ABRAHAM AND THE HOPE OF THE PROMISE MADE UNTO THE FATHERS
“I stand and am judged”, says he (the apostle Paul), “for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews”. (Acts 26:6-7) Now from this statement, it appears:
- that God made a certain promise to the fathers of Israel;
- That this promise became the hope of the nation, and was therefore a national question;
- That this promise had been the hope of the twelve tribes in all their generations; was the ground of their worship; and that they hoped to attain it by rising from the dead.
But we have a still plainer avowal, if possible, of the identity of this national hope with the hope for which the apostle suffered so much. The Lord Jesus had appeared to him after his arraignment before Ananias, and said to him, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome”. When he arrived at this city…he told the Jews how it was they found him in the custody of a Roman soldier, with fetters upon his person: “On account of THE HOPE OF ISRAEL” said he, “am I bound with this chain” (Acts 28:20). This is conclusive. The hope of the promise made to the fathers was, and, indeed, is to this day, the Hope of Israel…But what was the hope of Israel about?...I cannot do better than to state what he (Paul) did in the words of Luke; who says that “He expounded and testified to them the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning till evening”. (Acts 28:23) (Elpis Israel Part 2, chapter 2 “The promise God made unto the Fathers” ‘The Hope of Israel’ page 229-230).
69. Who was the father of Abram and where did he originally dwell?
Abram’s father was Terah. They lived in Ur of the Chaldees, a place steeped in idolatry on the eastern side of the River Euphrates (Nehemiah 9:7).
70. When Abram was 75 he left Ur with his father, wife Sarai, nephew Lot and a large household on a long journey. Where did he go and why did he undertake such a difficult journey?
Abram first travelled northwest following the Euphrates to Haran. After his father died, he left Haran to journey south to the land of Canaan. He did so by faith, not knowing where Yahweh would direct him. (Joshua 24:3; Acts 7:2-4; Genesis 12:1; Hebrews 11:8).
71. What did Yahweh say unto Abram?
“Now Yahweh said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless, and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3).
72. When God said, “And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,” what does Paul say God did?
He preached the Gospel unto Abraham (Galatians 3:8).
That is very true and most important, “The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify (i.e. to make or render righteous) the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abram, saying, ‘In thee shall all nations be blessed’.”
Can you once again tell us what the gospel is?
The word Gospel means good news or glad tidings; and the glad tidings that were announced by Christ and his apostles are the things concerning the kingdom of God and the things concerning the saving name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 8:12 & 28:30; Statement of the Faith No. 17 pg. 127).
73. Yahweh led Abram to Shechem (the centre of the land of Canaan) and promised Abram who had no children that “his seed,” would inherit this land (Genesis 12:7). Who is this promised seed?
The apostle Paul states, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16).
74. You have said that God preached the Gospel to Abram when God said, “In thee shall all nations be blessed,” by which Paul explains God would justify the Gentiles through faith. How was He to do this?
Through faith in Jesus Christ, the promised seed of Abraham by the forgiveness of sins. (Galatians 3:26; Romans 4:24-25).
75. Yahweh gave further detail of this promise at the prominent elevation of Bethel after Lot had separated from Abram. What was this promise?
“Yahweh said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou are northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it: for I will give it unto thee.” (Genesis 13:14-17).
Can you tell me what you understand by this promise?
Abraham was promised that not only his promised seed the Christ, but he himself also would inherit the land of Canaan forever.
That is right, but why is this so significant?
Here is the promise in scripture of eternal life. It consisted in promising a mortal man an everlasting possession.
It is always important to hear those who desire to identify with what God has accomplished in Christ through the waters of baptism to state this great truth.
What else does this promise show?
Abram did not believe he was promised heaven but an everlasting inheritance on earth. Abram was also promised that he would have a natural, multitudinous seed who became the nation of Israel. (Galatians 3:16; Genesis 13:15-16; Genesis 17).
76. How do we become related, fellow heirs with these promises so that we might receive with Abraham the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant?
By faith in Christ Jesus and by putting on Christ through the waters of baptism by which means we become Christ’s and are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29).
Bro. Thomas reminds us that “There is no true religion without faith, nor any true faith without the belief of the truth. Now, although a Scriptural faith is the scarcest thing among men, it is exceedingly simple, and by no means difficult to acquire, when it is sought for aright. Paul gives the best definition of faith extant. He says, ‘faith is a confident anticipation of things hoped for, a full persuasion of events not seen’ (Heb. 11:1). This is the faith without which, he tells us afterwards, God is not, and cannot by any possibility be pleased. It is a faith which lays hold of the past and the future. The person who possesses it, knows what is testified concerning Jesus by the apostles, and is fully persuaded of its truth; he also knows the exceeding great and precious promises which God has made concerning things to come, and he confidently anticipates the literal fulfilment of them. Laying hold of these things with a firm faith, he acquires a mode of thinking and a disposition which are estimable in the sight of God; and being like Abraham in these particulars, he is prepared by induction into Christ, to become a son of the father of the faithful, and of the friend of God.” (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 5 ‘The way to the tree of life’ pg. 165).
77. What is the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant?
The blessing relates to justification or the forgiveness of sins for all those who are baptized into Christ. Those who are so justified and remain faithful will inherit the “hope of the promises,” which entails eternal life in the kingdom of God established forever on the land promised to Abraham. (Galatians 3:8; Acts 3:25-26 & 26:6-7; Galatians 3:8:29; Matthew 5:5; Revelation 5:9-10; Romans 4:13-14).
