Had Ye Believed Moses
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Abraham, a New Beginning
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place that he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Within the dispensational framework of events that God set forth through the first four individuals singled out from Old Testament history in Hebrews chapter eleven — Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham — the reader is carried through a complete panorama of events. He is carried from the place where two sacrifices occurred (Abel’s sacrifice, and Abel himself being the sacrifice [Cain slaying Abel]) to the place of a new beginning, seen in Abraham. And this entire panorama of events is fraught with spiritual significance and meaning.
In one respect, the overall type begins at the point of salvation, for Abel being slain typifies Christ being slain. And man is saved on the basis of Christ’s death and shed blood.
In another respect though, following the exact chronology of events seen in the type, the beginning point would have to be looked upon in a different manner. The actual beginning point seen in the type is Abel’s sacrifice. And this, in turn, is followed by Abel himself being the sacrifice.
Thus, in one respect, the overall type carries a person from the point of salvation (seen in Cain slaying Abel) to the Messianic Kingdom (seen in the new beginning in Abraham). But, in another respect, following the chronology of events seen in the type, the beginning point changes. And following events as they are given in the type, the beginning point (Abel offering “a more excellent sacrifice” than Cain offered) could not have to do with issues surrounding salvation by grace. Rather, they could only have to do with issues beyond salvation by grace, for apart from being saved, a person would not be in a position to offer spiritual sacrifices of this nature unto God (which, in the type, had to do with an offering of the first-fruits).
Regardless of where one begins though, the end point in the overall type still remains the same — a new beginning, seen in Abraham’s experiences. And the new beginning seen in Abraham’s experiences doesn’t immediately follow that depicted through events connected with Abel. Rather, to complete the picture, two individuals (with their particular experiences) are placed between events connected with Abel and Abraham — Enoch and Noah, pointing to the coming removal of Christians from the earth (seen in Enoch’s experiences), followed by God resuming and concluding His dealing with Israel on the earth (seen in Noah’s experiences).
Though the beginning of the Christian life is connected with the latter part of the type surrounding Abel (Abel’s death, typifying Christ’s death), the chronology of the type cannot be reversed when brought over into the antitype. The manner in which the type is structured in both Genesis chapter four and Hebrews chapter eleven is the structure in which it must be seen in the antitype as well.
To understand exactly what is in view through “sacrifice” and “death” (in that order) in the type, note the context of Hebrews chapter eleven. The verses leading into this chapter deal specifically with the salvation of the soul (10:35-39), which is really the central subject pervading the whole of the first ten chapters of the book, leading into chapter eleven.
“Faith” in Hebrews 11:1 draws from that which had previously been stated relative to faith, which had to do with the central subject of the book — the salvation of the soul; and this central subject was brought to the place at the end of chapter ten where an emphasis could be placed on the salvation of the soul (cf. vv. 35-39), with the matter being dealt with a number of different ways in chapter eleven (but always, “by faith”).
Thus, “faith” in Hebrews 11:1, drawing from the immediate context and previous reference to faith (10:38, 39), has to do with faith to the saving of the soul. And it is the same with the continuing reference to “faith” seen throughout the chapter.
Teachings surrounding salvation by grace, though present (e.g., Cain slaying Abel; Abraham offering Isaac), simply do not form the central issue seen throughout this chapter or anywhere else in the book of Hebrews. Rather, the central issue seen throughout the book of Hebrews moves beyond the point of salvation by grace and has to do with the salvation of the soul. It has to do with a salvation that will be realized beyond the things depicted through the experiences of the first three individuals named (Abel, Enoch, and Noah). And this salvation will be realized when the things depicted through the experiences of the fourth individual named in the chapter (Abraham) are brought to pass.
In this respect, remaining within the framework of the things revealed through the experiences of the four men beginning this chapter, the message is seen being directed to the saved alone (for the message surrounding the salvation of the soul is a message for the saved alone, never the unsaved). The message is seen being directed to those who, as Abel, are in a position to exercise “faith” and, through exercising faith, are able to offer to God the sacrifice that He requires. And so it is with “faith” in connection with the experiences of Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. Saved individuals are being dealt with, and the salvation of the soul is in view.
And this entire matter surrounding faith to the saving of the soul in Hebrews chapter eleven — seen through the experiences of the first four individuals named — is handled in a dual manner in this chapter. Not only does the subject have to do with faith to the saving of the soul, but this subject is dealt with in such a way that a dispensational scheme of events is presented.
