GOD’S EVERLASTING COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
Again, my name is Johnny Rogers and this is my web site. As was mentioned on the home page, a short paper on God’s covenant with Abraham was previously presented at this location. That paper has been expanded into a short book that now includes some papers that had been given separately on this site.
Do you want confirmation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that He died on a cross to redeem man? You can see it in the story of Abraham and the covenant that God made with him and with his descendants if you listen to Jesus tell us that story.
What's that! You don't remember Jesus telling the story of Abraham and of the everlasting covenant that God made with him in the gospel accounts? Jesus did not tell us that story in the New Testament scriptures, He told that story in the Old Testament scriptures.
He is telling us that story through what Moses wrote. Peter said that when the prophets prophesied of the grace that was to come to us, they were "seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow" (1 Peter 1:11).
The Spirit of Christ is speaking through all of the inspired writers because He was the Word and the Creator from the beginning.
John tells us about that when he writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:1-3)
A few verses later John tells us, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us - -” (Verse 14)
When we read what Moses wrote about Abraham and God's
with him, the Spirit of Christ is telling us that story. He is speaking of our salvation when He tells us
the story of God's covenant with Abraham.
listen again to that old story of Abraham and of God’s
everlasting covenant promise to give to him and to his descendants
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 – GOD’S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
CHAPTER 2 – GOD'S TRUE PROMISE WAS FOR A HEAVENLY LAND
CHAPTER 3 – HEIRS TO
CHAPTER 4 – THAT OLD STORY IS AN EARTHLY COPY OF OUR STORY
CHAPTER 5 – THE MYSTERIES OF THE
CHAPTER 6 – MORE FROM THAT OLD EARTHLY COPY
CHAPTER 7 – THAT OLD STORY HAPPENED FOR OUR INSTRUCTION
CHAPTER 8 – GOD CAUSED THAT STORY TO HAPPEN AS IT DID
CHAPTER 9 – GOD IS CAUSING OUR SALVATION STORY TO HAPPEN
CHAPTER 10 – GOD’S PROMISE IS TO ABRAHAM AND TO HIS SEED
CHAPTER 11 – GOD’S PROMISES ARE TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM
CHAPTER 12 – GOD’S PROMISES ARE TO THOSE WHO OVERCOME
CHAPTER 13 – GOD’S COVENANT REQUIREMENT OF CIRCUMCISION
CHAPTER 14 – WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
CHAPTER 15 – GOD’S COVENANT REQUIREMENT IS PERFECTION
CHAPTER 16 – CLOTHED WITH HIS PERFECTION
CHAPTER 17 – GOD’S ARMY MUST FIGHT FOR THEIR LAND
CHAPTER 18 – THE DAY WILL COME WHEN GOD WILL KEEP HIS PROMISE
CHAPTER 19 – HE MAY BE RETURNING VERY SOON
GOD’S EVERLASTING COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
CHAPTER 1 – GOD’S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
thousand years ago God called Abraham and asked him to leave his
his father’s house and go to a land that God would show him.
obeyed God and he went to that earthly
Abraham later had a son through Hagar, his wife’s maid servant. Abraham assumed that son (Ishmael) would be his heir but God had other plans. God made His plans known to Abraham when He made His everlasting covenant with him in Genesis, chapter 17.
God appeared to Abraham and told him, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:7-8)
Most of the Christian world may not be hearing what God said when He made His covenant promises to Abraham. Some say that God’s covenant promise is unconditional. We will look at that possibility a little later.
Speaking of God’s promise to him, when God gave Abram (Before his name was changed to Abraham) credit for righteousness because he believed God’s promise that he would have descendants like the stars in the heavens, God told him, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18).
Has God failed to keep His promise to Abraham’s descendants? From the wording in God’s covenant promise it appears that Abraham and his earthly descendants were to have all of that land.
Psalmist refers back to God’s everlasting covenant with Abraham and
says, that, “He
has remembered His covenant forever, The word
which He commanded to a thousand generations, The covenant
which He made
with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. Then
He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To
the same covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac and to Jacob. He
one of those men, “To
you I will give
the same promise to every one of Abraham’s descendants. He
told Abraham, “I
give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your
of Abraham's descendants was being told the same thing; “TO
YOU I WILL GIVE
Abraham and millions of his earthly descendants after him lived and died on this earth without receiving that earthly land. How could that be true when we know that God does not lie? He keeps His promises.
spoke of how Abraham
never inherited any
part of that earthly land when
he was brought before
the Jewish council. He had been charged with preaching
Moses. Moses had recorded the story of Abraham and his
how God had given them that
Stephen reminded those Jews of something that Moses recorded. He told them how God called Abraham and brought him to that earthly land where they lived and He promised to give that land to Abraham and to his descendants after him but Abraham never received any part of that land.
Speaking of God’s promise to Abraham, Stephen told them, “But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.” (Acts 7:5)
Stephen was trying to show those Jews how that earthly land of Canaan could not have been God’s true covenant promise because Abraham died without receiving any part of that land even though God had promised it to him as a possession.
Not only did God not give it to Abraham, his descendants will not enter that land and take possession of it for more than six hundred years after the promise was first made to Abraham.
By the time that Joshua led God’s people in to take possession of that land, tens of thousands of Abraham’s descendants will have lived and died having never even seen that land. What about God’s promise to them, as well as to Abraham?
God does not break His covenant promises, so most of the Christian world has misunderstood what God’s everlasting covenant promises were. Most have also misunderstood what the everlasting covenant requirement is.
If God did not keep His promise to Abraham’s earthly descendants was it because the promises were to Abraham’s descendants by faith?
CHAPTER 2 – GOD'S TRUE PROMISE WAS FOR A HEAVENLY LAND
God does not lie. He keeps His promises. How, then, will He keep His promise to give that land of Canaan to millions of Abraham’s descendants who lived and died on this earth without receiving that earthly land?
Paul answers that question for us when he says, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” (Romans 9:6-8)
true covenant is with Abraham and with his descendants by faith, not
descendants in the flesh. Abraham’s descendants by faith are
The true covenant promise is God’s new covenant promise, not the old covenant promise. God’s new covenant promise is for a heavenly land, not an earthly land. We can see that when we hear God tell Abraham that He will give them that land as an everlasting possession.
There are no everlasting lands on this temporary earth. The only everlasting land will come with that new earth. Abraham would come to know that was God’s true promise.
Scripture says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)
When God called him, Abraham went to that earthly land where he spent most of the rest of his life living like an alien in a foreign land. He lived and died in that earthly land looking for a heavenly land. He never received any part of that earthly land but he will receive that heavenly land.
The same is true for his descendants by faith. God had promised his descendants an everlasting possession and He will keep His promise.
The Hebrew writer was speaking of Abraham's descendants by faith when he said, “Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:12-13)
old covenant descendants who were of faith, died without
The writer says, “For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:14-16)
Those who died in faith will receive the everlasting possession that God has promised. God has prepared that heavenly city for them. It is the same heavenly city that Abraham was looking for. It is the same city that John saw coming down out of heaven in Revelation, chapter 21.
John says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2)
Remember, we heard Paul say of Abraham’s true descendants, “That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.”
Abraham’s descendants of promise are those who are of Abraham’s faith. They will know that God’s everlasting covenant promise is that heavenly land and a heavenly city. Those who truly believe that is God’s promise will live their lives on this earth like those faithful ones of old lived. They will live here like aliens in a foreign land.
God’s true covenant promise to Abraham and to his descendants was that whole new world. Paul confirms that when he speaks of how Abraham was given credit for righteousness by his faith.
He says, “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13)
knew what Moses had written about God’s covenant
promise to Abraham and that it was the
Paul was not speaking of our being heirs of this world. This world is not our home. We are just passing through, on our way to that new world. God’s children are heirs to that new world.
CHAPTER 3 – HEIRS TO THE
The promise of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven is the true covenant promise that God made to Abraham. We saw where he lived in that earthly land but he lived there as an alien, "for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)
Abraham knew that God’s true promise was that city built by God. John saw a new heaven and a new earth and a New Jerusalem that will be coming down out of heaven from God. The true promise was always for eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. We will reign with Christ from that heavenly city.
Scripture says that it will be a place where there will be no tears or crying or no longer any death. God says, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them” (Revelation 21:3).
He says that "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” (Revelation 21:7)
We will become heirs to that city of gold and the kingdom of heaven if we overcome but, in the meantime, the kingdom of heaven has come to this earth. Jesus spoke of that when He began His ministry and preached that man should repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. (Matthew 4:17)
He will also refer to the kingdom and tell His disciples that there were some standing there that would not taste of death until they saw the kingdom of God (Luke 9:27).
When the Pharisees asked Jesus when the
kingdom of God was coming, Luke records, “He answered them and said, "The
kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say,
`Look, here it is!' or, `There it is!' For behold, the
The KJV translation says, the
How can the
Jesus explained to the Pharisees how He could cast out demons. He said that if He cast out demons by the Spirit of God then the kingdom of God had come upon them (Matthew 12:28).
When Jesus said those words He alone possessed
the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God was dwelling within the body of
Christ at that moment and He was casting out those demons by the Spirit of
The Spirit is speaking through the inspired writers to tell us about the mystery of the kingdom of heaven. God has provided a way for man to become reconciled to Him in the kingdom of heaven. He is doing it through Christ and His perfect sacrifice. His sacrifice can make true believers perfect and fit for becoming a dwelling place for the Spirit of God.
Paul is telling us about that when he tells the Colossian church how it is through Christ that the Father has reconciled all things to Himself by having made peace through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20).
He says that “He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard” (Colossians 1:22-23).
Paul tells us how he had become a minister to preach of the word of God, “that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Verses 26-27)
When Paul speaks of how we have been reconciled to God through the body of Christ He is speaking of our becoming a part of the body of Christ, the church. He told the church at Colossi that He (Christ) is head of the body, the church, and that He is the Firstborn from the dead and He has the first place in everything (Colossians 1:18).
In the next chapter Paul will continue to speak of the mystery of Christ. He wants us to come to understand and have the knowledge of God's mystery, that is, “Christ Himself”.
The mystery of the kingdom of heaven is the mystery of Christ. God is reconciling us to Himself through Christ and His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
The Spirit of God was dwelling within the body of Christ on earth while He was serving here and after He offered His perfect sacrifice to redeem us from sin His resurrected body became the church on earth. God’s Spirit dwells in His holy temple and the body of Christ, the church, is His temple.
Christ’s body was God’s true holy temple when He was on earth preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven but His resurrected body would provide the way for man to become reconciled to God in Christ.
That is what He was telling us when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
The Jews destroyed God’s holy temple when Christ died on the cross. Christ, however, would resurrect that house of God on the third day. On that Sunday morning the Spirit of God returned to His holy temple. God’s holy temple had been raised up to become the new covenant house of God.
Only after Christ had offered His perfect sacrifice to redeem man from sin could man be made perfect and be allowed to enter into God’s holy temple. It could not happen, however, until His body had been resurrected from the dead on that third day.
His resurrected body is now found in the
church and God’s Spirit dwells in all who have become a part of that holy
temple. We must be in that house to have His Spirit dwell in us. If
His Spirit is within us then the
We can become sons of God with Christ, the Firstborn Son, if we accept the conditions of His sacrifice. If we have true faith in Him, we will receive His righteousness. He became the Firstborn Son of God and He was the Firstborn among many brethren (Romans ).
God gave Christ to mankind to be our covenant (Isaiah 49:8). We must believe God’s covenant promise. We must believe in Christ Jesus to receive the kingdom of heaven. Only God’s sons are heirs to that city.
Only those that belong to Christ are descendants of Abraham and heirs to the promise. They will have become sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus because they will have believed Christ and obeyed the gospel.
The kingdom of God would come with power in the first century but Jesus also told His apostles that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and even to the remote parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).
It happened on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit came upon the apostles and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues. The Jews who were nearby heard it happening and they came together bewildered because they were each one hearing the words spoken by the apostles in their own language.
Peter told them that it was all happening just as had been spoken by the prophet Joel that in the last days God would pour forth His Spirit on all mankind. Later Peter will tell them how they had crucified the Christ but God had raised Him up and He had been exalted to the right hand of God and had received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit He had poured out what they were seeing and hearing (Acts 2:33).
