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Justification, Sanctification, Redemption, Part 2

Justification, Sanctification, Redemption, Part 2

All who are called may take the second step—SANCTIFICATION

To sanctify is to set apart or separate to a special thing or use. God’s will is that all justified ones should be sanctified or set apart to his service as we read: “This is the will of God even your (believers) sanctification.” 1 Thess 4:3.

There are two parts to sanctification–first ours, secondly God’s part.

As we have seen, God provides for our justification as men and then calls us to set apart–sanctify –or consecrate to him that justified humanity. When we do, thus consecrate or give up our will, our time, talent, life and all we have and are to God, and ask him to take our little all and use it as seems to him good, and agree to let the will of God dwell in us richly–when we have done this we have done all that we can do; and here God who accepts of every such sacrifice, begins His part of the sanctification work. He begins to use this will resigned to his care and “to work in you both to will and to do” in harmony with his will. From that moment it is no longer you (the human) but “Christ in you.” Even the earthly (human) body under the new controlling will (God’s) is used in God’s service and is thereby made holy.

From this moment when we give consecrate–ourselves–we are reckoned dead, as human beings for the human will, should be buried from that moment forward; and when the will of God– the mind of Christ–the Holy Spirit takes possession of us so that it becomes our will and our mind, we are called “new creatures“–we are thus begotten to newness of life. This new creature is only an embryo being: It is not complete; but it grows and develops and “we all with open face, beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18.) Thus as new spiritual creatures we grow in his likeness during the time we abide in this earthly condition. As the spiritual nature grows stronger the human nature grows weaker and is the easier to keep dead, for I must not only give up my will to God, but keep it in a surrendered condition, “keep my body under“– under God’s will.

As the new spiritual nature grows it longs for its perfection when it will no longer be trammeled and fettered by human conditions, but be “like unto Christ’s glorious body.” This is promised us–we have been begotten, and by and by shall be born of the Spirit–spiritual bodies, for “that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit,” just as truly as “that which was born of the flesh was flesh.” Our begetting we have and our spiritual life is begun. It is to be completed, perfected, when this corruptible, and mortal condition shall give place to the incorruptible, immortal conditions of the Spiritual body. This will be at the moment of resurrection to those who sleep in Jesus (those who died prior to this time)—raised spiritual bodies; and it will be the moment of change to the living (i.e. those who die in Christ henceforth) from the fleshly body to their own spiritual bodies– theirs as new creatures. Thus, “we which are alive and remain shall be changed in a moment.” 1 Cor. 15:52.

“If I in Thy likeness, O Lord, may awake, and shine a pure image of Thee, Then I shall be satisfied when I can break the fetters of flesh and be free. When on Thine own image in me Thou hast smiled, Within Thy blest mansion, and when the arms of my Father encircle His child, O! I shall be satisfied then. And O! The blest morning already is here; the shadows of nature do fade; and soon in Thy likeness I’ll with Thee appear, in glory and beauty arrayed.”

This change of residence or condition, from the earthly body to the spiritual body is the third step of our development, viz: REDEMPTION.

This redemption from the present earthly conditions finishes and completes our salvation and the glory of power will follow.

Toward this the end of the race we are looking with longing eyes, “Ourselves, that have the first fruits (begetting) of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves waiting for sonship, –the redemption of our body” (the body as a whole, the body of which Jesus is the head and all overcomers are members.) Rom. 8:23.

THE POWER WHICH SANCTIFIES

It is not a power of physical force that is used by the Spirit of God in our development, but a mental power which appeals to our minds and wills. The Spirit appeals to our reason, and uses the word of God as its agent. In the Word, the Spirit has in former ages stored up, both by prophetic utterances and Law shadows and types, those truths which God designed should during this Gospel age to be the food to sanctify the body of Christ and build it up in the most holy faith. And we act wisely if we make use of this spiritual food. (“Thy words were found and I did eat them.” Jer. 15:16). It is furnished us for the purpose of sanctifying us.

If we go to our Father and say, Father, I give myself all to thee; I pray thee, set me apart as holy to thy service, both now and hereafter. Give me needed strength to do thy will.

He answers, yes, my child, I have already provided a rich store-house of truth, from which, if you eat, you shall have the strength you ask. “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you”–seek, and you shall find.”

The seeker returns, saying, Father, I found the store-house, but saw little but plain food exposed to view; most of the choice viands must have been locked up in the great closets which the keys did not seem to fit. Father, give me strength in some other way.

Not so, my child. Part of your lesson is to learn that my way is best; that my way of giving is your best way of receiving strength. Go; your strength, joy, zeal and love for me will increase as one after another these closets open before you, revealing their rich treasures.

Yes, the word of God is the treasure-house of our Father, in which He has stored truth to sanctify the church in every age, wherein is “given us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:2, 4). In it is revealed “the love of Christ (which) constraints us.” (2 Cor. 5:14), and by means of it our Master prayed that we should be sanctified: “Father sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17.)

What Christian, then, who desires sanctification, can afford to ignore the Scriptures? Which one will say he has no time to examine and seek in it for truth?

As well say he has no time for sanctification. “It is the power of God unto salvation.” (Rom. 1:16.) Let us, then, who seek this great salvation– high calling– say to ourselves as Paul said to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:15-17), “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” “All Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Now call to mind the steps: First, justification of the human nature; second, a consecration or sacrifice of that human nature to God, its consequent death and the beginning of your existence as a spiritual new creature in the human body during the present life; third, the completion of your new, divine nature, by the power of God, when you will be like unto Christ’s glorious body–who is the express image of the Father’s person. What a glorious, high calling! You are called:

Many are called, few are chosen,” “Make your calling and election sure.”

Do you ask how you can make it sure?

I answer, by doing according to your covenant; give up your all to Father and let Him use you as he sees best–

“All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All your being’s ransomed power: All your thoughts and words and doings, all your days and all your hours.”

If you do these things (which you covenanted) ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:10-11.) God will surely keep His part of the agreement [Faithful is He that called you.] “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” (2 Tim. 2:12.) R199

Justification, Sanctification, Redemption, Part 1

Justification, Sanctification, Redemption, Part 1

These are the three steps by which we are to reachthe prize of our high calling“–glory, honor and immortality. Not one of these steps can be omitted by those who win the great prize, nor can they be taken in any way but their order as directed in the Scriptures.

Justification comes first as a necessity, because, all the human race being sinners, as such God could not either sanctify or glorify them; therefore, by some means, they must be “made free from sin” (brought to a condition of sin-less-ness) in order that they might “have their fruit unto holiness” (sanctification), and eventually receive “the end thereof– eternal life” (redemption). Rom. 6:22.

As sinners, men “are not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can they be.” (Rom. 8:7). We are “made free from sin” by faith; that is, we are told of God that a ransom has been given for our sin, and that if we by faith accept the ransom, he no longer regards or treats us as sinners, but as perfect and sinless beings. This cleansing from sin is a complete work. You are justified–reckoned of God just and perfect, but it cannot be seen with the natural eye. You cannot realize that physically you are any more perfect than before you believed yourself justified. It is entirely by the eye of faith that you know yourself now as a being, justified freely from all things. God’s word declares it and you believe Him.

We need not fear that our justification is incomplete, for Jehovah Himself is the justifier, as we read, God is “just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26), and again, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies.”

Upon what grounds does God reckon human sinners as justified or righteous persons?

Because the ransom for our sins has been paid by Jesus, who “Himself bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” (1 Pet. 2:24). For “Christ suffered, the just for the unjust (sinners), that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18) as justified beings. Jesus was treated as a sinner on our behalf, and we are now treated as just persons on His behalf. As we read again, “Ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor. 6:11). And again, “Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Rom. 5:9).

But ONLY BELIEVERS ARE JUSTIFIED during this Gospel age. They who do not believe that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that “He rose again the third day,” for our justification (1 Cor. 15:14; Rom. 4:25), are not justified: “Ye are yet in your sins.” So we read, God “is the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Again, “All that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:39), and “A man is justified by faith.” (Gal 2:16; 3:24).

When we believe the “good news” of our justification, it causes us joy and peace to realize that we may now come to God; and we no longer dread but now love God, because we see His goodness and love, for “herein is the love of God manifested.” (1 John 4:9).

We are thus brought into fellowship with God as justified human beings –“Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” (Rom. 5:1). Few, very few, lay hold upon justification fully; few believe God that they “are justified from all things” and are in God’s sight clothed in the spotlessness of Jesus, in whom was no sin; consequently very few have the joy and peace which spring from believing. And it is no uncommon thing to hear, in church meetings of all denominations, men and women tell God that they know themselves to be “miserable sinners.” Poor creatures, no wonder they agonize and daily ask the forgiveness of those sins which God’s word declares are (already) forgiven. 2 Pet. 1:9. They know not that they partake of the justification by believing. If they would only believe God, they would have the realization of forgiveness, and consequently joy and peace. “For without faith it is impossible to please God.” Beyond this point of rejoicing in a consciousness of forgiveness of sins, and acceptableness in God’s sight, few Christians go.

The foregoing represents the “First Step” which is symbolized by passing beneath the “Entrance Curtain” into the Tabernacle courtyard. The entrance curtain or “gate” as it is likewise referred represents Christ Jesus our Lord. This was the only entrance, the only gateway in which to enter the Courtyard; the type thus testifying to the antitype that there is but one way of access to God—one “gate” Jesus. “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Did you ever think why God has made known to us our justification now, but keeps it hidden from the great mass of the race until the millennial age, though the ransom price is eventually to release all mankind from sin and its penalty, and bring them to the same condition of acceptance –sinlessness–perfection which we now enjoy by faith? It is because God has a plan which He is working out according to the counsel of His own will, and a part of that plan is that He will select from among mankind a number who will eventually be transferred from the earthly conditions and human nature to spiritual conditions and the “divine nature“–to be “heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord.”

