Firstborn Sonship of Christ

Chapter Two


John Three Continued

      "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up," Jn 3:14.
      Satan would have us forget that Israel was God's saved, covenant people. He is very delighted when he can in many ways twist the Scriptures and deceive us into believing his incorrect interpretations of God's Word. Satan made major gains in the Reformation by diverting attention away from the local church as the highest and only authority for the Gospel (covenant, last will and testament) ministry.
      Jesus organized, taught, and established a local church and gave it the Great Commission, Mt 28:18-20; Lk 24:45-49; Act 1:4-8. Only a local church can assemble (Heb 10:25), maintain the doctrine of Christ (2Jn 9-11), and function as a holy body as described in 1Cor 5 and Eph 4:15-16. The pseudo universal invisible church made up of all saved people cannot put any unholy person out of its membership as required by 1Co 5, and therefore is not a true church. No church is a true church which does not have the baptism of John (Jn 7:29-30), which is the circumcision of Christ, Col 2:11-12. Therefore no one outside a true local church can hold fast in the faith till the end, Heb 3:6,14; 2Jn 9-11: et al.


      From the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Israel was a believing people from their early childhood. Joseph's brothers, for instance, recognized God's judgment upon them for their terrible sin of selling their brother as a slave, Gen 37 through Gen 50. Observe how Joseph's brothers gave God credit for their deep desperation. See how Joseph recognized God's hand in the whole matter, and comforted his brothers that the entire series of events were the workings of God to fulfill His holy purpose, not only for them but also as an instrument of instruction and praise for all ages to come:
      19 "Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
      20 "'But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive,'"
Gen 50:19-20.
      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,'"
Gen 50:24-25.
      Joseph was 39 years old when Jacob brought His family down into Egypt (Gen 41:46-47,54; 45:6-11), and Joseph lived for another 71 years of the 215 years Israel spent in Egypt. Moses was born only 64 years later, which means there were only 64 years between Joseph and Moses. Moses then spent about 20 years in his own home learning from his own parents about God and God's covenants, then another 20 some years in the courts of Pharaoh being trained in the royalty and wisdom of Egypt. After this, Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness learning meekness and patience from God, after which he led Israel out of Egypt.
      The Israelites while in bondage in Egypt were still God's covenant people, the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We will reference some of the Scriptures which record that they believed God, bowed their heads, and worshiped God, and God addressed them as His special covenant people.
      Many of them were as bad or nearly as bad as that truly existing class of saved covenant people referenced in 2Pe 1:9, who have not added the necessary Christian virtues and are therefore spiritually blind and oblivious to the fact they were once purged from their old sins. This class of saved people have not and will not make their calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:5-10.
      Most of Hebrews 3 is given to the persistent lack of persevering faith and the ever accompanying rebellious posture of Israel in the wilderness. They were filled with complaints and rebellions against God's covenant disciplinary training. Keep in mind, however, that Israel was God's covenant people, and that the people were true believers in God.
      Observe how God very greatly blessed and multiplied the seed of Abraham – "exceedingly:"
      27 "So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly," Gen 47:27.
      7 "But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them," Ex 1:7.
      The alert Hebrew midwives "feared God" and refused to do as Pharaoh commanded.
      19 "And the midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.'
      20 "Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty.
      21 "And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them,"
Ex 1:19-21.
      When people are in great anguish, they cry out to God for mercy and help, and that is precisely what the Israelites did daily under their bitter slavery in Egypt after Joseph died:
      23 "Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.
      24 "So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
      25 "And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them,"
Ex 2:23-25; 3:7,9.
      God "acknowledged" them and responded to their crying to Him. The seed of Abraham were God's elect, a people whom God was uniquely preparing for Himself through many hard trials and much suffering, Isa 43:21; Heb 12. The seed of Abraham "groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out," but to whom did they cry out? If they were crying out to some false god whom Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not know, would God have looked favorably upon them and have acknowledged them?
      Also, for how long did they cry out to God? They were crying out to God when Moses was born. After 40 years they were still crying out to God when Moses had to flee out of Egypt. Another 40 years later they were still crying out to God – 100 years or more, and it was time for Israel to be delivered out of Egypt, according to the 430 years God had predetermined, Ex 12:40-41; Gal 3:17 (15-19).
      These were the seed of Abraham, God's covenant people, who were crying out to God for help under the bitter slavery which God had predestined them to experience according to the prescribed covenant training for His firstborn covenant people. God was ever so keenly listening to Israel's crying out to Him, was maintaining a caring shepherd's vigilance over them, and was very greatly (exceedingly) multiplying them during the 215 years they spent in Egypt, Gen 47:27; Ex 1. And for 80 of those years God was specifically and uniquely training Moses as His man to lead Israel out of bondage as He had prophetically promised to Abraham, of which promise Joseph was so well aware.
      When the time arrived, God said to Moses:
      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,"
Ex 4:22-23.
