From the Known to the Unknown
By Bill Britton
FROM THE KNOWN TO THE UNKNOWN
The very idea of going into the "unknown" frightens some folks. I want to talk to you about a very familiar Bible character. There is something in his life that applies to this thing of going from the known ot the unknown. We are standing at the door, I fully believe, of entering into a realm that except for Jesus, man has not entered or walked in. Its called the "third heaven," and Paul said he entered this place one time by being "caught up." But other men of earth have not been able to reach this place. The time MUST come, and we are favored to be living in that hour. But as it comes upon us, our hearts tremble because we do not know what we are getting into! So in our questioning this, we look back to the Word of God to see what God has said about those who had to go from the known to the unknown.
Hebrews 11:8-16 says: "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, 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: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, (speaking of Abraham) and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumberable. All these 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 earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
"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 was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Hebrews 11:17)
Now in studying Abraham's life, we see some striking similarities to the things that happen to us in our Christian life. First of all, he received the call of God. God made Himself known to Abraham. We do not find Abraham seeking after God, we find God seeking after Abraham. God made Himself known unto Abraham.
Secondly, there had to be a coming out for Abraham before he could come into the promises of God. To walk in those promises, to embrace those promises, he had to come out of something. He had to come out of that which he was in when God found him. He had to separate himself from that which was very close to him in his own life and activities. That separation no doubt brought him many tears, but it also brought him a relationship and an experience with God that other men around him did not have.
We find in Genesis 11 some very peculiar things that haoppened to Abraham. I want to remind you of one very important thing. What was it that happened to Abraham that would cause him to leave his family, the security of his life, being an older man and having himself settled in a country where he was well known and respected? He was fairly well off. What would cause him to leave everything and to go out into a land where God had called him? Was it because he saw that the land he was going to was a much beter land than the one he was in? Not at all -- he didn't KNOW what land he was going to. He didn't know whether God was going to take him to the blazing heat of the Sahara or to the frozen wastes of the North pole, or another planet.
He didn't know whether God was going to lead him to an isolated isle on Patmos, Cyprus, or some other palce, or into a populated area with belligerent, war-like heathen people. He didn't know! So this was not the reason that he was willing to leave, (because he saw he was going to get something better.) He didn't know WHAT he was going to get. The reason that Abraham was made willing to leave is found:
In Acts 7:2-3 -- "Men, brethren, and fathers hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee."
While he was in Mesopotamia, before he went to Haran, the God of glory appeared unto him. Now God is many things unto us. He is the God of creation, He's the God of supply. He's the God of love, of healing -- He's the God of salvation, God of forgiveness. He is many things to us. But the God that appeared unto Abraham that caused him to leave his family and his security and go into a strange land was the God of glory. It was because Abraham saw the glory of God that he was willing to obey that word and to go out into a strange, unknown country.
In this hour God is dealing with his people, in local assemblies across this country. Around this world, God is dealing with people just like he is dealing with us. The way he is preparing our hearts to get ready to go from the known unto the unknown is that He is unveiling His glory to us. Hallelujah! The God of glory will appear to us to bring us out of that which is our security, out of that which we can always fall back on, out of that which we know how to walk in. Out of that city where we know every street, every corner, every building in the city. He will bring us out of that city and make us walk by the Spirit because we don't know how to walk in the flesh there.
We've been in the place we now live long enough to know how to walk and feel familiar. We know how to pray, we know how to fast. We know how to preach a sermon, we know how to sing in the Spirit. We know how to clap our hands and beat our tambourines and play the organ and piano. We know how to rejoice in God and dance. We know how to Jericho march. We can always fall back on these things when the God of glory begins to bring us into a realm where we begin to sense ourselves rising and tasting and coming into the presence of Almighty God. But His glory will appear in such a manner to us that we are going to be made willing to walk out into places that we know so well. It is going to take the glory of God for this.