The kingdom of heaven had come in power when the apostles received the Holy Spirit. They had received the covenant promise of the kingdom of heaven when they received the Spirit of God.
The mystery of the kingdom of heaven is the mystery of Christ. The Father is calling everyone who will believe and obey the gospel to Himself through Jesus Christ. They will receive the promise of the Spirit by having been made a part of the body of Christ, the place where God’s Spirit dwells.
Only those who have the Spirit of God are sons of God and heirs to the promises. Paul said that we are in the Spirit, “if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:9)
As we continue reading we hear Paul say, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
Our mortal bodies will become resurrected immortal bodies if we have the Spirit of God in us while we are living on this earth.
If His Spirit is in us then we are children of God and Paul says, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:16-17)
Only God’s sons possess the Spirit of Christ within them. Paul says that “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:6) He said those words just a few verses after telling them that they were sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for they had clothed themselves with Christ by having been baptized into Him.
The church is the bride of Christ. In Ephesians, chapter 5, Paul speaks of husbands loving their wives like Christ loved the church and he refers to the church as “her”. The relationship between a man and his wife is like the relationship between Christ and the church. Paul tells us this reference to Christ and the church is a great mystery. It is the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.
We can see it when we read what John records
about that New Jerusalem to come (Revelation, chapter 21). He tells us
how he saw that holy city the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God
and it was made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. That church
is His bride and it will be that
A little later he will again make reference to that city being the bride of Christ. He said that an angel told him to come and he would show John the bride, the wife of the Lamb. He was carried away in the Spirit to a great high mountain where he was shown that holy city coming down out of heaven having the glory of God.
John was shown the bride of the Lamb when he was shown that city. That city is the church.
CHAPTER 4 – THAT OLD STORY IS AN EARTHLY COPY OF OUR STORY
Abraham’s earthly descendants did not enter
We read how Abraham was looking for a heavenly city. He knew that was the true promise. If that heavenly land was the true promise, what was God telling him when He promised to give him and his descendants the land of Canaan?
God actually gave Abraham both the old covenant promise and the new covenant promise at the same time. The old covenant promise was an earthly copy of the new covenant promise.
Was God giving man an earthly copy for our instruction? Can we see that when we compare the two covenants and what happened to those Israelites under that old covenant?
that old covenant with its promise to Abraham’s
earthly descendants for that earthly land, God’s people
themselves in slavery in
called Moses and sent him back into
know how Moses brought God’s people out of slavery with
signs and wonders and led them through the wilderness to their
earthly descendants had been promised that
how that shows an earthly parallel of our spiritual
salvation story. Abraham’s descendants by faith have been
heavenly land but centuries later we found ourselves in spiritual
this world. God sent Jesus to bring us out of spiritual
slavery just as
He sent Moses to bring His earthly
Jesus told the Jews about that spiritual slavery. He told some who had believed in Him that if they continued in His word they would know the truth and the truth would make them free. Their response was that they were not enslaved to anyone so how would they be made free.
Scripture tells us that, “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36)
Every person on earth (Who has reached the age of accountability) is guilty of sin and they are in bondage to sin if they have not been made free. For one to be set free from slavery to sin, they must follow Jesus out of that slavery because He is the only one who can set us free.
Just before he died Moses had foretold how, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
would be many prophets to come after Moses but
Christ was the only prophet who would be like Moses in that He was sent
God’s people out of slavery and take them to their Promised
led God’s people out of earthly slavery to show an earthly copy of how
is leading God’s spiritual
Just as Moses led those earthly Israelites out of slavery with signs and wonders, Jesus began leading His people out of spiritual slavery with signs and wonders.
On the Day of Pentecost Peter told those Jews, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” (Acts 2:22-24)
It appears that God may have caused that old story to happen as an earthly copy of how we are being saved from slavery to sin just as Christ spoke in parables while He was on earth in the flesh. Remember, the Spirit of Christ is telling us that story through Moses.
There is one big difference between Christ speaking in parables while He was on earth and what happened in that old Hebrew story. It appears that all of Christ’s parables were fictional earthly stories but that old Hebrew story was not fiction. It actually happened. Did God cause it to happen the way it did for our instruction?
CHAPTER 5 – THE MYSTERIES OF THE
Jesus said that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are hidden in His parables. He tells us about that in Matthew, chapter 13. He was speaking to the crowds in parables to tell of the good news of the kingdom of heaven but it was all mysteries to the crowds.
Matthew recorded Jesus speaking several parables to the crowds and then he says, “All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.” (Verse 34)
Mark says that, "He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples" (Mark ).
He was explaining the spiritual meaning of His parables to His disciples when they were apart from the crowds. The crowds never heard Him do that. All they heard was earthly copies of the spiritual message.
His disciples must have wondered why He spoke to the crowds in parables because, scripture says, “the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" (Matthew 13:10)
Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.”
Jesus said the crowd only heard parables because, “while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand”.
The crowds will only hear the message in parables because, their hearts have become dull, their ears can scarcely hear and they have closed their eyes. They refuse to come near to hear Jesus as He explains His parables to His disciples and, as a result, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are not being revealed to them.
The crowds came by the thousands to hear Jesus speaking the gospel message. Some would come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God but few of them would be willing to pay the cost of discipleship.
Of that cost Jesus once told the crowd, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27)
When Jesus told them that one had to carry his own cross and come after Him Jesus was speaking in a parable but the crowds could not understand the meaning. There were likely some believers in the crowd that could not understand the meaning.
Remember, Jesus said that His disciples would know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Not all believers are disciples. Only those believers who were willing to take up their cross and forsake all for Jesus would become His disciples.
Some of those in the crowds, even among the Jewish rulers, would come to believe in Him but they were not willing to confess Him.
John writes, “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.” (John 12:42-43)
Those believers who were willing to risk everything to confess Him and follow Him became His disciples. They would come to know that being rejected by unbelievers and having to endure the affliction that would come was a part of carrying a spiritual cross.
His disciples have been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but it will not happen all at once. Most will only know the basics of gospel obedience when they become disciples but they will know enough to be saved.
His disciples must keep listening to Him as He explains His parables and they will grow in their knowledge of the kingdom of heaven. We will never know all of those mysteries in this life but we must keep listening to Him.
The good news of the kingdom of heaven includes the revelation of the plan of salvation to man. Jesus is telling us how God is doing that in His parables. If He was speaking the message in parables while He was on earth is He doing the same through the writings of the prophets?
After Matthew recorded how Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables to fulfill what Isaiah had prophesied, he referred to another prophecy that was being fulfilled when Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He was fulfilling something that the Psalmist had foretold. He said, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD." (Matthew 13:35)
Matthew was referring back to Psalms, chapter 78. That chapter begins, "Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us".
The Psalmist then repeated what their fathers had told them and it was the old Hebrew salvation story.
Christ is speaking to us through the Psalmist. Remember that the scriptures are God’s word and Christ is the Word.
Christ was the Word of God that became flesh and He is the Creator. The Father spoke through Him and He did all of His creation work through Him. When the Spirit spoke through the prophets, the Spirit of Christ who would later become Jesus Christ on earth was actually speaking through them to foretell what was to come.
Peter spoke of our salvation and how the prophets spoke of the grace to come. They were “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” (1 Peter 1:11)
His Spirit speaks to us through the prophet Hosea and He says, “I have also spoken to the prophets, And I gave numerous visions, And through the prophets I gave parables.” (Hosea 12:10)
When the Psalmist said, “I will open my mouth in a parable”, Christ was the one speaking. The Spirit of Christ is speaking through the Psalmist and He began by saying that He would open His mouth in a parable and speak dark saying of old, things their fathers had told them.
That was prophecy of how He would later come speaking in parables but He also said that He would open His mouth in a parable and speak dark sayings of old which the fathers had told them.
When we listen to the Spirit of Christ retell what their fathers told them, we hear Him retell that old Hebrew story of how God saved His people out of slavery and brought them through the wilderness to lead them to their land.
He says that story must be told to the generation to come. He was speaking to us, the spiritual generation to come. He is telling us the earthly salvation story of that Hebrew nation that the fathers had retold to them and He says that He is speaking it in a parable.
How could that be true? We know that old story is not fiction. It really happened. How could that old Hebrew story be a parable?
It can't be a parable as we think of parables because our definition of a parable says the earthly story is a fictional story and that old Hebrew story is a true story. Our definition of a parable says the story is fiction but God is not required to use our definitions.
CHAPTER 6 – MORE FROM THAT OLD EARTHLY COPY
about that old covenant Israelite story
happened as an earthly copy of our spiritual story. We saw
saved them from earthly slavery in
happened after Pharaoh finally let them go free (After the death of the
firstborn of Egypt). God
caused His people to wander through the wilderness of
Pharaoh’s heart one last time so that He could bring about the event of
parting of the sea so that
God had not hardened Pharaoh’s heart and caused him to
Why would God harden Pharaoh’s heart and cause the event of the parting of the sea to come about that destroyed thousands of Egyptians in the sea if His people had already been allowed to go free?
He caused it to happen as an earthly copy of our gospel message for our instruction so that we could know that He meant exactly what He would say clearly in the New Testament scriptures.
at what happened in that earthly story when God
God would be honored through what would take place is
a part of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Pharaoh and
Moses told them, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Moses to tell the sons of
God told him, “As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.”
caused Pharaoh to chase after
Remember, we were in slavery to sin in this world. Jesus told His disciples to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
The Egyptians were their slave-masters in that old earthly copy. Their slave-masters were washed away in the sea. We are saved from slavery to sin if we will believe the gospel message and follow Jesus through our sea and have our sins washed away.
We can see that happen when Paul was saved from slavery to sin. When Paul saw Jesus and became a believer, Jesus told him to “enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” (Acts 9:6)
Paul later retold what happened after he had gone into the city. Ananias came to him and told Paul that God had appointed him to know His will and to see Jesus and to be His witness of what he fad seen and heard. He told Paul, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts ).
Paul had been in slavery to sin but when he obeyed the gospel and passed through the sea his sins were washed away in the sea. It had been foretold in what happened to God’s people when those Egyptians were washed away in that sea.
God allowed Pharaoh to remain alive in order to show the earthly copy of God's power to save through the gospel message and to proclaim the name of Jesus throughout the world. Jesus has been honored by what He had to do to open a pathway through the sea so that we can pass through. He had to stretch out His hands on the cross for that to happen.
It appears at first glance that our sins are our slave-masters but the scriptures are saying something else. Paul tells us what happens when we come through those waters when he writes, “do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3)
Paul then tells us, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”
Our body of sin was our slave-master. We will have been set free from slavery to sin when our old earthly body of sin has been done away with in the sea of baptism. We must repent of having served that body of sin and make the decision to put that old body of sin to death in the waters of our sea so that we can be raised up to walk in newness of life.
If we obey the gospel and become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. We will have become born again children of God by water and the Spirit.
the Israelites saw what God had done, scripture
old covenant people had been brought through the sea
and out of slavery in
They must travel through the wilderness to that land and be willing to fight for it. It will not happen for most of them. Most of them will be disobedient and rebellious and they will refuse to fight for that land.
Remember when they sent the twelve spies in to spy out the land, ten of those spies came back and gave a bad report. They told how it was truly a land of milk and honey but they also said it was inhabited by strong nations and giants and God’s people would not be able to overcome them.
Only Joshua and Caleb gave a good report and encouraged the people to enter and take possession of that land. They had been saved from slavery and the land of promise was before them but they wanted to return to slavery, instead.
God was displeased with them and He told them that their corpses would fall in that wilderness (Numbers ). Not one of those of their numbered men would enter that land except for Joshua and Caleb. In the next chapter we will hear Paul tell us that what happened to those Israelites happened for our instruction. We need to hear the message and not let the same thing happen to us.
CHAPTER 7 – THAT OLD STORY HAPPENED FOR OUR INSTRUCTION
appears that God may have caused that old Hebrew
story to happen for our instruction just as Christ spoke in parables
instruction while He was on earth. Paul appears to be saying
thing in his first letter to the church at
Paul spoke of what happened in that old Hebrew story and said, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5)
After reminding them of that old story and how God struck most of them down because He was not pleased with them, he tells us, “Now these things happened as examples for us” (Verse 6).
