Redeemed for a Purpose
Arlen L. Chitwood
Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.” . . .
Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. (Deuteronomy 1:28, 38).
Abraham was called from Ur of the Chaldees to leave the land of his birth and travel to another land, which he would, afterwards, inherit for an inheritance. But Abraham, once in the land to which he had been called — the land of Canaan — did not immediately realize this inheritance, though the land was given to him and his seed at this time by an everlasting covenant.
Rather, this inheritance was to be realized at a later time — a time beyond his earthly life and the lives of many of his descendants. And this time would not arrive until at least four hundred years beyond the birth of Abraham’s seed, Isaac (Genesis 12:1-3, 7; 13:14-17; 15:7, 8, 13-16; 37:1; Exodus 6:4).
Abraham’s seed — beginning with Isaac and continuing through Jacob, his twelve sons, and their progeny — was to be a stranger in a land that was not yet theirs for a specified period of time before inheriting the land, in complete accordance with God’s original promise to Abraham (reaffirmed to Isaac and Jacob, “the heirs with him of the same promise” [Genesis 26:3, 4; 28:12-14; Hebrews 11:8, 9, 13]).
The seed of Abraham was to sojourn as strangers in the land of Canaan, and later the land of Egypt, for a combined total of four hundred years (with the last 210-215 years of this time being spent in Egypt).
Then, at the end of the full four-hundred-year sojourn (or exactly, to the very day, 430 years beyond the original promise given to Abraham in Ur [Exodus 12:40, 41; cf. Galatians 3:17]), the descendants of Abraham were to be led out of Egypt under a previously sent deliverer to realize that which God had originally promised to Abraham. Abraham himself (and other “heirs with him of the same promise” [Hebrews 11:9]) would realize this inheritance in resurrection (Exodus 13:19; Ezekiel 37:1ff; Daniel 12:1-3)
Also, God’s promise to Abraham had been confirmed to him by an unconditional, everlasting covenant (Genesis 15:9-12, 17-21). The seed of Abraham (and ultimately Abraham himself) inheriting the land of Canaan had to be realized at a point in time following the four-hundred-year sojourn, for God had, through this covenant, sworn by Himself that this would be the case; and God can swear by no greater (Deuteronomy 4:31; Hebrews 6:13, 14).
Note that over four centuries lay between the promise and the time when this promise could be realized. But, its fulfillment was certain. God had so sworn. And, in this same respect, there was a set day, completing an exact period of time to the very day, when God would act relative to fulfilling His promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:7, 8, 13-16).
Looking at another facet of the way God acts with respect to time, 2,000 years preceding Abraham, “God created man . . . male and female created He them,” to rule the earth (Genesis 1:26-28); but the earth’s scepter, held by Satan, was not immediately relinquished and given to man. In this case, there was to be a 6,000-year delay (made known in God’s revealed actions surrounding man’s creation, both before and after [Genesis 1:1-2:3; cf. Exodus 31:13-17; 2 Peter 3:5-8]). And throughout these 6,000 years God would work out His plans and purposes relative to man, which, following man’s fall — something foreknown in the eternal council chambers of God before the ages even began — would be redemptive plans and purposes.
And these redemptive plans and purposes would have one goal in view — placing man back in the position for which he was created (Genesis 1:26-28), which is regal and has to do first of all with the government of this present earth (Revelation 10:1ff; 11:15; 20:1ff), then with the government beyond the new earth, out in the universe (Revelation 22:1-5).
Then, viewing the redemptive facet of the matter, 2,000 years beyond Abraham, God brought forth the promised Seed of the woman from Genesis 3:15 to act in the capacity of “the second Man,” “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47). Acting in this capacity, the Seed of the woman — Christ — would not only effect man’s redemption but He would also take the earth’s scepter. In this respect, He would redeem and claim that which the first Adam forfeited in the fall.
