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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

‘ISSACHAR’

And God hearkened unto Leah and she conceived and bare Jacob the fifth son” (Gen. 30:17)

As the next chapter of the saga of this apparently highly dysfunctional family opens, the oldest child becomes involved in the bedlam. Jealousy, strife, treachery and deceit had become common place as the competition between Leah and Rachel for the love of Jacob grew more intense and devious. This act of the play begins with Reuben, the first born, in the field at the time of harvest. It would be an exercise in futility to speculate about the age of the young man. Since the scriptures do not reveal this information we may conclude it as insignificant to the matter. It is sufficient to say that he had enough freedom granted to him to be in the field and sufficient knowledge to comprehend what he is doing.

The ‘days of wheat harvest’ would correspond to an approximate time midway between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. This was the time period when the wheat harvest would be brought forth out of the field; the wheat would be separated from the chaff and prepared to be stored for the winter. Although there is no direct indication as to exactly what Reuben was doing in the field, it may be reasonably surmised that he was helping with the harvest chores. Granting this, to whatever capacity he was ‘helping’, he “went into the field” and ‘came upon’, ‘happened upon’, ‘encountered’ and ‘attained’ some mandrakes. He may indeed have gone into the field at the time of the harvest on an expedition to find this very plant but this is not indicated. Yet he was enabled to recognize these plants when he came upon them, he was cognizant enough to conclude that his mother would appreciate him bringing them to her and he knew that there was some degree of importance to this cache, although the scripture do not reveal exactly what they were. This brief encounter in the field between this young man and this unusual vegetation, while seemingly insignificant, was an essential element in the events that were about to transpire.

Some have postulated that this plant was a form of an aphrodisiac from the translation of a ‘love apple’. The original word (Heb. ‘dudaheim’- translated mandrakes) comes from a root word that indicates ‘precious’, ‘beloved’ or ‘well loved’ (‘dode’). This root word may also represent the concept of a ‘boiling pot’ or a ‘basket’. Thus taken together, these meanings could represent the concept of active and intense passion or something of immense desire. It would thus stand to reason how these plants or fruits were both something greatly desired and that the use of them could result in an intense sensation. Nevertheless these item(s) were ordained of old to cause quite a commotion regardless of their natural effect.

Upon the discovery of these coveted plants, Rueben did not go to his father, who was undoubtedly working in the field at the time of the wheat harvest, but rather he took them to his mother. Leah could not keep her sons discovery a secret and soon Rachel knew of it, she was earnestly desirous of them for herself. Rachel esteemed them so precious that she was willing to give up her intimate time with her husband to possess them. It is quite amazing that the wife who had Jacob’s love was willing to trade him for these mystical plants while the wife who had not his love was willing to relinquish the illusive fruit and the potential thereof, to spend time with him. Jacob’s love appears expendable to Rachel and a commodity to Leah. The struggle between Leah and Rachel was for the love of Jacob. Leah was desirous to win his love by demonstrating that she was a good wife by producing children. Rachel yearned to demonstrate her love to him, as his wife, by giving him an heir. One has his love and loves him. The other wants his love and is labouring to earn it.

Now if this fruit, vegetable or herb is indeed an aphrodisiac, which of these two women should be desirous of its effects so as to charm her man and enjoy the heightened thrill of ecstasy? One might conclude from the situations that it should be Leah, yet she trades these would be stimulants away to her sister giving her the assumed benefits. If Rachel was desirous of the effects of this magic substance in hope that it would produce a night of intimacy with her beloved, whereby she might conceive and bear a child for Jacob, why then does she trade her night with Jacob for the mandrakes? How must she have felt when, after her sister had been intimate with her husband, she was found with child? Would it not have been completely logical for Rachel to have concluded that the child growing in her sister’s womb might have and should have been hers? And yet in the midst of all this speculation and supposition, there is no indication whatsoever that the mystery substance was ever used. Rachel did not consume it to enhance her fertility nor did she give it to Jacob to heighten his sexual endurance and pleasure.

It is again amazing how much emphasis was given to the substance from discovery to merchandizing and yet nothing is revealed about its use. Nothing is set forth that would conclusively reveal just what these items were or what, natural, euphoric or homeopathic purpose they served, if any. Yet there can be no question as to the fact that the finding of these seemingly innocuous plants served a purpose. The commotion that arose surrounding them and the reorganization of the daily schedules, were orchestrated by the will of God in the performance of His good pleasure. He who has declared the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not done saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Is. 46:10), arranged, formatted and actuated every last detail according to the intent of His heart.. Jehovah had ordered these events to come to pass to bring Jacob together with Leah, so that she would conceive and bring forth her fifth son, named Issachar. Almighty God had ordained that this foolish, enigmatic plant should have been found. He caused this great commotion and yet another outburst between the battling sisters. These were some of the means, which He had interwoven into the fabric of daily reality, whereby His will came to pass.

“Thou must come in unto me, for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes” (30:16)

There had already been a schedule determined and agreed upon for Jacob and Rachel to be together that night. No one would have imagined that these plans could be altered yet, when Jacob came from the field in the evening, he was told, by Leah, that she had procured his company and services for the night. It would be proper to conclude that Jacob was intending to spend the night with Rachel yet upon the news of this bartered trade, he, without recorded objection, willingly obliged Leah. The plans he expected and maybe even anticipated for the evening were changed without his consent. Yet there was no indication of any anger or resistance as he was made willing to comply with these new arrangements, exactly as God had afore decreed. (Notice that he did not even consult with Rachel as to the veracity of the news from Leah!) Jacob was made willing (and fertile) in the time of the will of God and His will is done on earth as it is done in heaven (Luke 11:2).

