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The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XIV

BIRTHRIGHT OF FREEDOM

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T0 WHOM would the precious birthright to the promise or covenant made with Abraham descend I Jehovah God, who was typified by Abraham, determined that; for He is the Author and Finisher of the covenant. He guided Abraham in the typical drama.

When Abraham was 137 years old his faithful wife Sarah died. Word had come from the city of Haran in Mesopotamia, near the headwaters of the Euphrates river, where Abraham's older brother Nahor took up residence. It told that to Nahor's son Bethuel had been born a daughter Rebekah, and that she was now a mature woman. Abraham's son Isaac was now going on forty, but still single. He refused to marry any of the daughters of the land, who were Canaanites, descendants of the accursed Canaan. Isaac waited upon his father Abraham to provide him a wife and thus arrange for the handing on of the covenant of promise. The wife must be a God-fearing woman and of Abraham's immediate relationship. Neither did Abraham return to the land from which Jehovah God had led him forth, nor did he permit his son Isaac to go there, but he sent his oldest servant of his house there to procure a wife for Isaac from

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among his kindred. Outside the city the Lord God brought this servant Eliezer at once in touch with the prospective wife, Rebekah, at the well where he stopped to water his camels. After giving his camels drink and then learning Eliezer's identity Rebekah ran home and reported Abraham's servant as outside the city. Her brother Laban hastened forth at once and brought the man into the home.

Before accepting a meal, Eliezer without delay made known his errand to Rebekah's father, Bethuel. Both Bethuel and Laban said: "The thing proceedeth from Jehovah: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as Jehovah hath spoken." After a feast and the night's rest Eliezer asked to be let return with Rebekah to his master's abode. Rebekah agreed to go, as the case was urgent from the Lord. "And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them." (Genesis 24: 50, 51, 60, A.R.V.) As the camels neared the destination, bearing Eliezer and Isaac's betrothed, Isaac was in the field and saw them coming. The caravan was halted, and Rebekah alighted and covered herself with her bridal veil. "And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his

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mother's death." (Genesis 24:66,67) There is no record that a religious clergyman was present or took any part in these proceedings; for the whole matter was according to the arranging and law of Jehovah God.

This delightful part of the prophetic drama carries farther the picture that Abraham's seed should be as the stars and the sands for multitude. It pictures that the only begotten Son of God as the "Seed" would not be alone, but that Jehovah God would give him associates in God's purpose, over whom the Son would be the Head as a husband is head over the wife. (1 Corinthians 11:3) Accordingly, Isaac continues to typify Christ Jesus as the Seed, while Rebekah typifies the company of Christian associates whom Jehovah God in his purpose gives as a "bride" to Christ Jesus. They are the "body of Christ", of which Jesus Christ is the Head. By marriage to Isaac, Rebekah became the daughter-in-law of Abraham and became one with Isaac, the typical seed of the promise. This pictures how those who make up Christ's bride, or "the Lamb's wife", would by adoption of God be united with the Seed Christ Jesus and thereby become part of the Seed of the Greater Abraham.

This is not the "private interpretation" of any man. The Scriptures remove all doubt of that. Under heavenly inspiration it is written: "Know therefore that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles

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by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed. Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, WHICH IS CHRIST." (Galatians 3:7,8,16, A.R.V.) This proves that Christ Jesus is the Seed of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah. By Christ Jesus Jehovah blesses those showing faith and proving it, and then he adopts them as his sons and makes them one with Christ Jesus, The Seed, so making them part of the "seed". "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. . . . For ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." —Galatians 3: 26-29.

Just how many were thus to be associated with Christ Jesus as his "bride" God's covenant to Abraham did not reveal; they were left without number, like the stars and sands. In due time God chose to make known the exact number. (Revelation 7:4-8; 14:1,3) In proof that Isaac typified the promised Seed who unites the "bride" class with himself as children of God and of his organization, and in proof that Isaac's mother Sarah pictured God's "woman", his organization Zion or the heavenly Jerusalem, it is written to Christ's body of followers: "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but

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of the free." (Galatians 4: 26, 28, 31) God's organization is one of truth, and hence is free.