A little later he says, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." (1 Cor. 10:11-12).
Paul said that what happened to that earthly nation happened as our example and God had it recorded by Moses for our instruction. He says that we need to take heed lest we fall like they fell in their earthly wilderness.
The Hebrew writer referred to that same story and he says the same thing about it that Paul said. He speaks of their land of promise as the land of rest and tells us how that nation could not enter their land of rest because of their hard hearts.
He speaks of those ancient Israelites who rebelled against God and says, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS.” (Hebrews 3:7-8)
He warns us to, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end” (Verses 12-14).
Do we believe in Jesus? He is the Word of all scripture because He was the Word from the beginning. Christ was the Word of God from the beginning and He is the Creator of all things.
Christ is speaking through the inspired writers to tell us to look at that old earthly story and be careful not to let the same thing happen to us that happened to them.
They believed in the Lord enough to follow Moses out of slavery and through the sea. They really believed when they were watching the Lord do His awesome work at the sea.
When the Israelite nation went through the sea, their Egyptian slave-masters tried to overtake them to bring them back into slavery but they were washed away in the sea. Scripture says that not even one of them remained (Exodus ).
tells us, “Thus
We heard the Hebrew writer say “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end”.
The same writer will later say, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
They were a saved nation of faith. They had been saved by their faith but they never received what had been promised because they did not hold fast the beginning of their assurance firm until the end. Because they did not hold faithful until the end they never received their land of rest.
The Spirit is speaking and He tells us that we will have become partakers of Christ if we hold fast in our faith (“the beginning of our assurance”) firm until the end.
He says, “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews ).
That is the same thing that Paul told the Corinthians. He said that what happened to those Israelites happened as our example and it was written for our instruction. God is using that old earthly Hebrew story to tell us about our spiritual salvation.
Moses wrote that story but the Spirit of Christ was speaking through him as he wrote. He is telling us an earthly salvation story but the true message has to do with our spiritual salvation.
We heard Peter say that the Spirit of Christ was speaking through the prophets when they spoke of our salvation. If the Spirit of Christ is telling us that story through Moses and that story is an earthly copy of our spiritual salvation story it sounds like Christ is speaking to us in a true story parable.
Was He working in the lives of Abraham’s earthly descendants to bring about the old covenant story of how they were saved out of slavery in Egypt to be brought to their land as an earthly copy of how God’s spiritual people are being saved out of slavery to sin on this earth to be brought to their spiritual land?
CHAPTER 8 – GOD CAUSED THAT OLD STORY TO HAPPEN AS IT DID
We heard Paul say that what happened to those Israelites after they were brought out of Egyptian slavery happened as our example and it was written for our instruction.
Did God make it happen as it did as a part of His creation work? Remember, Christ was the Creator from the beginning (John 1:1-3). He does all of the Father’s creation work.
Paul spoke of Christ’s creation work and said that Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
Christ’s creation work includes selecting all rulers
and thrones and authorities, then His creation work is still under way
includes installing all who are to be placed in power, at all
includes every ruler since Adam and it included the
Pharaoh that ruled
If Christ placed Pharaoh into power, did He cause Pharaoh to make choices that caused that old story to happen as it did? We saw how God repeatedly hardened Pharaoh's heart so that His signs and wonders could be displayed in Egypt.
Paul spoke of that Pharaoh and said, “the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH” (Romans 9:17).
Christ, the Creator, put Pharaoh into his position of power so that He could bring about the events that would demonstrate His power in Pharaoh and that His name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth. That work was completed when Pharaoh and his army perished in the sea.
How did Christ cause that to happen? We saw previously how God caused Pharaoh and his army to perish in the sea when He hardened his heart one last time. God's people had already been told to depart.
When God sent Moses to bring God’s people out of slavery God told him before hand that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let His people go.
said to Moses, “When you go back to
God (Through Christ) told Moses what would happen and how He would cause it to happen before He sent Moses back into Egypt to bring His people out of Egyptian slavery.
caused Pharaoh to refuse to let His people go free
until all of God's signs and wonders had been displayed in the
God had it all planned before He sent Moses back and then He caused it to happen just as He planned for it to happen. The Father planned it and Christ made it happen.
If Christ was causing it all to happen to demonstrate His power in Pharaoh and that His name would be proclaimed throughout the earth, how can we see that in scripture? Did He cause an earthly copy of our salvation story to happen so that we can see it in that earthly copy?
that old earthly story God saved His people from
slavery under Pharaoh and that foretold how He would save His spiritual
Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
have been commanded to proclaim that gospel message to
all nations in the name of Jesus Christ. Just before He
ascended back to
the Father He told His disciples,
it is written, that the Christ would
suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that
forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations,
When the Jews wanted to know by what power Peter had healed a man, Peter told them, “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12)
There is salvation in no other name under heaven other than the name of Jesus Christ. It appears that Christ foretold it all in an earthly copy of that old Hebrew story that He caused to come about as it did for our instruction.
That sounds like He is speaking to us in parables just as He spoke in parables while He was on earth in the flesh. The difference is that old Hebrew salvation story was a true story, not fiction. It is obvious that God can cause true stories to happen, however.
CHAPTER 9 – GOD IS CAUSING OUR SALVATION STORY TO HAPPEN
We heard Paul refer back to something that Moses had written about Pharaoh. He said that the scripture spoke to Pharaoh and told him why God had raised him up. It was to demonstrate His power in Pharaoh and that His name would be proclaimed throughout the earth (Romans ).
When we keep reading what Paul wrote in Romans, chapter 9, we hear him say that God has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Wow, how can that fit with our making our own choices?
How can that be true when we will be judged based on the choices that we make in this life?
Paul asks that obvious question for us. He says, “You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?” (Romans 9:19-20)
Paul says that it happens like the Potter works with the clay. He then asks another question for us; "Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use?" (Romans 9:21)
Christ is the Creator so He is the Potter and we are the clay. It sounds like He is involved in the creation of our life story just as He created that old Hebrew salvation story. Paul says that He has mercy on some and He hardens others, as He desires.
Do we have a choice or not? Paul asked that question for us. Does he have an answer it for us? How can He find fault with us in judgment if He makes us into the vessel of His choosing?
Paul had already answered that question for us. We can see that if we back up just a few verses into chapter 8. If we listen carefully we can hear him speak of how God is causing things to happen in our lives and for those who love Him He is making us into vessels meant for glory.
He is speaking of how the Potter works to create vessels of His choosing from the clay before Him when he writes, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)
Paul is speaking of Christ’s new creation. He is causing true life stories to come about and for those who choose to love God He will cause it all to work together for their good.
That is how we have input into what kind of vessel we become. We must obey the great commandment and love God. He will create us into vessels of glory in the image of His Son.
Paul said that God foreknew them and He predestined them to become conformed to the image of Christ, meaning they will be created in the image of God in the new creation.
When Paul said that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, he is speaking of a good spiritual story, not a good earthly story. Paul wrote this scripture and he did not have a good earthly story. He had a very bad earthly story but he had a good spiritual story.
He was creating an earthly salvation story when He caused that old Israelite story to happen as it did in this creation but He is causing our spiritual story to happen as it does in His new creation.
We can see this natural creation with our eyes but we can only see God’s new creation by faith while we are on this earth. Some day we will see it by sight, however.
Remember, we heard Paul speak of Christ’s creation work and say, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible- - - -” (Colossians ).
Christ’s first creation was visible, something that we can see with our eyes. His new creation is invisible. That first creation was completed when He created man in the image of God and placed him in the Garden of Eden. His new creation is the invisible creation of how He is creating us in the image of God by recreating us in the image of Himself.
Paul is speaking of that new creation work when he says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 2:17)
The Greek word for creature in that scripture can mean either “creature” or “creation”. Paul appears to be telling us that we are a new creation in Christ when we are brought into Christ’s body.
Because of sin we were separated from God in this visible creation but we are being reconciled to God in Christ Jesus in His new creation because there is no sin in Christ Jesus. John says, "You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin." (1 John 3:5).
Speaking of how we make our own choice with regard to Gospel obedience, our first requirement is to obey the greatest commandment to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37-38). We must show our love for God with obedience.
We heard Paul speak of those who will love God and say that God will cause all things to work together for their good.
We also heard him say that God foreknew who would make that choice and He predestined them to become His children (“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren”).
It appears that God foreknew who would make the choice to love Him before the foundation of the world and for those whom He foreknew would make that choice, He chose them and predestined them to become His children in His image in the new creation.
Paul confirms God’s foreknowledge of us and how He foreknew what kind of vessel He planned for us to become when he says that God, “- - - chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
We can also see God's foreknowledge of those who would choose to love Him in what David said about himself. He says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
Every day of his life had been recorded in God’s book before David was born. God foresaw David and He foreknew that he would be a man after God’s on heart and He caused the things of his life to work together for David’s good.
David would make some awful mistakes and he would pay dearly for them in this life but he would repent and become a vessel meant for glory.
God not only foreknew David’s whole life He foreknew what He would say before he said it. David says, “Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Verses 4-6)
God foreknew David’s whole life and it appears that He foreknew it and recorded it all before the foundation of the world. We heard Paul say that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.
From what Paul said in the message that he gave on Mars Hill, it appears that God foreknew all of the nations of the earth and preset their appointed times before the foundation of the world. He told the crowd that God “- - -made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts ).
All men of every nation came from Adam and Paul said that God had determined their appointed times and boundaries. If He appointed our times then he appointed them before we were. God is not limited in time so if He appointed our times before we existed then our times could have been appointed before the foundation of the world.
We know that God allows us to make our own choices when it comes to our salvation. It appears that God foresaw us make our choices and that He heard and answered all of our prayers before we were born. That would allow us to have input into our life story.
His wish is that all would repent and make the choice to love Him and become obedient. God spoke through Ezekiel and said, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)
Peter tells us the same thing when he speaks of our salvation and says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
We are involved in the creation of our life story when we pray for God to make things happen for us. When we pray and God answers our prayers, we have input in the creation of our life story. It appears that God heard and answered our prayers and planned our story before we were born.
It is hard for us to comprehend a God with that kind of power and foreknowledge. We may be able to understand how He could foreknow a few people and make plans for them but how could He foreknow billions of people and make plans for them before the foundation of the world?
If He can know some trivial things, like having each hair of our head numbered (Matthew ), then He surely knows the important things.
As David said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”
CHAPTER 10 – GOD’S PROMISE IS TO ABRAHAM AND TO HIS SEED
heard God tell Abraham what His covenant promise to him
was in Genesis, chapter 17. He told Abraham, “I
will give to you and
to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the
The KJV version says the promise was to Abraham and to his seed. That seems to be saying the same thing except for something that Paul said about that promise in his letter to the Galatians. Paul was trying to explain to them how God’s promises are to those who are of faith, not to those who are of the Law.
The real promise is for God’s Spirit to be given to His children so that they can be made one with Him and receive His righteousness by faith. Paul says of that gift, “So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:5)
He speaks of Abraham’s descendants who are to receive the covenant promise by faith and says, “Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:6-7)
He spoke of God’s covenant promises to Abraham and his Seed and said, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.” (Verse 16)
says that the true promise to Abraham was, “I
will give to you
and to your Seed, Jesus Christ, the land of your sojournings, all the
The Promise to Abraham’s Seed was to one individual, Jesus Christ, but the scripture says that He will be “their” God. How can it be both singular and plural when the promise was to Christ?
We must become one with Christ. Paul tells us how we become one with the Firstborn Son and therefore sons of God and heirs with Him when he then says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Verses 26-28)
He says of those who have been clothed with Christ in baptism, "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Verse 29)
We will have become sons of God with Him and therefore heirs to the covenant promises with Him by having believed and obeyed the gospel message and being baptized into Him. Those who have not believed and obeyed that message are not God’s children and they are not heirs to the promises.
CHAPTER 11 – GOD’S PROMISES ARE TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM
Regarding God's promise of our being created in the image of His Son if we choose to love Him, Jesus tells us who really loves Him in John 14:15. He says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”.
He makes sure we get the message when He tells us, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me” (verses 23-24).
