Saturday, September 10, 2022

God's Promises To Abraham - chapter 1

Chapter 1


A Coming Brexit

Friday, June 23rd, 2016 we woke to see the reality that the world – as we have known it for the past few decades – has dramatically and radically changed. The British people voted on a referendum about whether or not to leave the European Union. And as all of you know, the vote was about 52% in favor to leave and 48% to stay. And therefore the United Kingdom has been exiting the past years from the European Union. It’s sort of odd in the way that it came about – the former Prime Minister David Cameron had promised the members of his party that he would put a vote – a referendum up – so that the people could express their opinion. When he agreed to this, I heard that he thought that the vote would be about 60% to 40% in favor of staying in the EU. But as time went by, we’ve had terrorist attacks and Paris and the horrible situation in Brussels in the last few years. And then here in America, we’ve had the San Bernardino incident and the nightclub in Orlando, Florida – where 49 people were killed and 53 more people were injured. All of that has sort of galvanized the public. And many folks are saying – “Enough to this unlimited migration of the people from the Middle East!” Especially from war-torn sections of the Middle East – like Syria – where so much violence and so much Islamic terrorism have been fomented. And people have just gotten tired of it! And, most observers when you watch the television news reports with one accord which have watched this procedure have sided that the immigration of Muslims into the United Kingdom and the radical changes to the British culture and society as the main reason why the Britons voted as they did.
     And there is a great concern among EU advocates that other countries may very well follow Britain’s path. That is - other countries may, here within the coming years, also vote to leave the European Union. And I have an AP report, entitled, “EU must now stop further unraveling – if they can.” And I’m just gonna read two or three paragraphs of this.
     “BRUSSELS (AP) — The EU must reinvent itself to survive after Britain’s vote to leave. It may be too late.
     The damning verdict of British voters was the worst setback to the EU since the germ of a more integrated Europe first took shape in the ruins left by World War II. And it threatens to be wildly contagious — even before the ballots were all tallied, populist leaders in some of the EU’s founding nations were clamoring for a vote on EU membership in their own countries.
     From Paris to Berlin to Brussels, EU leaders agree they need to change in response to the British referendum. Yet they disagree on how — on whether to tighten their union or rethink it to address those who increasingly distrust all things EU.”
     This means to distrust of the bureaucracy and many of the people who are making the decisions for all of these European countries are themselves unelected. And have no responsibility to go to the voters to get their approval. And the bureaucracy in Europe at the present time is based upon a very liberal Left-leaning Socialist type model. And the British people were paying a lot of taxes – a lot of their money was going to support the EU – and very little of that money was coming back to the United Kingdom. And the same thing can be said for some of these other countries.
     It goes on to say:
     “And before they make any lasting moves, EU decision-makers remain at the mercy of Britain’s Conservative Party and how it handles the pending divorce.
     “Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum!” said Dutch firebrand Geert Wilders, chairman of the PVV party which is leading Dutch opinion polls. The jubilation was similar at the French National Front party of Marine Le Pen. At EU headquarters in Brussels, leaders moved swiftly to try to minimize chances that other member countries might head for the exit.”
     So, in losing the United Kingdom they lost the fifth most powerful economy of the world, plus one of the more powerful armies of the world. So, this will be a big blow to the EU.
     And, going back to my notes – this vote to leave the EU may also precipitate the people of Scotland to ask for another referendum – they had one about six years ago – to leave the United Kingdom. That’s another part of the story. In the United Kingdom, the actual original name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which may itself be broken apart in the coming months and years. So a lot of ramifications from all of this.

