This is Chapter 4 of the book titled The Destiny of Israel and the Twilight of Christianity: In Quest of the Meaning and Significance of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, by John Saggio.

                CHAPTER 4



Table of Contents

     Abraham's Heart
     Romans 9:7-8
     Abram's Heir
     Abram and Hagar
     Jacob and Esau
     Jacob and Laban
     Jacob's Trouble
          Dinah, Simeon, and Levi
          Jacob's Prophetic Words

Table of Contents, Page 2

     Egypt as Symbol





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 Israel: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Abram is the firstborn son of Terah. He is born in Ur of the Chaldeans. Though he is a descendant of Shem through Peleg, his homeland is within the kingdom of Nimrod, descendant of Ham. While still in Ur of the Chaldeans, Yahweh calls him out of the land of his birth and away from his kindred to a land He would show him. As it turns out, that land would be the land of the Canaanites, descendants of Canaan, the cursed son of Ham.

However, it must be noted that the curse of Canaan consisted of his becoming “a servant of servants . . . for his brothers” (Gen. 9:25b CV). This curse indicates nothing about religious or moral corruption. Canaan was simply to be a servant of servants to his brothers Shem and Japheth. A servant of servants would be the chief, the highest servant whose labor would be most beneficial to those he served, rather than himself. This does not necessitate moral or religious evil. As shall be seen later in the history of Israel in Canaan, those Canaanites who subjected themselves as “a servant of servants” to the favored nation of Yahweh were blessed in the land, though benefiting Israel more than themselves.

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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.

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Election and the Celestial Reward

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.

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Abraham’s Heart

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 Sodom and Gomorrah, reveals the conclusion of His reading:

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.

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The Promise Made to Abram on Behalf of His Seed

After Abram leaves Haran at the age of 75, obeying Yahweh’s earlier call, Yahweh appears to Abram in Shechem promising his seed the land of Canaan which Abram has just entered. The promise of this land is not given to Abram himself. He would never possess the land. This land was not to be his hope. The testimony of Stephen before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem confirms this:

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 land of Canaan.

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The Hope of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

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. 1:14). 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 Jerusalem for the fulfillment of their hope. They had come outside the gate of the terrestrial city and outside the camp of the Mosaic Covenant to the gate of the Celestial Jerusalem and the “fresh” covenant established by the blood of Jesus. They had not yet entered the gate, but entrance through the gate into the celestial city was impending for them. It was not generations away or thousands of years away. In Hebrews, chapter 11, the author, writing of all the faithful ones listed (including those who had received the allotment of the terrestrial land), declares,

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 Temple and Jerusalem in 70 a.d. the Mosaic Eon ended and John 14:2-3 was fulfilled. Where has Jesus been for the past 2,000 years? Where He has been is where His ecclesia also has been and continues to be.

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The Duration of the Promised Tenancy of the Land

After Lot separates from Abram, Yahweh again speaks to Abram. Again, Abram is told that Yahweh gives the land of Canaan to his seed. However, Yahweh adds “till the eon” (Gen. 13:15 CV). There is a time limitation (cf. Gen. 13:15, 17 CV). The Hebrew word used by Yahweh according to the text is olam. This word does not mean eternal. A careful examination of its usage throughout the Hebrew Scriptures will make this clear. The word olam in Hebrew is the equivalent of the word eon in Greek. Yahweh promises the land of Canaan to Abram’s seed only for the duration of the age (eon). At the time this was spoken to Abram, the age referred to the Adamic Age. Later, it would be further limited to within the duration of the Mosaic Age and would be bound up with the telos of the Mosaic Covenant. After these limits, Yahweh would not be covenantally obligated to maintain this land for Israel. However, having chosen Jacob/Israel for Himself before the covenants made with Abram/Abraham and before the establishment of the Sinatic Covenant and having designated the land of Canaan as Israel’s terrestrial allotment among the nations before the establishment of these same covenants (see Deut. 32:7-9), the land of Canaan remains the legal possession of Jacob/Israel according to the flesh, the terrestrial seed of Abraham referred to as the sand of the seashore.

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Abram and Melchizedek

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 son, Lot. Trusting Yahweh, he defeats the Babylonian armies which had just defeated the Canaanite forces representing the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar. He recovers all the goods, the women, and the people taken from these cities, and his nephew Lot with his goods.

Upon returning from this great victory (the initial fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise to make Abram’s name great), the king of Sodom and the king of Salem go forth to meet Abram. Melchizedek, King of Salem, is also a priest of the El Supreme (the Most High El). He brings forth bread and wine and blesses Abram, attributing Abram’s victory to the Supreme El:

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 Babel. A priesthood associated with Yahweh as the El Supreme owner of the heavens and the earth must have been initiated, most likely by Noah himself. This passage is the first reference to priest and priesthood in the Hebrew Scriptures. Humanity, and later the nations, having recourse to Yahweh Elohim through Adam and his Royal Line, must have learned much concerning Yahweh Elohim’s statutes, judgments, and laws as they inquired of Elohim and His Royal Line in relation to questions concerning the determination of good and evil in specific social, legal, and religious cases. Adam and his Royal Line would then be the origination of the Melchizedekian priesthood. This would seem to be the implication of this account in Genesis, chapter 14, as well as Psalms 110:4 and Hebrews, chapters 5-7.

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.

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The Distinction Between the Death of Christ and the Shed Blood of Christ

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).

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Abram and the King of Sodom

In contrast to Melchizedek who is blessed as a result of his blessing Abram, the king of Sodom does not acknowledge the great name of Abram. He does not bless Abram; he makes light of Abram; thereby making himself vulnerable to the curse of Yahweh: “And bless those will I who bless you, and those making light of you will I curse” (Gen. 12:3a CV).

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The Hebrew Word Enosh

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.

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The Celestial Seed

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 land of Canaan. His only heir at the time of the present vision is Eliezer his servant. Abraham himself had no son. In this vision, he inquires concerning this matter. Yahweh reveals that Abraham himself shall sire a son to be his heir. In Genesis 13:16, Yahweh used the analogy of the soil of the ground to confirm His promise concerning the seed of Abram. Now he uses another analogy, the stars of the heavens (Gen. 15:5). Each analogy makes a distinction between the two future seeds of Abraham, one associated with the terrestrial realm (the seed of the Serpent), the other associated with the Celestial Realm (the Seed of the Woman). As the stars of the heaven, so shall his Celestial seed become. And Abram believes Yahweh Elohim Who accounts as righteousness this faith in the promise of a son (Gen. 15:5-6).

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Romans 9:7-8

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 Israel, these are Israel; neither that Abraham’s seed are all children, but ‘In Isaac shall your seed be called.’ That is, that the children of the flesh, not these are the children of God, but the children of the promise is He reckoning [accounting] for the seed” (CV). The children of the flesh represent those who, unlike Noah and Abraham, are not flawlessly faithful, not faithful to the end. They are elect, but disqualified, not accounted by Yahweh as the seed. They did not possess the required faithfulness of Abraham and so were cut off from the promise. Yahweh read their hearts and concluded them to be “children of the Adversary” (1 Jn. 3:10), seed of the Serpent.

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The Hope: Lost and Found

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 land of Canaan. He was exiled in Canaan. His Exodus awaited the coming of THE SEED, Christ, Who would lead all the faithful ones (past and present) into His Kingdom which was not of “this world” (Jn. 18:36), the terrestrial, but was of the celestial world. He would lead them into the place He went to prepare for them in His Father’s House, the House Not Made With Hands (in contrast to the house Solomon built),

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)

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The House of Yahweh

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 temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17 CV); “God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9); “our body” (Rom. 8:23); “one body” (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12). John refers to it as “the bride” (Rev. 21:9). Peter refers to it as “a spiritual house” made up of “living stones” (1 Pe. 2:5 CV). The writer of Hebrews informs the reader that Abraham looked for a celestial city (cf. Heb. 11:10, 16; 12:22 CV), another metaphoric reference to the faithful ones. Finally, Paul refers to the faithful ones as “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17 CV), “one new man” (Eph. 2:15 KJV).