This was all set forth in the types in the beginning. As the first Adam partook of sin in connection with a blood sacrifice to effect Eve’s redemption (Genesis 3:6, 7, 21), so the last Adam was made sin and was Himself the Blood Sacrifice to effect our redemption (2 Corinthians 5:21). And, as the first Adam was created to hold the earth’s scepter (but was disqualified by sin), so the last Adam (showing Himself fully qualified [Matthew 4:1-11] and paying redemption’s price for man’s sin) will one day take the scepter and rule the earth.
But, within God’s plans and purposes, 2,000 years lie between the time Christ paid redemption’s price and the time He will hold the scepter. And this period is also for a revealed purpose.
This is a time of revealed length that God is taking to call out a bride to reign as consort queen with His Son (in the antitype of Eve, who was to reign as consort queen with the first Adam; or, viewing another facet of the matter, in the antitype of Isaac’s bride being obtained in the far country in Genesis 24). And to fulfill His plans and purposes in this respect, God has created one new man “in Christ” (Ephesians 2:13-15), who is “neither Jew nor Greek [instead, an entirely new creation]” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:28).
And this new creation, being “Abraham’s seed” (through/by a positional standing “in Christ,” who is Abraham’s Seed), can have a part in the inheritance promised to Abraham; for those comprising this new creation are reckoned to be “heirs according to the promise [though heavenly, not earthly]” (Matthew 21:43; Galatians 3:16, 26-29; Hebrews 3:1; 1 Peter 2:9, 10).
And from this new creation “in Christ,” God is taking 2,000 years to call out a bride to reign as co-regent with His Son during the coming day of His power. This period had a beginning at a predetermined point in time, and it will, after the same fashion, have an end at a predetermined point in time.
This is the way God’s actions are seen at any point in Scripture. God doesn’t get in a hurry, any necessary events in connection with His plans and purposes always run exactly on schedule, His plans and purposes will all ultimately be carried out to the minutest detail, and they will be carried out at set, appointed times (cf. Exodus 12:40, 41; Luke 19:44; Acts 3:19-21; Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 6:15).
Until these set, appointed times arrive, God will not act; and nothing in the universe can bring the matters to pass.
But when these set, appointed times arrive, God will act; and nothing in the universe can stop, change, or alter the things that will then begin to occur (which will be in exact accordance with that which God previously revealed to man in His Word [Amos 3:7]).
Under Moses, Under Christ
The deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses forms a dual type. It forms a type of the present and future deliverance, under Christ, of God’s two created, firstborn sons — Israel, and the Church.
The deliverance from Egypt under Moses first typifies Israel’s future deliverance from a worldwide dispersion under Christ.
The latter deliverance will occur at the end of God’s six days (6,000 years) of redemptive work and immediately before the seventh day is ushered in (the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God [Hebrews 4:5, 9], to last 1,000 years). And this latter deliverance will be for the same purpose as the former. It will be with a view to Israel realizing the rights of the firstborn in the earthly land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, within a theocracy.
Then, the deliverance from Egypt under Moses also typifies the present deliverance — to be climaxed in the future — of Christians from this world under Christ.
This deliverance occurs during the two days, the 2,000 years forming the present dispensation, lying between God’s past dealings with Israel and God’s future dealings with Israel. And this deliverance will be climaxed immediately preceding God’s climactic work pertaining to Israel’s deliverance, and it will be for the same purpose as Israel’s deliverance (though relative to heavenly promises and blessings rather than earthly). The deliverance of Christians is with a view to their realizing the rights of the firstborn in a heavenly land, within a theocracy.
Note that Calvary lies at an exact mid-point between a past 2,000-year period in which God dealt with Israel (beginning with Abraham) and a present 2,000-year period in which He deals with Christians. And His dealings throughout the entire 4,000 years (along with the 2,000 years prior to that, going back to Adam) is redemptive and is with a view to that which will be realized during the coming seventh 1,000-year period.
Also note that there is a revealed purpose for redemption in the type in Genesis, chapter three; and this can be seen after exactly the same fashion in the antitype.
