Article 40


      Abraham looms big throughout both Old and New Testaments. Our discussion will be limited mostly to the major matters in Abraham's life that point to the new birth in the resurrection, Ps 2:7; Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:44-50.


      1 "Then the high priest said, "are these things so?"
      2 "And he said, ‘Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,
      3 "And said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'
      4 "Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell,"
Act 7:1-4.
      Observe that the "God of glory" appeared to Abraham. This is similar to God (Christ) appearing in glory to Jacob at the top of a stairway into heaven with the angels ascending and descending on it, Gen 28:12-13. It is similar to Peter, James, and John seeing Jesus transformed into glory and shining like the sun, Mt 17:2. It is also like Paul seeing God (Jesus) shining from heaven brighter than the sun, Act 26:13. Obviously, the expression "the God of glory" testifies that God (the Messiah God) appeared to Abraham in brilliant shining glory, as a testimony of what He was and is still promising as the Testator of the last will and testament.
      This first call to Abraham came when he was about 60 years old, and Abraham believed God and obeyed, but his father and the rest of his father's family went along with Abraham. This, at least in part, appears not to be what God wanted, so God arranged for them to stop in Haran and live there until his father died. Then God appeared to Abraham again with a second call to leave his father's family and to go south as God would direct.
      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," Gen 12:1.
      As we observe from his manner of life afterward, Abraham remained separated from the people and cities of the promised land of Canaan. He and his descendants were to maintain a life of separation and sanctification from the world. Perhaps the best expression of this separation and the purpose of it is seen as follows:
      14 "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
      15 "And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
      16 "And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.'
      17 "Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.'
      18 "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty,"
2Co 6:14-18.
      The next verse says, "Therefore, having these promises..." 2Co 7:1. Abraham had these same promises also. They flow from the Garden of Eden through all the covenants to the New Jerusalem, as we are aware and will quickly see again.


      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,"
Heb 11:9-10.
      Abraham was 75 years old when he entered the land of promise. He died when he was 175. So he lived 100 years in the land of promise, but remained separated from the cities and from the lifestyle of all the people of the land. Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom and lost his family and all his descendants. But Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob chose to remain in the hills, valleys, and plains, separated from the cities where sin multiplies many times over as sinful people multiply.
      However, Abraham did look for a city: a heavenly city whose Builder and Maker is God. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their true faith descendants valued this divine city worth all the sufferings and hardships of this life countless times over. The best in this life is nothing by comparison.
      Review the latter part of Hebrews 11 how a great many held fast to their faith under the severest circumstances of life, suffered persecution, even martyrdom, looking for a better resurrection, Heb 11:35. Then read Hebrews 11:8-16 and consider that such a vast host of these true faith seed of Abraham looked for this same heavenly city that Abraham sought. They lived their lives through and died in faith, believing that God would certainly do what he had promised and had given His oath that He would do, Gen 22:15-18; Heb 6:11-20. This is a heavenly and divine city that requires a new birth resurrection (Ps 1:7; Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:1-4,44-50), and Abraham saw the day of the Lord and his descendants in heavenly, divine bodies.


      4 "Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering," Gen 4:4.
      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," Heb 11:4.
      1 "After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying,‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceeding great reward,'" Gen 15:1.
      The last part of this verse may also be translated "your reward will be exceedingly great." Both statements are true, and are strongly emphasized throughout both Old and New Testaments. Being made "one" with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23), means being born again into their divine fullness, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; 5:31-32; Col 1:19; 2:9-12; 2Pe 1:4; Phi 3:9; 2Co 5:21; et al.
      Abel offered of the firstborn lambs of his flock, (Gen 4:4), and was credited with God's divine righteousness, Heb 11:4. Cain, being offered an opportunity to retain his birthright (Gen 4:4-7), did not exclude Abel from God's righteousness which is promised to all who worship God after the prescribed manner, Phi 3:7-14,21.
      The birthright of the firstborn male in the family provided benefits in this life, and testified of the divine firstborn sonship in eternity to come, Ex 4:22-23; Rom 8:29; Heb 12:23 (1-23). However, God has provided that all (male and female, firstborn or otherwise) will receive the reward and gift of divine firstborn sonship in life to come. This divine firstborn sonship includes the full range of God's divine attributes, to the extent of the faithfulness of each man and woman who qualifies for Christ's divine firstborn sonship, Rom 8:28-30; 11:11-22; Heb 3; 4; 12; 2Pe 1:4-10; Gal 4:21 thru 5:5; et al.
      Gal 4:19 thru 5:5 states explicitly that all of God's last will and testaments project two kinds of sons (firstborn sons and other sons) into the ages of ages. The nations on the new earth (Rev 21:23-26; 22:2) will be sons other than firstborn sons. Heb 12:8 also speaks of other than firstborn sons. In God's overall house, there will be vessels of honor and also vessels of menial service, 2Ti 2:20-21.
      The person who is scripturally excluded from the church is to be counted as a Gentile, Mt 18:15-17; 1Co 5:5. The same excluded saved person is to be treated as a brother (2Th 3:6-15), but he is no longer to be counted as a firstborn son. Still again, if he repents, he is to be brought back into the church – into the firstborn sonship status of qualifying for the firstborn sonship, 2Co 2:5-7.