A Brief History of the EU

I want to go to a quick history of the European Union. I found that to be most interesting.
     Now, EUROPE in the 20th century had two terrible tragic wars to take place on its soil. We have from the Great War – the war to end all wars as it was once advertised – from 1914 – 1918. And then, as you know, in the aftermath of World War I how Germany was basically crushed by the Treaty of Versailles. And for a decade or so Germany suffered badly, and then with the rising of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party – remember Nazi means National Socialist German Workers' Party. Keep that in mind for those of you who call yourselves Socialists. You’re more related to Hitler than you think. As Germany began to try and reclaim its national identity, it became a much more warlike state – with the rise of Hitler and his thousand-year Reich. A false dream of world domination – you have the beginning of World War II. Now, WWII actually started on 1st September 1939 – but the United States of America did not officially enter until Japan (who was an ally of Germany) bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941. And then we – Americans – were thrown into it full force.
     Now before then-President, Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill had been working out some deals where a lot of American equipment was being sent to England. But we – America – actually became involved in 1941. But WWII began in 1939, and it continued until 2nd September 1945. And then, later on, with the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, finally Japan ended its war – it was forced to surrender.
     Well – keeping all of that horrible tragedy of war in mind. Both human tragedies – you think about the millions and millions who died prematurely. And then the economic disruptions. Some of those countries – like Germany itself were reduced to rubble! And many parts of England were reduced to rubble! The mass bombings and the carpet bombings. Terrible destruction and it just played havoc on the economies of all of those nations. And then, in September 1949-50, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed a community to integrate the coal and steel industries of Europe. Because those were the two industries that were necessary to create war-making machines – or weapons of war. And so the very beginning of the European Union was an attempt to make sure that war would not visit the heartland of Europe again. And they came up with what they called the Treaty of Paris – which was actually signed in 1951 and it created the European Coal and Steel Community.
     Well on the 25th of March 1957 the Treaty of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC). And before Europe was referred to as the European Union we often heard the term common market. Well, that all began officially with the Treaty of Rome. Now, in 1963 Charles de Gaulle vetoed UK's entry into the EEC - famously uttering the single word “non” into the television cameras at the critical moment. However, in January 1973 the United Kingdom became officially part of the common market.
     And, in 1989 – a very significant moment – the so-called Iron Curtain fell down throughout Eastern Europe, and in the months following that West Germany became reunited with East Germany – and they simply went by the term Germany. And so that was a major pivotal event in the history of Europe!
     Well, on 7th February 1992, the Maastricht Treaty – officially called the Treaty on European Union – was signed. And then the European Union was officially born and the euro (a common currency) was introduced. However, Denmark and the United Kingdom were not included in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). And that’s why to this day England (or Britain) does not use the euro – it uses the pound sterling.
     And before it was all said and done – 28 countries became members of the European Union. Now, it actually started at 6. And, the original 6 countries that formed the first Treaty of Paris – the European Coal and Steel Community – were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands (Holland), and West Germany. So it grew from 6 nations – and here until June 23rd, 2016 – to 28 nations. And I found it interesting that - in the stuff that I read - Norway is not officially a member of the EU. Although it does have some agreements on different subjects. But, Norway has somewhat remained a part of that.
     And then the next really true pivotal date in the history of the EU came on June 23rd, 2016, when the United Kingdom held the membership referendum and they voted to secede from the European Union.
     So, you sort of need to get a background of what created the EU. It was created in the ashes of war. And it was an attempt to keep the countries of Europe from becoming warring partners again. Especially in the age of nuclear weapons – one can’t imagine the destruction that World War III theoretically would have upon the world. And, it also was an attempt to grow economically – especially out of the shadow of World War II. And to become a more robust number of countries. And to a certain extent, they have done that. But they’ve almost outgrown themselves. They’ve taken in some countries which never have been able to keep up with their end of the bargain. We’ve heard about Greece, we’ve heard about Spain – which over nearly two decades have been having troubles. Apparently, in some of these countries – including Italy – the Socialist governments (the people who represent the politicians) their more interested in giving people Socialist benefits than they are actually creating a country that is strong enough to hold their own. I heard on television that in Italy a huge – like a third of the year – they have paid vacation. At the same time, the people up in Germany are working hard, the people in England are working hard, and the people of Great Britain are working hard. But, they are pouring out more
money and some of these more uninspired countries are getting more money coming into them for freebies than they were actually paying out holding up their own. And that’s caused a lot of tension. But everyone agrees – the real straw that broke the camel’s back – was the issue of immigration. And when they say “immigration” here over the nearly two decades it’s talking about immigration from the Islamic countries. And the fear that people have that Islam is taking over their native lands.
     I’ve never been to London – but they say that London is more like Londonistan. Like it’s almost a Muslim nation within EUROPE! Archaeologists believe that around 4000 B.C., the first permanent settlement in what is known as England was founded. However, the very character of English society is being changed. And, some people find that just unacceptable. So, that’s some of the backgrounds.
     Now, what just happened is very important – highly significant. The UK voting to break away from the European Union directly has implications for future fulfilled prophecy. We need to understand prophecy – in terms of where it has been and more particularly where it is going. Biblical prophecy.
     Now that it has occurred the reality is that changes are on the way. There’s no doubt about it! Major changes in British society and in Europe – and its political structure and its underpinnings - everything is now topsy-turvy. Much of the Bible is a narrative about one man’s family – that being Abraham. The Bible details the prophecies and the promises which God has given and will give to Abraham and his descendants. Both his physical Isaac, and Jacob - And Jacob/Israel had twelve sons – Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin. And his young son Joseph, who ended up in Egypt, and with the blessing of God, became the vice-Pharaoh of Egypt. And his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. All of that weighs heavy on what has happened in the past, what is happening now, and what’s going to happen down the road as we approach what I like to call – the end-time trauma.