I'm sure that in Mesopotamia, Abraham, in the sixty or seventy years that he had been there, was well acquainted with most of the villages around him. I'm sure he knew where the market places were, he knew the streets and how to get around in that large city in Babylon. He knew where he could go to buy certain things. He knew where is friends were, he knew where his enemies were. He knew what places to get in where he was accepted, he knew which places to stay away from. But God was calling him into a place where he did not know who his friends were. He didn't know what street he was on. And that is what God is doing to us today. He is calling us from the known into the unknown. It's the God of Glory that is going to appear unto His people.
I predict that if we follow the steps of Abraham in the way that he came into the promised land, we are going to see the glory of God break upon us in such a manner as we have never seen it break before. Is your faith ready for such an adventure in the Spirit as this? Well, get ready!
There is something else he said that I must point out to you because it deals with death. That is something God is dealing with us about right now also.
In Genesis 11:25-26 it says: "And Nahor lived after he bagat Tarah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran."
I would like to do a little mathamatics here to show you something that I discovered in the scriptures that looks like a mistake. But do you believe that God makes mistakes? Would you believe that God has a revelation in everything where man says it looks like a mistake? Terah lived 70 years and begat Abram. He had a brother named after his grandfather Nahor and another brother named Haran. Terah was seventy years when Abraham was born. Now that's pretty plain, isn't it? Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. Now Haran is dead. He died in Babylon.
Genesis 11:29-31 says: "And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father if Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan."
Now notice it was Terah the father who started out to go into the land of Canaan. He took his son and his grandson Lot with him. They started to go to Canaan. They came unto Haran and dwelt there. Haran was a city that was built north of Canaan. When Terah got up there north of Canaan, before he ever got down into Canaan land, he built this city and called it after the name of his dead son who died before him back in Babylon. He dwelt in that city of Haran. It was like a memorial to his dead son, Haran.
Genesis 11:32 says: "And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Tarah died in Haran." In other words, if Abram was born when Terah was seventy years old and Terah died when he was 205 years old, then Abraham would have been 135 years old when his father died. Do you follow me here?
Genesis 12:1: "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee."
(This is the verse that is quoted in Acts 7:3)
Genesis 12:2-4 says: "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all famlies of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran."
So when Abram left Haran where his father died, he was seventy five years old, which means that it was 60 years after he left his father up in Haran before his father died. Isn't that pretty plain? You can't juggle with the figures, it's there. Did Abram leave when his father died, or was it sixty years after Abram left that Terah finally died?
It goes on to say in Genesis 12:5, "And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all thier substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came."
They stayed long enough in Haran to have some souls born in their family, to get servants etc. They weren't in the land of Canaan yet. Terah never did get to the land of Canaan. He just got far enough on his journey to where he built a city and called after the name of something that was dead back in Babylon and made it, no doubt, much like that which he had left in Babylon. You know, you feel a little more comfortable when you get out in strange places if you can built something that looks just like the old homestead back there. You don't feel like you are in such a strange land. Isn't that true? Is that why some churches are like Babylon?
So it was with Terah. He got up there north of Canaan. He never had to come to Canaan when he built the city, called it after that which had died in Babylon, and was content to dwell there until he died. But let me tell you something, the moment he built that thing in Haran and settled there, he was dead in the eyes of God. Let's read Genesis 12:4 again: "Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." Let's turn back to the seventh chapter of Acts where Stephen is preaching about Abraham.
Acts 7:2 -- "The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, BEFORE he dwelt in Charran." Now God BEFORE to Abraham, it does not say he appeared to Terah. Do you know there's a lot of people trying to get into the promised land on someone else's vision? The God of glory appeared to Abraham and that glory carried Abraham past Haran into Canaan, but it did not carry Terah. Terah stopped. He had not seen the glory.
Why did Terah stop and build a city and name it after Babylon? Because he had not seen the glory of God. Brother, there are a lot of people today that recognize that there is an anointing in the move of God. They say, "Yes, we see that they are preaching a lot of truth. I want to get into this. I want to come along with you folks." But they have not seen the glory of God. They are only going along for the ride. They sense that there is something here, they believe we've got something. But brother, don't expect them to make it all the way to Canaan. They are going to stop somewhere along the way and build a little kingdom just like the one they came out of.
