At the end of Genesis, chapter 11, the genealogy of Shem is traced through Peleg through Terah to Abram. The text then establishes the background of Abram in preparation for the call of Abram by Yahweh. Abram is favored by Yahweh as Noah was favored. As Noah had been declared righteous, so Abram will be characterized as righteous. As Noah became “flawless . . . in his generations” (Gen. 6:9b CV) and walked with Yahweh, so Abram is told by Yahweh, “Walk before Me and become flawless” (Gen. 17:1b CV).
But Abram’s righteousness,
his walk before Yahweh, and his flawlessness will be associated with his faith. Thus, Abram is the first to be
declared righteous on the basis of his faith. The writer of Hebrews reveals
those before Abram as also being men of faith. But the Genesis record first
associates faith with Abram. This will prove most significant in understanding
the covenants about to be made with Abram and the theme of election about to be
developed throughout the accounts of the forefathers of the nation
Abram is the firstborn son of Terah. He is born in
However, it must be noted that the curse of
Nimrod and humanity attempted to build a city and make a name for themselves. Their purpose was to avoid being scattered over the surface of the earth. Yahweh ended that effort by confusing their tongues. Thus, the people became scattered according to national tongues. What Nimrod sought, Yahweh promises to Abram:
And make you will I into a great nation, and bless you will I and make your name great, and become must you a blessing. And bless those will I who bless you, and those making light of you will I curse. And blest in you and in your seed are all the families of the ground. (Genesis 12:2-3 CV)
Abram will become a great nation, and he will acquire a great name. Here, again, is the theme of the “name,” representing honor, authority, power, and blessing. Through Abram and his seed, Yahweh will bring honor, authority, power, and blessing to the nations and ultimately to all humanity.
Therefore, Abram “must” become a blessing by walking before Yahweh in flawless faith. A great responsibility and service are placed upon Abram’s shoulders. Faithfulness, however, will also bring a special reward, the hope of the celestial city. This reward is only for those among the elect who walk before Yahweh in flawless faith, that is, those who remain faithful to the end. Just to be a member of the elect seed does not guarantee the hope of the reward. The elect seed contribute nothing to their inclusion in the elect. Election has nothing to do with their choice or their behavior. Abram has no choice in his election. However, he does have a choice in becoming flawlessly faithful. Walking by faith is an act of the will of the one called, elected.
As Yahweh Elohim read the hearts of mankind during the antediluvian age, so He reads the heart of Abraham over the course of Abram’s walk before Him. Twenty five years into this walk, Yahweh tells Abraham that Sarai his wife shall be called Sarah, for she shall bear Abraham a son. Abraham responds as follows:
And falling is Abraham on his face. And laughing is he and saying IN HIS HEART, “To one a hundred years of age shall a son be born? And should Sarah, ninety years of age, be bearing?” (Genesis 17:17 CV my emphasis)
In his heart Abraham is rejoicing in faith. He believes
Yahweh. Note how he refers to his wife as “Sarah”
rather than “Sarai” (see Gen.
17:15-17). He does not question or laugh in doubt. He laughs in his heart in
belief. Yahweh reads his heart, and one chapter later, when informing Abraham
of his intent to destroy
For I know him, that, responding, he will instruct his sons and his household after him, and keep will they the way of Yahweh to do justice and judgment, that Yahweh may bring on Abraham all that He speaks concerning him. (Genesis 18:19 CV)
Abraham has been walking before Yahweh in flawless faith. This he chooses to do. This is an act of his will based upon his faith in Yahweh’s promise, Yahweh’s word.
After Abram leaves
Then, coming out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwells in Charan, and thence after the death of his father, He [Yahweh] exiles him into this land in which you are now dwelling. And He does not give him any allotment to enjoy in it, nor even a platform for a foot. (Acts 7:4-5 CV)
Abram is said to be exiled by Yahweh to this land promised to his seed, having no allotment, not even a small platform for his foot. The writer of Hebrews testifies,
By faith he sojourns in the land of promise as in an alien land, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the joint enjoyers of the allotment of the same promise. For he waited for the city having foundations, whose Artificer and Architect is God. . . . In faith died all these not being requited with the promises, but perceiving them ahead and saluting them, and avowing that they are strangers and expatriates on the earth. For those who are saying such things are disclosing that they are seeking for a country of their own. And, . . . they might have had occasion to go back. Yet now they are craving a better [allotment], that is, a celestial [allotment]; wherefore God . . . makes ready for them a city. (Hebrews 11:9-16 CV)
Abram sojourns in this land as an alien, dwelling in tents. He
does not possess any part of the land (other than a burial ground). Though he,
Isaac, and Jacob are joint enjoyers of this allotment of the land, only their
seed would actually enjoy the possession of it. Abram, Isaac, and Jacob
confessed to be “strangers and
expatriates on the earth.” The hope of the promise given to them was not a
terrestrial hope. Thus, it could not be the
These patriarchs sought a country of their own, a celestial country, which the writer of Hebrews declares Yahweh was making ready for them, referring to it as “a city” (Heb. 11:16). Even at the writing of Hebrews they had not yet received their promise. But it was impending. The writer of Hebrews indicates they were “about to be enjoying the allotment of salvation” (Heb. ). Speaking of the present faithful ones, this same writer declares enthusiastically,
But you have come to Mount Zion, and the city of the living God, celestial Jerusalem, . . . to the ecclesia of the firstborn ones, . . . and to Jesus, the Mediator of a fresh covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling which is speaking better than Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24 CV)
These faithful ones had not yet entered into this salvation. They were experiencing the power foreshadowing it. The author goes on to write,
Wherefore Jesus also, that He should be hallowing the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Now then, we may be coming out to Him outside the camp, carrying His reproach. For here we are not having a permanent city, but we are seeking for the one which is impending. (Hebrews 13:12-14 CV)
These faithful ones were not looking to the terrestrial
And these all, being testified to through faith, are not requited with the promise of God concerning us (the looking forward is to something better), that, apart from us, they may not be perfected. (Hebrews 11:39-40 CV)
The consummation of the Mosaic Age meant the entrance into a celestial city, of which Jesus had announced,
In my Father’s house are many abodes; yet if not I would have told you, for I am going to make ready a place for you. And if I should be going and making ready a place for you, I am coming again and I will be taking you along to Myself, that where I am, you also may be. (John 14:2-3 CV)
Jesus had declared to his disciples that He would be with them
to the conclusion of the eon. That eon was referring to the then present but “growing old and decrepit” eon which
began with the establishment of the Mosaic Covenant at Sinai and was presently “near its disappearance” (Heb. 8:13 CV).
At the destruction of the
Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek provides some interesting
insights. To begin with, in Genesis, chapter 14, Abram is depicted as acting
militarily. He puts together a military force consisting of 318 “dedicated” (Gen. 14:14 CV) servants
born in his household. He does not organize all the men in his household. The
battle belongs to Yahweh. Abram chooses only those servants dedicated to him
and his Elohim. He intervenes only because of the involvement of his brother’s
Upon returning from this great victory (the initial
fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise to make Abram’s name great), the king of
Blest is Abram by the El Supreme, Owner of the heavens and the earth. And blest is El Supreme, Who awards your foes into your hands. (Genesis 14:19-20a CV)
Abram acknowledges the priesthood of Melchizedek by referring to Yahweh his Elohim as the El Supreme, “Owner of the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 14:22). He then gives Melchizedek tithes from all the goods captured.
The implication is that the worship of Yahweh Elohim among the
nations had continued to take place after
Christ’s Melchizedekian priesthood, then, would be limited to the eon according to Psalms 110:4, and would be associated with the shed blood of Abel. Therefore, the shedding of Christ’s blood and His offering it up as a priest after the order of Melchizedek must have been effective only through the Adamic Age and, within that age, the Mosaic Age or Eon. Its efficacy would then be limited to the faithful ones beginning with Abel and concluding with the faithful ones contemporaneous with the generation of Jesus.
There is a distinction between the death of Christ, associated with Adam, and the shed blood of Christ, associated with Abel. The death of Christ deals with the verdict of death stamped upon humanity as a result of Adam’s deviation. The shed blood of Christ deals with the sin of humanity associated with the shedding of innocent blood beginning with Cain’s shedding of the blood of innocent Abel. Thus, the shed blood of Christ is associated with the enmity between the seed of the Serpent and the seed of the Woman. It is not associated with the disobedience, transgression, and deviation of Adam resulting in Adam’s sin (missing the mark of life) through which death entered the world of humanity (cf. Romans 5:12-21).
In contrast to Melchizedek who is blessed as a result of his
blessing Abram, the king of
One final insight. According to the English translations of Genesis 14:24b, Abram makes an exception of the “men” (Gen. 14:24b KJV) who went with him to do battle against the Babylonian kings. These men, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, not belonging to his household, were to receive a portion of the captured goods. The Hebrew word translated men is the word enosh, meaning mortal. It is the same word used in Genesis 6:4, “mortals with the name.” In Genesis 14:24b, it should be translated mortal, not men. The term mortal designates men of renown, distinguished men, leaders. This translation will reap rewards in the usage of this Hebrew word in passages yet to come.
In chapter 15 of Genesis, in a vision, Yahweh adds to the
promise of the land the promise of a son. Years have passed since Abram had
been promised his seed would be given the
Thus, justification by faith is associated with the Celestial
seed, the spiritual seed, in contrast to the terrestrial seed, the fleshly
seed. This is the meaning of Paul’s words in Romans 9:6b-8: “for not all those out of
This did not mean the children of the flesh were doomed eternally. It did mean they lost the hope of the promise, the celestial reward associated with the Celestial Jerusalem. Salvation had to do with deliverance from the ministry of death, the ministry of the Mosaic Covenant (the Second Death) and deliverance to the ministry of Life, the ministry of the New Covenant (2 Cor. 3:1-16), the hope of the Celestial Jerusalem. The Celestial seed is associated with Yahweh’s words to Abram in Genesis 15:1b:
You must not fear, Abram! I am your shield, your exceedingly increased hire. (CV)
What could Abram fear? He could fear the seed of the Serpent, the seed associated only with the terrestrial realm, the sand of the seashore, the seed of Cain, the unfaithful seed, the seed which walks according to the flesh, the seed which would eventually place its faith and confidence in the Mosaic Covenant alone. That seed would attempt to destroy the seed associated with the Celestial Realm, the stars of the heavens, the seed of Abel, the faithful seed, the seed walking according to the spirit, the seed which would eventually place its faith and confidence in the New Covenant, sharing in Christ’s sufferings associated with the death of the Old Covenant.
For this reason, Yahweh used the analogy of the stars of the heavens. Abram’s “exceedingly increase hire,” his greater
reward, would have to do with the celestial promise of the celestial country,
of the celestial city associated with the
Christ. For he himself was not to share in the experience of possessing the
And Moses, indeed, was faithful in His [Yahweh’s] whole house as an attendant, for a testimony of that which shall be spoken. Yet Christ, as a Son over His [Yahweh’s] house—Whose house we are, that is, if we should be retaining the boldness and the glorying of the expectation confirmed unto the consummation. (Hebrews 3:5-6 CV)
The “House of Yahweh”
in Hebrews 3:5 refers to a metaphorical house. It is a metaphorical way of
speaking about the faithful ones as a corporate group. The writer of Hebrews
refers to it as “the ecclesia of the
firstborn ones” (Heb. 12:23 CV). Paul refers to it as “a
Abram’s first question after hearing Yahweh’s words has to do with his current heir, the Damascan, Eliezer. Certainly he could be his heir according to the analogy of the sand of the seashore. But Abram seeks an heir of his own generating. Yahweh agrees. Eliezer shall not be his heir. Abram will sire a son. It is in relation to this specific son that Yahweh now uses the analogy of the stars of the heavens (Gen. 15:1-6).