Physical and Spiritual Descendants of Abraham

Now I said physical descendants – physical DNA. And, I am of a belief that most Americans who came from the original founding stock of American pioneers – if you did DNA research you would find out that we have some of Abraham’s DNA in us. And, I know some people would say, “Well, I don’t believe that!”
     Let us also talk about the spiritual descendants of Abraham. If you would turn to Galatians 3.
     Galatians 3 – and when I say the spiritual descendants of Abraham, I’m talking about those people who would come under the blessing of what would eventually be known as the New Covenant. And we here in Owensboro talk a lot about Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. We here at the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ talk about the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God. And that’s why we’re attempting to understand this story from the direction of what the Bible has to say.
     “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” – and I will say again, the main focus of the writings of the Apostle Paul – who formed the largest part of the New Testament – is about Jesus Christ and the promises and the tenants of the New Covenant. And also, once again, if you do not have Jesus Christ you do not have access to eternal life. This again, makes me ask the question – “If you have a church leader who is ashamed of the name Jesus Christ what does that portend for your particular church group!?” If your leader is ashamed of the name Jesus Christ, you have shut yourself off from the potential of eternal salvation.
     He says in verse 2 – “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” – remember the Jewish people under the tenants of the Old Testament – the Old Covenant – they actually believed that if they just followed these physical prescriptions of do’s and don’ts, that somehow that would make them right with God. And what Paul is trying to say is, “Yes, there are things which you are supposed to do. There are requirements that you are supposed to fulfill. But at the bottom core – you must have a belief or faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And, you don’t have that faith.” If you don’t have that belief you are not in touch with the potentiality of having eternal life being bestowed upon you. Verse 3 – “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” – and so, everywhere Paul went he was dealing with church groups that were being influenced by people who were trying to make them more JEWISH than CHRISTIAN. Or, the term Judaizers. And to this day – within the Church of God (meaning within the tradition of the Worldwide Church of God) – there are people throughout all of these congregations who believe that they want to become followers of Jewish tradition and that somehow that will make them perfect before God.
     Verse 4 – “Have you suffered so many things in vain – if indeed it was in vain? 5) Therefore He who supplies the Spirit [the Spirit of God, the mind of Christ] to you, does He do it by the works of the law, ...” – by following the Old Testament – Old Covenant – teachings!? Now again, this ‘works of the law’ here have nothing to do with the Ten Commandments! This is talking about the law of Moses. The provisions of the Old Covenant – the Old Testament.
     Or, ‘does He do this’ – this miracle which is being worked in you, “by the hearing of faith?” And then he talks about Abraham. Verse 6 – “just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted [accredited] to him for righteousness.’” – it’s like if you go to the bank and make a deposit – you place $500 down on the counter, the teller takes your money, and credits your account for $500. Abraham believed God – and that act of belief and therefore the resulting obedience was accounted to him for righteousness. Verse 7 – “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.” – remember what I said a few moments ago – that the Bible is the story of one man’s family – Abraham. Both his physical descendants and as it were his spiritual descendants. And so, Moses was not in tune with the New Covenant. However, Moses’ great-great-great-great-grandfather Abraham (from his father Amram) was in tune with the New Covenant. He goes on to say, verse 8 – “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles [non-Israelites] by faith, ...” – ‘through faith.’ Remember Paul said one time – “by faith you are saved”? “By grace, you are saved”? Not just following the regiment of the Old Testament. Or the regiment and practices of Jewish leaning traditions. “...preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you, all nations shall be blessed.’” – now we’re going to read that promise coming up in the Book of Genesis. And it was said to Abraham many times in different ways. Verse 9 – “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” – faith in WHAT!? Faith in Jesus Christ, faith in His divinity, faith in His sacrifice, and faith in His teachings – which we can simply call the New Covenant. The gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of the Kingdom, the gospel of the good news of salvation. Verse 10 – “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; ...” – what is the curse he’s talking about!? “The wages of sin is death,” Paul so wrote in Romans 6:23. If you live your life according to Old Testament – Old Covenant – principles (and even though you keep that law perfectly) you are subject to death. Because there were no provisions in the Old Covenant for eternal salvation. The provisions of eternal salvation ONLY came to people who understood what would eventually be called – the New Covenant. And now we officially have received that terminology – that New Covenant. He goes on to say, “for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them.’ 11) But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God ...” – the law of Moses, ‘no one is justified by keeping the Old Covenant.’ It is evident, “for ‘the just shall live by faith.’” And that’s a phrase you find back in one of the minor prophets – Habakkuk. You find it quoted several times in the writings of Paul. ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Verse 12 – “Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.’ 13) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, ...” – what’s the curse of the law!? Death! Jesus Christ is our exit – He’s our pathway out of the provisions of the Old Covenant! He is the pathway that leads us down the path of the NEW COVENANT – and eventually eternal life! Verse 14 – “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles [through] Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Verse 16 – “Now to Abraham and his Seed [Jesus Christ] were the promises made.” – again, we’re talking about both the genetic descendants of Abraham and also the spiritual descendants of Abraham. And, there’s an allusion there about Jesus Christ – He is also a descendant of Abraham. Verse 18 – “For if the inheritance is of the law [Old Testament, Old Covenant], it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” – so there are a whole series of promises that God made to Abraham. And here as we get further into this particular topic we’re going to see what God actually said to Abraham. Verse 19 – “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed [Jesus Christ] should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20) Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is One.” – referring to Jesus Christ. He became the great Mediator. Verse 26 – “For you are all [the children of God] through faith in Christ Jesus.” – if Jesus Christ is not a part of your thought process – if you just sit around thinking about God-God-God-God – and you don’t really get down to the nitty-gritty of accepting and admitting and fully becoming involved in the thought of Jesus Christ, you are separate – you have been separated from the promise of eternal life. Verse 27 – “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, ...” – meaning, there is no Israelite or Gentile. “...there is neither [bond] nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
     And then, verse 29. A very pivotal statement – “And if you are Christ’s, ...” – if you belong to Christ, if Christ lives in you, “...then you are Abraham’s seed, ...” – you’re a spiritual descendant of Abraham’s – spiritually speaking. “...and heirs according to the promise.”
     So, it’s very important to understand God’s promises to Abraham. Both to his physical descendants and to his spiritual descendants – as it were.
     Now, with all of that in mind, please, turn back to Genesis 12.
     We pick up the story of Abraham – who at this particular time is called Abram. Just like Jacob had his name changed to Israel, Abram, after a while, had his name changed to Abraham.

