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The Fear of Isaac

March 16, 2020
By Martin Luther

"If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed."

GENESIS 31:42

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The Fear of Isaac

What, then, does the Holy Spirit mean in making mention of the "Fear of Isaac"? ... I shall follow the simple and common meaning, that he calls God by this name because of the outstanding and singular worship of his father Isaac, who feared and worshiped God with singular piety. . .. Others interpret it to mean that Isaac was afraid, since he was to be sacrificed. But this is a foreign and wicked meaning, for Isaac was neither afraid nor terrified but of his own accord obeyed his father and God. . .. For fear signifies that sin is ruling, and sin was not ruling in Isaac, but an obedient spirit. . .. But besides this meaning, I think that Christ is also pointed to. . .. "In Isaac shall your seed be named," which is nothing else but Christ Himself. He is the true Seed. For the fathers looked beyond the bodily blessing which Ishmael and Esau had, chiefly to the spiritual blessing, which is Christ Himself. Therefore I see the Trinity here, and elsewhere too, wherever I can dig out that mystery from passages of the Old Testament. Therefore "Fear" here signifies the Son of God incarnate, whom the patriarchs and prophets beheld in the promises and whom they taught.

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