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Friday, August 31, 2018

INCOMPREHENSIBLE MADE CLEAR

INCOMPREHENSIBLE MADE CLEAR 


"God, having . . . spoken ... hath . . . spoken" Heb. 1:1, 2


From the introductory sentences of this great writing, we have taken out the principal words. They need, of course, all the qualifying words by which they are surrounded in order to the full understanding of their meaning, but in themselves they reveal the fundamental truths with which the writing deals. The 1st fact is GOD. Without definition, or argument, or apology of any kind, the writer names God. The fact that the writing was for Hebrews shows that he accepted the Hebrew conception of God. All that had been revealed by the names and titles, the Law, the Prophets, and the history, was included. The 2nd fact is that GOD DOES REVEAL HIMSELF. He speaks to men; He makes known His will. These are the foundation truths of our religion. If we are not sure of these, we are sure of nothing. In the process of His dealings with men, He has proved Himself, by REVEALING HIMSELF; and the nature of the revelation has proved it to be of God. Then the statement shows us the INTERRELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PAST AND THE PRESENT. He did speak in the past, particularly, progressively, in diverse portions and manners, as men were prepared to receive. He has now SPOKEN FULLY, FINALLY, IN HIS SON; and men will progressively apprehend the meaning of this final speech, but they will never exhaust it. Moreover, the interrelation is part of one whole. Having spoken as He did in the past, it was necessary and possible for Him to speak in His Son. It was necessary, for all that He had said was incom­plete. It was possible, and APART FROM THE FIRST PARTIAL MESSAGES; THE FULL AND FINAL MESSAGE WOULD HAVE BEEN INCOM­PREHENSIBLE. Thus we see the wisdom and perfection of the Divine Revelation.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

DENIAL OF GOD’S WRATH TO COME REVEALS GODLESSNESS


DENIAL OF GOD’S WRATH TO COME REVEALS GODLESSNESS 

"I will utterly consume" Zeph. 1:2


Zephaniah exercised his ministry in the days of Josiah. This is an interesting fact, because in his days there was a great reformation, and yet the prophet makes no reference to it. An examination of the history of that reform will show that, so far as the nation was concerned, it was SUPERFICIAL. The king was loyal to God, and sincere. He was also popular with the people, and they followed him in his reforming work, as to external things. But there was NO TRUE REPENTANCE. Therefore Zephaniah did not recognize the reform; and indeed, in all probability the INSINCERITY of it gave greater vehemence to his denunciation of the sin of the people. Taken as a whole this prophecy sets forth the SEVERITY AND GOODNESS of God with overwhelming force; and shows how these apparently contradictory elements of His government move to the same end. The words emphasized give the key note to the prophet's message as to the action of God, consequent upon the sins of the people. This chapter is wholly taken up with THE DAY OF DIVINE WRATH. The outlook was wider than Judah. It began with the declaration that the whole creation, so far as it was polluted, should be destroyed, therefore a need of a new heavens and a new earth (Rev. 21:1). It then dealt with the nation itself, denouncing its sins, and announcing the consuming wrath of God as proceeding against princes, extortioners, the city, the merchantmen, and the luxurious. It is a terrible setting forth of the severity of God against apostasy. There was no hedging, no uncertainty, and no hesitancy, in the prophet's words. They abide for all time, a revelation of the fact that GOD NOT ONLY WILL MAKE NO TERMS WITH SIN, BUT THAT (HE WILL PROCEED AGAINST IT IN FIERY INDIGNATION THAT IT MAY BE UTTERLY CONSUMED. Too many today deny not only God but His indignation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

THE REFILLED CUP

THE REFILLED CUP 


"I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of Jehovah" Psa. 116:13


This song stands distinguished from the previous one by the persistent personal note which runs through it. It is a song of praise for deliverance from great and almost overwhelming griefs. Thus, in the series constituting the Hanel, it is the song of the DELIVERED rather than that in any sense of the DELIVERER. In other words, it can hardly be called Messianic, except as it EXPRESSES THE PRAISE OF ONE EMANCIPATED by Messiah's work. DELIVERED FROM DEATH, FROM TEARS, FROM WEAKNESS, the soul asks: "What shall I render unto Jehovah, for all His benefits toward me?" Here is the answer. The cup of salvation is the CUP OF BLESSING, which is given to the soul. Let the soul take it and drink it, but let him remember that the very partaking is in itself of the nature of a PLEDGE OF LOYALTY; it is the OATH OF ALLEGIANCE in which he calls upon the Name of Jehovah. When the disciples joined in this song, their Lord had already taken a cup from the Passover Board, and given it to them to drink, declaring it to be "My blood of the Covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins." If He, joined them in that song, and it is most probable that He would do so, He sang as the One Who, by entering into all the experience of their desolation, Himself being sinless, was able to FILL THE CUP WITH BLESSING for them. Within a very little while after this singing, He, in Gethsemane, spoke of a cup and, in complete surrender to His Father's will, consented to drink it. That was the cup of sor­rows, of bitterness, of cursing. Having emptied it, HE FILLED IT WITH JOY, WITH SWEETNESS, WITH BLESSING. When we take that cup let us never forget the cost at which He so filled it for us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

ISRAEL CALLED TO BLESS


ISRAEL CALLED TO BLESS  

"I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing" Gen. 12:2


In this chapter we have the beginning of the history of the people through whom God has acted in human history, IN ORDER TO THE REDEMPTION OF THE RACE AND THE RESTORATION OF THE DIVINE ORDER. From this point the Biblical literature is concerned with that people Israel, until of its stock the Deliverer appeared. Then it is concerned with HIM AND THE ELECT RACE resulting from HIS WORK. While this is so, we must never imagine that the nations or the world are excluded from the Divine thought and purpose. The nation ISRAEL is now to be called into being; the One Who, after the flesh, would be of that nation; and the new race created by His work all in the purpose of God, are called into co-operation with Him on BEHALF OF THE WORLD AND OF ALL THE NATIONS, and look at how THEY ALL FIGHT this work of God. The recognition of this fact is fundamental to any correct interpretation of the Biblical Revelation. This is the vital matter in these words spoken to Abram. The last words, "Be thou a blessing," give the reason of the former, "I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee, and make thy name great." IN CALLING ABRAM, God did not reject other men; IN MAKING HIS NAME GREAT, He did not degrade other names; IN BLESSING HIM, He did not hand others over to a curse. When at last this nation have for a season been cast out from privilege and responsibility it was because it had become SELF-CENTERED, and forgotten its high responsibility for the nations of the world. When Israel is RESTORED to its true place, it will be to fulfill that office. The truth abides. The Church also exists in order to be a blessing. For that, she is blessed of God. To forget this, is to fail utterly, and to be cast away as Israel has for a time, but soon to be restored and that through great tribulation.

