ABRAHAM – Typology: Foundation (Lesson 6)

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)

A “city with foundations” started the journey of generations of God’s people moving toward Him. That city with foundations was formed completely when the cornerstone of Jesus Christ was laid. From that moment on, the Foundation of Jesus Christ was established solidly, and provided a base for spiritual growth and faith to rise up in the believer.

”And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” (Luke 20:17)

”Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” (1Peter2:5-6)

In fact, Christians form the walls upon that foundation that is built upon the corner stone of Jesus Christ! Ah, this lesson jumps ahead too quickly…Let’s deeply examine the foundation that Abraham sought, found, and then was brought forward to the Christian faith to hold up the ministry of Jesus Christ.

A foundation is a natural or prepared ground or base on which some structures rests. It is the beginnings or first principals of a system of truth. One of the most revealing, important and solid teachings on the Foundation of Jesus Christ can be found in Luke 6:46-49.

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)

Let’s break that defining Scripture down in a careful and deep fashion.

A person who comes to Lord Jesus, and hears and does what he says, builds a foundation on a rock. When trouble comes, that person’s life cannot be shaken. But first, a believer must dig deeply into the things of the LORD normally hidden and above man’s scrutiny before he begins construction on the foundation placed upon a rock. When a person comes to the Lord Jesus and is able to hear what He says but fails to do it, then he builds a foundation upon the earth. When trouble comes, that person’s life is greatly ruined.

The typological meanings of the some of the words within Luke 6:48 reveal an even deeper and enlightening meaning, than first seen in a literal translation. The word “house” within this parable is speaking about the “dwelling place of the soul.” The typology for “earth” is the affairs, interest and pursuits of natural life.” A “rock” is a person’s spiritual life in Christ. (Note: This typology speaks of the rock as spoken of in 1 Cor 10:4). Take another look at the Scripture, and reflect upon the deeper typological meanings to the parable, then compare your discoveries with ours.

When typology is applied to specific words expressed perfectly, we are able to learn even more. Therefore, if a person looks for the deep things of God, and maintains a spiritual life in Christ, then his life will not be disturbed when trouble comes. If a person maintains a life concerned with the affairs, interests, and pursuits of natural life, then that person’s life will be ruined when trouble comes. A person who digs deeply into the things of God, hears and does what Jesus says is saved. A person who hears but does not do what Jesus says is destroyed.

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal Judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” (Hebrews 6:1-3)

The foundation of Jesus Christ contains six principles of Christian doctrine, which includes instruction in…

1. Sins (Dead Works)
2. Faith
3. Water Baptism
4. Holy Spirit Baptism (Laying on of hands)
5. Resurrection
6. Judgment

Hey! One of those foundation principles is the focus of our study on Hebrews 11! Faith is a principle that makes a Christian’s foundation very, very strong, and prevents it from crumbling when trouble comes. Take another look at Hebrews 6:1-3. There are some revelations of knowledge given to a Bible student that often goes unnoticed by those who do not study the Word of God. Take a closer look, and see if you can find when the six principles of Christian doctrine should be taught.

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” (Hebrews 6:1-3)

The six principles of the foundation of Jesus Christ should be laid in a new believer. Once the foundation is laid, Christians are instructed to move on to even deeper things of Jesus Christ. No student can grow to perfection by repeatedly learning the six principles of the doctrine of Christ. Once those are learned, the foundation is made solid and stands firm against all trouble. It is then able to support the deeper teachings that the Holy Spirit will give in perfect support of the Word of God.

If you have found that your foundation of Jesus Christ has not been properly laid, be assured that Becker Bible Courses will include solid instructions on the six principles in our upcoming courses that will enable you to be secure in your position within the Kingdom of God. This Study of Faith covers the instruction necessary for one part of that foundation to be built strongly and perfectly, as you learn the things written in the Word of God.

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians
3:10-15)

The foundation of Jesus Christ is laid so that it can be built upon; however, if it is not laid on the six principles of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, it will not happen. Once that foundation is laid, the house is constructed. It is formed upon the foundation by doing the works that God moves a Christian to do. Works are acts performed in obedience to the law of God. They include righteous deeds, growth, creation, and building in spiritual life.