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Abram’s Heir

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).

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Yahweh’s Covenant With Uncircumcised Abram: Egyptian Bondage and Deliverance

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. 7:10-14). 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 Egypt for her mistreatment of Abram’s seed. Yahweh’s judgment of the Canaanites (Israel’s conquest of them) will await the passing of these 400 years, in the course of which their depravity becomes sufficient enough to deserve His judgment. Note Yahweh’s mercy and longsuffering in this matter concerning the judgment of the Canaanites.

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 Egypt for 400 years. The birds of prey represent the efforts of the enemies to devour them, that is, destroy them. Abram’s efforts to protect them are futile. The time of Abram’s stupor, during which he experiences the great dread of darkness, represents his seed’s period of dreaded darkness in Egyptian bondage. The smoke pot and torch of fire represent Yahweh’s faithful walking among them. He promises Abram He will not abandon his seed.

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 which time Israel, Abram’s seed, will possess the land in fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise to Abram. This vision confirms the covenant Yahweh makes with Abram.

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 Egypt. Yahweh will be faithful in preserving both branches of Abram’s seed. For both branches are the elect of Yahweh. However, both branches are not accounted by Yahweh as the seed worthy to receive the higher promise made to Abram and his seed, with its accompanying greater reward. Paul will refer to this higher promise and reward as “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14, NGEINT).

As Israel was encamped in Moab in preparation for entrance into Canaan, the account of the call of Abram with its promise of a great nation and a great name brought to her conscious mind additional memories from her past. She could now understand the background against which her life, her call, her purpose were to be interpreted. Her period of darkness and dread under Egyptian bondage had made her an orphan. Her royal lineage had receded from her memory. Her relation to her past had become hidden from her conscious awareness of who she had been. A collective amnesia had left her with a slave mentality. But Yahweh had awakened her from this stupor. Her memory began to revive with the call of Moses. The instruction of Moses continued to revive memories of the past. With these memories came a vital insight into her identity, responsibility, and destiny.

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A Revelational Flashback

After the judgment of the flood, the nations began to depart from Yahweh at Babel. The call of Abram was Yahweh’s merciful response to this deterioration of the nations. He would not again decree catastrophic judgment. He would create for Himself a nation through which He would demonstrate authentic greatness, through which He would manifest the Power of A Name, His Name. He would make a covenant with this nation, and not with any other. He would create this nation out of a nation (Egypt) and out of a man (Abram) as He had created Eve out of Adam. He would create this nation out of Moses as He had created Eve out of Adam. Finally, He would create this nation anew out of Jesus the Christ as Yahweh had created Eve out of Adam. This latter creation, of course, Israel in Moab could not have grasped.

Israel was to conquer Canaan as Yahweh’s judgment against Canaanite corruption of Yahweh’s system, Yahweh’s order, Yahweh’s creation. Israel then became aware of her responsibility, her service, her role in the destiny of the nations and all humanity. However, this did not mean she was willing to shoulder such responsibility. As shall be seen, the first generation coming out of Egypt demonstrated that although it was Yahweh’s elect by call, by attitude and behavior it was not Yahweh’s chosen. Many were to be called, but few chosen. Thus, apart from Joshua and Caleb (the few), the remainder of the first generation died in the wilderness, forfeiting the promise of entrance into and possession of the land (the many). Out of the sand of the seashore seed of the first generation, only Joshua and Caleb are accounted faithful, accounted as Abram’s stars of the heavens seed, accounted as chosen ones on the basis of their faith after the likeness of Abraham’s faith. They walked in spirit believing the words of Yahweh, even against what may have seemed insurmountable odds.

Thus, Israel encamped in Moab is aware that her period as an orphan was in accord with Yahweh’s intention. She also is aware that throughout that time of darkness and dread, Yahweh continued to walk in her midst, preserving her from her enemies. The mighty visible hand of Yahweh delivering His people out of Egypt by means of signs, wonders, and miracles had been the same mighty hand working invisibly for her preservation through the darkness and dread. Israel also became aware of the reality of Yahweh’s judgment. For Yahweh’s favor toward her in the conquering and possessing of the land of Canaan is merely the reflection of His disfavor of the ways of the Canaanites. Israel also would likewise be judged if she disobeyed Yahweh’s Law, His statutes, and His judgments. From the establishment of Yahweh’s first covenant with Abram, Israel began to understand further the significance and commitment of covenantal contract. Yahweh is faithful to His covenantal commitments. Israel would soon learn the full implication of what Yahweh’s covenantal faithfulness entails as she became informed of Yahweh’s next covenant with Abram.

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Abram and Hagar

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.

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Election and Non-Election

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.

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Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision

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 [Israel] believe for the eon” (Ex. 19:9b CV). With the establishment of the New Covenant, Israel was to believe in Jesus the Messiah. Moses could then no longer provide covenantal life. Thus, believing in Moses for covenantal life ended with the telos of the Mosaic Covenant. Yahweh declares of Aaron and his sons, “the priesthood comes to be theirs for an eonian statute . . .” (Ex. 29:9b CV). Yet the writer of Hebrews characterizes the Levitical and Aaronic priesthoods as inferior to the Melchizedekian priesthood of Christ. He describes them as coming to be repudiated. The High Priest is no longer needed, since in order for him to function for others, he first needs to offer a sacrifice for his own sin. But Christ as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek has offered up one sacrifice, making further sacrifices unnecessary (see Hebrews, chapters 7-8). How then can this Hebrew word olam and its Greek equivalent eon be given a meaning (eternal) which is its antonym?! A word cannot mean itself and its opposite.

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 Lot. Any male lacking the sign of circumcision is cut off from the benefits of the covenant, thus is cut off from the hope associated with the promises. This makes such a male covenantally dead. To disregard the sign of the covenant and/or walk in a flawed, unfaithful manner annuls the covenant and makes one covenantally dead. This metaphorical concept of death is carried forward through both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures.

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 Israel) is the birth of Isaac. Sarah was 90 years old when she conceived him. The text has made it clear that she had been beyond the years of the possibility of conceiving a child. The conception and birth of Isaac is thus due to the intercession of Yahweh. Sarah had no longer been producing eggs. But Yahweh intervened and caused the production of one special egg. Isaac surely is a child of Yahweh. He is conceived according to the spirit. He is THE SEED generated as a result of Yahweh’s elective intervention. Sarah’s womb had been dead. Yahweh vivified it, producing against the normal physiological functions of her body an egg to be pierced by a sperm of Abraham. Yahweh promised to bless Abraham above all others, and this He does with the birth of Isaac. Yahweh’s faithfulness in this manner overwhelmingly impresses Abraham and Sarah.

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).

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Paul’s Allegorical Interpretation in Galatians

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, identified with Mount Sinai, generating into slavery. Her son Ishmael is generated according to flesh, the scheme of Sarai and Abram. Sarah’s son Isaac is generated according to spirit, the promise of Yahweh.

Paul applies this to the then current situation of the nation Israel. Hagar is a picture of the earthly Jerusalem which is in slavery, with her children, to the Mosaic Covenant. This covenant is a ministry of death since the establishment of the New Covenant of Christ. The New Covenant fulfills and thus supersedes the Mosaic Covenant. It is a ministry of life leading the faithful ones into the celestial city of Abraham’s hope promised by Yahweh.

The Jerusalem above is free, like Sarah. This heavenly Jerusalem is spiritual, like Isaac. This new Jerusalem is Yahweh’s Spiritual House, made up of living stones; it is Yahweh’s Celestial Temple, Yahweh’s Building; it is Christ’s Body, Christ’s Bride, Christ’s Complement, Christ’s Ecclesia.

The Jerusalem below is in bondage, like Hagar. It is according to flesh, like Ishmael. It is Yahweh’s fleshly house made by hands (the Mosaic tabernacle); it is Yahweh’s terrestrial temple, made up of marble stones (Solomonic/Herodian Temple).

