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 07/13/08
The period of the Patriarchs, another era of the Theocentric dispensation of the gentiles, and the genius of God.
We have been looking at the principles that the Lord uses that guarantees the continuance of the human race until the end of human history. We are now noting the divine provision of the different dispensations. We have categorized six dispensations in history, and they fall into three different classifications.
The first is Theocentric dispensations. This refers to the Old Testament periods of time emphasizing and glorifying God the Father’s purpose in the divine provision of dispensations as they relate to the angelic conflict. There are two Theocentric Dispensations: First, the age of the Gentiles in the Old Testament, from Adam to the Exodus generation. Second, the age of the Jew from 1441 B.C. to the first Advent of Christ. The first period of Theocentric dispensations, the dispensation of the Gentiles, has three periods:
1. The Period of Positive Volition.
2. The Period of Negative Volition.
3. The Period of the Patriarchs.
We have noted the first two, the last period is called the Period of the Patriarchs. This is really the period of the Jewish patriarchs, and was a transitional period from which would emerge the dispensation of Israel. In this period, God established the Jewish race; in the next Theocentric dispensation, the age of Israel, He would establish the Jewish nation. The peak of this period was the divine interjection of the Abrahamic Covenant. Although no written Scripture existed, God entered into a covenant, or sworn contract with Abraham.
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you.” And thus, having patiently waited, he [Abraham] obtained the promise. For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope or the confidence set before us. (HEB 6:13-18).
For God to break His covenant with Abraham in any way, and not fulfill His promises to the Jews would make God a liar. Covenant theology teaches that God replaced the Jews with us, the Gentiles, and that is wrong, and if you believe that, you are contributing to Satan’s accusation against God, that His word cannot be trusted. In this covenant God promised unconditionally to make Abraham a great nation. Abraham believed God, and at age seventy-five he obeyed God’s instructions to leave his home, and migrate to the land which God said He would show him.
By means of faith [we have the instrumental case of the Great noun pistis, translated by means of doctrine or by means of that which is believed], Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By means of doctrine he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (HEB 11:8-10)
In this particular era, the fourth divine institution, Nationalism, took on new significance as God prepared to form a particular nation by forming a new race of people. God’s purpose was not only to constrain evil in the world, but also to create a model form of establishment principles for the protection of human life, freedom, privacy, and property within a nation’s own borders. Israel would exemplify the divine laws of establishment. Remember God set up the four divine Institutions:
Volition: The right to be dependent upon God, or to act independently of Him.
Marriage: Basic organization in any national entity, one man, one woman.
Family: the institution set up to raise and train children as far as respect for authority, for the rights of others, for the privacy of others, to respect common law, to respect the property of others, plus many other principles.
Nationalism: Genesis 10-11.
God set up the four divine Institutions for the entire human race, not just for believers. It was for the preservation of the human race. It was to allow the angelic conflict can run its course, and so that the human race is free to accept Jesus Christ, or free to reject Him.
Abraham was born a Gentile. He remained so until he reached spiritual maturity at ninety-nine years old. Then with the act of circumcision he became the father of the Jewish race (GEN 17:1-21). There are two very important species that God created for the resolution of the angelic conflict. It’s interesting, that in the history of the human race only two new species have been added: Israel was added as the new racial species. The Jew is racially different from all the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Then there is the Church as a new spiritual species. There’s some interesting principles of correlation with the two New Species: Israel came from the procreation of the first Adam, from Adam all way down to Abram and Sarah. The Church came from the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, as He perpetuated the great power experiment of the hypostatic union into the Church-age, His Bride demanding a new spiritual species for the utilization of all divine power.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. (1CO 15:22)
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam [the Lord Jesus Christ] became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual [the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ] is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man [Adam] is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1CO 15:45-49)
The new spiritual species originates from regeneration and the mechanics of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The new racial species of Israel had to be perpetuated through procreation, while in the Church-age the new spiritual species of the royal family of God, is perpetuated through the baptism of the Spirit at the point of regeneration or salvation. In both cases, a birth is involved. We barely have a glimpse of the tremendous genius of the One who controls all things by His Word alone. The Word of God has never failed, and will never fail, and will still come to pass, because He controls history. We all have one major thing that we must face, whether we like it or not, or believe it or not. We do not know what may happen tomorrow (see JAM 4:14). We are all really just a puff of smoke, a mist, visible for a little while and then disappearing into thin air. Here today, gone tomorrow. Yet we have been invited to participate in a plan that has “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
In this period of the Theocentric dispensation of the Gentiles, circumcision was the ritual of confirmation required of Abraham and his descendants. God brought in a new policy for mankind to operate in, circumcision. As usual, the religious crowd perverted the whole thing, so much so that the early church was filled with so-called evangelists and teachers who taught you had to be circumcised to be saved, or to be spiritual. In the book of Galatians, Paul deals with this issue. What is important is not all the rituals, but the reality behind them, which all begins with falling in love with God. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith [your doctrine, your belief] working through or manifested by your virtue-love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough (GAL 5:6-9).
This ritual of circumcision signified the blessings of restored sexual vigor through which God would multiply Abraham’s seed (GEN 22:15-18; ROM 4:17-21; HEB 11:11-12).
Abraham’s obedience demonstrated his spiritually mature confidence in God’s promises. God 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 was a believer in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (GEN 15:6).