Adam sinned with full knowledge of that which he was doing (1 Timothy 2:14). He, because of Eve having eaten of the forbidden fruit, found a part of his very being in a fallen state (cf. Genesis 2:23; 3:6) and was no longer in a position to eat of the tree of life (which would have provided the wisdom and knowledge for ruling and reigning [Genesis 2:9; Proverbs 3:13-18; Revelation 2:7; 22:2; cf. 1 Kings 3:5-15; 2 Chronicles 1:7-17]). Eve had to be redeemed, and Adam was left without a choice as to how this would be accomplished. There was only one way, which was the way Adam took. Adam partook of sin (allowing him to “be joined to his wife” in accord with Genesis 2:24) to bring about Eve’s redemption, something that can be seen more fully developed in the antitype.
Adam, because of his redemptive act, would be able to one day eat of the tree of life as a complete being (which, as previously revealed in Genesis 1:1-2:3, would be 6,000 years later). And this, as it pertains to “the second Man,” “the last Adam,” is something that can also be seen more fully developed in the antitype.
Thus, the purpose for Adam’s actions can be seen in the outcome. Redemption, as seen in Genesis, chapter three, was for the revealed purpose of man being placed back in the position for which he had been created, i.e., a position that will allow him to one day take the scepter and rule the earth.
Then note the antitype.
Christ found His bride, a part of His very being (“. . . members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” [Ephesians 5:30]) in a fallen state; and He, who knew no sin, was made “sin for us” to effect our redemption (2 Corinthians 5:21).
And everything is exactly the same as is previously seen in the type. This is the way it had to be done (Adam partaking of sin, Christ being made sin [cf. Genesis 22:1-14; Exodus 12:1ff]); there’s a tree of life in the antitype (Revelation 2:7); there’s Christ as a complete being in a position to partake of this tree in the antitype (which necessitates His bride’s redemption); and, correspondingly, there’s man being placed back in the position for which he had been created (which ultimately, beyond the Millennium, will include the whole of redeemed mankind — Jews, Christians, and Gentiles [Revelation 22:2-5]).
This has all been set forth in skeletal form in the opening verses of Genesis (the beginning as well as the end of the matter), all subsequent scripture provides the details (the beginning as well as the end of the matter), and the book of Revelation forms a detailed climax of all that precedes (as well as carrying matters on out into the eternal ages).
The Correct Focus
The preceding presents a brief panorama of Scripture as it relates to man being redeemed for a purpose. And this purpose can be seen throughout Scripture. It must, for this is the way Scripture begins, establishing, at the outset, a pattern, a mold; and Scripture, of necessity, can only continue after the same fashion.
The central point in redemption is Calvary. It is only because of Christ’s finished work on the Cross that God can bring about man’s redemption. But Calvary was for a purpose that looked beyond the events of that day (as the death of the firstborn in Exodus 12, in the type, was for a purpose that looked beyond the events of that day as well). Calvary was for a purpose that looked out to redeemed man realizing an inheritance in another land, as God’s firstborn son.
That’s the way the matter is presented in any of the types, including the original type in Genesis 1:1-2:3; and it can only be the same in the antitype.
And it is toward this end, upon this goal, that redeemed man is to fix his attention.
Note where Christ Himself had His eyes fixed during the events surrounding Calvary — not on the Cross, but on the Crown:
. . . who for the joy that was set before Him [that future day when He would rule and reign (Matthew 25:20-23)], endured the cross, despising the shame [considering it a thing of little consequence compared to the joy that was set before Him], and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
This is the manner in which Christ endured the sufferings, the ignominy, and the shame of that day. He fixed His eyes on that coming day. He fixed His eyes on that day when He would appear in all His splendor and glory, with His bride (for whom He was then paying redemption’s price) occupying the throne with Him.
And He has left us “an example,” that we “should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Following His steps will always lead to sufferings, for sufferings must precede glory. But following His steps will, as well, also always lead to glory, which, of necessity, must follow sufferings (Luke 24:26; 1 Peter 4:12, 13).