Through all of this, Jacob was completely oblivious to the fact that Jehovah was performing all that was appointed unto him (Job 23:14). The joining of the prepared viral seed of Jacob with the fertile egg of Leah could not wait until another night for God had ordained that a child should be conceived that very evening. Truly, the very moment of conception had been ordained of old. Now, the fullness of time had come, the Sovereign God had arranged all necessary elements in their proper order and the tapestry of life, having already been woven, could not have one thread changed. The things that ‘must needs be’ were in place, all plans and aspirations of man were changed and the decreed events came to pass. The intention of these women was to jockey for possession and the attention of Jacob. God’s intention was the formation of another earthen vessel afore prepare for the child Issachar.

These two sisters were constantly after each other and when Reuben brought the mandrakes to his mother from the field, Rachel already knew about it. She approaches her sister and petitions her for her sons quarry, saying; “Please give unto me the mandrakes of your son” (30:14). Whatever the intended use, Rachel had been given an earnest desire, yea an obsession, for Reuben’s find and this passion brought her to Leah for redress. She has been drawn to seek help, by the unseen irresistible hand of God. He maneuvered her to the one with whom she was engaged in constant contention and competition. She was trying to be like Leah (that is to bear children for Jacob). Her envy of her sister’s very evident fertility empowered her to attempt to deprive Leah of even the slightest advantage, be it real or imaginary. Leah’s retort to this boon of her younger sister is direct and poignant. It begins with an insult;

“Is it a small matter that thou hast taken MY husband and wouldest thou now take away MY son’s mandrakes also?”

The mere presence of Rachel has enraged Leah and she uses this opportunity to vent her anger upon her. She accuses her of stealing Jacob from her and insults her by saying that she treats this as a trivial matter. How dare she now come and attempt to deprive her of the bounty that her son had brought in from the field!

But wait! Did Rachel steal Jacob away from Leah? Leah may have been the first to marry but Rachel was chosen for wife at the meeting at the well. Jacob was Rachel’s husband before he was married to Leah; “And Jacob loved Rachel and said I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter…and Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled that I may go in unto her” (Gen. 29:18 & 21). Rachel was Jacob’s wife even though they had not yet come together nor consummated the marriage in any physical manner. When the treachery of Laban was discovered, Leah had been with Jacob and had experienced a conjugal relationship with him yet she was not his first wife. Jacob was husband to Rachel by love and to Leah by custom and tradition.

The first married, Leah, was after the nature of man and she presumptuously assumed the right as the wife. She did not have his love but she enjoyed the comfort of his home. She lived under his protection, enjoyed his prosperity and the provisions of his possessions. He was kind unto her and gave himself to her as her husband. Yet he could not give her his love for that belonged to the first wife, Rachel, although she was the second to be manifested as his wife.

A similar parallel was demonstrated in the births of the sons of Abraham and then the sons of Isaac. The first born (Ishmael and Esau) were of the earth and should have been the rightful heirs. The second born (Isaac and Jacob) were the child of promise and became heir of all. According to this type, the first born represents the natural and the second born the spiritual. Ishmael was subservient to Isaac and Esau was subservient to Jacob, contrary to the ‘natural order’. God had decreed that these examples should serve to demonstrate that the first manifested man, Adam, was not of promise. He was, is and always shall be servant to the second manifestation, which is Jesus Christ. He became partaker of flesh and blood, like unto His brethren, in a body that was formed specifically for Him. He suffered every trial and tribulation that the first Adam experienced, yet without sin. The promise of God was, is and ever shall be that the elder, natural Adam should serve the younger, spiritual Adam. Even so then, Leah must serve Rachel, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has made the elder subject to the younger as a shadow of reality.

The second born and the second wife are types of the eternal seed. Isaac could not dwell with the firstborn because God, from before their birth, had prophesied that Abraham and Sarah would have a child. Even though there was no commission of offence between Ishmael and Isaac, Ishmael’s mother was not according to the decree of the promise of God and thus Ishmael could never be the true son. The promise was; “and He said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life and lo, Sarah, thy wife, shall have a son” (Gen. 18:10). Ishmael, being first born, had no right, no portion and no memorial because he could not call Sarah his mother. The union of the seed of Abram and the egg of Hagar was not the proper combination to produce the exact vessel to house the seed of one born from above. The time of the union of Abram and Hagar was not the appointed time for the child of promise to be born and neither Abram nor Sarai had been made ready to have the promised child. After Ishmael had lived as the heir apparent for fourteen years, after Abram’s name was changed to Abraham and Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah, after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and after Abraham lied, for the second time, about Sarah to the King of Gerar, then God returned the manner of life unto these aged people and the child of promise was born.

Jacob was the child of promise and as God foretold Rebekah, before either he or Esau were born or had done any good or evil; “two nations are in thy womb and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels. The one people shall be stronger than the other people and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23). Jacob was the younger and, although there was deceit and subterfuge, he could not return the blessing that Isaac had given to him and Esau could not reclaim it though he sought it with tears.

Adam was first brought forth in the garden and he inherited the dust of the earth for his meat. He was assigned the labours of this world as discipline and his desires are in the pleasures of this world. The second Adam, Jesus of Nazareth, was brought forth in the fullness of time, born of a woman but not of man. He has a more excellent name because of a better inheritance. He is sustained by meat that is not of this world and His desire is upon His Bride. He came forth from the Father with His reward with Him and His work before Him. His delight is in the Law of God and His name is Faithful and True.

Even so, Leah would be in servitude to Rachel her entire life, though now she assumes that Rachel has stolen her husband away. Rachel was the wife of love and Leah the wife of traditions and customs. Rachel could do nothing to increase or diminish the true love of Jacob and Leah could do nothing to earn, secure or buy it for she had no right, nor part nor memorial. The union of Jacob and Leah was not the correct union, though it served the purpose of God. The love between Jacob and Rachel was eternally ordained and neither time nor chance could have any effect upon it.

