“And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city.”
Jehoshaphat was king of Judah just sixty years after the division between the northern ten tribes and the two southern. He ruled during the same time as Ahab did in the north and there was a confederacy between them. His conduct in the affairs of Israel and her wicked King lacked wisdom as he was given to demonstrate the gregarious nature of Adam, seeking to join together and make amends with his fellow man. This is not a condemnation of Jehoshaphat nor the Biblical direction to live peaceably with all men; it does represent the inherent guilt of the flesh in the lusts of the flesh. The desires to congregate, cooperate and capitulate are demonstrations that the attention and appetites of man are firmly based in the things of this world.
The Prophet Jehu, son of Hanani (the gracious judge of Yah), was sent to Jehoshaphat to rebuke him for his clemency and alliance with the wicked of the world, namely Ahab, but also to assure him that these attributes of man could never dissuade the mercy of God. The Spirit of Yehovah dwelt in this man causing him to desire that which was good. He had brought him to the place of authority to enact those things which God had set upon his heart and to set forth a beautiful example which serves as comfort to the redeemed of Yehovah.
He placed judges in the cities of Judah and gave directions and standards for their propriety of their conduct. This model was set forth in the handwriting of ordinances which Moses brought down from the mount as the type and foreshadows of heavenly things. The judges were first appointed because Moses could not handle the back-log of issues and concerns of the people as they came forth from Egypt; “Moses chose able men out of Israel and made them heads over the people... and they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses but every small matter they judged themselves” (Ex. 18:25). These men were not called forth to go and be busybodies in the affairs of other people, they were chosen from among the nation of Israel to judge the matters of the people of Israel; “between blood and blood, between law and commandments, statutes and judgments”. They had no authority unless the matter was brought to their attention and they had a strict code of conduct in the dispositions of the cases. Thus the judges of Israel are confined to the nation of Israel as concerns the Law of Israel and nothing else.
“And I charged your judges at that time, saying, hear between your brethren and judge righteously between every man and his brother and the stranger with him. You shall not respect persons in judgment...” (Deut. 1:16).
The standard of conduct and limitations of application were set forth in the pattern as examples of the nature and characteristics of the Righteous Judge and His appointed judges. No man had the right of interpretation or application for the Word of God was the standard and the Spirit of the most High ruled in every decision. That was why these men did not ascend to the judgeship by popular vote and carried no endorsement of man. He was particularly instructed not to be a respecter of persons for that is not congruent with righteous judgment; “You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: you shall not respect the person of the poor nor honour the person of the mighty: in righteousness you shall judge your neighbour” (Lev. 19:15).
These judges were chosen and set apart to judge matters between the fellow citizens of Israel according to the standard of the Law of Moses. They were not commissioned to take the job on the road and extend the jurisdiction of the Law beyond that which it was intended. There were no judicial committees formed as advisers to the Moabites, Ammonites or any of the inhabitants of Edom because the Law did not apply to them. The judges had no right to impose their power over anyone else other than their brethren and these things all stood as type of the perfection of the heavenly reality.
Everything given in the record of the scriptures is an earthly representation of the heavenly reality. The record given of these events, persons, places and things are for the comfort of those who endure the same trials, tribulations and temptations today (Rms. 15:4). These adversities are for the trying of the faith within as they manifest the corruption and wretchedness of the outward man who dwells in the vanity of this habitation through the testimony of the finished work of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah.
“Judges and officers shall you make in your gates, which Yehovah has given to you, throughout your tribes and they shall judge the people with just judgment. You shall not wrest judgment; you shall not respect persons, neither take gifts: for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise and pervert the words of the righteous” (Deut. 16:18).
Adam was created a creature of habits and senses. He judges things by what he can detect according to the senses he has been given and within the scope of the experiences he has had. The brilliance of an object will attract his eye as quickly as a word may command his attention. He is completely unstable in his ways because he was fashioned from dust and the fullness of his desire is upon the needs and pleasantries of the flesh. His judgment is flawed by reason of this infirmity as he is deceived by the pride of his heart; therefore, it is impossible for man to be impartial and fair. He has by nature, respect for his fellow man and as he lives in uncertainty and doubt, he fears the opinion of man. He has care for how he is received, how he is perceived and what shall be his legacy; this is the nature of the sons of Adam which cannot be altered, amended or improved.
