“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom, and He said unto him, Follow Me; and he arose and followed Him”
Jesus was in Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. This is the northern province of the former land of Israel which had seceded from the southern tribes about nine hundred and fifty years earlier. The particulars of this separation, being completely in the eternal purpose of God caused animosity and social disdain between the two sections of this formerly glorious country called Israel. The people in the north followed after Jeroboam (the contention of the people) and formed a government and religious culture that was hated and despised by the two tribes of the south. Furthermore, when God sent His judgment against Israel, the people had forsaken the Law of Moses, created a new law complete with false sacrifices, false priest of common men, open idolatry and spiritual adulatory, intermingling their blood with the blood of the common people of the land, as God had forbidden; thus distorting and destroying the lineage of Israel.
Yet a good portion of the earthly ministry of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah was spent in this area. Jesus left Nazareth and dwelt in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali that the prophesy might be fulfilled, “by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations; the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined” (Is. 9:2).
Here He called forth His first disciples who were fisherman on the Sea of Galilee; Simon Peter and Andrew his brother; “and straightway they left their nets and followed Him” (4:20). According to the prophesy, these men were living in darkness, even though they were schooled in the customs and traditions of the elders but when Jesus came to them, the light of His glory shined into their hearts as He revealed unto them that they were chosen vessels unto Yehovah God. He went about the Sea of Galilee teaching in their synagogues and preaching the kingdom, healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people and His fame spread throughout all of Syria. These people, who were not of the elitist groups of the Zionism of Israel, brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments and those which were possessed with devils and those which were lunatics, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.
Jesus did not need any reconnaissance of the land to see where the health issues were so that He could target His ministry to certain ethnic and geo-political groups. He came into the region where He grew up and was known as the son of Joseph, the carpenter, whose mother and His earthly brothers and sisters were known, that it might be fulfilled as Jesus testified, “that a prophet hath no honour in his own country” (John 4:44). He came to specific people in the fullness of time to perform the work that the Father had given Him as the testimony of the Salvation of Yehovah. Each one of these people were purposed to be diseased, tormented and possessed by the will of God from before the foundation of the world that He might show forth His power and magnify Himself in the sight of all men, so that not one of Adam has an excuse before God.
He came into an area where the teachings of the Law, being in type according to the pattern given in the mount, had been distorted and re-written by man to such an extent that no one knew what the truth was. The woman at the well said that her fathers said that the true worship of God was to be in the mountains of the land of the sin of Jeroboam while the Jews said it was to be in Jerusalem. Jesus answered and said unto her that she worshipped in ignorance for the hour was come that the worship of God was neither in the mountains of Samaria nor in the mountain of Jerusalem. Yet the area was saturated with the Pharisees of the time each seeking and performing that which was right in their eyes for indeed, “in those days, no king in Israel and every man did right in his own eyes” (Jud. 21:25).
“I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by the arms yet they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with the cords of a man, and I was unto them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws and I laid meat unto them” (Hos. 11:4)
God had afore ordained that the course of the events in time of His creation would come to pass in such a manner that Israel would be led by a son of Ephraim. The nation was to be known as Ephraim because of the lechery of Reuben, many years ago, and, because of the fears and superstitions of this man, Jeroboam, they would become an abomination before the Lord. Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” and indeed the actions of the people of the polluted land of Ephraim had no effect upon the children of the Kingdom of Light.
He came and dwelt in the land that was hated of the Jews of the day due to religious arrogance and self-pride as the people of the land of Judah still believed that they were of the chosen people of God. These would boast of being of an unpolluted blood as children of Abraham who, having kept the traditions and the customs and being in possession of the venerated objects of worship, were the only true children of God. Jesus would turn His face to Jerusalem many times until the days were fulfilled that He should be offered up upon the cross, yet His words unto this holy city were not of peace; “Jerusalem, Jerusalem that killed the prophets and stoned them which are sent unto you, how often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chickens under wing and you would not; your house is left unto you desolate for I say unto you, You shall not see Me henceforth till you say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:37).
This attitude towards the people of the north is part of the reason why the disciples were astonished when they saw Jesus talking to the woman at the well. Not only was the society patriarchal and men should never speak to a woman unless in the presence of another man, but this woman was of the land of apostasy and rebellion. And from whom did the Lord receive meat to eat when He told the disciples that He had meat which they knew nothing about. The arrogance of traditions prevented the disciples from being sympathetic to anyone who was not of the election according to heritage and was the basis for the questions concerning His authority by the disciple of John, asking why He and His disciples acted contrary to the customs of the Law (Matt. 19:4). Even John was confused of the matter as He sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if indeed He was Messiah, saying, “Are You He that should come? Or should we be looking for another” (Luke 7:19). Even after the confirmation of the Son of God in the power of the resurrection the disciples were concerned about an assumed earthly kingdom; “When they therefore were come together, they asked Him saying, Lord will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). The eyes of man judge things in the flesh as his mind and heart confirm that which can be seen in speculation and superstition but the children of hope are taught of the Spirit, from faith to faith.
