“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your descendants shall be called.’ He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.”
The test of offering up Isaac was designed to bring out the maximum utilization of the doctrine in Abraham’s soul. He offered up the most valuable, the most important thing to him in the world - his only legitimate son Isaac. By means of this test, God demonstrated to Abraham, Isaac and everyone else the faithfulness of God to His promises. The test glorified God and taught everyone involved a valuable lesson regarding the importance of believing the promises of God. This event also illustrated the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the ultimate guarantee of the fulfillment of all the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.
As you make progress in the Christian life, you will be tested. Consistent intake and application of Bible doctrine is the proper preparation for testing. How could someone make such a tremendous sacrifice as Abraham did? How could someone give up something that was more important to him than anything else in life? And what is the real issue in this testing? The real issue for Abraham was whether or not he could properly apply the Bible doctrine he had learned and pass the test. Abraham had enough doctrine in his soul to understand that God, if necessary, would raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill the promises of the covenant. It was he to whom it was said implies teaching. The covenant had been taught to Abraham and he understood it. Part of the fulfillment of the covenant was dependent on Isaac living and having descendants, as stated in Genesis 21:12.
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshipped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.”
Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac. Jacob was the heir and the “true line” (spiritual) of the Jewish race, because he was a believer. Esau was an unbeliever and not in the “true line” of Israel. Isaac gave Esau all he could give an unbelieving son but he could not give him the spiritual heritage. The principle was clear that the Jewish race was founded on regeneration (salvation) not physical birth. Abraham had other child, Isaac had other children, but the true spiritual race was always those who were believers. That is why Jesus Christ has as one of His greatest titles - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That means He is the God of those who are believers from all dispensations. He is the God of those who were not only racially in the same line but were spiritually in the same line.
The principle regarding the blessing of Jacob is that God does not bless the line of natural birth and privilege but God blesses the spiritual line. That means that the natural line of privilege, of ability, is never the basis for God’s blessing. It is always the spiritual line. So it is the spiritual line that becomes the beneficiary of grace — saving grace, living grace, dying grace.
Worshipped is the Greek word proskuneo” (pros means face to face; kuneo means to kiss). It was a custom of the ancient world to salute by prostrating one’s self on the ground and kissing the hem of the robe or the feet of the person receiving the recognition. Here it means to worship in the sense of learning Bible doctrine (by analogy, to humble oneself before God and learn His Word). Jacob leaned on the top of his staff before his family and gave one of the greatest messages that anyone has ever given. It was a prophecy of things to come, recorded in Genesis 49. This was his final message (as he was dying) and what a wonderful way to go.
Joseph was the son of Jacob and Rachel and the favorite son of Jacob. While Joseph was in the process of dying he recalled the exodus of the nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Joseph knew the doctrinal content of the Abrahamic Covenant as well as the future of the nation Israel. In addition to that we have the great prophecy in Genesis 49 of how the tribes of Israel became the nation Israel. So the Abrahamic Covenant was well known by the time Joseph was dying, and he remembered the dying words of his father Jacob recorded in Genesis 49. He put it together with the eschatology that he had received through his training, and the eschatology of the Abrahamic Covenant. (Genesis 35:9-12) Therefore Joseph felt it necessary to remind his family that they were in the process of becoming a great nation and they could depend on the faithfulness of God.
The reason he gave orders concerning his bones was that he refused to be buried in Egypt, which was not the land of promise. Joseph commanded his bones be buried in the land of promise as a sign of God’s faithfulness. When Moses assembled the people and they were ready to move out at the beginning of their journey to Canaan he took the bones of Joseph. Exodus 13:19, “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he [Joseph] had made sons of Israel solemnly swear saying, God will surely provide for you, and you will carry my bones from here with you.” The coffin was carried at the front of the people for forty years as a reminder of the faithfulness of God. Of course, the nation of Israel followed the coffin overtly but they did not follow the coffin spiritually. They didn’t follow it in the sense of learning doctrine and reaching spiritual maturity as Joseph had done even though they had the greatest Bible teacher of the time in Moses. They didn’t listen to his teaching and they revolted against his leadership. The bones of Joseph were finally buried 470 years after he made his speech, according to Joshua 24:32.
In eternity past, God provided everything necessary for a believer’s advance to spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity gives a believer the ability to face every problem in life with a maximum amount of inner happiness. There is no tragedy, disaster, difficulty, or heartache that can overcome the self-confidence of a mature believer. Spiritual maturity means a believer has maximum perception, maximum metabolization, and maximum accurate application of doctrine to life.
