Section III
Abraham

Section III

God Chooses His People Through Abraham

Setting up an idol to worship some imaginative god instead of the great creator God, amounts to the ultimate insult. So, with sin running rampant among the nations, each nation choosing its own gods; God chose a special nation to represent himself. He determined to develop a nation, who could draw people out of the other nations who sought the truth. By adding them to his nation he would show a contrast between the righteousness and mercy of his nature, as opposed to the idol gods of others. [God began preparing Abram for this calling before the former age ended therefore this Age overlaps the former one slightly.]

For the beginning of this people he chose Abram, who had been totally taught in his ways by Noah and Shem for thirty-nine years. [Jasher contends that he was hidden in a cave for the first ten years of his life.] But Abram had gone back to Ur and taken a wife and settled down. Then, again according to the book of Jasher, Terah and his family, got into disfavor with the king of their land (Nimrod). So, Terah took his family, and all their substance up the Euphrates River, with the intent to go to Canaan, and find a safe place. However, when they arrived in Haran they discovered that the land was an exceedingly good for pasture, sufficient for all their animals. Beyond the suitability of the land, the people were friendly, and it was far from the activities of Babel. God told Abram later it was he that brought him up out of Ur of the Chaldeans. Apparently he was the one who arranged the circumstances that made them unwelcome in their own land.

After living in Haran for twenty-five years, God called Abram to serve him. (God skips through Abram’s life in the scripture, telling only the parts that pertain to his purpose.) At these times when he speaks or appears to Abram, he makes a series of promises. The first was to leave the land of Haran and his family, and go to a land God would show him.

 

“Get thee out of thy country, from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, into a land that I will show you:

I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee. And make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.                                                                                                                  

Genesis 12:1-4

First he gave a command—Go. Then he gave the first promise, to make of Abram a great nation, a great name, and a great blessing to others. But the most important promise, not spoken, but surely intended, was that he would bring along the seed of the woman who would destroy Satan through Abram’s offspring.

Abram immediately obeyed God, packed up his family of servants and substance. However, contrary to the command, his kinsman Lot went with him. When he got as far as Sichem, God appeared to him and added to his former promise, now that he had obeyed the first command.

Even though Abram was standing in the midst of the Canaanites who lived there, God said this is the land I will give to your seed. Abram knew that Sarai was barren, but Abram rejoiced in the promise because he believed God would heal her womb. He journeyed to Bethel and built an altar, but God did not appear to him there. He could believe God to lead him, he could believe God to heal Sarai’s womb, but when a severe drought came into the land, he went down to Egypt where he knew there was water.

There, God protected Sarai, but the king commanded him to leave the land because his half lie about Sarai being his sister had brought the judgement of God upon Egypt. He went back to Bethel where he had left the Lord’s will going to Egypt on his own. But now the herdsmen of Lot and Abram begin to strive over the pasture because they both had too many animals for the land. Abram told Lot to choose a place for himself and Abram would go to another. Lot chose the prosperous plain of the Jordan River, while Abram continued in Canaan. Then God spoke again adding once more to his promise. This time he said:

Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, eastward and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land; in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.  

                                                                                                                                       Genesis 13:14-17

 

 To this promise he enumerated the size of his descendents. (Notice he took his illustration from the earth—dust.) After rescuing Lot from the kings that conquered Sodom, God spoke to him again, this time in a vision saying:

“Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, LORD God, what will you give me seeing, I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

And Abram said, behold to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born my house is mine heir.

And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness

And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

And he said , LORD God, whereby shall I know I shall inherit it?

                                                                                                                         Genesis 15:1-8 NKJV

You can tell by the questions Abram asked, that he was trying to think of a way to make God’s promise come to pass. This is why God told him not to fear; fear is the opposite of faith. He assured him by telling him he would be the actual father of the beginning of his descendents who would become this great nation.