Many are the ministers that I am personally acquainted with who came out of something because there was a great move of God in the land. God stirred their hearts and He showed His glory and some caught a vision of that glory. They could settle for no less than what God showed them. But there were others who saw the success, they saw the crowds coming in, they saw the miracles of healing. They saw the signs and wonders that appeared in the days of revival. They heard the sound of the angelic choir singing in the midst of the congregation. They saw the liberty in the praise of the Body ministry that went forth. They said, "This is good. I believe this is it." But they didn't see the vision of the glory of God. The didn't open their hearts to the God of glory. Like Terah, after a while they had a little bit of success and they stopped and built themselves a kingdom, and now they have their little kingdoms scattered across the country today. Little sectarian, non-denominational kingdoms scattered around the nation today, the "Terahs" of the move of God.
But Abraham was going into the unknown and he had not yet reached it at this place. Acts 7:3 says, "And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee." Thank God for the mercy of God that he didn't cut Abraham off because he failed to keep that word perfectly to start with. God told him to separate himself from his family. Yet he took his father along with him. He took his nephew Lot along too. But God told him to separate himself from his family and kindred and YOU come into a land which I shall show you. Well, he decided that maybe the whole denomination ought to get this. Everybody ought to believe this, that's what I thought. When the move of God broke, I thought everybody was going to believe this as soon as I can show it to them in the Scripture. If I can just get them to sit down long enough to tell them and read the Bible to them, they are ALL going to believe this thing. Little did I know that you have to see the glory of God in order to see the beauty of what is brought forth in the Scripture in God's move in the earth. They soon brought me to a rude awakening.
Abraham must have said, "Now, Dad, look, there's a treasure out there. The God of glory has appeared to me." And he must have been very persuasive, for his father went along with him, and so did his nephew Lot. But God didn't cut him off for that failure. He stayed with him, He carried him through. But in time, He separated him from Terah and Lot.
But there is a period of time, and this is the thing we are in now, and what was impressed upon me so strongly. A period of t ime between the appearance of the glory and the call of God upon Abraham's life, and his coming out of the known, till the time he came into that to which his God had called him. So God said, "Come into the land which I will show thee." Acts 7:4 -- "Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell." There had to come a time in Abraham's life when his father became dead to him, though he lived for 60 more years after Abraham left. Abraham was 135 years old before his father died. Abraham died when he was 175 years old, an old man full of years. It doesn't say that about Haran, or about Terah when he died.
Let me ask you something. Terah was 30 years older than Abraham when they died. Yet it does not say he died an old man, full of years, of great age. Why? Because, brother, when you waste your life in the dead things of the flesh, you are not really living and filling your life up with years. A man can live a hundred years without God and when he dies, he is not an old man full of years of great age. When Abraham died he was 30 years younger than his father was when HE died. And yet the Bible says he died full of years, of great age, and old man. Why? Because he packed a lot into those 175 years. He packed in God, he packed the promises of God. He packed a supernatural visitation of the Holy Ghost! He packed a life of faith into those 175 years. But when you look at Terah's life, the only notable thing that Terah did was to beget Abraham.
There had to come an hour when after they had lived in Haran for awhile that God spoke to Abraham and said, "Get up from this place. This is not the place to which I have called you." You may have had the sad experience of getting settled in a certain realm of the Spirit and begin to feel its all there is. You feel there's nothing more until Jesus comes and takes you away. If you are called of God and you have seen His glory, something starts turning down inside you, saying, "My son, this is not the place to which I have called you. There is another place out there that you don't know anything about and that's the place to which I'm calling you. Let us come into the unknown."
So Terah, his father, had to die to Abraham before Abraham left the land of Haran. When his father was dead, he left. Now that father walked around on the earth for another 60 years, but brother, he was dead. In the plan and purpose of God, God was through with him. He was dead. As far as Abraham was concerned, I never hear of him paying him another visit, any Christmas, Easter, any other time. Not on his birthday, not for a family reunion -- I NEVER in the next 60 years hear of him going back to pay his father a visit. Not even to let him see his grandson. He was dead.
