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Category: Education in Truth

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

Taught of the Lord

Taught of the Lord

In Acts 8:26-40 we read of an Ethiopian eunuch, who on his way back to Ethiopia was found reading from the scriptures, the prophet Isaiah, but who apparently did not understand what he was reading, so the Lord sent Philip to him saying, “Do you understand what you are reading?” the eunuchs reply was,

“How can I, except some man should guide me (teach me to understand)?Acts 8:31

The prophet Isaiah states clearly “all thy children shall be taught of the LORD.” The Apostle John elaborates on this concept of Jehovah as teacher in 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: But as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye should abide in him.”

The method of God’s teaching is further brought out by the same Apostle John in his Gospel, Chapter 16, Verse 13: “Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.”

If God is to be the Christian’s teacher, and the Holy Spirit the medium by which he teaches, what need is there of man in the teaching process? Does God directly teach the Christian, but not the Ethiopian? Why does the Ethiopian eunuch in our text claim that he cannot understand the Scriptures, “except some man shall guide me?

The Apostle Paul complicates the matter further in the Tenth Chapter of Romans: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon him on whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”

The seeming conflict between these two sets of Scriptures is simple. Either God teaches directly or he teaches through men. Both views can seemingly be supported by Scripture. One solution, which presents itself, is that God taught Israel through the medium of chosen men but teaches the Church directly through the Holy Spirit. However, the Apostle Paul does not permit this easy explanation.

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore, he saith When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men… and he gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Eph. 4:8, 11-16

If God taught the Christian directly why did he give us Apostles? Why prophets? Why evangelists? Why pastors and teachers?

The answer is easy, because we needed them. Why? “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ

Now the question is asked if as the scriptures state God has provided these various agencies for the edifying of the Church, “Is it right to follow the teachings of any ONE MAN?

“The Scriptures answer, “One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren” (Matt. 23:8). We should not follow man, nor man-made creeds or systems. God exercised the supervising care over His consecrated people; as we read, “Now hath God set the members, every one of them, in the Body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Cor. 12:18); therefore He advises Christians to come together to assist in building each other up in the most holy faith (Heb. 10:24, 25). He directs the church to select elders–not Lords, nor Masters, nor Reverends (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:5-9). These are “overseers” to feed the flock of God (Acts 21:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). St. Paul says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ.

The most faithful have been followers of the Apostle, who followed in the footsteps of Jesus. This is not following man, but following the Divine leading’s through the Lord and the Apostles. Similarly today we note God’s leading’s through His servants. In this we are following Jesus Christ, not man. Individual study of the Bible seems indispensable to proper Christian development, and is commendable, just as individual study of Geology would be commendable; but one must not ignore the aids to Bible study which God has providentially furnished; to do so would be as unwise as for a pupil in astronomy to ignore the astronomical instruments and findings of others who have preceded him in the study of the same science “Study to show thyself approved unto God (not unto men); rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15)  W.P.R.S. page 844

The implication seems to be that the Holy Spirit is the medium through which the Lord guides his children to the various channels or agencies, which he has provided to assist them in their instruction of the Word.

Likewise (AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND) it is apparent that he expects his children each to contribute their part in the edifying of the body, building one another up in the most holy faith. This does not imply that each member is to contribute some vain feeling or imagining they may have had, but rather that through their individual studies of the various helps and agencies provided by the Lord they should contribute what they have personally been given to understand in regards to the truth.

There seems to be no question then that while God does take on the role of being our teacher and the Holy Spirit his channel, he also uses many human agencies in our instruction. We do not learn the truth by some miraculous enlightenment of the mind or mysterious voice whispering in our ear or by a vision in the night. Instead, as Paul says, we grow “by that which every joint supplies.” The method God chose “compacts” the body together and makes every member dependent upon every other member.

