- Series: September 2015
- Scripture: Genesis 23
The oldest battles in the Bible relate to the fight for land. God gave Abraham the prophecy of the land which his seed would inherit after 400 years in bondage in another land called Egypt. Therefore when Moses came on the scene it was manifestation time. For Moses was sent as deliverer to the children of Israel. When God told him that the lot had fallen upon him to deliver Abraham’s seed, Moses did not respond like Cain: Am I my brother’s keeper? Moses had the same right to ask if he was his brothers’ keeper. For every man is answerable individually to God. In that context, Cain was partly right in his response to God, despite the negative attitude traditionally associated with this analysis of his confrontation with God. But a man who is born again is his brother’s keeper, as Peter was later told by the Lord Jesus Christ. A born again Christian is obligated to look after his brother. When the Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth to die on the cross, He was paying the price for the land. We are the land. We are the earth that Christ came to redeem back to God and after the physical earth itself is renovated by the cleansing of fire, we shall come back to this physical land and live eternally with our Groom. No wonder the world is locked in land battles all over. The descendants of Isaac are fighting the descendants of Ishmael in Palestine today. The land was not given to Ishmael, who was the older son, but to Isaac, who was the younger son. Although Ishmael was first in chronological birth, God does not look at him because he came from the wrong womb of Hagar. Only the one who came from the right womb is considered as first by God, for that womb is the one with a promise. Isaac is the one with the birthright over the land, for he was born of Sarah, the very woman with the promise. We also have a claim on Israel as our land. After all, we are the children of Abraham by faith. We are in the genealogy of Abraham as the faith seed. But our inheritance of the land is not physical. We have no physical rights to be in Israel or to build our shacks in the physical ground in Palestine. Neither do we need to be buried there physically, a process which would make funerals expensive. If our inheritance was physical, we would have been in great trouble as of today with the funeral arrangements for our late brother in Christ Dawood. If we were to transport his body to Israel for burial, the elders there would want to know the deceased’s genealogy; they would want to know if he is from the tribe of Judah or Rueben or Levi, for the burial places are specific to tribe one comes from. But we thank God for the spiritual land we possess. In Genesis 23, we see the death of Sarah. The Bible talks more about the burial of Sarah than about the death. And Abraham does not request a post-mortem when confronted with death of a loved one. He decides to solve the problem by seeking a burial place not only for Sarah but for the rest of his posterity. Therefore we learn an important principle when death visits us: Where should we be buried? In which land should we be laid down? There is a spiritual land for burial of the redeemed. Sarah only dies after the Jehovah Jireh experience of Abraham which took place on Moriah where a substitute for Isaac was provided for sacrifice. The lamb took the place of Isaac, who should have died on the altar. Sarah’s death after God’s provision of a lamb telescoped what really happened on the cross in the New Testament. For the Lord Jesus Christ came down and gave his life as the real lamb represented by the natural one which Abraham slew in Mt. Moriah. And if death occurs after the substitute has come, there is assurance of resurrection. Our late brother in Christ Dawood has the same hope of being raised as he died in Christ. He was serving with the Bride, and had made an undertaking to move wherever Spoken Word Tabernacle would move to. After 4 faithful years of service as car guard for believers’ vehicles during all the times of service, our brother has found grace in the eyes of the Bride who is the mercy seat today. His resurrection is assured by his service to the bride. He has left this natural house of the human body to live in on another celestial house. And we know that when people die, it is because of the fact that their time is up. It is not for us to question why people die at particular times or in particular conditions. God has placed times and limits and we do not exceed God’s allotted times. There is no substitute for the bride. Our late brother has had no substitute in Spoken Word Tabernacle (SWT). For even when he was not available to render his car guard services to the bride, his place remained there. The law authorities even came to take him for a stint in the correctional services for a past crime committed some many years back, the car guard services for SWT remained vacant, only to be filled upon his return. There is an important moral in all this. The devil has even put us in bondage of spiritual darkness, which is indeed like a jail sentence, but God still reserved our place in Him. Again we see Abraham negotiating for a burial ground from the children of Heth. Abraham is like the Lord Jesus Christ in this case. For Abraham is standing between the living and the dead in intercession so that there is no reproach upon the dead. Here stands Abraham in sorrow but takes a gallant stand to negotiate for the burial ground. He refuses to take the land for free but offers to pay using silver. This is exactly like the Lord Jesus Christ who, despite the sorrow of death, agrees to go the cross to pay the price for our redemption. The Lord Jesus Christ refuses to accept the earth for free from the devil when he is tempted in the wilderness after the 40 days of fasting. Christ pays with his life for our redemption. That is why Abraham used silver to pay for the Macpelah burial cave, for silver speaks of redemption in the Bible. Abraham does not use brass to pay, which would have meant judgement has been pronounced on Sarah, neither does he use gold to pay for the land, which is diety. But silver is redemption, which is what Christ accomplished through the cross. As Abraham looks at the land, inspiration strikes him. Already, the angel of the Lord is standing on his right hand side and he receives the revelation that Job is buried in Macpelah and other patriarchs before him. As Job prophesied of resurrection while on the ash heap, we know that Sarah too will be resurrected like Job’s prophecy. It is quite striking that although Abraham paid for the land with 400 shekels of silver, later on we see his grandson Jacob coming to pay again the price for the same land instead of him producing the title deeds for the land. However, this double purchase of the land is being done by Jacob, in his capacity as a deceiver and supplanter. Before Jacob becomes Israel, he makes mistakes just like father Abraham did when we was still known as Abram. The key is conversion, for mistakes were made when both these characters were not fully changed. This teaches us an important principle about the old nature in us. The old nature in us will always want to find its own way about God’s program instead of taking the provided way. Why should we pay through our own blood during the tribulation when Christ laid His own life for us to inherit eternal life? The effect of death on people varies in terms of its intensity. For Isaac, we hear nothing about him during the death of his mother. As an only child who was born through Sarah, the death really shatters him. And he remains in mournful mood throughout until he forgets even to get married. It is the father who arranges his marriage, although the man is already 40 years old. Let us stand on our land like Naboth who died in his vineyard. Naboth’s death in the vineyard is like Dawood’s death while preparing the hall for Sunday morning service this week. The land of Macpelah is also known as Hebron, which is the land of the resurrection. King David ruled for 7 years in Hebron, which is a type of the 7 church ages. Thereafter, he relocated to Jerusalem to rule for 33 years, which is a type of the gospel moving from Gentiles to the Jews again after the end of the gentile dispensation. There is a resurrection for the believer lying in the promised land of the Word. Lazarus was resurrected but that resurrection was person-specific: it was meant for just Lazarus and Lazarus alone. The Lord Jesus Christ only called for Lazarus alone to come forth instead of everyone. If it was everyone, it would have been a general resurrection. And Lazarus was restored to Martha and Mary, the living ones who received their dead. They saw their dead, just like a type of the rapture where the living will see their dead in Christ being raised. The important thing to note is that there was a blood relationship between Lazarus and his two sisters. Therefore we see that resurrection is for those with a blood relationship.