Series: Scarlet Thread

Remember, in our following through the Word of God written down for us in the Holy Scriptures, that we are doing something that is over and beyond just looking at the Scriptures themselves.  We are following something in it.  It would be an identical thing, as I have seen several times of late in my studying, I do not know why it should be particularly noticeable now, but of late I have seen several pictures of the Jordan River throughout its whole extent, just meandering, winding its way down from Mount Hermon clear to the Dead Sea; its serpentine path.  Now, that is one way of looking at the Holy Land:  get way up in the air and just looking at it, and especially that Jordan Valley with the descending stream.

It is like that we are doing with the Bible.  We are following a great stream, a great river, through the pages of the Holy Scriptures.  We call it a “scarlet line,” a “scarlet thread.”  So when we look at them, we are not doing it just as such, but we are doing it in the light of a tremendous program and purpose of God as He unfolds it throughout the pages of the Holy Scriptures.

Now, last Wednesday night, we closed with a picture of Adam and Eve as they were expelled from the garden of Eden.  And we were talking about the fact that Adam has become the father of all who would die.  Romans 5:12, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.”  And in the providences of God, the woman through whom sin was introduced to Adam – and Adam willfully, volitionally disobeyed God.  The Scriptures plainly avow that the woman was deceived, but not Adam.  He knew what he was doing, and he chose to die with Eve whom God had placed in his bosom.  He chose to die with Eve rather than live without her.  He volitionally, knowingly, entered into death.

That is a marvelous thing on the part of Adam that he so loved Eve that he chose to die with her.  But, in that choice, he became the father of all who would die.  His son died, and his son’s son died. And the sentence of death has fallen upon the progeny of Adam, who is the federal head of the race.  But, in the providence of God, it is a marvelous and wonderful thing that God’s plan is that in the woman we should live, not in Adam, but in the woman.  There is no kinship of the Messiah, “the Seed of the woman,” in Adam.  He has no father of the human species.   He is born of a woman completely – no man, no male had anything to do with The Seed Of The Woman – He was miraculously born apart from the man [Luke 1:26-35].

So, in Adam we all die, but in Eve we are brought to life in her Seed.  And it was not without prophetic meaning that her name was called Eve because she is the mother of all living [Genesis 3:20].  “Eve” means “life” or “living.”  And then I made the comment, do you remember?  That without the woman, I don’t think the church would exist apart from the intervention of God.  It is the woman that so largely supports the church.  It is the woman who raises up the family in the love and admonition of the Lord.  It is the woman without whom, I said, I don’t even try to reach a man.  And if by the goodness and grace of God I am able to reach him, I can’t keep him.  If she’s not with me and if she’s not in sympathy with me, there’s no need to try.  It is a strange thing that this scarlet thread, this line of redemption, should be so largely centered in the woman.

There was a man that was talking to me about the fact that one of the concomitants, one of the corollaries, of this inflation is that by such and such year, the economists say that seventy-five percent of all the women of America will be wage earners.  They’re going to work.  They’re at it now, and the graph is greatly increasing, whereby women work.  And I said to him: “That may be bad for the home and bad for the children, I don’t know.   But,” I said, “it certainly is wonderful for the budget of the church.  It’s just wonderful!”  The women support the church.  And when they make the money, you can imagine how we’re going to prosper in the household of faith.  Isn’t that a strange thing when you look at that and study that and see that?  He called her name Eve because she is the mother of all living.

So we closed last Wednesday night with the pair expelled.  And we now are going to discuss the two seeds, the two lines: there is the seed of the serpent, and there is the seed of the woman [Genesis 3:15], and they are clearly in view throughout the whole course of human history and, of course, throughout the revealed Word of God.  There is Cain and his posterity.  And there is Abel, and when he died, Seth took his place.  There is Seth and his posterity – so we’re following the two lines.  Now, Cain and Abel – the parents were taught, the Bible doesn’t say this exactly, but I am so sure of this that I just avow it, the parents were taught how to worship God at the gate on the eastern side of Eden.

