“For they are called of the Holy city and stay themselves upon the God of Israel, whose name is Yehovah of Hosts.”
The nation of Israel has a full and complicated history which they rehearse to each other from generation to generation. The written accounts are supplemented with the oral traditions to form the back-bone of their way of life as they speak these things in the ears of their young. Each day of the year holds significance in the lives of these people in remembrance of those mighty works which Yehovah has done and the promise that awaits them. They are reminded of the struggles throughout the centuries and the tribulation God has brought them through beginning in the first of the year; “And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, what mean you by this service? That you shall say, It is the sacrifice of Passover of Yehovah” (Ex. 12:26).
This history and heritage has given many the idea that the nation of Israel is wholly comprised of the chosen people of God. This has given rise to the teaching that world events have all been ordered to come to pass with full attention to this people alone. When, however, this people rejected the blessings of God and were assimilated into the customs and practices of the world, they were scattered to the four corners of the earth and persecuted for their sin. It is also taught that soon the future events will once again vault them to the preeminent status of the world when “the time of the Gentiles” is passed. Doctrines, world politics and social attitudes revolve around the notion that those who are of the seed of Abraham are the election according to grace who await the final restoration of the Kingdom of Solomon upon the throne of David.
It is not our intention to criticize or refute the doctrines of the world, even if it were possible. The scripture, given by the inspiration of the Breath of God, states here that there is a people upon whom Yehovah God has shown forth the power of His might and the brilliance of His glory. These, being called “house of Jacob, which are called by the house of Israel”, have come forth out of the waters of Judah. This is not an aquatic reference to the purity of the lakes and streams of the southern portion of the country but a direct historical reference to an event which every child of Israel knew by heart.
After the death of Moses, Joshua was manifested as the leader of the people. The Spirit of Yehovah was upon him as he did great and mighty works; “and Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom for Moses had laid hands upon him and the children of Israel hearkened unto him and did as Yehovah commended Moses” (Deut. 34:9). He was affirmed before the people through signs and wonders and by his hand five kingdoms, mightier than Israel, were subdued.
Joshua, the ‘salvation of Yah’, consecrated his people and, rehearsing in their ears the promise of Yehovah, he led them across the Jordan River into the Promise Land. Forty years of wandering in the wilderness had been a continual revelation of the power of God as the cloud led them by day and the pillar of fire by night. They gathered the Manna in the morning and ate this ‘light bread’ every day. They drank of that Rock which followed them as neither the clothes on their back faded nor did the shoes upon their feet wear out. But now the time had come for the Manna to cease and that water to stop as the promise given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was now made manifest.
Yet God was displeased with these people who were rebellious against Him from the beginning. Abram was not a perfect man who fell from grace, neither was Isaac a model for any child of grace to follow, yet the blessing of God was upon them without regard for what they did in the flesh.
How can He bless such a people for such a long time, continually showing forth their weaknesses in the light of His glory and yet be displeased with them and their actions? Yehovah God is not a respecter of persons (Rms. 2:11). He is not persuaded by the actions of the creatures He has created incapable of being perfect before Him. He does not retaliate against improper thoughts nor is His anger stirred by conduct; “for being not yet born neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him that calls” (Rms. 9:11).
God raised up Abram and called him forth out of the land to go to a place that he did not know. He gave him an heir according to the power of His might and blessed Isaac based upon His eternal love and when the two sons struggled together in the womb, neither was worthy of the love or the hatred of God save in the fact that one was a child of promise and the other a son of the world.
These two were together in the womb and yet separate as a picture of the nation of Israel. Unto the nation of the sons of Jacob were given the doctrines, the covenants and the promises and they called themselves by the name of Jacob who is Israel. These stood at the base of the mountain, having come forth out of the Sea and saw the magnificent display of the power and majesty of Yehovah God. They heard the thundering and the sound of many waters, which is the voice of God. They felt the earth quake at His presence and witnessed the fire descending upon the mountain, that enfolding fire that engulfed but did not consume the mountain.
Moses came forth from the mount and sanctified the people warning them not to approach the base of the mount under penalty of death, “and Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke because Yehovah descended upon it in fire and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of the furnace and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake and God answered him by a voice” (Ex. 19:18).
Not one of these magnificent wonders and awesome demonstrations of the power of God was sufficient to convert the nature of man for when Moses was detained from returning to the people, they manifested the inherent nature of Adam and rebelled against God. In the shadow of the quaking mount, the people came to Aaron and demanded that he fashion for them the gods which delivered them from Egypt. There was a noise of war in the camp as Aaron made a molten calf and proclaimed, “These your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (Ex. 32:4).
Was this a surprise to Yehovah God? Not in the least for He told Moses. “I have seen this people and behold IT is a stiff-necked people”. The nation of Israel standing in representation of the natural sons of Adam has been decreed and identified from the beginning as rebellious, stiff-necked and wicked yet the love of God was not dissuaded from them for nothing could cause God to annul His promise. And when the time of wandering was complete and there fell those of that generation, God raised up another generation. These He brought up out of the waters of Judah by the hand of Joshua.
