| The nature of the theocracy or spiritual government of God and the nature of the political and...|
The Manner of the Kingdom
The nature of the theocracy or spiritual
government of God and the nature of the
political and material governments of men.
1 SAMUEL 8
And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.
And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.
And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.
THE MANNER OF THE KINGDOM
This is ancient history. Why bring it up? What has ancient history to do with today? What has the past to do with the future?
"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9.
"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past." Ecclesiastes 3:15.
History repeats itself. The record of the past is the record of the future. The story of yesterday is the story of today. The present and the future are both rooted in the past.
Time is not something apart. Time is the child of eternity. Today is the offspring of yesterday and tomorrow the offspring of today. What happens today, happened yesterday and will happen again tomorrow.
There are no periods of time. Eternity is unending and so time marches on. Time waits for no man because time is a part of eternity. What men mistakenly call periods of time are mere commas, brief hesitations or pauses, not of time, but of men themselves. Time never pauses or hesitates. It is men who pause, hesitate and waver. It is men who fail, not time.
History repeats itself for two reasons. Eternity is indivisible and God is sovereign. God is king of eternity. Jeremiah 10:10 (Margin).
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." I Timothy 1:17.
God's purpose is eternal. Time, therefore, is that measure of eternity in which God brings his purpose to pass. Because God's purpose is one and eternity is one, nothing is over and done with as far as man is concerned. But with God, who calls those things that be not as though they were, everything has always been done. Romans 4:17.
Events do not happen because of chance, caprice or accident. This is a moral universe. Behind each event is a moral reason. Men reap what they sow. The law of sowing and reaping is the inflexible and inexorable law of the universe from which nothing deviates. This being true, the truth is inescapable and undeniable that God is sovereign, that he rules the universe on strictly just and moral principles, that time is part of eternity and, therefore, indivisible, that all events are inseparably connected, that there is one, and only one purpose to the universe, and that everything moves to this goal.
History is two words - His Story - God's Story - and God's Story is the only true history. The chronicles of men are not history. They are either prevarications or distortion of facts. The true history records two inevitable facts - the absolute and immutable sovereignty of God and the dismal and utter failure of man. God's purpose moves on as inexorably as the stars and true history is the record of that movement of God across the scenes of time to the sure and final realization of his eternal purpose.
In this record, there is no discrepancy. God's purpose is always realized by himself, even when men fail to realize it at all or think that purpose has failed. The seeming discrepancies of history are all due to the failure of men, for while God always realizes his purpose, men invariably fail to realize that divine purpose in its entirety, though some realize it in varying degrees.
Such is the record we have before us in this chapter of Holy Writ. This is the record and description of all human government through all time. The character and course of all human government is given in minute detail and the reason for their failure is unmistakably set forth.
Here is the manner of the kingdom.Here, for the first time, Israel chose a king and a human government. Hitherto, the nation was a theocracy. God was their king and his law was their constitution and bill of rights. That Israel failed under theocracy is no argument against it as the one superior form of government, nor is it proof that theocracy will not work. It is proof rather of the total depravity of man, which is the real reason why all human government fails. Men in their natural state would fail in heaven.
"Let favor be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord." Isaiah 26:10.
"Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again." John 3:7.
Jesus Christ did not here announce an impractical philosophy born of a mystical ideology. He stated a dire necessity arising from stark reality. Depravity is reality, not theory. Regeneration is, therefore, necessary, We may theorize and advance high sounding philosophies as to the worth and dignity of man, we may offer our solutions of education, environment and a thousand other things, but when all our theories and solutions are tried and exhausted, the stern and unrelenting fact of man's depravity will remain. Always in all things, the seeds of man's destruction are in his nature, and until that nature is changed, there is no salvation for him in anything anywhere.
Regardless of form or political ideology, all human governments fail, and they fail because of human depravity. In their contentions over the merit of one form of human government as opposed to another, men grow violent and engage in war and bloodshed. But the truth is that all human government, without exception and regardless of form, is evil.
When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel. His sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after lucre, took bribes and perverted judgment. There is no salvation in man. Salvation, even politically, is of the Lord. Samuel's sons are not Samuel. No man lives forever. The best of men and the greatest leader dies.
Goodness is not hereditary. There is no righteous dynasty. The grace of God does not descend in the family line. Neither does intellectual capacity or ability. Great men are not always wise. Men may be educated and lack wisdom. Wisdom comes from God alone. There is no royal blood nor divine right of kings. Men are individuals.
Human government destroys individuality. It is predicated on the fallacy that men are not individuals and, therefore, can be molded into some kind of a mass man. But men cannot be made other than God made them. They cannot be made other than individuals. This is why one man cannot successfully rule another. Men can be ruled only by their creator. God created man an individual. Human government oppose that individuality and is, therefore, an utter repudiation of the divine creation.
Human government assumes that something good or superior is inherent in some and not in others. Nothing could be farther from the truth for nothing good or superior is inherent in any. Whatever any man has of wisdom, intellectual capacity or ability for leadership, is given him by the God of heaven and earth who imparts these gifts to whomsoever he wills and withholds them from whom he chooses.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17.
The elders of Israel took a realistic view of the case. They said to Samuel, "Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." Seemingly, this was a very reasonable request. When elevated to public office, Samuel's sons became apostles of greed and that greed motivated their actions. It is worthy of note that their turning aside after lucre and taking bribes was done in the name of justice just as it is today. Men always blame God and justice for all their evil deeds.
Human governments are all established and maintained either in the name of God or justice or both. This is a supreme irony for there is no just government of men and no h u m a n government is God's government. There is no justice among men. Men do not know what justice is. All of man's justice is perverted. The crimes of human government are legion, and they are all done in the name of justice. As a matter of fact, the foulest and most heinous crimes of men are charged upon justice. Men cannot execute justice. But they can, and do, take vengeance and call that vengeance justice.
Human government is a device invented by men to cover their perversion of justice and lend that perversion the appearance of legitimacy and respectability. Government always appears as the paragon of virtue, the champion of that which is just and right. The opposite is true. Government is the champion of evil and the supporter of wrong. Thomas Jefferson stated this truth very succinctly when he said, "It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. "
But the myth persists that government is the bastion of right and the final depository of truth among men, and this is the tragedy. The majority firmly believe this myth, and worse, those directly concerned with government themselves believe it. All politicians believe themselves to be the divinely appointed saviors of mankind. It is this strong messiah complex that causes men to enter politics in the first place and it is that same messiah complex that causes them to seek their own deification, consciously or unconsciously, believe themselves to be some sort of deity. Let us understand that there is no such thing as an honest politician. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Politicians are at least one long step removed from honest men." But where is the politician who thinks so? On the contrary, the politician believes he has a license to do wrong. He takes bribes, but he believes this is only to expedite justice. He is greedy of lucre, but he tells himself that this is only so that he will be in a position to do more good. He covets power, but he says this is only that the greater good may accrue to the greater number. Thus it is ever true as Lord Acton observed, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Again we must point out the lesson of man's depravity. Nothing can corrupt a righteous man. But there is no righteous man. Men would do well to remember this truth when voting for those who seek public office. If they did, they would not be so surprised and disappointed when their idol proves corrupt and fails to save them, which is invariably the case,
"As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one . Romans 3:10.