Abram leaves Ur of the Chaldees
“I will make you a great nation”

It says in chapter 12, verse 1 – “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house To a land that I will show you.’” – now that command right here actually ends up becoming a command that most of us who are members of the Body of Christ must also follow. If in your mind – if you’re not willing to break away from your families traditions, you probably will not ever grow in the grace and in the knowledge of Christ Jesus – you probably will never learn the true promises of eternal salvation, and you will probably (in this age) never be a part of that plan of salvation. Now, God has a plan for you farther down the road – over a thousand years away. But, we’re talking at the present time, you are most likely detached from the pathway to eternal life.
     And so, if you start to learn about the truth of God – and again, we here at the OCOJC are here to talk about the Truth of God, the Word of God, and the Plan of God. And if you are shown something from your own Bible – now if I just say it, it doesn’t make it so – and there’s an old expression: “Opinions are like rear-ends, everyone’s got one.” And, just because you have an opinion, doesn’t mean that you’re in accordance with the facts. Another expression you often hear: is “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” People tend to make up facts. Well, there are people who go to church on Sunday who believe that if they’re a good person that when they die they’re gonna go off to Heaven. And they believe that the bad people are going to go down to Hell. And they keep Christmas, Easter, and all the other pagan holidays. And they think this is the pathway to salvation! Now they’re entitled to that opinion – especially in this country where you do have freedom of religion – but they’re not entitled to the facts. THE FACTS ARE WHAT COMES FROM THE BIBLE! The Bible says that Sunday is not the day of worship. The Bible says that Christmas and Easter are not God’s holy days. The Bible has a whole different set of holy days. And we spend a tremendous amount of time here at the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ talking about those annual holy days. And we meet here on the weekly Sabbath – which is what our culture calls Saturday. And, that’s difficult for a lot of people to accept. And there are people who start to learn the truth of God, and they all of a sudden come face to face with the reality that if they’re going to continue down this pathway – they’re going to have to change their life. They’re going to have to leave their families' traditions, and they’re going to have to start following the traditions as put forth by the New Covenant and by Jesus Christ and by the prophets and apostles.
     And so, Abraham was told, ‘Get out of your country, get away from your relatives, get away from your father and your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you.’ And notice what He says to him in verse 2. This is God – the One we now call Jesus Christ if the truth is known. “’ I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.’” – now that’s quite a comment to hear from the mouth of God! Verse 3 – “’ I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” – and we can read about that comment and that thought process many times in the Bible. And I think there is a truism – there are people who (and I don’t think that they know that they are) become servants to Satan the devil. To his way of life, to his thinking. They often have a pretty self-righteous view of themselves and they often have a pretty mean attitude about others who they think are different from them. And, those human beings – and you can find them in all walks of life. Where you work, in your family, in different advocations – I’ve found them in the world of sports, among coaches or certain fans, players, and fellow officials. But there are people who – they don’t know that they’re doing it – but they will just take an instant dislike to you. I have had school officials in my past who just didn’t like me. Now, they couldn’t tell you why they didn’t like me. But they just knew there was something about me they didn’t like. Now, did I go out of my way to make trouble for them!? No. Did I go out of my way to make trouble for the school!? No. But they just had a burr in their saddle. And God says very plainly – ‘I will bless them that bless you, And I will curse him who curses you.’ In the end, all of my adversaries – outside of the Church of God and those which I have found in the so-called church – those people will be cursed. And I don’t have to lift my hand to do it. What does He say, “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay!” We read in 2nd Thessalonians about Him taking vengeance upon those who have harmed you or who have attempted to harm you. And I think that if you ever find somebody who truly is a member of the Body of Christ – if you explore their life – you’re going to find out that they have had people who go out of their way to make life difficult for them. Without merit – without cause. And the only way to explain it is to understand that Satan and his demons are alive and well, and often times they do their dirty work through human beings, or by inspiring human beings – motivating human beings. Whispering – as it were – into their ear. And they get filled with this sense of self-righteousness and rage and bitterness. And it can be a real mess! But keep this in mind – ‘if God be for us, who can be against us!’ in the end!? In the end, we will win – because GOD is going to win!
