“When Yehovah turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.”
This is a song of ascent or higher thoughts which the Spirit of God gave to the writer for the comfort and encouragement of those who have ears to hear. It does not speak of some futuristic day when the burdens of this life shall be laid down as an incentive for those pilgrims and strangers but rather this proclamation is for that which has already been accomplished and that by the hand of Yehovah God. The one and only God devised, according to the intent of His heart, that Adam would, by his disobedience, usher sin into the world, also ordained and confirmed the fact that he and his seed should be separated from God by this one act which demonstrated this inherent inability.
No one advised Yehovah God in this matter as He purposed in Himself that which He created. He set forth the types and examples for the people of His creation as a demonstration of this weakness and infirmity of man in the nature of his seed. Adam cannot see or understand the beauty of God’s creation wherein He provided all things necessary for sustaining his life. His children cannot see the wonders of the works which God has made from the beginning as the testimony of the creation, wherein He has whetted man’s inquisitive nature into the unknown. This is the labour of God’s creation and these are the things of the world which He has set in the hearts of man so that he cannot find out the work of God. Herein are the sons of Adam exercised in (occupied, humbled and afflicted in) all the time of the days of their habitation (Ecc. 3:10).
Yehovah God not only created man incapable of hearing, seeing or understanding His ways and therefore unable to be obedient but He also testified to man that he would be taken in captivity because of his disobedience. Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die, that is, be separated from God. He also told him, after the deed had been completed, that he would be in bondage to the earth for by the sweat of his brow should he labour all his days to eat his bread. He placed Noah in bondage to the labours of the building of the ark for the deliverance of eight souls for he was righteous before God. He raised up Abram and delivered him from his father’s house unto the promise of the blessing. He promised, five hundred years before it came to pass, that the children of Abraham would be in the bondage of captivity in a strange land for four hundred years.
His word to the nation of Israel was one of the same resolve and prophetic indications for there is nothing new under the sun. When He had laid His hand heavy upon them and they cried out by reason of their affliction, He heard their groanings and delivered them from the captivity. This was to be followed by a time of comfort and blessing whereby they soon became abundant and forgot God. This natural instinctive conduct, whereby every man did that which was right in his own eyes, was prelude to the hand of God being once again brought upon the rebellious people and delivering them into the bondage of captivity of the hand of their enemies. This cycle is repetitive throughout the whole of the testimony of the Spirit of God (Ps. 78), which things “were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rms. 15:4). The nation of Israel stands in type of the earthen vessels and the natural man, the majority of whom have been outfitted for destruction while the others are the remnant according to grace, afore prepared unto glory.
The Word of God proclaims His intentions as He has decreed. God has prepared, predestinated and in the appointed time manifested His work, which was finished from the beginning, by the power of His will. The mercy of God was poured out upon the people of Israel, time and time again, to turn again the captivity of His chosen nation and restore them unto Himself. “I Yehovah have spoken, it shall come to pass and I will do. I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to your ways and according to your doings shall they judge you saith Yehovah God” (Ezek. 24:14).
“...I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it” (Is. 46:11).
This is the work which was finished from the foundation of the world yet manifested in time. Yehovah God concluded the whole of the race of Adam under sin before they were yet born. He also purposed to afore prepare, from the same lump of clay, one vessel unto honour and one unto dishonour. Adam was formed from the dust of the earth and for the duration of the time of his habitation, he was bound to the earth. His mind is earthly and his needs are sustained by that which is produced by the field. He is made subject to the logic of his nature and the conclusions commensurate to his nature. God has decreed the captivity of Adam and his seed, being carnal sold under sin, from the beginning so that no flesh should glory in His sight. “In the sweat of your face shalt you eat bread till you return unto the ground; for out of it you were taken. Dust you are and unto the dust shalt you return” (Gen. 3:19).
