What is the Importance of First Mentions9 min read

First Mentions

What is the Importance of First Mentions9 min read

First mentions establishes a precedent, a pattern or a biblical concept that occurs throughout the rest of the Bible. They also prove the Word of God is not some random collection of books written across millennia.

There are 50 first mentions in the story of Abraham, for It is truly one of the seed beds of the bible with nearly every bible theme mentioned.

The Call

God called Abram to come out of Chaldees and out of his father’s house, Genesis 12:1. We are all called to accept God’s salvation and make God our Heavenly Father, John 3:16, and to be in the world but not of it, John 17:14.

God knew Adam from before the foundation of the world, for He knows the end from the beginning, Isaiah 48:10. Abraham was called because God knew how He would react.

Initial Promise

In the initial promise to Abram you find the first mention of, I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you. I will bless them that bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse. Genesis 12:2. Here is the promise of do not touch My anointed ones, Psalm 105:15.

And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed, Genesis 12:4. This is fulfilled in those who belong to the global family of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.


Abram built an altar in the land of Canaan, and there is the first mention of ‘called upon the name of the Lord’, Genesis 12:8. There is none like the I Am That I Am, Exodus 3:14, who is worthy of all worship.

The Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, Genesis 12:17. This foreshadowed what would take place in the time of Moses, Exodus 11.


Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold, Genesis 13:2. This is a first mention that points to how a rich a person is spiritually when they have total faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, believers are rich beyond measure, 2 Corinthians 8:9.

The term Hebrew is used for the first time, in association with Abraham, Genesis 14:13. The first use of the term Jew is not until the book of Esther, Esther 2:5.

Abraham led out his trained men, born in his house, Genesis 14:14. This points to the warfare all Christians are involved in. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, Ephesians 6:12.


Close on this follows the incident with the King of Salem, or Jerusalem, Genesis 14:18, pointing to the one true King of kings who will reign from the New Jerusalem, Jeremiah 3:17.

The king brought Abraham bread and wine and blessed him, Genesis 14:18, which points to the New Testament communion, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, a celebration that was not seen by the prophets of old, as we celebrate the body broken and the blood shed for all humanity.

This incident also refers to the priest of the most high God. Jesus being our great high priest who intercedes for us, Hebrews 4:14, Romans 8:34.

This priest blessed Abraham of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. Who has delivered your enemies into your hand, Genesis 14:19,20. Abraham gave the king one tenth of all he had. 14:18, and swore an oath to God, Genesis 14:22. To swear an oath is to make a solemn declaration or undertaking, that calls upon God to witness the truthfulness of the statement the person is making.

First Mention of the Heir

The word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision, Genesis 15:1, and another first mention is when God tells Abraham I am a shield to you. Your reward shall be very great, Genesis 15:1.

One born in my house is my heir, Genesis 15:3. Believers are not only children of God but joint-heir with Christ, Romans 8:16. As heirs we will reign with Christ from the New Jerusalem.

Statement of Faith

The great statement on faith is seen in Genesis 15:6. Then he believed in the Lord and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. To the bride was given to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints, Revelation 19:8. Yet that righteousness is not of ourselves, but the righteousness of Christ. 

Here is the first mention of possessing the land that God gave them, Genesis 15:7, and the first mention of a three year old heifer. A red heifer being an important part of Jewish tradition concerning the building of a Temple.

Here God told Abraham that his descendants would go into slavery to strangers, namely Egypt, for four hundred years, Genesis 15:13. God would judge Egypt and the Israelites would come out with many possessions.

End Would be Peace

As for Abraham he would go to his fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age, Genesis 15:15. God also told Abraham that in the fourth generation the Israelites would return to Canaan under Joshua.

God confirmed His presence with Abraham through fire and smoke, verse 17. The most favoured description of God is fire.

God gave them the land from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, verse 18. Unfortunately, the Israelites did not claim all the land they had been promised.