The vision of Genesis, chapter 15, continues. Yahweh repeats His promise concerning the land. Abram then asks for a sign to confirm His promise. This is not to be considered a lack of faith (cf. Isa. -14). Signs have been a means by which Yahweh confirms His covenant or promise. This was seen in the sign of the rainbow given to mankind to confirm the covenant Yahweh made with Noah on behalf of humanity (Gen. 9:12-17).
Yahweh responds to Abram’s request by directing him to arrange a ritual in which he is to slay specifically designated animals, dividing them in two and lining them up in two rows forming a pathway in between. The sacrificial birds, however, were not to be cut in two. Having set up the ritual arrangement, Abram discovers he must fight off the birds of prey (Gen. 15:8-11).
When the sun was about to set, a stupor falls on Abram. Stupor is the same word used of Adam
when Eve was created out of him. In the state of this stupor, Abram experiences
the dread of a great darkness falling upon him, and Yahweh speaks prophetically
to him concerning the future Egyptian bondage of his seed and their eventual
exodus and return to the Promised Land after 400 years (Gen. 15:12‑14). They
shall leave Egyptian bondage bearing great goods, and Yahweh will judge
Abram is then promised he will join his forefathers in peace, being entombed at a great, ripe, old age. At the actual setting of the sun, a smoking pot and a torch of fire pass between the severed parts. So ends the vision. The remaining verses (18-21) proclaim that in that day Yahweh contracted a covenant with Abram and describe the boundaries of the Promised Land.
The ritual animals represent Abram’s seed humiliated in
Yahweh’s presence, in contrast with Abram’s fighting off the
birds of prey, will guarantee the preservation of Abram’s seed against the
enemies determined to destroy them. He will deliver them, giving them great
wealth, and will lead them in battle in the conquering of the Canaanites, at
Note, this covenant and the previous promises of Yahweh are
made with Abram before he became circumcised. Paul will find covenantal significance
in this distinction. This will be developed further when the covenant of
circumcision is discussed. One further note, Abram’s sand of the seashore seed,
as well as his stars of the heavens seed,
endure the period of humiliation and darkness in
After the judgment of the flood, the nations began to depart
from Yahweh at
In Genesis, chapter 16, the author presents the continuing problem of the seed promised to Abram. Yahweh had clarified His promise to Abram by indicating that his servant Eliezer would not be counted as his seed. Abram himself would sire a son. However, as time passes and Sarai remains barren, she suggests Abram take her maid Hagar and through her sire a son. Since Yahweh had not indicated to Abram who the mother of the child would be, this suggestion was not an impossibility in relation to Abram’s faithfulness. Sarai reasoned that since Yahweh restrained her from bearing a child, maybe Yahweh would “build” her honor through Hagar bearing a child (Gen. 16:2). Though the author does not approve of this arrangement (Gen. 2:24), it was apparently acceptable within the social custom of that day. This is another indication of the deterioration, impoverishment of the nations.
Abram, like Adam, hearkens to the voice of Sarai his wife. Apparently, he agrees, not because he is convinced of her rational justification, but because of the heart-felt pain revealed in her voice. It was dishonor and shame for a woman to be barren. In this situation, the author presents a genuine ethical dilemma issuing out of much personal anguish. Yahweh had promised that Abram would sire a son. Ten years had passed. Still no son. Sarai remains barren. What shall we do? What can we do? These questions are legitimate. These questions derive out of much emotional anxiety. A decision must be made. An attempt to solve the problem, relieve the anguish, and still remain faithful to Yahweh must be made.
Abram yields to his wife’s suggestion. He takes the maid. She bears him a son, Ishmael. Yahweh later reveals that Ishmael will not be counted as Abram’s promised seed. Abram has sinned. He has missed the mark. But his faith has never wavered. He has not acted in rebellion against Yahweh. He has not even acted against Yahweh’s revealed word. Yet, his action is sin. It missed the mark of Yahweh’s intention. Thus, sin is not necessarily a sign of doubt, faithlessness, or disobedience. Abram did not sin against Yahweh’s revealed will. He did not disobey a word from Yahweh. He did not step out of his walk with Yahweh. He merely made a decision based upon his inadequate knowledge of the situation. This position was later revealed to be wrong.
Such decisions are necessitated by the events occurring in one’s life. One does not always have access to all the information needed in order to make a correct decision. Too often, one must decide without the aid of enough substantial information. One must at times make a decision knowing in advance the deficiency of one’s knowledge. Flawless faithfulness is not marred or voided by such sin. Walking in faith is possible only because the faithful one is free to commit such sins. Without such freedom the ability to decide, to act, to respond, to react, to make corrections, to grow, to learn, to develop, to change, to pursue and acquire truth would be crippled.
The consequences of such sin, however, cannot be escaped. Hagar disrespects Sarai as a result of the pregnancy. Later, Ishmael will become a threat to Isaac’s welfare and will have to be sent away. Sarai comes to understand the wrong she has instigated. Sarai then deals harshly with Hagar causing her to run away. But Yahweh’s messenger encourages her to return to Sarai. He tells her that Ishmael’s seed will increase, becoming a great multitude. As Abram’s seed is to be blessed with great increase in number, so Ishmael’s seed is to be blessed.
But Ishmael and his seed are not elect. They have no prospect in relation to the promises made to Abram. In relation to Abram’s call and Abram’s promises, Ishmael and his seed have no possibility of faithfulness or unfaithfulness, no possibility of obedience or disobedience, no possibility of blessing or cursing. Election has to do only with Yahweh’s calling. One cannot choose to be called. Only Yahweh decides who shall be called. Ishmael was not called. As shall be seen, Esau is not called. Jacob is called. Yahweh alone elects the called. Such elect calling is not based on faith. Unless this is understood, Paul’s argument in Romans, chapters 9-11, cannot be interpreted properly. As a matter of fact, apart from this understanding, the entire corpus of the Greek Scriptures is unintelligible. The misinterpretation of Yahweh’s elect calling is precisely why Christianity, during its 2,000 year history, has been ignorant of the message of the Greek Scriptures.
Chapter 17 of Genesis opens with an appearance of Yahweh to Abram. He introduces Himself as “The El Who Suffices” and commands Abram, “Walk before Me and become flawless.” Abram is now 99 years old. At the birth of Ishmael he was 86 years old. Thirteen years have passed. Abram is under the impression Ishmael is the promised seed. But Ishmael is a product of human endeavor. Ishmael is going to be associated with the work of the flesh. He will adversarily oppose the son of the spirit. He is Abraham’s son according to the flesh. Abram’s promised seed will be according to the spirit. He will be Yahweh’s endeavor and will be associated with the work of the spirit, making him a child of Yahweh in contrast to a child of the Adversary (Cain as the seed of the Serpent). Being a child of the Adversary does not necessitate being morally wicked. It does mean one is opposed to Yahweh’s covenantal purpose. This will be clearly demonstrated in the Gospels of the Greek Scriptures where the rulers of the Jews are called sons of the Adversary. These men were not immoral, but they did oppose Yahweh’s covenantal purpose.
Yahweh next introduces His present purpose. He is about to make another covenant with Abram. This covenant will be distinguished from the previous covenant as a result of the required circumcision of the flesh and the fact that Yahweh makes it not with the man named Abram but with the man now named Abraham, meaning high father, or father of throngs, a father of many nations. The covenant of circumcision is to remind Abraham and his seed that their confidence is to be in Yahweh and His Word, not in the flesh, not in the endeavors of humanity under the verdict of death (see Gen. 3:19). This will make Abraham’s seed dynamically distinct from the nations. This religious ritual of circumcision has significance only within the covenantal relationship.
This covenant will also emphasize and require walking before Yahweh flawlessly, that is, walking in faith, trusting in Yahweh’s faithfulness to fulfill all that He promises, in spite of circumstances which may seem to dictate decisions and actions contrary to Yahweh’s Word. Thus, it incorporates Yahweh’s counting faith as righteousness. But this faith is always associated with walking before Yahweh flawlessly. It demands behavior conforming to the word and to the promises of Yahweh. Abraham demonstrates this faith in this very context when he begins to act in accordance with his new name by obeying Yahweh’s covenantal conditions.
The Covenant of Circumcision is a contract between Yahweh and Abraham. Both parties come under obligation. The terms of the contract are limited to the eon, the age. Yahweh describes this covenant as an eonian covenant (Gen. 17:7 CV). The land promised in this contract is to be an eonian holding (Gen. 17:8 CV). It is not an eternal covenant, and the land is not an eternal holding. This is evident from the proclamation of the Gospel authorized by the Messiah, Jesus. According to this Gospel, circumcision is no longer required for salvation. In Christ, according to Paul, there is no longer “circumcision” and “uncircumcision” (Col. 3:11).
Yahweh declares of Moses, “in
you shall they [
The Covenant of Circumcision stipulates that Yahweh is to become the Elohim only of Abraham and his seed. This, however, does not include Ishmael or any of the other sons of Abraham by Keturah, even though they were circumcised. Thus, this covenant would be applicable only to the seed of Abraham descending through Isaac. Carried one step further, it would be applicable only to the seed of Isaac descending through Jacob. Esau, also, was not to be a participant in this covenant, even though he was circumcised. Shall we then conclude that Ishmael, the sons of Keturah, and Esau are lost?! Are they beyond the reach of salvation and thus doomed to an eternal hell?! The obvious answer is No. Salvation must always be understood in terms of its context, and hell and eternal are not biblical words or concepts.
Circumcision is a sign in the flesh continually reminding Abraham’s elect seed of the danger of placing their confidence in the flesh, rather than in Yahweh’s revealed word and promises. Thus, they will not walk according to sight, as the other nations. They will not walk according to what is right in their own eyes, as the other nations. They will not walk according to their own political savvy and military might, as the other nations. In the eyes of the other nations, they will appear weak and vulnerable. But trust in Yahweh will secure their superiority over these same nations.
This covenant has another stipulation. It must be kept. Every
male is to be circumcised the eighth day after birth. This includes any male
acquired with money from a foreigner. At its inception it meant every male of
any age, homeborn or acquired by purchase. No female is invoked in the sign of
the covenant, though every female is included under the covenant benefits and
is also required to walk by faith. Thus, Yahweh is obligated to fulfill the
spiritual and material needs of the members of the covenant and to preserve
them from the enmity of their enemies. Abraham had already been informed that
Yahweh would bless those who bless him and curse those who treat him lightly. In
chapter 14, this had been exemplified in the events involving Abram’s rescue of
Having set forth the conditions of this second covenant, Yahweh tells Abraham that his wife shall no longer be called Sarai, but Sarah, meaning Princess. As Abraham is to sire kings and nations, so Sarah shall be the mother of princes. More importantly, Abraham is now informed that Sarah shall give birth to the son who shall be the Seed of Promise. Abraham rejoices over this good news, “laughing is he . . . in his heart” (Gen. 17:7). He is joyfully amazed at the greatness of his Elohim and the glorious prospect of siring a son at the age of 100 and Sarah’s conceiving at the age of 90. But he immediately remembers Ishmael, for he loves the son of his flesh, though he knows Ishmael cannot be heir to the promises. Abraham thus requests that Yahweh will bless Ishmael also. Yahweh grants Abraham his request. Ishmael shall be blessed and become fruitful. He shall generate twelve princes, and he will be made a great nation.
Abraham, then, on that very same day circumcises all the males in his household, including himself, Ishmael, and even the mortals (men of status and rank in his household, who had been either homeborn or acquired with money from a foreigner of the nations). Note again the usage of the word enosh, meaning mortal, to designate men of status and rank, rather than men in general.
