The Millennial Temple #1

(Feast of Tabernacles—Day 2)

Fred R. Coulter—September 28, 2007

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Greetings, brethren! Welcome to day two of the Feast of Tabernacles. What kind of temple will there be during the Millennium? A lot of people have written—I've even seen a thesis for a Masters Degree writing about the temple described in Ezek. 40 through to the end of the book of Ezekiel—that that there would be the Millennial temple. But this brings up many questions. What kind of temple will there be during the Millennium?

One of the problems that people have with having the Ezekiel temple as the Millennial temple is that it says that the priests, the Levites and Zadok the priest will be running things and that there will be sacrifices.

  • Is that so?
  • If so, why would there be?
  • Is that the temple that's going to be during the Millennium, when Christ is here on the earth and all the saints are reigning as kings and priests with Christ?

We'll look into the Word of God and we'll claim the promise that is there in Psa. 119:18: "Open my eyes so that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law."

Not only just in the Law of God, but even the whole Bible could be described in a loose sense as the Law of God; not in the strictest sense as we find pertaining to the first five books of the Bible and a particular law or a particular commandment, statute or judgment.

The way that we're going to understand this is that we go from the beginning to the end; because obviously the Millennial temple, when it is set up, is going to be there all during the Millennium. And then after that, that is going to be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth and the New Jerusalem where God the Father and Jesus Christ dwell. There will be no temple, there will be no tabernacle!

Let's begin at the beginning and understand, first of all, concerning sacrifices and altars. Of course, we know that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden with God. After their judgment they were thrust out of the garden. After they were put out of the garden God made them clothes of animal skins.

Genesis 3:21: "And for Adam and his wife the LORD God made coats of skins and clothed them." We don't know what kind of skins these were. It has been thought or speculated that perhaps this may have been on the Day of Atonement when they sinned. In other words they were not at one with God. That's why now we have the Day of Atonement on how to get back as one to God. So, that is a possibility, but we are not told, and if we draw that as a conclusion then we have to have that as a very tentative conclusion. We cannot dogmatically say that it was on the Day of Atonement, though there are some Day of Atonement elements represented in it.

Man was put out of the Garden of Eden because they took upon themselves to decide for themselves, rejecting God's way where God said, virtually, 'Keep My commandments.' Just like before everyone is given a choice, God sets before them:

  • life and death
  • blessing and cursing
  • good and evil

And He always says, 'Choose life that you and your seed may live!'

Likewise with us for eternal life, we have the same proposition set before us. All human beings are confronted with that, and the whole question becomes a matter of faith:

  • Do you believe God?
  • Will you obey His instructions and His commandments?

That's the question throughout the whole Bible!

Now we have some beginnings of what was going to be in the tabernacle and the temple later. Let's look at what happened here.

Verse 23[transcriber's correction]: "Therefore, the LORD God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he had been taken. And He drove out the man, and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden…" (vs 23-24).

Look at the Garden of Eden kind of like a big square, and on the east end—we have north, south, east and west—there were cherubims placed at the entrance.

"…and a flaming sword, which turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life" (v 24).

What we have here is a beginning of what we find in the tabernacle and temple later. What do find? Cherubim! Cherubim in the Holy of Holies on the walls. Cherubim knitted into the hanging drapes in the tabernacle. Then we have cherubim overarching the Ark of the Covenant, which was the Mercy Seat. The way that God is going to come in, He is going to come in from the east.

It's very, very interesting, when you come to the entrance of the Garden of Eden, you come to the east side.

  • How are you facing? You're facing west!
  • How is the temple arranged? The temple is arranged so that everything goes to the west!

You have the altar of burnt offering. Then you come up to the first part of the temple and in the first half of it you have the golden candlestick, the altar of incense, and a laver, which is on the outside. Then going into the Holy of Holies you have where God would dwell.

So, we have a very similar thing to this right here in Gen. 3, the cherubims were put at the east entrance "…to guard the way to the Tree of Life" and keep anyone from going in. This is symbolic of another thing, not only symbolic but realistic: You cannot receive eternal life unless God opens the door for you, unless God provides the way! Man is cut off from receiving eternal life.

Now let's see something concerning Cain and Abel, because we have here the first offering that is noted. What we will see as we go through the rest of the Bible in analyzing this is that God gives the command always for the sacrifices for the offerings. It can't be done just the way we feel like doing it because of the goodness of our heart. All of us carry within us the law of sin and death and even the goodness of our heart, without God's Spirit, can never be truly good in the sense of that it is good as God is good.

We know that Cain and Abel were born; whether they were twins or not is not relevant to what we're discussing here.

Genesis 4:3: "It came to pass that Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground."

There are times when God commanded the children of Israel to bring the firstfruits of the harvest; they would bring them to God, but they would give them to the priest, to the Levite. So, here's an offering. We don't know exactly what this offering was except that we can deduce from what is said here that it was not according to the instructions of God!