God’s object in the development of this “little flock” is two-fold: first, He will make them everlasting monuments of His goodness, to be known and read of angels and men. As Paul expresses it (Eph. 2:7), God’s plan in the development of the Gospel church of overcomers, is, “That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” The second part of God’s plan, in which we are directly associated, is, that He purposes to use us during the next–millennial–age as kings (rulers) and priests (teachers, instructors), when we shall reign with Christ a thousand years. (Rev. 5:10, 20:6). Thus shall the “seed,” of which Jesus is the head, bless all the families of the earth. (Gal. 3:29).

No sinners are called to have part in this “high calling, which is of God in Christ Jesus.” True, Jesus called “sinners to repentance“–so does the word of God and all his children seek to bring men to repentance and faith in Christ and consequent justification. But only the justified ones are called to be “kings and priests unto God, and to reign on the earth.” It is worse than useless to present the grand prize (the “heavenly calling”) for which we run to the attention of sinners–the unjustified. For the natural man receives not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned–they are foolishness unto him. Therefore, “cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

This being true, that none are called to the high calling except the justified ones, the fact that you know of your justification may be the proof to you that you are one of those whom God has “called” to spiritual life and joint-heirship with Jesus.

What a blessed privilege to be called with such a high calling. Now do you realize that you are called to be a member of the Bride of Christ? Then remember who called you– God; and that “Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24). Our Father mocks none with a call which they cannot attain to. His grace is sufficient for us.

Nevertheless it is important to understand that simply being called does not the new creature make, you still have something to do in this matter, after having first “counted the costs” and accepting the terms you must enter into covenant relationship with the Father (Psa 50:5) i.e. follow through with a full consecration of yourself, presenting your body (the justified human nature) a living sacrifice. (Rom 12:1)

This is the “Second Step”, which few take, mostly because they had no idea there was a second step in the first place. Having been misled by the blind guides of Christendom they have been assured of their heavenly reward simply upon a confession of faith, alas the majority of these poor souls will awaken in the earthly phase of the kingdom, having missed their opportunity to experience a change of natures and a heavenly reward, this simply because they placed too much confidence in their ministers, rather than in the Word of the Lord.

This is the gate of which our Lord spoke that few there be that find, the Straight gate which leads to life (life inherent, immortality), by means of the narrow way of death by sacrifice (Matt 7:14) “So narrow (is this “gate“) that it admits only the Lord’s plan, the Lord’s way and only to those willing to conform to it.” (R5045:3)

The “Second Step” is likewise symbolized in the Tabernacle picture; here it is represented by passing beneath the “First Vail” depicting the surrender or death of ones will for that of the Lord’s and entering into the “Holy” condition wherein the individual receives special light provided by means of the “Golden Lamp-stand” representing the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. This light shines upon the “Table of Show-bread” in which special food, spiritual food is provided for the growth and encouragement of the new creature. The “Holy” of the Tabernacle could be said to be a testing or schooling ground for the new creature.

This “Second Step” is also pictured in the Great Pyramid by the “Step” at the end of the Grand Gallery; the Grand Gallery similar to the “courtyard” of the Tabernacle depicts the upward path of the believer leading him to the point of full consecration. After he ascends this step he must first bow beneath the “granite leaf” err he enter the “Ante-chamber” which likewise pictures the holy condition or school of Christ.

We will continue with this study in our next post.

 

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 4

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 4

We continue once again with our forth question, who specifically is the Mediator?

In this study we would like to take a quick look at the “Testator” to see how this is related to the Mediator.

Testator: a person who has made a will or given a legacy.

And for this reason he is the Mediator of the new covenant by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first (Law) covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal in heritance. For where there is a testament (a bequest, a will) there must also of necessity be the death of the testator, for a testament is in force only after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.”(Heb 9:15-17)

The Apostle explains that no will or testament or bequest is of validity so long as the testator lives. Whatever covenant of agreement may be had, it awaits a final sealing or completion by the death of the testator. The Apostle applies this to Christ. By His death Jesus passed on to us, the church, the benefit of his merit; namely, the earthly rights of ‘justification’ to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by the precious merit of Christ’s sacrifice finished at Calvary. In accepting these earthly blessings, we, as His members, agreed to the terms; namely, that we also surrender our rights to these, as servants or ‘ministers of the New (Law) Covenant’—that these earthly blessings secured by our Lord’s obedience and death should thus pass through us and still be the Redeemer’s asset to be given to Israel, under Israel’s New (Law) Covenant.

The fact that Israel is still outcast from God’s favor is merely evidence that the body of Christ is not yet completely sacrificed, for bear in mind that the covenant is of no validity until the death of the testator. The Lord Jesus, the primary Testator, has accepted consecrated believers, as ‘members of his body,’ and he is working in them by his holy Spirit to will and to do the Father’s good pleasure—that they may lay down their lives in sacrifice, filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Messiah.  As soon as the last member of the church shall have died as a member of His body, the New (Law) Covenant with Israel will be sealed—sealed with the blood of the Testator; the death of the Christ, Head and members.

Meantime the resurrection change of the church as the body of Christ will have brought the Testator as a whole to the plane of glory, honor and immortality. On this plane the Christ, Jesus the Head, and the church, His mystic body, will be in antitype the great Prophet, the great Priest, the great King, the great Judge, the great Mediator between God and mankind in general. Then will come the time promised in the Scriptures when this Great One, this Glorified One, the Seed of Abraham on the spiritual plane, will begin the work of blessing all the families of the earth, under the conditions of the New (Law) Covenant, to be made with Israel first. (R4453)

Hebrews 9:16 reads:For where a Testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” In the case of Moses the death of the Testator was represented by the slaying of the bullock AND the goat. In the case of the Antitypical Moses, the death of the Testator is shown in the sacrifice of our Lord AND the Church his Body. The ability of Christ to give a Testament or Covenant, or to make a Covenant, should also be seen. As the man Jesus he could not make this Covenant. Why? Because as a man–not spirit-begotten–he could merely have given his human life for mankind and then would have had nothing left for himself; or if he had retained his earthly life he could have established only an earthly Kingdom and never could have given eternal life to any one subsequently. He might have blessed them with wise laws and regulations and improved conditions over the present time, but never could have given them life and the perfections and blessings that he will be able to give under the New Covenant.”

HOW THE LORD BECAME A TESTATOR   

In order to be a Testator and give eternal life to the world, it was necessary that our Lord should carefully follow the Plan that God had arranged: First, by his own obedience he should demonstrate his loyalty to God and receive life on the divine plane as his reward; second, that then, by taking up his human life which he did not forfeit in anywise, he should have that human life and its rights to give to Israel and through them to all mankind. He is thus a Testator. He is thus one who bequeaths (or wills) something to others. He bequeaths it not while he is alive, as a gift, but he gives it as a Testator, as that with which he parts in death. So our Lord Jesus, as the Great Mediator of the New Covenant, will give to mankind the human rights and privileges to which he had a right by virtue of his perfect obedience to the Divine Law. He invites us, NOT to share those rights with the world, NOT to come under his Mediatorial reign and be sharers in restitution privileges, but, according to the will of God, to do something else, viz., to join with him in becoming Testator, to lay down our lives and thus be sharers with him in the spirit of his great work, that we may also share with him in the actual features of that work during the Millennium.

HOW WE (THE CHURCH) ARE JOINED TO THE TESTATOR   

The very first difficulty encountered is that we, unlike him, have not perfect bodies that we could give as perfect sacrifices; hence God’s arrangement for those who have this sacrificing attitude of mind is that they may be dealt with by the Lord Jesus and that he may, as their Advocate, impute to them his merit, his restitution rights, to make up for, to off-set, their blemishes and imperfections, that they may offer unto God a sacrifice that would be pleasing. We see that he does not give to these who are now called, either the Mediatorial blessings of the Millennial Age or the restitution conditions which that Mediatorial reign will confer. He gives to them that which will serve his purpose for them much better; viz., an imputation of his merit for past sins, to allow their sacrifice to pass the Divine propitiatory satisfactorily. Even then their sacrifice would prove imperfect and unsatisfactory because of inability to carry it out to a completion, did he not continue to be their Advocate. With every blemish and imperfection that is unwillingly theirs they can go to him as their Advocate and obtain mercy and have the cleansing from all sin through the merit of his sacrifice.” (R4623 par.12-14)

“So, then, in the Scriptural language, that which our Lord did do in connection with the promised New Covenant between God and Israel at his first advent, was that he became a “surety” and guarantee for its later fulfillment. (Heb 7:22) From that time, therefore, the New Covenant may be considered as assured or legislated or guaranteed, but not put into force, because, as the Apostle declares, a testament or will is of no binding force until the death of the testator. In harmony with the Divine Plan the Redeemer applied the merit of his sacrifice to a special class “called” and “drawn of the Father” during this Gospel Age, to be members, to join with him in his sacrifice. These were to receive of his fullness, his merit, as the atonement for their sins, and then they were to drink of his blood or share in his death, that his blood or the merit of his sacrifice might as a blessing pass through them and permit them by sacrificing restitution blessings to attain the divine nature and glory. (2 Pet 1:4)

None of these may keep the blessing of restitution privileges. Each was obliged in advance to pledge his life in sacrifice with his Lord before his final acceptance and begettal of the Holy Spirit to joint-heirship with the Head in his glory, honor and immortality. So then (AND THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART) the reason that the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah’s day (Jer 31:31), and assured by our Lord’s death has not yet gone into effect and become operative in restitution blessings to Israel and the world is, that the death of the testator has not yet been fully accomplished; for the testator, through whom Israel will get that great blessing of the New Covenant, is not our Lord Jesus alone, but The Christ, Head and Body.