Passing over chapters 18-20, the next significant section in
relation to the theme of this literary journey (the fulfillment of the Law and
the Prophets, the destiny of
But a problem arises. Ishmael begins to make fun of Isaac, and Sarah recognizes in him a threat to her son. She demands that Ishmael be driven out. Isaac alone is to enjoy the promise. Yahweh confirms Sarah’s demand. He tells Abraham to hearken to her voice. Here again, her voice conveys her deep concern. Her concern is justified. Yahweh again declares, “in Isaac your seed shall be called” (Gen. 21:12b CV). But Yahweh assures Abraham that because Ishmael also is his seed, “a great nation I will constitute him, for your seed is he” (Gen. 21:13b CV).
It is this episode that Paul uses in Galatians 4:21-31 to
illustrate the difference between the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant of
Christ. From this passage he is able to generate an allegory he perceives as
having been hidden in the two women and the two sons. He presents this allegory
as actually residing within the text, awaiting its time of revelation. The two
women represent two covenants. Sarah represents the New Covenant of Christ THE
SEED of Abraham, the Ultimate Seed, of which Isaac is the ultimate type. Isaac
was generated supernaturally and Jesus was generated exceedingly
supernaturally. Isaac is the son of the free woman, Sarah as wife. Ishmael is
the son of the maid, Hagar as servant. Hagar represents the Mosaic Covenant,
Paul applies this to the then current situation of the nation
The faithful ones in Christ are children of the promise, like Isaac. The unfaithful ones in Moses are children of the flesh, like Ishmael. The faithful ones are receiving life from the New Covenant. The unfaithful ones are experiencing the death of the Old Covenant, which can no longer provide covenantal life. The only covenantal life available is to be found in the New Covenant of Christ, the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of Promise.
The hope of the promise is not the terrestrial land, but the
celestial city. Abraham and Isaac were not promised the terrestrial land. Their
sand of the seashore seed was promised
the terrestrial land, and they received it under Joshua. The Stars of the Heavens Seed was promised
the celestial city, the greater reward, the better resurrection than the
Isaac is the Seed of Abraham. He is a type of the children of
the promise. He, with Sarah, is a type of the New Covenant of Christ and the
Celestial Jerusalem. He is also a type of Jesus Christ who is to become the
ultimate SEED of Abraham. Thus, much is at stake when Abraham is commanded by
Yahweh to sacrifice Isaac. According to the text (Gen. 22:1-19), Yahweh probes
Abraham. He commands Abraham to take his only son, whom he loves, to the
But Abraham follows Yahweh’s instructions and is prepared to sacrifice Isaac. He is refrained at the last moment by a messenger of Yahweh. From the heaven above, Yahweh’s messenger speaks to Abraham, “You must not stretch out your hand on the lad, and you must not do aught to him, for now I know that you fear Elohim, for you have not kept back your son, your only one from Me” (Gen. 22:12 CV). A ram is provided instead. Isaac is not slain. Abraham has once again demonstrated his “flawless” walk before Yahweh. Abraham believes Yahweh. But what did he believe? The writer of Hebrews reveals the answer:
By faith Abraham, when undergoing trial, had offered Isaac, and he who received the promises offered the only-begotten, he to whom it was spoken that “In Isaac shall your seed be called,” reckoning that God is able to be rousing him from among the dead also; whence he recovered him in a parable also. (Hebrews 11:17-19 CV)
Abraham believed Yahweh had to fulfill His promises and that would be impossible apart from the life of Isaac. Therefore, he concluded Yahweh Elohim would rouse Isaac from the dead after he had been offered up. This confidence, this belief was not the product of the moment. This belief had developed over the course of Abraham’s dealings with Yahweh. Paul, writing of Abraham’s faith, refers to this development as follows:
according as it is written that, A father of many nations have I appointed you—facing which, he believed it of the God Who is vivifying the dead and calling what is not as if it were—who, being beyond expectation, believed in expectation, for him to become the father of many nations, according to that which had been declared, “Thus shall be your seed.” And, not being infirm in faith, he considered his body, already deadened (being inherently somewhere about a hundred years) and the deadening of the matrix of Sarah, yet the promise of God was not doubted in unbelief, but he was invigorated by faith, giving glory to God, being fully assured also, that, what He has promised, He is able to do also. Wherefore, also, it is reckoned to him for righteousness. (Romans 4:17-22 CV)
From the very beginning of his call, Abraham believes Yahweh. His faith is confirmed continually as he experiences the faithfulness of Yahweh. He was promised he would become a father of many nations. Ishmael was born to him and would become a nation of twelve princes. He was informed that Sarah would bear him a son when she was far beyond the age of fertility. He believed Yahweh was able to vivify the womb, and Yahweh vivified the womb of Sarah, bringing forth Isaac. If Yahweh could vivify a dead womb, he could also rouse the dead. Abraham was “fully assured.” He walked before Yahweh flawlessly. From beginning to end, Abraham never doubted Yahweh’s promises.
This ultimate probing of Yahweh confirmed what He had already
declared in Genesis 18:19. Yahweh knew Abraham’s heart. He knew Abraham would
always hearken to His voice. The probe is meant more for
By Myself I swear, averring is Yahweh, that, because you have done this thing and have not kept back your son, your only one, from Me, that, blessing yea, blessing you am I, and increasing, yea, increasing your seed am I as the stars of the heavens [Celestial Seed] and as the sand which is on the sea shore [terrestrial seed]. And your seed shall tenant the gateway of its enemies, and blessed, in your seed shall be all the nations of the earth, inasmuch as you hearken to my voice. (Genesis 22:16-18 CV)
What an encouragement and example this is for
Sarah’s death introduces the need for a burial site. The
significance of this section relates to the fact that Abraham and Sarah are not
to possess any part of the Promised Land. In procuring a burial site in
Thus, the only possession of Abraham and Sarah in
Isaac has now reached the age of 40. His mother has recently
died and been entombed in the land. It is the right time to seek out a wife for
the seed of promise. In Genesis, chapter 24, Abraham instructs his servant
Eliezer to seek a wife for his son Isaac from among the daughters of his
brother Nahor. Under no circumstances is a wife to be chosen from the daughters
of the Canaanites, and under no circumstances is Isaac to return to the
The servant arrives at a well of water outside the gates of
the city of
Arrangements are made with the family, and Rebecca agrees to the marriage. The family decides that she remain with them at least two to ten days. The servant indicates he desires to leave the following day, due to such great success attributed to Yahweh’s kindness and faithfulness to Abraham. The decision is left to Rebecca. She chooses to leave immediately.
Upon arriving at the residence of Abraham and Isaac, the writer introduces Isaac who is worshiping Yahweh in a field just before the onset of evening. Rebecca and Isaac are immediately attracted to one another. The marriage takes place, and Isaac is last seen leading Rebecca into the tent of Sarah, his mother. Rebecca now occupies the place and elective position of Sarah. Isaac and Rebecca are now prepared to carry on the history of the seed of Promise, the seed of the Woman.
In all this, Israel is encouraged to act faithfully, walk
before Yahweh flawlessly, knowing that Yahweh her Elohim is actively pursuing
her welfare, even as He actively involved Himself in the choosing and securing
of a wife for her forefather Isaac. As Isaac is conceived supernaturally and is
blessed superexceedingly, so Israel has been conceived supernaturally and will
be blessed superexceedingly if she walks before Yahweh flawlessly, keeping His
Law, His statutes, and His judgments. There can be no greater power, no greater
security, no greater success among the nations than
After Sarah’s death and Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca, Abraham takes Keturah as his wife. She bears him many sons. But these sons are not to receive any share in his possessions. They contribute to the fulfillment of Yahweh’s word concerning Abraham’s seed bringing forth many nations and kings. As Abraham approaches his last days, he gives all these sons gifts and sends them away from Isaac, eastward to the land of the East. The destiny of the seed of Promise seems to be associated with the westward movement to the land of the West (cf. Gen. 25:1-6).
Abraham gives all his possessions to Isaac alone. Isaac becomes the sole heir to all of Abraham’s wealth and the only son through whom the blessing of all the families of the earth will be channeled. As Isaac is The Seed of Promise, is supernaturally conceived, is offered up to Yahweh, is given a wife by Yahweh, and is the recipient of all his father’s possessions; he is a type of The Ultimate Seed, The Final Seed, The Teleostic Seed of Abraham, of Adam, of Yahweh—Jesus the Christ. Paul argues this association in Galatians 3:16:
Now to Abraham the promises were declared, and to his Seed. He is not saying “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of One: And to “your Seed,” which is Christ. (CV)
Thus, Christ fulfills the destiny, the purpose of the seed of the Woman, the seed of the Promise. The line of the Seed ends with the Christ. Jesus the Christ is sole possessor of all Abraham’s possessions.
The Promise associated with the Seed has been fulfilled in the Christ. The blessings associated
with the greater reward of the faithful ones (those accounted by Yahweh as
children of Abraham in spirit, and thus children of God) have been distributed
and received. All these faithful ones metaphorically became members of Christ’s
Body and, like Eve, were taken out of Him and built metaphorically into a new
creation, a complement. Thus, they have been and presently are citizens of the
Celestial Realm. Through Christ and His Ecclesia, His Body, His Complement, His
Eve, the remainder of the families of the earth has been receiving blessings
for the past 2,000 years. But these blessings are being channeled from the
Celestial Realm to our (the present) terrestrial realm. The
This section of Genesis ends with the death of Abraham. He has
set his affairs in order. Isaac and Rebecca have been established. Abraham is
175 years old. He dies in “a good
grey-haired age, old and satisfied with days” (Gen. 25:8 CV). He is
gathered to his peoples, among whom he would await the coming of the Ultimate
Seed and the time of the fulfillment of the Promise. At that time, he would
awaken to enter the
The account continues with the generations of Isaac (Gen. 25:19‑35:29). Tracking the theme of the Seed, attention will be focused on Jacob and Esau. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebecca. Rebecca had been barren; Isaac entreats Yahweh to invigorate Rebecca’s womb. Yahweh hearkens to Isaac; Rebecca gives birth to twins, Esau and Jacob. Esau is the firstborn, but, directly behind him, holding on to his heel, is Jacob. Before the twins are born, Yahweh tells Rebecca that in her womb are two nations. These two peoples shall be divided; the elder shall serve the younger.
Already the text implies an enmity between these two brothers in that within the womb the two had been wrestling, culminating in Esau being born first, but Jacob tenaciously holding on to Esau’s heel. The writer is apparently alluding to Genesis 3:15 and the enmity between the seed of the Serpent and the seed of the Woman. This, of course, is manifested in the enmity between Cain and Abel which foreshadows the continuing enmity between these two seeds as briefly seen between Ishmael and Isaac, and as will soon be seen in greater length between Joseph and his brothers.
The theme of election becomes predominant in the relationship between Jacob and Esau. Before either is born, Yahweh declares the elder will serve the younger. He has elected, favored, Jacob and disfavored, counting as non-elect, Esau. Thus, election is not based on either faith or works. It is Yahweh’s sovereign choice. But again, the reader must be reminded that election is not to be associated with one’s ultimate destiny. One’s eternal destiny is associated with the independent acts of two single individuals—Adam and Jesus. As Yahweh Elohim’s verdict against Adam means death for each and every human being, so Yahweh Elohim’s verdict exalting Christ means life for each and every human being.
This is Paul’s argument in Romans 5:12-21, upon which he vindicates God’s elective purpose which required walking flawlessly before Him in accord with the faithful behavior of Abraham. The verdict of God in relation to Adam and Jesus excludes both faith and works on the part of each human being. Death is passed on to each human through the generating process. In contrast to this, life is passed on to each human through a spiritual generating process, which, again, requires neither faith nor works on the part of each individual human. All humans die because of Yahweh’s verdict regarding Adam’s Sinful Act; all humans, after death, live because of Yahweh’s verdict regarding Jesus’ Righteous Act. Hell is an invention of human beings, having no place in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.