Were these any better than their fathers’? Not unless in some miraculous manner they had altered the nature and inherent characteristics of Adam. Or perhaps they had learned from the televangelists of the day how to take dominion over their sin? Were they worthy of this promise or the land they were entering? Not in the least. They were not the first born of Abram, they had no title to the land and they certainly did not earn the blessing from God that so many of the ‘conditionalists’ persuasion would intimate. This generation rejected the testimony of Joshua and Caleb as to the power of Yehovah God to fight for the people and had neglected the word of God in that they failed to circumcise their children born in the wilderness (Jos. 5:5). Yet the promise of Almighty God was confirmed before their eyes and they crossed the Jordan River dry-shod.
This became the bragging rights of the people who called themselves by the name of Jacob. “...which sware by the name of Yehovah and make mention of the God of Israel...” The people of Israel boasted of religious and social superiority because of what God had done in and for them throughout the ages. Their fathers swore at the base of Mt. Sinai that they would do all that was required of them before they received the commandments (Ex. 19:8). As they sat on the banks of the Jordan, they swore unto Joshua that they would obey Yehovah and keep His statutes; they and their children, The Temple which Solomon built became the object whereon the oath was taken for each to become a son of Israel in remembrance of the covenant God had given them. Even Peter, when confronted with his association with Jesus, swore an oath against the Temple that he never knew the Man he had been taught to proclaim as the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
The swearing of an oath is common in the nature of man because it represents a surety of the matter. A man’s word is confirmed by an action that indicates that he is worthy of trust and will follow through on his pledge. The children of Israel were given to recall the legions and lure of their history wherein God delivered them from Egypt gave them His Law and fulfilled His promise as proof that they were chosen of God. The ceremonies of the Law and the daily routines of the day, instead of reminding them that they were sinners in need of mercy, became that wherein they boasted. The types and shadows of the heavenly reality became the sin of the people and the boast of their confidence for “with us are the grey-headed and very aged men, much older than your father” (Job 15:10).
But this was not only Jerusalem, as if these people had a corner on the market. When the northern kingdom was separated from the tribe of Judah and the ‘contention of the people’ (Jeroboam) built the false Temple and sanctified the false priests and feast days, the people continued in the charade for many years, seeing no problems. Jerusalem was not an holy place and neither was Samaria yet the people were drawn to attempt to call upon the name of Yehovah in both places to no avail. Jesus stood at the well speaking to a woman of Samaria. The woman said unto Him; “I perceive that You are a Prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain and You say that in Jerusalem is the place where a man ought to worship. Jesus said unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour is come when you shall neither in this mountain nor yet in Jerusalem, worship the Father” (John 4:19f).
Simply because a person is attracted to a place and conducts themselves in a preconceived or historically accurate order does not make the place or the person holy.
“Because I knew that you are obstinate and you neck is an iron sinew and your brow brass” (Is. 48:4)
God is not ignorant of the nature of His creatures. He knows our frame that it is dust for He formed Adam from the dust of the earth. He knows the thoughts of the heart and the penchants of the flesh which draw the man away after the things which cannot satisfy. He never intended that the man should be righteous or holy from the beginning and nothing that transpired in the garden surprised Him. Each and every child that is born of man comes forth from the womb speaking lies, being stubborn, hard and deceitful, though the eyes of man and the passions of the flesh would demand otherwise.
God has made known His grace and mercy to all men by revealing these qualities and attributes in the person, not to the world, but to themselves. He has set forth the testimony in open plain view as the invisible things of God are revealed in those things which are made and He has manifested the inability of man in every thought, word and deed yet, having eyes to see, man cannot comprehend the truth; “for I knew that you would deal very treacherously and were called a transgressor from the womb” (48:8). Man, therefore, comes into this world dead in trespasses and sin and incapable of hearing or receiving the things of the Spirit thus he walks in constant rebellion against the creator of the Universe.
“For My name’s sake will I defer Mine anger and for My praise will I refrain for you that I cut you not off”
The whole of creation is seen in the nation of Israel. God has prepared this existence for His name’s sake for within the body of creation there dwells a remnant according to grace. This is that treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great price concealed inside the oyster. Within the womb dwelt two manner of people, Esau and Jacob. The one is stronger and wiser in the things of this world but he has been fashioned to serve the younger and weaker child of promise, Jacob. The nation of Israel was comprised of many who called themselves by the name of Jacob but this vast majority dwelt the minority called by His name.
The wrath of God is poured out against the ungodliness of man and many would like to see some of that these days. The arrogance of man wants to see the judgment of God unleashed upon the ‘other guy’ because of all that they appear to be getting away with. David felt this way until the Messenger of God revealed unto him that he was ‘acting as one without strength’ (foolish) when he envied the wicked and their prosperity (Ps. 73:3). God has ordained that those who dwell in darkness should live and prosper in that darkness. The children of this age, in their generations, are indeed wiser in the things of this world than the children of light (Luke 16:8) yet the one is not independent of the other.
