Editor’s Note: E.W. Abraham is one of the old-time Bible scholars who made a tremendous impact on the movement through his lectures, artciles and books. One book, “The Perfect Prayer” is still carried by the Association Bookstore. Mr. Abraham’s wife, Dorothy, was an author as well and her children’s book, “The Forest of Happiness” is also carried by the Bookstore.
From the earliest dawn of creation, God has made use of mankind in the carrying out of His purposes, and it is both interesting and instructive to follow down through the Bible to see how He chose first one, then another, to carry put for Him some special work or purpose.
Again and again throughout history, God chose and selected according to His own standards. Abel was chosen before Cain, in spite of being the younger; Shem before Japheth; Jacob before Esau; Joseph before Reuben; Moses before Aaron; David before all his brothers. God looks into the heart and sees what qualifications are there – He does not choose as we do, but knows His own Plan and Purpose, and how well or ill the individual will fit into it.
We have far too little record of the old Patriarchs and their service of God, and His selection of them, but we get glimpses now and then of the fact that they did serve Him, and serve Him well. Of Enoch, for instance, we read that he “walked with God”, and that “by faith”, he was translated, ” that he should not see death; end was not found, because God had translated him, for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 9).
Noah, too, was “a just man and perfect in his generations”, and God used him mightily, first of all to preach the coming judgment for 120 years; and then to lead the remnant God wished to save into the ark, and out onto this side of the Flood; which God promised should never happen again. “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s-sake,” He said, “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth: neither will I again smite…..every living thing…. While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.” (Gen. 8 :21,22).
In these days of darkness, bewilderment and trouble, in those we see coming upon the earth, it is good to remember that Rainbow Covenant God made with His servant Noah. At least we m ay leave universal flood out of our consideration, when we speculate to what will happen in fulfillment of our Lord’s words: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21). But let us try to get the faith of Enoch and Noah, and those old stalwarts who so faithfully served God, and we will never need to fear whatever may befall. “Fear not, little flock “, our Lord told His disciples, “for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) And again, “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.” (John 12:26); and again from the Prophet Isaiah in the 26th chapter verse 3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”
Of Noah’s three sons, God chose Shem to carry on the selected line. Shem was Noah’s second son, and heads the list of Abraham’s ancestors, as will be found in Genesis 11, a wonderful chapter, the importance of which is so often overlooked. Frequently nowadays one hears it asked: “What is the use of those old Genealogical Tables? The answer is, God inspired the Bible, and those lists were put there for a definite purpose. It is only in these comparatively modern days, since men have begun to look up their ancestry in this great study of the Identity of the Ang1o-Saxon-Celtic peoples with the “lost” tribes of Israel, that we have found the value of these Tables.
Some people, of course, through, ignorance or lack of interest question the value of looking up our ancestry at all. “What is the good of British Israel [Israel Truth]?” is a question frequently asked; and one could spend a great deal of time in relating just what the good of it is. Isaiah 51:2 is plain enough instruction: “Hearken to Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord:” (just note that address– the chapter is written to “ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord.” How close does that come to us? Are we not seekers “after the Lord and after righteousness?” Indeed there is no better occupation in these difficult, uncertain days, because there is no hope BUT in the Lord.) “Look unto the rock whence you are hewn,” the verse continues: “and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” Does that not sound like instructions to look up our family record and history? Then the next verse continues: “Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you:” What have Abraham and Sarah to do with me, perhaps you will ask, if you are not interested in your ancestry, or if you do not know that you are descended from Israel — and that is just where one of the good things about British Israel [Israel Truth] comes in. We know whence we came , and thanks to God’s prophetic Word, we know also something of whither we are bound ; and that knowledge, in itself, in these precarious times is really well worth while.
St. , Luke quotes Jesus as telling His disciples to “Look up, lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Let us turn to Isaiah 51, and see to whom its call is addressed: “Hearken unto Me, MY PEOPLE…Hearken unto Me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law….” Can we answer to that address, I wonder? Would to God that we could — but we must try to know and to keep God’s law, even though we fail again and again. “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return ….” His“ redeemed people” – that surely is for us, isn’t it? We were redeemed once and for all on the Cross at Calvary, where Jesus died for us. He has done His part; He has redeemed us, all we need to do is to accept His redemption, His death upon the Cross for OUR sins, AND His resurrection. Jesus lives forevermore; that is all we need to know. This fifty-first chapter of Isaiah is addressed to us here and now; — if we are seeking the Lord and His righteousness, this chapter is meant for us – for “if ye be Christ’s” remember, “then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:29) and we must refer back to the “rock” and “the hole of the pit” of Abraham and Sarah that bare us; we must turn up the old covenant God made with Abraham – absolutely unconditionally after He had proved him.
Then, turn to that wonderful chapter, Genesis 22, and see “what is the basic foundation of our teaching.” “And it came to pass…that God did TEMPT Abraham”. Dr. Moffatt has it, “God put Abraham to the test.” The story is so well known, it should hardly be necessary to repeat it; but briefly, God told Abraham to take his only son Isaac into the land of Moriah, “and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of.” Abraham’s faith was well nigh perfect on this occasion, and he proceeded to build an altar, and to bind his son ready for the sacrifice-his hand was even raised up and the knife poised for the killing, when God called to him “out of heaven.” ; We can scarcely begin to imagine the relief with which Abraham must have lowered his hand, and looking round saw “a ram caught in a thicket by his horns.” “Now, I know,” God said to him, “that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not witheld thy son, thine only son from Me.” How gladly must Abraham have grasped and killed the ram instead of his beloved son. “Jehovah-jirah”, he called the place, “the Lord will provide.”