To this agree the words of the Apostle again, namely, that natural Israel will “obtain mercy through your [Spiritual Israel’s] mercy.” (Rom 11:31) The laying down of the restitution rights received by us from the Lord through faith in his blood is our sacrifice of the same, the dying of the Testator’s Body. (2 Cor 4:10) Israel is to be the beneficiary of this testament, this legacy, this will, the merit of which is all as Jesus said, “in his blood,” in his cup, which we must drink  (Matt 20: 22,23; 26:27).” R4498

Although we have to a limited extent already answered our fifth and final question, where and when does this mediation begin? There are still a few more thoughts pertinent to this question, which need to be addressed.

More to the point where (or with whom precisely is the new covenant mediated) and when will this mediation commence?

Behold the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD; I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer 31:31-33)

This Scripture rightly understood fully answers our question as to whom precisely the new covenant is mediated, and when precisely this mediation will commence.

Let us apply our God given ability to reason here and work this out for ourselves.

A covenant is a contract, a binding agreement between two parties. In the business world if two parties have established a contract between themselves by law this contract is binding until its terms have been fully met by both parties. In essence Israel as a nation or people entered into such a contract with the LORD when at Mount Sinai they agreed to the terms of the Law Covenant, exclaiming “All that the LORD has spoken we will do” (Exod 19:1-9; 24:1-8), Moses at the time acting as the “go- between” or  Mediator of this contract.

“The Word of God distinguishes between a covenant and its mediator. A covenant does not go into operation until after it has been fully mediated. When Moses mediated the Law Covenant, he first offered sacrifices; then he took the blood of the animals and, dividing it into two parts, sprinkled both the Book of the Law and the people. (Exod 24:4-8; Heb 9:19-24) After he had done this, the Law Covenant was in force; and it will continue until superseded by its antitype, the New Covenant.” (R5164)

Thus we see that if a proposition is made to make a new covenant with someone it implies that they were previously under covenant or contract prior to this and that this new contract is to supersede the former one established with them.

Now we ask what nation or people other than the nation of Israel has God ever entered into covenant or contract with? Is it not written?

Now therefore if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” (Exod 19:5)

Hear this word that Jehovah hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1, 2)

There is absolutely no Scriptural support for any theory that God was ever in covenant arrangement with any other nation other than the nation of Israel.

Thus the first part of our texts taken from Jeremiah should be rightly understood as follows, viz.

Behold the days are coming (when the Testator complete will have finished the great antitypical sacrifices of himself and his church, the “better sacrificesHeb 9:23, when he will have finished with the second presentation of the blood of atonement in the Most Holy, that of the Lord’s goat, representing “his body” the “Church”, “the sin-offering, which is for the people”, which makes atonement, reconciliation for the people Lev 16:15 with this he will have finished making application of the blood, the blood which seals, makes binding, ratifies, the New Covenant which makes satisfaction for the sins of the world), says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (With whom did he say? Did he say the Gentiles? No! Did he say the Church? No! neither of these, he said with the house of Israel, “For this is my covenant with THEM, when I shall take away their sinsRom 11:27) not according to the covenant (the Law Covenant) that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them says the LORD.”

“Jesus death (blood) constituted the blood which seals or makes effective the New Covenant. Our taking of this cup and drinking of it (Matt 26:27) shows our participation. The consecrated lives (blood) accepted by our Lord are counted in as a part of his own sacrifice (the sin-offering) which seals the New Covenant.”

This New Covenant will not become operative until the cup of the Lord’s sufferings which is left behind has been completely drained in death by the last member of his Body” (R5542:6, 4310:2, 3)

This is my blood (symbol of LIFE given up in death) of the new covenant, shed for many for the remission of sin;” “Drink ye all of it.” (Matt 26:27, 28) It is by the giving up of his life as a ransom for the life of the Adamic race, which sin had forfeited, that a right to LIFE comes to men. (Rom 5:18, 19)

Jesus’ shed blood was theransom for ALL,” but his act of handing the cup to the disciples, and asking them to drink of it, was an invitation to them to become partakers of his sufferings, or, as Paul expresses it, tofill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.” (Col 1:24) “The cup of blessing, for which we bless God, is it not a (joint) participation (on our part in) the blood [shed blood—death] of the Anointed one?” (1 Cor 10:16)  Memorial Meditations, Page 16

Our Lord speaking to his followers inquires, “Are you able (willing to participate) to drink of the cup (of shame, ignominy, sufferings and reproach) which I have drunk, and to be baptized with the baptism which I am baptized with (a baptism of death, and that a sacrificial death, Rom 6:3)?

To those so willing he states, “You will indeed drink of my cup (participate in the blood shed as part of the Day of Atonement “sin-offerings”, the blood which seals the New Covenant), and you will indeed be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with” (Matt 20:22, 23)

Let us now take a look at the latter part of our text taken from Jeremiah,

But this is the covenant (the New Covenant) that I will make with the house of Israel (Note once again whom specifically this covenant is to be made with) after those days, says the LORD (After what days? After the days of this Gospel Age, after those days in which the Church the body of Christ as joint sacrificers with their Lord will have finished their share in the Day of Atonement sacrifices, after the death of the Testator. These days likewise apply to the “seven times” of Israel’s chastisement.

Along with the blessings promised Israel if they would be faithful to their covenant (the Law Covenant) with the LORD were likewise promises of punishment if they felled to keep it. “But if you do not obey me, and do not observe all my commandments…but break my covenant, I will also do this to you…I will set my face against you, and you shall be slain before your enemies, they that hate you shall reign over you… and if you will not yet for all this harken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” (Lev 26:17, 18, 24, 28)

“In the Bible a “time” is used in the sense of a year, whether the year be literal or symbolic, but at the time of the utterance of any prophecy, it could not be known which. A symbolic year used in prophecy is reckoned on the lunar year 360 days each, day representing a year. Thus 7 X 360 = 2520 years.

These “seven times” refer to the “Times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) the time in which “they that hate you shall reign over you” the 2520 years in which the Gentile nations have reigned over Israel beginning in B.C. 606 with the overthrow of Zedekiah and ending in A.D. 1914, from which time sense no Gentile nation has fully governed Israel.

After these days (not immediately after, but following after the completion of the “sin-offering”, as we have seen, the body of Christ, which shall likewise be completed, i.e. finished after these days); I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

The New Covenant will not be made with any other nation but Israel; for God never purposed to make a covenant with the Gentiles, however even amongst these since the people are not worthy to enter directly into relationship with God, that covenant must have a Mediator, the Christ , Head and body complete. The New Covenant will not be made with rebellious sinners.

God’s Covenant will be WITH the Mediator FOR Israel, guaranteeing forgiveness and reconciliation to all of Abraham’s natural seed who will exercise the faith and the obedience of Abraham.

The work of the Mediator with Israel (and the world of mankind, who to be blessed must become Israelites indeed) during the Millennium, will be their instruction, enlightenment and uplifting out of sin and death, out of ignorance and superstition, out of depravity and unbelief up to human perfection; so that, at the end of the Millennium, all of Abraham’s seed, all of his faith and obedience, will have reached human perfection and be ready for the Mediator to deliver them over to the Father, that God may be all in all–the unwilling and rebellious, after due trial, being cut off during the Millennium in the Second Death. (R4555 Par.17, 18)

“The New Covenant will begin to swallow up the old Law Covenant as soon as the Kingdom is established. The Scriptures indicate that the first to receive it will be the Ancient Worthies. Raised from the dead to human perfection, they will form the nucleus of the new arrangement in the earth. (This despite the fact that our JW friends erroneously assume that they themselves will form this nucleus) Next in order will be those who have been known as Christians, but who have not been consecrated to death, and Jews who have been consecrated to the Law, but who have been blinded. Gradually the light will come to all who love righteousness and hate iniquity. Sprinkled from all sympathy with evil, they will make their declaration of full loyalty to God. In due time this light will spread to all kindred’s and tongues and nations.” (R 5164)

Thus we conclude our look at the Mediator and the New Covenant.

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 3

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 3

Who specifically is the Mediator?

As we had stated at the end of our last post the typical answer to this question is Christ, but who is THE Christ? What say the Scriptures?

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into the body…for in fact the body is not one member (Christ its head alone) but many (from the divine standpoint, a composite body)now you (who have been baptized into Christ, made participators in his death, Rom 6:2) are the body of Christ (the Anointed, the Church, having lost your individually being joined to the body), members in particular (individually, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations, but now revealed in his saints, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ Col 1:26,27 ).” 1 Cor 12:12-14, 27

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18)

So then if Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 8:6; 9:15) having obtained a more excellent ministry (a more exalted and effective service than the earthly priesthood), insomuch as he is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises (promises under which not only the “Israel of God”, [Gal 6:16], the Church, the body of Christ benefits, but likewise through them the whole world), and furthermore God has since reconciled US (the Church, the anointed) to himself by Jesus Christ (NOT through any mediatorial work on the part of Christ, but though faith in the blood as we had shown in Part 3 of this study), and (now having been reconciled, He) has given US the ministry [work] of reconciliation (the ministry of mediation) 2 Cor 5:18.

As members of the body, co-labors with Christ, we as under-priest are all involved in the same work, some on this side of the Vail some on the other side, but nevertheless all of one mind, one purpose.

