quote from an article by the same title in Jerusalem, a journal of
the Jewish Christian Community:
have often written about the next Temple which is being spoken of and
referred to these days. That such a Temple will be built in Jerusalem is
evident from the prophecies. Jesus spoke of Daniel's words in connection
with the "abomination that maketh desolate, and the time that the
daily sacrifice shall be taken away on account of this
abomination" (Dan. 11:31; 12:11; Matt. 24:15). In our opinion, this
should not be confused with the Messianic Temple (Isa. 3:3). The first
chief rabbi of Israel, Rav Abraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, claimed that when
that Temple is built, animal sacrifices would not be introduced.
quoted Isaiah's prophecy in defense of that view: "They will not do
evil nor will they destroy anything in the entire mountain of my holiness
because the knowledge of the Lord will fill the land as the waters cover
chief rabbi believed the prophet's words left no room for animal
slaughter, no matter how idealistic the reason. In his opinion, in the
Third Temple, the entire sacrificial cult will consist of "...the
meal offering of Judah and Jerusalem, which will be sweet unto the Lord
as in the days of old, and as in former years" (Mal. 3:4).
Shlomo Riskin who writes the weekly Shabbat sermon in The Jerusalem Post
comments: "Rav Kook's messianic vision teaches that the most
significant part of the sacrifice was never meant to be the savory smell
of the burning meat, but the trembling sincerity of the human
amazing words! We cannot help but wonder at the all inclusiveness of
God's overruling of the chosen seed, not only those by faith in Christ
Jesus, but also on behalf of the flesh of Abraham. Yes, they were cast off
in punishment for a
However, Paul tells us what will come with their return to favor:
nothing less than the resurrection from the dead (Romans 11:15).
Israel's course during the past twenty centuries has been much different
than that of the Christian believer. Yet, God has brought many Jews to a
point not far distant from Christian believers.
course, the Jew must yet accept the Lord Jesus Christ for what he is,
their Lord and their savior. This we know will occur when he reasons with
them (Ezek. 20:35; Zech. 12:10). Yet, can we not realize how wonderfully
God has prepared them to receive Messiah even through the experience of
the words of this rabbi, the first chief rabbi of Israel! He has better
understood the words of Scripture than many who claim to be Christian.
Many supposedly Christian believers can still lift their eyes scarcely
higher than their own church, their own pastor, their own order of
service. This rabbi, however, understands and teaches the true purpose
of the temple service. ' This service is the ascendancy of the human
heart to God in worship, meekness, repentance, and adoration. If the Jew
of our own day grasps this astoundingly simple spark of truth, will they
not be as a fire brand fanned into flame (cf., Isa. 42:3) when they turn
and accept him who died for their sins?
the fervency of Saul of Tarsus when the Lord Jesus appeared to him and
changed him into Paul. How similar Saul's change to Paul will be the
experience of a nation turned to God in the days for which we pray, "Thy
kingdom come, thy will be done on earth even as it is in heaven"
5:10). If we hope to be part of that Kingdom, what manner of persons ought
we to be...?
pardons like a mother who kisses the offense into everlasting
forgetfulness. -- Henry Ward Beecher
shall my word be which goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me
empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the
matter for which I sent it" --
I will betroth you to me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to me in
righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion"
-- Hosea 2:19
scriptural confession, "I have sinned," occurs seven times (Exod.
9:27; Num. 22:34; I Sam. 15:24; Josh. 7:20; Matt. 27:4; Job 7:20; Luke
15:21). We will review each of these references. In doing so we will find
that each conveys an entirely different attitude. While one person
confesses, "I have sinned," and receives forgiveness, another
says, "I have sinned," and goes on his way to blacken himself
with worse crimes than he had before committed.
