“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way the leads to destruction, and many there be that enter in.”
When beset by the multitude of people, Jesus withdrew Himself into the mountains and as His disciples followed Him, He began to teach them. He spoke the Word of God concerning the truth of His Kingdom and His subjects. His words were for His people as He instructed them of the ways of truth which were diametrically opposed to the ways and the religion of Adam.
Jesus never intimated that there was a choice to be made here concerning the strait and broad ways. Nor was He inviting His disciples to come and join Him in a journey through the narrow gate as a new form of Zionism against the nations of the world. He was stating a simple yet profound truth about the existence of two ways unto two very opposite conclusions and the identity of those who traveled these routes.
Everything that Adam does in his walk through this life is to the glory and praise of God because God has decreed it to be so, but the intention of everything that Adam does is in attempt to prove himself worthy before God. He stood in the garden, clothed in his apron of fig leaves, to show God that he knew what was good and what was evil and that his hands were capable of addressing the predicament of his nakedness. He was neither remorseful nor contrite before the Creator as he presented his arguments for the extenuating circumstances that surrounded his guilt. He did not deny his iniquity or denounce his trespass but with a bold arrogance, he accused God and his wife, never once asking forgiveness. Therefore by the single deed of this one man, sin entered into the world and death by sin, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God
This all came to pass to the glory of God and the praise of His Holy name. There was no contingency plan or mystical gaze into the future to see what the creature would do so that the Almighty God could properly formulate His plan and call it predestinated. The Sovereign of the Universe did not have His hands proverbially ‘tied’ by the decision of man with regards to his conduct but rather as Yehovah God had thus purposed, so He decreed and all things came to pass by the power of His will. It was that way in the beginning and there is nothing new under the sun, therefore, the way of man is not in himself; it is not of him that walks the path to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23).
“But now, Yehovah, You are our Father; we are the clay and you our potter and we all are the work of Your hand” (Is. 64:8).
The construction of the creation of God was not delegated out to sub-contractors for there is none that could perform the work of God except God Himself. He spoke and all things came to pass as He created all things, by Himself, for Himself and through Himself. He formed man from the dust of the earth and from that same lump, He fashioned one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour. This was commensurate to the purpose of God, which is as immutable as He is, with the intention that the one would be the habitation of the incorruptible seed and the other the seed of the serpent. Therefore the children, being not yet born and neither having done any good or any evil that the purpose of God according to election might stand not of works but of Him that calls, He said, Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated (Rms. 9:11-13).
These vessels were assigned a time of their habitation, a moment in God’s creation when they would be made manifest on the stage of time to perform the labours He had assigned unto them which are part and parcel to His purpose. Each player being properly equipped with all necessary ingredients to accurately complete that which was assigned and empowered with strength and will to perform when their labours became due. The steps of the wicked are on a broad way called Rehoboth (city of wide streets – Gen. 10:11) while the steps of the righteous are the footsteps of the flock (Song 1:8). Two manner of people walking two separate paths which lead unto two separate destinations all according to the singular purpose of Yehovah God and this from the beginning.
“Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and unto them were sons born after the flood” (Gen. 10:1)
The world which God created for Adam and Eve was destroyed by the hand of God in the deluge. The evidences of this catastrophe may be seen in the scared landscape of this globe but all that came before was changed. God settled Noah and his family in the land we live in today as his sons began to be fruitful and replenish the earth. This land was identified as the land of Shinar or country of two rivers. Some may wish to spend a lifetime searching the deserts of the Middle East in attempts to rediscover this particular land and the remains of the ship that Noah built but these things stand in type of the truth which is greater than the figures. The land of Shinar is an indication that there have been and always shall be two separate and distinct ways in God’s creation and never shall they merge or alter one another.
The scriptures set this principle forth in the designations of just and unjust, wise and foolish, living and dead, those ordained unto life and those outfitted for destruction and many other examples but they all remain the same. There is a group known only unto the Creator as those whom He has loved with an eternal love and another group which he has hated with a equal hatred and nothing can change the ways of God.
