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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

“Gad”

“And Zilpah, Leah’s maid, bare Jacob a son; and Leah said ‘A troop cometh’ and she called his name Gad.” (Gen 30:10f)

Nothing is set forth in the record of scripture, up to this point, of the competition between Rachel and Leah, save in the proclamation of Rachel. Leah has been trying, desperately, to win the love of Jacob in all her endeavours without any interference from her barren sister. Now, however, Rachel has found a way to close the gap between her and her fertile sister in the child bearing contest. The score was now 4 for Leah and 2 for Rachel but this was not the only headline in the evening news. Rachel had twice obtained her bounty by treachery and deceit and Leah was watching from the sidelines.

Rachel, from the beginning, had cast blame upon Leah for her alleged complicity in her father, Laban’s, deception of Jacob. This animosity was exacerbated by Leah’s fertility, Jacob’s continued relationship with her and Rachel’s barrenness. These factors served to fuel this assumed competition between the sisters into full blown animosity which had degenerated into treachery and deceit. Now Leah finds that her fertility has been taken from her and she concludes that two can play the game. So she takes her handmaid, Zilpah, gives her to Jacob to wife and the battle is joined. Notice, once again, that nothing is said of the mindset or intentions of the handmaid. She is simply handed off to the master of the house for the purpose of obtaining another child through the normal marital course. No love was involved; no consideration for the feelings of this woman and certainly no thought was given to what long term effects would be experienced by this woman who has been reduced to a baby slave. She was treated as something to be poured out like the trickling of myrrh in a slow manner (Zilpah), never to be recovered again and to be discarded when her work and usefulness was over. Jacob was to take her to wife but he did not love her as his wife. He was to become one flesh with her as every man and women become who are joined sexually and this for the purpose of getting Leah back in the game.

Notice to what depths this whole endeavour had stooped. Both Leah and Rachel were totally absorbed in the feverish pitch of the contest. Each was consumed in the exploitation of others for self gratification completely devoid, as if with as seared conscience, of any consideration of decency or morality. They did not care about their household, the other children and most of all, their husband. But he is not without blame either. He is actively involved in each of these expeditions into the depravity of the flesh as he continues to have sexual relations with now four women.

Leah could not have concluded that she was no longer bearing any children if she and Jacob had stopped having relations. And it must have taken many encounters before she not only concluded that she had become barren but also concluded that a new course of action was warranted. Brief encounters with the two small children, being paraded about by proud mother Rachel, convinced Leah that the treachery of her sister’s action was acceptable and worthy of her involvement. No doubt that even as she was formulating her next moves and anxiously waiting the outcome of her experiment with Zilpah, she continued to go in unto Jacob in hopes that she would once again bare him a child.

It did not matter how many times Jacob went in unto the handmaid and debased her and it is seemingly immaterial what she felt during these encounters. The means were justified by the ends which was the ability of Leah to rise up and proclaim that, once again, God had smiled on her by granting her the victory in giving her a child. So, when the nine months were concluded and the child came forth, Leah called his name ‘good fortune’ because her ‘troop’ had arrived. She had joined the battle; her army had invaded the stronghold and had victoriously overcome.

Here were two sisters locked in combat for a prize that could not be won. They had each been blinded to the truth of the matter and their passions had been enraged. The degree of the conflict is represented in Leah’s proclamation that her ‘troop’ had arrived. Certainly one small baby was not an invading army any more than he was an overwhelming number but in the words of Leah, he signifies that God had returned unto Leah and shown forth His favour. It would appear to the logic of Adam that God had placed His seal of approval upon Leah’s cunningness and had blessed her tenacity. She had named the promise of God, worked diligently for it by the sweat of her brow and had claimed the victory by works and the proof of the accuracy of this logic is the babe in her arms.

This is the ‘Pelagean’ doctrine of ability, means and conditionalism being manifested, again, thousands of years before the men to whom it is attributed was even born. This is the doctrine of every one who is born of the flesh and it is based upon the logical deductive reasoning of Adam, fueled by irrational passion and substantiated by temporal evidences. Rather than concluding that this is the manner in which God had ordained before the foundation of the world that this lad should be brought forth into this world and that all the circumstances, situation and contingencies were precisely orchestrated in that eternal will and that the child was formed in the womb and brought forth by the power of that most Holy will, the logic of man will concludes something along these lines; ‘If Leah had not used the means available to her, the child would have never been born’; or better yet, ‘the birth of Gad is proof that God uses means to facilitate His will’; or even worse ‘had Leah not taken advantage of the opportunities which God placed before her, she would have lost out on the temporal blessing of having another child’. These statements all reflect the Adamic philosophy that the will of God is facilitated by the works of man and the blessings in this life are commensurate to the use of means.

God in His supreme wisdom and according to His impeccable and irresistible will caused all of these events to transpire in their proper order to demonstrate the weakness and frailties of the flesh. It is proper to observe these actions and conclude that they are contrary to the Holiness of God. It is also proper to conclude that the wickedness of the heart of man contrived these courses and justified them as not only the correct course of action but to ascribe nobility to them in spite of their wickedness. God had sent forth the delusion that this was correct, proper and acceptable and both Leah and Rachel believed the lie and followed the path set before them.

Leah and Rachel were both so irrationally obsessed with winning this contest, whose existence and intensity grew expediently with the imagination and contrivances of parties, that it took on the characteristics of an holy crusade. Now with the arrival of this new born babe, the avenging army had arrived to sweep the field and gain the advantage for Leah. Surely such ‘good fortune’ would once again draw the attention of Jacob away from Rachel and Leah would win his love.