Of course, there are limitations to human teachers. Only the Twelve Apostles were inspired, and even they did not always speak by inspiration. (1 Cor. 7:6, 12)

Human fallibility is often demonstrated by human changeability. Truth is unchangeable men are not. Once a truth has been thoroughly proven and accepted it becomes a touchstone to gauge the accuracy of other teachings. In this connection note the Apostle Paul’s words in Gal. 1:8: “But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” And again, the Apostle John’s words in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.”

Teachers are sent of God; but God does not send all who claim to be teachers as his true teachers. God’s own Word, the Bible, must verify the authenticity of their teachings. Not all teachers are gifts from God, though we thank God for those who are.

Now someone may ask, where shall we find these true sources of understanding? You have already come to the right place!

“For wheresoever the carcass (the truth, the food) is found, there the eagles (those keen of vision and appetite) will be gathered together (brought together by the mutual apprehension of the truth, as eagles are drawn to their food)” Matt 24:28

As for those who believe that the Lord is some how going to change his method of teaching in their case, well that is their loss, for he who separates himself from the body, from “that which every joint supplies” likewise separates themselves from the head of that body, thus losing any spiritual guidance which they may have once had.


Excerpts taken from the article entitled Except Some Man Guide Me

 

More on the Two Salvation’s

More on the Two Salvation’s

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The following is in response to a comment made by a fellow member of the Bible Students Forum. We present it here for further insight on the Two Salvation’s.

Jacob states: To me the idea that there are two salvation’s seem to contradict the simple facts presented in the scriptures that salvation comes but one time when a believer follows these scriptural definitions of when salvation takes place.

Acts 2:21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 15:11But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”

Rom 5:9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

Rom 5:10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

John 10:9 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

In Reply: The scriptures you provide in no way contradict the idea of two salvation’s, they are in fact a requirement of both those who are saved now during the Gospel Age as well as of those who are saved during the Millennial Age.

Both need to…“Call on the name of the Lord to be saved” (Acts 2:21)

Both are “saved through the grace of the Lord” (Acts 15:11)

Both are “justified by his blood… saved from wrath through him” (Rom 5:9)

Both are “reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10)

Both must enter through the door, the only means of access to the Father (John 10:9)

I noted you quoted Acts 15:11 perhaps you should have continued on a bit further and you would have seen just how the salvation of God works not only in this age, but in the age to come, note Verses 14-17

“Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name (The Church, the Elect, the real object of this Gospel Age) And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:

After this (After the gathering of the elect Church is accomplished) I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down (favor returns to Israel); I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind (The non-elect, the rest of the world during the Millennial Age) may seek the Lord (call on the name of the Lord that they too might be saved), Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.”

You refer to your Diaglott often times, and rightly so as it is a most reliable source for the original Greek Text. Let us now take a look at two well-known and familiar texts, comparing how each are rendered, first from the NKJ version and then from the Diaglott.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, for there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Tim 2:3-6)

Now from the Diaglott,

This for good and acceptable in presence of the preserver of us God, who all men wishes to be saved, and into in exact knowledge of truth to come. One for God, one and mediator of God and of men, a man Anointed Jesus, he having given himself a ransom in behalf of all; the testimony for seasons own.”

For further conformation another one of the most accurate and reliable translations (Rotherham’s, Emphasized Bible) renders the last part of our text (Verse 6) thusly,

Who gave himself a ransom in behalf of all, the testimony in its own fit times.”

Note in both instances the “due time” for one to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth is stated in the plural sense, i.e.  in due season(s) and/or due time(s), thus suggesting that there is more than one time or opportunity for salvation.

As a further confirmation of this fact note our second text found in 2 Cor 6:1-2, once again from NKJ version first.

“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God (Justification through faith) in vain, For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted (or receivable) time (for presenting one’s self in sacrifice, Rom 12:1); behold, now is the day of (the special) salvation (now is the time in which the “new and living way” is opened, Heb 10:20; 1 Pet 2:5; Eph 1:6).”

(A through reading of the previous chapter will reveal that “the grace of Godhere mentioned is in regards to the opportunity afforded all believers, those who have been justified through faith to “live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor 5:15; Compare Rom 6:7-11).