From this period of the Theocentric dispensation of the Gentiles, the age of the Patriarchs, came the twelve sons of Jacob, the founders of the tribes of Israel. Isn’t it interesting that the twelve tribes of Israel started by God came this way, through circumcision, the cutting off the male foreskin, and through one man and four women.
It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it. Now there were twelve sons of Jacob-the sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then Simeon and Levi and Judah and Issachar and Zebulun; the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali; and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram. (Gen35:22-26)
Now you may say, that was before God prohibited polygamy, but it was not. Polygamy means to have a plurality of wives. It is the antithesis of monogamy. Polygamy is prohibited by DEU 17:14-17; MAL 2:14-15, and therefore it is a sin. Polygamy violates the divine law of right man and right woman (GEN 2:24, ECC 9:9, 1CO 7:17). Cases of polygamy in the Bible are always related to reversionism and apostasy.
Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel, plus two mistresses. He always had trouble with his sons. The same is true about David, and Solomon. Polygamy is not the will of God, and all polygamous believers have trouble as a result. No man is designed physically or mentally for polygamy. Monogamy is God’s order under the laws of divine establishment. Wherever polygamy is recorded in the Word, it is noted as a sin and a historical fact, never condoned. It is specifically forbidden. Many great believers such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and Peter were monogamous. Both from the standpoint of the laws of divine establishment and the principles of Bible doctrine, everything relating to right man and right woman are based on monogamy.
God’s unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is an everlasting covenant and it spread out to the 12 sons of Jacob which began the 12 tribes of Israel. The Jewish race is the most permanent lasting race in all of human history, because its’ existence depends on God alone. Israel’s eternal heritage is both spiritual and cultural, just as God promised. God has, and will preserve the regenerate Jewish race, and the Jewish nation throughout history and all of eternity. God always keeps His word.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” (MAT 24:35)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (ROM 8:31)
For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord abides forever. “And this is the word which was preached to you. (1PE 1:24-25)
The promises to the first Theocentric dispensation period of the Patriarchs, known as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, will be fulfilled. And a great sign appeared in heaven a woman [a reference to Israel] clothed with the sun [a reference to Jacob], and the moon under her feet [wives of Jacob], and on her head a crown of twelve stars [the twelve patriarchs or the twelve tribes of Israel] (REV 12:1).
It [the new heaven and a new earth] had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel [the 12 sons of Jacob]. (REV 21:12)
And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (REV 21:14)
There were 12 tribes of Israel; 12 Apostles,12 foundations in the heavenly Jerusalem; 12 gates; 12 pearls; 12 angels. One of the many blessings that come to the human race through the Jews is a long-term demonstration of God’s faithfulness. God committed Himself to specific promises that He will keep through all the chaos, adversities and troubles in human history. In this lies encouragement for anyone who trusts in Him. The very existence of the Jews is proof for all to see that God keeps His word. Even when the majority of the Jews themselves reject Him, even when the nation slips into degeneracy, even when He must severely discipline His people, the promise still stands. God never ceases to care for His people. Israel has a future, precisely as God swore to Abraham. God’s covenant with Israel, and its literal fulfillment, are woven into the fabric of history that remains intact no matter what other dispensations God establishes. The origin of the Jewish race anticipates an important difference between Israel and the Church. God founded the Jews as a new racial species. In contrast, the Church is a new spiritual species (2CO 5:17). Regenerate Jews are God’s chosen people and nation, while the Church includes believers of every race and nationality.
The age of the Patriarchs ended with the Jews as slaves in Egypt. Four times in the book of Genesis, God plan for the human race was frustrated by negative volition and satanic influence:
First – by the fall of man in Eden.
Second – by the necessity of the flood (fallen angel infiltration).
Third – the dispersion of Babel.
Fourth – the captivity in Egypt.
In fact, the last four words in the book of Genesis seems to identify man’s destiny as he rebelled against God, “a coffin in Egypt.”
Moses was born during the age of the patriarchs, but the last forty years of his life belong to the next dispensation: the Age of Israel. Abraham is the father of the Jewish race; Moses is the father of the Jewish nation. As the population of the earth grew and nations increased, God had begun to deal with man in a new way through covenants that heralded the founding of the nation of Israel. 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. Throughout the world, Israel was the most popular nation around. As the population of the earth continued to increase, and nations began, God had begun to deal with man in a new way, with a new policy, and a new method of communication. God tried every way that He could to give mankind a just and fair hearing, and the ability to respond to His plan. Even for all the other Gentile nations God made a provision when He promised to Abraham:
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; 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.”
This is still true today. The promise to Abraham said that whosever blessed him should be blessed and whosever cursed him should be cursed. This is the main reason why the United States of America is has been, and is still being blessed today. In fact, a definite correlation exists between the rise and fall of nations and their attitude toward and their treatment of the Jew. Anti-Semitism has destroyed many Individuals, nations, and empires. Germany under Hitler’s anti-Semitism is a classic example. Client nations must be careful about their attitude toward the Jews. Individuals, nations, and empires have been blessed by their kind treatment of the Jews. Anti-Semitism will reach its peak when Satan is thrown out of heaven, and he tries to destroy all Jews in the middle of the Tribulation. Think of how exciting this is going to be. When Satan puts so much pressure upon the Jews during the Tribulation period, the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come down from the heavens to rescue His people, the Jews.
Even though He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him (JOH 1:11).