Rachel, certainly not after the flesh, represents the Israel of our God (Gal. 6:16), that Bride who is eternally one with Him. She has been and ever shall be the Beloved, who has been granted to be adorned in fine linen pure and white, which is the righteousness of the saints. It was appointed unto her to sit in the dust of the earth for a period of time as she appeared to be barren. Yet at the appointed time, He came to Her at the well and fed, nourished and protected Her flock. He took Her to be His, demonstrating His love for Her. He raised her up from Her perceived barrenness and Her children greatly exceeded the children of the married. The true Bride dwelled in the shadow of the nation of Israel until such time as Jehovah, in the fullness of time, revealed Her. She is seated in Him in the heavenlies and the bands have been loosed from the captive daughter of Zion (Is. 52:2). This treasure had been hidden in the field until such time as the Redeemer, Jesus the Christ, found her that was lost. He sold all He had and bought the field (Matt. 13:44).

“And Leah said, God hath given me my hire (reward), because I have given my maiden to my husband and she called his name Issachar” (Gen. 30:18)

The doctrine of Adam began in the garden of God and has been with his children from generation to generation. It has been manifested in many ways but it has not changed one iota. The basic tenant states that God rewards proper conduct and denounces disobedience with severe consequences. Those who decide to obey and do the best they are able, can expect blessings from on high as God smiles upon them for their cooperation. Those who refuse to accept His ways and rebel should expect to bear the wrath of God because of their wicked ways. Finally, anyone who has been obedient but fails to continue on that path may lose the blessings, already afforded to them and, ‘If’ these transgressions continue, may forfeit their salvation as a backsliding heifer. Conversely, if the wicked should repent of his ways, God should receive him into the fold of the sheep of Jehovah and pour out His blessings upon him. Therefore, if a person is affluent and his way prosperous, he must be an obedient child of God yet if he is out of the way, poor and solitary; he is identified as one under the heavy yoke of God’s judgment. “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished being innocent or where were the righteous cut off?” (Job 4:7)

Leah believed this very doctrine. She felt that she had conducted herself in proper obedience when she gave her handmaid, Zilpah, to Jacob. After all God had given her two sons by the womb of the handmaid. Certainly this was an indication of God’s approval and now He was about to demonstrate His approval again by rewarding her with another son. Of course, if this doctrine had any truth in it, the opposite must be concluded about Rachel. She must have been being under the sanctions of Jehovah because of some deed which she had done or ill feelings she was harbouring since she was barren. This is the traditions of man taught as the doctrines of God.

This is not the standard operating procedure of the sovereign God of the universe. He is not a respecter of persons, He does not reward people for their ingenuity or creativity and He certainly does not regard the wickedness of man as good. He has ordained the wickedness of man for good and “the wrath of man shall praise thee” (Ps. 76:10) but just because He has ordered an event to come to pass by the hands of a wicked king or because His determinate counsel has delivered His Son into wicked hands to be crucified does not obligate Him to excuse the conduct and call it righteous. God had not rewarded Leah for her selfish competition with her sister and He had not regarded her lust for preeminence as acceptable conduct. He ordained all of these virulent carnal attributes as necessary in the facilitation of His will that the union of Leah and Jacob should produce this son.

Jehovah God gave Leah confidence in this false notion that she was to be rewarded for her good deeds. He also caused her to call his name Issachar in commemoration of these ‘good works’ and He empowered her to rejoice in her supposed victory. Neither she nor Jacob decided upon the name. The name was as ordained of old as the circumstances which led up to his birth. The name, Issachar, was as inseparably intertwined with these events as the planets and stars are, in the harmony of the cosmos. The conception happened in the fullness of time as He, who works all things by the power of His will, ordained that it should. Man and woman were certainly participants in the matter as the events ‘fell out’ as decreed but no praise is due unto them. “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it, as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up or as if the staff should lift itself up as if it were not wood?” (Is. 10:15).

This young man was predestined to be, like his other brothers, both an example of the frailties and weaknesses of man and a type of the child of grace in Christ Jesus. The path he was assigned demonstrated his inability to measure up to the standard of the Holiness of God after the arm of Adam as he was ‘given of God’ (Nethaneel) to be ‘brought low’ (Zuar) (Num. 1:8). These labours were established in the correct order and severity to properly exercise (afflict and humble) him (Ecc. 1:13) because he represents a ‘splendid’ (Pua) one whom God had ‘redeemed’ (Igal), being his kinsman (Num. 13:7 & 26:23). The heavy burdens of the bondage and corruption of the flesh, which so easily besets the child of grace, serve to manifest, in contrast, the ‘exceeding strength’ (Azzan) of the Mighty One to those who are ‘delivered of God’ (Paltiel) by His right arm (Num. 34:26). God has placed the things of this world in the heart of Adam so that he cannot find out the work of God which He has made from the beginning to the end (Ecc. 3:11). He abases the glory of man, which is as the grass, by His Spirit, as His children walk by the faith of the Son of God. They accomplish the lot assigned unto them not by might, nor by strength but by the indwelling Spirit who causes them to keep His way (Zech. 4:6).

And thus we have the testimony of the Spirit for our learning and patience. Neither commendation nor condemnation should be placed upon Issachar, his offspring or any descendant of Adam. The just live by faith and endure the contradiction of sin against themselves while the wicked go estranged from the womb speaking lies. Righteousness is praised and wickedness condemned as every man shall give account of that which is done in his flesh. Each and every one thinks, acts and speaks according to the course that he has been predestined to follow and each step is ordered of old. Nothing ‘comes to pass’ but by the will of God who created all things by Himself, through Himself and for Himself that no flesh should glory in His sight.

“Why then doth He yet find fault for who has resisted His will? (Rms. 9:19)”

This is the cry of injustice by Adam against the Creator. Man cannot understand the doctrine of predestination. His nature is prone to works and achievements with his rewards centered in his accomplishments. The idea that all that happens from moment to moment is unalterably fixed and unmovable is incomprehensible to the carnal mind. Therefore the arguments against the notion of a Sovereign God ordaining and enabling all things to come to pass in a fixed manner are based on carnal logic and limited reasoning. The diminutive capacity and linear capabilities of man does not possess the infinite wisdom of the Creator and thusly he cannot understand His ways. He does not know the purpose of God, he cannot fathom the power and glory of God and he is incapable of receiving the things of the Spirit. Without a second nature, being born from above of incorruptible seed, the Word of God is the sound of mighty waters, the continuous blast of a trumpet and the cacophony of thunders and many voices. Adam, being devoid of this divine nature, concludes that God is unjust if He indeed has forbade man’s liberty of movement, thought and expression. His carnal reasoning is then confined to the conclusions that God is a spectator who intervenes when needed, that He works in cooperation with the forces of good and evil and/or He does not exist.

