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by Dr. John Thomas
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
From this testimony, then, we learn that the faith in Amram's family was concerning Christ, and the recompense of the reward; that this was so little sympathized with, that those who embraced it were subjected to reproach, and called upon to endure on account of it; and that the things connected with Christ were esteemed by those who understood them, as of greater value than the most enlightened, wealthy, and powerful of kingdoms, possessed in all its glory.
Now, as the faith of Amram's family is the "faith without which it is impossible to please God" in any age, it will be of advantage to us to have as distinct a view of it as possible.
Omitting, then, the general principles of religion, stated on pages 166 and 167 of this work, in which all the faithful were instructed, I shall present in this place a summary of the things which were "all the salvation and all the desire" of Abraham's family, though for a long time "God made it not to grow".
I shall begin the enumeration with the most elementary principle, and ascend to the more complex in the order of their development in the promises of God.
They believed, then, That a son of Eve would take away the sin and evil of the world; That until the sin-power should be subdued, there would be perpetual strife between his adherents and the partisans of sin; That in this war the Son of the woman and his allies would suffer much adversity, and be temporarily overcome; but afterwards, conquer all their foes; That Eve's son would descend from Abraham in the line of Isaac, Jacob and Judah; That Abraham's descendants in the line of Jacob would become "a great and mighty nation"; and that when this came to pass, Abraham's name would be great in all the earth; That all nations should be blessed, in a social, ecclesiastical.
and civil sense, in Abraham and his Seed, whom I shall hereafter term Christ; That this personage, the hope of Abraham's family, should possess the gate of his enemies -- that is, gain the victory over them; That Christ should possess the land of Canaan from the Euphrates to the Nile; that he should possess it "for ever," and therefore be immortal; That Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob should possess Canaan with Christ for ever; That Abraham was the constitutional father of nations, and, with his sons -- namely, with Christ and his brethren -- the "heir of the world," which was memorialized by the change of his name from Abram to Abraham; That kings would descend from Abraham in the line of Judah, etc. ; and that, therefore, the twelve tribes would constitute a kingdom in the land of Canaan, of which Judah would be the royal tribe; That through Judah, as the lion of Israel, their enemies should be subdued; That "the Shepherd and Stone of Israel" would be a Son of Judah and Son of God; and that he would be the Lawgiver and King of all nations to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; That Christ would be slain by the tribe of Levi after the parable of Isaac; That as Christ and Abraham are to inherit the land of Canaan for ever, they would rise from the dead to possess it; and that the same thing must occur in the case of all others who should inherit with them; That after this resurrection and exaltation to power and dominion, ten tribes of Christ's brethren after the flesh would go down into Egypt a second time; and meeting them there, he would make himself known to them; receive their humble and sincere submission; and, we may add, like another Moses and Joshua in one person, lead them out of Egypt and plant them in the land of Canaan; That to share in this consummation would be the reward of a righteousness counted to those who believed the things promised; That every one of whom this righteousness was reckoned must be a circumcised person; or otherwise be cut off from his people; and that circumcision was the token of the covenant of promise, and the seal of the righteousness by faith.
In the exposition of the things of the kingdom, as unfolded in "the promises made of God to the fathers," the following points have been fairly established: That the territory of the kingdom of Shiloh is not beyond the skies, but all the land of Canaan from the Euphrates to the Nile; and from the Gulf of Persia and Red Sea to the Mediterranean; That the twelve tribes of Israel are the natural born subjects of the kingdom; That Christ in the line of Judah is its King; That those of like faith and disposition with Abraham, and who walk in the steps of his faith, are the joint inheritors with its king; in other words, its aristocracy; who will share in the glory, honour, power, and blessedness of the kingdom for ever: and, That all nations will be subject to this kingdom, and constitute its empire.
These five points, however, do not comprehend all the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Shiloh, or the Anointed One of God, was promised in the line of Judah; but the question remained open from Jacob's decease for many centuries after, as to the particular family of the tribes of Judah he was to descend from.
Besides this, there is nothing said respecting the constitution, laws, and ecclesiastical institutions of the kingdom.
It will, therefore, be necessary for us to look into these things, that we may fully comprehend the system of the world to be established by the God of heaven, when all other dominions shall have passed away.
It may facilitate a clear and distinct conception of the contents of this chapter to bring the dates quoted into a tabular form; I shall, therefore, conclude this part of my subject by presenting the reader with the following chronology.
Years after Flood CHRONOLOGY OF THE AGE BEFORE THE LAW.
Shem begat Arphaxad, and lived afterwards 500 years.
Terah aged 70; and Abram born.
Noah died; Abram 58 years.
Abram leaves Haran, aged 75.
The promise concerning Christ confirmed on the 14th day of Abib at even; Abram 85.
Circumcision instituted; Abraham circumcises all his males.
Isaac born; Abraham 100 years.
Sojourns in the Philistines' land.