Christendom cannot be Reformed

C H McKINTOSH

Has the church failed in its responsibility?

Has the church failed in its responsibility?  Has the Christian religion broken down?  Has Christianity failed as a witness, a steward, and a light-bearer for Christ in this world?  99% of Christians look at Christendom as a splendid success.  Christendom will claim that, like the rider on the white horse, the gospel has gone forth to conquer, and achieved many glorious triumphs.   Church people look back to the opening of the fourth century as a glorious epoch when persecution ceased, and Constantine adopted Christianity.  They claim Christendom has gone on increasing in brightness from that day until now.

CHM said that he was thoroughly persuaded that Scripture did not support those who hold this view.  all support this.  Paul’s farewell address to the elders of Ephesus and his closing ministry in the letters to Timothy prove the anticipated ruin of the church in its earthly service and testimony.  Peter and Jude, as well as the parables of the leaven, the tares, the mustard tree and the ten virgins, confirm this too.

The seven churches in Revelation indicate the phases of the church’s history, leading to its present Laodicean state.  Lift up your eyes: look upon Christendom: say if you can trace a single feature of resemblance to the church as presented in the New Testament.

 

The One Body

Where is the one body? Suppose a letter was addressed, “To the church of God in London;”.  To whom should it be delivered?  Who could claim it?  The church of Rome might, but not truthfully.  The established Church of England would not claim it, but an uninstructed postman would probably deliver it there by default.   None of the sects and parties into which Christian profession is divided, could rightly to call at the post-office and demand the letter: not one of them is the church of God (even if some have such a name).   We must admit that Christendom, far from being a splendid success, has proved to be a most deplorable and humiliating failure.

The history of the church is one of failure and ruin, sin and judgment: all human efforts to mend or remodel must prove as utterly vain and hopeless as building the tower of Babel.  Look at our own bodies:  Can they be restored?  They must die or be changed; never reconstructed.  God will give us bodies of glory; He will never patch up bodies of sin and death.

 

The True Church vs. the Profession

Christ, blessed be His Name, will present the true church to Himself, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing (see Eph 5:27).  That glorious body will be seen descending from heaven, like a bride adorned for her husband, shining in all the brightness of the glory of God and the Lamb.  But for the false, faithless and corrupt church – that vast mass of baptised profession which calls itself Christian, nothing remains but the winepress of the wrath of Almighty God – the lake of fire – the blackness of darkness forever.

What must we do?  We have learnt that the church is a ruin, and that it is not God’s purpose to restore it.   Instead of asking, ‘What is to be done?’, let us be truly broken and penitent before our God, and cast ourselves on His rich mercy and sovereign goodness.  Though He will never reconstruct a fallen church on earth, God will sustain, feed, strengthen and encourage all those who humbly rely on His faithfulness and love.   It will be our privilege to tread a holy path and enjoy communion as the disciples knew it in the early days of this dispensation.  May we make the church’s sin our own, and put away from us any proud pretension and futile effort to set up another church of our own devising and workmanship.

 

God’s Standard

Unfortunately, there is a constant tendency to lower the standard of devotedness to the level of the general condition of things publicly.  It is destructive of all service and testimony, and we must guard against this.  In 2 Timothy 2: 19 it says, ‘The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity’.  God is faithful: His standard remains the same. His foundation can never be moved; and it is the privilege of the individual believer to rest on that foundation and abide by God’s standard, come what may.  Faith can count on God, and draw upon His inexhaustible resources, despite the hopeless public ruin. Were it not so, what would have become of the faithful through the ages?

Take as an example the golden calf.  Aaron made it, but it was blatant idolatry.  Moses insisted that Jehovah and the golden calf could not reside together.  If a calf was in the camp, Jehovah must be outside – such was the simple reasoning of faith (faith always reasons aright). When the public body is totally awry, the path of individual faith is outside it. The call is to depart from iniquity. ‘Every one which sought the Lord’(Ex 33:7) had to go outside of the defiled place to find Him: they even had to leave the camp of Israel, the place Jehovah had taken up His abode.

Elijah is another example.  The ten tribes had been broken off from the two, and Israel’s visible unity was gone.   But ‘Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the Word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name. And with the stones he built an altar in the Name of the Lord’(1 Kings 18: 31). Elijah confesses the indissoluble unity of Israel’s twelve tribes in the presence of Ahab, Jezebel and eight hundred false prophets.   It could have been said that this was not the time for an altar of twelve stones, the day for that was gone .  However, God’s standard remained. ‘For ever,O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven’(Ps 119:89). We must maintain the eternal stability of the truth of God, even if that truth exposes our fallen condition.  Faith takes its stand on God’s own ground, acting according to the integrity of divine revelation.

The Authority of the Holy Scriptures

If there is one feature of the present moment more deplorable than another, it is the loose way in which the truth of God is held: there is a strong tendency to lower the standard of obedience.  It is deemed narrow-minded to insist on the paramount authority of the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God is fast losing its place in the hearts and minds of professing Christians. The motto, ‘The Bible, and the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants[*]’, if it ever was true -is certainly not true now.  There is a most determined effort in the media and the pulpit, to dispense with the Word of God as a paramount infallible authority.  This is not an over-statement.   [Has it not gone much further in the 21stcentury, where quoting the scriptures, especially as to sexual morality, brings out allegations of criminal hatred? – and the iniquitous agenda of the liberal gay rights movement is being endorsed by the Established Church and promoted in Christian schools.]

Mackintosh was thoroughly persuaded that the professing church is hastening on to a fearful moment in her history, in the which she will utterly reject the Word, the Christ, and the Spirit of God.   Ignorance, superstition and impudent infidelity are fast gaining sway over the minds of millions.  Towards the close of the nineteenth century, millions professed their deluded belief in an immaculate woman (Mary) and an infallible man (the Pope).[†]  At the same time, they audaciously tampered with the Word of God, with blasphemous assaults on the Person of the Son of God.

 

 Our Call

Does this not make us prize, all the more, the faith and faithfulness of those worthies, who stood in the face of a hostile world, and boldly maintained the truth of God, despite of the palpable ruin and failure of the that which publicly espoused Christ’s Name.  Like Elijah before the prophets, and Moses going out of the camp, there is a blessed platform of faith on which each true believer can take his or her stand, in calm and holy confidence, and there abide with God.

[*]Attributed to William Chillingworth (1602–1644)

[†]Immaculate conception – Pope Pius IX 1854 and the assumption of Mary – Pope Pius XII 1950;  Papal infallibility – First Vatican Council 1868

 

Edited and extracted from C H Mackintosh ‘LETTERS TO A FRIEND ON THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THINGS’ – /var/folders/rq/t4tbmlbn6zx9kw44_g_7ghpw0000gn/T/com.microsoft.Word/WebArchiveCopyPasteTempFiles/f.gif/var/folders/rq/t4tbmlbn6zx9kw44_g_7ghpw0000gn/T/com.microsoft.Word/WebArchiveCopyPasteTempFiles/f.gifReprinted from ‘Things New and Old’ Vols. 17 – 18, 1874 and 1875.

Click here for original

 

What Man starts, ends in Failure

C H McKINTOSH

We learn from Scripture that, in every instance in which man has been set in a place of responsibility, he has utterly failed. Total failure has marked man’s history, from Paradise to Pentecost. There is not a single exception to the dark and melancholy rule. Let man be tried under the fairest possible circumstances, and he is sure to break down. Let a business start with the very brightest prospects, most often hopeless bankruptcy will be the end. There is no denying this fact – no getting over it. It runs like a dark, broad line along the page of human history, from first to last.

 

Adam’s Sin

When at first, man was placed in the garden of Eden, surrounded by all that the hand of an Almighty and Beneficent Creator could do to make him happy, he believed the serpent’s lie, and turned his back on God. He proved, in an unmistakable manner, that he had more confidence in the serpent than in Jehovah Elohim – more respect for the word of the devil than for the Word of the blessed Creator.  He trusted Satan rather than God, blessed throughout the everlasting ages. This is our first proof.

It could be said that Adam did not know he was listening to the devil. But how does that affect the real merits of the case? Satan would never say, ‘I am the devil; and I am come to slander Jehovah Elohim, and get you to turn your back upon Him altogether”. Yet this was precisely what he did, and Adam accepted serpent’s lie.  That led to the word of God being replaced by human superstition.

 

Noah’s Drunkenness

Man progressed until at length his iniquity rose to a head, and God sent the deluge.  Noah was carried safely through the judgment, and placed at the head of the restored earth, and given the sword of government.  How does Noah carry himself? He gets drunk and degrades himself in the presence of his sons. Whatever excuse he might have given, he got drunk and exposed himself.

