Sunday August 26th 2012
The Letter to the Hebrews
Part Fifty Seven
1). Heb 11:29 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.
a). We have in the past two weeks looked at the time gap between these two verses here in Hebrews Chapter 11 as we considered the events that took place in this 40 year period, events that God has given to us as examples in - 1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
b). And we had seen how these examples demonstrated that despite Israel at one point having faith to the saving of the soul, the nation subsequently failed to believe that which God had said and act by faith upon it ? trusting instead in their own wisdom and the wisdom of others.
c). And we had also realized that what we were seeing in this was part of the concerted effort of our enemy to undermine the truth of God?s word in order to bring about shipwreck for those whose belief could be shaken.
d). And with respect to ourselves his actions are no different and we had seen this very thing described in - 2Ti 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
e). Clearly then there is an antagonism between our ?own desires?, the desires of our old man, and ?sound doctrine? ? and it is through our old man, because of our own desires, that our enemy can have access to us to turn us away from the truth.
f). The solution to this we have already seen - 1Pe 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith?..
g). And the Lord?s command is plain - Pr 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 ? Do not be wise in your
own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
h). The ?evil? we are to depart from in v7 here is the same evil we saw Israel lusting after in 1 Corinthians 10 and the same evil spoken of in ?
Heb 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
i). And with respect to not believing that which God has said; with respect to exercising unbelief, perhaps we can hear the anguish and the anger of the Lord as recorded in ? Jer 16:12 'And you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me.
2). And so with a view to believing that which God has said, so that we might know the whole counsel of God we are going to return to our 2 verses in Hebrews Chapter 11 and look at what they teach us prophetically from the historical record.
a). Our two verses here in Hebrews Chapter 11 then both speak of the same thing, the destruction of Gentile world power, and both prophetically look to an event that immediately precedes the Messianic Kingdom, which we will come back to, and both look to the fulfillment God?s promise to Abraham in - Ge 22:17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
b). And we will remember God?s own commentary on this from ?
Heb 6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."
c). Not only do our two verses from Hebrews look forward to the future, but they also reflect backwards to the foundation in Genesis Chapter 3.
2). Ge 3:14 ? So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 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."
a). Here in Genesis 3:15, in response to Satan?s attempt to thwart God?s purpose for His new creation through the corruption of God?s word, ?has God indeed said?..? that which God does say declares plainly His intention with
regards to the seed of Satan and the Seed of the Woman ? here is the foundational promise then concerning the overthrow of Gentile world power and the establishment of the rule by God?s firstborn Son ? The Seed of the Woman - He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
b). And what we will note here is that because of that which God said the destruction and overthrow of Gentile world power has been absolutely certain since the beginning of the period of 6000 years that precedes the coming 7th Day ? and that this destruction was absolutely certain even before there was a Gentile world power to overthrow - Isa 46:10 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.
c). Each passing year from the moment recorded here in Genesis Chapter 3 onwards has just moved us closer and closer to the inevitable.
d). And the eventual overthrow of Gentile world power under Satan?s firstborn son is one of the many things that are pictured for us in the account of the destruction of Jericho - Jos 6:1 ? Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 "You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 "And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 "It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him."
e). The city of Jericho as the seat of power of the Canaanite kings is representative of Gentile world power in the same way that we would see the nation of Egypt as a type of the world.
f). From our scripture we see that God gave Joshua and the Children of Israel specific instructions concerning the destruction of the city that had to do with 6 days and then a 7th day, which they responded to ?by faith?; but even before they begin to circle the city God makes this statement, "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.
g). From the first day they marched around the city the destruction of the city was inevitable. The 6 days, 6 being the number of man, speaks of
Man?s Day, the 6000 years from Adam to the end of Daniel?s 70th week. And the 7th day speaks of the Lord?s Day and the establishment of His Kingdom.
h). Each day that Israel marched around the city brought God?s stated purpose, the destruction of Jericho, one step closer. What we see here is not a matter of chance, but a matter of certainty and in like manner each of the 6000 years of Man?s Day brings the final destruction of Gentile world power to its foreordained conclusion.
i). This is the same conclusion that we have seen pictured in God?s intervention at Babel, the flood of Noah?s day and the destruction of the cities of the plain in the time of Abraham and is the subject of Daniel?s image recorded in ?Da 2:37 "You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 "and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all-you are this head of gold. 39 "But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 "Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 "And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 "As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 "Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."