Adam, though, thought himself sufficient before God for, after his eyes were open and he knew good and evil, he fashioned the aprons of fig leaves to cover his nakedness. God created him in bondage unto his nature, being of the earth, and he manifested his inability before God by the labours which he undertook to attempt to prove his righteousness. He was not ashamed of the work of his hands and as his son Cain, he saw no reason why God should not show respect unto the garments or the work. Thus when God called unto Adam in the garden, Adam was comfortably assured that what he had done was correct. He was not in conflict over his actions or the course he had taken to make amends for his ways. He was as one who, after eating well, was fallen asleep and dreaming.
Adam did not know his situation except that he and his wife knew they were naked. When God restored their standing before Him by making coats of skin and clothing them (Gen. 3:21) neither Adam nor his wife were contrite before God neither had they made petition before Him for forgiveness. Adam was busied attempting to blame his wife, whom God had given him and Eve tried to pass the blame to the serpent. There was no confession of guilt, no prostration upon the ground and no ‘sinner’s prayer’ for forgiveness. When God turned the captivity of Adam, he was like the dreamers.
“And Yehovah gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they gave them what they asked for; and they spoiled the Egyptians” (Ex. 12:36).
The people of Israel were oblivious to the great and mighty hand of Yehovah God as He delivered them from the captivity of Egypt. They saw the signs and wonders happening all about them but they did not know Yehovah their God. He brought them forth as an eagle would snatch up his prey and fly away by an high and mighty hand yet they were fearful and doubted. He gave them the songs of deliverance and they cried out of injustice for when Yehovah God turned again the captivity, which He promised Abraham would come to pass, “and it came to pass the self-same day that Yehovah did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts” (Ex. 12:51), they were unaware of His glory and His power. He parted the sea and drowned the armies of Pharaoh and they murmured in the wilderness.
The same is the continuing testimony of these people who through the demonstration of their inabilities were brought under the hand of king after king. This captivity was not in respect for their disobedience for their disobedience was in accord with the natural inability of man. Such as are outfitted unto destruction go estranged from the womb speaking lies as they do the work of their father the Devil. They sow the seed that they have and they reap the wages of sin (inability). The wrath of God is upon them even before they have been born or had done any good or any evil that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand. God does not react to their conduct in amazement or surprise for He has ordained the path they walk, the labours they have been assigned and the thoughts and intents of their hearts. They have the nature of Adam, the arrogant assurance of the seed of the serpent and they have been given a reprobate mind. These have no fear of God and are quite assured of their own righteousness.
The other vessels however, have the incorruptible seed within the earthen vessel. The vessel has been afore prepared for this habitation by the shed blood of the Lamb of God but it is still after the composition and nature of Adam. The seed cannot deny the Father or the Rock from whence it was hewn. The seed is identical to the Father and is therefore the son of God who cannot deny Himself. He delights after the Law of God, has the testimony of the finished work in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah and keeps His commandments. The fullness of the Godhead tabernacles in this vessel of honour but the vessel is still of the earth, earthly.
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected in hope” (Rms. 8:20).
Before time was set in motion in God’s creation, the Lamb of God stood as He had already been slain. Before the deeds of Adam had been perpetrated the blood had cleansed the chosen vessels from all unrighteousness and covered their inabilities to measure up to the perfect standard of the Holiness of God. Neither Adam nor his labours even existed as the captivity, that the seed should be made subject to, was turned and His people restored in Him. Yet in the fullness of time, these vessels are appointed a time of habitation when the incorruptible seed becomes partakers of corrupt flesh and blood. This flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God which is prepared for the children of the King but for this appointed time, these royal children are made subject to the bondage of the captivity of the flesh and this world.
The body of this death or separation is sentient to the world and all that is about him “But when it pleased the God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the nations;” (Gal. 1:15). God makes Himself known in His children and then reveals the captivity they are in. He shows them the letter of the law and manifests the perfection of His Holiness. The Law is understood as exacting and perfect while the flesh is revealed as flawed and corrupt. The ‘schoolmaster’ is harsh as he reveals the wickedness of the evil ways of the ways of man through the ministration of condemnation and death.
