Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight, is study #8 of Genesis, chapter 13 and we are going to be reading Genesis 13:14-15:
And JEHOVAH said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
I will stop reading there. There are a whole host of theologians, pastors and church denominations that teach that God has given the land of Canaan (where Israel dwells to some degree today) to the Jews. It is their land forever. That is what they teach. In Genesis 17, the Lord is speaking to Abram. It says in Genesis 17:7-8:
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
It cannot be more clear than that, can it? It is a very direct and plain statement. The way the Bible is taught in seminaries and churches is that if there is a plain, direct statement of Scripture, that is what God means and we are to seek no other meaning. And, yet, how can that be? These kinds of statements really put that hermeneutic of Bible interpretation to the test. Very well, this is a book of history. It is a Book of the Law in Genesis. It is not the Book of Proverbs where there are obvious parabolic statements being made. There is nothing that says that God is speaking a parable like when Jesus would say, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” This is very direct and very typical of historical accounts in the Bible as God is making a promise to Abraham.
First, God told him, “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward.” Obviously, since Abram is dwelling in the land of Canaan, as he looks to the north, the south, the east and the west, he is going to see the physical land of Canaan. That is what God is promising to Abram, or so the theologians and churches insist. It makes no sense to them for God to tell Abram to look around a physical land and then for it to mean something else. This is “clear as day” to them.
Let us take their conclusion that God is promising Abram the land in verse 8: “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
It specifically refers to the land of Canaan. According to all these theologians, “This is simple. It is plain as day. It is extremely obvious.”
Hold it. That is their conclusion and they believe the land of Canaan was given for an everlasting possession. If you are looking at this straightforwardly, then that also implies that the land of Canaan is an everlasting possession. That does not mean that it was given to them for thousands of years until the world ends. That is not what it says. It says it is an “everlasting possession” and that is forever. The only way this statement can be understood correctly is for this world never to end and for the land of Canaan to always be over there in the Middle East, forever and ever. Yes, the Scriptures do say things in a couple of places like, “World without end. Amen.” However, the very same theologians (or most of them) teach that there is a new world to come and they teach that this world will end. They contradict themselves. They have gone against their own methodology and their own hermeneutic. If God said Canaan is an everlasting possession and they teach that this world will end, then if the world ends the (physical) land of Canaan will end because it is part of this world. We should have no doubt the Bible teaches the world will come to an end. It says in 2Peter 3:10:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Then God mentions looking for that day, in 2Peter 3:12:
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Why would we look for new heavens and a new earth? It is because the first heaven and first earth will be destroyed and gone. That means there must be a new heaven and new earth, as it says in Revelation 21:1:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Where did they go? They were burned up. They melted with a fervent heat and all the works were burned up along with it. They are gone for evermore and all the (unsaved) sinners are gone with it. They are gone forever and they are no more. God also says in 1John 2:15-17:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The world will pass away. The first heaven and first earth will pass away.
It says in Isaiah 51:6:
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath…
Abram was told to lift up his eyes and look northward, southward, eastward and westward. What Abram saw was part of this world. Again, it says in Isaiah 51:6:
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
The earth will die. People will die like the earth. They will cease to exist.
It says in Nahum 1:5:
The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.
Again, the earth burns and the wicked burn. All that are still in their sins and are bearing their own iniquity will burn up in payment for their own sin and God, simultaneously, destroys the first creation. They are gone forever. They exist no more. They pass away.
It says in Haggai 2:21:
Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
Let us compare this verse to Hebrews 12:26-27:
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
God said He is going to shake the heaven and the earth and then He tells us that it signifies the “removing of those things.” They are taken away. They exist no more.
It says in Matthew 24:35:
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
There is no “gray” area. There is no doubt about it. According to the Bible, the holy, true and faithful Word of God, the world will be destroyed. Of course, when it will be destroyed is another question. God is giving us many indicators that it will happen shortly. We are right there – we are past the Great Tribulation and we are in the Day of Judgment, but that is a different matter. The world will be destroyed and it will be no more.
Then what is going on when the Lord tells Abram to lift up his eyes and look from the place where he is (and he is in the land of Canaan) and look to the north, south, east and west? Abram does so and then God says, “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” Again, it said in Genesis 17, verse 8 that the land would be given as an “everlasting possession.” God gave it to Abram and his seed and remember the “seed” (singular) is Christ and all that are in Christ are also counted for the “seed,” the entire company of the elect. God is promising them through Abram that He will give the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.
Again, since it is an everlasting possession, it cannot mean it is for one hundred years or a thousand years or the four thousand years it has been since the Lord had this conversation with Abram. It is forever and “forever” has no end. And, yet, the world will end and the physical land of Canaan will end with it, so the physical land of Canaan cannot be in view as the fulfillment of God’s promise.