God’s grace as freely bestowed upon those who have come to a knowledge of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus is the grace of forgiveness of sins, of justification through faith; and the very object of this grace (or favor) is to permit or qualify us to become living sacrifices, acceptable to God’s altar through the great sacrifice of our Redeemer.

Now let us take a look at the Diaglott rendering,

“Working together but also we exhort, not in vain the favor of the God to receive you; (he says for: In a season acceptable I listened to thee and in a day of salvation I helped thee. Lo, now a season well accepted, lo, now a day of salvation.).”

Here we not only have mention of one of the (plural) seasons mentioned in our first text (1Tim 2:6), but likewise we have a direct statement asserting that this is but one of the day(s) of salvation.

There is a special salvation for some, as well as a general salvation for others.

There are many other passages to be found in the Bible which teach about the second day of salvation, the salvation of the world, but we believe that what we have presented here is sufficient enough evidence for the discerning bible student.

 

The Proper Method of Study, Part 2

The Proper Method of Study, Part 2

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For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Isa 28:10

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and understanding comes from the connecting of these facts one with the other. These processes begin in earliest childhood, when one is “weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breast.” The methods urged here in Isaiah are those educators today generally agree upon. First, inform the student of a number of proven facts (“precepts“, i.e. truths) and then teach them the logical process of connecting these facts (“line [of reasoning] upon line [of reasoning]“).

In order to hold the pupil’s attention, a good teacher frequently changes the subject material, returning time and time again to each theme. Thus as we had stated before,

“Because God deals with us as a wise parent with his children, knowing that we need our food little by little, the lighter diet (milk) before the strong meat, therefore his truth is so arranged as to meet our necessities: a little of the truth upon one subject is placed here and a little more there; and as we take these little bits here and there and begin to put them together we gain strength and are able to appreciate the whole of it. As we deal with children, so God deals with us, giving us line upon line, and precept upon precept—the same truths repeated over and over from different standpoints, thus enforcing his teachings

Knowledge is basic to living. A person must be acquainted with literally thousands of facts to cope with day-to-day life. That is why a minimum of twelve years are recommended for just the basic schooling, not counting the specialized training for specific fields of endeavor.

Spiritually, knowledge is just as important, perhaps even more so. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…” (Hosea 4:6). Isaiah notes that “wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation.” Isa 33:6

The writers of the New Testament commend the ear that is open to instruction. “Despise not prophecies” (1 Thess 5:20); the brethren in Berea were commended for having “received the word with all readiness of mind” (Acts 17:11); Paul urges Timothy to “study to show thyself approved unto God.” This study, as Paul spoke of the Bereans, involved searching “the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” Thus the Thessalonians were to “prove all things” and John admonished the church to “try the spirits” (1 John 4:1).

The Bible alone is the inspired word of God. It alone is guaranteed truth. But it is not an easy book to understand. Frequently the student finds, as Peter did of Paul, that in the Bible “are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).

The Holy Spirit is the teacher in the School of Christ. The method of its teaching is defined by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 2:13 viz. “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (“A little here a little there”)

This suggests a topical approach. One scripture needs to be compared with another scripture. Types need to be compared with realities. Prophecies need to be compared with fulfillments. The New Testament needs to be compared with the Old. Similar passages need to be diligently compared both for points of agreement and with dissimilarities. Translations need to be compared for accuracy and clarity. The English Bible needs to be compared with the original Greek and Hebrew. Thus it is that “precept” is added to “precept” and one “line” of reasoning is built upon another.

One of the principles in our theme text was that God taught “here a little, there a little.” It was in this vain that the writer of Hebrews opens his treatise with these words: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Heb 1:1). Rather than pour out all truth at one time and thus overloading man with knowledge, God saw fit to portion out truth in gradual revelations over some forty centuries. Nor did he always choose the same manner. At times he spoke through materialized angels, at times he used dreams and visions, and at other times he led a prophet to a given conclusion.

