Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 64
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT – PART 4
Okay, once again we’re going right back where we left off, so those of you in the studio can go with me back to Genesis chapter 15. For those of you joining us on television, we again want to thank you so much for all your prayers, your letters, your financial help, and your encouragement. My goodness, mail time is a pleasant time, really.
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All right, now let’s go right back to where we left off in Genesis chapter 15. We’re covering now, for the next few programs at least, the Abrahamic Covenant. Now, everything that pertains to us today had its beginnings, yes in Adam, I know that, but predominately, in the realm of the spiritual, it’s all resting on this Abrahamic Covenant. The Nation of Israel appeared by the sovereignty of God. Then their promised Messiah came, was rejected, was crucified, buried, and risen from the dead and then proclaimed as the Savior of the world, and we call this the total purposes of God when He brought about this glorious plan of salvation.
But, let’s go back now to the early promises in this Abrahamic Covenant that are making everything possible that you and I enjoy today. Let’s go back to chapter 15 where we left off in the last lesson and where he looked at the stars.
“And he (God) brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell (count) the stars, if thou be able to number (or count) them: and he said unto him (Abram), So shall thy seed be.” Which I feel, and said in the last lesson, is the spiritual seed which would involve, I think, you and I as the members of the Body of Christ who are heavenly connected.
All right, now then you come on down into the next few verses and we see the humanness of this great patriarch Abram, or Abraham as he becomes known later. How he was just as human as we are. Now, after God had made all these promises, in a later verse what does Abraham say? Well, prove it. Show me. But first, verse 6:
“And he believed in the LORD: and he counted it to him for righteousness.” That’s all. He doesn’t do anything else. He doesn’t practice circumcision yet. He has no law to keep. He doesn’t offer sacrifices. He just simply believed what God said.
Now, let’s show you how Paul puts that. Maybe I should back everything up with Scripture. Jump all the way up to Romans chapter 4, and we’ll start at verse 1, because when I keep mentioning that Abraham has a connection with us who are saved by faith plus nothing, I’ve got to let the Scripture speak for Itself. Remember, Paul writes to us Gentiles in the Body of Christ.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, (Now remember, Paul was a Jew.) as pertaining to the flesh, (in other words, in his genetic background) hath (Abraham) found? 2. For if Abraham were justified (or saved) by works, he hath whereof to glory; (Or brag, by saying look what I’ve done to obtain salvation.) but not before God. 3. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, (That’s all! He believed what He said and what did God do? Called him righteous.) and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.” Now, that’s simple isn’t it? That’s too simple for mankind to comprehend. But that’s the truth of the Word. All right, so now come back to where this was first referred to in Genesis 15.
“And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Not because he was sinless, he’s going to fail. He’s going to trip up now and then. But God imputed righteousness to him in spite of it. All right, now then, verse 7:
“And he (God) said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” That is the land of Canaan, where he’s standing, like I like to think, on one of the mountains of Israel. Now, here’s Abraham’s humanity.
“And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” Where’s the proof? And what does God do? Okay, Abraham, we’ll go through the secular system of transferring real estate. We’ll just do like your neighbors do. You remember that all of paganism rested on animal sacrifices. That’s where they adulterated the right thing, remember? So, they open up these animals and lay the carcasses with a space down between them. All right, now you pick it up in verse 10.
“And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.” He just laid the sacrificed birds there with that walkway down between them and now then verse 12.
“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram;…” In other words, I always call this the first instance of real anesthesia. God put him under where he couldn’t say a word or know anything, and He says to him:
“…Know of a surety that thy seed (your offspring) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,…” Now, this is prophecy. I usually refer to this verse as the first true prophecy in Scripture. It’s a future event that God promises to the Nation of Israel. That’s prophecy. Even today, prophecy only really involves the Nation of Israel. As we see the world getting ready for the end time, all that’s taking place, whether it’s Iran or whether it’s North Korea and all that, it’s still all circling about the Nation of Israel. They are at the core of everything. So all of prophecy, even as we see it today, is based on what God has promised His covenant people, Israel. Here is the first one in Scripture that’s a true prophecy.
“…that they seed (Offspring – these children that will be coming down the pike.) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; (Well that, of course, is the Egyptian bondage, which wouldn’t take place for two – three hundred years, but God prophesied it.) and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14. And also that nation, (Egypt) whom they shall serve, will I judge: (He will punish.) and afterward (That is after the plagues of Egypt.) they (the children of Abraham) shall come out with great substance. (And we know they did. They spoiled the Egyptians. Then verse 15, the promise is:) 15. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; (He’s going to die in a great old age.) thou shalt be buried in a good old age.”