 

Israel’s Sins

When Israel was redeemed out of Egypt, the people solemnly pledged themselves to do all that Jehovah had spoken.  What happened?   Just after receiving the tables of the law, no less a person than Aaron made a golden calf and said, ‘These be thy gods, O Israel, that brought thee up out of the land of Egypt’ (Ex 32:4).  Jehovah displaced by a calf – How terrible! – and how deeply humiliating.  Consequent on this the priesthood failed and Aaron’s sons offered strange fire;

So man fails always – the results: Adam was driven from the garden; Noah was despised by his son, and Israel saw the tables of testimony shattered to atoms, and Aaron never appeared in the presence of God in his garments of glory and beauty.

Failure continued – Israel got a king.   What followed? – strange wives, gross idolatry, and a divided nation.

 

Now the Church

It need not surprise us to find that in the Christian church similar sad failures occur.  All started well:

They that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.  And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved’  (Acts 2:41-47).

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need’ (Acts 4:32-35).

 Here we have a lovely sample of true Christianity – some rich clusters of the fruit of the Spirit – the glorious triumph of grace over all the narrow selfishness of nature – the exquisite merging of all personal interests and considerations in the common good.  It displays of the moral glories of heaven – a fair and touching illustration of what it will be in a future day, when our God shall have things His own way, with new creation in view and the heavens above and the earth beneath under the benign influence of the Saviour’s reign.

 

The Church’s Failure

 But alas, in the public church, this lovely picture was marred.  Covetousness and deceit soon broke out in Ananias and Sapphira, and the murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, proving that man is the same, always and everywhere.   Unfaithfulness, failure, sin and ruin are stamped on every page of man’s history, from first to last. It is perfectly useless for anyone to deny this.

Of course, we are not looking on the church as the body of Christ.  In this aspect, thank God, there can be no failure.  Christ infallibly maintains His church according to the divine integrity of His own work. He will soon present His church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He has expressly declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His assembly.

Paul had to warn the Ephesian elders, ‘Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of (or from among) your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them’(Acts 20: 28-30).

– This was a warning about the church fathers who insisted on their own authority – and held questionable doctrine.

Paul told Timothy ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth’(1 Tim 4:1-3)

– This describes Romanism and popery.

And ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’(2 Tim 3:1-5).

– This describes Protestantism and infidelity.

Another great principle which we need to bear in mind is that God never restores a fallen witness. When man fails in his responsibility – which, as we have before proved, he always does – God does not reinstate him. He brings in something better, as the fruit of His own sovereign grace; but He never puts a new piece upon an old garment.  What is of man cannot be reformed.

 

Edited and extracted from C H Mackintosh ‘LETTERS TO A FRIEND ON THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THINGS’ – /var/folders/rq/t4tbmlbn6zx9kw44_g_7ghpw0000gn/T/com.microsoft.Word/WebArchiveCopyPasteTempFiles/f.gif/var/folders/rq/t4tbmlbn6zx9kw44_g_7ghpw0000gn/T/com.microsoft.Word/WebArchiveCopyPasteTempFiles/f.gifReprinted from ‘Things New and Old’ Vols. 17 – 18, 1874 and 1875.

Click here for original

 

The Red Sea – JN Darby Bible Notes & Synopsis

J N Darby on The Red Sea by Subject – the second subject in this series

·     The Red Sea –  JN Darby Bible Notes & Synopsis

·     Israel’s Experience in the Red Sea

·     Red Sea and Jordan

·     The Red Sea and Prophecy

·     The Red Sea and Wilderness and God’s Purpose

·     Christian Teaching from the Red Sea

·     Moses’ Song after the Red Sea

·     The Waters of Marah

Notes

  1. Scripture quotations here are from the Darby Translation
  2. The notes are a combination of those from the 1890 and 1961 editions of the Darby Bible. Where notes refer to another scripture, the notes from that scripture are used. In many notes in the 1890 edition there is a list of which manuscripts (MSS) use which terms.  These MSS have not been listed.
  3. The Synopsis has been slightly edited to simplify the English.

Exodus 13

The Pillars of Cloud and Fire

17And it came to pass, when Pharaoh let the people go, that God did not lead them the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, That the people may not repent when they see conflict, and return to Egypt. 18And God led the people about, the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went arrayeda out of the land of Egypt. 19And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he had made the children of Israel swear an oath, saying, God will be sure to visit you; then ye shall carry my bones with you hence. 20And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, at the end of the wilderness. 21And Jehovah went before their face by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them [in] the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; so that they could go day and night. 22The pillar of the cloud did not remove [from] before the people by day, nor the pillar of fire by night.

Notes

 

ai.e. ‘in battle order, or ‘by fives, i.e. ‘five in a rank, or ‘girded’

Synopsis

Exodus 14

Pharaoh Pursues the Israelites

1And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea: before Baal-Zephon, opposite to it, shall ye encamp by the sea. 3And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has hemmed them in. 4And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he may pursue after them; and I will glorify myself in Pharaoh, and in all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah. And they did so.

5And it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and of his bondmen was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from our service? 6And he yoked his chariot, and took his people with him. 7And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 8And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel; and the children of Israel had gone out with a a high hand. 9And the Egyptians pursued after them, — all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them where they had encamped by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, opposite to Baal-Zephon.

 

10And Pharaoh approached; and the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and the children of Israel were much afraid, and cried out to Jehovah. 11And they said to Moses, Is it because there were no graves in Egypt, thou hast taken us away to die in the wilderness? why hast thou done this to us, that thou hast led us out of Egypt? 12Is not this what we told thee in Egypt, when we said, Let us alone, and we will serve the Egyptians? For [it had been] better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. 

13And Moses said to the people, Fear not: stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you to-day; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall be stillb

Parting the Red Sea

15And Jehovah said to Moses, Why dost thou cry unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. 16And thou, lift thy staff, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea. 17And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall pursue after them; and I will glorify myself in Pharaoh and in all his host, in his chariots and in his horsemen. 18And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have glorified myself in Pharaoh, in his chariots and in his horsemen.

19And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before them, and stood behind them. 20And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and was a cloud and darkness, and lit up the night; and the one did not come near the other all the night.

21And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah made the sea go [back] by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided. 22And the children of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry [ground]; and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23And the Egyptians pursued and came after them — all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen, into the midst of the sea. 24And it came to pass in the morning watch, that Jehovah looked upon the camp of the Egyptians, in the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and embarrassed the camp of the Egyptians. 25And he took off their chariot wheels, and caused them to drive with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, Let us flee before Israel, for Jehovah is fighting for them against the Egyptians!

26And Jehovah said to Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may return upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and upon their horsemen. 27And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength toward the morning; and the Egyptians fled against it; and Jehovah overturned c the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen of all the host of Pharaoh that had come into the sea after them; there remained not even one of them. 29And the children of Israel walked on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left 

30Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the sea-shore. 31And Israel saw the great power d [with] which Jehovah had wrought against the Egyptians; and the people feared Jehovah, and believed in Jehovah, and in Moses his bondman.

Notes

 

a Or ‘by’

b Or ‘ye shall hold your peace’

c Lit. ‘shot off’

d Lit ‘hand’

Synopsis

 

 

At the Red Sea, God acts in power according to the purposes of His love.  Consequently the enemy, who was closely pursuing His people, is destroyed without resource.  This is what will happen to the people at the last day, already in reality – to the eye of God – sheltered through the blood.

As a moral type, the Red Sea is evidently the death and resurrection of Jesus.   It shows deliverance by redemption, and of His people as seen in Him.  God acts in the people to bring them through death, out of sin and the flesh, and give them absolute deliverance from sin and the flesh by  death, into which Christ had gone, and consequently from all the power of the enemy

Romans 3:20 to Romans 5:11 gives Christ’s death for sins, and resurrection for our justification; thence to the end of chapter 8, death to sin. Sin in the flesh is not forgiven, but condemned (Romans 8:3); but we as having died are not in the flesh at all, we are alive unto God through, or rather in, Jesus Christ. This takes us no farther than the wilderness, though passing through it as alive to God in Christ.

As to our standing and acceptance we are brought to God: our actual place is thus in the world, become the wilderness on our way to glory. We are made partakers of it already through faith. Sheltered from the judgment of God by the blood, we are delivered, by His power which acts for us, from the power of Satan, the prince of this world.  The blood keeping us from the judgment of God was the beginning.  The power which has made us alive in Christ, who has gone down into death for us, has made us free from the whole power of Satan who followed us, and, as to conscience, from all his attacks and accusations. We have done with the flesh as our standing, and Satan’s power, and, brought to God, are in the world with Him. The world, who will follow that way, is swallowed up in it.

Considered as the historical type of God’s ways towards Israel, the Red Sea terminates the sequel of events; and so for us. We are brought to God. Thus the forgiven thief could go straight to Paradise. As a moral type, it is the beginning of the Christian path, properly so called; that is to say, the accomplishment of the redemption by which the soul begins its Christian course, but is viewed as in the world, and the world become the wilderness of its pilgrimage; we are not in the flesh.