The Hardened Sinner - Exodus 9:27
was the hardened sinner who said "I have sinned" only when
for Moses and Aaron,
unto them, I have sinned
The Lord is
I and my
this confession from the haughty tyrant? Did he desire to humble himself
before God? Judge his confession by the circumstances under which it was
Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven; and the Lord sent thunder and
hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail
upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail,
very grievous such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt
since it became a nation" (Exod. 9:23, ff.).
the thunder is rolling through the sky, while the lightning flashes set
the very ground on fire, while the hail falls in big lumps of ice --
"Now," says Pharaoh, "I have sinned." -- Is
the first time that Pharaoh knew that he had sinned against God and his
children? No! He had been mistreating them for years, but he was too proud
to humble himself, confess his sin and seek the forgiveness of God and
his children to mend his ways. In time, he seared his conscience; wrong
conduct and unjust practices had little effect upon him. He hardened his
heart. Of what value was his confession? That confession, begotten during
the terrors of the storm, died in the calm. That repentance, which was
born amid the thunder and the lightning, ceased when all was hushed in
quietness. Pharaoh returned to his former evil ways.
The Double Minded Man -- Numbers 22:34
was double minded. He said, "I have sinned," and felt it too. He
felt it deeply. However, he was so worldly that he preferred the wages of
unrighteousness to obeying God's commands. Balak, king of Moab, feared the
children of Israel and encamped his army on the plains of Moab. Balak
sent messengers to the Prophet Balaam, asking him to come and curse the
Israelites so that the Moabites might engage and defeat them in battle.
These messengers carried with them bribes for Balaam, bribes which Balaam
wanted to receive. He said, "Lodge
1 will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak unto me." Balaam pled the cause of Balak: "And
God said unto Balaam, Thou shaft
with them; thou shaft not curse the people; for they are blessed."
next day Balak received a message from Balaam. He then sent his sons to
promise the prophet promotion and honor in addition to their gifts if he
would curse Israel.
Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, if Balak would give
me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the
Lord my God, to do less or more."
Balaam went to see Balak, and on his way an angel interrupted his journey.
Here, he realized that he had erred in not listening to the commands of
God. It was to the angel that he said: "I have sinned."
meeting Balak, Balaam was taken to view the armies of Israel. Again, he
was offered bribes if he would curse Israel. Again, Balaam went before
God, pleading the cause of Moab. Returning to Balak he said: "How
shall I curse whom God hath
shall I defy whom
he repeatedly approached God to plead the cause of Balak, and with
sincerity he returned each time to Balak with a refusal. At one time, he
speaks words reminiscent of the Apostle's reference to the times of restitution...
by the mouth
of all his
since the world began,"
shall see him,
shall behold him,
but not nigh." Balaam
was double minded. He wanted to serve righteousness, but he also
wanted the wages and honor of unrighteousness. He troubled himself in
hoping to convince God to change his mind so as to make this second desire
The Insincere Man - 1 Samuel 15:24
was insincere when he said, "'I have sinned." Balaam, on the
other hand, was partially sincere. Saul did not have a single dominant
characteristic, and he was molded by circumstances which passed quite
over his head. Samuel reproved him, and he confessed: "I have
sinned." Yet, he was not sincere, as the rest of the verse shows: "I have sinned; for/
commandment of the Lord, and
because I feared the people and
was a lying alibi. Saul never feared anybody; he was always ready to do
his own will. He was king. Immediately before this he had offered
another excuse. He had saved the best of the sheep and oxen to offer to
the Lord as a sacrifice; both statements could not be true.
dominated Saul's character. One day he called David from his bed,
thinking to kill him in his house. Another time he declares: "God
forbid that I should do ought against thee, my son David." One day, because David saved his life, he
said: "Thou art more righteous than 1; 1 will do so no more," but the day before he had gone out to fight
against his own son-in-law in order to slay him. Sometimes Saul sought
help from the prophets; other times he obtained counsel from witches --
sometimes one thing and sometimes another insincerity in everything.
spite of similarities between Saul and Balaam, there are contrasts between
the two men. Balaam was the great, bad man; great in all he did, whether
good or bad. Saul was little, small in everything except stature; little
in his good, and little in his vices. He was too weak to be desperately
bad and too wicked to be at any time good. Balaam was great in both; the
man who could at once defy God and yet say, "If Balak would give me his house full of
gold, I could not
go beyond the
word of the
Lord my God to do less or more."
