Man was originally created in the image of God (Gen 1:26; 2:7; 5:1; 9:6; Col 3:9-10), but sin caused him to fall and become totally corrupt, and incapable to do good or redeem himself (Job 15:16; Ps 14:1-3; 51:5; 53:1; Isa 44:20; Jer 17:9). However, God gave the greatest gift- the Bible (special revelation)- to mankind through His abounding grace, mercy, and endless compassion. The 66 books of the Bible are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Hence, the Bible is completely the inerrant Word of God, which contains His wondrous and immeasurable plan for the redemption of fallen man that was predestined before time. God manifested His divine administration of redemption through the “covenant,” establishing a new covenant of grace with His people in each time period. Among God’s various covenants, the “covenant of the torch” made with Abraham is the most significant because it is the condensed summary of God’s administration in the history of redemption. The elements of God’s kingdom, which are “descendants” and “land,” are clearly addressed in the covenant of the torch.
For the past few decades, I have knelt in prayer and struggled over the covenant of the torch, researching its chronology and studying the vast process of its fulfillment in depth. I believe that the most fundamental and important aspects of God’s administration in the history of redemption are made clearer to us through the understanding of its chronology. A clear understanding of the chronological flow of biblical events authenticates, in our rational minds, their historicity. Moreover, it reveals the culture of the times and helps create links with the preceding and succeeding historical events. Futhermore, threading the chronologies together under the theme of “God’s administration in the history of redemption” brings the recorded biblical events to life. They pulsate in our hearts today and turn into a history full of the power of life. As I delved into the study of the covenant of the torch, I was able to confirm the underlying truth that God most definitely fulfills the Word He has spoken (Matt 5:18; 24:34-35). For Christians who are walking their journey of faith in the spiritual wilderness (i.e., church; Acts 7:38 KJV), God’s faithfulness in keeping His covenants is the assurance of salvation, foundation of eternal hope and confirmation of faith.
The Genesis Genealogies: God’s Administration in the History of Redemption dealt with the history of redemption from the first man, Adam, to the father of faith, Abraham, with a focus on the genealogies of the godly descendants. In this book, The Covenant of the Torch: A Forgotten Encounter in the History of the Exodus and Wilderness Journey, I tried to organize the process of fulfilling the covenant of the torch chronologically from Abraham until the Israelites’ settlement in the land of Canaan. Mankind has forgotten many things since the fall of Adam. We have forgotten the Word of God, all the blessings and abounding agape love in God’s covenant, and the precious memories of grace from the times we spent with God. The root of this problem is their forgotten encounter with the God. The encounter with God is the most important starting point of our lives. It is the driving force behind life and the confirmation of eternal life. I earnestly hope that we may recover our forgotten encounter with the God through the covenant of the torch and the process of its fulfillment. This encounter will last for all eternity.
As I look back to the days that I have lived, I confess that it is completely by the grace of our living God that this old servant is still alive today to share the gospel of the cross and the blood of our Lord- the gospel of glory. It is the power of Christ’s precious blood shed on the cross that forgave all my sins and saved me though I was the foremost of all sinners. Truly, the cross of Jesus Christ is eternal; it is a complete victory and the only hope for all mankind. I am only a sinner greatly indebted to our Lord’s great love and the gospel of the cross (Rom 1:14). For this reason, I prayed and vowed in my heart, 47 years ago, to pray for at least two hours and read the Bible at least three hours each day. By God’s sovereign grace, I have prayed and read the Bible to this day without missing a single day. My focus has not strayed from waling the solitary path centered on only the Bible. Until the day of may last breath in this life that God has granted me, I will push forward with prayer and the Word, and boast only of the cross (1 Cor 2:2; Gal 6:14).
This year marks the fifty-first year since this inadequate servant has served this church, the body of our Lord. I have exerted all my efforts in maintaining the orthodox theology taught by the predecessor of my faith, Dr. Hyun Yong Park. Although there were times of struggle when I faced great obstacles because of authorities who had misunderstood my faith and attempted to destroy it, I realized that they were actually struggles against the darkness within me. The Word of God was my only consolation and hope during those times. In 1968, I started preaching what I wrote in this book. Recently, I revised and supplemented the content and shared it both in and out of the country through a series of sermons entitled, “The Faithful God Who Remembers and Fulfills His Covenant” (Josh 21:45; 23:14). This book is a summary of God’s grace shared through those sermons. By the help of God’s good hands, I began writing this book in December of 2007 and finished it in May of 2008. This book is far from being perfect and may contain parts that are unsatisfactory to some readers. Nevertheless, I release my humble work into this world with a sincere hope that the God who delivered His message through the mouth of a donkey would also speak through his inadequate servant (Num 22:28). History is flowing with full force toward the completion of redemption which God has predestined. It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment (Heb 9:27). Eighty years have passed already in my life and there is nothing else left for me except to enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgement; for by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” I find serenity with a reverent heart before God as I am reminded of the short time that remains in my sojourn. The tongue of man is a restless evil that no one can tame and full of deadly poison (Jas 3: *). If we mean to love life and see good days, we must refrain our tongues from uttering evil and our lips from speaking guile (1 Pet 3:10; Rev 21:8; 22:15). At the end of live, which is as short as a watch in the night, I am stricken anew with the realization that we need to sincerely serve God with a good conscience (Acts 23:1). The darkness of the spiritual realm that covers the entire world seems to be a sign that we are at the dawn of a new work. God said, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). Christians who yearn for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ need to forgive each other generously with Christ’s fervent love (Matt 18:21-22) and live in peace with one another through deep understanding ( 1 Thess: 5:13).
I sincerely hope that God’s churches may overcome this world ( 1 John 5:4) and become His own people who are zealous for His good deeds (Eph 2:10; Titus 2:14), so that we may become spotless and blameless in peace until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ )1 Thess 5:23; 2 Pet 3:14). I pray that the river of the Lord’s delight may overflow in the lives of all who read this book ( Ps 36:8). Hallelujah! Finally I would like to express my heart of thanksgiving to my fellow ministers, elders, leaders, the beloved congregation of Pyung Kang Che-il Church, and my wife and children for always praying for this servant. I also offer my heartfelt thanks to those who have helped arrange the drafts of this book until its completion.
Servant of Jesus Christ,
On the sojourner’s journey to heaven,