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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - God Will Ask The Thing That He Gave From Us

Derek Prince - God Will Ask The Thing That He Gave From Us

Derek Prince - God Will Ask The Thing That He Gave From Us
TOPICS: Hebrews Bible Study, Responsibility

In our studies in Hebrews we have arrived somewhere in chapter 11. Just to give a word of explanation about the symbols in the outline you'll see we're using two abbreviations. E for an example of faith and P for a principle that's illustrated by the example. We'll look very quickly at the five examples of faith that we have already studied. E.1: Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice. That's the first example of faith. E.2: Enoch walked with God. You'll see principles are drawn and pointed out by the P followed by a number. We'll not go into those right now. E.3: Noah built an ark. Then we have E.4 which is Abraham obeyed God's call to leave Ur of the Chaldees and also he sojourned in Canaan with Isaac and Jacob as in an alien land.

I've taken that as one example, you could take it as two. E.5: Sarah conceived Isaac when past age. That also was by faith. Then we see some principles that are derived from those examples and then we go on to E.6 which is the first example we'll be studying in this session. E.6, Hebrews 11:17–19. This particular example is extraordinarily rich in its implications and lessons. It's quite possible that we'll spend a considerable period of this session looking at this example. There's quite a lot about it in your printed outline. I'll also offer you some additional comments which are not in the outline. For that reason you may find it expedient to have a pencil in your hand and jot down some additional references. First of all, I'll translate from the Greek and then we'll look in our outline and try to take in the lessons.

Hebrews 11:17: By faith Abraham, offered in sacrifice, Isaac... The word translated "offered" is specifically a word that means to offer a sacrifice. Abraham offered in sacrifice Isaac... when he was tested; and he was willing to offer... Or he was in the process of offering. That's really how it should be translated. ...his only begotten son... That's a very key word, "only begotten" because elsewhere in the New Testament it's used only of Jesus. It's the same word that's used of Jesus describing Him as the only begotten Son of the Father. It has two possible meanings. One is "only begotten"; the other is "unique, one of a kind, there's no other like Him".

Of course, both those meanings apply to Jesus. We're going on with the translation: ...he [Abraham] the one who had received the promises, to whom it had been said, In Isaac your seed will be called. [Verse 19] Reckoning that even from the dead God is able to raise people up... Or God was able to raise him [Isaac] up. You could take it either way. ...from whence also in a figure [parable] he received him. That's the passage. I think we need to turn, and read the passage in Genesis on which it's based, which is, first of all, Genesis 21:12, which we'll look at for a moment. Genesis 21:12, We will not go into the background, this is where God is instructing Abraham to do what Sarah required which was to get rid of Hagar the bondslave and her son Ishmael. Abraham didn't want to do it because he'd obviously come to love Ishmael as his own son. It's very interesting because in this verse God tells Abraham to do what Sarah told him to do. Previously, through doing what Sarah told him to do he'd got into trouble because if he hadn't listened to Sarah, Ishmael would never have been born.

So just a word to husbands only: sometimes it pays to listen to your wife and sometimes it doesn't! Here was a time when it was right for Abraham to listen to his wife. Genesis 21:12: But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the lad [that's Ishmael] and your maid [that's Hagar]; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named". That's the New American Standard, but literally it's "your seed will be called". We have a problem in translating into contemporary English which they didn't have in the time of the King James. In the time of the King James they understood "seed" to be a man's descendant born of his body. Today that sounds rather antiquated to contemporary people so most of the modern translation change "seed" [singular] into "descendants" [plural] which makes good sense, but it obscures certain things that are very important in Scripture, one of which we'll see in a little while. Notice, God told Abraham specifically "through Isaac your seed shall be called".

In other words, all the promises of the inheritance are to come to you only through Isaac. Ishmael is not included in those promises. God gave other promises for Ishmael but not the promises of the inheritance which was the great objective of Abraham's faith. So, you understand why the writer to the Hebrews emphasizes that Abraham was willing to offer up Isaac, which was the supreme test of his faith. Not only did he love him but also his whole hope of obtaining the inheritance depended upon Isaac. And yet, here he was willing to slay Isaac. That was his faith. Why was he willing to slay Isaac? Because he had faith that even if he killed him, God would bring him back to life.

Now we'll look at the other passage, Genesis 22, which describes the actual event and I'm going to read about a dozen verses or so but I want to give you a test of discernment. I want to see as I read through if you can discern why the writer of Hebrews knew for sure that Abraham believed that God could raise his son from the dead. It's there in the text. But, in a certain sense, it's concealed. It's one of those passages where you have to look very closely at Scripture to find out exactly its implications. We'll read Genesis 22, beginning at verse 1. Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham... One of the principles of Scripture is that if you belong to the people of God, you are going to be subjected to God's tests. It's one of the conditions of belonging to God's people. God always tests those who are to be His people.