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 resurrection in Babylon with its Exodus, under Ezra and Nehemiah, back to the terrestrial land. This lies behind the meaning of the words of Jesus to Nicodemus recorded in John 3:12, “If I told you of the terrestrial and you are not believing, how shall you be believing if I should be telling you of the celestial?” (CV). The terrestrial is associated with the Mosaic Covenant; the celestial is associated with the New Covenant Jesus would initiate through His death, resurrection, and ascension.

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The Sacrifice of Isaac

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 land of Moriah and offer him up as an ascent offering. Isaac is the seed through whom the promises are to be channeled. How can Yahweh command this of Abraham? Would this not annul the promises?

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 Israel and the elect seed yet to come, than it is for either Yahweh or Abraham. At the conclusion of this probe, Yahweh proclaims,

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 Israel as she camps on the border of the Promised Land. Yahweh is able to do all He promises to do. This had been demonstrated in the life of her forefather Abraham, who always hearkened to the voice of his Elohim. Note again, the use of the word voice. The voice of Yahweh reveals His identity and His character, His faithfulness and His power. Just the sound of His voice calls for Israel’s faith. As Yahweh Elohim knew the heart of Abraham, Abraham knew the heart of Yahweh his Elohim. At the sound of Yahweh’s voice, Abraham stood ready to hearken to whatever was spoken. Take heed O’ Israel. Your Elohim is the Elohim of Elohim. All He promises to do for you, He will do. Hearken to and obey His voice and all that He commands you to do. This is covenantal life to you!

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The Significance of the Death and Entombment of Sarah

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 Canaan for Sarah, Abraham refers to himself as a “stranger and a sojourner” (Gen. 23:4 KJV). He seeks to purchase a holding in which he can entomb his wife’s dead body. This he accomplishes by purchasing in Hebron a field within which is a cave. The sons of Heth, Canaanites, agree to sell Abraham this land because he is considered “a prince of Elohim” in their midst. They honor Abraham and thus come under the promise of Yahweh to bless those who bless or honor Abraham.

Thus, the only possession of Abraham and Sarah in Canaan is a tomb. The land signifies death to them. Entombment marks the significance of this Promised Land for Abraham and Sarah. Their seed shall possess the land in covenantal life. But the land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would signify only entombment, death. This parcel of land for a burial site was not a gift from Yahweh; it was purchased by Abraham. Their hope, their reward was not entombment in the land but resurrection in the Christ and entrance into the celestial promise, the celestial hope, the celestial city not made by hands but by Yahweh Elohim Himself. This section ends with a reference to Hebron as being in the land of Canaan and to the burial site as “a holding for a tomb from the sons of Heth” (Gen. 23:20 CV). Yahweh does not give Abraham and Sarah even a piece of land to set a foot on (Acts 7:5). The sons of Heth sell Abraham only “a holding for a tomb.”

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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 land of Abraham’s kindred, Ur of the Chaldeans. Abraham assures his servant that Yahweh will send his messenger before him in order to secure the success of his mission.

The servant arrives at a well of water outside the gates of the city of Nahor. He requests a sign from Yahweh indicating the woman of Yahweh’s choice. The sign he requests is granted even before he finishes speaking to Yahweh in his heart. Rebecca, daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, arrives at the well to retrieve water. She fulfills in every detail what the servant had asked of Yahweh. The servant inquires as to her family. He discovers she is a relative of Abraham. The reader is informed of the woman’s beauty, and of the fact she is a virgin, not a man had known her. It is the clear purpose of the writer to assure the reader that Yahweh has chosen and prepared this specific woman to be the wife of Isaac, taking the place of Sarah in the line of the seed of promise. The servant bears witness to this fact in his request for a sign from Yahweh. The sign was to point out the woman “whom Yahweh finds correct for Isaac” (Gen. 24:44 CV).

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 Israel walking flawlessly together with her Elohim. In His presence is covenantal life, covenantal victory, covenantal superiority over the nations. In His presence she is illuminated with the glory of His Law, His Word, reflecting the light of this illumination upon the nations to the glory of Yahweh her Elohim, the Elohim of the heavens and the Elohim of the earth. Israel, like Isaac, has been elected and favored by Yahweh in order to be the channel of blessing to all the non-elect families under the heavens and upon the earth of Yahweh Elohim’s creation.

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).

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Isaac as a Type of the Ultimate Seed of Promise

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.

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Christ and Christianity

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 Kingdom of God and His Christ, His Son, has been operating for the past 2,000 years, but Christianity is not the Kingdom of God’s representative. Christianity has been its instrument in transforming, in terminating the ancient world of the gods and metamorphosing humanity. But Christianity is a religion; it is not the primitive, Messianic Church of Christ. As a religion, it will be transcended. It will be transcendentally terminated along with all other religions. For the last two-and-a-half centuries it has been in the process of becoming old and decrepit and, like the Mosaic Covenant, is nearing its disappearance as an instrument of God and Christ among men. Christianity is presently in the dusk, the twilight of its existence. This theme will be taken up and developed in the last chapter of this analysis of the Mosaic Eon.

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 Celestial City. His two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, entomb him in the burial site purchased in Hebron. For Abraham, the soil of the Land of Promise means only entombment, not hope.

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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.

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The Theme of Election

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.

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Jacob and Esau

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 Israel. His behavior in relation to the law is evil, but his faithfulness to his calling is never denied and ultimately fulfilled in the last faithful act of his life. Jacob, being ambitious, is also a schemer. He is crafty and uses

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 land of Canaan. Yahweh instructs him not to go down to the land of Egypt. He is directed to Gerar in the land of the Philistines. Yahweh then restates the covenant made with Abraham, applying it now to Isaac as the Seed of Promise. Isaac is to continue to sojourn in the Land of Promise in the place that Yahweh chose. Isaac is promised that, in spite of the famine, he will be blessed.

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 Egypt for sustenance. This would be necessitated because of their treatment of Joseph their brother.

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The Three Analogies Representing Abraham’s Seed

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 Egypt as the stars of the heavens because of its great number and its faithfulness under the leadership of Moses and Joshua. Those belonging to this generation, in contrast to their unfaithful parents, entered the Promised Land and victoriously took possession.

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.

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The Relation of Transgression to Covenant

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 Israel in such a legal position. Israel could sin after the likeness of Adam’s transgression because Israel was under the law, the Mosaic Covenant which Israel agreed to enter into with Yahweh, making Israel legally obligated to the covenant requirements, including its penalties for failure to keep the requirements.

Sin, thus, began to be counted up only in the case of Israel. The nations were under no such contractual covenant with Yahweh. Their sins were not counted up, as had been the case before the Mosaic Law. This continued to be the case among the nations during and after the Mosaic Eon. Whose sins, then, needed a propitiatory shelter (atonement)? The nations? No! Israel’s? Yes! That is why the Law of Moses added the Sin Offering and the Guilt Offering to the sacrifices commonly offered by the nations to their gods. That is why the Mosaic Covenant required the Day of Propitiatory Shelter (atonement) for the nation. It was the sacrificial blood that covered the accounted sins of this nation and of each individual member of the nation. Sin reigns only when sin is counted up.

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 commonwealth of Israel. Though the faithful Israelites (saints) and faithful ones out of the nations were not under the Law of Moses, they were in proper relation to it (Rom. 3:31). As long as that law continued to operate, all faithful ones needed to be cleansed from their sins, which the law continued to count up.

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).

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Deception and Favoritism

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.

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Jacob the Chosen One

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.

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Esau the Unchosen One

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 Haran.

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 Haran to assure that he takes a wife from the family of Abraham. It is at this time that Isaac pronounces over Jacob the full blessing of Abraham, “And El-Who-Suffices will bless you and make you fruitful and increase you, and you shall become an assembly of peoples. And give to you will He the blessing of Abraham, my father, to you and to your seed with you, for you to tenant the land of your sojournings, given by Elohim to Abraham” (Gen. 28:3-4 CV).