In our own nation, one of the most popular myths is that of the so-called mandate of the people. "Vox populi, vox Dei" -the voice of the people is the voice of God. This is a total lie. The voice of the people is never the voice of God. There is no mandate of the people. The mandate comes from God alone. There is no mandate elsewhere and there is no righteous government but God's. Righteous government is not government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." Righteous government is government of the Lord, by the Lord and for the Lord.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6.
"For he must reign." I Corinthians 15:25.
Where else can government finally rest but on the shoulder of our Lord Jesus Christ? Who else can or does reign in any real and permanent sense? Jesus Christ must reign. It is absolutely necessary that He reign and that necessity arises from the fact that man must be ruled and he cannot rule himself. To say that man needs no government at all is to propound a fool's thesis. Every lock ever invented, all the jails and penal institutions, as well as countless other facts, all give the lie to such a proposition. To say that man can rule himself is equally absurd. Man cannot rule his tongue, which is one of his smallest members.
"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beast, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:6-8.
Here is another of the supreme ironies in the perplexing riddle of man. He can and does tame and rule every nature but his own. The one thing in this universe that man cannot tame or change or rule is his own nature. In this realm, man is utterly helpless. This is the miracle only God can perform. Man's need for government and his inability to govern both arise from his nature. Man must be governed because his nature is sinful, and because of that same sinful, untamable and unruly nature, he cannot govern himself.
"Make us a King to judge us like all the nations." In view of the apostasy of Samuel's sons and the resulting corruption in their government, the request for a change in that government, appears very reasonable. In fact, it would seem to be the only wise and prudent course to follow. Yet here began the disaster that brought the nation to total ruin. It behoves us, therefore, to inquire more closely into the record that we may discover the reasons for this disaster and ruin.
Here we come upon a truth which men well know but choose to ignore. When men put down corruption in government they invariably inaugurate a worse corruption. When men dethrone one evil, they do so only that they may enthrone a greater one. In his entire history, man has never gone from evil to good, but always from evil to evil and still worse evil.
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." 2 Timothy 3:13.
"Make us a king to judge us like all the nations." Here Israel became political instead of religious, or if you will, they made politics their religion. They did not cast off religion entirely, but see how the case now stands. Their religion is no longer divine. It is now a strictly human and comparative religion, based not on their own morality, but on the morality of the other nations, which is the only religion any political people can have. Their appeal will no longer be "thus saith the Lord", but thus saith the nations. Having chosen a king and a human government, it is no longer possible to be governed by God's law, they must now be governed by the laws of man. Henceforth, they will have a form of godliness but will deny the power thereof. Henceforth, they will be ignorant of God's righteousness and will go about to establish their own. 2 Timothy 3:5. Romans 10:2,3.
Always and always, this is the case. Here, on the pages of what we are pleased to call ancient history is the record of today. Here is the record of our own nation.
We are not a Christian nation. No greater blasphemy could be uttered than to say we are, nor could we believe a greater lie. We are religious but we are not Christian. We are a political people. Our religion is political, not Christian, human, not divine. Like Israel, we are ignorant of God's righteousness and go about to establish our own. Our morality as a nation is based on that of other nations, and our morality as individuals is based on that of other individuals.
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 2 Corinthians 10:12.A comparative religion is irreligious. A comparative morality is immorality. To say that this nation is the most immoral in the entire history of nations, is hardly to overstate the case but to utter words of truth and soberness. Our immorality exceeds that of any nation in history. The corruption in our government is beyond the power of words to tell. The immorality in our society, even in the churches, cannot be measured. The number of Christians in this nation is infinitessimal. There are not as many righteous people in most churches as there was in Sodom. Dishonesty in business and everywhere is the order of the day. Bribery, conspiracy and collusion are accepted practice. We put a premium on dishonesty. All our dealings are based on the big lie. We are scoffers, mockers of all things holy. We are dissolute. Our profession of Christianity is a hollow mockery, a make-believe. We scorn the good and praise the evil. We are the most hypocritical people that ever trod upon God's earth. We have officials, elected by ourselves, now serving in public office who should be behind bars and we all know it. Yet we pretend nothing is wrong. The bitter truth is that we admire criminality as long as it is affluent and clever enough to avoid being caught. It is apparent to all who have eyes to see that we are in the final stages of moral decadence and spiritual decay.
END of POST 1 of 12
TO BE CONTINUED
| 2009/4/11 1:14||Profile|
| Re: POST 2 of 12|
That we also may be like all the nations." On the surface this appears innocuous. But it covers the whole multitude of evil. Samuel thought Israel's choice of a king meant only that they were rejecting him. Israel thought their choice meant only that they were rejecting Samuel's sons and that for sufficient cause and good reason. Men are still rationalizing and deluding themselves in the same manner for they see only the outside and never the true meaning. Only God knows the truth of things. Men know nothing but what God is pleased to reveal. God said to Samuel, "they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."
So, there are two judgments in the world. Man makes out his own case in his own eyes and he does so by putting a false face on everything. Man sets a disguise upon life to conceal and cover its corruption,leprosy and death. He then judges according to the outside appearance, one which he has himself created and so knows to be a lie.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9.
But man is not allowed to state his case and go away as though he had told the whole story. God rips off the mask. All our excuses and explanations are lies and God will not h a v e them. Our thoughts and ways are not God's. God's thoughts and ways are right; once this is acknowledged, it must also be acknowledged that every thought and every way of man is wrong since they are not God's. Let it be understood once and for all that man is a rebel from the throne of God. Mans judgment is, therefore, completely false. Isaiah 55:8. God's judgment is true and His judgment alone will stand. Though we may delude ourselves all our lives, God's judgment is inevitable and eventually we must face it.
"All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Hebrews 4:13.
"But they have rejected me, that I should not reign over diem." All human government is rejection of God. It is presumptuous usurpation of the authority and power to rule which is God's alone. Nor does it make any difference what form government may take, it is alike rejection of God. We talk of Godless communism as though it were the only Godless form of government. Let us now dare to face the truth that Democracy, Monarchy and all other forms of human government are equally as Godless.
No government of men can be established without rejecting God. In order for such government to be formed, men must assume authority and power they do not possess. They must assume divine authority for there is and can be no other. But God shares his throne with none. Therefore, there is no authority for human government. They are all unjust in their inception and must remain forever so, for it is written:
"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still." Rev. 22: 11
Justice is absolute. There is no such thing as partial justice or justice in degree. What is not just, is unjust. What is not wholly right, is entirely wrong. What is not completely true is totally false. Nothing is partly right and partly wrong or partly true and partly false. This is the basic fallacy of human reasoning. We reason that things are good, better, best; or bad, worse, worst. With us, everything is comparative. But judged by the moral righteousness of God's law, this is absolutely false. Morally, what is not best is not even good and what is less than perfect is evil.
The philosophy of men on this point was expressed by Samson when he burned the Philistines' wheat in retaliation for his wife being given to another by her father. Samson said on that occasion, -- "Now shall I be more blameless than the Philistines' though I do them a displeasure." judges 15:3.