God foreknew clearly and he also predetermined or predestinated who was the One to be his instrument for making His name great and blessing believers among men. This fact becomes clearer as the prophetic proceedings move on. Never is it to be forgotten that the Old Serpent, in his bitter enmity toward the promised Seed, was ever alert and ready to spring in order to thwart the fulfillment of Jehovah's covenant and so prove himself mightier than God. After twenty years of barrenness Isaac's wife became fruitful, by God's mercy. The Lord revealed to her that she was bearing twins, and that the one born second would become stronger than the one born first, and God decreed that "the elder shall serve the younger". (Genesis 25: 21-23) This meant that the younger was God's choice for the birthright to his covenant with Abraham. The Old Serpent, however, immediately set himself to sabotage this divine decision and to bring reproach upon God's choice.

When Rebekah's time was full, the firstborn was called Esau, and the second twin, whose hand took hold on his brother's heel, was named Jacob, or "Supplanter". The twins grew to manhood. Esau became a hunter. Jacob engaged in managerial and constructive work about his father Isaac's tents, and in learning of God's covenants, the fulfillment of which he desired. Esau cared not for the covenant with Abraham, and

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hunted and interested himself in the accursed daughters of Canaan, looking for wives among them. Yet he claimed the right to the Abrahamic covenant by virtue of the law of the land concerning firstborn sons. Not knowing that God had decreed that the birthright belonged to the younger twin, Jacob, but showing his contempt for God's word and loving his belly, Esau sold his birthright claim to Jacob for a savory mess of pottage. For this God's Word calls Esau a fornicator and a profane person; and rightly God judged the twin sons, saying: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9:10-13; Malachi 1: 2, 3) Jacob now possessed the birthright by two things, by God's decree and by right of purchase of all claim thereto.  —Genesis 25:27-34.

The Devil hated Jacob and watched to destroy him while childless. At Gerar, in Palestine, God had restated the terms of the Abrahamic covenant to Isaac. (Genesis 26:1-6) The time came for Isaac, as receiver from Abraham, to pass on the birthright blessing to his successor. Esau kept his father ignorant of the sale of his claim to the birthright. He acted hypocritically as if it was rightfully his and, at his father's bidding, went out hunting before coming to receive the blessing. God caused Rebekah to learn of Esau's plot and guided her in harmony with what God had told her before the birth of Esau and Jacob. As a result Isaac bestowed the blessing upon God's choice, Jacob, and said: "Let thy mother's

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sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee." (Genesis 27: 27-29) Isaac, due to age, had become sightless and did not see upon whom he was bestowing the blessing. Hence the course of the blessing was not of man's will, but of God's will, that the purpose of Jehovah



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might stand. (Romans 9:11) He never misplaces blessings.

Afterward Esau came in, presumptuously to claim and receive the birthright blessing, only to learn that Jacob had acted in keeping with the sale made years previous to him. Grieved because he had failed to cheat his brother, the rightful heir of the promise, Esau planned to kill Jacob at their father's death. Meantime he" married Canaanite women. His whole course shows he was unworthy to inherit the blessing; wherefore God ruled against him.

Jacob was now past seventy years of age. His mother Rebekah, hearing of Esau's murderous purpose, instructed her faithful son to avoid Esau and flee to her brother Laban's home in Syria. Ere he departed, blind Isaac counseled Jacob as heir of the promise not to imitate Esau's unclean conduct, but to go to his cousin's home in Syria (or Padan-aram) and take a wife from his household. Then, and this time knowingly, Isaac repeated God's blessing upon Jacob, showing that this one was the approved heir.