A mature believer functions under maximum effectiveness in life. Maximum effectiveness means maximum contentment. (Philippians 4:11-13; Hebrews 13:5; I Timothy 6:6-8) Maximum grace orientation to life is another function of a mature believer. Grace orientation of a mature believer literally removes the “rough edges of life” into smooth grace thinking, along with grace motivation, grace decisions, and consistent grace functions and actions. Each stage of spiritual adulthood advances and perfects grace orientation in the life. In spiritual self-esteem, the process begins. In spiritual autonomy, the process continues. In spiritual maturity, the process is becoming perfected, though we are to never stop advancing in the spiritual life.
“By faith Moses when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches that the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him Who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.”
Moses is not the subject of verse 23, his parents are the subject. There was crisis in the land of Egypt because the Pharaoh decided that the Jews were a vigorous race and that slavery wasn’t hurting them at all, that they lived normal lives under circumstances of slavery and that they were truly a tough people. He began to notice that these people were too tough to handle and he thought that the second generation would be trouble for him. Therefore he put out an edict that no newborn male child was to be permitted to live. These parents now faced this edict at the moment that Moses was born. Of course, Satan was behind this trying to cut off the line of the Messiah.
We all know the story of how baby Moses was placed in an “ark” (basket) and sent down the river to the feet of Pharaoh’s daughter, putting the child in the Lord’s hands. The parents had doctrine (faith) and they trusted God and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment to kill the male babies. Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses and raised him as her own. And Moses was educated in all of the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a dynamic man in words and in deeds. Moses was reared in the highest echelon of Egyptian society. He was brought up in the palace and was educated in the famous Egyptian colleges and universities. Moses was a genius in many of the fields that he studied. He was handsome and very strong. He was also a great architect and contractor. He was a man of great physical strength and athletic accomplishment. And he was next in line for the throne of Egypt.
According to Acts 7:23, when Moses was approaching forty (when he had grown up) it entered into his mind to visit his people, “the sons of Israel.” He had become fully aware of his origin through the teaching of his parents who apparently also taught him a great deal of doctrine. Moses made a decision to renounce the throne of Egypt and in doing so to renounce the most beautiful woman in Egypt, and in effect to renounce Egypt. And he decided to visit his people the Jews, who were in slavery. And when he made his decision to renounce the throne and identify himself with his own people he became the greatest enemy of his adopted country. He became, in effect, the greatest of all Jewish patriots and the father of the Jewish nation.
From this point forward, everything that Moses did was based on the doctrine he had learned. And Moses believed in Christ (Jehovah) and deemed any reproach from the Egyptians or the Jews was greater reward than remaining in a state of reversionism (sin). From these statements we can conclude that Moses became a believer at an early age, most likely from the teaching of his mother.
By means of doctrine resident in the soul he [Moses] gave up the throne of Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king because he became strong under pressure as long as he kept seeing the invisible One. We are strong as long as we are occupied with the Person of Christ. Moses left Egypt, kept the Passover and went through the Red Sea.
The stories of Moses are well known by most people: the story of how he commanded the Jews to sprinkle animal blood on their doorposts so the angel of death would pass over their house; and the story of the exodus from Egypt and how the Egyptian army pursued them into the Red Sea and were drowned, but the Jews were spared and crossed on dry land.
These heroes of the faith had one thing in common – Bible doctrine. They had been taught the Word of God and applied it. The result of their application was always victory. The believers in Jerusalem needed to be reminded of this because they were putting their faith in false doctrine and were in a state of reversionism as a result.
Victory for a believer always comes as a result of learning, believing and applying the truth as found in God’s Word, the Bible. There is only one source of absolute truth and that is the Bible. If we truly believe this, then it stands to reason we should do exactly as it instructs us to do. But what is victory in the Christian life? Victory in the Christian life is overcoming, conquering, prevailing against the thinking of this world system and, therefore, winning the battle for the control of our souls. This victory is accomplished by exercising our faith in the truth of God’s Word. This exercise of faith overcomes anything that is part of the thinking of this world system that would hinder us from reaching our goal of spiritual maturity and glorifying God. Victory includes the bigger decisions in life, but the real victory comes by applying the principles of the Word of God on a moment-by-moment basis, as we go through each day. Remember, it is usually the little mental attitude sins that keep us out of fellowship and cause us to miss the victory that God has planned for us.