      All who stand in this covenant firstborn position must be persistently and rigidly trained through hardships and sufferings to learn covenant obedience. This was true even for Christ as the Son of God in a human body, Heb 5:8-9; 2:10. The covenant people were in position to become God's firstborn sons, and must be rigidly trained in order to qualify for that high and holy relationship, Heb 12:1-11.
      After God had thoroughly trained (disciplined) Moses both in Egypt for 40 years and in the desert for another 40 years, He sent Moses to His covenant people with that message of deliverance and with miraculous powers to break the iron yoke of the powerful nation of Egypt.
      31 "So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped," Ex 4:31.
      Observe the ten great and terrible plagues God sent upon Egypt, and the distinct difference God made between the Egyptians and the Israelites in the plagues, Ex 7 through 12. See how God destroyed all the firstborn of Egypt and preserved the firstborn of Israel, with specific emphasis on the "firstborn." Mark also how Israel believed God and "by faith" observed the Passover:
      27 "That you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.' So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
      28 "Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did"
(by faith), Ex 12:27-28.
      28 "By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest He who destroyed the firstborn should touch them," Heb 11:28.
      Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness for these believing, already saved, yet faltering people.
      Was Moses the only one who kept the Passover "by faith?" The verses quoted above (Ex 12:27-28) say the people bowed their heads and worshiped, and obeyed doing precisely what God through Moses said to do. As Moses observed the Passover "by faith," so the people observed the Passover "by faith," or the firstborn in each of their families would also die. Israel believed and obeyed "by faith."
      With the Egyptian army behind them and the Red Sea before them, the faith of the Israelites wavered. But Heb 11:29 says:
      29 "By faith they (Israel) passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned," Heb 11:29.
      How awkwardly inept we are and how embarrassingly false this Protestant doctrine is that says the Israelites were not believers and therefore were not saved people! The faith of the Israelites wavered, but they still had faith because the Scriptures say so, Ex 12:27-28;. "...By faith they passed through the Red Sea...," Heb 11:19.
      By faith the Israelites suffered through their bitter slavery in Egypt, constantly crying out to God for mercy. By faith Israel observed the distinction God made between the Egyptians and themselves, as His firstborn covenant people, with these great and terrible plagues upon Egypt. By faith they bowed their heads and worshiped and observed the Passover. By faith they crossed the Red Sea all night long in a very wide area with the fiery cloud above them, the waters of the Red Sea standing high on the right and the left, and with dry ground beneath them. By faith they greatly feared and hurried across the sea bottom all night long, perhaps million of them with as many sheep, goats, cattle, household goods, spoil, etc., and then the next morning watched God's terrifying judgment from the other side of the sea. By faith Moses stretched out his hand over Pharaoh's many thousands of troubled chariots, and God released the awesome power behind the high walls of water and brought them down over the Egyptian army and destroyed them all in mighty and fearful vengeance.
      By faith the Israelites sang for joy on the opposite side of the Red Sea. The faith of the Israelites wavered, but when God separated the waters, took some two million of them across in great anxiety with all their animals and a great abundance of their livelihood, then destroyed the Egyptian army in the sea, their faith was revived and they sang the "faith is the victory" song of Moses.
      31 "Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses," Ex 14:31.
      These were a saved and circumcised covenant people, the covenant seed of Abraham. God promised Abraham He would care for them and bring them out of Egypt with great substance, Gen 15:13-14. How awesome were those terrible plagues, and how overwhelmed with awe and joy the Israelites were at God's mighty works! They believed, bowed their heads, and worshiped.
      But then Israel had gone only three days journey into the wilderness when God put them to another severe test, Ex 15:22-27. If we are not being severely distressed by God 's ever-present disciplinary training, we will end up in that extremely deceptive and dangerous Laodicean lukewarm state of mind. We must look forward to, recognize, and endure God's covenant disciplinary training:
      6 "Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted," 1Co 10:6.
      God did not give us a nation full of lost people to be our example as to how we are to live a righteous covenant life and be victorious in our God-appointed covenant disciplinary training. Israel was God's covenant people, as we are God's covenant people. They were not unbelieving, unsaved people. There was a disastrous amount of unbelief, as there is unfortunately with us, but there was also believing and obeying on their part, sufficient to be saved, as slave sons in the divinely inspired allegory (Gal 4:21-31), though not enough to qualify many of them to be partakers of Christ in His firstborn sonship, Heb 3:7-19; 1Co 9:27–10:12.
      11 "Now all these things happened to them (the Israelites) as examples (as types), and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
      12 "Therefore let him who is thinking to stand take heed lest he fall," 1Co 10:1-12.
      Why should these words be "written for our admonition?" Does this infer that we are also unsaved? No! It simply means that many of us who have believed and have been scripturally baptized will also lust and fail to qualify for the firstborn sonship of Christ by the same lack of faith and disobedience.
     36 "As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," Rom 8:36.
      8 "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
      9 "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,"
Heb 5:8-9; 12:5-8-11.
      The armed forces are supposed to be put through very severe and realistic training physically, mentally, psychologically, and in every way conceivable. Training educationally should cover every academic area related to the degree in which the student is majoring. Our training to qualify us to share in Christ's firstborn sonship likewise covers every facet of life many times over.