There can be no excuse offered for the conduct of these people but there is an explanation. Whenever events ‘come to pass’ in time and space, as they do each and every moment of existence, they ‘happen’ by, for and through the power of the will of God and for His good pleasure. Man calls some of these events, ‘coincident’ and ‘accidents’. He rates the magnitude of the event, evaluates the conditions and the contributing circumstances, calculates the cost of the loss or gain, lamenting the tragedy as very sad and extolling the blessing as glorious. Yet the revealed Word of God declares that NOTHING occurs by accident or chance or is the result of mans weakness and inabilities. The sovereign command of an all powerful God, whose purpose, will and design are one, demands that there cannot be as much as a single speck of dust out of place or one stray intent or unbridled imagination, lest the event should not unfold precisely according to the intent of His heart. For then would that event be discovered to be not in complete harmony with the predetermined conclusion of ALL matters? The stage with all necessary props must be pristinely set with all contributing factors, themselves being uncorrupted according to purpose, the actors having been assigned their roles, which they must perform in exact conformity to the will of the playwright and the exact amount of enabling power must be infused so as to insure that Gad would be born in this fashion and at this time, circumstances not withstanding.

Consider, if you will, the contention that was observed and learned by these children. Nothing is recorded about the childhood of Gad, yet it is difficult to imagine that the feelings and opinions of Leah were not expressed to her children and that these were translated into contentions within the family. This child was branded by his name as the avenging army that had turned the tables on the evil empire of Aunty Rachel and her endeavours. He had restored Leah to her rightful place as the mother of the house of Jacob. The child has not taken his first step and the accolades of his mother set him apart from all the rest. How do you think this made Reuben the, now probably, 15 year old first born, feel? Leah takes this child and parades him about as the champion of her cause and the vindicator of truth. There is no thanks offered to God, who gave her the child and certainly no recognition of the woman who bore the child and gave birth. There is no contentment with what she has been given, no peace in her heart, no humility and not the slightest hint of contrition for her ways before God.

Is God to be called into question here and accused of iniquity because these things unfolded as they did? The doctrine of Adam’s religion claims that these events could not have been ordained and caused by the will of God because they are wicked and evil. Since God is Holy and righteous, which is true, nothing to the contrary could be attributed unto Him lest He be made a sinner. And, they say, since His works are verity and truth, an axiom that should never be disputed, evil, iniquity, corruption and uncleanness must emanate from the wicked heart of man for surely they cannot come from One whose eyes are too pure as to behold iniquity (Hab. 1:13). Yet in the attempt to exonerate God, who is in need of no such thing from man, they demonstrate that they have not been taught that the very existence of these elements, characteristics and maladies prove the Holiness of the Sovereignty of the One they think to defend.

“Besides Jehovah there is no God. I equipped thee though thou hast not known me that thou may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides Jehovah. I fashioned the light and gave form to darkness, I accomplished peace and gave form to evil. I Jehovah do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:5f)

God cannot do anything that is evil. He cannot sin for sin is the inability to measure up to the standard of the Holiness of God. He cannot deny Himself by doing something that would not be equal to Himself in nature, essence and volition. All that God has done is perfectly in accord with all His designs whether it be the creation of a crooked piercing serpent (Is. 27:1) that cannot be made straight by man (Ecc. 7:13), the fashioning of a covering cherub with great wisdom and beauty who was in the garden of Eden in the beginning and in whose heart was found iniquity (Ez. 28:15) or two contentious sisters locked in vehement combat for child bearing supremacy. “The works of the Lord are great and sought out of all them that have pleasure therein; His work is honourable and glorious and His righteousness remains perpetually” (Ps. 111:2f).

Adam cannot understand these things for he has not the mind of God. He cannot comprehend such wonders because they are as far above him as the heavens are above the earth and, try as he does and will continue to do so, until the time of the revelation, he shall never be able to receive the smallest notion of the things of God. As it is written, “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of men the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (I Cor. 2:9).

Does this mean that we excuse this conduct as being ‘ordained of God’ and call it good? God forbid! The Holy Spirit indwells all that have been born from above and anyone who has not the Spirit is not of the Godhead. This is the Spirit of truth and judgment whereby the child of grace judges and tries all things to see if they be of the Lord. Every thought, word and deed that is of the Spirit is true and faithful for it originates, proceeds and is made manifest from Him whose name is Faithful and Truth. This Spirit, being ‘One’ in the Father and Word, cannot generate or tolerate anything that is contrary to the Holiness of God and therefore, the child of grace, by the Spirit within, can and does identify wickedness. He knows what is that good and acceptable will of God and abhors all that would defile, make an abomination or loves a lie, and thus we declare that, although these events and the conduct of these people were expressly ordained of God according to His perfect purpose and therefore are good, they are unacceptable.

The conduct of these five people, Jacob, Rachel, Bilah, Leah and Zilpah was after the carnal nature which is death. It demonstrated the basic human vices of contention and greed garnished with a complete disregard for others, festering in the compost of good intentions and self-confidence. It does not matter that Jacob is a child of grace, being the one upon whom God has placed His love, or that Rachel is his chosen bride for they exhibited the same Adamic characteristics as Leah in her attempt to ‘win’ the love of Jacob. In fact it was Rachel who was first with this idea of surrogate motherhood as a way to even the score with her fertile sister, yet by, in and through all of these activities, the purpose of God was fulfilled. Jacob could not give his love to another, Rachel could do nothing to negate that love and Leah could do nothing to cultivate it.