So God drove out the man, and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life [Genesis 3:23-24]. Cherubim are symbols of grace and mercy and God’s goodness to us.  There is no variation from that.  The cherubim are signs of the goodness and the grace and the presence of the Lord.  So I take it for granted that at the eastern gate of the garden of Eden when God drove out the man and his wife, that He taught them there how to worship the Lord.  And that was the story of redemption again.  As in the garden, the Lord slew an innocent victim to cover the nakedness of the man and his wife, so He taught the parents how they were to worship God.  They were to approach the Lord by blood, by covering, by atonement.

When the Lord looked at the man and his wife standing in God’s presence, they were naked and were ashamed looking at their nakedness.  Remember I said that I thought, according to the one hundred and fourth Psalm, that Adam and Eve were clothed with shekinah, with light? [Psalm 104:1-2].  They had garments of beauty and of holiness.  God is clothed, the one hundred fourth Psalm says, with garments of light and glory.  I think that the man was made in the image of God[Genesis 1:27].  He’s made like God.  I think the man was clothed and the woman was clothed with garments of light and beauty and glory.  And when the man and the woman sinned, they lost their garments of beauty and glory, and they stood in the presence of the Lord naked and were ashamed.  They felt themselves guilty and unworthy in His presence.  So the Lord made for the man and the woman clothing, not that they were not already clothed.  They sewed fig leaves and made them aprons, clothes that they might stand in the presence of God [Genesis 3:7].  But the Lord said, “It is not sufficient.”

We can’t stand in God’s presence with our works, or with our goodness, or with our genius, or with our anything – our money, our fame, our success, our righteousness – anything, just name it.  We cannot stand in the presence of God in ourselves; we are naked and know it.  We are guilty and sense it.  So, God made for the man and his wife a covering, a blood covering, a covering that came from the shedding of blood to cover the man and his wife [Genesis 3:21].  And the word “covering” and the word “atonement” is the same.  That’s what atonement is, it is covering.

So God taught the man and his wife, I think, here at the east gate of the garden of Eden, that when they approached the Lord, they were to come in blood, in the shedding of blood.  That’s why Cain was not right with God when he approached the Lord [Genesis 4:3-5].  There was nothing wrong with his bringing a gift, a minchȃh it’s called a gift, a sacrifice, it’s translated.  There was nothing wrong with his coming before the Lord with a vegetable offering.  When we come into the study of the offerings of the Lord, one of them is a vegetable offering called in the King James Version here a meal offering, a vegetable offering, a fruit-of-the-ground offering.  There was nothing wrong in his approaching God with a vegetable offering, but it is not enough; it is not enough!  Just as there’s nothing wrong with a man coming before God and saying, “Lord, look what I’ve tried to do for Thee,” there’s nothing wrong with that, it just isn’t enough; it doesn’t cover a man’s guilt.  It isn’t sufficient.

So, what was wrong with Cain was not that God would have despised his vegetable offering, but God had taught them that they are to approach Him with a blood offering.  And had Cain come before God with a blood offering and then all the vegetables that he’d like to offer to the Lord, all the fruit of the ground, all the fruit of the trees, the wheat, the barley, whatever, there would have been nothing wrong with it.  But Cain did not approach God with blood, and without blood there is no remission of sins [Hebrews 9:22].  Without blood, that is, there is no standing before God; there’s no getting right with God without the shedding of blood.

Now to show you how wrong Cain was, Cain refused to shed a lamb’s blood, but he had no hesitancy at all about shedding his brother’s blood [Genesis 4:8].  Isn’t that a strange thing?  Isn’t that a strange thing?  A man will refuse to come before God as God asks him to come, but he’ll have no hesitancy at all to go out there in the world and to do the most atrocious and abominable of crimes.  Isn’t that the strangest trait in human nature?  Why, the man out there in the criminal world would look with disdain and scorn upon your invitation to give his heart to Jesus and to come before God in the love and grace of our blessed Savior; yet that same man will think nothing at all about going out there and maybe shooting down five people, innocent, who are standing in a 7-Eleven store or an A&P store or a Safeway store.  Isn’t that an amazing thing?  That’s Cain, absolutely refused to come before the Lord through the blood of the lamb, but not hesitate to stain the ground with the crimson of his brother’s blood!