God has promised He would justify (declare righteous) the Gentiles through faith in the Gospel, which was taught to Abraham. This is why we are invited to believe or place our confidence in the gospel before we are baptized because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:21).
78. Can we be saved without a correct understanding belief in the Gospel, which was preached to Abraham?
No. The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not (the Gospel) shall be condemned.” Paul taught that the Gospel’s hope revolved around the “covenants of promise” and that outside them there is no hope. (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 26:6-7; Ephesians 2:12; 4:18).
79. How was Yahweh’s promise confirmed to Abraham?
In Genesis 15 Yahweh commanded Abram to prepare a sacrifice, by dividing it into pieces. Yahweh then caused Abram to fall into a deep sleep. Yahweh’s fiery lamp passed between these pieces consuming them. At this time God made a covenant with Abraham assuring him of the promises. Not only so, but to this covenant God also added an oath, which guaranteed His covenant by Yahweh’s very existence!
By these two unchangeable things, God’s covenant and oath in which it is impossible for God to lie, God showed Abraham what Paul refers to as the “immutability (unchangeableness) of His counsel.” By this means the promises were typically confirmed. (Genesis 15:9-18; Psalm 50:5-8; Jeremiah 34:8; Isaiah 42:6; Hebrews 6:13-18; Micah 7:20; Psalm 105:8-9).
80. By “typically” (or shadow) I mean the sacrifices Abram prepared were a type or a foreshadowing of that which was actually to be accomplished at a later time. So if the promises were typically confirmed to Abraham in Genesis 15, when were they actually confirmed or brought into force?
The promises were actually confirmed by the sacrificial death of Christ. In this way “sin in the flesh,” was condemned and God’s righteousness was declared. By this means the Abrahamic Covenant was confirmed in His blood. (Romans 15:8; 8:3; 3: 25, 26; Matthew 26:28).
That is true, and again, it is most important for those desiring to be baptized to understand this great truth, for it lies at the heart of “the promise made by God to the fathers,” even “the hope of Israel”. (Acts 26:6, 7; 28:20).
81. Did God make known to Abraham the history of his natural seed on this same occasion?
Yes. God related to Abram what would happen to the children of Israel for the next 400 years in regard to their affliction in Canaan and Egypt and their deliverance under Moses in the 4th generation. (Genesis 15:13-16).
What did Abraham understand by the deep sleep that came upon him when he was shown these things?
Abraham was shown he would die and be buried and not receive the promises at that time. (Genesis 15:12 & 15; Hebrews 11:13-15).
82. When God therefore promised Abraham, a mortal man, an everlasting possession on earth and that he was to die, what does this imply?
Abraham believed in the resurrection of the dead and a change of nature. He was taught that this was to be possible through what Yahweh would accomplish in His Son, the seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:1-3, 20, 50-58).
It is the apostle Paul who was not ashamed to publicly declare that he had “a hope in God….that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.” And for that reason, he “always took pains to have a clear conscience towards both God and man” (Acts 24:14-16).
Some say when Israel inherited the land of Canaan under Joshua that the covenant was fulfilled. Is this true?
No. Paul states that Abraham died having not received the promise. Therefore, Israel’s conditional occupancy of the land under the Law of Moses could not fulfill the terms of the covenant. God’s prophets declare that fulfillment will be at Christ’s return. (Hebrews 11:13; Acts 7:5; Hebrews 8:7-13; Acts 3:20-21, 24 &26).
Can you tell me how Abraham was “justified” or declared righteous by God?
Paul states in Romans 4 that Abraham believed God. His righteousness therefore consisted in believing in what he could not himself perform. This is “the righteousness of faith” and that belief or faith was counted to him for righteous or forgiveness of sins.
That is a wonderful truth, God has set forth the example of Abraham to show how man can be just before Him - by “the righteousness of faith” apart from “works of law,” “the promise rests on grace” (or undeserved kindness, the gift of God) so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (Romans 4:1-3, 13, 16 & 18-25; Ephesians 2:4-8; 1 Corinthians 1:29).
Bro. Thomas in Elpis Israel states “Now if it be asked, What is the truth? – The answer is, the things which Abraham believed, with the acknowledgement that Jesus is the Seed spoken of in the promises made to him. It is therefore essential to our salvation that we be familiar with matters of Abraham’s faith…which was counted to him for righteousness…He (God) requires men to acquaint themselves first with what He as promised, and then to consult the testimony He has given until they are fully persuaded as Abraham was. ‘Now’, says the apostle, ‘it was not written for Abraham’s sake alone, that this full persuasion of the Divine promise was counted to him for righteousness; but for us also to whom it shall be imputed if we believe on God.’ (Romans 4:11 & 23).” Bro. Thomas then asks the question “When, or at what point of time, and how, is a man’s faith in the Truth counted to him for remission of sins?...The scriptures say that through Jesus is now preached the remission of sins to those who believe the gospel of the Kingdom; and that justification by faith is through his name…Now, there is but one way for a believer of the gospel to get at this name, to wit, by being ‘baptised into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ The answer to the question, then, is this, that a man’s faith in the gospel is counted to him for righteousness in the act of being baptized into the name.” (Elpis Israel pg. 264-266, Logos ed.).