Monday, August 27, 2018

FEAR THAT KNOWS THE LOVE OF GOD

FEAR THAT KNOWS THE LOVE OF GOD 


"The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge" Prov. 1:7


In these words we have a declaration of the fundamental principle of Hebrew wisdom that is PHILOSOPHY. This book is one of the three Wisdom books in the Old Testament. The others are Job and Ecclesiastes. The first six verses of this chapter reveal the purpose of the book. It was written to TEACH WISDOM and that rather in its APPLICATION TO LIFE, than in theory. It consists of—
(1) A series of addresses on wisdom delivered by a father to his son;
(2) Two collections of Proverbs; and
(3) Two discourses in the realm of Wisdom, one by Agur, the other by Lemuel.
Throughout, the purpose is PRACTICAL, rather than THEORETICAL. Here, after the introduction or preface, and before the series of addresses, the THEORY is stated in one inclusive definition. It is of importance to any studies of this book that this fundamental and inclusive definition should be rightly apprehended; and in order to that, we halt with the word rendered BEGINNING. In the King James Version we find a Marginal alternative suggested, viz., "the principal part," and the English and American revisers marginally suggest "the chief part." Why this reading was relegated to the margin remains a mystery, for there is no doubt that this is the real meaning of the Hebrew word. The other truth emerges later (9:10). The fundamental fact, then, is that in all KNOWLEDGE, all UNDERSTANDING OF LIFE, all INTERPRETATION thereof the fear of Jehovah is the principal thing, the chief part, the central light, apart from which, the mind of man gropes in darkness, and misses the way. Whether in prosperity or adversity, in light or in darkness, in life or in death, in order to intelligent apprehension, and true conduct, there must be THE FEAR OF JEHOVAH, and that fear must be the proper kind of fear (See article FEAR IN THE UNKNOWN GOD-Eccl. 5:7). See also later article on Prov. 9:10. Proper fear knows the love of God (Rom. 5:5). That is the sum total of WISDOM.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

FURTHER MEANING OF THE BURIAL AND RESURRECTION

FURTHER MEANING OF THE BURIAL AND RESURRECTION 


"He that is hanged is accursed of God" Deut. 21:23


The reference was to a man who for sin had been put to death, and whose body had been IMPALED (pierced) on a tree or a stake, and thus exposed as a warning to other evil-doers. The command was that such exposure was not to outlast the day. By night the body must be BURIED, and so the whole fact of his sin, now EXPIATED (compensated-atoned) as to human society, put completely away. This parenthetical statement—for such it is—gives the reason for the BURIAL. The man was not accursed of God because he was hanged on a tree. He was hanged on the tree because he was accursed of God. The HANGING was the outward sign of the CURSE upon him, the CURSE OF DEATH FOR SIN. When that curse was accomplished and witnessed, the sign was to cease; then let the man be BURIED, and that BURIAL was the sign that the curse was SUFFICIENT. The understanding of this helps us when the mind travels on in solemn thought to the One Who hung upon the Tree on Calvary. He was there because He was "made sin," and so ACCURSED OF GOD. Such blunt statement gives the soul a shock; but it is the very shock we need, if we are ever to come to anything like a true apprehension of the way of our saving. In His case this law was FULFILLED. He did not remain on the Tree through the night. The curse on sin was ACCEPTED, and WITNESSED; the sin was EXPIATED (compensated-atoned) before God, because the One Who suffered its penalty was SINLESS. His BURIAL was the sign that SIN WAS PUT AWAY. His RESURRECTION was the beginning of a new life for Himself, as REDEEMER; and for us, as REDEEMED.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

DIVINE INVESTIGATION & LEADING

DIVINE INVESTIGATION & LEADING


"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it" Psa. 139:6


In its essential burden, this is the greatest song in literature. What that burden is, is at once revealed if the opening declaration and the closing prayer be brought together: "O Jehovah, Thou hast searched me and known me"; "Search me, O God, and know my heart." Here was a singer who had been brought to a consciousness of GOD'S ABSOLUTELY PERFECT AND FINAL KNOWLEDGE OF HIS LIFE; and who found such satisfaction in the tremendous discovery, that after setting it forth in a song of rare beauty, he could only end by praying for the CONTINUATION OF THAT SEARCHING of his life by God. I have emphasized these words because they are central as a revelation of the discovery which the revelation of God's knowledge of him had brought to this man. When he said, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it," he was not referring to the OMNISCIENCE OF GOD in the abstract, but rather to God's knowledge of himself. It is the highest discovery, through which man escapes from himself to God. The ultimate word of Greek philosophy, "Man, know thyself," was really valuable because it brought man face to face with the IMPOSSIBLE. This is what the Hebrew singer had discovered. He did not know himself, nor could he. But God knew him, with COMPLETE FINALITY. To realize that, is to be driven to yield self-up to the DIVINE INVESTIGATION, in order to be set in the way everlasting. That is a great hour, when the soul realizes its IGNORANCE OF ITSELF, in the light of the Divine knowledge. It is the hour when the way of life is found to be that of DIVINE LEADING.

Friday, August 24, 2018

GATHERING OR SCATTERING

GATHERING OR SCATTERING 


"He also that is slack in his work is brother to him that is a destroyer" Prov. 18:9


In this Proverb a principle is involved which has more superlative statement in other well-known words of Holy Writ. It was in the mind of Deborah when she cursed Meroz for not coming to the help of Jehovah against the mighty. It found explicit statement when our Lord said: “He that gathers not with Me scatters." (Matt. 12:30) James recognized it when he wrote: “To him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17) It means that in life there can be no neutrality. Every man lives in the midst of a CONFLICT between good and evil. He must and does take part therein. If he is not helping Jehovah against the mighty, he is helping the mighty against Jehovah. His abstention is a gain to the foe. Every man lives in a world where TWO FORCES ARE AT WORK; one is GATHERING the other is SCATTERING. If he is not with the One Whose work it is to gather, he is exerting an influence which scatters. Every man is confronted with the possibility of doing good, or of doing evil. If he does not do the good when he knows it, he is strengthening the cause of evil against which all goodness is always working. This proverb applies this principle to work. CONSTRUCTIVE WORK is the law of human life and progress. There is an active principle of DESTRUCTION operating in the history of man; and he who is a slacker at his work, who does not put into it all his strength, is a brother to the man who in wickedness sets himself to the activity of destruction. No living being can be merely a SPECTATOR. Each works or wastes. Not to work well, is to aid the process of waste.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