      "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up," Jn 3:14; Num 21:1-9.
      Who were the Israelites who were bitten by the fiery serpents in the wilderness? Below, we will continue to demonstrate that these Israelites were saved covenant people who had believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from early childhood. They were true believers who fainted and rebelled against the severe disciplinary covenant training God requires of all covenant people in order to qualify them for the firstborn sonship of Christ.


      "The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners.
      2 "So Israel made a vow to the LORD, and said, ‘If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities,'
      3 "And the LORD listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called Hormah,"
Num 21:1-3.
      Israel immediately went to the Lord in prayer and vowed a vow, as stated in the verses above. This again shows Israel's faith in the Lord. God permitted King Arad to do this, because nothing can happen to God's covenant people (or anyone else) without God's permission being granted in minute detail beforehand, Job 1 & 2; 1Ch 16:14-22.
      God heard Israel's covenant cry and granted their covenant request, and Israel by God's power utterly destroyed the kingdom and all the cities of king Arad. This reveals the normal faith-obedience of the people of Israel.
      This happened just before the Israelites again "spake against God and against Moses" (Num 21;5), as they had done so many times, Num 14:22. It is here that God sent fiery serpents into the camps of the Israelites to bite the people, and many died. Moses was instructed by God to make a brazen serpent and lift it up on a pole for the Israelites to look at and be healed when they were bitten by the serpents.
      These were God's people who believed in God, Gen 18:17-19; Ex 19:4-6; Deu 7:6-11; 26:16-19; 1Pe 2:5,9. They worshiped and obeyed God but too often fainted and bitterly complained against God's covenant discipline, as we do and are so often warned against in the New Covenant, 1Co 9:23-27; 10:1-13; Heb 3 & 12; et al.
      1 "Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and multiply and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.
      2 "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
      3 "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live day by day on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."
God's covenant people must live every day in this life on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God in order that he may live – receive divine life when Christ returns, and hopefully receive it more abundantly).
      4 "Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.
      5 "Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.
      6 "Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in Hs ways and to fear Him."
Deu 8:1-6.
      These words describe God's intent with His covenant training of Israel in the wilderness those 40 years, and in every day of the lives of Gods covenant people in every age. This chapter (Deu 8), like so many others, clearly describes God's detailed care of His covenant people whom He redeemed according to His promise from Egyptian slavery. They were not unbelievers, in spite of the many times they disbelieved and rebelled against God's severe discipline. In all these harsh experiences Israel had in the wilderness, God was disciplining them as His special, covenant people.
      21 "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise," Isa 43:21; 1Pe 2:9.
      10 "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction," Isa 48:10.
      Most of the Israelites who were redeemed out of Egypt later died in the wilderness because they failed the testing (disciplinary training for the firstborn sonship of Christ), which God's covenant discipline required (and still requires) for partaking of Christ in His firstborn sonship. Those Israelites were, and still are, saved from hell; but they will be severely punished when Christ returns, and will be slave sons in all ages to come rather than deified firstborn sons of God. They will be slave sons in perfect bodies on the new earth, but they will not be "partakers of Christ" – partakers of what Christ now is, 2Co 5:16-17; 1Co 15:44-50.
      There is nothing that can separate us from Christ (Rom 8:28-39), except the lack of tenacious faith on our part that holds fast to the end, by grace through faith:
      14 "For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end," Heb 3:14; 1Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 5:1-4; et al.
      There is nothing that can separate us from Christ, however, if we are unfaithful and do not bear the proper fruit by enduring the covenant training, God will cut us off from Christ, from the firstborn sonship of Christ, from the covenants, from the covenant benefits, from the covenant promises, and from the covenant people, Jn 15:1-11; 1Co 9:27–10:1-12; Rom 8:13,23-25; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 4:21--5:4; Heb 2:1-3; 3:1-19; 6:4-8; 10:25-31; 12:1-17; 2Jn 9-11; Rev 3:14-22; et al.
      The wilderness failure of Israel is God's example for our instruction. But we Landmark Baptists have joined the Protestants, have twisted the Scriptures, and are as sure as the Pharisees that we are safe and sound. "Therefore let him who is thinking to stand take heed lest he fall," 1Co 10:12.
      The liability of becoming a castaway (adokimos, disqualified) from the firstborn sonship of Christ was very real to the apostle Paul. He said, "Now this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you....
      27 "But I severely discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified,"
1Co 9:23-27.
      Paul had Israel's covenant training in the wilderness keenly in mind, and continued writing in the most explicit language to this effect:
      1 "Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that ALL our fathers were under the cloud, ALL passed through the sea,
      2 "ALL were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
      3 "ALL ate the same spiritual food,
      4 "And ALL drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
      5 "But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness,"
1Co 10:1-5.
      Paul wrote these words to saved and scripturally baptized church members in the church in Corinth. We are adding to and diminishing from God's holy Word when we try to apply these words to lost people, and God says that is dangerous, whether we want to believe it or not, Rev 22:18-19. The word "ALL" is emphasized five times, and it is urged twice in this passage (1Co 10:6,11) that this covenant disciplinary training of the Israelites constitutes inspired examples of the covenant disciplinary training set before us in the New Covenant. The same covenant people referenced in 1Co 10:1-12 are referenced again in Heb 3:7-19 with precisely the same warnings of aborting the firstborn sonship of Christ.
      As Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb 5:8-9), so must we learn obedience the same way. Christ was tempted (tested, trained, disciplined) in all points just as we are (Heb 4:15), and we must learn obedience as He did under the same covenant discipline, Heb 4:13-16; 12:1-29.
      There were only 64 years between the death of Joseph and the birth of Moses. Moses' father and grandfather were both probably contemporaries with Joseph's later life and Moses' early life, Ex 6:16-20, and were all godly men.
      Amram was Moses' father, (Gen 46:8-11; Ex 6:18-20,26) and was a godly man just as Moses' mother was a godly woman, because Moses was thoroughly taught the true faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses had the true faith so embedded in his heart that he refused all this world had to offer in order to be a "partaker of Christ," Heb 11:24-27.
      As God's covenant people in true churches, we are urgently warned (1Co 9:23–10:12; Heb 3:6 - 4:11) over and over again throughout the Bible of making the same fatal mistake, as the fathers made in the wilderness, of aborting the firstborn sonship of Christ by crucifying to ourselves the Son of God afresh, Heb 2:1-3; 3:6–4:11; 6:4-8; 10:25-31; 12:15-29; et al. These often repeated warnings are to be taken very seriously and with the greatest urgency.
      It is beyond reason for anyone to think those Israelites who fell in the wilderness were not saved, covenant people. Indeed, they were God's true covenant people, who truly believed, bowed their heads, and worshiped God, but who made shipwreck of their holy faith and disqualified themselves from becoming firstborn sons and from being "partakers of Christ" in the new birth in the resurrection, 1Co 9:24-27; 10:1-12; Heb 3:7-19.
      14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up," Jn 3:14; Num 21:1-9.
      Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness before the eyes of God's saved covenant people, who were receiving God's covenant training and were failing because of gross acts of unbelief and disobedience.
      1 "Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that ALL our fathers were under the cloud, ALL passed through the sea,
      2 "ALL were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
      3 "ALL ate the same spiritual food,
      4 "And ALL drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
     5 "But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
      6 "Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted,"
1Co 10:1-6.
      It is appalling that anyone would accuse the Israelites of being unsaved unbelievers in the light of all the explicit proof from many scriptures that they were true though faltering believers, as demonstrated in this article. Such persistent denying the doctrine of Christ is to one's own eternal injury, 2Pe 3:14-18; 2Jn 9-11; Rev 22:18-19.
      As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be constantly lifted up before the eyes of God's covenant people that we should be constantly reminded that our sins put Christ on the cross – not just for Adam's sin, but for our daily sins. The serpent on the pole was for the daily sins of God's covenant people, for the many sins of rebellion against God's covenant discipline. Indeed, Christ died for Adam's initial sin, but Christ also died for all Adam's sins throughout the 930 years he lived thereafter.
      God is offering far more than salvation from hell, though salvation from hell is truly a great salvation. Adam, in his sinless state (which state the nations will possess on the new earth) was enslaved to the elementary (rudimentary) forces of the material or physical universe. God put the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2), and thereby held out to Adam, in a covenant offer, a far superior life (state of being) than Adam possessed in his initial earthy though perfect body.
      That superior life is God's own divine life, and is offered only through the covenants and only through the nation of Israel, Deu 4:7-8; 29:29; Lev 20:23-26; Ps 103:7; 147:19-20; Rom 2:28-29; 11:11-22; 1Pe 2:5,9. In the current age, Israel has been rejected, and the church is metaphorically called the body of Christ, and thereby holds the New Covenant position and its firstborn sonship of Christ, Gal 3:26-29; 4:21-31; 5:1-5; Eph 2:10-22; 2Co 6:16-18; Rom 11:11-22; et al. The person scripturally put out of the Lord's church is counted by God as belonging to one of the nations, and no longer in the covenant position, Mt 18:15-17; Rom 11:11-22; 2:28-29.
      God had an eternal purpose in mind when He created the nations (Gen 10 & 11), and there will be many nations on the new earth, Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2. God's purpose in the nations is not to be compared with what God is offering in Christ, because "in Christ" there are no nations – no national distinctions, Gal 3:28; Col 3:11.


