Exegetical Lessons 101–200 on Genesis

When I exegete a book, I tend to get very bogged down in the details and so, I decided to develop a series of a few short lessons on various chapters of the Bible, where I attempt to simply deal with the primary points of each verse without getting too detail-oriented. Each lesson is 2–5 pages long and designed to be read at one sitting. Although it is always nice to have a Bible open when studying this, I have, in almost all cases, included the actual Scripture within the text.

I began this study with a general introduction, followed by introductory lessons to studying the Bible, followed by some introductory lessons to the book of Genesis. These 21 lessons precede the lessons below.

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Lessons 101–200

Doctrines in Genesis Lessons 101–200

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Introductory Lessons


Introductory Lessons


Introductory Lessons


Genesis Lessons 1–100


Genesis Lessons 1–100


Genesis Lessons 1–100


Genesis Lessons 101–200


Genesis Lessons 101–200


Genesis Lessons 101–200


Genesis Lessons 201–300


Genesis Lessons 201–300


Genesis Lessons 201–300


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Lesson 101 Genesis 12:1–3                        The Abrahamic Covenant and Anti-Semitism

Lesson 102 Genesis 12:1–10                                                 Abraham Journeys to Egypt

Lessons 103–104: Genesis 12:10                                                Knowing the Will of God

Lessons 105–106: Genesis 12:10–13                                       The Doctrine of Faith-Rest

Lesson 107: Genesis 12:10–16                                                        Abram Goes to Egypt

Lessons 108–109: Genesis 12:10–20                           The Laws of Divine Establishment

Lesson 110: Genesis 12:10–20                                  Abraham and the Pharaoh of Egypt

Lesson 111: Genesis 12:10–20 13:1–5           Lessons from Egypt; Returning to Canaan

Lesson 112: Genesis 13:1–5                                                         Blessing by Association

Lesson 113: Genesis 13:1–4                                                   Literary Device in Scripture

Lesson 114: Genesis 13:1–4                    Literary Devices/Figures of Speech in the Bible

Lesson 115: Genesis 13:1–4                                                    Abram Separates from Lot

Lesson 116: Genesis 13:5–12                                                 The Doctrine of Separation

Lesson 117: Genesis 13:5–11                             Abram and Lot Go their Separate Ways

Lesson 118–119: Genesis 13:5–11                                                           Logistical Grace

Lesson 120: Genesis 13:5–13                                                  Abram Separates from Lot

Lesson 121: Genesis (12:1–3) 13:14–15                                                  Spiritual Growth

Lesson 122: Joshua 24:2–3a Genesis (12:1–3) 13:14–15             Abraham’s Separation

Lesson 123: Genesis 13:14–16                                                                      Antisemitism

Lesson 124: Genesis 12:1–3 6–7 13:14–17                                      Three Dispensations

Lesson 125: Genesis 13:14–17          Dispensations; the Importance of the Word of God

Lesson 126: Genesis 13:14–17               Dispensations; Intercalation of the Church Age

Lessons 127–128: Genesis 13                                  The Separation of Church and State

Lesson 129: Genesis 13:14–18                                              The Altars Built by Abraham

Lesson 130: Genesis 14:1–5                                                                    War of the Kings

Lesson 131: Genesis 14:1–7                                                                    War of the Kings

Lesson 132: Genesis 14:1–11                                                                  War of the Kings

Lesson 133: Genesis 14:(1–10) 11–16                       Abram Defeats the Eastern Alliance

Lesson 134: Genesis 14:1–18               Melchizedek, a Type of Jesus Christ/Apologetics

Lesson 135: Genesis 14:17–18                                 Melchizedek, a Type of Jesus Christ

Lesson 136: Genesis 14:17–18                                   Melchizedek in the New Testament

Lesson 137: Genesis 14:18–24                                                    The Priesthoods of God

Lesson 138: Genesis 14:18                                                              The Spiritual Handoff

Lesson 139: Genesis 14:19                                                   The Doctrine of Redemption

Lesson 140: Genesis 14:19                                 The Doctrine of the Slave Market of Sin

Lesson 141: Genesis 14:19                                        The Seeds Found in Genesis 1–14

Lesson 142: Genesis 14:19                                                           Progressive Revelation

Lesson 143: Genesis 14:19–20                                                          Tithing and Taxation

Lesson 144: Genesis 14:18–23            Stages of National Discipline/Slave Market of Sin

Lesson 145: Genesis 14:21–24                     Abram’s Legal Right to the Spoils of Victory

Lesson 146: Genesis 14                                                    A Retrospective of Genesis 14

Lesson 147: Genesis 15:1–3                                                      Abram Complains to God

Lesson 148: Genesis 15:1–5                                                  God Promises Abram a Son

Lesson 149: Genesis 15:1–6                                           Gen. 15:6 in the New Testament

Lesson 150: Genesis 15:1–12                                    God Makes a Covenant with Abram

Lesson 151: Genesis 15:1–16                                God Makes a Covenant with Abraham

Lesson 152: Genesis 15:12–16                                          Four Generation Degeneration

Lesson 153: Genesis 15:12–21                                                      The Fourth Generation

Lesson 154: Genesis 1–15                                                    “Lucky Guesses in the Bible”

Lesson 155: Genesis                     What is Incontrovertible about the History of the Bible

Lesson 156: Genesis 16:1–5             Misapplication of Faith: Abraham, Sarah and Hagar

Lesson 157: Genesis 16:1–7                                                           The Angel of Jehovah

Lesson 158: Genesis 16:1–9                    God Tells Hagar to Return to Abram and Sarai

Lesson 159: Genesis 16:1–9                                                         The Doctrine of Slavery

Lesson 160: Genesis 16:1–12                   God and Hagar/The Geographical Will of God

Lesson 161: Genesis 16:1–13                                          Calling on the Name of the Lord

Lesson 162: Genesis 16:1–13                        God’s Promises to Hagar; textual problems

Lesson 163: Genesis 16:13                       Why Didn’t God Perfectly Preserve the Bible?

Lesson 164: Genesis 16:13–16                                                      Hagar’s Child, Ishmael

Lesson 165: Genesis 17:1                                                            Abraham, 13 years later

Lesson 166: Genesis 17:1                       The Spiritual Life so far in the Book of Genesis

Lesson 167: Genesis 17:1–4                                              God’s Covenant with Abraham

Lesson 168: Genesis 17:1–6                            God Changes Abram’s name to Abraham

Lesson 169: Genesis 17:1–12a                God’s Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham

Lesson 170: Genesis 17:1–11                                          Circumcision and Regeneration

Lesson 171: Genesis 17:1–12a          The New Heart/Our Familial Relationship with God

Lesson 172: Genesis 17:12–13                                              Slavery in the United States

Lesson 173: Genesis 17:1–15                                  Circumcision and Sarai’s New Name

Lesson 174: Genesis 17:1–17                                         Ancient Translations of the Bible

Lesson 175: Genesis 17:1–21                                 God’s Answers to Prayer/St. Stephen

Lesson 176: Genesis 17:18–22 Acts 7:1–8, 51–60                Stephen is Stoned to Death

Lesson 177: Genesis 17:1–3a, 15–17, 23–27 Rom. 4:1–3           Abraham’s Circumcision

Lesson 178: Romans 4:1–17                                                             Abraham, our Father

Lesson 179: Romans 4:1–25                                       Abraham, our Father/Sanctification

Lesson 180: Genesis 17:1–27                                 Genesis 17 Reviewed as a Chiasmos

Lesson 181: Genesis 18:1–2                         God Again Appears to Abraham/Angelology

Lesson 182: Genesis 18:1–8                                       Abraham Has Fellowship with God

Lesson 183: Genesis 18:1–11                                            God Promises Abraham a Son

Lesson 184: Genesis 18:1–12                         Human Viewpoint versus Divine Viewpoint

Lesson 185: Genesis 18:1–15                                   God and Sarah/Bible Contradictions

Lesson 186: Genesis 18:16–19                                 Why Abraham Is Told About Sodom

Lesson 187: Genesis 18:16–22                 The Influences of Abraham and Lot on Sodom

Lesson 188: Genesis 18:16–33                                            Why God Preserves a Nation

Lesson 189: Romans 13:1–4 (Genesis 18)                                Christians within a Nation

Lesson 190: Romans 13:1–10 (Genesis 18)                 Christians within a National Entity

Lessons 191–192: (Genesis 18:16–33)                  The Doctrine of a Client Nation to God

Lessons 193–195: Genesis 18:16–33                                                The Pivot of a Nation

Lesson 196 Rom. 1:21, 24, 26–27            Applications of God’s Corporate Relationships

Lesson 197 Genesis 18                                            What About the Heathen of Sodom?

Lesson 198 Genesis 18:17–18                              God, the Angels, Abraham and Sodom

Lesson 199 Genesis 18:16–33              Abraham Intercedes for Lot in the City of Sodom

Lesson 200 Genesis 18:16–33              Abraham Intercedes for Lot in the City of Sodom

Doctrines and Maps in Genesis Lessons 101–200

The Abrahamic Covenant—Gen. 12:2–3

"I will Bless Those who Bless you; and I will Curse Those who Curse you."

A map of the route of Abram

The Doctrine of the Will of God

The Doctrine of Faith-Rest

The Goals of Communism in America

The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Laws of Divine Establishment

Parallels to the Exodus

The Doctrine of Blessing by Association

How the Altar Proclaims the Essence or Character of Jehovah

Examples of Figures of Speech in the Bible

Robby Dean's Appended Doctrine of Separation

The Doctrine of Logistical Grace (Revised)

The Spiritual Life Parlays Spiritual Growth to Eternal Impact

The Doctrine of Antisemitism

Dispensations, an Overview

Three Dispensations Summarized

The Importance of Bible Doctrine

The Advents of Jesus Christ within the Dispensations

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America


Quotations from our Founding Documents

Public and Private Quotations from our Founding Fathers

The Preambles of State Constitutions

Early U.S. Education

Some Communist Goals

The Altars Built by Abram

The World of the Old Testament (map)

What We Learn from Genesis 14

Map of the Chedorlaomer Eastern Alliance Movement

Jesus Claimed to be God—an Apologetic Chart

Melchizedek is the Type; Jesus Christ is the Antitype

Melchizedek in Psalm 110

Melchizedek in the New Testament

Post-Diluvian Heathenism

The Priesthoods of God

The Doctrine of Redemption

The Illustration of the Slave Market of Sin

The Seeds of Genesis in the first 14 Chapters

Progressive Revelation

The Doctrine of Tithing

Modern Applications of Tithing

The Contents of Abram's Spiritual Victory

Map of the British Empire

A Retrospective of Genesis 14

Genesis 15:6 in the New Testament

An Example of Four-Generation Degeneracy

"Lucky Guesses" found in Genesis

What is Incontrovertible about the History of the Bible

The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Angel of Jehovah

The Biblical Doctrine of Slavery

Lessons from the Doctrine of Slavery

The Geographical Will of God

Calling on the Name of Jehovah

Various Ancient Takes on Genesis 16:13

Why is the Word of God not Perfectly and Supernaturally Preserved?

The Manuscripts of Ancient Texts

Earliest Manuscripts of the New Testament

Genesis 15–17 in the Abrahamic Timeline

Ancient Law Codes

The Spiritual Life Implied and Stated so far in the Book of Genesis

The Suzerain Vassal Treaty

Circumcision Represents Regeneration

What is this New Heart?

The Familial Relationship between God and Abraham's Seed

Slavery and the United States

Slavery in the United States—An Addendum

Ancient Translations of the Bible

God's 4 Answers to Prayer

The Abbreviated Doctrine of Sanctification

Genesis 17 as a chiasmos

Links to Doctrines on the Preincarnate Christ

The Abbreviated Doctrine of Angels (Angelology)

Is Abraham Speaking to One Lord or to Three?

How Isaac's Unusual Birth Foreshadowed Our Lord's

Human Viewpoint Thinking versus Divine Viewpoint Thinking

Examples of Contradictions

What Preserves and Prospers a National Entity

Map of the British Empire (again)

U.S. Military Troops and Bases Around the World

The Very Abbreviated Doctrine of a Client Nation

The History of Client Nations from the 18th Century to the Present

Doctrine of the Pivot

,Glossary of New Christian Terminology

Heathenism: What About the People Who Have Never Heard?

The Timeline of Lot Living in Sodom


The Seeds of Doctrines Found in Genesis 18

Lesson 101 Genesis 12:1–3                  The Abrahamic Covenant and Anti-Semitism

At this point, we will examine the life and person of Abram (later renamed Abraham by God), who is known as the father of the Jewish race.

It is not unusual in God’s plan for God to move someone from point A to point B. We find this repeatedly, and one purpose appears to be that of separation. We develop habits and we have set influences where we are raised, and, for some people, it is best to change that. This is not to imply that you personally need to sell your house and move to wherever; but this is found on several occasions in Scripture.

In the case of Abraham (actually, Abram), God was not just separating him from his idolatrous family, but God was going to show off the Land of Promise to Abram. God is going to give a huge chunk of land to Abraham’s descendants, and God wanted Abram to walk through this land to see it and to appreciate what God was promising him and his descendants. Ultimately, God was not a proponent of the two-state solution with regards to Israel.

Gen 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your family and your father's house to the land that I will show you.

The last recorded incident when God spoke to man was God speaking to Noah when he exited the ark (Gen. 9:1–17). Footnote 300 (or 1200) years have passed since then (recall the difference between the Hebrew and Greek texts). It is possible that during this time, the incidents recorded in the book of Job took place.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, God is speaking to Abram. We do not know what has led to this. We do not know anything about Abram’s background, apart from his family lineage recorded in the previous chapter. We do not know in what form God is. We may reasonably assume that Abram has believed in Jehovah Elohim (which will be confirmed in Gen. 15:6), and Jehovah Elohim is speaking directly to Abram.

Recall that Abram was originally living in Ur of the Chaldees (near the Persian Gulf), and now is living with his father northeast of Canaan. He is actually fairly close to the land where God wants him to be.

This informally introduces the concept of the geographical will of God. There is a place where God wants us to be. This is obviously related to the will of God, a doctrine that we will cover in an upcoming lesson.

Terah (Abram’s father) has moved his family to Haran (also transliterated Charan) and they have lived there long enough for it to be called his country.

There is a point to Abram leaving his father’s house. Abram is 75 years old and he lives in the shadow of his father and he is under the authority of his father. Abram has to separate himself like a man, and raise his family separate from his father. Abram cannot be seen as the patriarch of his family if he is living in his father’s shadow under his father’s authority.

Gen 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your family and your father's house to the land that I will show you.

The final word in this verse is the Hiphil (causative) imperfect (future and/or continuous action) of the very common verb râʾâh (רָאָה) [pronounced raw-AWH], which means to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know. In the Hiphil stem, it means to cause to see, to cause to look; to show; to cause to see [with pleasure]; to cause to know, to cause to learn; to cause to experience [evil or good]. Strong's #7200 BDB #906. God is going to show Abram this great land that He is giving him; and the imperfect tense indicates that this will be a process, not a singular event. That is, Abram will not go into the land, park himself in one spot, look around, and think, “That’s not bad.” He is going to walk throughout much of the land over a period of decades. God will prosper Abram as He shows him the land He is giving to him.

Gen 12:2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

This begins what is called, the Abrahamic Covenant, which will be repeated and added to throughout the next few chapters. God is making specific promises to Abraham. This is known as an unconditional covenant—these things will come to pass no matter what Abram does. The first thing which God promises is, He would make a great nation from Abram.

In subsequent chapters, it is going to be clear that God blesses Abram. Before he dies, Abram will have been blessed with several children, all born past the time that he was able to sire children. Abram will also be blessed materially; Gen. 13:2 indicates that his material wealth had become great. He had another wife after Sarai had passed away (Gen. 25:1); he had many servants (Gen. 24:2, 35); and vast possessions (Gen. 24:35).

God also promises Abram that, in his life and through his descendants, he would be a blessing to all mankind. The greatest blessing from Abraham to mankind will be his Son, Jesus Christ.

Gen 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those cursing you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

God’s original promises are made directly to Abram. In vv. 2–3, we find the 2nd person masculine singular suffix again and again, which refers to Abram. However, we may reasonably apply this to the not just Abram but to his descendants as well. It makes little sense for all the families of the earth to be blessed by Abram alone. However, God will work through Abram.

This blessing and cursing promise continues to this day, to all those who are descendants of Abraham (Jews), and to all of those who have any sort of relationship with his descendants.

As an application of this, today, the United States is in a precarious position. We have a high debt, we have a nation with large numbers of dependents, we have great enemies in the world (Islam and communism, 2 of the most powerful forces for evil in the history of mankind); and yet we are the most prosperous and the greatest nation in all of human history. Part of this comes from our alliance with the modern-day nation Israel. The people there are the seed of Abraham, and God watches over them, despite the fact that many of them are unbelievers. We are blessed greatly because of the Jewish population in our country and because of our relationship to Israel. “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.”

Look at the Arabic nations in contrast. Whereas these nations have the potential of building hundreds of great cities like Dubai (which is an incredible achievement), they instead consume their resources on hatred. Nations like Iraq and Iran and Saudi Arabia have this potential along with the actuality of billions upon billions of dollars flowing into their countries. With this money, they could turn their backward desert nations into a paradise like Dubai. However, despite the great influx of wealth which Arab lands have enjoyed for decades, the Middle East is one of the most backward and wretched places of the world. The key is their hatred of the Jew. The Jews live in a postage stamp-sized country (approximately 0.2% of the Middle East) and they have made it beautiful and prosperous once again, even though they have no oil resources, and the Arabs, with all of their great wealth, are unable to do this. In the U.A.E., we see the potential that all Arabic countries have. However, most of these nations hate Jews and God curses those who curse Abraham and his seed. Hatred is expensive.

Spain is another excellent example. At one time, Spain was a world power, sending out explorers throughout the world. However, almost simultaneous to this was Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, which resulted in both the execution and expulsion of Jews from Spain. This evil continued into the 1800's, by which time, Spain was no longer a great power. They became a third-rate power on a downhill slide since then. “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.” This is a promise from God which is as true today as it was 4000 years ago.

God would continue to make promises to Abram, throughout his life, but so far, God has promised him:

The Abrahamic Covenant—Gen. 12:2–3

(1)      I will make a great nation from you; This would be the nation Israel, which will be the central nation in both the Tribulation and the Millennium. .

(2)      I will prosper you; Abram personally became very prosperous. Gen. 13:2

(3)      I will make your reputation great; Abram became well-known in the land of Canaan. Abraham and Moses are 2 of the most well-known Jews of history. And, during Abram’s day, he became known to kings (Gen. 14) and great armies (Gen. 21:22–33).

(4)      You will be a blessing; Jesus Christ would come from the line of Abram. Through Jesus Christ, all men are blessed.

(5)      I will bless those who bless you; Nations, peoples and individuals who have treated the Jews graciously are so treated by God. This has been true throughout human history.

(6)      I will curse those who curse you. Nations, peoples and individuals who have persecuted the Jews, or even have spoken disparagingly of them, are cursed by God.

In 2 short verses, written thousands of years ago, one of the most dynamic factors of history is clearly laid out, and fulfilled as history plays out, over and over again.

Let’s look at the final 2 promises made by God to Abram, 4000 years ago.

“I will Bless Those who Bless you;

and I will Curse Those who Curse you.”

Examples from Ancient History:

1.       The Amalekites

          a.       As the Jews march toward the Land of Promise, after spending nearly 40 years in the desert, they are viciously attacked by the Amalekites. Ex. 17:8

          b.       Joshua, Moses’ general, led the Israelites against Amalek and defeated them. Ex. 17:9–13

          c.        Because this is the first people to attack Israel as a nation, God told Moses to be certain to record this incident, because He would blot out Amalek completely. Ex. 17:14 Num. 24:20

          d.       Amalek has vanished from history. Even archeologists cannot find anything which can be clearly associated with the Amalekites.

2.       The Assyrians

          a.       In the ancient world, the Assyrians became one of the eminent empires of that day.

          b.       For 200 years, their army was undefeated, and they, along with the Phœnicians, controlled the world’s iron market (and its application to weapons manufacturing).

          c.        Their kings are well-known to ancient historians: Tiglath-Pileser III, Shalmaneser V, Sargon, Sennacherib, Esar-Haddon and Assur-bani-pal.

          d.       As they began to decline as a nation, God sent Jonah to them to evangelize them in 754 b.c. (a mission Jonah rebelled against, because he hated the Assyrians).

          e.       However, anti-Semitism began to fester in this empire (even though the Assyrians were a Semitic people—i.e., descended from Shem). In 739 b.c., they threatened Judah for the first time. Jonah’s evangelization had about a 15 year effect, upon one generation of Assyrians.

          f.        Essentially what happened was, many Assyrians were saved under the ministry of Jonah, but there was no dissemination of Bible doctrine. They had no truth to take them from being evangelized to becoming a nation with a subset of mature believers, which would have helped to guide the nation away from anti-Semitism.

          g.       Although there were a myriad of reasons for the fall of the Assyrian empire, the chief cause was their unrelenting anti-Semitism. Jonah hated the Assyrians and it irked him to evangelize them; but that hatred was a two-way street. So, even though many Assyrians responded to Jonah’s message, their anger toward the Jews overtook this evangelical movement in a very short period of time.

          h.       Isaiah, of the Bible, records a very unusual incident. The Assyrians had invaded Judah in 701 b.c. and were about to take down Jerusalem. However, they launched a psychological attack first, where the Rabshakeh (a trained propagandist for the Assyrians) taunted the Jews, warning them of their imminent defeat (Isa. 36:20), in hopes of crushing their spirit. Although the leaders of the Jews were ready to surrender, the people of Jerusalem held fast on the wall. The Assyrians prepared for war, intending to attack the next morning. Then something unusual occurred. The Angel of the Lord [Jesus Christ in His preincarnate form] went out and He struck down the camp of the Assyrians, all 185,000 of them, so that, when they [the Israelites] awoke, they [the Assyrians] were all dead corpses (Isa. 37:36).

          i.         As you may well imagine, you will find that incident recorded in the Bible, but not in any of your ancient history books. However, in the 3rd Volume of the 1965 Edition of The Cambridge Ancient History, we read the following: The disappearance of the Assyrian people will always remain an unique and striking phenomenon in ancient history. Other, similar, kingdoms and empires have indeed passed away, but the people have lived on. Recent discoveries have proved it is true, and have shown that poverty-stricken communities perpetuated the old Assyrian names at various places, for instance on the ruined site of Ashur, for many centuries, but the essential Truth remains the same. A nation which had existed two thousand years and had ruled a wide area, lost its independent character. To account for this two considerations may be urged. First, even in lands where, as Gibbon has remarked, the people are of a lustful complexion, the Assyrians seem to have been unduly devoted to practices which can only end in racial suicide . . . No other land seems to have been sacked and pillaged so completely as was Assyria; no other people, unless it be Israel, was ever so completely enslaved.

This quotation came from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s book Antisemitism, ©1974, pp. 21–22. Portions or all of this quotation can also be found here:


http://www.jaas.org/edocs/v13n1/yildiz.pdf (p. 16, footnote).

http://www.enotes.com/topic/Assyrianism (footnote)


3.       We could also examine the Syrians, Phœnicians and Philistines for additional evidence of God cursing those who curse Israel.

Examples from Modern History:

4.       Spain

          a.       The king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand V and Isabella I, desired to make Spain into a purely Catholic nation.

          b.       Spain was more or less divided at that time into Christian Spain and Moorish Spain; the former controlled by Catholicism and the latter a mixture of Catholics, Christians, Jews and Moslems.

          c.        Previously, Spain had been a refuge for the Jews, but in 1482, the Inquisition began (however, it was not full-blown at that time).

          d.       Torquemada, who apparently originated the inquisition, demanded the expulsion of all Jews in 1492, but Pope Sixtus IV told him no.

          e.       So, Spain simultaneously was a world power, sending out explorers all over the globe; and beginning a persecution of the Jews (among others).

          f.        By 1569, Jews had been mostly expelled from Spain and Western Europe, as this anti-Semitic Inquisition began, and with that began the sharp decline of many western European nations, including Spain.

          g.       This quotation is from the Columbia Encyclopedia, from p. 1863 of its 1950 edition: The expulsion of the Jews deprived Spain of part of its most useful and active population. Many went to the Levant, to the Americas, and to the Netherlands, where their skills, capital, and commercial connections benefited their hosts....Jewish scholars such as Maimonides had a major share in the development of Christian scholasticism..

http://reference.allrefer.com/encyclopedia/S/Spain-history-muslim-spain-and-the-christian-reconquest.html R. B. Thieme, Jr. references the actual encyclopedia that this quotation comes from.

5.       Great Britain, German and the United States could all be examined so show a correlation between the rise and fall of Germany, the rise and decline of Great Britain, and the rise of the United States, all occurring simultaneously to these nations and their positive or negative attitudes toward the Jews.

The principle that God would bless those who blessed the Jew and curse those who curse the Jew, is stated outside of the Bible. We read in the 14th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol 13, p. 51: It is a noteworthy fact of history that great conquerors—Alexander, Cæsar, and Napoleon—have always treated the Jew well; On the other hand, lesser men, endowed with narrower outlooks, have failed to recognize the Jew and have sought to crush him. But such Procrustean methods are contrary to nature and tyranny, whether toward the Jew or toward any other [group of people] and this has never secured permanent results. The same policy of religious unification has characterized subsequent dynasties from the Assyrians to the Romanovs, and the same fate has overtaken them The Jews have always survived their disappearance. I am quite certain that this quotation was scrubbed from more modern editions. Footnote

I took this quote from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s study of Jeremiah, lesson #96. This quotation can also be found here:

http://sermons.logos.com/submissions/89651-Anti-Semitism#content=/submissions/89651 and elsewhere on the internet, as well as in Bob’s book Anti-Semitism.

The examples of historical anti-Semitism came from R. B. Thieme, Jr., Anti-Semitism; ©1974 by R. B. Thieme, Jr.; pp. 15–22, 31–36. This 150 page book examines these histories in much greater detail and may be obtained from Berachah Church without charge (713-621-3740).

http://www.rbthieme.org/publicationsalphabeticallistings.html provides a complete list of booklets available from Berachah.

This phenomenon, I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, is examined on several websites, and many examples from modern and ancient history are given; one of the best is:


http://www.churchisraelforum.com/CH_11_Blessing_or_Cursing.htm is also a reasonable page on this particular topic, of nations which have been both blessed and cursed based upon their relationship with the Jews. I do not know enough about this website to either endorse or disparage the other materials found there.

Lesson 102 Genesis 12:1–10                                            Abraham Journeys to Egypt

So far, we have examined the first 3 verses of Gen. 12:

Gen 12:1–3 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those cursing you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

God promises blessing to those who bless Israel and cursing to those who curse the Jews, which can be followed throughout history (as we saw, even the Encyclopedia Britannica has made this observation). We can add this to one of the amazing things found in the book of Genesis; 4000 years ago, an historical trend is prophesied, and this trend holds true even to today.

I want you to go back in time, and think about the Hittites, the Amalekites, the Phœnicians, the Canaanites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, the Moabites—how many people from these ancient civilizations do you know? None. They have disappeared from history. And yet God has promised us here that God would make a great people from Abram, and that his direct descendants would be blessed. There are Jews throughout the world, and, in most cases, these Jews are found in the middle to upper class of that society; and, as we examined last time, nations which treat the Jew fairly are blessed by God.

There is something even more important about Jews—when they become a part of a country, they become a reasonably well-integrated and always contributing people. Although some carry on the traditions of Judaism, many do not. Because of years of intermarriage, Jews rarely look much different from those around them. And yet, Jews are singled out regularly for discriminatory behavior. This is because they are God’s people, chosen by God and blessed by God and, when necessary, disciplined by God.

There is an interesting dynamic which we can observe in the United States—most of us have an opinion about Israel and the Palestinians, and for a reasonably large percentage of us, we have strong opinions on this matter. However, a much smaller percentage of us think about the Kurds in Iraq and what Saddam Hussein did to them. Few of us give much thought to Lebanon, a country once known, very recently in fact, for its tolerance and diversity, and now controlled, for the most part, by radical Muslims. There are all kinds of dynamics taking place throughout the world, but most of us tend to be aware of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is because the Jews are an important part of ancient and contemporary history.

As we will eventually find out, Jews will be with us until the end, and the Jewish Age—a period of time which begins with Abram—will suddenly pick up again and continue, with the Jews playing a key role in the Tribulation (a 7 year period of time which concludes the Jewish Age—see Dispensations). This helps to explain the radical anti-Semitism, which is so deep as to cause a nation to attempt to exterminate all of its Jews. Why would such a thing occur? Jews are nearly always good for a society (I cannot think of any instances where they are not). Therefore, it seems counterintuitive that a culture would turn against them. However, this is because the Jews are the people of God and Satan has a vested interest in removing them from history. If Satan can destroy the Jews, then God’s promises for the future become void, making God out to be a liar.

One fact which may surprise you is, even though there are roughly the same amount of Jews in the United States as Muslims, and even though Muslims attacked us on 9/11, there are far more incidents of anti-Semitism than there are which are anti-Muslim. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, when anti-Muslim actions would be at their peak, 27% of religious hate crimes were against Muslims and 56% of religious hate crime incidents were against Jews. Since 2002, hate crimes against Muslims have never risen above 13% of anti-religion hate crimes; and, in 2008, these were down to 8%. Footnote For most people, this is counterintuitive, but that is simply because you believe Satanic propaganda, also known as doctrines of demons in 1Tim. 4:1 (But the Spirit expressly says that, in later times, some will fall away from the faith [Bible doctrine], devoting one’s thoughts to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons). When it comes to the Arabs and Jews, you may fully expect a barrage of lies from Satan. This is why it is possible for some nations to actually hold Holocaust Denial conferences, where they seriously debate whether or not the holocaust occurred. This demonstrates just how powerful Satan’s propaganda is.

Back to Abram:

Gen 12:4–5a So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Charan. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot, his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people [slaves and employees] that they had acquired in Charan, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan.

Abram takes his wife, his possessions and his nephew Lot, and they all travel southwest to the land of Canaan, as directed by God.

The writer of Hebrews speaks to this 2000 years later: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out into a place where he was afterward going to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he went. By faith he lived in the land of promise as an immigrant, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of the same promise with him. For he was waiting for a city which has foundations upon [God] and whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:8–10).

Gen 12:5b–6 When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Shechem is pretty much smack dab in the middle of Canaan, which area we know as Palestine or modern-day Israel. As an aside, the Jews in that land today are descendants of Abram, who was given that land by God. The Palestinians in that land have absolutely no clear, definable relationship to any other ancient group of people who have lived in this land.

There is a map below which traces the route that Abram took (remember, Charan = Haran).

abrahams-journey-map.jpgFrom: http://www.ccg.org/_domain/abrahams-legacy.org/images/abrahams-journey-map.gif

Gen 12:5b–6 When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Although we know where Shechem is, scholars are divided on what the oak of Moreh is. The first word is ʾêlôwn (אֵלוֹן) [pronounced AY-loan], which means oak, terebinth, tall tree, a strong and hardy tree; a plain; possibly a hill. Footnote Strong’s #436 BDB #18. The second word is môwreh (מוֹרֶה) [pronounced moh-REH], which means teacher; and is transliterated Moreh. Strong’s #4175 & #4176 BDB #435 (there is much more to know about this word, but I will leave it at that).

With regards to the oak of Moreh, let me suggest this theory: an ancient teacher of Biblical truth had a specific place in his area where he would go and teach, and this place was marked by some clearly-defined landmark, such as a great oak or terebinth. Or, maybe this place acquired this name, as this is where Jehovah Elohim would teach Abram (what follows is another appearance of God to Abram). Either theory would allow for these designated areas of learning to be in different places throughout Canaan (Gen. 12:6 Deut. 11:30 Judges 7:1); and it would allow êlôwn to be singular (Gen. 12:6) or plural (Deut. 11:30) or for Moreh to be preceded by a different noun altogether (Judges 7:1). Furthermore, these places would have been well-known to the inhabitants of that era; and hence, there is little need for an explanation within the text (which is what we find to be the case). Finally, we know enough from the Hebrew words themselves to come up with a reasonable explanation as to what the Oak of Moreh was all about.

Gen 12:6b At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Noah had 3 sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham had 4 sons, one of whom was Canaan. Canaan apparently went west and settled in this beautiful land off the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Canaanites were, at one time, a great people (great in number and in power). Canaan or some form of Canaan occurs nearly 160 times in the Bible (mostly between Genesis and Judges). They are among the peoples inhabiting the Land of Promise, and God will tell the Jews to expel or to destroy these people from the land. For many of us, that sounds quite harsh, but, when the time is right, I will give you the details.

Gen 12:7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "I will give this land to your descendants." Therefore, he built there an altar to the LORD, Who had appeared to him.

God appears to Abram, and, as we have seen before, nothing is said about God’s physical form. I believe that most of the time, God appears to be a man. Furthermore, this would be Jesus Christ in His Preincarnate form. Jesus Christ is the revealed member of the Trinity. God the Father is the Planner, God the Son is the revealed member of the Godhead, and God the Holy Spirit is the power or the energy. They are all persons, but with the same essence and different function.

God has already promised Abram that He would make a great nation from him; in order to be a great nation, one has to have a plot of ground upon which to found this nation. About 4000 years ago, God promises this land where Abram is standing as the land where the nation Israel would be. About 600 years later, Joshua would go into this land and conquer it. And even today, 4000 years later, there are still Jews living in this land given them by God (from what I can gather, there have always been Jews living in the land throughout history, going back to Abram at this point in Genesis).

Part of what is being taught here is, positional truth. Positional truth is where we stand in relationship to God after salvation. We may be the worst Christians to walk the face of the earth, but, if we have believed in Jesus Christ, we are eternally saved, and our position is in Christ. We share His righteousness and His Sonship by our position in Him. Our lives may not reflect this even in the least, but our position is secure.

So it is with unconditional promises. “I will give this land to your seed” is positional truth. Abram will fail and so will his children in the line of promise; but this promise stands forever; it is their eternal, irrevocable promise from God, as is our position in Christ.

Genesis is the book of beginnings, and nearly every important doctrine to the believer is found in seed form in Genesis.

As Abram moves through the land, he builds altars to God. We are not given any specifics about these altars, but we may reasonably assume that animal sacrifices were offered on these altars.

I have spoken before of the subtlety of the Bible. When God covered Adam and Eve with animal skins, an animal had to have been killed (sacrificed) in order for this to happen. The Bible does not make a big deal about this, even though this would have been a big deal (no animal had been killed prior to that time). Then there is Cain and Abel and God respects Abel’s offering to God, which is an animal sacrifice, but not Cain’s (which were his human works). Noah offers up animal sacrifices to God. In fact, he took additional animals into the ark specifically to sacrifice. Finally, here, Abram builds altars, presumably to sacrifice animals upon.

From the very beginning of the Bible, scores of innocent animals were sacrificed to God. These animals did not take away sin, but they were object lessons. Every Jew for over 1000 years saw lambs (or bulls, rams, or goats)—without spot or blemish—being offered up as a sacrifice to their God. They may have known a little or a lot about their own religion, but they saw animal after animal after animal being offered in their stead, to cover their sins. All of this looks forward to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, Who was without sin, Who would offer Himself as our sacrifice, Who would take upon Himself the punishment for our sins. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken. And He put His grave with the wicked, and with a rich one in His death; although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased Jehovah to crush Him; to grieve Him; that He should put forth His soul as a guilt-offering. He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand (Isa. 53:3–10). He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed (1Peter 2:24).

The offering of an animal sacrifice is a type which looks forward to Jesus Christ being sacrificed (which is the antitype). The type, by itself, makes little or no sense. However, when compared to its fulfillment in the antitype (Jesus Christ), it suddenly makes perfect sense. When Jesus was being offered up on the cross, Jews were to be thinking Isa. 53 or Zech. 12:10 (“I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look to Me Whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only Son, and will grieve bitterly for Him, as one grieves for his firstborn.”). In their minds, because they had seen hundreds of animal sacrifices during their lifetimes, they were to draw a line between the type and the antitype (which many Jews of the era did).

Gen 12:8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.

What God is doing is, taking Abram throughout the land of Canaan, showing him the land which was going to belong to his ancestors. All of these cities which are named (Shechem, Bethel and Ai) all will play significant parts in the history of Israel.

In this verse, Abram goes due-south and camps again, and building another altar to Jehovah God. Here, he calls upon the name of God. Abram did not have unbroken contact with God. God was not there as a visible presence at each and every place where Abram camped. Abram was to walk through the land and to see all that God was going to give to his descendants, which is why God had instructed Abraham to walk through this beautiful land.

Gen 12:9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negev.

The Negev (also spelled Negeb—it is a transliterated word) refers to the southern portion of the land of Canaan, so Abram is making a simple north to south sweep of the land.

Gen 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

From southern Canaan, Abram will move in a southwesterly direction into Egypt.

Abram and family were not starving because they had great wealth and herds. However, for anyone who has lived off their savings, you can live off the interest, in which case you have money which will theoretically last you into perpetuity and you can delve into the principal, which means that you have a limited time that you can survive until the savings are depleted. Abram realized that with his slaves and family that he was beginning to dig into the principal, and, although he might be able to survive for several years on his present possessions, Abram is not that kind of a person. He looks to experience growth in his wealth and possessions and, when that does not occur, he takes steps to correct the situation.

Sometimes you might find yourself spinning your wheel in a town where there is a depression; some people will pick up stakes and move to a more prosperous city in order to survive. This is what Abram was doing. However, as we will see, this is outside of God’s will for Abram.

One of the fascinating things in the Bible is there are similar situations which reoccur. Abram’s great grandson, Joseph, will also go down to Egypt, and he will be there during a famine, and his actions will preserve his family. However, you will also note that God does not tell Abram to go down to Egypt.

I have mentioned the Bible’s subtlety many times. Here is another example: God has been telling Abram what to do and where to go. There is a famine in the land of Canaan, so, did God tell Abram, “Get up, gather up your possessions, and go to Egypt?” No, He did not. Therefore, when Abram leaves Canaan and enters into Egypt, he will be out of the geographical will of God.

Knowing the will of God is related to divine guidance. How do I know what God wants me to do? Some believers—particularly new and enthusiastic believers—want to know God’s will for their life. They even become weird about it, wondering, does God want them to take this street or that street when driving to work. You may be surprised, but, for the believer, knowing the will of God for your life is relatively easy. And we will cover that next time.

Lessons 103–104: Genesis 12:10                                           Knowing the Will of God

When we last left Abram, he was in the land of Canaan—the land which God had promised to him and his seed, and then there was a famine in that land, so Abram went down to Egypt to live for awhile. A famine in the ancient world is equivalent to an economic depression today.

Gen 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to temporarily reside there, for the famine was severe in the land.

As I mentioned in the previous lesson, this was not God’s will for Abram. God did not tell Abram, “If things get tough in Canaan, I want you to travel southwest to Egypt and cool your heels there.” However, the Bible is subtle. There is not this literary booming voice from heaven telling Abram, “Stop right there, mister; don’t take another step! I never told you to go down to Egypt. Now, turn around and come back to the land.” God does not necessarily do that. Now, on occasion, God will do things to let you know, do this, but don’t do that. However, most of the time, it is much more subtle than that. In fact, your life, as guided by God, can be as subtle as this passage. How do we know God does not want Abram to go down to Egypt? Even more importantly, how do we know what the will of God is for our own lives?

The will of God is a topic which seems to baffle a lot of believers, and it shouldn’t. For me personally, it has always been one of the simplest aspects of the Christian life. Knowing the will of God for me has always been fairly simple. It is obeying the will of God which is much more difficult for me.

The Doctrine of the Will of God

1.       There are three categories of will:

          1)       Divine will, which is also known as sovereignty. Job 1:12

          2)       Angelic will. Job 1:9–11 Isa. 14:12–14

          3)       Human will. It is important ot recognize that you have free will and that you are not simply a product of your genes and your environment. This explains why even identical twins are never identical. Gen. 3:1–7 Isa. 53:6

2.       The will of God for the human race:

          1)       For the unbeliever, God’s will is salvation. 2Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance [= a changing of the mind toward Jesus Christ]. God wills for all men to believe in Him. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31a).

          2)       For the believer, God’s will is spirituality. Ephesians 5:18: And do not be drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit. That is in the imperative mood, which means, Be filled with the Spirit is a mandate. Furthermore, for the believer, God desires for us to grow spiritually: Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—2Peter 3:18). This is also a mandate, as we have the imperative mood here as well.

          3)       Therefore, for us as believers, God desires for us to name our sins to Him in order to restore fellowship with Him (1Cor. 11:31 1John 1:9); and for us to learn the Word of God in a church which teaches the Word of God (Heb. 10:25) under the authority of a pastor-teacher (Heb. 13:17). Simply obeying the will of God in these 2 things sets up a believer for always being in the will of God (when he chooses to be).

          4)       Jesus has promised that becoming a believer and discipleship under Him is not a difficult or burdensome thing. “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30).

3.       God desires for us to grow into spiritual adulthood. This can be illustrated with you and your children. You want your children to grow up to become independent, productive adults. When you first put little Jimmy on a bicycle with the training wheels, and you are behind him, keeping the bike balanced, pushing it, the last thing you want is, for this to end up being the norm for bike rides for Jimmy. What you desire is, after awhile, that the training wheels are removed and that he will no longer require you to be behind him, pushing and balancing the bike. God is the same way—ideally speaking, He wants us to progress to become spiritual adults, able to direct and organize our own lives. The term R. B. Thieme, Jr. used for this is, spiritually self-sustaining. We do not outgrow God any more than we dissolve our relationship with our parents when we grow up; but God wants us to become spiritual adults. This is a matter of free will on our part.

4.       The humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ had free will.

          1)       No free will in mankind would imply no free will in the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hyper-Calvinism teaches that there is no true free will in man, but they never follow this out to its logical end, which would be that Jesus Christ, in His humanity, lacks true free will.