     Verse 7 – “Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants, I will give this land.’ And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” – Abram knew God face to face. He didn’t have to rely on written documents – like we do. He didn’t have to rely upon some vague notion that maybe he learned in some religious school. No, Abram knew God face to face. Because he spoke with Him many times, and had meals with Him and shared thoughts with Him! Abram was on a very intimate relationship with the One we now call Jesus Christ.
     Chapter 13 – talks about the situation which was taking place in Sodom and Gomorrah. Verse 14 – “And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward [everywhere in all directions]; 15) for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants [remember, both physical and spiritual descendants] forever.’” – this is an eternal promise. Verse 16 – “’ And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth ...’” – well, think about going to the seashore. And, think about all the grains of sand that make up the beach – each grain of sand represents a human being, so the descendants from Abram would simply be innumerable – incapable of counting! “...’ so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.’” – basically, an unlimited number. Verse 17 – “’ Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’ 18) Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD.”
     Abram spent a lot of time building altars. Now, to what church did Abram belong!? Did he belong to a Protestant church!? Did he belong to a Catholic church!? A Jewish synagogue!? No. Did he belong to a Church of God!? No. Abram had no church membership. But, when Abram was going to have “church” he often built an altar to the LORD. We read about this throughout the life of Abram.
     Chapter 15, verse 1 – “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid Abram. I AM your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’ 2) But Abram said, ‘Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ [traditionally, the son of Nimrod] 3) Then Abram said, ‘Look, You have given me no offspring; ...’” – he’s saying, ‘I don’t have a child.’ Now, keep in mind – Abram is saying, ‘You keep promising me this innumerable multitude of descendants, and yet I don’t have a child!’ “...’ indeed one born in my house is my heir!’ 4) And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, ...’ Verse 5 –“ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’” – And Abram is going, ‘Just how can this be!? You’re telling me like the stars of the sky!?’
     Verse 6 – “And he [Abram] believed in the LORD, and He [God, the Eternal One] accounted it to him for righteousness.” – Abram’s belief in the word of the LORD is what made him close to the LORD! Verse 7 – “Then He said to him, ‘I AM the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.’ ... 9) So He said to him, ‘Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ 10) Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11) And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.” – he had what we would call a nightmare. Verse 13 – “Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants [someday] will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and [your descendants] will serve them, and they will afflict them [as slaves] four hundred years. 14) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward, they shall come out with great possessions.’” – Now, Abram as yet doesn’t have a legitimate heir, and yet Abram sees in a terrible nightmare that his descendants – which by this point in time will have become a great nation – would be held in slavery for four hundred years! He’s talking about the time of Moses – far down the way! Verse 15 – “Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.’” – the LORD is saying, ‘You’re going to die someday, but you’ll be a ripe old age!’ Verse 16 – “’ But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’ 17) And it came to pass when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18) On the same day ...” – when all of this terrible nightmare was taking place, “...the LORD made a covenant [a sacred agreement] with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt [the Nile River] to the great river, the River Euphrates ...’” – which now flows in what we call Iraq. Most of the central part of what we call the Middle East.

