The King and the Kingdom
April 18th, 1973
THE KING AND THE KINGDOM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-18-73 7:30 p.m.
We are studying the sweep of the whole revelation of God, and the lesson last Wednesday night and tonight concerns The King and the Kingdom. And just by way of review, we began with the word from the Book that it is the purpose of God to set up a kingdom in this earth; a visible, viable, living kingdom [Matthew 24:14]. And for that purpose God is moving through all history, and to that end He has presented the King, and there was a prophetic portrait of that King in the Old Testament [Isaiah 9:6, 42:1-9]. There is a historical portrait of the Messiah King in the New Testament, and we followed through the Old Testament all of these prophecies that outline the parentage, and the birth, and the tribe, and the family, and the nation through which the King would come. Then we came to a discussion of the kingdom itself, and as some expositors defined it, the kingdom of God is the universal reign of God through all time, through all eternity, through all heaven, over all the earth. And the kingdom of heaven is to be identified with Christendom. It is a New Testament term found only in Matthew, where it is used thirty-two times, and it refers to the influence and the work of Christ between the first and the second comings; the kingdom of heaven.
Now the kingdom and the dominion of Christ in its full manifestation has been postponed. The kingdom was announced as at hand, as a reality to be presented by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the twelve apostles [Matthew 10:1-7], by the seventy [Luke 10:1-12]; and the kingdom that was announced by John [Matthew 3:1-2] and by Jesus [Matthew 4:17] was an outward, visible kingdom, one that is meticulously and beautifully and triumphantly described in the Prophets. But the King was rejected [John 1:11], He was crucified [Matthew 27:32-50], He was buried [Matthew 27:57-61], He was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:5-7], and He went away—He ascended into heaven [Luke 24:50-51, Acts 1:9-11]. And the setting up of the kingdom was postponed [Matthew 21:43], and between the going away of the King [John 8:21], and the coming back of the King [Matthew 25:31], is this present great intermission and interlude [Romans 11:25]. And in this period of time, when the King is away [Luke 19:12], and between His going away and His return, the kingdom took on its mystery form [Mark 4:11]. In Matthew 13:11, the Lord will say, “It is given to you to understand the mysteries of the kingdom.”
Now the kingdom itself is no mystery; the prophets foretold it and described it. The mystery is the earthly aspects of the kingdom while the King is away. What form does it take? How is it propagated? What is its future? What the kingdom is like between the two comings of Christ is the mystery form of the kingdom. And this mystery is found revealed and described in Matthew, and its characteristics are described in the twelve kingdom parables in Matthew 13, Matthew 18, Matthew 20, Matthew 22, and Matthew 25. So we’re going to look at the kingdom in its mystery form.
First, the parables of the kingdom, and there are seven of them, the parables of the kingdom in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. First: the parable of the sower, which is revealed to us in Matthew 13:3-9 and verses 18 to 23 [Matthew 13:18-23]. This shows us that the world kingdom of our Lord Christ is hindered, and it is prevented, and it is hurt. The devil’s birds hurt it [Matthew 13:4, 19]. The emotional upsweep of people, who temporarily espouse it then turn aside from it, hurt it. And the cares and the riches of the world hurt it [Matthew 13:22]. But some respond to it [Matthew 13:23]. So I know from this parable that the kingdom of heaven will never encompass this entire world. It is a partial response. Some of the seed fell on the hard ground, the ways, the paths, the road, and the devil’s birds ate it up [Matthew 13:4, 19]. Some of it fell in ground that had not much depth [Matthew 13:5], which is a picture of people who just momentarily seemingly respond to the message and then you wonder where they are—the most amazing thing to me in this church is the sweep of some people through it. They will come into the church with great fanfare, and gusto, and interest, and dedication; they sweep me off of my feet. And then after a little while I have no idea what has become of them. They just kind of disappear like the morning mist just before the rising sun. And then of course some of them are taken out by the affluence that they find in the world; on and on. But the parable of the sower shows us that the world is never converted: always there is a partial response [Matthew 13:8, 19-23].
All right, the second kingdom parable is the wheat and the tares [Matthew 13:24-30]. Satan cannot destroy the wheat, but he oversows. And we see this twofold development of the kingdom of heaven down to the end. There is wheat and there are tares, and it’s that way to the end of the age.