Thus we conclude that the love and blessings or hatred and deliverance or judgment of God is not set upon an individual because of their conduct, which God allegedly espied from before time began and made His plans accordingly, but rather that it was set before any good or evil was performed, “that the purpose of God according to election, not of works, but of Him that calleth” (Rms. 9:11). God did not withhold children from Rachel as punishment for sin or disobedience anymore than He rewarded the treachery and deceit of either Rachel or Leah with fertility. He did not ‘bless’ the handmaids with children because they submitted themselves to their master and Jacob’s virility was not because of the exercise of his faith. God assigned the path that each should travel, ordained each and every step of the way, empowered them to be willing and made them to walk that path and they, without any possibility of failure, walked according to His will (Jer. 10:23).

“And over the host of the tribe of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel.” (Num. 10:20)

Gad is a child of Jacob about whom nothing is revealed. There is no record of his activities as a child growing up, and except for an episode where he encounters Uncle Esau with the three other children of the bond women (an account we hope to address at a future time), the record is silent concerning any conduct that could be ascribed to him personally (Gen. 33:2). He is noted to be among his brethren many times. He was mentioned at the tower of Edar where Reuben defiled Jacob’s concubine, Bilhah (35:26). He was with Joseph in the land of Canaan feeding the flocks when Joseph brought the evil report to his father and he envied Joseph because of his dreams. When Joseph came forth to Dothan, Gad conspired with his brothers to take and kill him but later agreed to sell him to the Midianites as a slave (Gen. 37). Many years later he traveled with the family down to Egypt to purchase corn from their unknown brother (42:3) and he fulfilled the dream of Joseph when he fell before him in Pharaoh’s court (43:26). His family settled in Egypt and grew into an essential part of the nation of Israel. His family was delivered from the house of bondage, led by the cloud and the fire, crossed the sea dry-shod and stood at the base of Mt. Sinai where they received the law from God in type and foreshadow. Yet in all of these events, no record is ever made of his character, his expertise or his endeavours. Gad is not presented a principle actor in anything but rather he is represented as an innocuous diminutive member of a much larger entity.

On the first day of the second month of the second year after being delivered from Egypt, God instructed Moses to number the children of Israel from 21 years old and upward that were able to go to war (Num. 1:3). One man from each of the tribes would stand with Moses as a ruler representing his family in matters of state. The delegate from the tribe of Gad was a son of Deuel (they know God). He did not stand with Moses because of his strength, wealth or power but because he was of Eliasaph, ‘whom my God added’ (1:14). This man represented a family of 45,650 former slaves and wanderers in the wilderness who were children of Reuel (friend of God) and had been prepared of God to serve in the army (2:14). (It should be noted with great interest that the children of Israel had no military training, no familiarity with weapons and no tactical leadership that would render them a formidable force to be reckoned with. Just as Jehovah infused the knowledge, skill, desire and strength to those entrusted with the construction of the tabernacle, so He also instructed the hands of His chosen people in the art of war {Ps. 18:34}) This host pitched their tents to the south side of the tabernacle with the house of the first born (Reuben) and the tribe of Simeon (heard of God).

And so the troop or assembly of the house of the first born is heard of God and hears His voice (John 10:27). To the voice of another, that strange voice that came not from the presence of God and the tabernacle of His covenant, they gave no regard nor followed but rather they fled from that voice (10:5). They were assigned by God to set their standard to the south of the tabernacle (Num. 2:10) and since the tabernacle faced eastward, this was to the right or on the right hand which is a place of authority and power. This is the same place where the Lamb of God, Messiah is set down in peace having completed all the work assigned Him by the Father (Eph. 1:20 & Heb. 1:3). This is where the general assembly of the church of the first-born, being born from above and having overcome the world (I John 5:4) by the faith of the Son of God who loved them and gave His life for them, is seated in the heavenlies in Him (Eph. 2:6 & Rev. 3:21).

“And of Gad he said, Blessed is he that enlargeth Gad; he dwelleth like a lion and teareth
the arm with the crown of the head.” (Deut. 33:20)

No one could be added unto the tribe of Gad but that they came forth of the seed of that household. A child may be born unto the proud parents of the tribe of Levi for which there is great rejoicing but that does not enlarge the tribe of Gad one bit. A child may have been conceived in the territory of the land of Gad or even been born inside of a house belonging to members of the family of Gad but the only way the family, house and tribe of Gad is enlarged is that the seed of the house of Gad is made manifest as a child. This axiom of nature can be disputed by the ignorant and accounted by census takers as they see fit but it cannot be disputed any more than the truth that it portrays.

No one can be added unto the troop, the generation of Jesus Christ, except they be of that eternal incorruptible seed that proceeds from the Father and of Jerusalem which is from above, which is the mother of the household of the elect. They must from the beginning have been of the troop, them whom God has loved with an eternal love, and are thereby ‘known of God’ (Duel). They are known of God as He knows the Son and as the Son knows the Father (John 10:14). They were given unto the Son by the Father when He came forth in the fullness of time, having His work before Him and His reward with Him, and He lost not a one of them, for this is the will of the Father (John 6:39).

He did not call upon the child Gad to add unto himself nor did He solicit the help of any other to nurture, cultivate and cause Gad to become a family, a tribe or a great people. This was all contained within the child Gad when he came forth from the womb as it was given to him in the seed of his parents. When he came forth, just as Adam was created, he was complete having his entire seed in him. Nothing could be added to that seed or detracted from it for it was fixed and established sure. He grew into manhood and reproduced as God had ordained. No one increased the number of the seed of Gad or prevented one of the number of the household that was ordained to be brought forth. (So much for birth control, abortion and premature deaths.) This troop and all the members in particular were ordained before the foundation of the world by the immutable the will of God. He gave the seed its virility, caused it to be joined together in the womb, caused the bones to come together to form the proper vessel assigned for the seed. He, who created heaven and earth and all things therein hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell upon the face of the earth and “hath determined the times afore appointed and the bounds of their habitation set the time of the habitation and the limitations thereof” (Acts. 17:26). And so it is with the troop of Gad.