Now, those who choose another way to God other than blood atonement are following what Jude verse 11 calls “the way of Cain.”  “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain.”  That’s what the way of Cain is; approaching God in some other way than the atoning blood.  So we see the seed of Cain, which is a glorification of the flesh.  And it’s an unusual thing that you read of Cain in the Bible, for example, in Genesis 4:17, he’s a builder of cities.  In Genesis 4:21, he’s the father of music.  And in Genesis 4:22, he’s the father of the artificers in brass and in iron.  Civilization without God is the line and the seed of Cain.  It is the story of Sodom; it is the story of Gomorrah; it is the story of Babylon; it is the story of every great city and every great civilization that leaves God out of it.  That is the story of Cain.  It is the glorification of what man can do apart from God.

So, when we follow those two seeds and we follow those two lines, look at the seventh in the line of Cain.  His name is Lamech, and he’s a polygamist and a murderer; and he exalts in his polygamy and his murder [Genesis 4:23-24].  Look at the line of Abel; the seventh in the line of Abel, of Seth – who took Abel’s place – is Enoch.  “And Enoch walked with God” [Genesis 5:24].  As Lamech walked in the way of Cain, Enoch, the seventh, walked with God.

Now, that leads me up to the observation of why the greatest catastrophe that the world has ever known – other than the fall of Satan – the greatest catastrophe the world has ever known came to pass when the line of Seth and the line of Cain intermarried; and God looked down upon the earth when the “sons of God,” and I think that refers to the children of the line of Seth, God’s people.

One of the young men from the seminary came to me when I spoke of that in a previous lecture here and said: “You’re violating hermeneutics.”   Hermeneutics is the science that you must be consistent in interpretation; hermeneutics refers to interpretation.  And when you study hermeneutics, you’re studying the principles of interpretation.  Now he said, “You’re violating that when you say that the sons of God refer to the children of the line of Seth, the godly people in the earth, because elsewhere in the Bible, the ‘sons of God’ refer to the angels.  So you’ll find such as in the translation, the paraphrase of the Living Bible, you will find that he writes there that the angels came down and cohabited with women” [Genesis 6:4-5].  That’s what he said.

Now I could read that five thousand years and never believe it.  I just believe that if that thing is as – say the author of the paraphrase of the Living Bible believes it – that it says that here in the thing, I am prepared to say that to me you’ve got mythology in the Bible just as you have in Greek literature.  And I’m not prepared to say that, and I don’t believe it!  I don’t believe anywhere in the Bible there’s anything even approaching the cohabitation and the conjugal relationship between some angel and some human mortal woman.  I just don’t believe it!

So, I say, according to my principle of hermeneutics, we are following in the Bible two lines.  We’re not following a line up there in heaven.  We’re not following a line up there in the angelic creation of the hosts of God.  We just don’t even think about that, nor is the Bible following that line up there.  The only time the angels and all of the heavenly hosts enter into the picture is just when God chooses that they be revealed.  What we’re doing is we’re following two lines down here in the earth:  one is a line of Seth, God’s people, and the other is the line of Cain, the serpent’s people.  So, what I think – and to me, of course, this is my being consistent in my principle of hermeneutics – I think we’re talking about the earth.  I don’t think we’re following any line of progeny up there in heaven.  We’re talking about the earth.  So when I read here in the sixth chapter of the Book of Genesis about “the sons of God” looking upon the daughters of men [Genesis 6:4-5], why, I say, according to my best judgment, that you’re talking about when God’s people intermarry with the world; when the church is wedded to the world; when God’s Christian people lose the demarcation and separation from the world.

Be ye not unequally yoked together

– says the Lord, in 2 Corinthians, chapter 6 –

For what communion hath light with darkness?

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate

[2 Corinthians 6:14-17]

There ought to be a difference between a godly man and an ungodly man; there ought to be a difference between the church and the world; there ought to be a difference between light and darkness, between the sons of Belial and the sons of God.  And, when that demarcation is destroyed and the distinction and separateness of the Christian is denied, interdicted, and taken away, and we are amalgamated in the life of the world, there is judgment, and it never fails!

