“Woe to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which is on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine.”
The years spent among the Lutheran order presented many teachings on the nation of Israel. These were a people unto whom the Lord God had shown forth His glory and majesty but they rejected His love and peace. He gave them the handwriting of ordinances as a demonstration of His plan for salvation which, after His persistent attempts to win them over, He finally cast them off as a people and turned to the Gentiles. God had expended all His efforts, without interfering with the ‘free will of man’ whereby he is capable of choosing for himself eternal life or eternal destruction from God. The Gentiles were given the same offer from God until such time as He has determined when He shall remove the Gentile believers from this world and once again turn unto the nation of Israel to offer them a second chance at salvation. This teaching was utilized as an admonishment to the Gentile believers that they do not follow after the same mistakes that the Jews made so that they may be steadfast unto the end. It fostered a feeling of superiority over the Jews who had failed to see the goodness of God and call upon His name. It also presented confusion about the mystery of the predicted earthly kingdom which would once again raise them up to their rightful place as the chosen people of God.
This anti-Semitic doctrine could never bring peace to a child of grace who was confused with the theology and yet strove intensely to understand and teach it passionately. It also gave rise to many questions which the established theologians did not care to entertain, questions like; Are there two salvation's of Jehovah? One for the children of Israel and another for the Gentiles? If God’s plan of salvation depends upon man’s cooperation, then how, and over what, does the Lord God Omnipotent reign? Where is the hope spoken of throughout the scriptures if my salvation is dependent upon my faithfulness unto the end? What if I, like the nation of Israel, back-slide and falter? Can a child of grace be separated from the love of the Father? What is this temporal salvation that I could loose? These questions were never answered by the theology of Adam.
The nation of Israel stands as a type of the natural man. He sees yet he cannot perceive because God has made him blind. He hears and does not understand for he is incapable of comprehending the sounds in his itching ears. He lives, moves and has his being by the hand of the Creator who has given him the testimony of His power and Godhead yet his mind is filled with the cares of this existence so that he cannot find out the work which God has done from the beginning to the end.
Where then is the comfort to the children of hope? It is in the fact that Israel, even with all the benefits of the ever present open demonstrations of God and the advantages of the ‘oracles of God’ could never earn favour with God. They could not keep the law just as the Spirit teaches the children concerning the seed of Adam they inhabit. Israel followed after that which was right in their own eyes in the same manner that the natural man follows after the thoughts and desires of his heart. The comfort to one who has the experience of the law in their members which wars against the law in their mind, wherein they delight in the law of God, is that no flesh has ever nor shall ever be justified by the deeds of the law; that all the works of righteousness which Adam can do are nothing more than filthy rags before the Holiness of God; for it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). “And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves; Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them said; With men, impossible, but not with God for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:8).
“By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when He shall make all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and the images shall not stand up” (Is. 27:9).
In the day or at the time, when the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah made the open manifestation of the putting away of sin by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world, it was the end of the world (Heb. 9:26). Here He caused the daily sacrifice and oblations to cease (Dan. 9:27) as the types were replaced by the fulfillment and the shadows were dispelled by the light. The fullness of time had come when all things written must be fulfilled as Yehovah God gave open testimony in plain view of His salvation before all the world.
He took the sins of His people inherent in Adam, as typified in the child of promise Jacob, and removed them as far as the east is from the west. He satisfied the wages of sin for His people and fulfilled the Law in righteousness. The scarlet sin of His people in Adam was made white by the shed blood of the perfect sacrifice for sin. The altar was no longer needed and the false representations of the craftiness of the hands of man, with all his renditions and derivations of what he calls proper worship, were abolished. The defensed city, wherein man finds comfort and refuge was made desolate and forsaken like a wilderness. The confidence of the theology and religious rituals of the most pious son of the dust are found to be pathetic demonstrations of abject ignorance as the Spirit gives understanding of them being abominable before God.
This is the declaration of truth of Immanuel for now is the tabernacle of God with men. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in His people and they dwell in an earthen vessel afore prepared unto glory by the shed blood of the Lamb. This inner man is a child of grace and the son of God, born from above, whose affections are set on the things from above as he longs to return to Jerusalem. He is a spiritual man who is growing in the grace and knowledge of His will while being made subject to the vanity of the habitation of this dwelling. This dwelling is still of the earth and, being carnal sold under sin, it is constantly drawn away after the earnest desires for self-preservation, the improvement of station and status in life and the beautification of outward presentation of this clay pot. This indeed is vanity and a vexation upon the soul.
This conflict is the wrestling of the children of Naphtali. The natural man desires the life and peace of the inner man being completely ignorant of it for it is the peace which passes all understanding. The natural man desires the accolades and appreciation of his fellow man as the spiritual man desires to be delivered from the body of this death. Therefore the law in the members is enmity with the Law of God and the spirit, being made subject to this vanity, groans within in hope of the manifestation of the sons of God. The children of grace cry out, like Rebekah of old, as the struggle continues within, saying, “If so why am I thus?” (Gen. 25:22). These prisoners of hope know that Yehovah God is greater than all His creation and yet ask if He dwells in them, why then when I would do good is evil present? And if He that is in them is indeed sovereign over all, why has He ordained these trials and tribulations? This is the cry for Abba, Father.
