REDEEMED FOR A PURPOSE
By ARLEN L. CHITWOOD
"And all the congregation lifted up
their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the assembly of the
congregation of the children of
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things were OUR examples, to the intent WE should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be YE idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let US commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let US tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur YE, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they were written for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [ages] are come," (1 Cor. 10: 1-11).
The twelve elders who had spent forty days traversing the land, returned to the camp of Israel, presented fruit from the land, and gave their report (Num. 13: 24-29). The land through which they had travelled was a land flowing "with milk and honey." But there was another side to the matter. The inhabitants of the land were strong, they dwelled in walled cities, and among these inhabitants they had seen the gigantic sons of Anak (the Nephhilim).
This report concerning the strength of the land's inhabitants, dwelling in walled cities, evidently caused a stir among the people, for Caleb had to silence them. Then he gave a positive analysis of the report (with Joshua ascribing to Caleb's analysis). But the remaining ten immediately followed with a negative analysis (vv. 30-33).
Caleb, after calming the people, said: "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it" (verse 30). But the ten followed, saying: "We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we" (verse 31).
The ten then went on to elaborate concerning the "great stature" of all the inhabitants throughout the land, who dwelled in cities that were "walled" and "very great." And then they singled out the sons of Anak (the Nephilim, emanating from the cohabitation of "the sons of God" [angels in Satan's kingdom] with "the daughters of men" [female descendants of Adam and his progeny]). The twelve appeared in the sight of the Nephilim and in their own sight as "grasshoppers"[or 'locust'] in comparison (vv. 32, 33; cf. v. 28).
And, on the basis of what they had seen in the land, the ten concluded that the Israelites were no match for these Gentile nations. The Israelites could only suffer defeat at the hands of a far- stronger people if they proceeded on into the land and sought to engage these nations in battle.
The picture of that which the Israelites faced can possibly be seen to a fuller extent by noting what is stated in Deut. 1: 28 (cf. Deut. 9: 1). In this verse, the cities in which the "greater and taller" inhabitants of the land dwelled were said to be "great and walled up to heaven [literally, 'to the heavens']."
thought is evident and cannot be missed. Satan and his angels ruled from
the heavens over the earth (a rule remaining unchanged down to the present
time); and they ruled the earth through the Gentile nations, with the nations
example, Daniel, chapter ten refers to a
"prince of the
world power emanating from
there is a picture. The
The cities having walls of this nature would, of course, not be true in the sense of literal brick and mortar walls built by man. Such walls could only extend so far, but beyond that, in a spiritual sense, the statement in Deut. 1: 28 would be very true. The walls enclosing all the cities in the land would reach into the very presence of spirit beings ruling from the heavens.
And there is no possible way that the Israelites, in a naturalistic sense, could penetrate these walls. And, if they could, there would be no possible way, in a naturalistic sense, that they could overcome the enemy dwelling behind the walls (cf. Joshua 6: 2-21).
the warfare, in its entirety, would have to be carried out exactly as the Lord described: "The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight
for you, according to all that he did for you in
And, beyond that, the warfare against Gentile nations dwelling in an earthly land (which the Israelites faced) is not as far removed as some may envision from the warfare against Satan and his angels dwelling in a heavenly land (which Christians face). The same supernatural powers residing in the heavens are seen at work in both instances, and the same Supernatural Power from a higher realm is necessary to overcome the enemy in both instances. The Lord had to go before the Israelites in history, and He has to go before Christians during the present time. Otherwise, the battle would / will be lost before ever engaging the enemy (cf. Num. 14: 42-45; Eph. 6: 11-18).
Caleb rendered a true analysis of the situation simply because he believed God would do exactly what He had promised. The ten, on the other hand, rendered a false analysis of the situation because they didn't believe God would do exactly what He had promised. And this was not just the heart of the matter. Rather, this was the whole of the matter.
But the nation, rather than exercising belief (as Caleb and Joshua), instead exercised unbelief (as the ten). Note Deut. 1: 32: "Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God."
