Also in Isaiah 46:8-10, “Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: (all that I have done to meet your every need,) for I am God, and there is none else: I am God; and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” He will accomplish His purpose. He has called us to be part of His solution, a witness to His light, or else we have become a part of the problem!
This has been God’s message throughout the Scriptures since creation, a covenant with man to meet our every need, promising a Savior to Adam and Eve of her seed because of their sin in Genesis chapter three, with the knowledge of evil visited unto all of mankind. All this was planned for even before creation (Revelation 13:8), sworn to keep His every word in keeping with His covenant, “I will be your God.” God’s atonement for their sins by the animal sacrifices was only a covering until His promise as stated in Revelation 13:8, was fulfilled. The first animal sacrifice mentioned, made by man was made by Abel in Genesis 4:4, which “the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering. Hebrews 11:4 states, By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous (a right thinker), God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” John also states in I John 3:12 Cain slew Abel “because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” Abel’s animal sacrifice was a token of his faith in the promises of God.
Cain, by bringing even the best of the fruit of the ground, as a token of his pride in his hands, and how they have served him as one of many gods in his world! Abel remembered the sacrifice of God to make atonement; but Cain, when he knew God had provided for a covering for his sin, was not grateful; but in his vain imagination, forgetting the God of compassion and mercy who has met all his needs, thought his best was good enough, and his foolish heart was darkened.
The second reference to an animal sacrifice is in Genesis 8:20-22, where “Noah built an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” Again in Hebrews 11:7 it states, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen yet, moved with fear (the fear of offending the God of creation who has create all things to meet our every need, and is also now speaking of taking it all away!) prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” I Peter 3:20 also states, “The longsuffering of God (for more than one hundred years), waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing (“not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance — II Peter 3:9), wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
That is so sad. The one thing that made all the difference to Noah was his faith to believe, trust, and obey the promises of God, with much gratitude toward his Lord God and Savior, for His faithfulness, in fulfilling His every promise, to bring him and his family safely through the flood. “By which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness, which is by faith.” Genesis 8:21 further states that the smell from the sacrifice made by Noah was of a “sweet savour,” for the smell was to God, a token of Noah’s faith that produced a trust in Him to walk in obedience, even through all this took over 100 years to complete. There was not much by which he could even relate to, since there had not been so much as one drop of rain previously, let alone a flooding of any kind, he still trusted God’s promises to save him with his family.
With Abraham and those since, sacrifices appear to have more emphasis on the testing of one’s faith as to where it is placed. Hebrews 11:8-19 states much of the testings of Abraham and Sarah, “not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise…Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed and was delivered of child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised… By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it is said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” if need be. We all walk by faith, either in the one God that is able to lead us in the way everlasting and who is able to deliver us from evil; or by faith in ourselves and the many gods of this world. God wants our heart, for out of the heart are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Abraham and Sarah’s faith wasn’t always stayed upon their Lord, God, and Savior as they tried several times to get ahead of God’s plans, causing irreversible damage that continues even to this day. But as time went on as Abraham’s faith continued to be tested, Abraham told Isaac (Genesis 22:7-8) concerning a lamb for the burnt offering; “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” All sacrifices are provided by God, for everything is His! We just need to trust our Lord and God to provide everything we need, no matter what He asks of us. Considering of a truth “that God was able to raise Him up, even from the dead” if necessary! “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraces them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
Salvation has come to us just as it did with them prior to the Messiah’s appearance. Salvation by faith always has and must start in the heart, for as it has been said “for out of it (the heart) are the issues of life” Proverbs 4:23. Of our own will we must repent and surrender before God can change our heart. When Moses spoke to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 30:6, 10-18, he said, “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul that thou mayest live.” Just as He commanded in Exodus 20:3-7; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 10:16-17; Mark 12:29-31; and Colossians 2:11. “If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and (yes, even) in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See (and remember!) I have set before thee this day life and (the knowledge of) good, and death and (the knowledge of) evil: In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish,” the consequences of choosing to let ones heart be drawn away! It is not the keeping of the commandments that save anyone, but it is a circumcised heart, made without hands as stated in the Old Testament times, as well as it is still today. A circumcised heart where the power of the flesh is cut away having no more influence over the heart from which come the issues of life. Physical circumcision was commanded only as a token of what is to be the desire of the heart.
The first command of God to circumcise was given to Abram in Genesis 17:1-14. The Lord appeared to Abram when he was ninety nine years old, “ and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect (8549- not sinless for all have sinned, but a man of integrity, one that is honest before God and man, being complete and thoroughly furnished in all the will of God). Even as Paul also states in Colossians 4:12, and again in II Timothy 3:16-17, “that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Continuing in Genesis 17:2-14; “And I will make my covenant (I will be your God) between Me and thee, and I will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him saying, as for Me, behold, My covenant (I will be your God) is with thee, and thou shall be a father of many nations.” God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, “for a father of many nations have I made thee… and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant (I will be your God) between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
As a God of covenant sworn to keep His every word, He will give to Abraham and his seed after him “all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God… Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.” Why? Because “this in my covenant, which ye shall keep between me and you and thy seed after thee.”
How is a father-son covenant to be kept by a son? Our Father in heaven who has promised to meet our every need as our God, the one and only Almighty God; a son can only honor that covenant with much gratitude, since “we brought nothing into this world, and is certain we can carry nothing out.” To keep His covenant, we by faith, must walk in obedience to His every word!
In Hebrews 11:1-22 we see “faith is the substance of things hoped for (based upon the promises of the faithful One, the God of covenant.), the evidence of things not seen… (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as well as his twelve sons) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
Continuing again in Genesis 17:10-14, where the God of covenant, the creator of all things, said to Abraham; “Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token (yes, only a token) of the covenant betwixt Me and you (The Father- son covenant, “I will be your God)… and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” Why is circumcision only a token of God’s covenant betwixt Him and Abraham? Second, what is its purpose?