable to Him (that is Yeshua’s sacrifice for the sins of all of those who ever have lived and ever will live).
Here are the names of the various historical figures mentioned, above:
- Abram (Avram, אַבְרָם) means, “exalted father.”
- Abraham (Avraham, אַבְרָהָם) means, “father of a multitude.”
- Sarai (Saray, שָׂרַי) means, “princess.”
- Sarah (Sara, שָׂרָה) means, “noblewoman.”
- Hagar (הָגָר) means, “flight.”
- Ishmael (Yishmael, Yishma’el, ישמעאל) means, “God hears,” “God hears me,” “God will hear,” or, more literally, something like, “God sees me destroy/consume the nations,” (Genesis 16:11-13).
- Isaac (Yitschak, יִצְחָק) is related to the verb laugh (לצחוק), and probably means laughter. (After all, Abraham laughed when God told him about the coming birth of Yitschak — Genesis 17:17 — and Yitschak brought much laughter to Sarah — Genesis 21:6.)
- Israel (Yisrael, Yisra’el, יִשְׂרָאֵל) is the son of Yitschak, and his name means to wrestle with God, because he wrestled with God and God appears to have let him “win” (Genesis 32:24-32). As one studies the interactions of the Nation of Yisrael with God, the name given to us by God seems to be most appropriate.
God bless, and shalom,
Darwin and Ani Airola