You know when Isaac was born, I don't ever read anything about Abraham taking his son up to Terah to bless him. Why? Because that which is dead in the eyes of God cannot bless the promised seed. You don't need to go back to that which has died in Babylon to get the blessing ofr the promises of God.
Now as we go on in the book of Genesis in chapter 13, we find the story of the conflict between Abram and Lot. And the conflict came not because they were in poverty and stealing from each other. The conflict came because both of them had too much. It's amazing how you can have disagreements in a church when seemingly the blessing of God is flowing like a mighty flood. Some people get too much and don't know how to handle it. Lot got too much and didn't know how to take care of it. Those that were on the servant realm in Lot and Abram's company began to fight among themselves. When people start fighting among themselves, they mark themselves not as sons, but as servants. They are God's servants, yes. I'm not saying they're the devil's servants. But they are in the servant realm because sons of God do not fight one against the other.
Genesis 13:1-6 -- "And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Ha-i; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had focks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together."
You know, there had to be a separation. Lot was not called to come into the promises that Abraham was called to. And God was not going to reveal to Abraham the greatness of the promise until He had separated him from Lot. Now He got him separated from Terah by virtue of the fact that Terah would go so far and no further. But Lot would go -- he'd go all the way. But he went all the way with a different motive than what Abraham had. Abraham had seen the glory -- Lot had not. Lot had seen the substance of God. He had seen the prosperity of God. He had seen the blessing pacts. He had seen that if you will give, God will give you back ten times as much. He had seen that if you stick together and walk with Abraham and in God's call, you're going to get really blessed. And he WAS blessed. He had tents, flocks, herds, and servants. He was richer than he had ever been in Babylon. Abraham's blessing had rubbed off on Lot.
There are a lot of people today that have got a great deal more in the move of God than they could have ever had in Babylon -- a nicer church, better ministry, reaching more people, traveling around the world. Yes, I have known some move of God ministries who were in the Lot company who, because of the miraculous things God was doing, they were blessed beyond anything they had ever known. They went from nation to nation, they had big revival centers set up, but there was something in their heart that was greedy and covetous to bring unto themselves the blessings of God. Abraham had seen the glory of God and had the call of God to come into "a place that I will show you" -- to the unknown. Thhis was not it. What he was seing there, was not it. That's why he never built a city, for he had seen a city through the glory of that had foundations, whose builder and maker was God. Lot had not seen that city.
Therefore, in order to bring Abram into the promises of God, he had to separate His man from Lot, from those who would go all the way with you, but for a wrong motive. So how did he separate them? By blessing them -- he blessed them so much. They got so big that after awhile one said, "Look brother, I'm as big as you are. You're an apostle and I'm an apostle. You've got a big fellowship, I've got a big fellowship. Bless God, I'm just as big. I don't have to be under your authority. God blesses me. God speaks to us." Isn't that what Miriam and Aaron said to Moses? "You're not the onhly one that hears from God. We hear from God too. We get dreams and visions. God blesses us." But they didn't have the same relationship with God. And God had to separate Abram from Lot. He let them get so blessed that a war started. It's always amazing to me that people can get so big in God they can start a war with their brother.
Genesis 13:8-9 -- "And Abram said unto Lot, let there be not strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."
Tell me, how could Abram make Lot that kind of an offer -- "you take your choice, I'll take what's left"? Because brother, what he had seen was so far beyond anything out there, that it didn't really matter whether he got the good part or the bad part of this deal. And when we begin to find this out, we can understand what Paul was saying in I Corinthians 6 when he said "When your brother wants what you have and will take you to court for it, rather than go before the judge of the court, why don't you just give it to him? Why don't you take the loss?" Take the loss? That's not fair. No, it's not fair according to the world standards, but what we've got in God, men can't touch. It's so far beyond the realm of what men fight for, that is doesn't really matter. You want it -- take it! You can have it. You take your choice, whatever you decide, I'll do the other. He said "We be brethren." He knew God would bless where ever he went.