...God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham"! And he said, "Here I am". And He said, "Take now your son, your only son..." And you notice how God always is so honest with us. He presents us with all the relevant facts. You understand the son I mean? Your only son. "...whom you love,..." And He just told Abraham "I know exactly how you feel about that son Isaac". "...and go to the land of Moriah;..." Moriah means "the LORD is the teacher" or "the LORD is the one who shows the way". "...and offer him there as a burnt offering..." Think of that. Not only was he to be killed, but he was to be burned. And yet, Abraham believed that God could restore him. "...on one of the mountains of which I will tell you". Let me say right now all this is a beautiful picture of Calvary. I'm going to expound the details in due course, but it's very possible that the very mountain was the mountain on which Jesus was crucified. No one can prove that, I think, but it's a possibility.

Notice God had to show him the mountain and only God can show you Calvary. So Abraham rose early in the morning... And this is characteristic of Abraham, it's prompt obedience. You can study his career, that was one of the marks of his character. When God said do something, he did it promptly. ...and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder [up the mountain]; and we will worship and return to you". And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, "My father"! And he said, "Here I am, my son"! And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering"?

It's very clear that all Abraham's household understood the principles of sacrifice. And Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son". That's the translation literally, "God will see the lamb for the burnt offering". And that's usually quoted in the English language as "Jehovah Jireh". Jehovah: "the Lord," Jireh: "will see". That's how English people say it. We were on one of our tours in Israel with a coachload of people singing Jehovah Jireh. The Jewish guide, who is a close friend of ours, looked puzzled and she said, "What is it that they're singing? What is that"? I said, "It's meant to be Hebrew". She said, "How would we say it"? I said, "Adoni Jireh". So, Jehovah Jireh is Adoni Yireh. Adoni: "the Lord," Yireh: "will see". Verse 8 at the end: So the two of them walked on together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there...

You remember what Abraham did? He pitched his tent but he built his altar... and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham"! And he said, "Here I am". And he said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me. Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide [Adoni Yireh], as it is said to this day; 'In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.'" But more literally, "it will be seen".

Let me tell you, there are some things that cannot be seen anywhere but in the mountain of the Lord. Now, how many of you picked out the sure evidence that Abraham believed? Glen. That's right. "We will worship and we will return". In the Hebrew, both forms are manifestly plural. We will worship, we will return. I think that's a little lesson on how carefully you need to read the Bible. There are some things that are, as it were, hidden in the wording. Abraham was confident no matter what he did to Isaac that they would both come down the mountain alive. I'm suggesting to you that the passage we've read prefigures Golgotha. We in the English language usually say Calvary; I prefer to say Golgotha. Whichever you say, it means "the place of the skull". But Golgotha is the Hebrew–Aramaic name, Calvary is a Latin name derived from the Latin word CALVA, which means a skull.

I slightly dislike taking the good original Hebrew and putting it into Latin which is taking it about two steps away from where it was. However, we all understand Calvary but remember, Calvary and Golgotha are two words for the same place and each of them means "the place of the skull". Those of you that have been on a tour to Israel and been in Jerusalem have doubtless seen what's called Gordon's Calvary, a hill just north of the Old City which, because of the configuration of the land and the stones which show out of it, looks very much like a skull. Many Christians believe that probably was the actual place. However, it's not really supported by most of the historical traditions, so we don't get involved in that. What I've pointed out is that this story prefigures Golgotha.

There are certain clear correspondences. It's a parable enacted in history. In my radio teaching I've just been explaining to people what a parable is, so it's very fresh in my mind. A parable uses things which are familiar and which we can apprehend with our senses to illustrate things which are unfamiliar and which cannot be apprehended by the senses, but only by faith. One of the basic principles in teaching is: Proceed from the known to the unknown. So a parable proceeds from what people know. Like, for instance, the parable of the vine and the branches, which was something familiar to everybody in Israel in those days. And takes that familiar thing and uses it to illustrate something unseen, spiritual, eternal and unfamiliar. It's like a reflection in a mirror. The mirror is the familiar, but in it, as you look, you see other things reflected. Each main element in the parable corresponds to something in the spiritual and there's nearly always a very exact correspondence. It may or it may not be.

For instance, in the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said the seed is the Word of God. He said the field is the world. In the parable of the tares, He said the tares are the children of the wicked one, the wheat is the children of the kingdom. And in the parable of the vine and the branches, which is so close to me because I just made the tape yesterday, the vine is Jesus, the branches are the true disciples, the sap is what? The Holy Spirit. And the owner of the vineyard is God the Father, the one who does the pruning. So, let's look at this story in that light as an enacted historical parable. It's very, very beautiful. It gives such tremendous insight. I recommend you to meditate on it afterwards.