No man has any part in the manifestation of the church of Jesus Christ. He alone added unto the church as many as were ordained unto eternal life. These ‘whom God added’ (Eliasaph) were separated from their mother’s womb by the Holy Spirit. They did not add themselves unto the assembly nor cause themselves to come forth. They did not set the time when they would be revealed or the manner in which the revelation would happen. Yet when it pleases the Father, who has separated his children from their mother’s womb, “which are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13), to reveal Himself in them, they are then made manifest as being added unto the troop. They have no more part in this revelation than a child has in his natural birth when it is made manifest that he is added unto the family, other than a passive participant. God calls these children His brethren because they are the sons of God (I John 3:2) and He loves them as He loves Himself. Therefore He laid down His life for them to redeem them from the bondage of the corruption of this body of death. They are therefore manifested as the ‘friends of God’ (Ruel) “for greater love hath no man than to lay down His life for His friends” (John 15:13).

This is not meant to insinuate that God adds to the number of His church. He cannot make His bride, His body or His people any more than what the Father has given Him (and since He has not lost any that were given unto Him it cannot be reduced in any way either). Just as the number of seed in Gad, as given him first in the creation in Adam and then by Jacob and Zilpah, was exact and specific, so the eternal seed, though it be “a great multitude which no man can number” (Rev. 7:11) it is established from old; fixed and sure. It cannot be changed for the Father cannot change. God enlarges His troop by causing them to grow wider, to expand and become larger so that they shall come forth and say, “The place is too strait (narrow, tight) for me; give place to me that I may dwell” (Is. 49:20).

So then, Gad, in type of the true church, being assembled together with the house of the first born (which is Christ) and being always heard of and hearing God (Ps. 20:6), is of the Father, who foreknew them for all eternity. They know Him because they are of Him and His Spirit dwells within them bearing witness of Him. These being also the friends of God are led by Him who increases the troop, which is Jehovah God the master of the hosts. It is He who dwells as the Lion for He is the fierce defender of his assembly. It is He who has come forth out of Zion with a great roar and uttered His voice out of Jerusalem for the comfort of His people (Joel 3:16) and to take vengeance upon the enemies of His chosen. He tears away the strength of man with his pride and glory because the portion of the One who decrees all things and who calls those things that are not as though they already have been (Rms. 4:17) belongs unto Jehovah and He will not share His glory with another (Is. 42:8). He is the law giver for He is the Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He is before all things and by Him all things exist. He is the Head of the body, the beginning, the first born from the dead that in all things He might have the preeminence (Col. 1:18). He alone executes the justice of the Godhead and His judgments are in Israel. Therefore, He represents the troop, in their dwelling place around the tabernacle, which is Immanuel. He is Eliasaph (whom my God has added) for He has passed through Judah and has overflowed to the going over and has filled the breath of thy land (Is. 8:8). He has made Himself the offering of sin for His people, He has led them during their time of solitude and preparation and has brought them forth out of the wilderness reclined in their Beloved (Song 8:5).

“Gad, a troop shall overcome him but he shall overcome at the last.” (Gen. 49:19)

This ‘troop’, ‘army’ or ‘abundance’ is curiously hidden within the larger assembly of the nation of Israel. The history and conduct of the nation overshadows the troop within, obscuring it from view, like an invading army, and makes Gad seem inconsequential. God hid this select group, who from the beginning was identified as an invading army rather than just one child, the same way a treasure may be hidden in a field to protect it from theft or corruption. Yet the influence of this insignificant group was as profound upon the nation of Israel as the leaven hidden in three measures of meal which leavens the whole lump.

The children of Gad that went down into Egypt with Jacob had great expectations and hope (Ziphone) because God had delivered them from the famine of the land. They looked forward to being re-united with their brother Joseph and to the celebration (Haggi) of the rest (Shuni) they would enjoy in the land of plenty. This expectation was also that they would continue as a people and be enlarged (Ezbon) as a nation, worshiping (Eri) Jehovah as they triumphed over the trials and tribulations that had been set before them. Here in Egypt, they would subdue (Arodi) the land and dwell as a lion of God (Areli) in a foreign land (Gen. 46:16).

After four hundred years of captivity and the great deliverance by the hand of God, the descendants of these children came forth into the wilderness. Moses and Aaron were commanded to take the sum of them from twenty years old upwards. These children of the troop had come to the understanding that the rest (Suni) that they thought they would have in Egypt was not the treasure (Zephone) that God had promised them. They were given an ear to hear (Ozni) and hastened to discern that the worship of Jehovah was not with the blind eyes of the flesh but with watchfulness (Eri) of open eyes of faith which were opened by Jehovah (Is. 42:7). Their roaming (Arod) through the wilderness for forty years demonstrated that the Lion of My God (Areli) is not sustained by the goodness of the earth and the indigenous waters cannot quench his thirst for He is not of this world (Num. 26:15-17).