Continuing in Sin - Joshua 7:20
story of Achan is one of a man who continued in sin until his sin was
found out. Achan was a thief, a habitual thief who had hidden -- great
wealth (gold, silver and garments) under his tent. He did not confess his
sin until God, by process of elimination, pointed out that Achan was the
man. His confession did not come from humble contrition, Achan confessed
having been caught in theft and being forced to acknowledge his guilt.
The Confession of Despair - Matthew 27:4
confession is the worst confession of the seven. His is a repentance
of despair. Judas said, "I have sinned." Yes, Judas the traitor,
who had betrayed his Master when he saw that his Master was condemned,
repented. In a fit of despair, he
again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priest and elders, saying:
I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood.... And he cast down
the pieces in the temple and went and hanged himself."
is the worst repentance of all -- the dreadful, terrible, hideous and
torturing confession of despair!
will tarry no longer here but carry our thoughts higher to a more cheerful
light. The previous confessions have been mean and dark, but the sixth
is encouraging for it is the confession of a humble and contrite heart.
The Sincere Man -- Job 7:20
Job's confession recalls how Satan set
himself against a man to bring misfortune upon him and to force him to
abandon faith in God. Job's cattle were stolen. His servants were killed
by cattle thieves, except for the two or three who escaped to bear him the
news. His seven sons and three, daughters lost their lives in a storm.
Yet, Satan's work was not complete. He stripped Job of his possessions,
except for his wife and friends -- and they only added to his torments.
Mental stress is grievous and when
mixed with physical ailment so that one is unable to sustain himself, it
is far worse. Job broke out with boils; not a few, as might commonly
confine a person to bed, he was covered with boils from the soles of his
feet to the crown of his head. That was not all:
"When I say my bed shall comfort
me, my couch shall ease my complaint; then thou scarest me with dreams,
and terrifiest me with visions; so that my soul chooseth strangling and
death rather than life."
Poor Job, he could not even sleep. He
would roll and toss with worries and pain. When he finally lulled off to
sleep, he awoke with nightmares. Note his confession:
"I have sinned; what shall I do
unto thee, O thou preserver of men? Why hast thou set me as a mark against
thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my
transgression, and take away mine iniquity? For now shall I sleep in the
dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be."
These are not the words of a
hardened sinner arising from his own terror. They are not from the
lips of a double minded man who vacillates between God's cause today and
another's tomorrow. These are not words from the lips of the insincere
self-excuser, nor from the schemer who refuses to confess until forced to
admit his guilt. Neither is this the confession of despair, as one who has
surrendered all hope of forgiveness and surrenders himself to deeper
and blacker crimes.
This confession is sincere and
penitent. Again, the confession centers on the restitution promises
(Acts 3:19-21) of which all God's prophets spoke:
"For now shall I
sleep in the dust and thou
shalt seek me in the morning,
but I shall not be."
No, when God shall seek Job in the Millennial
morning through Jesus Christ the
righteous, Job shall not be. He will be asleep in the dust.
The Prodigal Son -- Luke 15:21
Our final confession is that of the
certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father,
Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided
unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all
together and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his
substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a
mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and
joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his
fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the
husks that the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And when he came
to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread
enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my
father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and
before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of
thy hired servants. And he arose and came to his father. But when he was
yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and
fell on his neck and kissed him.
This parable has its interpretation,
but have you ever felt yourself in a similar position? Have you ever spent
long hours away from the Father's house? Have you ever been engaged in
riotous living, being wrapped up in the pleasures of the world? Have you
ever left the Father's table or found yourself involved in the
theories of man? Have you ever found yourself shopping around from one
"herd of swine" to another?