Note the expression "more blameless". In his estimation, what he did to the Philistines was not as bad as what they did to him. Yet he knew that what he did, as well as what the Philistines did, was wrong. He knew that blame attached to both actions, but reasoning inversely, as men always do, he made it a matter of degree and comparison. He justified himself by their wrong. He called what he did to them "a displeasure", thus admitting no blame or guilt at all. So it is still; men lie to themselves and heaven, supposing they are justified in wrong-doing because others do wrong.
Man has a comparative justice and a comparative righteousness only. The only possible way any individual, government or society can establish their own justice or righteousness is through the injustice and unrighteousness of others . It goes without saying, that such justice is injustice, and such righteousness is unrighteousness. Yet this is the only righteousness any man has.
"But we are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade, fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Righteousness - our so -called righteous acts. "Filthy rags" is elsewhere rendered 'menstrous cloth'. Let this enlighten whom it may.
Because men are unrighteous, their government is unrighteous. It is impossible for unjust men to establish a just government. A comparative morality is no substitute for holiness. It is, in fact, nothing more than filthy rags designed to cover the uncleanness of the corrupt and iniquitous soul.
"There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness." Proverbs 30:12.
The fact of man's depravity is today either disbelieved or ignored by all but a relative few. Very few will even consider the possibility of themselves being wrong, much less acknowledge the fact. Most people think highly of themselves, even if they do not of others, and they do so in proportion as they do not understand either human nature or truth. It is not possible for the man who recognizes truth to think highly of himself. The proud are ever destitute of truth.
Most of us confuse fact with truth but there is an infinite difference between the two. Fact is the thing done whether good or evil. Facts may be lies and have no relation to truth. Facts never determine truth. Truth determines facts. We cannot discover truth from facts for we must know the truth before we can understand the facts.
Samuel saw the fact. God saw the truth. What was the fact? Israel chose a king and a human government. What was their excuse and explanation for doing so? "That we may be like all the nations." That was the fact, the excuse and the explanation. What was the truth? Israel rejected God and that was the reason for their choice of a human government. It is still the reason for man's choice of a human government whatever the facts or incidents may appear to be, the rejection of God is the truth behind the fact of human government and the only reason for its existence. Thus truth does determine fact and n e v e r does fact determine truth as is commonly supposed. Truth underlies everything. Truth is the great citadel of life where neither fact nor fancy ever enter, not even as an occasional visitor. Truth dwells alone in the infinity and solitude of eternity. Men can do nothing against the truth. They may alter facts but they cannot change truth. 2 Corinthians 13:8.
END of POST 2 of 12
| 2009/4/11 1:21||Profile|
| Re: Post 3 of 12|
"That we may be like all the nations." Israel will now conform to the world. Conformity is the curse of mankind. It breeds his every ill; from it springs all moral, spiritual, political, philosophical, economical and social heresy and evil to which man is subject. Conformity destroys individuality and character.
"And be not conformed to the world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2.
Conformity is insidious. Who dares to be different? We choose the easy way and that way is conformity.
Human government could not exist without conformity. Is Christianity opposed to conformity? Yes. Is it then opposed to human government7 Yes. What government does Christianity sanction? The government of God. The Lordship of Christ. Can we have both government of God and men, or men and God? Never. Let us state it plainly. No man is a Christian who conforms to the world. No church is a Christian church that conforms to the world. Christians must conform to Christ. Romans 8:29. Regardless of profession or appearance, nothing is Christian that is unlike Christ, and men, government, society, churches and nations are Christian only as they conform to Christ.
Men cannot be Christian and something else too. They cannot be communistt and be Christian. They cannot be Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Masons, or what have you, and be Christian. Nations and governments cannot be both political and Christian, nor can they be ruled by both God and men. It is not possible to serve two masters, God and Mammon. Matthew 6:24. The choice of human government is rejection of God and the choice of God's government is, and must be, rejection of human government.
"But the thing displeased Samuel." Literally, it was evil in his eyes. Human government is evil. It is the penalty man pays for his sin. It is only because men are sinners that they must be governed. Rid the world of sin and human government would disappear overnight. The man who bows before God's throne needs no other government.
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for the righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God." I Timothy 1:9-11.
"Shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.' In chapter ten and verse twenty-five, this is called the manner of the kingdom." The meaning is the character and nature of the government. Note this well for it is the character and nature of all government of men evermore. "He will take" six times this phrase is used "He will appoint" - "He will give" - is used an equal number of times. "Take" - the word means to confiscate by force - to steal. Human government is a thief. Whatever it has is stolen and whatever it gets it must steal. If it is to exist, government has no alternative but to steal for that is the one way it can obtain anything.
"And ye shall be his servants." Human government is immoral. It is a predator, an oppressor and a liar. There is no moral way for government to obtain anything or do anything; its every act is immoral. Under any human government, men always lose their freedom. They become slaves of the state. This is inevitable for government is never a benefactor; it invariably and always is a slave master.
What a terrible price men pay for rejecting the sovereignty and government of God. They lose their freedom. They lose their property. They lose their character. They lose their individuality. They lose all. They lose their souls.
But the worst is yet to come. Let us not trifle and ignore the stern and awful realities' of life. When men reject the sovereignty and government of God, are they then quite done with God? When God is excluded from the life, is the life then through with God? Is there some point at which men may dismiss God from their lives and affairs and never have to reckon with him more? The answer is no. Regardless of what men do, God is still sovereign and there is no point where that sovereignty breaks down or fails, God cannot be disposed of or dispensed with: He is not a mere convenience to be used or not as men choose. God is the one necessity of the universe. Men can never escape the necessity of reckoning with God.
"And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day."
However long and bright the day, the night inevitably comes. Somewhere the dark shadow falls. The intolerable pain seizes upon the life, the soul is overwhelmed and drowned in inexpressible sorrow, the soul is sorrowful unto death, the heart is pierced through with anguish and weeps in sad loneliness. All friends then fail and no help can be found anywhere. What then?
"And ye shall cry out. The language here is vivid and startling. Ye shall cry out - not in joy and gladness, not in faith and hope. The cry will not be spontaneous. The cry shall be wrung out of you in the bitterness and loneliness of final and utter despair. In the dismay of unspeakable and indescribable sadness, the cry shall be forced from you. Prostrate under the yoke of oppression, knowing that all is lost and can never be regained, you shall cry out.
"And the Lord will not hear you in that day!" No answer will come to the anguished and bitter cry, no angel will come to minister, to strengthen and comfort. Your cry will be greeted by a silence unbroken save by the echo of your own hollow and mocking wail. You shall know the unbearable bitterness of being answered by your own cry!
"But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many All that cometh is vanity." Ecclesiastes 11: 8.
The rejection of God by Israel was not theoretical but practical. Always, it begins this way. Men never reject God in theory without having first rejected him in practice. The false doctrine springs from the false life. Men are practical atheists long before they become theoretical ones. In fact, most men live atheistically, but they would be shocked and pained beyond measure if they were charged with being atheists. Such is the contrariness and inconsistency of human nature, We retain God in our creed but depose him from the throne of the life. Countless numbers profess to believe in God who in their daily life deny him.
"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:16.
The tragedy is profound. This nation began as a theocracy Under God, we were free. Our constitution is a moral document, based firmly on the law of God. If our history is to be believed, there is no doubt whatever that our founding fathers meant to create a theocracy. They were God-fearing men, liberty loving men, who knew that men can be free only under the government of God.