          2)       The basic principle of Divine Guidance, however, is based on the fact that man possesses volition (free will) of the soul.

          3)       Matthew 26:42 is an example of Jesus Christ expressing His free will: Again a second time having gone away, He prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to pass away unless I drink it, then let Your will be done." Jesus did not want to go to the cross. In His humanity, He prayed not to have to go to the cross. Going to the cross involved suffering which we cannot imagine, and God the Holy Spirit makes certain that we know, Jesus, in His humanity, did not want to do this. However, He became obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross (Philip. 2:8).

          4)       The Lord’s free will, in principle, is expressed in Hebrews 10:7, 9a: Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book.” Then He added, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” (Psalm 40:7). Jesus Christ willingly placed Himself under the authority of the plan of God the Father; this was a choice which He made in His humanity.

          5)       It only makes sense for Jesus to have free will in His humanity if we have free will. These things are either both true together or both false. Otherwise, Jesus Christ is not true humanity.

5.       Free will, foreknowledge and predestination (this point is parenthetical, to explain the relationship between these things).

          1)       There is one stripe of Christian theology (hyper-Calvinism) that does not believe in human free will. They believe that, not only is God sovereign, but that His sovereignty controls our choice to believe in Jesus Christ. They point to predestination to explain this. They may quote Eph. 1:11 to support this position: In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose, Who works out all things according to the counsel of His will. This theology is wrong, although the verse is, of course, correct.

          2)       God has a plan, and His will (sovereignty), our will and angelic will are all a part of this plan.

          3)       God foreknows all things; that is, He knows every single free will choice that will be made by man or angelic being in advance.

          4)       His plan is based upon His foreknowledge. The best illustration of this is, you and your children. Throughout the young life of your child, you make plans upon how to train him correctly and how to bring him up right. Your child has free will, and you adjust your plans in such a way as to consider his free will. The fact that you, as a parent, know what your child is going to do in certain situations, is called foreknowledge (in a limited, human way). That you anticipate the choices of your child and make plans which anticipate those choices, that is predestination and the divine decrees (again, in a limited, human sense). A good illustration of this is the way that we discipline our children—we may spank this one, sternly talk to that one, and ground another. We apply the discipline which we believe is appropriate and might have the greatest affect upon the child’s behavior. That is an application of limited human foreknowledge.

          5)       We do all of this imperfectly; we do all of this apart from knowing each and every choice our children will make. However, God knows each and every choice that we will make and He makes this a part of His divine decrees.

          6)       All of this occurs simultaneously, but is presented to us logically in Rom. 8:29–30: For those whom He foreknew, [those] He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.

          7)       Logically, it works like this. God foreknew us, therefore He predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son (which is His plan, the divine decrees). Since we are predestined (foreknowledge and predestination occur in eternity past), God must call us in time. When we respond with positive volition (remember, God foreknew us, so He knew in eternity past that we would respond to His call), we are justified (God declares us positionally righteous because Jesus died for our sins). Then, in time and in eternity future, God will glorify us, with the result that we will be conformed to the image of His Son).

6.       There are 3 categories of the will of God as related to the human race. An example of all 3 types of will are illustrated by Balaam:

          1)       Directive will of God. Numbers 22:12: God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed." The King of the Moabites wanted to hire Balaam to curse the Jews and God told him not to go.

          2)       Permissive will of God. Numbers 22:20: And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; but only do what I tell you." Balaam had, by that time, decided that he would go, in violation of God’s directive will. Therefore, God had plan B, which is what He wanted Balaam to do, if he went to the King of Moab.

          3)       Overruling will of God. In this example, Balaam wants to do one thing, and God overrules what he wants to do. Balaam wanted to curse the Jews and God did not allow him to do this. Numbers 23.

          4)       So you do not misapply this, this incident does not mean that God will ultimately overrule all of your bad decisions. This is simply a classification of God’s various wills. Man quite obviously will commit sins and God will allow man’s free will to function. Therefore, you do not get to make a bad decision and then turn around and blame God for that bad decision that you made. To illustrate this, 99% of parents do not want their children to take drugs, and they will do what they can to keep them from taking drugs. However, if a kid starts using drugs, he cannot turn around and blame his parents for this bad decision. Therefore, if you marry the wrong person, take the wrong job, go to a church where you do not grow spiritually, this is all on you; it is not God’s fault.

7.       What we need in order to ascertain Divine guidance.

          1)       Knowledge of the Word of God.

                     (1)      Psalm 32:8: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. God pays attention to us and His will is ascertain from being taught.

                     (2)      Proverbs 3:1-6: My son, do not forget My teaching, but let your heart keep My commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Do not let grace and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart, so that you will find grace and success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, learn to know Him, and He will direct your path. We are not to depend upon our own thinking, but we are to endeavor to know Him, and, as a result, He will guide us.

                     (3)      Isaiah 58:11: And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. This is a promise, and the mechanics are stated in the previously cited verses.

          2)       Yieldedness, which is the filling of the Holy Spirit.

                     (1)      Romans 6:13: Do not present parts of your body to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and every part of your body to God as instruments for righteousness. The word present in this verse means to proffer; to provide; to place a person or thing at one’s disposal; to place yourself under orders to. The Christian life is not some one-shot decision that you make when under great duress or under some sort of emotional or social coercion; it is a minute by minute set of decisions which you make each and every day of your life (the tense of this verb in the Greek indicates continuous action). .

                     (2)      Romans 12:1–2: I appeal to you therefore, members of the royal family, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [which means, place yourself under orders to God] as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world [= the cosmic system], but be transformed by the renovation of your mind [the key is what occurs in your thinking], that by testing you may discern what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Note that you need to have your thinking renovated in order to know what the good and acceptable will of God is. Furthermore, there is periodic testing. That is spiritual growth; when God tests the Bible doctrine in your soul. Notice first and foremost that the transformation which we go through occurs by the renovation of our thinking (which is exactly what is occurring right now, as you read this and if you believe it).

                     (3)      Ephesians 5:17-18: Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. Notice that the two key features are: knowledge of doctrine (understand what the will of the Lord is) and the filling of the Holy Spirit.

                     (4)      We get out of fellowship with sin; we get back into fellowship by naming these sins directly to God. 1John 1:9: If we admit [cite, name, acknowledge] our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Faithful means that God does this every time; just means that forgiveness does not violate God’s character (Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins, so God is just in forgiving us our sins). Cleansing from all unrighteousness means that God forgives us for our unknown sins as well as the sins which we name to Him.

                     (5)      As we advance is the Christian life, by the filling of the Holy Spirit and knowledge of Bible doctrine, we experience spiritual growth, which leads to spiritual maturity. This, in fact, is what God commands us to do. Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18a). As we grow spiritually, we become more grace-oriented. James 4:6: He gives more grace. Therefore, He has said, God resists the arrogant but He gives grace to the humble [or, grace oriented] (Prov. 3:34).

8.       The principle of spiritual growth: as a believer in Jesus Christ, you can choose to remain an infant (child, or adolescent) believer, or you can choose to grow spiritually. Where you presently work, there was some training to get you to the point where you are now. If someone had picked you up as an infant, and assigned you your present job, it is quite likely, as an infant, that you would be unable to perform the duties assigned to you. Assuming that you have personal integrity when it comes to your job, then your maximum production is dependent upon your age, schooling, maturity and training. The same is true of the Christian life. As an infant believer, you are saved and will spend eternity with God, but, insofar as the plan of God goes, you are nearly worthless. If you have chosen not to grow spiritually (and, let me make it clear, that is a choice that you make), then you will never amount to much spiritually. Your production will be minimal or nonexistent. Only a believer who has doctrine in his soul and who remains in the Spirit for extended periods of time actually does anything worthwhile in the plan of God. Your spiritual growth or your lack of spiritual growth is a personal choice that you make each and every day.

9.       The will of God for the Christian here on earth.

          1)       God wants us to think like He thinks. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philip. 2:5). See also Rom. 12:1–2

          2)       We need to know what God wants us to do. This can be determined by obeying all of the mandates found in the New Testament epistles.

          3)       The geographical will of God, which is closely related to our study of Abram. Where does God want Abram to be? In the land of Canaan or in the land of Egypt?

10.     The mechanics of the will of God is revealed in Acts 11:

          1)       Guidance through prayer. Acts 11:5: "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me.” I need to say something about prayer, because this is the most misunderstood and misused gift of God. Let me give you an analogy to help explain how prayer is misused: a hammer is a fantastic tool. You can use it to pound in nails and to remove nails. When I go to work, I always carry a hammer. However, you do not use a hammer when you want to cut off a 6' piece of 2x4. You use a saw. Believers without doctrine use prayer as their primary tool—in fact, as their only tool—and they try to use it for everything (“You want me to saw those board there? Good, because I brought my hammer.”). Most of the time, when someone wants to know something or to discern God’s will, they pray. Depending upon their predisposition and emotions at the time, after praying a lot and working up some emotion, they then go ahead and do exactly what they wanted to do in the first place (with some exceptions, of course, who do the opposite of what they want to do). When you are faced with a decision, do not expect to pray and for God to tap your left shoulder for no and your right shoulder for yes. God speaks to us and guides us through His Word. Most of the time, if you are growing, God is guiding you to make whatever decisions need to be made. However, if you are not growing, then God puts in front of you serious decisions which make you recognize that you do not have enough doctrine in your soul to make these decisions.

          2)       Guidance through the thinking. Acts 11:6: Looking intently on this, I observed. And I saw the four-footed animals of the earth, and the wild beasts, and the creeping things, and the birds of the heaven. If you understand principles from the Word of God, then you can properly evaluate the circumstances that you are in.

          3)       Guidance through the Word. Acts 11:7-9: And I heard a voice saying to me, “Peter, rise up, slay and eat.” But I said, “No, Lord, because never has anything common or unclean entered into my mouth.” But a voice answered me the second time out of the heaven, “What God has cleansed, you do not make common.” Hopefully, it is clear to you that God does not periodically speak to us out of heaven. However, His words in this passage represent the words found in the Bible (also called, by the way, the Word of God).

          4)       Guidance through providential circumstances. Acts 11:11: And, behold, at once three men stood at the house in which I was, having been sent from Caesarea to me. There are things which are going to cause you to take certain steps in your life. Personally, I had to move in order to find a job, and the places I wanted to move to, had no jobs available. The place I considered moving to, but did not really want to move to, is Houston; and, of course, every door opened for me to move here. Therefore, you may find yourself spinning your wheels in city A, and God is simply guiding you to city B. Or, you may get a job offer out of town, and the is God’s way of saying, “Move to that town.”

          5)       Guidance through the filling of the Holy Spirit. Acts 11:12: And the Spirit said to me to go with them, not discriminating. And these six brothers also were with me, and we went into the man's house. Just as God the Father does not speak to us audibly out of heaven, God the Holy Spirit does not tell us what to do audibly or through our emotions. However, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we are in His will (we are doing what God wants us to do).

          6)       Guidance through fellowship and comparison of data. Acts 11:13-15: And he told us how he saw an angel in his house, standing and saying to him, Send men to Joppa, and send for Simon who is surnamed Peter, who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved. And in my beginning to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as also on us in the beginning. One of the things which I have observed is, believers who have the opportunity to gather with others but choose not to, tend to get a bit wacky. This is even true of those who take in doctrine regularly. Maybe it is the academic discipline of listening to teaching with others, but it tends keep believers more balanced.

          7)       Guidance through recalling Scriptures. Acts 11:16: And I recalled the Word of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit. You have to know the Word of God in order to remember the Word of God. It is not legitimate, when you are in a jam, to grab your Bible, close your eyes, and put your finger on some miscellaneous verse. It is legitimate to go to the Bible for guidance, and look up this or that particular subject (or, far better than this, get the teaching of your pastor on MP3 on that particular topic). It is legitimate to google promises of God so that you can find a promise which applies to your situation. However, it is far better to have this information in your soul as a result of good Bible teaching (which is more difficult to find than you may realize).

11.     Young believers, immature believers, and carnal believers and the will of God: simply put off big decisions until you have grown spiritually. For most people, this means daily Bible doctrine for a year (or 2 or 3) before they ought to make a decision like, getting married, getting divorced, changing jobs, moving, etc. In any case, do not allow yourself to be bullied into some particular course of action. 1Cor. 7:18–28

12.     Young believers, immature believers, and carnal believers and the will of God: avoid cults or churches where other members of the church attempt to bully you into some course of action. When pastors or others inside the church tell you what to do outside of the church, and enforce this in some way, they are out of line. A pastor can certainly teach what you ought to do (do not commit adultery, for instance), but once your walk out the doors of your church, you make the decision before God to do these things or not. There should not be some kind of pressure applied to you (e.g., social ostracism, or assigning someone to disciple you, etc.). If there is any kind of pressure for you to do something within the church (give your testimony, confess your sins before others, pray in front of others, speak in tongues, come forward for any reason, give money, etc.), then you are in the wrong church. A pastor and deacons must maintain some semblance of order in a church, taking into account that this is a gathering of dozens (hundreds or thousands) of sin natures; but whatever you are required to do within the church building ought to be related to the teaching of the Word of God, your personal privacy and the privacy of others. So, if you are a disturbance during the teaching of the Word of God, a pastor may go so far as to chew you out or have you removed; because this impacts the ability of others to be taught. However, if there is pressure put upon you to, say, get baptized in front of everyone, that is a different matter. There, the pastor has exceeded his authority.

13.     Do not confuse legitimate authority with someone bullying you into a course of action.

          1)       Parents have authority over their children, so if you are under the roof of one or both of your parents, they do have the authority to tell you what to do.

          2)       Employers have authority over employees on work-related matters.

          3)       In the armed forces, commanding officers have authority over their subordinates.

          4)       The coach has authority over his team, the teacher over his students, etc.

          5)       The pastor over the congregation with respect to what goes on inside of the church in order to maintain academic discipline to teach the Word of God. That is, the pastor cannot tell you that you must go out and witness to 10 people this week, nor can he assign a spiritual mentor to invade your privacy, but he can certainly tell you to shut up if you are a disturbance during the teaching of the Bible.

          6)       We are all subject to legitimate authorities, and we need to obey those authorities. Rom. 13:1–7

          7)       Furthermore, let me add a little application. You ought to have figured out that, your behavior and actions are between you and God. No one in a church has the right to bully you into some course of action, even if the end result is avoidance of sin. The free will decisions which you make are significant, but not if you are simply going along to get along.

          8)       However, you may have a morals clause where you work. That is legitimate, and you have to obey this morals clause if you choose to work for that school district, business or company. As an example, if you are a school teacher, and you are involved in gross immorality, then a school district ought to be able to remove you as an employee. That is not an invasion of your privacy, as you are not just a teacher of young adults but an example to them.

          9)       More application: you can choose to allow people to invade your privacy for your own good, e.g., interaction with a sponsor if you belong to Alcoholics Anonymous or some similar organization. You have made a choice to give them this authority over you.

14.     Summary Points: How to be in the will of God and how to remain in the will of God.

          1)       You need to be in fellowship, which is achieved by 1John 1:9: If we name our sins, He [God] is faithful [i.e., He does it every time] and just [God operates within His Own essence] to forgive us our sins [these are the sins we name] and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [these are sins which we do not name].

          2)       You need to be growing spiritually. This does not mean that you reduce the number of overt sins in your life or that you speak a holy language now and again (Amen, God willing) or that you become more and more involved at your church (teaching Sunday school, acting as a deacon, etc.). Spiritual growth is achieved by the daily intake of the Word of God taught by a doctrinal pastor-teacher. Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18a). Grace is the grace system which God has provided. All believers in Jesus Christ are given the means and the opportunity to grow spiritually, regardless of geographical location. 99% of the time, this will be learning under the ministry of a doctrinal pastor-teacher (I provide a list of them here: http://kukis.org/Links/thelist.htm). Many of these pastor-teachers, if they are outside of your geographical area, provide an online MP3 ministry, where you can download (or order) previous lessons and listen to the teaching of the Word of God without any financial obligation. Many of them will provide these lessons by sending them to your home by mail. If you are relatively near to any of these churches, then that is where you ought to go.

          3)       If you are not in the geographical area of any of these churches, then you need to operate under normal academic discipline when listening to a lesson. You don’t surf the internet, you do not text, you do not do housework, nor do you do anything else which takes your concentration away from the message that you are listening to. Ideally speaking, if you live within driving distance of a doctrinal church, then that is where you need to be when the church doors are open.

          4)       The short explanation is, as long as you are in fellowship and growing, then you will be in the will of God.

          5)       Now, let’s say that you are a new believer or a believer who has decided to get with God’s program and to start growing, and you face a momentous decision (to get married, to change jobs, to move elsewhere). If you face this as a new believer or as a believer just about to get with doctrine, then you choose not to change your status until you know enough doctrine in order to make this decision. 1Cor. 7:18–24.

          6)       If you are at city A and God wants you to be in city B, do not worry. God will make that happen. Where I was raised up, I had studied God’s Word for about 5 years, but I was spinning my wheels career-wise, and it did not seem as if that would change anytime in the near future. I began exploring my options in other cities. On my list of 3 cities to move to, #3 on the list (and, way, way down from #2) was Houston. I thought of moving to Houston because Bob Thieme was teaching Bible doctrine there. However, this was so far down the list from my 1st and 2nd choices. In any case, every door closed to me for my first two choices; and door after door after door opened for me for choice #3. God did almost everything necessary to move me in that direction.

          7)       When it comes to your day-to-day life, God has things mapped out. You have a job or school that you go to, which takes up perhaps 9–10 hours of your day. You do this job (or attend this school) as unto the Lord. That is, you function as if you are working for God, and you remain faithful in all respects, whether anyone else can see what you are doing or not. You have a couple of hours that you spend eating, an hour for Bible teaching, and a few hours for relaxation. If you stay in fellowship all of this time, or get back into fellowship when you get out, then you are in the will of God.

          8)       If you do not have a job or school, then (1) you spend 9 or 10 hours of every single day looking for a job or (2) you set your sights to moving to a different city or to a different state. If you have begun to listen to a particular pastor from the list I provided, then you seriously consider packing up all that you own and move to the city where he teaches (obviously, it is normal to seek out job opportunities in that city by phone and by the internet and then you go there for interviews). God uses your lack of opportunity in city A to get you to move to city B. God allows man to enact foolish political policies, which negatively impact a particular geographical area, to move some believers from point A to point B.

          9)       Gathering together with other believers is extremely important. Heb. 10:25 exhorts us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. I have known a lot of believers over the years, many of them squared away on doctrine. However, when they go off on their own—they make no attempt to gather under the authority of a well-qualified pastor-teacher or as a group—they get goofy, and I can name a whole host of believers I have known in my life who stopped gathering under this sort of authority, and got goofy. Personally, I gather with believers under the ministry of R. B. Thieme III every time the church is in session, and, on off-nights, listen to his father’s teaching. Even though I clearly understand what God’s will is for my life, that does not mean I no longer need to study under my pastor’s authority.

Again, the key to being in the will of God is to be in fellowship, to grow spiritually, and to carry out your duties in life (at your job, in school, or in the home) as unto the Lord.

This is taken, in part, from http://www.divineviewpoint.com/Gods_will_your_life.pdf (Buddy Dano’s website) and edited and appended. Also used as a reference: http://rbthieme.org/Divine_Guidance.pdf which is an online booklet which I strongly recommend, if this is an area of the Christian life where you want more information.

Gen 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

Abram made a choice here. Abram is going to be out of the geographical will of God, so now, the rest of his decisions are going to be poor as well.

Lessons 105–106: Genesis 12:10–13                                 The Doctrine of Faith-Rest

You will recall that we last left Abram, he is about to move to Egypt. He is in the land of Canaan, which God would give to him and his descendants; but now, Abram is under a little pressure, so he decides to move to Egypt.

Gen 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

This is not God’s will for Abram, because God did tell Abram to move to the land of Canaan, but He did not tell Abram to move out of the land of Canaan into Egypt. Therefore, since Abram is out of God’s geographical will, he is going to do some stupid things.

Let me try to give you an example that you can relate to. Most of us understand something about our sin natures and where our own weaknesses lie. Let’s say that you are a recovering substance abuser; for most people—particularly in the early stages of escaping the hold of drugs—it is better for them not to associate at all with their former druggie friends. You do not decide, “Drugs are ruining my life; I need to stop doing them;” and then, a few days later, hear about a party where all your drug-taking friends are going to be, and go to that party. That is an unsound move, geographically speaking. As a roommate once told me, with regards to remaining faithful to his girlfriend (and later, his wife): he knew his weaknesses with regards to other women, so he did not put himself in a position were he would have to deal with this weakness. He was careful about personal relationships with other women and he was careful about being in situations where he would be alone with other women. Or, as Clint Eastwood once said, “A man has got to know his limitations.”

Abram is leaving God’s geographical will; therefore, Abram is going to make some stupid choices. Being outside of God’s geographical will, makes you more vulnerable to your own weaknesses; and, you are less likely to grow spiritually.

Gen 12:11–13 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman [who is] beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake."

Abram comes up with this half-baked scheme to preserve his own life. We would expect Abram to behave differently, but the people of the Bible are always presented as real people, with flaws. Abram made mistakes, just as we do, and the Bible never glosses over these mistakes.

Although it is legitimate to lie to your enemy in warfare (2Sam. 15:30–36 17:7–14), it is not legitimate to lie to the people of a host country. Abram’s opinion of the Egyptians is, they would notice that Sarai is quite attractive (even at her age) and they would kill Abram in order to have her. The Pharaoh of Egypt will actually show himself to be of a better character than Abram. However, the key to salvation in the Bible is not morality but a relationship to God through Jesus Christ (or, in the Old Testament, a relationship with Jehovah Elohim).

Furthermore, this shows that Abram distrusts God. God has already promised Abram that He would make a great nation from him; and God cannot make a great nation out of a dead man who has no children. Abram is not exercising faith in God and he is not in the geographical will of God.

Remember our previous lesson: Where does God want me to be? What does God want me to think? What does God want me to do? Abram is in Egypt and not Canaan; he is not exercising faith in God’s promises, and now he is about to lie to the leader of his host country.

R. B. Thieme Jr., the former pastor of Berachah Church in Houston, had 2 great general achievements in his career: he laid out and explained the mechanics of the Christian way of life; and he developed an updated theological vocabulary. Footnote

R. B. Thieme, Jr. developed the doctrine of the faith-rest drill early on in his ministry. The term faith rest describes the way of life of the believer in the Old Testament and faith rest is one of the spiritual mechanics in our lives as believers in the Church Age. Let me reemphasize that Abram is not living by faith-rest at this time.

The Doctrine of Faith-Rest

1.       Definition of faith-rest:

          1)       You place your trust in God, in His Word, in His promises or in Bible doctrine, and you step back and allow God to keep His Word, or fulfill His promises, or vindicate the doctrine which is in your soul.

          2)       The believer must be in fellowship and have a true object for his faith. That is, what he believes must be true. Believers are constantly placing their faith in things which are false and which are not promised by God.

          3)       Whether in the Old or New Testament, the believer must have no unconfessed sin in his life (when you name your sins to God, any unknown sins are forgiven as well—1John 1:9).

          4)       The believer has to know a promise or some of the promises of God; or they must know true and correct Bible doctrine toward which they can exercise faith. A baby believer can no more use the faith-rest technique than allow his spiritual gift to function properly.

                     (1)      As an aside, having been saved and then living for 10 or 20 years, does not mean you have gone from being an infant believer to being an adult believer.

                     (2)      Spiritual growth is always a matter of time, grace and doctrine (2Peter 3:18).

                     (3)      No one is born again spiritually mature, and no one reaches spiritual maturity simply because they believe in Jesus Christ, and then live for a few years (or, live for a few years and attend church). There is a parallel to this in the growth of a child. If a child is raised without soul stimulation, then they do not grow. Wild children or children raised in closets or cages without the stimulation of their thinking and verbal skills do not grow; and past a certain age, will never mature properly. Such children who are rescued at age 10 or 15 never develop a normal vocabulary; they never develop normal social skills. Similarly, your brain has to be regularly stimulated by Bible doctrine, or you do not grow spiritually.

                     (4)      Although church is designed as the environment for our spiritual growth, attending a church does not guarantee spiritual growth.

                     (5)      You cannot grow in a church that does not teach spiritual mechanics.

                     (6)      For most Christians, they think that spiritual growth is, sanding off the rough edges of their personality and improving their moral behavior. The former will often improve your relationship with other people and the latter will make your life better, but neither of these things are the means of spiritual growth. I am not saying that either of these things are bad or that you ought not to do them; they are simply not the means of spiritual growth.

                     (7)      At best, your spiritual life will be mostly ineffective and hit or miss.

                     (8)      In many churches, most Christians are simply taught to be moral. There is absolutely nothing wrong with morality—it is commendable—but it is not the Christian way of life. Morality will improve any person’s life—believer and unbeliever alike. Morality will improve the nation in which you live, but morality does not commend you to God.

          5)       You need to have enough doctrine in your soul to know whether or not you need to act. In a hopeless situation, you need to stand back and watch the deliverance of God. However, there are times when you must act. The example R. B. Thieme Jr. has used innumerable times is, if you need a job, you do not find a park bench and go sit there and wait for God to drop a job on your lap. That is not faith-rest. A soldier at war who is trusting in God does not rush the enemy head-on without cover, time after time after time. Nor will he sit in a fox hole and wait for God to destroy the enemy with a lightening bolt. The soldier functions as per his training, but with his full faith in Jesus Christ, his Deliverer. The key in faith-rest, when you must act, is that your trust is in God’s faithfulness, not in your actions.

          6)       Most of the time, the application of the faith-rest technique occurs in a time of testing. God sends you problems or difficulties or testing, and you respond to these difficulties by applying the faith-rest technique. Again, you may be required to act or you may be required to sit still; but, if it is the former, you recognize that the results depend upon God, not upon the clever actions which you take.

2.       Introductory verses:

          1)       And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

          2)       We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2Cor. 4:18).

          3)       Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

          4)       We walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor. 5:7).

3.       Whether we like it or not, faith is an integral part of the Christian life. However, it is important to note that most of us have great faith. A learned scientist who knows some of the great intricacies of a single cell (no one knows all of the functions of a single cell), may simultaneously believe that this cell spontaneously generated from non-living matter, despite its great complexity. That requires tremendous faith on his part, and he may even try to pass off spontaneous generation as the only reasonable scientific theory for the existence of that cell. Since a biologist could write his doctoral dissertation on one single living cell (and still not tell us everything there is to know about that single, living cell), it takes tremendous faith to believe that cell just happened. My point is, everyone has faith, Christians and non-Christians alike.

4.       Although this may seem elementary, faith must have an object. You cannot just have faith in some nebulous, undefined spiritual thing. In fact, you must have more than just faith in some sort of God-entity. Faith requires specific objects and specific promises to place our faith in. Furthermore, for your faith to have any spiritual impact, these things you place your faith in must be true.

          1)       This is related to one of the great spiritual problems in the United States. How many times have you heard someone say, “I am spiritual, but I am not religious”? This either means that they have some general feelings about some other, ethereal force out there—in some cases, this is mother earth—and in the few cases where such a person has some well-defined concepts of spirituality, it is often just plain weird.

          2)       Exactly Who and What God is, is undefined to those who claim to be spiritual but not religious; or they define God’s weirdly, based upon nothing in particular. A friend of mine used to see death as a melting pot, and that in death, he would just fall into this great universal melting pot of existence of some sort. It was quite fascinating, because he could not really even articulate what he believed in—and what he believed in changed from time to time—but he expected me to have specifics which I believed in and for the reasons to be carefully researched.

          3)       So, simply having faith is meaningless, since everyone has faith. Simply having faith in religious ideas or philosophical principles is equally meaningless, if these things are not true.

5.       The principle of the faith-rest technique:

          1)       One description of the faith-rest technique is found in Heb. 4:1–3: Therefore, while the promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear so that none of you should miss it [the opportunity to enter into God’s rest]. For, indeed, we have had the gospel proclaimed to us, even as they [in the Old Testament] [did]; but the Word did not profit those hearing it, not having been mixed with faith in the ones who heard. For we, the ones believing, enter into that rest—just as He said, As I swore in My wrath, they will not enter into My rest,—though the works had come into being from the foundation of the world. Simply hearing truth is one thing, but the truth by itself does you no good. You have to hear it and believe it.

          2)       The most fundamental promise of entering into God’s rest is found in Matt. 11:28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This is faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. In salvation, our faith has a specific object and that object is Truth (“I am the way, the Truth and the life; no man comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6).

          3)       However, we also have this same principle which is applied in our lives as those who have already believed in Jesus Christ. The example to which the writer of Hebrews refers back to is the Exodus generation who had believed in Jehovah Elohim, but every time that they faced a crisis situation, they did not mix the promises of God with faith (Heb. 3 gives us this context). Heb. 3:7–11 Because of this, even as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, there where your fathers tempted Me, testing Me, and saw My works forty years. Because of this, I was angry with that generation and I said, ‘They always go astray in their heart [thinking]; and they did not know My ways [they did not know and understand Bible doctrine];’ so I swore in My wrath, They will not enter into My rest." (Psalm 95:7–11). Heb. 4:2 For, indeed, we have had the good news proclaimed to us, even as they did, but the Word [of God] did not profit those hearing it, because they did not mix [this Word] with faith in the ones who heard [the teaching of doctrine]. This all refers to Gen X of the Exodus generation. These were the adults who left Egypt. They would die in the desert before God took their children into the land of Canaan (The Word of God did not profit those hearing it [Gen X], because they did not mix the Word with faith).

          4)       Therefore, it takes two things: you must hear the teaching of the Word of God (truth) and then you must mix this teaching with faith—that is, you must actually believe it. This is true in the realm of salvation and in our daily Christian lives.

          5)       We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. We also live our lives doing essentially the same thing—believing in divine truth. For we walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor. 5:7).

          6)       The principle of the faith-rest technique was a part of Old Testament mechanics: You [God] keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in Jehovah forever; for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:3-4). When I am afraid, I will trust in you (Psalm 56:3).

6.       The mechanics of the faith-rest technique:

          1)       Whether in the Old or New Testaments, the believer must be in fellowship for spiritual function of any sort; if you are out of fellowship by committing a sin, then you must first name this sin to God. 1Cor. 11:31 1John 1:9 Psalm 51:4

          2)       The believer must have something in which to believe. Therefore, we must know the promises of God, the essence of God and/or the doctrines of the Bible. Faith requires an object, and that object must be true and accurate.

          3)       When faced with a problem, a time of testing or some difficulty in life, the believer places his faith in an applicable promise of God or a doctrine from the Bible.

          4)       This may or may not require action on the part of the believer. Each situation is different. Let me illustrate this with you and your child:

                     (1)      You are teaching your son to swim, and, as a part of this, you want him to jump into the water where you are. He has to trust you as he jumps into the swimming pool where you are standing. That requires action on his part.

                     (2)      That same child depends upon you for safety at home. In this case, the child does nothing. He doesn’t add extra locks to his windows, nor does he set up motion detectors in his room or keep a loaded gun on his night stand next to his Barney books. His trust is in you to keep him safe (quite obviously, doing these things would never occur to most children, because their faith in you for their safety at home is so strong). In this illustration, the child does not act.

7.       The key to faith-rest is moving towards being occupied with Jesus Christ. Being occupied with Christ means that you will automatically apply the faith-rest technique to any appropriate circumstance. Psalm 37:4–7a Eph. 4:11–16 Heb. 12:1–2 This comes from learning the Word of God and growing spiritually.

8.       As you become occupied with Christ, you view your life and the circumstances of your life in the light of eternity. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has set eternity in their heart, without which man cannot find out the work that God makes from the beginning even to the end (Eccles. 3:11). Israel is delivered by Jehovah with everlasting salvation. You will not be ashamed nor disgraced to all eternity (Isa. 45:17). For so says the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity, and His name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, even with the contrite and humble of spirit [= the grace orientated believer]; to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones (Isa. 57:15). Spiritual growth leads to seeing life in the light of eternity: But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity (2Peter 3:18).

9.       Faith-rest was the Old Testament system of spirituality. One used rebound in order to get back into fellowship and faith-rest to live their lives. The consistent use of faith-rest was associated with a believer becoming mature in the Old Testament. Abraham and Daniel are examples of this. Gen. 17:15–27 Rom. 4:18-21 Dan. 6:1-22 Heb. 11:33

10.     In the Church Age, we use faith-rest, but we are given much more than Old Testament believers. We have the filling of the Holy Spirit and the complete Word of God.

11.     The present application and Abram and his lack of faith rest:

          1)       We are studying Abram and what God has given him And Jehovah had said to Abram, Go out from your land and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you. And in you all families of the earth shall be blessed (Gen. 12:1–3).

          2)       Once Abram travels to the Land of Promise, God tells him, “I will give this land to your seed.” (Gen. 12:7b).

          3)       Here is how Abram has failed:

                     (1)      God has never told Abram, “You know, if times get tough, then you need to move over to Egypt until things are good again.” Yet, Abram goes to Egypt.

                     (2)      In order for God’s promises to come to pass, Abram must survive long enough to have children with Sarai, his wife. Therefore, there is no reason for Abram to leave the land of Canaan and there is no reason for Abram to lie to the leaders of his host country about anything.

          4)       In other words, what Abram is not doing is applying faith-rest to his situation.

12.     Positive examples of believers correctly applying the faith-rest technique in the Bible:

          1)       In Gen. 14, Abram will intentionally assault an army much larger than his own in order to rescue his nephew Lot. Although Abram faces a great army, he advances against this army because that is the right thing to do. He shows no concern for his personal safety.

          2)       In Gen. 15, God reiterates His promises to Abram and Abram had believed Jehovah, and God credited his account with righteousness (Gen. 15:6).

          3)       When God was laying judgments upon the Egyptians for not letting the Israelites leave, to go into the Land of Promise, one of the judgments was against the firstborn. In order to protect their own families, the Jews were instructed to kill a lamb at midnight, for each household, and apply the blood of that lamb to the top and sides of the entryways of their homes. The Jews believed God and they followed His instructions, and their families survived. Ex. 11:1–12:13. This function of faith-rest required the believers in Jehovah Elohim to act. For some of them, this was their initial trust in Jehovah Elohim.

          4)       Moses, Joshua and Caleb in Num. 13–14 (to be discussed in more detail below under the next main point).

13.     Negative examples of believers applying the faith-rest technique in the Bible (i.e., they fail to mix the promises of God with faith):

          1)       With regards to God’s promises, Abram was not supposed to act on these promises in order to make them true. In Gen. 16, Abram will act in order to make God’s promise to him come true, and he had sex with his wife Sarai’s slave girl (encouraged by his wife, no less).

          2)       The Exodus generation is probably the greatest example of those who continually failed to trust God and His promises. Through the Abrahamic Covenant, they knew that God had promised them the land of Canaan, even though they were living in slavery in Egypt. They called out to God to deliver them from this slavery, and God sent them Moses. God promised Israel (through Moses) that He would lead them out of slavery and into the Land of Promise (Ex. 3:15–22). Once this all came to pass, exactly as God had promised, the children of Israel found themselves in he desert following Moses, and facing many tests. The first is the bitter water test at Marah in Exodus 15. In order for the Israelites to travel from the desert to the Land of Promise, a land given them by God, they would have to survive the trip. This means that they would need a huge amount of drinkable water, even though they would travel in a desert. However, when faced with some undrinkable water (called bitter water), these Jews, who had just observed several tremendous acts of deliverance by God, fell apart and began to complain and fret over their situation.

          3)       These same Jews faced a no food and a no water test at Meribah in Ex. 16–17. They failed again.

          4)       Literally a few months after they left Egypt, the Exodus generation stood at the entryway of the Land of Promise, and they could have taken the land. However, they did not, because they were afraid of the giants in the land. At least 3 men believed God and were ready to function according to His promises (Moses, Joshua and Caleb), and the rest of Israel did not believe God, despite all that He had done previous to this situation. Num. 13–14

          5)       God has these Jews cool their heels in the desert for the next 38 years, while He kills off the older generation (Gen X) and raises up a new generation of believers (the generation of promise). However, one of their first tests involves them facing another no water test, and even this new generation falls apart, and moans and complains, wishing that they had already perished in the desert (which reveals their lack of training by their parents). Num. 20

14.     Examples of the promises of God which we may claim:

          1)       Cast all your anxieties [or, cares] on Him because He cares for you (1Peter 5:7).

          2)       Delight yourself in Yehowah, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Yehowah. Trust also in Him, and He will do this: He will make your righteousness go forth as the light, and your justice as the noon day sun. Rest in Yehowah, and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 37:4–7a).

          3)       Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19).

          4)       Cast your burden on Yahweh, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (Psalm 55:22).

          5)       No temptation has taken you except what is common to man, but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able. But with the temptation, He will also make the way out, so that you may be able to endure it (1Cor. 10:13).

          6)       There are websites on the internet which specialize in the promises of God. Just google “promises of God.” There are hundreds of promises that God makes to us in the Bible.

          7)       The antithesis of faith-rest is panic, worry, anxiety, and fear.

15.     A natural outgrowth of faith-rest are various doctrinal rationales. A doctrinal rationale is a general principle which is true.

          1)       The essence of God rationale: We understand the attributes of God; that He is Righteousness, Justice, Sovereignty, Omnipresence, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Veracity, Immutability, Love and Eternal Life. At any time, we can integrate our lives and our difficulties with God’s essence, and we are able to recognize that He must always function within the confines of His essence.

          2)       The plan of God rationale: God has an individual plan for every single one of us. We know that this plan is going to include difficulties. You might break up with your wife or girlfriend, you might lose your job, those near to you might die; you may contract a deadly disease; you might be forced to move to a new city where you know no one else. We all face a number of problems and difficulties in our lives. Sometimes these things seem to happen all at once, sometimes we go for months or years without dramatic difficulties; and sometimes, they just seem to happen, one right after another. The plan of God rationale tells us that God has a plan for our lives and during our lives, there will be difficulties, for which God has already made provision. Jesus teaches this in Matt. 6:25–33: "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

          3)       The policy of God rationale. God’s policy for the unbeliever is to provide them with salvation—if they believe in Jesus Christ, they will be saved. For he believer, God provides the means by which we may grow spiritually. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine [i.e., what Jesus Christ was teaching], whether it is of God, or I speak from Myself.” (John 7:17). When Peter tells us to grow in grace and the knowledge of God’s Word, that means that God has provided the means by which to do this. God does not give us a mandate which we cannot perform (policy of God rationale).

          4)       The “a fortiori” rationale: God has already done the most difficult thing on our behalf: He has provided us with eternal salvation. The a fortiori rationale means, if God has done the more difficult thing on our behalf, then we can trust Him to do that which is easier on our behalf. One specific example of a fortiori rationale is Rom. 5:8-9: "But the God demonstrates His own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died instead of us. Much more, therefore, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be delivered from the wrath of God through Him." Jesus Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; therefore, now that we are in Him, we know that we will be delivered from the wrath of God. If God provides the greater in justification (imputation of perfect righteousness), it follows, a fortiori, that the justice of God can provide the less, the imputation of special blessings at maturity and thereafter. These special blessings, sometimes called supergrace blessings, glorify God in time.

          5)       Of the 4 rationales which I have given here, there is certainly some overlapping. For example, when I said that God will not mandate us to do something which we cannot do, I put this under the policy of God rationale; however, that is also related to God’s character.

16.     Applying the faith-rest drill does not always result in the outcome we desire. The outcome of any difficulty in our life is going to be in accordance with the plan of God and the outcome will always be consistent with God’s promises and the truth of the Word of God.

17.     To sum up:

          1)       Faith-rest is taking a promise of God, a divine principle or a divine rationale and placing our faith in that promise, principle or rationale.

          2)       We must be in fellowship in order for the application of faith-rest to have any spiritual impact.

          3)       Since all men have faith, there is no merit in simply having faith. The merit is in the object of faith. We must place our faith in that which is true.

          4)       At salvation, we used an elementary form of faith-rest: we placed our faith in Jesus Christ.

          5)       In using the faith-rest technique, we may or may not act. The serenity prayer (later adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous) comes to mind: “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

          6)       The faith-rest drill is both a mechanic in the spiritual life and a means of growth. That is, God tests us with some pressure or difficulty, we apply the faith-rest technique (which may or may not require action), and we often experience some spiritual growth as a result.

Many others have presented the Doctrine of Faith-rest online:



Online slide show on the faith-rest drill (with audio):


Abbreviated treatises of the Doctrine of the Faith-rest drill:




Here is a series of audio (MP3) lessons on faith-rest, which can be downloaded and listened to:


A second series available online: http://www.bibleframework.com/lessons/faith-rest-drill/

The booklet on faith-rest can be ordered for free from R. B. Thieme Jr. Ministries:

http://rbthieme.org/the7.htm (or call 713-621-3740). They will also send a CD of mp3's on this same topic.

Faith-rest is another example where R. B. Thieme Jr. took a concept from the Word of God, gave it a name and then applied specific mechanics to this concept, mechanics taken from the Bible.

Other references:



Many of these are references to pastors who have brick and mortar churches, and most of whom provide teaching online as well. It is always my recommendation that you find your proper pastor teacher and get under his teaching ministry regularly (I believe that once a day for an hour is about right).

Lesson 107: Genesis 12:10–16                                                    Abram Goes to Egypt

In previous lessons, we have examined Abram and the will of God, and how Abram got out of the will of God by leaving the land of Canaan. As a result, Abram makes some stupid decisions.

Gen 12:10–13 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to temporarily reside there, for the famine was severe in the land [of Canaan]. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake."

Abram’s plan is not well thought out. He has 2 very important assets which are required in order for God to fulfill His promises to Abram: Abram’s own life and the life of his wife, Sarai. Abram seems to be focused upon the former and not on the latter. He thinks the Egyptians will kill him and then take Sarai from him. However, if they present themselves as brother and sister, they won’t kill Abram to take Sarai, but they might still take Sarai. Perhaps, in his mind, he was thinking, “I am still alive, so I will be able to steal her back from a harem.” If Abram is presented as Sarai’s brother, an Egyptian noble would then ingratiate himself to Abram in order to wed Sarai; if he is Sarai’s husband, then he becomes an obstacle to an Egyptian noble who wants Sarai.