“As for the word Mediator, it is indeed a glorious name and title possessed by our Lord, but it is not the proper name to be associated with his service in our justification. It is not scripturally applicable to the church at all, except that we are associates with the Mediator of the New Covenant as ‘his members’ in the sufferings of this present time and as joint-heirs with him in the glorious prospects of the Millennium.” (R4560:6)

The Lord is now gathering his Church, a little flock, to be members of the antitypical Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, Mediator between God and the world of mankind during the Millennium. These called, chosen, spirit-begotten, are “able ministers of the New Covenant,” after the same manner as their Lord–walking in his steps. They minister or serve the New Covenant as an attorney serves in drawing up an agreement or Covenant. It will not be a Covenant until sealed, but, while it is in process of preparation it is spoken of as a Covenant and, in writing the agreement; the attorney is serving that agreement by putting it into shape, arranging for its sealing, etc. So Christ and his members are able or qualified ministers or servants of the New Covenant which God has promised and in which the hope of Israel and the world is centered.

In what way do Christ and the Church now minister for or serve that New Covenant? In various ways:

(1) In gathering the members of the Body of the great Mediator.

(2) In learning and teaching to others the lessons necessary to qualify for the position.

(3) In preparing the blood with which it is to be sealed–“his blood,” “Jesus’ blood,” appropriated first to the Church and ultimately, after having served its purpose in the justification of the Church, to be passed on for the blessing of the world through the sealing of the New Covenant with Israel.” (R4496)

Moses indeed said, a prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me. To him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you. And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22, 23)

That Moses, the mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant, is clearly taught in the Scriptures and generally recognized by Bible students; but all have not recognized that Moses was a type of the entire Christ — head and bodyand that in this sense the entire Gospel age has been the period of Christ’s raising up…” (D629)

“The antitypical Moses here pictured is undoubtedly the glorified Christ, Head and Body, in its instruction of the world during the Millennium. It is certainly not true that all are destroyed who disobey the Lord at the present time (thus furnishing a clear evidence that not only is the Mediator, the Great Prophet incomplete at this time, but likewise the covenant mediated by this Prophet, the New Covenant is not yet in operation) It is this antitypical Moses (the body of Christ) taken from amongst the brethren that God has been raising up during this Gospel age. Our Redeemer and Lord was raised up first to be ‘Head over the church which is his body.’ Since then the members are being raised up from the world, separated from the world to the Lord and the millennial work.” (R4354)

Our Lord, the Mediator of the New Covenant, delays the mediation of the New Covenant, in order to first gather together the “very elect,” who are to constitute the members of his Body, his joint-heirs, in the millennial glory and mediatorial work. He is the Messenger or servant of the New Covenant and each one of the Church now being called and chosen becomes an under-servant and messenger of the New Covenant. This work of qualifying the Church, the members of the Body of the Mediator, prepares them for a future service in helping Israel and the world under and through the terms of the New Covenant.” (R4474)

Moses served as the typical Mediator of the Law Covenant, a type of the great Mediator, the Christ of God, of which Jesus is the Head and the overcoming saints, his faithful followers, are accounted members.

We will continue with our look at the Mediator in our next post examining the role of the “Testator

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 2

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 2

Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?

In the general sense we have already addressed this question by affirming that the dispute is between God and the “sons of disobedience” (Eph 5:6), that it is these two parties who have need of mediation in order to facilitate reconciliation.

Now who exactly are the “sons of disobedience” upon whom the wrath of God abides?

“And you [did he make alive,] when you were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein you once walked according to the course of this world, [under the direction of] the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:– but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly [places], in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: for by grace have you been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.” (Eph 2:1-9)

In the forgoing statement the Apostle makes it evident that there is now a difference between the standing of the Church and that of the world in the sight of Godthat wewere (once) children of wrath,’ but, by God’s grace, are such no longer, however the world still lies in the wicked one and are still children of wrathi.e.sons of disobedience”.

Now the question is, how did this change come about, how was reconciliation made between the LORD and the Church, and was a Mediator required in this process?

For it pleased the Father that in him (Christ) all the fullness should dwell, and by him to reconcile all things to himself, by him whether things on earth or things in heaven having made peace through the blood of his cross. And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled (made atonement for) in the body of his flesh through death to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in his sight…” (Col 1:19-22)

We are not rebels, we are not alienated from God, but now through faith in the blood we are children of God, and our Redeemer assures us,The Father himself loves you.” (John 16:27)

A mediator implies hostility between two principals, requiring the intervention of a third party, and this is not the case with the Church. Even before the time came in the Lord’s plan when the Kingdom would be established, the rebels subdued, we were glad to hear the Father’s voice speaking peace through Jesus Christ, and we came to him: Surely, then, there is no need of a Mediator between the Father who loves his children and children who love their Father. However, the basis of our acceptance with the Father was our hearty renunciation of sin and our acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus as covering our blemishes and condemnation of the past, and our acceptance of the Father in Christ was on condition that we would henceforth walk in his steps, not after the flesh but after the Spirit, as set forth in the perfect law of liberty, the law of love to God and man.”

“With the gradual opening of the eyes of our understanding we noted in 1 John 2:2 the declaration that our Lord’s sacrifice was a propitiation, a satisfaction for our sins, the Church’s sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. We perceive that in this text the Lord sharply differentiates between the Church and the world, between our salvation and the world’s salvation. True, at one time there was no difference, for we were all “children of wrath even as others” still are; but we who have heard the voice of the heavenly Father speaking peace through Jesus Christ, we who have accepted that message, we who have been reconciled to God through the death of his Son (through faith in the blood, the ransom), are no longer of the world, but, from God’s standpoint, constitute a separate and distinct class.

The Scriptures tell us that we are called, chosen, separated from the world. Our Master’s words are, “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” John 15:16, 19” (Harvest Gleanings 2 Page 356)

For if when we (the Church) were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more having been reconciled (acquitted of all charges), we shall be saved by his life, and not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (the atonement Greek, kattalage; the satisfaction of justice and restoration of God’s favor and harmony with himself).” Rom 5:10, 11

Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God (who first instigated reconciliation), who reconciled us (i.e. all true believers) to himself through Jesus Christ (through faith in Christ and membership in the body), and has (henceforth) given us the ministry of reconciliation (of atonement, that is to say through our membership or participation in the body of Christ we become joint sacrificers with our Lord in the great antitypical Day of Atonement “sin-offeringsLeviticus 16, the “better sacrifices” spoken of in Heb 9:23 and through this ministry or service, our joint participation in these sacrifices we proclaim the message), that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (bringing about the at-one-ment between himself and the world), not imputing their trespasses to them (but laying them on Christ), and has committed to us the word (the honor of relaying the way) of reconciliation (the means by which return to God’s favor is obtained, both presently and in the next age). Now then we (the Church) are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us, imploring you (those not yet reconciled, but who have an ear to hear) on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:17-20)

Once again our question: Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?

The Scriptures indicate that the two parties are God on the one hand and the “sons of disobedience” on the other; those not yet reconciled to him, “children of wrath”, out of harmony both with himself and with his laws. Clearly it is these two parties that are in need of mediation.

“Note the difference between the above and the Church’s attitude to the Father and the Son during this Gospel Age. We are introduced to the Father at once, because our hearts are in the right condition—desirous of knowing and doing God’s will to the extent of our ability and trusting in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice already applied on our behalf. When we consecrate our lives after the example of our Redeemer–“to suffer with him,” “to be dead with him,” that we may live and reign with him–the Redeemer, according to the Father’s Plan, becomes our Advocate, endorses our petition, applies his merit on our behalf and becomes guarantor for us, that we may be loyal to God, or die the Second Death. As our Advocate, our Lord does not stand between the Father and us, but stands with us as our Elder Brother, as Chief Priest over his own House of Priests. “For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren; saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto thee.” (Heb 2:11, 12)

The Redeemer purposes no mediatorial work in behalf of the Church. He is not our Mediator, he is our Advocate. “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” (I John 2:1) Instead of standing between the Father and us, as during the Millennium he will stand between the Father and the world, he introduces us immediately to the Father, and the Father, on receiving us, immediately begets us of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord’s words are, “No man cometh unto the Father but by me” —the Advocate of the Church.

As sinners we had no relationship to God. When we believed and turned from sin we had a justification by faith tentatively imputed to us, permitting us to draw nigh to God and to hear his message through Christ– speaking peace to us and informing us of the High Calling and assuring us that “Now is the acceptable time“; that during this Gospel Age he is willing to accept us as living sacrifices through the merit of Jesus and to beget us of the Holy Spirit to the divine nature. The moment we accepted those terms our Redeemer became our Advocate and immediately the entire contract was closed and we were begotten of the Holy Spirit. We were no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit–no longer in the Courtyard condition, but in the Holy or spirit begotten condition. The New Creature being without sin needed no Mediator to come between it and God.

Now even though the New Creature requires no Mediator it does have need of an Advocate. Even though it is in full relationship with the Father and even though as a New Creature it has no sin–the sins cancelled at Calvary were those of the old creature only. Is it asked why the New Creature, begotten of God, sinless, needs an Advocate? We reply that it is because he has the treasure of the new mind in an earthen vessel that is very imperfect through the fall. The sins of his mortal body were all cancelled through the imputation of the Advocate’s merit and at that moment the old nature died and ceased its responsibility. He that is dead “hath ceased from sin.” (I Pet 4:1) The New Creature, which at that moment was begotten and as a new mind or new will took possession of the mortal body reckoned dead, is held responsible for its conduct in exactly the same manner that the owner of a dog is responsible for him. Whatever violence the dog may do, the owner is responsible, because he should have chained him up. So we, as New Creatures, are responsible for our hands, our feet, our eyes, our tongues, in what they may do. If the tongue slanders another through weakness, force of habit, etc., the New Creature is responsible and must give an account.” (R4584 Par. 3-6)

The Church is not included with the world because they are already at one with God, reconciled, this reconciliation (or at-one-ment) they received NOT through any mediation, but simply through faith in the blood, faith in Christ AND in their membership in the body.