Verse 4: "And Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat of it. And the LORD had regard unto Abel and his offering, but He did not have regard unto Cain and his offering And Cain was extremely angry and his countenance fell" (vs 4-5). What is implied here in what is given?

  • there had to be an altar on which to offer the firstlings
  • in order to have firstlings, you have to have the law of the firstborn

which would be the same Law that God later gave to Israel!

God is 'the same yesterday, today and forever,' so He's not going to have one requirement for them at this time and then another requirement for the children of Israel later when He gives the instructions for the tabernacle and the temple.

So, we can conclude, we can deduce from this that they had the law of offerings, the law of firstfruits. When they brought it, where did they bring it? Where was the altar? Since they would meet with God at the east entrance of the Garden of Eden, the altar had to be just right outside whatever the entrance would be. Was there a gate? Was it open so they could see into it? We're not told, but the cherubim were there so they couldn't get in. There also may have been a gate, we're not sure. There may have been something besides the cherubim. We can't fully be dogmatic on that, but at least the cherubim kept the way and no one got in there. We can also deduce this:

  • Was Abel righteous? Yes!, We're told that Abel was righteous (Heb. 11)!
  • What does that mean? That means he kept the commandments, the laws, the statutes, and judgments of God!

Then what he would offer in offering would be according to the instructions of God, because God will not accept any offering that is not according to His instructions! We'll see that a little bit later when we get into the tabernacle and the temple.

Verse 6: "And the LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you so angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well…" (vs 6-7)—or 'if you do right' or 'if you do according to the instructions.' To do well and to do right means that God has determined what is right and what is wrong! Cain did that which he wanted to do. He did not bring a firstling of the flock. And even though he was a tiller of the ground, obviously this was not of the firstfruits, otherwise it would have been accepted of God. What is offered on the altar of God? Only the sacrifice of an animal! Never at any time is it recorded that the fruit of the ground is laid upon an altar. So, that's very likely what Cain could have done.

If there was an altar there, what kind of an altar was it? It doesn't tell us! But we'll see a little later that God said, 'If you're going to build an altar for Me, to offer an offering on—a burnt offering—then it had to be of the earth.' And they couldn't use any instruments to carve it or to mold it or to do anything. It just had to be of earth, and in case that they were stones, they would have to be stones from the field of whole stones.

Apparently Cain put his offering on the altar, and the altar was only designed to receive the sacrifice of a burnt offering of the firstlings; burnt offerings and peace offerings. It's very interesting as we go through, we're going to see what kind of offerings were given before the temple, and the offerings that the patriarchs offered. This becomes important in understanding what is going to be done at the temple during the Millennium.

Verse 7: "If you do well, shall you not be accepted? But if you do not do well, sin lies at the door…."

What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the Law. So obviously, Cain is going against the Law and commandment of God in bringing an offering, so therefore, it's not accepted.

God says, "…sin lies at the door…." The door of Cain's house? or The door of the Garden of Eden? This probably had to be at the door or the entrance of the Garden of Eden!

God said you could change; God said you could repent. So, whenever there's sin, what does God do? He offers repentance! God offered it to Cain, and said, "…Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it!" (v 7). In other words, we are to rule over sin!

What this is telling us is that we are responsible for our decisions. We can project this forward into what is called in the New Testament in the book of Jude, 'the way of Cain.' The 'way of Cain' is to reject God and His way, and set up your own false religion—perhaps even using God's name—worshiping and following Satan the devil, thinking that whatever you do must be accepted by God because of the goodness of your heart.

Now, we see another example of that during the days of Jeroboam when he set up the calf-worship in the ten northern tribes of Israel, in Dan and in Bethel. The children of Israel would go there, and very few of the Levites stayed—it's recorded that the Levites left after Jeroboam set up that system. What did he do? He set up a system that is in the attitude of the 'way of Cain'—worshiping other gods. The Levites left and came back to the temple in Jerusalem. What did Jeroboam do? He set up as priests 'all who desired!' Anyone who would come and make an offering, he could be a priest; he could be a minister. That's why God rejected that whole system.

Isn't it ironic that not one of the kings of the ten northern tribes is ever reckoned as righteous in the Bible? That's amazing!

SACRIFICES:

We know whatever was done before the Flood there were sacrifices at the entrance of the Garden of Eden. There also had to be the law of clean and unclean foods. At the time of the animals going into the ark in Gen. 7, and we'll see that there's a difference between clean and unclean. There are two reasons for clean and unclean:

  • what you should eat, and what you should not eat
  • what you should offer in sacrifice, and what you should not offer in sacrifice

God does not accept the offering or sacrifice of anything unclean. That's why one of the abominations of desolation during the days of Antiochus Epiphanes was when he went into the Holy of Holies and offered on the altar swine's blood, burnt the swine! That uncleanness condemned everything that was there with the altar.