Christ at Calvary, in the midst of sufferings, fixed His attention upon the glory to be revealed as He endured the sufferings. And this allowed Him to consider the sufferings as something of little consequence in comparison, leaving us “an example.”
And, in this respect, we, as Christ, are to fix our eyes out ahead on the glory, considering any and all present sufferings to be something of little consequence in comparison to the glory that will one day be revealed. That is the biblical picture of the only way Christians can, every time, endure the sufferings, overcome the enemy, and gain the victory (cf. James 1:2-4, 12).
In the type in Numbers, chapter thirteen, Caleb, following the report by the twelve, sought to encourage the people. His encouragement centered on the thought that regardless of the strength and size of the land’s inhabitants, regardless of the fact that they dwelled in cities surrounded by walls that reached “to the heavens,” the people of Israel could go in and, under God, defeat these individuals and take the land (vv. 26-30).
Then in chapter fourteen, following a rebellion of the people, caused by their believing the bad report given by ten of the spies (13:31-14:4), Caleb and Joshua both sought to encourage them. They stressed that the people of Israel were not to fear those in the land. Then they pointed out three things (v. 9):
1) “they are bread for us [in the sense of ‘waiting to be consumed in battle’].”
2) “their protection is departed from them.”
3) “the Lord is with us.”
The encouragement was there, though it was not heeded. And because it was not heeded, God’s judgment fell. An entire generation of Israelites was overthrown in the wilderness, short of the goal of their calling. They were overthrown on the right side of the blood (the right side of the death of the firstborn in Egypt) but on the wrong side of the goal of their calling (they were denied entrance into the land set before them).
And in the antitype, exactly the same thing as it pertains to encouragement is to occur. Christians are to encourage one another relative to that which lies out ahead, which would involve encouragement in the present spiritual warfare, present sufferings, etc. Christians are to encourage one another to keep their hands fixed to “the plow” (Luke 9:62), to keep their eyes fixed on the goal (Hebrews 12:1, 2); for this is the only way victory can be won.
That’s what Hebrews 10:23-25 is about. Little understood and often abused, this section of Scripture — comprising part of the fourth of the five major warnings in Hebrews — has to do with something entirely different than that which is usually taught. Note how these three verses read:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
These three verses are set within a book that, as all New Testament epistles, deals centrally with the saving of the soul. They follow a warning that deals with “so great a salvation [the salvation of the soul]” (chapters 1, 2), two warnings that deal with events at Kadesh-Barnea (chapters 3-6), and precede the final warning that deals with the rights of the firstborn (chapter 12). And within the warning where these verses are found, specific reference is made to the saving of the soul (vv. 35-39).
Thus, in the light of the preceding alone, apart from that which is stated in the text, it should go without saying that Hebrews 10:23-25 deals with something completely separate from the way Christian assembly is invariably carried out today. But the text itself states the reason for such assembly. It is to encourage one another relative to “the confession of our hope” (cf. Hebrews 6:11-20).
It is exactly the same thing seen in Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen where Caleb and Joshua sought to encourage the people of Israel relative to the hope of their calling. It has to do with Christians assembling together for mutual encouragement relative to overcoming and one day realizing an inheritance in the land set before them.
One Christian is to encourage another Christian to keep his eyes fixed on the goal. It’s a lonely road; and it becomes more so by the day as the leaven continues its deteriorating work, often causing other Christians to scoff at, make fun of, or look askance at a Christian who has his eyes fixed on the goal and is governing his life accordingly. And, in this respect, a little encouragement by one also engaged in the same battle, walking the same lonely road, often goes a long way.
As Moses became weary in the battle with Amalek (Exodus 17:8-16), so Christians become weary in the present battle; and as Aaron and Hur helped hold Moses’ hands high, as Moses himself held the scepter (resulting in victory over Amalek), so Christians are to help hold one another’s hands high, as they keep ever before them the same thought portended by the scepter in Moses’ hands (and this will result in victory as well [it must, for it did in the type]).