83. The birth of Ishmael from the union of Abraham and Hagar was an attempt by Sarah to anticipate the promise of the seed. Was Ishmael the seed of promise?
No. He was born after the flesh. The seed of promise was to be born by the power of God and was to be the seed not only of Abraham but also of Sarah who was at that time barren. (Galatians 4:29; Genesis 17:15-22).
What does Isaac mean?
His name means laughter or joy.
Was Isaac then a son of promise?
Yes, as a son of promise, he brought great happiness to Abraham and Sarah. They saw in him the fulfillment of all their hopes. Through him would come the son of promise, the conqueror of sin, the seed promised in Eden, who would bruise the head of the serpent and would be the heir of the world in whom God said all nations would be blessed. (Genesis 21:6 & 3:15; Romans 4:13; Genesis 12:3; John 8:56).
84. Abraham’s faith was to be proved. Can you tell me about the sacrifice of Isaac?
Abraham was commanded to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice upon a mountain God would show him in the land of Moriah. (Genesis 22:1-2).
Why was this so significant?
It was to show how sin would be condemned through the sacrifice of the promised seed; God’s dear Son of whom Isaac was typical.
Did Abraham slay his son?
No. God stopped him at the last minute and Isaac was released. He had virtually been resurrected from the dead and Abraham received him as such in a figure. (Genesis 22:10-12; Hebrews 11:19).
Bro. Thomas reminds us of the two essential conditions of justification, “Paul says, he (Abraham) was justified by faith; and James, that he was justified by works…As a sinner he was justified from his past sins when his faith was counted to him for righteousness; and as a saint he was justified by works when he offered up Isaac... The two stand related as cause and effect; faith being the motive principle it is a justification which begins with the remission of sins that are past, and is perfected in obedience unto death…by a patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, honour and incorruptibility” (Elpis Israel pg. 266-267 Logos ed.).
85. What did the sacrifice of Isaac symbolize?
It showed Abraham that by the death and resurrection of the promised seed (God’s Son who would also be Abraham’s seed) sin in the flesh would be dealt a deathblow and open the way of salvation through Christ unto all who like Abraham put their faith and trust in Yahweh. (Genesis 22; Matthew 1:1; Romans 4:21-25).
Yahweh as a result of Abraham’s obedience confirmed the covenant with an oath.
“And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18).
Abraham was given in these words a personal blessing. He was promised a multitudinous, national seed (Israel) and a multitudinous, spiritual seed (the immortal saints) as the stars of heaven. He was promised that God would extend salvation and blessedness to all nations through Christ. He also promised that the Christ would possess the gate of His enemies.
86. Abraham’s seed possessing the gate of his enemies does not only refer to Christ ruling a subdued world to the will of God. Can you tell us what the last enemy Christ will subdue or conquer is?
The last enemy to be subdued is death itself. (1 Corinthians 15:26 & 54-55; Isaiah 25:8).
87. Were these same promises made to anyone else?
Yes, Isaac and Jacob. (Genesis 26:2-4 & 28:13-14).
Did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob receive possession of the land of Canaan promised to them?
No. They were strangers in the land of promise during their lifetime and died without receiving it. (Hebrews 11:8-9, 13, 15, 39-40; Acts 7:5).
Will God fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by giving them the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession?
Yes. He will raise Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the dead and give them possession of the land when the kingdom of God having been established there, will have become a heavenly constituted country. (Micah 7:20; Mark 12:26; Luke 13:28; Matthew 8:11; Hebrews 11:16).
YAHWEH’S PURPOSE DEVELOPED THROUGH ISAAC TO THE TIME OF MOSES
88. Isaac had two sons. Can you tell me about them?
Esau was born first of the twins and became a cunning hunter but was a carnal man only interested in the things of the flesh. Jacob was an upright “plain” man i.e. gentle, complete. (Genesis 25:19-27).
89. Before these boys were born Rebekah was told by Yahweh’s foreknowledge, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23) How did this play out in their lives?
One day Esau returned faint from hunting and found Jacob cooking a mess of red lentils. Esau demanded to be fed but Jacob refused to do so unless Esau sold his birthright to him. This birthright was the right of the first-born and made him head of his brethren, succeeding to his father’s position after his death and had a special claim to his father’s blessing, receiving a double portion of his father’s goods. The spiritual blessing of the birthright meant nothing to this man of the flesh. He was not a man of faith but was only concerned with temporary gratification. On a later occasion Jacob at the instigation of Rebekah deceived his father and obtained the blessing. A blessing, which his father though deceived, realized with great “trembling,” was Yahweh’s will to bestow upon Jacob. Jacob by Divine election was the one through whom the Abrahamic promise would develop. (Genesis 25:30; Hebrews 12:16-17; Genesis 27:33; Hebrews 11:20).
90. When we are baptized we have a birthright. Do you think you can behave as Esau?
We cannot despise the things of God and His promises by living for gratification in an immoral or godless way. Faith in God’s promises calls for “a patient continuance in well doing seeking for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” (Hebrews 12:15-17; Romans 2:7-9).
91. What happened after Jacob received the blessing from Isaac?
He for fear of his life had to flee to the Syrian, Laban his mother’s brother, who he rigorously served for a wife. By Laban’s deception Jacob obtained two wives and by their insistence he also took two concubines so that in the process of time he begat twelve sons. (Genesis 28-32; Hosea 12:12).