Unto the ‘hot’ and ‘passionate’ son of Noah (Ham) was born a son of ‘blackness’ (Cush), a son of ‘fortification’ and ‘defense’ (Mitzraim), a son of ‘a bow’ (Put) and a son of the ‘lowland’ or ‘easily humbled’ (Canaan). The names of these sons show forth the fact that man had not been changed even with the witnessing of the great judgment of God against the world. The natural man loves the blackness or darkness because his deeds are evil. He hides himself behind what he has been given to think are amiable defenses and he boasts his strength in his fortifications. He has his bow with him for protection and provision but no matter how he aims or with what skill he performs, he continually fails to ‘hit the mark’ of the perfection of Holiness of God (sin). He is the servant of the land and is humbled by the curse of the garden wherein he shall eat his bread by the sweat of his face. He has been made subjected to time, the needs of his body for life and sustenance, the dementia of the frailty of the earthen vessel and the cares of this world. Therefore Adam is a Cushite, a Mitzraimin, a Putite and a Canaanite and every son of Edom is the same as the first.
Even though God has raised up many men to be mighty and successful yet the beginning of the kingdom of Adam, after the flood, was in confusion (Gen. 10:10). This confusion was in the form of the incorporation of the thoughts and imaginations of man, which is evil continually (6:5), and the general acceptance of the conduct, reputations and achievements of the hands of man. Nimrod, the son of ‘blackness’, was a mighty and valiant man; a great hunter and his reputation was known far and wide but the beginning of his kingdom is a broad way and many there be that travel this wide street.
This way is ‘long’ (Erech) and arduous as it leads unto destruction but the rewards of the platitudes and accolades of man are ever present. The heart of Edom is deceived by the ‘subtle strength’ (Accad) that is obtained by the accomplishments of the labours and the pride of life flourishes in the compost of good intentions. The results of these endeavours, as ordained of God, are that men should worship creature and his wonders more than the Creator and thus when they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were they thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. (Rms. 1:23).
Thus in beginning, the kingdom of ‘passion’, ‘dark’ and ‘valiant’ was Calneh, the ‘fortress of Anu’. He was considered the god of heaven and he was viewed as triune. The god of the air (Enil) and the god of water (Enki) completed the godhead of man’s imagination with Anu being the father of the gods and his consort (Ki) the mother of the earth. The belief in this counterfeit representation of religious structure and all that has been generated from it, was given to Adam to believe in the land of Shinar, the country of two rivers, and the natural man embraces this with great ease.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve Yehovah, choose you this day who you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now dwell: But as for me and my house , we will served Yehovah” (Josh. 24:15)
The children of the Kingdom of Yehovah follow after the path of righteousness, which is the River of Life which flows from the throne of God. This river cannot be seen or discerned by the natural man and there is nothing therein which is pleasing to Adam and his world. But God has created a country of two rivers. He has set forth a counterfeit representation of the truth which is pleasing to the natural eye, soothing to the itching ear and cooling to the thirsty tongue of Edom. This false river appears in presentation, like the tares in the field, and it flows adjacent to the true river. The tares looked like wheat as they sprung forth from the ground and the Master of the field instructed His labourers to leave them alone, lest they should hurt the wheat in their attempts to rid the field of the unwanted crop. The false river of carnal Adam looks good as it appeals to the senses of man.
God has purposed and ordained that this second river be very similar to the first yet be as far apart as truth is from a lie. When He created Satan, in the beginning, He made him an ‘anointed cherub’ perfect in every way that he was appointed unto. He was not the Anointed Messenger of God but he was an anointed cherub that sealed up “the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezek. 28:12). He was there in the garden of God, covered with all precious stones and “the workmanship of your ‘sounding’ and of ‘the setting of your gems’ was prepared in you from the day your were created; You are the anointed cherub that is ‘hedged in’, woven together’ and ‘covered’ and I have set you” (14).