What a lesson for us when God tests us sometimes. “Look unto the rock hence ye are hewn ….” God will always provide if we trust Him. Abraham did trust Him, for he had said to Isaac: “My son, God will provide Himself, a lamb for a burnt offering.” Was Abraham lo o king forward so far ahead as to Christ at that time? Jesus told the Jews, nearly two thousand years later: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My Day; and he saw it and was glad.”
We cannot know what Abraham saw at that time, but God called to him a second time out of heaven, and said: “By MYSELF HAVE I SWORN, saith the Lord: for BECAUSE Thou has done this thing, and hast not witheld thy son, thine only son ….” It is impossible to find any condition whatever attached here— BECAUSE thou HAST DONE — Abraham had finished his part of the contract; and God swore by HIMSELF – there could not be a more solemn undertaking under any circumstances whatever – the whole of the Covenant MUST be fulfilled to the very letter, because God has sworn to it. It will bear repetition and close study, to know just what that marvelous Covenant promised to Abraham and his seed FOR EVER was. Here it is: “… that In blessing I will bless thee, and will multiply thy seed as the stars in heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” And here again, repeated the second time, comes the “BECAUSE thou HAST obeyed My voice.” Obedience is always rewarded by God, and disobedience just as often punished–in fact disobedience is the whole cause of man’s plight today. If one were asked to put into as few words as possible one’s idea of the solution to the world’s present-day problems, about five words would suffice, that is, repentance and obedience to God. Anyway, Abraham obeyed God and received a tremendous blessing, which was given to him and his seed FOR EVER, and through him, to all mankind. Is that not worthwhile looking into, especially when we find that we are actually of his seed and due to inherit these blessings?
One of Abraham’s great ancestors was Shem, son of Noah. We know little of Shem from Bible sources after he begat Arphaxed when he was 100 years old; but he lived 500 years after that “and begat sons and daughters” the record reads. Speculation and legend links Shem’s name with Melchizedek “priest of the most High God”; But we have no certain knowledge, except that Shem must have lived as contemporary with many of the old fathers, and for as much as 150 years of Abraham’s life of 175 years.
If Shem and Melchizedek w ere one and the same person, what a wealth of wisdom and experience he must have been able to pass on to Abraham, his seven times great-grandson. But even were these two not identical, Shem was the chosen servant of God, to carry on the line, and is the father of many, many millions; far more than the comparatively few million Jews, who today look upon themselves as the Semites, or Semitic people, and who claim all the promises given to Abraham in consequence.
When you think about it, how absurd it is to speak and write, as so many do, of anti-Semitism, when all that is meant is the criticism of Jewish people, many of whom have far less of ancestor Shem’s blood in them than the average Anglo-Saxon, who has not the faintest notion (and more is the pity) from whence he sprang, although actually he is practically 100% Semitic.
Shem is specially noted in Gen. 10:21 as the “father of all the children of Eber,” who gave his name to all the Hebrews. Does not that give us a clue as to who in the world today should be called “Semitic” — all peoples who are descended from Shem and Eber. They must be an immense number by now, even though many of them have lost their identity entirely. Some day we will be proud to trace our ancestry back to those old patriarchs.
Eber’s sons, Peleg and Joktan, are again specially mentioned, although we know little of them for certain. “In the day of Peleg”, we are told, “was the earth divided.” That was the time of the creation of the Tower of Babel; could it perhaps refer to the time of the lost Atlantis, or perhaps to the confusion of the languages which we find mentioned in Gen. 11 (It might be well to take time to read that chapter.) Today we are once more heading for Babel. We hear talk once more of a universal language; of the U.N., of this and that international organization; of world orders and world leagues. Israel was raised up to defeat by just such an object before. Just apply that story of Babel to what we are facing today, and see if it does not appear that we are headed that way again; then turn to the newspapers, and see the daily story of strikes, floods, wars, murders, chaos of all kinds that you find there. Without God the world must die; without God we shall kill ourselves off. Where is our God today? What are we doing to turn people back to Him, our only hope in time of trouble? That surely is our great work as Israel, as believers in our identity as God’s servant people.
“Ye are My battle-axe and weapons of war ……”, says Jeremiah in a message to Israel from God; and turn to Isaiah 41 and see if God has not prepared a people for Himself: “Keep silence before Me, 0 Islands:” He says, “and let the people renew their strength… thou, 0 Israel, art My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, My friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto them, Thou art My servant, I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” What could be plainer than that? Is Israel not a chosen people?” We cannot deny it unless we deny God’s Word.
God HAS chosen a people. Who dare say that He is showing favouritism? When He desired a nation to serve His Plan and purpose, He can and does raise one up for training and testing and teaching; and that is exactly what He did with Israel. “O House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold as the clay is in the potter’s hands, so are ye in Mine hand, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 18:6)
“Then the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot His inheritance.” (Deut. 32:8) God does choose nations, and peoples, and individuals AS HE WILLS.