The "thing" which the Israelites didn't believe is given in the preceding two verses. They didn't believe the Lord's promise that He would go before them and fight for them - allowing them to realise an inheritance in the land as God's firstborn son - in complete keeping with all which He had previously done for them both in Egypt, the Red Sea passage, the destruction of Pharoah and his armed forces in the Sea, the provision of manna and water in the wilderness, and the subsequent victory over Amalek.
The text refers specifically to the Lord going before them to prepare and show them the way, "in fire by night ... and in cloud by day" (V. 33). And this is exactly what He promised to continue doing when they entered the land. He, as in the past, would go before them, prepare the way, show them the way in which they were to go, and fight the enemy for them. This is what Caleb and Joshua believed, and this is what the nation refused to believe.
Everything which had happened to the Israelites up to this point was with a view to that which lay ahead - entering into the land, overthrowing the enemy, and realising an inheritance as God's firstborn son within a theocracy in the land. This was the goal of their calling - the goal which God had in mind when He called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees over 430 years earlier (Gen. 15: 2-21; Ex. 12: 40, 41; cf. Rom. 11: 29).
Everything which the Lord had previously done for the Israelites was with a view to bringing them to this one place, with all the circumstances and ramifications involved. And now they refused to believe that the Lord would carry matters through to the end.
1. Unbelief of the People
The people saw the fruit of the land and heard the report by the twelve. Then they heard Caleb render a positive analysis of the situation (with Joshua ascribing to Caleb's analysis), and this was followed by the remaining ten rendering a negative analysis.
the people of
The Israelites' unbelief at Kadesh-Barnea was of a nature not previously seen, though a similar manifested fury (with Moses' intercession staying God's judgment) had been seen at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 32: 1-14; cf. Deut. 9: 9-29).
At Kadesh-Barnea, following the Israelites' unbelief surrounding things having to do with their entering the land, the Lord said that He would smite the people with pestilence and disinherit them (Num. 14: 12). And God's hand was, once again, stayed in the matter only because of Moses' intercession on behalf of the people (vv. 13-20).
But judgment of a severe nature still fell. The ten who presented "the evil report" died "by the plague before the Lord" (Num. 14: 37), and the terminal judgment was pronounced upon the remainder of the unbelieving nation (those twenty years old and above). They were destined to wander in the wilderness, outside the land to which they had been called, for the next thirty-eight and one-half years (completing a full forty years in the wilderness [Deut. 2: 7, 14]), until every one of them had died. They, because of their unbelief, were to be overthrown in the wilderness, short of the goal of their calling (vv. 22-34)
2. Belief of Caleb and Joshua
Caleb and Joshua alone, of the entire accountable generation singled out in Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen, escaped God's judgment and were promised that they would ultimately be allowed to enter the land and realise an inheritance therein. And this was because they possessed "another spirit" (Num. 14: 24, 30). They believed God and looked at the matter accordingly.
again, viewing the apex of the manifestation of belief or unbelief
at this point, note what Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and
Joshua did after seeing the people believe the false report given by the ten:
"Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before
all the assembly of the congregation of the children of
along with Joshua, again sought to exhort the people concerning entering the
land, seeking to turn them from unbelief
to belief. They stated that the land was "an exceeding good land," a land flowing "with milk and honey." And the people of
But the people wouldn't listen and sought to stone them.+ And it was at this point that their unbelief reached a terminal point in God's eyes. They had tempted God "ten times" (a number showing completeness [v. 22]); and their iniquity, in this respect, had become "full" (cf. Gen. 15: 16). The Lord then stepped in and spoke of pestilence and disinheritance; and, following Moses' intercession on behalf of the people, which stayed God's hand, He rendered His decree concerning the destiny of the people (vv. 10 ff).
It was a climatic point in God's dealings with His people. Belief in what God had said relative to entrance into the land was rewarded (the promise of realising one's calling), but unbelief resulted in exactly the opposite (the promise of being overthrown short of the goal).
that the resistance, relative to the future inheritance in the land, came for
those described as, "the Lord's people,"
the redeemed out of
And for Christians under Christ in the antitype, matters are exactly the same. Belief or unbelief is not just the heart of the matter. Rather, this is the whole of the matter.¹ And the apex, the climactic point, in God's dealings with His people in relation to belief or unbelief has to do with that to which Christians have been called - to ultimately realise an inheritance in a heavenly land.²
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11: 6).