But these children of Gad also manifest the nature of Adam. “And God spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel. Of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them” (Num. 12:1). The representative chosen of the troop was a man ‘lifted up of God’ (Geuel). He went forth in the majesty of Jehovah not knowing that he was a son of a low man brought to poverty and depressed (Machi). He went forth with eleven other spies into the land of Canaan at Kadesh-bar-nea, (the Holy field of wandering) and, for forty days, witnessed the beauty and grandeur of the abundant land. Yet he returned, heavy laden with tangible proof of plenteousness and beauty, and gave a report filled with the fear of a coward. He attested to the wonders of the substance of this glorious land, as he judged after the flesh (John 8:15), but his testimony was not mixed with faith in the Word of God. His eyes had been blinded to the truth by the decree of Jehovah because the time, the people and the place had not yet come to fruition. Geuel opposed the testimony of Joshua (Jehovah’s salvation) and his faithful and forceful companion Caleb (dog) and stood with the other ten spies, saying, “Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, the cities are walled and very great and we saw the children of Anak there (giants)” (Num. 13:28). He did not esteem the magnitude of God or His love for His people as he looked upon these men of great stature and believed that the chosen nation of God were but ‘grasshoppers’ in their sight (13:33). God had assigned him a place of respect as a ruler and prominence as one chosen for this mission and made a clear demonstration that “all men have not faith” (II Thes. 3:2) no matter what family the descended from or what experiences they had encountered. God manifested the vanity and rebellious nature of the flesh, in the presence of irrefutable evidence. “They are not all Israel which are of Israel” (Rms. 9:6).

Consideration should be given to the events at Kadesh-bar-nea which took place in the second year of the deliverance of the nation of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh and the captivity from Egypt (Deut. 2:14). The four hundred and thirty years of captivity and bondage had been fulfilled and the nation of Israel watched as God brought the plagues against Egypt and hardened Pharaoh’s heart. At first they experienced these plagues with their captors but, just as God had separated them from the children of Egypt and caused them to be settled in the land of Goshen because the tending of cattle was an abomination to the Egyptians (Gen. 46:34), so He isolated them from the plagues. Aaron’s rod became a serpent before Pharaoh, the water was turned to blood, the river brought forth frogs upon the land and caused a great stench and the dust of the earth became lice upon man and beast. But when God sent grievous swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh, He severed that day the land of Goshen in which His people dwelt, that no swarms may be there, “And tomorrow shall this sign be, I will put a division between My people and thy people’ (Ex. 8:23). The remaining plagues, which God ordained should torment the land of Egypt, had no power upon His chosen flock as He surrounded them and protected them until such time as Pharaoh cast them out of the land.

They sacrificed and ate the Pascal Lamb hearing the cries from the mother’s of Egypt as the first born children were cut off by the Angel of Judgment. Thus with a mighty hand Jehovah ripped His people out of Egypt, like an eagle tears the flesh of her prey, and led them forth His people as a mighty nation. His cloud went before them by day and His pillar of fire by night and when they came to the Red Sea, thinking themselves trapped and crying out to the Lord, the pillar of fire moved from before them to behind them to once again protect them from Pharaoh’s advancing army. They saw the waters part and walked across the dry riverbed and were eye witnesses to the power of God as He destroyed the Egyptians in the sea. Thus they sang the song of deliverance “for Jehovah has triumphed gloriously and the horse and the rider He hath thrown into the sea” (15:1).

They traveled, with these vibrant visions of power and majesty in their minds, to Marah, where they found that the waters of the land could not be drunk for they were bitter. Here they murmured against the very God that had just delivered them and God manifested kindness through another miracle. He shewed Moses a tree and when he cast in a branch, the waters were made sweet. He then lead them to Elim were there were twelve wells of water prepared for them. They took their journey from Elim into the wilderness of Sin (clay) and complained against Jehovah. Again He manifested His love and provided them bread form heaven. “Man did eat angels’ food; He sent them meat to the full” (Ps. 78:25).

When they were devoid of water and at Rephidim (Resting place) God gave them the Rock which, after Moses struck, produced water that the people may drink. “And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah (temptation and strife) because of the chiding of the children of Israel and because they tempted Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us or not?” (Ex.17:7).

Then in the third month after the deliverance from Egypt they came to the desert of Sinai and pitched in the wilderness before the mountain. Here they saw the enfolding fire of God descend upon the mount. They heard the thunder, the voices and the sound of the trumpet. They saw the lightening and the smoking mountain and felt the earth quake beneath their feet. They watched Moses ascend into the fire to meet with Jehovah and return with the Word of God. They knew the terrible might and awesome majesty of Jehovah God all the while, eating the Manna and drinking the water from the Rock. Moses, with his face aglow from being in the presence of El Shaddah, gave them the ordinances and commandments which he received from the hand of the Creator of the Universe and instructed them in the construction of the tabernacle after the patter of heavenly things. And for over a year, they built the tabernacle and all the furniture.

“And it came to pass in the first month of the second year on the first day of the month
that the tabernacle was reared up” (Ex. 40:17).

God had set His hand upon a chosen people within the nation and enlighten them with wisdom. He gave the knowledge, empowered them with skill and caused them to build the tabernacle of the congregation wherein the Ark of the Covenant would rest. When all was completed, exactly as God intended and to His express specifications (no artistic liberties allowed), the sacrifices began, they witnessed the ‘Shikina’ glory of God descended from off the mount and lighted upon the tabernacle, for God was well pleased. In the fourteenth day of the first month in the second year since the deliverance and freedom, the nation of Israel again sacrificed the Pascal Lamb and ate the Passover (Num. 9:3). In the fifteenth day they began the seven days of unleavened bread and on the seventeenth day they waved the offering of the first fruits.

God then instructed them to fashion two trumpets for the journeying of the camps and set the order of the encampments and the assignments for the move. On the twentieth day of that same month, they saw the cloud ascend off the tabernacle, they heard the trumpet sound, the Levites disassembled the tabernacle and the children of Israel marched for three days. “And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran (abounding on caves) (10:13).Then spake Jehovah unto Moses in that very same year, to send in the twelve spies to search out the land of Canaan that He had given unto His people.