But the constitution is no more. It has been torn to shreds by the politicians, the God haters, the Christ despisers, the atheistic devotees of materialism, lustful of power and covetous of gain. Every major piece of legislation and every Supreme Court ruling today is in direct conflict to both the laws of God and our own constitution. There is a vast conspiracy in this nation, whether consciously or otherwise is hard to say, but in all candor, it seems to be deliberate, to legislate God out of the nation and rid us of every vestige of theocracy. Our children, we are told, must not pray or read God's book in our schools and the teaching of Christ must be denied in every area of our national life. Why? An atheist might be offended! We may be, it is said, denying some atheist his rights!
This is tragic indeed. Atheists have no rights. The only right any man has is granted him by God, and where did God ever say an atheist has any rights? Civil or human rights are not a grant of government. They are the gift of God. When government undertakes to grant any right to any individual, it usurps the prerogative of deity and sets itself up as God. This is exactly what our government is doing. It Is trying to play God, and it is abundantly evident that the majority of our people believe the government actually is God.
This is folly and we are reaping its bitter fruit everywhere. We are reaping it in what we term juvenile delinquency. The term is incorrect though the delinquency, so - called, is certainly juvenile, as is everything else we do. This so-called juvenile delinquency is nothing but lawlessness and Godlessness and it is not confined to juveniles. Whole generations do not become Godless overnight. Parental delinquency is responsible for juvenile delinquency.
What we are witnessing today is a complete breakdown of law and order. Crime, especially against persons and property, is increasing alarmingly. The whole world is on the verge of anarchy. Let us understand that no one can rule the world but God. When men reject God, they have no ruler, they have no law, they have no guide, they have no standard. When men reject God, anarchy is necessarily their portion sooner or later.
"For now they shall say, we have no king because we feared not the Lord; what then should a king do to us?" Hosea 10:3.
We boast of our high educational standard but, in truth, we have no standard at all. We have forsaken the moral values of God's holy law. There can be no true education without these moral values. The essence of true education is discipline, and apart from moral. values, there is no discipline. It is impossible to teach men to respect persons, property and rights of others without first teaching them to respect God and holiness. Respect of persons, property and rights of others must spring from profoundly moral considerations, without which, neither property nor life is valuable or sacred and no man has any rights whatever.
Our schools teach a totally false philosophy of political, materialistic, atheistic and evil doctrine with no final truth or value on which to build. Our children are taught how to adjust or conform to the society in which they live, how to make a living in this world and become a part of it. In short, they are taught that this world and this life is all and they had better make the most of it and get theirs while the getting is good. It is no wonder they have lost their moorings. All this complete disregard for law and order, the rioting and crime, the immorality and cynicism of our young people is the direct result of the teaching they receive in the schools, the homes or the churches, or all three.
END of POST 3 of 12
| 2009/4/11 1:31||Profile|
| Re: POST 4 of 12|
"My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6.
We hear many sermons from this text and all of them misleading and false. Because the context is ignored, the sermons have no relation to the text or truth, and knowledge, meaning any kind of knowledge or knowledge in general, is praised and set forth as the sure way of man's salvation. This scripture has no reference to general knowledge at all. The Hebrew is emphatic and contains the definite article. Literally it reads, "My people are destroyed for the lack of The Knowledge." What knowledge?
"Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." Hosea 4: 1.
The knowledge of God is the only knowledge worth acquiring. In fact, there is no other knowledge in any true sense; all other knowledge is nothing but information and information is a changeable quantity. Information is mere scraps and fragments, little pieces that never represent quality because they never represent totality. To know God is to know all. To know not God is to know nothing. All other knowledge is worthless. It is worse. It leads only to sin and destruction.
Without the knowledge of God, there is no truth, there is no mercy in the land. Political people reject the knowledge of God. There is no truth at all in any political doctrine or philosophy. Nor is there any mercy. Politics is hypocrisy and in this hypocrisy, there is only one sin, the sin of losing. In politics, losing is the unpardonable sin. It is not forgiven in this election nor in the election to come. In politics, the end justifies the means. The end is to win and, therefore, anything goes that contributes to winning. This is the manner of the kingdom political,
"By 'wearing, and lying, and killing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood, therefore, shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish -because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." Hosea 4:2,3,6.
Politics is a religion. It is the religion of materialism. Politics is a total religion. Those who embrace politics as a religion can, in the necessity of the case, have no other religion. Regardless of what they profess, no politician or political people actually believe in anything but materialism. Being the religion of materialism, politics is a belief that salvation lies in material things. The basic tenet and the supreme aim of politics is the acquiring of what men call wealth and the control of the material resources. This cannot be done without controlling the individual. Therefore, the individual must be enslaved.
Who then cannot see that politics is a system of salvation by the works of men and not by God's grace? Who cannot see that the philosophy of salvation by works is what first gave birth to politics? Who cannot see that, if men believed in salvation by God's grace, politics would disappear from the earth? Who cannot see that, if there were no politics, there would be no war or crime? Who cannot see that politics is responsible for all our misery and woe? Who cannot see that politics is a total rejection of God?
Politics is spiritual insanity. Israel rejected God and chose a king. When that king was inaugurated "all the people shouted and said, God save the king." I Samuel 10:24. Having cast off God, they now propose to commit their king to the God whom they have denied. Having rejected God from the government of the nation, they now ask God to bless the king they have set up in his stead. They ignored the warnings and said, "Nay, but we will have a king over us - that he may go out before us and fight our battles.-
You say, this was folly and spiritual insanity. True. But do not be too hasty with your reproach and condemnation for in condemning Israel you condemn yourself. All men in their natural state are spiritually insane. You hear that God is angry with the wicked every day; that the wicked shall be turned into hell with all the nations that forget God; that the liar shall have his portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; that no drunkard shall enter the kingdom of heaven; that nothing unclean, defiled or corrupt shall pass into the city of God's light. What is the result? You ignore the warnings. You go right on your way. You throw yourself with unbridled license into all these diabolical things as though no warning had been given Why? You are spiritually insane.
"Yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead." Ecclesiastes 9:3.
Observe that God sometimes lets man have his own way. Observe also that man's way is always recompensed upon his own head. Observe further that when God lets man have his way and leaves him to his own choice, that choice is always wrong. The entire Bible and all known experience bears testimony that man's will or choice is not what saves him but, on the contrary, is always the thing that damns him. The worst possible thing that can happen to any man is for God to leave him to his own choice and let him have his own way.
"O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Jeremiah 10:23.
Observe again that man's choice destroys his religious memory. When men are left to their own choice, being selfish, they invariably choose some gift lower than God himself. Always they choose human leadership and protection. Hitherto, God was Israel's king and leader. He it was who went out before them and fought their battles. God had delivered them and made them a nation who were formerly slaves; he had delivered them from many a danger, seen and unseen; they owed their existence to God. But now, in the rashness of the moment of what they supposed was their new-found liberty and choice, all that is forgotten. Ah! Memory, the one thing that redeems us from irreligiousness, our hidden treasure, without which we are poor indeed! Their religious memory being stifled, they now call upon God to bless their sinful and wicked way. Had they been honest, they would have shouted, the king save God!