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The Dream of Jacob: The Staircase into the Heavens

This blessing is reaffirmed in the course of Jacob’s journey to Haran (Gen. 28:10-22). In a dream, he sees Yahweh stationed on a staircase planted on the earth with its head touching the heavens. Ascending and descending upon this staircase are the messengers of Elohim. This scene is clearly alluding to the building of a city whose tower had its head in the heavens. The purpose of the ancient city and the Tower of Babel associated with it had been to make a name for the people and to unify them. This endeavor of mankind was brought to a halt by Yahweh’s confusion of their tongues. Abram is then called and Yahweh promises to make him a great nation and a great NAME. That which had been denied the people under Nimrod had been promised to Abraham. Jacob is heir to Abraham and, so, heir to this promise.

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 Babel. It also points forward to John 1:51, where, after Nathaniel proclaims, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God! Thou art the king of Israel!” Jesus responds,

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 Israel the terrestrial things. He would later declare to Israel the celestial things. Abraham’s seed as soil of the land, sand on the seashore, and stars of the heavens would receive the promise of the land of Canaan, the terrestrial blessing; but Abraham’s royal seed, the seed as stars of the heavens would share with The Seed, Jesus the Christ, the Celestial Blessing, the Celestial City which would merge the two worlds, the inhabitants of the two worlds, into one Kingdom, one House, one Family.

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 kingdom of Yahweh Elohim, uniting it with Yahweh’s Celestial Kingdom. He shall merge the terrestrial family and the celestial family into one dynamic family.

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A Stone and A Rock

Rising early in the morning, Jacob sets up a stone monument as a memorial to the greatness of this place he now names Bethel, House of El. His seed would become the House of El. In that House (Israel, the Tabernacle, the Temple, Jesus the Christ), Yahweh would bless all the families of the earth, every member of the terrestrial race, together with all the inhabitants of the Celestial Realm.

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 Israel with life-giving water while in the wilderness. According to Paul, Jesus the Christ became the anti-type of that Rock, “But that Rock, with the coming of Jesus, began to be the Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4 my translation).

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Jacob and Laban

Jacob makes his way to the land of Laban, son of Bethuel and brother of Rebecca his mother. There Yahweh is with him in all he does. But there he experiences the deception of Laban. The tables are turned on him. As he had used deception to obtain his desires, so Laban uses deception to obtain his desires. As Jacob the younger was able to take the place of Esau the older, so also, Laban, in reverse, is able to replace the younger daughter with the older daughter. Jacob bargains for the hand of Rachel, but is given instead the hand of Leah. As Jacob had been the perpetrator of deception, so now he becomes the target of deception. This will continue throughout his stay in Syria with Laban. Yet, in spite of such deception, Yahweh continues to bless Jacob.

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 Israel. Their sins are not being counted up, though the consequences of their sins could not be escaped—impoverishment and deterioration would follow.

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.

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Jacob’s Vision: The Encampment of Elohim

Returning to the border of the land of Canaan, Jacob has a vision of the encampment of Elohim (Gen. 32:1-2). He sees the messengers of Elohim, guardians of the border to the Promised Land, who come upon him, apparently approving of his entrance as they identify him as heir of the land. From this vision, the reader is given a window through which to view the movement of celestial inhabitants in the affairs of terrestrial inhabitants. This land and this human, Jacob, are Yahweh’s allotment among the nations. This vision is another sign of Yahweh’s protection and blessing. Jacob is soon to be reconciled with his brother Esau, who has had a change of heart. No longer is sin crouching in Esau’s heart in readiness to devour the enemy. Esau would not become, like Cain, a murderer of his brother. He has learned to submit himself to the will and purposes of Yahweh Elohim. In blessing his brother Jacob, he will be blessed by Yahweh.

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Jacob’s Wrestling: The Messenger of Yahweh

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 and Canaan to the very moment under consideration. Jacob has been undergoing educational change. His life experiences have caused him to reevaluate his assumptions about his perceptions of the terrestrial world he lives in.

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 ISRAEL is your name. For upright are you with Elohim and with mortals, and are prevailing” (Gen. 32:28 CV my emphasis). To Jacob’s “Not letting you go,” the Messenger proclaims Jacob’s victory, “Not Jacob shall your name be called, . . .”

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 Israel, upright with Elohim. His experiences outside the land of Canaan have been carefully orchestrated by Yahweh. Jacob has successfully matriculated through the personal tutelage of Yahweh his Elohim. He is now ready for the responsibility which comes with being heir to the promise and the vessel through which the blessings will come to his seed and to the nations.

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Jacob’s Trouble

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 Israel. It will characterize the nation as Jacob not Israel. It will reveal the nation to be two nations—the Jacob nation in contrast to the Israel nation; the Cainite nation in contrast to the Abelite nation; the seed of the Serpent nation in contrast to the seed of the Woman nation. This incident will foreshadow the last generation of the Mosaic Eon and its opposition of the Cainite nation to the faithfulness of Yahweh to Israel and the nations.

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.

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Dinah, Simeon, and Levi

Dinah, Jacob’s daughter by Leah, is raped by Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, who is the prince of this area of Canaan. Shechem had been smitten by Dinah’s beauty, resulting in his forcing himself upon Dinah, thus humiliating her. When Jacob hears that Dinah had been defiled by Shechem, he remains silent until the return of his sons from the field.

Having communicated to them the defilement of Dinah, “mortified are the mortals, and hot is their anger exceedingly, that decadence does he in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for so is not being done” (Gen. 34:7b CV). The term “mortals” refers to Simeon and Levi, brothers of Dinah. When Hamor and Shechem seek to secure Dinah as Shechem’s wife, they direct their proposal “to her father and her brothers” (Gen. 34:11 CV). However, the answer to this proposal comes from Simeon and Levi. The mortals of the family refer to all the elect sons of Jacob who had taken up positions of leadership. In this case, Simeon and Levi would have had chief jurisdiction, since Dinah is their sister.

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 of Israel in marriage to the Hivites and take the daughters of the Hivites to themselves as wives. They would then dwell together as one people.

But Jacob could not have agreed to such a covenant. He knew very well intermarriage with the daughters of Canaan was evil in the eyes of Abraham and Isaac. However, being that all the males were to be circumcised, he may have considered this agreement acceptable, since the Canaanites would be joining them as circumcised participants in the Abrahamic Covenant. Whether this is the case or not, Jacob certainly did not approve of what was to follow. For the text states clearly, “And answering are the sons of Jacob to Shechem and Hamor, his father, with deceit” (Gen. 34:13a CV). Simeon and Levi never intend to keep the covenant. Jacob might have thought the plan was to take Shechem into the family by circumcision and marriage and then move on during the days of the Hivite circumcision. This would avoid becoming one people and bringing harmful enmity between the two peoples.

The proposal of Simeon and Levi brings to mind the proposal at Babel. The events at Babel were evil in the eyes of Yahweh and ended in the confusion of tongues. In the current situation, confusion results, but is brought about by the deception of Simeon and Levi, tainting the reputation of Jacob among the inhabitants of the land. Intermarriage with the Canaanites is still evil in the eyes of Yahweh, but such deception is also evil in His eyes. Israel is disgraced by this deceptive scheme of these two sons of Jacob. Consequently, Jacob is compelled to rebuke his sons at the conclusion of the deception. He will refer to their deceptive activity as bringing him “trouble” (Gen. 34:30 CV). Thus, the trouble brought to Jacob by Simeon and Levi is to be associated with the trouble at Babel. In the end, the two peoples part, and the purpose of Yahweh is fulfilled in spite of the inappropriate activities of human intention. The nations are parted at Babel; the two peoples are parted in the land of the Hivites. But a price is paid in each case. These two events, Babel and Jacob’s trouble, will become symbols evoking much meaning in the writing of the Hebrew prophets and the writing of the Hebrew disciples of Jesus the Messiah.