You know, it's beautiful when we can come to the place of peace with all the ministries who truly serve the Lord, even when they don't agree with the truths that I see or the emphasis that God has given me to preach. I may disagree, although I appreciate what they are doing for God, yet they've written to me and said, "Bro Britton, I'm just praying that you and my friend so and so will get together and will have fellowship and can flow together and not be separated." I've written back and told them "Praise God, brother. Now there's some things we can't agree on seemingly. So rather than try to force an agreement or have war with one another, let's just let him seek God in the manner that God is leading him and I'll seek God in the manner that God is leading me." We're brethren. And that's what Abraham was saying to Lot. Abram and Lot were family. The servants were at war.
Genesis 13:10-11 -- "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
So Lot took that which looked to him to be the best. You can see right there that his motive was wrong. If he would have had the right motive, he would have said "No Abram, you're the one God's called. I'm only blessed because I've been with you so it's only right that you should hav the well watered plains of Jordan and I'll take the rought parts of the mountains." But oh no. He got the opportunity, so he took advantage. There are some people, I want to tell you, you better not turn your back on them unless you are really trusting in God like Abram was. Abram had a call of God, and God kept the vision of the glory of heavenly things before him. He saw a City.
Genesis 13:12-15 -- "Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord."
Now we read in Hebrews where it plainly told us that God never gave Abram inheritance in the land that He showed him. Never. He never gave Abram a literal possession of any part of the land that really belonged to him. Yet He told him to look south, north, east and west and all that he could see God would give to him, and his SEED would encompass this land, make homes there, and possess their possessions.
"Now look, God, Lot's down there in the east, in the plains of Jordan." But what Abram didn't know that God knew was that Lot wsn't going to last very long. He was going to lose everything that he had in a heavenly atomic holacaust down at Sodom and Gomorrah and would be lucky to escape with his life and his two daughters.
Now we come to the promise of God. What was the promise of God to Abraham? - that he might have a deed to all this land? - No! The promise of God to Abraham caue to him when God changed his name from Abram to Abraham. The change in his name meant that he was saying to him "Abraham, the father of many nations, the father of a multitude." God was changing Abraham's vision from the promise of success of an individual, into birthing a corporate company of people.
I dealt one time with this in a message where I laid a blow at this thing about the individualism. I told these fellows "You guys that think that you are such great individualists (this was in the message). Let me tell you something, what God is doing and what he has always done is aimed at bringing forth a Body." I had one man who disagreed with that and he wrote a book about this favorite prophet of his, saying that this true prophet was to be the individual who would be the Prophet to get the Church ready for the rapture. He was "the angel of the Laodicean church." He was the prophet of the book of Malachi that was coming to get the people ready for Jesus' second coming. In this book he took what I had said concerning the fact that God was bringing forth a Body and he said "It is not a Body that God is interested in, it is individuals, and God has always used individuals" and he quoted Abraham as being one of them that God raised up. But every time that God raised up an individual, it was for the purpose of bringing forth a people.
Moses was another one of the individuals that this man quoted. But I want to call your attention to the time when Moses was upon Mount Sinai. When he came down and found the people around the golden calf, God said to him, "Moses, stand aside. I'll wipe those people out and I'll take you, an individual, and I'll make you a great nation." But Moses said, "Not so, Lord. Your promise is that this people will come into the promised land." And he would not let God out of that promise to bring forth a corporate son out of Egypt.
Abraham's promise was fulfilled, not in Abraham's possession of the land, for he had seen a City. What was that City? That was a City of a corporate, many-membered people that would come to encompass the land and inherit and take possession of that land that God had promised to Abraham. That was an unknown realm that God was showing him. A people that would come forth and have their own king, the sweet psalmist of Israel, King David, sitting upon the throne in Zion. The enemy worked much to try to side step this. He let Eli's wicked sons take the Ark out and let the Philistines capture it. But then the Ark captured the Philistines, and they had to get rid of it.
When it came back in Israel, then the enemy took Saul and brought him forth and made the people demand their own king, not God's order. So God let them have Saul. For 40 years, they suffered under this king who was not after the order of God. He was out of the tribe of Benjamin, not out of the tribe of Judah. But finally, in God's time, He brought forth His king, and now we see this king taking Zion and setting up the Ark of the Covenant on Mt. Zion and preparing and getting the materials ready to build the temple, which his son Solomon built. As we see this order coming forth, we see this corporate people, with a king ruling over them, which was the fulfillment of the individual promise to Abraham. So the fruit of great individuals is corporateness.