Isaac is 60 years of age when the twins are born. Esau becomes a man of the field, an accomplished hunter. However, Jacob is said to be a flawless man, dwelling in tents. The literal Hebrew text indicates Esau “is a man” and Jacob “is a flawless man” (Gen. 25:27 CV). The word flawless has been associated only with Noah and Abraham and had to do with faith. Abraham and Noah were flawless in their faith, but each is shown to be a sinner in relation to behavior unassociated with the word of Yahweh calling for faith. Noah becomes drunk, but that does not affect his faithfulness to the promise and word of Yahweh. Abraham takes Sarai’s maid and sires a son by her. Though this is sin, missing the mark of Yahweh’s purpose concerning the promised seed, it is not faithlessness. The very reason Abraham takes the maid is because of his faith in Yahweh’s promise. Yahweh had not yet indicated the promised seed would come through Sarah’s womb. Abraham in ignorance, but also in faith, makes a decision that he believes may be the way Yahweh’s Promise will be fulfilled.
In the same way, Jacob is a flawless man, cherishing,
appreciating, accounting of great value the promises and the birthright. His
faith accounts the promises of Yahweh as most valuable. He is a flawless man in relation to faithfully
treasuring the promises, but a flawed man in relation to his deceptive
behavior. Jacob can be compared to Samson. Samson is chosen, elected by Yahweh
to be a judge in
these skills deceptively to obtain his objectives, hurting others in the process. He is a sinner, yet a flawless man, a man of faith who walks before Yahweh flawlessly. He values the spiritual, the celestial. But he is all too willing to use evil means to obtain good ends. He has much to learn.
Esau, in contrast, is a man, a common man; a good man, but a common man appreciating the earthly, the natural. He is a sensuous man living in the present moment for the pleasure he can experience within it. He neither cherishes nor appreciates the great value of the promises of Yahweh nor his birthright. He is rather naïve, easily deceived and duped. He is not a schemer, not ambitious. He lives by means of the instincts of his bodily senses. He is wild, untamed, acting impetuously. He values the fleshly, the terrestrial. But he is all too willing to sell cheaply the birthright he despises due to a lack of appreciation for the exceptional. He learns too late.
In Isaac’s days, a famine blights the
Later, in Jacob’s time, another famine occurs. But Yahweh does
not sovereignly act to make an exception of Jacob as He had done with Isaac. Jacob
is forced to send his sons to
Yahweh then confirms the Abrahamic promises with Isaac:
I will come to be with you and bless you. For to you and your seed will I give all these lands, and carry out will I the oath which I swore to Abraham, your father. And increase will your seed as the stars of the heavens, and give will I to your seed all these lands. And blessed, in your seed, are all the nations of the earth, inasmuch as hearken did Abraham, your father, to My voice and kept My charge, My instructions, My statutes, and My laws. (Genesis 26:3b-5 CV)
The promises made to Abraham are here referred to as Yahweh’s “oath” which He “swore” to Abraham. The oath sworn guarantees the promises to the faithful ones making up the seed represented as “the stars of the heavens.” During the course of the narrations regarding the promises made to Abraham’s seed, the writer has used three analogies to represent this seed: the sand on the seashore, the stars of the heavens, and the soil of the land.
The analogy with the greatest scope refers to the seed as “the sand which is on the sea shore.” (Gen. 22:17 CV). This analogy conveys the idea of a great number, emphasizing all the circumcised, biological descendants of Abraham through Isaac, through Jacob, and through Jacob’s twelve sons to the end of the Mosaic Eon. The sand analogy includes the seed of the Woman and the seed of the Serpent. The seed of the Serpent represents the blatantly rebellious sons of Cain among the Israelites. These Israelites are not deceived. They oppose Yahweh in principle, like Cain. The seed of the Woman consists of those who are faithful to the end and those who are not faithful to the end but do not rebelliously oppose Yahweh. This latter group, like Eve, is deceived into acting unfaithfully.
However, those among the seed of the Woman who, after having their eyes opened to the deception of their Cainite brethren, act faithfully to the end become the members of the stars of the heavens seed, allottees of the Celestial Allotment promised to Abraham. But those among the deceived seed of the Woman who, after having their eyes opened to the deception of the Cainite Israelites, lack the courage to endure to the end the sufferings on behalf of the righteousness of Yahweh forfeit their right to the Celestial Allotment of the faithful children of Abraham.
The former group is referred to by the analogy of “the stars of the heavens.” Those
belonging to this group walk in the steps of faithful Abraham. Under the New Covenant,
these are the ones accounted by Yahweh as the children of Abraham worthy to
share in the celestial reward promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the
chief representatives of the “stars of
the heavens.” This “star” analogy
conveys the idea of great number, but emphasizes faithfulness. Deuteronomy 1:10
describes the second generation coming out of
The third, but earliest, analogy (Gen. 13:16) emphasizes the quality and the success of the blessed seed. It refers to the blessed seed as “the soil of the land,” indicating the fertility of the seed. It will yield a multiplication of fruit. It will be rich in nutrients (Yahweh’s Law, statutes and judgments), like the top-soil of the ground, thereby producing much fruitfulness. It is characteristic of the ones faithful to the end, the flawless ones who have Yahweh’s Law, statutes, and judgments in their hearts. This is the reason why it is the first analogy used by the writer of Genesis. It is used two other times in the Hebrew Scriptures. In Jacob’s vision of the staircase into the heavens, Yahweh promises that Jacob’s seed would become “as the soil of the land” (Gen. 28:14 CV), that is, great in number and fertile in quality. David refers to the number of the people of his kingdom as “many as the dust [Heb., soil] of the earth” (2 Chr. 1:9 RSV). The word soil is used here to convey the idea of great number as well as convey the idea of the seed’s fertility and success under David’s faithful reign. However, it must be repeated that all three analogies convey the idea of greatness of number.
The blessings are transferred to Isaac because of Abraham’s faithfulness. Abraham had hearkened to Yahweh’s voice. In that voice Abraham recognized and obeyed the Supreme El, the El of covenantal faithfulness. At the sound of Yahweh’s voice, Abraham had always been prepared to carry out the instructions of His words. For Yahweh’s words were covenantal life. His words were celestial hope. Yahweh’s words were the hope of the nation, the hope of humanity. Yahweh here testifies to Isaac that Abraham his father kept His charge, the responsibility of the blessing promised all the families of the earth (Walk before me and become flawless, Gen. 17:1); kept His instructions (offer up Isaac); kept His statutes (circumcision); kept His laws (honor thy father: Abraham does not leave his father’s house to enter the Land of Promise until after the death of his father Terah; thou shall not steal or covet: Abraham refuses to take what belonged to the king of Sodom; thou shall not commit adultery: Abraham does not take another wife until after the death of Sarah; thou shall not worship other elohim; thou shall not make any idolatrous image; thou shall not take the name of Yahweh in vain). Abraham’s faithfulness is a Memorial Rock in the sight of Yahweh guaranteeing absolutely the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham. There could not be any annulment of these promises. Abraham’s faithfulness had secured in the eyes of Yahweh the impossibility of annulment, forfeiture, cancellation, regret.
The knowledge of the laws of Yahweh that Abraham kept (as already pointed out) had been the result of the Royal Line’s recourse to Yahweh Elohim’s judgments in matters relating to social, legal, economic, and religious questions that developed out of humanity’s experience. The firstborn sons of Adam, the elohim, functioned as rulers and priests. Melchizedek’s priesthood has its roots in that Royal Line which continued to be represented after the flood in the persons of Noah and Shem.
Yahweh Elohim’s laws had been known to mankind and the nations, though these laws had not been written up or agreed to contractually. Thus, these laws were known, but neither mankind before the flood nor the nations after the flood were contractually or covenantally bound to such laws. Therefore, Paul could declare, “for where no law is there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15b KJV). By law, he means covenant.
Abraham was aware of Yahweh’s laws but was never bound by covenant to these laws. He chose, however, to keep these laws in his heart. When he sinned in relation to these laws, these sins could not be and were not counted up or charged against him. This is Paul’s meaning when he further declares, “for until law [the Mosaic Covenant] sin was in the world, yet sin is not being taken into account when there is no law [no contractual covenant between two agreeing parties]” (Rom. 5:13 CV). Before the Mosaic Law (Covenant), it was impossible for sin to reign, since SIN could not be counted up.
However, though SIN could not reign, DEATH could and did reign, since death is related to Adam and the affect of Adam’s sin, death into all men:
Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through this sin the death, and thus this death passed through into all men, upon which all have sinned—for until law sin was in the world, yet sin is not being taken into account when there is no law; nevertheless this death reigned from Adam unto Moses, over those also who do not sin upon the likeness of the transgression of Adam, . . . (Romans 5:12-14a CV modified)
The likeness of the transgression of Adam had to do with the
Mosaic Law. Adam transgressed a covenantal command of Yahweh. He was under
legal obligation. The Mosaic Covenant placed
Sin, thus, began to be counted up only in the case of
Under the New Covenant, the faithful ones out of the nations
became “fellow-citizens of the saints”
(Eph. 2:19 CV), that is, they entered the
However, they no longer needed the sacrificial blood of animals for such cleansing. The blood of Christ now cleansed them from all sin (1 Jn. 1:9). Thus, they were not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). Sin no longer would reign if they stopped accounting the old humanity as alive. Sin would be counted up only as long as they considered themselves alive to the law, only as long as they considered the Mosaic Law a ministry of life. Instead of accounting the old man alive, they were to count themselves dead to Sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11). This meant they counted themselves dead to the Mosaic Law. Their confidence was not to be in the flesh (the Mosaic Covenant), since the Mosaic Covenant had become a ministry of covenantal death.
Only in Christ were they cleansed from sin and delivered from the Second Death, the covenantal death of the Mosaic system. The Mosaic Covenant was administering covenantal death. The only alternative was the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant which was administering covenantal life. Thus, all the faithful ones had been baptized metaphorically into Christ’s death in order to share spiritually in the likeness of His resurrection, which meant sharing in the power of His spirit which was empowering them with resurrection power to walk in newness of life, new covenant life. One’s confidence would be either in the Mosaic Covenant (which meant the flesh) or in the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant (which meant the spirit).
Though Jacob is elected, while still in the womb, to be the channel through whom the Seed of Promise is to continue, he and Rebecca attempt to secure the blessing of Isaac by means of deception. After the birth of the twins, the reader is informed that Isaac loved Esau because of his hunting skills, while Rebecca loved Jacob. Such favoritism divides people and causes misunderstandings leading to unnecessary and undesirable conflict.
The intention of Jacob and Rebecca is good, but the means devised to achieve this intention are evil. Rebecca had been informed that Esau would serve Jacob. In the womb, Jacob had unsuccessfully wrestled with Esau for the position of firstborn. But Yahweh had overruled this defeat by His election of Jacob. Now Jacob attempts to wrestle the blessing of the firstborn from Isaac. Yahweh again overrules, but this time He overrules Isaac’s intention. For Isaac is deceived by Jacob and gives him the blessing of the firstborn, thinking he is Esau. However, the birthright blessing stolen by Jacob from Esau only had to do with a greater portion of the possessions of the father. The firstborn blessing stolen from Esau and wrestled deceptively from Isaac only provided the superior blessing regarding future success. The blessing of Abraham, however, is not determined necessarily by firstborn rank. Ishmael is Abraham’s firstborn by Hagar. But he is rejected. The blessing of Abraham is Yahweh’s sovereign choice. Before the birth of these two sons, Yahweh had made His choice known.
Jacob’s character as deceiver, supplanter, is incorporated into Yahweh’s purpose, thereby demonstrating how He is able to use evil wisely, intelligently, purposefully. Jacob is free to act in accord with his character. His appreciation of the exceptional things proves him better qualified for the greater responsibility of the Abrahamic blessing. But his character leaves much to be desired. He has much to learn about the ways of Yahweh.