The prophet Isaiah uses the words of our theme text just three verses later with far different connotations: “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken

If Isaiah’s listeners had heeded the Lord’s teachings they would have received the rest of mind promised in Verse 12. However, being unheeding, they studied mechanically, accumulating the precepts but not noting their purpose. The same teachings, which could have produced rest unto their souls, became a trap unto them.

This becomes very evident when looking at the reverence the Jewish leaders paid to the letter of the law in the days of Jesus, and their accompanying hypocrisy in not living up to it. It was this ensnarement in the letter of the law that prompted the stunning denunciation of these leaders in Matt 23:2, “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

To the Christian today there is also a similar snare. The study of the word of God can produce a sterile intellectualism, which robs the precepts (truths) of their real value. Always and ever the object of the Christian in his study must be to discern the will of God; and, observing, to do it, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

Thus have we shown that this method “precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little” is indeed the chosen method in which the Lord teaches his people. Man acquires knowledge in one of three ways: education, observation, or experience, only God has perfect intuitive knowledge, He has both perfect deductive reasoning, “declaring the end from the beginning” (Isa 46:10), and perfect inductive reasoning, with the ability to reason backward from the desired end to those means which will produce that result.

Man however must learn, step by step, line by line, precept by precept, this method applies not only to growth in knowledge, but also in the graces of the Spirit, as the Apostle admonishes us, “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance patience, to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love.”


Excerpts taken from, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Sept/Oct 1996, “Precept upon Precept”, by Carl Hagensick

The Proper Method of Study, Part 1

The Proper Method of Study, Part 1

bible-study-1

“Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk, those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” Isa 28:9, 10

The italicized part of this text is likewise repeated once again in Verse 13 with the additional statement,

“… That they might go and fall backward, and be broken, snared, and taken.”

From this many have erroneously surmised that this method of study is the wrong way to study, that if the child of God be taught in such a manner, he would “fall backward, and be broken, snared, and taken”.

But is this true?

We believe not, why? Because it is our opinion that this it is indeed the Lords means of instructing his people, that the trouble here is merely due to a misunderstanding not only of the specific text itself, but likewise of whom specifically the Lord was addressing. From a thorough review of the chapter we determine that he is addressing two specific classes, 1)the drunkards of Ephraim” (Verse 1), i.e. The Church Nominal, Babylon, and 2) the “remnant of His people” (Verse 6), “those weaned from the milk”, the true children of God. The failure is in understanding how our subject text is applied to the two separate classes mentioned in this prophecy. In other words this same method of instruction, “precept upon precept, line upon line” is applied to both classes, but yields differing results.

The Lord points out in (Verse 9) that none may expect to understand His doctrine, the Truth, except those who will progress from the position of babes in Christ, that they may become strong men in Him; and that the course of procedure to attain this development is a feeding upon the Truth of the Divine Revelation.

Let us, dear friends, be of this class who are not satisfied with merely remaining babes in Christ, but who will go on to perfection and to a realization of the privileges that are ours, both in the present life and in that which is to come.

“The Lord proceeds to show how and why the Divine Revelation has been given in its present disconnected and broken form in the Scriptures. He informs us that He has a two-fold purpose in this: first, that His true people may the more particularly learn to depend upon Him and be strengthened through their search for the Truth, here a little and there a little, line upon line and precept upon precept, with stammering lips and in a foreign language, instead of plain statements in our native tongue. (That is to say sometimes statements are made, or words used, that are incoherent and difficult to grasp, without a deeper study and investigation, thus proving our love for the Lord and his Truth).

These difficult conditions are really helpful to those who are of the right attitude of heart in that they learn lessons which otherwise might escape them. And in the end the harmony of the fragments of Truth from Genesis to Revelation, often disconnectedly stated, becomes a demonstration and power to those who come to see their relationship, harmony and beauty. To such they have perhaps a greater strength, which would not come through a more plain and direct statement.

The Lord tells us that this arrangement which He had made is quite sufficient to cause all the weary to rest and to be refreshed. And all of the proper class, all of the Lord’s “little flock,” we may be sure, will rest in these promises and will be refreshed by them.