And so it came to pass that the greatest catastrophe in the history of the human race fell upon the world when the sons of God saw the daughters of men and forgot their faithfulness, and the whole earth was plunged into evil and disaster.

Now, God said that this day shall always abide and always remain.  There will always be, according to the Word of the Lord, a godly remnant.  When you get to Isaiah, the great tremendous doctrine of Isaiah is the doctrine of the remnant.  However the world goes, however the church goes, however Israel goes, there will always be a godly remnant – that is the great central doctrine of the prophet Isaiah [Isaiah 10:20-22].

Never in history is there a time when God has no one He can trust and use; there’s always somebody somewhere; always there is that faithful line; there is that faithful seed; there is that scarlet thread.  They may be few, but they are always there:  in the world of antediluvian violence, there was Noah [Genesis 6-9].  In the world of idolatry, there was Abraham [Genesis 12-25].  In the world of apostasy, there was Elijah [1 Kings 17-2 Kings 2].  In the world of the captivity, there was Isaiah’s remnant who returned.  In the days of the crucifixion, there was the one hundred and twenty [Acts 1:15].  And in the days of the great tribulation, there were the one hundred and forty-four thousand [Revelation 7].  Always there is that remnant, and that line never dies, and that seed never perishes.

So it says in Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in God’s sight,” and that’s the first time you find the word in the Bible.  “And Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord,” unmerited favor.  Noah found grace, and he is the type of all who are saved – just as the ark is a type of Him who saves us, 1 Peter 3:20-21.

Now  after the flood is over, and the ark is open, and the man and his wife and the three sons and their wives come out upon the earth, he builds an altar.  There’s the first time the word “altar” is used in the Bible – Genesis 8:20.  It is a picture of redemption, the altar and the victim sacrificed poured out its blood upon the altar.  Here is, in Genesis 8:20, the first reference to a burnt offering, a complete sacrifice unto God.  And so when Noah comes out, on that altar – the first time the word is used – he offers up unto God a burnt sacrifice, a sacrifice wholly offered unto God.  In Genesis 7:2, we are told that of the unclean animals that went into the ark, they went in pairs, two by two.  But of the clean animals they went by seven, so Noah had animals that could be offered unto God that were acceptable in His sight.  By that I mean, you couldn’t offer a pig to the Lord; you had to offer an animal that God would accept, called “clean”; a little lamb, a bullock, a kid would be a clean animal.  And of those clean animals, by sevens they went into the ark.

Then in Genesis 9, verses 9 and 10, you have the Noahic covenant, that there would be the preservation of the seed forever.  We don’t ever have to worry.  It will never be cut off, never be destroyed; but the preservation of the seed, following this scarlet line through the Bible, will be till we see God’s redeemed in heaven.  Always it will be preserved in the earth, and the sign of that preservation is the beautiful rainbow.  In Ezekiel 1:28, it refers to the rainbow in the likeness of the glory of the Lord.  And in Revelation [4:3], the bow is round about the throne of God.

Now we come, following the scarlet line, to speak of the spread of the nation and of sin.  Noah and his family took sin into the ark; they were fallen people, and they brought it out with them.  So wherever you have the man, always you have that same fallen nature.  Would we be any different if finally we could colonize the moon?  No!  We’d be just like we are down here on the earth.  If we lived up there on the moon, we’d be murdering one another, and stealing from one another, and lying to each other, and deceiving each other, and wronging one another just as we are.  And if we had enough of them up there, they’d go to war.  They’d be having war up there on the moon.  And if we ever get to Venus and if we ever get to Jupiter and if we ever get to the sidereall spheres, it will be just the same, just like Noah, a fallen man.

So when he comes out, he acts like it:  He gets drunk, and he’s naked.  And Ham is cursed in his son Canaan [Genesis 9:21-25].  Isn’t that a tragic thing?  How sad it is to see the derelictions and the weaknesses of the parents living again in the dereliction and weaknesses of the children.  The thing goes on forever, those two things, the holy, godly remnant and the tragic fall and sorrow of the human race. So we have those three great progenitors of the human family: Japheth, Japheth, who turned to Asia and to Europe, we belong to the family of the Japhethites; the children of Ham who largely turned toward Africa; and the children of Shem, the Semites, who largely live in Mesopotamia [Genesis 10].