Isaac, learning of the deception, trembles exceedingly. He has given the blessing to Jacob unintentionally, and it cannot be revoked. It is this faith that the writer of Hebrews refers to in Hebrews 11:20, “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come” (KJV). By faith Isaac understood the blessing was irrevocable. Thus, he realized the overruling of his intention by Yahweh and submitted himself to Yahweh’s decision.
Esau reveals his inferiority by holding a grudge against his
brother Jacob. In his heart, he intends to murder his brother after his
father’s death. For Esau, sin is crouching in readiness to spring forth from
the heart, as it had been for Cain. But Yahweh has chosen Jacob and will
preserve him. Rebecca learns of Esau’s intention and sends Jacob to
Esau had previously taken to wife two daughters of the
Canaanites. These had been “a bitterness
of spirit to Isaac and Rebecca” (Gen. 26:35 CV). In spite of this bitterness,
Isaac had closed his eyes to this offensive act of Esau. His intention remained
to bless Esau with the firstborn blessing. When this had been overruled by
Yahweh, Rebecca reminds Isaac of Esau’s disobedience, his dishonoring the will
of his father and mother, and even more serious, his dishonoring the will of
Yahweh. She uses this offense to convince Isaac that Jacob needs to be sent to
This blessing is reaffirmed in the course of Jacob’s journey
The staircase represents the joining of the terrestrial realm with the Celestial Realm. It implies the unifying of the terrestrial inhabitants with the Celestial Inhabitants, making one unified system. This should not be shocking, since Genesis 1:26 (KJV) has already indicated that humanity is made in the image of the elohim: “Let us make man in our image.”
This scene, however, does not only allude back to
Verily, verily, I am saying to all of you, henceforth all of you shall be seeing heaven opened up and the messengers of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. (CV modified)
The staircase represents Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man. He declares He would be the one Who bridges, unifies, joins the terrestrial world with the Celestial World. He will merge the terrestrial inhabitants and the Celestial Inhabitants into one Family, one Kingdom, one House.
He would accomplish this because He was the Son of God, the
Son of Adam, the Son of Abraham, the Son of Isaac, the Son of Jacob, the Seed of the Promise. In Him would all the families of the earth be blessed.
He first declared to
In Jacob’s dream, Yahweh confirms once more the giving of the Abrahamic blessing to Jacob. Yahweh tells Jacob not to fear the solemnity of this sublime vision. Jacob is to be given the land upon which he is lying. His seed is to become as the soil of the land (great in number and fertile in quality). All the families of the earth are to become blessed in him and his seed. Yahweh is to be with him and to keep him in all he does and wherever he goes.
Upon waking, Jacob realizes Yahweh is in this place, and this
place is fearful. He understands the place and the land are holy, separated
unto Yahweh, and thus are to be respected with great awe. He realizes that this
place (this land) is the “house of El”
and “the gateway of the heavens” (Gen.
28:17 CV). The full implication of this realization is not understood by Jacob
or his seed until the coming of The Seed, Jesus the Christ, Son of God, Son of Adam, Son of Abraham, Son of Isaac,
Son of Jacob. Jesus the Christ will
be the House of Yahweh, the gateway of the heavens. He shall spiritually
generate a new humanity, transcending the old through spiritual metamorphosis. He
shall restore the terrestrial
Rising early in the morning, Jacob sets up a stone monument as
a memorial to the greatness of this place he now names
In Genesis 26:4-5, the writer makes of Abraham a metaphorical
memorial rock or pillar upon which the Promise is secured. Yahweh’s sworn oath
to Abraham is irrevocable inasmuch as Abraham hearkened to the Voice of Yahweh,
keeping His charge, His instructions, His statutes, and His laws. Abraham as a
metaphoric memorial rock points to and through Jacob’s memorial stone to the
Rock of Yahweh’s promise, Jesus the
Christ. All the rocks of the Hebrew Scriptures are types of The Rock, even the
Rock of Moses which provided
Jacob makes his way to the
When Jacob is told by Yahweh, “Return to the land of your forefathers and to your kindred, and come
will I to be with you” (Gen. 31:3 CV), he leaves with Leah and Rachel, his
two wives, and all his children and possessions without informing Laban. Meanwhile,
Rachel had stolen Laban’s elohim. Apparently, images of the gods had become
introduced, and Laban had made for himself an image, an elohim to represent his
god, Yahweh Elohim. This does not conform to Yahweh’s law. However, the nations
are not under contractual obligation to keep Yahweh’s law as given later to
Laban is angered upon hearing that Jacob has left without informing him. But Yahweh warns Laban in a dream not to harm Jacob. Laban takes the warning seriously and concludes a covenant with Jacob, and they part on good terms.
Returning to the border of the
The theme of wrestling returns (Gen. 32:24-32) as Jacob is described as wrestling with a Man. Hosea 12:4 specifies this Man is a Messenger. Jacob had just seen in a vision the encampment of the Messengers of Yahweh. Now, alone, just before engagement with his brother Esau, he is wrestling a messenger (a celestial inhabitant) of Yahweh. His entire life has been characterized as a struggle to wrestle blessings: from Esau, from Isaac, from Laban, and now from Yahweh.
In this wrestling contest, Jacob has reached his final
wrestling match. His character is about to be transformed. This did not happen
suddenly. It had been in the process of development from the time he left Isaac
However, his wrestling, his struggling, from his time with Laban to the present has excluded deception on his part. He has learned the futility of deception. He has learned the unnecessary harmfulness of deception. In this present wrestling with the Messenger of Yahweh, he is not engaged in deception. His struggle is upright. His goal is directly communicated. His tenacious character is no longer masked by deception. He lacks nothing and openly makes his demand known. The Messenger realizes he does not prevail against this tenacity of Jacob. He touches Jacob’s thigh, which gives way. But Jacob tenaciously holds on, even as he had held on to his brother’s heel coming forth from the womb. On that earlier occasion he had figuratively/metaphorically failed to attain his goal.
The Messenger requests that Jacob release his hold on him. Jacob
responds, “Not letting you go am I save
you bless me” (Gen. 32:26b CV). The Messenger requests his name. He
responds, “Jacob.” The Messenger then
proclaims, “Not Jacob shall your name be
called longer, but rather
Jacob has prevailed because Yahweh has prevailed in Jacob’s
acquirement of wisdom and understanding. Jacob is no longer a deceiver, a
supplanter. He is upright with Elohim. As the change in Abram’s name is
significant, so also the change in Jacob’s name is significant. The nation
coming forth from his bowels will not be called Jacob, deceiver, but
Jacob would no longer be a deceiver. However, two of his sons
are to bring great trouble upon Jacob. This incident is to become most
significant to the future of the nation
Jeremiah alludes to the future significance of this incident: “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:7 KJV). Daniel also alludes to this vicious act on the part of Jacob’s sons: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [Israel] even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1 KJV). However, before examining its future significance, its present significance must be investigated.
Dinah, Jacob’s daughter by Leah, is raped by Shechem, son of
Hamor the Hivite, who is the prince of this area of
Having communicated to them the defilement of Dinah, “mortified are the mortals, and hot is their
anger exceedingly, that decadence does he in
Apparently, Jacob had delegated the problem to them, since he
is not described as the one responding to the request of Hamor. The text
indicates that Jacob is unaware of the deceitful scheme of Simeon and Levi. He
hears only of the demand that all the males of this Canaanite city be
circumcised. If this is carried out, Simeon and Levi agree to give the daughter
But Jacob could not have agreed to such a covenant. He knew
very well intermarriage with the daughters of
The proposal of Simeon and Levi brings to mind the proposal at
Hamor and Shechem persuade the mortals (the leaders) of their
city to consent to the rite of circumcision, and thus compel all males to
endure this rite by claiming, “Yea, in
this are the mortals consenting to us, to dwell with us, to become one people,
by our circumcising every male, as they circumcise. Their cattle and their
acquisitions and all their beasts, will they not be ours? Yea, in this are we
consenting to them, and they will dwell with us” (Gen. 34:22-23 CV). The
Hivites expect Jacob to dwell with them and become one people with them. This
would be to their advantage. But this would be another type of
coming are they to the trusting city, and killing are they every male. . . . and plundering are they the city which defiled their sister Dinah. And all their flocks and all their herds, and all their asses, and all that is in the city, and all that is in the field, they take. And all their estate, and all their tots and their wives, they capture. And plundering are they all that is in the city and all that is in the houses. (Genesis 34:25b-29 CV)
The writer makes certain the reader understands the evil of this deed by referring to those slain as “the trusting city.” The Hivites are acting honorably in keeping the requirements of the covenant. Their only guilt is by association with Shechem’s evil act against Dinah. But even in this association, their guilt is ameliorated by the fact that Shechem genuinely loves Dinah and seeks her as his wife. The issue could have been adjudicated simply by determining a bridal price and requiring Shechem to be circumcised and enter into the family and the Abrahamic covenant by separating himself from his family and people and becoming one with Jacob.
However, Simeon and Levi seek vengeance, not justice. Their
anger is described as exceedingly hot. It is this anger which demands,
necessitates this deceptive, evil scheme. They justify their decision and
action, which is evil in the eyes of Yahweh, on the grounds of prostitution, “As with a prostitute may he deal with our
sister?” (Gen. 34:31 CV). They claim Shechem has done “decadence . . . in
This is a sinful and evil attitude generated out of the womb of unwarranted pride and jealousy. It is a Cainish attitude and act. It is a boasting based upon a misconception of Yahweh’s election and covenantal relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The exaltation and blessing of Jacob is for the purpose of blessing the nations, not destroying them on the basis of doing what is right in your own eyes.
The deception perpetrated on the Hivites in the city of
You trouble me to make me stink among all the dwellers of the land, among the Canaanite and among the Perizzite. And I am death-doomed, outnumbered when gathered are they against me and smite me, and exterminated shall I be, I and my household. (Genesis 34:30 CV)
This prophetic word is not fulfilled in Jacob’s time. Yahweh graciously and mercifully delivers Jacob and his family, remaining faithful to His covenantal promises:
and the terror of God [Elohim] was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. (Genesis 35:5b KJV)
Yahweh commands Jacob to remove himself from Shechem and go up to Beth-El after cleansing his family of the foreign elohim taken from the Shechemites. As Yahweh at Beth-El began to deliver Jacob from his distress with Esau, so He continued to deliver Jacob from his distress, even from this evil deed committed by his two sons.
But Jacob’s prophetic words would be fulfilled against the
last generation under the Mosaic Covenant during the consummation of the Mosaic
Eon. As the blood of just Abel would be exacted from that generation, so the
evil deed of Simeon and Levi would be exacted from that same generation whose
heart and behavior would be in accord with the heart and behavior of Cain. Jacob’s
trouble would not come from outside Jacob. The source and cause of Jacob’s
trouble comes from his own sons, his own people. This would be part of the
content of the mystery or secret of the
What then is the future significance of Jacob’s trouble as
prophesied in Jeremiah and Daniel? Jeremiah describes the time of Jacob’s trouble as a great day, having no other like it
(Jer. 30:7). Daniel describes the time of
Jacob’s trouble as a time of trouble like no other time since there was a
nation (Dan. 12:1). The nation he refers to is
The context of Jeremiah’s reference to this great day is the
This word comes in Acts, chapter 15, in relation to the
question concerning the salvation of the nations. Paul and Barnabas had been
sent to the nations by the spirit of Yahweh. The Gentiles responded by
believing the Gospel of Christ. That posed a question concerning the
requirement of circumcision. The
Amos prophesied about a time when Yahweh would rebuild the
fallen tabernacle of David. This was a reference to the unified Kingdom of
David consisting of Judah and Israel. This kingdom had collapsed after the
death of Solomon. It split into two kingdoms,
The very next chapter of Jeremiah (31:18-40) proclaims
Yahweh’s Word concerning the Northern Kingdom,
Thus, Jeremiah’s prophecy in chapters 30 and 31 is not to be
interpreted literally, but metaphorically. Ephraim refers to the coming in of
the nations. She had been declared “not
My people” (Hos. 1:9). This cut Ephraim off from the Mosaic Covenant,
making her like the nations in relation to Yahweh. When Yahweh sent Paul and
Barnabas to the nations, He was calling Ephraim back from the nations and reuniting
her with her sister Judah under THE SON OF DAVID, Jesus the Messiah. But she was being called, not in relationship to the
Mosaic Covenant, but in relationship to the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant of
In this same context, Jeremiah declares, “Thus saith the Lord [Yahweh];
A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for
her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not” (Jer. 31:15 KJV my
emphasis). Again, Yahweh is referring to Ephraim, the
But this passage (Jer. 31:15) is quoted by Matthew (Matt.