      56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad," Jn 8:56.
      What did Abraham see when he saw the day of the Lord? He saw Jehovah, as God and as a human, born of a virgin into a human body, but sitting on David's throne in a born again glorified body possessing all the fullness of the divine nature in that human body, 1Co 15:44-50; Ph 2:5-11; Col 1:15,18-19; 2:9-10; 2Pe 1:4. God made sure that His prophets and faithful servants understood that all natural born seed of Adam were sinners, Rom 3:9-19; 5:12-19; 7:14-25; Eph 2:3. Job said, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!" Job 14:4. However, God can do that, and did do so through a vicarious virgin birth, life, death, burial, and a divine new birth resurrection, 1Co 15:44-50; Col 2:9-10.
      That is why God said, "The Seed of the woman" would crush Satan's head, Gen 3:15; Isa 7:14; Gal 4:4. Immediately, in announcing His divine plan of redemption, God did not say "the seed of the man," but "the Seed of the woman." Then God shed the blood of "clean" animals in sacrifice, and clothed Adam and Eve with their skins.
      Obviously, God instructed Adam and Eve thoroughly that He Himself (Jehovah) would be the redeeming Seed of the woman, would live a "clean" life free from sin, would die for the sins of the human race, and would conquer Satan, sin, and death by arising from the dead in the divine life promised in the tree of life. God clothed them in the skins of the animals, which represented them being clothed in His divine righteousness, 2Co 5:21; Phi 3:9; Rev 19:7-8. Clearly, God instructed them fully in this manner of sacrificial worship, including the meaning of it all. From the beginning it was God's will for them and us (those who believe and obey by grace through faith) to know the mysteries of the kingdom, Isa 1:3-6; Mt 13:9-17; Lk 19:41-44. These passages and the whole Bible make it clear that God wants us to fully know His will by diligently and thoroughly searching out the meaning and intent of His Word. We can be well assured that He carefully instructed Adam and Eve in all the details of His last will and testament, Ps 25:14; Jn 7:17.
      Abraham knew that the Seed of the woman would be the Redeemer, yet all Adam's seed were sinners. Job understood that God would be the Seed of the woman and thereby would be his Kinsman Redeemer, Job 19:25-27. Abraham and Job and all the other faithful servants of the Lord knew that the body of the sacrificial animals represented Jehovah in a human body as the Seed of the woman, would be their Kinsman Redeemer, and would be the first one divinely born from the dead, Ps 2:7; 16:7-11; 17:15; Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:44-50; et al.
      Abraham evidently saw the divine glory filled day of the Lord that is yet to come, with the Seed of the woman (the Seed of Abraham) on the throne of His glory in the Millennium. Abraham greatly desired to see that day of the Lord, and God showed to him the divine reign of Jehovah as the Seed of the woman, Jn 8:56. This signifies that the Lord had already told Abraham about "His Seed" (Jehovah Himself) sitting on His throne of His glory during the Millennium (the seventh day of "rest," Gen 2:1-3). This would obviously include His glorified saints (divinely born again from the dead) ruling the nations with Him, possessing the gates of their enemies as promised, Gen 22:17; Jn 8:56; Heb 11:8-16. Abraham obviously, with great faith, told his family and all his servants about all these things: that is why so many of them looked for the same heavenly city whose Builder and Maker is God, Heb 11:8-16.
      Abraham very cordially entertained three apparent strangers. He prepared a feast for them (Gen 18), and it was not long until Abraham recognized that this was Jehovah with two angels in human-like bodies. Jehovah told Abraham that Sarah would have a son, and that He had come to destroy Sodom and the other cities of that valley because of their gross sinfulness. Abraham pleaded for the cities for Lot's sake, and the Lord was gracious, but there were not enough righteous people found in Sodom. The next day the heavens poured down a flood of fire and brimstone and destroyed the cities, Gen 19:23-29.
      Isaac's life was less eventful, yet the Lord appeared to him at least twice (Gen 26:2-5,24), no doubt in glory, blessed him greatly, and protected him constantly. Jacob likewise saw Jehovah in His glory (Gen 28:12-15), saw the Lord again twenty years later (Gen 31:11-13), and probably at times in between and still afterward.
      Jacob on his return to Canaan was met by a host of welcoming angels, Gen 32:1. Jehovah wrestled with Jacob at night, evidently limiting Himself to the physical strength of an ordinary man, Gen 32:24-30. Jacob's initial vision of the glory and majesty of Jehovah was so awesome that Jacob was appalled that he now saw and wrestled with the God of glory face to face (though this time not in a glorious state of being) and was still alive, Gen 32:24-30.


