by H.C.Heffren

Chapter One

WHAT GOD’S WILL IS...

Two young men were enjoying a hearty meal together. One lad was the son of a wealthy landowner; the other was a very likeable and reliable hired man. Both men worked together. Their dress was similar and they frequented the same recreation spots, played on the same local team and even attended the same place of worship. In many respects there was very little difference between them. However, one morning all this similarity vanished instantly when the solemn faced mother came to her son and said, “John, your father died in his sleep last night. You are the sole heir to his large estate.” Immediately, a vast chasm of difference separates these two men. The heir becomes the owner and proprietor while the hired man remains the same as before. The son inherits the provisions of the Will in which the hired man has no claim. Heir-ship is what made the difference.

Wills are important documents. When death occurs, the heirs should study them carefully. When you seek to bestow your lifetime estate to your heirs or beneficiaries you do so by drawing up “Your Last Will and Testament.” The term “last” is very important because a new Will automatically cancels and annuls any previous will, which the testator may have made. Sometimes people make a will while still quite young, but in later life they find conditions have changed. Children and grandchildren are to be considered in addition to greatly increased riches, so in the good judgment of the testator a new will is drawn up to replace the inadequacies of the old will. This new will is now the Last Will and Testament and legally it is the only will in force. A Will cannot be altered or revoked, after the death of the testator. It is final!

It is our purpose here to investigate what God’s Will is. Who are the heirs? What do they inherit? What are the qualifications for heir-ship? And how do the heirs avail themselves of the benefits contained in the Will. The Bible furnishes ample information to give a satisfactory answer to these valid questions.

First of all God’s Will is found in God’s Word where it is called the Old Testament and the New Testament. These are sometimes referred to as the First and Second Covenant as: “For if the FIRST covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought of the SECOND.” Heb. 8:7. That the SECOND covenant replaces the FIRST is seen as follows: “In that He saith, a NEW covenant, He hath made the FIRST old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to VANISH away.” Heb. 8:13.

Some writers and preachers refer to various covenants, which God made with Noah, Abraham, Moses or David as if these were still operative. From these Old Testament writings they maintain that many of God’s promises are not fulfilled and because of this, God is obligated to execute them in some future age. This logic is based on a false understanding of the nature of a Will. God’s First Covenant was the best, established relationship between God and man up to the time it was fulfilled. But it had many recognized inadequacies and for that reason it was only meant to be temporary and serve only until a better covenant could be affected. The Bible describes some of its shortcomings as being WEAK. Rom. 8:3. It was FAULTY. Heb. 8:8. It was a SHADOW of good things to come. Heb. 10:1. It made nothing PERFECT. Heb. 7:19. Its crowning shortcoming was its inability TO TAKE AWAY SIN. Heb. 10:4. Beyond these and many more inherent inadequacies was the fact that the covenant itself was flagrantly broken, and therefore nullified by those with whom it was made. Although many Scriptures such as Jer. 31:31-34, bear this out, we shall only quote Heb. 8:9, “Because they continued NOT in my covenant, and I REGARDED THEM NOT, saith the Lord.” Because the first covenant is abrogated through disobedience, we read, “HE TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST, THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH THE SECOND.” Heb. 10:9b.

To illustrate, let us suppose a father and mother have six sons. In their youth these boys gave promise of being worthy of the estate, and so the father drafted a will in which they are to be the heirs on condition that they live honorably and obedient to parental guidance which is clearly defined. But they fall in with bad companions and betake themselves to evil ways of dissipation and lawlessness. Their mother is brought to an early grave through despondency over their conduct. The father bears his grief for a period of time but eventually he remarries and adopts another son. At a ripe old age the father dies and his six wayward sons by his first marriage go to claim the estate. They produce their old Will for the probate judge to establish its genuineness and award them the property. The judge, however, produces the Last Will and Testament of the deceased wherein it is stipulated that all the property is bequeathed to his widow, and her adopted son. It would be useless for those six boys to seek to establish any legal claim to the property based on a Will that has no validity in court. No probate judge would distribute the property on the basis of sentiment or sympathy. He would assign the property in accordance with the Last Will and Testament of the testator.