This is a solemn warning;  worldlings who call themselves Christians take the ground of judgment to come, and the need of righteousness, but not according to God.  The Christian goes through it in Christ, knowing himself otherwise lost and hopeless; the worldling in his own strength, and is swallowed up. Israel saw the Red Sea in its strength, and thought escape was hopeless: their conscience was awakened to death and judgment.  But Christ has died and borne judgment for us, and we are secured and delivered by what we dreaded in itself. The worldling, seeing this, adopts the truth in his own strength, as if there were no danger, and is lost in his false confidence.

In itself, it is Christ’s death and resurrection. But that is not only meeting the holiness of God’s nature, which is the blood-shedding, but entering into the whole power of evil that was against us and making it null. Hence, though it be not our realising death and resurrection so as to be in heavenly places, we are owned as having died in Him, and He our life, so that we have left our old standing altogether. In Colossians, we are risen with Him; in Ephesians, also sitting in Him in heavenly places. Colossians is the risen man still on earth, the subjective state, what refers to heaven but is not there, as Christ Himself for forty days-Jordan crossed, but not Canaan taken possession of.

The Red Sea is in contrast to the Jordan representing our death with Christ, and, as to our state subjectively, our resurrection with Him-analogous to the forty days He passed on earth. To this the teaching of Colossians answers. Hence heaven is in hope.  In Romans we are not risen with Christ. That involves, as a consequence, our being identified with Him where He is; and so, by the Holy Ghost when we are sealed, union. In Colossians we are risen with Him, but not in heavenly places. Colossians treats of life, with a hope laid up for us in heavenly places; not at all of the Holy Ghost. In Ephesians 2 we are risen with Him and sitting in heavenly places in Him, and then begins the conflict with spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, and testimony according to what is heavenly; so far this is Jordan and Canaan, and here the sealing and gift of the Holy Ghost is fully spoken of, and our relationship with the Father and with Christ, as sons, and as body and bride. Only Ephesians begins with our being dead in sins, so that it is a new creation; it is not death to sin. The blood-shedding, however, in one respect, has a more glorious character. God is glorified in it, though by crossing Jordan we are experimentally placed higher. That too is the fruit of the blood-shedding, in which there is not only the bearing of sins to meet our responsibility, but a glorifying of God, so as to bring us withal into God’s glory with Him, which is beyond all questions of responsibility.

 

Exodus 15

Moses’ Song of Deliverance

(2 Samuel 22:1-51)

1Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to Jehovah, and spoke, saying, I will sing unto Jehovah, for he is highly exalted: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

2My strength and song is Jah a, and he is become my salvation: This is my God, and I will glorify him; My father’s God, and I will extol him.

3Jehovah is a man of war; Jehovah, his name 

4Pharaoh’s chariots and his army hath he cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.

5The depths covered them; they sank to the bottom as a stone.

6Thy right hand, Jehovah, is become glorious in power: Thy right hand, Jehovah, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

7And by the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown thine adversariesb: Thou sentest forth thy burning wrath, it consumed them as stubble 

8And by the breath of thy nostrils the waters were heaped up; The streams stood as a mound; The depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

9The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my soul shall be sated upon them; I will unsheath my sword, my hand shall dispossess them 

10Thou didst blow with thy breath, the sea covered them; They sank as lead in the mighty waters.

11Who is like unto thee, Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like unto thee, glorifying thyself in holiness, Fearful [in] praises, doing wonders?

12Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.

13Thou by thy mercy hast led forth the people that thou hast redeemed; Thou hast guided them by thy strength unto the abode of thy holiness.

14The peoples heard it, they were afraid: A thrill seized the inhabitants of Philistia.

15Then the princes of Edom were amazed; The mighty men of Moab, trembling hath seized them; All the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.

16Fear and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of thine arm they are still as a stone; Till thy people pass over, Jehovah, Till the people pass over that thou hast purchased.

17Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, The place that thou, Jehovah, hast made thy dwelling, The Sanctuary, Lord, that thy hands have prepared.

18Jehovah shall reign for ever and ever!

19For the horse of Pharaoh, with his chariots and with his horsemen, came into the sea, and Jehovah brought again the waters of the sea upon them; and the children of Israel went on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea.

20And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the tambour in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambours and with dances 

21And Miriam answered them, Sing to Jehovah, for he is highly exalted: The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

 

The Waters of Marah

22And Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23And they came to Marah c, and could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25And he cried to Jehovah; and Jehovah shewed him wood, and he cast it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There he made for them a statute and an ordinance; and there he tested them. 26And he said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of Jehovah thy God, and do what is right in his eyes, and incline thine ears to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the complaints upon thee that I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am Jehovah who healeth thee. 

27And they came to Elim; and twelve springs of water were there, and seventy palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters.

Notes

a ‘Jah’ may be a short form of ‘Jehovah’. But it seems to express His absolute rather than His continuous existence.  See Ps 68:4 ‘His name is Jah’ – The existing one objectively.

 

b Lit ‘them that rose up against thee’.

 

c Bitterness

Synopsis

 

The people, their loins girded, having eaten in haste, with the bitter herbs of repentance, begin their journey; but they do so in Egypt: yet now God can be, and He is, with them. Here it is well to distinguish these two judgments, that of the firstborn, and that of the Red Sea. As matters of chastisement, the one was the firstfruits of the other, and ought to have deterred Pharaoh from his rash pursuit. But the blood, which kept the people from God’s judgment, meant something far deeper and far more serious than even the Red Sea, though judgment was executed there too [See Note #2]. What happened at the Red Sea was, it is true, the manifestation of the illustrious power of God, who destroyed with the breath of His mouth the enemy who stood in rebellion against Him-final and destructive judgment in its character, no doubt, and which effected the deliverance of His people by His power. But the blood signified the moral judgment of God, and the full and entire satisfaction of all that was in His being. God, such as He was, in His justice, His holiness, and His truth, could not touch those who were sheltered by that blood  Was there sin? His love towards His people had found the means of satisfying the requirements of His justice; and at the sight of that blood, which answered everything that was perfect in His being, He passed over it consistently with His justice and even His truth. Nevertheless God, even in passing over, is seen as Judge; hence, so long as the soul is on this ground, its peace is uncertain though the ground of it be sure-its way in Egypt, being all the while truly converted-because God has still the character of Judge to it, and the power of the enemy is still there.

 

 

 

Nehemiah 9

The People Confess Their Sins

 

9And thou sawest the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red Sea;

10and didst shew signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants, and upon all the people of his land; for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them, and thou didst make thee a name, as it is this day.

11And thou didst divide the sea before them, and they went through the midst of the sea on dry [ground]; and their pursuers thou threwest into the depths, as a stone into the mighty waters.

12And thou leddest them in the day by a pillar of cloud, and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.

 

Notes

 

Synopsis

 

 

 

Psalm 106

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good

 

1 Hallelujah! Give ye thanks a unto Jehovah; for he b is good; for his loving-kindness [endureth] for ever. . . . 

6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

7Our fathers in Egypt considered not thy wondrous works; they remembered not the multitude of thy loving-kindnesses; but they rebelled c at the sea, at the Red Sea.

8Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his might.

9And he rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; and he led them through the deeps as through a wilderness d

10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated [them], and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy 

11And the waters covered their oppressors: there was not one of them left.

12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

13They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Notes

a Compare 1 Chron 16:34-36

 

b  Or, ‘it is good’

 

c Or, ‘provoked him’, as v. 43

 

d Or, ‘the wilderness’.  See Ezek 34:25

Synopsis

 

It is the practical piety which proves, in its own confession, enduring mercy. It then goes through all the history of Israel with this view; and at the close shows that, in spite of all, Jehovah, remembering His covenant, thought on their affliction, and caused them to be pitied of the heathen, among whom they were. For this mercy he now looks, that they may triumph in the praise of Jehovah.

Acts 7

Stephen Addresses the Sanhedrin

 

35This Moses, whom they refused, saying, Who made thee ruler and judge? a  him did God send [to be] a ruler and deliverer

Withb the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 Hec led them out, having wrought wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, A prophet shalld God raise up to you out of your brethren like me [him shall ye hear]e. 38This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who received living oracles to give to us; 39to whom our fathers would not be subject, but thrust [him] from them, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, Make us gods who shall go before us f

Notes

a Ex 2:14

b ἐν /en/Strong 1722 ‘in’ or ‘within’ Some MSS read σὺν/syn/Strong 4862 – ‘by’

 

cαὐτός/autos/

Strong846 intensive pronoun ‘the same’

 

dOne MSS reads ‘the Lord your God’

 

e Deut 18:15-18

 

f Ex 32:1

Synopsis

 

 

1 Corinthians 10

Warnings from Israel’s Past

(Numbers 16:41-50; Numbers 25:1-5)

 

1For a I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2and all were baptisedb  unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of a spiritual rock which followed [them]: (now the rock was the Christ;) 5yet God was not pleased with the most of them, for they were strewed in the desert.

Notes

a γὰρ/gar/Strong063 ‘indeed’.  Some MSS read ‘now’ or ‘but’.