Hebrews, chapter eleven - the chapter dealing with faith "to the saving of the soul" (10: 35-39), with an inheritance in a heavenly land in view (3: 1; 11: 13-16) - has been placed at this point in the book for a reason. The whole book, centering around five major warnings, sets two things before believers: (1) the promise of reward or compensation for faithfulness (belief and obedience), and (2) the warning of no reward or compensation, but only chastisement and loss, for unfaithfulness (unbelief and disobedience). And chapter eleven, set between the fourth and fifth of the five major warnings, is God's summary statement concerning how He looks upon faithfulness and how He has stood by (and will stand by [cf. Malachi 3: 6; Heb. 13: 8]) His promise to those who have exercised (and will exercise) faithfulness.
And two of the warning passages in Hebrews deal extensively with what happened to the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea, drawing a type-antitype parallel between those called to an earthly land under Moses and those called to a heavenly land under Christ. These are the second and third warnings, forming the heart of the four chapters in the book (chs. 3-6); and material in these four chapters cannot even begin to be properly understood apart from first going back to the Old Testament and understanding various things about the experiences of the Israelites under Moses, especially things surrounding what happened at Kadesh-Barnea.
Then the first, fourth, and fifth warnings in this book (chs. 2., 10., 12.) draw extensively from Old Testament typology as well, though not directly from the experiences of the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea. And the fact that the whole of the book draws extensively from Old Testament typology is something which must be recognised. Then, beyond that, if these warning passages are to be understood correctly, it must be recognised as well that these types and antitypes have to do with the message surrounding the gospel of the glory of Christ - the Word [or ‘message’ N.I.N.] of the Kingdom - not with the message surrounding the gospel of the grace of God.
(The Book of Hebrews has been singled out to illustrate these things for three reasons: (1) All of the warning passages are highly typical in nature, (2) the second and third warnings have to do directly with the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea, and (3) teachings surrounding these things are so evident in this book that anyone who has eyes to see can readily understand them.)
1. But, a Major Problem
The types, the gospel of the grace of God, and the gospel of the glory of Christ were facets of Scriptural study which Christians forming the first-century Church could only have been familiar with. It is evident from the epistles that these things were readily taught to and understood by Christians at the beginning of the dispensation.
In fact, the gospel of the grace of God and the gospel of the glory of Christ - teachings surrounding both, of necessity, being drawn extensively from the types - formed the two central messages being proclaimed in those days. The gospel of the grace of God was proclaimed to the unsaved, and the gospel of the glory of Christ was proclaimed to the saved (cf. Acts 20: 24-32; Eph. 1: 7 ff; Col. 1: 5, 6, 23; Heb. 1: 3ff).
But, rather than living at the beginning of the dispensation before the leaven which the woman placed in the three measures of meal began to do its damaging work (Matt. 13: 33), we're living near the end of the dispensation at a time when the leaven has almost completed its work. We're living at a time when the foundations have become so eroded that a study of Scripture after the fashion in which it was written (highly typical, with the salvation of both spirit and soul in view, for a purpose) has come into disrepute; and we're also living at a time when Christians throughout the Churches of the land not only know little to nothing about the gospel of the glory of Christ but also at a time when very few Christians even correctly understand the simple, clear message surrounding the gospel of the grace of God.
To properly understand either the gospel of the grace of God or the gospel of the glory of Christ, one MUST go to the types. This is fundamental and primary. The whole matter has been set forth in the very opening section of Scripture (Gen. 1: 1 - 2: 3). And this opening section, forming an overall type, comprises a section of Scripture upon which the whole of the subsequent Scripture rests.
Within this opening section, one can see both the gospel of the grace of God and the gospel of the glory of Christ in their pristine purity and simplicity. And redemption as a whole (the saving of both spirit and soul [along with a redeemed body]) is for a purpose, seen in this passage, to be realised on the seventh day.
