“The Progressive Revelation of the Blood of the Eternal Covenant”
Kay Arthur, Teacher
Today we are going to look at that progressive revelation of the blood of the eternal covenant. I promise you that God will bless you as He weaves that scarlet thread of blood, that scarlet thread of covenant, throughout the word of God.
Let’s pray. Holy Father, we thank You that when You saw us in sin, when You saw us turn our backs upon You and walk in our own independent way, when You saw us listen to the enemy, Father, You still reached down and redeemed us through the blood of the Lamb of God. We thank You, Father, for that blood of the eternal covenant. We thank You, Father, that before the foundation of the world, in Your holy councils, You sat down with Your Son and with Your blessed Holy Spirit, and planned our redemption. Annoint both the speaker and the hearer, for Your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
We were looking at the progressive revelation of the blood of the eternal covenant, and we saw that the covenant was made by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. You are going to see that even more clearly as we study, but I don’t want to preempt your studies. We saw how that covenant was made. It was made through blood and through Jesus Christ’s atoning work on Calvary. We saw that God made that covenant known through a progressive revelation. We want to go back very quickly, and we want to review.
We saw that when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden that God promised them a redeemer in saying, “I will give the woman a seed, and that woman’s seed shall bruise the head of the serpent.” He provided a covering, and the covering that He provided was a covering made of the skins of innocent animals. There we see the innocent dying for the guilty. We see the first shedding of blood in the Bible, and we see that God sheds blood in order to cover man’s sin.
Then we came along, and we moved to Genesis 4, where we saw the first shedding of blood in order to worship (or in order to approach) God, and we saw that Abel brought a sacrifice from the flock and he made that sacrifice to God; while his brother, Cain, brought a sacrifice of the fruit of his hands. He brought the produce from the field, and it says, “God had respect for Abel and his offering, but He did not have respect unto Cain.” Why? Because Cain was not coming to God in the prescribed way. Cain wanted to come to God in his own way, but you see, God is God, and we have got to come to God God’s way. We can’t come to God our own way. There is a way, and only way to God, and that is through the shedding of blood, because “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” So God is giving us a progressive revelation as we move through the word of God.
Then we saw that from Abel’s death another was raised up by the name of Seth. From Seth came Enosh. Seth was the son of Adam and Eve, and then Enosh, and from Enosh came Enoch. Enoch did not walk with God until he gave birth to a son by the name of Methuselah. When he gave birth to Methuselah, he name Methuselah “when he is old/when he is dead it will come.” What was going to come? Apparently God had given Enoch (in His graciousness) a revelation of the coming judgment, where God removed all mankind from the face of this earth except Noah and his family. From that day forward, the Bible tells us, Enoch walked with God, and then he was not, because God took him. In other words, one day (and I have heard this saying before and I will share it with you) Enoch was having such good fellowship with God. It got late, and God said, “Enoch, it is closer to My house than yours. Come on home with Me.” And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, because God took him. Hebrews 11 tells us the Enoch walked by faith, and he pleased God; therefore God took him.
When Methuselah got old (and he was the oldest man) then God spoke to a man by the name of Noah, a contemporary of Methuselah. Let’s look at what God said to him in Genesis 6. This was in your homework and you studied this, so we are going to camp here a few minutes because it is exciting. Let me give you a little diagram here before we look at Genesis 6. Here is Adam and Eve, and Adam and Eve have multiplied. Genesis 5 gives us the generations of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are now sinners, and they are no longer in the likeness of God. That image has been distorted. So Adam and Eve produce after their own likeness. That is what Genesis 5 tells us as it opens up. Now they have reproduced, and there are a whole lot of people upon the face of this earth. You say, “Who did they marry?” Well, Eve was the mother of all living, and they intermarried. You say, “But didn’t they come up with weirdoes?” No, because it was the beginning of the race, and there was no command not to intermarry until the book of Leviticus. So they intermarried—brothers and sisters intermarried, and they multiplied until there were a great number of people on the face of this earth. God looked down and saw all of these people, and He saw that their hearts were wicked, and their intentions were evil.