 

 

 

b Some MSS have ἐβαπτίσαντο/ebaptisanto ‘were baptised’ (middle voice).  For ἐβαπτίσθησαν/ebaptisthēsan   ‘were baptised – (passive voice)’.  The middle form of the verb is used in Acts 22:16 ‘get baptised’. The difference is difficult to express in English as we have no middle voice which has a reflective force. It is when an act returns back in its effect on oneself.  Paul was to act in this case as Acts 22:6; not to baptise himself: that would be active; but ‘ get bapised’. ‘ Be baptised’ gives this where the command is to the person. Here we must say the same in English. They passed through the sea and so got baptised. There was no action of course of a baptiser here, hence the middle voice. The many MSS which have the passive, overlooking this, used the habitual passive word, in which the action is that of another (as Acts 10:47-48).  -(My note – Looking up the Greek another said that the middle voice could be translated ‘get yourself baptised’ – which is fine in English.

Synopsis

 

 

 

Hebrews 11

The Faith of Moses

23By faith Moses, being born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw the child beautiful; and they did not fear the injunction of the king. 24By faith Moses, when he had become great, refused to be called son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25choosing a rather to suffer affliction along with the people of God than to have [the] temporary pleasure of sin; 26esteeming a the reproach of the Christ greater riches than the treasures of b Egypt, for he had respect to the recompense. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing a  the wrath of the king; for he persevered, as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he celebrated c the passover and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. 29By faith they passed through the Red sea as through dry land d; of which the Egyptians having made trial were swallowed up.

Notes

a These are aorist, the English present participle is joined to the perfect tense, as characterising the action.  ‘He refused. . . choosing’,  ‘he refused. . .having chosen’, would make a different time of it, not the same.   In Greek all is referred to the time of speaking.

 

b Some MSS read ‘in’

cb Here and v. 17, as to the offering up Isaac, the verbs are in the perfect; this is remarkable. The other facts are generally passing facts, part of the whole history; these are of standing significance, either figuratively setting the believer on a new ground, or viewed as continued till the time of the epistle: ‘by faith Abraham has offered,’ ‘by faith he has celebrated;’ only this is not possible in English. It was not external continuance, for the blood sprinkling was only once.

 

d Some MSS omit ‘dry’

Synopsis

The power of God is manifested, and manifested in judgment. Nature, the enemies of God’s people, think to pass through this judgment dry-shod, like those who are sheltered by redeeming power from the righteous vengeance of God. But the judgment swallows them up in the very same place in which the people find deliverance – a principle of marvellous import. There, where the judgment of God is, even there is the deliverance. Believers have truly experienced this in Christ. The cross is death and judgment, the two terrible consequences of sin, the lot of sinful man. To us they are the deliverance provided of God. By and in them we are delivered and (in Christ) we pass through and are out of their reach. Christ died and is risen; and faith brings us, by means of that which should have been our eternal ruin, into a place where death and judgment are left behind, and where our enemies can no longer reach us. We go through without their touching us. Death and judgment shield us from the enemy. They are our security. But we enter into a new sphere, we live by the effect not only of Christ’s death, but of His resurrection.

Those who, in the mere power of nature, think to pass through (they who speak of death and judgment and Christ, taking the Christian position, and thinking to pass through, although the power of God in redemption is not with them) are swallowed up.

With respect to the Jews, this event will have an earthly antitype; for in fact the day of God’s judgment on earth will be the deliverance of Israel, who will have been brought to repentance.

This deliverance at the Red Sea goes beyond the protection of the blood in Egypt. There God coming in the expression of His holiness, executing judgment upon evil, what they needed was to be sheltered from that judgment to be protected from the righteous judgment of God Himself. And, by the blood, God, thus coming to execute judgment, was shut out, and the people were placed in safety before the Judge. This judgment had the character of the eternal judgment. And God had the character of a Judge.

At the Red Sea it was not merely deliverance from judgment hanging over them; God was for the people, active in love and in power for them.  The deliverance was an actual deliverance: they came out of that condition in which they had been enslaved, God’s own power bringing them unhurt through that which otherwise must have been their destruction. Thus, in our case, it is Christ’s death and resurrection, in which we participate, the redemption which He therein accomplished, which introduces us into an entirely new condition altogether outside that of nature. We are no longer in the flesh.

In principle the earthly deliverance of the Jewish nation (the Jewish remnant) will be the same. Founded on the power of the risen Christ, and on the propitiation wrought out by His death, that deliverance will be accomplished by God, who will intervene on behalf of those that turn to Him by faith: at the same time that His adversaries (who are those also of His people) shall be destroyed by the very judgment which is the safeguard of the people whom they have oppressed.

 

 

 

Notes

 

Synopsis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sosthenes

February 2018

After the Rapture, the Jewish Remnant – Particularly from the Psalms

The Psalms connect Christ with and Israel, and with the remnant in particular. It would be impossible to enter into the detail of all 150 Psalms here, but what we cannot fail to see is that there is, in the latter day, a godly pious Jewish remnant – tried, oppressed and all but overwhelmed. Jehovah owns and encourages His people and rewards them with Jewish blessings according to promise, Christ having entered into their sorrows and borne their sins. Christ, as Jehovah, comes to judge. The Son of man and King in Zion enters into the temple with all things under His feet, subjecting all the nations to Himself.

 

JohnNelsonDarbyIn the Psalms we have Jehovah’s sympathetic thoughts and feelings for the Jewish remnant. God and God’s purpose regarding Christ, His anointed, ar erevealed.  We see this clearly in the first two psalms.

The Psalms connect Christ with and Israel, and with the remnant in particular.  It would be impossible to enter into the detail of all 150 Psalms here, but what we cannot fail to see is that there is, in the latter day, a godly pious Jewish remnant – tried, oppressed and all but overwhelmed.  Jehovah owns and encourages His people and rewards them with Jewish blessings according to promise, Christ having entered into their sorrows and borne their sins.  Christ, as Jehovah, comes to judge.  The Son of man and King in Zion enters into the temple with all things under His feet, subjecting all the nations to Himself. 

There is much more method than is supposed in the five books of Psalms.   Christ enters in spirit into the remnant’s position.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit arouses godly feelings; at other times He enters personally and sympathetically in grace into their trials.

 

First Book

Psalm 1 distinguishes the righteous person from the rest of nation, thus marking out the remnant morally.  ‘The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous’ (v. 5).  Not only this, the godly righteous Jew, who delights in the law, is promised present blessings.

In Psalm 2, the heathen and Jewish rulers rise in rebellion against Jehovah and His Anointed. Son of God sits upon the throne of Zion, and calls upon the kings and judges of the earth to submit to Him.

In Psalms 3-7 the godly man is under constant attack.  His faith is tested, and the enemy taunts him, beckoning him to desert.  He is in distress as to the wicked and appeals to God, the righteous Judge.  Christ, the true godly one, enters in spirit into all the sorrows of the righteous remnant.  Their deliverance wrought by judgment, because heir blessings and the character of their righteousness are Jewish (which is not the case of the raised or heaven-born saints).  As they wait on God, their cry is heard and they are exhorted to persevere and depend.  The earth is their portion.

Then, in Psalm 8, the remnant own Jehovah their Lord as having made His name excellent in all the earth, while the Son of man, (rejected when He came as Messiah), is given universal dominion.  The result is blessing for Israel when the Son of man takes His place in glory.

In  Psalms 9 and 10, we have the trial and judgment of the last days: the poor and oppressed are not forgotten.  The heathen perishes out of the land (Ps 10:16).

In Psalms 11-15 the thoughts, feelings, and apprehensions of the remnant are further developed. Those walk uprightly, work righteousness, speak truth without backbiting or doing evil to his neighbour will dwell in God’s holy hill (see Ps 15:1-3).

Psalm 16: Christ’s takes His place with the godly remnant, as He did historically when He was baptised with John’s baptism.  God’s delight was in Christ, who surely needed no repentance.  But He says ‘unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; but to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight’ (Ps 16:2-3).  That corresponds to the New Testament: ‘Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one’ (Heb 2:11).  In the Psalm, Christ says that he takes the place of a servant to Jehovah (not His divine place).   He follows the path of life, does not see corruption, and finds His eternal joy as Man in God’s presence at the right hand of Jehovah.

In Psalm 17 Christ will behold God’s face in righteousness and be satisfied, awaking up in His likeness, the true eternal image of the invisible God.  (See v. 15).

In Psalm 18 we see what God has done and will do for the people – from their deliverance o from Egypt, to their final deliverance under David.

In Psalm 19 we have the testimony of creation and the law.

Psalm 20:  We have God’s sympathetic help for the remnant.

Psalm 21 Christ’s sorrows and desires culminate in His glory.  His days are for ever and ever as man and right hand finds out all His enemies.   The consequence of His suffering at the hands of man is that He will make His enemies ‘as a fiery oven in the day of His wrath’ (Ps 21:9).

In Psalm 22 we have, not just the sorrows of sorrows from man, but His forsaking by God,  bearing His wrath.  The result is all grace, which He exercises in making known His name to His brethren, and associating the remnant, then all Israel, with Himself in praise   The fruit is unmingled blessing, nothing else.