What more could God have done to convince Adam that He was indeed sovereign over all things? What sign could have been given that would have made Adam remain faithful to his God and walk by faith? What words might Moses or Aaron have spoken to persuade the nation of Israel, being encompassed with so great a cloud of witnesses, to trust in Jehovah and lean not upon their own understanding? The answer is NOTHING. All the types and foreshadows of the first principles of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, that gospel of glad tidings of great joy, could not cause the least of the children of Israel to walk by faith and keep the commandments of God. No signs no wonders and no words could give them faith for it is a gift of God. These 600,000 plus people that had been delivered from Pharaoh had not the Spirit of Jehovah dwelling in them because they were none of His. Therefore they had not faith, which is the fruit of the Spirit, and they could not obey His words. They were not His sheep and His wrath was upon them, therefore they rebelled against Him and were destroyed in the wilderness. Only Joshua (of the tribe of Ephraim), Caleb (of the house of Judah), the tribe of Levi (those joined unto Him) and those who were less than twenty years of age (14:29), in whom was the remnant according to grace, that hidden assembly (Gad), were sustained until the crossing of the Jordan. “Because all those men which have seen My glory and My miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me these ten times and have not hearkened to My voice; surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto the fathers, neither shall any provoke me to see it. But My servant Caleb, BECAUSE HE HAD ANOTHER SPIRIT WITH HIM AND HATH FOLLOWED ME FULLY, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went and his seed shall possess it” (14:22ff).

The true gospel was indeed preached and evidently proclaimed before all flesh and yet in those that were not His people, there was no faith intermixed (Heb. 4:2). These born of flesh desired, experienced and saw signs and wonders, far more magnificent than any that had ever been seen or have been seen since, yet these could not bring them to the knowledge of the truth but rather brought them condemnation condemned them. These children of Abram after the flesh were of the seed of the serpent and therefore they were made to be taken out and destroyed.

May the Spirit grant His children a hearing ear, a discerning heart and a seeing eye to recognize the doctrines of man. These teachings are sweet to the mouth but bitter to the soul because they seek after a sign to placate Adam. They satiate the body with the sumptuous fair of the earth, dress in Babylonian garments with Egyptian embroiderings. They speak half the language of Ashdod and place their assurance on that which is seen, “for the things which are seen are temporal” (II Cor. 4:18). They know not faith and have no expectation save that which is known and felt.

“So it came to pass that when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people, that Jehovah spake unto me (Moses) saying, Thou art to pass through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day ... rise ye up, take your journey and pass over the river Arnon. Behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon and his land to begin to possess it and contend with him in battle: (Deut. 2:16 & 24).

The inheritance of the tribe of Gad was appointed before the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River. They, half the tribe of Manasseh and the tribe of Rueben were granted the land of their inheritance by Moses, before any battles were fought in the land of Canaan. They had been blessed of Jehovah with “a very great multitude of cattle”. When they saw the land of Jazer (aided or helped), and the land of Gilead (rocky region), that, ‘behold the place was a place for cattle’, the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest and unto the princes of the congregation, saying, “Ataroth (crown or wreath) and Dibon ( caused to sorrow) and Jazer (help, support) and Nimrah (pure) and Heshbon (stronghold) and Elealeh (where God ascends) and Shebam (fragrance, spice, balm) and Nebo (prophet, knowledge) and Beon (in the dwelling), the country which Jehovah smote before the congregation of Israel (before the death of Moses), is a land for cattle and thy servants have cattle. Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servant for a possession and bring us not over the Jordan” (Num. 32:1-5). God instructed Moses to grant their request upon the agreement that they would go forth into battle with their brethren and subdue, (Arod), the inhabitants of the land of Canaan before they would rest in their inheritance as the inhabitants of the rocky region.

God had empowered a people with no military training or weapons to overcome and destroy five nations greater than they after “all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host” (Deut. 2:14). No one was left of the number that Moses and Aaron counted from twenty years upwards that were equipped for warfare. God did not need the arm of the flesh, the tactical ability of man or the leadership of Adam to triumph over these nations who were mightier than Israel. He subdued the ‘warrior ruler of prominence’ (Sihon the King of the Amorites) and the ‘giant ruler of abundance’ (Og the King of Bashan) and He made the reputation of Joshua and His people to spread throughout the land; “This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee and shall tremble and be in anguish because of thee” (2:25). He removed the fear that the nation had when they were given to believe the report of the ten spies at Kadesh-bar-nea and made His people willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110:3).

Now all of this was accomplished while the whole nation was in a state of non-compliance to the requirements of the law. All of the children of Israel that were born in Egypt and came out of the house of bondage were in compliance with the law concerning the covenant in the flesh. But all that were born in the wilderness, by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, were uncircumcised. Only after Joshua had made him sharp knives and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskin did Jehovah roll away the reproach of Egypt from off them, “Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal (rolling) unto this day” (Josh. 5:5-9). This was not done until Gad, Reuben and Manesseh had already obtained their inheritance and had settled their land.

The land that was promised to Abram and his seed, as “by faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country” (Heb. 11:9) was to be from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates (Gen. 15:18) but Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan. So as soon as the children of Israel crossed the river of Egypt, they were in the land that God promised Abram but there is a distinction between this land and the crossing of the Jordan. The ten spies who gave forth the witness which fostered the rebellion at Kadesh-bar-nea were within the boundaries of the land of promise but they had no part in the inheritance of the land because they had another spirit, not the Spirit of God. The men of war and the entire congregation, that were given to believe that false report, and who “bade them stone (the two faithful witnesses) with stones” (Num. 14:10) were blind to the truth and could not “see the land which I sware unto their fathers” (14:20).