Secondly, the matter was stated in this fragmentary form, so that all others (“the drunkards of Ephraim”, the nominal professor), other than the Israelites indeed (John 1:47) might be confused, might fall away, might be stumbled, broken, ensnared, entrapped, just as the Lord stated in Verse 13. The Word of God contains a bountiful provision of milk of the Truth and of strong meat of the Truth, covering all the knowledge necessary to the man of God that he may be thoroughly furnished unto every good word and work. (2 Tim 3:16, 17)

But these things are not intended for all. As our Lord declared to the disciples, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear” (Matt 13:16); and again, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; but to others [outsiders] in parables; that seeing, they might not see, and hearing, they might not understand.” (Luke 8:10) But to outsiders, to all not Israelites indeed, the precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little, served not for their up-building, but for their ensnarement with error, that they “might go and fall backward and be snared and taken.” (SM110)

“For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little,” That they might go and fall backward, and be broken, snared and caught.” Isa 28:11-13

Verses 10-12 show that it will take a great many more lessons to help those in Babylon who are not yet ready to be helped; for he will no longer speak to them through the old tongues–the intoxicated “priests and prophets,” mentioned in Verse 7 (the ministers and clergy of today) to whom they still look for leading. But rather “with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” He will raise up other teachers–teachers not ordained of men (of orthodoxy), but rather those ordained of God–whom therefore they will not be incline to recognize or heed; because they will not “prophesy smooth things,” saying, Peace! Peace! When there is no peace, nor will they “tickle their ears” preaching only what they wish to hear. And when these point out the true rest and refreshment of divine truth, they will not hear nor take heed.”

Those to whom the Lord chooses to speak his truth are chiefly the common people in the eyes of the world and therefore esteemed unqualified to speak (to preach); nevertheless it pleases the Lord to speak through such. Being that not many of these are great orator’s or public speakers such tend to stumble, “stammer” at times when addressing others, yet their words are nevertheless true, they come from the heart from a love for the Lord and for his truth. However the main reason why they are misunderstood by the world and the professing church is because they speak in “another tongue”, they speak a spiritual tongue, a tongue which only the spirit begotten can rightfully understand. (1 Cor 2:6-16)

Having we hope now a better understanding of the two specific classes addressed by the Lord in this prophecy let us look at it again from the perspective of the “drunkards of Ephraim” how do they view the words of the Lord as spoken in this prophecy specifically those spoken in Verses 9 and 10, viz. “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk, those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”

“Who then [asks the “drunkards of Ephraim”] is it whom he desires to learn understanding, and who can he make to give attention to his preaching?–Are we then recently weaned from the mother’s milk, recently taken from the mother’s breast?

For it is nagging upon nagging, nagging upon nagging, prating upon prating, prating upon prating, a little here, a little there [as if this class should say: ‘what does he take us for?–we are no babies either; it was not yesterday we discarded the old-fashioned theory of the fall and the redemption of man, etc.,–we are full-grown mature Higher Critics; and yet there are those who never let us alone, but are nagging at us ceaselessly, giving out tracts, papers and books, which represent us before the public as deceivers,’ etc.

Well, yes, through stammering lips and in a strange language shall he speak to this people, he who nevertheless has said unto them: ‘Here is the place of rest let the weary get rest; here is the place where refreshment is given,’ but such they would not hear. And thus the Lord’s Word shall be for them, ‘nagging upon nagging, nagging upon nagging, prating upon prating, prating upon prating, a little here, a little there, so that they, as they walk on, fall backward and are crushed, become ensnared and captured.”

Refusing to accept God’s grand plan for salvation, which would give them rest, they are annoyed by those who are pointing out its beauty, which to them is merely prating, and the result is that they fall completely into the snares of the adversary.” (R3531)

We will continue with this study in our next post.

A Sealed Book, Part 2

A Sealed Book, Part 2

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Isa 29:9-22 Continued.