A foundation is laid so a Christian may do works that glorify the LORD God. If a Christian’s works survive the revealing by fire, they will receive a reward from the LORD God. If a Christian’s works are burned by fire, they will suffer loss. HOWEVER, a Christian’s salvation is never in jeopardy, and the faithful will be saved.

Because a “house” is the “dwelling place of the soul”, then a person’s works, from the doctrine of Christ, is the place where the soul dwells. In other words, you are rewarded or suffer loss for what you do! WORKS!

Because the “foundation” is made by the doctrine of Christ, then a person’s faith is the place where the works begin. In other words, you are saved for what you believe! FAITH!

The Foundation of Jesus Christ was sought by Abraham, way back in the beginning, at the start of the generations of God’s people.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)

It was the search for that foundation that led Abraham to leave the familiar and go to a strange country. It was the promise that the LORD God gave to him, that he would be heir to the city with the foundation of Jesus Christ that moved Abraham to begin the process that led to the perfect faith in the Lord Jesus. And it was that promise that was extended to Abraham’s generations of the Jews and was perfected in faith through Christian belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God!

ABRAHAM – Christian Inheritance (Lesson 5)

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (Hebrews 11:8)

Abraham gave up the inheritance from his worldly life, and opted instead to walk a different path that led him to the true LORD God. He chose the spiritual inheritance from his Father God, over the natural life inheritance from his physical father. That inheritance is a crucial point to both Jews and Christians in their walk toward the LORD God.

We’re going to get to the deep meanings of Christian inheritance through the study of Ephesians 1:3-14. Open your Bibles, read the source Scripture, and then let’s take a detailed, and examine the path that God has placed in front of every Christian, as recorded in His Word.

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-14)

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:”

1. The inheritance includes all spiritual blessings that are in the Heavens through Jesus Christ. “Spiritual Blessings” are hard to describe with our natural life comparisons. The closer you walk with the Lord, the more you allow His Holy Spirit to touch your own and direct His ways, the more understanding you will have Spiritual Blessings.

”According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

2. The LORD God chose every person that He willed to come toward Him from the beginning of His Creation. He chose certain people specifically, and wanted them to come before him in a holy state, without blame of sin; He wanted them to come according to their will, because they loved Him. But sin came to mankind, and it looked as if God’s Will for a loving and holy people could not be. His Chosen people were stiffnecked and disobeyed His Laws, and their actions removed holiness and caused blame to come to them. They did not act in love toward the LORD God, but rather feared Him while at the same time rejecting His Ways.

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

3. The LORD God decided that one day He would send His Son Jesus Christ to come to earth in human form, to become the ultimate sacrifice for sin. He predestinated a holy and clean people able to approach Him, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He promised redemption of sins to those whom called His Son Lord, and followed after His ways.

Now some argue that predestinated people were individually planned and formed by the Hands of God before time, and that they were in some sort of stasis until their time to be born.

Some think that predestinated people came from the specific creation of man in His Image who are given the choice to come toward Him.

Some even think that there is no free will among those predestinated people, and that when God chooses them, they automatically respond.

Some believe the predestinated people are only the “big” people in God’s Kingdom that are chosen to be the prophets and the priests.

Some believe that it is merely a reflection of God’s knowledge that the redeemed blood of Christ will provide Him with some people that are holy and clean.

Predestinated is a fun word to cause division among believers as they argue amongst themselves about the meaning of that word. But, in the grand scheme of God’s plans, it matters little. If you are learning His things today, you have been one that he predestinated to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. For you, that word means SALVATION and HOLINESS and CLEANESS and ETERNAL LIFE! For you, the argument of meaning matters little! You have been chosen by Him to come closer, and you also chose, to stand and walk toward Him with your Lord!

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”

4. Through the LORD God’s grace, He made a way for the blood of Christ to redeem our sins. One day, the LORD God will do just that! He has PROMISED!

Now be aware: Redemption has not happened yet; first, all of the people that He has chosen, must receive the Lord as Savior. It is only after that is completed, that the sins of all people will be redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ to His Father. And when that happens, the LORD God will forgive all sin as He promised.

That’s what FAITH is you know! It is the belief that the LORD God will keep His Promise, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, walked among men as a human, was crucified, died, buried, and then Resurrected, and that His blood was sacrificed to cleanse believers of sin. In faith we believe that one day the Lord will present us to the LORD God, and we will be accepted into His Presence, because of His Promise.

