As we have learned, loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength is the first commandment and in order to love God totally we have to be willing to obey Him just as a child obeys their parent and shows them love, trust and respect for their authority.Mark 10:13-16 “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”
We also looked at how it is important to be able to understand God’s Word and what He requires of us so that we can be obedient to Him. King Solomon in his writings instructed his son to receive his words and seek to understand. Proverbs 4:1, “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” We saw the parallel of a child understanding what their parent wants before they can obey them and us understanding what God wants in order to obey Him.
Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15, says “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We must be able to divide the Word of God.
Part of dividing the Word of God, is understanding the different periods within which God dealt with mankind.
Today, we are living in the New Testament times or in the Christian age but after creation, God spoke directly to man and gave him commandments such as when he told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Genesis 2:16-17, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”.
Also, God instructed Adam about marriage in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,” a verse which Jesus used to explain to the Pharisees about marriage in Mark 10:6-8. “ But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Jesus repeated this to stress that this was the way God intended marriage to be.
This time period after creation can be referred to as the Patriarchal Age because it was during this time that God spoke directly to the heads of families. We see other examples of this when God spoke to Noah who found grace in his eyes in Genesis 6:12-14, “ And God looked upon the earth, and , behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.”
God spoke to Abram in Genesis 12:1-2, “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” God would change Abram’s name to Abraham in Genesis 17:1-5, “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for Me behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”
It wasn’t until after the sin and fall of Adam and Eve, that animal sacrifices were offered to God. In Genesis 4:1-5 we read of Cain and Abel’s sacrifices to God, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” Abel offered his sacrifice through faith but Cain did not, Hebrews 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.”. It was the sacrifice of the best of Abel’s flock and not the grain offering of Cain that pleased God. Abel acted by faith which meant he heard and did the Will of God and Cain did not, Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Noah also offered sacrifices to God when he and his family came out of the ark in Genesis 8:20-21a, “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour.”
Abraham showed perfect obedience to God in being willing to offer up his son, Isaac, when God asked him to, except that an angel of the Lord prevented him from carrying through with the sacrifice. Remember that God had commanded Abram to be perfect in Genesis 17:1 and so he was by combining his faith in God with the obedience to Him. Genesis 22:1-18.
We are not living in the Patriarchal Age today. God does not speak directly to us. Knowing this is a part of dividing the word of God accurately. 2 Timothy 2:15
Jacob, Isaac’s son, and his family went to Egypt during a famine but became slaves of the Egyptians eventually. Genesis chapters 37, 39-50. The ruler of Egypt, in his fear of the growing population of the Israelites, ordered the baby boys that were born to the Israelites to be cast into the river. Exodus 1:8-22.
A certain mother hid her son. Exodus 2:1-10. “”And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? and Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.”
Moses later wanted to be among his own people and God used Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, Exodus 3:2-6; 9-14. God demonstrated His power to the Pharaoh through Moses and the twelve plagues, the last of which was the death of all the firstborn amongst the Egyptians, even their livestock, after which, he allowed the Israelites to leave. Having second thoughts on losing his slaves, the Pharaoh and his army pursued the Israelites through the parted Red Sea where they were drowned when God brought the waters back down upon them. Exodus chapters 4-14.
God called Moses to the top of Mount Sinai where He gave Moses the 10 commandments as well the statues and judgements for the Israelites to live by. Exodus chapters 19-34. Exodus 19:18 gives a vivid description of the sight that the Israelites saw, “And mount Siani was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” The people heard the voice of God as He spoke the ten commandments, the first being given in Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” They were very afraid and asked that only Moses hear, Exodus 20:19, “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
This time period can be referred to as the Mosaical Age, when the Israelites lived by “The Law” which comprised of the ten commandments and the other judgements that were given by God including the holy days, purification of women after childbirth, unlawful marriages. There are four books in the Bible which reveal this Law: Exodus, Leviticus. Numbers and Deuteronomy.
There were specific commandments that are a part of this Mosaical Law concerning sacrifices, the greatest being the annual Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16:4-10 “He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron [who was the priest at this time] shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But for the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”
We are not living in this Mosaicial age today. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice on every body’s behalf including those that died under the different ages, the Patriarchal Age, the Mosaical Law and this Christian Age.
All of the commandments of the Old Testament Law were done away with in Jesus’ death. The New Testament writer, Paul, says that through baptism, a person is made alive with Jesus being forgiven of all sins and that the “handwriting of ordinances [that is, the Old Testament]” was blotted out, being nailed to the cross. Colossians 2: 12-14.
Jesus lived under the Mosaical Age. He kept the Law, perfectly, understanding it as it was to be understood, as Solomon had wished for his own children. It was not easy for Jesus to be obedient all the time, He was tempted, as we are but He turned to His Father continually for deliverance from it. Because of His unique combination of being both God and man, He knew where He came from, what was at stake and what He had to do in order to get back to Heaven and help us to get there too. Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though He were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
After His death and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentacost, another age began, the Christian Age. We will be studying this age as well as the established church in the coming year for it is important to count the cost of entering into the Kingdom as it says in Luke 14: 26-30, 33-35, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish...So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”