Genesis 7:1: "And the LORD said to Noah, 'You and all your house shall come into the ark; for you, I have seen righteous before Me in this generation." Righteousness is keeping the commandments of God!

A lot of people start reading these things and say, 'Why didn't God give us what it means to be righteous here?' He tells you later that He expects us to search out the Scriptures and to understand what righteousness is!

Verse 2: "You shall take with you every clean animal by sevens, the male and female. And take two of the animals that are not clean, the male and female." What does this tell you?

  • that during the time that they were on the ark they ate of the clean animals

That's why they were by seven. How many offspring came during the time on the ark we're not told! I'm sure that they didn't eat lots and lots of meat. But nevertheless, that's why they were there.

  • for after the Flood; this would be food for the people, as well as the clean animals that God has defined as clean for sacrifices and burnt offerings

Verse 3: "Also take of the fowls of the air by sevens, the male and the female, to keep their kind alive upon the face of all the earth."

Then He says that in seven days He would send the Flood. So, He sent the Flood. There are a lot of people who say, 'Oh, well, that's just a figment of your imagination, but it really isn't so.'

Let's see something concerning, again, offering a burnt offering. I think it's very, very interesting that what we are going to find is that from this time until the temple we do not find, specifically mentioned, offerings for sin. But we find burnt offerings and peace offerings.

Genesis 8:20: "And Noah built an altar to the LORD, and he took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird… [that would have to be of those that God designated to be offered for an offering] …and offered burnt offerings on the altar."

Obviously, this couldn't have been the altar that was there at the entrance of the Garden of Eden before the Flood, because the Garden of Eden and everything was destroyed during the Flood.

Of course, from Creation until the Flood, the Lord lived in the Garden of Eden, appeared to men as if He were in human form because, after all, we're made in the likeness of God. God could appear to man: He talked to Enoch, talked to Methuselah, talked to Noah and all of the rest of the righteous line. He could talk to them in person when they would come to the east entrance of the Garden of Eden. Also removed from the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Life.

We will see that there had to be a whole separate system set up after the Flood. But the point that we want to make here concerning the altar is that he built an altar, because obviously there wasn't one there that survived the Flood. This altar had to be probably a combination of a mound of dirt and rocks. On that he offered the offering[transcriber's correction]. God kept it simple, because men like to put their own form of what they think is good, and idolatry on it, and what would make this look right and embellish it.

All you have to do is just look at any temple that men build today. As a matter of fact, over in Virginia they're building the largest Hindu temple in the western hemisphere. No westerner can go in or near the area while they are building it. If you look at anything that men have built in their temples, regardless of where it is, regardless of what age that it is, what do you have? You have idols, you have statues, you have carvings of men and women and animals and things like this, that God never said should be there! So. the key thing to understand is this: It has to be by the commandment of God!

Verse 21: "And the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in His heart, 'I will not again curse the ground for man's sake—although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will not again smite every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease'" (vs 21-22).

Then we find that God blessed them, and we also find a change of administration in the handling of sin. We don't see a sin offering that is given, but we see a change of administration having to do with murder.

Genesis 9:5: "And surely the blood of your lives will I require. At the hand of every animal will I require it, and at the hand of man. At the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man."

Previous to that, God made the judgment. Now men were responsible to make the judgment; God delegated that authority to the civil government, which then followed all the way down through all the governments that resulted as things developed after the Flood.

Verse 6: "Whoever sheds man's blood, his blood shall be shed by man—for He made man in the image of God. And you, be fruitful and multiply. Bring forth abundantly in the earth, and increase in it.' And God spoke to Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 'Behold I, even I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living creature that is with you—of the birds, of the livestock, and of every animal of the earth with you…" (vs 6-10).

Verse 12: "And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature with you, for everlasting generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth" (vs 12-13).

Now let's come forward to the time of Abraham. We're going to see something very interesting as we go through with this. We know that Abraham was righteous. We know that Abraham loved God and obeyed Him and kept His commandments.

Gen. 26:5 is a very good Scripture to always keep in mind, because this shows us how God summarizes things and how we need to let the rest of the Bible interpret what is said. Here is what was told to Isaac when God began dealing directly with him.

Genesis 26:3: "Stay in this land, and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your seed, I will give all these lands; and I will establish the oath, which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens…" (vs 3-4).

We have this projecting forward to the part of the covenant that has to do with those who are going to receive eternal life. This is referenced in Gal. 4, where Paul writes: 'We, brethren, are as Isaac, the seed of promise.' So, to 'shine as the stars of heaven' means to receive eternal life.

"…and will give to your seed all these lands… [we have spiritual seed, then physical seed] …And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because…" (vs 4-5).