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

So where does the adoption of Christians, and the right to the same inheritance of Jews given to them by the LORD God, fit with the faith of salvation? We know that the LORD God first chose Abraham and his descendants as His children; these descendants became the Twelve Tribes of Israel and are known today as the Jews. They have full inheritance rights.

When the LORD God decided to designate those brought to Him by His beloved Son as His children also, He drew up a legal document to make it so. He wrote it down in the most authoritative Book known to mankind. He put it in writing for all to see!

”And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament [is], there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament [is] of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This [is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and. without shedding of blood is no remission. “[It was] therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that lookfor him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:15-28)

The LORD God made a promise, and then bound it legally for all mankind to know! Christians were adopted into His Promise, and eternal inheritance given to the Jews, would also be shared with the Christians. His adopted children were loved and prepared to receive inheritance as surely as His Chosen people were!

But the LORD God did not stop there. He wanted His adopted children to know with certainty that they belonged to Him. So, He sent His Spirit of Adoption to rest within each believer as they received the Holy Spirit.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:14-17)

All Christians receive the Spirit of Adoption which gives them the right to call the LORD God their Father. When they call upon the LORD God, they are heard by Him! The Spirit of Adoption reassures Christians of their status as a Child of God, and gives faithful confidence that you have equal standing with the Abraham’s generations as children of God. As a result of the Spirit of Adoption’s witness inside believers, they are able to claim their right to the inheritance of those things promised to the children of God.

”And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23)

Through the Spirit of Adoption, the Christian receives the right to inherit jointly with Christ one day. Those things given to Christ through inheritance will also be given to the followers of Christ, as they all are “sons of God.” You have the same inheritance rights as Jesus Christ because you are also a son of God.

The Spirit of Adoption rests in you and joins with your spirit to witness to the LORD God that you are His Child. The LORD God allows His Spirit of Adoption to rest in you through the Spirit of Christ because it is His Will to do so. The LORD God chooses you to be His child and to have all rights and privileges associated with that honored position, including the same inheritance first promised to Abraham at beginning of the journey toward belonging to the LORD God. Praise be to our Father in Heaven!

ABRAHAM – City with Foundations (Lesson 4)

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)

Where is that “City with Foundations” whose builder and maker is God? Do you think this describes Heaven or the Kingdom of God or the congregation of God’s people or the fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ? Let’s explore this desired destination a little bit further, and find the city with foundations that both Abraham and all those who yearn for the presence of the LORD God and seek after!

Let’s look for clues in the Word of God!

“For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which [voice] they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, [that] Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.” (Hebrews 12:18-24)

Take a moment to read Hebrews 12:18- 24 and then record different clues about the City of God. When you have completed your analysis, compare your statements of facts with ours:

1. It sits upon a mountain that cannot be touched
2. It cannot be burned with fire
3. It cannot contain blackness, darkness or tempest
4. It is founded atop Mount Sion
5. It is the city of the living God
6. It is the heavenly Jerusalem
7. There are many, many angels within it
8. It is the home of the general assembly of Christians
9. It is the home of the church of the firstborn
10. It is the home of those whose names are written in Heaven in the book of life
11. It is home to the LORD God and the Lord Jesus Christ whom judge all
12. It is home to the spirits of just men made perfect through the shed blood of Jesus Christ
13. Jesus Christ is the mediator of the new covenant that gives entrance to the City of God.

How did you do? Let’s go to another Scripture and look for more evidence to the City of God.

John was instructed by the Lord to write to the angel of the church of Philadelphia…

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:10-13)

Once again, prepare some statements of fact that you can pull from Revelation 3:10-13 that will tell you more about the city of God.
Let’s see if your list matches with mine!

1. The church of Philadelphia, who keep the Word of God with patience, will enter into the City of God

2. The worldly who succumb to temptation will NOT enter into the City of God

3. The church should hold fast to the Word of God because Jesus Christ will come quickly; they should protect their crown at all costs!

4. If they overcome, they will be a pillar in the temple of God and they will never leave it again.

5. The name of the LORD God will be written upon them
(Up to now, it’s been all been a specific message to the church of Philadelphia. But now, the message gives clues to the rest of us to guide us further in learning about the city of God!)