COMPLETE DELIVERANCE FROM THE POLLUTION OF SIN

COMPLETE DELIVERANCE FROM THE POLLUTION OF SIN  


"Have mercy upon me, O God" Psa. 51:1


This is the fourth of the Penitential Psalms. (The others are 6, 32, 38, 102, 130, 143.) Of the seven it is central, and it is the greatest in spiritual power. The heading gives us the occasion of its writing, and thus we are enabled the more accurately to follow the working of the MIND OF THE SINNER. The whole song is a clear revelation of his consciousness that sin can only be dealt with by God. No plan is urged. From beginning to end the song is prayer, petition following petition. It is the cry of a soul who can have no hope except in the MERCY OF GOD. In it, too, the truth about sin is revealed. The three words are used: TRANSGRESSION, INIQUITY, AND SIN.
  1. The first recognizes sin as definite REBELLION against God, and so involving GUILT.
  2. The second estimates that sin is PERVERSION, and so involving POLLUTION.
  3. The third realizes that sin is FAILURE and so involving RUIN.
The standard by which sin is known is that of the soul's relation to God, and therefore in the last analysis this penitent uttered a tremendous truth when he said: "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned." Yet again the consciousness of the sinning soul as to its own need is clearly manifested. The penitent sinner asks that sin may be BLOTTED-OUT; that he may be washed, cleansed, made pure, purged with hyssop. The need is for infinitely more than forgiveness, as we are able to extend it to our fellow-men. It is for COMPLETE DELIVERANCE FROM THE POLLUTION OF SIN. This great song, pulsating with the agony of a sin-stricken soul, helps us to understand the stupendous wonder of the everlasting mercy of our God. CALVARY is God's answer; and it is enough.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ISHMAEL AND ISAAC - ISLAM AND JUDAISM

 ISHMAEL AND ISAAC - ISLAM AND JUDAISM


"God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is" Gen. 21:17


 This was the word of the Angel of God about Ishmael (through who came the NATIONS OF THE ARAB peoples and, eventually, ISLAM AND THE GREATER ISLAMIC WORLD), and it is one which we do well to ponder. ISHMAEL was the son of the bond-woman, the offspring of a FAILURE OF FAITH. When ISAAC, THE CHILD OF FAITH, was born, the bondwoman MOCKED. That is a suggestive statement. It was necessary that Hagar and Ishmael should be sent forth. They could have no part in the purposes of God, which were being wrought out through the chosen people. But when thus sent out, they had not passed out of the sight of God, nor beyond His care and government. God provided for him what he needed at the moment to preserve his life; God was with the lad, and he grew; God made of him A GREAT NATION. This account, rightly apprehended, will help us to that VIEW OF ALL HISTORY which is necessary to intelligent understanding thereof. God's elections never mean His aban­donment of those not elected. There is no nation which He has not made. There are no people which He has ex­cluded from the purposes of His good­ness. Those elected are elected to SERVE THE OTHERS. When at last His city is built, all the nations shall walk in the light thereof (Rev. 21:24). When the SEED, called in ISAAC, has won the final triumph, ISHMAEL will share in the glo­rious results knowing Christ to be Jesus of Nazareth and his Savior and Redeemer. A remembrance of that fact will purge our hearts from the possibility of all contempt for any less-favored peoples. We shall see in them those whom God sees, for whom God cares, and for whose ultimate recovery and blessedness God is forever working.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

SAVED VS UNSAVED CONTRASTED

SAVED VS UNSAVED CONTRASTED 


"O continue Thy lovingkindness unto them that know Thee" Psa. 36:10


Thus opens the prayer with which the Psalm closes, and it is the natural and restful conclusion to the contrast preceding it. That is a CONTRAST between the man who lives without the fear of God, and the God in Whom the righteous man is trusting. The description of the evil man is graphic. He has by some means PERSUADED HIMSELF that God does not interfere with men, by having no knowledge of what God says. Consequently he has no fear of God, enthrones himself at the center of his own being, and goes in the way of wickedness in thought and in action. The CONTRAST is not between that man and the man who fears God, but rather, as we have said, between that manner of life and the conception of God which inspires the contrary way of life. God is set forth in His lovingkindness, in His righteousness, in His faithfulness, in all His goodness to men. The prayer is for the continued manifestation of that lovingkindness to those who know this God. Thus the CONTRAST becomes personal. On the one hand are the MEN WHO HAVE NO FEAR OF GOD. On the other are THOSE WHO KNOW HIM. The difference is radical, and all the life is affected. LOSING THE FEAR OF GOD is to go in every way of wickedness, and ultimately to inevitable destruction (see last verse). To KNOW GOD is to worship Him, and in His ways to find refuge, satisfaction, life, and, light. In the ultimate words of Jesus: "This is life eternal, that they should know Thee the only true God, and Him Whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ." (John 17:3)

Monday, August 20, 2018

BONDS OF GRACE AND GLORY

BONDS OF GRACE AND GLORY   


"Remember my bonds" Col. 4:18
                                                      
                                                                                                     
That is the last word but one, in one of the most wonderful letters Paul wrote; certainly the letter which in conjunction with that to the Ephesians constitutes the crowning height of all his teaching. It is not quite the last word. That follows, and in agreement with all his life and teaching turns back to God, and out towards others, in the parting wish "Grace be with you." Yet it is very suggestive that there should come the cry which reveals his consciousness of limitation and suffering. The whole letter had been written in prison, and surely during the writing the place had flamed with light. Paul had been seated in the heavenlies. The most wonderful visions of the GLORIES of his Lord had passed before him, and he had seen himself and all Christian souls filled to the FULL, COMPLETE in the FULLNESS, the COMPLETENESS, of this Lord of surpassing GLORY. He saw that all things come to a good end, perfected souls, even his bond(s) because of the God of all grace was in control with His plan from eternity past. Having finished, he took the pen in his own hand to write the salutation; and as he did so, the weight of the chain which bound him was felt and perhaps its pain also. Then his heart went out toward his comrades, and he craved their sympathy and help: "Remember my bonds." How close that human touch brings him to all of us, and how much more powerful becomes all his high spiritual teaching because of it! It is always so. The great things of spiritual interpretation are always made more powerful to others when they are reinforced by the touch that reveals our fellowship with those whom we serve in the sense of need. And yet in spite of the chain, he wrote his salutation: "Grace be with you."