Having an abode with God is the covenant promise. Only those who choose to love God with obedience to His word will have that heavenly home with Him. The Father will love those who choose to love His Son and who show it with obedience and the Son will love those that the Father loves.
We heard Paul tell us how God will cause all things to work together for good in our lives if we love Him. We said that shows how we have a choice of what we become by our making the choice to love God.
We can hear Paul confirm that we have input into what we will become when he tells Timothy there are some vessels of honor and some vessels of dishonor in any large house.
He says, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21)
The promise has been made to those who love God and only those who obey Him really love Him. They are the ones who make the choice to obey Him and abstain from wickedness. God foresaw which ones would make that choice and He is helping them to overcome this world.
We heard Paul speak of how the Potter is working with the clay to cause people’s lives to happen as they do. He said that for those who love Him He will cause all things to work together for their good.
He said that God foreknew them and He predestined them to become conformed to the image of His Son. That means they are being created in the image of God in the new creation. They are His created sons and Christ’s brethren.
Paul said that God’s sons have been called and predestined and justified and glorified. Christ, the Creator, is causing it all to happen as it does.
It sounds as if His new creation work includes having mercy on those who are to be created in the image of Christ Jesus and hardening the hearts of others. With regard to God hardening others, we heard Paul speak of that Pharaoh and how God hardened him to help cause His power to be displayed in him and that His name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.
As Christ is doing His new creation work He is causing all things to work together for good in the lives of those who love Him so as to create them into the image of Him-self.
Remember, the greatest commandment is the commandment to love God.
When a Jewish lawyer asked Jesus what the great commandment in the Law was, Jesus told him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Paul speaks of what God has promised to those who keep the greatest commandment and love God. He says, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
James spoke of God’s promise to those who love Him and said, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
In the next chapter we can see that God’s promises are for the kingdom of heaven when James says, “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5)
We are heirs to the kingdom if we love God but we heard Jesus say, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” We also heard Him say those who refuse to keep His word don’t love Him.
believe that Jesus means what He says and we must show our love for Him
obedience to receive God’s promise. Having an abode with God
covenant promise. Only those who choose to love God with
obedience to His
word will have that heavenly home with Him.
CHAPTER 12 – GOD’S PROMISES ARE TO THOSE WHO OVERCOME
We heard the scriptures tell us that God’s promises are to those who love God. The scriptures also tell us that God’s promises are to those who overcome. God will help those who love Him to overcome so that they can obtain those promises.
Speaking of God’s promises, John foresaw His promises being fulfilled in Revelation, chapter 21. John saw a new heaven and new earth and a New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven.
heard a voice from the throne tell him how God will dwell among men and
wipe away the tears from their eyes. God told him that the
will have passed away; “Behold,
I am making all
He told John that, "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:7-8)
Those who overcome will inherit that city of gold. Will they inherit that whole new world? The KJV translation says they will inherit “all things”. It appears that God may be saying that those who overcome this world will become heirs to all things in that new world.
God’s children are the heirs because they will overcome this world because of their faith. John said, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
Paul may be speaking of that whole new world being God’s promise to His children when he refers back to God’s promise to Abraham in Romans, chapter 4. He says, “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13)
Paul was referring back to what God had promised to give to Abraham and to his descendants in Genesis, chapter 17.
We read it previously. God was speaking of His everlasting covenant promises to Abraham and to his descendants when He told Abraham, “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17:8)
Paul knew exactly what Moses had recorded in scripture. He knew that the scripture spoke of the land of Canaan being the promise but the Spirit is speaking through Paul to tell us that the true promise was always the promise for that whole new world to come.
God’s promise is to give that new world to those who overcome. We can hear that when Christ says that, “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.” (Revelation 2:26-28)
Those who overcome and keep His deeds until the end will rule over the nations. They will not rule over the nations of this earth because their life on this earth will have ended. It sounds like those who overcome this earth will rule over the nations of that new earth.
Only those who are of faith will overcome this world. Abraham is our example. By faith, he knew the promise was not of this world. We heard the Hebrew writer tell us how he went to that earthly land but he lived there like an alien in a foreign land because he was looking for that city built by God (Hebrews 11:8-10).
Abraham knew that God would keep His promise to give him an everlasting possession. He also knew the promise was not of this earth. He lived his whole life on this earth like an alien living in a foreign land as he was looking ahead toward that heavenly city to come.
Abraham’s descendants by faith will live their lives on this earth like he lived, like aliens living in a foreign land. Some of his earthly descendants lived that way.
The Hebrew writer said they died having never received the promises; “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)
He says they desire a better country, meaning a heavenly one. For those faithful ones, God has prepared a city for them. For those of us who have their faith, God has prepared that city for us. If we have their faith we will live our lives on this earth like aliens living in a foreign land.
Paul tells us, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
We must have Abraham’s faith and believe that God will keep His promises. He will keep His promises if we will keep our covenant requirement.
Abraham that his covenant requirement was circumcision.
Abraham and all
of his male descendants were to be circumcised in the flesh.
that requirement in the Law of Moses. Only circumcised
heirs to that earthly
If their old covenant story was just an earthly copy of our spiritual story, was their covenant requirement for circumcision of the flesh a copy of our covenant requirement? We will look at that in the next chapter.
CHAPTER 13 – GOD’S COVENANT REQUIREMENT OF CIRCUMCISION
If everything about that old earthly Hebrew story was caused to happen as an earthly copy of our spiritual story then we should be able to see what our covenant requirement is in what God told Abraham when He gave him his covenant requirement.
After God told Abraham what the covenant promises were He told him, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.” (Genesis 17:9-11)
God then told Abraham, “thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Abraham believed that God meant what He said and he met his covenant requirement and was circumcised that very day. He and his son, Ishmael, and all of the males of his household were circumcised that day.
If the covenant requirement of circumcision was to be in his flesh for an “everlasting covenant” then it would fit with God’s everlasting covenant promise. The covenant promise was everlasting and the covenant requirement of circumcision was also everlasting.
the true everlasting covenant promise was for that spiritual
If circumcision was to be a sign then it was speaking of what was to come. That old earthly circumcision made with hands was a “sign” of our true circumcision of the flesh.
Paul spoke of the true circumcision and said, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:28-29).
That old earthly circumcision required the removal of a “token” piece of flesh. True circumcision removes our complete earthly body of flesh from the prospective of the heart. We must repent from the heart and make the commitment to no longer live for that earthly body of flesh.
Paul tells us how that happens when he writes, “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12).
Spiritual circumcision requires the removal of our whole body of flesh. It happens when we repent and make the commitment to do away with that body in the waters of baptism.
For those who have believed and obeyed the Great Commission, they will have met their covenant requirement of spiritual circumcision. They will have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised up with Him like Christ was raised from the dead.
If we have been raised with Him, we must take up our cross and follow Him. We heard Paul tell us how we do that. He told us, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
If our minds are set on the things of this earth (The cars and boats and fine clothes and big houses etc.) and not on the things above, we will not overcome this world. We will have been overcome by this world and we will only get what we will have lived for in this short life.
We must not set our minds on the things of this world because this world is not our home it is our spiritual wilderness that we must pass through to get to our land. We must overcome that wilderness to receive our land.
Just as those ancient Hebrews had to overcome the obstacles of their wilderness, we must overcome this world. We can only overcome by faith. We must believe in His word and know that we are only aliens passing through this world on our way toward that heavenly land.
Just before they were to enter into their land of Canaan Moses told his people that if they became unfaithful to God but later repented with all their heart, “the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6).
overcome this world and be faithful until death
because Jesus told the church at
We must persevere to the end because scripture also tells us, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James ).
God has promised the crown of life to those who will persevere and be faithful until death.
CHAPTER 14 – WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
The kingdom of heaven is the covenant promise
but one cannot receive that promise unless they have been born again. Jesus told Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I
say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the
When Nicodemus questioned what being born
again meant, Jesus told him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is
born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the
Jesus gave the answer to Nicodemus but what
was He really saying? Being born again means to be born of water and the
Spirit but what does that mean? Somehow it gives us access to the
Peter spoke of our being born again and said that God has caused us to be born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to obtain an imperishable inheritance that is reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:3).
A little later he will again mention our being born again and say we are not born again of seed which is perishable but imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
We have been born again through the resurrection of Christ from the dead but we have also been born again of imperishable Seed and that Seed is the living Word of God. How are we born again of the Word, which is also imperishable Seed, and also born again through the resurrection of Christ from the dead?
Remember, Christ was the Word of God from the beginning and that Word became flesh on earth and dwelt among us (John 1:1-14). He is the Holy Seed that is the enduring Word of God that was planted to be raised up to bear fruit to God.
We are born again through Christ’s resurrection from the dead because He was the Word that was the Seed that was planted to be raised up to bear fruit to God.
When Peter said that we have been born again through the resurrection of Christ from the dead he was saying the same thing that Christ told His disciples just before He was to die on the cross. He said, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:23-24)
The time had come for Christ to die on the cross but He is speaking of His death, burial and resurrection because He is speaking of the Seed dieing so that it can be raised up to bear fruit. Christ died to redeem man from sin but if He had not been resurrected then we could not be born again as children of God. He was glorified by His death, burial and resurrection.
We are born again as fruit to God and as children of God after we receive Christ. We must receive the Word to receive Him and be born again as children of God through Him. Remember, John tells us that His own did not receive Him but as many as received Him, to them He gives the right to become children of God (John ).
Only those who receive Jesus (The Word) have the right to be born again as children of God. That sounds like what happened on the day of Pentecost when scripture says that those who received the word were baptized and were added to their number (Acts ).
They had heard and received the word that Peter and the apostles had preached to them and asked what they should do? Peter told them to, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts )
Peter was preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven. It is the good news of the promise of God’s Spirit that will be given to the born again sons of God, those who are heirs to the kingdom of heaven. For those who received the word and obeyed it and were baptized for the remission of their sins and they had become born again of the Spirit of God and God added them to the church.
When God added them to the church, they were added to Christ’s body and they became a part of God’s holy temple. God’s Spirit dwells in His Holy temple.
Jesus was speaking through Peter and He was revealing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. As Paul said, the mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians ).
Speaking of how we are born again through Christ’s resurrection from the dead Paul tells us about that in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15. He begins by telling us about how the gospel message includes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. He tells that church how they had received that gospel and they were saved by it, if they held fast to that word, unless they had believed in vain.
There were some in that church, however, who did not believe in the resurrection. Paul told them, “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”
He proceeds to tell them that if there is no resurrection of the dead then Christ was not raised from the dead and if He was not raised then their faith was in vain. He then tells them that if Christ was not raised their faith was worthless and they were still in their sins and everyone who had fallen asleep in Christ had perished.
That is why the gospel message includes the resurrection of Christ. Without His resurrection, there would be no good news of eternal life. When Jesus said that the time had come for the Son of Man to be glorified and then He spoke of seed falling to the ground to die so that it can bear much fruit, He was including His resurrection.
Jesus was glorified by His death, His burial and His resurrection because they were all required for Him to bear fruit to God. We can be born again through His resurrection because He was resurrected.
He is bearing fruit to God by having redeemed man with His blood and having become the Firstborn from the dead. We also will be raised up from the dead when that last day comes but, in the meantime, we have the right to become born again children of God in this life when we receive the word into our hearts and let it change our lives.
If we are to have eternal life we must lose this earthly life. When we truly realize that God’s promise is not of this life or for the things of this world but for life eternal in that home with God it will cause us to make the decision to die to the old life and become born again. We can then start living for eternal life in that world to come.
When we hear the word and obey the gospel we will have been born again of the Spirit of God. We will have been born again by the Word of God because Jesus said that it is the Spirit that gives life and He said that the words He spoke are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). Those who have received His word and believe Him will obey the gospel and become born again of water and Spirit.
The seed must die before it can be reborn into a plant that is designed to bear fruit. It is not reborn as another seed; it has become born again as another being like a wheat seed becomes a green plant that must grow to maturity before it can bear fruit. In the case of a born again child of God, we are born again into a different being so that we can be fruitful in God’s kingdom.
