Hagar and Ishmael


Hagar and Ishmael

November 9th, 1988 @ 7:30 PM

Genesis 16-21

Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day. And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife. And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. And Abraham said, I will swear. And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day. And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them. Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 16-21

11-6-88    7:30 p.m.


Once again we welcome the multitudes of you who share this hour on radio.  This is the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the message on Hagar and Ishmael; on the world as God purposed His plan of salvation and grace to the families and nations of the whole earth.  As I attempt the subject, it is kind of like taking as your theme “the world, and all that is in it.”  There is so very much in this story of Abraham and Sarah his wife, and Hagar her slave, and the two children that were born into the family, Ishmael of the slave girl, and Isaac, the child of promise given to Sarah.

I am going to read first two passages that illustrate how very much the reading that we find in Genesis, how very much it concerns all of us in our relationship to God.  For example, in the Book of Romans 9:7-9:

Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

And I read once again from Galatians chapter 4, beginning at verse 22.  Galatians 4, beginning at verse 22:

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a slave, the other by a freewoman.

But he who was of the slave was born after the flesh, but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar

For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so is it now.

Nevertheless what saith the Scripture?  Cast out the slave and her son: for the son of the slave shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

So then, brethren, we are not children of the slave, but of the free.

[Galatians 4:22-31]

The passage that I have just read is a contrast between the works of the law and the free grace of the gospel of Jesus.  Hagar, the bondwoman, the slave, had her son, and Sarah, her son.  The one was a son after the flesh.  The slave had a boy born to her that was natural.  But the free woman, Sarah, had a son born to her by the grace of God [Galatians 4:30].

Now both of them, the son of the slave and the son of the freewoman, it was not possible for them to be together.  There was no room for both of them.  If Ishmael was chosen, then there was no room for Isaac.  And as soon as Isaac was born, Ishmael was cast out [Genesis 21:10, 14].  Legalism, the works of self-righteousness, the things that we can do, cannot coexist as the way of salvation with the gospel of grace.  It has to be one or the other.  They are morally incompatible.  Romans 11:6 avows, “If we are saved by grace, then it is no more by works. But if it is by works,” by something we do to commend ourselves to God, “then it is no more grace.”

Why was not Ishmael chosen instead of Isaac?  He was born first.  Because Ishmael is a child of the flesh, of Abraham’s natural life and power.  He came because of the ableness of Abraham.  Hagar represents all we can do in the flesh, and it is rejected.  Romans 7:14-25 describes our inability ever to be good enough to commend ourselves to God.

Isaac and aged Sarah represent what God does in grace for the spiritually dead and for the absolutely helpless.  As long as you think you can save yourself, and as long as you are persuaded that your goodness will commend yourself to God, God’s grace can never reach to you.  It is only in our helplessness that God presents Himself as all-sufficient Savior.

Now I want to review for a moment the Bible story.  In Genesis 16:2 it says, “And Abraham hearkened to the voice of Sarah.”  She could not conceive.  She could not think of God fulfilling His promise that they have a son [Genesis 15:2-6].  She is old; she’s toward ninety years of age.  He’s toward one hundred years of age.  She could not think of God fulfilling a promise that she would have a son other than by natural means.  She did not believe that God was able to fulfill that promise of her having a son by any other means than by natural means.  So she persuaded her husband to lie with her slave in order to have a child [Genesis 16:2-3].  And both of them, both Abraham and Sarah, listened to the reason of expediency [Genesis 16:4].

Now in that same chapter, verse 4: Hagar, the slave, was raised into a position of rivalry with Sarah, and she took no pains to conceal her contempt for Sarah [Genesis 16:4].  And don’t you think it will be otherwise in your life.  If you ever persuade yourself that you can be saved by your goodness, by your works of righteousness, you will be proud of yourself.  If you don’t believe that, you just talk to somebody who is not a Christian and listen to him as he will describe for you: he is good as anybody else, and he is better than most, and he is going to commend himself to God, and he will stand [at] the great judgment day and tell the Lord how he is.  It goes on and on and on, boasting of his righteousness.  That’s Hagar, that’s the slave.