The third parable is the mustard seed, Matthew 13:31-32. This is a presentation of the external growth of the kingdom. It grows to be a vast worldly system. Is that true? Did the kingdom of heaven grow and grow and grow into the world until it became a vast, rich, and worldly system? Last night I looked at television for just a few minutes, and that few minutes I was looking at an evidence of some of the most startling riches the world has ever seen, and it is a part of this external growth that we see, and in the branches of it, all kinds of dirty and unclean birds roost. And there’s not a schoolboy who reads history but who could tell you the most abominable and vicious practices and lives that almost degraded and decimated the work of Christ in the earth, especially in those medieval ages. And the mustard seed is a revelation of the mystery of the kingdom, how it grows into a vast system.
Now the parable of the leaven, Matthew 13:33, is a revelation, the mystery of the kingdom, of its internal growth. Leaven is a type of evil. Israel purged it out of the house before the Passover. It was not to come in contact with any sacrifice, as evidenced in Exodus 34:25, Leviticus 2:11, and Leviticus 10:12. In an evil sense Christ used the word in Matthew 16:6, and Mark 8:15, and in an evil sense Paul used the word in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, and Galatians 5:9. There is one exception that somebody might point to, as though leaven might be used in a good sense: in Leviticus 23:15-17, it was a part of the offering at Pentecost [Leviticus 23:5]. But I think the offering at Pentecost is a type of Pentecost, in the second chapter of Acts [Acts 2:1-4], and the apostles, though they were dedicated, still were sinful men; and leaven is a type of that dereliction that always characterizes human life. So I repeat: to me, leaven is always a type of evil [Mark 8:15]; there is no exception to that in the Bible, in the Word of God. And the mystery of the kingdom of heaven when it is said it is like a mustard seed [Matthew 13:31-32], it grows to a big, vast, worldly system, and in its branches all kinds of dirty birds roost, and the kingdom of heaven in its mystery form is like leaven that permeates all through it [Matthew 13:33]: it becomes compromised, and weak, and sometimes viciously, vilely sinful—all of it in the name of Christ. You would never have known these things, had the Lord not revealed them to us. This is the kingdom of heaven in its present mystery form.
All right, number five: the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hid in a field, Matthew 13:44. The hid treasure is Israel. She is called the treasure of God in Exodus 19:5, in Psalm 135:4, and she is still hid. The hid treasure is a picture of Israel, buried among the nations of the world [Ezekiel 22:15], and she is still hid until Romans 11:26-29.
Now the sixth parable is the pearl of price, Matthew 13:45-46, and this is a picture of the church, which Christ purchased with His own blood [Acts 20:28]. Any time that a man refers to the gospel and our acceptance of it as we are getting, we are buying the pearl of price, he is falling into a false, exegetical interpretation of the Word of God, because we don’t buy our salvation. Christ bought us [1 Peter 1:18-19], and the pearl of price is His church which He purchased with His own blood [Acts 20:28]. The treasure hid in the field is Israel [Matthew 13:44]; the pearl of price is His bride [Matthew 13:45-46], the people of God in the household of faith whom He purchased with His own blood, Acts 20:28. And Ephesians 5:25, “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” The pearl of price is something Christ buys, namely you [Matthew 13:45-46]. “You are not your own, you are bought with a price” [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].
Now the seventh and the last parable in Matthew 13:47-50, the parable of the dragnet, the gospel net: the fruit of the efforts of Christ’s fishers of men is all kinds. There’s good and bad in it. The bulk, you notice, remain uncaught in the sea, but the net brings in some good and some bad. You’ll find that in this church. You’ll find that in every church. You’ll find it throughout Christendom. There is in it what is good and what is bad [Matthew 13:47-50].
Now to continue, there are five other parables in Matthew of the kingdom of heaven in its mystery form. Parable number eight is the parable of the unmerciful servant, in Matthew 18:21-35. This is a parable showing how we, who are citizens of the kingdom, ought to treat one another in forgiving, compassionate love.
