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 02/24/08
The beginning of the Abrahamic Covenant.
Rom 9:1-4, “I am communicating doctrine, I am not lying, my conscience bearing joint testimony with me in the Holy Spirit, but I have a great sorrow and constant pain in my right lobe, so I could wish that I myself would be accursed, consequently, separated from Christ, but it cannot be, for the sake of, or on behalf of my brethren, the racial Jews, my fellow countrymen, national Jews according to earthly descent, who are Israelites, to whom is the adoption as sons and the glory [the Shekinah glory], and the covenants and the gift of the law, and the worship of the true God, and the promises.”
We now move to the next three Greek words, Kai hai diatheekai, correctly translated and the covenants. This is referring primarily to the Abrahamic covenant, though others are included as well. The Abrahamic covenant was the beginning of the Jews, and the beginning of God’s promises to Israel. The whole issue in these covenants is very simple. God is faithful, and God keeps His word; God will fulfill every obligation. The integrity of God makes it impossible for Him not to fulfill an obligation. Remember that the integrity of God is composed of His justice and His righteousness, and the only Jews to whom these promises are pertinent are the spiritual, rather than the physical, seed of Abraham. Only those Jews who receive the imputation of Divine righteousness (+R), as did Abraham, in Genesis 15, where Abraham was told that his progeny would be as the stars of the heaven, or like the sands of the sea. In that passage it also says, “Abraham had believed in the Lord [GEN 15:6], and it was credited to his account for righteousness.” The only Jews who receive the promises of the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants to Israel are those Jews who have +R. Remember that the justice of God imputes blessing to the righteousness of God only, and no Jew is a true Jew until he has the righteousness of God.
Human life imputed at birth, plus Adams original sin, equals the first potential, the potential of salvation. Then the pertinent doctrine, the Gospel, equals the first hope or absolute confidence that when you believe in Christ you have eternal life. Then comes the adjustment to the justice of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There can be no blessing from God, unless you possess God’s righteousness. Through perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine, one attains maturity and develops capacity to receive Divine blessing. We have the imputation of eternal life, plus the imputation of blessing in time which equals the third potential: Pertinent doctrine plus undeserved suffering equals absolute confidence that when we stand at the judgment seat of Christ in a resurrection body, we are going to receive the imputation of Divine blessing; and this is the plan of God. So, there can be no blessing, no eternal blessing to anyone, without +R.
The ditheke, the covenant, is a disposition made by God to Abraham, and in this case we’re dealing with the heritage of Israel. Like all the covenants, this is a part of the Divine decrees, and Abraham is a beneficiary without merit. God promised Abraham, he would crack the maturity barrier. God promised unconditionally certain things to Abraham and his spiritual seed; not all Israel is Israel, only those who believe on Christ for +R, as Abraham did in GEN 15:6. These promises are forever so you have to have God’s life, eternal life. These promises demand a point of imputation. God can only bless on the basis of His righteousness (+R), not on the basis of our righteousness; today we have people inserting their own self-righteousness, and of course that does not work. We can’t reinvent the wheel; God’s already done it; it’s His plan, not our plan! There is no place for self-righteousness, or any action or any deed no matter how legitimate, no matter how wonderful, or no matter how legalistic; there’s simply no place for any human effort to try to gain blessing from God. The justice of God is free to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant to any Jew (anyone who has the genes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) who is born again through faith in TLJC. That is absolutely necessary. So, all of these promises we simply call the Abrahamic covenant are merely a summary of everything that God promised to Abraham and to his spiritual seed.
GEN 12:1-3, 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; 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.”