The standard which God set forth was that these men were to decide the affairs of their brethren according to the perfection of righteousness. They were not given the right of interpretation so that, as the Pharisees, they could justify an action as being in the spirit of the law if not according to the exact letter as given. God said that He is God and there is no other but the heart of man desires to ascend unto the stars of heaven and make his nest on high. These are incompatible from the beginning, so man gives his opinion, makes necessary compensation and shows how; “all these have I kept from my youth upward” in attempt to prove himself before God.
God has established His method for proving His seed. He is not a man that He should lie and there is no shadow of turning in Him. He is the same forever and so is His Law. He is the Lord God Omnipotent who reigns supreme over every thought, word and deed of His creation so He is not looking for the creature, man to come to His assistance to correct the flaws in His work, which do not exist. His work is perfect and complete as He has decreed, even the bondage of this corruption and the sin which does so easily beset His people. Since all things whatsoever they be, proceed from Him, according to the good pleasure of His will according to His perfect purpose, there is no need for the correction of anything. But He has decreed that there should bee a type set forth whereby certain men, each the head of the 12 tribes of Israel should judge between the brethren of the nation of Israel yet Adam is not qualified or capable.
Man judges and evaluates the things in his life primarily according to his perception which is substantiated by his experience. The ways of this world are common to him and his logic is subject to the laws and conditions of this habitation. The perfect judgment of God is no so limited. He is the perfect judge of all things for He is the standard by which all things are judged. He is not influenced in any manner nor can the veracity of His ways be challenged. He is Jehoshaphat, ‘Yehovah Judges’. It is He who has appointed judges and set them in the cities of Judah but He, once again, has not stooped to the lower level for assistance from Adam.
“Verily I say unto you, that you which have followed Me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28).
It should be noted that Jesus did not say the there were twelve men sitting upon twelve thrones; He said that you would be sitting upon twelve thrones. In other words, all who were with Him in the regeneration would be sitting upon twelve thrones. Is this to insinuate that there were only twelve men who were with Him in the regeneration? Not at all, for all that the Father gave to Him are the generation of Jesus Christ and after the death, burial and resurrection, He returned before the Father and said; “Behold I and the children, which You have given Me” (Is. 8:18). The question by the prophet Isaiah was, “Who shall declare His generation?” (53:8). The answer is that He declared His generation when He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rms. 1:4). He then came forth with His work before Him, which was the sacrifice for the sin of His people in Adam, having His reward in Him, which is the joy that was set before Him. He was foretold of old, set forth in the Law and the Prophets, announced from on high, verified buy signs and wonders and justified by His Faithfulness; therefore being justified by His faith His people have peace with God. Since all that the Father gave Him were raised up in Him in the last day, thereby with Him in the regeneration, every member of the body of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah is seated upon twelve thrones judging Israel.
Is this the Israel of the Middle East? Not at all. This is the Israel of our God as they are partakers of flesh and blood. Only one who has been born from above has the experience whereby they may judge between their brethren who are of like faith and order. They alone know the pains of death that have been revealed as the just recompense of the Lord God Almighty. The Commandments have come and revealed sin as exceedingly sinful and the man of sin has been revealed, therefore they cry, ‘O wretched man that I am!’
These have been through this tribulation and have been comforted in the peace of God which passes all understanding. Man cannot comprehend this peace nor can he convey it to anyone else for there is no description of it, but those who have been born from above know all too well about this vexation upon their soul; therefore Jehoshaphat has chosen and appointed the chief, well qualified, heads to judge the house of Israel.
Does this intimate that there is a hierarchy in Christ? Not at all for there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, rich nor poor, bond nor free, for the body is one. All the members of the body are fitly framed together for the edification for the body and each supplies the needs of the other. There are not twelve men sitting on the twelve exclusive thrones; there is a kingdom of kings and priests who have the watch and care for one another. These have been instructed through experience of tribulations and the chastening hand of the Loving Father in the furnace of affliction so that they can comfort one another when they are in any trouble. Those things which they have received, the same, they commit to faithful men that they may be able guide, teach and comfort one another.
Since the Law is one and the Lawgiver is One and since the body is one in Him, being without spot nor blemish, there is no need to for a judge for there is “therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rms. 8:1). The Bride cannot sin because she is born from above, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. She cannot deny Him as He cannot deny her, so there can be no disagreement, or difference or dispute between the body of Christ in any way. The judges which Jehoshaphat left were in the cites of Judah, city by city.
“Thus said Yehovah; Behold I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents and have mercy on his dwelling places” (Jer. 30:18).
