Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY
SECTION 2D - Genesis 11:27
- Exodus 18:27
THE PATRIARCHAL AGE and
THE DISPENSATION OF PROMISE
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
Edited by Dr. Clarence
E. Mason, Jr.
- Genesis 11:27-Exodus 18:27
THE PATRIARCHAL AGE and
THE DISPENSATION OF PROMISE
This age and dispensation are ushered in by the Abrahamic Covenant.
The name of this dispensation is taken from Heb. 6:13, "promise to
Abraham, " and 11:9ff., "the land of promise, " where the
word occurs seven times.
- The key personage is
- The extent of the period
is from the call of Abraham to the giving of the Law at Sinai.
- The general Scripture
portion is Gen. 11:27 to Exodus 18:27.
- The characteristic or
state of man during its course.
In this age a chosen portion of the race became the recipient of wonderful
and gracious promises. These promises are the unconditioned expression
of Jehovah's own purpose respecting Abraham and his seed. The formula
is "I will." Till now the ages had included all mankind in
their regulations. In this fourth age God was selective; He chose out
one man, Abraham, and his descendents that He might make a representative
test in them.
- The special responsibility
instituted by God
- "The test was:
whether great material, social, and spiritual promises and prospects
would make Abraham and his descendents believe and serve God."
- The responsibility
of Abraham was to be a continuing witness to the true God in the
midst of universal polytheism at the then crossroads of the world,
connecting the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Gen. 26:1-4.
This was the simple responsibility of Abraham and his seed. They
were to remain in faith in the place of promised blessing and continue
separate from the nations. The promises did not make Israel holy;
only obedience would.
- Abraham's experience
was one of increasing separation unto God.
(1) He left his own country, and kindred. Gen. 11:31
(2) He left Haran and his father's house as soon as he was freed
from his father's interference by the latter's death. Gen. 11:32;
(3) He left Lot's company. Lot was one of "the kindred"
that he should have left in Ur of the Chaldees. Gen. 13:11
(4) He left his own plan about Ishmael who was his child after the
flesh. Gen. 17:17-18
(5) And finally, in response to God's direction, he gave up, in
his own heart, his only son Isaac, in whom all the promises rested.
Gen. 22:2, 9, 10; Heb. 11:17-18
NOTE: From Gen. 12:1 to Gen. 25:8, the portion in which we
have the whole record of Abraham's life, there is not one single
"if" by which God conditions His blessings to Abraham.
We have in all this portion the clearest unconditional covenant
language and formula: "I will. " It is in no sense meant
that Abraham, as an object of God's gracious dealing, could or would
be careless and unconcerned about his walk before God simply because
the promises of Jehovah were unconditional. What is maintained is
that the principle of God's dealings with Abraham was that of gracious
unconditional promise. Abraham was truly grateful and worshipful.
See New Scofield note on Gen. 12:11.
- The failure of man under
- Abraham, indeed, believed
God and so was justified. Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-4. And so, no doubt,
Isaac and Jacob were justified. But Abraham had failure in his life.
(1) In the case of Ishmael Gen. 16:1-6 Ishmaelitish people - Mohammedanism
(2) In the case of his descent into Egypt Gen. 12:10
(3) In the case of his descent into Gerar Gen. 20:1
(4) In the case of his deception regarding Sarai, both in Egypt
and in Gerar Gen. 20:2
- Isaac, likewise, failed
in the same way. Gen. 26:6-7
(1) Unbelief as to the promise made respecting him to his mother
(Gen. 25:23) led him to steal the blessing through lying and deceit.
(2) Unbelief as to God's care and provision led to bargaining with
Him in the face of the promises. Gen. 28:13-15, 20
- The resultant judgment
It has been urged by some that failure constituted in Jacob taking the
whole "nation" down into Egypt, in spite of the specific warning
to Isaac in Gen. 26:1-5. Gen. 46:1-4 is interpreted as God's permissive
will. Others have wondered about this. They suggest the personal failure
of the patriarchs (see 6 above) brought personal discipline and distress.
Since the Abrahamic Covenant continues, the "Law" was an added
thing which ran alongside it, introducing additional factors to Israel's
- The gracious intervention
- Israel was preserved
in the furnace (like burning bush) Ex. 3:2; Gen. 15:17
- Moses, a deliverer,
was provided Ex. 3:6-10
- Passover protection
was provided for the guilty Ex. 12
- God's divine power
wrought deliverance Ex. 14-15
- The oppressor was slain
- Their material needs
Ex. 12:35-36 and physical needs were supplied miraculously Ex. 15:23-27
- Victory over new enemies
was given Ex. 17
- They were borne on
eagles' wings Ex, 19:4
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