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 Babel. Jacob, Simeon, and Levi had no intention of becoming one people with the Hivites. That would be evil in their eyes. On this, they clearly agree. But Jacob did not expect the outcome that Simeon and Levi masterminded. On the third day after being circumcised, Simeon and Levi take up the sword and

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 Israel (Gen. 34:7 CV). The sons and daughters of Israel are holy. They are chosen of Yahweh Elohim. How dare Shechem, an uncircumcised and uncovenantal dog, defile even a daughter of the holy people.

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.

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Jacob’s Prophetic Words

The deception perpetrated on the Hivites in the city of Shechem is not attributed to Jacob. He is now Israel. He has transcended his deceptive ways. The deception is that of his sons, specifically, Simeon and Levi. Their deception is devised and set in motion in the name of Yahweh their Elohim. From their point of view, it is Yahweh’s honor that has been defiled. It is Yahweh’s covenantal people who have been dishonored and contaminated. This necessitated the holy destruction of the object which defiled, contaminated a holy daughter of a holy people. However, Jacob perceives the underlying motive of his sons. He sees the intent of the heart:

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 Kingdom of Yahweh, the secret of the Gospel of Christ. This trouble will be associated with Joseph and his mistreatment at the hands of his brothers, including Simeon and Levi, the perpetrators of the trouble initiated at Shechem. The remainder of the Book of Genesis develops this theme of Jacob’s trouble in relation to Rachel’s firstborn son, Joseph. Thus, the Royal Line of the seed of the Woman, the seed of Abraham, the seed of Isaac, and the seed of Jacob would proceed through Judah, considered Leah’s firstborn son due to the evil committed by Reuben (the actual firstborn) and the evil committed by Simeon and Levi, next in line. However, Joseph would become the type of the coming, suffering Seed whose enemies would be those of his own family. Their evil towards him would be used by Yahweh Elohim to bring blessings upon them and the nations. Joseph will, thus, have a special association with the nations. This will be indicated later in Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph.

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The Significance of Jacob’s Trouble in Jeremiah and Daniel

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 Israel. Thus, Daniel informs us of a time of trouble for Jacob like no other time since the beginning of Israel’s national existence. Jeremiah confirms this by writing of a great day unlike any other day in Israel’s history.

The context of Jeremiah’s reference to this great day is the return of Israel and Judah from captivity. When Jeremiah prophesied, Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had already gone into captivity and was proclaimed Lo-Ammi, not My people. After Judah (the Southern Kingdom) went into Babylonian captivity, she returned under Ezra and Nehemiah. But Israel had never returned from Assyrian captivity. Not until the first century a.d. is there a word about the return of Israel and, thus, a unification of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

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 Jerusalem council concluded that the believers out of the nations need not be circumcised. James then explained the salvation of the nations by quoting Amos 9:9-15. James declared that Amos’ prophecy was being fulfilled by the coming in of the nations.

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, Israel and Judah (1 Kings, chapters 12‑13). James declared that the two kingdoms were in the process of being restored into one unified kingdom under the reign of David’s Son, Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One. Thus, Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the great day of trouble (Jer. 30:7 KJV) had to refer to the years beginning with the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and concluding with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 a.d. For at no other time were Israel and Judah reunified.

The very next chapter of Jeremiah (31:18-40) proclaims Yahweh’s Word concerning the Northern Kingdom, Israel, also called Ephraim, which had been sent into Assyrian captivity. Jeremiah proclaims that Yahweh in the latter days would become the Elohim of all the families of Israel. He would rebuild the Northern Kingdom, and she would go forth playing her tambourine and dancing in merriment. The watchman upon Mount Ephraim would cry “Arise . . . let us go up to Zion . . .” (Jer. 31:6b). She would return to Jerusalem and worship at Yahweh’s only temple in Zion. This is metaphoric language. Yahweh’s glory had departed from the Temple at the time of Judah’s captivity and the first destruction of the Temple. That glory had not returned to the rebuilt Temple. The Shekinah Glory of Yahweh returned to Israel when it tabernacled in Jesus (Jn. 1:14). The first Temple had been built by human hands. The ultimate Temple was being built by Yahweh and His Son Jesus the Christ, the Son of David over a period of forty years, being completed at the very time that the Temple built by human hands was being destroyed by human hands. The Northern Kingdom would return to the Spiritual Zion (the Jerusalem above, the New Heavenly Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ), the Spiritual Temple (the ecclesia of Christ) not built by human hands.

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 Jesus. Zion metaphorically referred to the New Spiritual Jerusalem Above in contrast to the old geographical Jerusalem below.

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 Northern Kingdom. Rachel was the mother of Joseph. Joseph’s younger son, Ephraim, was blessed with the greater blessing of the firstborn one. The tribe of Ephraim became great in number and eventually became identified with the Northern Kingdom. Rachel is depicted metaphorically as weeping for her children for they were not. This symbolically referred to the fact that Ephraim had been cut off from the Mosaic Covenant. She had become “not My people.” She had become covenantally dead. She would need to be resurrected from that covenantal death. That began to occur with the ministry of Paul and Barnabas in Acts, chapter 13.

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 Bethlehem was a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy. This, by implication, would make that time, the latter days, the time of Jacob’s trouble.

Herod was king of Judah. He was attempting to kill another Joseph, the Suffering Messiah, the one, according to the prophets, to be born in Bethlehem. Herod perceived this child to be a threat to his throne, his kingdom. The enemy of Jacob would be one of his own. The enemy causing the Great Day of Trouble would come from within the family. Herod was the first. He was not to be the last. He was jealously protecting his kingdom against a brother within the family. The entire narrative of Joseph reflects this theme as it was played out by Jesus and His Judaic brothers in the first century a.d. In the course of the development of the enmity of the Jews against Jesus and His disciples, the themes of deception, circumcision, and prostitution were played out against the background of first century Judaism. The Judaic rulers once again acted out the script first written and performed by Jacob’s sons in Genesis chapter 34.

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 Corinth, he is resisted by the Jews in the synagogue. He declares he will go to the nations. That night, in a vision, Christ tells him, “Fear not! but be speaking; and you should not be silent . . . because there are many people of Mine in this city” (Acts 18:9-10 CV).

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 Israel [Ephraim] and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast” (Jer. 31:27 KJV). He will bless both houses with an increase in the number of people and an increase in spiritual blessing, wealth. He goes on to declare that as He has plucked them up and broken them down in order to afflict them, so He will build them up; He will plant them for their growth once again (Jer. 31:28). He then proclaims, “Behold, the days come, . . . that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Jer. 31:31 KJV). The writer of the Book of Hebrews, referring to the better covenant mediated by Christ, quotes this passage. For this writer, Jer. 31:31-34 is fulfilled by the New Covenant established by Jesus the Christ. The writers of the Greek Scriptures, therefore, believed they were living in the latter days of the Mosaic Eon (age). They were experiencing the time of Jacob’s trouble. They believed Yahweh would deliver them through this trouble to the reward promised to the ones faithful to the end.

Daniel’s prophecy testifies to the correctness of the writers of the Greek Scriptures. He writes that Israel will be delivered. But he qualifies Israel by adding “everyone found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1b KJV). This means the one faithful to the end. This same terminology is used by the writer of the Book of Revelation:

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 (Yahweh, Israel’s Elohim). These words made his brothers jealous. This Jesus of Nazareth claimed a relation to Yahweh which exalted Him over His brothers. To His brothers, this was unjustified pride and arrogance. They had to oppose Him. They had to remove Him from their midst. Thus, they deceptively plotted to have Him killed—Cain against Abel, Ishmael against Isaac, the sons of Jacob against Joseph, the Jewish rulers against Jesus.

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The Interpretation of Daniel by Jesus

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 Temple buildings. Jesus responds that these buildings will be demolished. The Temple would be destroyed. He does not indicate it will be rebuilt in a near or distant future. His disciples, grasping the implication, ask him, “when will these things be? And what is the sign of Thy presence [parousia] and of the conclusion [suntelias, not telos] of the eon?” (Matt. 24:3 CV). The disciples immediately perceive the implication of the words of Jesus concerning the Temple. They understand Him to mean this destruction would occur during their lifetime. Thus, they do not ask Him concerning the end (telos) of the eon, but rather the conclusion (sunteleas) of the eon. The conclusion would be a period of time within which certain events would take place contributing to the arrival of the final end (telos, consummation). The telos or consummation would be the destruction of the Temple.