2:18) as being also fulfilled in the days of the birth of Jesus. Matthew
declares that Herod’s order to kill all the male children from two years and
under in the city of
Herod was king of
Jeremiah continues his prophetic word concerning Rachel,
Thus saith the Lord [Yahweh]; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded . . . and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, . . . thy children shall come again to their own border. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, . . . as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord [Yahweh] my God [Elohim]. (Jeremiah 31:16-18 KJV)
This is metaphoric language. It must be understood
metaphorically, not literally. When Paul comes to
The people referred to are not Jews but Gentiles. These are the children Rachel has been weeping over. Their hearts have been prepared by Yahweh their Elohim in the course of their captivity, their bondage, their exclusion from the covenant blessings. In their response to the Gospel of Christ, they metaphorically return to their own border. These people belong to Yahweh. He has not forgotten them, though He cut them off from His presence for a time. “Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore . . . I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord [Yahweh]” (Jer. 31:20 KJV).
In the same context, Yahweh declares, “Behold, the days come, . . . that I will sow the house of
Daniel’s prophecy testifies to the correctness of the writers
of the Greek Scriptures. He writes that
The one who is conquering, . . . under no circumstances will I be erasing his name from the scroll of life, . . . (Revelation 3:5 CV)
And all who are dwelling on the earth will be worshiping it [the wild beast], everyone whose name is not written in the scroll of life of the Lambkin slain from the disruption of the world. (Revelation 13:8 CV)
Daniel’s “time of
trouble” (Dan. 12:1 KJV), “era of
distress,” (CV) refers to the time of John the Baptist and Jesus of
Nazareth. The latter days had arrived. The anti-type of Joseph stood in the
midst of his brothers and spoke words of truth from His Father (
This understanding of Daniel’s conception of “a time of trouble” is the
interpretation given it by Jesus Himself. Matthew, chapter 24, opens with the
disciples observing the glory of the
Jesus proceeds to answer their questions by describing certain events that must occur before the consummation arrives. The information He gives them is for their benefit. The events He describes they will experience. He warns them to take heed because these events will take place in the near future, their future, “Beware that no one should be deceiving YOU” (Matt. 24:4 CV my emphasis).
In the midst of this discourse, He declares, “Whenever, then, YOU may be perceiving the
abomination of desolation, which is declared through Daniel the prophet,
standing in the holy place (let him who is reading apprehend!); then let those
Daniel’s prophecy concerning this time of trouble during the era of the end also foretold of a resurrection: “From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life and these to reproach for eonian repulsion” (Dan. 12:2 CV). This resurrection is not a biological resurrection of the body out from the ground or up from the grave. It is a metaphorical resurrection referring to the restoration of covenantal life.
This resurrection restored their standing under the obligations and blessings of the Mosaic Covenant. They were graciously given a clean slate and a new start. But this meant they would be required to keep the Law. If they did so, they experienced the continued covenantal life of the Mosaic Covenant. If they did not keep the Law, they experienced the reproach of covenantal repulsion or covenantal death. Thus, this resurrection restored them to a justified, a righteous, a legal standing in the presence of the light of the Law.
This prophecy of Daniel corresponds to the teaching of Jesus
before His death and resurrection. When Jesus begins His ministry, He proclaims
the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Heavens. This Gospel calls for repentance. It
is first proclaimed by John the Baptist who is authorized by Yahweh to forgive
sins and restore covenantal relationship on the basis of repentance and
obedience to the Law of Moses. John the Baptist is murdered and thus rejected
by the rulers of
Jesus then continues that ministry. He is authorized by Yahweh His Father to forgive sins; restore covenantal relationship (life); and perform signs and miracles calling for repentance, obedience to the Law of Moses, and faith commitment to Him (Jesus). The last requirement would be vital because of the impending death of the Mosaic Covenant. An enormous change is on the horizon. The Mosaic Covenant would soon be unable to provide covenantal life. Thus, it would become vital to be identified with Jesus.
The foregoing is the background upon which the teaching of
Jesus in John 5:21-29 is highlighted. Jesus once again is expounding a prophecy
of Daniel. He begins by declaring, “For
even as the Father is rousing the dead and vivifying, thus the Son also is
vivifying whom He will” (Jn. 5:21 CV). The “Father” refers to Yahweh Elohim. At Sinai, Yahweh breathed into
the nostrils of
But Jesus claims that He also is vivifying even as the Father. Notice the use of the present tense verbs. Rousing and vivifying are presently going on. The rousing and vivifying referred to in John 5:21 is metaphorical language communicating truth concerning covenantal life and death.
The Father, Yahweh, has given all judging to the Son, Jesus, in order that “all may be honouring the Son, according as they are honoring the Father. He who is not honoring the Son is not honoring the Father Who sends Him” (Jn. 5:23 CV). Is it any wonder that the Jewish leaders would be offended by such a person making such claims?! Is this not Joseph declaring his dream to his parents and brothers, a dream exalting him above all of them?! Is this not the exceedingly hot anger of Simeon and Levi against Shechem for defiling the holy daughter of Jacob, the favored of Yahweh Elohim?!
The rulers of
Jesus continues His teaching using the present tense: “he who is hearing my word and believing Him
Who sends Me, has life eonian and is not coming into judging, but has proceeded
out of death into life” (Jn. 5:24b CV). Those presently hearing and
believing His word as coming from Yahweh are said to presently have eonian
life, that is, age-abiding life. Jesus here refers to the Mosaic Eon and the
life provided by the Mosaic Covenant. Only
But the nation had failed to keep the Law and, at the time of John the Baptist and Jesus, is sitting in the shadow of death and darkness (see Matt. 4:16). Repentance and renewed commitment to the Mosaic Law rouses the believer of the Gospel out of covenantal death and vivifies the believer with the light of life channeled through the Law. Jesus is thus restoring Israelites to the life of the Mosaic Covenant, making them once again members in good standing.
But the Mosaic Law is terrestrial and temporal. It is without power or authority to redeem from physical death, the common death of all humanity (Num. 16:29). It could not provide the celestial hope and reward. It could not provide the life and immortality of the New Covenant and the age to come (cf. 1 Cor. 15:53-54; 1 Tim. 6:16). The Mosaic Covenant was old, decrepit, and terrestrial. It was about to die. It was necessary that it die. For out of its death would come the life of the prophesied New Covenant, the life of the age to come, life in the Celestial Jerusalem.
Jesus then elaborates further on this present life:“coming is an hour, and now is, when the dead shall be hearing the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will be living” (Jn. 5:25b CV). This is commentary on what was said in verse 24. The dead are Israelites. Their death is covenantal death. The Son is presently speaking and those presently hearing, believing, obeying shall be living upon such hearing. They shall be living once again covenantally. To be restored to a righteous relationship to the Mosaic Covenant meant to be righteously related to their covenant God, Yahweh their Elohim, and that meant life in the covenantal presence of Yahweh.
But surprisingly Jesus reveals the necessity of another
resurrection: “for coming is the hour in
which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and those who do good
things shall go out into a resurrection of life, yet those who commit bad
things, into a resurrection of judging” (Jn. 5:28b-29 CV modified). This is
the resurrection of Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 12:2). This resurrection had not
yet occurred. Its hour is still to come. Those hearing His voice are “in the tombs,” that is, they are
buried. But this burial is not literal, but metaphorical. The ones in the tombs
are those who remain faithful to Jesus by continuing to identify with Him even
in His death. Thus, this resurrection is associated with the death and burial
of Jesus (see
This resurrection could not occur until after His crucifixion death, burial, and resurrection. It would also be a covenantal resurrection providing covenantal life, the life of the New Covenant, spiritual life, celestial life reaching its consummation, its telos in the victory over the common death of all humanity at the consummation of the Parousia of Christ. This life, for the faithful ones, would lead to immortality at the consummation of the Mosaic Eon. After the Mosaic Eon, biological death for the rest of humanity would no longer be the last word. For after such death, there would be another verdict of God in relation to all humanity, justification of life—immortal life.
All the faithful ones sharing in the resurrection occurring after the death and resurrection of Jesus share in the life of the New Covenant. According to John 5:29, those sharing in this New Covenant resurrection who “do good things shall go out into a resurrection of life, yet those who commit bad things, into a resurrection of judging” (CV modified). This is Jesus’ commentary on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2: “these to eonian life and these to reproach for eonian repulsion” (CV). Each group shares in a resurrection. The outcome of this resurrection, however, varies according to faithfulness or unfaithfulness to the requirements of the New Covenant.
Paul explains this as being baptized into Christ’s death. All those in Christ by faith have been planted together into Christ’s death in order that they might also participate in the likeness of His resurrection. This is metaphorical language. No one was literally baptized into Christ’s death. This has to do with covenantal identification.
The one identified with Christ in His death is also identified with Christ in His resurrection. To be planted together into Christ’s death is to share in His death to the old covenant. To remain in Christ means sharing in the likeness of His resurrection in order to walk in newness of life. What life? The life of the New Covenant empowered by the poured out spirit of God. The Mosaic Covenant, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, could not administer or impart covenantal life. It could only administer or impart covenantal death. This is referred to in the Greek Scriptures as the Second Death. Only in Christ could one escape the harm of the Second Death. Paul writes,
Thus you also, be reckoning yourselves to be dead, indeed to Sin, yet living to God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Let not Sin, then, be reigning in your mortal body for you to be obeying its lusts. . . . but present yourselves to God as if alive from among the dead, . . . For Sin shall not be lording it over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14 CV)
This “reckoning” or accounting distinguishes those having a resurrection of life from those having a resurrection of judging. Both groups are baptized into Christ’s Death. Both groups initially participate in His Resurrection. Only those who continue faithful to the end, however, attain to the resurrection of life, the out-resurrection (Phil. 3:11 CV, NGEINT), the consummation of the Resurrection of the Christ. Those failing to remain faithful to the end attain to the resurrection of judgment, the covenantal judgment of the Second Death. The one faithful to the end will be continually to the end accounting himself dead with Christ to the Mosaic Covenant and will be continually to the end accounting himself alive with Christ to the New Covenant. Thus, he will be sharing in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection (standing up) in order that he might with this newness of life be continually to the end walking as covenantally alive to God.
The only way sin can be reigning is if one is under law. For where there is law there is a counting up of sins. But in Christ, the faithful one is dead to the Law of Moses. If dead, then he is no longer under the law. If no longer under the law, then sin cannot be counted up and, so, cannot reign. Thus, life and service before God is only possible in Christ in association with the New Covenant. For if one is to account the law as a ministry of life before God, one then returns to the Mosaic Covenant, is under the reign of sin, and is under the curse of the law which is the Second Death.