Jesus came into this land to show the world the deliverance of Yehovah. He came to give an open demonstration of His power over all things for He is the great King over all the earth. He stated that He had not found so great faith in all of Israel as was given to the centurion whose son lay sick; He touched the leper and he was cleansed, His touch cooled the fever and it departed from Peter’s mother-in-law and He rebuked the winds and the waves and they obeyed Him; He sat in the grave yard with one out of whom went the Legion “and behold the whole city came out to meet Jesus and when they saw Him the besought that He would depart out of their coasts” (Matt. 8:34). Thus Jesus returned to the land of Ephraim, the back-sliding heifer, and the people followed after Him as he entered again into the city to find a man sick of the palsy, “when the people saw, they marveled and glorified God, which had given such power unto men” (9:8)
The son of Alphaeus was given the ability of God to be a tax collector. It was not an honourable profession as he was empowered by the ruling government to act like a rider on a horse and extract monies from the people of the land for the benefit of the government. He grew up under the hatred and suspicion of the ‘beautiful people’ of Judah, whose abomination was more treacherous than her sister Israel (Jer. 3), and was employed in a despised trade. This man was at work that day and was seated in the tax office in the performance of his duties and Jesus came to him.
Jesus was not on a mission trip to find those who would accept Him, He came because Matthew was accepted in the beloved as a ‘gift of Yehovah’ (Matthew). Jesus was not seeking volunteers to increase His following for like the Sons of Zebedee, when He said unto this one ‘joined’ unto Him (Levi), “Follow Me”, “he left all, arose and followed Him” (Lk 5:28). Truly this one was of the pastures of the Lord and as one of His sheep, he heard the voice of the Shepherd and followed Him. He could no longer hear the voice of his employers as his walk according to the god of this world was interrupted by the voice of the Shepherd and although the natural man was still in bondage to the law of sin in his members, yet the Spirit within caused him to hear, forsake and follow.
“And Levi made a great feast in his own house and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them” (Lk. 5:29)
Matthew was a man in public employment. He had many acquaintances of the same profession and most of these were not welcomed in the polite society of the land. When, therefore, the Lord opened his eyes to the truth and made him willing in the day of His power to up and follow Him, Matthew gave, of his own possession, a great feast in his own house and Jesus was there with the ‘unwashed’. This of course infuriated the religious purest who had surrendered their lives to living separate from the dregs of society by finding their righteousness in the keeping of the law. They were well convinced that they had been good stewards of the doctrines of the covenant and they awaited the reward from God to sit and rule over the world in the assumed earthly kingdom; “but when Jesus heard (their murmuring amongst themselves), He said unto them, They that are whole do not need a physician, but they that are sick (do)” (Matt. 9:13).
Jesus gave ample display of His power over all manner of sickness in demonstration that He indeed is that Great Physician. He gave those who were ordained to be healed, the sicknesses and infirmities from which they should be delivered. He assigned the time of the torments, whether they be congenital or come with the passing of time, and He also mandated the severity and duration of these afflictions. Yet in the fullness of time He came to each and every one and he healed them. The Pharisees were given a mind to be unscathed by these maladies by reason of their conduct. They believed that if they were faithful to the hand-writing of ordinances, (touch not taste not) that they would be spared all these diseases (Ex. 15:26). Thus by the strength of their will and their assumed power over the flesh; “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” (II Tim. 3:5) these men were confident that they were fit for the kingdom, even boasting in their own righteousness; “I thank you that I am not as others, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even as this publican” (Lk. 18:12).
Did Jesus begin a long dissertation with them as to how they needed to come to Jesus to be delivered from their sin? No! According to them they had no sin because by their own strength they had done these many wonderful things. Jesus told them that He had not come for them. His Word was not for them to hear, they were none of His and the Salvation of Yehovah was not intended for them. The very people they used to compare themselves with to lift them up and glorify their worth before god were those without strength; these are they whom the Lamb of God had come to seek and to save.
“But God commended His love to us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rms. 5:8)
The love of God is manifested in the revelation of the inability of man. Those who are part of the new covenant have their eyes opened unto the vanity of this world and the wretchedness of this flesh. They are taught of the Spirit of God that it is not by works of righteousness which the natural man may be convinced he has done or ever could do, that the salvation of Yehovah has been made known unto them. They know that they are lost in this world and without hope because they are devoid of strength and though the natural man, being of this world, struggles in the warfare against the law in the mind of the children of the King, yet they are taught that the Champion of their faith has overcome the world.