When John tells us that for all who receive Christ, to them God has given the right to become His children, is John telling us that not everyone who receives Him will be God’s child when the end comes? Do we only have the right to become God’s child? Can we hear Jesus saying that in the parable of the sower (Luke, chapter 8)?
In that parable, the seed is the word of God (Luke ). One of the bad places where the seed fell was in rocky soil. When Jesus was later explaining that parable to His disciples, He told them "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luke 8:13)
With regard to Christ speaking God’s word to the world, Matthew records that He only spoke to the crowds in parables (Matthew 13:34). We see Him, however, explaining His parables to His disciples in private. We need to hear Jesus explain His parables to His disciples.
Remember, God has given those who will receive Christ the right to become children of God. Christ is the Word that became flesh. We must receive the Word if we are to receive Jesus. That parable is telling us that many will receive the Word with Joy and will become born again into that new being but because they have no firm root they will fall away.
The seed that fell among thorns “these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” The seed by the road are those who hear the word but they never truly believe because the Devil has taken the word away from their heart.
For the seed in the good soil Jesus said that they were the ones who hear the word in an honest and good heart and they hold it fast and bear fruit, "with perseverance".
When a seed falls into the earth and dies it is reborn into a different being as a plant that has been designed to mature and bear fruit. It will have become a living body like a stalk of wheat comes to life from a wheat seed. It will have been born again into a different being but that being must grow to maturity before it can bear fruit.
We need to hear Jesus when He explains His parables to His disciples. He is telling His disciples that some will receive the word and be born again but they will not remain faithful and grow to maturity and they will fall away. The seed in the good ground are those who have good hearts and they will receive the word and will persevere and bear fruit.
Bearing fruit requires perseverance. As Paul told those Corinthians when he repeated the gospel that he had preached to them, he said they were saved by it if they held it fast, unless they had believed in vain.
We must hold fast to bear fruit. We must not allow ourselves to be overcome by the things of this world. We must overcome this world if we are to become heirs of God in the new world. We can only overcome this world if we hold fast to the things that we have heard and received.
Those who have been born again have been born with a new body that was created to bear fruit to God. Their reason for being is to bear fruit because Jesus told His disciples, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:8).
Born again disciples prove their discipleship by bearing fruit. Those who never bear fruit will be cut off. Jesus said that every branch in Him that does not bear fruit, He takes away (John 15:2). He is speaking of branches that are “in Him” meaning they were a part of His body (John 15:5). That would include those who have been born again in Christ but who have failed to bear fruit to God.
God has given us the right to become His children if we receive Christ and become born again but we must persevere and bear fruit and so prove to be His disciples or we will be cut off. Those who are in Christ’s image and bear fruit have proven to be His disciples.
His disciples are the true sons of God. Paul tells us God’s sons are those who are being led by the Spirit. He says, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14) He says that we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ if we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
The covenant promise is the
Christ’s body is the church (Colossians -24) and it is God’s new covenant temple (1 Peter 2:5). When Christ was on earth His body was God’s holy temple and God’s Spirit was dwelling in that temple. After He died to redeem man from sin, then man became qualified to dwell with God in His holy temple of the resurrected body of Christ, the church if he obeyed the gospel in faith.
It happened on that third day when Jesus came forth from the tomb. God’s Spirit was not present in Christ’s dead body in the tomb until it returned on the third day. On that Sunday morning the Spirit of God reentered His temple when Christ was raised from the dead. He had been raised up to bear fruit to God. God resurrected Christ’s body from the dead as the Firstborn from the dead.
When Jesus came forth from the tomb, God’s house of glory became available for those who had been born again as God’s children. All of God’s sons will come forth from the dead to dwell with Him forever in His temple in heaven. In the meantime, when we obey the gospel our bodies on earth have become a part of Christ’s body, the church, and God’s Spirit is dwelling with our spirit in that body.
The mystery of the kingdom of heaven is the mystery of Christ (Colossians 2:2-3). It is the mystery of Christ because it is only through His resurrected body that we have obtained a way to heaven. The mystery is how God is reconciling man to Himself through Christ.
Paul spoke of his ministry and said that if anyone is in Christ, “he is a new creature” and that God has “reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor -18).
Regarding his ministry, we read where Paul spoke of Christ and how Christ is the head of the body, the church, and He is the Firstborn from the dead (Colossians ).
Paul then speaks of Christ and His sacrifice and says that it was the Father’s “good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross".
He tells them how they had been alienated by their evil deeds but “He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard”.
We have become reconciled to God through Christ because it is through the blood of His cross that we can now be presented before Him holy and blameless if we continue steadfast in the faith.
Christ’s body was resurrected to become the temple where the Spirit of God dwells in all who have obeyed the gospel of His death, burial and resurrection with their own spiritual death, burial and resurrection.
He is the Seed that was planted and was resurrected to bear fruit. We must obey the gospel of His death, burial and resurrection and be planted with Him so that we can be raised up with Him. Paul says that it happens when we become baptized into Christ Jesus.
As we heard him say, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:5-6)
We will have been raised up with Christ as born again sons of God. That includes both male and female, all who have become one with Him.
We cannot be born again unless the old firstborn body of sin has been put to death and buried (Planted) with Christ in baptism. We will have been baptized into His death so that we can be spiritually resurrected into His body. We will have obeyed the gospel and we will be raised up as born again with Christ, having been born again of the Spirit.
Remember, speaking of being born again, Jesus told Nicodemus that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. We are born of flesh when we come into this world. Our firstborn body was born of the flesh of this world.
That old firstborn body of sin belonged to this
world. That firstborn body of flesh must die spiritually if we are to be
born again of the Spirit to become heirs to the
If we have been raised up with Christ as sons of God, we will have been born again of water and the Spirit. We will have been born of water and the Spirit but if we are not being led by the Spirit we will not bear fruit and prove to be Christ’s disciples.
CHAPTER 15 – GOD’S COVENANT REQUIREMENT IS PERFECTION
It appears that God may have been telling Abraham what His true covenant requirement was just before He gave Abraham the covenant promises (In Genesis, chapter 17). God told Abraham, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless”.
Based on the Hebrew wording God is commanding Abraham to walk before Him and be “perfect”. After telling Abraham to walk before Him and be perfect, God gave Abraham the covenant with its everlasting promise for an everlasting Canaan as a possession.
Abraham was commanded to walk before the LORD. Some of the ancient faithful who lived before Abraham were described as having walked “with God”.
We can see that in the lives of Enoch and Noah. The scriptures say that those two men walked "with God" (Genesis, chapters 5 and 6).
Scripture says that “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him”. Scripture says of Noah, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God”.
Those men walked with God before God made His covenant to Abraham. They walked with God but the Scripture says that Abraham was commanded to walk before God and be perfect. Did it have to do with the covenant that Abraham was receiving?
Remember, Christ was God’s Word from the beginning and He is God’s creator (John, chapter 1). When God appeared to Abraham and made His covenant with him, it was Christ who was speaking to him.
Christ was making the covenant promises of God to Abraham. Was He telling Abraham that his covenant requirement was that he must be made perfect?
Christ would not come in the flesh for another two thousand years. Abraham’s life journey was to be made before Christ would make His life journey. Was He telling Abraham that his walk through life had to be perfect or was He saying that if he walked by faith that Christ would make him perfect?
Was that also the covenant requirement for Abraham’s descendants? Remember, Abraham was given credit for righteousness because of his faith and it happened before God made His covenant promises to him in Genesis, chapter 17.
Regarding the descendants of Abraham and how they were to walk, there is another scripture that speaks of a man of faith (A descendant of Abraham) walking “before” the LORD.
It appears to be showing us how walking before the LORD means walking before Him in obedience to God’s word. After Solomon completed his work of building the temple, God appeared to him and made some promises to him.
God told Solomon, “As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David” (2 Chronicles 7:17-18).
The covenant that God made with David was a part of the same covenant that He made with Abraham. The true covenant promise is the promise of everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven.
When God promised David that one of his descendants would rule forever, He was speaking of Christ, a descendant of David’s, being ruler over God’s spiritual Israel in the kingdom of heaven. Solomon was also being given that promise but, as he walked he would not hold as faithful to God as his father David had.
Walking as David had walked did not mean being perfect as he walked because David was not perfect. The requirement was to walk in faith as David had walked and do what God had commanded.
David was not perfect in his walk but when he slipped, he always repented and returned to his walk of faith. As the scripture says, “I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART” (Acts 13:22).
Abraham’s descendants who lived before Christ were to walk before Him and be perfect. It appears that God was promising to make them perfect if they did the best they could to walk their walk of faith. Was God not speaking of the blood of Christ making them perfect?
We, who are walking our walk after Christ offered His sacrifice, have been told to follow Him, not walk before Him. Remember, we are required to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
Those old covenant descendants could not follow Jesus because He had not come to lead the way. They needed to walk their walk of faith before He walked but they had to follow the path of faith and obedience to God’s word. They had to hear and obey Christ as He spoke directly through angels or through Moses.
Our everlasting covenant requirement is to walk as David had walked but we are to follow Jesus. We will make mistakes just as David made mistakes but we must live a life that keeps turning back to God when we mess up.
We must walk after the heart of God. We must do our best to walk in obedient faith. If we live a repentant life and love God with all of our heart, we will be made perfect to receive the covenant promises.
Regarding those faithful ones who lived under the old covenant, they were living under the Law of Moses and they were required to meet its conditions if they were to be cleansed of their sins and made perfect.
That was not possible under the Law of Moses. Not one of those who lived under that old covenant Law could ever meet its conditions.
Paul spoke of the old Law’s requirement for perfection in his letter to the Galatians. He was addressing his comments to those Christians who believed that they had to keep the old covenant Law and especially its requirement for circumcision.
Paul tells them it is those who are of faith that will be blessed with Abraham, not those of the Law. He said, “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM” (Galatians 3:10).
Moses had written, “Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deuteronomy 27:26).
Moses also told his people that, “It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us” (Deuteronomy 6:25).
The Law demanded perfect obedience of everything in that Law in order for them to be made righteous. Those who were under the Law could only obtain their own righteousness if they were perfect under the Law but they were not perfect.
They were under a curse because they could not comply with the Law. Moses said it and Paul said it. James also said it. He wrote, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10).
The old Law was written so as to provide atonement for man's sin with their sacrificial offerings but they could never meet the conditions.
The Law demanded blood from perfect sacrifices ("Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer" - Leviticus 22:20) but they had none. They may have selected the best that they had for sacrifices but they had nothing perfect to offer.
In addition to perfect sacrifices, only perfect priests were to offer those sacrifices (And serve in the outer room of God’s house).
The Law said of a priest with a defect, “he shall not go in to the veil or come near the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries” (Leviticus 21:23).
The Jews only rejected priests with obvious defects but the Law said they were not to offer any offering that had, “a defect”. God’s sanctuary was continually being profaned by those imperfect priests and their imperfect sacrifice offerings.
The Hebrew writer tells us that old covenant was faulty when he wrote, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second” (Hebrews 8:7).
He then tells us why it was a faulty covenant when he spoke of the people of that covenant and said “For finding fault with them”.
It was a faulty covenant because the people were faulty. God is a perfect God and He demands perfection. Man cannot receive the covenant promise of a home with God unless he obtains perfection.
Man must be made perfect to have an everlasting home with God. The old covenant Law was weak and useless for making man perfect. The Hebrew writer says, “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:18-19)
That writer will also say, “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Heb. 10:1)
He will then speak of Christ and say, “then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”- - - - - “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Verses 9-10 and 14)
Drawing near to God in His heavenly home is the covenant promise. It is the promise of having that heavenly land as an everlasting possession. No one can draw near to Him who has not been made perfect. That old Law had no means to do that.
It was a weak and useless Law from a faulty covenant because man was not perfect and the Law could not make man perfect.
No one could comply except for Jesus. He was the only one who ever lived under that Law who achieved its requirement of perfection.
Having the perfection necessary to draw near to our perfect God would require a better way. God provided a way for us to draw near through Christ. We can draw near to God through Christ because the Hebrew writer says that by His one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).
God knew before He gave that first covenant that man could never meet His conditions but He gave us that opportunity. Man spent some fourteen centuries trying but he could not comply.