When one is alive from among the dead, one is delivered from among the dead-ones under the curse of the law. Again, this is metaphorical language referring to covenantal death and life. Jesus was the seed representing the Mosaic Covenant. Unless the seed was planted and died, it would not bring forth new life. The Mosaic Covenant was a seed, a system, an order, which had to be planted in order for it to die and bring forth fruit. Jesus had to be planted into the ground of death in order to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He had to bring the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant of Law to its death in order to bring forth out of the old covenant’s death (the curse of the Law) the life of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant (Jn. 12:24).
In order to experience the life of the New Covenant, the faithful one had to metaphorically experience the death of the old covenant. Thus, the faithful one given the life of the Mosaic Covenant by the Baptist and Jesus had to continue his identification with Jesus by becoming entombed with Him. Being entombed with Christ, he died with Christ to the Mosaic Covenant and rose with Christ to the life of the New Davidic/Abrahamic Covenant, “We, then, were entombed together with Him through baptism into death, that, even as Christ was roused from among the dead through the glory of the Father, thus we also should be walking in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4 CV). In order to escape the Second Death, one had to remain in Christ walking in the newness of life imparted by the New Covenant, even as Enoch, Noah, and Abraham walked before Yahweh flawlessly, that is, faithfully to the end. This, each individual in Christ “should” be doing. This demanded an act of the will to live, to walk faithfully in accordance with the requirements of the New Covenant. Thus, Paul declares,
And am even I having confidence in flesh [old covenant], also? If anyone is presuming to have confidence in flesh, I rather: in circumcision the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, in relation to law, a Pharisee, in relation to zeal, persecuting the ecclesia, in relation to the righteousness which is in law, becoming blameless. But things which were gain to me, these I have deemed a forfeit because of Christ. But, to be sure, I am also deeming all to be a forfeit because of the superiority of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, because of Whom I forfeited all [these things], and am deeming them to be refuse, in order that I should be gaining Christ, and may be found in Him, not having my righteousness, which is of law, but that which is through the faithfulness of Christ, the righteousness which is from God upon this faithfulness: to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, conforming to His death, if somehow I should be attaining to the out-resurrection that is out from among the dead. (Philippians 3:4-11 CV modified)
Paul counted the advantages of the old covenant as “refuse” in order to be found in Christ. In Christ was the life and righteousness of the New Covenant. In Christ was the fulfillment of the promises made in the Law and the Prophets. But Paul understood he had to pursue this prize (Phil. ) by continuing faithfully to the end, which end was near at hand. He sought to attain to the “out-resurrection,” the out-up-standing out from among the dead. The out-resurrection was the resurrection to life promised to all those who remained faithful to the end, to those walking flawlessly before Yahweh Elohim in accord with the New Covenant life and righteousness based upon the faithfulness of Christ. Paul did not desire to attain to the resurrection of judging (Jn. ), which meant a return to the confidence in the flesh, a return to the Mosaic Covenant for righteousness and life.
To return to the Mosaic Covenant for life and righteousness is to apostatize from Christ, “crucifying . . . the Son of God again and holding Him up to infamy” (Heb. 6:6b CV). Those who abandon the life and righteousness of the New Covenant no longer believe in the impending eon, the impending hope, the impending Parousia of Christ. They declare, “Where is the promise of His presence [parousia]?” (2 Pe. 3:4a CV). These are the ones who tasting “the celestial gratuity . . . becoming partakers of holy spirit and tasting . . . the powerful deeds of the impending eon, and falling aside” (Heb. 6:4b-6 CV) cannot be renewed to repentance because, having crucified the Son of God again, they cut themselves off from the only hope for life and righteousness, Christ Jesus. Such a person is no longer found in Christ in His death and resurrection. He comes to be found outside Christ and inside the Mosaic Covenant, which at that time becomes a ministry of death. Such a person is analogous to land “bringing forth thorns and star thistles, it is disqualified and near a curse, whose consummation is burning” (Heb. 6:8b CV).
metaphorically to the termination, death of the Mosaic Covenant and literally
to the blazing destruction of the
Now the day of the Lord will be arriving as a thief, in which the heavens shall be passing by with a booming noise, yet the elements shall be dissolved by combustion, and the earth [land] and the works in it shall be found. At these all, then, dissolving, to what manner of men must you belong in holy behavior and devoutness, hoping for and hurrying the presence [parousia] of God’s day, because of which the heavens being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements decompose by combustion! Yet we, according to His promises, are hoping for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness is dwelling. (2 Peter 3:10-13 CV)
Peter is not forecasting the literal destruction by fire of
the heavens and the earth. He had been taught by Jesus that the
Such a judgment by Yahweh had been referred to by the prophets
of the Hebrew Scriptures as The Day of
The Lord. Yahweh was about to judge
Peter warns his readers that the day of the Lord will be arriving as a thief. This analogy is the very analogy used by Jesus to describe the coming of the Son of Man: “if the householder were aware in what watch the thief is coming, he would watch, and would not let his house be tunneled into. Therefore you also become ready, for in an hour which you are not supposing, the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 24:43-44 CV).
The heavens passing by with a booming noise (2 Pe. 3:10,
quoted above) refers to the destruction of the
With the destruction of the
In place of this covenant, this age, this heavens and earth,
Yahweh established a new heavens and a new earth, in which there was no
Christ was now the head of humanity. His Ecclesia, His Bride,
His Body, His Wife, His Complement was now the mother of all living (1 Cor.
15:48-49 CV). A new age began with the destruction of the
All of this, of course, is to be understood from the point of view of God. Yahweh Elohim views the history of humanity from 70 a.d. to the present as described above. This does not mean, however, that mankind as a whole views things in this manner.
From God’s point of view, Jesus began to reign on the throne
of David at His resurrection and ascension. His faithful Israelite kinsmen, the
Saints, shared in His sufferings and in His reign (Dan. 7:18) as He
metaphorically fought (Rev. 19:11-21) to place His enemies under His feet in
the course of establishing His kingdom in order to bring about the fulfillment
of the Law and the Prophets. Having succeeded, He handed this kingdom over to
His Father. Thus, the
In this kingdom, righteousness is currently dwelling (2 Pe. ), the righteousness of Christ based upon His faithfulness. This righteousness is the foundation upon which the new age, the new heavens and earth, the new Jesuic humanity headed up by Christ is functioning, from the viewpoint of Yahweh Elohim. Mankind’s relationship with God has been essentially changed. Its history has been in the process of metamorphosis. It is not the characteristic of this kingdom that all men are righteous. It is Christ’s righteousness that characterizes this kingdom, and it is His righteousness that dwells within it as the spiritual dynamic guiding its metamorphosis.
The time of Jacob’s trouble in the Book of Genesis, however, had not yet reached its consummation. Jacob’s trouble increases as a result of the enmity between Joseph and his older brothers. Genesis chapter 37 begins the tenth and final “generation” in the Book of the Generations of Adam begun in Genesis 5:1. This section brings the Book of Genesis to its consummation, as well as consummating Jacob’s trouble during his lifetime. His troubled soul is relieved in finding comfort serendipitously in Yahweh’s awe-inspiring blessing—the metaphorical resurrection of his son Joseph.
Chapter 37 begins the record of the generations of Jacob. This record focuses on Joseph (Jacob’s firstborn son generated out of Rachel) in his relation to his family, especially his brothers. Joseph becomes the favored son of Jacob. This honor becomes externalized when Jacob provides Joseph a distinctive tunic. Joseph is depicted as being upright, honest, and faithful. As a boy of 17, he faithfully and righteously reports to his father the “evil mutterings” of his brothers Dan and Naphtali (of Rachel’s maid Bilhah) and Gad and Asher (of Leah’s maid Zilpah). Such divisiveness could imperil the security and welfare of the family.
As a result of Joseph’s favored position and righteous character, his brothers begin hating him. Once again, the reader is reminded of the theme of Cain and Abel. As the unrighteous Cain hates his righteous brother Abel, so also do the unrighteous brothers hate the righteous Joseph. As Cain’s heart toward his brother nurtures evil, so also the hearts of Joseph’s brothers nurture evil toward their brother. After Joseph announces his two dreams to his brothers, this hatred becomes manifested in jealousy: “And jealous are his brothers of him, . . .” (Gen. 37:11 CV). Hatred and jealousy toward Joseph result in a plot to kill him.
Though Joseph is not to channel the ongoing line of the seed of Promise, his story is significant because it reveals the faithfulness of Yahweh in spite of the unfaithfulness of His elect people. The reader becomes aware of the evil thoughts and actions of Jacob’s sons, whose evil hearts lead them into deceptive schemes which dishonor their father and their Elohim. They weave a deceptive web of lies in which they themselves will be caught.
This becomes a warning to
Joseph is not to channel the ongoing line of the seed of Promise;
This is the significance of the episode of Judah and Tamar,
placed in the text precisely after the successful scheme against Joseph.
Er, however, is “evil in
the eyes of Yahweh” (Gen. 38:7 CV). Yahweh puts him to death. Onan, acting
unrighteously, does evil in the eyes of Yahweh in his scheme to avoid raising
seed for his brother, Er. He, also, is put to death by Yahweh. This put the
The story of Joseph foreshadows the One sent before
In the first dream of Joseph (Gen. 37:5-7), he and his brothers are binding sheaves in the field. Joseph’s sheaf stands upright. In response, the sheaves of his brothers prostrate themselves before Joseph’s sheaf. Immediately, the brothers grasp the significance of the dream. They declare, “Shalt thou indeed reign over us?” (Gen. 37:8a KJV). This dream increases their hatred of Joseph. But this hatred is now extended to his very words: “And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words” (Gen. 37:8b KJV). For Joseph’s words are upright and true. His words reflect his integrity, his flawlessness.
It is interesting to note that in the account of Joseph’s
life, the author records not a single blemish on his character. There is
recorded not a single error in his thought, his judgment, or his behavior. This
is not the case with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. His account of Joseph is
by far the lengthiest section of the Book of Genesis. Judah, through whom the
royal seed is to come, is given only one chapter, and that chapter is provided
to indicate the evil tendencies of the sons of Jacob and the necessity for the
one sent ahead. The people of Yahweh will need to be enslaved and humiliated in
order to separate them psychologically, religiously, socially, and economically
from the nations. They will go through metaphorical death in
Joseph is the one sent ahead in order that Yahweh might use the evil of Joseph’s brothers to bring about good. Out of their evil, Yahweh will create good. Thus, Joseph’s enemies are the members of his own family. This is precisely the case with Jesus of Nazareth. Joseph’s brothers hate him out of jealousy due to his father’s favor. They hate him not only because their father exalts him, but because he also exalts himself by the arrogant proclamation of his dreams. They are not concerned with truth, nor are they concerned with the purpose of Yahweh. They judge Joseph by means of their understanding of good and evil. They do what is good in their own eyes rather than investigate what is good in the eyes of Yahweh. They act selfishly in accord with the flesh and reveal themselves as the blind leading the blind.
When Jesus presents Himself to
However, unlike Joseph, Jesus understood He was the One sent ahead to turn His brethren’s evil into good, to turn their slavery into freedom. He knew their hearts and was aware of their blindness. He knew they would deliver Him up to death. But He also knew that through this death He would deliver them out of bondage. He would restore their sight. He would preserve the nation and provide the nation with the salvation and sustenance promised in the Law and the Prophets. He would overcome their jealousy with the revelation of His love which was a gift of Yahweh their Elohim. What they meant for evil, Yahweh used for good.
Joseph’s second dream is told to his father and his brothers (Gen. 37:9-11). In this dream, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars are prostrating themselves before Joseph. Jacob rebukes Joseph, immediately understanding the significance of this dream. His father and mother and eleven brothers would bow down in subjection to his rule. His brothers, once again, respond with jealousy. But, unlike his brothers who take offense at his words, Jacob his father “keeps the word” (Gen. 37:11 CV). Jacob ponders Joseph’s word in his heart. He is not offended, just surprised and perplexed concerning its meaning.