Verse 5 is a key thing to really understand all the way through the book of Genesis and on down to the time of the children of Israel and giving the Law.

Verse 5: "Because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.…"

You will see as you go through with everything concerning God dealing with the children of Israel that these are all essential there.

Contrary to what most people think—though God dealt directly with Abraham—obedience to God had not changed at all. Remember, Abraham had a large household; he even had 300 men that were men of war with him. When his entourage moved along there were many tents, there were many animals, a lot of livestock, and it was also said of Abraham that he was very rich. Whatever Abraham did he did according to the laws and commandments of God.

Now let's see the calling. We are also going to learn a little something else that applies to us. We are going to see elements of New Testament teaching.

Genesis 12:1: "And the LORD said to Abram, 'Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house into a land that I will show you.'" Can you think of a requirement in the New Testament that is equal to this?

Luke 14:26, Jesus said: "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and, in addition, his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." Same requirement!

Verse 27: "And whoever does not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." That means the impossibility of being!

  • Did Abraham do this?
  • Did he do what God said?
  • Did he leave his relatives?
  • Yes!

Those who stayed back in the area of Mesopotamia: Lot and his family came with Abraham, but that was all.

  • Did he take up his burden? Yes, he did!
  • What was his burden? He had no place to live!

He had no place to permanently set down, build buildings, fence lands; he was to be a sojourner! He dwelt in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob.

Genesis 12:2: "And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great. And you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed" (vs 2-3). Of course, that goes out physically through Israel, and especially in the end-time!

  • Where would the world be in the last 400 years if it were not for England and America?
  • Have they been a blessing to the world? Yes, indeed!
  • Did God make them great? Yes, indeed!

Just like He did with Israel when Israel first came into the 'promised land.' That's all a part of it.

Verse 4: "Then Abram departed, even as the LORD had spoken to him. And Lot went with him.…" He did what God said!

Verse 6: "And Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, unto the Oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'I will give this land to your seed.'…. [not to you; he sojourned in it] …And he built an altar there…" (vs 6-7). What kind of an altar was it?

Let's see the instructions that God gave on building an altar. I've referred to them, but let's read what it says.

Exodus 20:23: "You shall not make with Me gods of silver, nor shall you make gods of gold for yourselves. You shall make an altar of earth to Me, and shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In all places where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you" (vs 23-24).

Later He gave the instructions on how to build the other altar—the one that was going to be at the tabernacle. What we have here are instructions that harkened back to the patriarchal age, which began with Abraham.

Verse 25: "And if you will make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of cut stone; for if you lift up your tool upon it, you have defiled it. And you shall not go up by steps to My altar that your nakedness be not exposed upon it" (vs 25-26). Specific instructions!

So, he built an altar. It doesn't say what he offered on it. But you don't build an altar unless you offer something on it. We have to assume that he went ahead and offered burnt offerings or peace offerings. Then he went from there,

Genesis 12:8: "And he moved from there to a mountain on the east of Bethel. And he pitched his tent with Bethel toward the sea and Hai on the east. And he built an altar there to the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD."

There we have it; they built an altar. Any sacrifices that were to be given, God had to command it. The altar had to be according to the specifications that were given by God. They had to be of earth and if it were stone, it had to be whole stone, not carved upon or hewn in anyway.

Now let's look at something also interesting, which is a precursor of the New Testament. When Abraham came to meet Melchizedek that he did not offer any offerings. There was not an altar that was there. It's not recorded that there was an altar. Let's see what happened when he brought back all the goods and brought back Lot and everything and he came and he brought the tenth of the spoil. Of course, tithing applies all the way through.

Genesis 14:18: "And Melchizedek the King of Salem… [this is the One Who became Jesus Christ (Heb. 7); He was King and He was Priest] …brought forth bread and wine…." This had to be a meal offering and a wine offering brought by God so that Abraham could partake of it.

Is this a precursor of the New Testament Passover? We're not told! But many assume that it is. And if it is, then it is. If it's not, then it's not.

"…He was the Priest of the Most High God" (v 18). Here Abraham came to Melchizedek and he did not offer any peace offering. There was no altar that was there. We're not told what the arrangement was in the taking of the bread and the wine.

Verse 19: "And He blessed him, and said, 'Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth. And blessed be the Most High God, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.'…. [Abram blessed the Most High God] …And he gave him tithes of all" (vs 19-20).

We're also going to see that there were other altars built and there were other things that took place when we get to Isaac and to Jacob.

In 15 we're going to see exactly the same thing. No sacrifice can be given unless God commands it! It means here, in this particular case, this special sacrifice was given, that at any time you want to offer an offering to God, before there was a temple you had to have an altar of a mound of dirt or a mound of rocks,and your offering had to be of that which was clean. Those are according to the instructions of God! Now we see something really very different, because this was a special covenant offering that God gave between Him and Abraham.