So they gather together in the Mesopotamian Valley, and there they have a purpose.  The fallen human race, they are haughty and ambitious.  They are rebellious against God.  They are not going to disperse.  And they are going to do something prompted by a sense of false security.  So God said, “Let us go down and see what they are going to do” [Genesis 5-7].  And there on the plain of the Mesopotamian Valley, there they built an enormous palace.  This was going to be the center of their civilization.  This was going to be the great sign of their unity.  And it was going to be a refuge if the earth ever were destroyed by water.  God said: “Look at that rainbow.  I am not going to destroy this by water” [Genesis 9:12-16].  Well, they didn’t believe God.  So they were building this enormous high tower as a sign of their haughty pride – what man can do, and to be a focal point and a center around which they would always live.

And so God went down there to see what they were doing and looked in their hearts and saw what they were thinking.  And the Lord said, “Let us do just a little thing.  Let us confuse their speech.”  So it became known as, “baah, baah, baah, baah, baah, baah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”  And when you spell it out in the Bible, it comes out “Babel” [Genesis 11:9].  But Babel has no meaning at all, Babel is just “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”  They called it blah, blah, blah, blah, blah – he blah, blah, he blah, blah.  Nobody understood each other’s blah, blah, blah.  So the Lord just confused them, and all the blah, blahs that understood that blah, blah went that way, and all the blah, blah, blah who understood blah, blah, blah went this way.  And all the bluh, bluh, bluh who understood the bluh, bluh, bluh, they went that way.  And so the thing divided up, and they began to go over the earth.

I want to point out something to you just in passing:  isn’t it a strange thing that all the coercive totalitarian movements in the world are in opposition to God?  Isn’t that a strange thing?  I don’t care where you find it or what nature it takes:  if it is political, such as the Nazi and the fascist, it’s anti-God.  If it is economic such as the communists, it will be anti-God.  If it is religious such as in the Dark Ages, it will be a monstrous travesty upon the truth of God.  Isn’t that the strangest thing in the world?  When coercively you try to make everybody conform in some kind of a totalitarian regime, you’ve got it anti-God.  That’s the strangest thing.  You’d think, man, man if we can just get all of these people in the same religion, won’t that be marvelous?  If we can just get all of these people in the same economic life, won’t that be marvelous?

I was riding in a streetcar through Prague, and there sat a communist woman who could talk English, and she said to me: “How wonderful our country, how wonderful our capital, how wonderful our system, how wonderful communism!  There are no poor amongst us!”

I turned to her and I said: “Do you know why?  That’s because all of you are poor, all of you, no exception to it, all of you are poor!”

Isn’t that funny?  You’d think, man, man!  If we can just get them all in this straightjacket, we’ll just lift up the economic life of these people and oh man, we’ll all be rich!  It’s just the opposite; they all get poorer and poorer and poorer.  And were it not for the free world, the communist world would starve to death.  They can’t even feed themselves, and they’re not going to be able to feed themselves.

I don’t know why that is but any kind of totalitarian regime, whether it’s today or whether it’s going to be tomorrow or whether it is yesterday, it is always anti-God and sows tragedy among the people.  And you’re going to see that again when you get to the tribulation.  You’re going to see one world, one political world, one religious world, and it’s going to be a world of awesome judgment.

So, we’re following now through the Holy Scriptures, we’re following this line of redemption.  There is Adam, and Seth is chosen, not Cain; then Enoch, not Lamech; then Noah and Shem, not Japheth and Ham; then Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, not Esau; then Judah, not Ruben, Simeon, and Levi.

And we come now to the age of the patriarchs when God is choosing out a family.  Remember that holy remnant?  Always, God says that preservation of the seed will be till the time of the consummation.  So the patriarchs; that patriarchal age from Abraham to Joseph is 361 years.  Abraham lived to be 175.  Isaac lived to be 180.  Jacob lived to be 147.  Joseph lived to be 110.  Their lives overlapped, and there were 361 years in the days of the patriarch.