Leah was given to such a carnal conclusion when she reasoned that God had benefited from her efforts and had thus rewarded her for her ingenuity and creativity. She could not understand that God had commanded that she act as she had done for the good pleasure of His will. She did not know that she was ignorantly obedient to this will because He had put it in her heart to fulfill His will. She did not know that God worked in her both to will and to do His good pleasure. He had predestinated that she be devious, contentious, spiteful and pregnant, and so it came to pass.

Issachar a strong ass couching down between two burdens;” (Gen 49:14)

{Issachar a strong ass reclined between the folds or pens}

The childhood, adolescence and adult life of Issachar is inclusive and unremarkable. Nothing is definitively recorded about him yet he is among his brothers in many escapades. Although he is not an instigator in the abduction and sale of Joseph, he is also not a dissenter. When Jacob dispatches his sons to go to Egypt and buy corn, Issachar is presumed to be an active participant but only his sons, Tola (worm), Phuvah (splendid), Job (persecuted) and Shimron (watchful) are mentioned (Gen. 46:13). Now as the final days of Jacob are waning past, he calls his sons together and blesses them with a prophetic statement; “that I may tell you which shall befall you in the last days” (49:1).

Issachar’s position as a strong bodied ass is an indication that he had been equipped to bear heavy burdens. This may indicate that he was a hard worker or one who handled stress in an exemplary manner. But in any case, he is compared to a beast of burden of excellent characteristics. Although the ass is not considered to be one of the more desirable animals it is presented as essential in many accounts. It was this reddish creature which conveyed Abraham and Isaac to the mount where God proved Abraham and revealed to him that; “God will provide Himself a Lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). These ‘boiling’ or passionate animals bore the sons of Jacob to Egypt and carried the grain back from Egypt to Jacob. An ass spoke with the voice of a man when he saw the angel of Jehovah stand in the way and he prevented Balaam from being killed (Num. 22:28). The ass bore Mary, great with child, to Bethlehem and carried the triumphant Messiah into Jerusalem one week before He was crucified (Matt. 21:5). Now we know that these accounts all speak of animals and not the man Issachar but they do present the nature of the animal which Issachar is likened unto.

The lot of the inheritance of Issachar rested between three tribes to the north and one to the south while having the great sea behind and the Jordan River before. The three tribes to the north were Asher (happy/content), Zebulun (dwelling) and Naphtali (struggle/wrestling). The tribe to the south was Manasseh (forget). Issachar, ‘the recompense’, ‘hire’ or ‘reward’, rests between the folds of the flocks of those who have peace with God while in the habitation of this dwelling wherein there exists warfare between the nature of Adam and the seed born from above. The ‘reward of compensation’ is the promise of the hope of glory within, which is Immanuel, and the understanding that this “light affliction, which is for but a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17). The joy is the surety that this habitation, with all its trials, tribulations and “sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rms. 8:18)

The burden that is born is the subjection to the vanity of this world wherein the creature groans within himself as he endures the contradiction of sin against himself. It is the burden of the bondage of the corruption of the flesh in that the body is dead because of sin and the flesh profits nothing. While the affections of the inner man delight in the law of God and long to be at rest in Jerusalem the child of Adam desires the things of this world. The promised children are sustained by the Bread of Life and their thirst is quenched with living waters while the earthen vessel cannot rest, cannot be still and is never satisfied. Hence Issachar is a strong body ass afore prepared to bear a burden which is light and a yoke that is easy (Matt. 11:30).

Issachar as a type of the house of the redeemed which is come down from above is represented as the Jordan River before them. They have been born from above by the power of the Spirit (John 3:8) and they inhabit an earthen vessel which was afore prepared unto glory for them. A portion of this remnant was concealed within the house of national Israel but the remaining host, which no man can number, is redeemed of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues (Rev. 7:9). This is represented as the great sea to the hinder. This house of the redeemed rests in the ‘recompense of the reward’ of the finished work of the Lamb of God wherein all things that were written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms, concerning His Servant, must and have been fulfilled (Luke 24:44).

The ‘reward of hire’ is Issachar as he represents the redeemed of the Lord. He is the object of the eternal love of the Father and the covenant of the Son. He is the joy that was set before the Redeemer wherein He endured the cross, despising the shame and was acquainted with grief. The reward is in the “Everlasting Father” from the beginning and because of the travail of the soul of the Servant, “the reward” is now glorified with Him with the same glory that He has with the Father. Therefore they are One (John 17:21).

Issachar, ‘the reward’, is not of man. No son of Adam is qualified for the undertaking. No seed of Adam has any interest in redemption or seeks after righteousness (Rms. 3:10f). Because of the imputed sin of Adam, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and death has passed to all by sin. Therefore the true, exceedingly great reward, which is Jehovah God (Gen. 15:1), cannot be a son of Adam, cannot be of the will of Adam and cannot be polluted by the hands of Adam. Man does not have the mind of God. The thoughts of God are not the thoughts of man and His ways are far above the creature that was formed from the dust of the earth. Man is incapable of understanding the ways of God and God has filled his heart with the desires of this world so that he cannot find out the things of God by searching.

The reward is both the Beloved and His bride. She was with Him when He was begotten of the Father and became incarnate. He came forth with His work before Him and His reward with Him. The Anointed Servant of Jehovah “fulfilled all righteousness” for His Bride, the reward. When He was raised up by the power of God and manifested as the Son of God, She being in Him, was quickened together with Him and raised up together with Him. The entire house of the Redeemed was predestinated to be conformed to the image of the risen Son, thus He is Her reward and when He shall appear, they shall be manifest in the image of the heavenly, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. He is the “hidden manna” and the “bread of Life”, the “white stone” wherein is written the “new name which no man knows save he that receives it”, He is the white raiment, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints and they have overcome this world in Him. He is the crown of righteousness upon Her head, He is the crown of Life and the Tree of Life and He is Her inheritance.