The reason we stress upon their membership in the body as being prerequisite to their reconciliation (their complete or full reconciliation) is because there exist in the household of faith those of differing degrees of reconciliation. Some as of yet, the unconsecrated have only received a measure of reconciliation, a measure of peace (Rom 5:1) this they received when through faith in Christ they entered the “courtyard condition” the “tentatively justified condition”. We say “a measure of peace” because they are not yet fully in harmony with God as indicated by their unwillingness to fully surrender themselves in full consecration, to take up their crosses and follow in the Master’s footsteps, which of course would naturally lead them to sacrifice something which they are not prepared to do. The majority of these are quite content with the belief that a mere profession of faith is all that is required of them.

The fully consecrated on the other hand realize that much more is expected of them than simply a mere profession of faith especially if they would ever hope to gain the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. These having followed in their Master’s footsteps not only receive their justification through him (actual justification, reckoned so), but likewise peace with God, but more than this they receive “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7) a full and complete peace obtained only by those who have submitted themselves totally to His will, and are thus at one with him, relieved of all anxiety, worry, or concern completely confident in the LORD’s over rulings, divine providence, these are considered more than just God’s friends, but his sons, begotten of the Holy Spirit.

And so we would consider those in the courtyard condition (the mere professor), not yet reconciled to God in the truest sense as being part of the world likewise, “children of wrath”, these along with the rest of the world will require mediation in order to complete the atonement between themselves and the LORD.

“Gradually those who went out from us because they were “not of us” are going into darkness on all subjects, especially this one. This was to be expected. A root of bitterness developing in the heart affects the sight. Light becomes darkness; darkness becomes light. New things pass away. All things become old again in the wrong sense.

These friends, not content with urging un-scripturally that they need a Mediator between them and God, become very angry with us because we point out to them the truth on the subject–that the Mediator is between God and men and NOT between God and the New Creature (the Church, the body of Christ)…These erstwhile friends, busy seeing what they can object to, are step by step walking into darkness.” (Be careful my friends that you are not found among them). R4585

In our next post we will address our forth question, who specifically is the Mediator? The typical answer is Christ, but who exactly is Christ?

 

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 1

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 1

A common and erroneous thought held by many professing Christians today is that the Lord is (presently) engaged in the work of mediation, mediating the New Covenant between God and the Church. They imagine that this New Covenant went into effect during our Lord’s first advent when it is assumed he sealed the New Covenant with Spiritual Israel, with his blood.

Now it is our hope in this particular presentation to find the truth on these matters so as to alleviate the confusion caused by these erroneous assumptions. We will begin our examination by taking a closer look at the Mediator and his purpose.

The Mediator, who, what, where, why, and when?

In this study we hope to find the answer to the following questions,

1)  What is a mediator?

2)  Why is a mediator necessary?

3)  Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?

4)  Who specifically is the Mediator?

5)  Where and when does this mediation begin?

What is a mediator, that is to say what specifically is the function and or purpose of a mediator?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a Mediator as: an individual or agency that intervenes between two parties in dispute in order to bring about an agreement or reconciliation.

Young’s Analytical Concordance defines a Mediator as: a middle man, mediator.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines a Mediator Greek mesitēs Strong’s #3316 as: a go-between, i.e. (simply) an internunciator, or (by implication) a reconciler (intercessor) ambassador or messenger.

Thayer’s Lexicon defines a Mediator as: one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant; a medium of communication, an arbitrator.

“The term “mediator” (equals middleman, agent of mediation) is nowhere found in Old Testament or Apocrypha (English Versions of the Bible), but the corresponding Greek word mesites, occurs once in Septuagint (Job 9:33 the King James Version, “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us,” where “daysman” stands for Hebrew mokhiach, “arbitrator,” the American Standard Revised Version, the English Revised Version margin “umpire” (see DAYSMAN); Septuagint has ho mesites hemon, “our mediator,” as a paraphrase for Hebrew benenu, “betwixt us“). Even in the New Testament, mesites, “mediator,” occurs only 6 times, namely, Gal 3:19, 20 (of Moses), and 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24 (of Christ).

In Moses we have for the first time a recognized national representative who acted both as God’s spokesman to the people, and the people’s spokesman before God. He alone was allowed to “come near unto Yahweh,” and to him Yahweh spoke “face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend” (Exod 33:11). He went up to God and “reported the words of the people” to Him, as to a sovereign who cannot be approached save by his duly accredited minister (Exod 19:8). We have a striking example of his intercessory mediation in the episode of the golden calf, when he pleaded effectively with God to turn from His wrath (Exod 32:12-14), and even offered to “make atonement for” (kipper, literally, “cover“) their sin by confessing their sin before God, and being willing to be blotted out of God’s book, so that the people might be spared (Exod 32:30-32).” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Page 5388

Intercession is in all stages of thought an essential element in mediation. We have striking examples of it in Genesis 18:22-33; Job 42:8-10.

So in essence a mediator is one who negotiates peace between two parties who are at variance with one another, with the intent of negotiating an agreement or covenant between the two in order to restore and or establish peace, reconciliation between the two.

Having now we hope sufficiently explained our first question what a mediator is let us move on to our second question,

Why is a mediator necessary?

The need of a Mediator arises out of the fact of sin. Sin interrupts the harmonious relation between God and man. It results in a state of mutual alienation. On the one hand, man is in a state of enmity to God (Rom 5:10; 8:7; Col 1:21). On the other hand, God is moved to righteous wrath in relation to the sinner (Rom 1:18; 5:9; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6). Hence, the needs of a mutual change of attitude, a removal of God’s displeasure against the sinner as well as of the sinner’s hostility to God. God could not restore man to favor by a mere fiat, without some public exhibition of Divine righteousness, and vindication of His character as not indifferent to sin (compare Rom 3:25, 26). Such exhibition demanded a Mediator.”

So then in answer to question three the two parties in dispute (at variance) one with another would be God on one hand and on the other hand the sons of disobedienceupon whom God’s wrath abides (Eph 5:6). These are the two parties requiring reconciliation the parties in need of a Mediator.  

The qualification of a Mediator depends upon His intimate relation to both parties at variance. Our Lord meets both of these qualifications.

Christ’s Relation to Man:

Firstly, He is Himself a man, i.e. not merely “man” generically, but an individual man. The “one mediator between God and men” is “himself the Man, Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5), “born of a woman” (Gal 4:4), “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3, where the word “likeness” does not make “flesh” unreal, but qualifies “sinful“), i.e. bore to the eye the aspect of an ordinary man; secondly, He bore a particular relation to a section of humanity, the Jews (Rom 1:3; 9:5); thirdly, He bore a universal relation to mankind in general. He was more than an individual among many, like a link in a chain. He was the Second Adam, the archetypal, universal, representative Man, whose actions therefore had significance beyond Himself and were ideally the actions of humanity, just as Adam’s act had, on a lower plane, a significance for the whole race (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cori 15:22,45).

His Relation to God:

Paul very frequently speaks of Christ as the “Son of God,” and that in a unique sense. Moreover, He was the “image of God” (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15), and subsisted originally “in the form of God” (Phil 2:6). He is set alongside with God over against idols (1 Cor 8:5, 6), and is coordinated with God in the benediction (2 Cor 13:14). Clearly Paul sets Him in the Divine sphere over against all that is not God. Yet he assigns Him a certain subordination, and even asserts that His mediatorial kingship will come to an end, that God may be all in all (1 Cor 15:24, 28). But this cessation of His function as Mediator of salvation, when its end shall have been attained, cannot affect His Divine dignity, “since the mediatorial sovereignty which is now ceasing was not its cause, but its consequence” (B. Weiss, II, 396).

The Means of mediation, the Death of Christ:

The means of effecting the reconciliation was mainly the death on the cross. Paul emphasizes the mediating value of the death both on its objective (God-ward) side and on its subjective (man-ward) side. First, it is the objective ground of forgiveness and favor with God. On the basis of what Christ has done, God ceases to reckon to men their sins (2 Cor 5:19). Paul’s view of the death of Christ effecting the mediation may be seen by considering some of his most characteristic expressions.

(A) It is an act of reconciliation. This involves a change of attitude, not only in man, but in God, a relinquishing of the Divine wrath without which there can be no restoration of peaceful relations (though this is disputed by many, e.g. Ritschl, Lightfoot, Westcott, Beyschlag), but not a change of nature or of intention, for the Divine wrath is but a mode of the eternal love, and moreover it is the Father Himself who provides the means of reconciliation and undertakes to accomplish it (2 Cor 5:19; compare Col 1:20,21; Eph 2:16).

(B) It is an act of propitiation (Rom 3:25, hilasterion, from hilaskesthai, “to render favorable” or “propitious“). Here is a clear though of a change of attitude on God’s part. He who was not formerly propitious to man was appeased through the death of Christ. Yet the propitiatory means are provided by God Himself, who takes the initiative in the matter (“whom God set forth,” etc.).

