Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 52
For those of you joining us on television, we just like to make sure you understand we’re just an informal Bible study. And like someone wrote the other day, they hadn’t heard verse-by-verse teaching for years and years. So, I guess maybe I’m about the only one (at least that I’m aware of on television), where we are teaching verse-by-verse. But it’s the only way I know how to teach. I don’t know what I would do if I would have to put together a separate little message for every thirty minutes. Boy, that would be hard. But all I have to do is just pick up where we left off in the last lesson and we just go from there. Now for a little quick review we’ll look at verse 16 again in Hebrews chapter 11.
“But now they desire a better country, (and we commented on that in the last half-hour) that is, an heavenly:…” Not just to have the earthly blessings that the patriarchs enjoyed. Now I hope you all realize that when the patriarchs were faithful, God blessed them materially. They were all wealthy, at least in their day and time. But, you see, too many people think that you bring that concept up into the Church Age – and that flies in the face of Scripture, because Paul in his letters to the churches never, never promised earthly blessings in response to our Christian behavior.
All of our promises are heavenly. Now granted, we’re blessed in earthly things, I don’t deny that. But, by and large, our blessings, our rewards, are waiting for us in Glory. And it’s there that we’re going to one day come to cash in, if I can call it that. But for the Old Testament patriarchs, their blessings were earthly. Flocks and herds and children and what have you. But they, too, one day will enter into a heavenly kind of existing, even though it will be Heaven on earth. All right, let’s go on into the next verse now, verse 17.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, (or tested) offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,” Now let’s go back and look at it. That’s in Genesis chapter 22, because a lot of these little things I think the average reader or even student, overlook, and they’re pertinent, they’re important. Now we’ve already stressed in the earlier programs this afternoon that Abraham was fifty years waiting for the promised son.
Of course, he and Sarah took things into their own hands, you remember, back when he was about 86 and they had Ishmael by way of the slave girl, Hagar. But see, God never recognized Ishmael as the promised son, because he wasn’t. God had nothing to do with the birth of Ishmael. That was strictly in the flesh between Abraham and Sarah and the girl Hagar. But, the promised son wouldn’t come for another fourteen years, which made a total then, as I said earlier, of about 50 years that Abraham was waiting for the son of promise, Isaac.
All right, but now Isaac is a young lad himself. And now after waiting 50 years for the lad to be born, enjoying his companionship for 17-18 years, now God tells him what? “Give him up to Me, as a sacrifice.” That must have been horrendous. But remember, God was doing it for only one purpose. And what was it? To test Abraham’s faith. My, you wouldn’t think God would have had to test Abraham anymore – he’d already been tested for 50-some years. But, nevertheless, God is going to test the faith of this man of faith, Abraham, once again.
“And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt (or test) Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. (now look at verse 2. Watch this carefully.) 2. And he said, Take now thy son, thine (what’s the next word?) only son Isaac whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; (present day Jerusalem) and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Goodness sakes, Ishmael is fourteen years older. But see, God never recognized Ishmael as a son. He was not the promised son, but rather the promised son was Isaac.
“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave (or held) the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” So often in Scripture we have“Three days.” It’s just amazing if you make a study of it, and here’s another one. They left Beersheba down in the South and three days later they see Mount Moriah, which is present day Jerusalem, the Temple Mount.
“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, (now underline the next part of that verse.) and come again to you.”
By himself? No. Both of them. Would he be carrying Isaac over his shoulder? A corpse? No. They would both be coming back alive. But hadn’t God told him you’re going to have to give Isaac as a sacrifice? Yes. All right again, by faith, and oh, I can’t emphasize this enough, what did Abraham know? That if he would have to kill Isaac, God would raise him up so he could go back home with him. He knew that. Now that’s faith. All right, let’s read on. Now verse 6.
“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. (no servants. Just the two of them.) 7. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And I think here in verse 8, Abraham said a mouthful that he didn’t realize was going to be fulfilled to the last jot and tittle.
“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” But what had God told Abraham? “To sacrifice Isaac.” It would be Isaac, but somehow or other, Abraham knew one of two things. If he would have to offer Isaac, God would raise him from the dead. And if he didn’t offer Isaac, God would provide the lamb. And of course, we know that’s what happened.