Eventually Jacob left Laban and returning to the Promised Land, in fear of Esau, though under Yahweh’s stated and revealed Divine protection was caused to wrestle with an Angel. Through tears and prayer Jacob tenaciously persevered and prevailed with God (Ail - Power and Strength). The Angel told him his name would be changed to Israel.
92. What does Israel mean?
The Angel said that he was to be called Israel because as a prince he had persevered and prevailed with God (Genesis 32:29; Hosea 12:4-5).
What does this teach us?
When we are baptized we become the Israel of God, baptized into Christ who persevered and overcame the flesh through the word of God manifest in a life of perfect obedience and at last “destroyed him that hath the power of death,” the diabolos or “condemned sin in the flesh,” in his flesh. As Christ overcame we are called to patiently endure and overcome with God through prayer and a studied application of His word in our lives. If we do so until the end we are promised to be the king/priests of the future age reigning with Christ. (1 Peter 2:9-10; Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3 & 2:7; Revelation 2:7 & 11, 5:9-10).
93. In the development of Yahweh’s purpose Jacob’s twelve sons became the twelve tribes of Israel. What are their names?
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin.
94. Joseph was one of the greatest types of Christ in the Old Testament scriptures. How was he so?
Joseph’s early life was typical of Christ’s first advent. He was beloved of his father. He was sent seeking his brethren. God’s revelation to him foresaw the time when he would rule over his brethren. He was hated and despised and finally typically put to death by being thrown into a dry pit, which was typical of the grave. He was sold into Egypt as Christ was betrayed for money. Yet, after suffering wrongfully in prison in Egypt he was elevated, his garments changed and made ruler over all Egypt second only to Pharaoh, which was typical of Christ’s resurrection and glorification to the right hand of God. Joseph’s life then became typical of Christ’s second advent. His brethren because of severe drought came and bowed down to him not knowing who he was but later Joseph revealed himself to them. Joseph was a saviour of his brethren and of the Gentiles who came to put their trust in him. His name means “increaser,” for he was to increase God’s family by way of adoption. His two sons born in Egypt became adopted into the hope of Israel. He is therefore typical of Christ Who will save Jew and Gentile at His appearing and kingdom (Genesis 37; 39-42; 45 & 47).
95. Did Jacob come down to Egypt with his sons and their families?
Yes. Joseph cared for his father and his brethren. It was in Egypt where Jacob died but was buried in the land of Canaan by Joseph according to his expressed desire (Acts 7:14-15; Genesis 48 & 49).
96. Before Jacob died he blessed his sons. What was the blessing of Judah?
“Judah thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he crouched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (i.e. ‘he whose it is’- BDB Theological Dictionary, note Ezekiel 21:27) come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Genesis 49:8-10).
Can you explain this blessing?
Judah and Joseph are set forth in Israel’s blessing as types of Christ who will be the future king/priest of Yahweh’s kingdom. By inspiration Jacob’s blessing principally foretold the destiny of the nation in the “latter days.” The line of the kings of Israel was to come through the tribe of Judah. This was established in the line of David through whom Christ as promised would descend. Jacob by faith looked forward to the time when Yahweh’s kingdom would be established forever in the land of Canaan as covenanted to Abraham, Isaac and himself. The kingdom’s empire would consist of all the nations of the earth subdued to the will of the king who would descend from Jacob through Judah. The Lord Jesus Christ as Shiloh (He whose it is ) the King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah is seen by Jacob as wielding the scepter in the kingdom age, giving laws to the world, possessing the gate of His enemies and blessing all nations of the earth.
After the death of Jacob, Joseph lived to the age of 110. Before he died, Joseph assured the children of Israel that Yahweh would visit them and at the appointed time, bring them out of Egypt. The children of Israel continued to multiply in Egypt. A Pharaoh arose who knew not Joseph and began to severely persecute the children of Israel. To Amran and Jochebed of the tribe of Levi a son was born in these troublesome times that Yahweh was to use to lead Israel out of captivity.
97. What was his name?
When Moses was 40 years old he fled Egypt though brought up as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter because he killed an Egyptian who was severely treating an Israelite. Where did Moses go?
Moses went to the land of Midian where he became a shepherd and married the daughter of Jethro. Here he stayed until he was 80 years old.
What arrested his attention one day when he was tending Jethro’s sheep on the back side of a desert near Mount Sinai?
He saw a bush, which was burning but was not consumed out of which the Angel of God spoke to Moses.
On this occasion the Angel of Yahweh told Moses His purpose in delivering the children of Israel in accordance with what He had revealed to their fathers. He also enunciated His Name.
98. What is the memorial Name of God and what does it mean?
God speaking of Himself said, “Er Asher Er” i.e. “I will be who I will be,” but when we speak of God using the third person we call Him “Yahweh” - “He will be.” This prophetic Name speaks of Yahweh’s great purpose. “I will be manifested in whom I will be.” “God was manifested in the flesh (sinful flesh for the purpose of its condemnation in Christ), justified in the Spirit (i.e. through his death, resurrection and glorification, Christ was cleansed from “sin in the flesh”) seen of angels (or messengers), preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world and received up into glory.” (Exodus 3; 1 Timothy 3:16).
Is this manifestation or Yahweh’s purpose complete in Christ?
No. It is Yahweh’s purpose through Christ to be manifested in a multitude of redeemed, immortalized people drawn from all nations. (John 17:6, 11 20-26; Revelation 5:9-10).
