Sunday April 29th 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
Part Forty Two
1). Heb 11:8 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). Abraham is probably the most significant person to be found in the OT scriptures as it is as a result of his faith that through his seed the earth will be ruled by 3 firstborn sons ? Israel, Jesus the Christ and the Church; it is to him and his descendants that a land from which rulership in the earth will take place has been unconditionally covenanted and through him, by the nation that came from his loins via Isaac and Jacob, that the Gentile nations of the earth are to be blessed - 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. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
b). Not only is all of this part of the historical record, but within this record God has divinely orchestrated the events so that they provide a picture for us that teaches great spiritual truth concerning the fulfillment of His plans and purposes ? spiritual truth that can only be seen with the eyes of faith - Heb 11:1 ? Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
c). It is one of the truly remarkable revelations of scripture to realize that the historical record moves inexorably in a chronological fashion towards the 7th Day and that the historical record, which involves real people and real events, also opens up for us prophetically and typologically spiritual truth concerning the fulfillment of God?s plans and purposes with regards to this same 7th Day.
d). Having said this it should really not be a surprise to us as the scriptures clearly state - Isa 46:9 Remember the former things of old, For I am
God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,' 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. 12 "Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: 13 I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.
e). And it has been this historical record, as seen through chronological events involving Abel, Enoch, Noah and now Abraham, that has opened for us enormous spiritual truth as we have studied these events in the opening verses of Hebrews Chapter 11 ? truth that if received correctly will have the most profound impact on our journey toward the salvation of our soul ?
Isa 55:6 ? Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. 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.
f). Heb 11:6 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.
g). Jas 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
2). We have seen in previous studies a new beginning following a worldwide flood as God restored the earth after the rebellion of Satan ? a new beginning that has as its focus a 7th Day when a Man and a Woman together will rule over the earth; we have seen the fall of Man and the promise of redemption within the context of this 7th Day; we have seen events surrounding 2 brothers, one whose offering was accepted and one whose offering was rejected and a man who was the 7th generation from Adam taken alive into heaven because he had the testimony that he pleased God; we have seen how this man named his son Methuselah in anticipation of a worldwide destruction
and how this man?s great grandson and his family were saved through another worldwide flood finding themselves at a place of a new beginning ? all within the context of the 7th Day laid in foundation at the beginning.
a). Such is the historical record that lays out for us the chronology of Man?s existence upon the earth and then within this history through the spiritual truth presented in the types; we see the details of Christ and His Bride in the coming 7th Day, we see spiritual truth concerning the promised seed of the Woman and redemption; we see the rejection of a nation as one brother killed the other with the promise of healing and restoration for that nation in the 7th Day; we see the picture of the future destruction of Gentile world power and the promise of a glorious new beginning in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ ? the long anticipated 7th Day.
b). And then last week in particular we saw that as Man?s history then moved forward chronologically beyond the flood of Noah the city of Babylon and its tower were built in the plain of Shinar by Nimrod, the first king of Babylon. We saw mankind exalting itself even to the place of heavenly rulership and the intervention of God to confuse human language and scatter the people over the face of the whole earth.
c). And again as we looked at this we realized that we were seeing the same picture, from a slightly different perspective, as that which we had studied preceding and during the flood of Noah?s day; events that prophetically tell of the kingdom of Antichrist and the subsequent destruction of that worldwide Gentile kingdom, as God once again intervenes in the affairs of Man, in that time period we know as the Tribulation, the time of Jacob?s trouble - 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.
d). Then, just as following the flood of Noah?s day there was a new beginning brought to pass through one man and his family, Noah, so after the scattering of the people there was another new beginning brought to pass
through one man and his seed with a view to inheritance, rulership and blessing - 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. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
e). And again this new beginning following God?s intervention of scattering the nations adds more detail to the picture of Noah and his family in previous chapters and these pictures combined together also look forward to that future time, following the conclusion of the Great Tribulation, when Gentile world power under the last king of Babylon, Antichrist, will be destroyed and the physical descendants of Abraham will be re-gathered to the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to receive the land as their inheritance with rulership and blessing in view - Jer 23:7 "Therefore, behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that they shall no longer say, 'As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 8 "but, 'As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.' And they shall dwell in their own land."
f). This is the very same picture presented to us again, from a slightly different perspective, in - Ps 2:1 ? Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us." 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion." 7 ? "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'"
g). And then seen in its final form in - Re 6:1 ? Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. 3 ? When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see." 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great
sword. 5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come and see." So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine." 7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see." 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. 9 ? When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. 12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
h). Re 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
3). As remarkable as all this is it is not the whole story, so let?s go forward in historical time to the time of the Lord?s first advent - On the night of the last supper we find this recorded in - Mt 26:26 ? And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."
