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The Promise of a Son

October 25, 2019
By Martin Luther

"I will give you a son by [Sarah]."

GENESIS 17:16

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The Promise of a Son

What now follows unfolds the promise concerning Christ, for it gradually began to become clearer and more distinct. First Abraham had doubts concerning an heir, and he came to suspect that if he should die without an heir, his Damascene servant would get possession of the blessing. But later on he is assured by a word of God that an heir shall be born to him from his own body. When he has this explanation and assurance about the promise, there follows another uncertainty—about Sarah, who was advancing in years and was barren. Therefore he acquiesces in her plan and lies with the maid Hagar. From her he begets Ishmael, whom he fully expects to become the heir of the blessing. But now at last the saintly couple is delivered even from this error, for Abraham is promised an offspring from the aged and barren Sarah herself. In the course of time the promise is transmitted to Jacob, not to Esau; and when Jacob had twelve heirs, the promise falls to Judah alone. Eventually David is designated as the heir of the promise. From his house came the blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, who was the end of the Law and of circumcision.

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