99. Was Moses prepared to go back to Egypt to deliver Israel?
No. Yahweh assured him that He would be with Moses and gave him three signs to show Israel that they might believe. His rod turning into a serpent, his hand when placed in his bosom becoming leprous and was healed, and water being turned into blood. Moses still felt inadequate because he was slow of speech so Yahweh said He would also send with Moses his brother Aaron who would act as Moses’ spokesman. (Exodus 4).
What happened when Moses came before Pharaoh?
Moses came before Pharaoh with the message from Yahweh to “Let My people go,” that they might be a “people for His Name.” Pharaoh angrily rejected this request and increased the burdens upon Israel. (Exodus 5; Deuteronomy 6:12, 21-24).
Pharaoh refused to let Israel go and hardened his heart so Yahweh through Moses sent a series of ten plagues (first three upon both Jew and Egyptian, the last seven upon the Egyptians only). What were these ten plagues?
Water into blood, Frogs, Lice, Flies, Murrain (cattle disease), Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, Death of the first-born (Exodus 7-12).
100. What was Israel commanded to do before the slaying of the first-born by the Angel of Yahweh?
On the 14th day of what became Israel’s first month in commemoration of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, they were to kill the Passover lamb without blemish at evening (between three and six o’clock) and catch its blood in a basin. They were to use a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood and sprinkle it upon their two doorposts and lintel of their houses. They were to roast the lamb whole and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Not a bone of the lamb was to be broken. None was to be left until morning. Smaller families were to join together if a lamb was too much and if any remained it was to be burnt in the fire. They were to eat with their shoes on and staff in their hand, ready to leave as soon as Moses gave the word (Exodus 12).
What does the Passover lamb, its sprinkled blood on the two doorposts and lintel represent?
Paul said, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” The slaying of the Passover lamb without blemish pointed forward to Christ’s perfect obedience and spotless character, while being a possessor of our defiled sinful flesh. By this means Christ was “the lamb of God that should take away the sin of the world”. If we receive this in faith I believe that God will “Passover” our sins by providing us with a covering for sin.
The Passover lamb as Yahweh’s sacrifice (Exodus 23:17, 18)combined, as you just mentioned, the two essential qualifications for sacrifice – Christ our Passover (1Corinthians 5:7) was the very nature condemned in Eden and therefore wrong was not done when he was crucified, as Bro. Roberts has reminded us over and over during this baptismal review, “He was born that he might die as the first necessity in the case, for thus was the righteousness of God to be declared and sin condemned in its own flesh as the foundation of all the goodness to come afterwards.” This was not all however that was required as signified by the Passover lamb being “without blemish” for, “resurrection had to come in harmony with the law that made death the wages of sin…All these aims required that the sacrificial victim should be a perfectly righteous man, as well as the possessor of the nature to be sacrificially condemned…he was in character spotless-‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners’. Sin had hold of him in his nature, which inherited the sentence of death from Adam: but it had no hold of him in his character: for he always did those things that were pleasing to his Father. When he died, ‘he died unto sin once’ (Hebrews 7:26, 27; 8:3; 9:12, 23, 28; 13:20). But God raised him because of his obedience, and ‘being raised from the dead, he dieth no more; death has no more dominion over him’ (Romans 6:9, 10)” (The Blood of Christ pg. 8). Paul also states in Hebrews 9:28 “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” We therefore note that the lintel (the head of the door) symbolic of Christ had to be sprinkled along with the two doorposts representing Jew and Gentile. By Yahweh’s appointment, Christ was required to be sprinkled by His own blood-shedding sacrifice for His own salvation because He bore our defiled Adamic mortality as our representative. By this means He “bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” that He might for all (but of “necessity” beginning with him) overcome sin, destroy it and provide a covering for all those who by faith come unto God through Him. Paul says God “set forth” Christ in this way “that through faith in His blood we might obtain remission (or the ‘passing over’ ESV) of sins” (1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 7:27, 9:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:14, 9:23 & 12, 13:20; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 3:25-26).
101. How did the children of Israel escape from Egypt?
God led them to the western side of the Red Sea where they were brought into great danger, for Pharaoh, hearing they were in a place where they could not escape, came out with a great army to catch them and take them back into Egypt again (Exodus 14).
How did Yahweh’s arm of salvation deliver Israel from certain death?
Yahweh opened a way through the Red Sea for Israel to pass. Israel moved safely to the other side and when the Egyptians followed, God brought the sea upon them and they were drowned (Exodus 14; Psalm 78:13 & 53).
This way of salvation through the Red Sea was a type of what?
Paul says Israel was baptized into Moses in the cloud and the sea and rose as it were to newness of life on the opposite shore, no longer the servants of the sin power. This is typical of our baptism into Christ. The Lord Jesus destroyed ‘the body of sin” (Romans 6:6) in his crucifixion, even as Pharaoh and his army were destroyed in the sea. We ceremonially identify with what God has done in Christ for us, in our baptism and we morally participate in it in putting the old man to death in “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts”. Henceforth, we should not serve sin (1 Corinthians 10:1-6; Romans 6:6; Colossians 2:12; Titus 2:12).
For what purpose did God perform all these wonderful works?
That He might make His existence and power known to Israel and to all the earth (Deuteronomy 4:34-35; Psalm 106:8; Ezekiel 20:6-9; Exodus 10:1-2, 9:16 & 8:22).