In any case, Abram has pre-judged the Egyptians, believing them to be foolish heathen, so he makes a plan to deal with his prejudices. He tells his beautiful wife to say she is his sister, and, in his mind, this is going to avoid trouble. Again, there is no reason for Abram to move to Egypt—God does not require him to move—and there is no reason for Abram to lie to his new host, the pharaoh of Egypt.

Here is a news flash: many unbelievers are moral. In fact, morality is a part of the plan of God for believers and unbelievers alike. Societies are maintained and perpetuated by morality. The laws of divine establishment are divine laws and principles devised to preserve the human race, and they are designed for believers and unbelievers alike (which is a doctrine that I need to condense and present soon in these lessons).

We have already examined the Doctrine of Morality back in Lesson 29. Morality is not the Christian way of life and morality is not for believers only.

When God said, “You will not murder” or “You will not covet the possessions of your neighbor;” this was for the entire human race, not just for believers who wanted to become mature believers (or run-of-the-mill Christians who want to become super-Christians). Immature believers don’t run around killing gobs of people, and then, once they mature spiritually, stop doing that. These are laws for the human race. God’s gift of freedom is not antinomianism. Freedom demands personal responsibility and self-control, as well as societal controls (e.g., a national or regional police force). Each nation must have laws which mirror the final 6 commandments; they cannot just make a few things up and call it good.

Let’s take a look at freedom from a different perspective. You have a teenage son who has earned your trust over the years by making good decisions. Let’s say that you have made the choice to allow him a great deal of freedom, to take a week-long trip on his own (whether it be to Miami Beach, Galveston, spring break, or whatever). Your allowing him to have this freedom does not mean, he can do whatever he feels like doing. This freedom does not mean, you are telling him, “Drink yourself into a stupor every night, try out many kinds of drugs, and impregnate any woman who will allow you to.” You only allow him this freedom because you trust him to make good decisions. You are trust his free will to make good moral choices.

God has done the same thing with the human race. God has given us great freedom, but we have to use our freedom wisely. The United States is the greatest country in the history of mankind, and a part of this greatness is our great freedom and our respect for freedom (something many Muslim nations have nearly no appreciation for). However, all it will take to destroy the United States is for one generation to seriously abuse this freedom, and the United States will go down—we will be conquered, we will become even more socialistic, we will suffer great national disasters. The Russians know this principle, and they have been trying for decades to destroy a generation of Americans (as they have already managed to do this throughout much of Europe). Their intent it to use our own free society against us.

Communism, at some point in the mid 20th century developed 45 goals to accomplish in the United States, so that they might take over our nation. These goals were read in Congress in 1963, in order for them to be made a permanent part of our American record. I will list of few of these below, as these communist objectives stand in stark contrast to the laws of divine establishment.

The Goals of Communism in America



Political Goals

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.


15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

Attack upon Morality

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

Attacks upon Christianity

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

Remove us from our founding principles

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

Establish more centralized control

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

Attack Divine Institutions

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

These goals can be found on hundreds of websites:




You will noticed that many of the keys to the destruction of the United States are related to the Bible, to morality, and to the divine institutions as established by the Bible.

I present this, because morality is part of what holds a nation together. The Ten Commandments are a code of freedom, a code which provides protections for a nation, a code which helps to maintain internal and external peace in a nation.

At this time, Abram is about to enter into a Hamitic country and he believes them to be morally inferior to him, and he will act accordingly. However, because he is going outside of the geographical will of God, he is going to act morally inferior to them. Morality is just as important to their nation as it is important to ours.

The Bible is very subtle in its narrative, but if given enough thought, the narrative tells us all that we need to know. Recall, that I have been teaching that Abram is outside of Gods geographical will; what Abram is doing here confirms this. He is preparing to lie to anyone he meets in his host country. This indicates that he is both out of God’s geographical will and out of fellowship.

Gen 12:14–15 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman [Sarai] was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace.

You must keep in mind that Abram was a very rich man, with many employees and a very large traveling ranch. Therefore, when Abram goes from here to there, people notice this. When he entered Egypt, various people stopped him and questioned him, and some of these reported back to the Pharaoh. His moving down to Egypt is a very big deal. It is not as if he and Sarai have moved to the capitol city of Egypt carrying a couple of suitcases. There are hundreds of people with them.

Abram’s initial assessment was partially correct. The Egyptians found Sarai to be extremely beautiful, so beautiful that the princes of Egypt praised her to Pharaoh so much so, that He brought her to his palace.

Part of this attraction is, Sarai is like a blonde in a room filled with brunettes (or a brunette in a room filled with blondes). She is going to stand out among Egyptian women.

Gen 12:16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

What has happened is, the Pharaoh has taken Sarai into his harem. Pharaoh has also heaped a great many things upon Abram as a dowry. God has promised Abram to make a great nation of him, so what is he doing, giving away his own wife to Pharaoh? This reveals a complete lack of trust in God and in God’s Word. Remember that God has promised Abram to make a great nation from him, and that requires a wife. It makes no sense for Abram to agree to this, to take a dowry in exchange for his wife, whom he is now telling everyone, is his sister. We recently studied the doctrine of faith-rest; this is the exact opposite of faith rest. Abram knows the promises which God has made to him; yet he does not focus upon those promises. He depends upon human viewpoint rather than upon divine promise.

So we will leave it right there; Abram has lied to the pharaoh of his host country; the pharaoh is very attracted to Sarai, and he takes her in his harem, bestowing great gifts upon Abram in the process. Abram is out of God’s geographical will, he is out of fellowship, and he is out one wife. But he has a lot more new stuff.

Lessons 108–109: Genesis 12:10–20                    The Laws of Divine Establishment

We have been studying Abram, who has stepped out of God’s will (lessons 103–104) because he is not using faith-rest (lessons 105–106), so he has gone into a country which he believes will be uncivilized and heathenistic (lesson 107). In Abram’s mind, these are the kind of people who will have no respect for the laws of divine establishment (laws and principles designed by God for the entire human race). He does not believe that these heathen will respect the divine institution of marriage, and therefore, lies to the royalty of his host country.

These are the verses we have covered so far.

Gen 12:10–16 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to temporarily reside there, for the famine was severe in the land [of Canaan]. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake." When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman [Sarai] was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

The Bible is not filled with nice stories, with interesting situations and colorful characters, but God uses these narratives to teach us divine principles.

I have alluded in the previous lesson to the laws of divine establishment. Therefore, I will cover these laws in this lesson, so that you will see that God has laws which are applicable to all people.

Acknowledgment: Insofar as I know, R. B. Thieme, Jr. originally developed this doctrine, although it has certain existed in bits and pieces by other theologians at other times. I am fairly certain that the vocabulary is his (one of Bob’s great contributions to theology is a new vocabulary). I also drew heavily from the works of Jim Brettell and Tod Kennedy (who took their notes, to some degree, from Bob’s teaching).

The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Laws of Divine Establishment


1.       R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s original definition was: Divine Establishment - God has ordained certain laws for the survival and freedom of the human race during the course of human history. Anarchy exists when segments of nations ignore these laws. The laws of divine establishment provide the freedom to fulfill the divine plan as ordained in the divine decrees under many types of government. The laws of divine establishment are designed and directed toward both believer and unbeliever. They operate from the fall of man to the second advent, as well as in the Millennium with some modification in compatibility with perfect environment.1

2.       God, in his omnipotence, knew that the world would be populated by more unbelievers than believers, so he ordained a set of laws designed for the survival and freedom of the human race, which laws apply to both believers and unbelievers. These laws allow for believers and unbelievers to live their lives in an orderly fashion throughout human history.

3.       All men are born with a sin nature; and men have competing interests. The laws of divine establishment allow all men to coexist, believers and unbelievers alike, despite possessing a sin nature and despite competing interests.

4.       These laws also allow for the evangelization of the unbeliever as well as for the spiritual growth of the believer.

5.       The Angelic Conflict is resolved by our free will choices; therefore, human history must be allowed to play out.

6.       These laws allow for man to be freely evangelized (and for man to reject this evangelization) and for believers to conduct their lives as per the Word of God, as per the dispensation they find themselves in.

7.       These laws are designed to work within the framework of a variety of human governments.

8.       These laws are designed for the divine institutions of the human soul, labor, marriage, family and nationalism.

9.       God has provided certain divine laws, such as the authority of parents within the confines of the basic family unit in order to protect, care for, nourish, provide for, train, and discipline children to prepare them for life.

10.     These laws are designed to function from the fall of man to the beginning of the Millennium, and then throughout the Millennium with some adjustments (there will be perfect environment and Jesus Christ will rule the earth, which changes some things).

11.     Satan, of course, opposes these laws, and continues to oppose them in a variety of ways, offering up a myriad of false systems for mankind.

12.     These laws are imperfectly accomplished on this earth. However, an imperfect application of these laws does not give us the right to rebel against the authorities which are over us. Furthermore, their imperfect application preserves mankind.

13.     The laws of divine establishment provide for man the best system of freedom for all mankind.

14.     These laws of divine establishment are every bit as important as the law of gravity and just as predictable. If you drop something out of a tall building, it will fall to the ground; if you follow the laws of divine establishment, you will get good results for the human race. If you go against the laws of divine establishment, the end result will be bad for the human race (again, for believers and unbelievers alike).

15.     Because man has a sin nature and because Satan is the ruler of this world, there are man-designed and Satan-inspired systems which reject the laws of divine establishment. These include such institutions as anarchy, Islam, gay marriage, communism, socialism, etc. These examples are all attacks upon the laws of divine establishment, and therefore, they are attacks upon human freedom and upon the human race itself. Let me take communism and socialism as examples: communism kills far more people in peace time than nations do in wartime. Communism perpetually attacks human freedom, requiring all men to, at least publically, espouse the principles and goals of communism, or face grave inconvenience, suffering or even death; and, at best, re-education.

16.     Freedom guarantees inequality of outcomes. That is, a free population will experience great disparity of wealth, position and success. This freedom can be attacked in two primary ways: politicians who promise to have more equal results, and who then pass laws and regulations in order to achieve a more equal distribution of wealth. The second way this is attacked is by the wealthy who seek to preserve their wealth, power and position through a legal codification of their wealth (this could be establishing a caste system or inordinate favorable laws for those who are already wealthy and/or powerful). In the United States, this has come to e known as “too big to fail.”

17.     One area of great confusion is, the laws of divine establishment can function with an authoritative government, e.g., a monarchy. The laws of divine establishment can be perpetuated under a monarchy or destroyed by a monarchy; the laws of divine establishment can be perpetuated in a democracy or destroyed by a democracy. In other words, the actual form of government is not the key; the laws of divine establishment are the key to freedom.

18.     The overarching principles are: the laws of divine establishment preserve a national entity and freedom within that national entity; which allows people the freedom to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior or to reject Jesus Christ.

1 Although I took this from http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml I found the same definition word-for-word on another website. My assumption is, this exact definition came originally from R. B. Thieme, Jr.

The 5 divine institutions (which are for believers and unbelievers alike).

1.       The human soul—every believer and unbeliever is given a human soul with volition, mentality, norms and standards, a conscience, and self-consciousness. We need to respect the human freedom of those around us. Our volition ends when it begins to infringe on the volition of others.

2.       Work is designed for the believer and unbeliever alike. Not only is it necessary in order to live (apart from those who depend upon others), but it is important to a person’s mental health. Everyone has come home from a hard day at work, where effort was expended and things were done, and there is some personal satisfaction in having done a good job. Those who live off of others (e.g., welfare recipients) rarely have the same personal satisfaction with their own lives. God’s first commandment to mankind included the phrase “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.” (Gen. 1:28b). In the next chapter, we read: And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden. And there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. And from there it was divided and became four heads. And Jehovah God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and protect it (Gen. 2:8–10, 15). Subduing the earth is work. After Adam and the woman sinned, God levied punishment upon them both, including: "Because you listened to your wife's voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'Do not eat from it': The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of difficult labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust." (Gen. 3:17b–19). Difficult work becomes a part of our judgment. Work is a necessity in the believer’s life, Paul tells Timothy, If anyone isn't willing to work, he should not eat (1Tim. 3:10b).

3.       Marriage between one man and one woman is designed for the human race. Men and women are dramatically different in makeup, and they are designed to be in balance with one another—yin and yang, if you will. Just as work was fundamental to Adam’s life, before he sinned and after he sinned, so is the institution of marriage. Adam had the woman before the fall and Adam had the woman after the fall. You will note that the first 3 divine institutions existed in perfect environment and in a fallen world. That is how fundamental they are to human existence.

4.       Closely related to marriage is family; and children have been shown to be far better off when raised by 2 parents as opposed to one. Children from a nuclear family (1 husband and 1 wife) are shown to be better adjusted, less likely to become criminals, drug users, alcohol abusers, or pregnant at an early age. This is a matter of statistics. You have heard over and over again, how there is an inordinate number of Blacks in prison. If you took the number of whites and Blacks in prison and chose from a similar sample with respect to the divine institution of marriage, there is virtually no difference between Blacks and whites. The strongest determining factor in criminal behavior is not race but parentage. A Black from a home with a mother and father is no more likely to enter into a life of crime than a Caucasian from a home with a mother and a father. The reason there is a disproportionate number of Blacks in prison, is because there are a disproportionate number of Black single parent families.

5.       The institution of separate national entities preserves freedom, isolates depravity, and best allows for evangelization and spiritual growth. The Declaration of Independence got this point exactly right: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.

Attacks against the 5 divine institutions:

1.       The soul of man is constantly under attack. Drugs and drinking destroy the soul of a person. If you have known people who have been addicted to hard drugs, you know that their souls have been changed by the drug. Recent studies have shown that marijuana use permanently alters the brain of children who use it (which is exactly what we would expect; what happens in the life of a youth can permanently affect him for all of his adult life).

2.       Work is always under attack. There are those who, in their desire to be nice to the downtrodden, set up huge bureaucracies of welfare, with the result that, huge numbers of people either do not work or work abbreviated hours so that they can receive welfare (or food stamps or section 8 housing). I had an internet discussion recently, where a woman has described her plight to me of being a young married woman with a child, and she and her husband are in their 20's, and, in order for them to stay in school, she thinks they will have to go on section 8 housing. They both work part-time, but they just don’t make enough money to get by. Well, duh! They are both going to school. The welfare state mentality makes people think that they deserve money from taxpayers in order to subsidize the life they want to live. These same people would not have the nerve go up and down their street each month, and explain their “plight” to their neighbors, and ask them to kick in some money every month so that they can make it. They understand that would be stupid and that most of their neighbors would deny them. Yet, this same couple thinks that government (i.e., taxpayers) ought to help pay their way.

3.       In America, it is clear that the concept of one man and one woman in marriage is under attack. People living together outside of marriage, men and women engaging in sex outside of marriage, and homosexual relationships are examples of attacks upon this institution.

4.       The concept of family has also been under attack for quite awhile. In the 1950's, we saw a plethora of television shows which reflected both the concept of one man and one woman marriages; and with this was always a family. Today, our government supports and encourages single-parent households (this is because, when you tax something, that something will decrease; and when you subsidize something, it will increase). Women do not have to be responsible for their personal choices because, if they end up becoming pregnant, they can kill the fetus, or have the baby and expect welfare and/or government mandated support from the father. Remove these options provided by a misguided government, and sexual morality would make a big comeback in society.

5.       Nationalism is under attack by the U.N., by international communism, by appeals to international or other-national laws, etc. The goals of global warming enthusiasts is an attack upon nationalism.

6.       There are principles based upon these 5 divine institutions which are for both believers and unbelievers:

          1)       Authority orientation: God has designed a system of authorities for the human race, which includes parents over children, teachers over students, coaches over players, policemen over citizens, the courts over citizens, business over labor, the CEO of a company over his top echelon, who, in turn, have authority over those below them, etc. Let every person be subject to higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, but the existing authorities have been ordained by God (Rom. 13:1). Spending one’s life bucking authority is the quickest and easiest way to have a miserable life. If you want to experiment with this, try bad-mouthing a policemen at a routine traffic stop. See how far that takes you in life.

          2)       Hard work. Consider the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise (Prov. 6:6).

          3)       Devotion and adherence to and protection of one’s mate, one’s family and one’s nation. This is taken to the natural end of, being willing to give one’s life to protect one’s wife, child or nation.

The Ten Commandments:

1.       Most of the Ten Commandments are designed for believers and unbelievers alike; including the exactitude given them by Jesus Christ.

2.       Although the Ten Commandments were given specifically to the nation Israel, they also provide an outline for the preservation of freedom in an nation.

3.       The first 4 commandments provide a basic spiritual code and the final 6 commandments provide a freedom code for believers and unbelievers alike.

4.       Paul tells Timothy: Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. Understanding that the law is not laid down for the just [believers] but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane [all categories of unbelievers and out-of-fellowship believers], for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted (1Tim. 1:8–11). This tells us that portions of the Mosaic Law are applicable to all mankind.

5.       Therefore, the Ten Commandments are a freedom code which describe what freedom is within a national entity, which is divine institution #5. In other words, these commandments protect me from you and you from me. These final 6 commandments also codify the Godly concept of private property.

6.       The first 3 commandments define the legal relationship between God and man, and are discussed in the complete doctrine of the laws of divine establishment.

7.       Commandment #4: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you will labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you will not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex. 20:8–11). This was a law to the Jews only, although there is application to us. Virtually all civilizations have a 7-day week, which is based upon God’s restoration of the earth in 6 days (whether they admit to this or not). This is because all civilizations have their original foundation in a 7-day week.

8.       The final 6 commandments define the relationship between men within a national entity, which are the essence of a code which provides freedom, protects property rights, and protects and preserves divine institutions #1–4.

9.       With the 5th commandment, we begin to get into the laws of divine establishment, which ought to be carried over into all nations and civilizations. Commandment #5: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Ex. 20:12). Here, the relationship of the family is codified for all time, and the nation which obeys this commandment is assured of a longer continuation of the nation in which he is in. Paul affirms this commandment and adds that this is the first commandment associated with a promise of blessing from God (Eph. 6:1–2). This law is for all dispensations, and a nation which disobeys this is a nation which is on its way down (Communist nations which attempt to brainwash children from a very young age and which even turn children against their parents is in direct violation of this commandment).

10.     Commandment #6: “You will not murder.” (Ex. 20:13). This was one of the first commandments given to man after the flood (Gen. 9:6, where man was responsible to punish those who murdered with death). Murder represents the ultimate in the removal of another person’s ability to make free will decisions. This is an attack upon divine institution #1, and depending upon that status of that person, possibly divine institutions #2 and #3 as well.

11.     Commandment #7: “You will not commit adultery.” (Ex. 20:14). Adultery is forbidden in Rom. 7:2–3 and Heb. 13:4. It is an attack upon divine institutions #2 and #3. Marriage and family are divine institutions, which adultery can destroy.

12.     Commandment #8: “You will not steal.” (Ex. 20:15). Paul writes, in Eph. 4:28: Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. This commandment tells us that we have a right to own property. Private property is protected by Scripture. Sharing that property is a matter of free will.

13.     Commandment #9: “You will not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16). Paul says that the law was designed for liars and those who perjure themselves in 1Tim. 1:10. Going to court can deprive a person of their volition or of their property; therefore, God expects us to tell the truth in court.

14.     Commandment #10: “You will not desire to take your neighbor's house; you will not desire to take your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” (Ex. 20:17). This commandment is repeated in the New Testament. Jesus said to them, "Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses." (Luke 12:15; see also Eph. 5:5). If a nation respects commandments 8 and 10, then there will be no welfare state and no socialized anything. Obviously, there would be no communism. These things are attacks upon private property.

15.     Commandments 6–10 represent establishment law for any orderly society and apply to both believers and unbelievers alike. When a society turns away from these laws, that society is crumbling from the inside.

16.     There are principles from the Mosaic Law which are brought into national law. Again, Paul wrote to Timothy: Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. Understanding that the law is not laid down for the just [believers] but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane [all categories of unbelievers and out-of-fellowship believers], for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted (1Tim. 1:8–11). The law is designed for many categories of unbelievers, and these are all associated with their personal sins.

The Purpose of the Laws of Divine Establishment

1.       To preserve the population of a national entity.

          1)       As an aside, it is clear that communism does not make any real attempt to preserve the population of the countries it rules. Both China and Russia murdered far more people during peacetime cleansings (both Stalin and Mao hold the record for the number of people killed by executive order).

          2)       North Korea today is a good example of a place where the government is doing very little to preserve its population. Many of them are dying of starvation under this repressive regime.

          3)       Muslim countries which are over 80% Muslim engage in either a cleansing process, to kill those who are not Muslim or to eliminate those who are not of the proper stripe of Islam.

          4)       Therefore, communist governments and Islamic countries cannot be seen as legitimate authorities.

2.       To preserve the freedom of the population of a national entity.

          1)       Again, we have the example of communism and socialism, where the government takes away private property and severely regulates the actions of the population.

          2)       Islamic countries dramatically regulate the individual freedoms of its citizenry.

3.       The laws of divine establishment preserve freedom so that people may believe in Jesus Christ (that is, so that there is legal evangelism within that country); and that people may grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Illegitimate governments, as already noted, forbid evangelism and true spiritual growth.

4.       Given the technology of today, there are a number of ways for people to be evangelized and a number of ways for believers to grow spiritually.

          1)       We may see on a televised football game, someone holding up the sign, John 3:16, and we google this on our iPods, read the verse (For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life), and, as a result, believe in Jesus Christ.

          2)       We may have some question about the Bible, go on the internet, and come to a website with the gospel, and believe in Jesus Christ.

          3)       We may learn a Christmas song for the choir (an act which is, unfortunately, less common today than it was 40 years ago) and believe in Jesus Christ because of the lyrics.

          4)       Although people can grow spiritually, to some degree, through the study of the Bible through websites or finding a pastor one likes, and listens to them on the radio, tv or internet; primarily, spiritual growth occurs in a local church that teaches Bible doctrine as often as the pastor is able to put it out (right now, that seems to be maxed out at 4x/week). Without other believers there to fellowship with, many Christians go off into some weird place (I have known a lot of believers who choose to grow outside of a local church, and even under the tutelage of an excellent pastor through MP3 files, they still get a bit weird).

5.       Because of the constant attacks of Satan, there will be an attempt, in every national entity, to keep man from the truth. This is why many schools no longer sing Christmas songs, it is why there are people who go nuts because there is a large cross erected on remote public property in New Mexico, and why there are people who are overly concerned over seeing the Ten Commandments anywhere near a courthouse. As a child unbeliever, I sang all of the Christmas songs, and yet understood nothing of what I sang. I recall shortly after becoming a Christian, coming to the realization that Jesus is God in the flesh. I also knew nothing about the resurrection, even though I celebrated Easter every year. Apart from the legal controversy, I would have never known about the cross in New Mexico, and, even though I have been in several courtrooms, I was oblivious to the religious symbols (if there were any). This is because, there was a proper time for me to be evangelized, and, at that point, I began to develop a better understanding of Jesus Christ and the Law (after I had believed in Him). Satan would like to remove all Christian symbols, if possible, relegate them all to churches, and then, simultaneously, denigrate churches, pastors and parishioners.

6.       This does not mean that the individual believer needs to be involved politically in his country in order for the laws of divine establishment to function. In a democracy, the believer should obviously vote, and therefore, be reasonably informed. However, whatever else is done politically is optional and sometimes to be discouraged (particularly if it interferes with one’s spiritual life).

7.       There will never be a national entity which conforms entirely to the laws of divine establishment, although the United States, for much of its history, has come very close (which is one of the reasons we have been greatly blessed).

8.       There will constantly be attacks against the principles of divine establishment in any nation where adheres to some or all of these laws.

9.       It is not our job, as believers in Jesus Christ, to spend a lot of our time remaking the nation in which we live. It is never the Christians job to whitewash the devil’s world.

Countries Which Reject the Laws of Divine Establishment

1.       The only time a believer is given the go-ahead to disobey the laws in whatever country he find himself is, with regards to evangelism and spiritual growth. And Peter and the apostles answered and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). Opposition to other attacks upon freedom are generally not a part of the Christian life, even in a communist country. For instance, Christians who live in a communist country may find it frustrating that they cannot freely speak against the current administration; but that is not an issue to the believer.

2.       When it comes to a full-out opposition to those who are in power, one needs to consider that very carefully. For instance, there are not many Rahab’s in the Bible (and she chose sides, probably knowing that God had given the Land of Promise to the Jews). The attack of the Jews upon Jericho was imminent. Joshua 2

          1)       Rahab is an example of a woman who legitimately betrayed her country and allied herself with the Jews against the city of Jericho.

          2)       It should be pointed out that American revolutionaries were not seeking to remove King George from being king over Britain; they were looking to gain independence for the United States. So, in this regard, they were not a revolution, in the strict sense. The revolution of the United States was, in essence, a war for independence.

3.       When it comes to living in an Islamic country or in a communist country, governments which are clearly anti-God and against the laws of divine establishment, one must behave circumspectly and determine one’s political life carefully. It is not up to us, as believers in Jesus Christ, to fix the government in this or that country. We are not called upon to whitewash the devil’s world. If you become involved in anti-government activities when living in an oppressive, anti-God government, you risk not only your life to probably not accomplish anything, but you also detract from your spiritual growth and the use of the spiritual gift. Paul lived in the Roman empire, which was very anti-Christian at that time, and yet Paul wrote: Let every soul be subject to higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, but the existing authorities have been ordained by God. So that the one resisting authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and the ones opposing will receive judgment to themselves. For the rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the bad. And do you desire not to fear the authority? Do the good, and you will have praise from it; for it is a servant of God to you for the good. But if you practice evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword in vain; for it is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to the one practicing bad things. Because of this, it is necessary to be subject, not only on account of wrath, but also on account of conscience. For on this account you also pay taxes, for they are ministers of God, always giving attention to this very thing. Then give to all their dues: to the one due tax, the tax; to the one due tribute, the tribute; to the one due fear, the fear; to the one due honor, the honor (Rom. 13:1–7).

4.       In other words, 99% of the time, believers, even under the most anti-God, oppressive governments, obey their rulers, except in the matters of evangelism and spiritual growth. We base this upon the fact that Paul lived in a country, Rome, which was, in the first century, very much opposed to Christians, Christianity and evangelism.

5.       A country which is a monarchy is not necessarily anti-God. Such countries can preserve order and thereby allow for evangelism and spiritual growth. Examples of these from the past are, the Shah of Iran; the governments of Rhodesia and South Africa, all prior to the 1970's. Communist propaganda has made many Americans believe that monarchies are bad, but that a communist government (a monarchy) might be okay for some countries.

6.       By fulfilling your function and obligations as a believer, you do more for your country than anyone else. In fact, believers can act as a preservative for their national entities. Matt. 5:13

7.       God’s conversation with Abram Gen. 18:23–33 is very instructive, because we learn that, if there are enough believers in a national entity, God will preserve that national entity. However, once that percentage becomes very low, God will allow for that nation to be destroyed (the personal spiritual life of the believers alive in that nation will determine, to some degree, as to what God does with them individually).

8.       Matt 21:22: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's [laws of divine establishment], and to God, the things that are God's [royal family honor code]. Although the context of this verse is taxation, the application which Brettell puts on it is accurate.

9.       1Peter 2:13-14: Subordinate yourselves.... to every human institution. You became an establishment person the day you believed in Christ. You should be a true conservative. You obey the governing authorities. On a personal note, as an unbeliever, I have always had difficulties with authority; particularly when they were less intelligent than me and/or they were unjust. However, obeying legitimate authorities is a part of the Christian life, even if these authorities are stupid and unjust.

The Separation of Church and State

1.       The state must never adopt an official religion supported by taxpayer's money. All religion should be free from taxation and never be supported by taxes. The partnership of government and various faith-based entities where money flows from the taxpayer into the coffers of the church is wrong. There is a fine line here to be carefully established.

2.       If the government wants to pay this or that organization or this or that group to deal with a disaster, that should be done by contract. However, if a church does humanitarian work of some sort, the church is not to be remunerated by government.

3.       Because it is too easy to place an onerous tax burden upon a church, allowing a church to operate as a non-taxed entity is reasonable.

4.       A person's relationship with God or lack of it should be a matter of privacy and personal choice.

5.       This separation of church and state does not mean that all religious symbols are banned. We have a strong Judeo-Christian heritage; therefore, symbols of this heritage can be reasonably displayed in public areas (e.g., the Ten Commandments, quotations of Bible verses).

6.       Similarly, the separation of church and state does not outlaw the teaching of the Bible in a public school, even as a required course; nor does it ban the singing of Christmas hymns.

7.       Our founders got it right. Many schools were established with the intent of teaching the Bible (including grade schools). For the entire history of the public school system (up until recently) Christmas songs were sung in the schools.

8.       Our court system has muddied up this water over the past 50 years and has taken a clearly stated axiom—Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion—and has perverted this into an anti-Christian position.

9.       Separation of church and state should never be understood to nullify the faith of our founding fathers, the history of Christianity in America, or to ban the symbols of this faith from public places.

10.     Because of our history, it is reasonable to see, for instance, the Ten Commandments posted on a courtroom wall, but not to post, say, various sayings from Muhammad or Confucius. Our greatest historical reference point with Islam is one of our earliest foreign wars.

11.     Sharia law and the laws of divine establishment:

          1)       We should not confuse the concept of the laws of divine establishment with Sharia law.

          2)       Sharia law is a collection of laws, customs and penalties which were an outgrowth of the teachings of Mohammed. These were developed a few hundred years after the death of Mohammed.

          3)       Islam adherents often try to establish a parallel court system in order to obey their own set of laws. Most often, this is first established as a family court law, to resolve and adjudicate family disputes.

          4)       Many of their tenets, such as a man being able to have 4 wives and having the freedom to beat an obstinate wife are in opposition to the laws of divine establishment.

          5)       Furthermore, there is no call in the Bible for a parallel set of laws to be set up for believers (although Paul recommends that, instead of suing a fellow believer in court, that we settled such disputes within the church).

          6)       It is not the responsibility of believers to whitewash the devil’s world. In a democracy, we have the right and the responsibility to vote, as well as the right and privilege of gathering in groups and protesting. However, no matter what form of government we are under, God does not call upon us to push a more Biblically-compliant system of law upon the country in which we live (or to establish a parallel system of jurisprudence).

          7)       We are required to obey the established authorities in whatever state or country we live.

An Example of Illegitimate Authority

1.       Management is the legitimate authority of labor.

2.       The labor unions provide a good example of how bucking this authority can destroy a nation from within. There may have been a good reason for labor unions in the beginning. When businesses did not take the initiative to treat their workers fairly, this hurt business and was, in part, a reason for the rise in unions.

3.       However, as businesses began to treat their employees with greater compassion, unions did not want to give up their power.

4.       As time progressed, unions have since moved into governmental agencies.

5.       When a union negotiates with management, there is a bottom line. In fact, even in such negotiations, this bottom line is exceeded (e.g., labors destruction of American car manufacturers). However, with government, there is no bottom line. Any member of government who negotiates with labor has no bottom line. Then can give as many concession as they want, and then simply require more tax dollars in order to make the governmental agency work.

6.       Unions therefore realized that there was an untapped bucket of money when dealing with state and federal workers, and that is where they have moved, setting up shop also as a strong political entity.

7.       This has given us 2 major problems: the unholy alliance of labor and government; and labor’s desire to take as much from government as it possibly can, which is, in part, the cause of the financial ruin of many states (California being one of the most prominent).

8.       The amount of money which labor unions have seized from the government is mind-boggling; and their benefits and retirement packages will destroy America financially.

9.       This explains, in part, the resistence to alternatives to public education. The unions have an established sugar daddy in the realm of state education systems, and any private education system would preclude unions and do a better job of educating our youth. This turn off the spigot of gold into union coffers, so unions come down solidly against educational alternatives.

Establishment and Morality

1.       Morality is the observation of the laws of divine establishment. Therefore, morality is for both the believer and unbeliever.

2.       The laws of divine establishment include various established authorities and the last 6 commandments of the Ten Commandments. Morality includes obedience to established authorities and obedience to the final 6 commandments.

3.       Since sin is an attack on establishment, morality is the antidote and is commanded for both believer and unbeliever.

4.       Because we possess an old sin nature, it is our desire to resist the authorities over us and to disobey certain of the commandments. This may help to explain why there is such a strong movement to remove the Ten Commandments from in or around any courtroom—this movement is a reflection of the old sin nature.

5.       Therefore, morality is not Christianity, but is the human race functioning under the laws of divine establishment.

6.       Morality is not the monopoly of Christianity. However, believers have great responsibility to their nation to obey the laws of divine establishment.

7.       Morality is conformity to the laws of divine establishment, which has as a basic tenet: live and let live (which is freedom respecting the freedom of others). This overlaps with the royal family honor code (which is the code that believers are to operate under).

8.       While Christianity is not morality but a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, Christianity still demands morality from the royal family of God. We are not exempt from certain civil responsibilities.

9.       Therefore, the advancing believer is not to be anti-establishment or immoral. No mature believer is a socialist.

10.     Morality is a normal result of spiritual growth, but it is not living the Christian life. Living the Christian life is compliance with the royal family honor code.

11.     Living the Christian life is the filling of the Holy Spirit, maximum doctrine in the soul, positive volition to doctrine, and maturity adjustment to the justice of God. None of these can be accomplished by the unbeliever. Christianity is not morality, but this doesn't mean you can be immoral.

12.     Morality as an establishment factor protects human freedom, but it does not provide eternal salvation, Gal. 2:16 Titus 3:5 Rom. 3:20.

13.     Morality can and does protect human freedom. Immorality leads to anarchy; i.e., no recognition of authority. Christian dynamics includes morality but, at the same time, exceeds morality. Morality is the environment in which Christianity is able to function.

The Component Parts of the Laws of Divine Establishment in a Nation

1.       The freedom to evangelize and to grow spiritually.

2.       The unsuppressed and unadulterated function of the 5 divine institutions.

          1)       The volition of the human soul: John 3:16, 18, 36 Acts 17:27–30 Rom. 6:12

          2)       Work: Rom. 16:3, 21 1Cor. 4:12 9:6 1Thess. 3:10

          3)       Marriage: Eph. 5:23–29 Col. 3:18–19

          4)       Family: Eph. 6:1–4 Col. 3:20–21

          5)       Nationalism: Acts 17:26–29 Rom. 13:1–7

3.       Legitimate authorities in their proper roles (husband over the wife; parents over the children, teachers over their students, administrators over the schools, higher ranking officers over lower ranking officers, management over labor, the police over the street population, the pastor-teacher over his congregation).

4.       A legitimate system of law, which embraces the Ten Commandments. Rom. 13:8–10

5.       An honest and impartial judicial system. Ex. 23:1–9 Lev. 19:13, 15 20:1–27 24:19–21

6.       Equal treatment of all citizens. Ex. 22:22–24 23:9 Deut. 15:7–11 Lev. 19:33

7.       Taxing is a legitimate function of government. Matt. 22:17–21

Unregenerate Man and the Laws of Divine Establishment

1.       Marriage to one’s right woman and hard work are key components of the enjoyment of life for the unbeliever. Eccles. 9:9

2.       I have the personal example of an acquaintance of mine, who has been involved with drugs, criminality and hedonism of various types; and yet, when he got married and fathered 2 little boys, stopped doing drugs (insofar as I could tell), that was the happiest and most satisfied I have seen him in his entire life (including the times when he had access to nearly any drug he wanted).

3.       I have mentioned the example before of a nuclear family and criminality. It has been shown by research that the key component to criminality in the United States is not a racial one. A criminal is much more likely to come out of a home headed by a single mother than by a home headed by a mother and father.

4.       Authority orientation is important to the well-being of the unbeliever. Unbelievers need to respect the authority of their parents, the policeman on the street, the teacher in the classroom, etc. We have several generations of African-Americans who are distinctly unhappy, and it is because (1) they have not been evangelized (the gospel is not taught in many of their churches); (2) they are brought up with mental attitude sins specifically against White people; (3) and they have no concept of authority orientation, particularly when it comes to teachers and police, and this is the bane of their existence for the rest of their lives.

5.       As a landlord, I have encountered a huge number of people with varying lifestyles and attitudes. During my tenure, I have had 3 lesbian couples, and one half of that coupling has always been a little crazy and emotionally damaged. This does not mean that I have not had other crazies as tenants, but, right now, it is running 50% for lesbians and about 5% for the others. God designed RM/RW (right man/right woman); He did not designed RW/RW.

6.       Work is very important to the unbeliever. God designed us to work. I have had similar observation of people who did not work but lived on governmental assistance. I can cite numerous instances where these people were maladjusted to life. I recall a mother and daughter who both received governmental assistance, and the daughter had 2 or 3 children living with her. Now, you would think that 2 women, living together, with children, where neither person worked, would have time to raise the children correctly and clean their house. Think again. In the times I was there, the children ran around unsupervised while the two adult women sat on the couch watching tv, smoking cigarettes. As for cleanliness, I ran across something I had never seen in all of my life. On the tops of their kitchen cabinets, there were roach bodies and roach droppings which were literally 2 inches high. The smell and the sight of this was quite remarkable, to put it mildly. This, quite frankly, is abnormal and unhealthy. My point is, when you live outside of God’s laws of divine establishment, your life suffers for it. So do that lives of those who must interact with you (I had to clean that up).

7.       Along these same lines, people who work into their retirement years tend to live longer and keep their wits about them for a longer period of time. Work is an important and integral part of our life, at all ages.

8.       R. B. Thieme, Jr. often used this axiom, which is for believers and unbeliever alike: you cannot build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness. There is no long-lived happiness derived from harassing another person, by attempting to make their lives miserable, by stealing from them, by treating them unfairly. None of these things will make you happy.

9.       Following the final 7 commandments Ten Commandments (with a modification of the 4th commandment) is a key to happiness for the unbeliever.

          1)       Keeping the Sabbath simply means taking a day off for the unbeliever. Work is a part of our lives and so should rest be.

          2)       Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the LORD your God is giving you (Ex. 20:12). This is authority orientation, and the most basic authority orientation an unbeliever can have. It is also a key to reasonable contentment.

          3)       Do not murder (Ex. 20:13). Believers and unbelievers alike run into people that we think, our life would be easier or better if so-and-so was not in the picture. It might be a bully from school, a tenant from hell, a co-worker that constantly lies and gossips about you. The unbeliever’s life is far better off if he keeps his emotions under control and lets it go. Jesus took this particular commandment further and said, “But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Fool!' will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, 'You moron!' will be subject to hellfire.” (Matt. 5:22). An unbeliever is happier if he is not filled with mental attitude sins toward other people. I have known a variety of people in my life, and those who were constantly angry with so-and-so were also unhappy. When they were mad at Charley Brown, Charley may or may not be aware of it; but their mental attitude sins constantly permeated their souls. Someone might cut you off on the freeway, and you fume for the rest of the drive into work even to the point that you snap at your co-workers. For him, it may have been routine 6. Who here is the loser when it comes to happiness and contentment? The person with the mental attitude sins.

          4)       Do not commit adultery (Ex. 20:14). Jesus elevated this as well to lusting in one’s soul for a woman (Matt. 5:27–28). The actual act of adultery may take 5 or 10 minutes, or it may be an affair which continues over several months. However, this potentially destroys a family and the little souls of your children, who are the innocents in this scenario (as is the cuckolded wife or husband, of course). The end result, in many cases, can be months or even years of pain for the adulterer and the innocents in his family.

          5)       Do not steal (Ex. 20:15). The unbeliever will be happier if he obeys this law (especially if caught). I have already given the examples of those on welfare (of one sort or another) who did not work. 2 examples immediately come to mind of such people who spent much of their lives drinking. They were stealing from taxpayers, because they were capable of working; and were so miserable, they had to habitually treat their psyche with alcohol. In the United States, we entered into a pretty nasty recession December of 2007. Much of this was because of individual home buyers who both lied and stole money (they took money from the government by means of filing documents with false information on them) in order to purchase their homes, which homes they later lost. Lying on their applications allowed them to steal taxpayer money in order to purchase these homes. There were mortgage companies who went along with it, knowing that they were lying and not bothering to properly vet these people (I know because of direct phone calls from loan processors). This entire scenario involved pain and suffering for much of the United States, as well as to the principle players involved.

          6)       Do not give false testimony against your neighbor (Ex. 20:16). Court cases are more justly determined when witnesses are honest.

          7)       Do not covet your neighbor's house. Do not covet your neighbor's wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor (Ex. 20:17). This describes much of the Democratic party, whose members seem to be offended that so-and-so makes too much money. What they want is for the government to take (i.e., steal) money from people they believe to be making too much money and to give it to people who have learned how to work the system. As I write this, we have had a far, far left President for nearly 2 years, who followed a very moderate Republican, and the number of those in poverty has increased (1 out of 7 Americans) as well as the number of those receiving some form of governmental assistance (1 out of 6). Greed is one of the fundamental tenets of the Democratic party—they lust over the things which the rich have, and believe that, if they take some of this stuff away, they will be happier...and they never are. It is the conspicuous wealth of the rich which runs part of our economic engine (someone has to make their houses, car, swimming pools and private jets); and there is a great industry of high-end travel. Furthermore, rich people, for the most part, did not become rich because someone gave them the money (through inheritance, for instance), but because they worked for it, which provided a whole host of jobs for other people who work under them. Liberals have the mistaken notion that the poor and the middle class are better off when the government steals from the wealthy and gives entitlements to the poor and middle class, but our citizenry are not happier or better off since with elected a far left president with redistribution of wealth as one of his fundamental principles (violating you will not steal and you will not covet).