(C) It is a ransom. The Mediator “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:6). The idea of payment of a ransom price is clearly implied in the word “redemption” (Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14, apolutrosis, from lutron, “ransom“). It is not alone the fact of liberation (Westcott, Ritschl), but also the cost of liberation that is referred to. Hence, Christians are said to be “redeemed,” “bought with a price” (Gal 3:13; 4:5; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; compare 1 Peter 1:18). Yet the metaphor cannot be pressed to yield an answer to the question to whom the ransom was paid. All that can safely be said is that it expresses the tremendous cost of our salvation, namely, the self-surrendered life (“the blood“) of Christ.

NOTE: it is our contention that the ransom is to be paid to justice, applied as satisfaction to the claims of justice. See R 2822

The resurrection and exaltation of Christ are essential to His mediatorial work (1 Cor 15:17). It is not alone that the resurrection “proves that the death of Christ was not the death of a sinner, but the vicarious death of the sinless Mediator of salvation” (B. Weiss, I, 436), but that salvation cannot be realized except through communion with the living, glorified Christ, without which the subjective identity of the believer with Christ by which redemption is personally appropriated would not be possible (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:4,5; Phil 3:10; Col 3:1). The exaltation also makes possible His continuous heavenly intercession on our behalf (Rom 8:34), which is the climax of His mediatorial activities.

At present the merit of Christ sacrifice (represented in the blood of the “bullock”) has only been applied to himself (that is, his body, the Church more specifically the “little flock”), and to his household (the Levites, i.e. the Great Company class) these together composing the spiritual class, “the church of the first born” (Heb 12:23). His intercession work is presently confined only to these and only in respects as an Advocate.  

Therefore he (the High Priest of our profession, a sacrificial priesthood under a “covenant of sacrificePsa 50:5) is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him, since he always lives (unlike the typical priests who died) to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:25)

Very soon now when the last member of the body of Christ has passed beyond the Vail the blood of the “Lord’s goat” which is for the people (all mankind) will be sprinkled upon the mercy seat making intercession. Then shall the merit be applied to “all the people” (Lev 16:33).

The Man-ward Efficacy of His Mediator-ship:

The effect of Christ’s death on man is described by the words “cleanse,” “sanctify,” “perfect” (Heb 9:14; 10:10,14,29; 13:12), words which have a ritualistic quite as much as an ethical sense, meaning the removal of the sense of guilt, dedication to God, and the securing of the privilege of full fellowship with Him. The ultimate blessing that comes to man through the work of Christ is the privilege of free, unrestricted access to God by the removal of the obstacle of guilt (Heb 4:16; 10:19). I.S.B.E. Pages 5402-5409

Now it might appear that we have already answered our third question concerning, the parties in dispute in need of mediation, but in truth we have but only briefly touched upon the subject here. We believe that this particular point is what is causing most of the confusion, and therefore needs further clarification, which is what we hope to address in our next post.

Setting Dates

Setting Dates

The following comment was made on Facebook by a young Christian.

“I need to be very careful how I state this: There are a few very well meaning pastors who like to set dates for specific things they believe will happen as it relates to prophecy. This the Bible states clearly that He is coming back and there will be certain signs before He does. However……one should not specifically set dates to make the Bible fit their narrative.”

Although it is true that many well-meaning howbeit misguided souls have endeavor to set forth various dates in which they believed certain prophetic events were/ are to take place, the problem was twofold, 1) they were as you say attempting to force events (the times and the seasons) into their own particular plan not realizing that God already has a plan of his own and that it is unfolding according to the counsel of his own will, and 2) they were attempting to predict the time for the fulfillment of prophecy (future events) forgetting that no prophecy, that is the exact time or date of that prophecy can be ascertain until (after) its fulfillment.

Now at the other end of the spectrum, the pendulum swinging to far the other way are those naive souls who believe that it is impossible to arrive at a set date for a fulfilled prophecy.

And yet the dates for those prophecies which have already been fulfilled can be readily determined by the facts (the signs and/or evidences) given, take for example the time of our Lord’s first advent, the time (or date) of his crucifixion, the time when the nominal fleshly house (the Jewish nation) was cast off, left desolate, the time when favor would return to them etc., etc.

The problem today is that most of the Lord’s professed people have become indifferent, lethargic, disinterested in prophecy and so have little if any awareness to the times and seasons.

The spirit of prophecy is the spirit of the Lord.

We read in the scriptures of how the angels in heaven greatly desired to know prophetic matters, their own interest in these matters puts to shame any professed Christian who does not share the same desires especially seeing as most of the prophecies recorded in the scriptures relate to mankind, the church especially.

We are admonished, “Do not despise prophecies.” (1 Thess 5:20).

As for the neglect of prophecy and the study of the coming (or presence) of our Lord, the fault lies not so much in the individual professing Christian as in the erroneous misconception which has been fostered by the blind guides of Christendom, specifically that no one knows nor ever will know of the time of the Lord’s Second Advent. In fact it is asserted that not even the Lord himself knows the exact time of his own arrival, this of course being preposterous as obviously the Lord would know of the day when he comes as it is he who is to come.

“But of that day and hour knows no man; no not the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36, Sinaitic MS, Compare with Mark 13:32, 33.)

“Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is.”

To many these words seem to imply much more than they express: they think of them as though they put a lock upon and made useless all the prophecies of the Bible—as though our Lord had said, “No man shall ever know,” whereas he merely said, “No man [now] knows,” referring only to the persons who heard him–to whom the exact times and seasons were not due to be revealed. Who can doubt that the “angels of heaven” and “the Son” now know, fully and clearly, matters which have progressed so nearly to fulfilment? And if they are not now hindered from knowing by the statement of this verse, neither now are God’s saints hindered or restrained by this verse from seeking an understanding of all truth “written aforetime for our learning.” Indeed, it was in great measure because it was not the Father’s will that his people then, nor down to the time the “seals” were broken should know the date, that our Lord delineated the course of events, and assured them that if they would watch and pray and thus continue faithful, they, at the proper time, would not be left in darkness, but would see and know.

God, through his Prophet Daniel, pointed out that at this time “the wise shall understand” the vision and prophecy, and merely that “none of the wicked shall understand.” (Dan. 12:9, 10) To this the Apostle Paul adds his testimony, “Ye brethren are not in darkness that that day should come upon you as a thief,” although it shall come thus upon the entire world. “Watch ye, therefore [that in due time YE MAY KNOW], and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.”

If no man is to know of the day of the Lord’s presence, then why are we admonished to be vigilant, to keep awake, and to watch?

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming” (Matt 24:42) “If therefore, thou shalt not watch, thou shalt not know what hour it will come upon thee.”

What then are we watching “for”? Strange indeed to be told to look for something which no man can know.

The key here is that none would be aware of the day of the Lord’s Second Advent PRIOR to its having taken place, not AFTER it takes place.

“The Apostle Paul declares, “Of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you; for yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. [Quietly, stealthily it will come, and after it has come, many will not for some time know that they are in it] for when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them as travail upon a woman. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thess. 5:1-4

The “brethren” all have the lamp, the more sure word of prophecy mentioned by Peter (2 Pet 1:19), as a light in a dark place; and while they keep the proper attitude of brethren, as faithful, meek and humble students of the Word, they will at no time be in darkness as to that day: they will always have the truth supplied as meat in due season. At no time have those then living in full harmony with God been left in ignorance of necessary truth, to grope their way in the dark with the world.

Abraham and Lot knew of the destruction of Sodom beforehand, God saying, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” (Gen. 18:17) Noah knew of the flood in time to build the ark, and was informed of the very day that he should go into it. At the first advent, too, Simeon and Anna, and the wise men of the East, knew to expect Messiah. In fact, the expectation was general then. (Luke 2:25-38; Matt. 2:2; Luke 3:15) And if God so dealt with the house of servants, shall he do less for the house of Sons? Our Lord and Head has said,

Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (That is all things necessary for you to know.)

Our Lord certainly shall know of the times and seasons when due (including his second advent), especially since he is the one appointed to arrive and to accomplish the plan, and unless he has changed, he will continue to make known those plans to those close to him and associated in his work–his friends, his saints.

Reason, then, teaches us that so surely as it is written, “The Lord will do nothing, but he reveals his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7), and that most of what he revealed unto them was not for themselves, but for us, the Gospel Church (1 Pet. 1:12), so surely will the faithful not be left in darkness, unable to discern it, when the day of the Lord has come. It will not come upon them as a thief and a snare–unawares; for they will be watching (looking to “the more sure word of prophecy”, NOT to the sky as others do), and will have the promised light then due upon the subject.”

There are many prophecies which have already been fulfilled which specific dates (within the year) can be ascertained by the signs, facts and evidences given the majority of these unbeknownst to most Christians due to their lack of study upon the subject and more importantly their lack of “oil” (the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit) in their vessels.

These gems are given only to those who are diligently seeking to know and to understand them so that they might know precisely where they are on the stream of time and in the out folding of God’s plan. They are given neither to the scoffer or skeptic nor the lukewarm listless Christian, all such shall the Lord assures us shall remain in darkness as to the times and seasons.

Time to wake up my friends, to truly wake up, many make the claim to be awake, but their knowledge of prophecy, of the times and seasons states otherwise.

Who are the Levites?, Part 2

Who are the Levites?, Part 2

THE ANTITYPICAL LEVITES

Is there any question as to there being an antitype? Surely not when we summarize the preceding paragraphs and note afresh the minuteness of detail given us by God’s Word in regard to this class. In brief, the Scriptures teach:

1) On the Passover night the first-born of Israel are saved by the blood of the paschal lamb.

2) For a permanent memorial they are exchanged for the tribe of Levi, which is set apart to spiritual service.

3) From the Levites the high priest and under-priests are selected.

4) Under the supervision of the priests, the Levites perform the tabernacle service and are also instructors of the Law to the people.