Genesis 6:3, “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” [Talk about the longsuffering of God! He is upset with them, yet He is going to give them another one hundred and twenty years.] (5) “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (6) And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
I can’t help reading that and hurting. I am a parent, and right now we still have one son at home. He is sixteen years of age. I just wrote him a note the other day, and left it, because I had to go to Atlanta overnight. I said, “Son, I want you to know that I love you, and I thank God for you.” And I do! I am so thrilled with him; he is a delight to my heart. You are over there, and you see Tommy, and he is doing the cooking for you at this Winter Training Program that we are having, and you come up to me, and said, “He is such a fine young man. He is so capable, and he is cooking such good meals. He has such a good disposition, and he doesn’t complain.” He is a fine young man, and it brings joy to my heart. You are going to get to meet Mark, and you are going to see how fine he is. It brings joy to my heart. But suppose they were wicked young men, and suppose they would show up here drunk, or they would walk in, and say,
“Blankety-blank, Mother, where are you?” Wouldn’t you be embarrassed for me? Wouldn’t you hurt for me? Wouldn’t you just cringe and feel grieved in your heart for me because my children were like that? Well, God was grieved in His heart. He had made man in His image, and that image had become so distorted. I think back about my life before I came to know Jesus Christ, and I think how it must have grieved the heart of God. I even look at so-called Christendom, in certain areas, and I see the things that we do that are so contrary to holiness and righteousness and godliness. I think, “God, You are patient with us. How it must grieve You because of the way we live.” Well, God was grieved in His heart.
But the next verse says this, (8) “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” [Why? Because in the midst of all this wickedness there was a man by the name of Noah. He had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (You ought to know their names.) What does God say to Noah, when He looks and sees all mankind so wicked and so evil? Go to v. 18. “But I will establish My covenant with you;” [There it is—the very first mention in all the word of God of the word “covenant.” You have studied what covenant means. You saw that the word is beriyth. This word means “a covenant, or a compact, or an agreement that is made by passing through pieces of flesh.” In other words, they would take and animal and they would hack that animal down the middle. They would lay it down, and then they would make an agreement by passing through pieces of flesh. That is what the definition of the word “covenant” is in the Hebrew. When you look at this first mention, God made a covenant. “I am going to establish My covenant with Noah.”
Let’s move on and find out what happens. God tells Noah to build an ark. (22) “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” So he builds the ark, and gets in the ark, and then God destroys all the people on the face of this earth. He drowns them, and only those that in the ark are safe. With Noah are Mrs. Noah, Mrs. Shem, Mrs. Ham, and Mrs. Japheth, and animals—two of every kind and seven of the clean animals. So there are the animals in the ark. The water settles; the ark goes down on Mt. Ararat; and Noah comes out of the ark. In Genesis 8:20, this is what Noah does. “The Noah build an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (21) And the Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. (22) While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.’”
Noah, in covenant with God, what does he do when he gets off the ark? He sacrifices. So once again we see a picture of this blood of the eternal covenant. There is blood involved here again. There was blood when God shed it in the Garden of Eden when man sinned. There was blood when Abel shed it in sacrificing and worshipping God. And now Noah is worshiping God for his deliverance, and sacrificing blood.
Then God makes a covenant. Look at Genesis 9:1. “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’” We come down to v. 9. “‘Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you, (10) and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. (11) And I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.’ (12) And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; (13) I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.’” (16) “‘When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’”
So this is the covenant that God made with man, and He put a bow in the sky. What was that bow? It was a rainbow. But what was the purpose of it? It was a sign, and that is all that I want you to remember, and that is all I am going to say. Whom did God make the covenant with? Just with Noah? No, Noah and all his descendants. Who were the descendants of Noah? Every human being that you see upon the face of this earth is a descendant of Noah. They either came from Shem, or Ham, or Japheth. Mr. and Mrs. Noah didn’t have any more children, but Shem, Ham, and Japheth did, and we are descended primarily (most of us in this room), from Japheth. Then there are descendants of Ham and descendants of Shem. We are going to look at these descendants in just a minute, but before we do, who else did He make a covenant with? All living creatures. He made a covenant with all the animals. Why? What had He done to all the animals back here? He had destroyed them. What was the covenant? The covenant is this: I will never again destroy the earth with water. Not that “I will never again destroy the earth,” but “I will never again destroy the earth with water.”