So, this teaches us something. Remember that statement back in Galatians, chapter 4. I am going to turn there because it is applicable to what we are reading in Genesis, chapter 13. It says in Galatians 4:21-22:
Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
Where was this written? It was written in the Book of Genesis and you will find there that Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, through two women, Sarah and Hagar. It goes on to say in Galatians 4:24:
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
You will not find this spelled out in Genesis that they represent “two covenants” and the two sons represent two different things. You are not going to find it, which is why Galatians 4, verse 21 began by saying, “Do ye not hear the law?” Remember that Christ would speak a parable and then He would say, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” “Ears to hear” means that you are a child of God that has been given spiritual understanding of the mysteries of the Word of God or the parabolic things of Scripture. A parable is that which hides truth. When we read Genesis and we read about Hagar and Sarai and their sons it is true history and, yet, you must look for the deeper spiritual meaning or else you are not hearing the Law. You would be like someone that heard a parable of Christ and failed to understand it. You are hearing the history in Genesis. You are learning the grammar and the moral teaching, but you are not hearing the Law. You are not hearing the Word of God on the level that conveys the deeper spiritual level of the Gospel. You have missed it completely. In Genesis 13 and in Genesis 17, verse 8 (as well as most other things in the Bible) disprove the hermeneutic that says that you look for the plain literal meaning and you seek no other meaning. That is a lie. That is a false methodology that was developed by natural-minded men. Because they possess natural minds that are limited to the natural realm and because they have no spiritual life in them, they cannot see or hear spiritual things and they insist that everyone else experience that limitation and not go beyond that limitation so these natural-minded individuals can “feel better about their limitations” and everyone must have the same boundaries as they experience as they are unable to discern anything in the spiritual arena.
But God has given His people the Word. Yes, we can learn from the history and we can learn from the moral teaching, but we learn wonderfully through the deeper spiritual depths and the “gold and silver.” But these other people are saying, in effect, “Be content with the fool’s gold that lies on the surface. Just enjoy that along with us. Do not get out your shovel and pickax and dig into the Word of God and search as for hid treasure. No – forsake all that and be content with the measly ‘milk of the word’ we are content with.” The true believer must say, “No thank you.” Those that teach these things have come under the wrath of God. God has pronounced condemnation on the churches and congregations and all their pastors, theologians and seminaries. They teach things that hide the “bread” from the children of God, things that would give the children spiritual nourishment. God has ended their service. He has caused all the pastors to cease from feeding His flock because this is their hermeneutic and methodology of approaching the Bible; they have emptied the Bible of its glory and its wonderful spiritual truths. It is only because they operate on the natural level that they are satisfied with the meager offering they give their people in the congregations today. They love to have it so. The people are also natural-minded individuals, so they are all on the same plane. The teacher teaches naturally and the people receive it naturally and everyone goes away, saying, “What a wonderful sermon! Did we not learn wonderful things?” It is gone from them by the next Sunday and it served no spiritual purpose whatsoever.
The truth is that God is using the earthly land of Canaan to typify the new heaven and new earth, the true Promised Land. The land of Canaan represents the kingdom of heaven. There is a place that is going to be created that will be a new heaven and new earth and God will be present there forever and ever and that place is the kingdom of heaven. Wherever God dwells, He is King and that is His kingdom. Therefore, since the land of Canaan was the outward representation of the kingdom of God, God simply used it as a type and figure, just as God used Hagar and Sarah as types and figures, without forewarning to the readers. It did not say in Genesis that Hagar was a type of the law, Mount Sanai in Arabia. It did not say that Sarah was a type of “Jerusalem above” and the “mother of us all.” You will not find that. God expects us to learn from the Book of Proverbs, but also from the wonderful parabolic pictures in dreams and visions in Ezekiel and Daniel or the Book of Revelation. He expects us to learn through the teaching of Christ who spoke in parables “and without a parable he did not speak.” He expects us to learn that Jesus, the Word made flesh, is teaching us how to approach the whole Bible and the entire Word of God. This is how you must come to the Scriptures – you must look for the spiritual meaning: What would the land of Canaan represent? What would the seed represent? Of course, the natural-minded theologians see the “seed” as being Israel, the physical descendants of Abram, even though Israel cared nothing about Christ as the Messiah or Saviour. Yet, they say, “Oh, yes, God has a promise to the seed and the land.” They just add to their errors in error, after error, after error, because they are viewing the Bible in a natural-minded way and that will lead to nothing but errors, wrong conclusions and false doctrine and other gospels. That is what we see all over the church world.
Again, the promise, “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever,” can be rightly understood when we recognize it is speaking of things to come – the glorious future in which God will create a new heavens and new earth. That is also in view when the Bible says, “…world without end. Amen.” It is not referring to this world, but to the world to come.