      15 "Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age," Gen 15:15.
      On this occasion, God formally confirmed a covenant with Abraham. God had been building up to this since Act 7:1-4 and Heb 11:8-16, but here the covenant is ratified by the shedding of blood and the death of animals, portraying the death of the Testator. This makes the covenant a last will and testament witnessed to by the death of the animals which represented the death of the divine Testator. Obviously, God explained this testament relationship to Abraham, and His part as the Testator.
      This may have been the time Abraham prevailed upon Jehovah to show him the day of His kingdom glory when the saints would be conformed to the image and glory of God. Abraham greatly desired to see that day, and the Lord was pleased to give him a unique view of it (Jn 8:56), and probably also gave him a grand view of the New Jerusalem, Heb 11:8-16.
      The correlation of the Scriptures in these articles on the firstborn sonship of Christ make it obvious that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Job, and other faithful servants of God before and after the flood knew that the animals of sacrifice represented Jehovah in a human body, living, suffering, dying, and rising from the dead in a divine human body as our Kinsman Redeemer.
      This was ordained before the foundation of the world (Ps 40:6-8; Heb 10:5-10; 1Pe 1:18-20), and God made sure that His faithful prophets and servants were aware of His covenants and the meaning of the contents of the covenants, Ps 25:14; Mt 11:25-26; 13:9-17; Jn 7:17. God must not be blamed for our lack of understanding of His Word. God has always wanted His faithful covenant people to know His purpose, and has revealed His testaments to them to the extent of their faithfulness according to their diligence to seek out, believe, and obey His revealed will, Gen 18:17-19; Deu 29:29; Ps 25:14; Hos 6:3; Mt 13:9-12; Jn 7:17.
      Abraham is here told that he would go to his fathers in peace, indicating that his fathers or forefathers were men of faith. Indeed, he already knew that the body returns to dust and the spirit goes to Paradise or hell in the heart of the earth. But this is stated for his assurance and also that we understand that he well knew the facts about death and burial of the body and hell or paradise for the spirits of the dead. Abraham understood that all mankind die and their bodies return to the dust, and their spirits go either to sheol or Paradise as a place of waiting for the resurrection and judgment at the beginning or end of the seventh millennium of rest.
      Abraham would die and be buried, but he would be raised at the seventh millennium and inherit the promises, including the heavenly and divine city at the appointed time, Heb 11:8-16. He was confident that he would inherit the promises at God's appointed time. And we can be confident that he and all God's faithful servants kept the Sabbath and worshiped God on that day.
      God told Abraham that he would die and be gathered to his fathers in peace, Gen 15:15. Jacob thought his son, Joseph, had been killed and eaten by wild beast, and said, "I shall go down into sheol to my son grieving," Gen 37:33-35. We can take these words literally. Jacob could not go to his son in a grave if a wild beast had eaten him. But the Scriptures establish that mankind is both body and spirit: though the body dies, but the spirit lives on in the place prepared by God as a waiting place until the time appointed for judgment.
      Centuries later, David also said that he could not bring his dead baby back to him, but he could go to it, 2Sa 12:22-23. Abraham and others before and after him knew that when they died they would be gathered to their fathers in Paradise (Gen 15:15; 25:8,17; 35:29; 49:33), as also stated by Jesus, Lk 16:19-31.
      Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, and Job's four friends were all contemporaries to some extent, and are excellent examples of prophets and priests who had great understanding of the meaning of sacrificial worship, death, resurrection, redemption through the last will and testament, and the testament inheritance of divine life and glory, Rom 9:4. These all looked for a divine city whose Builder and Maker is God, Heb 11:8-16.


