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Verses 3-5

"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 the father of a multitude of nations. Neither shall thy name be any more called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee."

"And Abram fell on his face ..." "Man on his face, God on his throne, only in this posture can God really talk to us."[10]

"As for me ..." The antithesis of this is in Genesis 17:9, where we have, "And as for thee ..." Thus, God related His part of the covenant first, and then proceeded to give Israel's obligations (Genesis 17:9).

"Thy name shall be Abraham ..." This is usually interpreted to mean "father of the faithful," or something similar, but, actually, the exact meaning is unknown. "This is a change whose significance is not clear." A moment later, the same scholar affirmed concerning the change from Sarai to Sarah that, "Once more, we have to confess that the difference between the two names is not clear."[11] Perhaps, this was the forerunner of that promise in which God promised that each of the redeemed would receive a new name, "which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it" (Revelation 2:17).

"Thus kings and popes take on new names when they ascend to the throne."[12] The occasion here for Abraham was fully as important, and even more so, than the accession of an earthly monarch to his throne.

"Father of a multitude of nations ..." The fulfillment of this might not lie merely in the nations and kings that descended lineally from Abraham, for if we should view the one nation of secular Israel as the one primarily descended from Abraham, then the "multitude of nations," enlarged in the spiritual sense, would include all the hosts of Christianity throughout the ages. Keil advocated this view and thought that Paul had this in mind when he declared, that Abraham received the promise that, "he should be heir to the world" (Romans 4:13).[13]

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