While the "swine" thrive
upon the pods of the locust or carob tree, the new creature in Christ
Jesus starves for lack of spiritual food. He longs to return to his
father's table. What was the prodigal's first reaction upon coming to his
senses? "I will go back."
I will return, but not in self -- righteously or excusing
myself. I will return in contrite humility, fully confessing my errors
and willing to accept the lowest place in my father's family -- as a
Full, humble confession is the only
basis for divine restoration to the privilege of sonship. The prodigal's
resolution would have been inconsequential had the man not done what he
resolved. There are many who are dissatisfied with this world and with the
husks of daily life. They desire to return to their Father's table, but
upon reflection they decide that the loss is too severe to be borne. They
consider their older brothers, and in pride they say, No! They would
rather search for a few beans among the husks than acknowledge the error
of their ways.
The prodigal not only longed to
return, he willed to return, and then he did return. "And
the father seeing him a great way off, had compassion, and ran and fell on
his neck and kissed him."
The prodigal attempts to confess with a broken and contrite
spirit, but he is interrupted by the father's love and the parent's
request for the "best robe, figuratively the robe of Christ's
righteousness -- justification; "the ring," being the
Pentecostal blessing and a signet of everlasting mercy, forgiveness and
love; "the fatted calf," showing the good, solid, wholesome
truths and a general rejoicing, for the dead had come to life, the lost
had been found, the wayward had returned.
We, also, approach our heavenly Father
in travel stained garments. Bleeding from the shocks of life with our head
bowed from our shame and our conscious of guilt, we approach him. As the
father in the parable came out to greet his returning son while the son
was yet afar off, so our heavenly Father forgives us our sins and welcomes
us back to sonship if our confession is humble and sincere. If we are
not double minded or insincere, our Father will forgive us our sins and
welcome us back as long as we forsake our evil ways. We cannot, like Achan,
continue in sin.
confesseth his sins, and forsaketh
them, shall find
The church is the
"one body" of Christ, and Christians are individual members of
that body. No one lives to himself. No one dies to himself. When one
member suffers, all members suffer with it.
One of this self
sufficient age's sins is to deny the unity and the completeness of
Christ's body and to test unity by other terms than he appointed. In the
natural body, each member united with the head has a living union with
every other member connected with the same head. The basis of true
Christian unity is union with Jesus Christ who is the head of the body.
Only in him do men obtain life, just like only in the body does an arm or
leg continue to live.
Men lay down as the
basis of their unity, unity with some leader, the doctrines which he
proclaims or the forms which he institutes. They are united by external
observances, by laws, forms, rites, and bands. Their union is the union of
staves in a barrel; Christ's union is that of branches in a vine. Man's
union is that of bones in a skeleton all wired together but destitute of
life. The union of Christ and his people is the union of the members of a
body, joined together by ligaments which secure each joint, and is
pervaded by the energy of a common life.
Christ inaugurated a
union of the entire family of God. It includes every man who owns Christ
as his head. Man's schemes are too narrow for this. Men include only those
persons whose opinions agree with their own and whose forms of worship
are shaped according to the same pattern.
The Lord Jesus Christ
asks us to receive one another as he received us. If we have passed from
life to death and are united with Jesus then we are united to his people.
If our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son, it is also with
all those who are in them.
Men, however, restrict
their fellowship by choice. While Christ's church includes many and
reaches far, man's churches are narrow and exclude more than they invite
in. What is the result? Those who seek kindred fellowship are prohibited,
and those who do the excluding are hardened in heart. Many churches are
crippled and helpless for lack of the sympathetic labor of Christian
brothers who stand idly by. Why, if they are willing to help, are they
hindered by party shibboleths
(Judges 12:6) or unscriptural
forms or names. How
often are believers hindered from
Christian service because they do not accept unscriptural statements or
arrangements other men try to impose upon them before they are received
into fellowship? Men toil on in weariness and bring themselves to the
borders of the grave so
that they can do what others would
willingly do -- but cannot because they are prohibited from
participating. Thus do men say to God's children: "You may be
members of Christ's body, but we have no need of you or your
The Apostle taught us
that no member of the body can be spared from its place and its proper
work without injury to the body. No man can separate himself from the Body
of Christ without injuring himself.