Thus far we have merely recited the Scriptural facts upon which all will agree. In interpreting these acts, however, patience must be exercised by all, inasmuch as there is some honest and sincere disagreement. Taking the above points in the same order, the following appears to be their logical interpretation:

(1) The Passover night represents the period of the Gospel Age, during which a class from amongst mankind, namely the Church of the First-born (Heb 12:23) are delivered from the danger of destruction by the “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. (I Pet 1:2; Rom 5:9; Rev 5:9; Acts 20:28; John 1:29, 36; Rev 13:8) These are “passed from death unto life” and are become “a kind of first-fruits of His creatures” and “the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” “For Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” – James 1:18; Rev 14:4; 1 Cor 5:7

The deliverance of the world follows that of the Church, and was pictured in the departure from Egypt (Satan’s order) of all Israel after the “passing over” of the first-borns. The next morning typified the millennial morning; and the subsequent passing through the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh’s hosts, pictured the work of the Restitution Age culminating in the final removal of all evil forces.

(2) The selection of the tribe of Levi as permanent representatives of the first-born and their separation to the tabernacle ministry can well represent the called-out class of Christians consecrated to God’s service. These constitute the “household of God” and are “the household of faith“; the “Church of the First born, which are written in heaven.” (Eph 2:19; Gal 6:10; Heb 12:23)

These are set apart to God’s service and have made with Him acovenant by sacrifice“; thus emulating their Master, whose footsteps they seek to follow in fulfilling their vow to do not their own, but the divine will.

(3) The elevation of some of the Levites to the Priesthood, comprising a High Priest and under priests seems to teach an eventual separation of these called-out, consecrated ones into two classes.

Other Scriptures bear out this thought of a division of true believers into two classes. Actually, all believers, sincere and otherwise, can be listed under four headings, viz.: those who go into the Second Death; those who are mere professors, “tares” (a.k.a. nominal Christians); and the two classes mentioned by St. Paul in the oft-quoted words of 1 Cor 3:11-15: “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and. the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he him-self shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Here then, are two Christians, both justified, consecrated, and spirit-begotten, justified, because they build on the only Foundation (Psa 40:2; Matt 7:24; 1 Cor ,10:4); consecrated, because none can be related to the Master except they take up their cross and deny themselves; spirit-begotten, because they are building a spiritual structure. (Not an earthly structure as our JW friends would have some to believe) “No man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb 5:4,) Both have come “under the blood“; both are antitypical first-borns and consequently, antitypical Levites. Both are endeavoring to emulate the High Priest of their profession (Heb 3:1); both are probationary members of the Royal Priesthood. (1 Pet 2:5, 9) The superstructure they must build is that crystallization of spiritual principles that attainment of Christ-mindedness which is best summed up in the one glorious resolution: “Not my will but Thine, O Lord, be done.” Theirs is a purely voluntary walk, neither demanded by the justice of God, nor coerced by His Power. Their attainment of the divine goal, joint-heirship with Christ, depends entirely upon the carrying out of their consecration vows, by means of the “grace sufficient” God has promised to supply. “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” (Psa 50:5)

Both are called in the one hope of their calling, but only the one is chosen and abides faithful. Only the one follows the “Lamb whithersoever He goes.” The other, alas, fails to realize that complete submission of self-will requisite for complete overcoming, and consequently is unable to endure the fiery tests which come in the “way” of suffering with Christ. Nevertheless they are beloved of the Lord, for their failure is not due to willful sin, but solely to an avoidance of the sacrificing necessary to carry out the terms of their covenant.

In nothing perhaps is the difference between these two types of Christians more discernible than in a comparison of the lives of Abraham and Lot. Both love the Lord, both are righteous, both leave all to come to the Promised Land. But the one completely submerges self-will in a marvelous obedience to the will of God; the other endeavors to do both God’s will and his own, and succeeds in doing neither. Yet Lot is “righteous” and God spares him, though so “as by fire.” There is much food for thought here for the sincere follower of Christ.

(4) What shall be the eventual position of these two classes? There can be no question regarding the members of the Royal Priesthood — theirs, a position of joint-heirship with Christ; Kings and Priests for a thousand years. They — the “Abrahams” — shall out work all God’s gracious provisions on behalf of the human race, theirs, the joy incomprehensible.

But what of the antitypical Levites, the “Lots“? Three conclusions offer themselves. The first, that they shall be cleansed by the “fire” and thus become members of the “little flock,” we reject as doing violence to other Scriptures. The second that they shall eventually occupy a position on the earthly plane as perfect human beings is also inadmissible. We reason as follows:

1) They are a class consecrated to do God’s will.

2) As human beings, they in common with all mankind were born in sin and “shapen in iniquity,” and were “dead in trespasses and sins“; and thus were alienated from God. – Psa 51:5; Eph 2:1.

3) Before their consecration could be acceptable, they needed to be justified from Adamic condemnation.

4) Because of His purpose to “call out a people for His name,” God had arranged the means of this justification, by sending His Son to die on Calvary as the ransom price for all. (Having been “called out”, during the Gospel age in advance of their fellow man they received their share of this ransom sacrifice in advance of their fellow men who receive their share in the next age.)

5) God’s object in providing this justification (in advance) was to give them the opportunity to consecrate themselves and thus to become joint-sacrificers with their Lord, as a members of His Body.

6) God marks His acceptance of their consecration by begetting them through the Holy Spirit.

7) Thenceforth they are “new creatures“; sons begotten to the spirit plane. That which is born (after being first begotten) of the spirit is spirit. John 3:6.

8) The condition of God’s acceptance of their consecration was their “death” to all the human rights which would accrue to them otherwise, in the next age, the Millennial Age as a result of the ransom sacrifice of Christ. The grace of justification (in advance of their fellow man) was granted to them to enable them to offer up these rights by sacrifice, thus becoming “dead with Christ,” for God could not accept upon his altar anything less than that which was holy, pure, righteous, and just. These human or earthly life rights, once given up, cannot be taken back again. None of the spirit-begotten, therefore, can be reinstated to earthly hopes or human lives, for all rights to these were sacrificed at consecration.

9) They must either be born on the spirit plane or die; and since St. Paul says they will be “saved,” death certainly is not to be their portion.

10) In the wilderness the Lord set the Levites apart for His service. Thenceforth they were to represent the first-born of all the tribes. These were typical of the Church of the First-born. (Heb 12:23) They were given title to no land, thus illustrating the fact that the antitypical Levites would be without earthly inheritance, but would be called to a heavenly inheritance.

In view of these considerations we are led to the third conclusion, namely, that the antitypical Levites, after passing through the disciplinary experiences arranged by the Lord during each one’s lifetime to reveal the vanity of self-will (“saved, yet so as by fire“), will be raised to a spirit plane of existence, in which state, under the supervision of the Royal Priesthood, they shall be active ministrants in the great work of reconciliation during the Millennial Age. This we believe is the teaching of the Spirit in the typical work of the Levites on the days subsequent to the Day of Atonement.

In conclusion we would again stress the necessity of clearly discerning the importance of the doctrine of justification in its relation to this question of the future condition of the antitypical Levites. Once it is seen that consecration means the complete surrender of all earthly rights received through justification as a result of the ransom sacrifice, and that God’s acceptance of one’s consecration is marked by spirit-begettal, once these things are seen, it seems obvious that all the called of this Gospel Age must either be born on the spirit plane or go into the Second Death. There cannot possibly be a return to human rights, as the covenant by sacrifice” (is to the death- of the earthly or human life Rev 2:10, and) is irrevocable with the Lord.

And finally, though we accept the Scriptures as teaching the eventual existence of a spiritual class subordinate to the “little flock,” let us emphasize the glorious position to which we are all called, even to joint-heirship with our High Priest, and strive so to run as to obtain. Let no spirit of slothfulness be engendered because of the Levitical type, that thereby we may be led to feel that if one does not attain to the highest position, the lower will in any case be allotted. Such a disposition is very dangerous and may result in the complete loss of all. We can never plead divine grace as an excuse for indifference or carelessness; for sin ever lies at the door, and “if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in Him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe [in all the fullness of faith] to the saving of the soul.” – Heb 10:38, 39

 The truth could not have been stated any plainer for those who have eyes that see and ears that hear. Now you know whom the “great company” will truly consist of, and that their fate or inheritance is to serve the Lord and his Church as spirit beings in heaven.

 

Who are the Levites?, Part 1

Who are the Levites?, Part 1

We present the following subject due to the fact that there are still many who are confused over the issue of the Great Company , who they are and what should be their ultimate fate, much of this confusion centers over one particular statement found in Revelation Chapter 7 Verse 9 which states,

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, STANDING BEFORE THE THRONE and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”

The question being whether their “standing” before the throne be a symbolic or a literal statement, if it be literal then this implies they have been raised spirit beings , heavenly beings no longer human and as such have received a heavenly inheritance, for as you recall, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (that is the spiritual phase of the Kingdom) 1 Cor 15:50.

As such in the attempt to promote their own agenda (an “earthly” calling or hope if you will), in truth but “another gospel” our Jehovah’s Witnesses friends, that is the organization or governing body itself have felled as faithful ministers of the Word of God (not unlike the rest of orthodoxy) to provide their followers with “the whole counsel of the Word of God” on this issue, much of which is covered in The Tabernacle and the Leviticus Types. However over time the study of the Tabernacle has fallen out of favor as most deem it as past attempts by the Jewish nation to redeem itself through the bloody sacrifices of bulls and goats. Now although it is true that the blood of bulls and goats could in no way ever bring true redemption it must be understood that these typical sacrifices and services were merely set forth as examples, types of the “better sacrifices” and of the true and actual redemption to come.

