This entry is part of 50 in the series article 26

(Acts 10; 11:1-18) 

NO sooner did God create man out of the pure love 
of the infinite heart, than man surrendered to the 
devil the vast dominion over which he had been made 
lord tenant. Since that time the world has been under 
condemnation. But Jesus Christ is the way of escape 
(John 3:17; 14:6). 

The sin of Adam was a direct disobedience of posi- 
tive law. As a result of that sin, he became an enemy 
of God Toy his own wicked works (Col. 1:21), because 
it has always been a law of nature that, when one man 
harms another, the former becomes an enemy of the 
latter by reason of the injury he has committed. How- 
ever, God loved man too much to allow him to be lost 
forever, as were the angels who left their first estate 
(Jude 6). So this was the great problem before God: 
How could the divine law be upheld and the divine 
wisdom vindicated before angels and men, and at the 
same time the rebellious heart of humanity be touched 
and man reconciled to Lis Creator? It could not be 
done by punishment, for punishment would have alien- 
ated man more and more; it could only be done by an 
extraordinary manifestation of love (John 3:16). 

Such a demonstration of love would magnify divine 
law, demonstrate the mercy and benevolence of God 
and open up a way of reconciliation. Great as the 
problem was, the solution was at hand. 

Consequently, we have something in the Scriptures 
known as "the eternal purpose of God," "the mystery 
of his will'' which "has been kept secret since the 
worlds began'' but has later been revealed "unto the 
apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Rom. 16:25, 26; 
Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:1-12). This eternal purpose was to 
send Jesus Christ in the fullness of time to make full 
atonement and to open up a way of reconciliation; to 
establish the church, publish the gospel, and unite Jews 
and Gentiles in one body; in other words, "through 
Christ to reconcile all things unto himself" (Eph. 2: 
11-17; Col. 1:18-29). 

In this sermon it is our purpose to study this 
eternal purpose of God — or the scheme of redemption — 
as it unfolded from Adam to Moses. In a subsequent 
discourse we will discuss its development from Moses 
to Cornelius, the first Gentile admitted into the new 

I. The Patriarchal Dispensation. 

1. The gospel in purpose. The oracle of God con- 
tained in Gen. 3 : 14, 15. This points forward to 
Christ (Gal. 3:16). In other words, this plan was 
hid in the mind of God before the foundation of the 
world. No man knew anything of it; and the first 
intimation is contained in this oracle (Eph. 1:4, 5; 
1 Pet. 1:19, 20). 

Sacrifice a positive institution. The first sacrifice 
on record (Gen. 4:1-12). In Heb. 11:4 we are in- 
formed that Abel offered his sacrifice by faith. Rom. 
10 : 17 informs us that faith comes by hearing the 
word of God. Hence Abel's sacrifice was offered in 
accordance with the law of God, while Cain's sacrifice 
was not. The purpose of sacrifice was to typify the 
shedding of the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:22). Abel's 
sacrifice represented the shedding of blood, but Cain's 
sacrifice did not; hence Abel's was accepted and Cain's 
rejected. Every lamb that was slain upon the patri- 
archal or Jewish altar pointed forward to the Lamb of 
God, who was to be slain as the sin-offering for all 
ages (Rev. 13:8). Hence it had to be a lamb without 
spot or blemish, the firstborn of the flock (1 Pet. 1: 19, 
20). That sacrifice is of divine origin is attested by 
the fact that all heathen peoples hold the view that 
the only way in which they can propitiate the anger 
of their deities is by offering sacrifices of blood. There 
is no moral reason for sacrifice — therefore it had to be 
a positive institution. 

The growth of the human family. Its exceeding 
wickedness (Gen. 6). The destruction of the human 
family and the salvation of the race, as well as the 
scheme of redemption through Noah. The flood. 
Noah's salvation a type of the gospel plan of salvation. 
Noah and his family were saved by faith, by obedi- 
ence, by water and by the ark (Heb. 11 : 7 ; 1 Pet. 3 : 
18-21). The ark a type of the church. The law con- 
tained many types and symbols of the gospel (Heb. 
10:1; Col. 2:17). 

The reproduction of the race through Noah. The 
dispersion from Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). From that time 
there were numerous tongues, races and nationalities, 
but all of one common ancestry (Acts 17:26). 

2. The gospel in promise. The race became so dis- 
obedient that the eternal purpose of God could not be 
carried out through the whole human family. So God 
selected Abraham to become the father of a chosen 
people (Gen. 12:1-5). From that time forward He 
carried put His plans through the seed of Abraham 
until the establishment of the new institution. It took 
almost twenty-five hundred years to prepare Christi- 
anity for the world, and mankind for the reception of 
Christianity. "While the Gentiles were demonstrating 
the failure of different forms of natural religion and 
philosophy, the Jews were demonstrating the sinfulness 
of sin and the necessity of holiness, and gradually 
building up a system of type and prophecy that would 
culminate in Christ and the new covenant, Thus the 
Old Testament helps to establish the New. 

From the call of Abraham the Jews became the 
chosen people of God, and the remaining nations of the 
world were left to work out a religion of their own. 
Although the moral standards of Buddha, Confucius, 
Socrates and other religious teachers were very high, 
nevertheless they did not attain the moral standard set 
by the life of Christ. The world failed to perfect any 
true system of religion without a positive revelation. 
Christianity the true religion, in that it is a positive 
revelation from God. 

The old covenant made with Abraham and his seed, 
or posterity, the Jews. It consisted of two classes — 
those born in Abraham's house, and those bought with 
Abraham's money (Gen. 17:1-14). Circumcision the 
sign of the covenant. 

God tests the faith of Abraham (Gen. 22:1-14). 
Abraham proves faithful. Hence the wonderful prom- 
ise (Gen. 22:18). This promise points forward to 
Christ and the gospel (Gal. 3:8). 

The subsequent history. Isaac and Jacob. The be- 
trayal of Joseph into captivity. Joseph becomes a man 
of rank in the kingdom of Pharaoh. The departure of 
Israel and his sons into Egypt, 

The years of Egyptian bondage. The story of 
Moses. Moses called to deliver Israel (Ex. 3). The 
exodus. The miraculous deliverance of the Israelites 
at the Red Sea. 

Moses a type of Christ (Deut. 18:15). As Moses 
was leader, deliverer and lawgiver, so is Jesus Christ. 
Egyptian bondage a type of the bondage of sin. As 
Moses delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian 
bondage, Jesus Christ delivers from the bondage of sin 
(Heb. 5:9). The burial of the Jewish hosts beneath 
the cloud, with a wall of water on either side, typical 
of baptism by which the sinner must be buried, and 
from which he must be resurrected to walk in newness 
of life (1 Cor. 10:1, 2). 

The giving of the law at Mount Sinai marks the 
close of the patriarchal dispensation. The institution 
of worship during this period was the altar, which usu- 
ally consisted of a heap of stones, temporarily thrown 
together on the plains wherever the patriarchs were 
encamped, upon which the sacrifice was offered. The 
patriarch was prophet, priest and king of his house- 
hold. The government was patriarchal, or family gov- 

When we stop to think that the various books of 
the Bible were written by more than forty different 
authors, in all ages, without any means of communi- 
cating with each other; and that these books so com- 
piled, when put together, form a harmonious whole 
that has but one thread of thought from beginning to 
end — the unfolding of the scheme of redemption from 
Adam to Cornelius — we must admit that the Book is of 
divine origin. This is further proven by the relation- 
ship between the Old and New Testaments, in type and 
prophecy. As the oft-repeated couplet reads: 

"The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; 
The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed."
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