One of the great honors bestowed upon Abraham is that in two stories in Genesis he has the honor of representing God the Father. I'm not sure that I can think of any other person to whom that honor was given in the Bible. But in this one and also in Genesis 24, which we'll just refer to in a few moments. Abraham typifies God the Father. When we know that, we know whom Isaac typifies. Who's that? Jesus the only begotten Son. Bear in mind the same word is used. Now, the fire, that might not be so obvious. It's very obvious to me, it typifies the Holy Spirit. Just to illustrate that, keep your finger in Genesis 22 and turn back to Hebrews, but turn to Hebrews 9:14. Hebrews 9:14: much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Notice that middle phrase "Christ, through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God". The Holy Spirit was the fire that consumed the sacrifice. Jesus was the great, final, whole burnt offering. It's very interesting if you look in Leviticus, we won't look there-which lists all the main offerings. The sin offering, the trespass offering, the fellowship offering, the votive offerings, and so on. The first offering that's listed is the burnt offering because Leviticus never begins with man, it always begins with God. Just as in the furniture of the tabernacle in Exodus, the first item described is the ark, which represents God. Both Exodus and Leviticus move from God down to man. If you try to move the other way, from man to God, you very seldom ever get there. The only order that works is to start with God and move down to man.

So, in the offerings in Leviticus, the first offering is the whole burnt offering which represents primarily who? Jesus, that's right. Jesus is the great whole burnt offering. He gave Himself totally for our salvation. In the typology He was consumed with the fire of the Holy Spirit in His total surrender to God. See, if Jesus hadn't been a whole burnt offering, there wouldn't have been any other offerings. It doesn't begin with man, it begins with God. If God hadn't made that offering, we wouldn't have offerings to make. That's why the order is so important. I'm suggesting to you in Genesis 22 (we'll turn back there now), the fire represents the Holy Spirit. In line with this picture it's not difficult to see what the wood represents. Isaac carried the wood on his shoulders up the mountain. That represents what? The cross. In one of these Bibles there's actually a cross reference to the fact that Jesus went out carrying His cross.

Then we have another element which I'm interpreting my way. The young men left behind typify natural, carnal strength and understanding. They could not go up the mountain. You see, really, if you see what happened at Golgotha and the sacrifice of Jesus, it was the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. No human being really had a part in it and I question whether any human being who witnessed it had any conception of what was taking place. I doubt whether any human mind can ever fully fathom all that happened. So, the young men, that's natural strength and natural understanding-stay at the bottom of the mountain. It's the father and the son alone who go through this transaction up at the top of the mountain.

Let's look at two statements. You might want to keep your finger in Genesis 22, look at two statements in 1 Corinthians 1:25. Paul is here talking about the cross and the message of the cross. He says it's foolishness to the Greeks and the stumbling block to the Jews. Then he goes on to say in verse 25: Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. The ultimate of weakness is the cross. The ultimate of foolishness is to let the Son of God be crucified. That foolishness is wiser than all the wisdom of men, and that weakness is stronger than all the strength of men. But, natural strength and natural understanding have no place in this scene.

Then even more, I think, in a reference that's not in your outline, 1 Corinthians 2:14: 1 Corinthians 2:14: But a natural man [The Greek says a soulish man, a man in his own soulish understanding] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. The young men and the donkey stay at the foot of the hill. Then, going on with the comparison, we see that God's provision came through the substituted ram which was caught by its horns in the thicket. In the sacrificial animals: the lamb, the sheep, the goat, the ram, the bullock; each has a specific connotation. The ram is the prince's offering. So the ram speaks of the prince. Horns in the Scripture are the place of strength. Horns are nearly always used as a type of strength. So, the ram was caught by its strength in the thicket. The ram typifies Jesus, the substitute caught by His strength which was what? His obedience to the Father. It was His obedience that would not let Him go.

So you have a really beautiful picture of that whole spiritual transaction that took place on Golgotha. Personally, I find meditating on it makes it extremely rich. You see, we are so carnally minded that unless God gives us some kind of parabolic approach, we really find it difficult to apprehend the truth. There are so many such parables. The whole of the tabernacle of Moses is a parable of material things illustrating spiritual things. When I get into the tabernacle it's hard for me to get out again because I just get lost in its beauty and its wonder. And yet, for a person whose eyes have not been opened by the Holy Spirit it's just a dreary list of measurements and materials and colors and so on.

Now, while we're on it, and before we go any further, we could also just mention without turning there the other chapter of Genesis in which, again, we have a beautiful parable. That is, Genesis 24, the theme of which is Abraham finding a bride for his son Isaac. This is a slightly simpler correspondence. Again, I believe Abraham represents God the Father. We know that Isaac the son represents Jesus Christ and the bride we all understand, if we have any knowledge of Scripture, the chosen bride represents the church. We've got the fourth main character, the unnamed servant who was the steward and administrator of the entire wealth of Abraham. It represents the Holy Spirit. The beautiful thing is it's the Holy Spirit's self-portrait and He never names Himself. That's so typical of the Holy Spirit; He never attracts attention to Himself.