Herein is the nation of Israel the example of this struggle and the evidence that the best intentions of man are futile before the irresistible Will of God.
‘Woe to the majesty of pride which compasses those filled with abundance and fruitfulness’
God has chosen His people in a furnace of affliction to show them the frailty and futility of the flesh. He shows them that they have a heart which is desperately wicked above all things which no one can know (Jer. 17:9) and that they have been deceived by the pride of that same heart (Ob. 3). This is a declaration of the nature of the earthen vessel, formed from the same lump of clay as every other son of Adam, whose arrogance surrounds everything that he does. He clothes himself in his ambitions and delights himself in his inflated imaginations. He is sustained by the dainties of the dunghill and flattered by the appellations of fellow fools. He expects, like his father Adam, that God should accept his endeavours, like Cain the labours of his hands should be sufficient and like Jehu is zeal for Yehovah is his redeeming quality.
God is not speaking to the tribe of Ephraim, which represents Jerusalem that is of the earth and the nation of Israel, He is explaining through the actions of this people, the condition of His people and the reason for the trying of the faith that is within. The very same time in which the sacrifice for sin was made to purge away the iniquity of Jacob, the same time as Yehovah beat the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt “and you shall be gathered as one”, the same time in which the great trumpet of God was blown, when Yehovah is worshiped in the Holy mount (27:13) and the same time Yehovah laid “in Zion for a foundation a stone, tried stone, precious corner a sure foundation and he that believes shall not make haste” (28:26), the Spirit of God by His servant Isaiah states that there is a threatening woe to this drunkenness with this wreath of pride.
These two dwell together during the time of the habitation of the children of the Israel of our God as they are made partakers of flesh and blood; the glorious liberty of the deliverance of Yehovah for His people and the bondage of sin which surrounds them and grieves them. When it pleases the Father to reveal Himself dwelling in His people, then they are made aware of the corruption of this flesh and the uncleanness of their ways. As the light of His glory shines in their hearts, as they grow in the grace and knowledge of His will, they are ashamed of the wickedness, impotence and incompetence of their nature. Then they find that when they would do good they cannot find the means by which to perform that which is good (Rms. 7:18). They also find that they justify their inabilities in the flesh, find pleasure in the perversion of the nature and repeat the same. This causes a child to cry out unto the Father in acknowledgement of their wretchedness and gives them hope. The trials and temptations are the manifestations of the weaknesses of the flesh and the absence of faith in Adam, who takes great pride in futility.
“Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine”
The prophet wrote by the inspiration of God that “all flesh is grass and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withers and the flower fades because the spirit of the Lord blows upon it: surely the people is grass” (Is. 40:6). The Psalmist, by the same inspiration wrote, as for “man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field so he flourishes for the wind passes over it and it is gone and the place thereof shall know it no more” (Ps. 103:15). Thus the splendour and honour (glorious beauty) of this wreath of majesty (pride) is a senseless and foolish shinning thing that catches man’s eye. It is of this world, temporal and worthless. Man has set it upon the pedestal of the summit of a narrow gorge and, like a proud Peacock, he struts about in blind confidence as one who is struck down in the boiling over of effervescence (overcome with wine).
These are they who are drunk with wine and strong drink; who have stumbled about in the ignorance of the opiates of this world and are fallen down in their own spittle. This is the strong delusion God has sent into the hearts and minds of the sons of men to think more highly of themselves than they ought. This is the mind of Adam to sew the aprons of fig leaves, the belligerence of Cain to hate his brother because God did not accept the offering of the labours of his hands and the boastfulness of Peter to rebuke Jesus when He said He must go to Jerusalem to be betrayed and crucified. This is the sin which so easily besets the children of hope as the natural man tries to coexist and be amicable with the Spirit.
“Behold Yehovah has a mighty and a strong one, as a tempest of hail, a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand”
God revealed to Zerub-babel that the foundation of His Temple was “not by might, nor by strength but by My Spirit said Yehovah of Hosts”. The headstone, the foundation and the walls are begun and finished by the Lord of Hosts. Adam has no part in this process for his hands are polluted, his mind is deceived and his ways are carnal. The Lamb of God did not come to form a base for the potential gathering of His people; He came to manifest the house of the redeemed, which is the Israel of our God. The walls of this city are the salvation and protection of all for whom He bled and died and the gates, or entering in, is He who is the door of the sheep (John 10:7). These walls are all of precious stones which have been hewn from that great Rock, which is Anointed, “having the glory of God and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (Rev. 21:11).
