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Jesus spoke stunning, beautiful truths many times, but few rival His statements in John 8, where He told the doubting Jews that Abraham, who lived many centuries before, rejoiced to see His day. Immediately following, He claimed to be Yahweh, who spoke to Moses in the burning bush in the wilderness.

“‘Abraham your father rejoiced that he would see my day, and he saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am’” (John 8:56–58).1

Doesn’t this passage cause your mind to soar? Jesus is harkening back to two experiences He had with two men two thousand years or so before His listeners were born. The first was with Abraham, whom Jesus claimed had seen his “day.” This encounter will be our primary focus in this article. So, let’s ask the question, “What day had he seen?”

Let me begin by saying that I do not think that this “seeing” was only one incident but the culmination of promissory encounters and revelations from the Lord. Perhaps we should say, “revelations from Jesus.” Because it was Him, was it not, by the oaks of Mamre, who promised the son, Isaac? That promise brought the laughter of incredibility, and for Abram and Sarah, who had several months to see the promise come to pass, that doubting laughter was turned to true, believing joy. They named their son, Isaac—laughter. “And Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me’” (Genesis 21:6).

In this same visitation at that meeting by the oaks, the Lord announced the destruction of Sodom. Despite Abraham’s intercession, God could not find ten righteous people in Sodom, and it was destroyed as He had said.

Abraham learned truths about God in these experiences. The Lord brings to pass what He announces. The child was born in old age. He had asked Abraham and Sarah after the laughter at His declaration: “Is anything too difficult for Yahweh?” (Genesis 18:14a). “No, nothing,” they would surely soon confess. Abraham and Sarah were becoming convinced of the reality of the sovereignty of God. The Lord possesses the ability both to bring fertility to an old couple as well as overwhelming destruction.

The Lord told Abraham previously (Genesis 13 and 15) that He would give his descendants the land and make his offspring as numerous as the dust and stars. We don’t know if Abraham always believed these promises throughout his life, but a test of faith in those oaths came when the Lord commanded him to sacrifice Isaac. Keep in mind this was the very son the Lord had promised, and this boy was the only true descendant through whom those numberless descendants would come. This test of faith, I think, is the apogee of Abraham’s seeing Jesus’ day and rejoicing in it. This is the wonderful thing he said to his servants before he trudged up the hill to obey the Lord’s command of sacrifice: “You stay here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go up there. We will worship, then we will return to you” (Genesis 22:5). And he said this to Isaac when he asked where the sacrificial animal was, seeing the wood and the fire but no lamb: “God will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8a).

The day of Jesus that Abraham “saw” was the knowledge of a needed, sacrificial Son of God’s promise and His subsequent resurrection.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac, and the one who received the promises was ready to offer his one and only son, with reference to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your descendants will be named,’ having reasoned that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which he received him back also as a symbol” (Hebrews 11:17–19).

Nothing on Earth or in the universe has the power to stop the Lord from fulfilling what He has proclaimed. Thus, with Abraham, we rejoice that Jesus came and, humbling Himself, became a servant unto death and offered Himself in sacrifice of which Isaac was the type. Jesus then rose from the dead, as He said He would, defeating sin, death, hell, and the grave.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, Immanuel, God Almighty in the flesh, for your merciful sacrifice, salvation, and resurrection. We rejoice with Abraham and all the saints to have seen Your day.

 

1Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

 

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