Psalm 23 shows Jehovah’s faithful shepherd care through every difficulty.  It is now exercised in our favour by Christ- the portion of every believe.  He knows His sheep and is known of them.  Restoration is not exclusively from sin, though He does restore us for that, but from sorrow and oppression of heart.

In Psalm 24, the Lord of Hosts walks with the sheep in grace.  In the last day will take His place in glory in His hill and in the house of Jehovah’s glory.  Both the remnant and the gentiles are brought in.

From this point to the end of Psalm 41 we have every kind of practical exercise which the remnant will be subjected to in joy or sorrow.  But these Psalms always speak of the godly, even when sins are confessed and forgiveness is sought.   Christ gives them confidence: ‘This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him’  (Ps 34:6),

Psalm 25: From here on sins are referred to, and forgiveness; for, after all, the remnant had sins, and Christ took them on Himself.

Psalm 26 is their trial and appeal.

Psalm 27 is their separation from the ungodly.

Psalm 31 reassures the saints.  They have confidence founded on Jehovah’s ways with the poor man.

Psalm 37: The full heart is guided and encouraged by God.  The inheritance of the earth is promised to those blessed of Jehovah.

In Psalm 40 we have the source of all the blessings in the counsels of God.  Christ undertakes to accomplish God’s will.

Psalm 41 speaks of the the poor man.  Christ is the supreme example even in the face of treachery.   What is done to the least of His brethren is done to Him. The Lord God of Israel will accomplish His purposes in blessing.

 

Second Book

psalmsThe remaining four books give the position of the remnant, and the place Christ has taken in relation to the sorrows of the poor and needy.  Jehovah delivers them.  The seed of His servants inherit Zion, and they that love His name dwell there.

In Psalm 45 the Messiah appears, and the remnant’s full deliverance is celebrated at the end of Psalm 48.

Psalm 49 is the world’s instruction by the judgment.  We see the price of redemption.

Psalm 50 gives the general judgment of Israel.

In Psalm 51 we have Israel’s confession of Christ’s death now that their Messiah has appeared.

Psalms 52-72: The people are cast out and the power of Antichrist is established

Psalms 65, 66 & 67 sounds out the praise of God’s deliverance, bursting forth in Zion.  The nations are glad.

In Psalm 68, an ascended Christ is the real secret.

Psalm 69: Christ suffers and ascends up in glory, securing the poor and needy in Zion.

Psalms 70 and 71, whilst speaking of David’s faltering hope, may be applied to the remnant rather than Israel.

Psalm 72 describes the full reign of peace.

 

Third Book

The third book, Psalms 73-89, goes out to all Israel, not simply the Jews, and gives God’s government and His dealings with them.  This goes on till the latter days: the glory and blessing of Zion, and the certainty of mercy by God’s infallible promises.

 

Fourth Book

The fourth book  shows God’s faithfulness to both Israel and the nations.  God’s First-begotten comes into the world.  Christ suffers and Zion is restored.  He is the Eternal Creator in Psalm 102.

 

Fifth Book

In the closing book, the fifth, we have some of the consequences and effects of the bringing back of Israel.   There are explanatory Psalms of the scheme of God such as as Psalm 110, and the law is written on Israel’s heart in Psalm 119.   The Songs of Degrees (Psalms 120 to 134) comment on God’s ways.  The book ends with the praise of God, pursued in view of millennial blessedness.

Such is the testimony of the Psalms.

Note

The name of the Father and the thought of the church do not appear, though He calls the saints brethren (See Ps 22:22).  The Holy Spirit’s work is suggested in the form of gifts in man: Israel will have them in the last day.

 

Summary by Sosthenes

Based on   The Rapture of the Saints and the Character of the Jewish Remnant’ – Collected Writings vol. 11 (Prophetic 4) page 134 

April 2016

 

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Samuel, Kings, Chronicles

lay-preaching1 SAMUEL

The judicial priesthood connection is here broken. Both judge and priest go in Eli. The ark is taken – a total breach. Power is lost.   Then God comes in, in His own sovereign way, by a prophet, as He had earlier when He brought them out of Egypt.  (Everything on the ground of man’s responsibility was gone; but God’s sending a prophet was sovereign mercy.)  Before He brings in strength (the king), He brings in prophecy – note this.  Before Christ returns in power, it is the testimony of the Spirit and word, by which a connection is maintained between God and His people.  From Eli to David on the throne the principle is faith and power, not succession.

But flesh requires governmental order,* and it gets what it wants.  However, it breaks down under the power of the enemy.  Even believers who cling to the flesh, fall with it (Jonathan).   If governmental order is established without Christ, they cannot accept Christ’s coming to set it aside.  The one in whom hope is (David) must be content to be as a partridge on the mountains.

Saul was raised up to put down the Philistines and Jonathan subdued them.  Saul did not, and was destroyed by them.  Jonathan was a believer associated with the outward order.  The place of faith was with David.  It is the place of the power of faith without the king.

{*It is quite true that there was a want through the misrule of Samuel’s sons.  Spiritual energy had failed.  The church can only stand in power: when it turned to the principle of succession, all was lost.}

2 SAMUEL

Saul falls on the mountains of Gilboa.   Then we get the royalty of David, in active power, not in the reign of peace.  There was the promise that God would  maintain David’s house, however they conducted themselves.  God would chasten them if disobedient, but not take His mercy from them.  Then we get David’s personal failure when he is king.

There is another element – the ark and the temple come in question.  The relationship with God is re-established first by faith, not according to order, but by spiritual power according to grace.  The ark was on Mount Zion, and there they were singing, “His mercy endureth for ever”.   At Gibeon there was the high place, and Solomon went there.  The tabernacle was there, but not the ark.  Solomon is not seen at Mount Zion till his return from Gibeon, after God answered him. Consequent on God’s interfering in deliverance and redemption, the place of ordered worship is set up, connected with earth, at the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  It was after judgment: people had been slain, and sacrifice made.   God loves Jerusalem; He stays His hand in judgment, and shows by prophecy the path of reconciliation by sacrifice.

1 AND 2 KINGS.

Here we have the reign of Solomon, the figure of the great Son of David.  We have the establishment of Israel in peace, and the building of the temple.  This fails in Rehoboam.   The book of Kings then gives us the history of Israel, not Judah, but with sufficient notices of Judah to carry on the history.  You get the intervention of God  in mercy, by prophets in Elijah and Elisha.   In the midst of Israel,  Elijah was a testimony to Israel, who had left the temple, on the ground of responsibility; Elisha was a testimony in resurrection-power.

First and Second Kings continue the history in Judah till the captivity, and then Lo-ammi (not my people) was written on the nation.   There are, of course, many details and various characters.   Hezekiah had faith, Josiah showed obedience, Jehoshaphat had piety, but through association with the world, there never was success.

1 AND 2 CHRONICLES

Chronicles gives us the history of the family of David – ending with the Babylonish captivity.

1 Chronicles is David himself.  At the close, David has the pattern of everything by the Spirit, and leaves it to Solomon to execute.

2 Chronicles is David’s posterity.

Chronicles is more connected with the establishment of the kingdom on earth; Kings is more figurative of what is heavenly.  In the temple in Chronicles there is a veil (2 Chron. 3:14), in Kings there is not.   The veil will not be rent for Israel in the millennium.

Lightly edited by Sosthenes, May 2014

The Importance of Prophecy

Prophecy has two ends:

Detaching us from the world.
Making us intelligent of the character of God, and of His ways towards us.

Satan opposes the truth, and that must include prophecy

The marriage of the Lamb

JN Darby’s Lecture 11 on “The Hopes of the Church of God”

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, … and she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; … and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan. …And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  Revelation 12.

Summing Up, and Conclusion.  – A Summary by Sosthens

 

Prophecy has two ends:

  • Detaching us from the world.
  • Making us intelligent of the character of God, and of His ways towards us.

 

Satan opposes the truth, and that must include prophecy.  He says, ‘Follow morality, not doctrine otherwise you might be freed from my power’.  Or ‘Neglect prophecy, because you will learn about the judgment of this world, of which I am the prince’.  Prophecy throws a great light upon the dispensations of God; so that we understand the freedom of our souls.  Dispensational error confounds the law and the gospel, and past economies or dispensations with the present one.

If we find ourselves in the presence of the law, we cannot find peace.  Yet many are troubled when considering the difference between the position of the saints of old, and the saints of the current dispensation.  The study of prophecy clears things up, and enlightens the faithful as to their walk and manner of life.   For, whilst it always maintains free salvation by the death of Jesus, prophecy enables us to understand the difference between the standing of the saints of our dispensation and those of a former time.

It is the hope that acts upon our hearts and affections.  If we think that we ought not to study prophecy, our thoughts become limited to the present.   Prophecy gives us God’s intentions are for the future and reveals the things that are come; like a scriptural mirror.  If we refuse to study what God has revealed as to the future, we are left with just our own ideas.