The light of His glory reveals the darkness of the deeds of man and his guilt before the throne of God but, unlike the theologies of the world, this schoolmaster does not then leave him to his own devices. He does not reveal the perfection of God to the understanding of man and then impress upon man that it is his responsibility to bring himself unto God for forgiveness. This is the call for the action of the natural man who cannot know the things of the Spirit, therefore he cannot worship God aright. The schoolmaster brings the students, though a child and heir of God, unto Christ and His finished work in Yehovah God. He makes known the forgiveness in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah and “what God has worked” (Num. 23:23). Man has nothing to do with this procedure but as appointed of God he is the receptacle of the life that is within; the field wherein the seed grows.
When Yehovah God turns again the captivity of His people in Adam and restores them to Himself by His Spirit, they are in Adam as the dreamers, helpless and unawares. They are unaware of Him as they were found by Him though they sought Him not; “And he said, who art thou Lord? And the Lord said unto him, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting”. Saul of Tarsus thought he knew Messiah and presumed himself righteous before God. He was not only full, sleepy and at peace with himself (as a dreamer) but he was more prosperous in his endeavours than any of his kinsman. He did not know he was guilty before God or that he persecuted the called out assembly. He did not know he was a child of grace or that Yehovah God had turned his captivity and restored him unto the God of Israel. Thus when God manifested the work which He had performed and the presence of the indwelling Spirit of His Holiness, “Then shall you remember your own evil ways and your doings that were not good and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations” (Ezek. 36:31).
“Yehovah has done great things for us, whereof we are glad” (Ps. 126:3).
This work of Yehovah God is only for His children. No one else has any right or portion or memorial in the shed blood of the Lamb. He stands as He had been slain because of the eternal love of the Father for the seed. He has done all things by Himself, through Himself and for Himself. His desire is upon His Beloved and every work which He has completed was and is for her. He came to make known the testimony of His work, with a “strong hand and His arm shall rule for Him; behold His reward is with Him and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd. He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom. He shall gently lead those that are with young” (Is. 40:10).
This work of Yehovah is indeed only for His Beloved and it includes every thought, word and deed of all of His creation. He divided the creation from the beginning setting the boundaries and limitations to everything. He set all things in their proper places and ordained the courses that they should follow so that in the appointed time He would raise up Pharaoh; “that I might shew my power in you and that my name might be declared throughout the earth” (Rms. 9:17). When the fullness of time was come He may also ‘hiss’ (Is.7:18) to the “Assyrian, the rod of mine anger and the staff in their hand is mine indignation” (Is. 10:5). He has raised up the various enemies of the people of this world so that they may come from the north and do His bidding and then bing forth His judgment against the same kingdoms of the world for their own wickedness. He has ordained the wicked and their ways. He has said to the proud waves, thus far and no further and He has created the wrath of man to praise Him while the remainder of wrath He restrains. He has put it in their hearts to fulfill His will and give the kingdoms of this world unto the beast until the words of God shall be fulfilled (Rev. 17:17).
That which was first manifested is natural, like Esau the elder. That which is natural is temporal, being seen, and shall wax old like a garment but the heavens above and the earth below and all the fullness thereof is created for those whom God has loved with an eternal love. All things come to pass as a demonstration of His love to His Beloved and their weakness in Adam. This causes them to earnestly anticipate the return or the manifestation of the sons of God when they shall ‘put off this tabernacle’. The trials and tribulations of this present evil generation are ordained by the hand of the loving Father for good, to them that love him, to the called according to His purpose (Rms. 8:28).
Could Adam have devised such a wondrous demonstration of the love of the Father to the children and the husband to His bride? Never! The ways of Adam are of the earth and he will never rise above the ideal plane of this existence. Though his conscience has the knowledge of good and evil yet his way is contrary to the perfection of God according as he has been made. He desires longevity and prominence as he walks the path from birth to the grave. He desires that he leave a legacy and a name that he be not forgotten but since there is nothing new under the sun, there is nothing whereby man can be known or remembered but by that which has already been. He seeks to take his rest for the good of the labour of his hands but he has no power over the spirit in the day of death. He searches for mirth and merriment as he exercises his imaginations and the perversions thereof, however, “they that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (126:5).