Daily the Spirit reveals that the children of this world earnestly desire and run head long after the things of this world because “that which is highly esteemed of man is abomination before the Lord”. The children are grieved with this teaching because they find that they cannot overcome this foe; he cannot be tamed nor can his appetites be altered away from the things of this world that can neither sustain nor satisfy. They see that the outer man is perishing daily as they see the vileness of their uncleanness in Adam but the Spirit has deemed this essential teaching so that the incorruptible seed knows that Adam has no place in the abode of God. The long-suffering of God is manifested in the presence of this wretchedness and the children know that “if Yehovah should mark iniquities, O Lord who should stand?”
But forgiveness is in the blood that was shed before time began. The Lord knows them that are His and He comes to each one of His sheep, every man in his order. In the time that is chose and decreed pleasing unto the Father. There He reveals Himself dwelling with and calls unto them and they follow Him. Not that they have not been following for He has drawn them along their assigned path by the cords of men, though they knew it not, and brought them to the ‘city of comfort’ (Capernaum) and the land of their fathers (Ur of the Chaldeans) along that road to Damascus where He calls them ‘dearly Beloved’.
The religion of Adam stands adorned in his aprons of fig leaves fully convinced that he is acceptable in the house of the king. The children of the Kingdom know that they have no right in Adam to claim the heritage of the Lord for they have no memorial in the blood. The blood was struck on the door posts of the tabernacle of this dwelling that the judgement of God should pass over them whom He has sealed, but like the shanties in Goshen, the earthen tabernacles are not that which was delivered. Those who would proclaim that they have defeated this foe and, having taken dominion over their sin have overcome sin, have been given to believe a lie for “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8).
It is the blessing of the Father and the testimony of the indwelling Spirit that those born from above know that they have no strength and they need the Rock of their Salvation. This testimony is as continual as the mercy which God has poured out upon His people as the inner man is strengthened and renewed by the Spirit.
“By this I know that You favour me, because mine enemy does not triumph over me, and as for me, You uphold me in mine integrity and has set me before Your face forever” (Ps. 41:11)
God has created all things for His Beloved and has ordained that every portion of His creation work in complete harmony for His children as they are made partakers of flesh and blood. Nothing can stand or prevail against the Kingdom of the Israel of our God and nothing can separate His children from His eternal love. The walls of Jerusalem from above, who is the mother of all born from above, are the salvation of His people from their sin in Adam and they are as ever before Him as the names He has graven in the palms of His hands (Is. 49:16).
The integrity of David the man is an empty vapour and neither Matthew nor any other child of the dust has any greater integrity than these; but Yehovah God came to them each as He comes to His people and reveals His eternal love for them that they may know that it is by grace they have been delivered through faith and that not of themselves, for it is a gift of God.
Esau is the servant of the children of promise and the servant shall never triumph over the master. David was a fearful man in the flesh but he was taught of the Spirit that there was nothing man can do unto the eternal seed, therefore he had hope. Matthew was one without strength but in the day of the power of Yehovah, which is the gospel, he was made willing and able, having his will set at liberty to keep the commandments of God and walk in His statutes for he is Levi, joined unto God.
Being shown the sin of Adam is the manner of the children of light. Since the Light has shinned into their hearts, it thus reveals and rebukes the nature and works of man. The light never diminishes nor is it obscured in any manner, therefore the light continually reveals as the outer man perishes. Anyone who would preach that sin can be conquered in the flesh does not know the truth and all who preach that sin is the inherent nature of Adam and his race knows the truth, “Jesus Christ came into the word to save sinners of whom I am chief” (I Tim. 1:5).
The comfort of the truth is that the precious blood of the Lamb was slain before time or events began and that sacrifice was accepted as perfect. That blood was sufficient for the sin of Adam in the earthen vessels afore appointed unto glory. Since the Lord knows them that are His, He also knows how many vessels He needed to prepare and the sin that would be manifested in each of those vessels. The blood therefore is sufficient for the quantity of sin for the whole house of the children of promise and effective to the magnitude and severity of both the inability of the creature to ‘hit the mark’ and the ever present nature of man which drives him like the moth to the flame, in his continual manifestation of that inherent nature in everything he thinks, says and does (Is. 27:8f).
“How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin” (Job. 13:23)
Job was one born from above and he prayed that the Lord would reveal unto him these things, which Yehovah God did in His graciousness. Unto each of His people, He has set them apart in His Salvation, preserved them by His oath and covenant and sealed them with His blood. He will also, because of His great love wherewith He loved and delivered His people, show unto them the detestable things within the body of this death. And so the children of the Kingdom of Light earnestly desire to be delivered from this earthen tabernacle to return to their Father, free at last.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
May 27, 2018