The Servant of Jehovah came to fulfill all righteousness. He sowed His work in righteousness and this is the sure reward (Prov. 11:18). He, Jehovah God, came forth with a strong hand and His arm rules for Him. He came forth having His reward with Him (the satisfaction of the righteousness of the Father, the fulfillment of the law and the salvation of His people) and His work before Him (to do the will of the Father) (Is. 40:10). He alone proclaimed the end of the world when he said to the daughters of Zion, “Behold your salvation is come; behold His reward is with Him and His work before Him” (Is. 62:11) and He promised to His servant John in the revelation of Jesus Christ when He said “behold I come quickly and My reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12). The Son of God is the reward of His people and His people are His reward. The love of the Father and the joy of the salvation of His people is the work which He performed and the testimony of His people is the ‘Shabbot’ the Sabbath of our Lord wherein He has finished His work and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Heb. 12:2). He was raised again for the justification of His elect and they are seated together with Him in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). He is the heir of God and they are joint heirs with Him (Rms. 8:17). This inheritance is not of the rocks and dust of this earth. It is the good pleasure of the Father to give His children an inheritance of His kingdom (Luke 12:32) which is not of this world (John 18:36).

“And he saw that good rest and the land that was pleasant and bowed his shoulder to bear and became a servant of tribute” (Gen. 49:15)

The purpose of the Son of God becoming partaker of flesh and blood, in the form of a servant, and become obedient to death was the joy that was set before Him. This was not a new sensation that overcame Him or a notion that He thought He should pursue, it was the everlasting love that He has for His Bride. All of creation exists by Him, for Him and through Him, which is for His Bride, to the praise of the Father. He is one in the Father as the Father is in Him and She is the same. She is “bone of My bone and flesh of My flesh” as She is glorified in Him. She is ‘the apple of His eye’ and the fullness of His desire. He has formed, fashioned and empowered all things after the power of His will for the love, comfort, guidance, discipline, chastisement, growth and maturity of His people as they travel in this waste howling wilderness. He prepared the wilderness for Her and the wilderness and the solitary place are glad for Her (Is. 35:1).

His joy was to fulfill the Law and finish the work in righteousness, redeeming His people from the power of sin and covering His Bride with fine linen, clean and white. When He had endured the contradiction of sin against Himself and removed it to the uninhabited land, the Father saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied. The righteous servant justified many when He bore their iniquity (Is. 53:11). The seventy weeks were accomplished, the transgression was finished, sin had come to the end of its course and reconciliation had been made for iniquity (Dan. 9:24). Everlasting righteousness was revealed as the captain of the salvation of His people was manifested and all flesh saw it together. Then was He “declared the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection of the dead” (Rms. 1:4). The sacrifice and oblations had ceased, for the abomination He left the house desolate (national Israel) and the testimony of the new covenant was confirmed with many (Dan. 9:27). Therefore His Bride, His called out assembly, has this irrefutable testimony of a finished work and, by the Holy Spirit that dwells within, they walk according to His statutes and keep the Law of God perfectly.

When the serpent confronted Eve in the garden, (having no knowledge of good or evil and Adam incapable of stopping her) she, seeing the fruit and lusting after it, took and ate. In this act she was in disobedience to the law of God. Without another thought, word or deed being performed, she stood separated from God by sin. When Adam harkened unto the voice of his wife and did eat, he became conformed to her image, which was dead in trespasses and sin, and all his posterity with him. Thus sin entered into the world by the singular act of one man and death by sin.

Yet before the first stroke of time had counted off, before this or any act had been committed or pretence imagined, God predestinated His bride to be conformed to the image of His Son; “who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature” (Col. 1:15). From before the foundation of the world, the Lamb stood, as it had been slain (Rev. 5:6 & 13:8), in the rest of the finished work. Before the earth was formed or the dry land revealed from the sea, the pleasant land (chosen vessels afore prepared unto glory) had already been prepared to receive the good seed (Matt. 13:23), each man in his order, and to bring forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Before the posterity of Adam was separated from God in trespasses and sin, the sacrifice for sin was offered and accepted. Before the children became burdened with the weight and sin that so easily besets them, Issachar, ‘the recompense’, had already bowed His shoulder to the encumbrance of the load of sin and became a servant of vanity under the task-mastery of the law.

When Adam had not yet been formed from the dust of the earth and no one had yet been born neither had done any good or evil, that the purpose of God might stand according to election, the ‘recompense of reward’ (Issachar) “bore our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Is. 53:4). He, “who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man, and being found in the fashion as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Ph. 2:7). This same Jesus, the author and finisher of the faith of His people, had already overcome the world before it even existed.

This finished work was prophetically represented in the types and foreshadows of Israel. It was portrayed in the furniture, furnishings and instruments of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. It was represented in the priesthood of Aaron (bringer of light) and his children of the tribe of Levi (joined) and demonstrated in the feasts and ceremonies of the law. The nation of Israel was an earthly pattern of the Israel of our God because they were of ‘He who had power with God’ (Israel) and the land they inherited stood for the new earth which John saw in the revelation. But when the ‘salvation of Jehovah’ came forth to “save His people from their sin”, in the fullness of time, in the end of the world, He offered up the perfect sacrifice for sin. Then that which had waxed old, faded away and mystery of God was finished. The types were done away as He “abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to make in Himself of the twain one new man, making peace” (Eph. 2:15). Issachar not only saw the pleasant land of the prepared field that would receive the seed, born from above, but He also “saw a New heaven and a New earth for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1).