Now we see what Jesus meant when He said that if a corn of wheat fall in the ground and die, it will bring forth a great harvest, speaking of His own crucifixion. He was not desiring that He just be the glorified Son of God, the great Healer that people could come to when they were sick, and be here through the years, centuries, and ages. Or just for you to take a trip, as some do, to Lourdes or other places to be healed. He did not die just to give people a few more years of natural life on this earth. That alone was not god's purpose, that was not the vision of Jesus Christ. His vision was that the One who came into this world with the glory of God, would plant His life in this earth. And from that Seed would come forth a corporate son in His own image, to fill the earth with His glory. This will bring about the Restoration of all creation, as promised by the prophets of old. Then this earth comes under the rule of a new Government. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!
Now I want to get into something else as we look at Abraham when he met Melchizedek, because in the processing, we see where Lot had moved down into Sodom and Gomorrah when his family was prospering there. He was one of the wealthy men in the city. This was before God had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Then the five kings came along and they warred against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. They overcame them and took captives. Among these captives, they took Lot and his goods.
Genesis 14:10 says: "And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan."
I want you to notice when Abram went to war against these enemies, he did not take those who were confederate with him. It names them up there in the plains of Mamre and those that were his friends, the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner that were confederate with Abram. But he did not take them. He only took those who were born in this own house. Brother, I want you to know, to get the victory over every enemy, we do not need the arm of flesh to help us. There is a principle here: that only those who were part of the born-again company that were born in Abram's house were used in the battle. Hallelujah!
A multitude of men had come and taken Lot captive. But it said, "He divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus." I got to thinking about that -- right up there towards Damascus, Abram caught the enemy and brought him down. Don't you know that's what God did back there in Acts 9? He caught one of his enemies on the road to Damascus and cut him down! That's what Abram did. He caught the enemy up there on the road to Damascus and he brought him down. He brought back all the goods and also brought again his brother Lot and his goods and the women also and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return of the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale. And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth." (Genesis 16-19)
I want you to know, whoever this Melchizedek was, he was a priest, but he was not a heathen priest. He was a priest of the most high God. How in the world did a man like this ever get over here in the land of Canaan where Abram was dwelling? I thought Abram was the first one of those who knew God that was over there? But suddenly he discovered there was someone in that land greater than him. He recognized that this Melchizedek was greater than he was, because we find in Hebrews 7:4-7 that Abram paid tithes to Melchizedek and it said the lesser pays tithes to the greater, signifying that Melchizedek and his order was greater than Abram and the order in which he dwelled. Melchizedek, the order of the endless life, the order that goes beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies. Abram's order did not go to that place. He knew the power of God, he knew the victory over the enemies. He knew the power of prosperity, God has blessed him in many ways. But Melchizedek had entered into something that Abram had not entered into. He was a priest of the most high God, and he had the ability to come out and to bless Abraham. And Abraham knew this by the Spirit.
On this journey from the known to the unknown, there are some pxperience and some principles to walk by. One of those principles as I mentioned before is the principle of separation. There must be a separation from those things that hold us and bind us to this realm that we have been in.
Secondly, there must be a willingness to trust God for everything, for our supply, and not to fight with our brethren over these things, but to leave it in the hands of God. Hallelujah! Some of the biggest problems in the church today in counseling with people could easily be solved if we left the problem and put it in the hands of God and say in faith, "Whatever God does with it, I'll accept it, in His Name."
One of the biggest problems that we have in churches today across the land, is trouble in the homes -- primarily between husband and wife, then between parents and children. This is a number one spiritual problem that people are having in the land today. When I deal with these things, I find that, for the most part, if those who are going on with God would say, "All right, I will leave it in the hands of God and whatever the other one says, I'll just leave that with God and I'll submit, so the problem can be solved." That's what Abraham said. He said, "Lot, you ktake your choice and I'll just go the other way because my trust is in the Lord. I know he is going to work it out anyhow."