And these teachings surrounding the salvation of the soul, set within a dispensational scheme of events, provide two complete pictures: 1) a complete picture of that involved in the salvation of the soul itself (seen through Abel’s experiences), and 2) a complete picture of events that not only carries one through the complete Christian life, but, as well, carries one on into that time when the salvation of the soul will be realized (seen, within a dispensational framework, through the experiences of all four men).
First though, note the chronology of events surrounding Abel and Cain in Genesis chapter four, where the type has to do with Christ and Israel in the antitype. Christ (as Abel) presented that which was acceptable to the Father, with Israel (as Cain), not doing so. And Christ’s actions served to bring Israel to the place (as Abel’s actions had brought Cain to the place) where Israel slew Christ (as Cain had slain Abel). Thus, the chronology of events first seen in Genesis are exactly the same as those seen almost 4,000 years later, recorded in the gospel accounts. This would have to be the case, for the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.
Then in Hebrews chapter eleven, where the type is used relative to Christians, it must also follow the same chronology, which it does. Even though an individual has to avail himself of that seen in the latter part of the type (Christ’s death) before that seen in the former part of the type can come into view (an acceptable sacrifice), something else entirely is being dealt with through the way in which the account is structured in this chapter.
The structure in Hebrews chapter eleven remains the same as in Genesis chapter four — an acceptable sacrifice, followed by death. This structure must remain the same, for this is the way in which the type is structured in Genesis, which cannot change.
And, as previously seen, the beginning point in the type lies beyond the point of salvation by grace, beyond the point of the appropriation of the blood of a slain lamb in the type or the slain Lamb in the antitype (which [in the type or the antitype] had nothing to do with the lambs that Abel sacrificed; this was a subsequent offering [ref. chapters 10, 11 of this book]). Then, remaining within the framework of that seen in both Genesis chapter four and Hebrews chapter eleven, “death” must not only still be in view but must chronologically follow the offering of the correct sacrifice.
It was Abel in the type in Genesis who died, pointing to Christ’s death in the antitype. But the way that the type is used in Hebrews 11:4, another dimension is introduced, one which relates to Christians. And it matters not whether one is dealing with Abel in the type or with either Christ or Christians in the antitype, the sacrifice that God requires results in the death of the individual offering the sacrifice.
The overall type in Hebrews, dealing with Christians, relates to the salvation of their souls. And within the framework of that seen in Hebrews 11:4, it is the Christian who offers an acceptable sacrifice (seen in the former part of the type) who must lose his life (seen in the latter part of the type). The Christian himself (as Abel in the type) is now the sacrifice, for an individual must lose his life/soul if he is to save it (cf. Matthew 10:38-42; 16:24-17:5; John 12:23-25).
The Christian, through offering an acceptable sacrifice, is now to lose his life/soul. He is now to present his body a living, set apart sacrifice; and it is a sacrifice of this nature alone that is “acceptable [or, ‘well-pleasing’] unto God” (Romans 12:1, 2). Accordingly, it is only from this place of death that a Christian can render a proper testimony (as Abel, from the place of death, yet spoke).
An acceptable sacrifice and losing one’s life go hand-in-hand. They are like a type with its antitype, or like a parable and that to which it relates. They are, in reality, two ways of saying the same thing. A sacrifice, when referring to human or animal, refers to something slain. And when Christians are told to present their bodies “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), the thought of death has to be in view.
It is the corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying (John 12:24); it is the person losing his life in this present world under Satan who will realize that which he forfeited — life — in the coming world under Christ (John 12:25).
The two sacrifices in Genesis chapter four, in this respect, speak volumes relative to the Christian experience today. Christ being slain, typified by Abel being slain, allows a person to find himself in a position (saved, through faith in Christ) where that seen in the whole of the type can be realized in his life.
A person today, through passing from death unto life, now finds himself in a position to offer an acceptable sacrifice unto God. And this acceptable sacrifice, as previously seen, is the person himself. The individual must now forfeit his life if he is to gain his life; he must now die if he is to one day live and realize that seen at the end of the overall type, that seen in the experiences of Abraham.
The preceding is why, within the framework of the overall type presented in Hebrews chapter eleven, there is nothing lying between that typified by the experiences of both Abel and Enoch. The whole of the Christian experience is seen in that typified by Abel’s experiences. And only one thing can follow in either type or antitype — which it does in the type, and will in the antitype.
In the type, attention is called to a particular experience of Enoch, which followed Abel’s experiences. Enoch was removed from the earth, with a view to that which lay beyond his removal, seen in the experiences of two other individuals — Noah and Abraham.
And in the antitype, attention has been called to exactly the same experience, yet to occur (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Revelation 1:10ff). Christians (as Enoch) will be removed from the earth, with a view to that which lies beyond their removal — the Tribulation (seen in the experiences of Noah), and the Messianic Era (seen in the experiences of Abraham).
