Theme: Sonship (Part 1)
(Key Verses: Gen 25:12-18)
As we know, the book of Genesis is named after the Greek word “genesis” which has its Hebrew equivalent in the word “tôledâh” which appears at least 13 times in the book of Genesis and is translated as “generations” (Gen 2:4; Gen 5:1; Gen 6:9 (2); Gen 10:1; Gen 10:32; Gen 11:10; Gen 11:27; Gen 25:12-13 (2); Gen 25:19; Gen 36:1; Gen 36:9; Gen 37:2). Generational lines are given to help us understand God’s way of working with mankind. First of all, the created generations which God works with are divided into two opposing dimensions called heaven and earth:
Gen 1:1 In the beginning [Hebrew: rê’shı̂yth = first in order/firstfruit] God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
Through Jesus Christ, who is “the beginning of the creation of God” (the firstfruit), the Father works all in the generations of the heavens and the earth (Joh 1:1-4; Rev 1:8; Rev 3:14; Col 1:15-17). Only few are chosen by God to see and receive God’s plan with these generations (Mat 22:14). To understand the invisible heavens, we are first given an earthly parable. This earthly parable on the one hand makes the invisible creation of God understandable for those who can receive that, but on the other hand it also restricts the spiritual insight of many – also called the “multitudes” in Scripture (Rom 1:20; 1Co 2:14; Mat 13:34):
Mat 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
Mat 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables….
Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them [the “multitude”] in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
The generational line of the first man Adam was to go through this earthly eon, and afterwards all in that first Adam will eventually be made in the spiritual likeness of God through the last Adam, Jesus Christ (Gen 5:1; 1Co 15:22-28; 1Ti 2:1-6).
1Co 15:45-49 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
The first man Adam is “the figure” or type of the last Adam, although the first physical Adam is also the total opposite of the spirit man, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:14; Rev 1:8). This opposition or resistance to the belief of new spirit life in Christ is a foundational theme in Genesis but is always further developed and exposed throughout scripture. God created and inspired these oppositional forces which are vital for the purposes of both sides in the final analysis. Here is where these foundations of these general lines are explained by God:
Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Both sides operate as adversaries (Hebrew: “śâṭân”) to each other, but God ordained that His elect in Christ, typified by the woman, will be the first to benefit from these encounters (Eph 1:3-7; 2Ti 2:12; Rev 20:4). The spiritual principle that those who live by the faith of Christ shall suffer under those who wax worse and worse is established early in the first two sons of Adam (Gen 4:1-8; 2Ti 3:12-13):
Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
1Jn 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
1Jn 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one [the spiritual seed of the serpent], and slew his brother [the spiritual seed of the woman – Christ]. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
1Jn 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
Cain is a type of our first born, the flesh. Able is a type of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. Our firstborn is our fleshly existence with all its earthly desires and pride (the carnal and death eon in us) which cannot please God and is given to think it can do its own thing (1John 2:16). Naturally we disobey God’s order and commandments (Rom 8:6-8). The fleshly lawless man of sin in us will always oppose and hate the second born, which the new creation of spirit typifies and this new creation is coming through the last Adam, Jesus Christ (2Th 2:3-4; 1Ti 1:9; 1Jn 2:7-9):
1Jn 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
But in this long process we are mercifully exposed to all the hidden evils in us first, as we also learn in this process what Godly love and righteousness is all about. Since the beginning God has always preserved a very small remnant who is up against an overwhelming number of adversaries, but they will be victorious against all physical and carnal calculations and scheming (Isa 1:9; Isa 16:14; Rom 11:5). Through the generational line of Seth, whom God gave to Adam and Eve in the place of the murdered Abel, new life came forth. Yet even in this chosen generational line of Seth new adversaries were added, but God kept Noah faithful among these adversaries in his generation also, and through the judgement of a global flood all these opponents were removed (Gen 6:9; Gen 7:11-24). After the flood these opposing generational lines between earth and heaven are further developed and exposed:
Gen 10:1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
Gen 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Gen 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
Gen 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Through Shem God again emphasized His choice when He brought forth the generational line which will be used as types of those who are enabled by God to follow His commandments (Gen 11:10). Here is a short summary of this generational line from Adam right down to Abraham, and Abraham being one of the major examples who showed through his life what God uses to make the faithful endure until the end amidst their “śâṭâns” (adversaries):
1Ch 1:1 Adam, Sheth, Enosh,
1Ch 1:2 Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered,
1Ch 1:3 Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech,
1Ch 1:4 Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
1Ch 1:24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah,
1Ch 1:25 Eber, Peleg, Reu,
1Ch 1:26 Serug, Nahor, Terah,
1Ch 1:27 Abram; the same is Abraham.