Sunday, August 19, 2018

SIN, SORROW, AND IGNORANCE DEALT WITH PROPERLY

SIN, SORROW, AND IGNORANCE DEALT WITH PROPERLY 


"I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; and Thou forgave the iniquity of my sin" Psa. 32:5


This is the second of the seven Psalms which are usually called Penitential. (The others are 6, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143). It is one of the greatest songs in the Psalter. In it, human experience is vividly revealed. SIN, SORROW, AND IGNORANCE are all expressed; and their inter-relationship is recognized. It is a Psalm of penitence, but it is also the song of a ransomed soul rejoicing in the wonders of the grace of God. SIN IS DEALT WITH; SORROW IS COMFORTED; IGNORANCE IS INSTRUCTED. The fundamental matter is that of SIN, and the power of the song is created by the contrast it makes between the soul HIDING sin, refusing to acknowledge it, and that same soul CONFESSING it, such as the two thieves on the cross (Luke 23:32-43). While there was continuance of silence on the part of the sinner, the hand of God was heavy upon him, and his life was withered. When the confession was made, that sinner found the heart of God, and life was healed, and songs took the place of sighing. These words which are emphasized reveal the Divine heart in the most wonderful way. In them God is set forth radiantly as "a God ready to pardon." Note carefully that when this man said he would CONFESS, God FORGAVE. So ready is He to PARDON, that He does not wait for the actual and formulated expression. The yielding of the will, the decision of the soul, this is what He seeks. Di­rectly He finds it, His forgiveness is granted, and the soul is restored to the consciousness of communion. This is finally illustrated in the teaching of Jesus. The father's kisses were upon his returning boy, before any word of confession was uttered (Luke 15:11-32). It was upon the bosom of his father that he gave expression to the confession already made in his will. Such is our God.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

ISRAELS SIGNS MIRACLES AND WONDERS

ISRAELS SIGNS MIRACLES AND WONDERS


“And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.” Mark 16:20


That is Mark's last word about the Lord. He is co-operating with His messengers in the delivery of their message, and confirming the word by deeds of power (Heb. 2:4) which are the signs of His presence. The previous statement reveals Him as sitting at the right-hand of God, having been received up into Heaven. These two pictures should always be in our mind as we go forth on His business. He is the triumphant One. All He came to do, He did. His return to the Father was that of VICTORIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT. But it was not a return to inactivity. From that supreme place of authority and power He directs and accompanies all the journeying’s and activities of those who are His messengers to men.

Two matters should be carefully noted. First, that He works with the preachers of the Word, in the actual work of preaching and here in His attempt to VERIFY THE MESSAGE AND THE MESSENGER SENT TO THE NATION. He has changed His method with the preaching of the Church to Gentiles as it differs from preaching to Israel, but too often we are in danger of preaching as though in the act we are alone. It is not so. In proportion as we are true to Him and His message, we may rest assured that He is Himself actually, by the Holy Spirit, working with us, making His own direct appeal to those who are listening to us. The truth is full of comfort. Then, second, we must recognize that it is He Who gives the signs, as He was doing to Israel He has changed His method with the church. It is not for us to choose what He should do and how He does these things. Today they are wholly spiritual; sometimes they are wrought in the mental and physical realms. The methods He uses to save men today are of His doing. He shall change His methods again at His Second Coming as Israel comes back into the picture as He brings His Kingdom rule to be established on this earth. Our only responsibility today is that of preaching the Word, and baptizing as He commanded (Matt. 28:19). He will use the methods as He knows to be necessary for the fulfillment of His purpose, and to the glory of His name. It is through the foolishness of preaching that men are saved.

<signs, miracles,wonders> See Holman article. The three Greek terms here are quite generally used in the New Testament to describe miracles. Dunamis {miracles}points to the source of the miracle: it is an act or display of divine "power." Teras {wonder} describes the immediate effect it is intended to produce: it is a prodigy or "wonder." Simeion {signs}indicates the purpose of the miracle: it is a "sign" pointing to something beyond it. Men are attempting to reproduce those things which lack that purpose today but they shall begin at the second return to again produce wonder in Israel, pointing the nation the right direction and they shall recognize the true Source of those displays and they shall finally respond correctly and the whole nation shall be saved as prophesied (Rom. 11:26), part of the plan before the very beginning (Eph. 1:11).
Cf. Acts 2:43; 2 Cor 12:12; Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:4; John 5:20.

Friday, August 17, 2018

TRUE AND FALSE GOVERNMENTS INTERESTS

TRUE AND FALSE GOVERNMENTS INTERESTS  


"The heads thereof, judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money" Micah 3:11


The second of Micah's messages was addressed to the RULERS, and was concerned with the coming of GOD'S TRUE RULER. Its first movement is contained in this chapter. It consisted of a denunciation of those in AUTHORITY, both PRINCES and PRIESTS and PROPHETS, and an exposure of the falseness of their authority. In these words the whole evil is graphically stated, and relentlessly unmasked. The HEADS, that is the CIVIL RULERS OR PRINCES, exercised their judicial function for reward. They were open to bribery their decisions could be bought by those able to reward them. The PRIESTS taught for hire, and therefore their teaching was accommodated to the desires of those who paid them. The PROPHETS were seeking for money, and therefore let this be carefully noticed—they guessed. That was not the true method. The PROPHET speaks what God gives him to speak.
But God's word cannot be bought. Therefore the PROPHETS turn to wizardry, to necromancy (prediction using spirits); they divine. In each case the inspiration of the exercise of authority, whether that of PRINCE, OR PRIEST, OR PROPHET, was the desire of SELF-ENRICHMENT. This is the evil principle in false authority. WHEN GOVERNMENT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNING CLASSES, INSTEAD OF THE GOVERNED, IT IS EVIL. Let all human attempts at government, whether autocratic or democratic, be examined in the light of this principle, and an explanation will be found of PERSISTENT FAILURE, and also of any measure of REAL SUCCESS. The true government is THEOCRATIC and seeks for perfection of its flock (Jude 24). By the true method of governing and its levels were decided before the world was even decided in a meeting before the beginning of this world (Eph. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:9- see article Triune Meeting Before The Beginning), Tsarists and the reign of the proletariat stand condemned. Rule, inspired by the self-interest of the rulers, spells ruin.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

WATER AND SPIRIT of JOHN 3:5

WATER AND SPIRIT 


 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5



Jesus was speaking to the teacher of Israel who himself was teaching the Jewish nation concerning the appearance of the Kingdom of God and the necessary requirements for entrance. Obviously Nicodemus was teaching in error as Jesus points out to him. By grace John the Baptist was sent with a correcting message giving the preliminary step to accept the greater message which was to come from the Messiah Himself. So here Jesus goes on, very beautifully answering Nicodemus in the realm of interpretation. Listen to Him. He said, "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God."  Mark the continuity. You have been hearing the ministry of one who baptized you in water who was a God sent messenger, and who also taught you Another would baptize you in the Spirit (John1:33). Except you are born of all that the water baptism of John signified, which is repentance; and that which the Spirit baptism accomplishes, regeneration, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. (Titus 3:5) "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit."   This was a two-step process that Nicodemus did not understand as well as many today. The heart gets prepared by the word of God and when responded to accomplishes salvation and entrance into His Kingdom that lasts forever.