(Viewing the type beginning in Genesis chapter four from the vantage point of that seen in Hebrews chapter eleven [dealing with Abel in chapter four and with Enoch, Noah, and Abraham in subsequent chapters], it is a simple matter to see one thing about Scripture. It is easy to see the intricate and complex nature of how God structured His Word as He began to reveal Himself, His plans, and His purposes to man in the beginning.
Not only do the Old Testament Scriptures form revelation surrounding all the various facets of the person and work of Christ, but large sections of this same revelation also deal with all the various things surrounding the Church and Israel as well. This is the reason why any correct study surrounding Christ, Israel, or the Church must begin in the Old Testament, not the New. Such a study must begin where God began.
In this respect, the Old Testament Scriptures form one continuous revelation surrounding all the various things that God has revealed about His three firstborn Sons — Christ, Israel, and the Church. Christ is God’s “only begotten” firstborn Son, God’s Son from eternity [John 1:1-3; 3:16; Hebrews 1:6]; Israel is God’s firstborn son by “adoption” [Exodus 4:22, 23; Romans 9:4]; and the Church will be God’s firstborn son following the “adoption,” which will occur at the end of this present dispensation [Romans 8:14-23; Hebrews 12:23].)
The Rapture and the Tribulation
At the end of the present dispensation, Christians are going to be removed from the earth into heaven. This is what is seen in the types (e.g., Genesis 5, 19, 24) and this is what is seen in the antitype as well (it must occur in the antitype exactly as set forth in the type, for, again, the antitype must follow the type in exact detail [e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4, 5; Revelation 1-4]).
God deals with Christians during the present dispensation alone. Christians, forming the “new creation” in Christ, did not exist prior to this dispensation; and when this dispensation is over (which will occur when the Spirit completes His search for a bride for God’s Son), Christians (all) will be removed. God can (and will) then turn back to the prior dispensation with Israel and complete His dealings with this nation, which dispensation lacks seven years (Daniel’s unfulfilled 70th Week).
Christians, prior to God resuming His dealings with Israel, will be removed from the earth to appear before Christ’s judgment seat in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; Revelation 1:12ff). And issues and determinations surrounding this judgment will determine every Christian’s position in the kingdom that will follow. It will be at the judgment seat that the bride will be revealed, resulting from the decisions and determinations that will be rendered. The bride will be called out of the called, allowed to stand up out of all those previously removed from the earth (Matthew 22:14; Philippians 3:11).
Events surrounding the judgment seat will apparently occur during an interval of time that will follow the end of the present dispensation but precede a resumption of time in the previous dispensation. Time in the previous dispensation was interrupted seven years short of the time allotted for the dispensation (seven years short of the dispensation being completed). And this was done to allow God to set aside time (a third 2,000-year period) for an entirely separate dispensation, during which the Holy Spirit could be sent into the world to procure a bride for God’s Son. Then, once the purpose for this dispensation has been brought to pass (once the bride has been procured), Christians will be removed, and the bride will be presented to the Son in heaven. Then, there will no longer be any need for God to delay His unfulfilled dealings with Israel.
An interval of time between the end of the present dispensation and the resumption of time during the preceding dispensation is the way matters are structured chapters one through five of the book of Revelation. And events seen in these chapters — which follow the removal of the Church (though chapters 2, 3 also present a history of the Church throughout the dispensation) — lead into the chapter six, where Daniel’s Seventieth Week begins in the chronology of the book.
Seven years yet remain to complete the past dispensation, completing Daniel’s full 490-year prophecy. And once these seven years have been fulfilled, the Messianic Kingdom will be ushered in.
During these seven years, Israel, as Noah in the type, will pass safely through the time of destruction that will come upon the earth. Israel will come under God’s supernatural protection during this time, but not so with the nations of the earth. The Gentile nations, as all those outside the ark during Noah’s day, will suffer destruction.
Thus, the Messianic Era will be ushered in only following three things coming to pass: 1) the present dispensation running its course, 2) the Church being removed from the earth (along with attendant events surrounding Christians in heaven), and 3) God completing His dealings with Israel during a dispensation that lacks seven years to complete.
These are the things set forth in the experiences of Abel, Enoch, and Noah, as seen in Hebrews chapter eleven. Only when the things depicted through the experiences of these three men come to pass can the things depicted through the experiences of the fourth — Abraham — be brought to pass.