Now, let me ask you a question. Had man’s heart changed? No, man’s heart had not changed, and although they knew about blood, and although they knew about sacrifice, still man’s heart was only evil continually. You are going to see in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; who could know it? How am I going to get rid of this heart? How am I going to handle this evil, deceitful, desperately wicked heart? It comes at the end of this course, and it is going to be so good that you won’t be able to stand it.
I want to take you back to Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and I want to give you some insights from these men so that you can see how the blood of the eternal covenant was made known to others that would follow. On your notes put: Shem (leave space) Ham (space) Japheth (more space). Remember, Ham had a son by the name of Canaan. When you look at Ham, and you come down in Ham’s genealogy, you are going to eventually come to Canaan, but before you do, you come from Ham to Cush to Nimrod. Ham is the one that went in and saw his father naked, because he had drunk the fruit of the vine. There is a belief that he just didn’t understand what God had done to the earth, because when God brought that flood down, some people believe that was a canopy of ice over the earth that would filter through the sun, and so things wouldn’t ferment. And that is why men lived so long before the flood came. After the flood, you find that men’s longevity decreasing and decreasing and decreasing. Anyway, Ham saw his father naked, and then Ham had a son named Canaan. God said, “Cursed not be Ham, but cursed be Canaan.” So because of Ham’s disrespect of his father, then his son was cursed. But from Ham also came Cush, and from Cush came Nimrod. This is significant, and I will show you why in just a minute.
Let’s follow Shem’s line now. I am just giving them to you, skipping over a lot of names. From Shem came Eber, and from Eber came Peleg. From Peleg came Nahor, and from Nahor came Terah. From Terah came Abram. (Not Abraham, because that was not his name to begin with.) Shem, therefore, is where the Semitic people come from, and we know that the Bible is written in a Semitic language. So this, we are going to see, will eventually be the line of the nation of Israel. God is going to make a covenant down here with Abram. He made a covenant up here with Noah, and He is making a covenant with Abram. Japheth is going to be blessed by his association with Shem. If you will look where Japheth went, he went north and over to the west. I don’t want to go into Japheth became of time.
Who was Nimrod? He became the king of Babel. Let’s look at Nimrod for a few minutes. Go to Genesis 10:8. “Then Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a might one on the earth. (9) He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.’ (10) And the beginning of his (Nimrod’s) kingdom was Babel.” [Then it goes to give you other names in the land of Shinar.]
What is significant about Babel? Go to Genesis 11:1. “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. (2) And it came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. (3) And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. (4) And they said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’”
What had God told them when they got off the ark? Go back to Genesis 9:1. “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.’ [So here is man—with an evil heart. God has said, “Fill the earth!” And man has said, “No, we don’t want to fill the earth. Let us make ourselves a tower.” The Hebrew could say, “Let us make a tower whose top is in heaven.” They say that at the top of that tower was something like a zodiac, and you could pick it up. They were going to make a tower that would worship the heavens, rather than the God who created the heavens. They were going to make a name for themselves. They were going to build themselves a city. They were not going to do what God said. You say, “What has this got to do with Covenant?” It is going to get so good in just a minute.]
Genesis 11:5. “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. (6) And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. (7) Come, let Us…’” [Isn’t that neat? “Let Us make man in Our image,” as it says in Genesis 1:26.] (7) “‘Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ (8) So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.” [You can just imagine—a guy says, “Hand me another brick,” and the other one says, “Porque?” (I only know one word in Spanish.) You can’t work if there is this confusion of languages. So what happens? You go around saying, “Does somebody speak English to me?” You find somebody else that can speak your language, and you grab them, and you say, “Come here.” They went in different directions according to the language that they spoke. That is the way that God scattered them over all the earth.]
(9) “Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.” [Now God goes into the generations of Shem, and we come down and find in v. 15 that Shem gives birth to Eber. (16) “And Eber lived thirty-four years after he became the father of Peleg,” [Now, why would I put Peleg over here? Why wouldn’t I skip over him and go right here to Nahor and Terah, because these are the men that we are really interested in, because they become the father and the great-grandfather of wonderful Father Abraham? Why put this guy in here? Because there is one little significant verse, and it shows you how God made the blood covenant known throughout the whole earth. (I believe it does.)]