The Pharisee stood in the arrogance of his boast and compared himself to others. He looked upon all that they did and was thankful that he was not like them. He found that his way was righteous and his thoughts pure before God and he rejoiced when he saw the vengeance of the Lord manifested in their lives. This parable Jesus spoke unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others (Luke 18:9).
The Lord had ordained that a certain group of people should epitomize the human nature by lifting themselves up in their heritage and works while condemning and oppressing others. These had the right to call themselves by the name of the chosen child of promise thinking their fig leaves were a sufficient display of their piety to their fellow man and to hide their sin from God. Was this isolated to this group of people? No. for Jesus told His disciples to be ware of the leaven of the Pharisees. He said this because, although it was manifested as a separate group of people, it was indeed the way of the beast which is the identification of man (herein ids wisdom).
This Pharisee stood erect before God because he was ‘standing on the promises’. He had command over his inherent inability for he had rewritten the rules and repositioned the standards of God. No longer was perfect righteousness required before the Righteous Judge for court now was in session before the eyes of man and all was adjudicated by that which can be seen. Therefore according to the righteousness found in the law he stood blameless.
He compared himself to the labours and failures of those about him. He sees those who had no care for his perfection and were about their ways living in the sins of this world and he rejoiced. The incorruptible seed however, was not so embolden. As the pride of the Pharisee elevated him to the divine place, the vision and sensitivity of the Publican left him knowing that he had no right to approach the throne or ask anything of the Lord. This is the everyday condition of the dichotomous relationship between the earthen vessel of Adam and the incorruptible seed within; the two are joined but never united.
“Thus said Yehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am Yehovah your God which teaches you to profit and leads you in the way which you should go” (48:17)
The loving hand of Yehovah God brought the Publican to the place where he knew that in the flesh dwelt no good thing. This is viewed by the natural man as evidence that there is no hope but it is the blessing of God upon all His children of promise. While the natural man strives to make himself presentable and worthy before the righteous standard of God, the inner man sees the vanity of this world and the perversion of the habitation of this dwelling, making him groan within. As the heart and mind of the outer man rejoices in the condition of the down-trodden and weak of the world, knowing his lot to be blessed of God for his righteousness, the inner man knows that if the blessings of Yehovah be not by grace, then he has no hope.
There is no merit to one who calls himself by the name of Christian because of the group he associates with or the rituals he has undergone. It is of no profit that one knows the Lord for there are many who have lived their whole lives and so stand before the Almighty regaling the wonderful works they have done; this is Adam in the garden. These are confident that they have preached the gospel and done many wonderful works in His name but whereas they have been deceived to think that they have known Him, He declares; “Depart from Me you workers of iniquity, I never knew YOU”.
Adam stood proud and boastful in the garden, never confessing his guilt before God. He needed no forgiveness and the blood of the perfect sacrifice for sin had no application to his condition. His children have retained this attitude which has been rehearsed and practiced generation upon generation and in the fullness of days, when the fire has consumed all wood, hay and stubble, which is the house of Edom, Adam shall stand before God no more; “for behold Yehovah will come with fire and with His chariots like whirlwind to render His anger with fury and His rebuke with flames of fire; for by fire and His sword shall Yehovah judge with all flesh and the slain of Yehovah shall be many” (Is. 66:15f).
“But if any man love God, the same is known of Him” (I Cor. 8:3)
The redeemed of Yehovah have the eternal love of the Father. He has shed His blood from the foundation of the world in full accounting of the sin of Adam and the hypocrisy of his ways. There has not one thought or intention that has evaded the fruit where by the sin of Jacob is purged and there remains no more sacrifice for sin. The children of the King love Him because He first loved them and gave Himself for them, thus they are “called of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah” (Rms. 1:6).
This is the name above every name whereby the election according to grace has been delivered and are called the ‘holy ones’ (saints). It is for this seed born from above that all things have been created and an earthen vessel, wherein they dwell, has been fashioned to serve them. Each moment of their existence in this habitation has been predestinated of God that they should be conformed to the image of the Son, who endured the contradiction of sin against Himself.
These bare witness to the fact that, in Adam, they have no right to call themselves Holy and that if the Lord should regard iniquity they should not stand. But the Spirit bares witness with their Spirit that they are the Sons of God and His love abides on and in them; “by You I have been held up from the womb; You are He that took me out of my mother’s bowels, my praise is continually of You” (Ps. 71:6).
The natural man seeks the praise of his fellow companions of the dust as they all strive to please God. The children of light being taught of the Spirit, know that this is a labour of futility which cannot stand; “and in that day you shall say, Yehovah I will praise You: though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away and You comfort me, beholding God my salvation, I trust and am not afraid, for Yehovah is my strength and my song and my salvation. Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation and in that day shall you say, Praise Yehovah, call upon His name , declare His doings among the people, making mention that His name is exalted, sing unto Yehovah for He has done excellent things” (Is. 12:1ff).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
November 26, 2017