Now parable number nine is the parable of the vineyard laborers, in Matthew 20:1-16. This is one of the most unusual parables that you find in the Bible, because it is the story of a man who went out into the vineyard at six o’clock in the morning and made a contract with the men to work for him all day long for a denarius, a day’s wages. Then he went out at nine o’clock in the morning, then he went out at twelve noon, then he went out at three o’clock in the afternoon, then he went out at five o’clock in the afternoon, and he hired men to work in his vineyard. When he went out with those men early in the morning, he made a contract with them, “You work for me, and I’ll give you a denarius, a day’s wages.” So they went out and worked from six o’clock until six o’clock, twelve hours, for a denarius. Then he went out, and those men at the eleventh hour, at five o’clock in the afternoon, he hired them, and he said to them, “Just whatever is right, I’ll give you. You just depend upon me to do the right thing for your pay.” So those men went out and worked in the vineyard without any contract; just according to the goodness of the vineyard owner, the master of the house, would they be paid. So when the day’s work was over, the men came to be paid, and those men who came at five o’clock were given a denarius, and the men who started working at six o’clock in the morning were given a denarius. Now, what the AF of L and the CIO would say about that would burn your ears. It wouldn’t do to print. These people at five o’clock got the same amount of money as those that started to work at six o’clock in the morning; these that worked one hour and the others that worked twelve hours. And so there was a ruckus, just as you have in the United States. There was a labor mutiny. There was a strike. There were words, and there were feelings. So the good man of the house said to this man who was griping, “Didn’t you contract with me to work for a denarius?” And the man would have to say, “Yes, I contracted with you to work for a denarius.”
“Here is your contract payment. Here is the denarius. This man over here did not make any contract at all. He just depended upon me to be good to him, and so out of my heart I’m going to show him how I appreciate his depending upon me for the reward. I’m going to give him a denarius.” Now, why did the Lord do that? The reason is very simple. You have a chapter heading between the nineteenth chapter of Matthew and the twentieth chapter of Matthew, but there ought not to be a chapter heading there, because the twentieth chapter, this parable of the laborers in the vineyard [Matthew 20:1-16], is an explanation of something that happened in the nineteenth chapter. Now, what is it that happened in the nineteenth chapter? It was this: there came a rich young ruler [Matthew 19:16-20]; he wanted to be with the Lord Jesus, but he loved riches, and the Lord said, “Get rid of it, because you can’t go through the gate with all of that in your arms. The gate’s too [strait], and the way is too [narrow], too constricted [Matthew 7:13-14]. You can’t carry that stuff. You’ve got the world in your heart.” Now Jesus said, “Get rid of it. Come follow Me. And the young man was sad, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions” [Matthew 19:21-22]. So the disciples looking at that, to them his riches were a sign of his favor with God. And when they saw that young man go away, their hearts just sank to the bottom. They got in the dust [John 19:25]. And the Lord explained to them that you can’t enter the kingdom of heaven with all the world in your heart. You got to get rid of it.
So Simon Peter began thinking about that, and I can just see him as they walk along, because Jesus is a peripatetic teacher—He is a teacher that teaches while He walks, you know, walk down a road. And I can just see Peter as he’s cogitating; he’s just thinking, because that rich young ruler that Jesus sent away was a great blow to the disciples. They were very poor, and they were without status, and they were without prestige, and that young fellow could have done a lot for them. Jesus turned him down, and He gave as the reason: because the young fellow wouldn’t give up for Jesus [Matthew 19:21-22].
Then, just like that, the thing popped in Simon Peter’s mind! You know what popped in his mind? Look at Matthew 19:27. Turn to Matthew 19:27, and look what popped in Simon Peter’s mind, just like that, just like that. Simon Peter was going along, and he was thinking, “That young fellow wouldn’t give up anything for Jesus. He doesn’t deserve anything from Jesus therefore.” Bang, in his head! “We have given up everything for Thee, Jesus. What [are] we going to get out of it?” Boy, boy! Look at us! “What [are] we going to get out of it?” Isn’t that what it said? “Peter answered and said, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?” [Matthew 19:27]. Isn’t that right? I’m not kidding you. I’m just saying what happened.
So the Lord turned to Simon Peter and said to him, “Simon, there’s nobody given up anything for Me but that is going to have a hundredfold, both now and in the world to come [Matthew 19:29]. But, Simon, I do not want people working for Me for what they get out of it. I do not want people working for Me for contract. I want people working for Me doing it just for the love of God, and depend upon Me for the reward.” And that’s why He told the laborers in the vineyard. There were some who were working by contract, for a denarius a day; and they got what they wanted, what they contracted for [Matthew 20:1-2]. But there were some that worked for the Master just depending upon Him for the reward [Matthew 20:3-4], just for the love of it. And God rewarded them marvelously [Matthew 20:8-14].
