Thursday, June 21, 2012

Walking with God…literally!

How were people saved before Abraham and the Covenant?

There is a more extensive study on this subject available on our blog (Death Before The Cross),  but here is a quick reply as well, regarding  the people after the fall of man, from Adam until Abraham. 

When we think of salvation in the dispensation of grace today, it is different than in prophecy in time past.  We are saved eternally the moment we trust the shed blood of Christ.

Ephesians 1:13
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Our salvation is not based upon any works.  It is a justification unto eternal life.  Our soul is saved from the penalty of hell and the lake of fire, which is the second death.

This is the only dispensation in which people are saved in a moment (split second) of time. Outside of our dispensation of grace (in prophecy—that which had been spoken of by the prophets of Israel), salvation (justification: being declared righteous in the eyes of God) was based upon a short-accounts system.  Even before the Law was given to Moses, God instituted blood sacrifices for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:21
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins [the first blood sacrifice], and clothed them.

Genesis 4:4
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 [blood] offering:

They would meet God where he placed the cherubim.

Genesis 3:24
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Cain and Abel knew they were to bring a blood sacrifice there, even though Cain decided to bring an offering of the cursed ground instead.

Genesis 4:3
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.

It was by animal sacrifices that people were accepted by God.

Genesis 4:7
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

They were to bring a proper blood sacrifice.  You always need blood.  The blood pointed to the blood of Jesus Christ.  We know that from the book of Hebrews and other passages.

Hebrews 9:12-14
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

So the issue was definitely blood sacrifices to the Lord; but it was also doing what God said.  For example, during the time period between Adam and Noah, every man (the sons of Adam) had access to God if they wanted it, just like Cain.  Cain had access; he just didn’t want it.  And men did call upon the name of the Lord.

Genesis 4:26
And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

The Lord would appear if they wanted a relationship with him.  God wanted a relationship with man.  Enoch is an example of a man who chose to walk with God.

Genesis 5:22
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

So that is how man was justified in those days.  They walked with God and kept his word.  That is what God was trying to institute with Adam and Eve in the garden.  They would meet with him.  They walked with God and kept his laws, statues and judgments, although they were not written down as scripture until the Law was given to Moses.  But God did share his word(s) with them.  Abraham kept God’s law before it was written down.

Genesis 26:5
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

So walking with God and blood sacrifice was the way to be right in the eyes of God in time past.  If they continued to do that throughout their lifetime, except Enoch, the seventh from Adam, who was a type of the body of Christ, who was caught up to heaven to be with the Lord.

Genesis 5:24
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

But at the time of their death, if they were walking with God with a righteous lifestyle before God – keeping his word to them (God would just appear to man and talk to them), and offering blood sacrifices – they  would be accepted.  God had a relationship with man.  Cain and Abel actually talked with the Lord.  Even after the flood when Noah left the ark he offered sacrifices:

Genesis 8:20
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 [worship].

Most people think that the animals only went on the ark two by two.  But of the clean animals, Noah took seven.

Genesis 7:2
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

Noah took more of the clean beasts so that he could offer sacrifices when he left the ark.

Genesis 8:21
And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

The point that I want you to see is that Noah built an altar.  He was a man of God and even after the flood he offered sacrifices.  In those days people were not saved as we define salvation as justification unto eternal life in a moment of time (when we believe the Gospel).  They had a short-account system.  They had to walk with God and offer blood sacrifices on the altar, even before Abraham did.

So between Adam and Abraham, God would appear to people just as he did to Abraham, Noah, Methuselah, Adam and his sons.  Anyone could say to the Lord that they wanted to see him and talk to him and he would appear to them and share his word with them if they had a heart of faith and believed his word(s).  You can see that in the life of Abraham.  That is how he dealt with men who walked with him.

It didn’t take long after Noah and before Abraham for men to go into idolatry.  At the tower of Babel they had already determined to do things their way.

          Genesis 11:4

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

God told Noah and his sons and daughters-in-law to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth in Genesis 9.  By Genesis 11 mankind is doing their own thing apart from God.  In Genesis 12 God chooses a man named Abram, son of Terah (Gen 12:1), who came from an idolatrous lifestyle in the Ur of Chaldees, but who had a heart of faith.  It didn’t take long for man to go into apostasy again after the Flood, just like they did before.

So before Abraham, God dealt with humanity by appearing to them and give them his word; if they responded in faith and offered blood sacrifices, God would accept them like we see with Abel, Noah and Abraham.  They were saved if they continued walking in faith until the end.  This is pictured in Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 18:21-22
But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

If they did not continue in righteousness and died in wickedness, they would be lost forever.

Ezekiel 18:24
 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

They were ‘saved’ if they died in their righteousness:  walking with the Lord and offering blood sacrifices (faith plus works).  And like it says about Abraham who ended well:

Genesis 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.

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