Let’s look at Genesis 10:25. In Genesis 10, he gives some genealogies. He tells us about Nimrod; he gives us some genealogies, and then in Chapter 11 he backs up and tells us more about Nimrod. Then he tells about the tower of Babel, and then he gives us some more genealogies. In both of these chapters, he mentions Peleg. (25) “And two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided;”
What is God telling us in one tiny little verse? Go to Genesis 1:9. On your notes, next to Peleg, you ought to be putting these Scriptures. (9) “Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear’;” [When God created the world, what did He have, apparently? One big body of land and one big body of water. But, in the days of Peleg, what happened? The earth was divided. If you would take that map that goes around like that, and it you took all the earth and squeezed it back together, it would just kind of fit into one another. What was God doing? All the people were of one language. What were they to do? They were to fill the whole earth. You say, “How are they going to get to all those other continents to fill the earth?” Well, they didn’t have any problem. They could walk. No problem of building big vessels or ships, because it was one body of land.
Then, in the days of Peleg (or after), we have numerous languages. Then God divides the earth. Let me show you a couple of things. First of all, you say, “Maybe ‘the earth’ means just a section of land.” The word for earth here is erets, and that is the same word that is used in Genesis 1:10 when it says, “And God called the dry land earth.” In Genesis 10:25, it is the same word. In Genesis 10:32 is says, “These are the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations, and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.”
The word “divided” is palag, and it means to split, to divide, just exactly what it says (even in the lexicon, Theological Book of the Old Testament). When the earth split, or when it divided, since Shem was the blessed one… Let me show you Shem in Genesis 9:24. “When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. (25) So he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brothers.’ (26) He also said, ‘Blessed be the Lord (Yahweh), the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. (27) May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.’” [Canaan was the son of Ham, and Canaan was cursed. Shem has the truth, because “Blessed be the God of Shem;” This is the one that God has chosen, so that leaves all the rest of the world completely without a witness. No—because when God split this earth, and Japheth went this way and Shem went this way (I don’t know which way Ham went), God took three men and their descendants who knew about covenant, who knew that there was a God that had preserved them, who knew that there was a God who had delivered them through the flood, who knew that there was a God who had made a covenant with their father. They took that knowledge, and they went. The problem is that as they went with that knowledge they distorted it.
I want to give you an illustration, and I want to take you to New Guinea. This is the Mediterranean Sea, and right over here is the land of Canaan. Way down here, we come to India. Here is Australia, and here is New Guinea. Do you see how far that is? And do you know that there is just water there? There is no way that a man could walk from here to New Guinea. New Guinea is isolated. There is man named Don Richardson, and he has written a book called Peace Child. He went to a tribe called Sawi, a tribe that lived in the Dutch Netherlands of New Guinea. They were isolated from the rest of the world, and they lived in a Stone Age culture until 1962. They were cannibals, and they pillowed their heads at night on the skulls of their victims. They were a people that were masters of deceit. The highest honor in the tribe went to men who were men of treachery. They had a scheme that was called “to fatten with friendship”. They would come along and befriend a man, and they would fatten him with friendship. And then they would kill him. And if they could fatten with friendship until finally that man gave in out of his need to have another man as a friend, out of his need to be loved, then he could deceive him and kill, he was greatly honored among the people.
The Sawi people lived fighting among themselves, and Don Richardson got no place with them at all. He came to them one day, and he said, “I am going to leave. I cannot stay here, because there is no sense, because you won’t make peace.” By this time he had won their hearts, and they didn’t want him to leave. One day, those black aborigines walked into his presence, and they were almost ashen white. They said, “Twan (?), don’t leave. We will make peace.” He said, “Make peace—that is impossible. I have been trying to get you to make peace.” “Twan, we will make peace.” Sitting in his hut one day, he heard all this commotion. He saw a man in this village pick up his only son, and with a look of grim determination he took that child and walked through his village. People looked, and they put their hands to their mouths. They saw him walk though his village into enemy territory toward another village. All of a sudden they heard the wife crying, screaming because her son was gone. She said, “Tarop tim, tarop tim!” She got to the edge of the village, and the people grabbed her and held her back. Don stood—now knowing what was going on. He watched this man go to the next village, holding this baby, and saying, “Will you take this baby as a tarop tim?” Another man went and got his child, and brought it to him. They exchanged children, and there was a great big feast. Tarop tim means “Peace Child.” Don said, “I don’t understand what you are doing? Why is this necessary?” They said, “Twan, you have been urging us to make peace. Don’t you know that it impossible with a Peace Child?”
