Forgetting Things Behind

H. E. Warlick

When the great apostle to the Gentiles wrote these lines to the church at Philippi, which he founded himself, there seemed to be no trouble in that congregation. He says, “To write some things unto you (the things which he had preached), to me, it is not irksome, but for you it is safe.” He knew the Jews were overlooking the spiritual promise of a blessing in Abraham’s seed. They could comprehend only the fleshly covenant (Gen. 15:7).

In Genesis 12: 1-4 the spiritual promise was made to Abraham in which there were no fleshly promises included. Describing his attitude Paul said, in verses 3 and 4, “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh, if any other man thinketh he hath whereof to trust in the flesh, I more,” and he gives the reason for that statement. “But what things were gain to me, I counted but loss for Christ.” (vs. 5-7) Further he says: “I count them but refuse that I might win Christ and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ.”

To look for a fulfillment of the promises of God to fleshly Israel through Christ as being yet future is to disregard Paul’s reasoning in these statements; and to say that God’s promises to Abraham of his fleshly descendants, inheritance in the land of Canaan, and temporal rule in Jerusalem, of the seed of David, were to be fullfilled in Christ, is to read these covenants to no profit. There were no promises to fleshly Israel of the land of Canaan, or any other temporal inheritance or blessing accruing to that nation, to be secured in Christ. Everything contemplated of blessings through Christ were “heavenly callings” (v. 14), and were spiritual in contradistinction to the fleshly.

I presume now that, as in Paul’s day, we have brethren who try to mix up the fleshly covenant (Gen. 15) which God made with Abraham, with the spiritual promise (Gen. 12:1-4) which he made to him when he first appeared to him. To this promise the law was added 430 years after, and Paul said to the Galatians that the law could not disannul, or make the promise of no avail (Gal. 3:17).

Premillennialists and Pedo-baptists are about alike in their study of the Abrahamic covenants. They mix up the fleshly covenant of circumcision with the spiritual promise of a blessing to all nations through the seed of Abraham. This promise was made some twenty five years before God made the fleshly covenant of circumcision with Abraham. But the Pedo-baptists try to connect the two to get baby baptism, and the Premillenialist tries to connect the two to get the Jews back to Canaan. They should read First Corinthians 3 and see that in the reading of the old covenant the Jew’s heart was so veiled that he could look into the end of that which was abolished. “But unto this day,” says Paul, “the veil is upon their hearts,” until they “turn to the Lord.”

The Lord began to speak at Pentecost through the apostles as they were endowed to speak by the Spirit. Christ was at the right hand of God, exalted in heaven, made Lord and Christ, the Anointed Ruler. The things now before the nations—all nations were included in the promise to Abraham, “In thee and thy seed shall all nations be blessed.” This was redemption, remission of sins, all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3). There was no more temporal inheritance; no more the things of the earth, but the things above, where Christ “sitteth at the right hand of God.”

In Acts 13:32, 33, Paul declared that the “promise which God made to the fathers he hath fulfilled the same unto us their children in raising up Christ from the dead,” and through Christ “is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins” (v. 38), not an inheritance in Canaan. Peter declared Him to be both Lord and Christ. Paul says, “as ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him” (Col. 2:6). He was never received as Christ Jesus the Lord until thus presented, and on the day of Pentecost when, for the first time in all the annals of time, was He presented to mankind the Anointed Ruler and Saviour. Denominations teach that He was man’s Saviour and Ruler before the announcement by Peter on Pentecost and the Premillennialists would have Him become such when He returns to the earth. But when He returns, He is not to rule, but to relinquish His rule to God (1 Cor. 15: 24).

As Paul admonished the Phillippians to forget their fleshly ideas of an inheritance in Canaan, and reach toward a heavenly goal, I wish to call my premillennial brethren and friends to consider his plain statements, and do likewise by accepting the truth on the question.

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Author: Editor

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