4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
When Christ is enthroned in Jerusalem Israel will be the first nation to enter (Abrahamically) into covenant relationship with God. Other nations will follow as is implied in Zec. ii. 11, but Israel-honoured, favoured, and beloved for the Father's sake - will be the chief.
During the Millennium, the nations will be as the brethren of Christ now are - heirs awaiting judgment. The Deity's purpose concerning them is contained in the covenant made with Abraham - "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
This covenant in its ultimate realisation involves the immortalisation of all in the human family who will have manifested the character of Abraham, and it also involves their joint inheritance of the earth as an everlasting possession. This is hope, and it is the hope of the future. It was the hope of Abraham and of all the intervening generations.
It is the hope which enables man to endure (whilst pursuing the path divinely marked out) the scoffs, jeers, and persecutions of the wicked, and to forego the pleasures of a transitory present. It is the hope that has brightened the dreary pilgrimage of all the truly good. It is the hope that will make in the day to come, God's people of all times one united family.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, July 1887
5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
To see the law in its right place, we must look at the circumstances going before. We must not imagine that the world was without law from God in the times before the law of Moses. There is the clearest evidence that law, commandment and statute were in force, and that men were righteous or wicked according to their attitude towards these during that time. Thus of Abraham God said to Isaac, he "kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws" (Gen. 26:5), which was centuries before the giving of the law...
When we come to the case of Abraham, we do not come to the introduction of a new principle, but to the beginning of a new form of the same principle. The call to separate himself from his ancestral kindred and to leave his native country and depart to another country that God would show him, and the promise that God would make of him a great nation and should ultimately bless the whole family of man in him, required a faith special to himself; but did not begin the operation of the law of faith.
Paul traces this law right back to Eden, introducing Abel as its first exemplification (Heb. 11:4), Abraham standing only fourth on his list of illustrations. He was the root from which faith and obedience expanded into a national form, embodying the system of the law of Moses. But the law was operative towards the race generally before his time. The reason of a new start in him appears to have been that the procedure employed when mankind were few in number, and comparatively tractable, was no longer suitable when they were developing in extensive populations on all hands, and sinking slowly into a state like that which prevailed before the flood.
The altering circumstances required the creation of a national kernel or basis of divine operations in order that God's ultimate purpose to bring the human race into reconciliation with Himself might be accomplished. This gradual transition from a general to a national administration of divine law--this narrowing of already active divine operations with the descendants of Noah to relations with a particular family organized into a nation--enables us to understand the apparently anomalous circumstance that there were "commandments, and statutes, and laws" before the laws of Moses (Gen. 26:5), and that there were "priests that came near to the Lord" before the consecration of Aaron or the separation of the tribe of Levi (Exod. 19:22).
Divine law and priesthood were in fact as old as Eden. They came into operation immediately after Adam's expulsion on account of disobedience; but in a form suited to the extremely limited circumstances of human life when Adam's family circle for centuries formed the only population of the earth.
A public and official priest was not required when every obedient man offered his own sacrifice. Every obedient man was his own priest, as appears in the case of Abel, Noah, Melchizedek, and Abraham. In the same way, Levi, the son of Jacob, before Jacob had become a nation, appears to have acted as priest, and to have received divine recognition in the matter, by reason of the special aptitudes referred to in Malachi 2:5-6. His sons would be likely to take after him in the matter, and appear to have acted for the other members of the family and afterwards for the tribes before the formal separation of the Levitical tribe in the wilderness.
Law of Moses Ch 26
35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
Why were they a grief of mind ? Because, partaking of the character of the surrounding population, they would be women without discretion, having no inclination for wisdom - no interest in God, in His purposes or His will-no taste for anything beyond the passing pleasures and enjoyments of the hour.
Their idolatrous proclivities would be a comparatively passive element in the obnoxiousness which Isaac and Rebecca experienced in their daily contact; for idolatry, as a sincere though mistaken exercise of the worshipping faculty, is respectable compared with the insipidity and foolery of a vacant mind. They would probably be handsome women enough. You do not find a natural man of the Esau type fancying any other sort. There would have been no harm in the beauty if the beauty had been linked with divine wisdom (and there is no other true wisdom). Such a combination is rare.
The wives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were, however, instances of it, as we incidentally glean from the narrative.-(Gen. xii. 11; xxvi. 7 ; xxix. 17.) It is much more common to find beauty alone, or what is worse, in combination with a foolish mind. A fair countenance in such a case is a trap-a deception. Solomon's comparison of beauty in such a case is " a jewel of gold in a swine's snout." Nevertheless it is all powerful with the natural man. The glitter of the jewel fascinates him : he has no eyes to discern the nature of the animal that wears it.
Even the sons of God are in danger. It was a potent cause of the corruption that ended in the flood.
" The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all they chose " (or fancied).
Ways of Providence Ch 6