Jacob is the child of promise whom Yehovah loves with an eternal love. He dwells, however, in an earthen vessel which is of the dust of the earth. This clay pot contains all the appetites and motivations of the creature which constantly draw him away after the lusts and the desires of the flesh. He cannot survive in the land where the water is bitter and there is no food and his soul loathes ‘angels bread’. But this is the way God created the tabernacle of this dwelling. It is perishing daily as it performs the labour assigned to it along the path which it travels. When in the time appointed of the Father, the Spirit within is awakened as he reveals Himself in His children, then the child knows the corruption of this world and the vileness of his ways, but thanks be unto God that He has had mercy upon this tent and this dwelling place.
When the child cries out to the Father in groanings and utterances which cannot be heard, fear and confusion haunt the carnal mind. Adam does not know what is happening or why he is in the straights he feels. He has no remedy for the wound is incurable but there is a balm in Gilead which the Spirit has applied. This is the shed blood of the Lamb of God before the foundation of the world. It is the testimony that the work is complete and the assurance of an immutable God.
Jehoshaphat, who is the fullness of the Godhead, has set judges in Israel to help each other when they are ‘overtaken in a fault’ as they are beset by their inabilities. These inabilities are common to each traveler in this present evil generation and the temptations of the world are strong but the Lord God Omnipotent reigns. He has assigned these temptations as the fire of His refinery to show the children their inability in Adam that no flesh shall ever glory in His sight. Each of His people know the fellowship of the sufferings of their Head and the contradiction of sin against them. Each one walks through the valley of the shadow of death and has experienced his eyes being drawn after the winds and the waves. He has felt the darkness of this world and is in earnest desire to be ‘absent from this body and present with the Father’. This is the manifestation of the church here in this world. It appears leavened (Lev. 23:17 – Feast of Pentecost) because Adam is not yet removed and each member has all things in common; therefore they are ‘brethren, and companions in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ’ (Rev. 1:9). The judgment is of the Spirit therefore it is of the truth and when one has a problem of conscience in the eating of meats of observance of days, they who have been set at liberty are able to succour one another in the love of the brethren. When the work gangs of modern religion come calling for recruits to help them build Zion, the children are gathered together in the comfort of Yehovah (Nehemiah) for the Canaanites of this world have nor right, nor portion nor memorial in Jerusalem.
“Deal courageously and Yehovah shall be with the good” (II Chron. 19:11).
This is not an admonition for rewards based upon performance. God does not withhold His presence or blessings from His people for their conduct in Adam. He has blessed His people with all spiritual blessings in the heaven, in Christ Jesus and nothing in the flesh can ever deter them. The action of Adam are ordained of old so as to bring His people to a clean and perfect understanding about the booths they dwell in. When He brings them unto Himself according to the New Covenant, “they shall come with weeping and with supplication will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the river of waters in a straight way” (Jer. 31:9). He leads them by the footsteps of the flock, which is straight and narrow and few there be that find it, but this path leads them to the Shepherds tent where they find sustenance and rest.
This flock does not go forth in the power of the arm of the flesh or with any confidence of man. They are strangers in a foreign land and they long to return to their Father’s house yet they are firmly established in the truth. They proceed with the strength of Yehovah in all they do for by the power of His will do all things come to pass. They are taught, not of man, to know the Lord, but by the testimony of the Spirit within and they are gathered together by His love. He that fashioned them, knows that they are frail and limited by the bondage of this corruption but He has provided that they should “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Col. 1:10). He has properly equipped them with every skill and ability necessary to properly complete the labours which He has assigned but He has also given them the love of the brethren who have ALL tings in common. This is what Jude spoke of when he gave all diligence to write concerning the common salvation for there is One Lord, One faith and One baptism. Herein do the brethren bear one another’s burdens, taking the watch and care for one another and the lifting up the hand as the judges of Israel in the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
“Dare any of you having a matter against another go to law before the unjust and not before the saints?” (I Cor. 6:1).
The world does not know the heart and mind of a child of the Kingdom of God. The sons of Adam have no point of reference for the pains of death and the sorrows of hell, they do not know what sin is and they esteem the preaching of the cross as foolishness, so how could any well meaning child of the dust hear, understand or assist a child of grace? These children are crying out to their Father whom the world does not know and whom all men hate. They are groaning because of an experience which man has spent untold hours trying to dismiss as religious superstitions and they long with GREAT expectations to put off this tabernacle. The hope of the children is to be delivered from the body of this death in the manifestation of the Sons of God. They desire to see Him in the beauty of His holiness without the evil of this habitation.
The witness of the subjects of the Kingdom of God is that this world and all that is in it is worthless to the eternal weight of glory that shall be revealed. Judgment is righteous according to the love of the brethren as they wander through this barren land.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
December 13, 2015