See the worthlessness of any supposed success which is founded upon man's choice. Israel got a king, but Israel had first rejected God. What an infinite price to pay for having their own way! This is always the price of man's choice. God lets you have your own way, and what happens? You build a stately and ornate mansion of life only to find that you have built your house upon the sinking sand. The rains of trouble descend, the floods of sorrow come, the winds of adversity blow; they beat upon your house of life, it falls and great is that fall for it falls to rise no more. Matthew 7:26,27.
"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." Psalm 127: 1.
What is wrong with man's choice? It has no foundation, it builds upon the sand. True, man exercises his choice and builds his house of life. But that house is built on no sure foundation, it stands over an open grave into which it falls at last. The labor, therefore, is all in vain, the house but a gilded tomb full of excess and dead men's bones. Life is rotten at the core. We dress it up so that outwardly it appears beautiful, but that beauty is vain, a sham and an hypocrisy. We climb, but all our ladders fall an infinite distance short of heaven. Any success we attain is momentary. Our choice is worthless. God must choose our inheritance for us. Psalm 47:4. Suppose God lets us have our choice, and through that choice we gain the whole world; what then?
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark 8:36,37.
Nay, but we will have a king over us. "Israel insisted upon having their own way. God let them have it, or rather, he inflicted upon them the intolerable punishment of granting them their own choice. What was the result? Hear the prophet nearly four hundred years later.
O Israel, thou has destroyed thyself; but in me, is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? And the judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a Icing and princes? I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath." Hosea 13:9-11.
Self-sufficiency is destroyed by self -gratification. Self choice is self-destruction. What benefit is it at last to have our own way, if in the process we incur God's displeasure and wrath? Who can bear the neglect of God much less endure his frown? Let us then admit that there is no salvation anywhere but in God. Let us bow before God's throne and acknowledge that he does rule in the kingdoms of men, that he does according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say unto him, What doest thou? Daniel 4:17,35.
Behold the parallel to this action of Israel in the course of nations, churches and individuals today. Human governments set up in direct opposition to the government of God and he is entreated to bless that government. And, of course, God is expected to do so and men delude themselves into believing that God is blessing them even when it is apparent that such is not the case. Nations engage in war and each nation claims God is on their side. Always, in all things, men seek to make God their accomplice in sin, and the tragedy is that no one sees anything wrong with such a course. This attitude is pointed proof that the prevalent philosophy of the vast majority is that God is somehow indebted to them personally, and, therefore, under some kind of compulsory obligation to pardon their sin and bless them in it, no matter what that sin may be. Nor do they conceive of themselves as being indebted to God in any way or under any obligation at all to him.
The modern churches are responsible for the existence of this philosophy for it represents their whole teaching and practice. Churches today are political, sectarian and thoroughly conformed to the world. Salvation is taught as a matter of diplomacy. Pull the right string, manipulate the right wire, join the right church, mingle with the right crowd, move in the right society, associate with the right people, observe the right ritual, mumble the right incantation, pay your tithe and God is bound to save you. Salvation, as taught in the modern churches, is a matter of politics or of joining the right church.
The whole of professing Christianity is divided into sects, each in bitter opposition to the others and all in opposition to Christ. Each has a program of their own which each, with true sectarian zeal, believe God is bound to prefer because they themselves prefer it. Each prays that God will bless their program and, in so doing, curse all the others. Thus, with a boundless egotism and pride, spawned in the dark regions of the damned, the various sects of professing Christianity seek to tear the seamless robe of Christ to shreds and sell it for so much a square inch.
The churches today are degenerate. They are political and partisan sects who follow men, not Christ. They are motivated, or as the apostle puts it, "drawn and enticed," by their own choice, lust and desires, not led by the Spirit of God. They are compromising, covetous and carnal. They are anti-Christian in spirit, doctrine and practice. They have rejected God. They have rejected the Lordship of Christ. They have rejected the sovereign leadership of the Holy Spirit. The churches today have no God. This is the manner of the kingdom religious.
The times grow worse. The knowledge of God has almost perished from the land. Our whole society is an organized hypocrisy. Who owns God as sovereign today? How little is known of God today and how little of his truth is ever heard!
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." 2 Timothy 3:1-4.
That this is a thoroughly accurate description of our own society, no honest soul can doubt. That such a condition is the result of rejecting God is equally evident. The picture is dark indeed. Let us recognize that this is a description of a nominally moral and religious people. This is not the world as such, people who have nothing to do with religion. These are people who have a "form of godliness", that is, they are formal Christians. But the form is nothing but a form, an empty and outward pretense for they "deny the power thereof." They reject the sovereignty of God. They reject the Lordship of Christ. They reject theocracy. They are "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth", or the true knowledge. They are "men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." Verses 5-8.
This, then, is the manner of the kingdom of men. This is the ruined state to which all at last are brought who adopt the doctrine of diplomacy, that of man's choice, and follow the false philosophy pf political expediency, It is this philosophy that has given birth to every heresy among men and all the false teaching that parades under the guise of Christianity. The most glaring example of the deadly influence of political philosophy in religion is the modern teaching on divine election. We are told that election means that God votes for us, Satan votes against us, and we ourselves cast the deciding vote! This is so absurd and ridiculous that its falsity should be apparent; yet, most believe it, which fact is further proof that political people are dishonest.
What a travesty such a teaching is upon truth. No honest soul could even believe it, much less teach it. But political people are not honest, worse they are blasphemers. This teaching is blasphemy. It makes Satan equal with God and man greater than both. Those who advance such teaching, know nothing of God or His truth and care even less. By no stretch of the imagination can election be made a matter of voting. Election is God's choice and Satan, demons, angels, man, or any other being, have no choice or vote in the matter at all. But this is the manner of the kingdom of men for it is ever a kingdom destitute of truth.
END of POST 4 of 12
| 2009/4/11 1:39||Profile|
| Re: POST 5 of 12|
But there is another kingdom, infinitely above all the kingdoms of men. This kingdom is the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. What is the manner of this kingdom? Briefly, it is the opposite of all that has been said of the kingdom of men. Let us now examine some of the particulars of the manner of this kingdom.
"Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee of Me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: What hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:33-36.
The kingdom of God is not material, physical or political. The kingdom of God is spiritual. This is the central verity of the divine kingdom. This is the basic truth that we must grasp if we are to understand anything at all concerning God's kingdom. Yet this is the one truth that men refuse to learn, - indeed it is the one truth they cannot learn. It is not possible for political people to understand spiritual truth.
"My kingdom is not of this world." Pilate was utterly perplexed by this answer of Christ. Pilate was a politician. He knew nothing of any kingdom, except those which were purely political and material. He could not imagine any throne, crown or sceptre, except that which is of the earth, earthy. Pilate did what all politicians and political people have ever done and shall ever do; he followed the course of political expediency. He crucified Christ. No politician ever lived who has not done the same.
Why did Pilate deliver Christ to be crucified? The record is clear and open for all to see. Pilate knew that Jesus Christ was innocent. He knew that Jesus was delivered by the Jews for envy. He knew that Jesus was a just man and the charges against him were false. Yet he scourged Jesus and delivered him to be crucified,
"And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, if thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar." John 19:12.