And Abraham is the only man in the Bible called “the friend of God,” 2 Chronicles 20:7Isaiah 41:8James 2:23.  “And God made a covenant with Abraham.”  In[Genesis] verses 2 and 3 of chapter 12, He says that through him, and later on He calls it his seed:  “In his seed, all the earth is going to be blessed,” and in Genesis 15, verses 4, 5, and 18, He gives Abraham a covenant of the land.  So, there is a posterity, there is a seed that is to come out of Abraham; and there is a place, there is a land that belongs to them.  And that covenant is unconditional, it is forever.  There is to be a seed of Abraham that will abide, in which all the earth will be blessed.  And there is to be a land that belongs to the chosen family of God.

Now, I said that that covenant is sealed by blood and by sacrifice and by the pouring out of the crimson of life, and I want to describe it to you.  I do not know of anything in the Bible that is more solemn than the feeling of that Abrahamic Covenant.  It has two parts:  that in his seed the earth would be blessed and that God would give to him forever the land of promise [Genesis 12:2-37].

Now, in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis, verses 9, 11, and verse 17, is this awesome, awesome, solemn, solemnization of that covenant.  Now I want to describe it to you.  In the ancient days when a covenant was made, an agreement, when a covenant was made by two parties, what they did was to take a sacrifice and divide it.  And when the covenant was made, they sealed the covenant by walking between the sacrifice.  If it was a lamb, half of it would be placed on this side, and half of it would be placed on that side.  If it was a bullock, half of it would be placed on that side, and half of it would be placed on that side.  And the covenanting parties, the mutually agreeing parties, as the seal of the covenant, would walk between the severed pieces.  That was the way the covenant was sealed.

When God made this covenant with Abraham, God made it unconditional.  You see, had God made the covenant with Abraham, Abraham might have fallen down in his part; Abraham might not have been faithful in his part.  So God did this:  when the sacrificial animals were severed and half of it was placed on this side and half of it was placed on that side, there went through between them a flaming, burning torch representing the living Spirit of God.  The covenant is unconditional.  It is something God did.  Abraham didn’t walk between the parts.  Abraham wasn’t even asked as an agreeing party to walk between the parts.  God did it.  And the condition is irrevocable and immutable, God’s covenant with Abraham.  No matter what, there shall be that Seed that will save us.  And no matter what, that land belongs to the children of Abraham.

Well, it says there in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, “and Abraham believed God; and his faith was counted for righteousness” [Genesis 15:6].  Now this is a marvelous thing; that’s the first time the word “believed” is used.  And that’s the first time the word “counted,” “reckoned” is used.  And that’s the first time the word “righteousness” is used.  Isn’t that a remarkable thing?  In Galatians 3:6, there the word “faith” is emphasized, quoting this Genesis.  In Romans 4:3-5, the word “reckoned” is emphasized, and in James 2:23, the word “righteousness” is emphasized.  Now the covenant God made with Abraham was sealed by blood when the animals were sacrificed and God, in the form and symbol of a flaming torch, passed between the severed parts [Genesis 15:17].

Now there’s another side to this covenant, There was instituted in Genesis 17 an earthly sign of that covenant, and it also is in blood.  You know, you may wonder why circumcision; that’s an unusual rite [Genesis 17:10-12].  Well, I want to tell you what I think it means, whether anybody else does or not, you can read many, many things about it, but this is what I think.  I think blood, blood, blood, the crimson of life, the scarlet thread; I think you find it all through the Bible:

And when it comes to covenants, and when it comes to the seed, and when it comes to atonement, and when it comes to appearing before the Lord, and when it comes to reconciliation, and when it comes to standing in the presence of God, I think always without blood you don’t come.  And without blood, you don’t stand, and without blood you’re not saved, and without blood you’re not reconciled, and I think the covenant is always established in blood.  And I think that’s why circumcision – the shedding of blood at the fountain of life – now, I think that’s what it means, where the life comes from.  Only God could create the life in the womb of the Virgin Mary [Luke 1:26-35].  Our creation of life comes through the man.  And at the fountain of life, God shed blood!  And I think that’s what it means.  So, both the covenant of Abraham, that he should have a seed and that they would inherit the land – the Promised Land [Genesis 17:28] – it was sealed by sacrifice, by blood, and the sign of it, in the flesh and body of Abraham and his successors, is in the fountain of life where blood is shed, that we call circumcision[Genesis 17:10-13].