Nor can any group of
Christians separate themselves from others who love the lord, or exclude
other Christians from their fellowship without injuring themselves.
True Christian union
emanates from Christ. The adaptation of one to the needs of the others is
so complete and perfect that any separation must harm both those who cause
it and those who endure it. The feet may say we are strong and need no
eyes. We carry the body and the eyes are mere useless gazers. When the
eyes are gone, the feet grope and flounder in the ditch. The literal folly
of this is evident, why cannot believers see the spiritual folly as well?
inexperienced or self sufficient among the believers think themselves able
to dispense with the services of others, they sooner or later find that
they have overestimated their ability. They learn through distress and
trouble that they have excluded from their company those very members who
possess precisely the powers they lack. This is because God had provided
them, each for the other, so that they might build one another up in the
most holy faith.
Our savior's parting
prayer was that his disciples might all be one. The truly regenerate long
for this union, and they long for it all the more when they are hindered
from participation by others; for they alone realize how important it is.
The life and unity that Christ implants in the human heart are deeper than
any of the names and creeds of men.
God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
story set forth in Acts chapter ten (Acts 10:1-11:18) is both
interesting and significant for gentile believers. This lesson may be
considered second in importance only to the sacrifice of Christ upon
Calvary. The story is about opening the door of acceptance to gentiles.
These could now be called into the grace of God's high calling in Christ
Jesus, a blessing available only to those whom God calls. The story
centers upon a devout Roman Centurion, his household and the Apostle
is the only time Cornelius and his household are mentioned. We are not
told how a gentile officer in the Roman army came to be religiously
inclined. The record is, simply: "...being a religious man, who
reverenced God with all his
household,, he was liberal in his alms to the people and
pray to God."
Romans and Greeks were idolaters who knew nothing about the true God.
Nevertheless, here we find a Roman officer who believed in the God of
Israel, in spite of the superstitions of his countrymen, and being
considered by the Jews as beyond the scope of God's favor or of any hope
of salvation. He and his family worshiped, gave alms, fasted and prayed
constantly. Such faith in the face of obstacles was indeed wonderful. If
God counted Abraham and others prior to the advent of Christ as justified
because of their faith [rather than by the works of the law], would not
the same be true of believing gentiles when God chose to extend favor to
them? The statement, "...what God hath cleansed," subsequently
made to Peter indicated that this was true.
Cornelius was not a saved man, nor had he any right to the privileges
bestowed through Christ. What stood in the way, seeing that he was
abundantly qualified by faith? Primarily, it was the promise of God which
stood in his way. God had said to Abraham that "...in Isaac shall thy seed be called." This
was the barrier. God had set a time for exclusive favor to Israel. This
is why, through the prophet Amos (Amos 3:2), God says: "You only have I known (favored) of all the families of
the earth." This
is why Jesus said, "I am sent
only to the
of the house of Israel."This is why, in sending forth the twelve Apostles, he said,
"Go not into any way of the gentiles, and enter not into any city of
Samaritans: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." When that Greek woman besought him to have mercy and heal her daughter
(Mark 7:25-29), he at first ignored her,; then, because of her importunity
he said, "It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it
to the dogs." Yet, when she replied that "Even the dogs might eat of the crumbs from the children's table," he
marveled at her faith and bestowed on her the crumb of healing.
