Bible passage: Genesis 17:5
Written: As early as 1400 BC
In the Bible's book of Genesis, we are told of a man named Abram who was to be rewarded by God because of his faith in God. In Genesis 12:1-2, God told Abram to leave his country, his people and his family, and travel to a remote land.
Abram obeyed and traveled from the land of the Chaldeans, which is now called Iraq, to the land of Canaan, which would later become known as Israel. Because of his faith, God rewarded him with a promise that he would become known as the "father of many nations," meaning that he would be blessed with many descendants:
No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. - Genesis 17:5.
The name Abraham is a shortened version of a Semitic phrase meaning "father of many nations."
Today, Abraham is revered as the father of many nations, more so than any other person.
Abraham is revered among Jewish people as a common ancestor. He also is revered by Christians, who, as explained in the New Testament (Galatians 3:29), become children of Abraham because of their faith, just as God had chosen Abraham to have countless descendants because of his faith. Many Arabs revere Abraham as an ancestor, through his son Ishmael.
As explained in more detail in the book, 100 Prophecies, history provides other interesting examples of widely revered common ancestors, including Confucius and Genghis Khan. But none of these examples can match Abraham, who has as many as 2 or 3 billion descendants by faith and by blood.
- Research and commentary is based on the book 100 Prophecies. © Ray Konig and AboutBibleProphecy.com.
Here is Genesis 17:5:
No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
(New International Version translation)