Some will say that the scripture, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”, (1 Corinthians 2:2) means that we should not follow prophecy.  We are not to limit ourselves to only the knowledge of Jesus Christ crucified. We must also know Jesus Christ glorified, Jesus Christ at the right hand of God; we must know Him as High Priest; as Advocate with the Father. We ought to know Jesus Christ as much as possible.  “Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.(Hebrews 6:1) – i.e. completion.

I attach more importance to the principal features of prophecy especially the distinctions between the various dispensations.  However, the more we enter into their minute details, the more perfection appears.

How God has revealed Himself in Prophecy.

Revelation 12 gives us the great object of prophecy, the combat which takes place between Christ, the last Adam, and Satan.  The conflict is either for the earthly object (the Jews), or for the heavenly object (the church).

It was necessary that the history of the first Adam should be developed. This has been done in order that Christians (the church), might be in a position to occupy themselves with the things of God, having the happy certainty as to their own position before Him.  They can then be made aware of the eternal counsels of God, the certainty of salvation, the knowledge of the grace of God, and the life-giving Spirit. Our course is the period separating the first coming of the Lord from the second.  In this time the church is gathered by the action of the Holy Spirit to have part in the glory of Christ at His return.  Then the church is taken from out of all nations, and united to Him.

How did Christ find the first Adam?  He found man in state of ruin – entirely lost.  The whole state of man, before and after the deluge, under the law, under the prophets, only served as a clear attestation that man was lost.  He had failed altogether, under every possible circumstance, until, God having sent His Son, the servants said, “This is the heir; let us kill him(Luke 20:14).   Sin was then at its height but the grace of God over-abounded.

Prophecy in the Old Testament

When Israel had transgressed in every possible way and circumstance, under Ahaz who was descended from David, prophecy commences in all its details, having these two features:

  • The manifestation of the glory of Christ, showing that the people had failed under the law.
  • The manifestation of the coming glory of Christ, to be the support of the faith of those who desired to keep the law.

 

The word of God, predicting that the Messiah was to come and suffer should have touched their conscience.  It ought to touch us.

Prophecy and the Church

Prophecy relates to the earth; its object is not heaven.  In not understanding this, the church has been misled. Believers think that they can have these earthly blessings, whereas we are called to enjoy heavenly blessings.   The church is a kind of heavenly economy, formed during the period of the rejection of God’s earthly people.   The Lord, having been rejected by the Jewish people, has become wholly a heavenly Person. This is Paul’s doctrine.  It is no longer the Messiah of the Jews, but Christ exalted and glorified.  For the want of taking hold of this exhilarating truth, the church has become so weak

We see the church glorified, in spite of the fact that the Lord Jesus has not abandoned any of His rights upon the earth.  He was the Heir: He was to shed His blood, which was to ransom the inheritance.  So it was necessary that Christ should buy the church.   We see that Boaz, a type of Christ, bought the inheritance by taking Ruth (the remnant of Israel) as wife. See Ruth 4:5.

The Church however, has no title to the inheritance.  Until we are in the glory we can have nothing, possess nothing, except only “the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest [or guarantee] of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Until that time Satan is the prince of this world, by usurpation.

Calling and Government

In Noah’s time there was government of the earth.  Abraham was the object of God’s calling to be in  a relationship with God on the principle of promise.

In the Jews, the calling of God and the government upon the earth, were united.  But Israel failed, and God takes the government and gives it to the Gentiles.  Nevertheless, Israel continues to be God’s chosen people: for the “gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. (Romans 11:29)  The calling of God for the earth is never transferred to the nations; it remains with the Jews.  If I want an earthly religion, I ought to be a Jew.

Once the government is transferred to the Gentiles, they become the oppressors of the people of God: first, the Babylonians; secondly, the Medes and Persians; thirdly, the Greeks; then, the Romans. The fourth monarchy consummated its crime at the same instant that the Jews consummated theirs, namely in being accessories to the killing of the Son of God, the King of Israel.  Gentile power is in a fallen state, just as God’s called people, the Jews, are.  Judgment is written upon both government and calling, as they are in man’s hand.

What Happens to the Church?

First, the church is saved.  In the patience of God the children of God  are gathered together.  Then what takes place? Immediately the church goes to meet the Lord, and the marriage of the Lamb takes place.

The government of the fourth monarchy will be still in existence, but under the influence and direction of the Antichrist.  The Jews will unite themselves to him, in a state of rebellion, to make war with the Lamb.    Satan, unto this hour, has still not been driven out of heaven.  God then dispossess Satan, and drives him from power.  This is what Jesus will do when the church has been united to Him

The Battle in Heaven

As soon as Christ has received the church, battle in heaven will follow.  Satan will be expelled from heaven, not yet bound, but cast down to earth.  He will excite the whole earth, and will raise up the apostate part of it, that which has revolted against the power of Christ coming from heaven.  Satan will unite the Jews with this apostate prince against heaven, along with both secular and mischievously spiritual heads of both the Gentiles and the Jews.  The Wicked One, having joined himself to the Jews, and placed himself the centre of government of the earth in Jerusalem, will be destroyed by the coming of the Lord of lords and King of kings.   Although the Lord will have come to the earth, and the power of Satan in the Antichrist destroyed, the earth will not yet have been brought under His sceptre.  For the world, not yet acknowledging the rights of Christ, will desire to possess His heritage. Therefore the Saviour must clear the land in order that its inhabitants may enjoy the blessings of His reign without interruption.

The Lord will purify His land from the Nile to the Euphrates.  The people come into security in the land.  However another enemy, namely Gog, comes up, but only for destruction.

The Lord’s Return

We now discover a much more calm and intimate relationship between the Lord Jesus and the Jews. This is what takes place when “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”  (Zechariah 14:3)   It i the same Jesus: not as the Christ from heaven, but as the Messiah of the Jews.

Afterwards there will be the world to come, prepared and introduced by these judgments.   The glory manifested in Jerusalem will be announced to the other nations.  These will submit themselves to Christ; they will confess the Jews to be the God’s blessed people. Blessing will extend from Jerusalem to wherever there are men to enjoy its effects.  The throne of God, established at Jerusalem, will become the source of happiness to the whole earth.

Satan will be bound until “he is loosed for a short season” (Revelation 20:3).  There will be blessing without interruption because the government in heaven will be the security of the goodness of God.  The glorified church will fill the heavenly places with its own joy.  Behold the heavenly Jerusalem, witness in glory of the grace which has placed her so high!  In the midst of her flows the “river of water of life, … and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, … and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations(Revelation 22:1-2) .  ”The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish.”(Isaiah 60:12).  Christ will fill all the functions of High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.

 

Conclusion

May God perfect in us, and in all His children, in separation from the world.  His coming ought to be our expectation.  May we know more of these its heavenly blessings, and be aware of the terrible judgments which await man bound to this lower world; for judgment will come upon all these earthly things.  May God also perfect the desires of our hearts, and the witness of the Holy Spirit!.

 

The Remnant of Israel

The gospel does not occupy itself with the earthly blessings of the Jews. This is matter for the Old Testament prophecies. Our blessings flow from the presence of Christ, the Son of David, a consequence of the new covenant. Whereas we know God as Father, through Grace, the Jews know Him as Jehovah the King – through His righteous judgments.

In the history of the Jews, we see Jehovah’s glory. The Jews are the people by whom, and in whom, God sustains His Name of Jehovah, and His character of judgment and righteousness. The remnant will be brought to the Lord of hosts, ”to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion.” (Isaiah 18:7).

star of davidLecture 10  on “The Hopes of the Church of God”

Same subject as the preceding and Manner of its Accomplishment. –  J. N. Darby – a summary by Sosthenes

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward …Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.   And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellers as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.  Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.   Isaiah 1.

The gospel does not occupy itself with the earthly blessings of the Jews. This is matter for the Old Testament prophecies.  Our blessings flow from the presence of Christ, the Son of David,  a consequence of the new covenant.   Whereas we know God as Father, through Grace, the Jews know Him as Jehovah the King – through His righteous judgments.

In the history of the Jews, we see Jehovah’s glory.  The Jews are the people by whom, and in whom, God sustains His Name of Jehovah, and His character of judgment and righteousness.  The remnant will be brought to the Lord of hosts,  ”to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion.” (Isaiah 18:7).

The Israelites are currently returning to their land, but God takes no notice of them.  After the church has been raptured, the first to be gathered will be those who rejected Jesus, and were guilty of His death.  They will be brought under the power of the Antichrist.

The ten tribes were not guilty of this crime.  As with Israel upon their rebellion in the Exodus, the disobedient and rebellious people will not enter into Canaan.  God destroys them without their even seeing it.

Jewish history is mainly the manifestation of the glory of Jehovah.

Even if we do not realise it, the Jews’ affairs are very dear to our God and Father. We find the character of Jehovah in the revelation of God to His people.  Through this, we, the nations learn to know Jehovah.