These verses emphasize the isolation and separation necessary for the development of the new race. The third dynasty of Ur is about to be destroyed, and God is separating Abraham from that famous Acadian nation. This is why verse 2 says And I will manufacture from you a great nation. This does not refer to the seed of Ishmael nor does it refer to the seed of the five sons of Keturah. Abraham had seven sons; but the great nation would come through one only, Isaac: one great nation called the Jews, the Hebrews. Now there are a lot of nations from Abraham; many of them are descendents through Ishmael, or descendents from Abraham through the five sons of Keturah. However, the great nation in GEN 12:2 is elected, but not adopted until the Second Advent, because while Israel has been great in the past, it is nothing compared to what will happen in the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel will be the source of blessing for the entire world. Israel in the Millennium is the great nation. Israel in all eternity after the Millennium is the great nation, but the only racial Jews who can be in that great nation are those who are qualified by having +R and eternal life. No-one can qualify without believing in Christ for eternal life.
Now it becomes important, and that’s why Paul was so burdened in Romans 9, because these Jews, many of them in arrogance, thought that they recognized their great heritage, but they misinterpreted their heritage and related it to physical birth, rather than the new birth. That’s why, to one of the leaders of the Jews, the Pharisee Nicodemus, Jesus said; “Ye must be born again.”Even though this man was a Pharisee and a brilliant scholar and understood his racial heritage, he was still relating the heritage of Israel to physical life rather than spiritual life. But at least he was positive, for he is one of the Pharisees who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of His earthly ministry. Being born again is only possible through believing in the salvation work of our Lord. That was the challenge, not only to Nicodemus, but to all Jews: They must be born again. So, our Lord tells Nicodemus that it isn’t a physical re-birth; it’s a spiritual re-birth. It’s a birth by means of the Spirit, from the water of the Word and from the Spirit. It isn’t the physical seed of Abraham that has the great heritage of the future; it is the spiritual seed of Abraham, those who are born again. When God promised unconditionally He simply said I will. That’s it. “I will manufacture from you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will cause your name to become famous, therefore become a blessing, and I will bless those who bless you.”
That brings us to today. The United States of America is a client nation of God, right now. We do not have the spiritual heritage of Israel. We have a glorious heritage of freedom, but nothing compares to the spiritual heritage of Israel in the past. So here we are today, a client nation of God. With that we have the responsibility. We have, first of all, the freedom with its privacy, its property, and its umbrella of authority. We have the freedom to evangelize. From this freedom comes the ability to advance to maturity. From this freedom comes missionary activity to reach out to any nation, or any group of people wherever they may be found, who are positive toward God and God-consciousness, and they will hear the Gospel. God will provide the missionaries and the means, and they are generally sent from a client nation. One other thing that’s keeping us going today, and is very important to continue and protect, is that we as a nation are not anti-Semitic. We have some anti-Semitic people in the nation, but as a nation we are not anti-Semitic. We are pro-Semitic with relationship to the Jewish people. We have offered our country, as a client nation to God, as a haven for the Jews, where they have the same opportunity and the same citizenship that we have. No distinction is made and they are protected. We are about to have a great attack of anti-Semitism in this country, which is just one of the many manifestations of Satan’s action.
One of the worst things that you can ever do, is to ever become involved with anyone who is anti-Semitic. We want to stay absolutely clear from that vicious, monstrous evil. Nothing is more Satanic than anti-Semitism. The greatest Satanic movement in all of history, reaching its peak in the middle of the Tribulation, is anti-Semitism. The reason for Satanic opposition to the Jews is related to the four unconditional promises (covenants) of God: The Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenant. All of these covenants guarantee the future of Israel and have not yet been fulfilled, with one exception. God will destroy any person or any nation involved in anti-Semitism. It is not God’s will for you to enter into anti-Semitism. Racial prejudice is one of the greatest evils you could ever imagine. Whenever anyone feels any racial prejudice, all they have to do is remember that Christ was judged for that person on the Cross.
How did all of this evil in the Middle East start? We must begin with a descendant of Shem who for 99 years was an Arab, and the Arab’s claim him as one of them. However, at age 99 God claimed Abraham for Himself and started a brand new race called the Jews. Let’s review the profile of Abraham so that you will know something about him as an Arab and how he became a Jew. This applies directly to America’s war in the Middle East.