“But in the fourth generation, they (his offspring) shall come hither (here to the mountains of Israel) again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” After a sojourn in Egypt, they’re going to come back to the land of Canaan, but it has to wait 400 years, because the iniquity of the Amorites, the Canaanites, was not yet full. God could not punish them with taking them out of their land that they had now worked for and had made prosperous and productive until their behavior demanded it. And if you want to know what their behavior was, you read Leviticus 18. It was horrible! All the immorality that mankind can think of, the Canaanites practiced. Promiscuously. Consequently, God was able to take their land away from them and give it over to the Promised Covenant People. All right, now verse 18:
“In the same day the LORD (Jehovah, God the Son in His Old Testament personality) made a covenant with Abram, saying, (On top of the one that He made in Genesis 12, now we come to an additional part, or addendum we may call it, with Abram. He says unto him:) Unto thy seed (unto your coming generations) have I (past tense) given this land, (It’s a done deal, Abraham, but I’ll just go a little bit further and secure it in your own mind.) from the river of Egypt (Whether it was the Nile, or whether it was another river that has since disappeared, it doesn’t make that much difference.) unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” And all those tribes that follow in verses 19-21 that were involved in that geographical area would have their land taken from them and given over to God’s covenant people, Israel.
All right, now we’re going to jump all the way up to chapter 26 verse 1. Genesis 26 verse 1. Now, we’re already up to Isaac. We’re going to pass this covenant promise that was given to Abram on to Isaac. From Isaac it’s going to pass on to Jacob. All right, verse 1:
“And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto the Gerar. 2. And the LORD (Again, that’s the same God the Son, the coming Messiah of Israel.) appeared unto him,…” Now, that word appeared in the Greek is what we use for the verb, I’ve got to think for a moment, ‘optomei,’ I think it is, and it means a visual eye to eye contact. Not just envisioned, but He evidently appeared eyeball to eyeball with Isaac.
“…and said, (face to face) Go not down into Egypt;…” Now you have to remember, and I’m always stressing history in my teaching, that back in antiquity, Egypt was to the then known world what America is today. And what are we? We’re the consumer nation. We’re only six percent of the world’s population, but we consume ninety-some percent of the world’s goods and raw materials. Of course, that’s why the world hates us. But that was Egypt in antiquity.
All of the caravan routes from the Far East and the Middle East and from the civilized areas of Europe wound their way down to Egypt, because Egypt was the kingpin of the civilizations at this time. So, the temptation was that if you didn’t have much going for you in the mountains of Canaan, go down to Egypt. But God warns Isaac – don’t you go down to Egypt. Now again, symbolically, Egypt in Scripture is a picture of ‘the world.’ So, this is where we get the whole idea that we are not to be enticed by the world. Well, there stood Egypt with all of its glitter and all of its pleasure and all of its abundance of goods and services, but God tells his pastoral people living there in the mountains of Israel, don’t go down to Egypt.
“Sojourn (or spend your time) in this land, (the land of Canaan) and I will be with thee, and I will bless thee; (Ringing a bell?) for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I (God says) will give these countries, (They haven’t got it yet, but they’re going to get them in time.) and I will perform the oath (or the covenant) which I sware unto Abraham thy father;” See how plain all this is? Now verse 4, right along with what He told Abraham, He repeats to Isaac.
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries, and in thy seed (Here comes the promise, again, of an over-all Redeemer for the whole human race.) and in thy seed (the Nation of Israel, Israel’s Messiah, Israel’s Son, Jesus of Nazareth) shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” See how plain that is? But until He can bless the nations of the world, He’s going to deal with His covenant people Israel. That’s how it’s all going to come about. All right, verse 5:
“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” All right, so now then, we come all the way up through these Old Testament Scriptures, and it’s a constant referral to the promises that He made to Abraham. In fact, in the few moments that we have left, I think I’ll go ahead and just jump ahead to the New Testament promises that are resting on the Abrahamic Covenant. Then we’ll go back in our next program and pick up some more of those promises back in the Old Testament. But come up with me, for now, to Luke chapter 1. I was going to stop at Matthew for a minute, but I don’t think I’ll take time today. Let’s go right on into Luke chapter 1, which we’ve referred to many times. But repetition is the mother of learning, remember. I never apologize for repeating some of these things that are so basic to our understanding.
We looked at this in one of the previous programs this afternoon on the New Covenant, how it referred to – no, it was in the Davidic Covenant – referred to David in this one. But here, I want you to see how all that Zacharias is foretelling is resting on the promises that God made with their father Abraham. Okay, verse 67, the father of John the Baptist, here in Luke chapter 1, who has just now received back his ability to speak, is going to make some fantastic statements concerning God’s covenant people, Israel.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, (he spoke forth) saying, 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; (Now, that’s because they are a covenant people! And God cannot deal outside of His covenant promises.) for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” Now, there’s only one Redeemer, and that will be God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. And that’s what John the Baptist is being prepared to announce. Everything is falling in place.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation…” Now, you remember, I’ve taught over and over through the years, that all through the Old Testament we have two lines of thought. Just like parallel railroad tracks. Remember seeing it on the board? I always put on the top line, the promise of a coming King and a Kingdom. The second parallel line is the promise of a suffering Savior.