The Messianic Kingdom
A new beginning is seen in the experiences of Noah immediately following the Flood (Genesis 9:1ff; cf. Hebrews 11:7b), but the thought of a new beginning is dealt with more fully in the subsequent experiences of Abraham (Genesis 11:26-25:8). Abraham is the one who obeyed God when he was called to leave Ur and go into another land, “which he should after receive for an inheritance”; he is the one who “went out, not knowing where he was going”; he is the one who dwelled “in tents with Isaac and Jacob [pilgrims, yet to receive the inheritance (cf. Genesis 37:1; Exodus 6:4)], the heirs with him of the same promise”; and he is the one who “looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
The recorded experiences of Abraham begin with a call relative to a land where he had never been, which he had never seen, a land separate from the land of his birth; and this is exactly where a Christian’s experiences begin. Abraham was called to travel from one land to another, and he was to receive the land to which he had been called for an inheritance. Christians, in like manner, have been called to travel from one land to another; and, also in like manner, an inheritance awaits Christians in the land to which they have been called.
For Abraham, the call was from one earthly land to another earthly land. His call was from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan (Genesis 11:31-12:5; 13:14-17; 15:18-21). For Christians though, the call is from an earthly land to a heavenly land. It is a call from the earth to a place in the heavens (Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:6, 7; 3:9-11; Hebrews 3:1).
Numerous Old Testament saints understood that there were two realms within an inheritance to be realized by Abraham and his seed — both an earthly and a heavenly. And many of these individuals, including Abraham, looked beyond the earthly land to the heavenly (Hebrews 11:12-16).
These two realms formed two spheres within a theocracy in which man was to ultimately rule. Man had been created in the beginning to rule the earth in the stead of the incumbent ruler, Satan (Genesis 1:26-28); and Satan’s rule at that time, which continues today, was from a heavenly sphere over the earth.
“The heavens do rule” (Daniel 4:26), whether referring to God’s rule over His entire kingdom (universal; Psalm 103:19) or to the rule of messianic angels whom He has placed over provinces in His kingdom (Psalm 103:20-22; cf. Ephesians 2:2; 6:12). God rules from the heavens through messianic angels (a position that presently continues to be occupied by Satan over the province upon which man resides [Job. 1:6; 2:1; Isaiah 14:13; Ezekiel 28:14]). And these messianic angels would also rule from a place in the heavens, in complete keeping with Daniel 4:26 (not from the same place in the heavens where God rules but from places located in the heavens in relation to the different provinces over which they rule).
(For more information on the structure of the government under God [both in relation to the earth and to the universe at large], see the author’s book, THE MOST HIGH RULETH.)
Thus, in order for man to occupy the position for which he was created, he will ultimately have to reside in both realms of the kingdom — heavenly and earthly — and fulfill a promise given to Abraham in Genesis 22:17, 18:
That in blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.
To fulfill this promise, man, more particularly the seed of Abraham, must possess the gate of the enemy in both heavenly and earthly realms. The thought of possessing the gate is taken from the manner in which affairs within cities were conducted in Abraham’s day. The gate of a city was the place where all the business transactions of those residing in the city occurred (as in a modern-day courthouse). Elders of a city could be found at the gate of that city, and they were there for purposes having to do with settling legal matters for those within the city (e.g., Ruth 4:1ff).
The elders at the gate took care of legal matters and, through this means, exercised control over all things of this nature within the city. Thus, possessing the gate, relative to a city, would be exercising control over affairs within that city, particularly legal affairs. And possessing the gate relative to the enemy in both heavenly and earthly realms, seen in Genesis 22:17 (cf. Genesis 24:60), would have to do with exercising control over affairs in both realms (which, in this case, would have particular reference to governmental control in these two realms). It is only through a control of this nature in both realms, by the seed of Abraham, that the nations of the earth can (and will) be blessed (v. 18; cf. Genesis 12:1-3).
Israel, for a time and to an extent, realized the earthly portion of this kingdom during Old Testament days. But because of the nation’s continued disobedience, the theocracy was eventually brought to an end. God allowed the Jewish people to be uprooted from their land and to be taken captive by Gentile nations, resulting in their subsequently being scattered among the nations of the earth. And over two and one-half millennia later, a complete restoration of the nation back to the land has never occurred. Such a restoration awaits Israel’s repentance and Messiah’s return.
When Christ came the first time, He offered the heavenly sphere of the kingdom — the kingdom of the heavens — to the nation of Israel through a remnant of the nation that was back in the land. This offer was contingent on the nation’s national repentance (which reflected back on the nation’s disobedience through centuries of time, resulting in their condition at that time [a condition that continues to persist during present time], described in Isaiah 1:4ff). However, the Jewish people, in keeping with their past disobedience, not only spurned the offer but went so far as to crucify the One Who made the offer (Matthew 23:37-39; John 19:14, 15).