That’s exactly what Hebrews 10:23-25 deals with. And, in this respect, the verses would have no more reference to Christians meeting together on Sunday at a particular place than they would to Christians (two or more [Matthew 18:20]) meeting together any time at any place throughout any of the seven days of the week.
The object is for two or more Christians to come together at different times in order to encourage one another relative to a mutually possessed hope. Any other type meeting of Christians — though it may be for a worthwhile purpose — is not in line with that which is stated in Hebrews 10:23-25.
Meetings on Sunday morning (and other times) at any church in the land should always have the overall thought set forth in Hebrews 10:23-25 as central. The thought should, as well, at all times, be in line with that which is stated in Hebrews 13:17; and this verse would be perfectly in line with the exhortation of Caleb and Joshua, along with what the Israelites should have done relative to this exhortation:
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive [i.e., “Follow those that lead, guide you, and be submissive (to their teaching)”], for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account . . . . (Hebrews 13:17)
This verse presents the relationship between the pastor-teacher and those placed under his ministry, in the true sense, as it existed in the early Church. God-given authority in the local church, possessed by the pastor-teacher, is always in the realm of service, never in the realm of authority as exercised by those in the world (Matthew 20:25-28; cf. 1 Peter 5:1-4). He is the one who is to ascend the mountain, learn all he can about the land and its inhabitants, and then serve those placed under his care by leading them into truths concerning these matters. And he is to do this with a view to the salvation of their souls (along with his) and as one that must give an account of his actions at the judgment seat.
But even in the early Church there was another side to the matter. There were the false teachers; and, rather than being told to follow their leadership (as in Hebrews 13:17), the people were warned against them.
Today though, because of the working of the leaven over almost two millennia, the Church finds itself in a completely different position, making it difficult for Christians to even properly understand verses such as Hebrews 13:17 (reference chapter 7 of this book, “The People’s Response).
Discouragement as it existed in the camp of Israel during Moses’ day and as it exists in Christendom today is dealt with in the following section.
Discouragement is seen in the type through the action of the ten as they gave their analysis of the previous report by all twelve. The ten sought to discourage the people of Israel by stating that they couldn’t overcome and defeat the inhabitants of the land, which would prevent the Israelites from realizing the goal of their calling.
Note the words of Deuteronomy 1:28 again:
Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of Anakim there.”
And this discouragement resulted in a rebellion among the people that brought about such anger from the Lord that He overthrew the entire unbelieving generation in the wilderness, outside the land to which they had been called. Because of a false analysis given by ten of the twelve spies — the very ones who should have been encouraging the people relative to that which lay ahead — an entire generation was overthrown, short of the goal.
This is seen in its true sense in the antitype through the ministry of the false teachers in the early Church when the Word of the Kingdom was still being widely taught throughout Christendom. These false teachers understood the Word of the Kingdom (as the ten spies understood things about the land and its inhabitants), and, as the ten spies, they proclaimed a false message in this realm.
That is, the ten spies proclaimed “an evil report of the land that they had searched unto the children of Israel,” and these false teachers proclaimed an evil report of the Word that they had searched to Christians.
This false message really had nothing to do with the gospel of the grace of God. It had to do strictly with the Word of the Kingdom — the gospel of the glory of Christ. Thus, from all indications, the pure, simple message of the gospel of the grace of God remained unaffected by this false message.
But today something completely different is happening. Individuals, not understanding the gospel of the glory of Christ, have failed to distinguish between passages of Scripture that have to do with this gospel and passages of Scripture that have to do with the gospel of the grace of God. And, by so doing, they have sought to make passages of Scripture that have to do with the gospel of the glory of Christ deal with the gospel of the grace of God. They have brought things from one gospel (the gospel of the glory of Christ) over into the other (the gospel of the grace of God), destroying the former and corrupting the latter.