More First Mentions

God said to Hagar concerning Ishmael, I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will too many to count, Genesis 16:10. Ishmael will be a wild donkey of a man. His hand will be against everyone. Everyone’s hand will be against him, Genesis 16:12

I Am God Almighty. Walk before Me and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, Genesis 17:1. This foreshadows the New Covenant God would cut with His people through the death and resurrection of Christ.

I have made you a father of a multitude of nations, Genesis 17:5. This includes the Muslim nations of the world.

Father of Nations

You shall be circumcised in the flesh or your foreskin and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you, Genesis 17:11, were the instructions to Abraham at 99 years of age. Paul wrote that New Testament circumcision was to be of the heart by the Holy Spirit, Romans 2:29.

Abraham fell on his face and laughed when God told him he would have a son by Sarah, Genesis 17:17. This was mixed emotions as the following verse shows.

Ishmael was thirteen-years old when he was circumcised. Thirteen is an interesting number and first mentioned in Genesis 17:25. Jesus plus 12 disciples makes 13. There were thirteen pillars in Moses’ Tabernacle.

The Trinity

Abraham saw three male visitors standing in the heat of the day, Genesis 18:2. A clear reference to the trinity of the Godhead. No one person of the Godhead operates without the full knowledge of the others.

Washing of feet is first mentioned as Abraham ministered to the visitors as a sign of respect, Genesis 18:4. Jesus rebuked the Pharisee who did not show the same courtesy, Luke 7:44. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, John 13:5.

Hidden Treasures

The concept of God choosing to hide things from His people is first mentioned in Genesis 18:17. God asks Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. But the glory of kings to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2.

Followers of Jesus Christ are also hidden in Christ Jesus. Your life is hidden with Christ in God, with all the wonders of being joint heir with Him, Colossians 3:3.

This is the first time we find unleavened bread is in Genesis 19:3. Leaven being the symbol of sin.

Mercy and Loving Kindness

Lot was saved by the grace, or favour, and mercy or loving kindness, Genesis 19:19. Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need, Hebrews 4:16.

Answering personal prayer as Lot pleaded for his life, Genesis 19:21. Here is the first mention of brimstone and fire as judgement, Genesis 19:24. Then comes the first mention of family incest, Genesis 19:32. From this came the deadly enemies of Israel, the Moabites.

Other First Mentions

We see the office of the prophet for the first time, in Genesis 20:7, and a mother weeping over her child, Genesis 21:16.

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God, two first mentions, Genesis 21:33. Tamarisk trees are evergreen, representing hope and life. Beersheba means ‘well of oath’. Cursed is every one who is hung on a tree, Galatians 3:13, which points us to Calvary.

Ultimate Sacrifice

Then we come to Genesis 22 with its numerous first mentions. The first one is God tested Abraham, verse 1. Their travel to Mount Moriah took three days, filled with the terror of having to sacrifice his only son, verse 4. This was a fiery trial that is above all fiery trials.

Abraham’s faith is revealed when he tells his men that Isaac and he will go and worship and return, verse 4. This is the first mention of worship.

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid on Isaac his son, verse 6. Just as the Father commanded His Son to carry the burden of the cross to Calvary, John 19:17.

Substitute Lamb

God would provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, verse 8. It was the one who was total man and total God that hung on the Cross, provided by the Father, as our substitute.

The Lamb for the burnt offering, Genesis 22:8, pointing to the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8.

There is revelation of a personal relationship, I know that you fear God, and mention of the only son, 22:12. This is followed by the substitute death of the ram in place of his son, 22:13.

More Promises

Then more words of God revealing certain aspects of God, By Myself I have sworn declares the Lord, Genesis 22:16. Your seed shall possess the gate of the enemies, Genesis 22:17. Blessed because you have obeyed My voice, 22: 18.

The story closes with Abraham mourning and weeping for Sarah at her death, Genesis 23:2, as we see Jesus mourn Luke 19:41.

These are the first mentions we found. You may find there are many more.

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Wendy Stenberg-Tendys is a freelance writer who enjoys researching a topic and sharing words of encouragement, particularly from the Word of God.

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