      l"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,'"
Ex 4:22-23.
      23 "And to the church of the firstborn ones enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to spirits of righteous men made perfect," Heb 12:23; Rom 8:29.
      Observe the emphasis put on the firstborn throughout the scriptures: Gen 4:4; 49:3; Ex 4:22-23; 11:5; 12:12-15,29; 13:2,13,15; 22:29; 23:16,19; 34:19-26; Lev 2:12,14; 23:10,17.20; 27:26; Num 3:12-13,40-51; 8:16-26; 18:12-19; 28:26; Deut 12:6,17; 14:23; 15:19; 18:4; 21:16-17; 25:5-6; 26:10; Neh 10:34-37; Ps 78:51; 89:27; 105:36; Prov 3:9; Jer 2:3; Rom 8:29; Col 1:18; Heb 12:23; James 1:18; Rev 14:1-5.
      God has sons other than firstborn sons who are called slave sons, Gal 4:21-31. These slave sons are also called "illegitimate" sons (Heb 12:8), which means such sons have forfeited the covenant firstborn sonship offered through the covenants and through the body of Christ. The faithful covenant people are qualifying to share in the divine firstborn sonship of Christ (Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; 1Co 15:1-2,44-50; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 2Pe 1:3-4), while all other saved people will remain mere flesh sons in flesh bodies eternally (the "glory" belongs to Israel – the glory belongs to the faithful covenant people, Rom 9:4; 1Co 15:1-2; Col 1:5,21-23,27; 2Co 4:17–5:5; 2Pe 1:3-5; Rom 8:6,13,17-30). These other sons will populate the nations during the Millennium (Dan 7:13-14) and on the new earth, (Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2; Mt 18:17; Rom 11:11-22), however there are no nations (no national distinctions) "in Christ," Gal 3:28-29; Col 3:11. The expression, "in Christ," almost always means in the body of Christ.
      Being "in Christ" (in the body of Christ) we are by the New Covenant credited as being what Christ now is – not the mere flesh body He was in before His resurrection, but in His heavenly, born again, divine, spirit body, which He received when He became the "firstborn from the dead," Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Co 15:44-50:
      16 "Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.       17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new," 2Co 5:16-17; Eph 2:10-16; 4:22-24; Col 3:10.
      These verses reveal to us that we are no longer to "know" (look upon) Christ in a mere flesh body, but as He now is in a deified spirit body. We are no longer to think of Christ merely as an earthy man, but as a heavenly man. We are no longer to love and experience Christ as the Son of God in a mere human body, but as our kinsman in a new, born again, divine body in which all the fullness of the divine nature dwells at home, Col 2:9. And since we are metaphorically counted as the deified members of the deified human body of Christ, we are to look upon the bodies of each other as born again, deified members of the deified human body of Christ, 1Co 6:15-17; Col 2:9–3:11; Eph 2:1-22; 4:11-24; 1Pe 1:3-5,23; et al.
      14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up," Jn 3:14.
       Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness before the eyes of the saved covenant people of God. They were saved, covenant people, and had been saved, covenant people since their early childhood. They had cried out to God for mercy in their slavery, and had bowed their heads and worshiped many times as God through Moses worked many highly observable and awesome miracles before their eyes. They had the miraculous fiery cloud above them – a cloud for a protective shade by day and a pillar of fire to give light by night, a symbol of God's presence to lead, support, protect, and discipline and train them.
      Christ had been held up as crucified, buried, and raised to new life many, many, times through the offering of animal sacrifices, the sprinkling of blood, eating the flesh of the sacrifices, the manna, the water from the rock, etc. Surely Moses was not remiss! Surely God told Moses and Moses told the people what the Passover meant, what the manna meant, what the water from the rock meant, what the sacrifices meant, and what the sprinkling of the blood meant!
      God desires that the holy life of Christ to be constantly before our eyes. In brief, God desires that the cross of Christ be constantly portrayed in our lives for others to see. The cross of Christ, in this respect, includes the holy life of Christ, His establishing and then building up of His church, His death, burial, and resurrection to new life in a new heavenly, born again, divine body.
      7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
      8 "We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
      9 "Persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed,
      10 "Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
      11 "For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
      12 "So then death is working in us, but life in you,"
2Co 4:7-12.
      These verses describe those who take up their cross (which is the cross of Christ, as our cross) and follow Christ. We are to bear about in our bodies the dying of Jesus that the new resurrection, born again, life of Christ should be manifested in our mortal bodies – we know Christ no longer after a mere flesh body.
      Remember, we are to know no man after the flesh, 2Co 5:16-17. Though Christ possessed a mere flesh body until His death, we are to know Him now after His new born deified body. Knowing no one after the flesh means we are not to pursue the things of the earthy flesh of this world, but to set before our eyes or fix in our minds the things that crucify the carnal, earthy flesh, and treasure the things that belong to the divine body that Christ now has. We are to portray that kind of life in our mortal bodies. And that is done as stated in 2Co 4:7-12 and in the following way:
      1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
      2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed
(metamorphosis of the mind) by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God," Rom 12:1-2.
      18 "But we all, with unveiled face, constantly beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transformed (metamorphosis of the mind) into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2Co 3:18.
      Moses did not lift up the serpent in the wilderness before a nation of unbelieving lost people. These were saved covenant people about to perish, and many of them did perish and failed to become "partakers of Christ" in His firstborn sonship.