1. THE NAME OF THE CITY OF GOD IS NEW JERUSALEM!
2. NEW JERUSALEM will not stay in Heaven, but will come down from Heaven!

The message from the Lord to the angel of the Church of Philadelphia was made specifically to them. But, we learned a little bit more about the City of God by searching the Scripture for clues.
When you study the Word of God, however, you must take care that you only state as fact, that which is true. For instance, there is nowhere in the Scripture we just studied that even remotely suggested that it is only the Church of Philadelphia that would be allowed to enter the City of God. Although the message was to them it did not limit others from other places. Yet, through the study of that message, we gained clues to help us discover the things about the City of God.

Stay on track with your study, and don’t infer or add to make things fit!

The next Scripture both proves my point that others will enter the City of God, as well as identify a little bit more about it.

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:12-17)

Same exercise applies…open your trusty notebook, and find those statements of fact!

How do your fact clues compare to mine?
1. The Lord Jesus Christ makes believers holy with his shed blood.
2. He died outside the gate, without a camp, without a community, without a city.
3. Followers of Jesus Christ are without a camp and gate also.

4. Followers of Jesus Christ have no city, and suffer the same reproach as Christ did
5. Christians do not have a city on this earth that will continue on forever
6. Christians seek after the City of God to come that will exist forever
7. Christians should praise God continuously for the City that will one day come to believers
8. Christians are instructed to obey those who have rule over you, and submit to their orders, for they will be giving an account of your performance to God

Once again, take care that you only write statements of fact that are clearly representative of the intended meaning, in the perfect context, that the Word of God is written.

The City of God is the New Jerusalem! It is the City we long for greatly! It has not come to us yet, but will one day be inhabited by faithful Christians.

”And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”(Revelation 21:1-8)

The City of God, the New Jerusalem will come down from God out of Heaven. The Tabernacle of God will be adorned for her husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. God will be with men, and dwell with the inhabitants of New Jerusalem! In the city of New Jerusalem, there will be no tears, death, sorrow, crying or pain. The things of sadness from this life will pass away. All things will be made new and clean and righteous!

New Jerusalem will not have any fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters or liars; for the deadly lake of fire is reserved for them. The City of God, the New Jerusalem, will flow with the water of life freely. All Christians that overcome the things of this world will inherit the things of God. Through the faith of Abraham, and the promise of inheritance of God’s things, the LORD God will be a faithful Christian’s Father God. It began with Abraham’s faith to journey away from his known city to the promised city of God and ends with our moving into New Jerusalem with the presence of our Lord dwelling with us eternally! I can hardly wait!

ABRAHAM – Strange Country (Lesson 3)

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.”(Hebrews 11:8-10)

What does it feel like to go to a place that you have never been before? The language and customs of the people are different from your own. The food they eat, the way of life, and their traditions and history are radically different from the known. The sights, smells and sounds are foreign, which confuses the sense and confounds your peace of mind. You feel lost, vulnerable and scared. You might wonder if you made a mistake in traveling to a foreign place where everything is different and confusing.

To understand the faith of Abraham completely, you must first understand the places he was coming from. Before he was Abraham, he was Abram, a man who worked for his father, had a comfortable living in the town of Ur, and was valuable to his community in the skills that his father had raised him to express. Yet, Abraham had a nagging urge that grew deeper and deeper as he grew up. The culture of false god idol worship confused him; he knew deep inside that there was surely a God of all gods. That inner most knowledge was surely put there by the LORD God, as His plans for the spiritual path toward Him were laid in Abram’s soul.

Abram was a man leaving the known for the unknown. He was called out of the known by the LORD God, and he obeyed. When he left his house in a civilized town, he left many of his family, friends, and way of life. He was thrust into a strange country. He no longer lived in a comfortable house, but rather slept in tents as he walked toward his destination. He was a man without a country, without a support system, without tradition, without friends, and without most family; yet, he moved toward the promise of land, in search for the one true LORD God.

By faith, Abram sojourned in the land of promise. He lived as a stranger in a place he did not know. The country was strange to him. It felt as if he were living among aliens or enemies. The reassurance of predictable life left him, and he came to a place where his journey had to be directed by the LORD God, because he had absolutely no knowledge of his surroundings.