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 in Judea flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:15-16 CV my emphasis). Jesus informs His disciples they would be perceiving “the abomination of desolation” of which Daniel the prophet wrote. Daniel wrote of this “abomination” in the same chapter which began with a reference to “a time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1 CV). That chapter is the last chapter of his book. In that chapter, Daniel is told, “stop up the words and seal the scroll till the era of the end, . . .” (Dan. 12:4 CV). Jesus interprets Daniel’s prophecy as occurring in His generation. His disciples will perceive this “abomination.” He and they live in “the era of the end,” “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” the end of the Mosaic Eon, the time of the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, the end of the Mosaic Covenant, and the beginning of the New Covenant spoken of by Jeremiah.

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The Resurrection Prophesied by Daniel

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.

Many in Israel were to be restored to the life of the Mosaic Covenant. They would be restored to a proper relationship before Yahweh their Elohim in accord with the stipulations of the Mosaic Covenant. Yahweh would once again walk in the midst of them.

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 Israel.

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.

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Jesus and the Resurrection Prophesied by Daniel

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 Israel the breath of life and Israel became a living man, a living nation before Yahweh. In the current situation, Yahweh is rousing the dead and vivifying. This He is doing through John the Baptist. The Baptist rouses the covenantally dead members of the covenanted nation, restoring them to a righteous covenantal relationship with Yahweh whereby they once again have access to the light and life of the Mosaic Law. Thus, through John the Baptist, Yahweh is rousing the dead and vivifying them.

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 Israel interpret the words of Jesus to be a defilement of the holy nation and a dishonor to its legally authorized rulers. Jesus is prostituting the holy nation of Yahweh, and they are determined to deceptively plot His destruction, “Why are you seeking to kill me? . . . Who is seeking to kill you?” (Jn. 7:19b-20 CV). The only theme missing here from the deceptive scheme of Simeon and Levi in Genesis, chapter 34, is that of circumcision. But circumcision as part of a deceptive plot to destroy the Christ will be added after His death and resurrection when pseudo-messianic Jews attempt to abort the Gospel of Christ by requiring believing Gentiles to be circumcised in order to participate in the salvation of the Jews and enter into the restored Kingdom of David.

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 Israel had access to this covenantal life. And such access is contingent on obedience.

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 Rom. 6:1-11). It was on its way, but had not yet arrived. It would establish the New Covenant and the life of the New Covenant. All those hearing His voice could only hear that voice if they remained faithful to Him by sharing in His death and burial. That death and burial would be the death and burial of the old Mosaic Covenant. From this time on, the Mosaic Covenant could not provide covenantal life. It could only administer covenantal death. Only in Christ could one experience the death and burial of Christ. Only in Christ’s entombment could they hear His voice and rise with Him in the likeness of His resurrection to walk in newness of life. This required faith in Christ’s death and resurrection. It required commitment to Christ after the humiliation of the cross. It required faith in the cross as the wisdom of Yahweh Elohim.

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. 3:14) 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. 5:29), 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).

“Burning” refers metaphorically to the termination, death of the Mosaic Covenant and literally to the blazing destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem which occurred in 70 a.d. Peter writes of the arriving of this judgment and its significance for those in Christ:

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 Temple would be destroyed. He was told that this would happen during that same generation. He was told to heed the specific signs that would occur just prior to this destruction of the Temple and the consummation of the Mosaic Eon.

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 Israel. John the Baptist had declared, “Yet already the axe is lying at the root of the trees” (Matt. 3:10a CV). He addressed the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Progeny of vipers! Who intimates to you to be fleeing from the impending indignation?” (Matt. 3:7b CV). This indignation, judgment, destruction was impending. It was near! It was certain. Escape from this judgment was being provided. But the judgment was inevitable. The Mosaic Eon was in its last days, its last generation.

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 Temple. Metaphorically, Yahweh’s Temple is the place of His throne, and that throne is metaphorically in the heavens. The Mosaic Covenant created a new heavens and a new earth in which Israel was metaphorically/covenantally drawn near to Yahweh in the heavens, being given a place of superiority over the nations metaphorically/non-covenantally placed on the earth.

With the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 a.d., the elements of Mosaic worship were dissolved by combustion and the Land of Promise with its works of the law was no longer to be covenantally found. Yahweh had terminated, put to death the Mosaic Covenant, ending the Mosaic Eon with its characteristic heavens and earth.

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 difference between Israel and the nations. The ancient world of the gods was ended. Yahweh Elohim was now the God of all nations, all peoples, all families, all humanity (Dan. 7:14). Adam was no longer covenantally the head of the race. Eve was no longer covenantally the mother of all living.

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 Temple and the Parousia of Christ. The New Covenant of Christ had been put into effect on behalf of all humanity. Jesus and His Ecclesia rule in the heavens (metaphorically in relation to this terrestrial realm, though literally in the Celestial Realm), directing and guiding the continued generations of mankind toward the goal predetermined by the Creator, Yahweh Elohim. The Kingdom of God had arrived. The Kingdom of the Son would now have no end: “to Him is granted jurisdiction and esteem and a kingdom, and all the peoples and leagues and language-groups shall serve Him; His jurisdiction, as an eonian jurisdiction, will not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be confined. . . . Yet the saints of the supremacies shall receive the kingdom and they will safeguard the kingdom unto the eon, even into the eon of the eons” (Dan. 7:14, 18 CV).

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 Kingdom of God had come (1 Cor. 15:22-28). The Davidic Kingdom had fulfilled its purpose. The Kingdom of the Father and the Son would have no end (Dan. 7:14). It would continue from one eon to another.

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The Kingdom of Righteousness

In this kingdom, righteousness is currently dwelling (2 Pe. 3:13), 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.

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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 Israel encamped in Moab, preparing to enter the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. Israel is to be as Abel, as Joseph—upright before Yahweh Elohim. Jacob/Israel is not to nurture evil in his heart. He is to trust in Yahweh his Elohim Who has promised to be with him as he came to be with Joseph. The people of Israel are thus warned against hatred and jealousy of Yahweh’s favored ones among themselves. To weave the web of hatred and jealousy is to be ensnared by the very snare designed to entrap the object of one’s hatred and jealousy. However, as in the account of Joseph and his brothers, Yahweh’s purpose will be accomplished through both Jacob’s unfaithfulness and Israel’s faithfulness.

Joseph is not to channel the ongoing line of the seed of Promise; Judah is to channel that line. However, Judah is shown to be weak. He is not depicted as upright before Yahweh. He, also, is a deceiver. He fails to honor his word and, in the process, jeopardizes the purity of the royal line.

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The Significance of Judah and Tamar

This is the significance of the episode of Judah and Tamar, placed in the text precisely after the successful scheme against Joseph. Judah has participated in this evil scheme. He continues his evil activity by taking to wife a daughter of the Canaanites. She bears him three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.

Judah, later, takes a wife for Er, his firstborn. He chooses Tamar, apparently not a daughter of the Canaanites, since the writer does not indicate this of her, though he had made it clear concerning the wife of Judah. It seems Judah came to understand the evil of his choice of a Canaanite bride.

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 seed of Judah in jeopardy. He has but one son remaining. He is too young for marriage. But Judah promises Tamar she will be married to him as soon as he comes of age. This promise, however, he fails to honor. Tamar, playing the harlot, lures Judah to her bed and conceives twin sons by him, Perez and Zerah. Thus, the lineage of Judah is not through a daughter of Canaan. Judah’s son by Tamar, Perez, continues the royal line. The evil of Judah is averted by Yahweh through the righteousness of Tamar.