          8)       God has warned believers to trust in God and not in man. However, even unbelievers ought not place their trust in man. Awhile ago, a well-to-do middle class American woman gave President Obama the toughest question he has received as president, and it was because this woman was not happier, because she had expected a fundamental change from this man (whatever that means; I would assume a redistribution of wealth), and she was not seeing it. This was an educated woman who was working for the government, her husband worked, and their children went to private schools. This is a woman who, despite her intelligence, did not realize that redistribution of wealth was going to affect her own personal wealth negatively. Her exact quote was: “I'm one of your middle class Americans. And quite frankly, I'm exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for. My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs and beans era of our lives, but, quite frankly, it's starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we're headed again, and, quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly. Is this my new reality?” This is a woman—and no idea if she is a believer or an unbeliever—who had everything right with respect to the laws of divine establishment except, she placed her trust in our president to make her feel better. “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind, who makes human flesh his strength and turns his heart from the LORD.” (Jer. 17:5b). Obviously, the unbeliever cannot turn away from Lord, because it is not there in the first place; but, placing one’s trust in man is devastating to the human soul.

10.     It can be summarized to this: the unbeliever who adheres to the laws of divine establishment will be a happier person with a more stable lifestyle. Unbelievers who buck authority, who do not work, whose heart is filled with lust and desire for things which are not his, who is constantly angry—this is one unhappy unbeliever.

The actual doctrine is approximately 60 pages long and found here:



And please let me again emphasize that these laws are optional in a society; the nation which follows them will prosper and the nation which chooses not to follow them will either be tyrannical or chaotic.

Lesson 110: Genesis 12:10–20                            Abraham and the Pharaoh of Egypt

Gen 12:10–13 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to temporarily reside there, for the famine was severe in the land [of Canaan]. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake."

God did not tell Abram to leave Canaan, so Abram is outside of God’s geographical will. This is confirmed by the fact that Abram decides to lie to the pharaoh of his host country, Egypt. His plan looks to save Abram, but it does not insure Sarai’s safety or purity. Furthermore, this reveals some self righteousness on Abram’s part. He believes that the pharaoh of Egypt would simply kill him to have his wife.

Gen 12:14–15 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman [Sarai] was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace.

Abram’s arrival in Egypt causes quite a stir, because his entourage is the size of a small town. Furthermore, his wife Sarai is noticed and she stands out; so the princes of Pharaoh report back to him that there’s a new gal in town.

Gen 12:16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

Pharaoh does what an honorable man ought to do; he ingratiates himself to this beautiful woman’s “brother” with gifts.

Gen 12:17 But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

This brief historical incident telegraphs Israel’s relationship with Egypt in the future.

Parallels to the Exodus


The Exodus

Abram goes with his family and servants to Egypt because of an economic depression. Gen. 12:10

Joseph (Abram’s great grandson) moves all of his family to Egypt because of an economic depression. Gen. 44–46

Initially, Abram is blessed by being in Egypt and he is given a great many things. Gen. 12:16

Because Joseph was prime minister, his family was greatly blessed in Egypt. Gen. 47

God afflicts Pharaoh with plagues because of Abram’s wife. Gen. 12:17

God afflicts Pharaoh with plagues because of God’s wife (Israel). Ex. 5–11

Pharaoh sends Abram away with his wife, Sarai. Gen. 12:19

Pharaoh sends Moses away with Israel, God’s wife. Ex. 12:31–32

The Bible does this sort of thing again and again. A real life situation will occur, and it will telegraph a real life situation which is to occur again in the future. The Bible is telling us of things which will come to pass. God would, several hundred years from this date, afflict the Pharaoh’s house with great plagues. The idea is, many circumstances in the Bible look forward to other things. in fact, some chapters of the Bible, like Psalm 22 and Isa. 53, give us greater details about the crucifixion even though they were written hundreds of years before the cross. God the Holy Spirit, in this situation, wants us to take what is occurring here and to take it forward into time.

This re-introduces the concept of a type and antitype. Abram going to Egypt is the type; this tells us about a very significant incident which will occur in the future, the exodus, which is an antitype. Throughout most of the Bible, type and antitype speaks of Jesus Christ. However, this parallel establishes the concept of type and antitype early on (as the nation Israel will be aware of both of these incidents for its entire history).

The Bible is the result of man writing down these words as guided and moved by God the Holy Spirit (For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men from God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit—2Peter 1:21). I would go so far as to say, there are some passages where, the human author is telling us one thing, but God the Holy Spirit is telling us something else entirely. In this verse, the author is simply telling us what is transpiring—the Pharaoh has taken Sarai into his harem and is suddenly enduring several unnamed plagues. However, God the Holy Spirit is pointing toward the future, where God will bring many plagues upon the Pharaoh of Egypt, demanding that he let God’s people go. God the Holy Spirit, as the divine Author, uses this incident to foreshadow what would come to pass in the future.

We find this sort of thing often in movies and in literature. Some character, for instance, will make an initial appearance, and this will foreshadow or telegraph the importance of this character at a later date (the same thing may be true of an incident which takes place early in the plot or something which is said). Where did this literary trick come from? The Bible, of course. The only difference with the Bible is, one author may record an incident which will foreshadow something to come, and then, a thousand years later, another author will write about what the previous author was foreshadowing (and the later author may or may not be familiar with what the first author wrote). Both men are guided by God the Holy Spirit, so we may recognize that this literary device originates with God the Holy Spirit.

This portion of Scripture is one of the reasons I believe that this portion of Genesis was well-known to later generations. There is a relationship between God and a particular genealogical line. God has directly interacted with this line. Before, that, God specifically interacted with man, as we have studied so far in the book of Genesis. What sense does it make for this to remain hidden from the descendants of Abram, if there is information about our origins and about God’s interaction with mankind? For this reason, I believe that portions of Genesis not only existed, but were available to some people—at minimum, to Abram and his children (although I believe it was more widespread than that). In fact, in a few chapters, Abram will meet with Melchizedek, and I believe that Melchizedek is the person who hands off the holy Scriptures to Abram. To be very specific, Melchizedek probably possesses Gen. 1:1–11:9 and the book of Job, a copies of which he will give to Abram. Abram either has his family line memorized or has records of it, and will append the Genesis section, and will be the human author of Gen. 11:10–25:11 (or 25:18). We will discuss this in greater detail when we come to Melchizedek.

This narrative is an example why a limited Bible existed during the time of Abram and thereafter: there are parallels being drawn between the experiences of Abram, the father of Israel, and Egypt and those of Abram’s seed and Egypt.

There is a major difference between this pharaoh and the pharaoh of the exodus: when God taps this pharaoh on the shoulder and tells him, “Cool your jets;” this pharaoh pays attention and does what God tells him to do. The pharaoh of the exodus is going to treat God’s urging entirely differently. This tells us that nations evolve and devolve. God will put pressure on this particular pharaoh, and he will respond positively to God. God will put pressure on the pharaoh of Egypt, and he will resist God, no matter what plagues God subjects him to. The pharaoh of Abram’s time will recognize God’s power from the outset, and desires to make things right. The pharaoh of the exodus will resist God with every fibre of his being. In other words, the difference between the 2 pharaohs is positive volition.

The same thing is true of the people of Canaan. During the time of Abram and for several hundred years after, God will allow them to remain in the land, because they, for the most part, adhere to the laws of divine establishment and they are not dramatically degenerate (except for those of Sodom and Gomorrah). However, these same people, 500 years in the future, will be so degenerate, that God will have the Jews destroy most of them (which will also be foreshadowed).

Gen 12:17 But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

God does not desert Abram because he is out of God’s geographical will. God does not desert Abram because he is out of fellowship. God does not go back to Canaan, and stand there tapping His foot, waiting for Abram to return. God deals with Abram where he is, in the place that he is at. God always works with us right where we are, and not where we ought to be.

Unlike the Pharaoh of the exodus, this Pharaoh is a lot more receptive to God speaking to him through tragedy and difficulties. All of a sudden, this Pharaoh’s life has turned to crap and he goes back over his life, and pinpoints when things changed—and it is when he took Sarai into his harem. He is able to tie together choices which he has made to circumstances in his life.

Somehow, the Pharaoh eventually finds out that Sarai is not Abram’s sister, but his wife. We are not given any details on this, but let me suggest, he got this from direct interview. He goes to Sarai in his harem, takes her aside, and starts out with, “Now don’t you lie to me, little missy.” Perhaps he did not use the vocative, little missy, but he had, after a question or two, the explanation. When everything seems to go wrong in the house of pharaoh, he probably turned to Sarai and asked, what is going on? Do you know what is going on? Sarah may have even told him about the God of Abram. It is also possible that God spoke to pharaoh in a dream.

No matter how pharaoh came to this understanding, he then summoned Abram. He has already determined that Abram is Sarai’s husband; now he is going to confirm this directly with Abram. This tells us that pharaoh is a reasonable, thinking man, who wants to assemble all of the evidence before him before making any decision.

Gen 12:18 So pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?

The reaction of the pharaoh is far different from the one that Abram had predicted. The fact that Sarai is Abram’s wife is an important detail to the pharaoh. What immediately comes to my mind are 2 divine establishment laws: you will not commit adultery and you will not covet your neighbor’s wife. These are not laws for believers. These are not principles for mature believers. These are laws for all mankind. This pharaoh recognizes that he ought not to cavort with another man’s wife.

We do not know how pharaoh knew this—was man simply aware at that time of the sacredness of marriage? There was no Mosaic Law yet—that is 500 years into the future. Pharaoh understood that his violating Abram’s marriage was wrong and he understood that lying was wrong as well. Whether this morality was ingrained in much of mankind, we do not know. In any case, pharaoh understood these things.

On top of all this, Abram lied to pharaoh. Again, another divine establishment law. So the pharaoh continues to upbraid Abram.

Gen 12:19 Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go."

This Pharaoh is obviously of a higher moral caliber than Abram. Had Abram simply told that truth, that Sarai was his wife, nothing would have happened to him or to her. I want you to notice how irrational Abram’s thinking has been. He has walked through the middle of a country inhabited by Canaanites and absolutely nothing happened to him. He is safe in the midst of these (mostly) Hamitic peoples. God promised to make a great nation of him. Abram has his own experience in Canaan coupled with God’s Word, both of which assure him that he is protected. Yet, he goes to Egypt, and his faith in God’s promise to him seems to disappear. What happened? Abram got out of the geographical will of God, and that would have been a result of faulty spiritual thinking, which would have been a result of being out of fellowship. Therefore, in Egypt, Abram continues to compound his mistakes as he remains out of fellowship.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have two things that we can depend upon: the experience of God in our lives and what He has done on our behalf; and we have the many promises and assurances from the Word of God which we can depend upon. If God has a plan for our lives—and if we are growing spiritually—that plan will be carried out. What’s more is, we can depend upon God for His protection.

Gen 12:20 And pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

Pharaoh orders his men not to harm Abram or his wife. They had orders not to do anything untoward to Abram. The attitude of this Pharaoh is far different from the Pharaoh in Egypt during the time of Moses. This Pharaoh endures a few plagues, and he gets it right away. He understands what is happening, and he adapts, he does not rebel against God.

Abram has made an horrendous mistake in his dealing with Pharaoh, and yet God still allows him to retain all of his wealth.

At this point, we do not know what happened to this pharaoh. I think that he believed in Jehovah Elohim, the God of Abram. Despite the fact that Abram lied to pharaoh, pharaoh saw the power and reality of God, and responded to this positively. Pharaoh did what God wanted him to do; this suggests that pharaoh believed in the God of Abram, meaning we will meet this pharaoh in heaven.

Lesson 111: Genesis 12:10–20 13:1–5   Lessons from Egypt; Returning to Canaan

Let’s see if we can review Gen. 12:10–20, and then draw some conclusions from this chapter.

Gen 12:10–20 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to temporarily reside there, for the famine was severe in the land [of Canaan]. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake." When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman [Sarai] was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. So pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go." And pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

In Gen. 12, Abram had gone down to Egypt because there was a drought in Canaan (which refers to an economic recession in an agricultural society). He ran into some problems with the Pharaoh of Egypt, but they were of Abram’s own making. Some time later, Abram exits from Egypt (the narrative suggests that Abram did not remain in Egypt very long).

Clearly, God was testing Abram, and Abram failed the test. Sometimes God expects you to stay right where you are, in the midst of difficulties; and sometimes, God uses these difficulties to get you to move on. When you have a soul filled with doctrine, distinguishing between the two becomes easier (otherwise, you often do what you feel like doing; and some do exactly the opposite of what they feel like doing). In any case, despite the great amount of blessing Abram had received, he still took an unauthorized leave.

Abram faced a crisis, and that was the economic pressure of a famine. Abram had 2 choices: he could stay or he could go. Leaving, as we have studied, was the wrong choice, and this led to a host of wrong choices after that (one of which was examined in the previous chapter).

God’s ideal is for us to experience spiritual growth via Bible doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit (2Peter 3:18). However, some people do not learn this way, so that God teaches them through difficulties, testing and circumstance. This is known as learning the hard way, which is just what happened to Abram. You may have not been very impressed by this, but Abram was embarrassed and humiliated. He puts together this stupid plan and he looked foolish before the pharaoh of Egypt, who simply followed the laws of divine establishment.

You will notice that, in the latter half of Gen. 12, God did not speak directly to Abram. Once Abram packed up and went to Egypt, God stopped dealing with him directly. He wa outside of God’s will. However, God was still there, working behind the scenes (Gen. 12:17).

Now let’s put this together. God made promises to Abram (Gen. 12:1–3). That is Bible doctrine. Abram chose not to believe that doctrine, which is a breakdown of spiritual growth. You only grow spiritually when you believe Bible doctrine, as per Heb. 4:2 (For to us was the gospel [the good news about Jesus Christ, which is the most fundamental form of Bible doctrine] proclaimed, as well as to them: but the word proclaimed [to them] did not profit them, because it was not mixed with faith in [the souls of] them that heard it). Abram did not believe these promises. We know this because, when he went into Egypt, he lied about Sarai, which was unnecessary, because God was going to make a great nation of Abram (Gen. 12:2).

Therefore, since Abram chose not to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jehovah Elohim, God teaches him through testing (first the famine and then the humiliation before pharaoh). All Abram had to do was to believe what God told him, and the latter half of Gen. 12 would have been avoided.

If you have personal honor and integrity, then you can understand how embarrassed Abram was before pharaoh, someone he thought was morally inferior to him (Gen. 12:11–13). Yet, in simple morality, pharaoh shows himself to be superior to Abram. This tells us one more thing: morality is not the Christian way of life. God doesn’t look down, reevaluate the situation, and decide, “You know what, this pharaoh character catches on a lot more quickly than Abram does. I think I am going to move my blessing from morally inferior Abram to the pharaoh.” But God does not do that.

Abram has failed, and he recognizes this. Therefore, he decides to go back to the last place where he had fellowship with God.

God, on several occasions, is going to speak to Abram and make promises to him. Abram has already believed Jehovah Elohim, and has imputed righteousness because of that (Gen. 15:6), but he does not place his faith in God’s Word. Therefore, God will repeat these promises and, on occasion, add to them. That is, God will build doctrine upon doctrine (specifically, in this case, promises upon promises). There will be a point at which Abram will understand God’s promises and believe them, resulting in the birth of his son, Isaac

Gen 13:1 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negev.

Remember that the Negev is southern Canaan (Palestine). Abram and company are coming out of Egypt, where he had been out of God’s geographical will. Abram had been overly concerned about a famine in the land of Canaan, so he traveled outside of God’s will in order to deal with the famine. However, now he is going back where he ought to be.

Gen 13:2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

In the previous chapter, you will recall that Canaan was in the midst of an economic downturn, so bad that Abram felt he ought to move to Egypt. And yet, here, we find out that Abram is rich in livestock, silver and gold. God is able to bless us, despite surrounding economic conditions. This is important as an application to us today, as I write this during a time when the world is in an economic downturn. God may or may not choose to bless us materially, but that is unrelated to the environment in which we find ourselves. There were many millionaires whose fortunes increased during the Great Depression (just as many millionaires lost their fortunes during this time). Your own personal finances are an outgrowth of your relationship to Jesus Christ and not a result of whatever economic downturn or upturn you find yourself to be in.

It is also important to note that, even though Abram lied to Pharaoh about his wife; God did not severely punish Abram and take away all of his material blessings. Abram continued to be quite wealthy. In fact, he became more wealthy in Egypt because of the Pharaoh’s gifts.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we make a lot of mistakes. We all sin. This does not mean the end of our lives. God has made provision for these things, which can include, of course, divine discipline. However, such things will not necessarily end our spiritual lives. We get up, we dust ourselves off, and go back to the land of promise, where God wants us to be.

You will notice what is missing from this narrative—anything which has to do with the famine in the land. There is no telling how long Abram was in Egypt (probably, less than a year). There is no indication that, Abram returns to the land and the famine is all over. It is simply a non-issue. We learn that the famine motivates Abram to go to Egypt, but the famine itself has no real impact on Abram’s life. This is an extremely important spiritual principle: we may face a dramatic change in circumstances, but we are who we are, and God is Who He is. The circumstances are inconsequential. You may live in a country being invaded, a country under attack. It doesn’t matter. Your country might be falling into socialism. It doesn’t matter. You are who you are and God is Who He is. God will vindicate the doctrine in your soul, no matter what the circumstances are around you. If you have no doctrine in your soul, then there is nothing there with which God can work.

Abram has doctrine in his soul; he was out of God’s geographical will, and he is getting back into God’s geographical will. He went into Egypt rich with possessions and he exits Egypt rich with possessions. He made a mistake, he is correcting that mistake, and God has not impacted his temporal blessing.

Abram will be going from Egypt to Bethel, which can be seen in the map below.

In 2Samuel, we have a much more dramatic set of circumstances, where King David gets way, way out of fellowship; and he eventually falls into national disaster (there is a revolution in his country spearheaded by one of his own sons). Yet, when the smoke clears and the dust settles, David will have everything which God blessed him with, despite David’s sins and personal shortcomings.

genesis101_200.gifAbram will go from Egypt, which is southwest of the lower left-hand corner of this map, up to Bethel, which is at the center top of this map.

From http://www.bible-history.com/map-davids-kingdom/israel_davids_kingdom_shg.jpg

I am not saying that, no matter what, God will restore you to all that He has given you. However, there are 2 examples here where both Abram and David got out of God’s will (David for an extended period of time), and God still blessed them. The key appears to be that, both David and Abram recognize their mistake and want to get back on board with God’s plan; and they both have souls filled with divine viewpoint (they were able to think from the Bible doctrine which was in their souls).

Gen 13:3 And he journeyed on from the Negev as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,

The Negev is the mostly uninhabited wilderness area between southern Judah and Egypt, so Abram is obviously on his way back to the Land of Promise. This area is now desert, although that was not necessarily the case in Abram’s day.

Bethel and Ai are roughly in the center of Canaan, not far from Jericho (Bethel can be seen on the map above).

There is a word here that is hidden in many translations: maçça‛ (מַסַּע) [pronounced mahs-SAH] means a pulling up [of stakes]; breaking camp; setting out; travels, journeys, journeying; stages. You may recognize that the transliteration of this word is the familiar term Mecca. Strong's #4550 BDB #652. It simply means that Abram, when going from Egypt, through the Negev and on up to Bethel, that this took some time. He and his crew would stop, make camp, and then pull up stakes and set out again.

Note that Abram’s thinking here is to go back to where he was at the beginning. The idea here is, Abram got out of God’s geographical will and went down to Egypt. When he realizes that he was out of God’s will, he pulled up stakes and moved back to where God led him in the first place. Here is the concept: Abram knows that he wandered from God, so, in order to rectify that problem, he goes back to the last place where he was clearly in God’s will.

Gen 13:4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD.

Abram realizes that he has made some errors in his life. What is the solution? He goes back to the point at which everything was spiritually sound. When I first read this, I first thought, superstition; however, as I reread it, it is clear that Abram was simply going back to a point where he knew he ought to be.

We have all failed, some of us more spectacularly than others. For many of us, this does not mean that you automatically pick up everything you have and move back home (or, wherever). You get with the Word of God; you study the Word of God under a pastor-teacher, and, in many cases, you will pick back up where you left off. You will go back to the place where you were advancing spiritually, and from there, you continue that advance.

God is going to put Abram to a geographical test again. In the previous test, Abram failed, and he went to Egypt. This time, God is going to put Abram in a similar test, and this time, Abram will apply doctrine (what God has promised him) and he will pass.

Gen 13:5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,

Abram was rich because of his relationship with God. Lot was rich because of his relationship with Abram. In the case of Lot, this is known as blessing by association, and it is found throughout the Bible.

Lesson 112: Genesis 13:1–5                                                   Blessing by Association

We have completed Gen. 12 and, in the previous lesson, we studied the first 5 verses of Gen. 13:

Gen 13:1–5 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negev. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD. And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,...

As we will find, Abram is a growing believer who trusts in God and he will come to believe in the promises of God given to him. Lot, despite being quite self-righteous (as we will find out), will still end up doing some very morally repugnant stuff in Gen. 19. However, here both Abram and Lot have all kinds of material blessings. God has blessed Abram directly but He has blessed Lot by association. Lot is associated with a growing believer (Abram) and he is therefore blessed because of this.

It ought to fascinate you that Abram is very rich, and yet, he has just failed spiritually and been humiliated before someone he believed to be morally inferior to him (the pharaoh of Gen. 12). Despite this spiritual failure, Abram is still being materially blessed by God. Furthermore, Abram’s nephew Lot is also rich, the blessing of Abram spilling over onto him.

I’ve mentioned the concept of blessing by association on several occasions, so let me present the doctrine.

Allow me to add a few words to your vocabulary (as all true disciplines require a technical vocabulary): Reversionism is reverting back to the sins and/or self righteousness of one’s pre-salvation life. A reversionist is a person who has reverted by to his sinful and/or self righteous life. A client nation is a nation through which God works.

Many people do not understand self righteousness as being a part of the life of the unbeliever. Let me give you some examples: those people who talk about the rich not paying their own fair share of taxes; who associate taxes with giving to good and wonderful causes—these are often sanctimonious, self-righteous people (some of whom are believers and some of whom are unbelievers). Rabid environmentalists and climate change alarmists also tend to be very smug and self righteous.

The Doctrine of Blessing by Association

1.       Definition of blessing by association:

          1)       Once a believer reaches spiritual maturity, God begins to pour blessings upon him, so that these blessings overflow to those around him. Sometimes God pours out blessings on those who are simply advancing spiritually.

          2)       Often, God blesses those people with whom this mature believer (or growing believer) is associated.

          3)       Sometimes the mature believer himself will be a blessing in a variety of ways to those with whom he associations.

2.       There are 6 categories of blessing by association:

          1)       Spiritual periphery: those associated with mature believers in the local church, in prayer meetings, in prep school (Sunday school), on a deacon board, or on a mission board, or in association with any Christian service organization.

                     (1)      A caveat: when a church does not fulfill its function of teaching the Word of God, God may not bless that church directly. However, there is a normal happiness and blessing which comes from fulfilling the laws of divine establishment. Some churches teach morality, which does not advance its members spiritually, but it does cause them to line up with the laws of divine establishment. So, believers (and unbelievers) within a church may have better lives in general, but it is simply because they are trying to be moral and living according to the laws of divine establishment. This is not a matter of God blessing the members of that church, but simply a matter of natural law.

          2)       Family periphery: husband, wife, parents, children, in-laws, relatives. Even unbelievers or negative believers are blessed by association with the mature believer in their family periphery.

          3)       Social periphery: friends.

          4)       Geographical periphery: those associated with the mature believer in a neighborhood, city, country, state, and nation. Mature believers within a nation preserve that nation. This is known as historical impact. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness [preservative qualities] be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.” (Matt. 5:13). See also Gen. 18:26–33.

          5)       Professional periphery: businesses, stores, schools of all types, hospitals, medical clinics, law firms, engineering firms, branches of military service, law enforcement agencies, banks, various financial institutions, insurance companies, athletic teams, symphony orchestras, etc. You can be the janitor for a huge corporation, and that corporation can prosper because you are the janitor there (assuming you are a maturing believer).

          6)       Blessing by association after death: In certain cases like parents to children. The righteous man who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him (Prov. 20:7). This can extend to the second and third generations, and in rare cases to the fourth generation. One might argue that Abraham’s great spiritual blessings continue down today to the Jews.

                     (1)      The only great nation in the Middle East is Israel, by far, despite the terror attacks and bombings. This is a combination of many things: God blesses them because of their genetic association with Abraham, because believers live in Israel, because believers pray for Israel, and because they adhere to morality and the laws of divine establishment.

3.       One of the unique aspects of you, as a believer, in reaching spiritual maturity, is that God will use you as a channel of His blessings. When you are saved, the potential for temporal blessings is set up via the grace pipeline (the channel by which God’s righteousness blesses the righteousness which He has imputed to you at salvation). Gen. 15:6 Psalm 24:5 Matt. 5:6 Rom. 4:6

4.       We have already studied Abraham and the Jews as a conduit of blessing: “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.” (Gen. 12:2).

          1)       Jews are a special case of blessing by association. God only chose one genetic-specific group of people to bless throughout human history (and God blesses those who bless Israel as well).

          2)       If one had to choose one nation in the Middle East to live in, most knowledgeable people would choose Israel, as they provide the greatest environment and the greatest amount of freedom in the Middle East. Everywhere else, there is religious tyranny and oppressive governmental tyranny. Christians and Jews are routinely taken to court and even executed for their crime of having the wrong faith.

          3)       The Republican party was cursed because they willingly associated with anti-Semites for many years. As a result, this party produced two good Presidents from 1900–1975 (Coolidge and Eisenhower) and a lot of mediocre ones (Harding and Nixon). Furthermore, this party, for the most part, had comparatively little power in the 1900's. One of the greatest presidential candidates ever was defeated, in part, because of anti-Semitism (Barry Goldwater, who was beaten by one of the worse presidents in American history). As antisemitism was being rooted out of the Republican party, Republican presidents went from bad (Nixon), to okay (Ford) to great (Reagan). It was William F. Buckley who began to weed out the antisemitic element of the Republican party.

5.       God blesses people and nations and companies directly and/or indirectly because of their association with a mature believer.

          1)       An example of indirect blessing by association: a vice president who is a mature believer, might bring in a great deal of business for the company that he works for, and, as a result, that is a blessing to that company. That is blessing which spills over from the vice president to the companies and those employed by the company (indirect blessing).

          2)       However, a mature believer may work for another company as a janitor, and God may bless that company directly because of the janitor. That is, God may cause that company to become extremely prosperous. It is not spillover from blessing to the janitor, but blessing directly from God to that company.

          3)       Lot, in association with Abram, received both direct and indirect blessing from God.

6.       People are blessed by association with leaders who are mature believers, in such areas as business, military, athletics, marriage, family and church. Blessings overflow from the leader to those under the authority of the leader. There are examples throughout Scripture, Lot is blessed by his association with Abram; Israel was blessed as a nation under David; David’s army was blessed by being under David. Proverbs 11:11 says that a leader who is a mature believer blesses the city-state, but association with the reversionist destroys the city-state. Proverbs 11:11 A city is built up by the blessing of the upright, but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked.

7.       The mature believer is not to speak ill of those around him, even if they are negative toward Bible doctrine or the gospel or if they reject divine establishment truth. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them (Rom. 12:14). If we do not have mental attitude sins against those who are unbelievers, then we do not interfere with their response to the gospel.

          1)       A client nation is a nation through which God works.

          2)       Unbelievers will use the life, actions and verbal sins of believers as excuses to reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.     

8.       Although the Roman government at first persecuted Christians, it was transformed into a client nation to God because of all the believers in the Roman empire. The Christian leader Tertullian spoke of believers throughout the Roman empire (circa a.d. 200): “We are but of yesterday, and we have filled every place among you, [your] cities, islands, fortresses, towns, market-places, the very camp, tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum; we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.”

9.       There is also guilt by association. The innocent suffer because of their association with the guilty. People are cursed by association with a reversionist. Even a mature believer can be cursed by his association with a reversionistic believer. Jonathan was the son of King Saul and Jonathan was a great man, who was able to defer to David and recognize that David would be king over Israel (Jonathan recognized this even though Jonathan was in line to become king of Israel). However, Jonathan died in battle with his reversionist father Saul. Another example is Sodom and Gomorrah. We have not studied this yet, but these cities have very degenerate people in them, and, for that reason, these cities will be destroyed (Gen. 18).

          1)       Reversionism is reverting back to the sins and/or self righteousness of one’s pre-salvation life. A reversionist is a person who has reverted by to his sinful and/or self righteous life.

          2)       A simple example of guilt-by-association is, a kid who gets drawn into a group who commit criminal acts. He may choose to hang out with this group, and they may choose to drive somewhere to commit a crime. He will suffer the legal consequences even though he may not have known what they were intending to do.

10.     The believer is both blessed and prospered because he is associated with Jesus Christ. The mature believer who is occupied with Christ is certainly blessed by this association. The disciples of Jesus are wonderful examples. It would be very difficult to find men who were less competent than these disciples, who would argue about which one is the greatest; and yet, later deserted Jesus when He was taken into Roman custody (except for John). These men, who lacked both courage and intelligence, became great men, most of whom suffered a martyr’s death. They were afforded a great deal of protection in their association with Jesus Christ, as Jesus once told Peter that Satan wanted to sift him like wheat. Peter’s association with Jesus Christ protected him.

11.     Sometimes the believer wrongly associates present disaster with past sins. This is cursing by imagination or cursing by having a guilt complex. Psalm 40:12 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; they are more numerous than the hairs of my head; and my heart has failed me. Rebound (naming your sins to God) is the believer associating his sins with the judgment of these sins on the cross. We deal with all sins by means of rebound.

12.     The believer is influenced by sexual association. In fact, a mature believer can be brought down and cursed by his association with carnal believers or degenerate unbelievers. King Solomon is an example of this. He was negatively influenced by the religion of the many wives that he had and, as a result, a great portion of his life was spiritually unproductive. 1Kings 11:2–9 Ecclesiastes

13.     The believer is influenced by social association. A believer can be influenced for evil or for good by the company he keeps. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals. When a young person gets caught up in a group which does drugs or crime, he will certainly become corrupted as well. A simple rule of thumb for the young believer: if a group of kids commit any sort of crime—including smoking marijuana—then you need to find new friends.

14.     Some blessing comes directly from the mature believer himself. The mature believer might share time or material wealth with those in need. God blesses the mature believer and he, in turn, pours out some of this blessing on others. Rom. 12:13 1Cor. 16:1

15.     Blessing by association explains why there is a call for separation from some believers and unbelievers. This is an entirely new topic, but suffice to say that God often calls for believers to separate from other believers; particularly from those who would bring you down (that is, attempt to focus your attention away from the Word of God). There is also a call to separate from unbelievers who are particularly carnal. If you had a drug problem, then it might not be the best thing for you to hang out with those who are presently using drugs.

16.     Blessing by association can explain why the wicked sometimes prosper. Psalm 73:3 Jer. 12:1

17.     An example of blessing by association is taught in Prov. 31:10–31 where a woman is a blessing to her husband, her children and to her community.

18.     There is also a mutual blessing by association. Much of the book of Philippians exemplifies this. The Philippian church was filled with maturing believers, so that Paul was blessed by being able to teach them, and they were blessed by Paul teaching them. 2Cor. 11:9 Philip. 4:15–16

19.     The preservation and blessing of the United States depends upon many types of blessings.

          1)       Within the United States, there are many mature and growing believers; God blesses the nation because of the geographical association with them.

          2)       In order to have mature and growing believers, there must be churches that teach the Word of God. The United States is blessed because such churches exist within its borders.

          3)       Those who founded our nation based the founding principles upon Bible doctrine, so that we receive a heritage blessing from them. At the top of the original charters of many groups who settled the United States was to spread the good news of Jesus Christ (which is almost never taught in American history courses).

          4)       Our nation supports the nation Israel, and because of this alliance, God blesses us.

          5)       The United States also sends out missionaries throughout the world.

          6)       So, there are dozens of reasons why our nation ought to be taken down; and those are 5 reasons why we have continued to exist with great prosperity. Even in the present-day recession that we are in, the poor of our nation are far better off than the middle class of most other nations.

20.     One of the internal struggles of the United States is between those who are anti-God, anti-Christian and/or anti-laws of divine establishment and those who adhere to the laws of divine establishment. The former faction seeks to turn the United States into a country of European-style socialism (which nations are under tremendous discipline due to cursing by association, among other things). Do you think that it is just an accident of chance that European countries have become flooded with Muslims?





Abram was quite prosperous, he failed, and he is still quite prosperous. Lot is with him, and Lot is blessed by association with Abram. We know this because these 2 men will go their separate ways and, in the end, Lot will come away with nothing. He spent time separated from Abram so that he was no longer blessed by association.

If you are a growing believer, then you will receive blessings from God. However, so will your family, the company that you work for, the city that you live in, the state that you live in, etc. As God pours blessings upon you, these blessings spill over to those around you. Sometimes, these peripheral things and people are blessed because that is your blessing. That is, the company that you work for may be greatly blessed so that you, as an employee, get to enjoy some of these blessings.

Lesson 113: Genesis 13:1–4                                           Literary Devices in Scripture

In the previous lesson, we covered the doctrine of blessing by association. Let’s look at a modern-day example. R. B. Thieme, Jr. moved down to Houston, Texas to teach at Berachah Church in 1950. He later moved the church building out to what was thought to be prairie land too far out from the city of Houston. However, his church now sits on top of one of the most expensive pieces of dirt in all of Houston in one of the most prosperous areas in Houston, which is, coincidentally enough, one of the most prosperous cities in the United States in the most prosperous state in the United States. At Berachah Church, there was a concentration of believers who were (and are) interested in the Word of God and in spiritual growth. Therefore, God has greatly blessed this great city (and state and country); it is blessing by association.

Being a growing believer or being in close association with a growing believer does not mean that you live a life without problems or difficulties; nor does it mean that God automatically gives you a million dollars (or, whatever). However, those associated with maturing believers receive both direct and indirect blessing from God.

Nevertheless, if you are a growing believer, then you ought to be able to enumerate the blessings which God has given you. You ought to be able to specifically point to things which God has given you as gifts, and recognize them as blessings (and by things, I do not mean only material possessions). You may have material blessings, spiritual blessings, familial blessings, environmental blessings, vocational blessings, health blessings, or a combination of these. If you are unable to enumerate your blessings—if it is not obvious to you or you do not fully appreciate where you are, then your problem is spiritual.

Again, let me reiterate, this does not mean that you are rich, living in a new house, with all new furniture, with a new car in the driveway, a performing stock portfolio, and the perfect marriage partner in the kitchen making you bacon and eggs right now (just the way you like them). However, that God has blessed you, should be undeniable. That God has given you far more than you deserve, should also be undeniable. A growing believer not only has these blessings but recognizes them as well. Now, you may be the poorest person that you know and still be able to recognize and enumerate all that God has blessed you with.

We got to this discussion because Lot was blessed by being in association with Abram. In the next half-dozen chapters, it will become clear that Lot is being blessed because of Abram and not vice versa.

Gen 13:1–4a So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negev. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. to the place where he had made an altar at the first.

You will notice how these first few verses read—they are all about Abram, Abram is very rich, and Lot is with him. These alone tell us that God is blessing Abram, and that nephew Lot is along for the ride.

Gen. 13:4 And there [where Abram returned to] Abram called upon the name of the LORD.

This is the third time we have come upon the phrase, to call upon the name of Jehovah. The words found here are all quite common and found many times in the Bible, which actually makes it more difficult to interpret this phrase. Literally, this portion of the verse reads: And so calls out there Abram in a name of Yehowah. This could also be translated: And so there Abram calls out by means of [the] name of Yehowah. In the many times that this phrase occurs, it sounds as if (in most translations) that someone calls out to God one time, expecting that God will answer them. However, this is nearly always in the imperfect tense, which indicates continuous or future action. The verb has a variety of related meanings: to call, cry, utter a loud sound; to call unto, cry (for help), call (with name of God); to proclaim; to read aloud, read (to oneself), read; to summon, invite, call for, call and commission, appoint, call and endow; to call, name, give name to, call by (Brown Driver Briggs definitions). If a person were to summon God, the verb would reasonably followed by unto God or, more likely, unto Yehowah (the latter being the personal name of God, usually referring to the second Person of the Trinity). We do not have the preposition unto or even the preposition to, but the preposition be (בְּ) [pronounced beh], which usage and meaning consumes over 3 pages in Brown-Driver-Briggs, even though this word was never even assigned a Strong’s number. It is most often translated by the Greek preposition ἐν, and is most often translated in or by [means of]. However, be (בְּ) can also be translated into, through; at, near, on, upon; with, before, against; among; within, in the midst of; at, before, in the presence of, to, unto, up to; in respect to, on account of; because of; by means of, about, concerning. Sometimes it simply acts somewhat like the mark of a direct object. It points to the thing that the action of the verb acts upon. Therefore, fixing a meaning on this phrase is difficult because there are so many ways it can be reasonably translated. A very reasonable translation would be: And there Abram proclaims the name [reputation] of Yehowah. Footnote Therefore, the notion that Abram has not talked to God for a long time and now he is calling out God’s name so that God will come down and talk to him is not necessarily what this verse means. The offering of the animal sacrifices upon the altar proclaims the character of God.

When it comes to an altar, we may understand that what occurs on that altar are blood sacrifices. Consistently, throughout the Old Testament, from the skins used to cover Adam and Eve up to the time of our Lord, there are lambs (and other animals), without spot or blemish, being sacrificed to God, their throats being slit open and their blood poured out upon the many altars. These blood sacrifices all looked forward to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. Jesus offering Himself for our sins proclaims God’s love, righteousness, justice and fairness (which things are the essence or reputation or name of Jehovah).

How the Altar Proclaims the Essence or Character of Jehovah

God’s Essence

Old Testament Approach

The Cross of Jesus Christ


That one could sacrifice an animal and have his sin covered is a demonstration of God’s love.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).


God’s essence could not have anything to do with sin, so that sin has to be covered. You, God, love righteousness and hate wickedness (Psalm 45:7).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rm. 6:23). No man is justified by the law in the sight of God (Gal. 3:11a).


The penalty for the sin is symbolically transferred to the animal, as God’s justice must function. The soul who sins shall die (Ezek. 18:20a).

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1Peter 2:24).


There is no limitation upon who might take part in such a ritual.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

The altars upon which innocent animals were sacrificed both looked forward to the true payment of sins by Jesus Christ and simultaneously proclaimed the character of Jehovah Elohim.

Also, God the Holy Spirit will bracket this chapter with Abram building an altar here to God and in the final verse of this chapter (Gen. 13:18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and lived among the oaks of Mamre, which were in Hebron; and he built an altar to Jehovah there) . This is God the Holy Spirit telling us that Abram is back in fellowship. He is in God’s geographical will. Recall that Abram got out of fellowship and out of God’s geographical will and went down to Egypt and embarrassed himself before the pharaoh of Egypt. All of this stuff occurred, and yet God the Holy Spirit did not specifically tell us, “Now Abram, when he went down to Egypt, was out of God’s geographical will.” We figured this out based upon what the text said and what the text did not say.

Here, in these first few verses, we are told that Abram returns to where he made an altar originally, so this is God the Holy Spirit telling us that Abram has rebounded (i.e., he named his sins to God), and he is therefore back in fellowship with God. Again, God the Holy Spirit does not tell us specifically, “Then Abram named his sins to God and also got back into fellowship and then back into God’s geographical will.” This information is conveyed to us by literary device or literary symbolism, which becomes quite important when trying to interpret and understand narrative, where very few qualifiers might be offered. That is, in most narratives, the action does not stop, and then there is a proclamation from God, “And that, by the way, was a very bad idea.” Or, “And, in case you could not figure it out, Abram is now out of fellowship and is about to get out of God’s geographical will.” Such things occur, but only on rare occasion. After David’s great sin with Bathsheba, which culminated in his having Bathsheba’s husband killed, Scripture reads: But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD (2Sam. 11:27b). Sometimes, historical incidents are reviewed later in Scripture (e.g., Moses teaching about the exodus in Deuteronomy or various psalmists explaining the exodus centuries later). However, most of the time, narrative is left for us to read and interpret and by us, (by us, I mean a pastor-teacher or a commentator).

So that there is no misunderstanding, I am a literalist and I take the Bible literally. However, this does not mean that I am unable to recognize various literary devices. Gen. 11:1 literally reads: And so all the land [or, earth] is one language and a united vocabulary. Land does not speak; the earth does not have a verbal language or a vocabulary. We understand that all the land is a metonym for all the people on earth. In fact, many figures of speech are so obvious, like this one, that we read it and understand it without stopping to realize that the literal understanding of this sentence makes no sense. Many figures of speech come to us so naturally that our mind does not even process the fact that we are reading (or hearing) a figure of speech.

The Bible is filled with literary devices and figures of speech. It is common to find ellipsis, foreshadowing, aposiopesis, inclusio, repetition, parallelisms, hyperbole, anacoluthon, metonym, idiom, etc. in the Word of God. There is a 1000+ page book by Bullinger called Figures of Speech Used in the Bible; and it lays out hundreds of literary figures of speech, devices and tricks which are found in the Bible (which book can now be found on the internet, which information I will give to you later in this lesson).

Let me remind you of the definition of inspiration of the Bible: God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture, that without waving their human intelligence, individuality, literary style, personal feelings or any other human factor, His own complete and coherent message to man was recorded in perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words bearing the authority of divine authorship. The literary style of the human author would include a variety of literary devices and figures of speech. Furthermore, there is nothing in the definition of inspiration which precludes the human authors or even God the Holy Spirit from making use of literary devices.

I gave the example of this chapter being bookended by Abram and an altar, which tells us that Abram is where he ought to be. Now, did Abram decide to mention an altar twice in order to convey that he was right with God spiritually, or did God the Holy Spirit do that?