“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.” Now that almost seems beyond human comprehension, it seems beyond the God that we know of Scripture. How could God expect a man to lay his own son, when we know that one of the horrors of Israel’s history was child sacrifice and yet here God commanded Abraham to lay Isaac on that altar bound, hand and foot, although there is no indication that Isaac resisted. He was totally obedient to the father as he’s laid on the altar.
Now, I’m not going to make you go back to Romans, but another verse that I always use in Romans 15 is verse 4 and that verse says: “Now all these things were written aforetime (like we’re reading right here) for our learning that we through the Scriptures might have comfort and hope.” All right so what are we to glean from this? We’re to learn. This isn’t just some legend. This isn’t just some story to fill the page. But this is even for you and I in this Age of Grace, to look back at and see how the God Whom we serve is telling us something. And what’s He telling us? That God did bring about a Human sacrifice, the greatest one of all. The Lamb that took away the sin of the world was nailed to that Roman Cross. Just as surely as Isaac was laid on that altar on Mount Moriah. There are so many parallels. Number one, as I’ve already pointed out, Isaac was the only begotten son. Isaac fulfilled everything pertaining to Christ’s sacrifice by being totally obedient to be that sacrifice. And all through the eyes of faith. God said it and they could rest on it.
“And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” And I don’t think Abraham was being a Hollywood actor. He was ready to carry it out, heartbroken as he must have been. But on the other hand knowing that God would bring him back to life. All right verse 11.
“And the angel of the LORD…” And I’ve always stressed, Who’s that? Well, that’s God the Son.
…called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Now there’s the emphasis – that as Isaac was the only son of Abraham in God’s eyes, so Christ was referred to as the only begotten Son of God. Now here’s the beautiful part that I think that, whether it was by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the mind of Abraham, but here it’s immediately fulfilled when he said, “God would provide the lamb,” in the earlier verses.
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” In both these instances, was there any opposition? From Isaac or from the ram? No. Scripture would have told us. But Abraham could just simply walk to the thicket, take that ram, probably with Isaac’s help and they put it on the altar without a struggle, without opposition and again it was a beautiful picture of the Lamb that finally did take away the sin of the world. He didn’t fight the cross. He didn’t oppose any of the beatings and the misuse of the Romans. He went meekly as a lamb. And so all this is just a preview of that which would be fulfilled there at the cross. All right, and so now verse 14.
“Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: (which means that Jehovah would provide) as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” And so what a glorious statement of faith and at the same time a preview of the cross – in fact as you go back to Hebrews, stop at Philippians chapter 2, as we use this quite often. And this is just simply the fulfilling of all that we’ve seen back in Genesis. Let begin with verse 5:
“Let this mind be in you, (now remember, Paul is writing to Gentile believers like you and I) which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, (He was God, totally)thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (because He was God, I can’t emphasize that enough.) 7. But (as God, as the Creator God of the universe) made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, (or a bond slave) and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” So the picture is, in the Old Testament even as Isaac was obedient unto death, Christ was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross for your sins and mine.
Well, that’s another tremendous lesson that we glean from these patriarchs and their walk of faith. All right, come back to Hebrews chapter 11, and let’s read verses 18 and 19 again just to confirm everything that I’ve said as we looked at Genesis 22.
“Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead;…” You see that? Scripture tells us that if Abraham would have carried out the killing of Isaac, God would have raised him from the dead – but of course, He did the alternative. He provided the sacrifice.
“…from whence also he received him in a figure.” (or a type) So I was scripturally A-OK by taking you back to Genesis 22 and showing how that the offer of Isaac was the beautiful picture of the obedience of the One that was to be put to death, and Christ fulfilled it. All of Scripture, I guess if there’s one compliment that I enjoy from our listening audience, is that right there. That we are taking all of Scripture and making them fit from cover to cover.
And it does, it just thrills me when people are beginning to see that this isn’t a bunch of jumbled up legends and stories and so forth. It’s a composite that fits from cover to cover. And you don’t see it until you study it. The casual reader will never get it. All right, let’s go on to verse 20.
“By faith (again) Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” Many people don’t realize that. Why do you suppose the Arab world is so high in numbers? Because God promised Ishmael that He would bless him. They’re not there by accident. They’ve been blessed.