Abram was motivated not only by the LORD God’s direction, but by a deep desire that the God placed in him from the start. That desire was to find a solid foundation that was made by the one true LORD God. Abram sought after a surety of faith, where his spiritual needs were solidly based upon Truth, rather than the pretense of little idols that promised nothing. Hope to find the true LORD God fueled his journey and brought hope to his spirit as he wandered to the places that the Lord willed him to go.

And so Abram left the familiar to seek after the supernatural that was unknown. His desperation to find the LORD God overpowered his need to stay with the familiar life he had been raised in. That desire was so intense, that it moved Abram toward the LORD God, and away from the life he was raised within.

That same faith is required of many, many converts to the Christian faith, as they accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. While all of God’s children were made that way from start, not all are born in families that walk the way of faith. Rather, they are scattered in the world, in all kinds of life situations; seldom do they come from the foundation of faith that are expressed solidly by their family and friends. Instead, God’s people gather as the urge to know Him and the need to seek a solid foundation of Truth is more powerful than the urge to stay with the familiar. When that happens, the unknown journey begins, as the convert begins walking the way of Abram toward the Truth expressed only by the LORD God.

Our loving Lord Jesus Christ paved the way for their journey, and created a map for the travelers to follow that will lead them straight to Him. Yet, danger lies at the sides of the path along the journey, as the profane and the wicked seek to stop the walk. As the pilgrims of faith progress down that path, they are guided by His Word to find that solid foundation that will give them spiritual stance to form their faith in Him. They first must leave the familiar world filled with worldly and natural hopes and desires, and take a step into the unknown that has only the promise of finding the LORD God as they travel the path first laid by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Part of the faith of Abraham expresses the brave journey that is walked in faith of finding the LORD God and being brought to His bosom through the Lord Jesus Christ. That first step that a seeker takes sometimes seems as one of the scariest steps that they ever can take. It is often like standing upon a cliff and trusting that a solid bridge will suddenly appear as you take that first step toward God. That trust in a God that you do not know intimately translates to the faith of Abraham, as he took his first steps toward Him.

An important note to all faithful followers of Jesus Christ: It matters not that you raise your children to know Him or come from a believing family; each must take that step of faith! Sometimes that means that children leave Christian families to embrace worldly things; we always pray that they one day seek the path toward Him.

However, unless the faith of Abraham is expressed by a seeker by traveling a path away from the familiar world, then that reduced faith will limit him. A child cannot travel the parent’s path; he must be brave enough, have faith enough, to take that step on his own. A good reminder of this is presented in the parable of the lost son recorded in Luke 15:11-32.

”And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:11-32)

All believers must make that journey of the pilgrim and progress past the things of the world to Him. The faith of Abraham expresses the faith needed for all seekers to walk toward the things of God. Let us hope that when travelers take that first step upon the path of the Lord Jesus Christ, that there are mature Christian guides to help them find His Way!

ABRAHAM – Inheritance (Lesson 2)

One of the most important concepts in the Word of God concerning the legitimate relationship between the LORD God, the Lord Jesus Christ and Christians is the concept of full inheritance. If a child truly belongs to a parent, and both have relationship with each other, then that relationship is sealed with a promise of inheritance. Just as older parents leave their children share in the fortunes they have multiplied in their lifetime, the LORD God also leaves inheritances for His children that have developed over the ages since Creation time.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)

In this lesson we are going to grasp what it meant for Abraham to leave his expected inheritance from his prosperous natural life, and go toward a promised inheritance within the spiritual realm. The founding patriarch of the Israelites, Christians and Muslims was once a normal man, living in a time where false gods inhabited every corner of his world. Traditional life for him was predictable; he had a natural life that brought comfort to him in his old age. He knew each day what the next would bring.

One of the first things you need to understand about Abraham’s natural life is his family structure. Abraham was the tenth generation from Noah, and the 20th generation from Adam. Abraham’s birth name was Abram, and his father’s name was Terah and his grandpa’s name was Nahor. His brothers’ names were Nahor and Haran. Lot was the son of Haran, which made Lot one of Abraham’s nephews. The family lived in Ur for most of their time together. Haran died in Ur, before Abraham was sent to Canaan by the LORD God.