God did not create some hideous beast to be the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2); He set forth one whose heart was lifted up by reason of the beauty that God had given him in the day that God created him. He also set him as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14) as he stands as the counterfeit of the true Light of the World. He has caused him to go about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (I Pt. 5:8) and the sons of man to follow after but he is not the Lion of the tribe of Praise unto our God who has prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof (Rev. 5:5). God has lifted him up through his merchandise and traffic which abundance appeal to the nature of man and is highly esteemed but this cannot compare to the opulence of the Kingdom of God whose abundance is past finding out.
“And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass as the journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and they dwelt there” (Gen. 11:1)
The corruption of the nature of Adam is demonstrated as the sons of the land sought to make a name for themselves by building a tower that reached unto heaven. The pride of the heart of Edom is to make his dwelling in the heights of the clefts of the rocks and to exalt himself like the eagle (Ob. 3). This has been from the beginning in the land of Shinar and the judgment of Yehovah is ever upon the corruption of Edom. The two rivers flow side by side and while one is innocuous and unnoticed the other is loud and boisterous. This river attracts the attention of the natural ears of man who is drawn after the hearing of something new by the itchy ears God has given him. The words he detects are those of subtle carnal logic just as the serpent spoke to Eve in the garden. They question the existence of God and the fairness of His ways as they address the calamities and misfortunes of man. Here the ‘friends of Job’ sit in feigned sympathy for the poor, the hungry and the needy, speculating upon the justness of God as He never punish one who is innocent (Job 4:7). These great swelling words also ask by whose sin these matters have arisen calling into question the integrity of God’s Word and the parity of His ways.
This is the doctrine of Adam which teaches that conduct produces results, obedience procures blessing and trespass brings forth judgment. Thus, according to the subtlety of these words, it is man who must decide which way to walk, which door to enter and at what time he should grace the pasture of God’s flock with his presence. This labour then would produce the legacy of man as he delivered his fellow man from the gates of hell unto the kingdom of God demonstrating his worth to heaven and his zeal for the Lord.
The words of this ‘sayer’, who is the king of the land of Shinar (Amraphel – Gen. 14:1) would present Jesus here as presenting the two options for man to walk and then waiting for the free will of Adam to command the situation and control the matter; but the children have not so learned Christ. He is the door of His people and His sheep follow His voice. He has been lifted up for the salvation of His people from their sin in Adam and His precious blood has been shed before the foundation of the world. He draws all men upon whom the eternal love of the Father abides unto Himself and in the fullness of time He reveals the Spirit within. This is the true river that flows quietly along in seemingly obscured from the sight of the world.
“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me; for I delight in the law of God after the inward man but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rms. 7:21f).
The land of Shinar is not some far off land or some other people; it is the daily land of the dwelling of the prisoners of hope as they sojourn through this wilderness. The natural man earnestly desires the life that the Spirit possesses and the peace which is beyond all understanding; therefore does he attend to his natural needs so diligently and strive for the mastery in all his labours. The natural laws which govern the natural man and his ways are the characteristics of the first river in the land of Shinar. It is loud and active and much people are gathered about it allured by the commotion and the promise of reward. This is the delight of Adam as he is drawn away after the lusts of the flesh.
This first river (“howbeit that was not first which is spiritual but which is natural and afterward that which is spiritual” - I Cor. 15:46) includes every labour, trial and tribulation that the child of grace must endure during the time of their habitations. The waters are as rapid and foreboding as the Creator has deemed necessary and the proud waves shall not pass the boundaries of that habitation which He has established. He has designed the habitation of His people in the land of this river for the trying of their faith, which works patience and perfection of the saints, thus they find by their experience in this river, that in their flesh dwells no good thing. They find, as the waters rage about them, that when they would do good, which desire is born from above, the ways of Edom beset them on all sides and the good that they would, they find it not how to perform. The first river is the estate of the natural man who is dust and to the dust he shall return. This God has ordained for the good of them that love Him, to the called according to His purpose.