Moses was in the land of promise as a child of grace delivered from the house of bondage but he was not permitted to “bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Num. 20:12). As the law giver, he was justified in striking the Rock and the Rock brought forth rivers of living waters but that law cannot cross over Him that ‘comes down’ or ‘descends’ (Jordan) from above. The law in type and foreshadow, which stood in ordinances, ceremonies and observances, was abolished by the Anointed of God who took on Himself the form of a servant that He might learn obedience. He fulfilled the true law in righteousness and the weakness of the handwriting of ordinances or the interpretation of man in his attempt to keep the law could never bring a child of grace into the realization of their inheritance. The inheritance of the sons of God is God Himself and they are joint heirs of this inheritance with Messiah, the Son of God. These children have the testimony of Jesus Christ and keep the commandments of God but the law did not bring them into this inheritance, grace did. Moses was gathered with his people and is seated together in the heavenlies but was the path he was assigned was not to “go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel” (Deut. 32:52).

“And this land we possessed at that time.” (Deut. 3:12)

The northern most boundary of this portion of the inheritance of the Promised Land was from Mt. Hermon, about 50 miles above the Sea of Galilee in the area of Damascus. The southern most boundaries were unto the river of Arnon, approximately center of the Dead Sea. It reached from the Jordan River on the west bank, about 50 miles across the rocky regions of Gilead to the city of Edrei in the east. It did not encompass any part of the land of Moab or Ammon, the children of Lot, initially, for God forbade them from entering into or interfering with the inheritance of the children of Lot (Deut. 2:9 & 37), but ultimately Moses gave half the land of Ammon unto the tribe of Gad (Josh. 13:25). The specific boundaries between these three tribes are not clearly delineated. Many of the towns built by the tribe of Gad are in the territory of Rueben and the land of Gilead (the rocky region) belonged to both Gad and Manasseh. Therefore the scriptures oft times record this as the possession of the Reubenites, Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh.

This possession of the land also differs from the remaining nine and a half tribes because when the whole, inexperienced, army of Israel marched through this land, they drove out and killed ALL the inhabitants of the land. None of the remaining tribes were able to dislodge the indigenous people from their territories. As a result, the people of the land remained a problem and a distraction, by the hand of God, against the children of Israel on the west side of the Jordon (Josh. 17:18 & Judg. 1:28).

The house of the assembly (Gad) of the first born (Rueben), having their rebellion and iniquity forgotten (Manasseh), under the leadership of Joshua (Jehovah’s salvation) and Moses (still alive and with them), as a troop within a larger troop, triumphed over all their foes, exactly as Jehovah had promised. They began to possess an inheritance that was already theirs and were obedient to the commandments of God. “And when Jehovah our God shall deliver them before thee, thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them. Thou shalt make no covenant with them nor shew mercy unto them, neither shalt thou make marriages with them. Thy daughters shalt thou not give unto his sons nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son, for they will turn away thy son from following me that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you and destroy thee suddenly. But thou shalt deal with them. Thou shalt destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire, BECAUSE, thou art an holy people unto Jehovah thy God. Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself above all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” (Duet. 7:2-6).

This election was not because of the number of people in the nation of Israel for they were the fewest of the nations of all people. This selection and preferential treatment, among all the nations of the world, was because Jehovah God, in type, was manifesting His love for His people. “Jehovah did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people, for ye are fewest of all people. But because Jehovah loved you and because He would keep the oath which He swore unto your fathers, hath Jehovah brought you out with a mighty hand and hath redeemed you out of the house of the bondman, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deut. 7:7). He demonstrated His longsuffering and faithfulness in keeping His covenant and showing mercy to them that loved Him and keep His commandments unto a thousand generations. Therefore, “Jehovah our God delivered him (Sihon the king of Heshbon) before us and we smote him and his sons and all his people, and we took all his cities at that time and UTTERLY destroyed the men the women and the little ones of every city we left none to remain.” “So Jehovah our God delivered into our hands, Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining and we took his cities at that time. There was not a city which we took not of them, three score cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Bashan. All the cities fenced with high walls, gates and bars, besides unwalled towns a great many and we UTTERLY destroyed them as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, UTTERLY destroying the men the women and children of every city” (Deut. 2:33 – 3:6).

The church of Jesus Christ is shown forth here in type and foreshadow. They have been chosen before the foundation of the world, being ‘known of God’ because of the eternal unity in Him and the love of Jehovah. They love Him because He first loved them and gave Himself a ransomed for them before the foundation of the world that they might be holy and blameless before Him in love. He decreed, ordained, prepared and gave them an inheritance before they possessed it, based solely upon His love and mercy and they are obedient to His commandments because His Spirit dwells within them causing them to walk according to His statutes. There are no dogs, idolaters, or whoremongers within this land, nor any abominations nor anything that loves or makes a lie. All of these have been utterly destroyed by the hand of Joshua, Moses and the army (troop) of God. Every member of this troop marches on his way and they shall not break ranks. Neither can any man hurt them or separate them from this great and terrible host. Jehovah has uttered His voice before His army and this very great camp executes His Word in the power of His strength and NO MAN can abide in that day (Joel 2:7-11). The deliverer, the deliverance and the delivered all walk as one. They speak the same thing, they have the same mind, will and desire and they all execute the perfect will of Jehovah. There is no compromise, with the world, no allegiance with Adam and no corruption with the things of the flesh.