This was the preliminary foretaste to prepare oneself to accept the greater message from the Greater Preacher One did this by the acceptance of John’s message and submitting to a display of that acceptance. The baptism of water here was a washing which was the symbol of repentance, the human condition necessary to the remission of sins. The baptism of the Spirit was the fact of regeneration, the Divine answer to the fulfillment of the human condition.
Thus our Lord declared that in order to enter the Kingdom of God there must be on the part of man repentance, and also on the part of God the regeneration of the spirit of man. An earthly as well as a heavenly answer to the message preached and taught.

“Water and the Spirit” here has the connotation of “water, even the Spirit.” The death and rebirth illustrated by John’s baptism, in which Nicodemus and his colleagues on the council had been so interested (John 1:25) was merely symbolic of rebirth in the Spirit. Some expositors have equated the “water” here with the Word and others have taken it to mean the water in the mother’s womb, but the context surely refers to baptism, and that is certainly what Nicodemus would have understood it to mean. The essential conclusion of Christ’s reply was that regeneration by the Holy Spirit was prerequisite to entering the kingdom of God. Paul used the same baptismal figure of the new life in Romans 6:4 and called it “the washing of regeneration” in Titus 3:5. Scripture helps to interpret scripture.

HOW TO HAVE MYSTERIES DISCLOSED

MYSTERIES DISCLOSED  


"The mystery of God, even Christ" Col. 2:2


The phrase occurs in the record of another of the Apostle's prayers. His desire for all the saints was that they MIGHT KNOW "The mystery of God, even Christ." That he desired this shows us that in the true Christian sense a MYSTERY is not something which cannot be KNOWN. It is something which man is unable to discover or explain; but it is something which may be DISCLOSED to him, and which therefore he may KNOW. And that is perhaps Paul's ultimate word about Christ. The last word has never yet been spoken about Him. There is nothing more wonderful than the persistence and ever-increasing discussion of all sorts and conditions of thinking men concerning the Person of our Lord. The subject is never exhausted; it never becomes out of date. Again and again men feel that they have formulated a Christology, only to find that some others have seen other facts not included in their system. And so He moves on, the Enigma of the ages, the INCLUSIVE WORD, WHOSE ULTIMATE SECRET IS NOT EXPRESSED, THE VERY MYSTERY OF GOD. Nevertheless through all the intellectual processes, He finds the heart of man, and gives Himself to it, so that in Him the heart finds rest, joy, satisfaction. Multitudes of simple souls, who are unequal to any explanation, live in daily COMRADESHIP with Him. They KNOW Him, and KNOW Him well. They are more intimate with Him than with their dearest earthly friends. They tell Him all their griefs and joys, their doubts and hopes, their successes and failures; and then they hear Him speak to them positively, prevailingly because He is the most easily found and also having the ultimate power. He is indeed the Mystery of God, profound in the wonder of His being, and yet so real that the tiniest child talks of Him with sweet FAMILIARITY.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

ESCAPING DEATHS GRAPPLE TO A HAPPY ENDING

ESCAPING DEATHS GRAPPLE TO A HAPPY ENDING


"I have no good beyond Thee" Psa. 16:2


This is the first Psalm headed "Michtam." There are five others (56 to 60). The meaning is obscure. Thirtle says: "The term, Michtam, seems best explained by a personal or private prayer or meditation." This one is attributed to David, but nothing can be said decisively as to the time of its writing. As a whole it is a song of exultant confidence. In its opening petition the consciousness of danger is revealed, but this is the occasion for a glad confession of assurance in the deliverance of God. Whoever wrote it, and under whatever circumstances, its final value is that it is distinctly Messianic. Peter (Acts 2:25-31) and Paul (Acts 13:34-37) not only quote it in reference to our Lord, but argue its Messianic intention. The words we have emphasized reveal the deep secret of this holy confidence. The singer declared that he knew no well-being apart from God-Jehovah, as his SOVEREIGN LORD (John 13:13). Only of our Lord Jesus Christ, as an expression of unvarying experience, was this always true. The will of God was His delight, His meat, His one and only passion; and that as surely in His death as in His life. Therefore, to quote Peter: "It was not possible that He should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24) (that is, death). The measure in which, through His infinite grace, we are enabled to say in very truth, "We have no good beyond Thee," is the measure in which—whatever the perils opposing us, or the apparent calamities overtaking us—we may also be confident in the deliverance of God. In life, and all its experiences, through death itself, we shall be delivered and brought to His presence, in which is fullness of joy, and to His right hand, where are pleasures forevermore (Jude 24 and many more).

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

HOW TO CHANGE DIVINE GOVERNMENT

HOW TO CHANGE DIVINE GOVERNMENT 


"The Day of Jehovah cometh; for it is nigh at hand" Joel 2:1


In these words we have the same fundamental idea, but stated with a variation in method. Having interpreted the locust plague, by declaring that the Day of Jehovah was at hand, the prophet now said: "The Day of Jehovah cometh, for it is nigh at hand." In that sentence the word "for" has the force of "because." The truth emphasized now was not so much that of the ACTUALITY OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT AS THAT OF ITS CONTINUITY. Joel declared that the Day of Jehovah was not over. There were still OTHER experiences before them of the Divine judgment. Under the figure of the locust plague, he described the imminent invasion of a foe which would bring far more terrible desolation's to the people. Therefore again he called the nation to REPENTANCE, and declared the way by which they MIGHT CHANGE THE VERY CHARACTER OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT into that of mercy, and healing, and restoration. Here again is a matter for our careful attention. The Day of Jehovah is not only PRESENT; it is ALWAYS COMING. When some great activity of God has ended, His government has not ceased. He proceeds upon His way without intermission. If by one manifestation of His power and majesty, men do not learn the lessons He would teach, then they have not escaped from Him. By yet other means, more terrible than those already experienced, He will make Himself known: This is the story of humanity; and so it will continue until "the great and terrible Day of Jehovah come," the day of the final putting forth of His judgment of evil spoken of in Rev. 19:11-21 in order to the establishment of His Kingdom upon earth according to the grace of His heart.