That is, they have destroyed what Scripture has to say about the gospel of the glory of Christ by making verses having to do with this gospel deal with the gospel of the grace of God. And, by taking verses from the former and applying them to the latter, they have also corrupted the gospel of the grace of God.
From all indications, nothing of a magnitude resulting in destruction and corruption of this proportion occurred by means of the message of the false teachers in the first-century Church. And this would be in complete keeping with the working of the leaven. It was only beginning its deteriorating work at that time. Today, we are living at a time when it is completing its deteriorating work, immediately before “the whole,” as prophesied, will become leavened (Matthew 13:33). And, resultantly, one could only expect corruption surrounding teachings in the Church today to surpass that in the first-century Church.
In this respect, the message Christians are hearing from the pulpit today is largely an outgrowth of the destruction of one message and corruption of the other, caused by the working of the leaven. The Word of the Kingdom is absent; and the simple biblical message surrounding the gospel of the grace of God is, all too often, presented in a corrupted form.
And the place where this can be seen in its fullest development is in the “Lordship Salvation” teaching — a teaching that, during the past few years, has spread rapidly throughout a large segment of so-called fundamental Christianity.
The teaching has spread after this fashion for the simple reason that its recipients do not understand the Word of the Kingdom. The leaven had previously centered its attack upon the Word of the Kingdom, resulting in the emergence and wide acceptance of this false teaching relative to salvation by grace through faith during the closing days of the present dispensation.
If the situation concerning the leaven could be reversed (which it can’t), this teaching would fade and eventually disappear; for it can’t exist in the light of an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom (which would facilitate a correct understanding of the gospel of the grace of God as well).
In this respect, if a person is really interested in showing what is wrong with Lordship Salvation teaching, all he has to do is teach the people the Word of the Kingdom, which is something he should have been doing all along anyway. There’s no such thing as a person understanding the Word of the Kingdom and, at the same time, being confused by the teaching of Lordship Salvation teaching. That would be an impossibility, for the person would be saying that he is confused about a distinction (between two facets of the overall gospel message) which he understands, one in which he is not confused, one in which he can’t be confused.
But teaching the Word of the Kingdom to bring about a change in the present situation is something that is not going to happen (except possibly in isolated instances). The leaven has done its work too well, and the damage that it has caused cannot be reversed.
The teaching of Lordship Salvation can only become even more widely accepted in Christendom in days ahead (for the leaven is going to work until “the whole” has become leavened); and the chaotic condition that presently exists will become even more chaotic.
Thus, talk about discouragement! Let a Christian who understands the Word of the Kingdom try to find a place within Christendom for encouragement today. Unless he is in an unusual church (which are far and few between), relative to any encouragement concerning the race of “the faith,” he is going to come away Sunday morning, Sunday evening, or any other time completely dry, looking down a dark tunnel.
Encouragement is not there! No wonder so many Christians are suffering depression today! No wonder an increasing number of Christians don’t even bother to attend church anymore! No wonder ministers are leaving the pulpit to do something else! No wonder . . . .
Where can a Christian go on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, or any other day or evening of the week and meet with other Christians who are concerned about the hope of their calling? Where can he go to find others who will encourage him in the race of “the faith” in which he is presently engaged? Or where can he go to find others so that he, himself, may encourage along the same lines? Or where can he go to even hear a pastor-teacher, or any other Christian, teach or discuss these things?
The preceding related questions are, in a respect, self-answering. And the answers will show the state of Christendom as it presently exists. Insofar as any association with the Word of the Kingdom is concerned, practically the whole of Christendom — so-called fundamental and liberal segments alike — is shot through and through with leaven and can only be viewed as Laodicean.
But not to worry. This is exactly the way the Lord said that Christendom would exist at the end of the present dispensation. And for a person who understands the Word of the Kingdom, the darker it gets, the brighter it also gets.
Stay with the Word, and you won’t — you can’t — go wrong; for the future is as bright as the promises of God.
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
For you have need of endurance [“patient endurance” (through the trials and tests)], so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
“For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:35-38).