The Birth of Ishmael

Chapter 16, verse 1 – “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. ...” – remember we covered this a few moments ago, how Abram was saying, ‘Look, I don’t have a rightful heir.’ And God says, ‘Yes you will!’ And eventually, Abram had a child through another woman – a handmaiden. And God said, ‘No! That’s not the one. I have something else in mind.’ He eventually tells him, ‘The son you’re gonna have will be from Sarah.’ “...And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2) So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please,
go into my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by [or through] her.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.” – now I’ve often wondered just how hard Abram fought that urge. I know some men if their wife had said, ‘I can’t have children, but go to this young woman here and have a child through her, I know some men who would say, ‘No way! You are my wife. You and you only will be my wife. And I’m not gonna slip out on the side as it were and have children outside of this marriage.’ And I’ve also known some men in my life who if they were given that opportunity would have probably gotten a big grin and would go, “Alright! Since you want me to, I’ll sacrifice for you!’ Well, I don’t know what Abram’s attitude was, maybe someday we’ll find out. Verse 3 – “Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, ...” – so now Abram has another wife. Verse 4 – “So he went into Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.” – so Hagar, whose role in life previous to this wasn’t that important, now all of a sudden she is Abram’s wife, and now she has a child on the way and Sarai notices Hagar’s attitude begins to change. She, as it says, ‘her mistress became despised in her eyes.’ She got what we would say – uppity. And her feelings towards Sarai changed – hardened. Verse 5 – “Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me.’ 6) So Abram said to Sarai, ‘Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.’ And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.” – so, the two women had what we would say – had it out. And Sarai – the future Sarah – sort of let Hagar know – Hey, I don’t like your attitude young woman! And I don’t like your snotty ways!
     Verse 7 – “Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness by the spring on the way to Shur. 8) And he said, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ She said, ‘I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.’ 9) The angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Return to your mistress and submit yourself under her hand.’ 10) Then the angel of the LORD said to her, ...” – and again, we talked about Abram’s descendants. Not all of Abram’s descendants receive the promise that Isaac’s descendants eventually received. But even though this child was conceived by Hagar God made promises to this child. He says here, “’ I will multiply your descendants exceedingly so that they shall not be counted for multitude.’” – thousands and thousands – millions and millions. Verse 11 – “And the angel of the LORD said to her: ‘Behold you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael Because the LORD has heard your affliction.’” – so Ishmael is the progenitor of the Arab people.
     Verse 12 – “’ He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man’s hand against him. ...’” – and if you want some time, get on the computer and look up the history of the Arab people. The Arab people – throughout their history – have not been happy unless they’ve been at war with somebody. And if they don’t have an outsider to war against, they’ll war against each other! Truly, they have been a ‘wild’ race! A blood-thirsty race! Who is at war with everyone! “...’ And he shall dwell in the presence of all of his brethren.’ 13) Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’ 14) Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15) So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.” Now get this – Verse 16 – “Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.” – 86 years old and a first-time father!
     Project forward to the 21st century. The conflict which started in approximately 2081 BC between Sarai and Hagar and their descendants – their sons – that bitterness has continued with us all the way into the 21st century! And so the Arab people – now many of which are extremely excited by the hatred which is spread by Islamic doctrine have a great hatred for the people of America and great hatred for the people of Great Britain. And it’s a modern-day problem – isn’t it!? Remember, on June 11th, 2016, Omar Mateen who shot up the nightclub in Orlando, Florida said he was doing so in the name of ISIS. The Islamic State. A lot of people have died because of that perverted religion.