Do you know, if Lot would have chosen the mountains and Abram had gone by necessity the other direction down to the well watered plains of Jordan, I believe God would have blessed him until he would have either converted Sodom and Gomorrah or overcome them and cleaned that place up. I don't believe he would have ever joined them like Lot did. You can tell the difference between those who are called of God and those that are not. Those that have not seen the vision of the glory of God are always ready to join something if it seems to be an advantage to them.
We've had men come by here, and we've had some write us, and say "Brother Britton, now it would be a great advantage to you if you would join up with us and be in our fellowship." That is the first state of a denomination. The way men start out is: they indoctrinate; the second step is: they isolate; the third step is: they denominate; and the fourth step is: they dominate. The first thing men want to do is to get their particular and peculiar doctrine in you until you have to believe what they believe that's different from anybody else. After they get you hooked, then they isolate you. You're not supposed to hear any other preachers. You're not supposed to fellowship with anyone else. You're a peculiar people, you're separate from anyone else, so therefore you isolate yourself from the rest of the Body of Christ. Then the next thing they do is put a name on that thing and they denominate it. After they denominate it -- and it may be a lot of churches, a fellowship or whatever -- but after they denominate it, you will find that they begin to dominate you.
Abraham was willing to trust God and leave it in the hands of the Lord. Secondly, there was a love in his heart for those who were outside of the fulness of God's promises. You know there are a lot of people that have not seen what some have seen. What are we to do about them when we see the enemy beginning to take advantage of them? I'll tell you what Abraham did. It was a dark night, but he took those who were born in his house and he went after the enemy. During the night, he slipped up on them and he smote them and delivered his nephew, Lot, out of the hands of Chedorlaomer and the kings. And friends, let me tell you that the sons of God today, the Abram people of faith, are busy delivering the Lot's out of the hand of the enemy.
This is on the journey. He hasn't yet arrived at the destination, he's just on the journey. But in the midst of this journey, he meets the Melchizedek order and priesthood. Now his seed has not yet come into this order. He has not even received the seed yet. He hasn't even had a son born to him yet. But at this point, he comes in contact and is blessed by the Melchizedek order. I want to tell you something beloved: before we ever see the promised son coming forth, you're going to find times when the Melchizedek priest, our Lord Jesus Christ, is going to bless us with life. That Melchizedek order is an order that is after the power of an endless life, not made after the order of the Levitical priesthood, not made after the Aaronic order, but made after the power of an endless life. And that is the blessing that we can claim from God as we travel this journey from the known to the unknown. I'm not there yet, I'm not a "manifested son" yet. I don't see the fulness of God's body in operation in the world yet. But I'll tell you what I do see. I see life being impoarted by our Melchizedek priest. I believe that I can claim that life. I believe that when plagues begin to come through the land, we can stand against them, rebuke them. I say that as one who has gone through a very trying time the past two weeks. But I won!
In spite of anything that comes, and in spite of every affliction, I believe the right of our inheritance is to receive life. And it grieves me when I see the saints of God getting sick. It grieves me when I have to see them laid away in a casket, even though I know that for them it is far better. But it grieves me to see those things happening, because our inheritance is life from the Melchizedek order and we must be blessed by that order and we MUST enter fully in to that order. I want to see the saints live nad prosper.
There is something that you have to GIVE to that order too. Abraham offered up tithes of all that he had. He gave up his offering to that Melchizedek priesthood. I believe there is something in us that has to be offered up to this order and say, "This is where my life is. This is where I am called, and where I am going to put my offering."
Genesis 15:1-3 -- "After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying, fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir."
The burden of his heart and the cry of his heart was: he had caught the vision of God that in order to possess this land and to hold on to that which God had given him, he had to project his life into another generation. He had to become a corporate man, not just an individual, or his life would come to an end on this realm. But as a corporate man, his life continued on as he extended his life into the next generation and from Isaac into Jacob, from Jacob into the twelve sons. And then the twelve sons multiplied, and Abram's life continued to flow. His natural life flowed through those sons. In that manner, he was naturally able to project himself into the promise of God. He embraced those promises. But in Genesis he said, "Lord, I don't see the promise coming to pass because I don't even have the seed yet and I am old. I'm too old to have a son. What are you going to give me now because I don't have a son to carry this on?"