In this respects we consider the Tabernacle and the Leviticus types as key issues to understanding certain specific truths hidden from the rest of the professing church. Among these are to be found the difference between “faith justification and actual justification”, the difference between the “high priest and under-priests” the “Lords goat” (the “little flock”), and the “scapegoat” (the “great company”), as well as the truth concerning the “anointing”, and the “high calling”, but alas they (the “blind guides” of Christendom) “have taken away this key of knowledge” (the truth on these issues as well as on that of many other important issues concerning the faith, substituting instead their own teachings and beliefs, and thus not only depriving themselves, but also those who trusted in them as the Lord’s representatives to show them the way) they themselves are not entering in (into the heavenly phase of the kingdom), and those who were entering in (that is those who were approaching the entrance to the heavenly kingdom, attempting to enter in), they have hindered (mislead through false and misleading teachings, deceiving them into thinking they have already done everything necessary to secure themselves a heavenly inheritance). Luke 11:52

With the following article written by Brother W. J. Siekman we hope to shed some of that missing light which has been hidden from them thus far.

The company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled.” – Heb 12:23, Young’s Literal Translation.

Regardless of our preference in favor of any interpretation, one objective and one alone must guide us as we reconsider this perennially interesting subject. And that is, to ascertain in humble and teachable spirit, what saith the Lord With this, the proper attitude of mind, let us consider anew the Scriptural facts relative to the tribe of Levi with full assurance of God’s blessing as we endeavor to learn,

1) Who the Levites were

2) Whom they typify; and,

3) The ultimate destiny of this anti-typical class.

THE SELECTION OF LEVI

 The patriarch Jacob’s descendants through his twelve sons, after having multiplied in Egypt, were reduced to virtual slavery. God raised up for them a great deliverer, Moses, and by ten plagues revealed His mighty power, until Pharaoh permitted the Israelites to depart. In the last terrible plague that befell Egypt, all the first-born of man and beast were slain except the first-born of Israel, who were preserved by the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb. (Exod 12:7, 13)

In view of this deliverance, God claimed all the first-born of man and beast as His own in a special sense. (Exod 13:2) During the wilderness journey, He separated the Levites, and took them and their cattle instead of the first-born of man and beast among the other tribes.

Take the Levites instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord.” (Num 3:45) From the tribe of Levi, thus set apart for the special service of Jehovah, God took Aaron and his sons for the priesthood (Exod 28:1), giving them the tribe of Levi for their attendants. Thus all the priests were Levites, but not all the Levites were priests. Henceforth the Levites always represented the first-born delivered on the Passover night.

The whole arrangement is given in the following words (Num 3:6-10):

Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. And they shall keep his charge and the charge of the whole congregation [“charge”, in the sense of duties with which they are charged in behalf of Aaron and the congregation] before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation [that is, the tabernacle itself, with all its furnishings], and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron, and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger [that is, one “not of the seed of Aaron,” Num 16:40] that cometh nigh [nigh to the sanctuary to perform any priestly function] shall be put to death.”

In the Eighth Chapter of Numbers, a more detailed account is given of the Levites’ inception of sacred service, and should be carefully considered in its relation to the antitype. We note particularly Verses 13 to 15: “Thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine, and after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.” Thus an entire tribe was set apart for God’s service; the Levites holding a nearer relation to God than the other tribes, the priests than the Levites, and the high priest than the subordinate priests. The Levites alone could minister to the priests, but were themselves forbidden to exercise any priestly function.

The tribe of Levi received no inheritance with the other tribes in the land of Canaan. It was necessary, therefore, that an adequate provision should be made for their maintenance. This was included in the declaration: “Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him” (Deut 10:9), which is several times repeated for substantiality (Num 18:20, 24; Deut 18:1, 2; Ezek 44:28); for when God gives an inheritance to His servants, it meets all their wants, temporal as well as spiritual. Accordingly, God ordained that the other tribes should give the tenth part or tithe of all the increase of their fields and of their flocks and herds: “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Num 18:21) The Levites, in turn, were commanded to give a tenth of this tenth for the maintenance of the priests. – Verses 26-32.

The Levites have no part among you; for the Priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance.” (Josh 18:7) Receiving thus no territorial possessions, forty eight cities were assigned to them by lot, out of the inheritance of the other tribes, with ample suburbs (pasture-grounds) for their cattle. (Num 35; Josh 1:21) Of the above named forty-eight cities, the priestly order had thirteen, all in the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin; and six of them were also cities of refuge, three on either side of the Jordan. By this arrangement the Levites were distributed throughout the whole Hebrew commonwealth, and so enabled, if faithful to their office, to exert the widest influence for the maintenance of the Mosaic institutions in their purity. Thus the prophetic announcement of Jacob respecting Simeon and Levi, “I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel” (Gen 49:7), was so fulfilled in the case of this tribe as to be made a blessing to the tribe itself and to the whole nation; for the functions of the Levites were spiritual, and they became, in a measure at least, the instructors of the people.

Continued with next post.

 

Zechariah’s Vision

Zechariah’s Vision

 “Vision of the Lampstand and Olive Trees”

The reason we bring up this particular lesson is due to a statement made by our friend Jacob (on the Bible Students Forum) where he states:

I notice you use reprint quotes to support your thoughts I use to do the same but try now to think out of the box and find the answers through my direct connect by the anointing with and from spirit and mind of Christ.”

You are not the first my friend to have attempted this method of study; however the flaw in this type of study is that each individual (professing to be led by the Holy Spirit) is left to his own mind, his own imaginings as to what the spirit is saying, thus two different individuals might interpret the scriptures completely different. Are we to believe the Holy Spirit gives out a different answer depending on the individual? Heaven forbid!

Others claim that their intention is simply to divest themselves of all outside materials less these inadvertently influence their thoughts, such claim they rely solely upon the Holy Spirit to teach them.

It is however important to note that the Holy Spirit does not teach us the truth, but rather guides us to the truth, this through such divine channels as the Lord is pleased to use. History itself has shown that the Spirit often uses human agencies in communicating the truth; therefore we would be negligent in our search if we did not heed the counsel of these agencies.

In Zech 4:1-14 a valuable lesson is taught in these regards. In the narrative Zechariah was given a vision, and the angel (messenger) asked him, “What do you see?

Zechariah answered saying, “I am looking, and there is a lamp-stand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” Zechariah was at a miss as to what this vision represented, and sought answers.

Now in the account only part of what is seen has been explained, the rest is left up to us to decipher using what we have learned from our studies of God’s Word. God often does this; He would have us exercise our God giving ability to reason things out.

The two olive trees are said to be “dripping” oil (Verse 12). We understand that the “oilrepresents the Holy Spirit, the “spirit of truth” in other words the “Word of God.

Where does this oil come from? It comes from the two olive trees, which the angel refers to as the “two anointed ones” (Verse 14). The answer as to what or who is being referred to here is found in Rev 11:3-12, these two anointed ones are none other than the Lord’s “two witnesses”, also referred to as the “two olive trees”, the Old and the New Covenants or Testaments.

As for the lamp-stand all should agree that this represents the church as a whole from its first to its last, it’s every member complete, as is alluded to by our Lord in Rev 1:20, the only difference there being that the church was pictured as seven separate distinct lamp-stands, representing the seven stages or periods of the church throughout its history.

Now for the difficult part, we know that the Word of God, the “truth”, the “oil” comes to us through the “two anointed ones”, but what does the bowl represent, and what do the seven pipes below the bowl represent?

The answer should be obvious, God is the author of the divine plan as it is recorded in his word, (the two olive trees), but He has chosen Jesus Christ our Lord as the hub or central channel (the golden bowl) through which understanding and blessings (the oil) of this plan should flow to the Church, and subsequently to the world in general.

Now as the work of preparing the Church has been committed into the hands of our Lord, our Lord has seen fit to choose seven specificstars”, angels, messengers, channels (the seven pipes) to dispense the “oil” or truth to the body.

That is to say, “The seven pipes represent the seven channels of outpouring or distribution of the Holy Spirit from the head (Jesus) to the Church throughout the seven stages of its development, the seven stars or messengers to the Church being the agencies used to convey this supply of oil. All the anointing oil was poured upon, or emptied into, the bowl; from there the oil was distributed to the various branches.

Here then is an important lesson: Whereas the Bible contains all the necessary oil to supply a person’s every need, it becomes available only in proportion to his relationship with Christ (his identification as a member of Christ’s body, the Church, pictured by the candlestick) and to his harmony with the agencies or channels which God uses, His chosen messengers or Stars.”

Another very important observation which confirms this fact: “It is interesting to note that in all of the seven church messages the direction is “To the angel… write.” It is as if the angel himself, more than the church, needs to know these things. Historically the angels seem very much to have acted and preached based on the content of these messages. It is not, of course, that these messages are not to the churches themselves, but rather that they are to the churches THROUGH the angels. Without recognizing (identifying) the angel (the specific messenger chosen by the Lord to each stage of the Church, specifically appointed to relay the message, i.e. to give to the household “meat in due season”), and what he has been given in the way of understanding, the Church cannot hope to receive much of the message.”

If we chose to ignore God’s chosen channels, then we have cut ourselves off from receiving the “oil” the truth, which flows from the Father through his Son and then through the various human agencies the Lord has chosen.

I know that many are wary of human teachers, but the Lord has made used of them all throughout the age, it is for us to “test the spirits”, to “prove all things” to verify that the channel through which we are receiving our nourishment is of the Lord and not of man.

To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word there is no truth in themIsa 8:20