2. Resulting Error
Centering on Hebrews, chapters three through six once again, note what has happened in Christendom today relative to the Word of the Kingdom - the message surrounding the goal toward which all things move, the goal which the Lord considered of such import during Moses' day that He overthrew an entire unbelieving generation. The working of the leaven has so destroyed teachings surrounding this message that Christians studying passages such as Hebrews, chapters three through six have no foundational points of reference to see them after a correct fashion. They have no understanding of the subject matter at hand, they can't properly analyse the types and antitypes in their correct light, and they invariably end up with teachings which have little or nothing to do with the text.
Note Heb. 6: 4-6 in this respect. Contextually, this passage must be interpreted in the light of a falling away (apostasy) after coming into an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom (5: 10 - 6: 3); and such a falling away can be seen in the type in the previous warning (chs. 3, 4), forming God's Own textual provision for interpreting and understanding this passage (cf. 1 Cor. 2: 13).
That's the contextual key which will open Heb. 6: 4-6 to one's understanding. But using this key necessitates that the individual first have some understanding of the Word of the Kingdom - something which very few Christians possess (which, in this case, is seen fully developed only in the type). And Christians, lacking this foundational point of reference, can either never correctly interpret these verses or can only go so far with a correct interpretation.
For example, most Christians attempt to see a message pertaining to salvation by grace through faith in these verses (a totally incorrect interpretation any way one looks at the matter); but some Christians realise that this is not the message dealt with in the context, and they see a warning in these verses concerning the possibility of Christians losing blessings and / or rewards (present and / or future). And though the latter is correct as far as it goes (drawn from the immediate context [5: 10 - 6: 3]), those adhering to this interpretation invariably ignore the contextual type - the only place where the full scope and force of that which is in view is fully developed and explained. Thus, they can carry the matter only so far.
Those attempting to see salvation by grace through faith in this passage will always come up with one of three erroneous teachings (or with some variation of the three): (1) This passage refers to Christians falling away and losing their presently possessed salvation, (2) this passage refers to individuals who were almost saved but fell short of actually being saved, or (3) this passage refers to a hypothetical situation with respect to salvation and a falling away (an interpretation into which the person has been forced, for he knows that neither of the first two can be correct; but he still can't see beyond the simple salvation message).
Note what any form or variation of the preceding false teachings will do to both the gospel of the grace of God and the gospel of the glory of Christ. It will corrupt the former (by bringing things over into the gospel of the grace of God which have nothing to do with this gospel) and destroy the latter (by removing these verses from the realm of teaching where they actually belong).
contextual setting for Heb. 6: 4-6 is Kadesh-Barena and beyond (chs. 3-5
[which has to do with the hope of one's calling, a Sabbath-rest, the
Melchizedek priesthood, etc.]), NOT material surrounding the death
of the firstborn back in
The death of the firstborn in Exodus, chapter twelve pertains to one thing, and the experiences of the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea in Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen pertain to something entirely different. And erroneously interpreting a passage of Scripture which has to do with the latter (such as Heb. 6: 4-6) in the light of the former (in the light of the death of the firstborn) provides a good illustration of how the clear, simple Biblical teaching surrounding the gospel of the grace of God is being assailed on almost every hand today. Individuals see the whole of Scripture dealing with this one subject, they attempt to teach the gospel of the grace of God from Scriptures which have nothing to do with this message, and they end up with all types of erroneous teachings, resulting in the existing mass of confusion.
This is the erroneous type interpretation from which the 'Lordship Salvation' teaching emanates, a teaching which (after some fashion) has swept a large segment of so-called fundamental Christendom today. And there's only one way to deal with the error being taught within Lordship Salvation (or within any other false teaching concerning salvation): PROCLAIM THE TRUTH about the gospel of the grace of God on the one hand and the gospel of the glory of Christ on the other hand, drawing from the types.
But, in reality, this can't be done on a scale of any magnitude today, for the overall message, much more often than not, will be misunderstood and rejected.