God acting in Grace

To the Jews, it is the character of Jehovah the King – known by His judgments – by the exercise of His power on the earth.  To the church, it is the character of Father, revealed to our souls by the gospel, by the Spirit of adoption.  The gospel is a system of pure grace – a system which teaches us to act towards others as we have been acted on by the Father  “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).  We ought to follow the example of our Saviour.   We should not expect or wish that the judgment should be in the rigour of righteousness; but we should be gentle and humble in the midst of all the wrongs which we may be called upon to suffer because of man’s failure.

God’s faithfulness, unchangeableness, His almighty power, His government of the whole earth –  is all revealed in His relationship towards Israel.   This is how the history of this people lets us into the character of Jehovah.

God acting in Judgment

Jehovah, without doubt, will bless the nations; but the rule of His kingdom will be, that “judgment shall return unto righteousness,” (Psalm 94:15). At the first coming of Jesus Christ, judgment was with Pilate, and righteousness with Jesus; but when Jesus returns, judgment will be united to righteousness.  On the other hand, Jehovah will console His people by acting in righteousness in their favour “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God” (Psalm 65:5), and He will re-establish them in earthly glory. The Jews are the people by whom, and in whom, God sustains His name of Jehovah, and His character of judgment and righteousness.

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation … and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”(Daniel 12:1-2). This resurrection applies to the Jews.  “Thy dead shall live; . . .” (Isaiah 26:19).  Now Israel is largely buried as a nation among the Gentiles.  In its revival, God will stand up for His people in their time of distress, and deliver a remnant.

The Israelites are currently returning to their land [far more so now than in JND’s time!], but God takes no notice of them. Israel is abandoned to the nations, particularly between the two rivers of Cush, the Nile and the Euphrates.   (See Lecture 9).

The Remnant

Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. … And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. … And I will betroth thee unto me for ever. … And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” (Hosea 2:14-23).  There is an uninterrupted chain of blessings from Jehovah Himself.  Israel will become the instrument of blessing to the earth.  Jehovah will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days … after that they shall seek Jehovah and David – the well-beloved, or Christ.” (Hosea 3:4, 5)  “And I will bring again the captivity of my people . . . and I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up.” (Amos 9:14, 15.)  This is of course yet to come, and the words, “in that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen,” (v.11) are quoted in Acts 15:16, not for the purpose of showing that the prophecy had been fulfilled; but to show that God had always determined to have a people (a residue) from among the Gentiles.

God is said to be “silent in his love” (Zephaniah 3:17). He lavishes all this on the remnant.  ”The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid” (v.13).  The spirit of grace and supplication shall be poured out upon the remnant of Israel – ” all the families that remain“; (v14) and “they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn.” (Zechariah 12:10)

Nevertheless, the remnant shall “be brought to the Lord of hosts, from a people rent and torn in piecesto the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion.” (Isaiah 18:7)

Thy King Cometh

This prediction, delivered by Jesus Himself, gives us the assurance of the coming of Christ to restore Israel, and reign in her midst: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, . . . your house is left unto you desolate . . . till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37-39.).  Israel will see Jesus,  “The stone, which the builders refused, is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalm 118:22Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:7)

When the Lord entered Jerusalem, there was only a partial fulfilment of the prophecy “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee . . . .” (Zechariah 9:9 and John 12:15).  In John, the Holy Spirit omits, “He is just, and having salvation“.   Far from saving Himself, He saved us.  He spared not Himself that we might be spared.

The Disobedient Ones

However, the first to be gathered are those who rejected Jesus, those who were guilty of His death. (The ten tribes were not guilty of this crime.)   Those who rejected Christ will be subjected to the Antichrist; they will make “a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell” (Isaiah 28:15).  This covenant will shatter all their hopes.  Having united themselves to Antichrist, they will suffer the consequences of this alliance, and will finally be destroyed.

The ten tribes – the disobedient and rebellious ones – will not enter at all into Canaan.  God does with them, as He did with Israel upon their rebellion after their coming out of Egypt; He destroys them without their even seeing it.

Conclusion

  • Blessings flow from the presence of Christ, the Son of David.  They are a consequence of the new covenant.
  • The gospel does not occupy itself with the earthly blessings of the Jews. This is matter for the Old Testament prophecies.

 

What God in His Goodness will yet do for Israel – and what it Means for Us

The restoration of the Jews is founded upon the unconditional promises that God made to Abraham. However, their fall is a result of their having undertaken to obey God in their own strength. After God had exercised His patience in every possible way “until there was no remedy,” (2 Chron. 36:16) judgment came upon them only after extraordinary patience. But God keeps His promises.

We have a similar history. No sooner does God place us in a position than we fail. But behind our failure there is strength, that is to say, the revelation of the counsels of God, and consequentially His unconditional promises.

Lecture 9 of 11 on “The Hopes of the Church of God”

star of david

Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live … and ye shall know that I am the LORD.  …  Take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:  and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. …  So shall they be my people, and I will be their God.  And David my servant shall be king over them.  Ezekiel 37.

Israel’s Failure and Dispersion; Promises of Restoration. – A Summary by Sosthenes

The restoration of the Jews is founded upon the unconditional promises that God made to Abraham.  However,  their fall is a result of their having undertaken to obey God in their own strength.  After God had exercised His patience in every possible way “until there was no remedy,”  (2 Chron. 36:16) judgment came upon them only after extraordinary patience.   But God keeps His promises.

We have a similar history.   No sooner does God place us in a position than we fail.  But behind our failure there is strength, that is to say, the revelation of the counsels of God, and consequentially His unconditional promises.

As Moses was the mediator for Israel (the type), we have the mediation and the presence of Jesus.  In Him the promises are accomplished.

God’s Promises to Israel

Whenever God wanted going to show grace to His people, He reminded them of the covenant made with Abraham. However Israel took the promises under the covenant made in the wilderness. Unlike that made with Abraham, Israel put themselves under an obligation of obedience in order to enjoy the promises.  They failed altogether; but notwitGod hstanding that, thanks to the mediation of Moses, God was able to bless the people.

Israel failed again after they had been given the land and established themselves in it.  God raised up prophets to convict them of the sin into which they had fallen.  The prophets also showed the faithful ones that the counsels of God towards Israel would not be put aside; for by means of the Messiah, God would accomplish everything that He had spoken about.  It was when Israel failed, that the the faithful remnant of the people really valued the precious promises.

What it means to us

In the history Israel sinning under the law, we have the history of every one of our hearts.  If we place ourselves before God, we recognise that it is only His grace that sustains us, and relieves us from the situation we find ourselves in because of sin.

The History of Israel

Joshua says to the people, “Ye cannot serve the Lord“,  but the people say, “Nay, but we will serve the Lord(Joshua 24:19,21)    They had been led into the land of promise, enjoyed the fruits of grace, and now they undertook to obey the Lord in their own strength.

But in Judges 2 they are found in complete failure, and God says, “I will not drive out your enemies from before you, but they shall be as thorns in your sides. … And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim; and the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel(v.3,11).  It is always the same – kindness on the part of God, ingratitude on the part of man.

Eli was the high priest, the judge and head of Israel.   However the glory of Israel had been cast down to the ground: “The ark of God taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.”   Eli himself died, and his daughter-in-law named her child, Ichabod, saying, “The glory is departed from Israel” (1 Samuel 4:11,21)

Samuel  was rejected: 1 Sam. 8:6, 7. “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”  Israel had failed under king, prophet, and priest.  They are now ruined under the king (Saul) whom they chose.

David and Solomon  – God gave David, a type of Christ to Israel, as he is the father of Christ according to the flesh.  Under Solomon Israel becomes rich and glorious.  But the people transgressed under both these two princes.  Royalty, raised up of God Himself failed, and judgment passed upon it.

Ahaz and Manasseh  – As well as the ten tribes who became totally unfaithful Judah failed too.   In the apostasy of Ahaz, who took the heathen altar from Damascus to Jerusalem, the last human stay of the hopes of Israel failed.  Only God’s promises remained.

And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers… but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chron. 36:15, 16).  This was the end of their existence in the land of Canaan. The name of Lo-ammi (not my people) is at last written upon them, and they were deported to Babylon.

The promises which sustained a faithful remnant

This is the promise: “I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more as beforetime  … I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.”  (2 Samuel 7:10,13).   In Hebrews 1:5,  these words apply to Christ – “For unto which of the angels said he … I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”   All the promises made to Abraham and to his seed are placed in the safe keeping, and gathered together in the Person, of Jesus, the Son of David.

“In that day (time of great trouble) shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” (Isaiah 4:2-4).  Judah and Israel will be re-united; and the nations will be assembled to the throne of God.

Happy Times for Israel

Happy times for Israel have not yet been realised.   They certainly were not realised at the time of the return from Babylon.

Ezekiel 37 gives the history of the re-establishment of Israel – the joining together of the two parts of the nation and their return into the land.  God gives a new heart to the remnant, the nucleus of the future nation.

There is a touching passage as to the thoughts of the Lord concerning His people in Jeremiah 32:37-42.   Having given them the promises of blessing in grace, and assured them that He would be their God, the Lord says, “And I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart and with my whole soul. For like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.”

