Sunday June 24th 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
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. 11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude--innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to
come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
a). Before we move on to consider the bones of Joseph in v22 that follows I thought it would be helpful for us to reflect back on and review the verses that lead into v22. As we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard lest we drift away it would be prudent on our part to heed those things we have heard in these verses as there has been so much that the Lord has revealed to us over these past weeks. And so, as a brief overview -
b). We will remember that v4-8 presented to us a panoramic picture of the dispensational history of Israel and the Church beginning with a ?more excellent sacrifice?, picturing the sacrifice of Christ.
c). The translation of Enoch into heaven, picturing the rapture of the Church.
d). The flood of Noah, picturing Israel during the time of the Tribulation and the destruction of Gentile world power.
e). And Abraham going to the land he would receive as an inheritance picturing Israel?s restoration to the land and the new beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. ? And all of these God has provided as a basic foundation for that which He wishes to teach us from Hebrews Chapter 11 within the context of the 7th Day and faith to the saving of the soul.
f). We saw that not only did the events in our verses look prophetically forward, but also that those OT characters who provide the types also knew and looked to the fulfillment of these types in a time beyond their lifetimes - These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
g). V17 took us to the offering of Isaac, ?by faith?, picturing the events of the Lord?s crucifixion. And we had seen how the offering of Isaac, recorded in Genesis Chapter 22 had to be seen within the context of a sequence of 5 Chapters in Genesis beginning with the miraculous birth of Isaac in Chapter 21 and concluding with Abraham again taking a wife in Chapter 25 ? a sequence of events that prophetically takes us from the miraculous birth of Christ to the setting aside of Israel; to the search for a bride for the Son; to a restored and now fruitful Israel during the Millennium ? The study of these Chapters in Genesis build on the foundation from the previous verses in Hebrews 11 providing both commentary on what has gone before and providing additional information that we had not seen in the foundation.
h). In the verses that follow concerning Isaac?s blessing of Jacob and Esau and Jacob?s blessing of the sons of Joseph we learned about the significance of the rights of the firstborn and the inheritance with regards to both Israel and the Church with respect to the 7th Day, the Millennial Kingdom. And what we learn from these verses and the original account in Genesis builds still further upon our foundation and adds greater perspective to the commentary we have already received.
i). And what we will note especially is how all our verses in Hebrews needed to be taken back to the events themselves recorded in Genesis so that we might understand fully that which God wants us to know; and how we now know that all these events speak prophetically of Israel and the Church with respect to events that lead us to the coming 7th Day.
j). With v22 of Hebrews 11 God?s focus now moves away from Israel and the Church to Israel and the Gentile nations both during and beyond the events of the Tribulation. And this would need to be so as although the Tribulation is the time of Jacob?s trouble it is a time of trouble that comes upon the whole earth, Jews and Gentiles, just as the famine of Joseph?s day was severe in all the lands. And of course following the Tribulation there will be Gentiles alive on the earth who will enter into the time of the Millennial Kingdom.
2). Heb 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command. 24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
a). The sequence of events covered here in this next set of verses can be divided into 2 sections ? the first section beginning with the faith of Joseph in
v22 down to the first half of v29, dealing with the faith of Moses, all foreshadow events that specifically relate to Israel.
b). The second section beginning in the second half of v29 through v31, verses that deal with the faith of Joshua at Jericho and the faith of Rahab, foreshadow events that have to do more specifically with the Gentile nations although Israel must remain in the forefront throughout.
c). That covered by the faith of Rahab, as we shall see, has to do with the Gentile nations both during the Tribulation and during the Millennial Kingdom.
d). And so the best place for us to start to look at this sequence of verses is the place where they begin ? v22 - By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
3). The reference to the instructions given by Joseph takes us back to ?
Ge 50:23 Joseph saw Ephraim's children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were also brought up on Joseph's knees. 24 And Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." 25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." 26 So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
a). As we see Joseph?s instructions to the children of Israel are given ?by faith? and his faith has do with 2 things ? the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt and what should happen to his bones when they leave. And really these two things would be inseparable.
b). We may remember that before his death Jacob says this to Joseph ?
Ge 48:20 So he blessed them that day, saying, "By you Israel will bless, saying, 'May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!'" And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, "Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22 "Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow."
c). And what we see here I guess we could call a prophetic sandwich ? in v20 we see Ephraim being set before Manasseh and in v22 we see the promise of the double portion of the inheritance and sandwiched between the two is v21 - God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers.
d). The return of Joseph to ?the land of your fathers? is then intimately connected to the blessing given to Ephraim and Manasseh and the double portion of the inheritance ? all of which as we know, as Abraham knew, as Isaac knew, as Jacob knew and as Joseph would have known, remained for a time yet future, for the coming 7th Day ? And so Joseph?s faith must be seen within this context.
e). Now not only this, but also in Genesis 46 we read - Ge 46:2 Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" And he said, "Here I am." 3 So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. 4 "I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes."
f). The prophetic significance of this should not be lost on us ? the nation of Israel about to be dispersed amongst the Gentile nations during the Tribulation should ?not fear to go down to Egypt?. And they should not fear because God promises that He will make them a great nation during this time; He promises to go with them and He promises to ?surely bring you up again?, to the land of Canaan, the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
g). And so Joseph?s faith must be seen within this context also.
h). And again, not only this but also God had promised Abraham ?