A prime example in the Bible is the case of Esau. Esau was the firstborn son of Issac, and he was entitled to his inheritance by this birthright. However, in a moment of weakness he sold his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob. The Bible says, “Thus Esau despised his birthright.” When his father, Issac died, Easu bitterly and tearfully regretted his rashness, but nevertheless Jacob inherited that which belonged to his birthright. Possession of this birthright made Jacob the legal heir.

Chapter Two

IDENTIFYING THE HEIRS...

At this point we shall seek to establish the identity of the heirs. This is not difficult when we remember that there are only thirty references to heirs in the entire Bible, of which twenty are found in the New Testament. In Heb. 1:2, God says He has “Spoken unto us by His Son whom He has APPOINTED HEIR OF ALL THINGS.” It is striking to notice that Christ’s APPOINTMENT as Heir follows immediately after God’s announcement that He is His Son, for the Son is the Father’s Heir. It is customary for a testator to appoint an executor in his will to make sure that each claimant receives his fair share of the estate. Christ is “appointed Heir, and The Divine Executor of the Father’s Will – “Heir of ALL things.” The Father has decreed that all authority in heaven and in earth shall be transacted through His Son, Who is the only Mediator between God and man.

Next we notice that those who become children of God through the operation of faith are called, “Heirs of God and JOINT HEIRS with Christ.” Rom. 8:17. This heirship suggests partnership. If you have a joint account at the bank with your wife or business partner it simply means that both parties can draw on the account. As joint heirs it means that God’s believing child can draw upon the Divine resources for all his needs – “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19.

To this select company we are told that the believing Gentiles “are fellow-heirs, and of the SAME body and PARTAKERS OF THE PROMISE in Christ of the gospel.” Eph. 3:4. This inclusion of the Gentiles with the believing Jews is described as the great mystery of the ages and it must be regarded as a Divine miracle to bring about one body of believers composed of such diverse elements and from a natural standpoint, such irreconcilable differences. This oneness is effected by God through Christ.

If anyone wishes to consult all the references to the heirs in the Bible he will discover that the above mentioned heirs are the only ones who can qualify as claimants to God’s Will. Although there are those who maintain that the Jews have a special claim to divine favor, and future promises, we cannot agree that this is Scripturally so. In fact the Bible categorically specifies that this is not so. In Matt. 21:38 we read: “But when the husbandmen saw the SON, they said among themselves, This is the HEIR: come, let us KILL him, and let US seize on his inheritance.” This verse should be read with its context which is known as the parable of the wicked husbandmen in Matt. 21:33-46. The verdict by Christ is that “He will miserably destroy THOSE WICKED husbandmen and let the vineyard out to others, and that the “kingdom” will be taken from you and GIVEN to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” The Jews as represented by the Scribes and Pharisees made no mistake in the implication that, they were the object of this Divine judgment. This parable, incidentally, is related in the three gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, which, underscores its importance and finality. The Heir they sought to kill was the same one God appointed HEIR OF ALL THINGS.

THE CHOSEN PEOPLE...

Since the heirs of God’s Will are clearly defined it may be profitable to turn our attention to what the Bible defines as the CHOSEN ONES. Christ is appointed HEIR of all things; the first believers, who were predominantly Jewish, are called JOINT HEIRS with Christ, and the Gentile mystery believers are included as FELLOWHEIRS. Jesus said that, “Many are called but few are CHOSEN.” Matt. 20:16. These FEW correspond with the prophecy of Isaiah, which tells of a very small remnant being saved. The selection of the “chosen ones” is not accidental as we read in John 15:16, 19, “Ye have not chosen Me but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU…because ye are not of the world, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Since these are the words of Christ they need no further comment to identify the “chosen ones.” They are simply the ones whom He has chosen.