The Effect of Visions
was a captain over 100 men in the Italian army stationed at Caesarea to
maintain the authority of Rome. About three o'clock in the afternoon,
the ninth hour [the same hour at which time Jesus died on the cross], he
saw in .a vision an angel of God saying to him, "Cornelius!" He
stared at the angel in terror, saying, "What is it?" This was an
awe-inspiring creature in shining apparel. Why was he here?
might envy those of Bible times who saw visions. Yet, when we consider the
affect of those visions, we may be glad that they have come to us only
through the eye of faith. Abraham was cast into a deep sleep and into
great horror and darkness (Gen.15). Isaiah, in trepidation, exclaimed, "Woe
is me"(Isa. 6:1), and on another occasion he said, "My
loins are filled
pained so that I cannot hear, I am dismayed so that I cannot see. My heart
fluttereth, horror hath affrighted me" (Isa. 21).
visions of Daniel affrighted him -- caused him to faint and to be sick for
days -- sapped all his strength, and caused those who were with him to
quake and flee (Dan. 10:7,8). Paul was thrown to the ground and blinded
so that he could not see for three days (Acts 9:4-9); John, due to his
vision on the isle of Patmos, testified, "I fell at his feet as
Cornelius stared at the angel in terror. The angel, to reassure him, said,
prayers and your alms have risen before God as a sacrifice to be
remembered. You must now send some men to Joppa for a certain Simon who is
surnamed Peter" (Moffatt).
now? Why not at some time in the past since prayer to God and alms for the
people had evidently been Cornelius' regular habit? The answer is simple.
The seventieth symbolic week of exclusive favor to Israel was ended (Dan.
9:24-27). Believing gentiles could now be accepted into the body of
the Christ to complete the number predetermined by God. Jesus intimated
this when he told the disciples to preach to all nations beginning at
Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.
foretold that the Messiah would be ushered in at the end of sixty nine
symbolic weeks (a day for a year, equaling 483 years). This occurred
when Jesus was baptized at Jordan. In the midst of the week [three and one
half years later], he was cut off as a
sacrifice to make an end of sin and to -- bring in everlasting
righteousness. Another three and a half years would end the seventieth
week, at which time God caused this episode to be enacted to mark the end
of exclusive favor to Israel and to open the door of opportunity to
believing gentiles. Therefore, we have reason to believe that God
manifested his acceptance of Cornelius' household to show this
dispensation al change.
Why send Peter?
he was near at hand. We think, however, that the real reason was Jesus'
promise of the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:18). He had opened the door
to Israelites at Pentecost and now he performed a like service to the
gentiles. So, Cornelius must send for Peter.
the angel had left, Cornelius called two of his men servants and a
religiously minded soldier who belonged to his personal retinue, and after
describing the vision to them, he sent them to Joppa. Next day they were
still on the road and not far from the town when Peter went up to the roof
of the house, about noon, to pray" (Moffatt).
what we learn about the disciples in such simple comments as this. They
were praying men, men who made prayer a habit of life. They were men who,
in the simplicity of their trust, expected direction from above in
answer to their petitions.
Peter had also been fasting, for the next verse (Acts 10:10) says,
became very hungry and longed for some food. But as they were getting the meal ready, a trance came over
him. He saw heaven open, and a vessel coming down like a huge sheet
lowered by the four corners to the earth" (Moffatt).
it was the Lord who directed the apostles' ministry, the visions given for
that purpose usually appeared "from heaven" (Acts 9:3).
all beasts and creeping things of the earth and wild birds. And a voice
came to him, Rise Peter, kill and eat." (Acts 10:12,13)
instructions were contrary to all of Peter's training, he revolted at such
a thing. His reply was, "No, no my Lord, I have never eaten anything common or unclean" (Acts
Mosaic law spoke explicitly about what Israelites might eat and what
should be considered unclean, and they became typically unholy if they
touched things designated unclean. Even pots that had contained such
things had to be destroyed (Lev. 11).
voice came back to Peter a second time saying, what God hath cleansed,
you must not count common. This happened three times; then the vessel
was at once raised to heaven.
details of this vision become more meaningful in the light of things we
now know. The vessel, appearing like -- a sheet, presumably white and
linen, would indicate justification, the imputed righteousness that all
19:8 shows that linen indicates righteousness. This righteousness comes
down from heaven from God, because "It is God that justifieth" (Rom
animals formerly classed as unclean, would represent believing gentiles.