Let me give you a non-answer—just as the Bible is the written word of man and the Word of God, so Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God, fully man and fully God. When He spoke, He did not reveal every bit of this information with everything He said (when you meet someone new and they say, “Hi, how are you?” this does not reveal everything there is to know about their character). So, when Jesus speaks of the Father being greater than He, then He is speaking from His humanity. When He said, “I and the Father are One;” He is speaking from His Deity. And when He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but through Me;” He is speaking from His hypostatic union (the union of His humanity and Deity).

Therefore, sometimes in the Bible, it is clear that the information being conveyed, on one level, comes from the human author. Abram is conveying true history here, where he returns to where he built this first altar and this chapter will close with Abram building an altar. That really happened. At the same time, these words are also the Word of God which indicate to us that Abram is in fellowship. And I have even suggested that, there are times when a verse means one thing from the human perspective, and yet, something different from God’s perspective. So you can see the analogous relationship between Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, and the Bible, the written Word of God (although this is not an exact analogy).

The point being made here, by literary device, is that Abram is back where he should be (he is in the geographical will of God); and he is also in fellowship with God. We know this, not by an outright statement, but by literary device.

Richard Salt has a webpage called Virtual Salt; and on this particular page http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm, he lists about 60 rhetorical devices. He is simply teaching literature on his website, but these terms also describe various rhetorical devices found in Holy Writ. Many psalms are so carefully constructed, that understanding them is dependent upon understanding their literary construction (just as we understand in this chapter that Abram is in God’s will because the altars he has built bookends this chapter).

If you recall, the events of the flood were recounted in a chiasmos (χ) format (Lesson #80). The key to these chapters and the center of those chapters was the clear emphasis of those chapters, which was obvious as long as you could see the chiasmos format. Let me suggest that, possibly from the human perspective, the chiasmos format made it easier to recall all of the events of the flood (a mnemonic device, perhaps); and God the Holy Spirit used this format to tell us what was most important in that narrative. So you have a human purpose and a divine purpose—which purposes are different yet not at odds with one another—by means of the same literary device.

Lesson 114: Genesis 13:1–4            Literary Devices/Figures of Speech in the Bible

So far we have studied:

Gen 13:1–4 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negev. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there [where Abram returned to] Abram proclaimed the name of Yehowah.

Because we found an altar at the beginning and end of this chapter, we drew the conclusion that Abram is both in God’s geographical will and in His directive will. Taking the Bible literally does not mean that you give a literal meaning to each and every phrase you read. The example which I gave was Gen. 11:1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. Nobody has ever read that verse and assumed that the ground actually spoke a language. The whole earth is a metonym for the entire population of the earth. A metonym is a figure of speech which means that one thing is used in the place of another.

The Bible is filled with idioms, figures of speech, literary devices and literary structure, an understanding of which helps to flesh out the actual meaning of the text. What follows are a few examples.

Examples of Figures of Speech in the Bible



Example Text and Commentary


The repetition of successive letters the same letter at the beginning of a series of word, clauses or verses.

Many psalms are acrostic (or a mixture of acrostic and some sort of corresponding organization): Psalm 25 34 37 111 119. Obviously, this is hidden in the original text and may be simply a mnemonic device. David, for instance, may be in a war, and yet, begins formulating a psalm in his mind; so he organizes the psalm in such a way as to be able to remember it. The complex structure of some psalms is quite amazing.

Sometimes an acrostic is used to hide the name of Yehowah (YHWH). God’s name, Yehowah, does not occur in the book of Esther except in acrostic form (Esther 1:20 4:14 5:13 7:7). The sense is, God is working in the background to preserve the Jews, but they do not personally recognize Him; they do not know Who He is. Esther is a book known by almost all religious Jews and by very few Christians. Personally, I think in the end times, many Jews will be brought to Jesus Christ through the book of Esther. He is the God Who has been with them all of this time, and yet, they refused to recognize Him.

To get the effect of an acrostic, John 3:16, by happy coincidence, can be set up as an acrostic:

God so love the world that He gave His

Only begotten

Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not

Perish but have




Repetition of the same letter or syllable in successive words.

In many ways and in various ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; in these last days He spoke to us in the Son (Heb. 1:1–2a). Since we are dealing with a translation, alliterations are often hidden in the text. A portion of this text reads πολυμερς καὶ πολἰτρόπως πάλαι, which is done to grab our attention.


The conjunction and is left out to move the action along or to reach a dramatic climax.

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.” (Luke 14:13–14). Both the Hebrew and the Greek tend to use conjunctions between a series of things.

Chiasmos Format; or Introverted Correspondence

Where the first subject of the one series of members corresponds with the last subject of the second

The organization of Gen. 6–8 that we already studied:


Often the key to understanding most psalms is determining the literary structure of the psalm first. Many of them have a very complex structure (this is an area of Scripture which has not been fully explored, even to this day).


The omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

Matt. 11:18a “For John came neither eating nor drinking.” John had to eat and drink; he was a normal human being in that regard. What is left out is “declining invitations to eat with others.” In other words, John the Baptizer had set himself apart from normal human function and social life, as the herald of the King, to serve the King only.

Ellipsis can be used to indicate great emotion, e.g., excitement or anger.

There is an interesting type of ellipsis Footnote which is found in the story of the rich young ruler:

And behold, a man came up to Him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" And He said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." He said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You will not murder, you will not commit adultery, you will not steal, you will not bear false witness, [these are commandments 6, 7, 8, and 9 in order; so we would expect Jesus then to go to commandment #10, “You will not covet;’ but He does not; this man is rich so he does not desire anything which someone else has] honor your father and mother [Jesus suddenly goes back to commandment #5, which is the commandment this man continually violates], and, you will love your neighbor as yourself [this is a principle which this man continually violates]." The young man said to Him, "All these I have kept. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you would be complete [according to the Law], go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matt. 19:16–21). Jesus, without actually saying it, identifies where this man is deficient with respect to the Law (as are we all).

Epanalepsis, or Resumption

A thought, argument or list is begun; then author goes off on a tangent; and then comes back to resume the thought.

Eph. 3:1a, 14a: For this cause, I, Paul...for this cause, I bow my knees... Paul goes back, 13 verses later, and picks up his original train of thought.

Heb. 6:1a, 6a: Because of this, having left the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us be borne on to full growth, not laying down again a foundation of repentance...and having fallen away, it is impossible for them again to renew to repentance... Not only does the author of Hebrews resume at this point, but there is also ellipsis involved, where the list of vv. 1b–2 is not repeated, but implied.

Epanadiplosis, or Encircling

Beginning and ending a sentence or passage with the same word or phrase, to indicate a completion of some sort (a complete thought, for instance).

“And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Gen. 9:3b).

The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets (Ex. 32:16).

Erotesis, or, Interrogating

The asking of questions, not for information or to get an answer.

Gen. 13:9a: [Abram is speaking to Lot] “Is not the whole land before you?” Abram is not interested in getting Lot’s input on this. He is not really asking Lot a question here.

Psalm 35:10 All my bones shall say, "O LORD, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?" The psalmist is not expecting an answer from above, saying, “No one is like Me.” That answer is implied by the question.

Such questions may be asked as a positive or negative affirmation; as an affirmative negation, to demonstrate something; to express wonder and admiration, rapture, wishes, refusals or denials, doubts; as an admonition, expostulation, prohibition or dissuasion; to indicate pity and commiseration, disparagement, reproach, lamentation, indignation, an absurdity or impossibility. You may recall that the scribes and pharisees asked Jesus questions all of the time, but never with the intent of eliciting information, but, instead, to trip Him up.

Homœotleuton, or Like Endings

The ends of several words are the same. This is done in order to draw attention to what is being said.

This is hidden in the original language. Mark 12:30b reads, “This is the first commandment...” In the Greek, that is αὕτη πρώτη ἐντολή.

Hyperbole, or Exaggeration

When more is said than is literally meant. Many people have gone astray at this point, when they do not understanding when a person is speaking in hyperbole.

Matt. 5:29 “And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.” Jesus is not really suggesting that we pluck out our own eyes in order to get into heaven.

On another occasion, Jesus told a rich man to sell all that he had and to give that to the poor (Luke 18:18–25). If you think that, by selling all of his stuff, this rich man would have been saved and eligible for heaven, then you missed the entire point of that passage. Deut. 1:28 is another example of hyperbole.

For if a woman is not veiled, let her also be shorn (1Cor. 11:6a). In no way was Paul calling for all women to have their hair cut off. .

Inclusio, or Bracketing

A literary framing device in which the same word or phrase stands at the beginning and the end of a section. Sometimes called bracketing.

And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of Jehovah...So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to Jehovah (Gen. 13:3–4, 16). Here, the chapter is framed in such a way as to indicate that Abram is both in God’s geographical will and in His directive will.

Meiosis, or a Belittling

A belittling of one thing to magnify another.

Gen. 18:27 Abraham answered and said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.”


A declaration that one thing is (or represents) another

Matt. 26:26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." To almost anyone who reads this, they do not think that the bread which Jesus broke into pieces was His literal body. It is only a cult-type organization which would suggest that eating unleavened bread and drinking unfermented grape juice in a ceremony is actually consuming Christ’s real body and blood.


One things stands for or represents another thing.

Gen. 11:1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. Nobody has ever read that verse and assumed that the ground actually spoke a language. The whole earth is a metonym for the entire population of the earth. A metonym is a figure of speech which means that one thing is used in the place of another.

Polysyndeton, or Many and’s

The conjunction and is repeated, sometimes to move the action along and sometimes to place emphasis upon each portion of a list.

Daniel spoke and said, “I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the sky broke forth on the great sea. Four great animals came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I saw until the wings of it were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand on two feet as a man; and a man's heart was given to it. Behold, another animal, a second, like a bear; and it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth: and they said thus to it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I saw, and, behold, another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the animal had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, a fourth animal, awesome and powerful, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet: and it was diverse from all the animals that were before it; and it had ten horns.” (Daniel 7:2–7). Each portion of what Daniel said was important. At the end, this becomes more intense with the increase of the number of and’s. You will notice that there is also a repetition of I saw and after this I saw.

Sometimes the many and’s are used, along with repetition and other clues to indicate a wonderful structure. The following example comes from Rev. 13:

v. 1The vision (And I saw...)

v. 1The first beast (the Antichrist)

v. 1His origin

v. 1–2 His description

v. 2His power derived from the dragon.

v. 3–8 His deeds

The Spirit calls out: “Let him hear.”

The lesson: “Here is patience and faith.”

v. 11The vision (And I saw...)

v. 11The second beast (the False Prophet)

v. 11His origin

v. 11His description

v. 12His authority derived from the Beast.

v. 12–17 His deeds

The lesson: “Here is wisdom.”

The Spirit calls out: “Let him discern...”

The Bible is filled with chapters and sections and passages set up in a variety of structures, many of which depend, in one way or another, on the various figures of speech found in the Bible.


The citation of a well-known saying without quoting the author's name.

1. Where the sense originally intended is preserved, though the words may vary (Matthew 26:31).

2. Where the original sense is modified in the quotation or reference (Matt. 12:40).

3. Where the sense is quite different from that which was first intended (Matt. 2:15).

4. Where the words are from the Hebrew or from the Septuagint (Luke 4:18).

5. Where the words are varied by omission, addition, or transposition (1Cor. 2:9).

6. Where the words are changed by a reading, or an inference, or in number, person, mood, or tense. (Matthew 4:7).

7. Where two or more citations are amalgamated (Matthew 21:13).

8. Where Quotations are from books other than the Bible (Acts 17:28).

When we quote someone or some piece of literature, it can be for a variety of reasons. I may quote a person because of their expertise in a particular matter, so that their words give greater weight to a position I am taking (for instance, I may quote C. I. Scofield or R. B. Thieme, Jr. or Norman Geisler). Or, one may quote the words of another to illustrate what a fool that person is. Or, one might quote a person in order to reveal that person’s true philosophy or values (this was done repeatedly in some mediums about candidate Barack Obama; he would say something which was unscripted, and this quotation would be repeated many times to indicate his true opinion of some particular issue).

Furthermore, the way that we quote that person or piece of literature may or may not be significant. Sometimes when I quote Scripture, I will leave off the beginning preposition or conjunction, as it is irrelevant to the point I am making. Or, I will replace a pronoun with the name of the person to whom the pronoun refers, as the contextual verses are irrelevant to the point I am making.

Writers of Scripture also include many quotations, and such quotations are done for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways.


The repetition of a set of words or phrases in order to call attention to these words or to be emphatic.

“And, behold, I, even I, will bring a flood of waters upon the earth.” (Gen. 6:17). God’s directive hand in this matter is emphasized.

And the waters prevailed exceedingly... (Gen. 7:19a). In the Hebrew, exceedingly is a repetition of the word greatly.

David’s repetition of the name of Absalom indicates great sadness in his soul in 2Sam. 18:33.

Names are occasionally repeated: when God is speaking to man: Abraham, Abraham (Gen. 22:11); Jacob, Jacob (Gen. 46:2); Moses, Moses (Ex. 3:4); Samuel, Samuel (1Sam. 3:10); Martha, Martha (Luke 10:41); Simon, Simon (Luke 22:31); Saul, Saul (Acts 9:4); and in other circumstances: Lord, Lord (Matt. 7:21–22 Luke 6:46 12:25); Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37 Luke 13:34); Eloi, Eloi (Mark 15:34 Matt. 27:46 Psalm 22:1).

Syllogismus, or Omission of the Conclusion

A conclusion is implied, but not stated.

“Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt. 10:30). This indicates that God is both omniscient and a God Who knows everything about you in particular.


A general term describing when one part of speech (most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun) governs two or more other parts of a sentence (often in a series).

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and [may the Lord cut off] every boastful tongue (Psalm 12:3). What is in the brackets was added; the subject and verb are both applied to 2 parts of the sentence.

In most of these examples, it is easy to read through the passage and understand the meaning meant by the figure of speech, without stopping to realize that you are not really taking this passage literally. At the same time, this does not give license to “spiritualize” the meaning of everything found in the Bible (assigning it some goofy meaning which is at odds with the Scripture itself). This simply means that, when we study the Bible, we look to understand it in the same way a person of that era would have understood it. After Jesus taught that looking upon a woman with lust is adultery, His disciples did not start plucking out their eyes.

Similarly, every person who spoke to Jesus was not required to sell all that he had and follow Jesus. The example of the Roman soldier stands out here. He came to Jesus and asked to have his servant healed, and when Jesus was about to set off for his house to do this, he told Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed..” (Mark 8:8). Jesus did not tell this man to put down his sword, forsake his family and follow Him; Jesus said, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” (Mark 8:10b).

I have only given a handful of examples of the hundreds of figures of speech which are found in the Bible.

There are many times when you may be confused by a passage, and the key to that passage is a figure of speech. Below is a list of references, but none of them allow a search by passage (as does Bullinger’s book).

Most of these were taken from:





The latter two primarily use illustrations from secular literature.

Other sources:



Lesson 115: Genesis 13:1–9                                               Abram Separates from Lot

So far we have studied:

Gen 13:1–4 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negev. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there [where Abram returned to] Abram proclaimed the name of Yehowah.

Abram had gotten out of fellowship and out of God’s geographical will and went down to Egypt. As a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Abram sinned in such a way as to embarrass him before the pharaoh of Egypt.

So, now, Abram is back where he ought to be, in the Land of Promise, and now he is going to make a spiritually significant decision. The idea is, you have to be geographically where God wants you to be, in fellowship, and thinking as God wants you to think, in order to make good decisions. Abram will make a good decision in this chapter without God telling him exactly what to do.

Gen 13:5–6 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together,...

What we have here are very large herds belonging to Abram and Lot—so large, that it has become difficult to keep them separate. It was difficult for them to find a pastureland large enough for their flocks. God had poured out so much blessing upon them, that there was not enough pastureland to maintain these huge flocks. Now, do you recall what happened in the previous chapter? There was a famine in the land, which was the whole premise for Abram going down to Egypt in the first place. So, despite this famine—despite the downturn in the economy—God has blessed Abram directly and Lot indirectly because he is associated with Abram (Lesson #112). Since we are in a difficult economy at the time that I write this, it is always good to keep in mind that God is quite able to bless anyone materially during the worst crises in history.

Throughout this narrative, we find interesting parallels. The first was mentioned, that Abram and Lot are in a land where there is an economic downturn, and yet, their problem is, they have too many possessions. Secondly, here they are in the midst of the Land of Promise, the land of Canaan, which will be given by God to Abram and all of his heirs, and yet, this land is not large enough for Abram and Lot together—not in one place, anyway. What is represented by this real set of circumstances is, Abram represents grace and Lot represents legalism and self-righteousness, and there is never enough room for these things to coexist.

Abram represents grace because God gives and Abram receives, as we will see at the end of this chapter (Gen. 13:13–16). On the other hand, Lot was extremely offended by the behavior of the Sodomites (with whom he will choose to live), yet he does not think to separate himself from them (2Peter 2:7). God will eventually separate Lot from that area in Gen. 19. So Lot is filled with self-righteousness and lacks the knowledge of doctrine to properly direct his own life.

It is important for Christians to understand that, when the geographical area in which you live is undergoing dramatic change (hurricane, earthquakes, recession, revolution, street gangs), God knows you are there in the midst of it and God has made provision for you.

Let me offer a caveat to the being in an area where there is dramatic upheaval of some sort. There is nothing in Christianity that requires you to plant your feet in one spot, lift your hands up to God and say, “Protect me and take care of me.” I just heard a story of a person on top of a roof during a tremendous flood praying to God, and someone throws her a rope, which she ignores and goes on praying. This woman is never seen again. This is because she was stupid and completely devoid of Bible doctrine. God had obviously answered her prayer and she is without enough doctrine in her soul to recognize answered prayer. Footnote Furthermore, she is an embarrassment to Jesus Christ; no wonder He took her home!

Sometimes, a disaster is God’s way of moving you from point A to point B. Inflexibility is not a measure of true faith. As a believer in Jesus Christ, you need to be flexible. With Abram, the point was, God brought him to the Land of Promise, blessed him greatly in the Land of Promise, and God never told him to move to Egypt when things got rough. So, for some people in the midst of a difficult environment, God wants them to stay; for others, He wants them to move. How do you decide? By divine guidance (Lessons #103–104); by the Bible doctrine which is imbedded in your soul. Without God’s Word in your soul, renovating your thinking (Rom. 12:1–2), you will never know what to do under such circumstances.

There are places where God is very clear as to His will (adultery, covetousness, lying) and places where we have to know the Word of God in order to determine what we ought to do (e.g., moving from point A to point B). Throughout most of our life, our decisions are quite simple—we have to go to work, we need Bible doctrine, and we need food and sleep. If you are married and/or have a family, then you have responsibilities to them. On most days, that is pretty much your entire day and then some. As a believer, you need to stay in fellowship, meet your obligations, and avoid sin, and you are doing exactly what God wants you to do. In other words, for most of your life, you do not need a crystal ball or God tapping your left or right shoulder, telling you which way to go. With God’s Word in your soul, you go when you ought to go and you dig in when you ought to dig in. Without God’s Word in your soul, you are some poor, lost soul, praying on your roof during a flood, without the common sense to grab the rope God throws your way.

Gen 12:10 And there was a famine in the land. And Abram went down into Egypt to stay there, for the famine was grievous in the land.

Gen 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold.

There was a famine in the land (equivalent to an economic depression or a recession) and Abram and Lot’s problem is, they have too many possessions. God is blessing Abram directly and Lot by association (which statement will be borne out in the chapters which follow).

Gen 13:5–6 And Lot, who went [from Egypt back into the Land of Promise] with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together,...

Some people think that the solution to the problems in their life is money. If they only had a better car, a decent house, a housekeeper, a few hundred grand socked away in a bank, their lives would be better, and that would solve—in their own minds—all of their immediate problems. Wealth does not reduce the number of problems in your life—for every problem that wealth solves, 2 more pop up in its place. People look at movie stars and think that this is where they want to be—working several months out of the year, living in a huge mansion, being very attractive, and having gobs of money. For some people, I have just described what they see as the perfect existence, yet they got the short end of the stick: they are unattractive, broke, and working far too many hours with nothing to show for it. Having these things do not make your life better nor do they provide any sort of stability in your life. Charlie Sheen and Robert Downy, Jr. are great examples to us of movie stars who have filled their own lives with all sorts of trouble, despite their great talent and wealth.

Money can certainly solve some problems, but not all. Oprah Winfrey has gobs of money that she was going to pour into a school or a group of schools in America, when she recognized that the real problem was the attitude of the kids in the schools. She eventually took a lot of her money and started some academies for girls in South Africa. There she found some young girls with the values and desires which could appreciate a well-equipped school. The problem that Oprah ran into in America was the attitude of the underprivileged American kid. Wealth exacerbates a bad attitude; it does not cure it.

So Abram and Lot are both quite wealthy, and yet, they still have problems.

Gen 13:7 ...and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's Livestock (at that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land).

We do not have just Abram, Lot, their families, and a handful of sheep roaming through the land. In the realm of cattle, they are extremely wealthy, and they have hired hundreds of men to keep their herds under control (Gen. 14:14). Even if only 200 of Abram’s men are devoted to taking care of these herds, that could translate into as many as 20,000 sheep and cattle.

Gen 13:7b (at that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land).

The second half of v. 7 seems to be parenthetical: At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land. Canaan was the son of Ham who was the son of Noah. You may recall that Noah cursed Canaan because of Ham’s behavior (Gen. 9:21–25). Canaan figured in prominently in the table of nations in Gen. 10 and they moved out west, settling the land of Canaan (which bears their name and was also called Palestine). That is the land that God has given to Abram (Gen. 12:1–3 13:14–17).

The Perizzites here seem to come out of nowhere. The name Perizzite means belonging to a village. Because of the meaning of this name, this term could have been used in a generalized way, to refer to those who live in unwalled villages; or in a specific way, to refer to a specific tribe of people, whose exact origin is unknown. They are found 23 times in Scripture, and associated with the Canaanites 22 of those times. In only 3 instances, are they listed with fewer than 4 other groups of people in the land (20 times, they are in groupings of 5 or more). Therefore, we know very little about the Perizzites, apart from them being among the 10 or so doomed tribes of the land of Canaan. It is suggested by some commentators that these people lived in unwalled villages, as there were too many people and livestock to be contained in a walled city.

This parenthetical sentence could simply indicate that the people in the land were mostly of a Canaanite origin and that many of them lived as ranchers and farmers in unwalled villages (which would understand Perizzite here in a general way rather than as a reference to a specific people).

I believe the sense is, although Abram and Lot are in the Land of Promise, they do not have carte blanc as to where they can go and how much land they can take up. There is land which is owned and/or controlled by Canaanites and Perizzites, and when Abram and Lot stay together, they might spill over into territory which belongs to others. Another suggestion is, if the people of the land observe that there is contention among Abram’s group, that they may attempt to take their wealth by force, using their dissension against them.

By the way, that is another problem with wealth—there are people who will attempt to take it away from you. One of the reasons most celebrities live in a bubble is, when they associate with the outside world, they continually run into people who will do anything in order to steal away some of their wealth from them.

Gen 13:8 Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are family.

There is a time for separation in the believer’s life, but not in some legalistic way. That is, you do not go through your Rolodex (I should say, cellphone, today) and pick out those people whose sins shock you, and remove them from your list of friends and associates. However, the time will come where you have to break fellowship, and, in this situation, it is simply because God has blessed Abram and Lot with too much substance. Abram is blessed because he is a growing believer; Lot is blessed because he is in association with Abram.

Abram is looking at this situation in a very pragmatic way. He and Lot are both very wealthy—God has greatly blessed them—but all of this wealth has created a new set of problems. There is discord between Abram’s people and Lot’s people. I would assume that Abram tried several approaches in order to solve these problems, and yet they just got worse. Therefore, Abram will suggest that they go their own separate ways.

Gen 13:9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Abram recognizes something that we believers often do not recognize—there is a time to separate from other believers. Furthermore, there are some believers with whom you ought to separate. We, as believers, are commanded to love one another. This does not mean that we have to spend time together. Love, in this sense, does not refer to having special feelings for one another. When Jesus commanded His disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another.” (John 13:34), this was not a command to have special feelings toward one another. If you think that you are supposed to reach into your emotions and manufacture nice feelings about each and every Christian you meet, you are on the road to psychosis. There are times when we ought to separate from other believers—the very same ones that Jesus has commanded us to love.

Abram tells Lot to choose to go in either direction, and he will go in the other. It is up to Lot to choose. Notice Abram’s graciousness here. Abram is not making decisions based upon arrogance and self-interest. Abram does not begin with self-interest which leads to self-absorption, which leads to self-obsession, which then leads to self-justification and to self-deception (and sometimes even to self-deification). Footnote Abram’s decisions are based upon grace. Abram is not thinking, “If I don’t look out for my own interests, no one else will.” That is human viewpoint thinking. Abram knows that God is looking after his interests, and he can therefore be gracious. When you understand and believe that God is looking after your interests, then it is much easier to be gracious and generous.

Gen 13:9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

We conclude this lesson with an erotesis (asking a question for which an answer is not desired— “Is not the whole land before you?”). Abram is simply telling Lot that all options are on the table; he can go in any direction that he wants. Abram is acting in grace; Lot will act in his own self-interest.

Lesson 116: Genesis 13:5–12                                            The Doctrine of Separation

So far, we have studied:

Gen. 13:5–9 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Circumstances are dictating that Abram and Lot separate. Only a few lessons back, we looked at the doctrine of blessing by association; so now, ask yourself, what will happen when Abram and Lot separate and Lot is no longer in close association with Abram? The answer should be obvious: God will continue to bless Abram, but this blessing no longer spills over onto Lot.

There are 2 reasons why Abram needs to be separated from Lot: (1) he needs to separate from Lot’s self-righteousness, which will become apparent when Lot is in Sodom (grace and self-righteousness cannot be mixed); and (2) Abram needs to separate from Lot so that he is not tempted to make Lot his heir. It is logical for Lot to be the heir apparent to Abram, simply because he is the young man following Abram, but that is not God’s plan. Abram will sire a son and that son will be Abram’s heir.

Christians are easily confused about the concept of separation, who want to apply this doctrine to unbelievers whose sins shock them. Cult leaders use separation in order to isolate their members from family and former friends. Too often, separation is used in order to separate the Christian from everything that is non-Christian.

Robby Dean’s Appended Doctrine of Separation

1.       What separation is not:

          1)       First of all, we are not examining the doctrine of separation for Israel, which is expressed several times with the phrase “You be holy [= set apart, separate] for I am holy” (where God is speaking—Lev. 11:44–45 19:2 20:7, 25). This is a related but different topic.

          2)       Nor are we speaking of a function of self-righteousness, where you are, quite frankly, just too good to be hanging out with Charlie Brown.

          3)       Separation is not the means of taking a new believer and pulling him away from his family or friends. Although this is often a sign of a cult, some regular churches do this as well.

2.       The concept of separation is based upon the fact that we are in this world, but not of this world. In John 17:15–17, Jesus prayed: “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray for You to take them out of the world, but for You to keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth.” We are positionally separate from this world because we are in Christ, and He is separate from this world. Being taken out of the world is death or complete isolationism—Jesus prayed for this not to happen. Jesus prayed for us to be separated from evil (which is different than sin; evil is the thinking and philosophy of Satan, which can include human good).

3.       Separation begins with a mental attitude that results in removing from our lives things and people that are either distractions, or may become distractions, in our own spiritual advance.

          1)       When Peter brings “You be holy because I am holy” into the New Testament (1Peter 1:16, taking this from Lev. 11:44), he is speaking of a mental attitude based upon Bible doctrine (Therefore, getting your minds ready for action and being self-disciplined, place your confidence completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ—1Peter 1:13).

          2)       So, although the passages in Leviticus speak of an actual separation between Israel and her heathen neighbors, the context of the passage in 1Peter says nothing about physical separation from believers or unbelievers. All that we are to think, according to Peter, is based upon understanding that we were not ransomed from [our former] empty manner of life inherited from our forefathers with perishable things such as silver or gold, but we were purchased with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot (1Peter 1:18–19).

          3)       Separation, in the context of this passage where this phrase is brought into the New Testament, is based upon spiritual growth which is a result of thinking divine viewpoint which has its foundation in the revelation of Jesus Christ (i.e., learning Bible doctrine).

          4)       In other words, the separation that Peter speaks about is in your thinking, which is based upon Bible doctrine. You separate yourself by thinking divine viewpoint.

          5)       The believer becoming entangled in human viewpoint is involvement with evil, which Jesus prayed that we not fall into.

          6)       Let me remind you of Satan’s 2 fundamental strategies: (1) keep the unbeliever from the gospel and (2) keep the believer thinking human viewpoint.

4.       Separation, then, begins in the believer's personal life as he learns and applies doctrine. The Bible says that separation starts in relation to the sin nature. Romans 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Remember that death is Scripture doesn't always mean cessation of existence, in Romans, it means separation from. Romans 8:13 If you live according to flesh [according to the sin nature], you are going to die [temporal spiritual death]. But if you put to death, by means of the Spirit, the practices of the body, then you will live.

          1)       This is all about spiritually versus carnality.

          2)       Prior to salvation, we are all under spiritual death. We have no innate ability to make contact with God.

          3)       At the moment of salvation, we are both baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.

          4)       However, after salvation, we fall into carnality, which means, we sin and lose the filling of the Holy Spirit.

          5)       This verse is talking about the fact that, if you are a believer and operating in carnality, then all of the blessings of the abundant Christian life are not yours. Even though you have eternal life you might as well be dead since you are no longer living the Christian life because you are living in carnality (carnal death).

          6)       After salvation, it is an either-or situation: we are either filled with the Holy Spirit and separated from sin or we are carnal and associated with sin. This is a status, not some emotional high of some sort.

          7)       But if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, then you will live. We are to put to death the deeds of the body, which represent sin. That is a calling for separation in the believer's life from sin.

          8)       This separation is caused by naming one’s sins to God (1John 1:9). That restores our fellowship with God and temporally separates us from sin.

5.       Separation involves separation from human viewpoint thinking.

          1)       It is not just the sin nature that is influencing the life but also all that human viewpoint garbage that is floating around in the soul. All of the ideas we have grown up with need to be excised by the scalpel of the Word of God. We need to have that stuff flushed out of our system.

          2)       When you are saved by believing in Jesus Christ, this does not mean that your thinking has changed. The potential for a real change in thinking is there, but the actuality is not.

          3)       This is what Paul is talking about in Romans 12:1–2 Therefore, I call upon you, [my] brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [as] a living sacrifice, holy [set apart, separated], pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world [cosmic thinking], but be transformed by the renovation of your thinking, in order to prove [demonstrate] by (means of) you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God. This is what happens as we advance spiritually: we renovate our own thinking, learning Bible doctrine, and the Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out.

          4)       In this way, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit, the character of Christ in our lives. Furthermore, this change of thinking demonstrates that the will of God is good and acceptable and perfect. We become a living, walking testimony of the grace of God in the angelic conflict.

          5)       Therefore, this calls for separation from human viewpoint thinking. So the first two categories of separation has to do with what is going on in the believer's soul and the believer’s thinking. They don't have to do with what is going on necessarily in the world around him. In other words, the thinking of the believer is to be renovated so that the believer no longer thinks in human viewpoint. They separate their thinking from human viewpoint.

6.       If the world around the believer is producing temptations where he easily succumbs to sin, then that means he has to make some choices about where he goes, whom he associates with, or the things he does. Therefore, the believer needs to recognize that if he is in an environment that easily leads him to sin then he needs to change this environment. That is, there are times for us to physically separate from certain people and situations.

7.       We are commanded to separate from certain kinds of carnal believers, such as backslidden, reversionistic believers. This is because there are certain types of carnality that are contagious to certain believers.

          1)       However, as a corollary to this, we do not invade the privacy of various believers, to determine what evil things it is that they do, so that we separate from them.

          2)       If we separated from all believers who sin, that would mean that we would be separating from all believers on this planet.

          3)       Bear in mind that self-righteousness can be very contagious.

8.       We are to separate from believers who reject sound doctrine.

          1)       If there is anything that can destroy our own spiritual life, it is when we closely associate with people who do not hold to sound doctrine. They say, "Well you know, there are a lot of different views in evangelicalism. There are folks who believe this and there are folks who believe that, but we can all just get along and we don't have to draw these doctrinal distinctions." There is an embedded blasphemy there, and that is the idea that God does not communicate clearly enough for us to take strong positions on doctrine. Wishy-washy people don't really think God communicated things clearly, so you can think it means this and I can think it means that, and somebody else thinks it means something else, so we can all just put our arms together and emote on our common experience that Jesus loves us. Then we'll all go home and be happy that we went to church this morning!

          2)       This is not the biblical view. 2Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks disorderly, and not after the teaching which he received from us. This isn't tradition for tradition's sake, this is the apostolic doctrine contained in the Scripture. This is a mandate. Vv. 14–15 And if anyone does not obey our word by this letter, mark that one and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Notice that we are speaking of a believer who has clearly rejected legitimate authority (Paul’s authority in the teaching of Bible doctrine).

          3)       The goal is restoration, not exclusion; but if there is no response then there is no option other than to go separate ways.

          4)       Let me give you an example: homosexuality, which is clearly identified as a sin in the Bible (Rom. 1:24–27 1Cor. 6:9 1Tim. 1:10). Certain believers may struggle with homosexuality as a sin and, at times, give in to this lust. It is not our business to follow such believers around to determine whether or not we ought to separate from them. However, when a believer touts his homosexuality as normal and acceptable, that calls for separation from such a one.

          5)       From time to time, a church has to remove a troublemaker (or a small group of troublemakers) who have rejected the authority of the pastor-teacher. Quite obviously, if you are in a church where you cannot accept the authority of your pastor, then you should quietly remove yourself—you do not owe anyone an explanation, nor should you stand out in the parking lot and tell everyone else why they should leave the church. You simply leave and find a pastor whose authority you can accept. More often than not, your inability to accept a pastor’s authority is a problem in your soul, not in his.

          6)       By accepting the authority of a pastor, this does not mean this pastor follows you around and tells you what to do.

          7)       As an aside, this is not a call to self-righteousness, nor is this a call to separate from family members simply because they do not think like you think.

          8)       Cults often twist the doctrine of separation into removing you from your friends and family to your real family. If you find yourself in a church, and they encourage you to cut off your friends and family, it is time to separate from that church.

          9)       Jesus said, “"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matt. 10:34–36). There will be some natural separation which occurs, but not because the believer has initiated it. Throughout the ages, there have been some Jewish Christians who have been virtually disowned from their families because they believe in Jesus. We know just how much hate can exist between Arabs and Jews; there have been times in history that this has existed between Christians and Jews as well (even though, we ought to be natural political allies).

          10)     However, without going too far afield, the point here is, there are times when a believer will separate from his family—but that is a rare exception and not the rule. Jesus is not calling upon us to raise a sword against family members; nor is He requiring us to separate from family members because of different beliefs. Again, that is characteristic of a cult, but not of the Christian faith.

          11)     Although Wikipedia represents a bastion of human viewpoint, there is an article here on the cult checklist. Although every list is not completely accurate, there are enough trends which these various lists point to in order to keep you out of a cult.

9.       We are to separate from believers who make their own internal lust patterns the motivation for their lives. Romans 16:17–18 And I summon you, brothers, to take note of those making divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For they who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but they serve their own belly [lust patterns]; and by good words and fair speeches, they deceive the hearts of the gullible.

10.     Separation from the immoral social scene where one's norms and standards are gradually eroded through peer pressure. 1Peter 4:4 In these things they are surprised, that you are not running with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming. Proverbs 1:10-19 My son, if sinners lure you, do not be willing. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, we will watch secretly for the innocent without cause; let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole, as those who go down into the pit; we shall find all precious goods; we shall fill our houses with plunder; cast in your lot among us, and let us have one purse.” My son, do not walk in the way with them! Keep back your foot from their path, for their feet run to evil and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird, and they lie in wait for their own blood; they watch secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who gains unjust gain; it takes away its owners' life. As an aside, communism and socialism are a national codification of this attitude.

11.     1Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived; evil companionships corrupt good habits. The idea here is, believers can be corrupted by certain other believers and unbelievers with regards to certain activities. This is an individual decision to be made relative to the strengths and weaknesses of the individual believer. As believers, we need to develop good positive habits in our spiritual lives If we find certain associations compromising these habits, then that is an association which must be broken off or dialed back.

12.     However, we simply do not separate from gross sin and gross immorality because we are offended. We should be able to witness to people of all different stripes of sinfulness. 1Cor. 5:9–11 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. Paul is talking about separation from a believer, at the end, who knows the truth, and yet is clearly and observably out of line with his actions.

13.     We need to exercise a form of separation from unbelievers to avoid having our doctrine compromised. 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness? This involves some types of business partnerships, not necessarily all. It involves marriage, dating, intimate social life. We are to separate from unbelievers where their influence can affect our own doctrine decisions. This is not a call for the believer to avoid unbelievers altogether or whenever possible.

14.     We need to separate from believers who are enmeshed in religious modes of operation and apostasy. See 2Corinthians 6:14–17 2Timothy 3:2–6.

I should add that there is much more to the doctrine of separation than this. Although we began this New Testament doctrine above, there is a great deal of separation described in the New Testament which has absolutely nothing to do with the relative geography of you and anyone that you are to separate from (for example: John 5:24 8:12 2Cor. 6:17–18 1Thess. 4:7 1Peter 2:24). We will cover this at another time.

The basic points are taken from http://phrasearch.com/Trans/DBM/setup/Genesis/Gen068.htm , which is Lesson #68 of Robby Dean’s study of Genesis. This study was extensively edited and appended. Dr. Dean teaches at West Houston Bible Church.

Let’s look at the text, which is related to separation, taken in context:

Gen. 13:5–12 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left." And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.

God has not ordered Abram to separate from Lot. This was a matter of circumstance, something which they apparently were unable to work out. There are circumstances which lead us to naturally separate from some friends and relatives, and that is what is occurring here. This was certainly a part of God’s plan.

As we will find out in subsequent lessons, Abram has not written off Lot in any way. In fact, when Lot finds himself in trouble, Abram will be right there to deliver him.

Lesson 117: Genesis 13:5–11                       Abram and Lot Go their Separate Ways

Here is how far we have gone:

Gen. 13:5–9 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Abram is expressing no animus. He does not look to Lot and say, “You, nephew, are a total screw up, and you cannot keep your own men together and under control. You are a loser when it comes to running your own herds.” Abram is willing to simply recognize that things are not working out between them; that they have far too many material blessings and that it has gotten to a point where they cannot keep their material blessings separate. Abram places no blame; he does not judge Lot; he simply recognizes that it is time to allow his portion of Abram Livestock Inc. to go independent. Lot will automatically become the CEO of this new independent enterprise, and he will make all of the executive decisions for his new company.

In subsequent lessons, it will become clear that (1) God is blessing Abram specifically and Lot by association; (2) there is no animus involved here; (3) Lot is not Abram’s spiritual heir.

There is also an excellent mindset that Abram, the CEO of Abram Livestock Inc., illustrates: bigger is not always better. Abram had too much on his plate at this time. He had control of too much wealth (represented by livestock, in ancient times) and he chose to split up his company into 2 independent companies, and put his Executive Vice President, Lot, in charge of this second company. This is something which mega-conglomerates do not do enough of today (however, the Bible does not make this the decision of some governmental body).

Gen 13:9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Therefore, Abram told Lot to look over the land and make a decision as to which direction he would go in, and Abram would go in the other direction. Lot will make his first executive decision as CEO of Lot Cattle Enterprises.

Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the area around the Jordan, that it was well-watered (before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), even like the garden of Jehovah, like the land of Egypt as you come to Zoar.

Abram and Lot are in the center of Israel. Footnote Off to the east is the Jordan River. To the Southeast is the Dead Sea, which the Jordan River feeds into. Around the Dead Sea, which was not so dead at this time, and the Jordan River, was the Jordan valley. It is very possible that the Jordan River fed all the way into the Red Sea, and that this was cut off when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is obvious that this area is much nicer at this time than several centuries later. During Joshua's time (after which some scholars allege that Genesis was written), this portion of the Jordan valley was absolutely desolate, the antithesis of the description given in this verse. It would make no sense for an author to make up a story like this, when everyone during and after Joshua's day could see that this land was barren. Since that time, however, in the 19th and 20th centuries b.c., archeologists have shown that there were several populous cities in this area previous to Joshua's time for centuries. Since it is highly unlikely that cities would be founded in a barren desert, this would fit with Abram's description which he gives here (in his writing). As Scofield put it, the Spade of the archaeologist has served again and again to confirm the Scriptures, not to deny them. Footnote This also tells us that when God told Abram that He would give the land to him, that He was not speaking of some forlorn desert or some barren wasteland. The land was beautiful and fruitful. Even after Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed, most of the Land of Promise will remain beautiful and fertile.

Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well-watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

Lot, here, represents the carnal man, who walks by sight and not by faith (2Cor. 5:7). He and Abram are probably both on a high mountain, just west of Ai, and Lot carefully, from that mountain, looks in all directions. The Jordan Valley looks ideal. It is well-watered, which means there is a lot of foliage for himself, his crew and his animals. Lot will choose to go east, toward Ai, and then south.

It is reasonable to assume that, if Lot looked out and saw a beautiful land, then others had seen that land as well, and had already taken it for themselves.

Now, reread this verse and focus on the final sentence:

Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well-watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

This final sentence is what as known as a gloss. That is, this sentence is disconnected from the narrative as presented and probably added to the text at a different time. There are 2 possibilities: (1) When Abram first recorded this incident, he did not write the sentence, This was before Yehowah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. (I believe that Abram wrote about his own life, just as Jacob, his grandson, will write about his own life). Therefore, years later, either Abram himself or a later writer (Jacob, Joseph or Moses) added this sentence in order to clarify things. This particular area had become so devastated that it would be hard to believe that once, it was a beautiful place, like the garden of God, so someone adds this explanatory phrase. (2) Abram himself wrote this narrative sometime after it actually occurred (which is very possible), and he adds this sentence, which falls outside of the direct narrative, but helps to explain that the area of Sodom and Gomorrah were once very beautiful. Strictly speaking, the second possibility is not a gloss.

