Sunday March 18th 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
Part Thirty Seven
1). Heb 11:4 ? By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
a). We have seen in previous weeks that Hebrews Chapter 11 is a chapter that deals with a specifically selected group of OT saints who, through their actions, demonstrated faith to the saving of the soul, and that faith to the saving of the soul, within the context of the coming 7th Day, the Kingdom of Christ, is not only the focus of this particular chapter, but also of the Book of Hebrews as a whole ? something that would also be true of all the other NT epistles as well.
b). And then we had seen last week how the first 4 individuals presented at the beginning of Chapter 11 were not arbitrarily chosen, something that would be true of all the rest also, but were chosen because they picture for us a dispensational framework that finds its conclusion in the 7th Day.
c). The sequence begins with Abel whose sacrifice involving death and shed blood is accepted ? Abel being a type of Christ in the overall picture becomes himself a sacrifice, picturing in his own death at the hands of his brother, Christ?s death at the hands of His brother, Israel.
d). Following this point of beginning we find Enoch who was ?taken away that he did not see death? ? picturing for us the next event on God?s prophetic timetable, the rapture of the Church in order to appear at Christ?s Judgment Seat prior to the Lord completing His dealings with Israel, pictured for us in Noah going through the worldwide flood ? a type of the Great Tribulation - the redemption of the inheritance for the Bride.
e). And then in Abraham, who by faith, left one land to go to another land that God would show him we have pictured the new beginning of the Millennial Kingdom when Israel will be re-gathered from amongst the Gentile nations and returned to the earthly land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and the Church will literally be removed from the earth into the heavens ? the heavenly portion of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
f). And this panorama of events that we see at the beginning of Chapter 11 is one of several panoramas that we see in the scriptures; all of which present exactly the same picture, some giving more details than others, and then into these we can add other innumerable scriptures that give more and more detail concerning these events so that we may build up a complete picture.
2). That which we see here in Hebrews we also find first in Genesis ? the same events laid out for us with a slightly different emphasis in Genesis Chapters 22- 25 - Ge 22:1 ? Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."
a). Genesis Chapter 22 contains the offering of Isaac ?on one of the mountains? ? Because Isaac is also a type of Christ we find ourselves at the same beginning point as we did with Abel ? a sacrifice involving death and shed blood - and both the types provide commentary on each other as well as pointing to the sacrifice which they picture ? that of Christ.
b). Ge 23:1 ? Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
b). Chapter 23 gives us the death of Sarah, Abraham?s wife ? picturing for us the setting aside of Israel following the nation?s rejection of the offer of the Kingdom of the Heavens. This detail is not given to us in Hebrews 11, but here we see how putting the types together will enable us to see the complete
picture that is not visible in any one type on its own. And what does the scripture say about this? - Isa 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little."
c). And then in Chapter 24 - Ge 24:61 Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.
d). In Chapter 24 we have presented the Holy Spirit?s search for a Bride from amongst Christians during this dispensation, pictured in Abraham?s oldest servant seeking a bride for Isaac from amongst Abraham?s family ? and here in v61 we see Rebekah and her maids leaving on 10 camels picturing the rapture of the Church ? adding further detail to that which we see with Enoch.
e). Now, although we don?t see the picture of the Great Tribulation in our Genesis panorama, that which follows it, pictured through Abraham in Hebrews is seen in Genesis Chapter 25 - Ge 25:1 ? Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
f). Abraham is now fruitful, picturing Israel?s fruitfulness in the Kingdom once they have come to repentance and having been re-gathered to the land.
g). And so, if we lay Genesis Chapters 22-25 over the top of Hebrews 11:4-10, we will see that we are dealing with exactly the same subject ? And we would also note that both of these draw from the genealogy of Seth in Genesis Chapter 5.
h). Then into the dispensational framework that we see in Hebrews and Genesis we can also add the detail of the Matthew 13 parables which take us to the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom; the events of the Book of Ruth that present matters from the perspective of the faithful Christian and the events of the Book of Esther which present matters from the perspective of Israel. If we put all of these together then there can be no room left for error as the scriptures will have interpreted themselves completely apart from what Man may think about anything.
i). And I hope that as we consider all of this we will realize just how unique the scriptures are and how the Divine hand has woven this glorious tapestry for us, through which we can have the certainty of God?s purpose for the ages and have opportunity through our faith to the saving of the soul to participate with Him in them - Heb 1:1 ? God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power,
when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 ? having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
3). Ge 4:6 ? So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you shall rule over it." 8 ? Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
a). We had also seen last week how the account of Cain and Abel presents to us the foundational picture of the events that would transpire between Israel and Christ at the Lord?s first advent some 4000 years before these events would take place.
b). Just as Cain?s offering had been rejected because it had been offered apart from faith so were Israel?s offerings rejected for exactly the same reason ? they had been offered according to the law, but apart from faith. Consequently, just as Cain burned with anger and looked away from God because of his brother?s righteousness, so Israel burned with anger and looked away from God because of their Brother?s righteousness - Joh 5:15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 ? But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
c) And even though, just as with Cain, the nation was offered the opportunity to repent - Mt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
They refused to do so, following exactly the picture given through Cain ?
Ac 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- 23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
d). So here is the thing ? the scriptures foretold through the account of Cain and Abel exactly what would happen at Christ?s first advent and was plainly there for all to see.
e). Not only this, but just as Cain knew full well who it was that he killed, so the same would have to be said for Israel?s religious leaders in the antitype. And that this was so can be seen in a parable that the Lord gave to them in ?