Jesus was perfect in His obedience to the Father’s commandments and that included the Law of Moses because that was God’s Law to His people when Christ was on earth. He spoke of the Law and said that not a letter or stroke of it would pass from it until all is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).
He accomplished it all when He died on the cross. That was when He said, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). He then bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.
Until that day came He lived perfectly under God’s Law and He especially kept the Great Commandment. As He told His disciples, “but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.” (John 14:31)
CHAPTER 16 – CLOTHED WITH HIS PERFECTION
If that old covenant Law was weak and useless in the first century, it was weak and useless when it was first brought into being. Why not skip the old and just bring in the new?
Paul asked that same question in Galatians, chapter 3. He was speaking of the covenant promise to Abraham and to his Seed, which was Christ. He said that the Law came over four hundred years after God had made His promise to Abraham and to his Seed and that Law does not invalidate a covenant that had previously been ratified by God to nullify the promise.
He said that God’s promised inheritance was not based on law. In other words, the true promise was to Christ, so we can only receive that promise through Christ. The true promise was the new covenant promise of God that comes through Christ Jesus.
In verse 19, he asked the question, “Why the Law then?” He tells us that “It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.”
He then asked if the Law was contrary to the promises of God. He answers by saying, “May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
The covenant promise is to Christ and to all who will believe in Him. Before He came, God's people were in bondage under a Law they could never satisfy. That is why they were shut up under sin. Only Christ could come and set them free. We have now been set free by faith in Christ.
He then tells us that before faith came to us under the new covenant those Jews were kept in custody under the law, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” (Galatians 3:24-25)
After he speaks of how we are now justified by faith he says something that we read previously. He says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)
The covenant promise is for a home with God. The covenant promise was only to Christ because God’s requirement was perfection and He foresaw Christ being Abraham’s only perfect Seed.
Christ met God's conditions for perfection and became the Firstborn Son but all who are of faith in Him will become sons of God and heirs with Him when they obey the gospel and become clothed with Him in baptism.
God's grace is now being shown in His gift of Christ's righteousness to the faithful spiritual descendants of Abraham. God has allowed all of His sons to become perfect by having been clothed in the righteous Firstborn Son of God. Only sons of God are heirs to the promises but that includes all who belong to Christ, both male and female.
God will be fulfilling another promise that God made to Abraham and Paul refers to in that same chapter. Paul tells us that the Scripture foresaw how God would justify the Gentiles by faith when it preached the gospel to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” (Verse 8)
That promise was the gospel message and the message is how God will fulfill His covenant promises to Abraham and to his descendants for an everlasting land. All nations will be blessed in Abraham when those who are of faith will have believed and obeyed the message and have been baptized into Christ.
Remember, we read, how that old Law was only a shadow of the new things to come. If God brought it into being to show the shadow of what would be the reality, then it was brought into being for our instruction.
Just as Christ taught His spiritual message with earthly parables, He is doing the same thing with the old Law shadow.
In His great prayer Jesus asked, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
Only those faithful ones who will have believed and obeyed the Great Commission will become clothed with the perfection and righteousness of God and become one with the Father and the Son.
The Hebrew writer said that, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
Christ could only be declared perfect by having remained perfect until the end. He was perfect in obedience until His death on the cross and therefore He had been made perfect to receive the covenant promises and share those promises if we obey Him.
His perfect sacrifice reaches back to cover the faithful of all time. We can see that in what the Hebrew writer said of those ancient faithful in Hebrews, chapter 11. He listed those who lived their lives of faith before Christ, including some of Abraham’s descendants who had been given the covenant promises.
He spoke of the ancient faithful and said how they were seeking a country of their own. They were seeking a country but it was not an earthly land.
He said, “And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. ).
Remember, Abraham lived in that land of promise as an alien in a foreign land but he was looking for that city built by God (Hebrews 11:9-10)
The Hebrew writer ended chapter 11 speaking of those who had gained approval by their faith but they never received the promises. He says, “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” (Verses 39-40)
Those ancient ones who lived and died before Christ came and offered His perfect sacrifice could not be make perfect to receive the promises but God will give them what had been promised. They will be given credit for righteousness with us and made perfect with us in Christ Jesus.
We must be made perfect and that can only happen for those who have been clothed in Christ Jesus. He is the only perfect one and the only heir so we must be “In Him” and be made one with Him if we are to receive the covenant promises.
Father Abraham was commanded to walk before the LORD and be perfect. He has been made perfect with us because He obeyed God and walked in faith before the LORD. His descendants by faith that came after Christ have been commanded to follow Jesus and walk as He walked. If we walk in faith we will obey Him and become clothed with His righteousness.
John tells us, “but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:5-6).
Jesus walked in a way that denied self to live for others. He walked about doing good works for others and He died doing good works for others when He died for me.
Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. By His perfection He earned righteousness for us. We can only obtain His perfection and His righteousness by faith in Him. We must believe His word.
We must believe His promises like Abraham believed His promises. If we believe His promises and obey His word, He will make us one with Him (We will become clothed with Him) and He will give us His perfection and His righteousness. Remember, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
All of the faithful of both covenants and from the time before the covenants have been made perfect by the blood of Christ. They have all become one together with us "in Christ" with us and they will receive that city to come.
CHAPTER 17 – GOD’S ARMY MUST FIGHT FOR THEIR LAND
We have seen how that old story teaches us about our story. One thing that it teaches us can be seen in who was to inherit that earthly land of Canaan.
Moses was commanded to take a census of the sons of Israel by their families, according to the number of names. He was to number every male who was twenty years old and older that was able to go to war in Israel (Numbers 1:2-3). The priestly tribe was excluded.
Those men who were listed were to be the soldiers in God’s army. Those who fought for that land were to be the heirs to that land. The land was to be divided among those fighting men in God’s army.
Of those fighting men that Moses led out of slavery in Egypt, few of them would inherit any of that earthly land because of their unfaithfulness and their refusal to fight. They wanted to return to slavery in Egypt rather than fight.
God told the ones who had grumbled against Him, “your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward” (Numbers 14:29).
They fell in the wilderness and never received their inheritance. Only those who faithfully followed their LORD to the end and the little ones who did not know good from evil (Deuteronomy, chapter 1) would be allowed to enter.
After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, God commanded Moses to take another census of the sons of Israel. Like the first census, it included all of the numbered men who were twenty years old and older.
There was not a man listed in that second census that had been listed in the census taken the first time, except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. They were the only ones who had followed the Lord fully.
That next generation of fighting men fought for and they obtained that land. In the years that followed, as each one of those heirs died, the land was passed down to their sons.
Daughters received no inheritance in that land. They shared in the inheritance in the house where they lived but females were not heirs. Only sons were heirs. A man’s sons were his heirs with the firstborn son receiving a double portion.
That old Hebrew story happened as an earthly copy of our spiritual story. God is telling us how we can become heirs to our heavenly land.
Those who become clothed with Christ in baptism have become sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus because they believed and obeyed His command given in the Great Commission. They have become spiritual descendants of Abraham with Christ.
If we have followed Jesus through that sea, He will have led us out of slavery to sin, but we will find ourselves in the wilderness of this world. We must follow Jesus and fight for our land.
Our war is a spiritual war, not an earthly war. Paul speaks of our war and says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
In our spiritual war we use spiritual weapons to fight a different kind of enemy. We use weapons that are not fleshly but divine. We are fighting against Satan and what he has raised up against the knowledge of God.
Paul describes how we fight in Ephesians, chapter 6. He says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
He tells us to stand firm, “HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE”.
He tells us to take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The word of God is the only weapon that we carry.
The Hebrew writer describes God's word as being sharper than a two-edged sword. He writes, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The sword that we carry will save those who will believe its message but it will slay others who will not believe.
Looking at how that earthly nation fought and what happened in their fight may help us to see something about how we are to fight. Remember, against those evil and ungodly nations God’s army was to be merciless.
Before Israel crossed over the Jordan River and took possession of the land of Canaan, they fought and won victories over the kingdoms of Heshbon and Bashan. We can read about those wars in Deuteronomy, chapters 2 and 3.
When God’s people wanted to pass through the land of Heshbon on their way to Canaan, Sihon, their king, was not willing to let them pass through. Moses told the people, “for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him into your hand, as he is today” (Deuteronomy 2:30).
God caused it to happen like it did when He hardened that king’s heart. Moses records how Sihon and all of his people came out to meet Israel in battle and the LORD delivered them over into the hands of Israel. God’s people captured all of their cities and they “utterly destroyed the men, women and children of every city. We left no survivor”.
The same thing happened to the kingdom of Bashan. In Deuteronomy, chapter 3, Moses records how Og, the king of Bashan and his people came out to Israel in battle but God told Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; and you shall do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon”.
In the battle that followed, God delivered Og and all his army and his people into the hands of the Israelites and God’s army killed them all. They left no survivors.
When we read about the wars that happened when God’s people were fighting against those nations, we sometimes wonder if we are seeing the same God as the God of love that we read about in the New Testament.
How could the God of John 3:16 be the same God that would command His army to kill every enemy soldier and then spill the blood of every woman and child in those earthly kingdoms? How could our God of love do that in the old Hebrew story?
We may not be able to understand it all but God is telling us about our spiritual war. He wants us to get the message of what is happening in our war by showing us an earthly copy. Sin is not to be allowed to live in God’s spiritual kingdom.
As we go forth in our war, we are to take the sword of the Spirit (The word of God) and preach the gospel to every person. As we heard Jesus say, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
He was giving us our marching orders. Faithful soldiers will follow Jesus into battle and fight for their land. We must preach the word to everyone, man, woman and child.
Children are not responsible until they become adults but we must tell them while they are young anyway. When they are older they will be held accountable for how they respond to what they have been told.
When we obey Him and preach that gospel message we will save some but most of those that hear the message will die because most people will never believe and obey the gospel. They will refuse to believe the word and they will be condemned.
Unbelievers stand between us and our land. We have been commanded to go forth and kill the enemy. The enemy includes all who refuse to believe and obey the gospel. Of those nations that stand between us and our land, we are to kill them all. They must all die by the sword of the Spirit.
The army of God that was fearful and refused to fight died in the wilderness. The army that obeyed their God and destroyed the evil nations before them were the ones who were allowed to enter and take possession of that land.
If we are fearful and fail to fight for our land, we will be the ones who will die by that sword. The gospel message will kill us if we refuse to believe and obey Him and carry that sword into battle.
Paul tells us about how he was fighting when he said, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:26-27)
Paul did not want to be disqualified and lose out on his inheritance. If Paul could be disqualified, then we can be disqualified.
We must keep fighting and pressing on toward the goal. As He told the Philippians, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
When Paul was nearing the time of his departure from this earth, he told Timothy that he was already being poured out as a drink offering.
Speaking of his fight, he told Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Paul had come to the end of his life and he knew that he had kept the faith and his reward was just before him. Paul had kept the faith and he won the prize.
If Paul said that he had kept the faith to win the prize, then the possibility existed that he might not have kept the faith. That is why he spent his life pressing on toward the goal.
In the earlier years of his ministry he could not know that he would never fall. That is why he wrote to the church at Corinth and told them to take heed lest you fall. That is why he told them that he disciplined his body and made it his slave lest that after he had preached to others he, himself, would be disqualified.
As Paul was writing those words he knew that he had eternal life but he also knew that only God could foresee the future.
God could see ahead in time and know whether or not Paul would hold faithful until the end, but Paul could not. That is why he kept pressing on toward the goal. That is why he kept fighting so that he would not be disqualified and lose out.
Paul encouraged Timothy to follow his example when he wrote and told him to, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1Timothy 6:12).
Paul later told him to, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
If we are now in active service in God’s army we need to be at the front lines fighting the enemy, not behind the lines getting too involved in the things of this world. We may not be the ones who are preaching the gospel but we must give support for those who do.
Paul says that, “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
Our citizenship is not anywhere on this earth. We love our country and we thank God that we live in this free land but our citizenship is not here, it is in that spiritual land that we are fighting for. Our minds are to be set on what is above, not on the things of this earth.
We heard the Hebrew writer say how Abraham lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob, in that earthly land of promise like an alien living in a foreign land because he was looking for that city built by God.
