HUMAN GOVERNMENT – PROMISE
Abraham, the son of Terah the idolater, was born about 2008 A.H. About 2083 A.H., when Abram was seventy-five years old, God called him to leave his land and home and people, and he did. Hebrews 11:8. Genesis 12:4. In Romans 4:13, we read, “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Again in Galatians 3:18, we read: “For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Again we read in Hebrews 6:13: “When God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swear by Himself.” He confirmed the promise by an oath. Hebrews 6:17.
By referring to Genesis, chapters 12 to 17, and chapters 21 and 22, we learn of the great promises God made to Abram and Abraham and also of the oath of confirmation at the time Abraham offered to God his only begotten son, Isaac.
“I will make of thee a great nation.” Genesis 12:2.
“I will bless thee and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2.
“I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” Genesis 12:3.
“In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:3.
“All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.” Genesis 13:15.
“And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth.” Genesis 13:16.
“I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” Genesis 17:2.
“Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee . . . And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee . . . I will give thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:1 to 8.
“Ye Shall Circumcise,” Genesis 17:11
“And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh.” Genesis 17:24.
“By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord.” Genesis 22:17.
“Thy seed shall possess the gate of His enemies.” “And in thy seed I shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 22:16 and 17.
“And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, and hundred three score and fifteen years.” Genesis 25:7.
BEFORE AND AFTER THE COVENANT
Abraham was neither a Jew nor an Israelite when he was called at the age of 75. He was an Hebrew. 114:13. The covenant which God made with Abraham—His oath-supported promises—was made 430 Years before Israel and Jehovah entered into their mutual law contract. Galatians 3:17.
Abram, the uncircumcised, believed the promises of God. He believed God, and it was counted, or reckoned to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:6. Romans 4:3. Galatians 3:6. Abraham’s circumcision was the seal of the righteousness which he had yet being uncircumcised. Romans 4:11. Declared righteous in uncircumcision that he might be the father of the uncircumcised Gentile believers. Romans 4:11. “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Galatians 3:9. “They which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7. Christ died on the cross, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:14. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29.
The natural or physical seed of Abraham went to Canaan, because of the Abrahamic covenant. The same seed of Abraham, the nation Israel, will yet possess all of Canaan, because of the Abrahamic covenant. God gave it to Abraham by promise. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Roman 11:29. God will therefore take away Israel’s sin and save that nation. Romans 11:25 to 31.
“Thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” Isaiah 41:8. “Fear not thou worm Jacob.” 41:14. Read also Jeremiah 31:25 and 26.
ABRAHAM NOT UNDER THE LAW
We must be careful not to confuse the Abrahamic covenant with the covenant which God made 430 years later when He took Israel by the hand and led them up out of the land of Egypt. Hebrews 8:8 to 10. While all of the failures of Israel under that Sinai covenant cannot annul God’s covenant of grace made with Abraham, yet we must see that our failure to differentiate between the Abrahamic covenant for Israel and all nations of the earth and the Sinai covenant with Israel, demanding an earthly religious program and a seventh-day sabbath, will lead us into untold confusion and error.
To the covenant or promise the Law was added because of transgression till the Seed should come. Galatians 3:19. The Seed is Christ. He came. “He taketh away the first.” Hebrews 10:9. The “first” was not the Abrahamic covenant but the Old Covenant made with Israel. Hebrews 8:13. II Corinthians 3:7 to 13. The Abrahamic covenant is not taken away. It is being fulfilled in part. It will be fulfilled in whole – not only concerning Abraham’s spiritual seed today, but also concerning Israel in Canaan.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose name became Israel, all died several centuries before the Old Testament was established. So did: Israel’s twelve sons. Moses was born under the dispensation of Promise, eighty years before there was an Old Testament, so Abraham and his great grand children were not Old Testament characters. Abraham died in 1820 B.C. The Old Testament was established about 1492 B.C.
Read carefully Luke 1:27 to 74 of the birth of Christ as the Seed of Abraham and the Seed of David and learn the purpose of that birth.
THE INHERITANCE IN THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT AND OATH
What mean these words found in the last verse of Amos: “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall not more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord?” What mean these words: “All Israel shall be saved . . . This is my covenant with them . . . the gifts and calling of God are without repentance?” Romans 11:25 to 32. Here is the reason: “Beloved for the fathers’ sake.” Romans 11:28. Beloved for the fathers’ sake. Let us not forget this most important statement. Israel will be redeemed and reestablished in the Land of Canaan, as a nation, for the fathers’ sake.
Abraham was the first father. Hear God’s word to this father: “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession: and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:14.
The Law; under which Israel was so unfaithful, cannot disannul that promise. Galatians 3:17. This promise was not to Abraham or his seed, through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. Romans 4:13.
What part of the inheritance are we Gentiles interested in? “For if the inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Galatians 3:18.
“The blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles.” Galatians 3:14; This is our inheritance. It is through Jesus Christ, the promised Seed. Here is the oath-supported covenant or promise: “By myself have I sworn saith the Lord. . . . In thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 22.18. This is the gospel that was preached for us even before Abram became circumcised Abraham. Genesis 12:3.
When Abram believed God, it was counted unto him for righteousness. Galatians 3:6. And in the promise the Scripture foresaw that God would declare believing Gentiles righteous without a cause. Galatians 3:8. Romans 3.24.