However, though Judah would continue the royal line through Perez, through David, to Jesus the Christ, Joseph is to be the type of the coming Son of Man, Son of Adam, Son of God. Through Judah would come the Son of David to sit on David’s throne. But Joseph is to be the type of the Son of Man to sit on the throne of His father Adam, His Father Yahweh Elohim. Thus, the ultimate significance of Joseph goes beyond what Israel could have understood when first hearing this text read aloud.

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Joseph as Type of Jesus

The story of Joseph foreshadows the One sent before Israel to prepare and administer Jacob/Israel’s salvation in the midst of a time of great trouble. This One sent before Yahweh is also to be the salvation of the nations. He shall be raised to the right hand of the Father to administer life to the nations and the human race in the Kingdom of His Father. As Joseph is to rule all Egypt as the regent of Pharaoh, so also Jesus is to rule as the regent of Yahweh Elohim, His Father. Therefore, the story of Joseph foreshadows and is the ultimate type of the story of Jesus.

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Joseph’s First Dream

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 Egypt before being roused and resurrected metaphorically in accord with the prophetic words of Yahweh to Abram in Gen. 15:13-16.

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 Israel, He proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He claims to have authority to forgive sins. He teaches with authority and is judged by Israel’s rulers as arrogant and proud. They are offended by Jesus’ words, even as Joseph’s brothers hate him because of his words. Jesus proclaims that His Father has sent Him and given Him the words to speak. He claims to perform miracles by the power of Yahweh His Father. Israel’s rulers interpret this as blasphemy. They judge Him as one dangerous to the welfare of the nation. They thus scheme to put Him to death. The enemies of Jesus are not the Romans, not the nations, but His own brothers within the household of Israel.

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.

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Joseph’s Second Dream

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.

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The Rejection of Joseph: The Evil Scheme

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 Judah, upon the arrival of a caravan of Ishmaelites, persuades the brothers, in the absence of Reuben, to sell Joseph to the Midianites. This accomplished, Reuben returns to the cistern and finds Joseph gone. After learning that Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, even Reuben is drawn into the plot to deceive Jacob into believing Joseph was devoured by an evil animal. Thus, the brothers lie to Jacob concerning Joseph. Their deceptive lie causes Jacob to mourn many days over Joseph’s death. Once again, his sons bring upon Jacob unnecessary trouble, a time of trouble not to be relieved until Jacob reached the age of 130 years (Gen. 47:9).

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The Faithfulness of Joseph: The Suffering of Evil

Joseph is then sold into Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. The author states, “And coming is Yahweh to be with Joseph” (Gen. 39:2a CV). As a result of Yahweh’s presence on behalf of Joseph, “becoming is he a prosperous man” (Gen. 39:2b CV). Potiphar recognizes that Yahweh is prospering Joseph. He appoints him supervisor over his household. As a result, his household is blessed by Yahweh due to Joseph’s presence. In this the reader is reminded of Yahweh’s promise to Abram. All who bless Abram will be blessed by Yahweh, and all who mistreat Abram will be cursed by Yahweh. This now applies to Joseph, the favored one of Yahweh.

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 Israel are well aware of the innocence of Jesus. Potiphar’s wife deceives her husband. The rulers of Israel attempt to deceive Rome and the people of Israel. Their deception fails, but the lie of their political manipulation succeeds.

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The Dreams of Two Servants of Pharaoh

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.

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The Dreams of Pharaoh

Two years later, to the day, Pharaoh has two dreams. All the sacred scribes and wise men of Egypt are called before Pharaoh in order to interpret the dreams. None of them is able to interpret the dreams. However, the cupbearer on that very day remembers Joseph. How precise is Yahweh’s timing. The cupbearer forgets Joseph until the very appropriate moment when his remembrance of Joseph will do the most good. Joseph is immediately summoned before Pharaoh. Joseph declares, “Apart from Elohim there is no answer for the welfare of Pharaoh” (Gen. 41:16 CV). Pharaoh relates to Joseph the two dreams. Joseph immediately responds, “The dream of Pharaoh, one is it. What Elohim will be doing He tells to Pharaoh” (Gen. 41:25 CV).

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 land of Egypt. This man will then be given supervision over supervisors who will sequester one fifth of all the produce of the land of Egypt. All such produce will be stored and distributed by supervisors during the seven years of famine. Pharaoh is impressed with this advice and declares, “Find will we one as this man, who has the spirit of Elohim in him?” (Gen. 41:38 CV). Turning to Joseph, he announces,

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)

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The Exaltation of Joseph

Joseph is exalted to the highest position in Egypt under Pharaoh. He is given Pharaoh’s ring, signifying his authority as coming directly from the hand of Pharaoh. He is clothed in royal garments. He rules in the second chariot, preceded only by Pharaoh himself. He is given a royal wife.

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 Egypt by those of his own Jacobean household, by his own blood brethren, and unjustly imprisoned by those of his own Egyptian household, by the subversive wife of his own fleshly master, so was Jesus unjustly condemned to death by those of His own household.

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Egypt as Symbol

Symbolically, Joseph’s enslavement in Egypt represents his death. Egypt becomes a symbol of the grave, the womb, and the soil. Joseph is separated from the community of covenantal life. His exaltation by Pharaoh represents his resurrection from death, from the grave. He is no longer a slave. He is no longer a prisoner. Symbolically, Joseph’s enslavement in Egypt also represents the womb. Within that womb Yahweh begins to generate new life. Joseph is typologically reborn at his exaltation by Pharaoh. Symbolically, his enslavement in Egypt also represents the soil of the ground. Joseph represents the seed which must die if the seed is to bear fruit. Egypt symbolically comes to represent the soil out of which Yahweh germinates Joseph into a new creation. Joseph becomes typologically a new creation at his exaltation by Pharaoh.

Egypt is symbolically used in these three ways by the writers of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. This is directly associated with the experience of Abram in Genesis 15:8-16. Abram, anaesthetized, falls into a deep sleep in which he experiences “The dread of a great darkness . . .” (15:12b). In this state, he is told by Yahweh that his seed will become slaves in a land not their own. In this land they will endure evil and humiliation for 400 years, after which they will be delivered from this alien land and return to tenant the land promised to Abram. This referred to the future bondage in Egypt and contributed to the symbolic usage of Egypt as representative of the grave (death and resurrection), the womb (conception and birth), and the soil (germination and new creation). The last two of these analogies are originally based on Genesis 2:7, the formation of Adam from the soil of the ground. This symbolic usage of Egypt is applied to Israel and to Jesus, even as Jesus will come to represent Israel and the Mosaic Covenant.

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 Israel and the nations. All are invited to partake in the life-preserving sustenance provided by the administration of the man of understanding and wisdom, Jesus the Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God.

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)

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The Sons of Jacob: First Journey to Egypt During Famine

When the seven years of famine begin, Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to purchase food. Ten sons are sent. Benjamin remains with Jacob. Upon being received by Joseph, each prostrates before him. He recognizes them but does not reveal himself to them. He remembers his dreams. Faithful is Yahweh Elohim. Joseph now determines to discipline his brothers. His forthcoming schemes are for the purpose of corrective chastisement. As they have troubled Jacob’s soul, now their souls will be troubled in order to bring them to an acknowledgment of their evil deed and to repentance. Joseph charges them with espionage. They declare their innocence of this charge. They acknowledge they are twelve brothers, sons of one man. Thus begins the revival of their memories and their conscience. They acknowledge the loss of one brother, repeating the lie that he had died. They also declare the youngest brother is with their father.

This opens an opportunity for Joseph to increase their anxiety even further. He will test their truthfulness. One of the brothers will remain in Egypt while the others return to their people with the purchased food. Upon returning with the youngest brother, the one remaining in Egypt will be set free. This causes the brothers to dwell on their evil deed, “guilty are we on account of our brother when we saw the distress of his soul, when he supplicated us and we did not hearken. Therefore comes on us all this distress” (Gen. 42:21b CV). The text makes it clear that Joseph’s motive is not revenge or hatred. He overhears them speaking of their guilt and departs to weep privately. He loves his brothers and now understands that what they intended for evil Yahweh has intended for good.

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).

