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    June 1, 1889

    “The Rest that Remains” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times 4, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We return once more to Abraham, and the promise to him and his seed. We have learned that the promise was confirmed to him in Christ; and certainly this was the case when a son was promised to him, for the record says, “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6. This counting his faith for righteousness was nothing else but the forgiveness of his sins, through Christ. This is plainly declared to be the case, in Romans 4:3-9. Now at the very time when the promise was thus confirmed to him, the Lord said to him: “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” Genesis 15:13, 14.BEST June 1, 1889, page 170.1

    In this text we have the sojourn in Egypt foretold; but we have more than that, for the children of Israel were not in Egypt four hundred years. It was only four hundred and thirty years from the time that the promise was made to Abraham until the giving of the law, immediately after the departure from Egypt. Galatians 3:17. We can easily make up this time thus: From the time that the promise was made, till the birth of Isaac, was twenty-five years. Compare Genesis 12:1-4 and Genesis 21:5. From the birth of Isaac till the birth of Jacob was sixty years. Genesis 25:26. From the birth of Jacob till the going down into Egypt was one hundred and thirty years. Genesis 47:8, 9. Therefore from the promise to Abraham, until the going down into Egypt was (25 + 60 + 130) 215 years. And Josephus says (“Antiquities,” chap. 15, par. 2) that the length of the sojourn in Egypt was two hundred and fifteen years, thus making the four hundred and thirty years of Galatians 3:17.BEST June 1, 1889, page 170.2

    But how about the four hundred years of affliction, which the Lord said that the posterity of Abraham should suffer? It is evident from the text, and also from Acts 7:6, 7, that the four hundred years ended at the exode, the same time when the four hundred and thirty years ended. Thus they must have begun thirty years after the promise was first made to Abraham, or when Isaac was about five years old. Now in Galatians 4:29 Paul says that “he that was born after the flesh,” namely, Ishmael, persecuted Isaac, who was “born after the Spirit;” and this cannot refer to any other time than that when Ishmael “mocked” Isaac, which resulted in the expulsion of Ishmael and his mother. Genesis 21:9, 10. This is the only recorded instance of the persecution of Isaac by Ishmael, and was, as nearly as can be calculated, about thirty years after the promise, and four hundred years before the deliverance from Egypt. So there were one hundred and eighty-five of the four hundred years’ affliction, that were endured in the land of Canaan, and in adjoining countries. Yet all this time they were sojourning in a country that was not theirs. Compare Genesis 15:13 and Hebrews 11:9.BEST June 1, 1889, page 170.3

    We pass over the bondage in Egypt, and come to the time of the exode. When Moses was sent down into Egypt to deliver the people, the Lord gave him the following message: “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments; and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage; I am the Lord.” Exodus 6:6-8.BEST June 1, 1889, page 170.4

    Here the promise to Abraham, which was renewed to Isaac and to Jacob, was renewed again to their descendants. And in pursuance of that same promise, the Lord said to them when they had gone out of Egypt: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Exodus 19:4-6.BEST June 1, 1889, page 170.5

    Now that this was the same promise that was made to Abraham, we have an explicit statement in the following words, found in Deuteronomy 7:6-8: “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”BEST June 1, 1889, page 170.6

    When we read the promise recorded in Genesis 22:17 we noted that in the words, “Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies,” it included rest from oppression. So likewise the promise to the Israelites included not only possession of land, but rest. This will appear from the next article.BEST June 1, 1889, page 170.7

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