This world is not our home. We are just passing through this world on our way home. As we are passing through we will see people and governments doing ungodly and evil things but our job is not to try to change those governments or those people so that they will become less evil.
We should not become overly concerned with spending too much time trying to make this a better world. Where we can help with our prayers and some good works, we may want to help somewhat but we must remember what our priorities are.
Changing the behavior of lost people to cause them to live less evil lives on this earth is not our mission. Our job is to save the lost out of this world so they can have everlasting life in that world to come.
and the other New Testament writers did not concern
themselves with trying to make this world a better place.
They did not
try to correct the injustices and evil in the world around them even
they lived in a world that was full of evil.
They did not fight against their governments and they encouraged Christians to be in subjection to those governments.
Paul told the Roman church that, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).
Herod and his descendants that ruled in the first century were evil rulers but Paul did not speak against them. He told the faithful that God had placed them in their positions and anyone who opposed them was opposed to God’s ordinance.
We live in this free country and we have the right to vote for those that we believe would be the best ones to fill government offices but we should not oppose those that have been elected. We have a right to let them know what we think but we should not be protesting against them.
Paul and the other writers did not try to change the outside world but they did ask Christians to pray for those rulers and for things to happen in a way that would allow for peace and for the gospel to spread.
caused that old Hebrew story to happen as it did for
our instruction. Christ is speaking to us in that old
story. If He spent two thousand years creating the
old story for our
instruction and we refuse to listen, we will answer for our
As we heard the Hebrew writer say previously, “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience." (Hebrews 4:11).
Just as that old Hebrew army wanted to turn away from the fight and lost their land, we can lose our land if we refuse to fight. Remember, only those who follow the Lord, fully and the little ones who do not know good from evil will enter and take possession of that land.
Peter says of those who have been saved from slavery and have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of Christ and are again entangled in them, “the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter )).
He says that it would have been better for us to never have known the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn back. He says it is like the proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire”.
If we have been saved from slavery to sin and have been recorded on the list as a soldier in God’s army, we must not look back and want to return to that old life of slavery.
If we forsake our duty our condemnation will be greater than it will be for the ones who never volunteered to join God’s army in the first place.
CHAPTER 18 – THE DAY WILL COME WHEN GOD WILL KEEP HIS PROMISE
will keep His covenant promise to Abraham and to his descendants. Jesus told the Jews how it
would happen when He
told them that the Father had given Him authority to execute judgment because
He is the Son of
He told them, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29)
Jesus was speaking of that last day the day when He will return on the clouds of heaven. He says that the dead will hear His voice and come forth from the tombs. That will be the day when God will fulfill His everlasting covenant promise to His people.
Paul says that Jesus will come with a shout and with the trumpet of God, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
In another letter Paul spoke of that last day and what will happen to those who will remain and those who will be resurrected from the dead. He told the Corinthians, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
is referring to one of the mysteries of
tells us why when he says, “Now
I say this,
brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
Paul was speaking of the resurrection of the dead because there were some in that church who did not believe there would be a resurrection. He says that the gospel message includes Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
He says, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
gospel promise is the
As proof of Christ’s resurrection from the dead Paul reminds them of the witnesses who saw Him after He was resurrected. He said that, “He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:5-6).
Paul asked a question of those who did not believe in the resurrection. He asks, “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-15)
He is trying to tell them how unreasonable it is not to believe in the resurrection of the dead because that means Christ was not resurrected and their gospel message is a lie.
He says, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19)
asks them, “If
from human motives I
fought with wild beasts at
Paul assures us there will be a resurrection from the dead. He says, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,” (1 Cor -23)
All mankind is, “in Adam”, because we all descended from Adam in the flesh. Because of his sin, all who are of his flesh have been condemned to die. All who are, “in Christ”, however, will be made alive as children of God on that last day having imperishable bodies.
God is speaking through Paul in parables. When he says that Christ has been raised from the dead as the First Fruits of those who are asleep, he is speaking of the resurrection being like seed that is sown to bring forth fruit. We know that a living plant comes up from the seed that was sown. That shows how we will come forth having a new body.
Paul presents another question. He says, “But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-38)
Paul is speaking in parables to explain our resurrection. Just as a wheat seed is sown to bring forth a plant that is more beautiful than the bare seed that was sown, so also it will happen with us. We will come forth with a living body that will be more glorious than the body that was sown.
It began with Christ, the First Fruits from the dead. Jesus spoke of how it would happen like the sowing of seed shortly before He was to die on the cross.
Speaking to His disciples, “And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:23-24)
While He was on earth Christ’s body was the dwelling place of God’s Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit departed that dwelling place when Jesus died but just as a seed dies to bring forth new life, so it happened with Jesus. The Holy Spirit returned to give life to Christ’s body. If we have been brought “into Christ”, the same thing will happen to us.
We will come forth from the tomb having imperishable bodies just like the body that Christ had at His resurrection. That brings us to the question that Paul presented. He says, “But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
We can see what kind of body Christ had after His resurrection when He suddenly appeared before His disciples.
They were discussing how Christ had appeared to those two disciples on the road and scripture says that, “While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.” (Luke 24:36-37)
He was standing before them in His resurrected body; “And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:38-39)
Luke then tells us that, “While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.” (Luke 24:42-43)
Paul said that bodies of flesh and
blood cannot inherit the
God spoke to His old covenant people of the animals they killed for food and for their sacrifices and told them not to eat the blood of those animals, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” (Leviticus 17:11)
The life of Christ’s earthly flesh was in His blood. He gave His life when He gave His blood on the cross to make atonement for our souls.
Christ’s resurrected body did not have life because of blood. His new body had life because of the Spirit that returned to give life to His Spiritual body. Just as it happened with Christ, the First Fruits, so it will happen to those who are the later fruits.
Paul speaks of our new resurrected body to come and says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.” (1 Cor -46)
Paul speaks of the two Adams and says, “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” (Verses 47-49)
Paul referred back to what had been written about the creation of the first Adam and said that he became a LIVING SOUL. Scripture says of the creation of Adam, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
The first Adam became a living soul on this earth. Jesus was the second Adam but He was from heaven. The second Adam became a life giving Spirit for that new earth to come. We must receive the life giving Spirit from Jesus to become born again for eternal life on that new earth.
Peter tells us how we become born again when he says, “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)
He also says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
We become born again of Christ’s resurrection from the dead because He became the First Fruits from the dead. Adam caused man to be sent to the tomb but Jesus will lead us up out of the tomb.
God’s word is being sown in the earth to bring forth new life. Those who receive that word in faith will become born again children of God. They will be children of God having been born of the Spirit of God.
One who has been born again of the Word will have become born again of the Spirit. Jesus tells us how it happens when He says, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63)
came speaking the Father’s word to
man. God’s word includes the gospel message and it includes
told Nicodemus about the need to be born again. Jesus told
say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the
then explains how one becomes born
again. Nicodemus wanted to know how one could be born again
answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and
Spirit he cannot enter into the
Peter tells us how we can receive the Holy Spirit when he testified to Christ’s resurrection saying, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts )
We must obey Jesus to receive God’s Holy Spirit. That includes the Great Commission that He gave to His disciples just before He ascended on high.
Scripture says, "And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
Not many days after Jesus gave the apostles that commandment they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began preaching in tongues the gospel message to the crowd that had gathered.
Many of them believed and they asked the disciples, “what shall we do”? “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts )
A great number of those Jews received the message and obeyed the gospel. “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Acts )
We heard Peter say that God will give the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. We also heard him tell those Jews who had believed the message on the Day of Pentecost that if they repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We also heard Jesus say that it is the Spirit that gives life and His words were Spirit. Those who receive His words in faith will obey Him and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. They will have received eternal life when they received the Holy Spirit.
That fits with Jesus telling a crowd, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)
must believe His word to become born again
of the Spirit of God. We will have become children of God and
That happens when our firstborn body of sin has been spiritually crucified and buried with Christ in baptism. We must believe and obey the gospel by doing the spiritual likeness of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
We heard Paul tell us how we do that when he says, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:4-7)
The KJV translation says, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”.
Again, Paul seems to be speaking the gospel message in parables. What happens in baptism is like seed being sown to bring forth new life.
He says that if we have been planted together in the likeness of Christ's death we will certainly be in the likeness of His resurrection. We will have obeyed the gospel of His death, burial and resurrection with our spiritual death, burial and resurrection.
We must repent of having lived for that old earthly body of sin and make the commitment to do away with that body of sin by becoming crucified with Christ and buried with Him in baptism.
will have become born again of water and of
the Spirit so that we can enter the
We heard Paul tell us how it happens when he says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:26-27)
When we become clothed with Christ in baptism our body becomes His body and God’s Spirit dwells in Christ’s body.
Paul says that, “-you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)
Our mortal body will have eternal life because the Spirit of God. We will lose that body but when Christ returns from heaven He will resurrect it and make it immortal when God’s Spirit returns to give it life.
We will have bodies that will never again feel pain and will never become weary or tired. Scripture says, “Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)
It will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)
God will have fulfilled His everlasting covenant promise to Abraham and to his descendants by faith. His promise was for an everlasting possession and one must have an imperishable body to have eternal life and an everlasting possession. Death will have been swallowed up in victory.
CHAPTER 19 – HE MAY BE RETURNING VERY SOON
Remember when the apostles asked Jesus about His return (Matthew, chapter 24)? They had pointed out the grand temple buildings on the temple mount. They were obviously impressed with the beauty and grandeur of God’s earthly dwelling place.
Jesus told them of its coming destruction and how one stone would not be left upon another when it happened. Jesus was speaking of the destruction to come when the Roman army would destroy the city and burn it in 70 AD.
The apostles wanted to know when that event would happen but they also asked about His return (“Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age” – Matthew 24:3).
Jesus gave responses to both of their questions in the verses that followed. It is a little difficult to determine which question He was referring to in the things that He said but one thing stands out with regard to His return.
Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” and “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming”.
When it happens, it will be unexpected. No one knows the day or the hour when He will return so we must be ready at all times.
We will not know the day or the hour of His return beforehand but from what the scriptures say, can we have a general idea? Just as no one knows the day or hour of His return, no one knew the day or the hour that He would come the first time.
It appears that the Jewish nation of the first century BC had studied the scriptures and they knew that the time was right for the Messiah to come. They knew about when He would come, they just did not recognize Him when He came. They expected an earthly king and He was a spiritual king.
When He comes again, all will see Him and all will recognize Him. John says that all will see Him coming with the clouds. Every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him (Revelation 1:7).
Jesus said of that day, "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
We can’t know the day or the hour of His return but is it possible to get a general idea from what the scriptures say? Judgment will take place on that last day but what else do the scriptures say of the future? They tell us that eternal life has been promised to the faithful. It will come in the heavenly land.
In Hebrews, chapter 3, the Hebrew writer speaks of the old covenant land of promise as the place of rest. He tells how that nation could not enter their land and he ties that old story to our story.
He tells us how Moses brought that
nation out of slavery in
Instead of obtaining that land of rest, He caused them to fall in the wilderness. He says they were not able to enter because of unbelief. They did not enter that land because of unbelief and because of disobedience.
Moses then tells them how that land is the place where God will give them rest from all of their enemies.
The Hebrew writer began chapter 4 by saying that we have had good news preached to us just as they had good news preached to them. They were given the good news of their earthly land of rest that lay just beyond the wilderness and we have been given the good news of our spiritual land of rest to come at the end of our earthly journey.
Both nations had good news preached to them but it did those ancient ones no good because of their lack of faith. Because they did not believe the promise and did not follow faithfully, they could not enter His rest.
The writer again ties their story to our story by saying “For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: "AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS" (Hebrews 4:3-4).
He connects that old story and their land of rest to our story and our land of rest and he connects it to God resting on the seventh day from all His works.
God resting from all His works happened on the seventh day. A few verses after speaking of God resting on the seventh day from all His works, we read, “For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God." (Hebrews 4:8-9)
He is speaking of another day to come, a new Sabbath day of rest and he is telling us how we will obtain rest from our works on that day. He also said that the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
Entering that land of rest will be like God resting on the seventh day from all His works. How could that creation week with its seventh day of rest foretell our day of rest to come in the land of rest? That land of rest is our eternal home.