Pilate was afraid. When the Jews told him that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, he was more afraid. Why then did he cruelly scourge Jesus and deliver him to be crucified? His reason was political. He could not afford to antagonize Caesar. If he was to retain his political office, he had to be known as Caesar's friend. "When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth" --- John 19:13.
But how can we account for Pilate's cruelty to Christ? Let us repeat the lesson we have previously pointed out. There is no truth and no mercy in politics, there is only "swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood." Hosea 4:2. Literally bloods - meaning blood upon blood until the whole land becomes red like crimson, one vast vermillion hue. And, all of that blood so cruelly shed is innocent.
Judas betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. His motive was political. When he saw that Jesus was condemned, when he knew that Christ would be crucified and his blood would flow from his fast-nailed body on the cruel cross, he repented himself, brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the priests and said, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." Matthew 27:3-4.
Said the chief priests and elders, "What is that to us? They could not have cared less. There they sat in all their stone blind official indifference, caring not one whit that the blood about to be shed was innocent. They drew their Pharisaical robes of hypocritical self-righteousness about them and from calloused hearts, blinded with hate and hard as the nether millstone, said, "What is that to us?"
That, friend, is politics. That is any man's politics. That is every man's politics. That is your politics.
"And ye shall cry out." Now we begin to learn the full import of that statement. They cried out, "Away with him, Crucify him!" "Why," said Pilate, "what evil hath he done?" But "they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him." Mark 15:14. The emphasis is on the word 'crucify'; note that each time they cried out, "Crucify him", the word Crucify is, w i t h o u t exception in the Holy Scriptures, spelled with a capital letter! They literally thirsted for Christ's blood!
All this because long ago they chose a king and a human government! See how thoroughly political they had become. When the Lord of life walked among them and announced the year of jubilee; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18,19. They heard him not; they hugged their chains and died in darkness. The King of the Universe stood before them and they said, "We have no king but Caesar!"
That is politics. That is human choice. Nor is that the end. "And ye shall cry out." Let us hear the final word.
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day~ And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried"---- Luke 16:19-24.
Politics ends in hell. Human choice ends in hell. Human government ends in hell. Society ends in hell. All kingdoms of this world end in hell. All human religion ends in hell. All human organizations end in hell. Everyway of man ends in hell. Every path of man's choosing ends in hell.
"The wicked shall be turned into hell. and all the nations that forget God." Psalms 9:17.
The Jews looked for a political kingdom. It was this political concept that blinded them then and still blinds them today. Being political, they rejected the Christ then and still reject him to this day; nor will any ever receive him, whether Jew or Gentile, as long as they remain political. No political people ever received Christ and none ever will, Because of their political concept, the Jews delivered up Jesus, "and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One, and the just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life. Acts 3:13-15.
Politics has not changed, nor has human nature. Murderers are still chosen, they are elected to office. The Prince of life is still killed. Political people still prefer a murderer to Jesus Christ. Human choice still denies the Holy One and the just. Barabbas, the robber, is still the unanimous choice of political people.
END of POST 5 of 12
| 2009/4/11 1:44||Profile|
| Re: POST 6 of 12|
The vast majority of professing Christendom today believe Christ's kingdom to be political and material, and this belief accounts for their sectarianism for they all hope to be the ruling element in such a kingdom. Needless to say, such a concept is completely selfish; its aim is not to glorify Christ but to justify the doctrines of the particular sect. The theory is that Christ will set up a kingdom on this earth, political in nature, and he will literally reign over a material world in this political and material kingdom for a thousand years. Those who hold this view say that Christ came to establish his kingdom at this first advent but was rejected and had to postpone the kingdom until he returns. The utter absurdity of such a theory is readily apparent. In the first place, if the theory is correct, Christ was disappointed and a disappointed Saviour cannot be deity. In the second place, he could not accomplish what he came to do and is, therefore, no Saviour. Furthermore, if Christ could not do what he came to do the first time, then there is no assurance that he will be able when he comes again. Let us recognize that the theory is only a theory and rests on no plain statement of Scripture but upon interpretation of Scripture. There is not one Scripture in all the Holy Writ that says that Christ will reign on this earth in any material and political way. The reign of Christ is spiritual and so is the reign of his people. The theory of a literal, material and political reign of Christ violates the whole tenor and spirit of Scripture, ignores every rule of Scripture interpretation laid down by the Scriptures themselves, and contradicts the plain statements of the Scriptures.
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20-21.
The kingdom cometh not with outward show; it is not something you can see with the eye of flesh; it is a spiritual kingdom and therefore spiritually comprehended. "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or Lo there!" It is not a place kingdom confined to any narrow locality; it is universal.
"He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth." Psalm 72:8.
"The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all." Psalm 103:19.
"Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool"-- . Acts 7:48,49. Compare Isaiah 66:1,2. Matthew 5:34,35.
"My kingdom is not of this world," If we take this plain statement in its simplicity, we realize at once that it is a most profound declaration. The Greek word here translated "world" is not the word for age, as so many teach. The word means world order, specifically, that order which characterizes the kingdoms of this world or the manner of those kingdoms, and that order or manner is political and material. The kingdom of Christ is not of the order of the kingdoms of this world, but the opposite of those kingdoms: it is neither political nor material. The kingdom of Christ is spiritual; it is a kingdom of souls. Its government is theocracy. Its law is love. Its manner is peace.
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Romans 14:17.
The kingdom of heaven is now. All the modern theologians notwithstanding, this is the kingdom age. This is the very heart and soul of the gospel, To deny the present kingdom is to deny the present gospel, and to preach a gospel other than Christ preached and commanded his followers to preach.
What is the gospel of Christ? What gospel did Jesus Christ preach? What gospel did Christ command his followers to preach? To those who receive the Scriptures as authoritative and final, these questions are forever settled. Let us now hear the word.
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:1,2.
"From that time Jesus began to preach, and say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17.
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel," Mark 1: 14, 15.
"The former treatise have I made, 0 Theophilus, of a11 that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Acts 1:1-3.
Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom; when did he ever talk about anything else? Wondrous, this Christ of God! His speech is unique. He tells of a wondrous kingdom. He speaks only of those things pertaining to the kingdom of God. He says his kingdom is heaven, a place wondrously fair, whose glory outshines the sun; a place of unending day where no night, no sorrow, no death ever comes; an abiding place of many mansions, which he calls his Father's house, where God, the angels and the immortals dwell.
This is His kingdom. This is the music of his gospel. And this is the kingdom which he says is at hand; a kingdom in the hearts and souls of those who repent and believe the gospel; a kingdom in which they dwell both now and forever, not in a material and physical sense, but spiritually.
And this is the gospel he bids us preach. Hear him when he sent forth the twelve apostles.
"And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 10:7.
END of POST 6 of 12
| 2009/4/11 1:51||Profile|
| Re: POST 7 of 12|
But, some object, this was when they were sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Was not the message to be changed when preached unto the Gentiles? Hear the word again.
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14.