Genesis 15:4 -- "And, behold the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, this shall not be thine heir, but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir."
Eliezer his chief servant was going to inherit everything he had. But God said, "Oh no, the servant will not be the heir. A son is going to inherit." Let me tell you something, you can serve God, and thank God for those who are serving. Eliezer was a faithful servant of God. He was so faithful, he was the one who was sent. He was born in Abraham's home. He was very precious to Abraham. When Abraham wanted to get a bride for Isaac, he brought Eliezer and he put his hand by his thigh and he said, "I want you to swear to me that you will get my son a bride." And he went forth and found a bride for for Isaac over in Mesopotamia, from Abraham's kinfolks. This was his servant, and a servant can be a wonderful person. Eliezer fas a faithful servants, but he was not to inherit the promises. You become an heir by birth, not by serving.
The principle is, brother, that only sons are going to inherit the promises of God, the nature of God. The fulness of the Spirit is not going to come through serving God, it's going to come through becoming a son of God. God is not interested in what you can do -- He is interested in what you can be, what you can become. He wants you to become a son of God. Prophets have spoken His Word, servants have done His will, but only a son can bear His nature and His likeness in the earth. That is the purpose of God. Sonship is not attained by our service, but sons are the best servants.
Abraham had come to the place where he thought this sonship would never come. He was almost willing to settle for servanthood. If the Lord would just let me DO a lot of things. If you'll just let me get a lot of things done -- Eliezer my servant will inherit all my riches. But God said, "No, no -- getting things done is not what I am after in you. It's getting your nature brought forth in a son."
"But I'm too old, it just isn't coming forth." How often have we thought about this. We look about us and say, "My God, when will you EVER bring forth a son?" And the closer you get to people's lives in the house of God and the more you know about them, the more you wonder if God could ever bring forth sons. The more I learn about myself, the more discouraged I get. I must look in God's "mirror," not mine.
Genesis 15:4-6 -- "And behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, this shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
What did Abraham look at before? He looked to the north, south, east and west and God told him all that land was going to be his. But then God told him to look towards heaven. There is something greater, bless God, than the natural blessings of earth. God told Abraham to look towards heaven and tell the stars if thou be able to number them and he said unto him, "So shall thy seed be." Abraham believed in the Lord. Isn't that marvelous, that in all this tremendous word that God was giving him that looked impossible to perform, yet he believed it? And the Lord counted it to him for righteousness. He BELIEVED! This is the principle I want to bring to you. If we are going to go into the unknown, in the realms we have never walked in before, there is one thing twe have to do -- we have to believe in the Lord! We have to believe that he is in that realm -- that He already, as a forerunner, has entered into that which is beyond the veil. therefore, we know that He has spoken that He is going to bring forth sons, not just to have a great revival and to great things for God. Thank God for those who do great things for God. I praise God for the missionaries that are taking the Word around the world and seeing churches built in foreign soil. I praise God for the evangelists that are getting multitudes swept into the alter. I praise God for the healing evangelists that are seeing miracles taking place, and for every work of God that is being done. I praise God for that which is done today.
OUR HEARTS CRY FOR THE INHERITANCE
But the cry of my heart has to remain with God's inheritance. The inheritance can only come to those who are his sons. Let us press on, never losing sight of that which God showed us in the beginning -- the glory of God appeared unto Abram way back there in Babylon. I believe that there are people today who have a vision of the glory of God. It is THIS people, that have the vision of the glory of God, that are going to fulfill the scriptures that say, "And the knowledge of the glory of God is going to cover the earth like the waters cover the sea." HALLELUJAH!
THIS MESSAGE TRANSCRIBED AND PRINTED FROM A SERMON PREACHED
AT THE HOUSE OF PRAYER IN SPRINGFIELD, BY BRO. BILL BRITTON.