“And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice Zebulun in thy going out and Issachar in thy tents” (Deut. 33:18)

Moses spoke this prophetic blessing to the visible houses of Zebulun and Issachar not for any merit of these men or their children. Moses was not admonishing the man Zebulun or his household to act according to a certain standard whereby they would be exalted. He was not telling them that their ways could be made prosperous and their stations in life advanced if they were obedient and he certainly was not attempting to give them false hope of one day being exalted of God for their merits. The name Zebulun (dwelling) is derived from a word that means honored or exalted. This was what the name represented not what the person could become. Neither was Issachar exhorted of Moses to become a recompense or reward by dwelling in ‘shinning’, ‘nomadic’ dwellings. Moses was not praising either of these sons of Jacob for their stellar conduct because their way was not in themselves. It was not of Zebulun, Issachar or Adam to direct their steps, order their conduct or govern their conversations (Jer. 10:23) for these are all ordained of old by the Sovereign God. He was not aggrandizing their works of righteousness for “we are all as unclean things and all our works of righteousness are as filthy rags; we all do fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away, and there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee…” (Is. 64:6). And he certainly was not predicting their worth unto God for He is in need of nothing. When these men and their families complete all that the Master has commanded them to do, they are collectively unprofitable servants, for they will have done that which was their duty to do (Luke 17:10).

The Word of the Lord by the mouth of Moses was referring specifically to ‘the daily conduct of the exalted dwelling and the recompense of his habitations’

The ‘exalted dwelling’ is in the inner man which is the temple wherein God dwells (I John 4:12). The ‘going out’ is the good work that God is performing (Phil. 1:6). These are the good works which they have been created in Christ Jesus unto and which they shall not fail to perform as they keep the commandments of God. Whosoever is born of God keeps His commandments because He has written His Law upon their heart and the Spirit, dwelling in them, causes them to walk in His statutes and keep His judgments (Ez. 36:27). These are the children of the New Covenant.

The ‘reward’ is the glory that shall be revealed when the inheritance is realized as the sons of God are manifested. This is when the time of the habitation is over and the tabernacle of this dwelling is dissolved. Then shall this tabernacle be “put off” (I Pt. 1:14) and the “mansions” which the Lord has prepared for His people shall be seen with untrammeled eyes (John 14:2). Then shall His people sing His praises devoid of the stammering tongue of Adam. Their knees shall bow and they shall confess that He is Lord and they shall “worship Him that liveth forever and ever, casting their crowns before the throne saying; Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy wills sake, they are and were created” (Rev. 4:10f).

The ‘tents’, or ‘shinning’, ‘nomadic habitations’, are the booths wherein His people dwell. These booths are a reminder that they were strangers in the house of Pharaoh until the Strength of Jehovah came and spoiled the strong man’s house, freeing them from the bondage and oppression. They are also a reminder that they are strangers here in this foreign land and that the tabernacles of this dwelling are but for a moment. So, from year to year they keep the feast of Tabernacles (Zech.14:16), until the time that this habitation be over and the dwelling place not made with hand, that is eternal in the heavens, is revealed. “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel” (Num. 24:5).

This shell of the dust of the earth was set apart for the purpose of being the dwelling place of the inner man and the labours prescribed unto it are for the discipline for His pilgrims and sojourners; “for we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7). This inward man is not the seed of man, it is not procreated by the power of the flesh and is not made manifest by the will of man. It is that incorruptible seed that is born of the will of the Spirit (John 3:8), therefore, being born of God he is the son of God (I John3:1f). These sons have a body prepared for them that is weak, ignorant and dying every moment of its existence but Emmanuel dwells within the inner man. The carnal body has been cleaned and swept and all leaven has been purged from its borders. The blood of the Lamb has been struck upon the door posts, of this earthen vessel, so that he who dwells within is protected from the wrath of God which is against all unrighteousness (Ex. 12:13). Though cleansed from all unrighteousness this vessel is still temporal and dead because of sin (Rms. 8:10). It cannot measure up to the standards of the Holiness of God and therefore has no place in the heavenlies; “And there shall in no wise enter in anything that defileth, neither worketh abomination nor maketh a lie; but (only) they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).

This inner man is renewed day by day as he grows in the grace and knowledge of His will and the elder or outward man is his servant. The earthen vessel is the ‘hide’ that God gave to Adam for a covering (Gen. 3:21). It covers the sons of God during their time in this habitation. When the fullness of the time of this habitation is come, the ‘hide’ shall be stripped away and the children shall see the Father in His flesh (Job 19:26). Adam said Eve was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh; she saw him in his flesh. Even so the Bride of Christ is His seed, born of Jerusalem which is free and from above (the mother of us all Gal.4:26), therefore, when the tabernacle of this dwelling is dissolved, she shall see Him in Her/His flesh.

But this exalted dwelling is not separate from the Godhead for His name is Immanuel. He dwells in His people, He tabernacles with them (John 14:23), they are born of the Father and are One in Him (14:20). They are the Holy city, the New Jerusalem for they are free and have come down from heaven. They have “the glory of God and Her light is like a most precious stone” (Rev. 21:11). They are the gates and their names are written thereon (12). They are nourished in the Bread of Life, their thirst is assuaged in the water of Life and they live because they have a part in the Tree of Life. They are not an addendum to the Godhead, they do not increase God or make Him greater in any fashion, they are One in Him. Their head is a crown of righteousness and they are adorned in the righteousness of the saints which is the imputed righteousness of Messiah.

“They shall call the people unto the mountain”

In a world that is inundated with the cacophony of neo-evangelical noise, the call of the song of Zion is unnoticed, unheard and unwanted. It lacks the vibrant activity of the marketplace, the melodious sounds of the pipes of the children of the land and the rhythmic beat of the indigenous population. But more importantly, the inhabitants of this world have not the ears to hear the song of deliverance, the song of praise of the headstone, “grace, grace unto Him” (Zech. 4:7) or the songs of Zion (Ps. 137:3f).