Verses 13 and 14

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near to me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”

Formality of worship and service has taken the place of heart service. When the service was from the heart, the Lord’s plans were searched for, as for hid treasure. His Word was studied that the mystery of God might be appreciated as fast as his ripening and unfolding plans would permit. It was a longing such as Daniel experienced when he searched and fasted and prayed for weeks, that he might know whatever of God’s plan he was pleased to reveal. It was the longing desire to comprehend with all saints the length and breadth and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, and be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:18, 19.)

But the worldly spirit soon cast out this thirst for truth and knowledge, as the heart became interested in worldly aims and plans. Though the forms of godliness have continued and increased, the real worship and submission to God has ceased, and interest is bent to man-made plans. While they draw nigh to God with their lips, saying, “Thy kingdom come,” and “Thy will be done,” they are endeavoring to have their own wills done, and to establish their own sectarian dominions in the world. Their fear of God and their unrest in view of his supposed decrees, is not the result of the study of his Word, but is taught by the precept of men. Alas, how pitiable this condition! Yet they are ignorant of it, and say, ‘We are rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing, and know not that they are poor and blind and miserable and naked’. (Rev. 3:17.)

Seeing it is thus, what shall the Lord do with them? Will he utterly cast them off? Will he leave them in their blindness? No. He says, “Therefore, behold I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (Verse 14)

As this already becomes evident to many, what a marvelous thing it seems to those accustomed to look to the professed leaders and teachers of the nominal Church. As the light of truth begins to dawn upon many minds from other sources, how often we hear the remark, “How strange that we do not hear these things from our ministers!” But the Prophet makes answer: “The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” The heavenly wisdom is hidden from those who are wise and prudent after the world’s fashion, and revealed unto those who are babes in simplicity and meekness. (Matt. 11:25.)

God will not leave his erring children; he will attract their attention back to his plans, causing all their plans to wonderfully miscarry and fail. Thus they shall see the folly of attempting to lay plans for God; and when their plans fail, they will look up, and lo! the Lord’s plans, which in their “haste” (Isa. 28:16) they discarded, will, like the century plant, suddenly burst forth in glory and beauty and perfection.

Meantime, while the “marvelous work” (Verse 14) of overthrowing the present great systems of men (which, like the tower of Babel, is an attempt on the part of men to work their plans regardless of the Lord’s) is in progress, the Lord’s warning is,

Verse 15

Woe to them that seek deep to hide their counsel [schemes, plans,] from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us, and who knows us?

It is possible to deceive fellow-men, and to convince them that certain plans are not different from, but in harmony with, the Lord’s plans. Yea, a man may also deceive even himself thus (2 Tim. 3:13); but he cannot deceive God. He knows that the controlling principles of sectarianism are earthly and selfish. He knows of the dark works and secret conspiracies in wrong, not only of the Jesuits, but also, in a less degree, of Protestants, who to accomplish their plans are willing to, and do resort, to many schemes and devices to raise money and to have their systems seem to flourish, which they would not care to have generally known among men, and which they seem to think God sees not. How often reports are doctored to make a good impression, how often subscription lists are headed with prominent names and large sums of money only for effect, and never expected to be paid. (This not infrequent custom was illustrated recently by the course of the officials of a prominent Brooklyn church, freely criticized by the public press.) All this is ostensibly to forward the Lord’s work, but really to accomplish their own plans.

“Who sees it? Who knows it?” The Lord sees in secret; in vain do they hide it, and tell him that they are laboring for him. Woe unto these, for their counsel shall come to naught; their cherished plans shall fail, and their pride will be humbled in the dust. The woe, distress and trouble coming upon the nominal Church will be in reality a blessing in disguise to the individuals that compose it; but it will be considered as calamity and trouble, until they are brought to understand and to come into harmony with God’s plans. But all this scheming will not succeed; for the Lord says,

Verse 16

Surely your turning of things upside down [perverting of the Lord’s plans and doctrines] shall be esteemed as the [effort of the] potter’s clay [to oppose the potter]. For shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He hath no understanding?