1. Only those in a true church have the counsel of God and the doctrine of Christ according to Lk 7:29-30; Col 2:11-12; 2Jn 9-11. Explain these passages.

2. Israel in Egypt was a believing, worshiping, and God-fearing covenant people. Give scriptural examples as proof that this is true.

3. After Joseph died, Israel was subjected to terrible slavery. To whom did Israel cry out for help? How did God acknowledge their cries for mercy? How does this prove they were true believers in God?

4. How did the midwives treat the Israelite women in birth? What was their attitude toward God? How did God reward them?

5. See how Job complained in Job 3. Did the Israelites disbelieve and complain in the beginning of Moses' leadership? What was their usual response, and their response as they left Egypt?

6. Israel kept the Passover and crossed the Red Sea "by faith," Ex 12 and Heb 11:28-29. Define how they did this – both complaint and joy.

7. How did God treat Israel after they left Egypt? Could God have provided an easy life for them without problems? Did God do so? Why did God make it hard on them? See Heb 5:8-9; 12:1-11.

8. The Israelites rebelled against Moses and against God, and God sent fiery serpents to bite them and cause them to die in large numbers. Describe a few other places in the Bible where saved covenant people rebelled or sinned against God and were punished severely.

9. Israel was God's called, elect, covenant (last will and testament) nation, Rom 11. Can God's called, elect people fail to make their calling and election sure? See Rom 11 and 2Pe 1:1-10 and Explain.

10. What relationship does 1Co 10:1-12 have with 1Co 9:27? Define Paul's fear for the Corinthian church members.

11. The word "all" is used five times in 1Co 10:1-4. Define why these verses are addressed to proper covenant, church members.

12. Did the fiery serpents in the wilderness bite only unsaved unbelievers? Did they bite any true, but rebellious believers? Explain.