A Precursor To the New Covenant

Chapter 17, verse 1 – “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I AM Almighty God; walk before Me and be [spiritually mature]. ...’” – or at least strive to be spiritually mature. And here are some more promises. Verse 2 – “’ And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.’ 3) Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4) ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant ...’” – now this is before the law of Moses. This covenant – and there are many covenants that are talked about in the Bible – is not the Old Covenant! The Old Covenant – the old agreement – was made between God and Moses and the people of Israel! This particular covenant pre-dates the Old Covenant. And this agreement says, “...’ is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.’” – this has nothing to do with the law of Moses. It’s a completely separate agreement! Verse 5 – “’ No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6) I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations [come out of you], and kings shall come from you. 7) And I will establish [this] covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, ...’”
     Remember the promises that God made to Abraham – both his physical descendants and more importantly for all of us today, his spiritual descendants. This covenant here is actually a precursor to the New Covenant! Because it’s a pathway to eternal salvation for the descendants of Abraham! And folks, that has NEVER been taught in any of the churches of God!!
     “...’ to be God to you and your descendants after you.’” – and ultimately, when we’re in the Kingdom of God, God the Father and Jesus Christ will be our Heavenly Father – our Almighty Father – and our Big Brother for all eternity! Verse 8 – “’ Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’

The Birth of Isaac

Verse 15 – “Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah [or rather princess] shall be her name. 16) And I will bless her and also give you a son [from] her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’”
     Now, keep in mind, that Abraham’s now 100 years old! And Sarah’s in her 90s! It’s not exactly a time when you would expect childbirth. At age 90 – you’re talking about even great-great maybe even great-great-great grandchildren! But no, Sarah will become a mother!
     Verse 17 – “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, ...” – which tells you he had a sense of humor. Even in the face of God Abraham could have a good laugh. “...and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” – how can it be that a hundred-year-old man and a ninety-year-old woman have a son!? Abraham just started laughing! Now, apparently, Abraham could do this – I would suggest that if God ever gave you a message, you don’t fall down and start laughing at Him! I suggest you just sort of keep your tongue and say, “I believe You!”
     Verse 18 – “And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!’” – now, Abraham had a lot of affection for Ishmael – it was his son. He had every reason he should have. But God does not have Ishmael as being the recipient of the promises which will result in the promises to Israel. Different person – a different group of people. Verse 19 – “Then God said, ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.’”
     So, we’ve talked about all the promises made to Abraham, and now we’re being told that Isaac will also be a recipient of the same promises that God made to Abraham.
     Verse 20 – “’ And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21) But My covenant ...’” – this special agreement, “...’ I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.’” – now, going back to verse 20. I have never been able to read anything on this. But I know that right now if you are a history student and you wanted to study the Middle East, I think an excellent doctoral thesis would be to study the history of the Arab people – and to realize that within the Arab community of nations, across North Africa and into the Middle East you would find twelve different tribes. Because right here in verse 20 – God told Abraham, ‘as for Ishmael, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly, and twelve princes (or twelve-nation types) will come from him.’ And so right now, the Arab people are very important people. Love them or hate them – they’re in the news every day. And they were blessed with oil to the point where at one point these people rode around the desert on camels, now they can fly their own private jet airplanes – many of them – because of the riches that flowed into their countries. It’s a very interesting story.
     Let’s go to chapter 18 – this is a remarkable story! “Then the LORD appeared to him [Abraham] by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2) So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground.” – now, it says ‘men’ – maybe a better phrase would be “three beings.” And Abraham said – verse 3 – “...’ My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your