ISRAEL AT SINAI
102. When Israel had crossed the Red Sea, what did God do with them next?
He led them to the wilderness of Sinai among great, barren mountains and showed His presence in a visible manner before them by descending to the top of Sinai in the midst of a dense cloud, smoke, earthquake and a prolonged sounding of a trumpet blast which was followed by speaking to them with a loud voice, which they all heard (Exodus 19:20; Deuteronomy 4:10-14 & 5:4).
Why did He do that?
Yahweh did this so that the people might believe in Moses, as the prophet of God and be prepared to obey the law (Exodus 19:9; Deuteronomy 4:10).
103. What did God say in the hearing of the children of Israel?
Yahweh gave them the Ten Commandments. The first five relate to loving God:
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…
3. Thou shalt not take the Name of Yahweh thy God in vain…
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…
5. Honour thy father and mother…
The next five relate to loving our fellow man:
6. Thou shalt not kill
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness…
10.Thou shalt not covet… (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 4:12-13)
Did He deliver a law to them besides the Ten Commandments?
Yes. He spoke to Moses many other things, which Moses repeated to the people (Deuteronomy 4:13-14).
104. The Lord Jesus summed up these Ten Commandments of Yahweh to Israel in two great principles. What are they?
The Lord Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
105. Do we have to keep all these Ten Commandments today?
Nine of the commandments have been re-affirmed by the 'law of Christ' except the Sabbath, the principles of which however, the Lord showed us in His life we should perform every day. That is, remembering Yahweh in true thankfulness, our lives dedicated to Him in ceasing from the works of the flesh. There is not a single command in the New Testament requiring observing the seventh day as a Sabbath. It was a part of the Law that was 'done away' in Christ (Hebrews 3:5-6; Romans 3:21-22, 6:14, 7:6; Hebrews 7:18-19, 8:7 to 9:4; Colossians 2:16-17; 1 Corinthians 9:21).
The Apostle Paul stated to the Roman ecclesia comprising of Jews and gentiles that the observance of one day above another was a matter of little consequence. (Romans 14:5) The Jewish Christians wished to continue observing the Sabbath as a day of rest; there was nothing wrong in them doing so as long as they did not try to impose their will on their gentile brethren and sisters, or in their observance of the seventh day to “forsake the assembling of themselves together” (i.e. on the first day of the week when the disciples gathered to remember Christ in the appointed way) as some at the Jerusalem ecclesia seemed to be doing (Hebrews 10:25). He warned them against placing stress on certain days, like the Sabbath (Galatians 4:10-11). The Lord Jesus and his apostle to the gentiles teach that every day ought to be used as an opportunity to serve and worship God in spirit and in truth.
Christ invites us to learn of him and in so doing find true rest for our souls (Matt 11:29-30). Rest or the ceasing of work is the meaning of Sabbath. Christ’s law to which we are called (1 Corinthians 9:21) shows that the Mosaic law which made the keeping of the seventh day a command was “but a shadow of good things to come” (Colossians 2:17). The reality is rest or a ceasing from the works of sin with all its accompanying sorrows. The Sabbath pointed forward to the millennium or seventh day of one thousand years, when all men will find in the knowledge and service of God true rest from sin, a cleansing of conscience and life in harmony with God when his kingdom is reestablished on the earth.
The followers of Christ in Colossians 2:11-17 are shown by Paul how to observe what the law taught by way of shadow concerning circumcision and the Sabbath. Paul gave both circumcision and Sabbath keeping a spiritual significance rather than a literal observance (verses 11, 17). Under the law the Lord Jesus himself points out that circumcision took precedence over Sabbath-keeping (John 7:22-23). Yet circumcision is not binding on a follower of Christ except in a spiritual sense. In Romans 2 Paul tells us “A Jew is one inwardly and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the spirit, not by the letter (The Mosaic Covenant). His praise is not from man, but from God” (Romans 2:29).
How can those of a Judaizing tendency say the Sabbath is binding when circumcision (the greater law under the mosaic covenant) has been superseded! Christ’s law teaches circumcision is to be made plain in the lives of his disciples in a spiritual sense; so too Sabbath keeping. Colossians 2:17 shows that the Sabbath is set forth as a shadow of something to be revealed in Christ; Paul ( Hebrews 4:9-1) brings together all the above teachings when he says, “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God…Let us therefore labour (or strive) to enter that rest”. The disciple of Christ observes the Sabbath in a spiritual sense when he daily strives to cease from his own fleshly works, “laboring (like the priests in the temple on the Sabbath days-Matthew 12:5) to enter that rest”― not one day, but every day of the week. Christ invites us to this true Sabbath rest each day by us learning of him and following his example (Matt 11:28-30). If we do so, we will through God’s grace be invited to experience that Sabbath rest of the kingdom millennial age which “remains for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).
THE MOSAIC COVENANT
106. Did Yahweh make a covenant with the people about these things?
Yes. God offered to bless them with many blessings if they would obey the law that He would give them. The people promised to do all the Lord commanded them. Then the Lord gave the law and Moses wrote it in a book, and read it to the people. He then sprinkled the book and the people with the blood of sacrifices. Thus, a covenant was established between God and the people (Exodus 24:3-8; Hebrews 9:19-21).
107. What is this covenant called in the scriptures?
It is called the first, or the old covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13).