So, in those two chapters, 22 and 24, we have the most wonderful enacted parables of the profoundest spiritual truths of the Bible. You need to think about the role played by the servant in Genesis 24. I get thrilled every time I think... He arrived with ten camels laden with gifts. That's the Holy Spirit. He doesn't come empty handed and He is not stingy. He's more willing to give than we are to receive. What marked Rebekah out as the chosen bride was that she received and wore the gift conspicuously. I've often said, "I cannot believe that a church that rejects the gifts of the Spirit can ever become the bride of Christ. It's contrary to all logic, and all experience".

Now, we'll go on and we'll look at the result. Blessing on Abraham; limitless multiplication and blessing of the son he offered. Let's turn back to Genesis 22 and look at that as described there. Genesis 22:15–18. Then the angel of the LORD... And this is a very special angel, it's no ordinary angel. He speaks in the first person as the Lord, an angel that's revealed in a number of different places in the Old Testament. The angel that wrestled with Jacob and Jacob said the next day, "I've seen God face to face". The angel that came to Gideon, and to Manoah and when Manoah said, "What is Your name"? He said, "My name is Wonderful". That's a mysterious word in Hebrew. It means "supernatural," difficult to understand. But when we come to Isaiah 9 it says His name shall be called Wonderful. It's the same word. Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I have sworn," declares the LORD...

You'll remember the writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 6 that God swears by Himself because He can find nothing greater to swear by. And God swears because an oath is a confirmation of the word He's already given. The writer of Hebrews says that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie we might have strong confidence. "'By Myself I have sworn,' declares the LORD, 'because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son...'" Now I'm going to translate it literally. Literally the verb is repeated which is the most emphatic way you can say it in Hebrew. "By Myself I have sworn... that blessing I will bless you, and I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies".

But literally, as you see if you have the same edition that I have with marginal references and notes, "your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies". It's singular, not plural. Singular all the way through. So, what was the outcome of this act of sacrifice and obedience? The greatest imaginable blessings. I want to dwell on this because sooner or later every one of us, if we walk with God, come to a place like this where God asks from us something that He gave us. See, God gave Isaac to Abraham. It's the most precious thing we have and God says, "Now I want it back". How you respond to that will determine the rest of your life. People who hold onto it lose it. People who give it up get it blessed and multiplied more than they could ever imagine.

See, Abraham is the father of all who believe and we are His children if we walk in the steps of His faith. This is one of the steps of His faith is giving up Isaac. The Lord said, "I will bless you blessing, and multiply I will multiply your seed". Notice the very thing he gave up was the thing that came back to him multiplied. Then He gave this extra promise: "Your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies". "Possessing the gate" means to control them. You can stop them from coming in or going out. You're the one who has the last word on their activities. I'd like you to turn for a moment to Galatians 3:16 and I'm reading again the New American Standard.

Galatians 3:16... Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ. Again, you see how important it is to read the Bible carefully. "Your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies". What Paul is saying is God wasn't talking primarily about a lot of descendants. He was talking about the one promised seed, which he says is Christ. You see why it's so important to have access to the literal language? Because, if you translate that "descendants," you really miss the whole point. It's the one seed, which is Christ, who shall possess the gate of his enemies. Then, in that seed all become inheritors. But the seed is Christ. I think we need to turn also to John 12 to see the principle of giving up. I have no doubt that there's someone here tonight whom God is asking to give something up. I say that not so much by revelation, but simply as a matter of probability.

With a group of people this size there's certain to be someone here who's in the very throes of God's dealings right now. What you keep you lose; what you give up you'll get back. John 12:24, Jesus is speaking. "Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit". This is so vivid to me. You have this little grain of wheat in your hand. The Lord says, "Hold onto it if you like. Keep it for yourself. But remember, as long as it remains in your hand it remains alone. It'll never bring forth. Or, you can let it go, let it drop, drop into the ground and go below the surface, be lost to your sight. But in due course it'll come back multiplied".

That's the choice. Then Jesus applies it to our lives in verse 25. "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal". You know, I've seen so many individuals in the valley of decision over the years in my ministry. I've seen people who've held on and lost. I've seen people who've gave up and gained. Let me say that once more. What you keep, you lose; what you give up, you'll gain, multiplied. See, for every vision I believe there has to be a death. God has dealt with me along this line more than once. I'm thinking of very specific events in my own life where God gave me clear vision; I knew what He wanted. And the next thing was it died. Thank God I had enough knowledge of Scripture to know that it had to happen that way. My faith did not fail; it was tested, but it did not fail. When I let it go, it dropped into the ground, was lost for a time and came back multiplied and blessed.
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