Ge 17:7 ? "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 "Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
i). God covenants all the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants ?in their generations? ?for an everlasting covenant? and ?as an everlasting possession?. But as we know neither Abraham, Isaac, Jacob nor any of their descendants have occupied the land in fulfillment of God?s promise ? but God?s promise must be fulfilled and God?s promise will be fulfilled; and in order for it to be fulfilled Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua et al must all receive their inheritance in their physical bodies and dwell at rest in the land.
j). Now as they are all physically dead this leaves only one possibility ? they must all be resurrected from the dead and with those of their descendants who are alive at the time return to land as God had promised.
k). This is the very thing that is pictured in Hebrews 11:22 and is also an integral part of the context for Joseph?s faith. He believed that which God had said and was therefore certain that God would raise him from the dead in order to fulfill His promises, as God is faithful.
4). Now we might remember back in Hebrews Chapter 6 that we are admonished - Heb 6:1 ? Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
a). There are then 6 basic things we are supposed to know about, one of which is the ?resurrection of the dead?. And what we should know is not just that resurrection is to happen but what makes it possible; when resurrection happens and the reason why it happens and the resurrection of OT saints pictured in the bones of Joseph is one part of this overall teaching.
b). And we would have to conclude that the OT saints we have seen in our Hebrews verses certainly understood about resurrection, something that could only have been revealed to them by God with respect to His promises.
c). So, how is resurrection from the dead made possible? Well, what does the scripture say? - 1Co 15:20 ? But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
d). Since Christ?s sacrifice on the cross any person, anywhere in the world can realize eternal salvation. Christ?s sacrifice is all inclusive in its scope ? that is to say that it is available to every person, although not every person will choose to receive it.
e). In the same way that eternal salvation is all inclusive, Christ having died for the sins of the world, so is resurrection all inclusive. We see in our scripture that ?in Adam all die? ? the word ?all? here would encompass every human being from Adam onwards and there has never been an exception to this. Then we see ?in Christ all shall be made alive? ? and the word ?all? here must refer to the same group, every human being, that the word referred to when used previously.
f). Christ?s resurrection then, the resurrection of the One who said, ?I am the resurrection and the life??, makes certain the resurrection of every human being from Adam onwards who has died, whether eternally saved or unsaved. The eternal destiny of all those raised from the dead, something already decided before their resurrection, is a completely separate issue. What we can
say for certain is that every person, from every geographical location, from every generation will be raised from the dead and will experience judgment.
g). Now not only is everyone to be resurrected but each one is to be resurrected ?in his own order? ? the word translated ?order? here is a military term referring to a group or a company ? the idea being that every person will be resurrected along with the other members of the group to which he/she belong. For example, no OT saint will be resurrected along with Christians, OT saints form one specific group and Christians another there can be no overlap. Similarly, no unsaved person will be raised at the same time as a saved person. They are two distinct and separate groups and each will be raised in his own order.
h). So, whenever we see in the scriptures, particularly the parables such as the wise and foolish virgins, where there is a different outcome for those pictured within the parable, we would have to know that these all belong to the same order, the same group. Knowing this means we can never make the mistake that so many do in seeing the saved and the unsaved together.
5). 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.
a). All Christians who have died physically will be raised in one group and this resurrection will happen at a specific time, at the conclusion of this dispensation when the Bride of Christ has been completed.
b). The OT saints will be raised in another group also at a particular time - Da 12:1 ? "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
c). The tribulation saints will be raised in yet another group at yet another particular time - Re 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not
worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
d). And finally all the unsaved dead from both Man?s Day and the Lord?s Day will be raised in another group at another particular time ?
Re 20:11 ? Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
e). So then, the bodies of dead Christians will rise before the Tribulation whereas the bodies of OT saints and the Tribulation saints will rise after the Tribulation and the bodies of the unsaved dead from Man?s Day and the Lord?s Day will be raised at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. All will be raised within their specific groups and all at their own specific time, never the same time; and all are raised with a view to judgment.
f). All of this then would form the basics of the doctrine of resurrection that we are required to know as seen in Hebrews Chapter 6.
6). Ex 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you."
a). What is pictured for us here in the bones of Joseph being taken out of Egypt to the promised land is as we have noted, the resurrection of the OT saints who are to return with the living to the land given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob being a part of that group.
b). And then this same event also speaks in an interrelated sense to the resurrection of the nation of Israel as a whole.
c). As from God?s perspective the nation has been ?dead? for 4000 years ? being ?dead? under the Law for 2000 years before Messiah and then set aside for this dispensation, another 2000 years, after Messiah.
d). And this is the very thing, the resurrection of the nation of Israel as a whole, that is pictured for us in the resurrection of Lazarus recorded in John Chapter 11. Let?s just look at some of the detail ?Joh 11:3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." 4 When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
e). We see then that the one whom Jesus loves is sick, but that ?this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it?. And when Jesus receives this news ?He stayed two more days in the place where He was.? It is then after 2 days, therefore on the 3rd day that He says to His disciples ?Let us go to Judea again?.
f). Joh 11:39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
g). And here we see from the words of Martha that Lazarus ?has been dead four days?.
h). Now the account of the resurrection of Lazarus is the 7th of the 8 signs presented in the Book of John and there are a great many details in this account that we will need to return to at a later date, but suffice it for now to see the broad sweep of the type here in relation to the antitype.
i). Jesus has been in Heaven at the right hand of the Father for 2 days, 2000 years, waiting, while God takes from the Gentiles a people for His name. And during this time there is no dealing with the house of Israel. After 2 days though, at the completion of this dispensation, the Lord will ?go to Judea again?
and will call to Israel to ?come forth? from the place of death and His words concerning Lazarus, ?loose him, and let him go? will be fulfilled.
j). Ho 6:2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
k). Es 5:1 ? Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, across from the king's house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house.
7). Now, it is important for us to understand the order of events with relation to the resurrection of the OT saints and the resurrection of the nation within the context of the Tribulation and the establishment of the Kingdom, but our further study of this will have to wait until next time ? if the Lord is willing.