My hypothesis is, Abram will receive the Scriptures (Gen. 1:1–11:9) from Melchizedek, the priest. Abram will later add his genealogical line along with the pertinent events of his life. By the time that he records these words, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are 10+ years in the past. Bear in mind, all of this is conjecture (however, it makes infinitely more sense than the idea that Moses wrote all of Genesis). Although Moses is said, in the Bible, to be the author of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, he is nowhere called the author of Genesis.

The more common view of the Pentateuch is, Moses wrote all of this down, which he knew from the oral tradition. The idea of this oral tradition is based upon 2 things: (1) The Jews actually did have an oral tradition when it came to understanding the Scriptures, and that was later written down as the Talmud and the Mishna. (2) The second reason that people believed in the oral tradition is, for many centuries, people did not believe that language was written down at this time. However, we have since found out that this is not the case. Abram lived around 2000 b.c., give or take. We have Sumerian writings which date between 3500–2900 b.c.; Egyptian inscriptions which go back ot 3300 b.c., and Akkadian writing which dates back to 2800 b.c. Footnote Therefore, there is no longer this need to assume that there was a great oral tradition which preserved the words which we are studying.

Gen 13:11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.

Lot chooses to go toward the east, Footnote which would be toward the River Jordan. Just as Lot looked toward the Jordan valley and saw it as being beautiful and well-watered, so would other people of that day as well. Lot would have observed grasses, trees and bushes; and many fruit and olive trees, as well as a lovely flowing river. It would have appeared to have been a paradise to them.

Gen 13:11 Then Lot chose all the valley [lit., circle] of Jordan for himself. And Lot pulled up [tent] stakes toward Footnote the east. And they were separated, each one from his brother.

The circle of the Jordan was the valley which they saw before them, surrounding the Dead Sea, which, at that time, was not so dead. One explanation which could account for what we will read here is, at this time, the Jordan River fed into the Dead Sea, which then flowed into the Sea of Reeds (which is the Gulf of Aqaba today, next to Egypt).


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What makes the ocean salty is, rivers and streams pick up and carry various salts and easily dissolved chemicals and eventually deposit them into the sea. This both purifies the lakes which feed these rivers and streams and purifies the rivers and streams. In some cases, like the Dead Sea, there is no exit for the water. At this time, there is no additional river leading from the Dead Sea into the Gulf of Aqaba. Because of the great Jordan valley which continues through the Dead Sea and further, it is very likely that, at one time, there was a river leading to the Gulf of Aqaba. However, for a variety of reasons, that ended, so that all of the salts being brought down into the Dead Sea remain in the Dead Sea.

Relief Map of the Land of Promise. The relief map to the right shows the mountainous area surrounding the Jordan Valley. The blue at the bottom-center of the map is the Gulf of Aqaba.

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was the result of great earthquakes and volcanoes in that area, which dramatically changed the geography of that area and completely blocked off the river running from the Dead Sea into the Sea of Reeds. Now, I do not personally know enough about the geography of that area in order to support this hypothesis. However, it does provide a unifying explanation for Sodom and Gomorrah once being a beautiful place to live and then, suddenly—within a century or two—degenerating into a waste land.

The process of the valley of the Dead Sea being turned from a beautiful luxurious valley into a barren land took place over a very short period of time—just a few hundred years. If Palestine is well-watered, as the Bible says that it is; and if, suddenly, waters continued to flow into the Dead Sea, but no longer had an exit, then the salt would build up quite quickly, as water evaporated from the lake. Today, there are literal salt embankments being built up along the Dead Sea from all of the salt in the sea.

Gen 13:11 Then Lot chose all the valley [lit., circle] of Jordan for himself. And Lot pulled up [tent] stakes toward the east. And they were separated, each one from his brother.

Blessing by association is a big deal and it is real. Lot was associated directly with Abram, and the blessings that God gave to Abram overflowed to Lot as well. However, when Lot chooses to separate himself and to take the best land, things will dramatically change for Lot. When we get to Gen. 19, Lot will have only his daughters, and they will have no prospects in life, which is a far cry from all of the wealth which Lot is enjoying at this time. If they have no prospects, this means that Lot will have lost all that he had (i.e., he is unable to put together a dowry for his daughters).

Application: You might think that you ought to be the big dog—that you ought to be the CEO of the company where you work (or, whatever position is the highest). Lot will become the CEO of Lot Cattle Enterprises, and the value of his stock will plummet to zero over just a few years time. You may think that God ought to promote you, but Lot got promoted beyond his capacity and beyond his ability, and, as a result, he lost everything.

Application: We have seen this with our present president, Barack Obama, who railed against George W. Bush’s foreign policy during his campaign. He looked at George Bush’s job and decided, “I can do that;” even though candidate Obama had never run anything in his entire life. Interestingly enough, every place where Obama continued with Bush’s foreign policy, things have worked out reasonably well; and everywhere where he has departed from the Bush policy, the results have been lacking, to say the least (e.g., the “closing” of Guantanamo Bay Prison; the revealing of many of our CIA secrets; Clinton handing that ridiculous “reset” button over to Russian officials, etc.). My point is, it is easy to point to someone in authority over you and complain about the job that they are doing, and point out all of that person’s flaws in policy, real or imagined. It is something else, entirely, to take that person’s place and implement policy which is good for the organization.

If God has not promoted you—and you think that He should—then you ought to thank God for His wisdom in not promoting you. Lot thinks that he is being promoted here, but he will use his authority to run his own organization into the ground.

At this point in Lot’s life, while still associated with Abram, he has the most material blessing that he will ever have. Once Lot disassociates himself from Abram, there will no longer be all of this blessing coming to Abram and spilling over onto Lot. Lot is a believer in Jehovah Elohim and he will receive logistical grace blessing (as will be later illustrated when Abram rescues him from a jam), but the overflow of blessing will stop right here.

In the next lesson, we will define logistical grace, a spiritual asset of every believer.

Lessons 118–119: Genesis 13:5–11                                                    Logistical Grace

Gen. 13:5–11 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left." And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the area around the Jordan, that it was well-watered (before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), even like the garden of Jehovah, like the land of Egypt as you come to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed from the east. Thus they separated from each other.

There are several doctrines related to this passage: the Doctrine of Blessing by Association and the Doctrine of Separation, both of which we have already studied. However, what happens to Lot once he separates from Abram, and moves out of the realm of blessing by association is logistical grace. God continues to pour out blessing on Abram, but, since Lot is no longer with him, this blessing does not overflow to Lot. But, what about the relationship between God and Lot? Does God simply throw Lot to the wolves (or, to the Sodomites)? This brings us to the doctrine of logistical grace.

I have introduced a new term here: logistical grace blessing (this concept is new to this study; not new to theology—R. B. Thieme, Jr. first coined this phrase). Logistical grace blessing applies to both Lot and Abram, as well as to all believers.

The Doctrine of Logistical Grace (Revised)

1.       The principle of logistical grace is found in Matt. 6:25–33 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This is logistical grace in the temporal realm; God provides logistical grace for us in the spiritual realm as well. The principle for the spiritual provision of logistical grace is found in 2Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make every [category of] grace overflow to you, so that in every way, you always have everything that you need, so that you may excel in every good work.

2.       The origin of the terminology logistical grace.

          1)       Logistics is a military word which refers to the military science of supply, provision, and planning of troop movement.

          2)       Logistics is the provision, movement, and maintenance of all necessary resources and services necessary to sustain military forces. Logistics involves the national economic capacity and the nation's ability to support its own military forces. This sustenance can certainly go beyond simple food, clothing and shelter. Internet access, for instance, today can be seen as logistical support (it improves the morale of those in uniform).

          3)       Logistics is a technical military term for the sustenance of the troops in every form of military activity and maneuver, i.e., in the barracks, in the field, when going into battle, as well as before battle, and after battle.

          4)       From this military nomenclature comes a Bible Doctrine based on analogy (many words in the Bible—including the New Testament—are military terms appropriated for a spiritual usage). Logistics always plays a very important and dramatic part in warfare (poor logistics can result in the loss of a war), but logistics plays an even greater part in your life as a believer. Every believer is alive today because of logistical grace.

          5)       The word "logistics" comes from two Greek words.

                     (1)      Logistês (λογιστς) [pronounced lohg-is-TACE], which means an inspector of accounts, an auditor, a calculator, or teacher of arithmetic. No Strong’s #.

                     (2)      Logismos (λογισμός) [pronounced lohg-is-MOSS], which means, 1) a reckoning, computation; 2) a reasoning: such as is hostile to the Christian faith; 3) a judgment, decision: such as conscience passes. Thayer definition only. R. B. Thieme, Jr. adds the definition thinker. Strong’s #3053.

3.       Logistical grace is defined as what God has planned for us, the Divine support he gives us, His Divine provision, and his Divine blessing. The result is, we as believers in Jesus Christ are able to execute the plan of God just as logistical support on the battlefield allows an army to defeat the enemy. God does not give us logistical grace because we are nice people or really good Christians; God gives us logistical support because we are believers and He gives this to us for a purpose.

4.       Logistical grace can be broken down into two categories of Divine provision.

          1)       Temporal provisions.

                     (1)      Life support is provided for every Church Age believer. This explains how and why we are alive at any given moment. The only reason we are alive is because of logistical grace. We do not earn it nor do we deserve it. There is no set of spiritual works which we can accomplish to keep ourselves alive. For all intents and purposes, this is food, shelter and clothing. The principle was explained by Jesus in Matt. 6:25–33.

                     (2)      God also supplies the laws of divine establishment, which provide for an orderly and lawful society. It is quite difficult for the average believer to advance spiritually under chaotic conditions, e.g. are found today in Egypt, Greece or Tunisia (there are Christians in these counties—I write this in 2011 when there are revolutions occurring within these countries). Evangelism and spiritual growth certainly takes place during riots and war, but a society is sustained and calmed by having many believers.

                     (3)      Spiritual growth is a slow and steady process, and is more easily accomplished in peace and tranquility.

                     (4)      As an aside, this does not mean that every nation functions perfectly under these laws of divine establishment. A recent example of these laws not functioning are in Afghanistan, where a person became a believer in Jesus Christ and was sentenced to death. That is an horrendous failure of the laws of divine establishment in that nation. However, such a thing has occurred in order to cause our leaders to think about what we are doing. If we (the United States) are simply providing an orderly society for Muslims in that nation, then we are wasting our time. This recent event involving one man will call upon no one less than the President of the United States to think about this and act.

          2)       Spiritual provisions:

                     (1)      Logistical grace is provided for every Church Age believer, both winners and losers. All believers are blessed by God. This exemplifies the justice of God, in that the justice of God sends life support and blessing to the righteousness of God which is in both winner and loser believers (all believers have God’s righteousness imputed to them).

                     (2)      That spiritual blessings are afforded to all believers emphasizes grace. You are alive only because of the grace of God, not because of anything you do. Winners utilize logistical grace, loser's coast on it, but never utilize or fully exploit it.

                     (3)      Jesus Christ provides the Word of God, which He has preserved for at least 4000 years.

                     (4)      God gives his provision to every Church Age believer so that they may execute the Plan of God. This means you have access to doctrine (the teaching of the Word of God). In most cases, this means a pastor-teacher and a local church (which is your local classroom). Although, in today’s time, you can hear a variety of pastors via MP3 files, the authority of the pastor-teacher in the local church (when it comes to teaching the Word of God, not running your life), is extremely important. True positive volition toward the Word of God will solve whatever location problem you have. We recently studied the will of God. If you are not in a place where there is a good local church where doctrine is being taught, then you may be in the wrong geographical location. Quite obviously, moving from point A to point B is a serious decision, and you can allow God to take the lead in this regard. Having had the experience of being moved from point A to point B, I have to say it is one of the greatest decisions God has allowed me to make. I can look at hundreds of things which have happened in my life, which happened since then, which clearly reveal the hand of God to me. There are many cities where there is no careful teaching of the Word of God and many cities where there is. There are many examples in the Bible of God moving believers from one place to another.

                     (5)      We all have the grace provision which allows us to take in doctrine. God has provided every believer a human spirit at salvation wherein doctrine is stored. God has provided the filling of the Holy Spirit, which is the restoration of fellowship through naming your sins to God. The filling of the Holy Spirit makes spiritual information something that you are able to comprehend and retain. Furthermore, God has made it possible for all IQ types to take in doctrine, through gap (the grace apparatus for perception). In addition, God provides believers with a prepared pastor-teacher who is able to teach you doctrine. 1Cor. 2:10–16 Eph. 3:18 2Peter 3:18 1John 1:9

                     (6)      God provides, in this age, the privacy of the royal priesthood (when you believed in Jesus Christ, you became a member of the royal family and, therefore, of the royal priesthood). This means, you should have the privacy to make your own decisions and that you are directly responsible to God for your decisions and actions. This gives the believer great freedom to take in the Word of God and you have the freedom to live your life before God. If you are in a church where part of the church doctrine allows for others to bully you into some course of action (e.g., some sort of spiritual mentoring system), then you are in the wrong church. Quite obviously, there must be some discipline within the local church, so that everyone can learn in a public (classroom) setting. Therefore, if the pastor teacher tells you to sit down and shut up while he is teaching, this is not the same thing as him running your life; he is merely enforcing academic discipline within the local church.

                     (7)      The God-ward side of spiritual provision is, God cannot violate His own character in order to bless us with any kind of blessing, including blessing us with logistical grace. After salvation, we all continue to possess an active sin nature and we all sin. God cannot simply ignore this. God has devised a way, by which He can bless man, and yet simultaneously, maintain the perfection of His essence.

5.       As previously mentioned, God provides logistical support through the laws of divine establishment. Some additional points ought to be made.

          1)       The laws of divine establishment not only protect the freedom of a nation, but they also guarantee the freedom and the privacy of local churches in that free nation.

          2)       As long as a citizen refrains from disobeying the law, he has a right to his privacy, property, and personal freedom.

          3)       Evangelism and Bible teaching are legitimate functions in a free society. In fact, without these activities, a society is not really free (contemporary Islamic nations are examples of this).

          4)       It is the responsibility of the local government and the police officer to protect the rights of a church whether it is a good church or a bad church.

          5)       These same "laws of establishment" also provide for the separation of church and state.

                     (1)      As originally conceived, our founders correctly understood the relationship between church and state.

                     (2)      The founding fathers did not understand the separation of church and state to be what it has become today—where the federal government has some control over what is said in church and where religious expression of people or institutions is limited (e.g., not allowing school choirs to sing Christmas carols during Christmas). What recent Supreme Courts have done is, established a wall of separation between any activity of the state and religious expression, which is very different from the separation of church and state. As a result, some things related to the state continue to express some sort of religious thought (e.g., “in God we trust” as the motto on our coinage; various Bible verses and expressions of faith on various monuments, but a disallowance of the captain of a football team leading the prayer before the game). The actual concept of the separation of church and state is, these are two separate entities, and one cannot tell the other one what to do. The state cannot, therefore, threaten to instate taxes on a church because they don’t like what s being taught in church. Furthermore, the state, country or federal governments might express a religious thought without this being subsequently mired in years of court battles.

                     (3)      Since most people in the United States were believers, there would be deference given to the Bible and to God by our federal government. Therefore, we find Bible verses, the Ten Commandments, and various figures of Moses in most courts at all levels and in many federal buildings and on many public monuments.

                     (4)      Furthermore, public and private schools were originally established so that the people of the United States could read and understand the Bible. Most private colleges and universities originally had curriculums which were quite similar to seminaries and Bible colleges of today (in fact, when first established, most of them were more Bible-centered).

                     (5)      However, the specific limitations were: the federal government could not establish a religion nor could it close a church down because it did not like their doctrine.

                     (6)      The Bill or Rights was designed to limit the federal government, not to limit the actions and speech of individuals or churches. So, George Washington could issue a Thanksgiving proclamation which recognizes the blessings of God upon the United States soon after agreeing to all of the provisions of the Constitution. What Congress could not do was establish, for instance, the Plymouth Brethren as the official religion of the United States.

6.       God provides a myriad of systems of organizational and enforced humility in order for you to accomplish the will of God in your life.

          1)       For instance, when you drive to church or to your job (which is part of God’s will for your life), you encounter stop signs, speed limits and traffic lights. This is organizational humility which allows you to go from point A to point B on the same road with thousands of people, all of whom have sin natures and many of whom have had a bad day, and yet you travel in relative safety (such is not the case in the large cities of most foreign countries).

          2)       The highway patrol (or however they are designated in your state) provides enforced humility for those who choose to ignore those stop signs, traffic lights and speed limits. The expense of a traffic ticket and the consequences of breaking traffic laws make us more likely to obey the system of organizational humility which has been set up.

          3)       At your job, there are systems of organizational and enforced humility set up, so that your place of employment can employ 10 or 100 or 1000 people, all of whom have sin natures and many of whom have had a bad day, and yet, enough gets done at this organization in order for it to be productive and self-sustaining.

          4)       In the local church, there are also systems of organizational and enforced humility. Where I go to church, there is a clear policy in place when it comes to the teaching of the Word of God. We are supposed to be quiet and not distract others (organizational humility). When someone violates that standard, the pastor and/or a deacon would deal with the problem directly (enforced humility).

7.       Why does God provide logistical grace? God has a purpose and plan for our lives. Since we live in the age of grace, God provides everything which is necessary in order to further His purpose for our lives. Certainly, you have bought some item where the outside of the box reads, “Some assembly required.” If all the parts are not there, you are up a creek and you usually return the item. In our lives, there is certainly some assembly required, but all of the parts are guaranteed to be here. That is logistical grace.

8.       The basis of logistical grace is God’s integrity. God is able to provide us with logistical grace because this does not compromise His integrity (God must always act within the confines of His character).

          1)       God is infinite, eternal, and absolute holiness, the latter of which may be classified as Divine integrity or as absolute unchangeable Divine virtue.

          2)       The integrity of God is composed of His perfect righteousness and His perfect justice. God loves His own integrity. There are four principles related to the integrity of God which apply:

                     (1)      What the righteousness of God rejects, the justice of God judges. Most of the time, we follow this logically to, what God judges, God must punish. However, there is a flip side to this coin.

                     (2)      What the righteousness of God approves of, the justice of God must bless. This is the basis for logistical grace.

                     (3)      The justice of God must administer what the righteousness of God demands. The righteousness of God approves of certain things; therefore, God character demands that God bless these certain things. This is the basis for logistical grace.

                     (4)      At the moment of salvation, the righteousness of God is imputed to the believer by the justice of God (Gen. 15:6). The righteousness of God therefore demands blessing from the justice of God, no matter if we fail or succeed as believers. This explains why God continues to provide logistical grace to both winners and losers in the Christian life.

          3)       Believers who fail to execute the Christian life—that is, they opt for some system of morality rather than to utilize their spiritually operating assets—still have the forty things that they received at salvation (a topic for a future lesson), one of which is the righteousness of God. This means God will support and sustain you regardless of how deserving or undeserving you are (in your own eyes or in the eyes of others).

                     (1)      Two additional points: first of all, you may appear quite undeserving of God’s grace in the eyes of others, and, it may give you some measure of amusement to know that this makes their hackles rise when He blesses you with logistical grace.

                     (2)      Secondly, you may have believed that Christianity was all about knowing what is moral and then being moral, and your life has been fairly good since you began to follow that philosophy (I am assuming that you first believed in Jesus Christ). There are two reasons for this: logistical grace (God blesses you logistically because you now have the righteousness of God within you) and the concept of the laws of divine establishment. God has prescriptive behavior for all people—believers and unbelievers alike—which prescriptive behavior we call the laws of divine establishment, of which, morality is a subset. So, if you are moral, good things are going to happen. Simple example: the man who chooses to love his wife and to remain faithful to her is going to have a better marriage than the person who doesn’t.

          4)       At the moment of salvation by means of faith in Christ, the righteousness of God is imputed to us. This is true in every dispensation. Because God imputes His righteousness to us, there are several results:

                     (1)      Justification. God imputes His righteousness to us and then declares us to be righteous—this is justification. Justification occurs instantly. Rom. 5:1-5.

                     (2)      God loves us personally. Because God’s perfect righteousness has been imputed to us, God's love toward us changes from impersonal love to personal love. His imputed righteousness allows God to love us personally. God does not step outside of his well-defined character in order to have personal love for us.

                     (3)      We become recipients of logistical grace. Because we have imputed righteousness, God is able to bless us with logistical grace, without compromising His righteousness.

                     (4)      If you are a new believer, you may not quite understand all of this. You have been taught that God loves you and therefore He blesses you. However, God’s love for us as unbelievers is an impersonal, but real, love. God’s love for us as believers is a personal and real love. The key is, whatever God does on our behalf cannot violate His perfect character. To help you differentiate between impersonal and personal love: you are commanded to love all other believers—that is impersonal love. There are some believers you don’t want to spend 14 seconds with; you can maintain this distance, and still love them impersonally (that is, you don’t hate them, you don’t spread rumors about them, etc.). You also love your family, which is personal love. Now and again, a family member does something that you do not care for. Perhaps they said something about you that rubbed you the wrong way. Impersonal love means that you overlook what they said. If you are only able to function on emotion and on personal love, that remark may become the basis for a family rift.

          5)       In the function of God’s policy of grace, there can be no compromise of God’s attributes. God has found a way, through logistical grace, to bless each believer without compromising any of His attributes.

          6)       God's righteousness is the principle of Divine integrity, while God's perfect justice is the function of Divine integrity.

                     (1)      God’s justice cannot accept anything less than perfect righteousness as the object of His blessing.

                     (2)      Therefore, God cannot bless anything less than His own perfect righteousness, because this takes God outside of the boundaries of His perfect character. He cannot even bless relative righteousness. That is, He cannot bless you simply because you had a pretty good day, sin-wise.

          7)       The indwelling righteousness of God is the recipient of all logistical grace life support and all blessing from God. The grace pipeline excludes human merit and ability from the reception of blessing.

          8)       The justice of God is the source of logistical grace life support and Divine blessing. Divine justice became the reference point for mankind since Adam sinned.

          9)       God has found a way to administer logistical grace blessing to every Church Age believer and still act within the confines of His righteousness and justice.

          10)     Because we have God’s righteousness imputed to us, God’s own justice requires that He provide logistical grace life support and blessing to the believer.

          11)     The grace pipeline is established between God’s perfect holiness (or integrity) and the righteousness which is imputed to us. This grace pipeline excludes man's works and ability; because man does not earn or deserve logistical grace blessing from God. Rom 3:22 Matt. 6:33.

          12)     We are studying Abram and Lot, and they are blessed because God imputed righteousness to each one of them when they believed in Jehovah Elohim (Gen. 15:6). For both men, this is logistical grace. For Abraham, he receives logistical support from God as well as more blessing on top of that (which is called greater grace in 2Cor. 4:15 and James 4:6).

9.       The grace pipeline and logistical grace:

          1)       At God’s end of the pipeline is His Divine justice, which is the source of Divine blessing to all believers, winners or losers. At our end of the pipeline is Divine righteousness, which was imputed to us at salvation. This pipeline cannot be destroyed; it does not suffer from any "metal fatigue."

          2)       God’s justice is the source of all logistical grace blessing. Therefore, God is fair and just in supporting winners and losers alike. Since God is perfect, it is impossible for God to provide blessing for imperfect believers on the basis of their character, goodness or works. We are not blessed because of what we do for God, we are blessed because of what God has done for us. After all, if God provides the imputed righteousness for us at salvation, how can we brag about this?

          3)       Therefore, this grace pipeline excludes all human ability, morality, talent, giving, sacrifice, service, or any other patronizing function of legalism as a legitimate source of Divine blessing. In other words, our good works do not prompt God to give us logistical grace. In fact, There is nothing that we can do in order to earn God’s logistical grace. It is provided to every single believer.

          4)       Therefore, God is free to bless all believers, winners and losers, spiritual or carnal, without compromising His own character. God has found a way to bless us through His Divine policy, which is called grace. God cannot endorse or accept anything less than perfect righteousness and, therefore, God cannot bless anything less than perfect righteousness. You might see how we would be in quite a jam if we did not possess God’s perfect righteousness via imputation.

          5)       Consequently, the justice of God sends His grace blessing down the grace pipeline. All logistical grace life support and blessing travel down this pipeline to both winner and loser believers. Therefore, in logistical grace, the justice of God is the source of all Divine support and blessing, and the righteousness of God is the recipient of all Divine support and blessing.

10.     In order for us to receive logistical grace blessing, we must have God’s righteousness (which is not something we have the ability to accomplish) and we must have a human spirit as well. God’s imputed righteousness and the creation of a human spirit within us are all accomplished by God. We did nothing meritorious in order to deserve God’s righteousness or a human spirit.

11.     Logistical grace support is necessary for the perception of Bible doctrine and for the execution of the Plan of God. Every believer potentially has access to accurate teaching of the Word of God so that they can execute the plan of God. The fact that few pastor-teachers are doctrinal teachers and the fact that many doctrinal churches are sparsely attended is a matter of volition of the believers in that geographical area. However, potentially, these things are provided, so that every believer has equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute God's plan which results in the glorification God. We all receive the following assets as a part of logistical grace:

          1)       God creates within us a human spirit at the moment of salvation. This is where doctrine is stored and is the basis for our fellowship with God. 1Cor. 2:10–16

          2)       God provides the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that you can go to the Bible and expect God to tell you what everything means.

          3)       In every generation, the gift of pastor-teacher is distributed to a number of male believers. Their gift of communicating Bible doctrine to you is a part of logistical grace. 99% of all believers can only grow under a pastor-teacher. There are unusual circumstances where a small fraction of believers are able to advance spiritually on their own. This is rare and this is not you.

12.     God’s perfect justice can only bless His perfect righteousness.

          1)       God’s integrity God is both the guardian of His Divine attributes and God’s integrity is the believer's point of contact with God.

          2)       Even though we live in an age of grace, God’s attributes cannot be compromised by the function of His grace. God’s plan is the way that God is able to provide logistic grace for the believer without any compromise of His attributes.

          3)       God's perfect righteousness is the principle of His integrity. God's perfect justice is the function of His integrity. God cannot accept or endorse anything less than perfect righteousness as the object of His Divine blessing. Man's righteousness is completely unacceptable to God.

          4)       Because God loves mankind impersonally, He was motivated to solve the problem of how to bless man. God solved this problem without compromising His perfect justice. God’s attributes cannot operate against one another.

          5)       From the moment of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s perfect righteousness resides in every member of the royal family (Rom 3:22). Therefore, every believer is legitimately qualified to receive life support and blessing whether he succeeds or fails in the Christian life.

          6)       God’s justice of God administers exactly what His righteousness demands.

          7)       Given what God has given us, logistical grace avoids any compromise of God’s attributes. Therefore, logistical grace is compatible with the integrity of God. The function of logistical grace does not compromise God’s character in any way.

13.     2 Peter 3:18 reads: Grow by means of [logistical] grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

          1)       Logistical grace is support and supply for growth, Phil 4:5 Let your reasonableness be known to all men. The Lord is near. The word near means that, God is within supporting and supplying distance. Unless logistical support is near to an advancing army, that army cannot survive.

          2)       The Lord is near; that is, He is within supporting distance (i.e., He is close enough to us to bless us). Deut 33:27 Philip 4:19 Psalm 37:25 Eph 1:3 2 Cor 9:8.

          3)       The key is not His physical nearness and His desire to bless us, but His ability to bless us. Sloppy agapê (ἀγάπη) is, God loves us and so He blesses us. However, God can only bless us when this does not conflict with His perfect character (that is, His blessing us cannot conflict with His perfect righteousness and justice).

14.     There are reasonably some differences between logistical grace in the Church Age (the time in which we live) and in previous dispensations. In the Church Age, all believers have a place in the plan of God. Every one of us has a life of purpose, meaning and definition. Therefore, we all must receive logistical grace and we all must utilize logistical grace in our trek toward spiritual maturity.

I realize that, portions of this doctrine were very technical and involved, at times, a very technical vocabulary (e.g., the integrity of God, enforced and organizational humility, etc.). It is possible that you read this, and there were several points which did not make complete sense. However, the primary principle here is, God provides for us, both spiritually and temporally, after we have believed in Jesus Christ.


http://www.gracedoctrine.org/word/082409.htm (Pastor/Teacher: James H. Rickard teaches at Grace Fellowship Church in Plainville, MA)


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Lesson 120: Genesis 13:5–13                                             Abram Separates from Lot

This is what we have studied so far:

Gen. 13:5–11 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left." And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the area around the Jordan, that it was well-watered (before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), even like the garden of Jehovah, like the land of Egypt as you come to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed from the east. Thus they separated from each other.

God had poured our so many blessings upon Abram and Lot that, they were unable to travel together without all of their possessions getting mixed together. Their employees and slaves continually got into arguments over all of their possessions. Therefore, Abram suggested that they separate from one another, and he gave Lot the option to choose which direction he would go in.

It is said that the seeds of the entire Bible can be found in the book of Genesis. This chapter illustrates that principle.

A lot has occurred in this passage. First of all, we were introduced to the concept of blessing by association. God is directly blessing Abram, but this blessing spills over onto Lot, because he is associated with Abram. Although we covered the doctrine, we have not yet seen this all come to pass in the lives of Abram and Lot. In the next few chapters, after they separate, Abram will still be rich and getting richer and Lot will be left with nothing. Remember, there is a strife between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen? The next time we see Lot, after he has been separated from Abram, he will no longer own livestock nor will he employ herdsmen. Lot was successful because of his association with Abram; not because he was a great businessman and not because God blessed him directly. God blessed Abram, and the blessings spilled on over to lot. Blessing by association.

Now, even though God is blessing Abram directly and Lot only by his association with Abram, does not mean that Abram is leading a sinless life. Recall that Abram went traipsing off into Egypt, which placed him outside of God’s geographical will. When in Egypt, Abram, as a maturing believer, embarrassed himself before a heathen king (the Pharaoh of Egypt). However, a believer can fail, and God still blesses that believer. Furthermore, those associated with the believer can be blessed as well. So despite Abram’s spectacular failure, here we find him and Lot with too much wealth to function together.

Blessing by association includes the business where that person works, where they go to school, what neighborhood (city, state, country) that person lives in. That person’s friends, family and loved ones can all be blessed by association. The key is, you need a growing or mature believer.

Take a moment, and think about the places you would like to go in this world. Did you name off a myriad of Muslim nations? Of course not! These are nations were routinely attack and kill both Jews and Christians, and whose Christian population, as a result, is quite small. Therefore, almost no one wants to travel to these nations. Consider European nations that, only 10 years ago, you would have enjoyed traveling to, and now, not so much. But you say, “I’d like to see China, and they are a godless nation.” Wrong; there is a huge growing population of Chinese believers. And where do most people in the world want to go to? The United States. This is because somewhere between 50–75% of the people in the United States have believed in Jesus Christ and there is a small, but vigorous population of mature believers within the United States. This is all related to blessing by association. This certainly does not mean that the United States is a perfect country, nor does it mean that all U.S. presidents have made consistently great decisions. However, despite our imperfections, huge numbers of people would like to visit here and to live here. This is because the believers in this country are blessed directly by God, and the nation receives blessing by association.

You may note current events and say, there is a great democratic upheaval throughout the Middle East. 5 or 10 years from now, half of the Middle East will be fledgling democracies. If you think that, you do not understand the heart of man or the relationship of God to man. Huge numbers of these people despise Israel; and God said to Abram, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” These nations are under a curse, despite the great yearning for freedom you believe that they have. Islam is a great evil; antisemitism is a great evil; persecution of Christians is a great evil. No democratic movement in the middle east will result in a dramatically better country unless they are able to separate themselves from those evils or they are evangelized (which can certainly occur by means of the internet).

I should add that, God does have to cleanse a nation now and again; and there is a great deal of degeneracy in the United States and a lot of negative volition. This cleansing occurred in the United States during the Great Depression which was sandwiched between World War I and World War II. This produced what is reasonably called the greatest generation of Americans, along with a decade of great blessing and prosperity (the 1950's). We have tremendous degeneracy in the United States today. We have great immorality, the breakdown of the marriage unit, the rise of homosexual degeneracy, along with some of the most awful self-righteousness that I have seen in my lifetime. Along with this has come a great breakdown in authority. So, we may not be destroyed as a nation, but we are reaching a point where God may need to cleanse our nation once again. Furthermore, all that it takes is for one generation negative toward the Word of God to arise, and the great nation that we know could disappear into history.

At this point, Abram and Lot are separating, which led us to the doctrine of separation. Separation has been distorted in a number of ways: cults have used this doctrine to keep their flock from associating with previous friends and relatives. Legalistic churches and legalistic believers have misused this doctrine to separate believers from unbelievers. However, separation is done for two primary reasons: (1) A church separates from apostasy or sin which is prominently displayed. Individually, we would separate from believers whose lifestyle and actions clearly go against the Word of God. (2) As individual believers, we separate from those who would slow down or stall out our spiritual growth (which is what is happening with Abram and Lot). When it comes to separation from a group of unbelievers, it may be God’s will for one person to remain separate from them, because their lifestyle tempts him; and yet, for another believer to associate with them, for the purposes of evangelism.

Lastly, in the set of doctrines, all alluded to in this passage, we came to the concept of logistical grace. That is, Abram and Lot are separating, and God is still pouring out blessing upon Abram, but what about Lot? What does God do for Lot? That would be logistical grace. Now, even though it will become quite apparent, in subsequent chapters, that Lot’s life has gone into the crapper, God still provides for him, even bringing him out of Sodom before that city was judged (preview of coming attractions; and, when God does that, we will be introduced to another doctrine—the doctrine of the pivot).

Gen 13:12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.

It is unclear whether Abram moved west or north, but, according to most maps, Lot moved his herds to the Jordan and then traveled south from there, perhaps along the Salt Sea (also known as the Dead Sea), which may have simply been an extension of the Jordan River at this time. As previously discussed, there is good reason to believe that the Dead Sea was not so dead at this time, but a beautiful paradise, which was well-watered, and which drained out into the sea (which would have kept the salt from building up). At the time that this is written, the area around the Dead Sea would have been prosperous and picturesque. Although I do not know what it was called at this time, it was unlikely called the Dead Sea or the Salt Sea. It may not have been a sea at all.

Lot is now in charge of his own people and his own cattle—Abram no longer overrules him—and he is quite taken with this sudden position of complete authority, and he chose to take all of his possessions down to Sodom. After all, this city apparently had quite a reputation at that time, and Lot, being a man of great wealth, probably figured he could really enjoy this city. Therefore, he moves his tent as far as Sodom.

God wanted Abram to stay more centrally in the land of Canaan, because that is the land God would be giving to Abram’s descendants. It is also a beautiful land, but not quite as picturesque as the Jordan valley and the Dead Sea (which will be included in the land God gives to Abram and his descendants).

Near as we can figure, Sodom is at the southwest corner of the Dead Sea, and there are apparently several cities in that area. Recall that the Canaanites occupy this area: And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon in the direction of Gerar as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha (Gen. 10:19). We know by the description of this passage, that the general area around Sodom was incredibly beautiful, like the Garden of God, and we find out in this passage that Sodom is occupied by evil men and extreme deviants. When we come to the actual destruction of Sodom, we will see why we place Sodom near the southern part of the Dead Sea.

Gen 13:13 Now the men of Sodom were evil men and extreme deviants, against the LORD.

Where Lot was moving was Sodom, filled with a very wicked people. Calling them wicked is actually a rare thing to find in a Bible narrative. Rarely does the Bible specifically point out individuals and say, “These are rat-bastards.” However, here, this is clearly laid out.

The Bible certainly does not mince words here. They are called the plural of râʿâh (רִַעַה) [pronounced raw-ĢAW], which means evil, misery, distress, disaster, injury, aberration, iniquity, that which is morally reprehensible. Strong’s #7451 BDB #949. In other words, they are evil and morally reprehensible. Then we have the wâw consecutive followed by the masculine plural adjective (used as a substantive) of chaţţâʾ (חַטָּא) [pronounced khat-TAW], which means sinners, deviates, deviants, transgressors. Strong’s #2400 BDB #308. The men of Sodom are evil, morally reprehensible types, and deviants as well. To seal the deal, the writer adds the adverb meʾôd (מְאֹד) [pronounced me-ODE], which means exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very. Strong’s #3966 BDB #547. This is one of the strongest statements that the Bible makes about any group of people.

In the case of the men of Sodom, their entire mental attitude and lifestyle is portrayed as being against the Lord. The lamed (ל) preposition, which is found here, has a number of meanings (it takes up 17 columns in Brown Driver Briggs), so the translation against is very much a matter of interpretation. Before, against, in front of, towards, with reference to, etc. are some of the many varied uses in our language to represent the lamed preposition. This could also be translated before the Lord. Even though this is a reasonable interpretation, as there is another way in the Hebrew to simply indicate that they were this was before the Lord. Furthermore, the description of the men here suggests that they would be against the Lord.

Abram is gracious and grace oriented; Lot is religious and self-righteous. When we mix Lot in with the degenerates of Sodom, it will be like mixing oil and water. Now, Lot is saved—he is a believer in Jehovah Elohim—but he lacks the knowledge of Bible doctrine that Abram has. Further, he lacks the graciousness that Abram has, which comes from Bible doctrine in the soul. As a result, Lot will make a number of bad decisions.

Gen 13:13 Now the men of Sodom were evil men and extreme deviants, against the LORD.

Lot is changing his associations. This is essentially by his choice, by thinking human viewpoint. Lot could be associated with Abram. He could have chosen to work out the problems which his men and Abram’s men were having. He could have imposed stricter discipline upon them, to attempt to find out what the problem was. But Abram is telling his nephew that he can separate from him and that he can spread his own wings of independence, and Lot likes this. Up until this point, he has been in the shadow of Abram; but now, he will call all of the shots in his own life. No more will the people around him look to Abram for the ultimate judgement in a matter, but Lot will become the primary authority. Lot is no longer vice president of Abram Livestock Inc., but he will run his own company. He will go where he wants to go and do what he wants to do. He will move into the Jordan Valley as originally decided, but from there, as one of his first executive decisions, he will move south into Sodom, and his new associations will be with the evil men of Sodom; the extreme deviants of Sodom.

How do you think that’s going to work out for him?

Gen 13:3 And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai.

God does not just record miscellaneous history. Here we have Abram and Lot standing between Bethel (the house of God) and Ai (ruins) (Gen. 12:8 13:3). Abram tells Lot to choose whichever direction he wants to go in, and Abram says that he will go in the opposite direction . Lot chooses to go in the direction of Ai, which is ruins; and the people in that direction are extremely evil deviants. Abram will go in the opposite direction, which is represented by Bethel, the house of God. The cities in between which they are camped are real cities with real names; but they also represent the directions of the lives of Abram and Lot. Again, this is a subtle, literary device, which tells us the direction in which these 2 men choose to go; directions which will be clearly brought out in the narrative which follows.

Later, in the narrative, it will later be clear that Abraham does not go exactly in the opposite direction.

Abram has made the correct decision to separate from Lot. He separated in a spiritually responsible manner. Abram was in fellowship, he was in God’s geographical will, and he was making correct decisions. The primary sort of separation taught in the Bible is to be made between believers. Abram and Lot are both believers and both are blessed by God (Abram directly and Lot through blessing by association). However, there are problems, and it is time for Abram and Lot to go their separate ways. Lot takes the direction that looks best to him; Abram goes in the other direction. Lot choose to go in the direction of the evil deviants; Abram goes toward the Word of God.

Lesson 121: Genesis (12:1–3) 13:14–15                                             Spiritual Growth

Now, after Abram and Lot have separated, the Word of God will speak to Abram. Abram has achieved a real spiritual victory here. It was the right time for he and Lot to separate; Lot was filled with human viewpoint and Abram was thinking (most of the time) with divine viewpoint. God had promised Abram a great spiritual heritage, but not so much to Lot. We may reasonably assert that Abram has reached a nice spiritual plateau here, and God steps in to expand upon His previous promises to Abram.

Gen 13:14–15 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.

In the previous chapter, God made other promises to Abram; all of these promises taken together are known as the Abrahamic Covenant. What God already promised Abram was: “Go out from your land and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you. And in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1b–3). Furthermore, God made these promises to Abram in connection with him separating from his family.

There are two separations which have taken place; Abram has separated from his heathen family who did not believe in the Creator God. When we express faith in Jesus Christ, then we become separated out from the rest of the human race that has not believed in Jesus Christ. Such a separation is true for all believers. Abram really did physically separate from his family of unbelievers, but that separation represents to us the separation that occurs when God calls us out from among the unbelieving.

When Abram separates from Lot, he is separating himself from the immature believer. He is separating from the believer who has chosen not to grow. Lot is focused upon his earthly treasures, and so his employees and slaves continue to have disputes with Abram’s employees and slaves. Abram is focused on that which God has promised him. “And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you. And in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:2–3). That is Abram’s spiritual impact, which continues for 4000 years—his life still has meaning to us today. If, in this study, you have understood any spiritual principle or changed your thinking about anything, then Abram has had an effect upon your life. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles through faith, proclaimed the gospel before to Abraham, saying, "In you will all gentiles be blessed." (Gal. 3:8; Gen. 12:3b).

Abram’s separation from Lot was real, but it was also representative. When you mature as a believer in Jesus Christ, there is a separation between you and those believers who do not grow up spiritually. This does not mean that you need to separate from them, but it means that God sees you as separate from them. You may or may not need to separate from unbelievers and immature believers, but that is not all that is being taught here. Abram and Lot are both believers, but they are on different planes; Lot is focused on the here and now, and Abram sees his life in terms of its spiritual impact.

What logically follows your spiritual impact? Eternal repercussions. When God first spoke to Abram, the focus was upon spiritual impact, but now, notice how that is parlayed into eternal results:

Gen 13:14–15 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.