Monday, August 13, 2018

GLORIOUS STRENGTH FROM GOD

GLORIOUS STRENGTH FROM GOD    


"The might of His glory" Col. 1:11
                                                                                                                                                                    


That is a far more arresting translation than the old one, "His glorious power," and it is more accurate. The latter is a phrase in which the emphasis is laid on a quality of the power--it is GLORIOUS. The real thought of the phrase is that it lays an emphasis on a fact concerning His GLORY, and that is, that it is CHARACTERIZED BY MIGHT. The Apostle was recording his prayer for the saints that they might be FILLED WITH KNOWLEDGE in order to walk worthily, bearing fruit. The condition for all this is that they should be STRENGTHENED with all power. Of this power he gives a description in this phrase, "The might of His glory." God is essentially the God of might. The first great name by which the Hebrew people knew Him was ELOHIM, which speaks of that might in all its greatness. Everything of God has in it this quality of strength. In, no application is the fact more unusual than in this of His glory. Glory is splendor and with God speaks of a finished product with all the qualities of beauty and brilliance, whether material or mental; and one of the most marked qualities of human glory is that of its weakness. Sic transit glories mundi, is a proverb expressing this conviction. Glory fades, passes, and that because of its weakness in men. The GLORY of God knows no fading, no passing, and no perishing. It abides undimmed because of its STRENGTH. When the GLORY of God is seen, when to realize it becomes the passion of a life, it is found that in the vision there is STRENGTH, in the effort there is ENERGY. His GLORY not only captures the mind; it EMPOWERS all upon whom it shines and walks towards perfection, the finished product (2 Cor. 12:9; Jude 24). It not only lures—it lifts.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

FEAR IN THE UNKNOWN GOD

FEAR IN THE UNKNOWN GOD  


“But fear thou God" Eccles. 5:7


The relative considerations continue in this letter, as the Debater turns to the subject of RELIGION and of POLITICAL CONDITIONS. These words conclude the paragraph dealing with RELIGION, and express the finding of one who is living "under the sun." As we have pointed out before, this man is A BELIEVER IN GOD, but he has NO KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. These words seem to harmonize with the central principle of true wisdom, which is that its beginning and maintenance depend upon “the fear of Jehovah" but a careful consideration of the whole paragraph will show how utterly different is the conception. FEAR, in the sense in which it is used here, is THE FEAR OF THE SLAVE RATHER THAN THAT OF THE SON; it lacks the notes of confidence, of trust, and of love. All the advice given is good, in so far as it goes; but every word of it is born of the dread of doing anything which will offend a GOD WHO IS SOVEREIGN, but WHOSE WAYS ARE UNKNOWN. This conception of religion is that it consists of securing personal safety, by not doing things which are likely to offend God. I repeat, all is good so far as it goes; but it lacks the positive note, the glad note, the triumphant note; which notes are always present when life begins with the KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE GOD. Such knowledge issues in no irreverent familiarity; but it produces a reverent familiarity; it gives the soul freedom of utterance and of action in the PRESENCE OF GOD. Men whose belief in God is merely INTELLECTUAL, never rise above this level. Their RELIGION, if they have any, is always characterized by this kind of FEAR, and becomes a burden and oppression, something which robs life of joy. First repent, then read His book and come to KNOW HIM, entering into the proper fear of God, which is the fear that I might continue in my sin against His Son.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

ONWARD TO COMPLETION OF HIS PLAN

ONWARD TO COMPLETION OF HIS PLAN    


"After the death of Joshua" Judges 1:1


The Book of Joshua began with the words: "After the death of Moses," and recorded the story of the people of God under the leadership of his SUCCESSOR. Now the story is continued as to what followed his death. These beginnings keep us reminded of the PERSISTENCE OF THE DIVINE PURPOSE, in spite of the frailty of the human instruments. After the death of any servant of God, the service of God goes forward, and the work of God is carried on. Yet the other side of that truth is not to be lost sight of. God carries on His purpose and His work THROUGH HUMAN INSTRUMENTS. Moses made possible the work of Joshua. Joshua had made possible the work of all who were to follow. The period covered in this Book is that from the death of Joshua to the judgeship of Samuel, and the movement toward MONARCHY. On the human side, it is a story of disobedience and disaster; and on the Divine side, of continued direction and deliverance. Therefore in its light the servant of God may always find encouragement. When the appointed task is done, he will always be conscious of the incompleteness of it, of the things desired but not done, of the perils threatening the ultimate realization which he must leave unattained; but he will know by all this history that God NEVER ABANDONS HIS PURPOSE, (His plan made before the ages began) (2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:11) cannot be finally defeated, will always find those to take up and continue the service which is unfinished. Happy is the man who in his little hour works with God. He may be at rest about the issues.

Friday, August 10, 2018

GOD FOREVER MOVES TOWARDS THE HIGHER

GOD FOREVER MOVES TOWARDS THE HIGHER 


"The latter glory of this House shall be greater than the former" Hag. 2:9


In this chapter there are three messages, all of which were called forth by ATTITUDES of the people which threatened to prevent their ACCOMPLISHMENT of the great work. The first message aroused them and under the leadership of Ze­rubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest, they started well. After about seven weeks came the feast of Tabernacles with its necessary cessation of work. During that period they were beset by the laments and weeping’s  of those who grieved over the poverty of the House they were building, in comparison with the glorious House which had been destroyed. Such mourning tended to dishearten them, and to correct this, the prophet made this great declaration. Here again is a persistent peril. Men are constantly tempted to think meanly of the work they are doing as they compare it with the glories of past achievements. It is an utterly false and unwarranted thing to do. To that House, lacking in some material splendor which had characterized the former one, there was to come the desire of all nations, and so a spiritual glory which the former House never knew. Let us lay the lesson to heart. We may be working better and greater things than we know. It is always futile to judge the value of God-appointed tasks by the appearance of the hour in which they are done. If they are indeed appointed by Him, that is enough for us to know; and more, that is the assurance that they are better than the past, for God is forever moving towards the higher, the grander, the nobler: and will do so, until He has wrought out the final perfection of His will (Eph. 5:27; 1 Thess. 3:13). And this was all part of a plan before the beginning of this earth (2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Thess. 2:13).