This was the moment he trusted God completely. Seeing this, God counted it righteousness. But Abram wanted a contract like men made with men and God granted it. It was a blood contract. Dividing a heifer, a she goat and a ram of three years old meant they were mature animals at their prime, expensive possessions. Apparently it was a costly covenant that heightened the surety of its being kept.

During the process of the covenant ritual, which covered at least part of a day and part of a night, God told Abram how he would develop the great nation that was to come from him.

“They shall be strangers in a land that is not theirs and be servants for four hundred years,” he said. Then God would judge the host nation and bring them back to the land, “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Apparently God intended to use the conquering of the land as judgment upon the Amorites. (That’s the reason God told the Israelites to kill them all, even their children, when they finally entered the land.)

Being strangers and servants in Egypt kept them separate from the Egyptians as well as from other nations. This meant no intermarrying thus developing a pure race of Israelites.

However, God’s intent from the beginning was to have two peoples both descendents of Abraham. To see this we have to skip to the specific promises given to Isaac and Jacob.

When the famine came in Isaac’s day, God commanded him not to go to Egypt, but to stay in the land that he would give him. And I will perform my oath to your father. And then, he gave Isaac half of the promise he had given Abraham concerning his descendents. Isaacs’s seed would multiply as the stars of heaven. (Genesis 26:4)

 Paul, speaking to the Galatians who were confused concerning keeping the laws of Judaism, said: “Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.” (Gal. 4:28) Listen to what he says to the Romans: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed; but not to that only which is of the law, but to that also that is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,” (Romans 4:16). Are we, of the Church, God’s heavenly people represented by stars in the promise to Isaac? We, who are born again of faith? Remember the other half of the promise of descendents multiplied was given in dust. Did God repeat that half to Jacob whose descendents would become Israel?

Yes he did! When Jacob had the dream of the ladder to heaven, God confirmed Abraham’s covenant to him. He told Jacob his descendents would multiply like the dust and spread abroad on the land. Are these two patriarchs the founders of the two great peoples of God?

Then Abraham attempted to offer Isaac upon the altar as a sacrifice and was stopped, God changed the picture of his numerous descendents from dust to the sands of the seashore. I puzzled over this until I realized God was speaking of the gentile peoples the Jews would win to the Lord as proselytes. This, no doubt had been one of the reasons for choosing a nation to be his representative— a light in a world of darkness. This same promise was given to Jacob when he traveled back to Canaan and was about to confront his brother Esau.

But having been given at the rescue of Isaac, it could also refer to the gentiles who would be added to the Church. Israel was God’s light to the Gentiles, his people for two thousand years up to the time of Christ. From then to this day, the Church has been his people for nearly the same amount of time.

The mystery that Jews and Gentiles would be together in one distinct body, separate from Judaism, was hidden in the Old Testament. But it was there in picture. I wonder if this is how Paul recognized the mystery? His teaching continually separated the Jews from the Church, which was a new building for which Paul laid the foundation himself. Jesus Christ crucified is that foundation! This new building of the Church is a temple made for the dwelling of God in the midst of his people right now. He had formerly dwelt in the midst of Israel in the tabernacle in the desert for forty years. The tabernacle dwelt in the center of their tents. But the picture of God dwelling in both his peoples at once in the future was shown in Solomon’s temple. So, it seems that from the time of David, God always intended to dwell in the midst of both peoples, even though the meaning was hidden.

The secret of understanding this lies in the placement of the three upper chambers in both of the temples described in the Bible, Solomon’s  temple and Ezekiel’s temple.

I used to think that the arrangement of the ascending chambers of these temples was the hardest thing in the whole Bible to understand. That was because I didn’t understand the concept. But seeing a rendering of the chambers in a model of Ezekiel’s temple, I suddenly understood.

