Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:28-32.

Part I
by Emerson A. Wilson

The Father Of The Faithful
We learned in the previous message (Grass Roots Of The Church) that Abraham plays a particular part in "the Church", but he also plays a particular part in Christiandom. Probably no life, outside of Jesus Christ Himself, means so much to religion as does Abraham. In some cases, Abraham means more to some religious folks than Christ does. He holds a high and prominent place in God's plan of salvation and His bringing forth of "the Church", but we want to see exactly what place he fills.

The Muhammadans look up to Abraham. Those who follow Muhammadanism trace their origin to Abraham through Ishmael, the son of Haggar, the bondwoman. The literal Jews look to fleshly Abraham as the founder of their faith and as the head of their race. True Christianity recognizes Abraham as the father of the faithful, and I could go on naming various religions where Abraham holds a high position. My friend, because of not realizing his true position, many are led away from the real truth that would set them free and give them an experience with God.

In the previous message, we learned that a new and important era of human history commenced in Abraham's day. Until that time, God had dealt with the whole world, but from the day that God called Abraham out, every promise in the Bible is written ONLY to Abraham's seed. It is so necessary that we learn this. If we can understand this, we can see now foolish people are to follow the ways and teachings of man. There is no promise for any followers of mankind. There is no promise for any followers of ANY man. Since that is a fact and since God's dealings are virtually confined to Abraham's posterity, it is needful that we understand who his posterity really is.

There are people who will not even think about Christians being Abraham's seed because they have it so indelibly stamped in their minds that Abraham's seed are the literal Jews. Every time they go to claim a promise or a blessing, they say, "That's just for Abraham's seed," and they begin to preach and teach about millenniums and future ages which will never come. It all comes because they do NOT know who the seed of Abraham is today.

God Fulfilled His Promise
Let us read Genesis 13:15-17, please. For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

My friends, Abraham had two seeds. One was the fleshly seed, here spoken of as the dust of the earth. The flesh, or outer man, is made from the dust of the earth, and this promise was of a fleshly inheritance. This promise was to that seed which would be as the dust of the earth. The promise was the land of Canaan, every bit of it. So, Abraham was to bring forth a fleshly seed which would produce a fleshly people who would produce the fleshly seed of Abraham, which finally developed into what we call Israel (the literal Jew). God's promise to the fleshly seed was the land of Canaan, a fleshly promise.

Now let us read Genesis 15:18, which tells us, In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: From Egypt to Euphrates was what God had promised the fleshly seed of Israel. In II Chronicles 9:26, we read that through Solomon, God fulfilled every part of this promise which He had promised to Abraham's fleshly seed; Solomon reigned from Egypt to the Euphrates. They had fully received the promise which God had given to those fleshly descendants.

This makes liars out of a lot of radio preachers (and televangelists) who are teaching that God still owes the literal Jew something, that He has not yet fully fulfilled His promise to them. Before Joshua died, he said, And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof. Joshua 23:14.

Someone might ask, "If that is so, why aren't the fleshly Jews in the land of Canaan now? Why are they scattered all around the world?" My friends, there were terms to God's covenants. Just mark it down, the individual who tries to teach that God has any unconditional covenants is telling you a LIE! It is FALSE teaching! THERE IS NOT A PROMISE IN THE BIBLE WITHOUT A CONDITION; if you do NOT meet that condition, you do not get to claim that promise! Oh, you may have already received a promise and been blessed by it, but when you fail to meet the terms of that covenant, you lose your hold on the blessing that God has given you!

God entered into a covenant with Abraham that He would give his fleshly seed the land of Canaan, but there were terms to that covenant. Someone might say, "The Bible says that He gave it to them forever." Well, He gave them that land forever just as He gives you eternal life forever. As far as God is concerned, He has given it to you forever. However, if you FAIL to meet the terms of that covenant, you lose it. Everything that God does for us, so far as HE is concerned, IS FOREVER. Oh yes, Jesus did indeed come to bring EVERLASTING life.

False teachers will tell you that if you were ever saved, you can never be lost, but again, there are TERMS to the covenant. Even though God gave it to you forever, just as He entered into that covenant with Abraham, your part has to be carried out. There ARE terms to salvation.

Nowhere in the Bible can anyone read that God gave them the land without some conditions to meet. That land was given to them on terms! When God gave it to them, He gave it to them for forever, but whether they stayed there forever depended on whether they kept the terms of the covenant. It is a type of salvation: you only have salvation as long as you meet the terms of it!