a). What we see here then is the promise of a new covenant with the Nation of Israel, a new covenant that was prophesied in - Jer 31:31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- 32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
A new covenant that we had studied in earlier Chapters of Hebrews.
b). And the promise that the Lord will not drink of this fruit of the vine again until He drinks it with His disciples in His Father?s Kingdom.
c). Both of these promises look forward prophetically to the day when the Millennial Kingdom, the 7th Day will be established upon the earth.
d). Then if we go backwards in the historical record we will find an event in the life of Abraham that looks specifically to this event ?
Ge 14:17 ? And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.
e). What we see here in history is a battle with Gentile kings who are completely overthrown, followed by the appearance of Melchizedek who brings our bread and wine and blesses Abraham.
f). From the perspective of spiritual truth we will immediately see that we have another picture of the overthrow of Gentile world power, after the Tribulation, following Christ?s return.
g). We will realize that as the historical record moves forward so the typology has dropped back once again to add more detail to the picture of the scattering of the nations following the Babel incident and the new beginning of Abraham?s calling; and adding more detail still to the foundational type of the flood of Noah and the new beginning that followed; just as the ark came to rest above the mountains of Ararat so we find Abraham living on the mountain, in the high country ? in a place above the Gentile nations.
h). The bringing out of bread and wine take us straight away to the night of the last supper for here is the picture of that future day when the Lord will
drink of the fruit of this vine again with His disciples at the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; when a new covenant will be set in place with Abraham?s seed, the nation of Israel, and blessings will flow to that nation.
i). And so that we should be in no doubt it is the great king/priest Melchizedek, king of Jerusalem, who is seen in this context ? the very one who pictures the Great King/Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. As He will be during the Kingdom Age - Heb 7:1 ? For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of peace," 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils???..20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The LORD has sworn And will not relent, 'You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek'"), 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
j). And then further to this we see Abraham at this time coming into possession of all the goods of these defeated kings, which is exactly what will happen to Gentile wealth following the destruction of Gentile world Power. The Jewish people will come into possession of all this wealth - Isa 60:5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you???11 Therefore your gates shall be open continually; They shall not be shut day or night, That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, And their kings in procession. 12 For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, And those nations shall be utterly ruined.
k). The same truth we find in - Ex 12:35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
4). Then as the historical record continues to move forward so we come to another event which provides us with more information still. It is the destruction of the cities of the plain in Genesis Chapter 19. This account picks up at the same place seen in the battle with the kings that we have just seen
and the same place seen following the flood in Genesis Chapter 10 and the first part of Chapter 11.
a). Ge 18:20 And the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 "I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know." 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.
b). Just as with the incident at Babel, the Lord Himself comes down to view what is going on and then to personally destroy the cities ?
Ge 19:4 ? Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.
c). And yet we see that it is the angels who accompanied Him who literally went into Sodom and the cities destruction is attributed to these angels - Ge 19:13 "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it."
d). There appears to be a contradiction here, but really this is not the case. Angels act under fixed laws, laws fixed and established by God ? and by and through the angels acting in accordance with these laws, their actions become those of the Lord. The angels seeing that which was happening in these cities and then destroying them is seen as the Lord Himself seeing what was going on and then destroying the cities.
e). This is exactly the same thing that we see in the giving of the Law to Moses - Ex 31:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
f). And yet we are also told - Ac 7:53 "who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it."
g). And then exactly the same thing is seen in the Book of Revelation, where angels are mentioned more frequently than any other place in scripture.
h). The content of the Book itself was made known through angelic activity - Re 1:1 ? The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,
i). Individual churches are said to have angels watching over them ?
Re 2:1 ? "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
j). And angelic activity continues throughout the pages that follow ?
Re 5:2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"
k). Then for us today, along with each individual church having an angel watching over it, every Christian has an angel watching over them as well ?
l). Mt 18:0 "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
m). Ac 12:15 But they said to her, "You are beside yourself!" Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, "It is his angel."
n). Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
o). So, with these angels operating under fixed laws, this is seen as the Lord Himself, personally, watching over the churches and each individual in these churches.
p). Angelic activity is introduced in the pages of Genesis and is then seen throughout the scriptures and is particularly prevalent in the concluding events at the end of Man?s Day, immediately preceding the beginning of the Lord?s Day on the earth ? just as we see in the picture of the destruction of the cities of the plain.