Thursday, August 9, 2018

TRUE MORAL GOVERNMENT AT LAST

TRUE MORAL GOVERNMENT AT LAST 


"The earth is Jehovah's, and the fullness thereof" Psa. 24:1


That is the fundamental note in the music of this song. Everything which follows must be interpreted by its message. If this Psalm was written—as it most probably was—for the occasion when the ark of God was taken into the city of the great king, and placed in the tent which David had prepared for it, the singer saw in that ceremony the symbol of greater things. These first words assert THE SOVEREIGNTY OF JEHOVAH OVER THE WHOLE EARTH. Everything is His by CREATIVE RIGHT. This truth is quoted by Paul in 1 Cor. 10:26, 28. Then, some moral deflection, some necessity for the exercise of executive power, is recognized by the questions as to who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah. The answer to the question constituted a revelation of the fact that THE GOVERNMENT OF THE EARTH must be established on a MORAL FOUNDATION. The One Who is described, is set forth wholly in the matter of CHARACTER. Let this be carefully considered. The passage of the description from the use of the singular pronoun to that of the plural, merely sets forth the fact that the generation to be associated with the One must conform to that character and that shall be true of the nation of Israel in the end. The song immediately returns to the contemplation of the One, Who is now designated the King of Glory. His glory is that of those moral excellence’s already described. In these He is "strong and mighty in battle" and He proves that in the great final battle on this earth spoken of in Rev. 20:8. By this strength He passes to the place of power; in this might He overthrows all His foes; and gains, or regains, His true and rightful place of rule over the earth, and the fullness thereof: The HOLINESS OF THE KING is at once the secret of His strength in government, and the principle of His might in redemption being displayed mightily in the end with war being ended with its effects (Rev. 21:4).

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

SPIRIT AND TRUTH WORSHIP -PERFECT WORSHIP

SPIRIT AND TRUTH WORSHIP - PERFECT WORSHIP 


"Without blemish" Lev. 1:3


Leviticus was the hand-book of the PRIESTS. It contains the laws governing the whole system of WORSHIP. In Exodus we have the record of the words God spoke to Moses from the Mount. They are the fundamental words of MORAL ORDER. In Leviticus we have words God spoke to Moses from the midst of the Tabernacle. They are the words of His ADMINISTRATION of the affairs of His people in HOLINESS and in GRACE. Throughout God is seen as THE GOD OF ALL PERFECTION, making it possible for imperfect man to draw nigh to Himself through SACRIFICE. The sacrifices and offerings were all to be provided by the worshipers, but they were to be the SYMBOLS OF AN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE WHICH THE WORSHIPERS COULD NOT PROVIDE, BUT WHICH WOULD BE PROVIDED BY GOD. Because they were thus to symbolize PERFECTION, they must be, so far as man could make sure of it, PERFECT IN THEMSELVES. That is the significance of this phrase "without blemish." Nothing offered to God must be imperfect. The principle abides, even though we are looking back to the ONE PERFECT OFFERING, rather than onward in expectation of its coming, our only right to offer anything to God, in any form, is created by the one Offering through which we are sanctified. Every offering is a symbol still of the One, therefore only of the best we have, have we any right to offer to Him. He is worthy to receive the most precious, and we do wrong to the perfection of His Sacrifice when we give to Him in kind, or in effort, that which is second-rate or imperfect. Our best is but poor, but that which we do give, must be our best; our worship must be in spirit and truth as He told the Samaritan lady at the well. (John 4:23) But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.” (PERFECT WORSHIP)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

AGNOSTIC-ATHEIST

AGNOSTIC-ATHEIST 


"Wherefore I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion; for who shall bring him back to see what shall be after him?" Eccles. 3:22


With this chapter the Debater begins to advance evidence of the vanity of all things, from a wider outlook than that of the purely personal. In six chapters (3-8) we find him dealing with relative considerations. First he returned to the MECHANISM OF THE UNIVERSE, already touched upon (1:4-11). He sees a recurrence of opposite circumstances continuously manifest, and concludes that man's wisest course is to adapt himself to these. It is to be observed throughout that this man was by no means an ATHEIST. He believed in God, and in His government of all things. But his conception of man was that he is a being living in the midst of this government without any personal fellowship with the God Who is governing. He thought of man as an ANIMAL ONLY; he is like the beasts—at least this man was not sure that there is any difference. He was an AGNOSTIC. He inquired: "Who knows the spirit of man whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goes downward to the earth?" Therefore his outlook upon life lacked illumination and his conclusion was that there is nothing better than that a man should make the best he could out of the things of the earth that he should rejoice in his own work. This is perfectly natural and inevitable. To attempt to interpret God by circumstances, as they appear to man's partial vision, is to become PESSIMISTIC. It is only when the soul looks out upon circumstances from the standpoint of fellowship with God, and knowledge of Him, that it can be OPTIMISTIC.

Monday, August 6, 2018

NO ESCAPE FROM GOD

NO ESCAPE FROM GOD 


"Therefore thus says Jehovah; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil . . ." Micah 2:3


After a graphic description of the coming judgment (Mic. 1:6-16) the prophet declared the nature of the sin of the nation (Mic. 2:1). It will be noticed that the sin was peculiarly the sin of the RULING CLASSES. The period was one of MATERIAL PROSPERITY, but the power of this was in the hands of the rulers. In view of this power, they planned and plotted in the night, and in the day carried out their plans. Their rule was that of OPPRESSION. The note in this charge which reveals the deepest wrong is that in which the prophet declared that the oppression was not an action of sudden passion, or of swift moral collapse. It was premeditated. Observe the force of the word devise: "Woe to them that devise iniquity." This gives force to the declaration: "Behold against this family do I devise an evil." Men deliberately PLOT AND PLAN IN THE DARKNESS, DEVISE INIQUITY IN THE NIGHT, when their fellow men cannot see, and therefore do not know. But God is not deceived, He knows; and over against the devising of wickedness, is set His devising. They DEVISE INIQUITY AGAINST THEIR FELLOW COUNTRYMEN; but JEHOVAH DEVISES EVIL AGAINST THEM. This is forever so, and the evil which God devises against the devising of iniquity: is always the outworking of that very iniquity in its reaction upon the evil workers. THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM GOD; and that fact is the reason of confidence, and the secret of peace, in the days bursting of the apparent triumph of evil men.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