Mt 21:33 ? "Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 "Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 "And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 "Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 "Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 38 "But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.' 39 "So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?" 41 They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons." 42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD'S doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes'? 43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 44 "And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder." 45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.
f). And then following the heir being ?cast out of the vineyard and killed? repentance was still available to Israel as the Kingdom of the Heavens was re-offered to the nation by the Church on the basis of the New Covenant instituted at Christ?s death. As with Cain, national repentance was not forthcoming, which meant that the nation?s experience could only be that of Cain?s ? ?A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.?
g). In AD70 the Roman legions destroyed Jerusalem, burned the Temple and scattered the Jews amongst the Gentile nations where they are still to be found today - Ge 4:14 "Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me."
h). And between that point and the conclusion of the Great Tribulation the nation awaits the antitype of the two promises given to Cain ? repentance and the sevenfold vengeance of God upon those who have set their hand against them, which pictures for us the complete overthrow of Gentile world
power, so that Israel can assume its God given role at the head of the nations - Ge 4:7 "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you shall rule over it."????15 And the LORD said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold."
i). Heb 8:12 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
4). 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
a). The next individual that we see on God?s prophetic timetable is Enoch, who is the 7th generation from Adam ? and what we see here is that he ?was taken away so that he did not see death? ? the reason given for this being that ?before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God?.
b). This would be the ?good testimony? spoken of in - Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
c). And we will remember that the ?it? in this verse is faith to the saving of the soul ? then v6 tells us - 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
So, we can clearly see that the ?faith? associated with Enoch here is faith to the saving of the soul.
d). The somewhat sparse account of Enoch is to be found in the genealogy of Seth ? Ge 5:21 ? Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
e). And as we have already noted, the account of Enoch provides us with the foundational picture of the rapture of the Church, with those who are alive at the time this event occurs being ?taken? so as to ?not see death? ?
1Th 4:15 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 by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
f). But as we have already noted this morning this one type needs to be seen alongside the other types that picture the rapture of the Church in order that we might have a complete picture so as not to find ourselves in error.
g). And so alongside the type given through Enoch we must also add that which we see with Rebekah and her maids in Genesis Chapter 24 and the experiences of Lot and his family in Genesis Chapter 19 ? in the one we see the events concerning the rapture from the perspective of the Christian who has lived by faith and in the other the perspective of the Christian who has lived apart from faith.
h). Now we should note that detail with regards to the rapture is very sparse, and this is because God?s focus is on what must take place in the life of the Christian before the rapture takes place and then the consequences of the Christian?s actions after the rapture has taken place - 2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
That the rapture of the Church will take place is documented in the scriptures, but the logistics and the mechanics of it are not given beyond that which we have seen ? it is the fact that it will happen and what will take place following it that needs to be our concern.
5). Ge 24:58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go." 59 So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her: "Our sister, may you become The mother of thousands of ten thousands; And may your descendants possess The gates of those who hate them." 61 Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed. 62 ? Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. 64 Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; 65 for she had said to the servant, "Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." So she took a veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
a). In v58 we see that Rebekah is asked the question that has been asked of all Christians during this dispensation ?Will you go with this man? And she
said ?I will go?.? ? And this of course reminds us of the statement made by Ruth to Naomi ?I will go?, in Ruth Chapter 1.
b). At the time of departure ?Rebekah and her maids arose, and rode on the camels and followed the man? ? Abraham?s oldest servant came with 10 camels and leaves with Rebekah and her maids riding on the 10 camels. The number 10 being a number of ordinal completion points to all those in view, therefore all Christians ? this is the same as we would see with the number 7 in the Book of Revelation with the 7 churches in Christ?s presence to receive judgment - Re 1:20 "The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
And the 10 virgins in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins ?
Mt 25:1 ? "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
c). At the time of departure in v61 there is nothing to distinguish Rebekah from her maids, but once they come into the presence of Isaac it is Rebekah alone who dismounts from the camel and ?took a veil and covered herself? ? And in the taking of the veil to cover herself we would see the ?fine linen, clean and bright? of the wedding garment worn by Christ?s Bride in Revelation Chapter 19 - Re 19:7 "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."
8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
d). 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her.
It is Rebekah alone who goes into ?Sarah?s tent? and becomes Isaac?s wife.
6). Ge 19:15 ? When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."????????..24 ? Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 ? But his wife looked back behind him, and she
became a pillar of salt. 27 ? And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD.28 Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt. 30 ? Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave.
a). And here in Genesis Chapter 19 with the account of Lot we see the rapture pictured through the angels bringing Lot and his family ?outside the city? with Lot and his daughters eventually finding themselves on the mountain to which he was told to flee, but in a cave on the mountain in a place of darkness and shame, rather than on the top of the mountain, where Abraham was to be found.
b). In this picture of Lot and his family, who left Sodom with such reluctance, we may see those Christians spoken of in - 2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night???..
c). In v26 we see Lot?s wife, who does not look to the mountain but to the cities of the plain, turned into a pillar of salt, providing us with a figurative picture of what will happen to Christians who do likewise ? And this figurative picture is then further developed in the experience of Lot and his daughters in the cave.
d). The Lord makes reference to the experience of Lot?s wife concerning the nation of Israel, but there is a secondary application in His words for ourselves - Lu 17:32 "Remember Lot's wife. 33 "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
e). In the experience of Lot and his family then we see the outcome, beyond the rapture, for those pictured in Orpah, in Rebekah?s maids and the 5 foolish virgins.
f). And again, to take us back to where we began with Enoch, our focus is not on the rapture per se, but knowing the certainty of the event through the types, our focus is on the coming Kingdom of Christ so that we are fully prepared for our appearance at Christ?s Judgment Seat ? 1Th 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 ? Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of
faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,