Now, they had to have both. You could not have the ruling and reigning King without first having the suffering Savior. Because the New Covenant, as we saw earlier this afternoon, the New Covenant could not become a reality until the sacrifice for sin had been made, which was the person of God the Son who had to die the death of the cross. All right, so redemption now is going to be totally resting on the suffering Savior. But after He’s accomplished the suffering, then He could come and be the ruling King. But nowhere in the Old Testament do you have an indication that there will be a 2000-year hiatus. That’s why some of these Bible teachers scorn at the fact – show me where there’s a parenthetical period of time in the promises.
Well, while I was getting ready for this, I came across one that’s as plain as the nose on our face. I don’t know how they miss it, but they do. I don’t think I’ve got time to show it to us today, but I will in our next taping. I’ll let you look for it yourself. Where it’s just as plain as day that there’s going to be a period of time between the tabernacle of David falling down, which of course is when the Temple was destroyed and Israel was taken out of the land in 70 AD, until the tabernacle of David will rebuilt and restored. And in that interval, God is going to be calling out a group of Gentiles for His name. Now, I’ll let you find where it is in Scripture. But there it is.
That after the tabernacle is fallen down, He will call out a people for His name and then the tabernacle of David shall be restored. It is a parenthetical period of time. Now, it doesn’t designate how long. But there it is. And there are a couple of others, and I don’t remember just right now where they were. I’ve just seen them in the last few days, and then the scoffers scorn and they ridicule, “How can you even imagine that there was ever anything mentioned about a parenthetical period of time between the rejection of Christ and His Second Coming.” Well, I’ll let you look for them as well. Prove these people wrong. That’s what makes Bible study interesting. All right, reading on in Luke 1, repeating verse 69.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” Not in the Gentile world, only in the house of David, which is that lineage of the twelve tribes of Israel.
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, (All the way back, you might say, to Genesis.) which have been since the world began: (Now, here’s the promise.) 71. That we (the Nation of Israel) should be saved from our enemies,…” Now stop and think all the way up through Israel’s history, how many enemies have they had? Few or many? Many! Their whole world around them has hated them from day one. Not because they’re deserving of hate because of what they say and do, it’s because they’re God’s chosen people, and Satan knows it.
I’ve stressed that on this program over and over. The reason the Jew has suffered inexorably since the very beginning is because Satan knows that if he can destroy the Nation of Israel, he destroys every promise in this Book. If he can keep the Nation of Israel from being a real entity in the Middle East today, then prophecy can’t be fulfilled. It just cannot happen, and Satan knows that. So, he’s been making life miserable for them. He’s tried over and over to obliterate them from the human experience, beginning with the Book of Esther and then again in the Roman invasion in 70 AD. The Romans would have loved to just literally annihilate every Jew. Now we’re seeing it today. The Arab world will not rest until every Jew is gone. But it’s not going to happen, because God has promised it. But this is why. Don’t blame the Arabs. Don’t blame the Muslims. Blame the source – The Devil. He knows that if he can destroy Israel, he can destroy the promises of this Book.
“That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; (All their Arab neighbors are one day going to be dealt with, and what’s the end result?) 72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers,…” Now, you remember all the promises that we’ve been looking at today, and no matter how much Israel sins God will never withdraw His covenant promises. No matter how many times they break His covenants, He will not break it with them, because His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. Here it is again, Zacharias, through the unction of the Holy Spirit, repeats it – that we’re going to have the mercy promised to our fathers. Now here’s the part I came in for.
“…and to remember his holy covenant; (What covenant?) 73. The oath (or the covenant) which he sware to our father Abraham,” See how plain all this is? God is never going to give up on His covenant promises. All right, now reading on in verse 74, based on those covenant promises, God can tell the Nation of Israel through the priest Zacharias.
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,” That’s Israel’s future when their Messiah will yet be their King, and they’re going to have the New Covenant become a reality. They won’t have to work at living a spiritual life. It’s going to be automatic. They won’t have to sit down and study the Old Testament or anything else; it’s going to be automatic. God will just simply control their lives and their existence, and it will be joy like no one can understand.
“In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” It’s going to be without end. Now those are promises, you see, that the Nation of Israel can rest on. But if Israel can rest on them, then we know that God will be just as sure in His promises to us.
Now, I only have a minute left. I hardly know where to go to spend that minute, but let’s just go briefly to Romans chapter 11 and verse 11. This will be something that we can be thinking about for the next month until we come back for our next taping. Now, this is the Apostle Paul explaining how salvation came to us as Gentiles, without the covenants. This is by the Grace of God.
“I say then, (Paul says) Have they (the Nation of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? (And be gone and off the scene like the scoffers try to tell us?) God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation has come unto the Gentiles,…” Well, what’s Paul talking about? When did Israel fall? When they rejected the Messiah. When they cried out for His crucifixion. When they screamed, we’ll not have this Jesus of Nazareth to rule over us. That’s when they fell. But, what did they bring about? The work of the cross. Our glorious salvation!