Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 10 October 2018
Page 12

The Patriarchs

Tom Baxley

Tom BaxleyEspecially noteworthy Bible characters introduced after Noah are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These men are often known as the Patriarchs, the fathers of the Israelite people. Abraham in particular deserves special attention.

The Patriarchs are important because they are the ones who received the promises of inheriting the Promised Land, of numerous descendants and the ones through whom all nations of the world would be blessed. What is even more momentous about these men receiving these promises is when they received them. These covenants were made before the Law was given. The reason this is so significant is because it demonstrates what can and does happen apart from the law (Romans 4).

Of all the many things that could be discussed about the Patriarchs, there is one more thing I want to mention here. All three had multiple sons, but not every son received the same blessings. Abraham had Ishmael, Isaac and 6 more sons by Keturah, but only Isaac received the promises. Isaac had Esau and Jacob, but only Jacob received the promises. Bloodlines mattered for the purpose of bringing the Messiah into the world, but now that the Messiah has come, the only bloodline that matters is spiritual (Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 9:6). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NKJV).

Come before Winter

Raymond Elliott

Raymond ElliottThe apostle Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote the letter of Second Timothy to his “son in the faith,” Timothy. This is the last recorded letter Paul ever wrote. In 2 Timothy 4:9, 21, there are two statements made by Paul that greatly encouraged the younger evangelist to make every effort possible to come see him before it was too late. Paul wrote, “be diligent to come to me quickly” (v. 9) and “Do your utmost to come before winter…” (v. 12). There are two reasons implied in these statements for Timothy to make every effort to go to Paul as soon as possible. One is that winter would not be the time to travel by boat. The wintry storms made it very dangerous to travel on the seas. Paul had experienced shipwreck during that season of the year (Acts 27). No doubt, the most important reason for Timothy to make haste to come to him as quickly as possible is found in the words of Paul in verses 6-8. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.” Should Timothy tarry too long, it would be too late to see Paul alive for his “departure” was at hand, that, his death was imminent.

In life, there are words we need to express and actions we should take before it is too late, that is, we should do them before “winter” comes. Husbands and wives should express daily their love for one another. There is always the possibility of a heart attack, a stroke or an accident that could take the life of your mate. The last words spoken to your husband or wife could be, “I love you.”

Parents need to express their love to their children, regardless of their age. They need to know you care for them, not only by the physical and material things you give them, but a hug and an “I love you” will give assurance to them that you really do love them. As a Christian, you desire that they live for Jesus Christ so the family can be together with God in eternity.

Children need to express their love and appreciation to their parents as well. They should respect and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-2). Aged parents, especially, desire to hear from their adult children who live long distances from them. Siblings should stay in contact with one another. Efforts should be made to be together when possible. It is very difficult to give up a brother or a sister to death.

Wishing that you had expressed your love and care for one another after death has separated you from a loved one is of no avail. That is why you need to do it before “winter” comes; otherwise, it will be too late. Also, brothers and sisters in Christ should express their love to one another. We are “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). We are to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 14:12). We are the family of God.

Those who have not given their lives to Christ and who have not obeyed the Gospel (Romans 1:16; Acts 2:36-38) should no longer tarry because “winter” (death) might overtake them (Hebrews 9:27), and they would pass into eternity without God. “Winter” (death) is coming to us all. Now is the time for us to express our heartfelt feelings to our loved ones, and it is time to do what we can to help others while we have the time and opportunity (John 9:4; Galatians 6:10).

The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own
Live, love toil with a will
Place no faith in tomorrow
For the hands may then be still.
~ Kenneth L. Fielder