Abraham was called Abram in the Bible before God changed his name. Abraham was a Gentile who became a Jew when God started the Jewish race through him at age 99. He was the ninth generation descended from Noah’s son, Shem. He was born in the city of Ur about 2161 B.C., and the accounts about Abraham are found in GEN 11:26 – GEN 25:11, with the focus on four important aspects of his life. First, his migration: Abraham’s story begins with his migration with the rest of his family from UR of the Chaldeans in ancient southern Babylonia (GEN 11:26-32). He and his family moved north along the trade routes of the ancient world and settled in the flourishing trade center of Haran, and there, at the age of 75, Abraham received a call from God to go to an unknown land that God would show him. Remember at this time in human history, there was no Bible so God spoke personally to those whom He chose. The Lord promised Abraham that He would make him and his descendants a great nation, according to GEN 12:1-3. However, like many promises from God to His people, because they are so fantastic, they seem unbelievable. The promise must have seemed unbelievable to Abraham because his wife Sarah (Sarai) was childless and he had no children. GEN 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Terah was an Acadian unbeliever and in JOS 24:2, he was an idolater. His name Terah means delayed; he’s well named for he delayed Abraham from getting to the place where the Lord wanted him. God had a plan for Abraham, but as long as Abraham stayed with his father he was delayed in fulfilling the will of God. Now, the king of Ur was a very well known worshipper of the moon God called Ur and Ur was the great center of moon-god worship and other forms of idolatry. The city of Ur built the famous ziggurats, a system of terraced platforms on which temples were erected. It was a very prosperous and high class city! Now Abraham was saved in this city under most unusual conditions. Ur of the Chaldees was a great and powerful empire; however it was destroyed after Abraham left. Abraham left Ur to go north and then south down to Canaan, and on his way to Canaan Abraham passed the Amorites who were on their way to destroy his home area. Now, if Ur had a lot of believers then Ur would have been spared, but the Lord was going to have Ur destroyed; therefore He told Abraham to get out of it. There were only three believers in Ur, Abraham, Sarah, and Lot; so the Lord took the pivot out, and then He destroyed one of the great empires of the ancient world, the third dynasty of Ur. Abraham’s spiritual life was very limited in Ur, and he needed to get to a place where he could learn doctrine without being distracted. You may find out that your spiritual life is limited because the place where you are or the people you’re with become a stumbling block to your spiritual growth. Sometimes, geographical change is necessary for spiritual growth.
Abraham stayed with his father, and that was a mistake because his father led him down the path to reversionism. His father was a priest of the moon-god Ur, as well as one of the wealthiest men in this city. So Abraham is in a place that was prosperous and secure, and no one ever dreamed that the dynasty would ever come to an end; however, it was destroyed right after Abraham left. Why? Because the Lord Jesus Christ controls history, and since He knew what was going to happen to Ur, He got Abraham out. This is why we should always be sensitive to the leading and guidance of the Lord, and this can only be done by learning the mind of Christ through Bible doctrine. When Abraham left Ur, it was entering into the peak of its prosperity, and he appeared to be leaving a sure thing, a good thing, but it wasn’t. But he left! HEB 11:8 tells us how he left, “By means of doctrine resident in the soul, 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.” This verse brings out the importance of resident doctrine, positive volition, and being motivated by that doctrine. The change of geographical location was the basis for separating Abraham from his family and relatives. The principle is that when family or relatives hold you back then family has to go and relatives have to go. A lot of people cannot seem to handle the family relative problem, but Abraham did. Relationship with God must have priority over relationship with people. Your number one priority demands that you have a right relationship with God. Emphasis on people over God must be set aside; this includes emphasis upon yourself. The greatest issue is always doctrine vs. the details of life. Whether its family, friends, loved ones, success, pleasure, social life, sex, status symbols, materialism, or wealth.