Do you know that it is impossible to have peace without a Peace Child? What did God do? He took His Son, His only begotten Son, and He left the portals of heaven (His village) and came down to ours, bringing His only begotten Son to make peace with us.
So Don said, “So I mused, ‘This peace depends upon the continuing life of the Peace Child involved. As long as those children lived, there had to be peace among those two tribes.’ Then the little bell in my subconscious gave an extra loud ring that almost caught my attention.” The children were decorated, and the two villages got together. They were now smiling at one another, when they wanted to kill one another just days before. Then they began to exchange gifts (just remember that), and then they exchanged names. (They would find somebody from their own tribe that was about the same height as they were.) If I had been in that tribe, I would be Kay Merle, and Merle would take my name, and she would be Merle Kay. They exchanged names. Then they had a big dance. Don said, “Then I named this ‘The you-in-me, and I-in-you dance.’” It symbolized the mutual peace embrace of the two villages. It was that Peace Child that Don Richardson used to show them the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Where did that concept of Peace Child come from? There is the Amots (?), another group of people, and when they want to make peace, this is what they do. Three men from one village, and three men from the other village lay down so they are body to body. (Head like this, and arms like this, and legs like this they lay down.) Three from each village, until you have six bodies. Then the wives stand. They put one foot under the chest, and another foot under the hips, and that foot then reaches this person’s body too. Then they have three children from each of the villages come. The men are lying down on their faces, backs up; the women are standing stranding, so they make like a tunnel, and the children (all decorated) get down and crawl over the backs of the fathers, through the legs of the women. Do you know what it is? It is birth canal. Do you know what it is showing? That it is a new birth, so that the two are no longer two, but they are one family—enemies reconciled. You can’t appreciate it now, but you appreciate it later. When God divided the earth, He did not leave the earth without the redemptive analogies of covenant.
Let me give you one other illustration, and it is from Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson. He talks about a Muslim village in which there were a group of people called Karen prophets, and yet these Karen prophets did not adopt this Muslim religion. But they had songs that had been passed down from generation to generation to generation, and this is one of the songs. “Y’wa” (Do you hear Yahweh in there?) “Y’wa formed the world originally. He appointed food and drink. He appointed the fruit of trial. He gave detailed orders. Moo-ka-li deceived two persons. He caused them to eat the fruit of the tree of trial. They obeyed not. They believed not Y’wa. When they ate the fruit of the trial, they became subject to sickness, aging and death.” Here are people that do not know the name of Jesus, that do not really know Yahweh, but what do they have that they have passed down from generation to generation? Although they have no written language, they sang the song over and over and over again. Where did it come from? It came back from here, from the Garden of Eden. It came up to the time of Noah. You see, these men out of Amanoa, (there was just very little space between them), because they lived so long, their lives overlapped, so the message was passed down. And Noah passed it to Shem, Ham, and Japheth. When God divided the earth, He sent these people out with truth, truth that they distorted. But when our missionaries go with the truth, and they listen to the culture… I was reading through Brusco (?), and I thought, “God, what those people are doing. It is biblical. It has a biblical base. It is a redemptive analogy. Oh, God, let him see it.” Of course, Brusco saw it, and when he saw it, he explained it to the people, and the veil came off of their eyes, and they understood. It is the blood of the eternal covenant, made known down through generations, and to peoples all over the face of the earth.