“And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these [are] the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.” (Genesis 11:24-28)

Jewish legend says that Abram’s father Terah was a maker of false idols out of clay. This mythological account says that Abram was against the making of idols when he saw a man fifty-years-old purchase an idol that was only one-day¬≠ old. This made absolutely no sense to Abram, and caused him to try to encourage his father to change professions (Spence 1917, 51). While we cannot confirm this traditional fable with any proof, we can surmise with some certainty that 1) The city of Ur’s population worshipped numerous false gods, and 2) something provoked Abram to seek after a God that was stronger than all of the false gods that his society worshipped.

Jewish tradition concerning Terah has taken on the character as being factual when an analysis of his things were recorded in the Midrash, the verse by verse commentary of Jewish scholars. The Midrash claims that Terah is an evil idol storeowner (E.g., Numbers Rabbah 19:1; 19:33.). The tradition says that Terah asked his son to watch after the store for a while. A woman brought in flour to offer to the idols; Abram broke all the idols and put a large stick in the hand of the largest.

When his father came back to the store, tradition says that Abram told his father that the largest idol had beaten the other idols up with the stick, breaking them all. Terah thought this ridiculous; Abram tried to make him realize that if he thinks this ridiculous, then there is no truth to the idols. Terah allegedly was so angry that he delivered Abram to King Nimrod, where he was placed in a burning fire for punishment (Genesis Rabbah 38:13.). When God saved Abram, his father Terah repented, and begin following after Abram’s God. (Zohar, Bereshit 1:77b.)

Quite a story isn’t it! Tradition is rich with stories that have no proof.
We should never attach more significance to tradition, fables and myths than we do to the Word of God. The Bible is fully Truth! The Word of God records the truth about Terah, and reliably presents a certain fact about him that is important to the whole picture of Abram’s faith.

”And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, [even] Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.” (Joshua 24:2)

Abram’s father and community worshipped false gods, confirmed by the Word of God!

Yet, Abram rejected the common false gods of his family, friends and society, and sought after the true LORD God!

In fact, it is that unique choice that Abram made, that reflects his early faith so powerfully! And it is that same deep faith that many new Christians choose, when they reject the things of their family, friends, society and world, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Just as Abram did in his time, so do numerous young Christians, as they are forced to make a choice between the true LORD God and the false idols of the world.

When the acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior is made, a believer is often separated from everything that is familiar in their life, and found to be at odds with a life that was previously lived with regular beat. Suddenly, the new believer finds themselves in a brand new place, with no familiar landmark, pace, or flavor; they cling to the Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowshipping Christians placed in their lives to establish some sort of predictability and comfort in a very new life of faith.

One moment life is predictable; the next, new believers find themselves in a Kingdom that has full flavor and timely function with rituals and traditions that are foreign to them. In the beginning of their walk with Jesus Christ, they are often required to leave the familiar and choose the unknown, which creates an air of uncertainty as the new life becomes real. These first moments as a brand new Christian are made easier by mature Christians guiding their path toward Him.

Abram had no assurance! He had absolutely no idea of his destiny, yet, his belief in the LORD God, God above all other gods, was so sure and certain, that he had no choice but to take that chance. He left everything familiar about his life, to begin a new life, with a promise of inheritance to be given to him by the LORD God.
That is all the proof we need to understand the dire straits that Abram faced to follow after the true LORD God. Abram chose to leave the inheritance of his natural life father and to walk away from the worship of false idols. Instead, Abram trusted in the inheritance of his Father LORD God, and walked toward Him with a surety of faith. As a result, Abram became a Father to the future Tribes of Israel, the Jewish nation, and Christians, who are all promised to inherit through him.

The Faith of Abraham (Early) Hebrews 11:8-10

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.”(Hebrews 11:8-10)

Ancient Civilization

To understand the faith of Abraham deeply, we must first look at both the history of mankind and the specific place he was coming from. First we must examine the first gathering of people, the Nomads, a tribe of people who moved around, rather than settling in one place. They moved constantly through the lands in search of food. The women and children would gather the food by digging in the ground for roots, searching for nuts and berries from the bushes and trees, finding eggs in birds’ nests and reaching into beehives for the sweet-tasting honey.