Now the meaning for that, the kingdom in its mystery form, is this: when you do something in order to get something out of it, you get your reward, that’s it; but you don’t get anything else. But if you do what you do just for the love of Jesus and let Him reward you, God won’t let you down.
May I illustrate it? The Pharisees loved to pray where men could see them, and it did their souls good to overhear the conversation, “Look at that holy man standing there on the street corner praying. What a holy, pious man he is.”
“Verily,” Jesus said, “They have their reward” [Matthew 6:5]. That is, receipt paid in full; he got what he wanted. He did that to be seen of men. He was seen of men; he overheard their praise. It’s over with. He was doing it for praise. Praise he got. That’s all; nothing beyond. A singer, singing up here to be heard and to be adulated and complimented, “What a glorious voice; what a marvelous voice”—not singing for the love of God or the glory of Jesus, but wanting to shine, and use the platform, the pulpit, as a stage, to be seen and heard of men—they have their reward. They are heard, and seen, and complimented, and that’s all; nothing more.
Or you want to be elected, you want to be preferred, and you’re ambitious in it. That’s what you want. Then that’s what you get, and nothing beside. God doesn’t want workers like that. The Lord wants workers who do what they do just for the love of Jesus, and let Him reward you in His day, in His time, in His way [Matthew 20:4]. And He says in this parable, “If you will trust Me for it, I will reward you beyond what you ever expected or thought for.” These that had worked just one hour, he gave them a full day’s pay [Matthew 20:9]. And God will do you that way if you will let Him. If you work for what you get out of it, what you get out of it is pay, receipt, so. But if you work for the love of Jesus, with no thought of reward, God will do it in a surprising way.
“I’m going to quit. They don’t appreciate me. I’m going to quit. Preacher doesn’t even know I’m around. They don’t pay any attention to me, they don’t even know…nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m going to eat some worms, great big slimy ones, little bitty tiny ones.” What are you doing it for? To be praised by the pastor? Is that why you were doing it? To be seen of men? Is that why you’re doing it? Ah! That’s a poor kind of a reward, to be praised of men. Do it for God, and let God reward you, and God says, “I will surprise you. I will be better to you than you ever dreamed of.”
“I wasn’t doing it for men. I wasn’t doing it for praise; I was doing it for Jesus.” If you’ll be that way in your work, God will reward you so richly and marvelously you won’t believe it. Well, we have kind of taken too much time here. That’s the kingdom in its mystery form.
Number ten, the marriage feast, in Matthew 22:1-14, the king is God the Father, the son is Christ Jesus, the first bidden are the Jewish nation, and they made light of it [Matthew 22:2-5]. And in Matthew 22:7, in that parable they are destroyed; that was brought to pass by Titus in 70 AD. And now is the universal invitation, Matthew 22:8-10. The wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ: we’re not to come in our own clothing, in our own goodness, but in the righteousness of Christ [Matthew 22:11-13].
Number eleven parable, the mystery of the kingdom, is the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. It is a picture of the professing church when Christ comes. We cannot now distinguish between the true and the false professors; we cannot do it. That’s why I have always been hesitant to put people out of the church. Now I know they come and talk to me about discipline, and don’t you think otherwise; I grew up, when I was a little boy, in churches that had discipline, and they say we ought to have discipline. But I’m frank to tell you I don’t know how to do it. I simply do not. Who’s going to turn whom out? How are you going to do it? Jesus said, in the mystery parable of the wheat and the tares, “Let them alone, because if you start pulling up those tares, you pull up the wheat too” [Matthew 13:27-30]. These ten virgins, five of them were wise, five were foolish, but you didn’t know who was wise and who was foolish until the bridegroom came [Matthew 25:6-13]. You just don’t know. And in the church, there are those who are true and those who are false professors. And the better thing, I think, to do, is to leave it alone and let God in the end time make the great separation. Now I can be wrong in that judgment and I can be corrected in it, and maybe ought to be, but that has been my human experience.