Remember, that old earthly Sabbath Day of rest came the day after God had finished all His works. God worked for six days and then He rested on the seventh day. He says that our day of rest will be like that.
When the writer said that there remains a Sabbath rest for us and it is another day, he is speaking of a Sabbath rest in that heavenly land of rest. Our land of rest is the true rest because it is the day of rest.
There will only be one eternal day in that land. That is the other day of rest the writer spoke of. We need to be diligent to enter that rest if we wish to rest from our labor.
It sounds like that future land of rest is the true Sabbath day of rest because it was like God resting from His works on the seventh day. We will also be resting from our works on that day.
If the eternal Sabbath Day to come will be the true Sabbath, must there be a work week of six days before that day of rest. Remember, that day of rest is the seventh day. Is God telling us about His six days of the new creation work?
God finished His first creation on day six when He created man in His image. God created them, male and female and God blessed them. After God finished His work, Moses writes, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis ).
God had finished working on a creation that was very good but man’s sin changed that. After Adam sinned God cursed the ground of the earth, saying, “Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life” (Genesis ).
God told him that it would be by the sweat of his face that he would eat bread. He would have to labor for his bread. He would, however, be allowed to rest on the seventh day.
God’s creation that had been created good became cursed because of man’s sin but God had a plan to replace that old cursed creation with a new creation. Under that new creation man is being created in the true image of God by having been created in the image of God’s Son.
We will have been created in the image of God when we have been created in the image of Christ Jesus but that is God's new creation work.
In that first creation God created Man in His image and gave him eternal life on the sixth day. After Adam lost eternal life, God’s plan included a way to give man back the eternal life that had been lost.
Would the new creation also be completed in six days? Can we see six days of creation work in the new creation? God began that new creation work after Adam fell and lost eternal life.
When God made His covenant with
Abraham, He told Abraham that He would be God to him and to his descendants and
that He would give them the
He made that promise to Abraham when He appeared to him and made an everlasting covenant with him (Genesis, chapter 17).
God’s true promise was to restore eternal life to man in the land of rest in heaven. In other words, God was making a promise to restore the eternal life that Adam had lost two thousand years before that.
We can see that when we read scripture that tells how Abraham lived as an alien (With Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs to the same promise) in that earthly land but he was looking for a city built by God (Hebrews 11:9-10).
If scripture says that Abraham was living as an alien in that earthly land of promise but he was really looking for a city built by God, then he knew that the real promise was never for an earthly land but for a heavenly home. The old was just an earthly copy.
God gave Abraham that covenant promise some two thousand years after Adam lost eternal life (Based on Bible genealogical records). During that time man became so wicked that God destroyed the earth in a flood.
God was working to restore eternal life to man and He used the flood to wash away the sinful flesh of that first creation.
Doing the work necessary to create a new creation that would set man free from sin and death would cause a problem. If God is perfect (And He is), He must also be perfect in righteousness and perfect in justice.
Sinful man is not righteous and justice demands payment for sins. If he is to have eternal life, justice must be served and man must be made righteous. That is why God became man and died on the cross.
A covenant is an agreement between two parties. There are covenant requirements for each party. God gave the everlasting covenant promise to Abraham but it would require God to keep His part of the covenant promise.
Some two thousand years after God gave the covenant promise of eternal life to Abraham and to his descendants, God fulfilled His part of the covenant promise at the cross. Jesus paid our debt for sin on the cross so that we could be made perfect for that home with God.
It has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus died on the cross. He died to redeem us from sin and to fulfill God’s covenant promise a little less than two thousand years ago.
He died about two thousand years after
God gave Abraham the covenant promise of receiving
Remember, it was two thousand years before that covenant promise was made when Adam fell and lost eternal life.
Are we beginning to see the timing of God’s new creation work? Eternal life was lost six thousand years ago. Two thousand years later God made His covenant promise to give man back the eternal life that he lost. Two thousand years after that God kept His covenant promise at the cross. It has been nearly two thousand years from the cross of Jesus until now.
God has been working on His new creation since the day that Adam's sin messed up God's first creation. Does the nearly six thousand years of new creation work since man lost eternal life in the first creation have any bearing on the time when that day of rest will come?
Remember, there should be six days of creation work before the seventh day of Sabbath rest.
How will God be working for six days on His new creation work before that Sabbath Day of rest comes? God has been working on His new creation for six thousand years.
He has not been working for six days; He has been working for nearly six thousand years. What is the connection?
Peter gave the connection when he spoke of the beginning and of the last days and of God’s timing and His patience.
He wrote, “But do not let this one fact escape
your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His
promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any
to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter
When Peter said that one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day with God, he said that after telling how, “mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
He says, “- - -it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water”.
He speaks of the end and says, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
He says the creation came, “by the word of God”. Remember, Jesus is the Word and He is the creator (John 1:1-3). He did the first creation and He is doing the new creation. Will it not end after day six?
Of that last day, Peter tells us, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
Jesus will burn this old creation and replace it with His completed new creation. In the last days it will happen. We are now in the last days.
Unbelievers joke of the promise of His coming as if it were a fairy tale. They look out at the creation and see thousands of years having passed from the beginning and nothing has changed with regard to God keeping the promise of His coming.
Peter says that it is a fact that we need to pay attention to. God is not limited in time. One day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day to Him. Mockers can only see thousands of years passing by but it is as if it were only a few days with the Lord.
God is not slow about keeping His promise as some count slowness. He will keep all of His promises, including the promise of His coming. He is not rushing the end because He wants to give everyone plenty of time to come to repentance.
God will keep His promise and come but He will also keep His promise of giving back that eternal life and, if we truly repent, He will do that when He creates us in His image.
His wish is that all would come to repentance and become created in His image but He knows it will not happen for most. What is fact, however, is that He will come and it will all end in flaming fire.
We need to keep that fact in mind and be ready to give an account for what we have done during our time on this earth.
If a thousand years are as a day with God, are six thousand years like six days of creation work? If God’s first creation work took place over six days, will His new creation work take place over six days that are really six thousand years to us?
Remember, all of His works were finished during those six days of work and God rested on the seventh day.
We heard the Hebrew writer speak of our land of rest to come and how it will be like God resting on the seventh day from all His works. We also heard him speak of that Hebrew nation and say that Joshua did not give them rest because the scriptures spoke of another "day" after that.
I beleive that God is speaking of our “day” of rest, the eternal day of rest in that land of rest. It is the true Sabbath rest to come and it will come after God has finished all of His new creation work of creating man in the image of God’s Son.
Will that day come after God’s patience has ended and man will have been given the opportunity to come to repentance? The time will have ended for anyone else to repent and be created in God’s image.
Four thousand years passed between the time when Adam fell and Jesus did His work on the cross to fulfill God’s covenant promise. If that work began after four thousand years had passed, was it like beginning on day five?
If that old creation had God creating man in His image on the last day of work (Day six), how is it that the new creation began creating man in God’s image on day five and is continuing into day six?
Can it be seen in God’s patience with man and allowing him more time to come to repentance so that all will have been given the opportunity of being created in His image?
In the first creation, man had no choice regarding his being created in God’s image. In the new creation man has been given a choice.
Man must choose to keep his part of the covenant and come to repentance so that God can create him in His image. God is giving him more time to do that in the new creation.
Are there any other parallels in scripture where units of time may be showing how God is fulfilling His promise to man? Can we see it in that old Hebrew salvation story?
When God sent Moses back into Egypt to bring His people out of bondage, Moses went back and gave them the good news of how God was going to free them from their bondage and take them to the Promised Land.
If that old story is a parallel of our story, then it is telling us about how we are being saved out of slavery to sin to be brought to our spiritual Promised Land.
Let’s look at how long it took before they received their land and how it may be a parallel to the time it takes before we will receive our land.
We read what the Hebrew writer said
about how we have had good news preached to us just as they had good news
preached to them. Remember how they were saved out of bondage in
The writer referred us back to what had happened to that earthly nation and how they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years before they were allowed to enter their land.
They wandered in that earthly wilderness for forty years until all of the rebels had died. If it took forty years of wandering in their wilderness before they could enter their land, is that saying anything about the time it will take to finish our wandering before we will be allowed to enter our land?
If a thousand years is as a day and a day is as a thousand years with God, is a century like a year and a year as a century with Him? Could four thousand years to us be like forty years to Him?
What happened four thousand years
ago? Remember, about four thousand years ago (Or a little less) God
appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him and promised to give to him
and to his descendants the
We saw where His real promise was for
God began leading His spiritual people toward that heavenly land after He gave the covenant promise to Abraham. Abraham believed God’s promises and he began following Him toward that land.
He began to look toward that city built by God, even as he lived in that earthly land, dwelling in tents as if he was an alien there. All of his spiritual descendants will have his faith and they will follow in his footsteps.
If that earthly nation had to wander in their wilderness for forty years, until all of the rebels had fallen, will we be required to wander in our spiritual wilderness for four thousand years until all of the rebels have fallen?
The rebels will be those who will have began to follow God toward that land but who will have become disheartened because of the difficulties of their wilderness travels. They will want to give up and turn back.
We must not give up. We must overcome the wilderness (Overcome the world) and be faithful until the end.
Abraham and his descendants by faith have been traveling toward that heavenly land for nearly four thousand years. Will it take four thousand years for us to get to that land but it will only be like forty years to God? If that is the case, that day is not far off.
Is it about time for God to call us to give an answer for how we have come to repentance and kept our everlasting covenant requirement? Our true covenant requirement is total faith in God and His promises. If we truly believe His promises, we will obey Him and follow Jesus.
Remember, of that earthly nation,
Joshua and Caleb were the only ones in God’s army (Of
Jesus will lead us to that heavenly home but only if we follow Him fully. Jesus said that we must deny self and take up our cross and follow Him daily (Luke ).
If God kept His part of the covenant promise two thousand years after He made that promise to Abraham, will God call man into account for how he has kept his part of the covenant two thousand years after that?
We can never know the day or the hour but is God giving us the approximate year when it will happen? Will it be two thousand years after Jesus died on the cross?
He died on the cross nearly two thousand years ago but no one knows exactly when. We don’t even know for certain the year that He died. If that last day will come two thousand years after the cross, we can only have a general idea of the year because scholars can’t agree on when Jesus died on the cross.
Depending on who we listen to, we can get years ranging between 26 and 34 AD. It likely happened about 30 AD.
It appears that Jesus may come in less than twenty years. It does not matter. People are dying every day and are being lost because they have not repented and followed Jesus fully. Their time on earth will be over.
If they have not met God’s covenant conditions, His patience will have run out. After that, judgment will come (Hebrews ). They will have fallen in the wilderness and will not be allowed to enter that land of rest.
The old Law said that anyone found working on the Sabbath Day will be cut off. God’s people will not be working on that day because they will have completed their work and entered into their rest. They will be resting from their works of following Christ.
John is telling us about that when he hears a voice speak of those who die in the Lord, saying, “Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them” (Revelation 14:13).
They will have remembered to keep the Sabbath Day holy by having completed the work that they had been created to do before that day comes.
Will they not have done the works of love that Jesus commanded by giving bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty, etc? Is He telling us about that when He speaks of judgment and how those on the left side didn’t do those works of love for His brothers (Matthew 25:41-46)?
Paul speaks of judgment and says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
In another place he speaks of God’s judgment, saying that He, “WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS” (Romans 2:6). Remember, the one talent man did nothing with his talent and he was condemned to outer darkness (Matthew 25:30).
If we have done evil or have done nothing, we will be condemned to outer darkness. We will not have remembered the Sabbath Day to keep it holy and we will have been cut off from God's people.
If some people will have refused to do their work to take up their cross and follow Jesus, will they be required to work on that last day? If some will be working on that last day, what kind of work would they be doing?
Will they be working like Jesus had to work to create man in His image? Will it be like the work that He did on the cross?
Will they spend an eternity offering their own sacrifice because they did not accept His sacrifice? If so, they will be working forever because their work will never be adequate to begin to pay their debt for sin.
Whenever He comes, it will happen suddenly and without warning. The only answer is to be prepared. We must, “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” (Mark ).
It does appear, however, that it could happen within twenty years, unless man is off in his timing of when Christ died on the cross. If so, He may be returning very soon.
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