Forget NOT The Lord
Let's turn to Deuteronomy 8:11, and read. This is where God began to lay down the terms of enjoying the land of Canaan forever: Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes... We are living in a time when too many people have forgotten God. They say, "I haven't forgotten God; He is ever in my memory." How do you forget God? When you fail to keep His commandments and live according to His statutes.

Verses 18-20 of that same Chapter tell us: But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.

Let us turn to the 30th Chapter of Deuteronomy to see how they lost the land and for what length of time they lost it. Verses 17-20 tell us: But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

God was warning them to be VERY careful. Why? Because you CAN lose what you have gained. The covenant is only ratified and real on terms. What are the terms? You MUST hear His voice--you MUST obey Him. God has NOT changed, not throughout the Old Testament nor in the New! No, no! I realize that we receive spiritual blessings now through Christ, but the covenant is just the same. A stern warning was given to the literal Jew--a condition imposed to remain in the land that God had promised them.

They Broke The Covenant
Heaven and earth bear witness that they broke the covenant. They rebelled against God and they were driven out of the land. Never, never--not in their day or in any age to come--to return by God's leadership. When they broke the covenant, God put great punishment on them, and that punishment is still being imposed on the literal Jew today.

In Deuteronomy 28:15, God began to talk about their punishment. Now pause for a moment there in Chapter 28, and look at verses 1-14. Please NOTE: God listed the blessings they would receive IF they followed after Him, FIRST, didn't He? In verses 1 and 2, He told them: And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. He then listed blessing after blessing, covering every conceivable circumstance, every nuance of their lives. It is in verse 15, But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: then He began to warn them of impending punishment if they turned away from Him. Verse 25 reads, The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

There will be those hearing the sound of my voice, or reading these words who will ask, "Why even bring up the literal Jews? Why should I care whether they go to Jerusalem or not?" My friends, unless we understand this history, if we cannot comprehend what took place between the literal Jews and God, we will never get an understanding (revelation) of who the seed of Abraham is TODAY. Thank God, Abraham still has a seed, yet today, who are to receive the promises of God, yet unlike the days when Abraham lived, those are no longer restricted to the literal (fleshly) Jew! The reason people cannot see "the Church" today is because they have their minds blocked with the idea that the literal Jew is God's chosen people! My friend, there is NOT an ounce of truth in it! Let us go back to the Bible. The big end of the teachings and prophecies that is going forth on the airways today is a bunch of GARBAGE! There is NO truth in it!

You won't have to go many days until someone brings up some religious subjects, and they will ask, "What do you think about the Jewish nation?" They will then follow their question, [usually despite any answer you give them] with this: "Well, you can know for sure, they will win. They may get pushed a little, but they will win because they are God's people and God fights for them." That is one hundred percent CONTRARY to what the Word of God says!

In Verse 25 of Deuteronomy 28 that God told them: The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. Where, I ask you, are the Jews today? Scattered all the way around the earth, to every kingdom of the earth. Folks still insist, "Oh, there will come a day when they will return to Israel." The very thought is foolish. I am here to tell you, there will be NO temple built in Jerusalem. There will be no returning of the Jews to Jerusalem. My friend, God has dispersed them to every kingdom around the world, and they will be a dispersed people until Jesus comes again!

Someone might ask, "Do you think that is merciful?" Well, God gave them a promise of the land, and He fulfilled that promise. Nowhere in the Bible did He promise to give it to them a second or third or fourth time! They have fallen under the punishment from having turned away from God! They WILLFULLY broke the covenant and became heirs of the curse, just as Deuteronomy 28 teaches us.

Irretrievable Judgment
"Isn't there a chance for them?" Let's turn to Ezekiel, Chapter 16 and read. Start right there at verse 1 and begin your study. When you get to verse 55, note what it says: When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate. When the Jews broke their covenant with God, they brought upon themselves irretrievable judgment. They were put into the same scale as Sodom. Is there any hope of Sodom coming back to her former estate? No! She was destroyed with eternal fire (fire, which destroyed her forever), or irretrievable judgment. So has the literal Jew. You can just as much look for Sodom and her daughters to come back to their former estates as to look for literal Israel to come back to her former estate, back to the land of Canaan.

Go on now and read verses 56-59 of that same chapter: For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride, Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about. Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the Lord. For thus saith the Lord God; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant.