Some of the people that I have seen turned out of the church, to me, were honestly better than the people who turned them out. A man might be turned out for a carnal sin, but the people who turned them out may have a more terrible sin in spirit than the one that they turn out. In my humble opinion, sins of the flesh are the most minor of sins. Sins of the spirit are the damning sins. And that’s what Jesus said from beginning to ending. Every feeling I have is one of compassion for the prodigal boy [Luke 15:11-32], and yet he was a whoremonger, and he wasted his father’s substance in riotous living [Luke 15:13, 30]. He was consumed with harlots, the Book says so. Yet I have compassion for that prodigal boy. I don’t feel anything of praise for the elder brother, yet he said, “Father, at no time have I transgressed thy commandment” [Luke 15:29]. Well, what’s the matter with the elder brother? He had a proud and unyielding spirit. So, I tell you, in my human experience, I don’t know how to separate them, and the best thing for me is to let Jesus do it. And when He comes, He will; never worry. He will divide them as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats [Matthew 25:31-46]. He will divide them as a fisherman takes the good and throws away the bad [Matthew 13:47-50]. He will divide them as the angels; when the reapers, who are the angels, take the tares and take the wheat and separate them [Matthew 13:27-30]. But right now, in the professing church, in the kingdom of heaven in its mystery form, they are together; and you don’t quite know who is true and who is false until the time of the end.
Now the twelfth and the last parable of the kingdom in its mystery form is the parable of the talents, in Matthew 25:14-30. This is a parable of our stewardship. It’s comparable to the parable of the pounds in Luke 19:11-26. The nobleman is Christ, the far country is heaven, the departure is the ascension [Acts 1:10-11], and the return is the second coming [Luke 19:12], and in the meantime we are to occupy till He comes [Luke 19:13]. We’re to use what God has given us until the Lord returns. We’re to be stewards, good stewards, of the manifold mercies of heaven.
Now last we have come to the kingdom in its manifestation, the kingdom in its consummation [Matthew 25:31]. We use the word “millennium,” now let me go back to be sure that you are understanding what we’re saying: the kingdom in its mystery form is the form the kingdom of heaven took when Jesus went away. John the Baptist announced it [Matthew 3:1-2]. Jesus announced it [Matthew 4:17]. But when the King was rejected, He went away into a far country, into heaven [Luke 19:12]; and the kingdom took on a mystery form. And the definition and the description of that mystery form is in the twelve parables, kingdom parables, that we’ve just looked at in Matthew.
But there is coming a time when the kingdom will be openly seen, it will be visibly manifest, and most of us call that the “millennium,” from mille, “a thousand,” and annum, “year”: a thousand years. Six times that term is used in Revelation 20:1-7. It is called “the thousand years,” a thousand years. But in the Bible, God’s Word is “kingdom.” It is used in the Bible exclusively, patently, plainly, for this glorious time when the kingdom is manifested. You so read it “kingdom” in Daniel 2:44. You so read it “kingdom” in Isaiah 9:7. You so read it “kingdom” in Matthew 25:34. You so read it “kingdom” in Matthew 6:10. And I put that in there especially because there was a sweet woman last Wednesday night that asked me, “When we pray, ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done’ [Matthew 6:10], are we praying for the millennium?” And I said, “Yes.” What God uses is the word “kingdom”; what we use is the word “millennium.” So if we use a man’s word, we would pray, “Thy millennium come,” and that’s all right. The only thing you’re doing is you’re substituting a man word “millennium” for God’s word “kingdom.” But if you define it, it’s all right. You can use any nomenclature you want anytime, just so you define the nomenclature, you define the words. Now, “millennium,” a man-made word, “kingdom,” God’s word; so whichever way you use, just define it. But when we talk about the kingdom and its manifestation, we’re talking about the millennium.
Now, first: the form of government in the millennium; it is a theocracy, Christ is the Ruler. In Luke 1: 31-33, in Daniel 7:13-14, in Hosea 3:4-5, in Jeremiah 30:9, in Ezekiel 37:24-25, these are just some of the presentations of the form of government in the millennium. It is a theocracy; it is ruled over by Christ the King.
Second: the seat of government; it will be in Jerusalem. There are so many passages in the Bible concerning that. I take time to name three: Ezekiel 48:1-35, Isaiah 2:1-5, Zechariah 14:4,8-9. The seat of the government, the seat of the worldwide millennial kingdom of Christ is Jerusalem.
Now just to name one or two or three characteristics of the millennium kingdom—by the way, if you want to put both those words together, that’ll be a fine way to do it: the “millennial kingdom.” One characteristic of the millennial kingdom: Satan is bound, Revelation 20:1-3, he’s bound, put in the abyss. He’s chained; he doesn’t tempt or deceive any longer for a thousand years, for the millennial kingdom [Revelation 20:7]. Second characteristic: there is universal peace; the nations don’t learn war anymore. Their swords are now plowshares, and their spears are now pruninghooks [Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:3]. And every man shall sit under his own vine, and under his own fig tree [Micah 4:4]; and you don’t worry about walking down the streets of Dallas. Isn’t that great? You’re not afraid anymore, “For all nations walk in the name of their God, but we will be walking in the name of the Lord our God forever” [Micah 4:5]. It is a time of universal peace.