Surely the Church is God’s creation; it is “his workmanship” (Eph. 2:10), but the spirit of the nominal Church is to look to other framers. Some look to Peter, some to Luther, some to Calvin, Knox and Wesley. And indeed, as they at present stand, this is true, for while THE CHURCH is God’s workmanship, the division of that Church into fragments is the work of men, and may say to God, Thou hast not made me. And the fact that men to-day argue that the division (sectarianism) of the Church is an advantage, and to the advancement of the truth, is the equivalent of the thing framed saying to God, “Thou hast no understanding”; we know better how to frame and organize; you said that we all should be one, and that there should be no division among us (John 17:11, 22; 1 Cor. 12:25); but we have learned better –that divisions are a great blessing and advantage.

Verily the great Potter shall have the schemes of the clay in derision, and shall break in pieces their workmanship [the systems or organizations, not the people] as vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, and shall show forth in glory of kingdom power his vessels of more and of lessor honor. What if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy which he had afore prepared unto glory? Surely the present overturning of the Lord’s arrangements shall be brought to naught.

Verse 17

Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed a forest.”

Mount Lebanon, with its tall and stately cedar trees, will here represent the majesty and dignity of the nominal Church, and the reverential esteem with which its ministry is regarded. The fruitful field might well represent the humble and lowly saints. In “a very little while” things shall be reversed; that which is now proud and majestic shall be cut down and plowed, and become humble and fruitful, while that which is now humble will be exalted as Lebanon to heavenly conditions, majesty and power. This change, and this overthrow of the present systems, is at the time of the exaltation of the saints to spiritual glory and power, at the introduction of the Millennium. In harmony with this we read:

Verse 18

In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.”

What a blessed prospect is this for those who at present are so stumbled by Babylon’s confusing traditions! Not only will it bring blessing to those whose vision is obscured, but also to those totally blind and deaf and utterly ignorant of the precious information of God’s Word.

Verse 19-21

The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel; for the terrible one [Satan] is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word [spoken contrary to them], and lay a snare for him that reproves in the gate [publicly], and turn aside the just [the righteous] for [or, as] a thing of naught.”

This is in that same “DAY” that fleshly Israel shall be restored to favor under the direction of glorified spiritual Israel, their holy one.

Verse 22-24

“Therefore, thus saith the Lord who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now [at that time] be ashamed, neither shall his face wax pale. But when he sees his children, the work of my hands [the Christ, the spiritual seed] in the midst of him, they [fleshly Israel] shall sanctify my name [Jehovah], and sanctify the holy one of Jacob [Christ], and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”

A Sealed Book, Part 1

A Sealed Book, Part 1

 

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The following is a brief study of Isa 29:9-22 however we especially note Verses 9-14

Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. For the Lord has poured out on you The spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I am not literate.” Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work Among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”

Verse 9

With a touch of irony the Lord here addresses nominal Zion (the professed church of God living today, the church nominal).

Stay but still and wonder (“Pause and wonder”); turn your eyes away (“blind yourselves”), and be blinded; they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.” (Leeser’s Translation)

“The unfolding’s of his truth at the time here referred to (the time in which we are presently living, the Day of the Lord) are so marked, forcible and clear to faithful students of the Word, and observers of its fulfillment, that the only ones who could be blinded, would be those who deliberately turn their eyes away from the truth, and determine to sit still, enveloped in the darkness of human tradition (blind). And in their darkness they wonder at what they conceive as the strange course of the Lord’s dealings.

Their staggering is the staggering of indistinct vision and weakness, the halting and vacillating of bewilderment and confusion. And yet they are not drunk with wine or with strong drink, but rather because, as shown in the preceding chapter (Verses 7 and 8), they have partaken of the intoxicating spirit and pleasures of this world.”