(go to the next track)

Let's look at this covenant that God made with Abraham and let's see that it had to be done the way that God said. Let's also understand something very important here: this was done by an operation of faith. He believed God! This was also done by the instructions of God, and this is a special sacrifice that is known as a maledictory sacrifice, which is when you make a covenant and the covenant is sealed, it is sealed with the bodies of sacrificial animals to represent the pledge of the one who gives the oath that he will perform it or become like the sacrificial animals. In other words, it is a pledge unto death! Of course, Jesus pledged this and He did die and carried it out. This becomes very important because this shows a combination of:

  • faith
  • commandments
  • obedience
  • prophecy
  • symbolism

All of those are combined right here in this covenant that God makes with Abraham! It is a unilateral covenant, because Abraham does not walk down between the parts of the animals—only God!

Genesis 15:3: "And Abram said, 'Behold, You have given no seed to me; and lo, one born in my house is my heir.'" Therefore, he said, 'Eliezer of Damascus would be my heir!' But then it wouldn't be children according to promise.
Verse 4: "And behold, the Word of the LORD came to him saying, 'This man shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own loins shall be your heir.'" That's the promise of the physical seed!

Then he did something else, and of course, we know the sequence of this. If you go to The Christian Passover book and read all the details of it there very thoroughly, you will see that this was done on what later became the 14th day of the 1st month, which was the Passover Day; and also the 15th day of the 1st month beginning the next evening, because there were two nights involved in the sequence of this offering and the sealing of this covenant.

Verse 5: "And He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward the heavens and number the stars—if you are able to count them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your seed be.'" In this case it was an impossible task!

This is another symbolism that we have here: It's impossible for anyone to earn eternal life or to figure a way to eternal life of himself. Just like it's impossible to count the stars. Even today with the Hubble telescope they see millions and millions of more galaxies and they still don't know how many are out there. It also demonstrates that even if you do your best, as man could do like getting the Hubble telescope up there to look deep into the universe, you still don't know.

Likewise you still can't give yourself eternal life. So, he said, "…So shall your seed be"—physical seed and the spiritual seed.

Here's the point, New Testament doctrine, v 6: "And he believed in the LORD…" And all the way through the New Testament we have belief in the Lord Jesus Christ—in His life, in His death, in His sacrifice and resurrection! That's the way to eternal life!

God wanted to make sure that Abraham understood that this was to be sealed, and God would guarantee this. Now comes a special sacrifice, a covenant sacrifice. And it begins by faith:

Verse 6: "And he believed in the LORD. And He accounted it to him for righteousness." Anytime you believe God it puts you in righteous standing with God, because that has to do with your heart, your mind and your belief. That doesn't mean there aren't other requirements that go along with it, just like this with the sacrifices.

Verse 7: "And He said to him, 'I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.'…. [here comes the guarantee; notice, clean animals]: …And he said, 'Lord GOD, by what shall I know that I shall inherit it?' And He said to him, 'Take Me a heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon'" (vs 7-9). There was to be a special sacrifice with these. Notice: no altar.This is done on the ground.

Verse 10: "And he took all these to himself, and divided them in the middle and laid each piece opposite the other…"

He took the heifer and he cut it down the middle. Put half of it on this side, half of it on that side. Of course, that's a pretty bloody, gory mess with the blood and the guts and all of that hanging right out there on the ground. When Abraham did this, he made a path between the halves.

"…but the birds divided he not. And when the birds of prey… [that is the fowls of the air, the ones that come after carry-in that is on the ground] …came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away" (vs 10-11).

We don't know what time of the morning that this took place. We don't know how long that it took place to do the sacrifice. We don't know how long that it was until the fowl came down, but probably later in the day.

Verse 12: "And it came to pass, as the sun was going down, that a deep sleep fell upon Abram. And, behold, a horror of great darkness fell upon him!" This is as close to death as you can come and not die!

With this and the timing of it, it's very likely, as I point on in the book, The Christian Passover, that this was at the same time that Jesus was on the cross, sacrifice took place and the time of His death and then His subsequent burial just before sunset.

Verse 13: "And He said to Abram, 'You must surely know… [he's making the promises sure with this covenant] …that your seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, (and shall serve them and they shall afflict them) four hundred years.'" We have two parts here:

  • "…sojourners in a land that is not theirs…"

Isaac and Jacob dwelt in the land, as well, that was not Egypt, but they were still in a land that was not theirs. That time also has to be counted there and this is how we come up with the 430 years that we find in Exo. 12.

  • "…(and shall serve them… [that's when they go into Egypt] …and they shall afflict them) four hundred years" (v 13).

That means the whole thing of 400 years plus the 30!

Verse 14: "And also I will judge that nation whom they shall serve. And afterward they shall come out with great substance. And you shall go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full'" (vs 14-16).