The blessing of Abraham is “RIGHTEOUSNESS” for believing: Gentiles through Jesus Christ. This is our inheritance. It is evidenced by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Galatians 3:14. The moment a sinner believes the gospel, he is righteous, and at the same moment he receives the Holy Spirit; not by the works of the law, but by the hearing of faith. Galatians 3:2. He instantly becomes Christ’s, Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise. Galatians 3:29. Heirs of salvation as spiritual seed. But not heirs of Canaan, as the natural seed.
“THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALSO A WITNESS TO US”
In the tenth chapter of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:15), the Holy Spirit is declared to be the witness of the benefit for the individual, guaranteed to Israel under the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was made with Israel when that nation left Egypt, about 1492 B.C. Hebrews 8:9. The New Covenant was promised to them in Jeremiah 31:31 to 35, about 600 B.C. This New Covenant guarantees national salvation. Hebrews 8:11. Christ’s blood is the blood of the New Covenant. Matthew 26:28. This New Covenant was not made with Gentiles, but the Gentiles get salvation under it to provoke Israel to jealousy. Romans 11:11. In this age, saved Gentiles, together with saved Jews, are being joined to the Lord as members of His Body. When this present purpose of God shall have been accomplished then the Covenant will be fulfilled in the salvation of Israel. The individual believing Gentile during this age of grace, enjoys some of the benefits of this New Covenant, which is a better covenant established upon better promises than the Old Covenant. Hebrews 8:6. Therefore, the believer today, whether Jew or Gentile, is perfected and sanctified forever by the one offering Christ made on the cross. Hebrews 10:14. The witness of this perfection and sanctification under the New Covenant is the same as the witness of the righteousness, which is the blessing of Abraham; namely, the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Spirit the believer is sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30.
HE TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST, THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH THE SECOND
“He taketh away the first that He may establish the second.” This is a most interesting statement. Perhaps we should defer the consideration of this statement until we come to the end of the “Law” dispensation. But because of the fact that so many Christians have failed to differentiate between the Abrahamic Covenant and the Old Covenant, we shall study the meaning of this statement. Christ took away the first. Christ established the second. The first and the second. It was by the one offering of Christ on the cross that the first was taken away and the second was established. If the first refers to the Law and its sacrifices, then we must see that these were not taken away until the death of Christ. They were not taken away at the time Christ was preaching His Sermon on the Mount. But the first had been taken away for some years when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians. In the Epistle to the Galatians we learn that the Abrahamic Covenant has. not been disannulled or made ineffective by the Law Covenant that was added. Abraham also sacrificed animals. Such sacrifices have passed away, since Christ offered Himself once-for-all on the cross. But, as Gentiles, we know that we are not being saved because of the promises under the Law Covenant. But the gospel for us was included in the promise which God made to Abraham, “In thy seed shall all of the nations of the earth be blessed.”
In Hebrews 8:13, we read this statement concerning the Old Covenant: “in that He saith a New Covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13. This is likewise spoken of in II Corinthians 3:13 and 14 as, “That which is abolished.” . . . . “Which is done away.”
The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ brought the “Law” dispensation, the Old Covenant, to an end. He is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Romans 10:4 and 5. The first and the old are the same. The Abrahamic Covenant has not been taken away. The promise is daily being fulfilled in the salvation of individual Gentiles and the promise and oath will be fulfilled for Israel when the Son of God returns to restore the kingdom to them. The Gentile believer saved under the Abrahamic promise is saved on the basis of the blood of the New Covenant. We therefore see that the Abrahamic Covenant and the Old Covenant are not the same. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the fathers referred to in Romans 11:28, were not Old Testament characters. They lived and died under the Promise, before the Law was added.
Now before we proceed to the study of Moses and the Law, let us consider several verses of Scripture:
ISRAEL IN EGYPT
“He said unto Abram, Know of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. Afterwards shall they come out with great substance.” Genesis 15:13.
“All of the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives were threescore and six.” Genesis 46:26.
The adults of the children of Israel that went up out of Egypt were six hundred thousand. Exodus 12:37.
Guaranteed in the Abrahamic Covenant was Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Israel was miraculously preserved in Egypt, as Israel has been miraculously preserved ever since, and is being today. Israel in Egypt grew from fewer than seventy souls in the year 1706 B.C. to more than six hundred thousand souls in the year 1492 B.C.
When the four hundred years were fulfilled, or when the fulness of time was come, “God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Exodus 2:24. His gifts and calling were without repentance; so He sent Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt. It is still true that the gifts and calling are without repentance in this respect and a Deliverer is to come out of Zion and deliver Israel. Romans 11:26 to 29. Moses was eighty years old when God called him to be Israel’s deliverer. Exodus 7:7. It was at that time that God took Israel by the hand to lead them up out of the land of Egypt and entered with them into that mutual contract of “doing.” Jeremiah 31:31 and 32. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. Deuteronomy 34:7.
Therefore it is obvious that Moses lived in two different dispensations, first, for eighty years under the Promise, and then for forty years under the “Law” dispensation.
“FOR THE LAW WAS GIVEN BY MOSES, BUT GRACE AND TRUTH CAME BY JESUS CHRIST.” JOHN 1:17.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.