3). Now in order to understand the context for this image more fully let?s lay some foundation by backing up to Israel in Egypt before the Exodus ?
Ex 4:22 "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 "So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn."'"
a). As we know from our previous studies the rights of the firstborn have to do with rulership and within our context here we are dealing with the right to rulership on a national level with respect to the earth.
b). Within the present system of rulership under Satan individual Gentile nations and not Israel hold the ascendancy ? Egypt is always a type of the world and the rule over Egypt by the Assyrian Pharaoh pictures world rulership and is itself a type of the kingdom of the future Assyrian, the seed of Satan.
c). At the time of the Exodus it is the Assyrian Pharaoh who figuratively holds the position of Satan?s firstborn son with the right to rulership.
d). The last sentence of v23 - But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn."'" , although destined for the ears of Pharaoh, are spoken for the benefit of Satan. And it is the content of God?s words here that will be repeated to the one that Pharaoh represents, the Antichrist, by the One who is greater than Moses, the Lord Jesus Christ, upon His return to the earth at the end of the Tribulation.
e). God makes clear that Israel is His firstborn son and therefore it is Israel alone that has the right to rulership, not Egypt. And this is a status that Israel possesses that will never change.
f). Satan though is not about to acquiesce to God?s purpose and so works through Pharaoh against Israel picturing events that will transpire in that future day.
4). Ex 3:7 ? And the LORD said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 "So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.
a). It is of course only when Israel under Egyptian bondage cries out to the God of their fathers that God send?s Moses back to Egypt to make the declaration concerning Israel?s firstborn status and to be the deliverer of the people.
b). It is after Moses return and after his acceptance by the nation that we see the 10 plagues visited upon the nation of Egypt in connection with Israel?s status.
c). Now, because of the timing of these plagues on Egypt in the type, and because of their number ? 10, we are looking at a picture of God?s complete
judgment upon the kingdom of Antichrist subsequent to Christ?s return and the resurrection/restoration of Israel at the end of the Tribulation.
d). The events of the Tribulation with regards to Israel are seen in the affliction of the Jewish people before Moses returns, not in the 10 plagues that follow his return.
e). Remember that which God had told Abraham - Ge 15:13 Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 "And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
f). It is God?s judgment here in v14 that is completed through the 10 plagues.
g). And it is the 10th of the 10 plagues, the death of the firstborn of Egypt that sets Israel in its rightful place, the place of rulership, as God?s firstborn son - Ex 11:4 ? Then Moses said, "Thus says the LORD: 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; 5 'and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. 6 'Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.
h). As a result of the cumulative effect of the 10 plagues the kingdom of Pharaoh is left thoroughly devastated and in ruins with its wealth transferred to Israel ? Ex 12:36 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.
i). This ruin is then brought to its climactic conclusion on the seashore of the Red Sea - Ex 14:30 So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
j). Satan?s ?firstborn son? through whom he ruled, Egypt, was dead ? God?s firstborn son with whom He would rule, Israel, was now raised from the dead to take Egypt?s place.