But they (the “drunkards of Ephraim,” Verse 1, the church nominal, Babylon) also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet (i.e. the blind guides of Christendom) have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment (The specific allegation here is to teachers, Ministers who, through imbibing wrong doctrine, have lost their way). For all tables are full of vomit and filth; No place is clean.” (Isa 28:7-8)

“What a picture of the present condition of things: Not only are the people of the Church (nominal) intoxicated with the spirit of the world, but the priests, the clergy also. And because of this intoxication they err in vision and are unable to discern neither the truth nor the sign of the times; they stumble over the plain statements and marked fulfillments of God’s Word (prophecy fulfilled or in the process of being fulfilled). This condition of things is true of the whole nominal church of every denomination, so that “All their tables are full of vomit and filthiness so that there is no place clean.” The tables, which should be laden with the bread of life, of truth, are instead, covered with a repulsive mass of mingled man-made traditions and abominable errors.” (R562)

“Those who are overcharged with spiritual “drunkenness” are intoxicated with worldly doctrines. Rev 17:2 tells us that the harlot got the nations drunk with the wine of her false doctrine, but in 2 Tim 4:3,4 the Apostle Paul prophetically warned those consecrated individuals who were living at the end of the age of the danger of unsound doctrine and of having itching ears and teachers with itching ears. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Paul was saying that the time would come when the hearers would prefer teachers of false doctrine (false love, for example). The relaxation of principle is the opposite of diligent watching.” (The Gospel of Luke, Page 133)

Verse 10

For the Lord hath poured out over you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: (over) the prophets, and your chiefs, the *seers, hath he cast a vail.”

“Since they have turned their eyes away from the truth, God permits them to sit in darkness and to be overcome with sleep. Who cannot see the spirit of lethargy and drowsiness regarding spiritual things which pervades nominal Zion? “

This is very much a fact they are completely blind to the times in which they resided, they know nothing of the present work, the harvest, nor that “There stands one among them (within their midst) whom they know not.” (John 1:26). And so like the nominal fleshly house, (Israel after the flesh), the nominal spiritual house stumbles over the same stone, totally obvious of “the day of their visitation”.

“They are however not asleep on temporal or worldly affairs; They are very much awake to worldly ambitions–to the rivalry of numbers, of pulpit oratory, church music, imposing edifices, etc. — but to the teachings of God’s Word they are asleep. Over the teachings of the Prophets, and of Jesus and the Apostles, a vail is cast.”

Verse 11

And the vision of everything [the revelation of God’s truth through these] is become unto you [nominal Zion] as the words of a book that is SEALED.”

“This they themselves fully admit, and therefore seldom attempt to expound the Scriptures (to discuss troubling or hard to understand doctrines, prophecy and etc.), but instead merely take an isolated passage, and from it draw some moral or social lesson pertinent to the time. Nominal Zion has discarded the teachings of the true Prophets and Seers of the church, and has taken instead the decrees of human councils and synods, while the decrees of the real Head and teachers of the church are neglected. Hence they know not what to think of the present time, and are still more confused when they think of the future.

They are at a loss as to what is transpiring about them, why it is that a nation such as ours supposedly founded upon Christian values and principles is slowly dissolving and degrading into chaos and turmoil, and when they look to the future they realize that if things remain on course things will only get worse. The clouds are gathering and men’s hearts are beginning to fail for fear of the approaching storm, “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written (things which they have disregarded) may be fulfilled…Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.”

Verse 11 cont.

Which [book–the Bible] men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed.

Verse 12

And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I am not learned.”

“The prophecies of the Old and New Testaments are sealed against their learning, for they have studied only at the feet of science and sectarianism, and have neglected the school of Christ and the study of its text-book, the Bible; hence their learned ones lack the true wisdom, and the true spirit, which alone will enable any to appreciate the deep things of God. (Compare 1 Cor. 2:5-14.) The unlearned, accustomed to look to earthly learning for instruction in heavenly things, and not to the testimony of Prophets and Apostles, will not even attempt to understand.”


*Seers: “Several of the apostles were seers in the sense that they were granted knowledge of things to come, but all were prophets in the sense that all were public expounders or orators—especially Peter and Paul.” The Apostle John is especially noted as a seer.

Continued with next post.