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Sons of Abraham

The summer of 2014 my family traveled to the Middle East on a study tour of the Holy Land with other pastoral families. We traveled through the Palestinian country of Jordan, adventured through Petra, shared meals with local bedouins, and viewed many local mosques, the Jordan River, and the Red Sea. After leaving the country of Jordan we traveled to the holy city of Jerusalem in Israel where we toured many sites including Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes, the Mount of Olives, the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mount Zion, the Garden of Gethsamene, the City of David, Golgotha, and the empty tomb of Jesus.

During this time there was a lot of political unrest and dangerous riots going on where we were staying; it is now referred to as the "2014 Gaza war." We were able to learn a lot about the conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian nations and I was inspired to learn more. Though my artwork has no political agenda, this piece was to provoke thought and shed light on history from a biblical perspective.

The concept of this piece was to represent two violently opposing nations that have biblical history. What we know now as Israel and Palestine, some people may not know is that they originally came from the line of Ishmael and Isaac, the sons of Abraham.

The Bible gives an outline of the Arabic and Israeli people as the descendants of Abrahams sons Ishmael and Isaac who inhabited the "eastern country." The story of Ishmael and Isaac can be found in the book of Genesis chapters 16, 17, and 21.

The idea was to combine biblical history with the present day by drawing a modern Israeli and Palestinian man with a text from the bible. Only half their faces are represented because together they are one under Abraham; and though they have conflict, they are still brothers.

"'As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God...your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.' When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him." -Genesis 17:4-7, 19-22 (NIV)

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