That the above chosen ones fit into God’s Divine plan of the ages is seen by quoting from Eph. 1:4, “According as He hath CHOSEN us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…in Whom we have redemption…” vs. 7. This merely indicates that the “chosen ones” in Christ pre-date the Old Testament Covenant in God’s plan. The New Testament is the fulfillment of that Divine purpose beautifully executed through Christ. Wherever the “chosen ones” are mentioned it serves to strengthen the conclusion that God is not confined to any racial Chosen People, but rather to the believers, which originated with the Jewish Remnant. Thus Mark 13:20 records: “And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom HE HATH CHOSEN, He hath shortened the days.” This refers to the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, which Isaiah said would have been like unto Gomorrah (total destruction and oblivion) but for the Remnant who fled to the mountains in accordance with Christ’s instruction and were spared. The preservation of the infant church is assuredly a miracle of Divine providence watching over His own as He brought them through inconceivable horrors and preserved them as victorious heralds of the new and living way.

Although sufficient has been said to identify the “Chosen Ones” we would like to reiterate the importance of 1 Pet 2:9, “But YE ARE A CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, and holy nation, a peculiar people…” The Old Testament says much about genealogies and the fifth chapter of Genesis is known as the generation of the dying for each life mentioned except Enoch who was miraculously translated ends with the words, “And he died.” The New Testament begins with “The generation of Jesus Christ…” This is the generation of the living. This “Chosen Generation” fits into this pattern and it both defines and limits the Chosen People to the ones who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. This holy nation is God’s nation and the word “peculiar” means purchased. They are the redeemed ones. There are no other CHOSEN people.

Let us now turn to Rom. 4:13-15a: For the promise that he should be HEIR of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of FAITH. For if they which be of the law be HEIRS, faith is made VOID and the PROMISE is made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath…” Those who are designated as being under the law are necessarily the Jews since it was to Israel that the law was given. This Scripture specifically considers them under ademption. Ademption means the invalidating of a legacy, as by the disposal of the specific bequest before the testator’s death.” Webster. The words of Jesus that the Kingdom be taken from them and given to another nation bringing forth kingdom fruits fits this meaning perfectly, and it was made before the death of the Divine Testator.

We have here both a positive and a negative description of the heirs. On the positive side we read that they are “Heirs of salvation, heirs of the kingdom, heirs of the promises, and heirs of righteousness.” Negatively we have Christ’s word in parable form that singles out the Jews as not being heirs on any national basis, to which Paul adds that if heir-ship were ever again based on the law it would VOID the New Testament. As we pursue this conclusion through the Book of Hebrews, which goes into minute detail about the Old and New Covenants, we find the Old Covenant is abrogated, annulled, cancelled, about to vanish away, and had to be taken away in order to establish the New Covenant which is established upon BETTER promises. In this wonderful book the heirs discover evidence to the effect that salvation and sin is effected, reconciliation with God is provided, peace with God is negotiated, eternal life is assured, and the kingdom of God becomes our present possession. Heb. 12:28, “We RECEIVING a kingdom…” What is startling absent in this scrutiny is any reference to the Jews being restored as a nation, or any facial partiality of Divine preference or future national pre eminence. That they broke their covenant with God is abundantly clear, and therefore, their claim to God’s promises has no more validity than Esau’s claim to his father’s estate. And why would God reconstruct a covenant that was inadequate when He has already provided a new and better covenant established on better promises. The Bible is absolutely clear in stating, who the heirs of God ARE. It is equally clear and definite in showing us who the heirs are NOT.

Chapter Three

THE ORIGIN OF THE JEWS...

In view of the prevalent teaching in many quarters claiming that the Jews are in a unique sense, “God’s Chosen People,” let us scrutinize God’s covenant with Abraham very carefully. The Bible tells us that Abraham was a SYRIAN by nationality. Although this may come as a surprise to some, it is recorded in Deut. 26:5 as follows: “And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A SYRIAN ready to perish was my father and he went down to Egypt…” Historically Abraham is probably one of the most influential men who ever lived. Two of the world’s great races and three of the world’s leading religions trace their origin to Abraham.