It is a time of the re-creation of the animal kingdom. I want to take time, first in Isaiah 11:6, 9, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid… and they will not hurt nor destroy in all God’s holy mountain.” But I want us to read Romans 8:19-23. I just want to point this out, because it’s so intriguing, at least to me. Romans 8:19-23. We’re talking about the animal kingdom of this earth in the millennium. Now the nineteenth verse of Romans 8: “For the earnest expectation of the creation”—now, you have in the King James Version “creature.” Now you put the word “creation” there. “For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity” [Romans 8:19-20], to all of this futility and sterility and curse and heartache. “Not willingly,” not because it chose to, “but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope” [Romans 8:20], because God has another purpose, another promise:
Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, namely, the redemption of the body.
The resurrection of the body. Now what does all that mean? “The creation itself,” verse 21, “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” [Romans 8:21-22].
Let me be crude enough to ask you people that are on the farm, did you ever see a cow have a calf? It is a terrible thing, and the poor cow groans and moans and suffers. Did you ever see a mare have a colt? The poor mare groans and suffers. The whole creation is like that. It isn’t just the man that was cursed; it isn’t just the ground that was cursed for the man’s sake [Genesis 3:17-18]; it isn’t just the woman that was cursed [Genesis 3:16]; the whole creation was cursed [Genesis 3:17], all of it was cursed [Romans 8:21-23]. The animals began to eat one another—God never intended that—and we began to eat flesh [Genesis 9:3]. I don’t think God originally intended that. It was not made that way. And all of these blasted storms, and these great deserts that curse the earth, and all the things in the earth of disease and violence and heartache, God never intended that. And finally the ravages of the waste of death, God never intended that.
There is coming a time when the creation—and I said, you see how that word is used there, “the whole creation shall be delivered from the curse,” called here “the bondage of corruption” [Romans 8:21], all of it. And when that day comes the wolf is going to dwell with the lamb, and the leopard is going to lie down with the kid… and the ravenous, voracious lion is going to do what? Eat straw like an ox [Isaiah 11:6-7]. There’s going to be a deliverance of the whole creation into the glorious liberty of the sons of God [Romans 8:21]. And that’s coming to pass, Paul says, when we receive our bodies, and we are raised from the dead, which will be our beginning and entrance into the millennial kingdom of Christ [1 Thessalonians 4:14-17]. It’s going to be a glorious thing, someday, some happy, triumphant day.
Now let’s turn to our Bibles, and we’re going to spend a few minutes that remain in our underscoring. And by the way, we’re going to try to do that every Wednesday night. We’re going to try to underscore at least some. Oh, I wish we just had world without end to talk and let you talk and ask questions, but we’re going to have to put those questions off until the end, and then we shall.
Now to pick it up, rapidly, in Genesis 15:6 is the great faith verse of the Old Testament: “Abraham believed in the Lord; and the Lord counted it to him for righteousness.” You ought to underscore that, I tell you. And then in Genesis 17:10, this is the covenant that God made with Abraham of circumcision. And then in Genesis 17:23, Abraham takes Ishmael and circumcises him. This is the beginning of the covenant of circumcision. Now in Genesis 18:22, you have the beginning of the prayer of Abraham, who stood yet before the Lord. And then in verse 27 of Genesis  is one of the humblest ways of speaking to God I’ve ever read in the Bible, “Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes” [Genesis 18:27].
Now in Genesis 22, Genesis 22:7, you have Isaac’s question, “My father, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Then verse 8, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering” [Genesis 22:8]. Who was that Lamb? It was Jesus. It was Jesus. And in verse 13 of that chapter 22, “And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son” [Genesis 22:13]. That’s a beautiful type of the Lord Jesus. Now in verse 23, I mean in chapter 23 and verse 9, you have the story of the buying of the cave of Machpelah, where Abraham buried Sarah [Genesis 23:9], and where Abraham is buried [Genesis 25:8-10]. And you can go to the cave of Machpelah in Hebron today. Now, in Genesis 24:27, you have a beautiful text. This man Eliezer, who’s gone to the country from whence Abraham came—that would be upper Mesopotamia—and he prays God to bless him in finding this wife for Isaac [Genesis 24:12-14]. And he of course in the story discovers Rebekah [Genesis 24:15-26]. Now look at the text:
And this servant said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of His mercy and His truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.