So what did they see? They saw once again that there was no… Well, let’s go to Abraham. Abraham leaves the Ur of the Chaldeas. Let me draw you a map. This is the Mediterranean Sea. Right about here is the land of Canaan. Now we call it Palestine or Israel. There was a man down here in Ur of the Chaldeas. His name was Abram. Abram’s father was an idol worshipper. Abram did not know God. One day God appeared to Abram, and spoke to him. Let’s go to Genesis 12:1. “And the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; (2) and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and so you shall be a blessing; (3) And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”
You will find it out later, but I am not going to wait to tell you. I have just read you the gospel that God gave to Abraham. That is what Galatians 3 says, that God preached the gospel to the Gentiles through Abram. Do you want me to show it to you real quick? Go to Galatians 3. (I am preempting your homework a little bit, but it is fun to do that every now and then. We are just starting the course, and I am doing it already.) (8) “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you.’” [So here is the pattern of the blood of the eternal covenant. You say, “But covenant is not mentioned yet.” Oh, yes, you know it is, because you have done your homework. You know that Abram left the Ur of the Chaldeas, he went up here to Haran; then after his father died, he came down into the land of Canaan. God had promised him way down here that he would have a child, that God would make of him a nation, and yet, all this time—“Sarah, honey? Sarah, honey?” But Sarah is never pregnant. They are getting older. Abraham was seventy-five when he got the word that he was going to be the father of a great nation. Sarah was sixty-five, and her name was Sarai. Sarai was his sister. So they came up to Haran, then they came down to Canaan.
Then in Genesis 15, this is what happens. (1) “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.’” [Now, wait a minute. After what things? After these things—what things? Where is Abram coming down to? Canaan. What is Canaan like? Canaan is a wicked, horrible land. It is filled with people that are so degenerate, they worship all these false gods, and they have all sorts of immorality. Abram, chosen by God, is coming to a heathen land, a land without any witness whatsoever. Oh, really? When Abram gets to Canaan, his nephew Lot comes down here near the Dead Sea and Sodom and Gomorrah, and he lives in Sodom. One day a king comes along, and he captures Sodom, and he takes all those people captive. It comes to the ears of Abram, and Abram is furious. Abram goes down to rescue his nephew Lot. When he goes down to rescue his nephew Lot, the king of Sodom comes out. Sodom is wicked; the king is wicked. Sodom was full of sodomy, of homosexuality, and everything else, and he wants to give Abraham the spoils of war. Abraham says, “No.”
The king of Sodom is not the only one who comes out. There is another king that walks out—the king of Salem. He is living here above the Dead Sea, over here toward the Mediterranean, in a city called Salem. Let’s look at Genesis 14:18. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.” [God Most High is El Elyon, the name of God as the Most High God, or the one that is the sovereign ruler of all the universe.] (19) “And he blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; (20) And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he (Abram) gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of all.”
Now keep your hand there, and we want to go to Hebrews 5:10. In this verse, we have insight into Melchizedek. The emphasis of all of Hebrews is covenant. (10) “(Jesus) being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” [So Jesus was designated a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.] Hebrews 7:1 says, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, (2) to whom also Abraham appointed a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness.” [The end of Melchizedek is the word for righteousness. So where is this king of righteousness living? In the midst of all this iniquity.] “and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. (3) Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he abides a priest perpetually.”
Abraham has the truth. God has revealed Himself to Abram. Abram goes to a land that knows not the truth, but what does he find there? He finds a witness. Abram pays tithes to the king of Salem. David would conquer Salem, and he would name it “Geru-Salem,” the city of peace. So Salem would become Jeru-Salem. God makes a covenant with Abraham. In Genesis 15, He comes to Abram after these things, and He makes a covenant with him. (We are going to look at this more next week, so don’t panic.) In v. 6, it says Abram believes in God when God promises him a seed. He said, “So shall your seed be.” What did God promise the woman? A seed. He promised Eve a seed. What did He promise Abram? The same seed. When Abram heard about that seed (which was Jesus Christ, the Messiah which is to come, who delivers us) Abraham believed God. That “believed” means a total committal of oneself to another.
(18) “On that day the Lord made (“cut” in the Hebrew) a covenant with Abram.” God told Abraham to take the animals, hack them in two, and lay them side by side, and God walked through the pieces. The blood of the eternal covenant has been made known down through the ages, because God is faithful. Are you going to be faithful, taking this same testimony, the same witness?
Let’s pray. Father, we thank You. We thank You, Father, that it is not Your will that any should perish, but that all should come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. We thank You, Father, that throughout this whole world, because we are all descended from Shem, Ham, and Japheth, that there is a witness, a witness in culture after culture of truth that has been distorted, but is still there—redemptive analogies. Father, we thank You for the blood of the eternal covenant, and may what we learn about his covenant be used to equip us for every good work, to do Your will. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.