God’s promises to Abram are much greater than Abram realized at first; and they have eternal results: “For all the land that you see, I will give to you and your offspring forever.” Spiritual impact leads to eternal results.

What happens in most churches? Most churches teach you how to be nice, how to be moral, and the laws of divine establishment. These are all good things, but these are designed for believers and unbeliever. All believers and unbelievers ought to be moral and adhere to the laws of divine establishment; that is what allows the human race to perpetuate itself. Did you life improve after going to church? Very possibly, yes; particularly if you used to be some sort of profligate. Morality is a good thing; it is good for all people, believers and unbelievers, to be moral. It is good that the people in any nation abide by the laws of divine establishment. Furthermore, it is not wrong for a church to teach these things. However, for millions of believers, what church has done for them has given them a standard of morality to which they adhere. This is a very good thing, but it is not the spiritual life. You used to go out drinking and chasing every night; you used to be immoral in your business practices; you used to think about no one but yourself; but, now, after going to church, all that has changed. However, all of that change could simply be you turning over a new leaf, recognizing that what you used to do was horrible, and now you are acting a lot better. This is a good thing, but not the spiritual life.

This is the difference between Lot and Abram—Lot, when he finds himself among a lot of immoral people, is distressed over it, because he is moral; because it upsets him to see people acting outside of the laws of divine establishment. Abram has spiritual impact; Abram’s spiritual impact will be parlayed by God into eternal results and rewards.

The difference is the spiritual life. In the Church Age, this is pretty simple, and discussed on several occasions. The spiritual life for all believers of the Church Age is to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2Peter 1:2 3:18). The idea is to, renovate your thinking (Rom. 12:1–2). The spiritual life begins at faith in Jesus Christ; is lost temporally when you sin, and is restored when you name to God whatever sin or sins got you out of fellowship (1John 1:8–10). At that point of re-entry into fellowship, you grow spiritually through God’s grace system of perception (assuming that you are exposed to the teaching of Bible doctrine while in fellowship). This allows you to understand spiritual things along side of all the saints, which causes you to renovate your thinking.

The Spiritual Life Parlays Spiritual Growth to Eternal Impact

1.       Like Abram, our spiritual life began the moment that we believed in Jesus Christ. And Abram believed the LORD, and He credited this faith to his account as righteousness (Gen. 15:6). Know then that it is those of faith who are the [true] sons of Abraham [because] Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gal. 3:7, 6; Gen. 15:6).

2.       Jesus, in His humanity, grew in grace and knowledge. The child [Jesus] was growing [physically and spiritually], and was being empowered in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke 2:40). The human spirit, which Jesus acquired at birth and which we acquire when we are reborn, is the repository for spiritual information. Jesus, in His humanity, grew spiritually, having been filled with wisdom. God’s grace was upon Him. This is a pattern for us, except that, we lose the filling of the Holy Spirit from time to time; and Jesus did not.

3.       At salvation, we are given God the Holy Spirit. Rom. 8:9, 11 1Cor. 3:16 12:13

4.       We are mandated not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:30); we are mandated to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:22).

5.       We get out of fellowship through sin; we get back into fellowship by naming this sin (or sins) to God 1Cor. 11:29–32 Heb. 12:11–12 1John 1:8–10

          1)       In 1Cor. 11:29–32, people are coming to the Communion Table out of fellowship, and their warning discipline is being parlayed into the sin unto death. They are to judge themselves (recognize the sin or sins they have committed) to get out from under discipline (so that we should not be judged).

          2)       In Heb. 12:11–12, the writer speaks about one being disciplined by God, indicating that the recipient is out of fellowship, and, therefore, a recipient of discipline. Lifting up the hands that hang down and the knees which are feeble refers to going from a non-productive life (being disciplined while out of fellowship) to a productive life).

          3)       1John 1:8 speaks of the indwelling sin nature and 1John 1:10 speaks of the commission of sin by the believer. Therefore, sin in the life of the believer, is a certain reality. 1John 1:9 is the solution for sin in time; we name this sin (or sins) to God.

          4)       This is how our spiritual growth differs from the spiritual growth of Jesus Christ; He never had to be restored to fellowship.

6.       We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, apart from any works; and the function of our spiritual life after that involves the renewing of the Holy Spirit. He saved us, but not because of anything which we have done to gain His approval; but, instead, because of His compassion, He saved us; through the cleansing of the new birth and the renewal os the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

7.       However, that only gets us in and out of fellowship; spiritually (being filled with the Holy Spirit) is not spiritual growth; but it is necessary for spiritual growth.

8.       Therefore we are mandated to Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18a). Now note what follows: To Him [is] the glory both now and forever. Amen [I believe it] (2Peter 3:18b). Spiritual growth glorifies Jesus Christ both now and forever—eternal impact.

9.       God’s Word is fundamental to this process: For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of men as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls out, but the Word of the Lord endures forever (1Peter 1:24–25a). What man is and what man does is temporal, and it will fade away, but God’s Word stands forever.

10.     Grace is a key factor, because it is by means of grace that we are able to grow spiritually. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18a). It is God’s grace system which allows us the ability to hear, process and understand divine truth.

11.     This process is summed up in 1Cor. 2:10–16: But God has revealed them [knowledge of the things which God has prepared for us] to us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God [the Holy Spirit is integral to understanding spiritual things]. For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man within him [the human spirit is the repository for spiritual knowledge]? So also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. But we have not received the spirit of the world [which teaches human viewpoint], but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches [again, this is human viewpoint versus divine viewpoint], comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? Moreover, we [Paul and other Bible teachers] have the mind of Christ.

12.     This same grace process is described in Eph. 3:16–19: He may give you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell [= be at home] in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the ability to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth [the full extent of God’s plan], and to know the love of Christ that surpasses [human] knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

13.     In other words, this is a grace system—all believers are able to participate in it—and integral to the process is the filling of the Holy Spirit. We learn divine viewpoint, which is quite different from human viewpoint. All believers are capable of learning God’s plan for their lives; I.Q. is not a limitation. The only limitation is the volition of the soul.

14.     Faith is a key factor. Spiritual knowledge is not simply a collection of facts, but these are things which must be believed in order for you to have spiritual impact. Faith is key to salvation: For also we have had the gospel [the good news of Jesus Christ] proclaim [to us] as well as them. But the Word proclaimed [to them] did not profit them, [because it was] not being mixed with faith in those who heard it (Heb. 4:2). God’s Word has no profit to anyone, unless it is mixed with faith. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). How do we seek Him? We seek for God in His Word. There is no call for us to seek God in any other way (going off on a high mountain, spending hours in meditation, inflicting pain or deprivation on oneself). Remember, Paul wrote, “We have the mind of Christ.”

          1)       What is sad, in the United States, is, we no longer have a widespread understanding of the Word of God. From before our War for Independence up until about the 1940's or 1950's, a huge number of people knew the Word of God. Our constitution was crafted by believers in Jesus Christ who saw this work as divinely directed and inspired. Our spiritual heritage as a nation has been distorted and lied about in our history books, in order to make our failing schools seem reasonable and palatable to us.

          2)       We have almost completely lost this as a society. I saw an advertisement the other day for a local church, and, quite frankly, it was a damn freak show. Dozens of people are on stage meandering about with music and shouting.

15.     Back to the topic at hand; the spiritual life: The result of growing in grace and knowledge is the renovation of our thinking. Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renovation of your thinking, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:1–2). Conformity to this age is adherence to contemporary norms and standards, which vary from culture to culture and age to age; it is thinking human viewpoint.

16.     Therefore, the writer of Hebrews prays for the recipients of his letter: Now may the God of peace (who brought again our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant) make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Heb. 13:20–21). God is glorified in eternity for what He does within us in time. Our spiritual growth results in eternal impact.

17.     We find a similar sentiment expressed in the doxology of Eph. 3:20–21 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, forever. Amen. What God does in us has eternal impact.

We know all of this, because of what is taught in the New Testament; however, what we find here in Genesis is the seeds of this process. Abram is separated from his family through faith in Jehovah Elohim, and God gives him promises and assurances. Abram begins to grow spiritually, thus separating himself from his nephew Lot, and he begins to have an eternal impact. The above doctrine simply is the mechanics of that eternal impact, which we should have.

Lesson 122: Joshua 24:2–3a Genesis (12:1–3) 13:14–15      Abraham’s Separation

Joshua, after taking the land from the Canaanites, gave this marvelous speech to the people of Israel, which began with the history of Israel:

Jos 24:2–3a And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan.’ ”

This separation was actual and historical, but it represents a spiritual separation. In our narrative, Abram has just separated from Lot and God speaks to Abram a third time. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are separated out from the world and set aside for Him. That is a one-shot decision with eternal consequences. However, when Abram begins to grow, he separates himself from Lot. Maybe it would make more sense to you to hear that Abram distinguishes himself from Lot with regards to know of and obedience to Bible doctrine (Gen. 26:5).

Abram’s separation from his family was actual and historical, but it meant more than that—his faith in Jehovah Elohim separated him from his family. Then, Abram’s separation from Lot was also actual and historical but it represented the difference in spiritual growth between them. Abraham’s spiritual advance means eternal impact. Lot, on the other hand, although he had believed in Jehovah Elohim, had no spiritual growth, and therefore, no eternal impact.

When Abram separated from his family, God told him: “Go out from your land and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you. And in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1b–3). Abram’s physical separation from his family represents a spiritual separation because his family were heathen that worshiped false gods (Joshua 24:2). This separation allows God to spiritually distinguish Abram from all mankind, as Abram is regenerated through faith in Jehovah Elohim (Gen. 15:6).

After Abram and Lot separated, God said this to Abram:

Gen 13:14b–15 "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.”

Throughout the next few chapters, God will speak to Abram on several occasions, and every time, God goes back to these promises. At first, I was nonplused by God repeating His promises several times to Abram, but this teaches us two things (1) repetition of doctrine is important; we do not hear a doctrine once and then fully understand it; and (2) doctrine is built upon doctrine. As you accumulate more understanding of the Word of God, you begin to believe more of what is in the Word of God, because it all neatly fits together and clearly explains the world and the conflict in which we find ourselves. You may doubt or not completely buy into the concept of blessing by association and you may not, at first, relate blessing by association to the United States today. However, as you continue to learn more about the Word of God, the more examples you see of blessing by association. Furthermore, you begin to observe such things in your own personal life which substantiates this doctrine. You notice Charlie Brown and what you have learned about blessing by association seems to apply to Charlie quite well. You might learn more about the history of the United States and you might be exposed to some of the absolute hatred some people have for us, and then more of this doctrine begins to make sense and fit in with current events that you are observing. As you grow spiritually, you begin to piece together dozens and even hundreds of doctrines that, previously, you did not completely buy into, but now, by the renovation of your thinking (Rom. 12:1–2), it all begins to make sense.

God sent Abram to a particular piece of real estate (the land of Canaan), and God promises to make a great nation from him, blessing those who bless him and cursing those who curse him. Abram believes enough of this to leave his father and to move out west. Now, how Abram becomes a great nation is unclear, as is the land that his descendants will occupy. Furthermore, God has told Abram, “In you, all families of the earth will be blessed.” We understand that now to refer to Jesus Christ; but I can guarantee you that Abram, when he first heard this, he did not completely get it. He heard the words, and got sort of a rough idea that, in some way, all the world would be blessed and this was somehow related to him, but Abram did not fully get it.

So now, God is going to build doctrine upon doctrine, and flesh out His promises to Abram more completely, because it is now time for Abram to be able to absorb more doctrine.

As an aside, for me, some of the greatest doctrines to me are the Hypostatic Union, the Essence of God and the Angelic Conflict. However, the day after I was saved, I was not quite ready to hear these doctrines—I could have heard those doctrines and they would have gone right over my head. At that point, I needed the doctrine of rebound (naming one’s sins to God for restoration to fellowship), which I needed to hear repeated, given examples for, and then repeated several times again; along with other doctrines pertinent to spiritual growth. So there is a time when you are more ready to hear specific doctrines, and a time when these doctrines begin to fill in some of the gaps and questions which you have had about life. This is why God repeats His promises to Abram and adds to these promises.

“Go out from your land and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you. And in you all families of the earth shall be blessed (Gen. 12:1b–3). So, why did God give Abram a promise which he did not fully understand? God needed for Abram to move from point A to point B, which was God’s geographical will for him, and what God told Abram was enough to get him to do that. However, the final promise of this passage is for us—over 2000 years before our Lord’s incarnation, God tells Abram about this will be for our benefit, knowing that, 4000 years later, we would read this; and some of us will be amazed by the power of this simple statement: And in you, all families of the earth shall be blessed. This very blessing was recognized by Simeon, a believer in Jehovah Elohim, 20 centuries later, as he held the baby Jesus in his arms an said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29–32).

After Adam and the woman sinned, Jehovah Elohim made a promise to the serpent about the Seed of the woman—a promise which Satan understands today, but did not fully understand then. This was a promise which no doubt baffled Adam and the woman, but a promise which makes perfect sense to us today. In other words, the promise of Gen. 3:15 was meant to stand forever in testimony to the foreknowledge and plan of God.

This is the reason that we have an Old Testament and a New Testament, which are clearly separate entities in time. There is no historian anywhere who believes that these documents were developed side-by-side. We have most of the Old Testament from the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date back to about 100 b.c. We have tremendous evidence of the Septuagint (the Greek translation Old Testament) as being completed around 200 b.c. Therefore, when we examine Old Testament types, e.g., the Seed of Gen. 3:15, they suddenly make perfect sense, being fulfilled by Jesus Christ. This does not happen once or twice; this happens hundreds of times in the Old Testament. We will see this in future studies, e.g. when Abraham offers up his uniquely-born son to God on the altar; or when the first Passover is instituted, and the blood is used to reveal the cross; or when the furniture of the Tabernacle are laid out in the shape of a cross when it is set up. At the time these things are done, these seem like interesting religious ceremonies; and hundreds of years later, they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. This all stands forever as testimony to the foreknowledge and plan of God.

Therefore, God takes the promise which He had previously made to Abram and now He expands upon this promise, giving Abram more information. This will be the land covenant which God graciously grants to Abraham. It is another unconditional covenant; that is, God is making this contract with Abram and Abram has no obligations which he needs to meet in order for this covenant to be fulfilled.

jordan~1.gifThis map is a portion of an e-sword map which shows the location of Old Testament events.

At this point in time, Abram is camped between Bethel and Ai, which is north of Jerusalem in the hill country. We may reasonably assume that he and Lot have traveled to a mountain, from which they could see the land. Lot has taken his possessions and his men and he has moved eastward into the Jordan valley (from which place, he will go south).

Gen 13:14–15 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.


As Abram looks off to the west, he is looking down the hills to the coastal plain which stretches out to the Mediterranean Sea. As he looks to the east, again he is looking down the hills to the Jordan Valley to the southern portion of the Jordan River. As his eyes sweep southward, he takes in more of the costal region, the negev, the southern section of the hill country (which would have included Jerusalem if he is looking from the mountains of Ai) and the mountains cascading down to a valley surrounding the Dead Sea. Abram looks northward and sees the remainder of Israel, the northern hills and mountains, the Sea of Galilee (its name during the time of Jesus; but not during the time of Abram) and the fertile eastern hills. I have not been there, so I don’t really know just how far Abram could see from this vantage point, but it is reasonable that God was including modern Israel, Lebanon, portions of Syria, Jordan and portions of Saudi Arabia.

God showed this land to Abram and promises that it would be given to him and to his descendants forever. The land which David ruled over (including the land which he controlled by taxation) is shown in the graphic. If all that we have is the statements made here in Gen. 13:14, then we might assume that this was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram. However, then we have v. 15:

Gen 13:15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.

God does not simply give this to Abram’s descendants at some unspecified time in the future, God promises this land to belong to them forever. When it comes to this eternal promise, Abram’s seed must have eternal life. Temporal life cannot inherit that which is eternal. Therefore, from very early on, Jews understood that their relationship to this land and to God was an eternal one.

As we go through the next dozen chapters or so, it will become apparent that, simply having Abram’s genes does not make a person a descendant of the promise. Abram will have a son by Hagar (Ishmael), and he will not inherit this promise. Abram’s son by Sarai, Isaac, will inherit this promise. Isaac himself will father twins, but only one of them (Jacob) will be a Jew who inherits the promise; the other (Esau) will be a gentile. Esau will have the genes of both Abram and Sarai, and yet, he will not be a Jew; and he is not an heir to this eternal promise. The New Testament explains this to us: But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." (Rom. 9:6–7; Gen. 21:12). The promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith (Rom. 4:13). Just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness" Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham (Gal. 3:6–7; Gen. 15:6).

Believers in the Age of Israel have an eternal inheritance and we as believers in the Church Age have an eternal inheritance, but the inheritances are not exactly the same. These inheritances have some points in common: we both have eternal life and we are both declared righteous, but those who are sons of Abraham by faith and by blood (including those adopted into Israel) have a direct and eternal tie to this land, which we, as believers in the Church Age, do not. As believers, our inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven for us (1Peter 1:4).

Lesson 123: Genesis 13:14–16                                                                  Antisemitism

We have already studied:

Gen 13:14–15 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.


God continues speaking to Abram:

Gen 13:16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.

God goes further with Abram and speaks here in hyperbole. There is not going to be a one-to-one match between Abram’s descendants and each spec of dust in the world. In the future, Abram is going to have a lot of descendants. However, at this point in time, Abram and Sarai have approximately 0 children with no prospects for having any children, given their ages and the length of time that they had already been married. God is telling Abram that numbering his descendants is going to be like numbering the dust of the earth, indicating that, in the future, there will be a lot of believing Jews.

In order for God’s promises to come true, two things have to come to pass: (1) Abram must have children (and, for whatever reason, he and Sarai have no children at the time of this promise); and (2) his offspring must continue to live on this earth until the end times, as the promise has eternal ramifications. If you understand that and you understand the Angelic Conflict, then you understand the reasons for anti-Semitism. This is why we are mandated in Eph. 6:11–12: Put on all the armor of God, so that you will be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil, because we are not battling against flesh and blood but against the rulers, the authorities, and the world's rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenlies. One of the most fundamental differences between God and Satan is, God is truth (“You are God and Your words are truth”—2Sam. 7:28; because He is the God of truth—Isa. 65:16) and Satan is the father of lies, the great deceiver (John 8:44 1Tim. 2:14 Rev. 12:9 20:3, 8, 10). Therefore, when it comes to antisemitism, you ought to expect all manner of lies and deception. We see that continually with regards to the Israelis and the Palestinians. For those who know anything about their conflicts, it seems impossible that any nation could take the side of the Palestinians; if you know anything about the recent history of Israel, it seems impossible that anyone could take the side of the Palestinians, but they do. Again, this is because we are not at war with flesh and blood, but with the cosmic rulers of the darkness of this dispensation and against the spiritual powers of evil in an unseen war.

Just this past week, there was a cold-blooded murder of most of a Jewish family by Palestinians in a home invasion in the middle of the night. Because of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, this received very little attention by the press. See http://floppingaces.net/2011/03/13/the-israeli-massacre/ Many Gaza residents celebrated this vicious, cold-blooded attack. These vicious acts are committed by men who have gone the way of evil; speaking perverse and deceptive things, forsaking the paths of righteousness to walk in darkness instead, and they rejoice in doing evil, celebrating the perverseness of evil (Prov. 2:12–14). Such men claim to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work (Titus 1:16). Had anyone done this to any family in the United States, not matter what the nationality or religion of the family, almost every American would want to see justice done and see the killers brought to swift justice. In Palestine, that is cause for some to celebrate. This is because the god of this age has blinded them (2Cor. 4:4) Footnote and therefore, God has allowed them to become the slaves of their degenerate minds, and to perform unmentionable deeds (Rom. 1:28).

Satan desires to remove all Jews from the face of the earth so that God cannot fulfill His promises to Abram, thus making God a liar and bringing Him down to Satan’s level. Therefore, we have huge groups of people who would love to see the death of all Jews, because they are of their father the devil. They speak of such things often and publically. They have no shame.

This helps to explain how it is possible to have this tiny postage stamp-sized nation sitting in the middle of dozens of angry Arabic nations, and yet they still survive. Israel takes up about 0.2% of the land mass of the Middle East, and, until very recently, it did not appear that they had any mineral resources. Yet, some Arabs behave as though Israel has made this great and recent incursion upon their land and natural resources (despite the fact that Jews have continuously lived in this region for about 4000 years).

Satan hates Jews and Satan hates Christians; so we have experience a worldwide attack upon Jews and Christians by Muslims, a continuous attack of oblique warfare over the past 30 or so years in nearly every nation on this earth. Since 9/11, there have been 17,000 terrorist attacks (I write this in March of 2011) throughout the world (these are attacks; the body count is much higher). These attacks have taken place in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, the Sudan, Algeria, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, Chechnya, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, England, Thailand, Spain, Egypt, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Turkey, Morocco, Yemen, Lebanon, France, Uzbekistan, Gaza, Tunisia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Mauritania, Kenya, Eritrea, Syria, Somalia, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Iran, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, East Timor, Qatar, Tajikistan, the Netherlands, Scotland, Chad, Canada, China, Nepal, the Maldives, Argentina, Mali, Angola, the Ukraine, Uganda, Sweden and the United States.

Despite all of these attacks against Christians, Jews, innocents and other Muslims, Jews will continue to be here in this world until the end of time and nothing is going to change that. We can either be on the side of blessing (I will bless those who bless you) or on the side of cursing (I will curse those who curse you). In case you doubt God’s cursing, which Arab country do you want to live in? If you said the U.A.E., that is because Arabs there are much more involved in capitalism than they are in antisemitism.

Antisemitism actually helps to explain some of the U.S. politics of the 20th century. During a time when antisemitism was clearly a part of the Republican party (it is found in the John Birch Society, in some of the Liberty Lobby broadcasts, and in the weird Bilderberger conspiracy theories which some conservatives used to hold to), we had such notable presidents as Hoover, Eisenhower and Nixon (out of that group, Eisenhower was a very good president, and he was president during a time of great prosperity and blessing). As soon as antisemitism is marginalized in the Republican party, we get Reagan and Gingrich (Speaker of the House). God would not bless a political party which tolerated antisemitism. One of the greatest presidential candidates for the Republican party was defeated by one of the very worst presidents of the United States because of antisemitism in the Republican party (Barry Goldwater was soundly defeated by Lyndon Johnson in a landslide election).

Antisemitism also explains how the party of God, family and small government lacked for many years any sort of ideological purity. It was Richard Nixon who instituted wage and price controls; Herbert Hoover was not as radical as Franklin Roosevelt, but he was certainly not a conservative. One of the battles within the Republican party for many years has been between the country club Republicans and the Sam’s club Republicans. However, the key to all of this is antisemitism. It had to be removed from the Republican party and it was. William F. Buckley, in his magazine, just tore into the John Birch Society, many of whom made up his readership. This was one of the more important events in Republican party history because Buckley said that this small party needed to become smaller by removing antisemitism and conspiracy theory types.

One more thing: do you recall where we first encountered antisemitism? Before there were any Jews. It goes all the way back to Gen. 3:15a: God said to Satan, I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.” The woman’s seed is continued into the Jewish race, culminating in the God-man, Jesus Christ.

Even though we are just coming to know the first Jew, let’s examine...

The Doctrine of Antisemitism

1.       Although the term antisemitism comes from Shem, a son of Noah, the father of both Arabs and Jews, it is properly applied to Jews. The term “anti-Semitic” is used to mean intolerance, hatred, prejudice, opposition to, and persecution of the Jews.

2.       Abraham (Abram) is descended from Shem. Gen. 11:10–27

3.       The Jewish race was founded upon spiritual regeneration, which is illustrated by circumcision. Gen. 15:6 17:10–14

4.       There are 3 overlapping categories of Jews today:

          1)       Racial Jews: those who are descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

          2)       Religious Jews: those who practice Judaism.

          3)       Regenerate Jews: those Jews who have believed in Jesus Christ.

5.       Antisemitism was first described and predicted in Gen. 3:15a: God said to Satan, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.” This great hostility is applied to Jews, believers in Jesus Christ (Christians) and to the Lord Jesus Christ.

6.       That some men would revile Jews is implied in Gen. 12, where God first spoke to Abram: “Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen. 12:1b–3).

7.       The two most recent illustrations of extremely vile antisemitism are the holocaust and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict today.

          1)       Adolf Hitler sponsored an unimaginably inhuman attack upon the Jews, where they were first gathered into ghettos, and then gathered into camps, where 6 million were killed. It is less than a century later, and some people both deny and celebrate the holocaust (most notably, the little dictator of Iran). The fact that this can be lied about and millions of people can buy into this lie is because, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

          2)       Although the Jews occupy approximately 0.2% of the Middle East, and have lived in this general area continuously for 4000 years (since Abraham), various peoples throughout the Middle East act as if this was the most awful incursion to ever occur. Palestinians, currently ruled, to some decree by Hamas (whose charter calls for the obliteration of Israel), are involved in hundreds of small rocket attacks against Israel. In the past 50 years, Israel has fought several wars to hold onto this land.

8.       Throughout human history, there are a myriad of examples of antisemitism.

          1)       In ancient history, nations and peoples, like Babylon and Assyria, were destroyed for their antisemitism. Persia and Greece both were on the rise during times when their leaders had a benevolent attitude toward the Jews.

          2)       In more recent times, Germany and the U.S.S.R. were both diminished as nations because of their fierce antisemitism.

          3)       Further back in history, Spain, once a leading nation in the world, became antisemitic, and became a 3rd-rate nation, a status it has maintained since the crusades.

          4)       Almost all Arab nations are antisemitic, and, despite their great per-capita wealth, are the most wretched nations in the world. The United Arab Emirates is one of the few nations where capitalism is more important than antisemitism, and they have enjoyed great prosperity (although, there is certainly prejudice against Jews there as well).

9.       The United States has received great blessings as a nation for several reasons (we are the most blessed nation in human history):

          1)       A huge number of people in the United States believe in Jesus Christ.

          2)       There is a reasonable number of mature believers in the United States. This has resulted in a great deal of Bible teaching, evangelization and missionary activity, all of which originates in the United States.

          3)       The race and religion of the Jews is not an issue in the United States. We do not practice antisemitism as a nation.

          4)       Israel is our ally.

10.     This does not mean that we ought to treat Jews any differently than anyone else. That is, when it comes to hiring someone, recommending someone for a job or school, working with someone, we evaluate them based upon their strengths and weaknesses, and their racial or religious heritage has nothing to do with it.

11.     The Second Advent concludes anti-Semitism in human and angelic history. Zech. 12:1-9 Rev. 19:11-21 Psalm 53




R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s Anti-Semitism which can be ordered for free here (go to General Information for ordering). There is a great deal of history, both ancient and modern, which Bob covers in detail.

Lesson 124: Genesis 12:1–3 6–7 13:14–17                                Three Dispensations

So far, we have studied:

Gen 13:14–16 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.

Then God tells Abram—this is about 4000 years ago—to walk through this land, to see what God is giving him and his descendants.

Gen 13:17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you."

This is the land that God will give to the descendants of a childless Abram forever.

Let’s stand back and get the big picture here, because what is occurring is rather dramatic. God is beginning a new dispensation with Abram. God separated Abram first from his family and next from Lot. As has been discussed, Abram was distinguished from his family, in that he was a believer, and they were idolaters. Abram was distinguished from Lot, in that, Abram was a maturing believer and Lot was a legalist believer. Now God comes to Abram and makes a rather dramatic promise, one which is going to be significant for the entire dispensation of Israel, and to the end of human history.

At this point, God begins to build doctrine upon doctrine for Abram. Often, in order to teach a principle or to build upon this concept of Abram’s inheritance, God will take Abram back to this point and He will build upon it. The first promise:

Gen 12:1–3 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

When Abram went into the land of Canaan, God then promised him this land.

Gen 12:6–7 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

And now the third promise:

Gen 13:14–17 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you."

God does the exact same thing with us. He goes back to a point of our spiritual lives that we understand and believe. For some, this is salvation—faith alone in Christ alone. And then God builds upon that. For others, God goes back to rebound and the importance of doctrine. In rebound, we are restored to fellowship with God by naming our sins to Him. That is spirituality. We also recognize how important the Word of God is in terms of it changing the way we think (it renovates our thinking, as per Rom. 12:1–2). We reach a plateau and we build upon that plateau. We develop a sound foundation, and then we build upon that foundation (Luke 6:47–49). Repetition of spiritual principles, often from a different view or in a different context, helps to reenforce these principles so that they can be built upon with more doctrine. Then we face tests in life, and we either apply Bible doctrine to the situation or we apply human viewpoint to the situation, and we see how things work out.

God is going to speak to Abram at least 7 times (this is how many times are recorded in Scripture), and each time, God builds upon what He said before. Furthermore, each time, God says more than He did before. As Abram’s understanding of God’s promises becomes more clear, that builds a more solid foundation, and God can put more upon that foundation.

Gen 13:14–17 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you."

Abram has 3 categories of offspring: (1) those who are descended from him, but are not regenerate (such as, Esau, his grandson); (2) those who are descended from him, and, because of their faith in Jehovah Elohim, are also heirs to the promise (Isaac and Jacob, his son and grandson); and (3) those who have believed in Jesus Christ, who are Abraham’s sons by faith (Gal. 3:6–7). The latter 2 categories will be like the dust of the earth (Gen. 13:16), the sand of the sea (Gen. 22:7), and the stars of the sky (Gen. 15:5). These are those God promised would be blessed through Abram’s Seed, which is Christ.

At this point in time in the book of Genesis, we are moving from the Age of the Gentiles into the Age of the Israel. We examined the doctrine of dispensations back in Introduction to the Bible, Lesson #6. and we differentiated between these ages at that time. Everyone reacts to this doctrine of dispensations in different ways. For me, the first time I saw it (it was on a small chart I got from a bookstore), it made perfect sense to me—I believed it immediately. To others, this doctrine does not interest them one way or the other. And then, to others, who have been brought up in a church which teaches and emphasizes covenant theology (which teaches that the church begins in Abraham’s tent), it is a difficult adjustment. However, simply put, God deals with the human race in a slightly different way and functions through a different set of institutions in each dispensation. Some things remain constant throughout, e.g., salvation comes by faith in Christ in all dispensations; and the laws of divine establishment remain intact throughout all human history. Some dramatic differences include, God works primarily through the nation Israel during the Jewish Age and primarily through the church during the Church Age. During the Age of the Hypostatic Union, there is no church and the religious institutions in Israel had become incredibly corrupt so that God no longer functioned through them. Furthermore, since Jesus Christ was on the earth, speaking directly to man, there were no intermediary institutions needed. Therefore, the Temple, the Ark of God, and animal sacrifices are all set aside, because their antitype, in the person of Jesus Christ, is walking the earth (John 1:14 Heb. 6:6).

These are 3 very different dispensations (the Age of Israel, the 1st Advent of Christ, and the Church Age), during which God communicates with His people through 3 very different institutions: through Israel, through His Son, and through the church. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the Heir of all things, through whom also He created the world (Heb. 1:1–2).

In the Age of the Gentiles (Gen. 1–11), God worked through individuals—primarily, those in a particular line—and we do not have a record of a codified system of law (apart from a prohibition of murder), although, there appears to have been one (Gen. 26:5). In the Jewish Age, God will work within a particular family, which will become a nation; and God will work through that nation. God will give that nation a very specific set of laws; laws which fall into different categories. There are the Ten Commandments, which are nearly a universal law for all mankind; there is a system of civil law, which can be, to some degree, transferred from nation to nation, and modified according to the norms of that society. There will also be the ceremonial law, which will codify the various animal sacrifices to God, all of which look forward to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Most of the Bible will be composed during the Age of Israel.

The Age of Israel is broken up into 3 parts: the Time of the Patriarchs (from Abraham to Moses), the Law and the Nation Israel (from Moses to Jesus), and the Tribulation (the final 7 years which will follow the end of the Church Age). Until Moses, we do not have the Mosaic Law (also called the Torah). However, we have some sort of system of law, because God will later say to Abram: “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky, I will give your offspring all these lands, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring, because Abraham listened to My voice and kept My mandate, My commands, My statutes, and My laws [My torah]." (Gen. 26:4–5).

In the second phase of the Jewish Age, we deal with Moses and the nation Israel, and Moses will give God’s Law to the Jews—which laws are recorded in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. The 3rd phase occurs at the end of the Church Age, after the church is taken out of the world. For the purposes of our study, the Patriarchal Age begins in Gen. 12 and goes until the end of Genesis.

Dispensations, an Overview





The Age of Israel

The Patriarchal Period

2100–1445 b.c.

Gen. 12–50

The Age of Israel

The Nation Israel

1445–5 b.c.

Ex. 1 to Malachi

The Age of the Hypostatic Union

b.c.–33 a.d.

The Gospels

The Church Age

Pre-Canon Period

a.d. 33–100

The Book of Acts

The Church Age

Post-Canon Period


The Epistles and Rev. 1–3

The Age of Israel

The Tribulation; the 2nd Advent of Jesus Christ

7 years following the Church Age

Rev. 4–20


         The Age of Israel looks forward to the Age of the Hypostatic Union. This can be represented by the altars on which animals were sacrificed.

         The Church Age looks backward to the Age of the Hypostatic Union. This can be represented by the Eucharist, which recalls the cross upon which our Lord paid for our sins.


         The Law of Moses from the Age of Israel is fulfilled by our Lord during the Age of the Hypostatic Union.

         The spiritual life of the Church Age believer is initiated in the Age of the Hypostatic Union, where Jesus “test drives” the spiritual life all believers in the Church Age are given.

Dispensation comes from the Greek word oikonomia (οἰκονομία) [pronounced oy-koh-nohm-EE-uh], which means: 1) the management of a household or of household affairs; 1a) specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of other’s property; 1b) the office of a manager or overseer, stewardship; 1c) administration, dispensation. Thayer definitions. Strong’s #3622.


         In the Age of Israel, God works first through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph; and later, through the nation Israel. First the patriarchs and then the nation Israel are in charge or managing the Lord’s household.

         In the Age of the Hypostatic Union, God works through Jesus Christ, His Son.

         In the Church Age, God primarily works through the local church. The church universal (all believers in Jesus Christ) and the local church become the stewards of God’s plan and purpose. God works through us, in the Church Age.

Let’s sum up this information.

Three Dispensations Summarized


Age of Israel

Age of the Hypostatic Union

The Church Age


Old Testament beginning at Gen. 12 including Rev. 4–20

The Gospels

Acts and the epistles and Rev. 1–3


2100–4 b.c. + 7 years

b.c.–a.d. 33

a.d. 33–rapture

Ritual and Reality

The Tabernacle, Temple, sacrifices and Ark of God all looked forward to Jesus Christ

The incarnation of Jesus Christ, Who becomes the focal point of human history

We look back to the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrating that in the Lord’s supper.

Specific Differences

The Mosaic Law, the animal sacrifices, the rituals and the Sabbaths.

The incarnation of Jesus Christ, fulfilling the Mosaic Law, and pioneering the spiritual life for the next age.

The Lord’s Supper; the universal indwelling of the Holy Spirit; the universal priesthood of the believer.

How Jesus is Revealed

Jesus is revealed through types and prophecies

Jesus Christ presents Himself to mankind. His work on the cross delivers us from eternal judgment. He is the antitype of dozens of types, as well as the fulfillment of all Messianic prophecies

In the Church Age, we look back upon all of this historically, as revealed in the Word of God. We study types and antitypes, prophecies and their fulfillments, which gives us great confidence in the Word of God

Spiritual life

Empowerment of the Holy Spirit is given only to a relatively few believers with specific responsibilities.

Jesus Christ kept the Law by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit and test-drove the spiritual life for believers in the Church Age. His disciples received the Holy Spirit by asking for it.

All believers receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and may choose to be filled with the Spirit. All believers potentially have spiritual impact. All believers are priests before God.

Agency through which God works

The patriarchs and then the nation Israel; the Jews themselves; the kings and prophets of Israel

Jesus Christ

Church Age believers (the church universal) and the local church

I realize that this is repetitive, but this keeps you from confusing the dispensations.

The purpose of studying dispensations is so that you can see where we are in human history at this time, and where we are going. We are with Abraham—God is speaking to him, making great promises to him; and these promises begin the Age of Israel.

Lesson 125: Genesis 13:14–17  Dispensations; the Importance of the Word of God

Gen 13:14–17 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are; [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you."

As discussed in the previous lesson, the Age of Israel begins with Abram. God does several unusual things during the Age of Israel. He founds a new race based upon spiritual regeneration (being born again) through faith in Him rather than upon genes, which is based upon human birth. This new race which is built upon a new birth will be represented by the ritual of circumcision (this will be explained fully when we get to God telling Abram to be circumcised). This new race is to be saturated with the truth, so that, as each set of parents raises their children, they inculcate them with the Word of God, which teaches them about the coming Messiah, His sacrifice as the Lamb without spot and without blemish, and salvation through faith in Him. Also, God will teach them the right way to live.

This all began by God calling Abram out from among his family, thus distinguishing Abram from his idolatrous family (Gen. 31:19–35). This represents God calling Abram out genetically from his family. There was an additional separation, from Lot, which represented Abram’s separation based upon his own spiritual maturity and Lot’s lack of same.

In Exodus, God calls out a nation from within another nation. He calls Israel out of Egypt. He calls His people—those who have believed in Him—out from among those who have not believed in Him (some non-Jews will respond to this calling). God calling His people out from among the Egyptians is a true historical event; but it is representative of God calling out His people from the peoples of the earth. Jesus speaks of this exact same concept in parables (e.g., separating the wheat from the tares—Matt. 13:24–30). God foretold this by calling Abram out from his family; thus distinguishing (separating) him from his family. These are all real historical events, but they also represent something more.

In the end times (the Tribulation), Jesus will call out Israel (Jews who have believed in Jesus Christ) from all nations.

The Age of the Hypostatic Union is the cornerstone between the Age of Israel and the Church Age. All of the requirements of the Law, all of the fulfillments of prophecy, and all of the types are revealed in our Lord. He perfectly keeps the Law of Moses; He perfectly fulfills every single prophecy in the Old Testament; and He is the antitype for all the Old Testament types which looked forward to Him.

Jesus is the basis of the salvation of everyone in the Old and New Testaments. He takes upon Himself our sins and received the punishment which we deserve for our sins; and we are saved because we exercise faith in Him. The basis for our salvation is accomplished during the Age of the Hypostatic Union. The Old Testament looks forward to this sacrifice in many ways, going all the way back to God putting skins on Adam and the woman, in order to cover up their nakedness. In order for that to happen, an animal had to die.

Jesus lives His life by means of the power of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the Word of God, which is the prototype spiritual life which we will lead in the Church Age. That is, we have the exact same spiritual assets as Jesus. We lead a spiritual life with the same power that Jesus had. Unless the plan of God called for it, Jesus depended upon the Holy Spirit for his power. He restricted the independent use of the attributes of His Deity (this is known as the doctrine of kenosis). He always had access to the use of His Deity (which is revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration to Peter, James and John), but He chose not to depend upon His Deity (Matt. 4:1–4 Philip. 2:6–8). He depended completely upon the power of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of the Word of God (Luke 2:40, 52)—in the exact same way that we depend upon the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. In the plan of God, Jesus did not sometimes operate from His Deity, when that was convenient; and, at other times, operate from His humanity by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit (this is what the temptation of Jesus by Satan is all about). For example, Jesus did not depend upon His omniscience to understand all things; He depended upon learning the Word of God, word upon word, doctrine built upon doctrine (again, Luke 2:40, 52).

Jesus not only had His Deity to which He could turn, but He had legions of angels which He could have called upon (Matt. 26:53 Luke 4:9–12). However, this was not in God’s plan. Jesus was to accomplish God’s plan with the exact same spiritual assets as we have. Therefore, every time that we are in some kind of jam (usually of our own making), we ought not to depend upon some great miracle of God or upon the intervening of angels (they do intervene and they do protect us, but that is in the world that we do not see). Our life, like His, is based upon the filling of the Holy Spirit and the inculcation of doctrine in our souls.

Despite having the example of Jesus Christ, the majority of Christians do not have a clue as to what their lives ought to be about. They are saved by believing in Jesus Christ, they go to church more often, they start behaving more morally and they do good things like, they give money to the church or they see something on television which grabs their emotions, and they send money. They usually change their behavior pattern, if, at one time, they used to be rakes, and now they no longer get drunk, they stay at home with their wives and children, and they try to be nicer people. Morality is a good thing; but it is not spiritual growth nor is it the spiritual life. Doing good things is good, but it is not the spiritual life. Going to church, singing hymns, tossing a few bucks into the collection plate are all fine and good; but these are often unrelated to spiritual growth, and, in many cases, unrelated to the spiritual life. There are myriads of believers who used to be unpleasant, immoral, drunkards, dope-takers; and now, they are easier to be around, because they are now more moral, and they do not get drunk and they do not take dope. We see that, and we proclaim, “He’s a new creature in Christ” (2Cor. 5:17). However, it is possible that this person believed in Jesus Christ and then changed his evil ways. That is a great thing, but it is not necessarily spiritual growth. Or, it may indicate minimal spiritual growth. The key to spiritual growth is the Word of God, not the changing of one’s morality.

The first time I became aware of the church I attend now, I thought this was another gimmick—their strong emphasis upon the Word of God. I had been in Baptist churches where they were very friendly and sincere; in Pentecostal-type churches where people are revved up emotionally; and in Catholic and Episcopalian churches, where the emphasis was upon ritual. So, when I became aware of Berachah Church, I thought, this is their gimmick—lots of teaching. However, as I began to receive more and more teaching, it became clear to me that, this is not just a gimmick.

Some of you who read this study go to a church, and you hear a 20 or 30 minute sermon once or twice a week; and that is how most churches do it, so, when you read me go on and on and on about knowing the Word of God, you do not quite grasp its importance. Therefore, let’s just see what the Word of God has to say about Itself.