Verse 17 is another key verse because this shows us a time-setting; v 5 shows us one night; v 17 shows us the next night. It's a two-night sequence.

Verse 17: "And it came to pass—when the sun went down and it was dark—behold, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between those pieces." This is how Abraham was to know that God went between those pieces:

  • a burning lamp showing that it was God
  • a smoking furnace to burn it up

To wholly consume every bit of the sacrificial animals that were there: the heifer, the she-goat, the ram, the two turtledoves. All that was left was just a pile of ashes. When Abraham woke up and saw that, he knew absolutely for sure that the promises of God to him would take place! Now, of course, he only had a relative timeframe—not into thousands of years—of 400 years, which actually came out 430.

This then is the night on what we call The Night to Be Much Observed unto the Lord. This is the night that the children of Israel began to leave Egypt. God said they would be delivered from Egypt and leave that land with substance—which they did—on the night after the Passover. This is why we know that the first night is the Passover day and night and the second night is The Night Much to Be Observed.

Verse 18: "In the same day…" So, we have night coming on, and then you see day—that's part of the day; because the day begins at sunset and the night is the first portion of the day.

"…the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'I have given this land to your seed… [it is finished, fait accompli] …from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates" (v 18). Then he lists all the tribes of the Canaanites.

So, there we have it according to God's specific command, whatever the sacrifice is. In this case there was no altar. We have a further defining of the covenant that God gave to Abraham—and we have a sub-covenant with that: the covenant of circumcision. This becomes very important for the children of Israel, through Isaac and also later for the Church, and for the Gentiles.

Genesis 17:1: "And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am the Almighty God! Walk before Me and be perfect." That's the same condition that we have for the New Testament: To be perfect! Perfected through Christ!

Verse 2: "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.' And Abram fell on his face. And God talked with him, saying, 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham… [God's name added to it] …for I have made you a father of many nations'" (vs 2-5).

What do we also have for us at the resurrection? We're all going to be given a new name! Here we have a foretaste of that.

Verse 6: "And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you."

This is why what most people believe is Israel today being the little group of Jews over there—the few million Jews that are over there in the land of Palestine—calling themselves Israel. That's only one little inky-dinky nation. Many nations!

Steve Collins has written four books that explains where the children of Israel went when they went into captivity, how they were great nations—in Parthia and Scythia—and migrated in through Europe and then on over to the British Isles and then later on over to America. And how that today, Israel is many nations, and has been down through time.

Verse 7: "'And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your seed after you. And I will give the land to you in which you are a sojourner, and to your seed after you, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. And I will be their God.' And God said to Abraham, 'And you shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you in their generations'" (vs 7-9).

And they did! Isaac was the most perfect of it. Jacob was next and then the variety of obedience with the 12 tribes of Israel, which came from Jacob's 12 sons.

Verse 10: "This isMy covenant… [now we have the covenant of circumcision] …which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after you. Every male child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. And it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. And a son of eight days shall be circumcised among you, every male child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with silver of any foreigner who is not of your seed. He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your silver, must be circumcised. And My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant" (vs 10-13). So we have the covenant of circumcision!

In the New Testament we have the covenant of spiritual circumcision. That's entirely different. But let's tie this together. Let's see how Paul explained this, and how important it is for us to understand these things that began at the beginning. The truth is, you cannot have the New Testament without the Old Testament, and between the Old Testament and the New Testament there is a unity of the Scriptures. There is a unity of what God commands. But first there is the physical and then there is the spiritual. Just like there was the physical circumcision under the covenant with Abraham under the covenant with Israel there is the spiritual circumcision through Christ, which is a greater circumcision, which is a circumcision of the heart and of the mind.

Romans 4:8: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute any sin.'" That is the blessedness of having your sins forgiven and covered!

Verse 9: "Now then, does this blessedness come upon the circumcision only…"—of whom the Jews and whatever few that were of the tribes of Israel that lived in the land of Judah and in the area of Galilee they pretty well thought that they were the only ones.

"…or also upon the uncircumcision? For we are saying that faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness" (v 9). Then he wants them to think upon this:

Verse 10: "In what condition, therefore was it imputed?…." Because we saw in Gen. 15 that he believed in the Lord and it was 'imputed to him for righteousness!' That was when he was approximately age 85.

We saw in Gen. 17 that the circumcision did not take place until he was 99. So, for 14 years Abraham had righteousness imputed to him when he was not circumcised. This is what Paul is bringing out. This can be taken then and applied to the physically uncircumcised Gentiles so that they can become the seed of Abraham, as well, and 'heirs according to the promise' as he said in Gal. 3. So he asked:

"…When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And afterwards he received the sign of circumcision, as a seal of the righteousness of the faith that he had in the condition of uncircumcision, that he might become the father of all those who believe, though they have not been circumcised, in order that the righteousness of faith might also be imputed to them" (vs 10-11). What we read of in Gen. 15!