“He that goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves” (126:6).
God has chosen His children, during the time of their habitation, in the furnace of affliction. They are a poor and afflicted people tried in the Refiner’s fire as He removes that which He created for them to reveal the perfection within. The teaching of the Spirit, from faith to faith, within of the contentment of the course and purpose of the Sovereign God over all things, does not make the natural man to rejoice or to be ‘happy’. The trials and tribulations, which are manifest tokens of the eternal love of the Father (for whom the Lord loves He chastens), are reminders of the death of the carnal mind and the enmity it has against God. Herein does the creature groan within in the earnest expectation of the manifestation of the sons of God (Rms. 8:19). The cares of this world and the wicked impulses of the natural man cause the children to cry out to the Father because of their captivity to the body of this death. The types and foreshadows of the law are of no comfort as the weak and beggarly elements of this world cannot comfort the conscience because of sin. The children grow in the grace and knowledge of His will as He blesses them with an awareness and understanding of the contradiction of sin against themselves. They are not abandoned to their own devices as to how to deal with these matters as the Captain of their faith is that High Priest which has been touched with the feelings of their infirmities. Therefore He is a present help in the needs of His Beloved as she come up out of the wilderness reclined in her Beloved.
“Reverence Yehovah and praise Him all ye seed of Jacob; glorify and honour Him all ye seed of Israel” (Ps. 22:23).
The eternal seed of God is the model of His creation. He created all things having their seed in them because His seed is one in Him. As the natural course of nature is seen from year to year and the blossom produces the fruit with the seed for the next generation, so the seed of God, born from above, brings forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness from generation to generation. The cycle of life is the progression of one generation after another but the generation of Jesus Christ is One, therefore the sons of God, which ‘possess the yielding seed’ (bearing precious seed), are of the general assembly of the called out assembly of the first-born, which are written in heaven (Heb. 12:23).
The seed is sown or scattered by the Son of Man into the field of the world. This corrupt field has been prepared to receive the good seed, which are the children of the kingdom of God and, therefore, not flesh and blood (Matt. 13:37f). Yehovah God has scattered His seed throughout all nations and He has preserved them in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah until the time when He reveals Himself in them. Therefore the Word has gone forth into all nations of the hope that is laid up for His children and the seed has brought forth fruit after its kind (Col. 1:5f).
They have always been heirs of God and joint heirs with Messiah. Even now are they the sons of God, though it does not yet appear what they shall be, they know that when He shall appear they shall be like Him. During the time of their habitation they are both hewn from that Rock which is the God of their salvation and dug from the pit which is their corruption in Adam. But God who has redeemed them from the house of he that is stronger than they, has “ascended (this is a song of ascension) on high, has led the captivity of His people captive, has received gifts for me, yea for the rebellious also, that Yehovah God might dwell” (Ps. 68:18). He delivered the strength of His hands into the hands of His enemies (Ps. 78:61) that they might, according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, take and slay the sacrifice for sin; whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it (Acts 2:23). Because of that precious blood, shed for the forgiveness of the sin of His people, there is no iniquity in the children of promise. Their weakness and limitations of the earthen vessel have been covered by the atoning blood and Yehovah God has turned the captivity of the children of promise (Ps. 85:1)
The natural house of Israel has been left unto them desolate but for the Israel of God there is peace in the land. On the self-same day, in the end of the world, when the sacrifice for sin was manifested as He entered into that sanctuary not made with hands (Heb. 9:26) and revealed the peace with God, the Jubilee was come. The trumpet of God has sounded, the atonement is complete, the work is done and it is an holy convocation for there is liberty for all the inhabitants in the land of Zion (Lev. 25:10).
“Then shall the land enjoy her Sabbaths as long as it lays desolate and you be in your enemies land; then shall the land rest and enjoy her Sabbaths” (Lev. 26:34).
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
March 15, 2015