Jacob departed for Syria. On the way he was obliged to sleep out in the open field, near a place called Luz. He arranged stones for his pillow, and lay down to sleep. Jehovah sent a dream to the sleeper and assured Jacob he had done right and was a man of faith pleasing to God and was chosen of him. "And he dreamed; and, behold, a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and, behold, the

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angels of God ascending and descending on it." From the top thereof Jehovah spoke to Jacob and extended the terms of the Abrahamic covenant to him, and said: "And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." On awaking early next morning Jacob made a pillar of his pillow stones and anointed it and called the name of the place "Bethel", meaning "House of God". Jacob also vowed that if God would guide him and provide for him and bring him safely home again, then "Jehovah will be my God". —Genesis, chapter 28, A.R.V.

Reaching the city of Haran in Syria, Jacob was well received by Laban his uncle and was made at home. He contracted for marriage to him of Laban's two daughters, Leah and Rachel. By them, and their maidservants who represented their mistresses in childbearing, Jacob became father to eleven sons and a daughter. He also acquired large herds of domestic animals and a large body of servants. This caused jealousy in Laban's household, and God commanded Jacob to leave and return to the promised land. Esau, hearing of his coming, went out to meet him, and Jacob sent gifts ahead to him. The night before meeting Esau Jacob was visited by an angel of Jehovah, and Jacob wrestled with the angel, in human form, for a divine blessing before he faced Esau. Then this deputy of God changed Jacob's name to Israel, saying, "For thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed." For this reason "Israel" is understood to mean "Ruling with

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God; soldier (wrestler) with God". This was the reward for his unbreakable faith.

The meeting of Jacob and Esau passed off without Esau's carrying out his threat of twenty years previous. Esau returned to the country of Seir, and Jacob moved on and pitched tent for a time near Shechem, and he set up an altar of worship and called it "El-e-lo-he-Israel", meaning "God, the God of Israel". This God was Jehovah, as Jacob had so said at Bethel, the site of his ladder dream. In process of time God commanded Jacob to make a return visit to Bethel. There God made an appearance to Jacob and confirmed the change of his name to that of Israel, and also the promise respecting the seed of Abraham. On the journey from Bethel, and as they neared Ephrath (later called Bethlehem) Jacob's dear wife Rachel gave birth to her second son, Benjamin, but she died from her hard childbirth. Her other son was Joseph. Jacob now was father to twelve sons. With them he was privileged to visit his father Isaac before this blind old patriarch died at 180 years.

Regarding Isaac's death the record at Genesis 35:29, according to the King James Version, reads: "And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him." The Douay Version of the same verse reads: "And being spent with age he died, and was gathered to his people." The Rotherham version reads: "And Isaac breathed his last and died and was added unto his people."

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Comparison of these three authoritative renderings explodes the false doctrine based on the Serpent's lie in Eden, that an immortal soul inhabits man's body and that as a ghost it escapes from the body at death and hovers about in a spirit world, awaiting a reunion with the body in the resurrection time. Such is nothing but the demonic religion of the ancient Egyptians, who made mummies by embalming the dead bodies and encasing them in coffins in the belief that at judgment day the soul would re-enter the body and the person would live again. It is a foolish effort of the demons to disprove God's sentence upon Adam, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." As for Isaac, he died and was buried, and to him Jesus' words apply: "No man hath ascended up to heaven."

Isaac's son Jacob continued to dwell in tents as a sojourner in an alien land, taking no part in this world's doings, but looking forward to the new world of righteousness. Esau and his descendants, however, built cities in the territory of Seir and set up kingdoms and duchies. Jacob looked for the setting up of God's kingdom through the promised Seed. He erected no city or cities built with man's hands. Like Abraham and Isaac he held fast his integrity toward Jehovah's promise and was a faithful witness for him.

In approval of these three forefathers of the promised Seed, Jehovah caused this record to be written: "By faith Abraham, when he was

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called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. These all died in faith, not having received the promises [fulfilled], but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." —Hebrews 11: 8-10,13-16.

That "city", or organized government, they shall occupy as princes on earth under the heavenly kingdom of the Seed of God's "woman". For such reason Christ Jesus, the Seed, said regarding their faith: "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." (John 8: 56) For their faith and works they are listed by name with Jehovah's "so great a cloud of witnesses". —Hebrews 12:1.



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