Genesis 12:3 – “…I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
While Moses is the towering author in the Old Testament, including the book of Genesis, Paul is the towering author in the New Testament. He gives us at least 13 of the 27 New Testament books (he may have also written Hebrews), is the focus of much of the ministry in Acts 13-28, and is a pastor to Luke, who writes Luke and Acts. Paul is widely considered one of the most important thinkers and leaders in world history, and the one largely responsible for bringing Gentiles into relationship with the God of Abraham. Growing up, Paul meticulously studied the book of Genesis and possibly memorized the entire book in the original Hebrew in his later academic training. The correlations between the lives of Abraham and Paul are simply stunning. We will look at four correlations today and three more tomorrow.
First, in Genesis we see that the formation of the Gentile nations precedes the calling of Abraham so that the people who are to be reached for God precede God’s missionary Abraham.
Second, God called Abraham to bless the Gentile nations of the earth by bringing them the knowledge of God as a missionary. Likewise, God called Paul to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations in accordance with Jesus’ restatement of the call of Abraham (Genesis 12:3) in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Likewise, in Paul’s day, the Gentile nations preceded him as their “Abraham” and spiritual father who brought them faith in Jesus Christ.
Third, some Bible teachers suggest that Paul’s missionary journeys even follow the route of the Gentile nations mentioned in Genesis 10. This may further indicate that Paul saw his Christian ministry as a continuation of the ministry of Abraham.
Fourth, before his conversion to the worship of Jesus Christ, Paul had prided himself in being a Jew descended from Abraham and not a Gentile like those people he despised (Philippians 3:2-11). However, Abraham was not originally a Jew but rather a Gentile whom God raised up to be the beginning of a new nation founded upon the 12 tribes of Israel that was supposed to worship Jesus and be missionaries sent into the earth just like Jesus’ 12 disciples.
Furthermore, in Stephen’s great speech in Acts 7:2-4, we find that God called Abraham from the geographic area of Babylon, which likely indicates that Abraham was not only a Gentile when God saved Him, but also a despised Babylonian. All of this is to show that God indeed loves all nations of the earth and can save anyone anywhere and it was this insight that transformed Paul to preach the gospel of free grace to all peoples. Amazingly, had Paul met Abraham before he was called by God as a Gentile and circumcised himself to become a Hebrew, Paul, as a godless pagan enemy of God, would possibly have killed Abraham in the name of being a faithful son of Abraham.
Tomorrow, we will look at the final three correlations between Moses, Abraham, and Paul.
Read some of the New Testament passages mentioned (Matthew 28:18-20, Philippians 3:2-11, Acts 7:2-4) to see the correlations between the Old and New Testament and to see that the entire book is all ultimately about Jesus.
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