I already knew that the three increasing spaces as they ascended stood for the development of saints in the Church. Peter, Paul, John and even Jesus mentioned three levels of growth toward maturity. They always occur in threes and almost always in ascending order. The one exception being Paul’s depiction of men building  God’s spiritual house—the Church, by their teaching. Here he starts at the top and descends to the worthless works of wood, hay and stubble in building the Church. Below is a chart that shows what I mean:

These represent God’s inheritance in the saints stored in the treasure chambers of the temple pictured in the chart with the lowest levels at the top. In the chambers they ascend from lowest levels and grow up, each chamber able to store greater capacities of treasure as they ascend, making the largest chambers at the top.

Do you see how saints fall into three categories? We will mention these differences again in a later chapter when we talk about the Christian race, and Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.  It is very important to understand the goal God has set before us lest we miss it and not qualify to reach these levels. But for now we need to understand it is only the Church that that is expected to reach these three levels of faith. To understand the mystery shown in Solomon and Ezekiel’s temples we need to look at the architecture to see the type. To fully understand read the article Uncovering the Mysteries of Ezekiel’s Temple Architecture, also on this website.

I will just point out several reasons why the temples are a picture of God dwelling amongst his two peoples.

Words describing Solomon’s temple make a point of saying the beams (that support the upper chambers) are not fastened in the walls of the house, the house being the temple where the services are officiated. It specifically states that  narrow rests on the outside support them (1 Kings 6:6).

Ezekiel confirms this in 41:6 :

And the side chambers were three, one over another, thirty in order [each level]; and they entered into the wall which was of the side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the [lower] house.

Besides not being fastened in the walls of the house, the upper chambers have their own separate foundations that are six full great cubits by one cubit reaching to the height of the house. Ezekiel 41:8.

The thickness or breadth of the wall that was for the side chamber without, was five cubits and that which was left of the side chambers that were within.                                  

                                                                                                                  Ezekiel 41:9

                                                                 

 So the five cubit extension of the foundation answered to the narrow rests outside of Solomon’s temple.

 

4. Both houses are separated in their entrances as well. Josephus says it best, He says: . . . “for it [the upper house] had no large door on the east end, as the lower house had, but the entrances were by the sides, through very small doors.”[1] He also talks of the contrivance that Solomon built to reach the upper chambers. Here is a picture from our drawing:

 

 

 

Was this the first spiral staircase ever built?

Ezekiel tells us much about the Millennial reign. He describes the Jewish Priesthood serving in the temple in ministering to the whole population on earth. But the Church’s main occupation is to rule over all the Gentile nations in judgment, thus it is only shown in type. The treasures stored in these upper rooms of the temple were used by the kings to pay for restorations and to build or repair in the kingdom. The Israelites will have their own prince (a direct descendent of David), as will all nations (Isaiah 32:1, and their great King Yeshua will rule over all. The temple is the throne of the government of planet earth. The lower house represents the Spiritual side of the kingdom seen in the sacrifices, etc. It is also reflected in the face of a man (Christ pictured as priest), and the righteous rule of Law seen the face of the lion in the cherub carvings on the wall.

5. The profile of the temple shows the two peoples in the beam structure of the architecture. My son studies Paleo Hebrew and while building the temple recognized one of the letters in the arrangement of the beams. Since each letter also has a meaning, the letter 'hey' means “behold.” in Paleo-Hebrew. The mirror image of the beams said “Behold” from front to back and back to front eight times. Both rows of beams surround the area where the Shekinah of the Lord will dwell. A couple of months after he found the letter, I came across this verse:

I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

                                                                                                                  Isaiah 65:1

Brethren, that nation can be none other than the Church!

Later he found the letter that forms the reflexive “me.”

Yes, Abraham fathered two great peoples, physical descendents after Jacob as many as a the dust of the earth; and spiritual descendents of the order of Isaac as many as the stars of the sky. One is called his restored and forgiven wife and the other is called his pure and spotless Bride. They are both precious in his sight. One will inherit and rule the earth in eternity, the other will rule the universe in eternity. Both are unique and totally separate. Both have different destinies according to their promises.