sight, do not pass on by Your servant.’” – ‘Come and stay awhile. Come and spend some time with me.’ Verse 4 – “’ Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.’” – now, this is almost like a portent - a suggestion of the Passover service. Because we have the washing of feet – which was a very common custom in these days. And then he says in verse 5 – “’ And I will bring a morsel of bread, ...’” – and notice down in verse 6 that this bread was made very quickly. It was not leavened bread, but rather unleavened bread. “...’ that you may refresh your hearts. After that, you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.’ They said, ‘Do as you have said.’” – now keep in mind, that Abraham is talking to the One we now call Jesus Christ. And with Jesus Christ are two angelic beings.
     If Jesus Christ wants to – in the Old Testament, and also during his human lifetime, and after He’s been resurrected and came out of the tomb – He appeared in front of His disciples multiple times and they ended up touching Him, having a meal with Him – we’re told that we are going to be like Jesus Christ someday in the future. Jesus Christ has always been able to appear as a human being – if He wants. And He has always been able to appear as a great almighty God – if He so desires. And in this particular case – the One we now call Jesus Christ – who was and is indeed the Creator of the world
with two angelic beings who allow their feet to be washed and decide to have a little meal.
     Verse 6 – “So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, ‘Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.’” – so this is unleavened bread. It’s not given time to rise with the yeast – it’s put the ingredients together and cook it. Verse 7 – “And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man and he hastened to prepare it. 8) So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.” – the great Creator God – appearing as a human being along with two angelic beings – sit down and eat a Passover type meal. I just find that remarkable! They could have said, “No, we’re not human. We don’t need food.” But, they sort of enjoyed having a meal. I don’t know – there’s something magical about having a meal with good friends, family members, and good-hearted church people. There’s something very special about having a meal with people you enjoy and you respect. And here, the One we now call Jesus Christ, is paying Abraham a tremendous blessing by saying, “Yeah! I’ll sit down and have a meal with you.” And, Abraham made sure that a fine meal was made – a quick meal. Verse 9 – “Then they said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ So he said, ‘Here in the tent.’ 10) And He said, ‘I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, ...’” – remember it takes about 9 months for a human child to be developed in the womb. “...’ and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.’” – and Sarah heard the conversation, she was sort of behind the tent. Verse 11 – “Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.” – so this young man – this baby boy – which was going to be born unto her was indeed a miracle. Just like the birth of Jesus Christ was a miracle. Verse 12 – “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, ...” – now was she laughing with joy
or was she laughing from the silliness of it all!? I don’t know, but, ‘Sarah laughed within herself.’ “...’ saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’ 13) And the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’” – and verse 14, a good passage to remember – “’ Is anything too hard for the LORD?’”
     Now, I don’t care what you’ve got on your life, I don’t care what burden may be set upon you – but if God wants to change it, He can! And there’s nothing too hard, too difficult, nothing too strained that God Almighty and Jesus Christ cannot do for you! And you need to keep that in mind – that’s a great promise from God! Along with the idea – “I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.” Those are wonderful promises that all of us should keep in mind. The promises that God is making to Abraham, are the promises which should be applied to all of us in our thinking and our prayer life.
     “...’ At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.’ 15) But Sarah [when she realized she sort of got caught] denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ ...” – isn’t it funny how even Eve said, “I didn’t do it!” blaming it on the serpent. “...for she was afraid. And He said, ‘No, but you did laugh!’” – and God knew better. Now, I don’t think He was terribly angry with them – He just realized that that’s human’s being human.

Conclusion

So, this is God’s promises to Abraham. Next, we’ll go into the notes concerning the future of Europe – where prophetically Europe was prophesied back in the Book of Daniel. And how we pick up those prophecies in the Book of Revelation, and how even Paul threw in some of the prophecies about Europe and what would happen in the end-time. And when we paint all this picture together you will see that it was inevitable – sooner or later – that England or the United Kingdom would someday not be a part of the central hub of Europe. That they would be apart and distinct – even though they were hanging out with them since 1973 as a part of the common market. But in 2016, that apparently ended. It will take a year or two for it all to be finalized, but unless something dramatically changes – the United Kingdom will not be a part of Europe in the coming years as we approach the end-time trauma.



Michael C. Garrett    About
Publication Date 2022




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