108. Could this Mosaic covenant give eternal life?
The Mosaic covenant only promised a prolonged and peaceful life in the land on the condition they did not forsake the covenant. The promise of eternal life is contained in the covenant of promise made and confirmed with Abraham 430 years before the law (Galatians 3:17-22). Animal sacrifices could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4-10); those offered by Abraham pointed forward to the purging of the Abrahamic covenant by the blood of Christ. Secondly, God’s righteousness required perfect obedience, no one apart from the man God strengthened for himself – the Lord Jesus Christ, could do this.
Paul said “Not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his (Christ’s) own blood he obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).” And again “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins…I (Christ) have come to do your will. He abolishes the first (Mosaic) covenant in order to establish the second…through the offerings of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:4-10). Bro. Thomas says “We see then, the nature of the Mosaic law purged by inferior blood. It could not give a title to eternal life, and was therefore incapable of imparting everlasting righteousness to any (Galatians 3:21), nothing short of an everlasting righteousness can constitute a man an heir of the kingdom of God in the covenanted land. By obedience to this law no flesh can be justified, for by it comes the knowledge of sin, without the power of deliverance. (Romans 3:20, 28). ‘It made nothing perfect, but the bringing of a better hope did.’ (Hebrews 7:19).” (Contending for the Faith: Mystery of the Covenant of the Holy Land Explained, pg. 161).
What then was the purpose of the law?
The law was designed to separate the nation of Israel from all other nations as a peculiar people unto Yahweh, an example to all other people. Its statutes were designed to always bring God to the people’s mind in all aspects of their daily living. The law revealed to man the sinfulness of sin, that apart from God he had no hope. The law graphically set this forth by uncompromisingly cursing all who did not obey it in every detail. As no one was able to live a life without committing sin, the law directed the true Israelite to the coming of the promised Messiah and Redeemer who will deliver him/her from the bondage of sin and death and from the curse of the law. It did this in the sacrifices and offerings, which pointed forward to the one great offering Yahweh had set forth in the covenants of promise in Eden and to Abraham, which were fulfilled in Christ. The shadow institution of the law pointed forward to His sacrificial death, which declared Yahweh’s righteousness in the condemnation of sin in the flesh, in Christ who was the sinless (without blemish in character) partaker of Adamic condemned nature. Every time a faithful Israelite offered a sacrifice, he was directed to think of the promised Seed and what Yahweh would accomplish in Him. He then in faith like Abraham, who saw the day of the Lord and was glad, looked forward to the time when Messiah would come. “Wherefore the law”, says Paul “was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Deuteronomy 4:6-8 & 28:9-10; Jeremiah 16:16; Zechariah 8:23; Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 3:10; Romans 3:21-23; Genesis 3:15; Genesis 15 & 22; Hebrews 9:8-14; Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:15; John 8:56; Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:24).
109. Why is the law given through Moses referred to in scripture as the first or the old covenant, considering there was the covenant made with Abraham before it?
Although the covenant of the Law of Moses was the last to be given, it was the first to come into force. It was the law of Israel’s national life for many hundreds of years before the confirmation of the covenant made with Abraham through the shedding of the blood of Christ. (Galatians 3:17-19; Romans 15:8; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
110. When we are baptized, are we under the Mosaic covenant today?
No. It was taken away, totally fulfilled in the death of Christ who redeemed the believers who were under the law from the curse of the law. When baptized, we are brought into relationship with the new everlasting covenant purged by the blood of Christ in contrast to the old covenant which Paul calls the ' ministration of death, ' because it cursed all who could not keep it perfectly.
The ‘law of Christ’ says James, is the ‘perfect law of liberty’, because it liberates the believer from the bondage of sin by forgiveness through the “better” sacrifice of Christ, his resurrection and eternal priesthood (Hebrews 9:23; 7:11-12,18-22,25). This provided a new powerful motivating force in our lives to obey God’s commandments, and offers the hope of eternal life. (Colossians 2:14-17; Matthew 26:28; Galatians 3:10-14; 1 Corinthains 9:21; James 1:25; 2:8-12; Acts 3:26).
CONCERNING ISRAEL AFTER THE GIVING OF THE LAW TO THEIR ENTERING INTO THE PROMISED LAND
111. What happened after the giving of the law to Israel, the building of the tabernacle and the establishment in their midst of all things pertaining to it?
God commanded Israel to march to and enter the land of Canaan and subdue the nations that were there (Numbers 13:1-20; Deuteronomy 1:19-21).
Did Israel do as they were commanded and go straight into the Promised Land?
Their intention was to do so but after sending out twelve spies to spy out the land of Canaan, ten of the twelve brought back an evil report of how great and mighty were the people occupying the land. This evil report made them afraid and they made up their mind not to go but to kill Moses and set up another captain over them who would lead them back into Egypt (Numbers 13:13-33 & 14:1-10; Deuteronomy 1:22-23 & 32-33).
What did God do to them for this disobedience?
Having showed His glory visibly in the camp to protect Moses, He ordered the whole congregation to go back into the wilderness. They were to wander for 40 years until all of the men over 20 years of age were dead (Numbers 14:10-35; Deuteronomy 1:34-40).
Did Moses enter the Promised Land?
Towards the end of Israel’s wilderness-wandering Moses disobeyed a command by smiting the rock (which was symbolic of Christ) twice, instead of speaking to it to bring forth water unto the children of Israel. He and Aaron took the glory of this occasion to themselves instead of giving it to Yahweh (Num. 20:11-12).