The second river is one of “still waters”. Here the Shepherd leads His sheep to refresh them and to sustain them with living waters, which if a man should drink thereof, he should never thirst again (John 4:14). This is the strait way of the footsteps of the flock whereby the sheep go in and go out and find pasture (John 10:9). It is unappealing to the natural man as it is peaceful and quiet. Here there is a place prepared, “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith Yehovah of hosts” (Zech. 4:6) where the Master causes His little ones, weary from the warring and crying out in anticipation of that deliverance, to lay down and rest.
The determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God delivered up the Lamb of God unto the wicked hands of man to be slain for the remission of the sin of His people in Adam, before the foundation of the world. He therefore, being lifted up and drawing all men unto Himself, has come “again the second time to recover the remnant of His people which shall be left from Assyria (the step or ascent), from Egypt (Mitzraim – the fortress and defended city) and from Pathos (the region to the south of warmth and comfort) and from Cush (black or darkness – that land of the Ethiopian who cannot change his skin – Jer. 13:23) and from Elam (eternity – from before the foundation of the world), and from Shinar (country of two rivers) and from Hamath (the walled city of protection) and from the islands of the sea (“A great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred, and people and tongues stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb” – Rev. 7:9).
This second time is when He shall appear, without sin, to deliver His people from the land of Shinar is the final deliverance from the bondage of the corruption of the body of this death and to manifest the sons of God, who shall be changed to be like the Son (adoption). Then shall the children see Him as He is and they shall be like Him.
“Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leads unto life and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14).
God has put the ways of this world into the heart of the natural man so that he cannot find out the work which God has done form the beginning. He has also placed within the natural and the insatiable desire to study, observe, speculate, learn and attain unto Nebo, the god of knowledge. Man learns from his instincts which are refined by his training in family and society but as the leopard cannot change his spots, so man cannot change his nature. He was created a gregarious creature who congregates and associates with those of common ways in the cities of wide streets (Rehoboth built in the beginning of the kingdom of Babel – Gen. 10:12). Therefore the natural man follows after natural things with his natural acquaintances in a carnal manner which is enmity against God (Rms. 8:7) as a moth to the flame and the dog unto his vomit (Pro. 26:11).
The children of Light, however, walk in the light of Yehovah. They see the light which is His word upon their feet and an illumination of the path that they tread and they follow the voice of the Shepherd. They alone can see this light for He has opened the eyes of the blind that they might see and they alone can hear His voice; another’s voice they shall not hear nor follow after the stranger. They alone have access into Him by reason of eternal union in Him as the incorruptible seed and when it pleases the Father to reveal Himself in them, then do they see the reality of the first river. The place wherein they thought themselves safe and sustained is now revealed as bondage and corruption and those things wherein they took delight now appear worthless. Instead of finding peace and comfort in the natural river, they now find a longing desire to be delivered from the body of this death. God has builded this house, the tabernacle of this dwelling, in the land of Shinar as He leads His children home to the city whose builder and Maker is God.
“And He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1)
All that Yehovah God has done is singular according to the good pleasure of His will. He is not of two minds for all things are contained in Him and without was nothing made that was made. Everything is complete in Him and though His sheep walk through the valley of the shadow of death yet the Good Shepherd never leaves nor forsakes the flock.
The beginning of this first river is in the heart and mind of Almighty God who purposed and performed the course, speed, intensity and direction of its flow for good. Even though it begins in the confusion of this world yet there is nothing out of control for “I Yehovah and none else, there is no God besides Me; I girded you though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west that there is none besides Me. I am Yehovah and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I, Yehovah do all these things” (Is. 45:7).
There is a way which seems right unto the sons of Adam but the end thereof is the way of death (Pro. 14:12), this is the first river and the body of this death delights therein. And when the time of this habitation is over and the tabernacle of this dwelling is dissolved, then shall be the manifestation of the sons of God when we shall be like Him. Nothing shall be there that is vile, corrupt or polluted by the hands of Adam for flesh and blood shall not inherit the Kingdom of the Israel of our God.
“And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles, neither he that works abomination or makes a lie, but they who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).
“He that testifies of these things has said, Surely I come quickly. Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus Christ” (Rev. 22:20).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
May 3, 2015