      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,'" Gen 15:13.
      20 "But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day," Deu 4:20.
      God promised Abraham and his descendants such great and glorious things far beyond the land of Canaan. He promised them a heavenly country, a heavenly city, and divine, spirit, heavenly bodies, filled with all the fullness of God. God said "I am your exceeding great reward," (Gen 15;1), then showed Abraham the glorious reign of his Seed on the throne of David, Jn 8:56. When Jehovah showed Abraham the day and glory of the Lord (Jn 8:56), it was not Isaac but the Seed of the woman that Abraham recognized as His Seed on the throne. He also surely recognized Him as Jehovah, the Son of God, the testament Testator, the Redeemer, and as the Lamb of God that he portrayed in every animal sacrifice he offered.
      Also, Jehovah quite evidently showed Abraham the heavenly city whose Builder and Maker is God, because it made such a transforming and enduring impression upon Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and a multitude of their descendants, Heb 11:8-16. They lived in tents in their earthly dwelling place, with their hearts fixed on that heavenly city and that divine state of being above the majestic angels of God which God showed to Abraham.
      However, Abraham was also told that his descendants must first spend many years passing through a furnace of affliction. As Joseph passed through many years of distressing trials, all the immediate descendants of Abraham had also to experience the iron furnace of Egypt. Furthermore, all the last will and testament people must experience this kind of affliction as a necessary part of their covenant training and preparation for divine glory.


      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," 1Co 10:11 (1-13).
      Jehovah delivered His covenant people out of the sore afflictions of bitter slavery, yet He immediately initiated them into another though similar form of covenant training. The very harsh thirsting wilderness was a near antithesis of the Garden of Eden. And this was and is necessary covenant disciplinary training for those inhabiting this "body of death," Rom 7:14-25. Let us who think we stand take heed lest we fall after the same pattern of overconfident unbelief, 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3 & 4.


      9 "For My name's sake I will defer My anger, and for My praise I will restrain it from you, so that I do not cut you off.
      10 "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
      11 "For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.
      12 "Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last,"
Isa 48:9-12.
      In the church we have been grafted into the stock of Abraham, and are covered by all the last will and testament stipulations and promises. A major stipulation is that we must be faithful as members of the body of Christ, Jn 15:1-6; Gal 4:19 thru 5:5. The major and overall promise is, as an overcomer, we will be born again into the divine nature of God, 2Pe 1:4 (1-10); 1Co 15:1-2,29-58. The divine nature is promised only to Israel (Isa 48:9-12; Rom 9:4), and only to the faithful in Israel, Rom 11:11-22. Thus, we must overcome in the last will and testament disciplinary training, Heb 5:8-9; 12:1-29; 2Pe 1:4-10.