The nomadic men provided the food by hunting. They would use spears or bows and arrows to hunt bison, deer, elk, wild horses, fish, lizards and snakes. Sometimes they would capture the animal by digging a hole in the ground and making a trap, where it could fall in and make an easy target for their arrows. They used animal hides over wooden poles for their shelters, while those in colder rocky places used caves for their homes.

Eventually, the food would run out at their location, and they would have to pick up and move on again. They were accustomed to moving often in search of areas with plentiful food. On one of their journeys in search of food, the Nomads came to a place called the “Fertile Crescent”. It is called this because has rich soil and plentiful water from the rivers running through that area. The Fertile Crescent is located between Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley, known today as part of the lands including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lower Egypt.

Unlike the desert areas they were accustomed to, the Nomads found that plants, trees, thick grass, wild barley and wild wheat grew abundantly in the fertile land. Roots, nuts and berries, as well as herds of wild horses and small deer were everywhere. The most exciting discovery was the huge rivers flowing through the land. The Nomads were used to small pools of water, or tiny streams trickling through the rocks. Water was so scarce to them in the desert, that it was rationed for drinking. When they came to the Fertile Crescent, they were able to bathe for the first time in their lives!

As they explored the land, they met other tribes who had also discovered the rich land. Soon, they learned to put seeds into the ground, and grow their own crops, which allowed them to finally stay in one area and be able to provide and survive for themselves, their families and their tribes.

Some of the first nomads settled right in the middle of the Fertile Crescent in the land of Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia means “the land between two rivers.” It got its name because it was located right in the middle of two great rivers which were called the Tigris and the Euphrates. The settled nomads learned that they needed to tend to their planted crops, and keep them watered to ensure their growth. That meant the farmers had to tend to their corps for months at a time, requiring a change in their nomadic lifestyle. They began to build houses that would stay in one place, with materials they could find in the area, like reeds near the river, or hardened mud bricks from the soil.

Soon, they discovered that it was helpful to build their houses closer together, so they could help each other. That is how the first villages began. When the farmers learned that they could tame sheep and goats, they would put a central pen or field right in the middle of their villages. Eventually, the villages became successful at raising sheep and goats, growing grain and making breads and pottery. They began building boats so they could sail along the rivers and visit other villages. Soon, the villages began to trade with each other the items plentiful within their own villages, like sheep’s wool, animal skins, metals, pottery and wood.

When the villages began to grow rich, the inhabitants became fearful that they would be attacked and robbed by bandits. They built big stone walls around their villages, which became the first cities ever built. One of the earliest cities was Jericho. Jericho had one of the strongest, thickest walls in the ancient world, which stood 13 feet tall and 10 feet thick, with a circular tower on one side so lookouts could see their enemies approaching.

The people who settled in the Nile River Valley experienced life differently than those who settled along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The Nile River was different, because it was often low, with very little water in it, and then other times it was so full that it flooded over all the farmland. The Nile River flows north from the African deserts to Egypt. The ground is dry and sandy.

Ancient Egyptians built their houses next to the Nile because it was the only water they could find, and that water had to be drawn and scooped with buckets every day. During the summer, the water from the Nile River was plentiful, but as summer turned to fall and winter, the water level would get lower and lower. By the middle of winter, there would be just a low, muddy stream running down the center of the river. The sun would dry the river more, and the ground would become dry and cracked. In the spring, it would start to rain in the distant mountains, far away from Ancient Egypt where rain seldom falls. But hundreds of miles away, rain would began pouring down, running down the mountains and straight into the Nile River. Suddenly, a huge flood of rushing water scooped up mud and rich soil from the bottom of the muddy Nile River Valley and tumbled it down the valley, straight to Egyptian lands. These lands filled the river bed and overflowed the banks on both sides.

Every spring that the Nile River flooded the Egyptians were very happy. The water soaked into the dry ground and prepared it for crops, as it left behind the rich soil from the bottom of the river. They found the flood placed silt grew excellent crops! The Nile River Valley is also part of the Fertile Crescent, but it needed something besides sunlight and water. It depended completely upon the flooding of the Nile. The Nile Delta, where the river splits into many different little rivers and runs into the Mediterranean Sea was particularly fertile as the spring floods brought life to the land.