This resulted in the nation being set aside, with the heavenly sphere of the kingdom being taken from Israel (Matthew 21:33-43). God then called into existence an entirely new creation “in Christ,” who would be “Abraham’s seed [because of an individual’s positional standing ‘in Christ,’ who is Abraham’s Seed], and heirs according to the promise [heavenly, not earthly]” (Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:17). And God is presently offering to this new creation “in Christ” that which was taken from Israel. Christians (those comprising the new creation, along with each Christian being a new creation himself) are now the ones in possession of a call to occupy heavenly places in the kingdom.
Everything about Abraham’s call had an end in view. And this end could be seen, for example, in the land that he was to inherit (Genesis 12:1, 7; 15:8ff; cf. Hebrews 11:8), his meeting Melchizedek following the battle of the kings (Genesis 14:18ff), or the position that he occupied (standing before the Lord) following the destruction of the cities of the plain during Lot’s day (Genesis 19:27; cf. Genesis 18:22).
Then, what could only be looked upon as an apex, forming a climactic end, is set forth in Genesis 24:61-25:5. In these verses, the servant whom Abraham had sent into Mesopotamia to obtain a bride for his son had not only obtained the bride (Rebekah) but had removed the bride from her home and had headed back toward the home of his master (24:61). Isaac, at this time, is seen coming forth from his home to meet his bride (vv. 62, 63). They met at a point between his home and her home, and Rebekah then went with Isaac to his home, where she became his wife (vv. 64-67). Abraham then remarried and gave all that he possessed to Isaac (25:1-5).
This is where the story of Abraham ends in the Old Testament (save for a brief mention of gifts to sons of his concubines [v. 6]), which brings to a close the numerous types seen through his experiences. And viewing the antitype of the things set forth through events at the end of his life, man finds himself placed in the Messianic Kingdom, with the Seed of Abraham (which would include, Christ, Israel, and the Church) possessing the gate of the enemy in both heavenly and earthly realms.
Genesis 24:61-25:5 actually presents the end of a complete sequence seen through events in five different chapters — chapters twenty-one through twenty-five. And these chapters carry the reader through a complete sequence leading to the goal of Abraham’s calling, following this same goal having been brought to the forefront in his experiences on several previous occasions (e.g., his meeting Melchizedek following the battle of the kings in Genesis 14 [cf. Psalm 110:1-4], or his standing before the Lord in the high country following the destruction of the cities of the plain in Genesis 19).
Within the overall typology of Genesis chapters twenty-one through twenty-five, there can be no question concerning who different individuals typify.
The son born in a supernatural manner (chapter 21) and offered by the father (chapter 22), can only typify God’s Son, Jesus, who was born in a supernatural manner and offered by His Father. Abraham then would typify God the Father, and his two wives (Sarah [chapter 23] and Keturah [chapter 25]) could only typify the wife of Jehovah, Israel. Sarah dying (chapter 23) following Abraham offering his son (chapter 22) could only typify Israel being set aside following God offering His Son. And Abraham’s remarriage (chapter 25), following a bride being procured for his son (chapter 24), could only typify God restoring Israel following a bride being procured for His Son.
In chapter twenty-four, Abraham sent his eldest servant into Mesopotamia to procure a bride for his son (following Sarah’s death [chapter 23] but before he married Keturah [chapter 25]). And this can only point to one thing in the antitype. It can only point to that which is occurring during the present dispensation, between the time Israel has been set aside and the time God restores Israel.
In the antitype of Genesis chapter twenty-four, God has sent the Holy Spirit into the world to obtain a bride for His Son (as Abraham sent his servant into Mesopotamia to obtain a bride for his son). An entire dispensation, lasting 2,000 years, has been set aside for this purpose. And once the bride has been procured, events will occur exactly as seen in the type.
The Spirit will remove the bride, the Son will come forth to meet His bride, a meeting will occur in the heavens, and the bride will then go with the Son to His home. Then, following climactic dealings with Israel (during the Tribulation, bringing Israel to the place of repentance), God will restore the nation. And He will then give all that He possesses unto His Son.
In actuality though, all that the Father possesses already belongs to the Son (cf. Genesis 24:36; John 16:15). The thought in Genesis 25:5 has to do with the Son realizing that which is already His in that coming day when the Father places the scepter in His hand (Daniel 7:13, 14; cf. Matthew 2:2; 28:18).
And this is the apex to which all things in the life of Abraham lead — God’s three firstborn Sons in the Messianic Era, possessing the gate of the enemy in both heavenly and earthly realms.