5). Now let?s add some more detail to this - Ex 40:33 And he raised up the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the screen of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. 34 ? Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
a). Upon the completion of the Tabernacle, a year after Israel saw Egypt dead on the seashore, the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Theocratic Kingdom came into being, itself foreshadowing the coming Theocratic Kingdom that we see pictured in Daniel 2:44.
b). God was now in the midst of His people Israel [he who will rule with God] and together they would enter the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to rule the nations and impart blessing to the nations - "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,
b). The Theocracy existed outside of the promised land, because of the disobedience of the first generation, until the second generation, under Joshua, entered the land and Jericho was destroyed.
c). The Theocratic Kingdom was now established in the land and remained in existence for some 800 years until, because of Israel?s continued disobedience, the glory of the Lord departed the Temple in Jerusalem, the Kingdom was taken from Israel and the nation was taken into captivity in Babylon. And it is with the Babylonian captivity, under Nebuchadnezzar, that the period of time known as ?the time of the Gentiles? begins.
d). The Theocratic Kingdom is now over and the scepter of rulership has passed from Israel to the Gentile nations under Satan ? the head of gold of Daniel?s image.
d). And this ?time of the Gentiles? must be completed before the Theocracy will again return to the land - Lu 21:24 "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
e). And it is of course ?the times of the Gentiles?, coming to their fulfillment and the coming of the Theocracy that is pictured in Daniel?s image.
f). And just in case anyone should have missed it, it is at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity, at the beginning of ?the times of the Gentiles? that God reiterates, through Nebuchadnezzar?s dream and Daniel?s interpretation [Daniel?s image], the certainty of what He said to Satan in Genesis 3:15; confirming once again that pictured through Noah?s flood, the destruction of the cities of the plain, the Red Sea passage and the destruction of Jericho.
g). And then in addition to that pictured in Daniel?s image we also have Daniel?s 70 week prophecy which brings us to the same conclusion, yet now setting a specific timeframe in which this conclusion will come to pass ?
Da 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 "Know therefore and understand, That from the
going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."
h). Here in Daniel?s prophecy Israel is center stage and the chief protagonist, the man of sin, the seed of Satan ? it pictures then the final clash of firstborn sons with respect to rulership over the earth.
6). We are then, so to speak, on the last circuit of the city and the walls of Jericho are about to come tumbling down. Gentile world power is marching inexorably towards destruction and that destruction will be total and complete - Jos 6:21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.
a). Ex 17:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven."
b). It was of course the Amalekites who were the first Gentile nation to come against Israel after they had left Egypt and this nation had willingly allowed itself to be used by Satan in his attempt to destroy God?s chosen people.
c). Because this nation set its hand against Israel you will find nothing about them except in the pages of scripture. There is not one artifact nor archaeological remain to show that this people ever existed. And this of itself would provide an example of what awaits any nation that would do likewise and serve as a warning for what lies out ahead.
d). We might remember what is recorded in - Zec 2:8 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.
e). Israel is ?the apple?, literally the pupil of God?s eye and God looks upon all the Gentile nations of the world through the nation of Israel.
f). Since Israel?s inception God?s dealings with the remainder of mankind have revolved around this one nation.
g). Israel has been set ?in the midst of the nations? - Eze 5:5 ? "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her.
h). And all nations have been appointed their place within the affairs of man with respect to Israel - De 32:8 When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
i). Ac 17:26 "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
j). Every ascendant national power and every empire throughout history must be seen within the context of these scriptures and this still remains true today.
k). And the demise of every world power and every empire throughout history only serves to foreshadow the impending destruction of Gentile world power that we have been talking about today.
l). Scripture is of course extremely clear about all of this and has shown us the outworking of God?s plans over and over and although the events we have studied today in their final version will take place after the resurrection/rapture of the church when we will no longer be here we need to know them and we need to believe them because doing so will impact how we choose to live in the present ? it will demonstrate our choice to ?walk by faith and not by sight?.
m). 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.
n). The second generation of Israel believed that which God had said about the fate of Jericho and then organized their lives accordingly, and if we go back and read the whole account in Joshua we will see how they followed all that the Lord had told them in preparation for that 7th day.
o). So why did Israel follow precisely God?s instructions for crossing the Jordan? Why were they circumcised? Why did they keep the Passover?
p). Simply because they believed that which God had said ?
Jos 2:23 So the two men returned, descended from the mountain, and crossed over; and they came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all that had befallen them. 24 And they said to Joshua, "Truly the LORD has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us."
7). We will pick this up again next week, if the Lord is willing.