Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 07/20/08
The dispensation of Israel. A man called Moses.
We have now completed a brief outline on the first category of the Theocentric dispensations, known as the dispensation of the Gentiles.
This dispensation is broken period is broken down into three parts:
This dispensation is broken period is broken down into three parts:
1. The Period of Positive Volition.
2. The Period of Negative Volition.
3. The Period of the Patriarchs.
The peak of the period of the Patriarchs was the divine interjection of the Abrahamic Covenant. Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing (GEN 12:1-2). This is the beginning of God's covenant with Abraham. This covenant guarantees the Jews, and the nation Israel a permanent national existence, and a perpetual title to the land of promise as well as material, and spiritual blessings through Christ. This is why Satan desires to destroy Abraham's seed, Israel. This covenant also guaranteed Gentile nations a share in these blessings:
"And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed [all the Gentiles who came from Shem, Ham and Japheth]."(GEN 12:3)
Abraham was born from the genealogical line of Shem, one of Noah's sons, he was a gentile of the Arab race. He remained so until he reached spiritual maturity at ninety-nine years old. Then with the act of circumcision, Abraham became the first Jew, and the father of the Jewish race (GEN 17:1-21). This ritual of circumcision signified the blessings of restored sexual vigor through which God would "multiply Abraham's seed as the stars of the heavens." (GEN 22:15-18; ROM 4:17-21; HEB 11:11-12). Abraham's obedience demonstrated his spiritually mature confidence in the promises of God. God also confirmed His covenant to Abraham's believing son, Isaac (GEN 26:3-5), and reconfirmed it to his believing grandson, Jacob (GEN 28:13-15; 35:11-12). The Jewish race is spiritual in origin, descending from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, each of whom were believers in Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad, who is their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (GEN 15:6).
From this period of the Theocentric dispensation of the Gentiles, came the twelve sons of Jacob, the founders of the tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes of Israel came through circumcision, and through one man and four women. Jacob had two wives and two mistresses. Israel would be God's client nation, His protected representative on earth to whom He would entrust the human authorship and custodianship of written divine revelation. The age of the Patriarchs was around 2,050 B.C. to 1441 B.C. While there was no written canon of Scripture at that time, the period is covered from Gen 12 to Exo 12. The age of the Patriarchs ended with the Egyptians in control [Egypt represents the cosmic system] and the Jews in slavery, another dispensation ending with man's failure. The Promised Land was theirs as long as they remained in the land, but, of course, there was failure. Jacob led the people to Egypt, and the judgment of slavery was brought on them. However, God again graciously provided a deliverer, and in the process of deliverance killed their oppressors.
The age of the Patriarchs is the transition into the age of the Jews and Israel. That transition is made by Moses, one of the greatest men in the Old Testament. Moses is a descendant from the tribe of Levi, and is the greatest born-again genius of the Old Testament. He was born into slavery while the Jews were slaves to the Egyptians. Moses was a handsome man, and an extremely strong and powerful man. Moses was a genius in the field of music, literature, and engineering; he built two great cities in Egypt. He was a military genius, an administrative genius, and he had doctrine, common sense, good manners and wisdom. There was no unbalance of any kind in his life. He was one of the reasons why Egypt became great.
Moses was a baby when the order to execute all Jewish children under a certain age was given:
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. “Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and in the event of war, they also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us, and depart from the land.” So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out, so that they were in dread of the sons of Israel. And the Egyptians compelled the sons of Israel to labor rigorously; and they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and at all kinds of labor in the field, all their labors which they rigorously imposed on them. Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah, and the other was named Puah; and he said, "When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live." But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said to them, "Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?" And the midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous, and they give birth before the midwife can get to them." So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. And it came about because the midwives feared God, that He established households for them. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive." Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it, and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. And his sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?" And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go ahead." So the girl went and called the child's mother. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me and I shall give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, "Because I drew him out of the water." (EXO 1:8-2:4)
It is here that we see the Jews being delivered from slavery, and led to a new country, and a new way of life with God. Here we have the giving of the Law, and the promise of the Mosaic Covenant. Here we see the erecting of that remarkable symbolical structure, the Tabernacle. Here Moses grows up, and goes forth to his mighty task. Here we mark the transition of the Israelites from being a plurality of Jewish tribes into one nation. Here is the amazing spectacle of the Exodus and the history of the Jews.
Moses was saved from the decree of the Pharaoh to kill the Jewish male boys as they came forth from the womb. His parents refused to comply with the order, and his mother, by an act of great faith, put Moses in a basket, sealed it up, and floated it down the Nile River. Moses ended up where the daughter of the Pharaoh was bathing. She opened the basket, saw the beautiful baby, and adopted it. She called him Moses which in the Hebrew (Mosheh) means drawn from the water.