Do you think Moses will enter into the Land of Promise eventually?
Yes, in the kingdom age. He died in faith not receiving the promises but seeing them afar off by faith (Hebrews 11:23-28 & 39-40).
112. What happened at the end of Israel’s forty year wandering in the wilderness?
At the end of the forty years, the Israelites came to Canaan from the eastern side of the river Jordan. When the nations on that side had been conquered Moses died. This eastern side of the Jordan later became the inheritance of the tribes Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh. The children of Israel crossed the Jordan and attacked the nations of Canaan, which became the inheritance of the other nine and a half tribes (Deuteronomy 2 & 3; Joshua 13:23-33, 14, 18:1-10; Psalm 105:43-45).
Who led Israel into the Promised Land?
Joshua (Joshua 1 & 4:14-24).
What was the first city they came to?
How did they take Jericho?
Yahweh commanded them to march around it for seven days. On the seventh day they were to march around it seven times, after which Joshua commanded the trumpets to be sounded by the priests and the people to shout. Yahweh then caused the great walls of the city to fall down and Israel by this means destroyed its inhabitants saving only Rahab and her family (Joshua 6).
What was the next city they came against?
Ai (Joshua 7).
Why didn’t they take it at first, 36 Israelites losing their lives in the attempt and causing all Israel to be greatly troubled?
Achan of the tribe of Judah sinned and tried to conceal the fact that he had taken some of the accursed things of Jericho, which Yahweh said had to be utterly destroyed (Joshua 7).
What is the lesson in this for us?
One person’s action can affect the whole ecclesia and endanger their spiritual lives.
Under Joshua Israel destroyed the seven nations of Canaan and divided the land by lot and settled to live in it according to the laws Yahweh had given them through Moses. Did they continue in obedience to these laws?
They continued faithfully as long as Joshua was alive and the old men who outlived him. After that, they turned from the Law of Moses and began to do as the Canaanites did who lived amongst them, not having been utterly destroyed as Yahweh had commanded them. They forsook the worship of Yahweh and worshipped the idols of the Canaanites. (Judges 2:6-13; Psalm 106:34-39).
ISRAEL UNDER THE JUDGES
113. After the death of Joshua and the elders that outlived him, what was the consequence of Israel turning away from the Law of Moses?
God brought them into great trouble by allowing the neighboring nations to gain the upper hand over them and drive them out of their houses, taking possession of their goods and land. (Judges 2:14-15; Psalm 106:40-43).
Did these troubles destroy Israel?
No. When they got into trouble they repented of their disobedience and cried to God. Time after time during a period of 450 years, God raised up Judges who delivered them. (Judges 2:16-23; Acts 13:19-20).
Did these Judges succeed each other in an unbroken line and can you name some of the Judges?
There were intervals between different Judges during which neighboring people oppressed Israel because of her sins. After Joshua came Othniel, Ehud, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephtha, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson and Eli. (The Book of Judges; 1 Samuel 1-3).
114. Who was the last Judge?
What change took place in the days of the last of these Judges?
Israel desired a king that they might be like the other nations. They came to Samuel and asked him to appoint them a king. (1 Samuel 8:1-5).
ISRAEL DESIRES A KING
115. What was Yahweh’s reply to Samuel and who was Israel’s first king?
Yahweh spoke to Samuel saying, “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” Yahweh was Israel’s first king and Israel was God’s kingdom. (1 Samuel 8:7 & 12:12).
That is true, nevertheless Yahweh commanded Samuel to comply with their wishes. Who did Samuel anoint to be king?
Samuel anointed Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king. (1 Samuel 9:20-27; 10).
116. What sort of king did Saul prove to be?
Saul began humbly and faithfully but then he departed from Yahweh’s commandments, disobeying several times in important matters. (1 Samuel 13:13 & 15:19; 1 Chronicles 10:13).
117. What was the occasion and important words Yahweh through Samuel addressed to Saul as a result of his disobedience?
Saul was commanded to go and utterly destroy Amalek but he saved the best of the cattle, the sheep and their king alive. He blamed the people for doing so saying the animals were for sacrifices for Yahweh but Samuel said, “Hath Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of Yahweh, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
This passage you quoted is most important because it shows Saul’s sin was faithlessness for he was more conscious of the people than God. We see the very same spirit in the world today. To get large numbers, leaders of religious groups strive to please the people and in the process disregard God’s word. The end result is that belief of the Gospel- The things concerning the kingdom of God and those things we have discussed concerning the Name of Jesus Christ and baptism are either not taught as essential for salvation or altered according to the thinking of the flesh. Saul’s stated motive for saving the animals alive was for the purpose of sacrifice but this contrary to Yahweh’s expressed wish. This illustrates the fact that apart from the principle of the manifestation of God’s truth and love in a person’s heart and actions while under trial, then there was no pleasure in those sacrifices offered under the shadow institution which preceded the sacrifice of Christ. It illustrates the principle for all ages under which God’s people have lived, that unrighteousness shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and that he only is righteous who does righteousness. We are commanded to “work out our salvation” by “patient continuance in well doing” and that he only that endures to the end shall be saved. Christ is the judge of who will be fit to be saved and he will impartially give to every man according to his/her works (1John 3:7; Philippians 2:12; Romans 2:7, Matthew 10:22; Revelation 20: 12, 13).