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God’s Conditions for the Everlasting Possession:
After the children of Israel came out of Egypt, they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, after many of them lost faith in God and rebelled against Him. See Hebrews 3:5-19, and see the book of Numbers, starting with Numbers 14:20-35, and onward throughout the end of the book. Then they came into the Promised Land. See the book of Joshua for this. But they lost a lot of their promised possession after the days of David and Solomon, when the Israelite kingdom was at its peak, power and size. They were not able to get or continue to keep all of their inheritance after they came into the Promised Land, because of lack of faith, fear, and slackness at times to do what God had commanded them to do, in conquering the land that was given to them, and repeated infidelity to God. After Solomon died, because of Solomon’s sins and the sins of his wives sacrificing to the pagan gods, Israel was split into two different kingdoms, with * 9 ½ tribes going to Israel and 2 ½ tribes going to Judah. See 1 Kings 11:29-39; 2:1-17. Then later these tribes left God, never to return again as a whole back to Him, and many of them lost their national and religious identity as Israelites, and served other gods and idols! In the Old Testament, these 9 or 10 lost tribes are generally referred to as ‘Ephraim.’ But Ephraim was actually a tribe itself, the largest tribe of Israel, who defected from God as a tribe, along with the 8 other tribes. And since then, the remaining tribes of the children of Israel have lost even more of their inheritance, until we get to our day. Throughout their history as God’s chosen people, there was almost a constant round of backsliding by them, then God would raise up someone to help save them and help them to return to Him, then later they would backslide again. But this constant round of backsliding also describes much of the history of Christianity as well. This is human nature at its best, when they don’t continue to put their trust in God all-the-way. That is why Isaiah later declared that ‘all we like sheep have gone astray,’ because humanity is prone to wander from God. Isaiah 53:6 KJV.
* We say 9 ½ tribes instead of 10, because part or all of the tribe of Benjamin returned back to God we believe. See 2 Chronicles 15:1-7, where God uses the phrase king ‘Asa, all Judah and Benjamin.’ And there is other evidence as well. Note that Paul himself was of the tribe of Benjamin. Philippians 3:5. And though the Levites were scattered throughout Israel, many of them were in Judah and its surrounds because of their service to the temple, for the sacrifices for sin, and we also believe that some of them left the areas where the 9 ½ tribes were, to return back to Israel. See also 2 Chronicles 15:8-9 too. In that text part of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon returned as well.
So we see that the ‘everlasting possession,’ promised to Abraham, is held on the condition of obedience to God. This concept that God’s best blessings are given only to the faithful, can be illustrated by the fifth commandment: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12 KJV. This commandment can also be worded as: ‘Obey and love and cherish your father and your mother, that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God gives you.’ What does this have to do with the everlasting possession? We think that when the children of Israel were departing from God, that they were rebelling against the teachings of their parents. We think that a lot, if not all of the ills in this world can be linked to people not obeying their parents, ‘in the Lord’. Obviously if the parents are teaching something wrong, their children should not heed these teachings, but they should still respect them and heed what they were taught that was right. This commandment declares that those who want to live forever must love and obey and respect their parents. Thus obedience is linked to eternal life. So obedience is linked to ‘the everlasting possession’ that God had promised Abraham.
Not convinced yet that obedience to God is linked to ‘the everlasting possession’ that God promised Abraham? Note what Moses told the children of Israel, in his final message to them before he died: * “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you. The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.” Deuteronomy 28:1-10 NASB.
Now when could this promise that Moses gave to them from God have been fully fulfilled in the Israelite kingdom? If you study their history, you will never see all of them being faithful to God or for very long, just like Christians for a very long time have had a problem with their faithfulness to God too, with round after round of backsliding in many of the ages past. And there is so much infidelity and backsliding in our day as well! So the children of Israel did not have all of these blessings, or for very long. So you will never find a place in time where this promise, which was given to the Israelites by God through Moses, has fully taken place or fully happened yet, or for very long! Why haven’t these promised blessings by Moses fully taken place yet? See Deuteronomy 28:15-68. This is a very long list of curses for disobeying God, and we don’t wish to list them all here, but if you read it you will see. To summarize it, God’s best continued full blessings are given on the condition of continual obedience to Him. All of the above blessings in Deuteronomy 28:1-10 were removed when they disobeyed God and didn’t repent and return to Him fully. This is what happened, unfortunately. So we think that it is clear that God’s promise to Abraham and to His children has not been totally fulfilled yet at any point, since ‘the everlasting possession’ must be everlasting, and because only those faithful to God can have it forever. We see here that the promised blessings of God, including the ‘everlasting possession’ that was promised to faithful Abraham, can only be had and kept by obedience to God. For these blessings to be everlasting, there must be and everlasting obedience to God.
Now to explore this concept more fully, especially note what Moses declared in our above passage of Deuteronomy 28:1-10: “and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you. The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.” Take this with the beginning of this passage: ““Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God.” Also especially note: When Moses gave this last message to the Israelites, it was just before they went into the Promised Land to receive their inheritance, that God had promised Abraham! Do you see here that their ability of living in the land of their ‘everlasting possession’ was granted, if they wanted to obey Him? Can there be any doubt here? Also note here that God’s word was that His people, if they obeyed Him would be a holy people for Himself. When has this ever fully happened? And it says quite clearly here, that the only way that God’s people can be holy, is if they obey Him! Those who don’t want to obey God should not expect to have an ‘everlasting possession’, which is eternal life in Heaven and on the earth made new. We believe that this promise of God’s people becoming holy would start to be fulfilled when John the Baptist, Jesus and His disciples began to preach the word, with great power, but this will not be complete until Heaven.
* Note: For all who believe that the 10 Commandments in the Old Testament are only for the Israelites or the Jews: They should not be able to argue here that the Israelites or the Jews were not to keep and obey all of God’s commandments. Moses clearly told them that the blessings of their possessions and life in the land of Canaan were dependent on their obedience to God. Thus for the children of Israel to hang on to their ‘everlasting possession,’ that God had promised Abraham, they had to obey God. But it is a grave mistake for anyone to believe that God doesn’t want Christians to obey Him too! Or for anyone to believe that they can be saved, who knowingly or willingly disobey God. Or for anyone to think that they can be saved without confession and repentance. But there is forgiveness and mercy and help for all who want it, so there is no reason for anyone to be disobedient to God or to be lost. Because God has made a provision for everyone, through the forgiveness of sins and through the power of the Holy Spirit – through the power of a changed life that He will give to all who really want it.
To Be Continued…
By John Foll
, written between 8/11/2017 and 8/13/2017, 9/14/2018 - 9/25/2018.
© Copyright 2018 John Foll
Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
If you have not read the previous parts, we recommend you read them, starting with Part 1.
From the Editor: “The Everlasting Covenant” has had a very great impact on my life! These articles, with its stories from the Bible, led me to fall in love with God, there is no other way of putting it. The thing I was needing the most in my life was given to me after I learned how much He loved me in “The Everlasting Covenant” by E. J. Waggoner.
It is my prayer, dear reader, that God will richly bless you, as you learn more and more about His great love for you as presented by E. J. Waggoner in “The Everlasting Covenant”, as we continue to present more articles from it.
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“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.'” John 14:23 NASB.
White Raiment Evangelism Revelation 3:18:
In Revelation 3:18 Jesus said, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, and white raiment, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and that thou mayest see." (Paraphrase of the KJV.)
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