Through the recurring cycles of expansions and contractions (narrowing) since Adam, we see a pattern being established which is admonishing us to always take note of God’s modus operandi. A big section of the first part of the book of Genesis was taken up by the life and journeys of Abraham (from the last verses of Chapter 11 right into Chapter 25). Abraham was used by God as a type of what the faith of Christ is bringing into those whom God has chosen as the fulfillment of His word for His purposes through Jesus Christ:
Mat 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Faith is a gift from God, and it is not given because of anything we do or even contribute to earn or claim anything from God (Eph 2:8-10). The faith of Abraham is used to introduce many spiritual types which encourage us to recognise the works of the faith of Christ in our own lives, if we are given to receive this. Abraham’s death is our death to fleshly desires which brings forth the spiritual concept of maturing sonship in Christ which we learn so much of through the life of Isaac. As Adam was put to sleep to bring forth the new life of Eve and “all living” through her, so we need to know how dead we are in flesh and why death (our first and last “śâṭân”) needs total destruction before new life can be established in us (Gen 2:21-22; Gen 3:20; Joh 8:52-53; Rom 8:6-8; 1Co 15:26):
Gen 25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy [Greek: “echthros” – opposition/adversary] that shall be destroyed is death.
Several times the scriptures are clear that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Mat 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Mat 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
These are not contradicting the truth that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is as dead as a dead beast right now (Ecc 3:18-21). Not only is the Scripture written as a parable to blind the eyes and dull the hearing of those whom God is not giving the truth now, but the very same words of God are spirit and are interpreted differently in those with spiritual eyes and ears (Exo 14:20; 1Co 2:7-10):
Mat 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and theyare life.
Abraham sitting in the kingdom of God is a parable – the name “Abraham” is speaking of those who have been given the faith of Christ, even as Lazarus, typifying this elect, are taken into this same “bosom of Abraham” which again refers to Christ and the faith He gives to those whom He embosoms (Mat 1:1; Luk 16:20-22; Gal 2:16; Php 3:9):
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Although Abraham was a true historical figure who lived on the earth, whenever we read of Abraham in (the sum of) God’s Word, the spirit of God is teaching us that it is actually referring to Christ and those in whom He instils His faith in this eon (Mat 4:4; 1Co 2:13). Faith is the only way by which we can please God and receive His spirit life to sit in His spiritual kingdom, even now (Heb 11:6):
Eph 2:6 And [God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
But there are also other sons and daughters of Abraham who are in bondage (like all of us in flesh) and who must be released from this flesh by Jesus:
Luk 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
Our faith is first of an earthly kind, and we are in that stage sons and daughters of the bondwomen, the false church:
Gal 4:22-23 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Hagar, and all the concubines in Abraham’s life, represent our own time under the influence of the false churches when we believe on Jesus after the flesh, when we cannot see our own carnal heart is still as active as ever:
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
These sons and daughters of Abraham from the bondwoman or concubines are an extremely necessary part of the kingdom of God inside and outside, like the tares which God ordained to grow in His field until the time of judgment or all the different kinds of sea creatures (good and bad) caught in the one net and separated at the appointed time (Mat 13:27-30; Mat 13:47):
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
This seed of Abraham from the bondwoman and concubines could not see and still do not know how to apply the opposing generational lines of the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman in their own lives first and foremost. We all play our role on both sides of this divide, but at first we cannot even see that our own words and actions are openly witnessing to our hostility toward the truth and to those who bare that testimony of Jesus in them. We are in spiritual bondage in the land of the Chaldeans (spiritual Babylon with all their false teachings):
Jer 24:5 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
It comes as a great earthquake when our book is being opened progressively and we can hear these words of Jesus directly spoken to us. In our time in Babylon, we do not like the elect of God and despise their calling and the words of Christ they speak.
Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
In John chapter 8 we see these immature Jewish converts who rejected Jesus’ admonishing words wanted to kill him when they thought they were following Him. But they were following Him for the wrong reasons and selfish motives – fish and bread, and physical miracles. In the end their true motives are revealed:
Joh 8:59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
One of the offspring of Abraham who needs to fulfill this important task of opposing the generational line of the true son of Abraham was Ishmael (Gal 4:29-31). God indeed blessed Ishmael with a physical offspring of twelve sons which is also spiritually referring to the foundations of flesh which opposes the foundations of the spirit (Gen 17:20; Luk 6:13; Eph 2:20; Jas 1:1; Heb 11:10; Rev 21:14):
Gen 25:12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham:
Gen 25:13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,
Gen 25:14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
Gen 25:15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:
Gen 25:16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.
Gen 25:17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.
Gen 25:18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.
Ishmael and his offspring settled in the region of Havilah, and they were somehow protected in their towns and castles which were situated in the vicinity of the wilderness region of Shur. Havilah is known in the scriptures for its gold, but the wilderness region of Shur has no water of life there, but only the bitter waters from the rivers of flesh. The flesh does increase in goods, but that is not fulfilling the inward spiritual needs (Rev 3:17):
Gen 2:11 The name of the first [river that went out of Eden] is Pison [meaning “increase”]: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
Gen 2:12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
Exo 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
Exo 15:23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
The words “and he died in the presence of all his brethren” in verse 18 of Genesis 25 are from the King James Version, but in other translations we find a deeper meaning to the original written words:
Gen 25:18 ASV And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria. He abode over against all his brethren.
Gen 25:18 GNB The descendants of Ishmael lived in the territory between Havilah and Shur, to the east of Egypt on the way to Assyria. They lived apart from the other descendants of Abraham.
Gen 25:18 GW His descendants lived as nomads from the region of Havilah to Shur, which is near Egypt, in the direction of Assyria. They all fought with each other.
Gen 25:18 ERV His descendants camped throughout the desert area from Havilah to Shur, near Egypt, all the way to Assyria. And they often attacked his brothers’ people.
Gen 25:18 ISV His descendants settled from Havilah to Shur (that’s near Egypt), all the way to Assyria, in defiance of all of his relatives.
These versions reveal much more of the function of these twelve sons of Ishmael and their offspring which confirm the important and helpful role the opposition plays in our own lives. They give us the necessary opposition to develop us stronger in our faith. These twelve princes of Ishmael lived in the wilderness, even unto Assyria. Assyria dwelled in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and they were also used by God as one of His heavy-handed instruments to correct physical Israel (Isa 105-7; Isa 36:1-22; Jer 50:17; Hos 11:4-6). We are all upset when we see evil around us, and our natural mind cannot understand God’s work in this creation. In our immaturity we actually accuse God of being uncaring and slack in answering our prayers to remove all the evil oppositions from our lives? The prophet Habakkuk also approached God with this mindset…
Hab 1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
Hab 1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
Hab 1:3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
God indeed answers all prayers, but not in the way we like them to be answered. The spiritual Chaldeans or Babylonians, like the spiritual Assyrians are all used by God to fulfil His judgement in order to reveal where the worst evil was being committed, and the biggest criminal is hiding (Psa 17:13; Jer 1:15; Jer 2:19; Jer 50:17; 2Th 2:1-12; Rev 13). It is all inside our own hearts, and our own evil hearts are used by God to judge us:
Hab 1:6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.
Hab 1:7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
God’s answers to our prayers are not the way we want it to be solved. Our battles actually get more intense as they always bring more evil, strife and contentions to ‘solve’ the previous problems. And yet there seems no end to it all, as Habakkuk also reveals to us. Habakkuk also found the reason for these increasing oppositions by which we are to be humbled – it is all given to us to increase our faith:
Hab 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
When we can detect false solutions and do not expect quick answers to our prayers, then we are ready to receive the more intense trials and tribulations which God brings to move our faith to a deeper and higher level. Our enemies are given for our benefit:
Joh 16:33 I have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world.
Hab 3:16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.
Hab 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Hab 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Hab 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
Joy in the midst of darkness and pain is not natural. Joy is a spiritual fruit which is given to strengthen us when we can see the purpose for our trials. We are taught how to use the faith of Christ in us to deal with these trials through His patience and endurance. This is what sonship is about – to be faithful in the things which our Father entrusted to us through faith. This is also what Abraham has left as an inheritance for Isaac. Abraham’s legacy is the good works and fruit which faith produces as the just shall live by the faith of Christ and that faith alone (Gal 5:22-23). In Isaac the true generational line of spiritual sonship is developed, and this is the theme we will look at in the following weeks, God willing:
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son [Greek: “uihos”].