There’s a very important principle brought out by the life of Abraham. The glory road which is saving grace, living grace, super-grace, dying grace, surpassing grace, was not open to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldea. It wasn’t because of Chaldea, but rather because of his family and relatives; Abraham never hit super-grace until he was totally separated from all his relatives. He had to be separated from his father and his nephew Lot! Therefore, it was necessary for Abraham to have a permanent change of residence. Abraham’s spiritual growth was the most important thing! Abraham was uprooted in time, so that he will be rooted forever in the eternal state. He left social life, family life, and friends. He was leaving a place where he was well known and apparently a place where he was even appreciated, and that is always very difficult! To leave some environment where you’re appreciated, or in some cases, you think that you’re appreciated, but your being appreciated is also keeping you from getting Bible doctrine, is vital. Note also that Abraham had positive volition, and doctrine was available to him in Ur of the Chaldea, up to a point. When it ceased to be available, God had to uproot Abraham and get him out of there. It ceased to be available when Abraham’s family and relatives and friends and social life and perhaps even his celebrityship – when these things got in the way of his advance down the glory road. Wherever there is positive volition toward doctrine, God provides the spiritual food even if it means a change of residence. The circumstances in Ur of Chaldea limited Abraham from becoming a spiritual champion, invisible hero, and finally a visible one. When Abraham obeyed he did so from the motivation of doctrine in the soul. Doctrine in the soul motivates the believer to come to doctrine class in spite of whatever distractions are a test to you.
So, there must be separation from those loved ones or friends residing in the cosmic system. However, a very important principle; it does not have to be physical separation. There are two categories of separation from people: First there is mental separation. In mental separation, there is one-way antagonism from those in the cosmic system toward you. Your volition protects you from becoming antagonistic toward them by your use of impersonal unconditional love. Mental separation emphasizes the integrity, honor, and doctrinal application of the believer residing inside the PPOG. Impersonal love is not influenced by those loved ones who are residing in the cosmic system, who are apostate and/or antagonistic to doctrine. Impersonal love functions on its own integrity and perpetuates its own priorities from the metabolization of doctrine. Impersonal love emphasizes personal love for God while setting aside the functions of personal love for friends or loved ones. Impersonal love does not compromise the believer’s status inside the PPOG.
Secondly, there’s physical separation. There are some cases where switching from personal love to impersonal love will not work. For example, getting false information in the local church. You must leave physically as well as under the principle of impersonal love. When a woman is used as a punching bag by her husband, she should leave (ROM 12:17-19). The most basic reason is to avoid the compromise of doctrine resident in the soul. Physical separation means to avoid any personal contact with a person under any circumstances. This means severance of all relation with that person of any kind. Physical separation is sometimes needed to maintain one’s priorities and to use one’s volition to remain inside the PPOG (PRO 13:20; 2TI 3:5-6; 2TH 3:14). Separation from unbelievers inside the cosmic system is taught in 2CO 6:14-17. Every time you hook up with something or someone in the cosmic system, you are in partnership with the cosmic system. Separation is also important in social life (JER 15:16-17; 1PE 4:3-4). The believer is to separate from a superficial social life, a fun crowd. There comes a time when the believer grows spiritually, and his first function is to separate from the crowd that will lead him in the wrong direction.
Abraham, in effect, had to choose between his father whom he loved dearly and the will of God, and at the beginning he loved his father more than the will of God. We all must decide in our lives whether we love the will of God and the word of God more than anything else in life. If you do, you take one course of action. You take in doctrine every day either through face to face teaching or by tapes, or any of the many methods available today. You learn from whoever is your right Pastor-teacher. Remember, every Pastor-teacher is assigned to a certain congregation (ACT 20:28). Every believer is assigned to a certain Pastor-teacher (1PE 5:3). That particular Pastor-teacher is to equip the believer to execute the Christian way of life (EPH 4:12).
So, Abraham was told to separate from his father and his relatives and to leave Ur according to GEN 12:1. Sooner or later in your spiritual advance you’re going to have to face the issue of family members or friends who are not positive or are aggressively negative. The ones that are closest to you are often the ones that hinder you from taking in the Word the most, and nothing is more important than the Word. Abraham was told to get away from his father and to get away from the geographical location of Ur in order to advance in the spiritual life.