And that covenant was confirmed and perfected and gloriously in consummation typified in Abraham’s trial in Genesis 22.  Here again – and we’re following that scarlet line through the Bible – here again is sacrifice, suffering, death, substitution and resurrection.  You know, it says in Hebrews 11:19 that Abraham offered Isaac unto God believing the Lord would raise him from the dead.  Now, I want you to look at that in the story of Genesis.  In Genesis 22:5, Abraham says to his servant: “You stand here.  You stay here while the lad and I, Isaac and I, go up to Mount Moriah.”  And Abraham said that he and Isaac would return.  How could Abraham say that when he was going up on the top of Mount Moriah to offer the boy there as a sacrifice, to plunge a knife in his heart, and to pour his blood out on the ground, and to offer him up as a whole burnt offering?  How could Abraham say that he and Isaac were going to return?  Hebrews 11:19 says:  “Abraham believed.”  I just can’t imagine that!  Abraham believed that God would raise him up from the dead.  Oh, we of little faith.  Come along some little old trial for us, and we just disintegrate: “God has forgotten us!  He doesn’t care anything about me!  All of His promises to me are dust and ashes, and fallen to the ground,” just any kind of a little trial.  Can you imagine the trial that came to Abraham when God said, “Take this son, your only son, your son whom you love?”  How many times will it repeat those words in that twenty-second chapter of Genesis?  “And offer him up as a sacrifice on a mount that I shall show you” [Genesis 22:2].  And Abraham did it and said to the servant, “You wait here till the son and I come back” [Genesis 22:5].  Believing, according to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, that God would raise him from the dead [Hebrews 11:19].

Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead?  Do you?  Do you believe you will live in God’s sight – this body?  Why, practically all of the academic scientific world ridicules it, scoff and laugh!  “God raise us from the dead?  Why, that is inanity, it’s idiocy!  Only naive children who believe in fairy tales would believe in a promise like that!”  But we believe it; God said it, and we believe it.  We shall live in His sight.  Isn’t that a marvelous thing that Job said?  “And though through my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh, flesh, shall I see God” [Job 19:26-27], that is the faith.

Well, one other word, then we must close.  In Genesis 24, a bride is chosen for Isaac.  That is absolutely one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible and one of the most beautifully typological, typical, a bride for Christ.  And he sent Eliezer to go to Haran, there to get a bride for Isaac.  And the Holy Spirit is calling out a bride for Christ.  Isaac is a type of Christ, his birth was predicted long before, in Genesis 12; and he was supernaturally begotten, in Genesis 18, and described in Hebrews 11, when Abraham was as good as dead and Sarah was a dry, sterile root, he was miraculously born: Isaac is a type of Christ, this seed of the Lord.  And getting a bride for Isaac, choosing a bride for Isaac, is a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit choosing a bride for Christ, His church. Ah, how sweet that God should have chosen us!  Amen.

For more sermons by W.A Criswell, please visit www.wacriswell.com


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About The Author

W. A. Criswell was born December 19, 1909 in Eldorado, Oklahoma. He received his B.A. from Baylor University, and his Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served for fifty years as senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, for many years the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention. As founder and chancellor of the Criswell College, Dr. Criswell gave his later years to preparing young preachers to preach the Word of God. Dr. Criswell went to be with the Lord January 10, 2002. His ministry continues through the messages he preached and the lives he touched during his seventy-five years of pastoral service. Over 4000 of these messages with notes, outlines, audio and video are available through the Criswell Sermon Library at www.wacriswell.com. The Sermon Library is a ministry of the W.A. Criswell Foundation, Inc. to assist pastors and lay people in sermon preparation.

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