The Patriarchs

"And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs." (Acts 7:8)

The word "patriarch" comes directly from the Greek and means "first father." Thus the patriarchs begotten by Jacob were the first fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Genesis patriarchs are types of all fathers. Adam was the patriarch of the human family. Through his sin, death came into the world, and death was first mentioned when God warned Adam he would die (Genesis 2:17).

But if Adam is the dying father, Noah can be called the righteous father. The word "just" (or righteous) is first used where it says "Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (first mention of grace), and then "Noah was a just man" (Genesis 6:8-9).

Abraham is the believing father, for "he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). This is the first mention of "believe." Abraham is thus a type of all who are justified by faith. The first mention of sowing (symbolic of witnessing) is with Isaac, the sowing father. "Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him" (Genesis 26:12; compare Matthew 13:23).

Jacob was named Israel because "as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Genesis 32:28). A single Hebrew word, only used here, is translated "power as a prince." Jacob, able to prevail in prayer with the angel of the Lord, is the powerful father.

These are the honored patriarchs "of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came" (Romans 9:5). May all who are fathers today, like they, be believing, righteous, sowing fathers, powerful with God and men. HMM

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