The reason: Generally, Christians don't understand the types; nor, generally, do they understand the gospel of the glory of Christ. Then, beyond that, for reasons previously given, they usually have a corrupted understanding of the gospel of the grace of God as well. In other words, again, they have no foundational points of reference. The leaven has done its work too well.
And herein as well as the reason numerous Christians today erroneously see the warnings against false teachers in 2 Peter and Jude as warnings against unsaved individuals proclaiming a false message concerning salvation by grace through faith. Being blinded to the Word of the Kingdom (2Cor. 4: 3, 4),³ they erroneously see a message pertaining to salvation by grace through faith in practically everything; and they end up destroying the central teaching in two whole books at this point.
Or, these same Christians take books such as Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter - books dealing specifically with the saving of the soul - and attempt to make the books deal with salvation by grace through faith. There is a further corruption of the simple gospel message, along with the destruction of the central teaching in three more books.
And, though the preceding only begins to relate the damage which has been done because of the working of the leaven, enough has been said to get the point across. The material in Exodus, chapter twelve deals with one matter; and the material in Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen deals with something entirely different. And the text under discussion is from Numbers, not from Exodus.
Numbers, chapters thirteen and fourteen form an apex in God's dealings with HIS people. The whole matter is of such import that God, because of the Israelite's unbelief [and disobedience], sought to smite with pestilence and disinherit the nation which He had called out of Egypt; and only Moses' intercession stayed His hand.
But God did overthrow an entire generation because of unbelief. Those comprising this generation refused to believe that they could enter the land, conquer the inhabitants, and realise an inheritance therein as God's firstborn son.
Entering the land and realising an inheritance after this fashion was the goal of the Israelites' earthly calling. And the antitype has to do with teachings surrounding Christians and their calling to one day occupy positions of power and authority with Christ in the heavenly sphere of the kingdom*, realising an inheritance therein as God's firstborn son.
This, as previously stated, has to do with Biblical teachings which Christians in the first-century Church understood but which Christians in the Church of today know little or nothing about. This is, because of the working of the leaven over almost two millenniums of time, they know very little, if anything at all, about that which occupies a position of supreme importance in the Lord's sight - the very goal of their calling.
with all of the preceding in mind, note the reference to both the type and the
antitype in Hebrews 3: 18 - 4: 1: "And to whom swear he that
they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed
not? So we see that they"
- those redeemed out of
"Let us" - we who are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God - "fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering INTO HIS REST, any of YOU should seem to come short of it."
If anyone thinks God will overthrow an entire generation of unbelieving Israelites relative to their calling and not deal with Christians after exactly the same fashion, he needs to think again. These verses in Hebrews (drawing from the type), and numerous other verses, teach otherwise (cf. 1Cor. 10: 1-11; Heb. 2: 2, 3; 10: 28-31).
But the major disaster in Christendom today is the fact that very few Christians even know anything about the matter. They can't exercise belief, as Caleb and Joshua. They know nothing about a land, an enemy therein, a battle, how to prepare etc.
And, how can they overcome in a battle which they know nothing about, allowing them to one day realise AN INHERITANCE IN A LAND, which they know nothing about?
[1. It should be noted that faith (belief) "by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 3: 17): they were commanded to advance and fight against the enemy; they refused, and perished in the wilderness. "They fell on the right side of the blood, but on the wrong side of their inheritance" (Chitwood). They received the gift; but lost the Prize.
2. Here we see the necessity of resurrection, which will enable the dead saints to exercise rule from the heavenly sphere of the kingdom: the living (at the time of our Lord's return) will also be changed, to enable them to do likewise. That is, enter both spheres of the kingdom. (1 Thess. 4: 14-17).
3. How few Christians today recognise that 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4, refers to the 'unbelievers' within the Church, (that is, the regenerate unbelievers who do not have any "knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" [verse 6]). "Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ," (verse four of the A. V. is misleading: a better translation is found in the N. I. V.: "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ"). The Greek reads: "enlightenment of the gospel of the glory of Christ."]