Moses spent 40 years living in the palace as an Egyptian prince. He was going to be the next Pharaoh of Egypt, but several things happened. Moses discovered his origin (that of a Jew), he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he grew spiritually. When he departed from Egypt he refused to accept the crown, and saw Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) who was invisible.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt [a reference to the riches of the world]; for he was looking to the reward.(HEB 11:23-26)
Moses wanted to liberate the Jews from Egyptian slavery, but he tried to do it in the energy of the flesh, and that's when he killed one of the Egyptian slave-drivers. He was rejected by the Jews at that time. All of his life he would be one of the greatest leaders, and yet he was rejected by his own people. Moses was actually a type of the Lord Jesus Christ in many ways:
1. He was of lowly poor parents and birth; so was the Lord Jesus Christ in respect of His flesh, or human nature, being born of a poor virgin.
2. Moses was no sooner born, but he was exposes to the wrath of Pharaoh king of Egypt, who sought to put him to death; Christ in his infancy was sought by king Herod to be slain; but both by God's extraordinary providence were delivered.
3. Moses was of a meek and sweet disposition, above all that dwelt upon the earth, yet full of zeal for God and indignation against sin and evil; Christ was a pattern of meekness and humility.
4. Moses was appointed by God, and sent to deliver Israel out of Pharaoh's cruel bondage; so Jesus Christ was appointed, and sent to deliver all of the Israel of God from the cruel bondage of Satan, a heavy oppression and burden of sin.
5. Moses was sent to lead Israel towards Canaan; Jesus Christ leads us to heaven, the type of Canaan. Moses led Israel unto the sight of the promised land; but Jesus Christ leads us into heaven, the ultimate land of promise.
6. Moses gave the law, having first received it from the hand of God; Jesus Christ gave us the law of the Gospel, as He received it from His Father.
7. Moses performed many mighty miracles in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness, to confirm the Law, and to show Israel that he was really sent of God; Jesus Christ performed many strange and wonderful miracles, by sea and land, in towns and deserts, to manifest His glory, to show He was sent of God and to confirm His doctrine.
8. Moses instituted the Passover; Christ, the true Moses, instituted the supper.
9. Moses in his faithfulness was a type of Christ; he was faithful as a servant; he did all things exactly according to the pattern showed him on the mount; Christ in all things was faithful as a Son (HEB 3:5-6).
10. Moses married an Ethiopian, a stranger, from the black race; the Lord Jesus Christ embraced the Gentiles, who were strangers to God, and by reason of sin, as dark as sin and evil could make them.
11. Moses sweetened the bitter waters of Marah, by a tree cast into it; Christ sweetens all our afflictions by the means of His cross.
12. Moses led Israel through the Red sea; Christ leads His Church through a sea of tribulation.
Moses fled into the desert, and spent 39-40 years, and then he came to the burning bush experience (EXO 3:1-6). Eventually he led the Jews to freedom from slavery. Then the Exodus began, and that story is a marvelous story about one of the greatest men who ever lived. The patience of this man, his courage, mental attitude, marvelous spiritual life and the humility of this man was fantastic. In NUM 12:3 he is called the most humble man on the face of the earth. At one time everyone turned against him including his sister Miriam and all the emotional dimwits who followed her:
"When the Lord your God shall bring you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and shall clear away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and he Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God shall deliver them before you, and you shall defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. "Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.(DEU 7:1-3)
After telling the Jews not to intermarry with other races, Moses married an Ethiopian woman, who was his second wife, and his sister Miriam began to malign them. In the maligning she ended up with leprosy. Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman) (NUM 12:1).Cushites were sons and daughters of Ham, and were dark skinned people. According to DEU 7:3 and EXO 34:11-16, Moses taught against intermarriage, but here he married an Ethiopian woman. Therefore, his sister became very upset (NUM 12:2-10).
The Jews became a nation when God led them out of Egypt, culminating that transitional age of the patriarchs in which He established the Jewish race. God says in effect, "Alright, mankind I establish a race called the Hebrews, now I'll establish from them a nation called Israel and Jews." As in the age of the Jewish patriarchs, the human race still consisted of a large population divided into many languages, cultures, and nations. Salvation continued to be by faith in Christ as He was revealed. With the Exodus, the Jews being set free from slavery, God established one particular nation to represent Him as His missionary agency on earth. The spiritual heritage of Israel continued, as it had begun through the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: the Jews expressed their faith toward God as they offered the Passover lamb. This chosen nation would be given a divine legacy in writing, and would manifest God's character as never before in history (DEU 4:6-8, 32-40). God made this nation the recipient, custodian, and communicator of the written canon of Scripture. Not only would Israel furnish the human authors of the Old Testament canon, but the history and function of Israel herself would be recorded forever in Scripture. The God of Israel, who is Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity (LUK 1:68), personally ruled the theocratic kingdom.
