As mankind splinters into many nations the bible shows that each nation derives its name from a different forefather. Where the members of each nation share in the flesh of their forefather and unite under his name. For example the Ammonites and Moabites descended from the inbred bastard sons of Lott, nephew of Abraham.

Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.
(Genesis 19:36-38 ESV)

So the the perpetuation of the sin of Adam continues, where the secrets and shame of men become practices of families and ultimately the cultures of nations. The evil of the forefathers became the evil of nations. It is extremely important to understand how the existence of many nations is a constant reminder of the rebellion and disunity of mankind.

Abraham, Father of Many
In a time when each family was its own nation, God promises Abram that he will be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:1-14). This almost sounds like God is telling Abram that he will be the father of many different/competing nations, representing a curse of divisiveness on the household of Abram. However what God is actually saying is that Abraham will have headship over many nations, or many nations will look back to him as their common head/ancestor. This is a unifying of many nations under Abraham’s headship rather than the scattering of one man’s decedents. More than this God is telling Abraham that through him and his offspring he will re-establish unity between God and mankind.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”
(Genesis 17:1-2 ESV)

There are several reasons why the covenant God is making with Abraham bears the hallmarks of restored unity between God and mankind:
• This covenant is with Abraham so that he would multiply greatly. Meaning that he, Abraham, will be many. (vs1-2)
• Twice God states that his covenant will be with Abraham (vs2 and 4). Then he states that his covenant will be with Abraham and his offspring (vs7) indicating that not only is there unity between Abraham and God but there is renewed unity between Abraham and his offspring. In unity a covenant with the head is a covenant with all members.
• God re-establishes his order with Abraham and his offspring. God is reclaiming his rightful place, as God. (vs7, 8)
• Just as God exercised his right as creator and named Adam, he renames Abram. This is to show that this renewed human unity is under the name God gave mankind. It is God who is making him the father of many nations no one else.
• As creator God provided a place for Adam to live and work. As part of this new covenant God tells Abraham that he will give them the land of Canaan for the term of this covenant. (vs8)
• This human union is still one of flesh. God requires that every male who is part of the family/household of Abraham must be marked in their flesh to show his membership in the covenant. Those who are not marked can’t be part of this union. (vs10-14)

However this is not a perfect union yet. It bears the stipulation that this covenant must be kept by Abraham and his offspring. In the beginning the requirement to obey was implicit in the order of creation (i.e. there was no need for God to state it). Since the fall, mankind has become so immersed in disunity and rebellion (sin) that it became natural for them, they forgot their proper (original) place under God. So God must make obedience and love a law (relational construct).


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