God was saying to the Jews, "You have broken the covenant. You had no respect for Me. You did not care a bit about your nakedness and lewdness (speaking of spiritual matters there). You flirted around with other gods and idols of every kind, and let Me stand, forgotten. You paid no attention to Me. Now I'm going to give you what you gave Me. From now on, I have no respect for you as a people, as a nation."

Still, someone might ask, "Why would God give them another chance? Why wouldn't He bring them back? It seems awfully hard of Him." Here's THE answer: Because the LITERAL (fleshly, carnal) Jew was NEVER God's plan. Think about it now! His plan, in finality, was to have a chosen people--chosen because of their salvation through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ! The "group" or "nation" known as Israel was just a type and shadow which had to pass away.

What about the Messaiaic promises? What about those deep promises that God promised Abraham, that through him (his seed) all families of the earth would be blessed? Well, EVERY messianic promise that God promised through the Messiah is STILL IN EFFECT. Even though Israel broke her vows to God, God still keeps "His end" of the deal! Nobody can charge God with breaking His vows or His Word. His Word STILL stands!

The Old Covenant Is Void
Even though the promises to literal Israel were nullified and are no longer in effect, God still had mercy and achieved His purpose in a different manner. Ezekiel 16: 60-62 tells us, Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. Here the Lord let us know that He is going to establish an everlasting covenant. Do you know how/what it was?

What have we learned thus far? God gave Israel everything He promised them, on condition, but they failed to keep His set terms. God told them when He gave them the covenant that if they failed to keep the terms, they would be just like any other people to Him. Christians, that is good for us to think about! We can "hang around" the Church so long that we get to thinking we ARE God's privileged people. We are God's privileged people ONLY as we obey His Word and keep His commandments! That is what got Israel into trouble with God: they thought, as do many today, that they were eternally secure. They thought they could live like the devil and still have God's blessing, but they learned differently. It happened unto them for OUR example--that we might learn that God means what He says!

Even though He cut literal Israel off under an irretrievable judgment, I am not saying that there is no hope for any literal Jew! I am saying that so far as a nation is concerned, God is through working with them. EACH individual is another situation, as we will find out a bit later. So God dropped that old covenant; He is not going to ever work with them any more concerning that covenant. According to Ezekiel 16:60, however, He is going to make an everlasting covenant with them.

New Covenant
Let's now turn to Jeremiah 31:31-34 and read. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

The words "covenant" and "testament" mean the same thing. In the first part of your Bible is the Old Testament or OLD Covenant. The second part of your Bible is the New Testament or NEW Covenant. In Luke 22, verses 19 and 20, we hear Jesus, in His own words: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. He was ratifying the new covenant with mankind that God had said would come forth.

Now turn to Romans 4 and let's read verses 13-16: For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.

It is here that we can begin to understand that one of the promises which God made, 'way back then, to Abraham, was indeed for ALL mankind! As far as God's part is concerned, it was not just made to those who were under the LITERAL LAW. If it had been meant for them and them only, Paul said, the promise could not be that all families could be blessed, or that he would be heir of the whole world.

Another Promise
Now, we must study into the thing a little deeper to see if God didn't make another promise to Abraham, besides the one that promised his fleshly seed the land of Canaan. We can find this promise in Genesis, Chapter 17. Abram was seventy-five years old when God spoke about the first covenant of giving Abraham's physical seed the land of Canaan. In Chapter 17, Abraham is 95 years old, and God makes another promise to him:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Genesis 17:1-7.

When Israel failed in the first covenant, God said that He would make an everlasting one. Did you ever notice that when He speaks of Abraham's seed that was going to receive the fleshly promise of the land of Canaan, He speaks of them as the dust of the earth? In Genesis 15, we can see how He spoke to him in the second covenant. Abraham was getting quite old and had not had a child yet, so he began to question God. That's understandable: 20 years had passed since God had promised to make Abraham a father--quite a LONG time seeing as to how quickly we begin to question God when He doesn't "come through" as we expect Him to, Amen? We rarely give Him 20 minutes, forget 20 years!

And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. Genesis 15:3-5.

Everybody who studies the Bible knows that Paul and all the apostles set literal Israel against spiritual Israel, telling how spiritual Israel is above. Abraham, through Isaac, had a fleshly outgrowth of many, many millions. In the same picture, I want you to realize that God gave Abraham another covenant--that he was going to bring forth a spiritual seed. Here He told Abraham to "look now toward heaven and tell the stars..." (count the stars)


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