The Arabs trace their ancestry to Abraham through Ishmael while the Hebrew lineage goes back through Issac to Abraham, their father. The Arabs revere the memory of Mohammed, the founder of the Islamic or Moslem religion and the tomb of Abraham is one of their most sacred shrines. Incidentally the word, “Islam,” means “Submission to God’s will,” while Moslem, which is sometimes spelled Muslim, means “A true believer, or to resign oneself to God.” These religious overtones help to explain the fanatical hostility separating Arabs and Jews. Each claims to be God’s Chosen race with a Divine mission and each claims Abraham as his forefather.

It is scarcely necessary to call attention to the importance, which Abraham plays in Hebrew literature and worship for both their race and their monotheistic religion owe their origin to Abraham. Christians acknowledge their great spiritual debt to Abraham but they accept the teaching of Paul that God did not make His covenant with Abraham alone, but with Abraham and his Seed, which is Christ. Gal. 3:16. The focal point to notice here is that the Arabs and the Jews as well as the Christians can claim priority with Abraham according to the flesh, but the Bible explicitly denies any merit from this source. The sum total of Scriptural condemnation of this fallacy is categorically stated in 2 Cor. 5:16, “Wherefore, henceforth know we NO MAN after the flesh, yea though we HAVE KNOW CHRIST after the flesh, yet now henceforth, know we Him no more.” This statement alone is sufficient to topple the prestigious claims of British Israelites, Mormons, Judaizers, Arabs or any other religious body that builds upon racial or fleshly partiality. “God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34. Inasmuch as, this profound utterance, was made by Peter, who was the acknowledged apostle to the circumcision (the Jews), and since it was made to a congregation that was pre-dominantly Gentiles, it carries the weight of authority. Paul agrees wholeheartedly with Peter thus: “Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? YEA, of the Gentiles also.” Rom. 3:29.

What does it mean to know Christ after the flesh and why is this inadequate? To know Christ only as a fact in history, or to see Him only as a teacher, an example, a moralist or as a founder of a superior cult finds its origin in the flesh and differs only in degree from any other great religious leader in mankind. Knowing Christ by faith transcends all philosophies and enthrones Him as a fact of the heat of mankind. Christ did not come to establish a superior cult for our intellects to boast about, but rather to effect a transformed life which is the culmination of Abraham’s faith which is God’s ultimate plan to redeem the soul and reconcile man to God. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” John 8:36. Abraham’s faith envisioned redemption from sin.

Let us now consider the origin of the terms, Hebrew, Israelite and Jew. Abraham is called the Hebrew in Gen. 14:13. It means, “The other side, or to cross over.” It refers to Abraham’s trek from Chaldea to Canaan and his crossing the Euphrates River en route. Israel was the name given to Jacob after his encounter with the heavenly Being who wrestled all night with Jacob. It means a Prince, or ruling with God, but it includes the idea of striving with God and prevailing. It is perhaps the most cherished name designating the Hebrew people.

What does the Bible say about the Jews? Some may be surprised to discover the term Jew is only mentioned ten times in the Old Testament while the plural form Jews is used just some sixty-four times. More than half of these are found in Esther. This may not seem important except that Jews are mentioned nearly 200 times in the New Testament. Israel is mentioned almost 2,500 times in the Old Testament but only seventy-three times in the New. Originally the term Jew meant a descendant of Judah. In 2 Kings 6:16 it is applied to the two tribes which remained loyal to the kingdom. In later days it included the twelve tribes. (Young’s Analytical Concordance) The Bible always refers to the twelve tribes and never countenances the so-called ten lost tribes.

When we speak about the Jews we should be careful to explain whether we mean the Jewish people or the Jews’ religion. The writer has known many Jewish merchants whose honesty in business is flawless. Their sons have given world leadership in law, science, art, music, medicine and politics and in many other ways. But race and religion are not identical. Thus while we may glow with justifiable pride about Britain’s history and her heroes, we may not take the same satisfaction from her present politics or even her morals. The same rule applies to any analysis of the Jews, or for that matter of any nation under examination. The roots of Christianity and Judaism are closely entwined in many respects in origin but they travel divergent paths through history. In order to explain this difference it will be necessary to trace the successive steps, which produced Christendom in the light of God’s Word.