But when, in the fullness of time, the Father is pleased to reveal the Son in a chosen vessel of mercy, then the song is heard as the ears are opened to that certain sound of a sure trumpet. “And many people shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob and He will teach us of His ways and we shall walk in His paths, for out of Zion shall go forth the law and the Word of Jehovah from Jerusalem” (Is. 2:3). When the Word calls forth His people out of the sin of the nations and grants them the understanding that they have been freed from the house of the one who is stronger then they, only then shall they say one to another; “O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of Jehovah” (2:5). This light is the light of the world that was incarnate to deliver His people from the kingdom of darkness and translated them into His kingdom of light. The aged servant of the Lord proclaimed this when he took the babe in his arms and said; “Lord, letest now thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the nations and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29f). Jehovah has revealed His salvation and all flesh has seen Him exactly as He had prophesied (Is. 40:5).The mountain of Jehovah is that city set upon the hill built upon the seven pillars that Wisdom hewed out and built. It is that house built upon the Rock that cannot be moved and the kingdom of God that is established forever. It is the New Jerusalem come down from heaven and it is His church against whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.

How arrogant it is of man to think that it is the duty of Adam, by the strength of his arm and the expanses of his imagination, to present the salvation of the Lord to all the world. How vain to think that man can build the church, increase the chosen called out assembly or add lost souls to the Bride of Christ: “likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart and prophesy against them and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Woe to the women that sew pillows to armholes and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of My people and will you save the souls alive that come unto you? And will ye pollute Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die and to save the souls alive that should not live by your lying to My people that hear your lies?” (Ezk. 13:17ff). How presumptuous to allege that Almighty God is held back, put on hold and prevented from performing the good pleasure of His will until such time as man devises the means whereby he is obedient to the, so called, ‘great commission’ and has preached the gospel to every creature.

“And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it (New Jerusalem) and the kings of the earth do bring their glory unto it” (Rev. 21:24)

“They shall offer sacrifices of righteousness”

Moses did not say that Zebulun and Issachar would be made righteous in the sacrifices that they offered; he said that they most assuredly would offer sacrifices of righteousness. No one can offer something that they do not have. In order for it to be a righteous sacrifice all the elements of the sacrifice must be 100% Holy and righteous. The only standard for righteousness is the righteousness of the Son of God. This is the same righteousness of His Bride, wherewith She has been granted to be arrayed. The sin of Adam is a filthy and unfit garment. The perfect Lamb of God, who knew no sin, became the sin of His people and His body of flesh and blood became a filthy garment. When He removed that sin into the uninhabited land where it can never be called into account ever again, being remembered no more of Jehovah, the filthy garments were removed. “Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I will clothe thee in a change of raiment” (Zech. 3:4). This is the fine linen clean and white that is the righteousness of the Anointed Servant of God. When there was no man who could intercede for His people, His arm brought salvation unto Him and His righteousness sustained Him; “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate and an helmet of salvation upon His head. He hath put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and with zeal as a cloak” (Is. 59:17).

Now we see the body of Christ, His church, adorned as a Bride for Her husband. She is not clad about in garments of the imagination of Adam. His idea of acceptable attire is fig leaves sewn together into aprons. These garments are not made of the camel hair and goat skins of the land of Canaan. They were not crafted of the embroidering of Babylon, the silks of Persia or the weaving of Egypt. Unto the general assembly of the church of the Firstborn it was granted that she be arrayed in fine linen clean and white. She is clothed upon in the imputed righteousness of her husband and Lord. The righteousness of the saints is the wedding garment of the New Jerusalem because the Bridegroom has come, the doors are shut and the marriage feast of the Lamb is come; “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to Him for the marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife has made Herself ready. And unto Her it was granted that She should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Rev. 19:7f).

Therefore being righteous in Him, she offers sacrifices of righteousness; “little children, let no man deceive you, he that doeth righteousness is righteous as He is righteous” (I John 3:7). These are the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps. 116:17), the sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15) and the sacrifice of peace; “therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rms. 5:1).

These sacrifices cannot be touched by the hand of flesh and blood and cannot be polluted by the tools of man for they emanate from the Spirit within. “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rms 12:1).

“for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas and treasures hid in the sand”

God promised Abram, after He separated Lot from his company, that his seed would be as the dust of the earth. He also promised him the land whereon he stood. This seed represented the natural seed of Abram which included Ishmael and the sons of Keturah. The land is the land of Canaan (Gen. 13:16) and to this day the sons of Abram dwell in that very land, disputing over the rightful ownership. To this day, the religions of man seek the promise in the dust of the earth of Palestine as the future kingdom of God here on earth. They worship the Jerusalem which is below and fellowship the son of the bond-woman (Hagar) ecumenically with the children of the false “incense” and improper “smoke” of the fraudulent sacrifice (Keturah).

“Here is wisdom; Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast for it is the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18).

God then told Abram, after He changed his name to Abraham and separated Ishmael and his mother from their company, that the seed of Abraham would be as the stars of the heavens and the sand which is upon the sea shore. This was the promise that was upon the miracle child of promise, Isaac, as Jehovah God revealed that He had provided Himself a lamb for the burnt offering for the sin of His people (Gen. 22:14). This has nothing to do with ‘terra firma’ for it is the Lamb of God which stood as it had been slain from before the world was created. It has nothing to do with the will or conduct of Adam but is completely contingent upon the will and conduct of the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). This is true conditional salvation for it was dependant upon the Lamb of God satisfying all the conditions and stipulations of the Law of God.

This promise was repeated to the child of promise, Jacob, as he dreamed a dream at the well of the oath (Beer-sheba). Jehovah God revealed Himself to Jacob as the God of Abraham and Isaac. He promised that his seed would inherit the land whereon he was sleeping and that they would be as the dust of the earth and in that seed “shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 28:14). The type was the nation of Israel and the land of Canaan. The anti-type is the Israel of our God and the New earth wherein Emmanuel dwells in New Jerusalem.

The promise, in type, is represented as being fulfilled almost a thousand years from Abram, when David numbered the nation of Israel (I Chr. 27:23). It was confirmed by Solomon when the Lord appeared unto him in a dream and he said; “Thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for the multitude” (I Kings 3:8). All that God had promised Abram, Isaac and Jacob had come to pass when Solomon became the king of Israel and “there at not failed one word which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant” (I Kings 8:56). But this was the type of the heavenly reality of the promise of God.