“I being in the way” [Genesis 24:27]—whenever you pray, you get in the way for God to answer your prayers, and it’ll really help you, really help you. Let me give you a little illustration of that. The little girl said to her mother, “You know that bad brother of mine? He’s been trying to catch those pretty little birds in a trap that he’s made, and I prayed God, and God is not going to let any of those little birds get caught in my bad brother’s trap.” And the mother said to the little girl, “Well, what makes you so sure God is going to answer your prayer, and He is not going to let any of those little birds get in your bad brother’s trap?” And she said, “Well, mother, because I went out there and I just kicked that trap all to pieces.” “I being in the way, the Lord answered my prayers.” Now that’s the way to get your prayers answered. “I being in the way” [Genesis 24:27], you put yourself in a way where God can bless you. That’s a beautiful text and a wonderful one.
All right, Genesis 25:33. Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage [Genesis 25:31-33], thus, verse 34, “Thus Esau despised his birthright” [Genesis 25:34]. Genesis 25:33-34, selling his birthright for a mess of pottage. Genesis 28, Genesis 28:10-22 is the beautiful story of Jacob’s ladder. In verse 12, “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” [Genesis 28:12]. Now if the Bible is true, where were those angels when Jacob went to bed? Where were they? They were down here in the earth, isn’t that right? Because when he saw the ladder, the angels were ascending and descending; they started down here and went up, and then back down on the ladder—a beautiful thing [Genesis 28:12]. In Genesis 28 you have, in the last [verse] you have Jacob’s avowal, “Of all that You give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee,” Genesis 28:22.
Now Genesis 31:49, Genesis 31:49, mizpah, and how many wedding rings have that in it? Mizpah; the Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another,” mizpah, Genesis 31:49. Now Genesis 32:24-32: this is the beautiful story of Jacob wrestling with the Lord at Peniel. Verse 30, “And Jacob called the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face” [Genesis 32:30]. This is the change of Jacob from being a supplanter, a deceiver; and they gave him a new name, Israel, which is, a prince of God [Genesis 32:28].
Now Genesis 37, Genesis 37:28-35, Genesis 37:28-35, this is the story of the selling of Joseph to the Ishmaelites. In verse 28, “And they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought him to Egypt” [Genesis 37:28]. Now verse, Genesis 44, Genesis 44:34, Genesis chapter 44:34, this is a text—as Millie can tell you—this is a text that I have used in preaching to parents and to their children. When Judah is pleading for his little brother Benjamin, he says, Genesis 44:34, “For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me?” How can I appear before God and my boy be lost? What shall I say before Jesus in that great and final day if my daughter is not saved? That text, “How shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me?” [Genesis 44:34]. And I tell you, when Judah got through saying that, Joseph could contain himself no longer: in the next chapter he wept aloud, broke his heart [Genesis 45:1-2].
Now Genesis 49:10, Genesis 49, Genesis 49:10, this is the prophecy that the Messiah shall come through Judah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come,” until the Messiah come, “and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” [Genesis 49:10].
And now we close Genesis with chapter 50, the last verse, the last chapter, Genesis 50:20. There is a magnificent interpretation of providence, Genesis 50:20: Joseph says to his brethren, “As for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.” Oh how many times are we like that? Now look at verse 26, and this is the way it closes: “And they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” [Genesis 50:26]. The whole Old Covenant is like that. Malachi ends, “Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” [Malachi 4:6]. A coffin in Egypt, there is something yet, something over and beyond, and that glorious something is the good news that we have in Jesus Christ. Well, we’ll start again next Wednesday night. And we’re going to take time, as I say, to underscore, no matter what.
Now we’re going to have our prayer meeting. I’m going to kneel here and pray for a moment. You come down here and pray for a moment, or bow your head there and pray. If you feel—and many of you have children—if you feel you must leave, quietly leave. And we’re going to God now in silent prayer. I’m going to pray silently here. And you pray silently there, or go out with a prayer in your heart. At high noon tomorrow, and the next day, we’re here at Easter services. I’ll see you Sunday, in the power of the Lord, and I’ll see you next Wednesday night at 7:30, here with an open Bible.