You know, I always have to think, not only do they have 50 times more people than Israel (they’ve got almost that much more land area than Israel), but on top of that what’s under all their sand? Most of the world’s oil! They can’t complain, my they’ve got blessings that they don’t even want to admit. And so God hasn’t turned His back on them. And so even Isaac when he blessed the sons, he blessed Esau just as well as he did Jacob. But, Jacob of course, is the man of faith. Now verse 21.
“By faith Jacob, when he was a dying,…” You go back to Genesis and you can pick up all the blessings that he placed upon those sons.
“…blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” As he was dying, passing off the scene. All right now we jump up into the next generation. In verse 22 – of Joseph, the favored son of Jacob. And you all know the story of Joseph; I don’t have to rehearse that. Joseph ends up down in Egypt. And as the Jews have done from the onset of the nation, even though they’re hated, they’re despised, they’re persecuted – invariably some of them will end up where? At the top. You just stop and think about it. What percentage of the Nobel Prize winners are Jews? If I’m not mistaken, it’s about 50%. Yet the Jews are only less than one percent of the world’s population. They’re blessed.
Look at the talented people in the entertainment industry. What are most of them? Jews. Look at successful writers. What are most of them? I won’t say all, but what are most of them? Jews. Medical science. My goodness. Beginning with the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, what was he? Jew or Gentile? He was a Jew. All the master scientists of the atomic energy program, what were they? Most of them were Jews. Oh, they’ve been blessed beyond human comprehension in spite of the world’s hating them, in spite of the satanic pressures to get rid of them.
And so never lose sight of that (even Joseph). Here he’s sold as a common slave, taken down into Egypt, becomes nothing more than a house servant but where does he end up? Second man in Egypt and I imagine if he had wanted to usurp Pharaoh’s seat, he could have. Daniel goes out into Babylon, nothing more than a manacled slave. Where does he end up? Second man in Babylon. Almost that far in the next empire, the Medes and the Persians. And so all the way up through human history, you’ve seen that these Jews with their talent, their intelligence, their energy, they just come to the top.
All right, now here’s Joseph. Went through the life of a slave, imprisoned (as far as I can tell) about 10 years. Then he comes out and rises up to the second man in Egypt – but when he dies, they all die remember. And when he died he made mention of the departing out of Egypt of the Children of Israel and gave a command concerning his bones. Well, you all know what that was, don’t you? Joseph told the Children of Israel of his day, “That one day, God is going to take you out of here and you’re going to go back to the land promised to our forefathers. And when you go, you take my bones with you.”
Now what prompted him to request that? Well, I think it carries through to the Jew of the present day. If a Jew has got the money and the wherewithal, and he’s got any connection with his Old Testament Scriptures, where would he like to be buried? Anybody know? As close to the Temple as they can get. Most of your guides will tell you that, won’t they? If they had the money, they would be buried right next to the Temple itself. Well, Joseph already had a comprehension of that, that when the Lord came to set up this kingdom, he wanted to be in the land of promise at resurrection day. That’s what he’s looking at. He’s looking at resurrection day. And so, by faith, knowing the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that a Redeemer, Messiah, King is coming. He wanted to have his bones in the Promised Land, when that day comes, so he gave commandment that they were to take his bones with them.
Well, I wish I had time to take you back and show you, because when Joseph said, “take my bones with you,” when they got back in the Promised Land, did they just bury him at the first place that they came across? No. He was buried in a particular place and the amazing thing is, there are three pieces of ground in the homeland of Israel that were bought and paid for with current money, of silver. Three of them. And those three same identical places are the points of greatest controversy and bloodshed today.
But see, all of this ties in Ancient Israel, and what’s going on today is tied together. You can’t separate them. And it’ll just thrill your hearts in our next program, when we show you those very plots of ground that were bought and paid for with money, not counting the deed that God made to Abraham, that the whole land belonged to the Nation of Israel, but those three segments were bought and paid for, for a particular reason – and so one of them is where the bones of Joseph are going to go.
And so again, we’ll look at it when we come to the next program, but the next verse, verse 23, we’ll pick that up as well, that it was by faith that all of these men and women moved, relying strictly on what God had promised. Now what’s the lesson for us? Well, we’re the same way. “We walk by faith.”