Sunday April 1st 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
Part Thirty Nine
1). Heb 11:5 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). One last thing to say about Enoch before we continue with Noah, that I hope will be an encouragement to us.
b). We will have noted that Enoch had the kind of faith related to the saving of the soul demonstrated through the naming of his son, Methuselah, ?when he is gone it will be sent?, and then his walking with God for 300 years in anticipation of his own translation into heaven and the judgment that would then come on the earth following Methuselah?s death having believed that which God had revealed to him with regards to the events he waited for.
c). And we had noted during our Bible studies that 300 years seems a long time to remain faithful ? but what we need to remember in this is that Enoch was a human being like the rest of us, having a sin nature just as we do, and therefore would have sinned just as we do. He was not somehow immune from the consequences of the fall because he was Enoch. In fact all human beings struggle and have always struggled with temptations, just as the scriptures say ? 1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1Jo 1:8 ? If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
And Enoch would not be an exception to this.
d). Then as we consider this look at what the scripture records with regards to Elijah ? Jas 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
e). ?Elijah was a man with a nature like ours? - What we see here is that the remarkable things he accomplished through his prayer come about only through his faith, as a result of believing that which God had said, not because God plays favorites ? and this being true for Elijah must also be true of Enoch and for every other person we find recorded in the scriptures and especially those singled out for mention in our catalogue of faith in Hebrews 11 ? and by extension would also have to be true for us.
f). So why is no mention made of Enoch?s struggles? Why is there only a record of his faith? ? Simply, because in the sum total of his life he walked by faith doing the very thing that we are admonished to do in - Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
g). He kept his focus where it needed to be, on that which God had revealed with regards to future events, and then his life was lived towards that direction. And if he sinned he would do that which God had said with respect to dealing with sin, again with a view to what awaited him in the future. In the end there was nothing to commend but his faith because from God?s perspective nothing else remained.
h). And this of necessity would have to be true for us also ? in that Day when we stand before the Lord and receive the salvation of our souls the sins that we have committed that we have dealt with, by faith, cannot possibly enter into the equation ? in that Day all that will be known of us will be that we have the testimony that we pleased God.
i). This is the reason that the statement is made that we find in Hebrews 11:6 immediately after the account is given of Enoch - 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.
j). So, how do we have faith to the saving of the soul whilst having to live in this age and having a sin nature? Again our answer is simple ? it is by organizing our lives with a view to that which God has revealed about future events ? it is by having every aspect of our lives under the authority of
scripture and it is never, under any circumstances, making a separation between our pursuit of the Kingdom and the minutiae of our everyday life. This is laying our life down now, so that we may receive it then ? this is the spiritual warfare - 2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
k). Now this is not to suggest that this is easy as we know full well that that the road we travel is a narrow one, but, by the grace of God through our faith there is absolutely no reason, other than our own unbelief, why we should not be successful.
2). Ge 5:27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. 28 ? Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. 29 And he called his name Noah, saying, "This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed." 30 After he begot Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and had sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died. 32 And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
a). And so, we will remember from last week that the name Noah means ?rest? and Lamech gave his son this name because ?This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed? ? a curse that came into existence as a result of Man?s fall recorded in Genesis Chapter 3.
b). Now the name Noah meaning ?rest? and by extension ?resting place? is not the same Hebrew word used with regards to God resting on the 7th Day ? that word is, ?shabath? ? Sabbath ? And this would be because the rest spoken of in Noah?s name has to do with ?the work and toil of our hands? in other words a rest from the labors brought about through the curse, not the Day of Rest per se.
c). Having said that of course we will realize that a rest from the labors associated with Man?s Day can only take place in the 7th Day, the Sabbath Rest of God.
d). This kind of rest from the labors associated with Man?s Day did not and could not happen following the flood, but could only point to a time following the Great Tribulation, of which the flood is a type.
e). So we may well conclude then that in the naming of his son Lamech was also acting by faith in accordance with God?s revealed purpose ? a purpose that of necessity would have to take us almost 5000 years into the future ? a purpose involving a nation of people, Israel, that had not yet been brought into existence at the time that Lamech?s son was born.
f). Not only this, but the naming of Noah has another facet to it. The Hebrew word from which we get the name Noah is also found in ?
Ge 8:4 ? Then the ark rested [Heb. nuwach = Noah] in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on[above] the mountains of Ararat.
g). And in this verse we have Noah and his family, picturing the nation of Israel being supernaturally preserved through the world wide destruction of Gentile world power, coming ?to rest? above the mountains of Ararat, picturing Israel?s future position at the head of the nations during the 7th Day, the Millennial Kingdom.
h). Putting both these together then we would see in the 7th Day Israel having ?rest? from ?the work and toil of our hands? with regards to their enemies ? the very thing we see recorded in ? Es 9:20 ? And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, 21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest [nuwach = Noah] from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.