We see he blessing of Israel/Jerusalem in the words, “By the presence of the Branch, which shall grow up unto David, who shall execute judgment and righteousness, in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:15.)

Israel must be renewed in heart to receive the promises of Canaan.

Israel must be born again to enjoy those terrestrial promises which belong to her.   God must cause them to walk in His statutes by giving them a new heart, and then, but only then, they will enjoy the- blessings foretold for them.

The Lord spoke to Nicodemus about the need of being born of water and of the Spirit in order to enter into the kingdom of God. The words in Ezekiel 36:25-26 are almost identical.  That is why He says, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John3:12)  – about the glory of Christ exalted in heaven, and the church, His companion?

Is Zion the Church?

Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me.” (Isaiah 48:14).  It has been asserted, that in these chapters, Zion refers to the church. But this is impossible.  The church will be with Christ.  If Zion was the church, how could it be forsaken?

When it says, “All the nations shall be gathered unto it.” it does not refer to the return from Babylon, because it goes on, “In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together . . . to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” (Jeremiah 3:17-18).  This cannot refer to the church.

Who is it that the Lord has broken down, thrown down, and destroyed? The same that He will build and plant.” (Jeremiah 31:28).   It seems a little unreasonable to apply all the judgments to Israel, and all the blessings concerning the same persons to the church.  We have the Holy Spirit;  Israel will have the Branch.

Our Blessings

We participate in the blessings of the good olive-tree; but our joy has not dispossessed the Jew (the natural branch) of that which belongs to him.  We have been grafted into Christ.  If we are Christ’s, we are Abraham’s children, and partake of all that is spiritual.   The church has only one Father, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now all these things happened to them [as] types, and have been written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.”  (1 Corinthians 10:11 DBY)  On one hand, the heart of man always fails, and on the other hand there is the faithfulness of God who never fails.  He will fulfil all His promises, providing strength to surmount all the power of Satan and the wickedness of man.

As to us Gentiles, the execution of the judgment has been suspended for almost 2000 years.  God is still drawing upon all the eternal resources of His grace to bring to light those who will listen to His testimony of salvation.

JND Concludes ‘Admirable patience! Infinite grace of Him who interests Himself in us, even after our rebellion and iniquity! To Him be all the glory!’

 

God’s Promises to Israel

In Romans 9 Paul explains how God has acted towards both the Jews and the Gentiles; (vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles – v23-24). Now chapter 11 starts with the question, “Hath God cast away his people?”

As we study the history of both the church and the four beasts, we see that the Jews are put aside. The gospel has appeared in the world to save sinners, both Jews and Gentiles, in order to reveal the hidden mystery of a heavenly people. Hence, “unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known, by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” (Ephesians 3:10)

Lecture 8 of 11 on “The Hopes of the Church of God”

star of davidI say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. – etc.  Romans 11.

Israel’s First Entry into the Land was the Result of Promise. – J. N. Darby – a summary by Sosthenes

Israel Remains God’s People

In Romans 9  Paul explains how God has acted towards both the Jews and the Gentiles;  (vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles – v23-24).  Now chapter 11 starts with the question, “Hath God cast away his people?”

As we study the history of both the church and the four beasts, we see that the Jews are put aside.  The gospel has appeared in the world to save sinners, both Jews and Gentiles, in order to reveal the hidden mystery of a heavenly people.  Hence, “unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known, by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”  (Ephesians 3:10)

Although the Jews are enemies as to the gospel, they remain God’s people according to the flesh, and beloved on account of the fathers. (See Romans 11:28).  It is a national election.  Does God count the Jews as enemies? Paul’s answer is “God forbid.”(v.1)   God has not rejected His people.  “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance”.  (v.29)

Israel and the Church

In the present dispensation we have the calling of a heavenly people.  Consequentially, God puts aside His earthly people, the Jews.  The Jewish nation never enters into the church.  Indeed,  “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in“; (v.25).  This will be until all the children of God, forming the church in this dispensation, will have been called.

Israel will be saved

As a nation, Israel will be saved. “There shall come out of Zion the deliverer(v.26).  God has not cast away His people.  God has chosen Abraham, and his family according to the flesh.  Among Abraham’s descendants Israel serves as the depositary of God’s promises.

Adam and Noah

To understand the root of God’s promises, which are to Abraham, we must look at the preceding dispensations.

  • Adam – Man is left to himself after the fall.  The world is full of violence and corruption, and God purifies it by the deluge.
  • Noah – God makes a covenant with Noah and with the creation; and gives the rainbow as a witness. “The Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground” (Gen. 8:21).  This covenant is given to the earth immediately after Noah’s sacrifice – typically the sacrifice of Christ.

All these dispensations end in the failure of man.  But what is lost through human folly is recovered at the end in Christ; whether it be blessing to the earth, prosperity to the Jews, or the glory of the church.

The Origin of Idolatry

Satan presents himself as God, and makes himself the god of this earth.  It is written, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God?” (Deuteronomy 32:17).  The Lord reminds the Israelites,  Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time . . . and they served other gods.” (Joshua 24:2).  This was the first time that we find God marking the existence of idolatry.

But the true God separated a people, so that the truth might be preserved.   All the ways of God towards men turn upon God’s calling of Abraham and his posterity to be the depositary of this one great truth: “There are none other gods but one” (Deuteronomy 4:35).

Promises to Abraham and Israel

The promises that God made to Abraham were without condition.  Under the law, Israel received the promises with conditions, and failed.  But this did not weaken the validity and the force of the promises made to Abraham four hundred years earlier.

In Genesis 12 and 15, Abraham receives both earthly and spiritual blessings.   He received an unconditional covenant, an absolute gift of the land.  He was told of a numerous posterity, like the stars (v. 5, 18); and even given the exact limits of the country.  This promise was renewed in Chapter 17, and re-confirmed to Isaac (Ch. 26:3) and Jacob (Ch. 35:12).

Hence God makes Himself “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob“,(Exodus 3:15), and His people the heirs of the promises, pilgrims upon earth.

Israel’s Relationship with God

In this name of “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob“, God made His boast on the earth.   The faithful in Israel were to find their confidence in that.  Until Exodus 19  the promise had been unconditional.  However, Israel placed themselves in relationship with God in a totally opposite way, namely in their own righteousness on the principle of the law.   As they acknowledged obedience to God, they undertook to do in their own strength.  The covenant at Sinai was founded on the principle of obedience. (Exodus 24:7)

In this covenant, we have an ‘If…’. “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation(Exodus 19:6).

The Israelites should have said, ‘It is true, most gracious God, we ought to obey Thee; but we have failed so often, that we dare not receive the promises under such a condition.’  Instead of this, what did they say? “All the words that the Lord hath said, will we do.” (Exodus 19:8).  They rashly bind themselves to fulfil all that Jehovah had spoken, and take the promises under the condition of perfect obedience. What happened? They made the golden calf before Moses had even come down from the mount.

Like Israel, we fail the first day, and we realise that we are lost because we have violated the covenant.  If as sinners we engage ourselves to obey God, we forfeit the blessing if we fail.  Our answer should always be, ‘We are lost’; for grace supposes our ruin.  Paul shows the entire instability of man under any condition, when he says, “A mediator is not a mediator of one.” (Gal. 3:20-21).  If there is a mediator, there must be two parties.  But God is not two; “God is one.” And who is the other party? It is man.

The law cannot annul the promises made to Abraham:

  • blessing to the nations
  • the land
  • earthly blessings to Israel.

 

So in Exodus 32 we see how the promises made before the law were the resource of faith.  However, after the fall of Israel, Moses beseeches God, for His own glory, to remember the promises made to Abraham; and God repents of the evil which He had thought to do.

In Leviticus 26:16-33 we have the threat of all the chastisements which were to follow the unfaithfulness of Israel. However in verse 42: “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham; . . . and I will remember the land.”.  God returns to His promises made unconditionally long before the law; and this is applicable to the last time.

Two More Covenants in Leviticus 26

  • with Moses, as mediator.
  • with the people, in order that under it they might be able to continue to enjoy the land, if they were obedient.  They were not, so they were expelled from the territory.

The Promised Land

Now we get the principle on which they entered into the land of Canaan.  Before the law God had unconditionally promised them the land for a perpetual possession.  It is due to these promises, by the mediation of Moses, that Israel was spared, and at last enjoyed the land.

Israel fell in the promised land, and were expelled.  We now await their re-establishment to all the promises made to Abraham.  Although the people had failed in every possible way towards God, the prophets show us clearly, that God has promised to restore them and to re-establish them in their land, under the Lord Jesus Christ as their King.  Every temporal promise will have been fulfilled.

Conclusion

In all this we see the revelation of the character of Jehovah.   Israel is the theatre in which God has displays His character.  Though these things have happened to Israel, they have happened for our benefit.  We should think not only of the failure of Israel, but also of the goodness of God – our God,  the glory of God and the honour of His perfections.  Were God to fail in His gifts towards Israel, He could fail in His gifts towards us.