The Importance of Bible Doctrine

1.       Jesus’ spiritual growth was related to the knowledge of Bible doctrine. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was on Him (Luke 2:40). And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). Ask yourself, how does God increase in wisdom? God does not increase in wisdom; His knowledge is infinite and unchanging. However, Jesus, in His humanity, increased in wisdom. He did not depend upon His deity to grow spiritually. Jesus, in the Age of the Hypostatic Union, set the pattern for all believers in the Church Age.

2.       When Satan tempted our Lord, there were several things going on; but primarily, these temptations were based upon (1) the misapplication of the Bible versus the proper application of the Word of God (2) and a temptation to get Jesus to depend upon His deity. If you don’t believe me, go back and reread this in Luke 4:1–13.

3.       Knowing the Word of God was as important in the Old Testament as it is in the New.

          a.       Moses told his people: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as bands between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:6–9). Jews were to saturate the lives of their children with the Word of God.

          b.       The teaching of the Word of God took place in a number of areas—in the high places or at the gates, the entrance into the cities (Prov. 8:1–3, where Bible doctrine is called wisdom). Here are a few verses taken out of Prov. 8: "I [wisdom] call out to all of you, and my appeal is to all people. You gullible people, learn how to be sensible. You fools, cause your heart to understand. Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” (Prov. 8:4–5, 10–11).

          c.        Believers were to seek the Word of God in the Old Testament, and to recognize that God’s way of thinking was not their way of thinking. "Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:6–9).

          d.       Believers in the Old Testament were not to depend upon their own understanding. Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths [i.e., He will guide you] (Prov. 3:5–6).

          e.       Bible doctrine is the source of happiness, a longer life, and a more peaceful and pleasant existence. Happinesses to the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace [and prosperity]. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed (Prov. 3:13–18).

4.       Jesus Himself is the Living Word of God in John 1:1–14.

5.       The renovation of your thinking is the key to the Christian life. Paul urges the Romans: Do not be conformed to this time period, but be transformed by the renovation of your thinking, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and complete will of God (Rom. 12:2).

6.       The Word of God (Bible doctrine) is different from human thinking and human wisdom. Prov. 3:5–6 Isa. 55:6–9 1Thess. 2:13

7.       The key is not how you feel or how zealous you are for the Lord; the key is knowledge of Bible doctrine. Brothers, my deep desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Rom. 10:1–4). The example given is, Jews who are industrious and emotionally committed to some form of religion, but they do not understand imputed righteousness, so they, therefore, attempt to establish their own righteousness. They come up short because of a lack of knowledge.

8.       It is not possible for the Word of God to fail. Luke 16:17 Rom. 9:6

9.       It is fundamentally important that the Word of God is not changed, adulterated or twisted. 2Cor. 2:17 4:2 1Tim. 4:1 Titus 1:9–11

10.     Paul urged the Colossians to let the word of Christ live inside of them abundantly. Col. 3:16

11.     Those who teach the word of God are doubly honored. 1Tim. 5:17

12.     Paul told Timothy, who taught the Word of God: Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who ought not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (1Tim. 2:15).

13.     We purchase time through knowledge of the Word of God. Take great care, then, how you live--not unwisely but wisely, making the most of every opportunity [lit., purchasing the time, which means to get doctrine at your every opportunity]; for these are evil days. Therefore do not be stupid, but keep on comprehending what the Lord's will is (Eph. 5:15–17). God does not text you or send you emails as to what His will is; this is found in the Word of God.

14.     So there is no misunderstanding, we are not required by God to go to the Word of God and dig out Bible doctrine for ourselves. This is why God provided pastor-teachers for us. We are not renegades roaming about in groups of one.

15.     Timothy’s ministry was all about teaching. 2Tim. 2:–14–16 4:2–4

16.     One area where believers become confused is, they are told to be obedient to those teaching them (Heb. 13:17). This does not mean that your pastor follows you around and gives you a list of sins that you have committed and now you need to stop committing those sins. The verb found here is the present middle/passive imperative of peithô (πείθω) [pronounced PIE-thoh], which means, to persuade; to induce one by words to believe. Strong’s #3982. The passive voice means, the believer is to allow himself to be convinced or persuaded of the truth of Bible doctrine as taught by his pastor. The imperative mood means, he is mandated to do so. The present tense is linear or durative action. That is, you continually to be persuaded, which means, you think about Bible doctrine continually.

17.     Quite obviously, the epistles themselves are a well of Church Age doctrine, which information is dug out by a pastor-teacher and presented to his congregation.

18.     The Old Testament is not to be ignored either. Jesus taught the Old Testament and the epistles are filled with illustrations from the Old Testament. Rom. 3 Heb. 4 10 11 Jude 7

19.     There are 2 words in the New Testament related to this topic which are used, at times, in a very technical sense:

          a.       There is simple knowledge, called gnôsis (γνσις) [pronounced GNOH-sis] which means, [general] knowledge, understanding. Strong’s #1108. If you recall the verse, Knowledge puffs up; this is gnôsis. We also find this word in Rom. 2:20, which speaks of having a form of knowledge.

          b.       Then there is over-and-above knowledge: epignôsis (ἐπίγνωσις) [pronounced ehp-IHG-noh-sis], which means, 1) precise and correct knowledge 1a) used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine. Strong’s #1922. This is Bible doctrine which is believed.

          c.        Having an understanding of Biblical terms and information from the Bible is simply information unless you believe it. When you believe it, it becomes spiritually useful. It is transformed from gnôsis into epignôsis.

          d.       For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, not being mixed by faith by those who listened (Heb. 4:2). See also 1Thess. 2:13 2Thess. 2:13 Heb. 3:18–19 11:6

          e.       James calls this the implanted word in James 1:21. The adjective that he uses means inborn, implanted by nature, implanted by others instruction. He amplifies this by distinguishing between a hearer of the Word and a doer of the Word (James 1:22–25). This is James’ vocabulary, as opposed to Paul’s. This does not mean that you read the verse, “Help little old ladies walk across the street” and so you immediately run outside, find some little old lady, and help her across the street. You implant the Word of God in your soul through faith. You believe the Word of God, and it becomes a part of your understanding of the world. Automatically, once you believe something, it will affect your life and what you do.

          f.        This is how you grow spiritually. When Bible doctrine is simply academic knowledge, it is much easier to forget; and since it has not become a part of your soul, you are unable to put it into a whole system of thinking, where spiritual things are compared with other spiritual things. 1Cor. 2:13 James 1:23–25

          g.       When Bible doctrine is not believed, John speaks of the Word not being in us. 1John 1:10 (this is someone asserting that he does not sin, which is contrary to the teaching of the Word of God).

20.     It is Bible doctrine which is accurate and believed which is active in the soul of the believer. Here is another reason why we never stop thanking God: When you received God's Word from us, you realized it wasn't the word of man [human viewpoint]. Instead, you accepted it for what it really is—the Word of God. This word is at work in you believers (1Thess. 2:13).

21.     The difference between an immature believer and a mature believer is the word of righteousness. Those who are taking in the most basic of doctrines are spiritual infants; those who take in advanced doctrines are mature believers (obviously, these doctrines must be believed). For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of God's revelation. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature--for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil (Heb. 5:12–14). See also 1Cor. 3:1 14:20 Eph. 4:14 1Peter 2:2. In other words, you are not a mature believer simply because you have been a Christian for a long time, and you don’t sin as much as you used to. Morality is essential to the preservation of a national entity, but simply improving your morality is not the Christian way of life.

          a.       The Apostle John has a slightly different vocabulary. He has a much more limited Greek vocabulary than Paul, so he speaks of keeping (guarding, protecting) the Word, which results in the perfecting (completing) of the love of God in us (which is synonymous with spiritual maturity). 1John 2:5

22.     The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12).

23.     The Word of God is eternal. Matt. 5:18 1Peter 1:23

24.     Peter makes one of the most amazing statements in the Bible. He saw the glorified Jesus Christ, something which we can barely imagine. He and James and John saw Jesus transformed on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matt. 17:1–9. However, even more important than this thing which he saw with his own eyes is the Bible doctrine which he was writing and disseminating. When we apostles told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we did not base our message on clever myths that we made up. Rather, we were eye-witnesses to His majesty with our own eyes [Peter saw the glorified Jesus Christ with his own eyes]. For example, we were eyewitnesses when He received honor and glory from God the Father and when the voice of our majestic God spoke these words to him: "This is my Son, whom I love and in whom I delight." We heard that voice speak to him from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain [Peter heard the very voice of God with his own ears]. We also keep on having a stable word of prophecy [Peter and his associates know and teach Bible doctrine] that you would do well to keep on being attentive to, as a light that shines in a dark place as you wait for day to come and the morning star to rise in your hearts. First, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation. No prophecy ever originated from man. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as men spoke under God's direction (2Peter 1:16–21). Peter has the gall to compare what he is writing to (1) seeing the glorified Christ and hearing God speak and to (2) the accepted prophecies of the Old Testament.

25.     It might help to simply see synonyms for doctrine and how often they occur in the New Testament:

          a.       Didachê (διδαχή) [pronounced dihd-ahkh-AY], which means, 1) teaching 1a) that which is taught 1b) doctrine, teaching, concerning something 2) the act of teaching, instruction 2a) in religious assemblies of the Christians, to speak in the way of teaching, in distinction from other modes of speaking in public. Thayer definition only. Strong’s #1322. 30 times.

          b.       Its verbal cognate, to teach, is found 97 times in the New Testament.

          c.        Teacher, which is based upon this verb, is found 59 times.

          d.       Another related word is didaskalia (διδασκαλία) [pronounced dee-dask-ah-LEE-ah or did-as-kal-EE-ah], which means teaching, instruction; 2) teaching; 2a) that which is taught, doctrine; 2b) teachings, precepts. Zodhiates spends over two pages on this word, giving the meanings the act or manner of teaching; the thing which is taught, the instruction, the precept, the doctrine. Strong’s #1319. 21 NT occurrences.

          e.       The word for truth is alêtheia (ἀλήθεια, ας, ἡ) [pronounced ahl-Ā-thi-ah], which means [absolute, unimpeachable, divine] truth, divine viewpoint, veracity, verity; reality; of a truth, in reality, in face, certainly; conduct which is in accordance with truth/divine viewpoint. Thayer Definitions: 1) objectively; 1a) what is true in any matter under consideration; 1a1) truly, in truth, according to truth; 1a2) of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly; 1b) what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth; 1b1) in the greatest latitude; 1b2) the true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural intervention; 1c) the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians; 2) subjectively; 2a) truth as a personal excellence; 2a1) that candour of mind which is free from affection, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit. Strong’s #225. It is found 104 times in the New Testament Bible.

          f.        A noun previously mentioned, epignôsis (ἐπίγνωσις) [pronounced ehp-IHG-noh-sis], is found 21 times.

          g.       The verbal cognate of epignôsis (ἐπίγνωσις) [pronounced ehp-IHG-noh-sis] is found 43 times.

26.     Finally, consider what God left us: the Bible, which is 1000+ pages, some of which is easy to understand; some which seems easy but is not, and some material which is quite difficult to grasp. Personally, I have been studying for 30+ years, and I still have a long ways to go. God did not give us a 20 page or 50 pages rule book, or set of morality laws. What He left for us is far more complex, and takes far more than a lifetime to fully understand.

What I have learned over the years is, the Bible is a very technical and specific book. The Christian life is not simply, you believe in Jesus Christ and then you do whatever. Or, you try to be more moral than you used to be. Morality is a wonderful thing, but it is not the Christian way of life.

Now, let’s say, you’re skeptical, or you don’t care, or you don’t have time, or you have some excuse. Once you believe in Jesus Christ, you are saved. You cannot lose that. If you choose to ignore the mandates of Christianity after being saved, then you are subject to God’s discipline (Heb. 12:6). It is not my business to follow you around and tell you what you ought to be doing; and it is not the business of your pastor to follow you around and tell you what to do. Before your own master, you stand or fall (Rom. 14:4). You learn to be more concerned about what God does to you and less concerned what man does to you (Heb. 13:6).

Other places where you can read about the Importance of Bible Doctrine. Most of these studies are very different and approach this topic in a different way. I cannot vouch for all of the teachers below, but this particular teaching in each case appears to be accurate:








Lesson 126: Genesis 13:14–17       Dispensations; Intercalation of the Church Age

Gen 13:14–17 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are; [look] northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you."

With Abram begins the Age of the Jews (or the Age of Israel). Included in this is a land grant to the Jewish people, given above. What was never included in this promise was political independence. Now, God gave this land to Israel, and they will begin as an independent nation, but this independence was never guaranteed. In fact, before they ever enter into this Land of Promise, God warns them about their spiritual state, and how He would bring all kinds of discipline upon them, including being defeated and removed from the land for their apostasy (Lev. 26:14–39).

However, as a part of this same prophecy, if they obeyed God and kept His commandments, then He would bless them as a nation (Lev 26:1–10). Much of the Old Testament is all about the nation Israel and how God either blesses them or curses them, depending upon their attitude toward Him This is foretold in Lev. 26 and Deut. 27–28.

However, in between the blessing and cursing in Lev. 26 are these verses: I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and I will be your God, and you shall be My people.” (Lev. 26:11–12). This is one of the many times that the Jews were told that God would be with them (in more than some sort of a spiritual sense). “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [which means, God with us].” (Isa. 7:14).

Jesus Christ fulfilled these and many more prophecies when He was born of a virgin and walked among the Jews. He fulfills the words of the prophets, He is the antitype to the hundreds of types found in the Old Testament, and He keeps the Law. In this way, Jesus was related to the Jewish Age.

However, also in His life, Jesus set the pattern for our lives in the Church Age. We function by means of the Holy Spirit as guided by the Word of God. We do not depend upon miracles or signs or dramatic acts of God, but upon the power of God the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of His Word. In these ways, the time of the 1st Advent, the ministry of Jesus Christ, had ties both to the Church Age and to the Age of Israel. In the Age of the Hypostatic Union, Jesus fulfilled almost all that was found in the Jewish Age and His life looked forward to our spiritual lives in the Church Age.

By the way, the 1st Advent is when Jesus is born of the virgin Mary and the 2nd Advent is when He returns to this earth, first to take up those of the church, and then when He comes back to the earth, 7 years later, to destroy nation Israel’s enemies. Jesus will fulfill all of the prophecy about Him in the 2nd Advent and the Millennium (His 1000 year reign over the earth).

You will notice how the focus changes from age to age. In the Jewish Age, the focus is upon altars, the Tabernacle, the Temple and the sacrifices. These things all look forward to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. When we come to David and Solomon, there is less focus upon these things, and more focus upon these 2 men, as David represents our Lord in the 1st and 2nd advents and Solomon represents our Lord in the Millennium.

However, once we come into the Age of the Hypostatic Union, Jesus Christ is the focal point. He is the fulfillment of all things in the Old Testament. He offers no animal sacrifices because He is the true Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36 Rev. 5:6). In fact, there is a new ritual which takes place in this age—baptism. There are almost no references to animal sacrifices in the gospels because Jesus is the fulfillment of these sacrifices. The Temple is only incidental in the gospels, because the Temple is the type and our Lord is the antitype. Why spend time studying that which speaks of the Lord when you have the actual Lord before you?

Right now, we live in the Church Age. In the Church Age, we no longer offer up animal sacrifices, because they looked forward to our Lord’s death on the cross. We look backwards, through fragrance of memory through the one ritual of the Lord’s Supper (the Eucharist).

In the Church Age, the nation Israel is irrelevant to spiritual dynamics. Sometimes there will be a nation Israel and sometimes there won’t be. However, there will always be Jews, and we need to respect them based upon their lineage from Abraham and their future relationship to God (only blg Jews have an eternal relationship with God). In the Church Age, God no longer works through the nation Israel, but through the local church. It is through the local church that people are spiritually nourished and by means of the church that missionaries and evangelists are sent out.

The Church Age began in a transitional state called the Pre-Canon period. During this time, there were still animal sacrifices being offered (illegitimately); there were many still alive who had seen the risen Christ, and the Apostles exercised authority over more than one church. Since the Church Age was unknown to the Age of Israel, and barely spoken of in the Age of the Hypostatic Union, its differences had to be fully explained, which took place over a period of about 70 years. This information was called the mystery doctrine by Paul, who was the chief teacher of this mystery doctrine (Rom. 11:25 16:25 Eph. 1:9 3:3–12 Col. 1:26–27). God was no longer working through the nation Israel; God no longer wanted animal sacrifices, the Temple or anything else which was associated with the ceremonial laws of Israel. All of those things looked forward to the Person of Christ. When these things were fulfilled by our Lord Jesus Christ, then they are no longer needed. These are tremendous changes, and these changes needed to be laid out and explained by those who had spiritual authority.

In the Age of the Hypostatic Union, our Lord did signs and wonders so that we knew that He is the Lord (Matt. 11:1–6). However, the import of His ministry was not that He could do miracles—heal the sick and feed the hungry—but that He would die for our sins. Although Jesus felt compassion, and compassion factored into healing the sick and feeding the hungry, alleviation of suffering was not the purpose of His miracles. Jesus, as God, could have waved His hand in the air and cured all sicknesses and provided food for all over whatever time period that He chose for all people (as He had done for Israel in the desert for 40 years). However, He did not do that. In order to be healed, one had to have personal contact with Jesus Christ (in some way); in order to be satiated, one had to have personal contact with Jesus Christ. Being filled and being made whole had to be associated with the Person of Jesus Christ, as He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and no man comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). These miracles revealed Who Jesus is and were representative of having a relationship with Jesus Christ (i.e., through believing in Him). Through believing in Him, we are healed; through believing in Him, we are fed. Such things are representative analogies of what faith in Christ accomplishes. Therefore, Jesus did not only feed the 5000 and the 4000, but He also proclaimed, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35b). So, these miracles were both real and representative; and they gave Jesus spiritual authority, at a time when it was the pharisees and the sadducees who had usurped spiritual authority.

Jesus is often referred to today as the Great Physician. However, every time Jesus healed someone, this was accompanied by teaching of some sort. In healing the paralytic, Jesus compared his healing to one’s sins being forgiven (Matt. 9:1–6). He testified to His Own authority by indicating that He had the ability to forgive sins. Being made well was associated with faith in Matt. 9:20–22 (we are made whole in Christ by believing in Him). When Jesus said, “It is your faith that made you whole;” He had set up an analogy to salvation. When you believe in Jesus Christ, it is your faith in Him which makes you whole. That Jesus had the ultimate power over death is taught when He raised the young girl from the dead in Luke 8:49–56.

Because of the way Jesus was revealed in the Old Testament, many expected to see a warrior, like David, who would free Israel from the shackles of Rome. There were many prophecies of the conquering Messiah. Psalm 2:8–9: Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; You will dash them in pieces like a potter”s vessel. Isa. 9:6b–7: His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of the armies will do this. This we understand to be the 2nd Advent, when our Lord will return and destroy Israel’s enemies, establish Israel as an independent and preeminent nation again, and rule over Israel as their king, as David’s Greater Son (the 2nd Advent is His return and the Millennium will be the time that He reigns).

This is not an easy thing to understand, particularly during the 1st Advent. Even John the Baptizer was confused about this. Jesus pointed to his sign gifts as proofs of Who He was. Luke 7:18–22 The disciples of John reported all these things [that Jesus was doing] to John. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, dispatched them to the Lord, saying, "Are you the One Who is to Come, or should we look for another?" And when the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the One Who is to Come, or should we look for another?' " In that hour Jesus healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind He bestowed sight. And He answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” (Isa. 35:5–6 61:1). These miracles of Jesus were both illustrative of being made whole in Him as well as proofs of Who He was.

You see, John the Baptizer was confused, because he had studied the Old Testament, and there were many passages where the 1st advent (the incarnation) and the 2nd advent (our Lord’s return to the earth) were treated as one contiguous event (Psalm 2:6–9 22:22–23 96:11–13 98:2–3, 9 146:7–10 Isa. 9:6–7—there are many more). The best known of these passages is Isa. 61:1–2 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's grace, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn. These are color-coded to separate the 1st and the 2nd advents. Here is why these words are well-known. They are quoted by our Lord in Luke 4:15–21 And Jesus taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And, as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and He stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's grace." [After speaking these words], He rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Notice what Jesus did—He read v. 1 and halfway through v. 2, and stopped. He just stopped. And He rolls up the scroll, and everyone is looking at Him. Of course, He read with great passion and gave life to these words, but He just stopped in the middle of the verse, and rolls up the scroll, handing it back to the attendant. These 2 verses have the 1st and 2nd advents in them; Jesus read only the portion which spoke of the 1st advent, and He stopped there—all eyes were upon Him (meaning He had their complete attention)—and He said, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” They were witnesses to the 1st advent. Now, they certainly did not understand or distinguish between the advents of our Lord, and what amazed them was Him stopping His reading right in the middle of a verse. However, Jesus understood.

In retrospect, we distinguish between the 1st and 2nd advents of our Lord; and many of us have enough doctrine to read the passages from the Old Testament, and we know where the 1st advents leaves off and the 2nd advent begins. I previously quoted some verses which spoke of our Lord’s 2nd Advent. Now, let me go back and quote them again, but include both the 1st and 2nd Advents (color-coded again). Isa. 9:6–7: For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. Psalm 3:6–9: Yea, I have set My king on My holy mount on Zion. I will declare concerning the statute of Jehovah: He said to Me, You are My Son. Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; You will dash them in pieces like a potter”s vessel. In over two dozen passages in the Old Testament, we have the 1st and 2nd Advents of our Lord presented as one event.

John the Baptizer did not get this, which suggests that there were others who understood prophecy, but were confused by our Lord’s incarnation (I personally believe that Satan did not understand this either, and this is why he participated in getting the Lord to the cross). Jesus, in His 1st Advent, was not here to throw off the shackles of Rome (John 18:36).

Intercalated between the 2 advents of our Lord is the Church Age, which was unknown to prophecy. Even that there were 2 advents was not fully understood, because even John the Baptizer, our Lord’s herald, had to send disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He was truly the Messiah. We see much of this as history, so the 2 advents and the intercalation of the Church Age do not generally confuse us.

The Advents of Jesus Christ within the Dispensations

The Dispensation

The Two Advents


The Age of Israel

Prophesied the Lord’s 2 advents (appearances)

From Abraham to Malachi, the Bible looks forward to the 1st and 2nd Advents.

The Age of the Hypostatic Union

The 1st Advent

Our Lord is incarnated as our Savior, here to die for our sins. His life is the model for the Christian walk.

The Church Age

Intercalated (inserted) between the 1st and 2nd Advents

This is the Mystery Age, not revealed in the Old Testament. All believers have access to all of the spiritual assets of our Lord. This fulfilled what Jesus said in John 14:12 “Point of doctrine: I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

The Age of Israel/the Tribulation

The 2nd Advent

Jesus returns to destroy all of Israel’s enemies. This is the completion of the Age of Israel. The rest of Scripture about the Messiah is fulfilled.

The Millennium

The 2nd Advent is continued

Jesus rules over Israel during perfect environment

The complete Doctrine of Intercalation is found here: (HTML) (PDF).

The complete Doctrine of Dispensations is found here: (HTML) (PDF).

The Apostles also had the credit card of being able to work signs and wonders, just as Jesus had, at the beginning of the Church Age. The Church Age marked a great departure from the Jewish Age, so this could not occur simply because 12 guys started saying, “Listen up, there are changes to be made, and here they are.” These men needed to have their authority recognized, and signs and wonders demonstrated their authority through the power of the Holy Spirit (1Thess. 1:5). Once their authority had been established, there was no longer a reason to re-authenticate them. That is, in order for Paul to teach in a church or to get them to accept as authoritative an epistle, he did not have to, time after time after time, heal someone or perform some kind of a miracle. If that were the case, we’d all belong to the church of Penn and Teller today.

Therefore, Paul’s ability to heal, for instance, faded as time went on (Philip. 2:26–27 1Tim. 5:23 2Tim. 4:20). Once the epistles are completed, we have all of the information that we need to understand our place and function in the Church Age. We no longer need miracles in order to authenticate a teacher, because his authority rests upon the Word of God, not in some miracle he can perform. Paul first showed that he had the authority of God through signs and miracles, and then he wrote the epistles, having established his authority; and these epistles became authoritative. When I walk into a church, seeing the pastor put on some kind of healing show means nothing to me—where is the spiritual growth in that? What he teaches from the pulpit determines whether or not I want to return. The real power in is the Word of God. If you think that the power of God today is in signs, healings and miracles, you have completely missed the point of the Church Age. The power of God is in His Word. The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of the soul and the spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God (1Peter 1:23). By faith we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible (Heb. 11:3). And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which [Word] is at work in you believers (1Thess. 2:13). Again and again and again, the New Testament epistles stress the power of the Word; not the power of miracles, signs and healings. When Billy Graham proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ, 10,000 or 20,000 might be in the audience. If televised, there might be a few million more. I personally know an unbeliever who, for many years, would be transfixed by the words spoken by Billy Graham (I don’t think he ever believed, but his daughter did). Billy Graham did not do any miracles; he did not do any healings; and yet, he could go to nearly any city in America, and thousands of people would be drawn to him, because he would speak the Word of God to them. Even unbelievers recognized its power.

I saw an evangelist speak to about 800 high school freshmen and they were transfixed. The bell rang for their lunch, and he said, “Give me 5 more minutes, if you would” and no one moved. No one called out, “Lunch.” 800 hungry 9th graders were transfixed by the Word of God being proclaimed to them.

The Age of Israel was interrupted by the intercalation of the Church Age; but there were 7 more years to go in the Age of Israel.

Once the rapture occurs, and all believers are taken out of the world, the church is gone, along with the restraining ministry of God the Holy Spirit. This is when the Age of Israel resumes, with the 7 final years of that age. This is when the Jews throughout the world and the nation Israel will become the entities through which God works once again. And, at the end of the Tribulation, our Lord will return as the Great King and Conqueror, which will be His 2nd Advent, and in that, He will fulfill all that is spoken of Him in Scripture.

Lessons 127–128: Genesis 13                            The Separation of Church and State

We will depart from the exegesis of Gen. 13 for just two more lessons (which will be sent all at once as a jumbo lesson

So that you understand how we have gotten to this point in this study: with Abraham begins the Jewish Age. At some point in the Jewish Age, in the book of the Exodus, God will form the nation Israel. Therefore, we need to examine the various dispensations and the differences within each dispensation (which we have already covered in previous lessons). This leads us to the relationship between church and state, which is directly applicable to us today.

The principles of the Jewish Age and the Church Age become confused when the church and state merge in some way or another; or when one exerts authority over the other. In the Church Age, church and state are two different entities, which our Lord differentiated between in Matt. 12:17–21 and Paul in Rom. 13:1–9. In fact, this is a fundamental change between the Age of Israel (which we are just beginning to study) and the Church Age (the age in which we live).

When the Catholic Church assumed political power, this violated the principal of these two separate entities, and that marked a point of great degeneracy of the Catholic Church. There was little wrong with the doctrines of the early Catholic church. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible was an excellent translation.

For nearly 200 years, our nation had this balance between church and state just about right. The church and state were separate and, to some extent, equal entities, the state owing its stability and prosperity to the function of the church within the land. The church was able to evangelize and teach the Word of God (this was a part of public and private education), because there was stability and order in the land. However, when the court began to misinterpret the separation of church and state, that was indicative of a national downward spiral to the spiritual state of our nation. The court began to give the state power over the church, and began to restrict religious expression by the state. Religious expression is not the same as the institution of the local church, but the courts intentionally chose to blur the distinction between these things, so that separation of church and state (a legitimate concept) could be changed into separation of religious expression and state (an illegitimate concept). That is, the state (actually, the courts) would begin to deny, limit and/or regulate religious expression (which is a violation of the separation of church and state).

In this way, our courts became lawmakers. Legally, this is very problematic. When our President issues an executive order that we dislike or the Congress begins passing laws with which we disagree, then we are able to vote them out of office. However, when the courts begin to make laws and strike down laws which the people pass, we have a serious problem. They have become a governing body of as few as 1, determining laws and policies for all, many as non-elected officials (we have the exact same problem when non-elected bureaucrats set policies based upon overly vague or open-ended laws, often designed to give them this power through regulation).

The Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution, were all limitations placed upon the entity of government, not upon the people of the United States. The First Amendment reads: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The first amendment is all about what Congress cannot do. There are no restrictions found in this amendment on the people of the United States (which includes, the people in Congress). The restriction is upon the body of Congress as an institution. Congress has the authority to make laws, and the first amendment limits that authority with respect to free expression of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

What happened in the 1950's and 1960's is, the concept of the wall of separation between church and state was reintroduced (taken from an old letter of Thomas Jefferson’s), but it was changed, through the clever use of language, into a wall of separation between religious expression and state, which is very different concept. This semantical change allowed the courts to become very antagonistic toward certain types of religious expression.

Let me insert a comment here—one thing which I have observed about liberalism over the past decade is, they love to use language in order to obscure their intentions, or to do things or assert things which simply are not true and right. That is exactly what occurs here with the Warren Court (1953–1969), which became one of the most evil institutions in our nation’s history.

Let me add another comment, lest you think I am demagoging this court. A country gets the government it deserves. As more and more believers turned against the Word of God, this was reflected and institutionalized by our courts. What they did was wrong and evil; but this is a reflection of the evil in our society. Such things do not occur within a vacuum. The spiritual state of our society lent itself to the courts acting as they did.

The Warren Court began to restrict religious expression. Restricting some religious expression by the state or by state entities or by state officials, has led to a very confused state of affairs. How does the Supreme Court ban the Ten Commandments from state courts, yet has Moses and the Ten Commandments featured prominently on the Supreme Court building? How does this make sense? How are the Ten Commandments problematic in a nation of mostly Christians with a handful of Jews and Muslims (all of whom accept the Ten Commandments)? Furthermore, even most atheists accept the second half of the Ten Commandments. How does a set of laws upon which our own laws are based, become so controversial? If various stripes of Christians, Jews and Muslims all accept the Ten Commandments, then how could their display establish a religion? However, this is how the court gets away with banning the Ten Commandments in some places—it is religious expression, and the courts have decided that they have the authority to determine when and where religious expression can occur. The framers of our Constitution would have been shocked at this ultimate power grab.

The Ten Commandments are attacked because they are a part of the Word of God; Satan is at work in this nation; and man has a sin nature. Mix these things together, and the Ten Commandments are going to be attacked.

The sin nature has several lusts in varying degrees: sexual lust, approbation lust, materialism lust and power lust. Lust might be seen as the motivator for the sin nature. What happened was, very liberal men were appointed to the Supreme Court, and they desired power and they took power, essentially enacting law, and changing the power of the court forever. Whereas the founding fathers set up our Supreme Court as the weakest branch of government (and, therefore, with the fewest checks), the Warren Court (named after Earl Warren, the Chief Justice) made it the strongest branch of government, answerable to no one. From that point on, individual judges could strike down whatever laws did not please them, even if a majority of people voted for that law. Because these are generally professional lawyers, they can essentially take whatever viewpoint they believe, and then argue for that when making their decision. It has only been in a recent decision, where our courts actually took into consideration what the words of the Constitution meant during the time that they were written.

As a part of the Warren Court evil, they changed the First Amendment so that it became a restriction upon the people of the United States rather than upon the laws that Congress could make. This change put forth by the Supreme Court, causes great confusion as to what is acceptable and what is not. How do all of our coins have “In God, we trust” on them, which is the national motto; and how is it that almost every state constitution and motto has God named, but singing Christmas carols in public schools is somehow problematic? Once the true doctrine of the separation of church and state was obfuscated through the use of language, confusion in this area has reigned, with our courts being clogged with all kinds of cases that would have never seen the light of day prior to 1950. At this point in time, we have two sets of entities—the taxpayer supported ACLU and privately supported organizations like the American Center for Law and Justice, the Alliance Defense Fund, the American Civil Rights Union, Liberty Council and the Judicial Action Group—who are usually at odds over these court cases (the ACLU tends to fight against Christian religious expression, unless it is way goofy).

Historically, the wall of separation between church and state was so that neither entity was able to exercise power over the other. The federal government could not establish an official religion and the church could not assume political power. However, religious expression is quite a different matter, which can be seen in many of the pronouncements and prayers of our early presidents. Even FDR recognized publically in his speeches that the United States was the place where the Word of God is taught (he used those exact words in public speeches during the war). This man had many failings; but he publically expressed the importance of the fact that the United States is great because this is where the Word of God is taught. This was not a presidential aberration on his part; as nearly every president expressed faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ and/or faith in the Word of God pubicly, recognizing how integral this was to the United States as a nation.

The very same people who crafted the first amendment met for church in public buildings (the very buildings where Congress met to enact legislation were also used for church services for many years). In their minds, this did not violate the separation of church and state; this was not the Congress establishing a religion (which was correct). Having prayers, reading psalms from the Bible in Congress, and having a chaplain in Congress all go back to the Continental Congress and continue even to this day. Footnote

So, in the Church Age, we have the church universal, which is composed of all those who have believed in Jesus Christ; and, in various geographical locations, there are local churches, in which believers receive instruction. Political expression in the church is not to be banned any more than religious expression by the state should be banned. Politics is a rich fountain of illustration and application. However, political expression is not the chief function of the church any more than religious expression is the chief function of the state. The founding fathers had no problem with hearing politics taught from their pulpits and they had no problem expressing their own faith in public, even in their roles as public servants. Many of the arguments of the founding fathers in making law centered upon the correct interpretation of the Bible and its proper application to government function. When authorities are quoted in order to support this or that opinion, the Bible was quoted by our founders more often than any other source as proof of this or that idea.

There are a myriad of examples of religious expression by our founders, but this one is pretty clear and unambiguous. The proclamation of Thanksgiving by George Washington.

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America


WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

From: http://www.leaderu.com/humanities/washington-thanksgiving.html

If you want to see this in the newspaper, go here.

Can you imagine a president making a proclamation in this way today? What if the principal of every school, prior to Thanksgiving, gathered the student body and read this proclamation to them? Do you think that the ACLU might be up in arms?

God creates life: Jehovah Elohim formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature (Gen. 2:7). See Acts 3:15.

It is Jesus Christ Who has given us our liberty. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Gal. 5:1).

The pursuit of happiness is granted by God. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man (Eccles. 3:12–13).

The inherent need for law and order is in all mankind: Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus (Rom. 2:14–16).

Quotations from our Founding Documents

Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We . . . solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states. . . And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

The First Charter of Virginia (granted by King James I, on April 10, 1606) read, in part:

We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God.

The Mayflower Compact (authored by William Bradford) 1620 read, in part:

"Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together."

In 1812, President Madison signed a federal bill which economically aided the Bible Society of Philadelphia in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible. This was " An Act for the relief of the Bible Society of Philadelphia" Approved February 2, 1813 by Congress. James Madison said,

"It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other."

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Perfect Governor, as he read Isaiah 33:22; "For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; He will save us." Although some have claimed that this is apocryphal, I have never read any good evidence for that opinion. Given the founders’s strong faith in God and the Bible, it makes sense that they were inspired by the Word of God. What I do know for a certainty is, liberals absolutely hate the idea that Christianity and the formation of our nation are fundamentally linked.

Our nation originally recognized and embraced the God Who gave them this land. Our founding fathers spoke of Him and recognized our God regularly, both privately and publically.

Public and Private Quotations from our Founding Fathers

John Adams, writing to Thomas Jefferson, in their later lives:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system. [Emphasis, mine]

Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence:

“The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.[54] [T]he Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.”

Fisher Ames (author of the house language for the first amendment):

“[Why] should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the Sacred Book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and probably if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.” [Emphasis, mine]

John Adams to Zabdiel Adams:

Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies. [Emphasis, mine]

John Adams in a speech to the military in 1798 warned his fellow countrymen:

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." [Emphasis, mine]

Samuel Adams, from a speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776:

"He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all. Our forefathers threw off the yoke of Popery in religion; for you is reserved the honor of leveling the popery of politics. They opened the Bible to all, and maintained the capacity of every man to judge for himself in religion." [Emphasis, mine]

John Quincy Adams, in 1837, at the age of 69, when he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts. :

"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?"

Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention of 1787:

"God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel"

In Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach "the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern."

 Noah Webster, author of the first American Speller and the first Dictionary:

"[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government. . . . and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence."

John Jay, the first Chief-Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court:

"The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts."

Patrick Henry:

"The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed."

Thomas Jefferson, from The Writings of Thomas Jefferson:

"An eloquent preacher of your religious society, Richard Motte, in a discourse of much emotion and pathos, is said to have exclaimed aloud to his congregation, that he did not believe there was a Quaker, Presbyterian, Methodist or Baptist in heaven, having paused to give his hearers time to stare and to wonder. He added, that in heaven, God knew no distinctions, but considered all good men as his children, and as brethren of the same family. I believe, with the Quaker preacher, that he who steadily observes those moral precepts in which all religions concur, will never be questioned at the gates of heaven, as to the dogmas in which they all differ. That on entering there, all these are left behind us, and the Aristides and Catos, the Penns and Tillotsons, Presbyterians and Baptists, will find themselves united in all principles which are in concert with the reason of the supreme mind. Of all the systems of morality, ancient and modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus."

Thomas Jefferson, from the Jefferson Memorial:

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Establish a law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state and on a general plan."

James Madison:

"We've staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart."

Horace Greely: "It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."

Our founding fathers were not deists (as I was falsely taught in school); nor were they uncertain about their faith; nor did they restrict their expression of faith to private functions and personal letters. They believed that, what they had received by way of freedom and blessing was from God, the God of Jesus Christ, and they were not ashamed of their faith and they were not ashamed of Jesus Christ.

While President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was elected the first president of the Washington, D.C. public school board, which used the Bible as a reading text in the classroom.

Books could be filled with private and public quotations of the founding fathers and their faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. Many of these came from:

http://www.seekfind.net/AmericaWiseSayingsAboutAmerica.html accessed March 22, 2011.

Other examples can be found here: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel04.html

here http://vftonline.org/EndTheWall/Educ_Bible.htm

here http://www.free2pray.info/5founderquotes.html

and here http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?cat=HD (this link also lists a number of Thanksgiving proclamations, which were, at one time, a recurring part of our history).

This is simply another example of a clear expression of reliance upon God as found in the Preambles of State Constitutions.

The Preambles of State Constitutions

Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land ...

Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...

California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom ...

Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences...

Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...

Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings establish this Constitution

Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine . acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .. and imploring His aid and direction.

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe ... in the course of His Providence, an opportunity .and devoutly imploring His direction ...

Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common ...

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this ..

Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to ... enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man ...

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI .. Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator ... can be directed only by Reason ... and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other ..

West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia . reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ...

Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties .. establish this Constitution .

This is a sampling of what is found in the various state constitutions. Notice that an acknowledgment of God, His blessings, protection and benevolence, are found in the constitution of virtually every state of the union, from all periods of time.

From: http://www.seekfind.net/TheStatesPreamblesToTheirConstitutions.html

The Bible was no stranger to early U.S. education.

Early U.S. Education

In 1642 and 1647, Puritan Massachusetts passed a compulsory education laws saying that all children needed to learn how to read; that Satan attempted to keep people from the Scriptures through their inability to read was the rationale for this law. Latin Grammar schools were established in 1635. They taught reading, writing and arithmetic, and prepared students for Harvard.

The New England Primer followed a tradition of combining the study of the alphabet with Bible reading. It introduced each alphabet letter through mostly religious phrases and then illustrated the phrase with a woodcut. The New England Primer was first printed in Boston in 1690 and was used into the 19th century.



From: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/71/NewEnglandPrimerAtoM.jpg

Originally, admittance into Harvard required one to pass a test in Latin and in Greek (the New Testament was written in Greek and the first major translation of the New Testament was into Latin). Although religion was fundamental to a Harvard education, that began to change in the early 1700's.

In 1786, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote the essay Thoughts upon the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic. This was one of the fundamental documents in the history of American education. Some quotes from this essay:

Our schools of learning, by producing one general and uniform system of education, will render the mass of the people more homogeneous and thereby fit them more easily for uniform and peaceable government.

I proceed, in the next place, to inquire what mode of education we shall adopt so as to secure to the state all the advantages that are to be derived from the proper instruction of youth; and here I beg leave to remark that the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in RELIGION. Without this, there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all re publican governments.

Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles. But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is the religion of JESUS CHRIST.

See http://www.schoolchoices.org/roo/rush.htm for the entire essay.

Article 3 of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 read: Religion, Morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, Schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.

This is, by no means, a comprehensive view of early U.S. education. This simply indicates that Christianity and education, at the very beginning, were not at odds with one another, but worked in tandem with one another.

And from a Supreme Court decision: This republic is classified among the Christian nations of the world. It was so formally declared by the Supreme Court of the United States. But in what sense can it be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that the people are in any manner compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Neither is it Christian in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in the public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian nation-in fact, as the leading Christian nation of the world. U. S. Supreme Court Justice, David J. Brewer, The United States A Christian Nation (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1905), pp. 11-12.

My point in listing a portion of these historic documents or writings or speeches is to indicate that, from our founding, our nation has been closely associated with our Lord Jesus Christ and His Father, our God, and His power, the Holy Spirit. As we find ourselves, as a county, becoming more and more separated from our Lord, the greater are the evils which threaten our country (communism, socialism, Islam, a soaring and nearly unpayable debt, a dependence upon other nations for rare earth minerals, as well as the disintegration of the family and the work ethic and the dependence upon God). These things all go hand in hand. We must never, as individuals or as a nation, forget the words of Jesus: “To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48b).

As an aside, I remember very little of what I was taught in my history classes in high school, but one thing which sticks in my memory is, our founding fathers were deists who believed that God started up the world and wandered off, leaving us here without His assistance. This sort of nonsense has been taught for decades in our schools, and it is evidence of the spiritual battle in which we are engaged. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). Why else would historians go to such great lengths to distort our nation’s history? This is because our adversary is the father of lies (John 8:44).

One of the great enemies of the United States was and is communism. There were 45 goals of communism designed to breakdown America from the inside so that they could take over our country.

Some Communist Goals

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.