When Jacob sends Joseph to join his brothers who are grazing
the flocks, they seize the opportunity to plot his death. Reuben seeks to
deliver Joseph from his brothers by persuading them not to shed his blood. He
persuades them to place Joseph in a cistern to be left to die. His plan was to
deliver Joseph from the cistern and return him to his father. But
Joseph is then sold into
It is while in Potiphar’s service that Joseph is tempted by Potiphar’s wife to enter into an illicit relationship with her. He refuses, saying, “Behold! My lord knows naught of me in the house [with me around, my lord does not concern himself with anything in the house, NASB modified], and all, forsooth, that is his he gives into my hand. No one is greater in this house than I, and he has not kept back aught from me save you, in that you are his wife. And how shall I do this great evil and sin against Elohim?” (Gen. 39:8b-9 CV). Joseph refuses to sin against Potiphar or Elohim. He is a righteous man, a man of integrity, a man who honors and obeys Yahweh Elohim’s revealed will as passed down from Adam. He is a faithful servant to his terrestrial master and his Celestial Master. He is then accused by Potiphar’s wife of attempting to seduce her and is imprisoned as a result. By refusing to come under the seductive power of Potiphar’s wife, he is accused and prosecuted for attempting fornication with the wife of Potiphar.
Joseph, under relentless temptation, is shown to be without
blemish. This episode foreshadows the temptation of Jesus by The Adversary, who
desires that Jesus fall down and worship him. Jesus replies, “Go away, Satan, for it is written, ‘The Lord your God shall you be
worshiping, And to Him only shall you be offering divine service’” (Matt.
4:10 CV). As a result, like Joseph, Jesus is eventually accused of and
prosecuted for worshiping The Adversary. He is said to be a blasphemer of the
God of Israel and worker of powerful deeds through the power of Satan. Again,
it should be noted that the enemy of Joseph and Jesus is to be found within,
not outside, the household. Joseph is accused of and prosecuted for being a
seducer by the very seductress herself. Jesus is accused of and prosecuted for
being the servant of The Adversary by the very children of The Adversary
himself. In both cases, the innocent person becomes the victim of a lie. Potiphar’s
wife is well aware of the innocence of Joseph. The rulers of
However, even this injustice is turned to Joseph’s advantage. Yahweh continues to be with Joseph, even in prison. The chief officer of the prison shows Joseph much kindness and in the process begins to favor him. Eventually, Joseph is put in charge of all the prisoners. In all his endeavors, Joseph is prospered by Yahweh. In the course of time, two servants of Pharaoh are cast into prison. Each has a dream which Joseph is able to interpret: “Do not interpretations belong to Elohim?” (Gen. 40:8b CV). Yahweh reveals to Joseph the meaning of the dreams of each of these men. The cupbearer’s dream reveals he will be restored to his position in three days. The chief baker’s dream reveals he will be hung in three days. Joseph asks the chief cupbearer to remember him before Pharaoh after he is restored to his position. Both interpretations prove correct. But the chief cupbearer forgets to remember Joseph.
Two years later, to the day, Pharaoh has two dreams. All the
sacred scribes and wise men of
Joseph exalts Elohim as the revealer of dreams and proclaims Elohim’s
activity in the world of men. Pharaoh is told that Elohim will be causing seven
years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. Joseph recommends that
Pharaoh find a man of understanding and wisdom and set him over the
After Elohim has made known to you all this, there is no one as understanding and wise as you. You shall be over my household, and at your bidding all my people shall bear weapons. But on the throne will I be greater than you. (Genesis 41:39-40 CV)
Joseph is exalted to the highest position in
All these honors typologically point to the Coming One, the
Sent One of Yahweh Elohim, Jesus the
Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God. Joseph’s exaltation by Pharaoh is a
picture of Christ’s exaltation by Yahweh after Jesus’ death, burial,
resurrection, and ascension. As Joseph was unjustly sold into slavery in
Symbolically, Joseph’s enslavement in
As Joseph is exalted by Pharaoh over all Egypt and becomes the
one providing sustenance for the nations in a time of great famine, so Jesus is
exalted by Yahweh over all the nations and becomes the one providing the
necessary sustenance for the nations to pass through the time of great famine
represented by the ancient world and the worship of the gods. With the
proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, spiritual sustenance is provided to both
As Joseph’s exaltation by Pharaoh created a new order, a new humanity, a new heavens and earth (metaphorically speaking), so Jesus’ exaltation by Yahweh created a new order, a new hierarchy, a new heavens and earth (metaphorically speaking). As Joseph rules under Pharaoh’s authority, so Jesus rules under Yahweh’s authority. As Joseph replaces the former supervisor under Pharaoh, so Jesus replaces Adam, the former supervisor under Yahweh Elohim.
Finally, as Pharaoh gives Joseph a royal wife, so Yahweh gives Jesus a royal wife—His Ecclesia, His Bride, His Body, His Complement. Jesus speaks of this gift of Yahweh as follows:
All that which the Father is giving to Me shall be arriving to Me, . . . all which He has given to Me, of it I should be losing nothing, but I shall be raising it in the last day. (John 6:37, 39 CV)
Paul refers to this relationship when he declares,
Husbands, be loving your wives according as Christ also loved the ecclesia, and gave Himself up for its sake, that He should be hallowing it, cleansing it . . . presenting to Himself a glorious ecclesia, not having spot or wrinkle . . . that it may be holy and flawless. (Ephesians 5:25-27 CV)
When the seven years of famine begin, Jacob sends his sons to
This opens an opportunity for Joseph
to increase their anxiety even further. He will test their truthfulness. One of
the brothers will remain in
Before the nine brothers leave, Joseph instructs his servants to place the purchase price in the bags of food. When one of the brothers discovers this money, they are even more perplexed, not knowing whether to rejoice or to grieve, each man saying to his brother, “What is this that Elohim does to us?” (Gen. 42:28b CV). On the one hand, Elohim seems to be distressing them for their evil deed. Yet, on the other hand, He seems to be blessing them. Such perplexity becomes cause for soul-searching reflection.
Jacob is told of all that happened to them. When each man empties his sack after arriving home each finds his money. With this additional awareness, Jacob and his sons become more fearful. Jacob’s distressed soul reminds them of the trouble they have caused him, “Me you bereave! Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and Benjamin you will take! On me come all these things” (Gen. 42:36 CV).
At the end of the second year of the famine, the brothers
And now, when I return to your servant, our father, and the youth is not with us, when his soul is tied to his soul, and it comes as he sees that no youth is with us, he will die, and down will your servants bring the gray hairs of your servant, our father, by affliction to the unseen [sheol]. . . . For how shall I go up to my father, and the youth is not with us, lest I shall see the evil which will find my father? (Genesis 44:30-31, 34 CV modified)
Joseph’s wise decisions and actions have been used by Yahweh
to soften the heart of the brothers (as illustrated in
Joseph realizes their need for assurance. His manifestation to them causes much perplexity—should they tremble in fear or tremble in joy?! He gently responds to their bewilderment,
Come close, pray, to me. . . . I am Joseph,
your brother, whom you sold to
This manifestation of Joseph to his brothers and these words of revelation foreshadow the manifestation of Jesus to Saul of Tarsus and the words spoken to Saul:
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? . . . I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting. Nevertheless, rise and enter the city, and it will be spoken to you what you must be doing. (Acts 9:4-6 CV)
Saul had been persecuting Jesus by persecuting His ecclesia. Saul had been an enemy within Jesus’ own household, as had been and still were the Chief Priest, the Sanhedrin, the Scribes, and the Pharisees—the rulers of Israel. Saul had been blind and ignorant. His heart had been circumcised, but his mind had been blind to the activity of Yahweh in relation to His favored Son, Jesus. Thus, Saul, as son of Jacob, a brother of Joseph, had been thinking and acting as Jacob’s sons of trouble, as Joseph’s brothers in their hatred of and jealousy toward Joseph.
Saul is thus to be viewed as a representative of the blind and
ignorant Israel of God, enemies of Jesus and Yahweh, enemies of the Gospel of
Christ, but soon to be delivered from the then current time of covenantal
famine (Mosaic Covenant), time of Jacob’s trouble (persecution of Jesus the Christ, the antitype of Joseph) by
Jesus’ revelation of Himself to His brothers (the Israel of Yahweh, the ten
brothers) by His Parousia. Paul understands his experience of Christ’s
manifestation to him on the road to
Grateful am I to Him Who invigorates me, Christ Jesus, our Lord, for He deems me faithful, assigning me a service, I, who formerly was a calumniator and a persecutor and an outrager: But I was shown mercy, seeing that I did it being ignorant in unbelief. Yet the grace of our Lord overwhelms, . . . that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, foremost of whom am I. But therefore was I shown mercy, that in me, the foremost, Jesus Christ should be displaying all His patience, for a pattern of those who are about to be believing on Him for life eonian. (1 Timothy 1:12-16 CV)
Saul/Paul’s salvation on the road to
However, when Yahweh shows Saul/Paul mercy by spiritually opening
his eyes on the road to
This, Paul believes, will also be the experience of other Israelites like himself who were then presently still in blindness and ignorance. Impending is the time when Jesus the Christ will manifest Himself to the remaining Israelites, who, like Saul/Paul, are being counted by Yahweh as children of Abraham, children of the promise. Of these Israelites, Paul declares,
For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this
secret, brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent among yourselves, that
callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the complement of the nations
may be entering. And thus all
This was to occur in that very generation contemporaneous with
Jesus and His Apostles. Thus, according to all the writers of the Greek
Scriptures, we today are to understand that the salvation of all
Paul’s phrase “the
complement of the nations” refers us back to the story of Joseph in
Genesis. In chapter 48, Jacob takes Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as his
own. They will be counted as the seed of Jacob and will receive an allotment in
The word “complement” means to complete. If a pie is divided into four pieces and one is removed, that single piece would be the complement of the three remaining pieces. It would be the piece that completes the whole. When Paul was made an apostle to the nations in order for Yahweh to call out of the nations a people for His name, he understood his commission to be the fulfilling of Genesis 48:19 and Hosea 1:10-11:
Yet the number of the sons of
The ministry of Paul to the nations was the gathering of
Now after they hushed, James answered, saying, “Men! Brethren! Hear me! Simeon unfolds how God first visits the nations, to obtain out of them a people for His name. And with this agree the words of the prophets, according as it is written,
After these things I will turn back,
“And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen . . .
And its overturned structure will I rebuild,
And I will re-erect it . . .
So that those left of the
men [the house of David, the Southern
As well as all the nations [the Lo-Ammi Northern Kingdom of
Is saying the Lord, Who is doing these things.” (Acts 15:13-17 CV modified)
The complement of the nations (the Lo-Ammi
. . . the gospel that you heard which has been proclaimed to every creature [elect creation] under heaven of which I, Paul, became the dispenser. (Colossians 1:23 my translation)
Therefore, the Parousia of Christ did occur in the first century and certainly before the end of 70 a.d. The writers of the Greek Scriptures and those believing the Gospel of Christ and becoming faithful to the end were not mistaken. They expected Christ’s Parousia during that generation, and they were not disappointed.
Joseph then summons Jacob to go down to
Jacob travels to
Yahweh is with Jacob. Yahweh is with
In such a time, the story of Joseph will remind them of
Yahweh’s faithfulness and the principle that “You devised against me evil, yet Elohim devises it for me for good . .
.” (Gen. 50:20 CV). There will be another Joseph, another Moses, another
one sent ahead to preserve life. Moses encourages every Israelite to be
faithful to Yahweh to the end. For His purposes cannot fail to be attained. His
faithfulness will not be diverted to another nation. If