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The Sons of Jacob: Second Journey to Egypt During Famine

At the end of the second year of the famine, the brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin (Gen. 45:6). Joseph provides a banquet. Each is served abundantly, but Benjamin is served five times as much as the others. When they get ready to leave, Joseph has his servants place a valuable silver cup in the bag of Benjamin. A short way from the city, Joseph’s servants overtake them and discover the silver cup in the bag of Benjamin. They return under guard to the city and Joseph’s residence. Benjamin is to become Joseph’s slave. The plight of Benjamin impels the solemn and momentous confession of Judah:

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)

Judah reveals a change of heart. Whereas in the past he showed little concern for his father’s distressed soul over Joseph, now he is overwhelmed with the thought of distressing his father’s soul with the loss of Benjamin also. He is prepared to become Joseph’s servant in place of Benjamin. Judah, who light-heartedly offended his father by taking a wife from among the daughters of the Canaanites and hard-heartedly distressed his father’s soul over the deception concerning Joseph’s fabricated death, now manifests a melted heart of sacrificial love on behalf of his father and his brother.

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Joseph’s Manifestation to His Brothers

Joseph’s wise decisions and actions have been used by Yahweh to soften the heart of the brothers (as illustrated in Judah’s confession) and lead them to repentance. Judah’s words overwhelm the emotions of Joseph. He excuses his servants and, in their absence, reveals himself to his brothers (Gen. 45:1), his voice quivering with joyous lamentation. He exclaims, “I am Joseph. Still is my father living?!” (Gen. 45:3 CV modified). At this revelation, his brothers are stunned by his presence (his parousia).

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 Egypt. And now, you must not grieve, and it must not be hot in your eyes, that you sold me hither, for to preserve life Elohim sent me before you. For these two years the famine is within the land, and there are still five years in which there is no plowing or harvesting. And sending me is Elohim before you to constitute you a remnant in the earth and to preserve your lives for a great deliverance. And now, not you sent me hither, for it was the Elohim. And constituting me is He a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his household, and ruler in all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-8 CV)

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Joseph’s Manifestation and Jesus’ Manifestation

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.

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Saul/Paul as Pattern

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 Damascus as a pattern, a foreshadowing of the ultimate deliverance of the Israel of Yahweh from her hard-heartedness caused by her blindness and ignorance:

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 Damascus is a pattern of the impending salvation of the Israel of Yahweh. He states clearly in Romans 9:6-8 that not all Israel in the flesh are counted by Yahweh as the Israel of God. Only those who walk in the faithfulness of Abraham are Abraham’s children and thus sons of Yahweh, the Israel of Yahweh. Saul/Paul was an Israelite. However, he was persecuting Christ. Such persecution did not represent the faithfulness of Abraham. Yet Paul declares that Yahweh considered him faithful! Why? Because he persecuted Christ in blindness and thus in ignorance. In his heart, he was zealous for his God, his people, and his covenant. He persecuted Christ and blasphemed Him, believing Christ to be an enemy of Yahweh, Yahweh’s covenant, and Yahweh’s people.

However, when Yahweh shows Saul/Paul mercy by spiritually opening his eyes on the road to Damascus, immediately he subjects himself to Jesus, Yahweh’s Christ (Messiah). He believes, repenting of his former persecution and now realizing, like the brothers of Joseph, “you devised against me evil, yet Elohim devises it for me for good, . . .” (Gen. 50:20 CV).

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 Israel shall be saved, . . . (Romans 11:25-26a CV)

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 Israel has already occurred.

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 Land of Promise. In the blessing of Ephraim by Jacob, it is stated that Ephraim’s seed “shall become a fullness of the nations” (Gen. 48:19 CV). Ephraim was to become associated with the Northern Kingdom of Israel which departed from the Southern Kingdom of Judah after the death of Solomon. Ephraim was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and was declared by the prophet Hosea as “Lo-Ammi,” not My people (Hos. 1:9). He became scattered among the nations, never returning to his land in Canaan. Thus, Ephraim became “not My people,” cut off from the covenantal presence of Yahweh. He became like the nations. But Jacob’s blessing indicated Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom) would become “a fullness of the nations.” Paul declares the Israel of Yahweh will remain callous “until” the complement or fullness of the nations enters into the Abrahamic blessings.

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 Israel [Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom] shall become as the sand of the sea, Which is not being measured nor numbered. And it comes to be in the place in which it was being said to them, Not My people are you, There shall it be said to them, Sons of the living El. And the sons of Judah [the Southern Kingdom] and the sons of Israel [the Northern Kingdom] shall be convened together. And they shall place one head over them. And they shall go up from the land, for great is the day of Jezreel. (Hosea 1:10-11 CV)

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The Testimony of James

The ministry of Paul to the nations was the gathering of Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom, to be re-united with Judah, the Southern Kingdom, under one head, Jesus the Christ, the son of David. Thus, David’s tabernacle, house, was in the process of being re-built. This was in accord with the judgment of James in Acts chapter 15. He supports his judgment by quoting Amos 9:9-15,

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 Kingdom of Judah] should be seeking out Yahweh,

As well as all the nations [the Lo-Ammi Northern Kingdom of Israel], on them over whom My name is invoked,

Is saying the Lord, Who is doing these things.” (Acts 15:13-17 CV modified)


The complement of the nations (the Lo-Ammi Kingdom of Northern Ephraim/Israel) was being accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ to the nations. When that ministry had been completed, Christ would reveal Himself to the then presently blind and ignorant Israel of Yahweh, and thus all Israel would be saved, Judah and Ephraim, the Southern Kingdom and the Northern Kingdom. David’s house would be united once again. Paul was given this commission, and Paul completed this commission:

. . . 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.

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Jacob and Joseph Reunited

Joseph then summons Jacob to go down to Egypt. When Jacob learns that Joseph still lives, the text states, “Then living is the spirit of Jacob, their father. And Israel is saying, ‘Much! Still is Joseph, my son, living! Go will I and see him ere I die’” (Gen. 45:27b-28 CV). It seems Jacob is not planning to remain in Egypt. However, Elohim appears to him in “appearances of the night” telling him not to fear going down to Egypt. Elohim will go down with him, and there Elohim will constitute his seed a great nation. Yahweh had already prophesied to Abram concerning his seed’s bondage within an alien nation. Elohim now assures Israel not to fear going down to Egypt, since in Egypt He will constitute his seed a great nation, and He will bring up this nation from Egypt to the Land of Promise.

Jacob travels to Egypt and is presented before Pharaoh. Prior to this, the writer indicates that Pharaoh’s heart is with Joseph. Having heard that Joseph’s brothers have come to Egypt, we are informed “good is it in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants” (Gen. 45:16 CV). What is good in the eyes of Yahweh is good in the eyes of Pharaoh and his servants. Thus, Pharaoh is guaranteed Yahweh’s blessing. For Yahweh is faithful to His word of promise. This is further established when, standing in the presence of Pharaoh, Jacob blesses Pharaoh. Jacob is Yahweh’s favored one. Favor Jacob and receive blessings. Mistreat Jacob and receive cursings.

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The Message of Moses to Israel in Moab

Yahweh is with Jacob. Yahweh is with Israel. The nation encamped at Moab is told by Moses that a time is coming when she will abandon Yahweh and serve alien gods. They will provoke Yahweh to vexation, sacrificing to demons, to elohim the nation had not known before. They will forget the El travailing with them. Thus, Israel will become like the sons of Jacob in relation to Joseph and Jacob. Israel will become the enemy of Yahweh. She will come to hate Yahweh in her behavior and attitude. Israel will come to be jealous against Yahweh and His prophets (see Deuteronomy, chapter 32).

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 Israel abandons Yahweh, Yahweh will never abandon Israel. Israel will be sent into captivity. Yahweh will conceal His face from her for a moment. But He will gather her from among the nations and cause His face to smile upon her, eon after eon. Yahweh will joyously weep over His Israel, as Joseph joyously wept over his brothers, in the course of His provision of sustenance and His manifestation of His face in joyous reunion.