To communicate His grace to mankind through His chosen nation, God gave Moses a code of law for Israel. The Mosaic Law is a remarkable legal system that defined freedom and civil responsibility in Israel for believers and unbelievers alike. The Law also set forth the precise spiritual ceremonies by which the Jews would worship God. Because their God was also their king, it was the responsibility of everyone in Israel to observe the Mosaic Law as part of Jewish national life, although the spiritual provisions were properly meaningful for believers. As a single, integrated whole, the Mosaic Law focused on the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) where the presence of God resided. Offerings, rituals, and holy day observances conducted there anticipated the day when God would come in the flesh as the promised Messiah. For the orderly conduct of these rituals and for the oral communication of God's written Word, the Law instituted the Levitical priesthood (DEU 31:9-13; 33:10). The Mosaic Law was a new phenomenon, a thorough system of private and public duty in Israel under the immediate rule of God. This was the time in human history, of the dispensation of direct revelation and writings from God. God had everything written down that man needed to know. Now, there was a divine manual for man to follow, there were no excuses.
There was now a book filled with divine guidance and commands for man to live a long life and prosper, even for the unbeliever. Everything man needed to know would now be in written form. Would man respond to this way of divine truth as it would now be revealed? Of course, you know the answer is No! The written word is given, and they rejected it. In the next dispensation, the Word will become flesh, a member of the human race and dwell among us, and man will even reject that (JOH 1:14). The rituals prescribed by the Mosaic Law were a dramatic "shadow of what is to come" (COL 2:17; HEB 8:5; 10:1). They were types and teaching aids portraying Christ, salvation, and fellowship with God. The Levitical priesthood's function, and every individual's daily life included participation in ceremonies that depicted these tremendous doctrines. When Christ later came in the flesh, the reality fulfilled the shadows, making this magnificent heritage of rituals suddenly obsolete (HEB 8:13). A new code was required, and a new code was provided.
Now in the Church-age the believer's way of life manifests the all-powerful reality rather than the shadow. The ritual plan of God remains part of Scripture, documenting God's faithfulness and describing Christ's person and work. Therefore, an in-depth study of the Age of Israel, found in Exodus 12 through the book of Malachi, is an essential and highly instructive part of every Christian's knowledge of Bible doctrine. Israel demonstrated, and communicated the grace of God, the greatest expression of which was that she would be the nation through which the Savior would be born into the world. The sequence of promises that guarantee the coming of Christ, beginning with the "Seed" revealed to Adam and Eve (GEN 3:15), and continuing with the promises made to Noah (GEN 9:26), proceeded to become more specific. The Messiah would come from the race of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; from the nation of Israel; from the tribe of Judah; from the family of Jesse; from the royal lineage of King David.
Since the founding of the Jewish race, the promises of the messianic line coincide with the covenants between God and His chosen people. The nation of Israel is defined by five divine covenants. The first two, sworn during the age of the patriarchs, prepared the way for founding the nation. God made the remaining three after the Jewish race had become the Jewish nation.
2.The Palestinian Covenant (GEN 13:15; 15:18-21; 26:3-5; 28:13-15; 35:12; EXO 6:4,8; Nm 34:1-12; DEU 30:1-9; JOS 1:2-4; JER 32:36-44; EZE 11:16-21; 36:21-38).
3. The Mosaic Law (Gen-Deu). Codex I: The Freedom Code (the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments). Codex II: The Spiritual Code (including a complete shadow presentation of Christ and His saving work [Christology and soteriology]. Codex III: The Establishment Code (civil statutes for Israel).
5. The New Covenant to Israel (JER 31:31-34; cf. HEB 8:8-12; 10:15-17). The New Covenant then was made with the Jewish people. Confirmation of this covenant is giving in the statement in ISA 61:8-9, where it is called everlasting and again in EZE 37:21-28.
The following points are to be observed:
Israel is to be re-gathered.
Israel is to be one nation ruled by one king.
Israel is no longer to be idolatrous but to be cleansed and forgiven.
Israel is to dwell forever in the land after the re-gathering.
The covenant of peace is to be "everlasting."
God's tabernacle is to be with them, i.e. He will be present with them in a visible way.
Israel is to be known among the Gentiles as a nation blessed of God.
This covenant has to do with the regeneration, forgiveness and justification of Israel.