This Lamb of God is His elect servant who should come to do the will of The Father and finish the work in all righteousness. He came to become the sin of His people and to drink the fullness of the cup of the wrath and fury of God. He endured the full sum of the contradiction of sin of the entire body against Himself as He laid down His life for the sheep. This fold was not of any nationality or religious creed but indeed was “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:” (I Pt. 1:2). This is the body of Christ and His Bride unto whom it is given not only to believe but also to suffer for His sake (Phil. 1:29).
This suffering is not the lack of appreciation by a fellow man for ones accomplishments nor is it the disdain of Adam for another’s religious activities. This suffering is because of a basic trait in nature; he who is of the earth loves earthly things while he who is born from above delights after the law of God. All men hate the children of the Kingdom because they first hated Messiah and have said in their heart, there is no God. The truth is contrary to the nature of Adam for all men are liars therefore when Jesus came not only preaching the truth but being the way the truth and the life, He was contrary to the natural man. Men sought to kill Him because He is God and this truth is in opposition to the ways of man.
But it is not those from without that the scriptures speak to for they which are without the fold are kept away from the sheep by the Good Shepherd. The conflict is not with the goats of the hillside or the predators in the woods but with the flesh and blood wherein the children dwell. Messiah came forth not only as the propitiation of the sin of His people but also, upon the white horse, He came conquering and to conquer. He brought forth the wrath of God against the ungodliness of man as He took the cup for His people. The flame of His fury was manifested as devouring the wicked in that day and still devours them from generation to generation (Joel 2:2). This flame also consumes all wood hay and stubble, which are the works of man for “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” (I Cor. 3:13). This work which is consumed by this refining fire is everything which pertains to Edom, “and there shall not be remaining of the house of Esau, for Yehovah has spoken” (Ob. 18).
The Mighty One of Yehovah is that Refiner and the fire which shall prove the faith of His people and make manifest the work which is of Adam and that which shall endure, being of the Anointing. He is the tempest of hail and the destroying storm as a flood of mighty waters overflowing and he shall cast down to the earth with His hand all that exalts himself against God. He has overcome all His enemies by the power of His might. He has overcome sin by His death and He has overcome the world for His Beloved. The glorious beauty of the crown of pride which is on the frail head of every child of Adam is under the complete command of the Lord God Omnipotent who reigns supreme over His creation. He has not asked for any assistance from His people in the securing of His reward but rather as he raised up His bride from the dust of the earth, He lovingly instructs her to; “put on your beautiful garments, Jerusalem, the Holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake yourself from the dust, arise and sit down, Jerusalem, loose yourself from the bands of your neck O captive daughter of Zion” (Is. 52:1).
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh” (II Cor. 10:3).
The struggle which the children of hope endure is not with the inhabitants of this world even though modern theology strives to make it so. Each child is in conflict with thoughts and imaginations and “every high thing which exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (5). The prophet of Yehovah is not calling the children of Israel to take up arms to combat the forces of evil in the land. He is given to identify that, at the same time as Yehovah God finished His work, so was the crown of pride revealed. When the grace is made manifest in the child’s life so the arrogance of that which is lofty and proud is understood and revealed. Yet the Spirit does not call for the sheep to destroy this inveterate foe but rather He instructs that the revelation and realization of this nemesis is the testimony of the life within. He has not summoned the little flock to rid the world of unrighteousness; He has called His people to rest in Him for He has overcome the world.
“In that day shall Yehovah of Hosts be for a crown of glory and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of His people” (28:5).
The glory of Israel of old was not in the accomplishments of their abilities but rather in the work which Yehovah gave and enabled them to do. His glory came down and engulfed the Holy place of the Tabernacle and it led them through the wilderness. His glory filled the temple which Solomon built but the glory of the latter house is far greater than that of the former “and in this place will I give peace, saith Yehovah of Hosts” (Hag. 2:9). He has put down all principalities and powers, He has trampled the pride and arrogance of Adam and He has gotten Himself the victory, therefore He stands as an High Priest who can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities having been tempted in all points, just as His people, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
There is no glory in the Kingdom of God save the glory of the Lamb. He alone is worthy for He satisfied the perfect Law of God. He is the Great King over all the earth and He is seated at the right and of the Father. His glory is the glory wherewith He and the Father are One and the body is one in Him; therefore the glory is One and the same. The head of every son of Adam is the nature and characteristics of the inabilities of man wherein he falls short of the glory of God but the head of the Church in the wilderness and the general assembly of the house of the First-born is the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah.
The old man is crucified with Christ. He has nailed the handwriting of ordinances to His cross and taken them out of the way that the body of this death might be destroyed. The outer man is perishing every moment of every day as he strives to hit the mark and prove himself sufficient before God. This fortitude and persistence surrounds him and encompasses him as a crown of majesty as he labours for that which cannot feed him nor satisfy his thirst. He strives for vanity and labours for the wind being deceived to think himself equal with God. He is a formidable opponent and an inveterate enemy of the truth;
“These things have I spoken unto you that in Me you might have peace. IN the world you shall have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
March 27, 2016