In verses 9 and 11 when she is cast out, when the slave is cast out, the Angel of the Lord [Genesis 16:6-7]—that’s the first time He is referred to in the Bible, “the Angel of the Lord.”  That’s the preincarnate Christ.  The Angel of the Lord visits Hagar, and in compassion promises her that she will have a child [Genesis 16:9, 11]; he will be the father of many nations [Genesis 17:20].

And so when the child was born, she named the youngster Ishmael [Genesis 16:11]; el.  In the Bible, E-L, whenever you come across it—and it is in many, many names, worlds of names, el, Nathanael, just multitudes of them—the word el is the word for God in Hebrew, el.  So Ishmael; shama is to hear, and she named the boy “heard of God, God hears” [Genesis 16:11].

Now in Genesis 21:9 the child is 16 years old, and the child mocks, makes fun of, belittles the child of promise, Isaac.  So in verse 10 they are cast out [Genesis 21:10, 14]; in verse 14 they are wandering around aimlessly in the desert of Beersheba [Genesis 21:14].  And in verses 15-21 God provides for them a second time; the Lord in His compassion remembers [Genesis 21:15-21].

Now just to continue in it, Genesis 25:[7]-10: the exiled son Ishmael is assisting his brother Isaac in the burying of their father Abraham.  In verses 12 to 18 of that chapter 25, the twelve sons, the twelve princes of Ishmael father of the twelve Arabian nations [Genesis 25:12-18]; and in Genesis 28:9 the daughter of Ishmael, Mahalath, marries Esau.  Well, those twelve princes of Ishmael became the founders and the fathers of the twelve Arabian nations.  In Genesis 25:18, “And they dwelt from Havilah to Shur, that is before Egypt,” east of Egypt.

So the children of Ishmael inhabit the Arabian Peninsula.  They are the Arabians of today, and their great son is Muhammad.  Muhammad is looked upon as the greatest son of Hagar through Ishmael.  The Kurdish tribe of Mecca, from which Muhammad traced his lineage, boasted that they were the true sons of Abraham through Ishmael.  According to Muslim tradition and belief, Ishmael helped his father Abraham build the temple at Mecca.  There in the Kaaba, Ishmael lies buried with his mother Hagar.  In the Koran, Ishmael is mentioned several times.  In the Bible we call them chapters; in the Koran they are called surahs.  And in surah 2, verse 119, Ishmael, along with his father Abraham, is commanded to purify the whole house at Mecca.  In surah 4, verse 161, it is recorded that he received revelations from Allah.  And in surah 19, verse 55, Ishmael is called a prophet.

There are three great Muslim feasts: one is Ramadan.  On the ninth month of the year, on the ninth month of the year, each ninth month of the year, the Mohammedans spend the month in fasting from sunrise to sunset.  They do that because in the ninth month the Koran is supposed to have been revealed to Muhammad.  The calendar of the Arabian is lunar, so there are several days added to the year that we do not have.  So in thirty-three years the month falls in all the seasons of the year.  Ramadan may be in any season of the year because of the lunar months.

The second great feast of the Mohammedan is on the birthday of Muhammad, and the third is the feast of Ishmael.  They say that Ishmael and not Isaac was the son offered by Abraham on Mount Moriah.  And they look with disdain and contempt on the story in the Bible that on Mount Moriah Abraham offered this child of promise, Isaac, and the angel stopped, stayed his hand, and a ram was substituted for the life of the lad [Genesis 22:9-13].  They look upon that as something untrue.  It’s a forced thing upon us by the Jewish people.  And the Mohammedans believe that it was Ishmael who was the child of Abraham through whom the great revelations of God were to be made, and that it was Ishmael that was offered on Mount Moriah and not Isaac.

I haven’t time, and you wouldn’t feel comfortable if I followed the life of Muhammad.  He couldn’t read.  He couldn’t write.  He’s one of the most violent, vicious men who ever lived.  He believed in blood vengeance against his enemies, and he believed in the propagation of the faith by the sword.  And they have succeeded in unbelievable measure in bringing into the Mohammedan faith millions and millions and millions of people.

I read, and I don’t believe it, I read within the last few days where a man avowed there were more Mohammedans in the world than that there are Christians.  In any event, when you go to Africa, beginning from the western shore, through all of Africa, through all of the Levant, through all of the Middle East, through all of Turkey, through Iraq, through Iran, through all of Indonesia, about a half of the world, it is almost solidly Mohammedan.