And this is why the end has not come. This gospel of the kingdom is not one of a future kingdom but of a kingdom at hand, one here and now; and this is not the gospel being preached today. What is preached today in no way resembles what Christ and the apostles preached. We hear of no kingdom being at hand today, one where triumph is not only possible but actually realized. Instead, a defeatist attitude is taken. Christ is represented as a beggar, not a king; God is represented as disappointed and thwarted in his purpose; the Holy Spirit is represented as striving with men to no avail. What purports to be Christendom today is thoroughly political. Their approach to the gospel is politically oriented, and consequently, they preach a social gospel of materialism. The spiritual is almost entirely lost and, in some cases, scorned and ridiculed as visionary and worthless.
It is not within the compass of this work to deal with the "thousand years" reign recorded in the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse, called by many the kingdom age. Suffice it to say that the popular interpretation is purely fanciful and speculatory, a mere product of men's imagination. No kingdom is mentioned there at all for the simple reason that this is the kingdom age, In fact, no age or dispensation is there depicted at all. The Hebrew language has no superlative. The "thousand years" is a Hebraism designed to express the superlative degree. The expression has nothing to do with time as we know it. "And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, " Revelation 20:4, is one with the expression in Revelation 22:5, "And they shall reign for ever and ever, "
What is depicted in Revelation twenty is the state of the righteous dead and the eventual triumph of God's kingdom. The two resurrections there mentioned are not two bodily resurrections, one of the righteous and the other of the wicked, separated by a thousand lunar years. The Bible teaches only one resurrection of the body. That resurrection takes place at the last day and is a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked, the just and the unjust. We are left in no doubt at all about this nor about what the first resurrection is. We are told plainly that the first resurrection is one from our sin and spiritual death unto an endless life and holiness. The first resurrection is exactly what it is said to be in Revelation twenty, a resurrection of "souls". It was the "souls" that John saw living and reigning with Christ. Revelation 20:4.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." John 5:25.
This is the first resurrection, one that takes place here and now. It is not a bodily or physical resurrection, but spiritual.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5:28, 29.
This is the general resurrection at the last day. It is a bodily resurrection of all that are in the graves both good and evil.
"Jesus said unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" John 11:23?26.
"And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (By grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. "Ephesians 2:1?6.
This is as plain as language can make it. These Scriptures set forth the truth unmistakably. They are plain statements, about which there can be no argument or doubt. All are by nature the children of wrath and dead in trespasses and sins. In this state of spiritual death, they are quickened by the Spirit of God, born of that Spirit, made alive and raised from that state of spiritual death unto a state of eternal life. "This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Revelation 20:5,6.
This reign is spiritual. It begins the moment the soul is resurrected from sin and spiritual death, and it never ends. It is a reign in life and a reign in eternity. The idea that the Saints do not and cannot reign until after the resurrection of the body at the last day is not a Scriptural one. The Scriptures declare that both Christ and his Saints are reigning now, the only difference in that reign now and after the resurrection of the body being, that whereas, it is now a reign of grace, in eternity, it is a reign of glory or grace consummated.
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17.
"That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:21.
"Shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." The context makes it plain that the apostle means in this life as well as in eternity, for he says that just as sin reigns unto death in this life, even so they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in this life, and through that righteousness reign unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
END of POST 7 of 12
| 2009/4/11 1:56||Profile|
| Re: POST 8 of 12|
"And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." Revelation 5:9,10.
The proponents of the theory of a literal thousand years reign of Christ and Saints on this earth in a future dispensation lean heavily upon this Scripture. But if this Scripture is to lend support to their theory, it must be interpreted literally. Obviously, this Scripture cannot be taken literally, It was the four beasts and the four and twenty elders who sang this new song. The literalist therefore is forced to admit that it is not the Saints who reign in the supposed future dispensation, but the four beasts and the four and twenty elders. Thus, it is ever true that the letter kills, it is the Spirit that quickens. John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6. The Bible is a spiritual book..The Bible must be read spiritually and its truth must be spiritually comprehended. I Corinthians 2:11-16.
This scripture teaches the very opposite of what the dispensationalists think. The four beasts and the four and twenty elders symbolize the redeemed of Christ, those purchased by his blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. Those purchased by his blood have been made, (the tense is past) or constituted a kingdom of kings and priests unto God and they shall reign on the earth. The verb denotes continuous action, they shall continue to reign on the earth. The obvious meaning is that they are reigning now and shall continue to reign. The language has no reference at all to any future time. They reign on the earth while they live on the earth and not at some subsequent time.
Wondrous kingdom, this kingdom of heaven! Saul goes out to find his father's lost asses and he is chosen king of Israel! And the asses are found. The Lord knew their whereabouts all along. All things are known in this kingdom, even such a trivial thing as the whereabouts of the straying asses! All things are known because all things are planned. Nothing is left to change and nothing is contingent. The Lord reigneth.
And the Saints reign with him. They reign now. They reign forever. Come what may, they have the victory. The kingdom of heaven is always triumphant, even when it seems to suffer defeat. In this kingdom all things work together for good; the good overcomes the evil and the evil is overruled for good.
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savior of his knowledge in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death, unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?" 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.
The Christian warfare is against the political, material and wicked rulers of this world. Behind every throne, government and political power in the world stands Satan, the adversary of God and enemy of all good; he is the chief prince and real power behind all human government. Those who take their stand for God and right have no choice but to oppose human government.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12.
This conflict is the Christian's Armageddon. Futurists and dispensationalists place what they call the battle of Armageddon at some future date and they hold that it will be a physical contest. There is no basis for this belief other than their imagination. This is only another example of the political philosophy and influence in the theology of the religious world today.
"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Revelation 16:16.
This is the only place in the Scriptures where the word Armageddon appears. A careful reading of the contest shows that this is no physical battle at all but a spiritual conflict.
That conflict is going on now. It is a spiritual conflict between Christians and the forces of Satan. It will end only with the coming of Christ and the final overthrow of Satan and the present world system.
Christians must never forget that their warfare is a spiritual one. We are not to engage in violence and physical conflict with the various governments under which we live, nor are we to advocate their overthrow by any physical or political means. On the contrary, we are to be in subjection to them for "the powers that be are ordained of God." Romans 13:1. The various governments are allowed of God because they serve his purpose; Christians, therefore, are to submit themselves to every ordinance of man, not because the ordinance is right, but for the Lord's sake. I Peter 2:13. But where the laws of men conflict with the laws of God, Christians must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29. Our opposition to evil must be spiritual, not physical; we are to "be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imagination, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
"My kingdom is not of this world." The kingdom of Christ is no part of the world system. Christ's kingdom is the theocracy, the whole company of souls governed by him; consequently, it is the governing kingdom, through which he rules all other kingdoms; it is the one kingdom in the midst of human history that shapes that history and rules all things whatsoever; it is the one kingdom where the life of God is communicated and his ultimate purpose realized. This is throne kingdom that ultimately will break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Daniel 2:44.
The subjects of this kingdom are not citizens of this world; their citizenship is in heaven and heaven is their home. They are pilgrims and strangers on this earth. Because they are not part of the world, they are hated and persecuted by the world.
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19.
It argues ill for professing Christians when they are not hated and persecuted. The world loves their own. Those whom the world loves belong to the world and not to Christ. Those who love the world and are friends to the world are God's enemies. James 4:4; 1 john 2:15. If we are not hated, reviled and persecuted by the world, then let us not commit the folly of claiming to be Christians.