Here they dwell in safety and NO MAN maketh them afraid. The tribes of Gad and Rueben left their women, their young and the elderly in this land as the men of war marched off, across the Jordan River, to assist the remaining tribes with the conquest of the land to the west. But the land to the east, that ‘rocky region’ where dwelled the inhabitants of the Rock and that Rock is Jehovah God, there was peace and safety. The people of Jehovah, though few, hated and ignominious to the world dwell in the world as strangers and sojourners. They are accounted as fools and dismissed as unprofitable but they are a pearl of great worth. They are kept, led about and instructed as the apple of His eye (Deut. 32:10) in that great and high mountain of Israel wherein the goodly fold rests. He has separated them from the people and has made them to lie down in green pastures by the river where the tree of the field yields her fruit. This is a place of peace for He has caused the evil beasts to cease out of the land. Here His servant, the Beloved, who knows them as He knows the Father, watches over them, feeds them in a fat pasture and will never leave nor forsake them.

“What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel.” (Josh. 22:16)

When the wars of conquest had ended and the men of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh returned to the land in the east, they built an altar of testimony, “a great altar to see to”, unto El Shaddiah for all that He had done. But when the remaining tribes heard of it, they accused these families, who had left all to aid them in the conquest of their lands, of the iniquity of idolatry and rebellion against Jehovah and the nation of Israel (Josh. 22:19). The very brethren which the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had shed their blood for turned on them and accused them of blasphemy and idolatry. They came not as brethren with concern for another brother who had been taken in a fault or in righteousness for justice against iniquity but rather they had set themselves, in the arrogant power of their might, “to go up to war against them” (22:12). God had set a mark of division between the tribes in the east and the tribes in the west and caused the ones ‘more noble’ to come and attempt to remove the beam from their brother’s eye. It began when the conflict of the land ended, was fueled by jealousy, enraged by accusation of injustice and approached bloodshed in condemnation of iniquity against Jehovah God. They were not concerned for the tribes of the east as much as they were selfishly concerned as to how this conduct would effect them, “ye rebel today against Jehovah and tomorrow He will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel” (22:18). Justice was not the motivation behind this sortie into the land of the east, self preservation was. They waxed bold in their self worth, courageous in their strength and confident of their righteousness as they judged according to the flesh and adjudicated the matter after the logical conclusions of man.

“Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh answered and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel, Jehovah is the God of gods. He knoweth and Israel shall know if in rebellion or if in transgression against Jehovah (save us not this day) that we built us an altar to turn from following Jehovah or if to offer thereon burnt offering or to offer peace offering thereon, let Jehovah Himself require.” (Josh. 22:21).

The forgotten assemble of the house of the first-born had an altar that was not in Jerusalem. This was a testimony, not against the altar of sacrifice of the tabernacle for the service unto Jehovah were they offered the burnt offerings, sacrifices and peace offerings unto God as He commanded, nor was it to replace the altar of the tabernacle to turn the heart of the people against God as Jeroboam did when God separated the kingdom. This was a pattern of the altar of Jehovah that stood as a witness between the ‘righteous’ portion of Israel across the Jordan and the men of war to the east to demonstrate that this forgotten assembly of the house of the first-born had a right, a part and a memorial in Jehovah. The tribes of the west had no right to this altar but the inhabitants of the rock had the right to come with boldness before the mercy seat of the covenant. This memorial stood as a reminder of what great things our God hath done for His people.

This inheritance began, in the beginning, with a promise and an oath many years before the time of deliverance from the house of the one stronger than they. It was made manifest in time by the hand of Jehovah and lasted unto the end of the reign of the King of Peace, Solomon. This forgotten house resided in the land of the rising of the sun, devoid of the encumbrance of the inhabitants of the land and at peace. Only after God had told Solomon that his house would be divided did the land rebel and the possession faded into obscurity.

The type that is set forth is that, to the children of grace, the possession of the land of promise, obtained by the hand of Jehovah, is based upon an immutable oath from before the foundation of the world. He has rid the land of the evil beast and caused His people to lie down in safety. He has given them their memorial apart from the weakness and corruption of the handwriting of ordinances. He has given them their inheritance which shall stand until the King of Peace, that is, the King of Righteousness shall cease to be king and His rule ends. Therefore, since the Kingdom of Jehovah is eternal (Ps. 102:27) His righteous salvation is from generation to generation (Is. 51:8) and He cannot change (Mal. 3:6) and, since, the increase of government and peace upon the throne of David and of His kingdom is eternal (Is. 9:7) and since, He has loved His people with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) and since, the children are joint heirs with the Anointed, therefore, the eternal inheritance, which is not by blood, nor by the will of man; not according to works of righteousness which man may do; not of this world or the sands of Palestine nor by the weak, corrupt, vile hands of Adam, is reserved for the assembly of the house of the first-born. These having their sin and iniquity forgotten and put away as far as the east is from the west, have this inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled and will never fade away because it IS reserved for His sons in heaven (I Pt. 1:4).

These inhabitants of the Rock, dwell in obscurity, have their affections on that great mountain, wherein is the house of Jehovah, though they travel through this barren land. They long for the time when the groanings of the creature are silenced, being absent from the body and in the presence of their Lord. Though they are afflicted and poor in this present evil generation yet they have an altar, which no man can approach, that stands as a witness and the seal of the foundation of that city not made with hands. And the engraving upon that altar reads, “Jehovah knows them that are His” (II Tim. 2:19).

Your servant in Christ,
Elder Chet Dirkes
January 2012

The Banner Of Hope
Volume 6, No. 1