Jer 30:8 'For it shall come to pass in that day,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them. 10 ? 'Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the LORD, 'Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with you,' says the LORD, 'to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.'
i). In the giving of the name Noah then we would have to see Lamech prophesying concerning the ultimate conclusion for a people and a time, millennia beyond the birth of his son.
j). But what does the scripture say? - Am 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
k). And so, just as a reminder, where does God begin in His revelation to His servants the prophets with regards to what He is going to do? ? Genesis Chapter 1 with 6 days of work followed by a 7th day of rest - Ge 1:31 ? Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 2:1 ? Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
3). And here at the very beginning of scripture we find the foundation laid upon which the whole of God?s dealings with His created being, Man, rests.
a). Then as we would compare scripture with scripture we see that the 6 days that comprise Man?s Day are made up of 3 sets of 2 days, 3 sets of 2000 years that we call dispensations ? specific periods of time in which God deals with different groups of individuals, groups that are to be understood as His household servants.
b). The first dispensation, the first 2000 years extends from Adam to Abraham and during this time God deals with mankind in general ? and this would be those we would know today as Gentiles as for this first 2000 years of Man?s history there were no Jews or Christians.
c). The second dispensation, the second 2000 years, takes us from Abraham to the return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation; a period of time where God has dealt with and will yet deal with the nation of Israel. This dispensation stopped 7 years short of completion with the crucifixion of Messiah, but will yet conclude at the end of the third dispensation when God finishes His dealings with a third group of household servants - Christians.
d). The third dispensation, the third 2000 years, began on the Day of Pentecost following the Lord?s resurrection in which God deals with Christians in the antitype of the search for the Bride in Genesis Chapter 24. This dispensation will come to an end with a removal of the ?Church? into heaven in the antitype of Enoch?s translation, allowing time for the final 7 years from the previous dispensation to conclude thereby completing the full 6000 years of Man?s Day.
e). It is particularly thrilling to realize that we live in a time immediately preceding all the great unfulfilled prophecies of scripture being brought to pass.
f). And it is particularly sobering to realize that the time frame in which these will be brought to pass has been set by God in an unchangeable manner and that there is nothing that can be done to either hasten or prevent the
events of that coming day - Isa 55:10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
g). The end of the third dispensation then is seen in Enoch?s removal into heaven; he being the 7th generation from Adam denotes a complete period of time, the complete 2000 years of this present dispensation. And this leads to the final 7 years of the second dispensation, pictured in the events of Noah and the flood. Noah being the 10th generation from Adam denotes another complete period of time, the complete 2000 years of the second dispensation; which will of course bring to conclusion the whole of Man?s Day, the 6 days of work pictured in Genesis Chapter 1. And this will then be followed by another dispensation, the Millennial Kingdom ? the 7th Day, the Day of Rest.
4). Such is the way that God has organized His plans and purposes with respect to Jews and Christians; plans that can be seen in foundation before either Jews or Christians ever existed. We may never have put all this together before in this way, but just look at what we find in the opening chapters of Genesis -
a). Genesis Chapter 2, as we know, reveals the removal of the Bride from the body - Ge 2:21 ? And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
b). Also we see the work of the Son surrounding redemption in Genesis Chapters 3 and 4, which makes that seen in Chapter 2 possible - Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."?21 ? Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Ge 4:8 ? 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.
c). And then in Genesis Chapters 3 and 4 is also contained the complete history of Israel also through the promise of the seed of the Woman and the events surrounding Cain and Abel - Ge 4:4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his
countenance fell. 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 should 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?.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."15 And the LORD said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.
d). And so within the overall type in these opening Chapters of Genesis we see God placing an emphasis in 2 areas ? on Christians in Chapters 2 and 3 and on Israel in Chapters 3 and 4.
e). And then by and through Enoch?s experience Christians are seen being removed in Genesis Chapter 5 bringing to an end one dispensation ?
Ge 5:24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
f). And then by and through Noah?s experience Israel is seen going through the Great Tribulation bringing to a close another dispensation and the termination of Man?s Day, all seen in Genesis Chapters 6-8 - Ge 6:11 ? The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.13 ? And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.14 "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
Ge 7:17 ? Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.
Ge 8:12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore. 13 ? And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. 14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried. 15 ? Then God spoke
to Noah, saying, 16 "Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you.
g). Only at this point will Christ return, overthrow Gentile world power, the Lord?s Day begin and His Kingdom be established ? all pictured in Genesis Chapter 9 through the first half of Chapter 11 - Ge 9:9 "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 "and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. 11 "Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."????.26 And he said: "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant. 27 May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant."
Ge 10:8 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth.
9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).
Ge 11:4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." 5 ? But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
h). These first 11 Chapters of Genesis then cover the first 2000 years of man?s history, the first dispensation, from Adam to Abraham, finding its conclusion in Abraham called to leave the land of his birth to go to the land that God would give him as an inheritance ? Abraham of course being the fourth of the 4 individuals seen at the beginning of Hebrews Chapter 11 picturing the coming 7th Day - Ge 11:31 And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of
Canaan; [Ge 12:1 ? Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.]
i). And as we have seen it is within these same Chapters that we see in foundation those events surrounding the church with these events with respect to the church concluding in the coming 7th Day, following the completion of the present dispensation.
j). And within these very same chapters we see in foundation the events surrounding the nation of Israel, events with respect to this nation that also conclude in the 7th Day.
g). Even if we had only these 11 Chapters of scripture we could not be ignorant of God?s plans and purposes.
h). Mic 4:1 ? Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD'S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And peoples shall flow to it. 2 Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.