As we proceed deeper into understanding the Ancient Civilizations that existed before Abraham, it is important to remember the two types of people that lived on the earth at that time. In our earlier lessons in our study we learned that there were two types of people created by the LORD God; those whom were patterned after earth’s evolution, and those who were created in the LORD God’s image with His breath placed inside them.

The Ancient Egyptians were part of the evolution patterned people. They did not understand that the floods were caused by rain in the faraway mountains. They attributed the blessings of the flood to false gods and goddesses, as they made stories up to explain the strange things that happened around them that had no apparent explanation. They mistakenly thought that a whole family of gods ruled the world, and that some were good and some were wicked. Egyptians spent a great deal of time praying to them because the false gods were so unpredictable.

They also believed that these false gods would bring their Pharaohs to an afterlife. The Pharaohs were thought to be gods themselves, who would rise up and join the other gods after death. That is why they built the pyramids, pointed upward to the sky, and filled with all the treasures needed for the afterlife. The pyramids became monuments to honor their gods, and to announce to the world that their gods were stronger than all others.

The Egyptians were not the only ones who had false gods. Mesopotamians also believed in false gods who lived in the sky. The ancient people were polluted with crossed blood of different people in past generations and did not know the LORD God.

The ancient people worshipped the sky and the sun because they thought that the false gods controlled the weather. They built great temples that pointed to the sun. These temples were called Ziggurats, and were made out of mud mixed with chopped­ up hay that were made into bricks and baked into ovens. Unlike the Egyptian pyramids which had smooth sides, the Ziggurats had steps on the sides so the priests could climb up and be closer to the sky false gods. They were used to make offerings to the false gods. The priests would offer loaves of bread, dates, sheep, lambs and cows to the sky false gods every day. Most of the large villages in Mesopotamia had their own Ziggurats for the worship of their individual false gods.

Ancient Egypt used to be divided into two parts, the Upper Egypt and the Lower Egypt. The two parts fought often with each other, until King Narmer conquered Lower Egypt and made Egypt into one country. When Narmer became king of a united Egypt, he wore two crowns together, colored red and white, to represent both the Upper and Lower Egypt combined. Under his rule, Egypt became rich and strong; focus was placed on farming and building instead of fighting wars.

The same division was happening in Mesopotamia between the Sumerians of the southern part of Mesopotamia. The villages of farmers became cities with walls and towers around them. Each city had its own king and its own army, and the city-states fought amongst themselves constantly. All of their energy was put into protecting themselves from their neighbors.

A man named Sargon wanted to be King of more than one city; he wanted to be king of the whole land of Mesopotamia. He ordered his army to attack the cities around them, and after 50 wars, conquered all of Sumer, the southern part of Mesopotamia. Just as King Narmer had united Egypt into one country, Sargon made Mesopotamia into one country under his rule. The cities that he had conquered were not happy about following his laws and rules, and he used his army to force them to comply with his wishes.
Soldiers were sent to live in each conquered city, and if the people disobeyed their laws, they were punished m the military dictatorship.

There was a town called Ur in ancient Mesopotamia. In Ur, there was a Ziggurat built by the ancient Mesopotamians to honor their false God. And that’s where we come to the place that is so important to all faithful Christians, law-abiding Jews, and servant Muslims. The one True LORD GOD JEHOVAH spoke to Abram (whose name was later changed to Abraham) and his wife Sarai (whose name was later changed to Sarah)! The LORD GOD JEHOVAH told Abraham to leave Ur and go to the land of Canaan (now known as the Promised Land of Israel). From that moment on, those chosen to know the LORD God were given the knowledge of His things that He willed in His time and way, so His works could be accomplished perfectly and established as the history of the men of nature and the history of the Men of God unfolded!

“Now these [are] the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife [was] Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she [had] no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with themfrom Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.”

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
“So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” (Genesis11:27-12:6)

And that brings us to the faith of early Abraham, who left everything he knew in life including his father and mother and siblings, his neighbors and friends, and the city he had grown up in, and he set out for a land unknown to him. The LORD God had told him to leave Ur and walk to the Promised Land of Canaan, and he set out with his wife for that destination because God told him to do it! It is that faith that Hebrews 11:8-10 recounts, and one that we will explore more deeply in the next lessons.