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.