That's why when we study the Bible and we understand the Bible and we go through and try and understand the various aspects of it, we get all of the Scriptures and we go through and put a line here, a line there, a precept here, a precept there, and put it all together so we get the full picture. This is what Paul is doing for us here likewise.

Verse 12: "And that he might become the father of the circumcision—not to those who are of the circumcision only, but also to those who walk in the footsteps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had during his uncircumcision. For the promise to Abraham, or to his seed, that he should be heir of the world, was not given through law… [it was given by promise] …rather, it was through the righteousness of faith" (vs 11-13).

There we have how this carries into New Testament doctrine. So, when we come here to the things in what we call the Old Testament, that many things there project forward to what we have in the New Testament and circumcision is one of them.

Note Col. 2, that we have the circumcision of the heart, not the circumcision of the flesh made by hands, but the circumcision of Christ made by the Holy Spirit when we repent and believe and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Also to be a 'father of many nations' has got to be father of many spiritual nations, which we read of in Rev. 21, and of the nations that are saved.

So, you see how the Bible lays everything 'line upon line; here a little, there a little; precept upon precept.' Now let's see what Abraham did. Let's see where there was no sacrifice given at this particular time.

Note sermon: Abraham's Blessings and Human Nature—Abraham had a weakness for fudging on telling the story about whether Sarah was his sister or his wife. And it got him in trouble with Abimelech, king of Gerar, and then God stopped all birth process with all the women in the land of Gerar; then Abimelech found out that Sarah was Abraham's wife and not his sister and he said, 'Why didn't you tell me this?' After he found it out he gave an offering to Abraham.

Genesis 20:16: "And to Sarah he said, 'Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, it is to you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you—and with all men you are made right.'…. [she was corrected by Abimelech] …And Abraham prayed unto God…" (vs 16-17). Here's a thing of praying, so this again is faith!

  • this is with no offering
  • this is with no altar
  • this is with no special place to go to

except right there, showing that Abraham prayed wherever he was!

"…and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maidservants, and they gave birth, for the LORD had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife." (vs 16-18).

Gen. 22 is where we have a special offering that God also defined. Let's understand this, also, from this point of view: God told the children of Israel, of which also applies and goes all the way back before them, that they were not to offer their children in sacrifice to Molech, or 'cause their children to pass through the fire.' Yet, here we find God doing something special as a test to prove Abraham. But again, let's understand that this is according to the Word of God, according to what God provides! So, here is a test on Abraham concerning Isaac, his son, and offering him for a burnt offering.

ISAAC:

Genesis 22:1: "And it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.'"

Stop and think for just a minute. What has God required youto do? This is part of the same thing, spiritually speaking, of what we covered before in Luke 14—where at the beginning he left his father's house. Now he's got his children. He's got the child Isaac who was the 'child of promise' that was born to him in his old age, when he was 100-years-old and Sarah was 90. By this time Ishmael—who was by Hagar, Sarah's handmaiden—had already been removed.

Verse 2: "And He said, 'Take now your son, your only son Isaac…'" It wasn't his only son, but he was the only son 'of promise!' Therefore, as God dealing with him, it was his only son.

"'…whom you love, and go into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you.'" (v 2). Burnt offerings were what the patriarchs offered. Abraham did!

Verse 3: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. And he split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off" (vs 3-4).

This may very well have been the very place where the temple was later erected. Or it may have been on the Mt. of Olives, which could have been one of the mounts of Moriah.

Verse 5: "And Abraham said to his young men, 'You stay here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.' And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac his son.…" (vs 5-6). We have types of Abraham, a type of God the Father, Isaac a type of Christ, the wood the type of the cross, etc.

"…And he took the fire pot… [obviously in a pan that held coals] … in his hand, and a knife. And they both went together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father.' And he said, 'Here I am, my son.' And he said, 'Behold the fire and the wood. But where is the lamb for a burnt offering?'" (vs 6-7).

What does this tell us? He understood that a lamb would be brought for a burnt offering! It was well known. So, we have to assume from this, looking back at the altar that Abraham had made, that that is where he sacrificed the burnt offerings and the peace offerings. That would be an altar made of the earth and we will see that here as we go along.

Verse 8: "And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide…'" Very important lesson for us. Even though you have a trial that comes right down to the very last minute or second, you need God's intervention. He promises He will provide!

Remember that the will of God may not necessarily be worked out for you as your answer in the way that you think! Because here there was no physical lamb.

Verse 9: "And they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there…" He probably took some stones which were around there on the mountain and he built an altar.

"…and laid the wood in order. And he bound his son Isaac… [whatever it was, he bound him] …and laid him on the wood, upon the altar" (vs 9).