But the world can never harm the Christian. The Christian is in the kingdom of Christ where all things are cared for with a wondrous and infinite care. A particular providence attends the Christian and guards his every step. Let the world kill him, it matters not; this only ushers him into heaven. God is sovereign over this world, he is king of the whole universe. Men can do nothing but what God allows them to do. The world is a defeated enemy.
END of POST 8 of 12
| 2009/4/11 2:07||Profile|
| Re: POST 9 of 12|
"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. " John 16:33.
These words were spoken by our Lord shortly before his terrible and agonizing death on the cruel tree. Soon rough hands seized Him, placed upon His head a crown of thorns and smote it down with a reed. They put a scarlet robe upon Him and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews." While His blood streamed down from the thorny crown, they reviled Him and spit in his face, his lovely face where glory was ever wont to dwell. He gave His back to the smiters and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. The world seized Him as a criminal, judged Him a malefactor and hailed Him to the cross of his shame.
And they crucified Him. They stripped Him naked and nailed His hands and His feet to the cross. They parted His garments, casting lots upon His vesture. While His life slowly ebbed away, they stared with scorn and bitter hatred. Those who passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads sagely and saying wisely, "Save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." The chief priests said, "He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let Him come down from the cross and we will believe him. " He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'
Suddenly at noonday, darkness veiled the sky, a strange darkness, neither day nor night. All light failed. The sun grew pale in mid-heaven and fainted in midnight darkness.
The stars grew ashamed and ceased from their shining. The angels of heaven veiled their face with their wings and mute with awe, stopped singing.
So died the Son of God. For three long hours the darkness prevailed. Pangs of death seized upon the Saviour. His life was poured out like water. His strength dried up like a potsherd. Thirsty, He was given vinegar and gall to increase his thirst, and while His fever mounted, His tongue swelled and cleaved to his jaws. He tasted the dust of death. All His bones were out of joint, sundered one from another. His heart, like wax, melted in the midst of His bowels.
At the ninth hour, in the midst of the throes of death, forth from his pallid lips came the cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Naked, forsaken and alone, "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost:
Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate, stood humbly, and begged the body of Jesus. After making sure Jesus was dead, Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. Joseph took the body of Jesus down from the cross, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock. Pilate had the tomb sealed and set up a watch upon it.
And so the deed was done. Was it a tragedy? It was not. Did not the world triumph? They did not. This thing was foreordained before the foundation of the world. I Peter 1:20. "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Acts 2:23.
Then "the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this." Psalm 22:28-31. Then wicked hands are made to perform the determinate counsel of the Lord. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." Psalm 76:10.
"And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Acts 4:24-28.
Then God's hand and God's counsel determined the affairs of that day. Then, with all their rage and all their freedom of choice, they did exactly what God had already determined to be done. And, with all their power, they were able to do nothing else.
"For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a sepulchre." Acts 13: 27-30.
Then, try as they may, men can only fulfill the scriptures. Only when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, could they take Christ down from the tree. Then there is no literal interpretation of the scriptures. They were perfectly familiar with them, the scribes copied them, wrote them meticulously; the chief priests read and interpreted them; all heard them read every sabbath day. They knew the letter but not the spirit. They heard the words but not the "voices" of the prophets.
END of POST 9 of 12
| 2009/4/11 2:12||Profile|
| Re: POST 10 of 12|
Then nothing is done by accident or chance and every thing has design. Why was Jesus crucified? That the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Why did the soldiers cast lots for his seamless robe? That the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 19:24. Why dlid Jesus say, I thirst? That the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 19:28. Why were the bones of Christ not broken and his side pierced instead? That the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 19:32-37. Why was he crucified between two thieves and buried in a rich man's tomb? That the Scripture might be fulfilled. Isaiah 53:9,12; Mark 15:28.
Why does anything happen? That the Scripture might be fulfilled. Why was Jesus Christ born of a virgin? That the Scripture might be fulfilled. Matthew 1: 18-25. Why was Christ born in Bethlehem? That the Scripture might be fulfilled, Micah 5:2. Matthew 2:5-6. Why did wise men from the east make the long journey to worship Christ when he was born and offer unto him gold, frankincense and myrrh? Matthew 2:1-11. Psalms 72: 10. Isaiah 60:3-6. Isaiah 49:7. How did they find their way? Who placed that star in the sky and why did not Herod and the chief priests and scribes see it? How was it that the star went before the wise men till it came and stood over where the young child was? Matthew 2:9. Numbers 24:17. Why did Joseph take the young child and his mother and flee to Egypt? Why did Herod kill all the children two years old and under? When Jesus and his parents returned from Egypt, why did they turn aside into Galilee and dwell in a city called Nazareth? Matthew 2:13-23.
That the Scripture might be fulfilled. Blessed be God, this is the why of all things. And, it is why things are done when they are done. There is a time to every purpose under heaven. Many times men sought to take Jesus; He stood in their very midst not an arm's length away, yet they could not touch him. They took up stones to stone him, yet they could not cast one stone. They stood with the stones in their hands and were suddenly powerless to hurl them. At Nazareth they led him up to the brow of the hill upon which the city was built, that they might cast him down headlong, but he passed through the midst of them and went his way. Luke 4:29, 30. Why? His hour was not yet come. "Then they sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come." John 7:30. "These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on Him; for his hour was not yet come." John 8:20.
"But he passing through the midst of them went his way. Luke 4:30
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33.
"God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform, He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
"But he passing through the midst of them went his way." We are struck at once by the vastness and comprehensiveness of this statement. We stand in awe before the scope of this scripture! Verily here is the whole truth stated in a sentence! Christ passed through their midst, and they knew him not! He passed through their midst, and was a stranger! He went his way, and they were powerless to stop him! When will men learn that "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord?" Proverbs 21:30
Here we drop anchor. Here we risk our all for both time and eternity. Here we find the spiritual kingdom, against which the hosts of hell are powerless. We know it to be everlastingly true that, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." Proverbs 16:33.
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7,8.
"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.' Luke 10:21.
"He went his way." in spite of all the world could do, he went his way. He went his way, and lived his life. He went his heavenly way, "who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. " He went his precious way, taught his precious truth, and shed his precious blood. He went his shining way, and behold, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light. and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up." He went his radiant way, and behold, "Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace." He went his comforting way, and spoke peace to the troubled heart, comforting the weary and the sad. "The Lord God gave him the tongue of the learned, that he should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." He went his sorrowful way: "He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," but behold, "Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows." He went his cross crowned way to Calvary, and behold, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." He went his everlasting way, "Whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity. " He went his predestined way, died his foreordained death, and redeemed his eternally chosen people, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb, without blemish and without spot." I Peter 2:22. Matthew 4:16. Luke 1:78, 79. Isaiah 50:4. Isaiah 53:3-5 Micah 5:2 1 Peter 1:18-20.
Yes, Christ went his way, and that way was the way of the Cross and death. He went his way down to the grave, the dark and vasty region of death. He explored all that dark domain. He died, really and truly died. Death seized him as a prey.
END of POST 10 of 12
| 2009/4/11 2:21||Profile|