If you have ever been in Istanbul—Istanbul, old Constantinople was the capital of the Greek Eastern Orthodox Church, and in my humble persuasion there has never been a church imagined like St. Sofia in Constantinople.  The great dome, bigger than a baseball diamond, and the domes and the domes that lifted up, oh, I’ve never seen anything like that!  Built before there was such a thing as steel; it’s made out of rock.  And when you stand in St. Sofia, where John Chrysostom preached, the greatest church, I say, that’s ever been built; it is a Muslim mosque.  After 1453, the Muslims captured the city, and it is just one, now, of a whole series of mosques that dominate the skyline of that great city of Constantinople, Istanbul.

And if you have ever been to the Holy Land, when you go on Mount Moriah and stand there where God’s holy Temple was built, you will look at a Muslim mosque.  The turn of life is almost unbelievable.  And if you’ve ever tried to witness to a Muslim—and I have all over this world—it is like talking to solid stone.  You have them now here in the city of Dallas; you might try it.  It is, ah! so difficult.

Well, what of the future?  These things as I described them and as I have experienced them, seem so hopeless and so dark.  How do you witness to the Muslim world?  In the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah is recorded one of the most unbelievable prophecies in the Bible, Isaiah chapter 60.  It is a glorious chapter.  It is a marvelous revelation of God.  It begins with, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” [Isaiah 60:1].

Now we haven’t time, I must close.  We haven’t time to speak of this marvelous incomparable, glorious vision of God for His people in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah.  I just point out one thing: verse 7:

All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee,

the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee:

they shall come up with acceptance on Mine altar,

and I will glorify the house of My glory.

[Isaiah 60:7]

And who are these people that are coming in order to bow down and worship before the great God of all the earth?  Verse 6:

The multitude of camels shall cover thee,

the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;

all they from Sheba shall come:

They shall bring gold and incense;

And they shall show forth the praises of the Lord.

[Isaiah 60:6]

Who are these Midianites, Ephathites, Kedarites, Nebaiothites?  Who are they?  They are Arabians.  They are Arabians.  God’s Book says, God’s Book says that the day is coming when the children of Ishmael—they are the nations of the world—will bow down with us before the high and holy God [Psalm 22:27].  And with the converted Jew, the children of Isaac, and with the converted Arabians, the children of Ishmael, and with the converted Gentiles, that is we; we will all be singing the praises of God [Psalm 86:9].  We will be calling upon His holy name.  We will be bowing in His presence.  And we are going to be there.

If we die, we will be raised from the dead [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].  We will have new bodies [Philippians 3:21].  We will have a new life.  We will live in a new home [John 14:2-3; Revelation 21:1-5].  Every good thing that God Himself could provide is purposed for us [1 Corinthians 2:9].  We are going to be there.  The saved of the Gentile nations of the earth are going to be there.  Converted Israel will be there, and the children of Ishmael who have found the true Lord Christ will be there, too.  It is a great hope and a marvelous gospel that we have to preach in the name of Christ Jesus our Savior.

Now Brother Fred McNab, let’s sing us a song of appeal.  And a family you, coming into the fellowship of our dear church, a couple you, a one somebody you; as we sing this song, if God has put it into your heart to give your life to Jesus [Romans 10:9-13], or to come to be with us, a thousand times welcome, while we stand and while we sing.


Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 16-21


Contrast between works of the law and grace of Jesus Christ

1.    Ishmael born under
the bondwoman

2.    Isaac born under
the free woman

3.    Self-righteousness
cannot co-exist with gospel of grace

4.    Ishmael mocks
Isaac – Hagar and Ishmael cast out


1.    Father of 12
Arab nations

2.    Muhammad; a
descendent of Ishmael, founder of Islam religion


1.    Believe they are
the true sons of Abraham

2.    Koran calls
Ishmael a prophet

3.    Three feasts of
Islam: Ramadan, Muhammad, Ishmael

4.    Spread worldwide
by violence per Koran


1.    Isaiah 60 – Arab
believers will bow and worship the Lord Jesus when He returns

2.    Every nation,
all people will bow down to Jesus when He returns and establishes His kingdom