Then he would have to slit his throat in his sacrifice; then he would have to set him on fire, if that's what God required. Why did he do this? The book of Hebrews tells us that he offered up Isaac because he had counted God able to raise him from the dead, which in a figure Abraham had received Isaac when he begat him at 99-years-old. That's the faith that Abraham had—complete faith—right to the very last second of the crisis of the whole situation.

Verse 10: "And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son." It doesn't show that he had it up in the air and ready for that, however it was to be done; but he had it in his hand. Then, at the last minute:

Verse 11: "And the angel of the LORD called to him from the heavens and said, 'Abraham! Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' And He said, 'Do not lay your hand upon the lad, nor do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me'" (vs 11-12).

Very important lesson for us! 'IF we are Christ's then we are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.' But we are also, to have 'the faith of Abraham' (Rom. 4), as well. To trust God in everything to the very nth degree. Knowing that God will work it out according to His will. You know what happened. A miracle took place. You know that it must not have been there when they went up on the mountain because they would have seen it.

Verse 13: "And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram… [so that's a good sized animal] …was entangled in a thicket by its horns…." I've often wondered if God supernaturally created the ram there—very possible. God could do that at any time, which then would make it the purest sacrifice possible.

"…And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son" (v 13). Then God made the promises absolutely irrevocable and sure!

There was no longer any possibility of any conditions to this, and it depended upon the faith and the obedience and love of Abraham; and also on the willingness of Isaac. It doesn't show that Isaac tried to run off. It doesn't tell us that Abraham had to run down the mountain and tackle Isaac and bind him and carry him back up the mountain and slam him down on the altar to make him the burnt offering. NO! It was the faith and the obedience of Abraham and the faith and the willingness of Isaac that made this sure.

Verse 15: "And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, 'By Myself have I sworn,' says the LORD, 'because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son; that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens, and as the sand, which is upon the seashore. And your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice'" (vs 15-18).

All the nations of the earth means the physical nations from that time forward and on out into the Millennium and on into the Great White Throne Judgment, and on into the rest of eternity! Quite a tremendous thing!

Gen. 26 is about what he swore to Isaac. We don't find any of the offerings that Isaac had made or any of the altars that he built along the way.

JACOB:

Let's come to Jacob. We find something else that was done. Genesis 28:11: "And he came upon a certain place, and stayed there all night because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and placed it at his head. And he lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed. And behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven! And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!" (vs 11-12).

You can tie that in with John 6 where Jesus said, 'Do you now believe?' We believe. 'Well, what if you saw angels ascending and descending from the Son of man?' So we have a type of it here.

Verse 13: "And behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your seed. And your seed shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south. And in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed'" (vs 13-14).

Here's the physical blessing and then carrying on, see how God carries out His promise here. All of this ties in with the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles because as we saw, they dwelt in tabernacles.

Verse 15: "And, behold, 'I amwith you…'" No doubt about it, no condition! He doesn't say, 'IF you obey Me I am with you.' He says, "I amwith you…"

"'…and will keep you in every place where you go, and will bring you again into this land, for I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken of to you.' And Jacob awoke from his sleep, and said, 'Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.' And he was afraid and said, 'How fearful is this place! This is none other but the House of God, and this is the gate of Heaven!'" (vs 15-17). It shows the impression that it left on Jacob.

Verse 18: "So, Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone, which he had put at his head, and set it as a memorial pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place The House of God. But the name of that city was Luz at first" (vs 18-19)—which means, house of God.

Verse 20: "Then Jacob vowed a vow, saying…" God said He was going to do it. there is no condition and Jacob is not putting a condition on God.

"…'Since God will be with me, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, And I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the LORD be my God. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar shall be God's house. And of all that You shall give me, I will surely give the tenth to You'" (vs 20-22).

This also tells us that tithing goes way back. It was understood as the 'tenth.' So, there we have with Jacob!

Scripture from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, a Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • Psalm 119:18
  • Genesis 3:21-24
  • Genesis 4:3-7
  • Genesis 7:1-3
  • Genesis 8:20-22
  • Genesis 9:5-10; 12-13
  • Genesis 26:3-5
  • Genesis 12:1
  • Luke 14:26-27
  • Genesis 12:2-4, 6-7
  • Exodus 20:23-26
  • Genesis 12:8
  • Genesis 14:18-20
  • Genesis 15:3-18
  • Genesis 17:1-13
  • Romans 4:8-13
  • Genesis 20:16-18
  • Genesis 22:1-13, 15-18
  • Genesis 28:11-22

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Hebrews 11
  • Galatians 4
  • Hebrews 7
  • Galatians 3
  • Exodus 12
  • Colossians 2
  • Revelation 21
  •  
  • John 6

Also referenced:

  • Book: The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter
  • Sermon: Abraham's Blessings and Human Nature

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 7-26-07
Reformatted/Corrected: 9/2019

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