Hebrews 11:17 – “Only Begotten Son”
Hebrews 11:17-18 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, (18) Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
This verse is often used to deny that Christ was the literal born Son of God. The verse is used to say that “only begotten” is not to be taken literally since Abraham had begotten more sons than just Isaac. In fact Ishmael was his firstborn and therefore this shows that Abraham had more than one “begotten son”.
But the fact is God didn’t even acknowledge Ishmael when he was born. The verse in question is normally not read with verse 18. With verse 18 it reads “only begotten son, of whom it was said…”
There is more to this story. Paul clarifies in the book of Romans that the child is the only begotten son of whom the promise was made.
Romans 9:7-10 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. (8) 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. (9) For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.
This verse clarifies what is meant by the words in verse 18 of Hebrews 11. That “Of whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called”. He was the child of promise. And this is the child of faith.
Understanding that Isaac was the only begotten of whom the promise was made is important. But I’d like to look at something a little deeper.
Abraham made a few mistakes in his life. He thought that the fleshly seed Ishmael would be the child of promise, trying to fulfill the promise by his own works. He took another woman at his wife’s command and then had a child outside of the marriage. But Abraham made another mistake trying to fulfill the promise before Ishmael. He had a servant named Eliezer.
Genesis 15:2-3 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (3) And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Abraham wanted to make Eliezer his servant to be his son, and his heir. He wanted to spiritualize away the promise of God. But God answered him quickly as Isaac was to be a type of Christ, the Son of God:
Genesis 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
In other words, Abraham was trying to spiritualize the literal father-son relationship by choosing Eliezer as his son and heir. But God said no. The son that was to fit as the promised seed had to proceed from the bowels of Abraham. It had to be a literal Father-Son relationship. This was a representation of God and Christ.
Christ in discussing the issue of who the children of God had taken issue with the Pharisees who had said “we have one Father, even God.” There is no denying that God has children by adoption, however the bible teaches that Christ is not a son by adoption, neither is he a son by creation, but he is a son begotten of the Father. “The firstborn of every creature, For by him were all things created”(Col 1:15, 16) And here is the reply to the Pharisees.
Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
The words describe his origin and his relationship to the Father. In other words, that’s my literal dad that you call your father, I came forth from him, from his own bowels. In Micah 5:2 we read “Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting”. The Hebrew word in that text for “goings forth” is “origin”. His origin or beginning is from everlasting or eternity. In the same sense in Proverbs 8:23-25 he was “setup from everlasting…brought forth”.
The old English for begotten is “brought forth”. Also termed “Goings forth” as well as “proceeded forth”. All these texts say the same thing.
Further in John we find another account where someone tries to spiritualize away the literal relationship of the Father and Son. Jesus says:
John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
And this was something that took the apostles a while to believe, however, they realized this wasn’t a proverb, or a metaphor, or a spiritualistic father-son relationship, but he literally came forth from the Father.
John 16:29-30 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. (30) Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
He’s not speaking in proverbs or metaphors. What does it mean to be the only begotten son? Is it a metaphor as many today teach, or did God really give a son to the world. If we believe this to be a metaphor, we are making God a liar.
1Jn 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
But the fact is “God cannot lie”, he really did give His son. And this is eternal life to believe it.(John 3:16)
1Jn 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
The begetter is the Father, the begotten is the Son. And to deny this is to deny the love that was shared between the Father and Son before the world was. Entire churches are built on denying this truth:
“The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church…” Handbook for Today’s Catholic, p. 11.
That is the foundation of Babylon.
1Jn 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
The foundation of the church of Christ is as follows:
Matthew 16:15-18 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (18) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
This is what the church is built on. According to Paul the church is called “the church of the firstborn” not the “church of the co-eternals”.
Hebrews 12:22-23 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,