The anti-type of these promises is a treasure hid in earthen vessels (II Cor. 4:7). The ‘Israel of our God’ is manifested in the 144,000 redeemed from the house of natural tribes of Israel. Although this mighty nation had indeed become as the sands of the sea and had forgotten Jehovah God, “yet it shall come to pass in that the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God” (Hos. 1:10). “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return, the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness” (Is. 10:22) and again “though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved” (Rms. 9:27). Thus when John was in the Spirit in the day of the Lord, he saw 144,000 redeemed from the house of Israel. The ‘habitation of the recompense’ (the tents of Issachar) and the ‘exalted dwelling’ (Zebulun) belong to the remnant that was hid in Israel as a treasure hidden in a field (Matt. 13:44), that one goodly pearl of great price hid in the sea (46) and the net that was cast into the sea and gathered every kind (47).

John also saw that there stood an innumerable host that came after the redeemed of Israel who were of every nation, kindred, people and tongue which stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands (Rev. 7:9). This is the ‘abundance of the sea’ as it represents the Gentile nations of the world; “Then thou shalt see and flow together and thine heart shall fear and be enlarged, because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee and the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee” (Is. 60:5). The sands of the sea shore stood as a boundary for the sea and when that middle wall of partition was removed the whole house of the true Israel was manifested “in the days of the voice of the seventh Angel (Jesus the Christ of God - Heb. 1:1) began to sound that the mystery of God should be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets” (Rev. 10:7).

The mystery of Messiah, the mystery of God, the mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the mystery of faith were hid from the sons of man, “since the world began” (Rms. 16:25) though it was diligently sought after. But in the fullness of time, God revealed this mystery to His Holy prophets and apostles; “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body and partakers of the same promise in Christ by the Gospel” (Eph. 3:6). It came forth with great wonder and power, in the last days, when God poured out His Spirit upon all flesh. Then did the sons and daughters of God prophesy in His name and the redeemed of the Lord, those ordained unto eternal life, heard the Word, every man in his own language (Acts 2:17ff). The fact that God had granted repentance to the Gentiles (Acts 11:18) was manifested when Phillip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8: 26ff), Peter saw the vision upon the roof top (Acts 10: 34ff) and Paul, the ordained Apostle to the Gentiles (Rms. 11:13), preached the glad tidings of great joy unto them. It was further realized as the assembly in Jerusalem was dispersed throughout all the world and the gospel was preached to every ‘creature’ in all nations (Matt. 28:19). His people were a witness to Him in all the world and unto every creature (Mk. 16:15) the word of the truth was proclaimed; “which is come unto you as it is in all the world and bringeth forth fruit” (Col. 1:6). The mystery that had been hid in the dust of the earth (Adam) had been revealed as the ‘habitation of recompense’ and the ‘exalted dwelling’ was manifested in the abundance of the sea.

The glory of Jehovah has been revealed in His Son and is still revealed in His church. All flesh has seen His glory as the mouth of Jehovah has spoken (Is. 40:5). Some look upon it and count it as foolishness (I Cor. 1:18). They hear the Word of truth and being of the seed of the serpent, his wicked ones come and steal it away, lest they should hear and believe. Some others see the glory and hear the Word and quickly receive it joyfully. These have no root in the true vine and when the tribulations and persecutions of this life arise because of the Word they are offended, caring more for the pleasures of this life than the glory that shall be revealed. Others receive the Word and the glory thereof amidst thorns and briars. These are steeped in the rituals of religious service and teach the traditions of men for the doctrines of God. When the cares of this world come to bare the truth of the mystery of the gospel is choked out, not being mixed with faith, and they are unfruitful (Matt. 13: 18-22).

There is however, a remnant according to grace. These were dead in trespasses and sin in Adam and stood condemned by the law of God. Yet the precious blood of the Lamb cleansed that chosen ground and properly prepared it to receive the good seed. The seed is born from above and having ears to hear, receives and rejoices in the gospel of deliverance as it is preached by the Messenger of God having the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6). These are blessed to know the joyful sound and to walk in the countenance of Jehovah (Ps. 89:15) because they have experienced the glad tidings of great joy. When they hear another speak the same things and sing the songs of Zion, which is praise unto our God and the Rock of our salvation, they rejoice in the fellowship of the truth. God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to deliver His people from their ignorance unto conversion and reveal His Son in them.

Preaching of the gospel and the subject matter thereof is not discretionary. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as His chosen flock is called in the bond of peace; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in each and every child of grace (Eph. 4:4f). There is one Word who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. By Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, principalities or power, all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence (Col. 1:15ff). The gospel is the power of God unto the salvation of His people, the recompense for their sin, by the precious blood of the Lamb of God. He is the exalted dwelling of His people; He is their Rock, their fortress, their deliverer and their strength in whom they trust (Ps. 18:2). He has been their dwelling place in all generations for from everlasting to everlasting He is God (Ps. 90:1). He tabernacles with them and they abide in Him and no man can pluck them out of His hands. This is the good news, the glad tidings of great joy which is unto all men, the Jew first and to the nations of the world.

“Say among the heathen, Jehovah reigneth” (Ps. 96:10), “O Zion that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength. Lift it up, be not afraid and say to the cities of Judah, BEHOLD YOUR GOD!” (Is. 40:9).

Preaching the gospel, rehearsing the testimony of Messiah, is the joy and privilege of every child of grace. They rejoice in the great and wondrous works their God has done. They have fellowship in His sufferings and know the power of His resurrection by experience. They have the hope of glory and their affections are set on the things from above. They long for Jerusalem as they travel through this foreign land, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of their faith. He has given them, as ambassadors of Messiah, the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, He has reconciled the world unto Himself.

Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
February 2013

The Banner of Hope
Volume 7, No. 1
February 2013