Alice C. Linsley
Some readers of Just Genesis have asked where can we find information about the origins of this unique faith we call Christianity? In answer, I believe that we must look at the tradition that Abraham "our father in the faith" received from his Nilo-Saharan ancestors. Note that I'm not saying that we should look into some special revelation that Abraham might have received.
|The One to whom all true prophets bear witness|
I've been having an interesting conversation with Scott L at The Prodigal Thought on this very subject. Scott takes the view that those in the time of Genesis "had some revelation, but that revelation was in seed form. It’s only as the revelation progresses in the OT writings that we get the idea that the Messiah would be the ‘Son’ of God." What about Genesis 3:15 which speaks about the divine Seed? Seed in this verse clearly refers to offspring.
Yet Scott believes what Jesus says in John 8:56 - "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." So my question is, if you believe what Jesus said, why do you doubt that Abraham had expectation of the appearing of the Son of God? It is a contradiction to say that you believe Jesus and then to discount what He says as anachronism.
Abraham’s people certainly did not have the perspective we have today, but they had the ancient expectation of the Son of God’s appearing in the flesh. This ancient expectation came from what God promised in Genesis 3:15 – the Protevangelion. In other words, God, in His immense faithfulness, has raised up witnesses to His Righteous Son in every generation. Just as an infant recognizes the parent and responds to that love, without intellectual knowledge, so humanity has had consciousness of the Father’s love for the Son, even before Jesus’ Incarnation. This is proof that the Son abides eternally with the Father and was with the Father “in the beginning” and that all things were made through Him.
Scott goes on to say: "So Abraham had some kind of revelation in his day. But I think it could possibly be a little too anachronistic to read a full theology of the ‘Son of God incarnate’ back into Gen 3:15 and Abraham’s understanding. Even those words in Gen 3:15 would not have registered as Messianic to Adam and Eve. They would have been thinking about one of their immediate sons or grandsons."
How very perceptive! My research on the kinship of Abraham’s people using the Genesis genealogical information shows that they DID believe it would be one of their sons. They traced bloodline through the mothers and made sure that the daughters of priests (such as Mary) only married priests or the sons of priests. The intermarriage between priestly lines (endogamy) is evident in analysis of the intermarriage between the rulers listed in Genesis 4 and Genesis 5. The identical marriage and ascendancy pattern can be trace to Jesus Christ. The lines of Cain and Seth intermarried. The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried, and the lines of Joktan and Sheba intermarried. These are the ruler-priest ancestors of Abraham and it is from these priestly lines that Joseph and Mary are descended. Therefore we have no reason to doubt that Abraham believed that the Son of God would one day be born among his people. This is the heart of Holy Tradition received by Abraham and passed to the Church. St. Paul wrote that he was careful to pass alone without change that which he received.
Holy Tradition is attested by at least seven witnesses. They are:
The Witness of History
The Horite rulers of Edom are listed in Genesis 36. Abraham's entire territory was within the region of Edom. Josephus calls the descendants of Abraham and Keturah "Horites." Quoting an ancient authority, he speaks of them as "conquerors of Egypt and founders of the Assyrian Empire." The Horites were devotees of Horus, who was called "Son of Ra" and the Horite metal workers venerated Horus' mother as their patroness.
The Witness of the Church Fathers
Justin Martyr: “There is not a single race of men…among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered in the name of Jesus the crucified…”
Irenaeus: “Such is the common faith and tradition of the Churches …In whom have all the nations believed, but in the Christ who is already come?”
Hippolytus: “The eye of reason is the Spirit; by it we discern spiritual things. If you have the Spirit, you will comprehend heavenly things, for like comprehends like.”
The Witness of The Three - I John 5:8
Three bear witness to the appearing of the Son of God: the Spirit, the water and the blood. These bear witness of earth: Anna the Prophetess (Spirit), John the Forerunner (water) and Simeon the Priest (blood).
The Witness of the Undivided Kingdom
Ruler-priests had two wives who lived in separate households yet belonged to and shared jointly in the same Kingdom. Likewise, the Kingdom of God consists of the Bride of Christ (New Covenant) and the Beloved of God (Old Covenant). Together these bear witness to the Truth: Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of the Father, came into the world to save sinners (such as me).
The Witness of Scripture
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” I John 5:13
The Witness of the Church
“He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar because he has not believed the testimony God has given of His Son. This is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son of God has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” I John 5:10,11
The Witness of the Heavens
Psalm 19:1 says that the "heavens declare the glory of God." That has always been true and explains how tribal peoples, who observe the heavens more closely that modern people, often know more about God's nature than we do.
The greatest celestial witness is one which God set to go off in the heavens like an alarm clock. On December 24 A.D. 3, the king planet Jupiter completed a triple coronation of and aligned with the king star Regelus in the constellation of Leo to produce the brightest heavenly light ever seen. The ancients who expected the Son of God to be born recognized the sign and followed the Bethlehem Star to the Son of God. This event is confirmed by sophisticated astronomical software. For more information, visit http://www.bethlehemstar.com/
If all these bear witness to Jesus the Christ, we should not be timid in proclaiming the Gospel. We have received more than enough to argue our case for the truth of Christianity. We should not hold back, waffle or hedge. We should join our voices with the song of the stars, with the hymn of the saints, and with the chorus of heavenly hosts to acclaim Him as Lord over all, our eternal King.
Related reading: Red and Black Smiths; Righteous Rulers and the Resurrection; What is Holy Tradition?