      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 figure,"
Heb 11:17-19.
      Abraham had often shed the blood of animals, observed them die, and offered them in burnt offerings. But Isaac was human, and Isaac was his son: that is a world of difference. Abraham always readily believed and obeyed God, though sometimes with a heavy heart, as when God said for him to cast out Hagar and his son Ishmael. But now, after that ordeal, God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering, Gen 22:2. What a excurciating dilemma! He must not disobey God, yet he must slay Isaac and burn him as a burnt offering.
      Would Abraham be justified in seeking to understand what God had in mind? Indeed he would, for God wants all of us to know His will, that He is righteous, full of compassion, and desires to work awesome wonders for those who believe and obey. God had just promised Abraham assuredly and specifically that "In Isaac shall your seed be called," Gen 21:13.
      Abraham was now up toward 125 years old, and had witnessed God's love, justice, power, and faithfulness to His word all through his life. God had been constantly testing and strengthening Abraham's faith, obedience, and patience all through these long years. But now came perhaps the greatest test of all: Abraham must offer his son Isaac, the only son of Sarah, his endeared wife, as a burnt offering.
      God had promised Abraham a great multitude of descendants to become a great and special nation of faithful covenant people. Abraham believed God and was fully resolved that, even after Isaac's body was burned completely as a burnt offering, God would certainly raise him back to life, Heb 11:17-29. He had told his two young men whom he and Isaac had left behind just a few hours before, "Abide here. I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and we will return again to you," Gen 22:5.


      26 "Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'
      27 "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,"
Gen 1:26-27.
      God did not wait 2,500 years till the time of Moses to reveal to His faithful servants the details of man's beginning, man's fall in the Garden of Eden, and God's grand redemption purpose in His last will and testament, in which, as the Seed of the woman, He Himself would be the Testator. Quite the opposite, God clearly explained every detail of the redemption cycle so that Adam and Eve would have a broad, comprehensive, and workable knowledge of the last will and testament. It was necessary that they be able to explain with sufficient clarity the many questions their many descendants would be asking.
      Adam and Eve would have been poor parents indeed if they had not thoroughly taught their children, grandchildren, and all others about the things later written through Moses in Gen 1 thru 4. The inquisitive and searching human mind, without doubt, brought most of Adam's descendants, especially those of "the sons of God" (Gen 6:2), to be constantly asking Adam and Eve about God, about the Seed of the woman, about the last will and testament, about death and life after death, and about a multitude of related things.
      Abel understood he was the second son born to Adam and Eve, and that God created them out of the dust of the ground to begin the human race. He understood God's prescribed method of worship according to the last will and testament, and the significance of blood sacrifices of the firstborn of the flock which addressed the firstborn birthright of the divine Seed of the woman, Gen 4:4; Heb 11:4.
      Enoch prophesied of the divine Seed of the woman (Kinsman Redeemer) who would come with myriads of deified saints to execute divine judgment on the ungodly, Jud 14-15. Enoch was not a failing student, stumbling along with his mind on other things as God walked with him and taught him 300 years. Conversely, he was keenly alert, listening intently, and asking questions with regard to everything from the beginning of creation into the future ages to come, Heb 11:5; Jud 14-15. Otherwise, God would not have taken him without him seeing death, Heb 11:5.
      Noah also walked with God (Gen 6:9), and was well informed concerning the purpose of God. When the flood was over and the ark was emptied, immediately Noah "took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar," Gen 8:20.
      Noah did this in sincere worship and thanksgiving, and as a testimony of his understanding and steadfast faith in the Testator's last will and testament. Let us not think for a moment that Noah forgot about the magnitude of the judgment of the that universal flood, nor of Enoch's prophecy of the future coming of the Testator with myriads of the deified saints to judge all the ungodly.
      Let us keep in mind that God showed Abraham the coming "day of the Lord" (Jn 8:56), and Abraham saw enough to delight his heart with great joy. His eyes saw precisely what God promised when He said "I am your exceeding great reward," Gen 15:1. He saw the testament Testator as the Seed of the woman, as Kinsman Redeemer, as the Lamb of God, as the Son of Man, and as the Son of God sitting on His throne of Glory. He saw the faithful covenant people in glorified bodies possessing all the fullness of God's divine nature in their bodies, Phi 3:21; Eph 3:19; Col 2:9-10.
      God gave Abraham a prophetic vision of his seed in born again divine bodies possessing the gates of their enemies in divine justice, Gen 18:15-18. And Abraham saw his faith descendants having inherited not only the land of Canaan (Gen 13:14-15), not only the whole world (Rom 4:13), not only all the works of God's hands (Ps 8:3-6; Heb 2:5-11), but also having inherited all the fullness of God (the full range of God's divine attributes), 2Pe 1:4; Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; 5:31-32; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
      Job said, ..."I will wait till my change come," Job 14:14. "...I know my Redeemer is living," Job 19:25-27.
      David wrote, "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness," Ps 17:15. (Continued)