LIVING WITHOUT PROPER FOCUS

LIVING WITHOUT PROPER FOCUS 


"Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; vanity of vanities, all is vanity" Eccles. 1:2


The subtitle of this book found in our translations, "or the Preacher," we owe to Luther, and it is misleading, the more correct rendering of the Hebrew word “Koheleth” would be "The Debater." This is important, for it immediately reminds us that here we have DISCUSSION, rather than TEACHING. In these words we have the GENERAL PROPOSITION of the Debater. Everything he says from here on to the 8th verse of chapter 11 is in defense of this statement. Then in a paragraph, brief but pregnant (11:9-12), he gives an entirely different view of life, which is a correction of this. Let us, then, at once face this opening declaration. It is an absolutely accurate statement of life when it is lived under certain conditions; but it is not true as a statement of what life must necessarily be. There are thousands of men and women today who cannot, and do not, accept this to be true of life as they find it; it is not vanity, vapor, emptiness, nothingness. To them life in every way is real, rich, full, and glorious. It is best, then, that at the beginning we should understand the viewpoint of the Debater. His DECLARATION is that things in themselves bring no satisfaction to the soul of man. To live on the earth without recognition of the ULTIMATE WISDOM which begins and continues in the FEAR OF JEHOVAH, to deal only with that hemisphere which is "under the sun," is indeed to find things of exceeding wonder and beauty and power; but it is to find NOTHING THAT SATISFIES, AND TO BE LEFT AT LAST WITHOUT ANY REALITY, TO FIND ONLY VANITY, VAPOR, EMPTINESS.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

GOD EVENTUALLY GETS FED UP

GOD EVENTUALLY GETS FED UP  


"Thus saith Jehovah; For three transgressions of Damascus, yea, for four" Amos 1:3


Amos was a man of Judah, who was sent by God to prophesy in Israel. In this book we have the notes of his ministry. No prophet, in the technical sense of the word; nor the son of a prophet, that is he had no training in the schools of the prophets, he nevertheless was a veritable prophet of God. His outlook upon the Divine government was of the widest. He saw God judging, NOT JUDAH AND ISRAEL ONLY, but ALL THE NATIONS. The first section of the book contains eight oracles concerning the nations, setting forth this fact. Each one of them is introduced by these words, "For three transgressions . . . yea, for four." The language is obviously figurative, rather than mechanical. The truth thus emphasized with reference to all the nations is that of the Divine patience, and justice. Upon all these nations the wrath of God was to fall, but not until their persistence in wickedness was such as to leave no room for any other method of dealing with them, enough is enough. The "three transgressions" represent FULLNESS OF INIQUITY; but when that becomes "four," then the iniquity has PASSED BEYOND THE BOUNDS OF THE DIVINE PATIENCE. This is always the law of God's dealings with nations. The stroke of His judgment never falls until sin has become so COMPLETE that there is no room for the exercise of mercy. In the Bible we see the good getting better to perfection while the bad get to their worst and then we see the complete exercise of the mission He was sent to this earth. When that is so, His judgments inevitably come, and that in the interest of humanity as a whole. A careful reading of these narratives will show that the national sins against which God proceeds, are always those of wrong done to other nations.

Friday, August 3, 2018

ALL THINGS CARED FOR IN THE DIVINE PLAN

ALL THINGS CARED FOR IN THE DIVINE PLAN  



"Everyone according to his service, and according to his burden" Num. 4:49
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." 2 Tim. 1:9


In this chapter we have a continuation of the instructions concerning the Levites. It gives a minute account of their work in connection with the marching of the people. The duty of carrying all the holy furniture was that of the Kohathites. This furniture, however, they were not permitted to look upon, or touch. Aaron and his sons first entered the Holy Place and covered each sacred piece, affixing the staves which were to rest upon the shoulders of the Levites. On the march these holy vessels were in charge of Eleazar, who carried also the anointing oil and the sweet incense. The curtains and the tents which constituted the Tabernacle itself were carried by the Gershonites. They were under the charge of Ithamar. To the Mera­rites were committed the boards and bars and pillars, and other things which formed the foundations upon which the sacred hangings rested. These also were under the charge of Ithamar. All this is instructive, as it reveals the DIVINE THOUGHT AND CARE for EVERY DETAIL of the life and worship of His people. It is of particular value too as it teaches us that in the thought of God every detail is SACRED. These men were in this regard the "caretakers" of the House of God. How often we are prone to think meanly of "caretakers" in these modern times! Such thinking is utterly wrong. The men and women who have charge of the houses of our worship are rendering holy service. And all of this part of the meeting before the foundation of this earth in that Trinitarian meeting (Eph. 1:11; 1 Pet. 1:20; 2 Tim. 1:9). See article titled “Triune meeting before the Beginning.”

Thursday, August 2, 2018

BLESSING OR CURSING

BLESSING OR CURSING 


"Hear ye peoples, all of you. . . ." Micah 1:2


Micah was a prophet to the people of God, contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea. His messages were concerned with Samaria and Jerusalem, the capitals respectively of the Northern and Southern kingdoms, as being the centers of national thought and action. Their burden was that of authority. He denounced the false, and announced the true. The book contains three discourses, each commencing with the same formula "Hear" (See 1:2; 3:1 and 6:1). The words we have emphasized constitute the introduction to the first of these. Necessarily the message was for the nation to which he spoke, but he couched it in the form of an address to ALL NATIONS; and to the WHOLE EARTH. The burden of the message is that of declaring THE COMING JUDGMENT OF GOD UPON THE CHOSEN NATION ON ACCOUNT OF ITS APOSTASY. The other nations are called upon to listen to this message, and to WITNESS THE DIVINE JUDGMENT. Micah recognized the Divine purpose of the chosen nation. It was to be THE MEDIUM THROUGH which God bore witness concerning Himself to all the other nations of the world. Israel, OBEDIENT to the Divine government, realized the blessings of the Divine government, and revealed its kindness to the world. Israel DISOBEDIENT to that law must be judged and punished as they were to be the blessing giver to the rest of the nations (Gen. 12:3), and thus the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the Divine government would be manifested to all the nations of the earth. Either in blessing or in blasting (Gen. 12:3), Jehovah reveals Himself to the nations by His dealing with His ancient people. This is still so, if men have minds to apprehend. Let the rulers among the nations consider the history of the Hebrew people; let them ponder the reason of their long-continued suffering and scattered condition. God is speaking yet to the nations through the Jewish nation.