In writing to gentile brethren in Ephesus, Paul says:
do not forget that formerly you were Gentiles. You were called the
uncircumcision by those who styled themselves the circumcision ... At that
time, you were living apart from Christ, estranged from the commonwealth
of Israel, with no share by birth in the covenants which are based on the
promises, and you had no hope and no God in all the world. But now in
Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away, have been brought nigh
through the blood of Christ.[See RV] For he is now our peace, who made
both one and broke down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in
his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in
ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so
making peace, and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through
the cross, having slain the enmity thereby, and he came and preached peace
to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh; for through
him we both have our access in one spirit unto the Father" (Eph.
2:11-18, Combined Translation).
see how those who had once been considered unclean were now made clean and
how the middle wall of partition was broken down by annulling the
ordinances of the Mosaic Law. Had there been sufficient faithful ones in
natural Israel to complete the body of Christ then, the gentiles would
have been ignored. God foreknowing Israel's rejection of his
Son despite all he had done for them said,
their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block and a
recompense unto them: let their eyes be darkened that they may not see,
and bow thou down their back always" (Psa. 69:22).
warns his Jewish hearers to beware of the prophets words where he says: "Behold,
ye despisers, and wonder and perish; for I work a work in your day which
ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." When contradicted and blasphemed by their
and Barnabas spake out boldly, and said, It was necessary that the word of
God should first be spoken to you. But seeing that ye thrust it from you,
and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the
in the story recounted in the tenth chapter of Acts, God gave Peter a
vision that, as soon as understood, would override his prejudice and
cause him to declare an open door to gentile believers.
the four corners of the sheet might represent the four attributes of God
by which the great plan of salvation is upheld (Rom. 3:22). The
instructions for Peter to kill and eat signify the imparting of the
message that would bring about the sacrificial death of believing gentiles
and result in their being absorbed into the body of Christ.(Rom. 12:1,2)
that this is a vision given for the purpose of extending God's favor to
gentiles, its three repetitions might correspond to the instructions
voiced by Jesus (Matt. 28:29) when he said: "Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Some,
on the basis of this scripture, believe in baptizing three times. We only
come into Christ's body once. In doing this, we realize that it is of the
Father, by the Son and through the operation of the
records that the vessel and its occupants were then received back into
heaven. This, if intended to be significant, could represent that those
pictured therein [the gentiles] were now acceptable to the Father, and
must not be considered by their Jewish brethren as being unclean.
the time, Peter did not comprehend the vision, for Acts 10:17 says:
was quite at a loss to know the meaning of the vision he had seen, but
just then the messengers of Cornelius, who had made inquiries for the
house of Simon, stood at the door and called out to ask if Simon, surnamed
Peter, was staying there. So the spirit said to Peter who was pondering
over the vision, there are three men looking for you; come, get you up and
go down, and have no hesitation about accompanying them, for it is I who
have sent them."
God found it necessary to give definite instructions, seemingly in an
audible tone of voice; we see two good reasons for his action. First, the
Apostles were special objects of the persecution directed against
followers of Christ. Accordingly they might naturally be suspicious of
anyone seeking them. Secondly, these men were gentiles sent by a Roman
official, people with whom an orthodox Jew would have no dealings. So,
without definite instructions, Peter would have flatly refused to have
had anything to do with them.
following God's instructions, we read that "Peter went down to the men, saying, l am
the man you are looking for. What is your reason for coming" (Acts
Cornelius, a good man who reverences God and enjoys a high reputation
among the whole Jewish nation, was instructed by a holy angel to send for
you to his house and to listen to what you had to say" (Moffatt).
now begins to understand the reason for his vision: not fully, but enough
to realize that God was preparing him for a very unusual procedure.
invited them in and entertained them. Next day he was up and off with
them, accompanied by some (six) of the brethren from Joppa. And on the
next day he reached Caesarea. Peter was just entering the house when
Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet, and worshipped him; but Peter
raised him, saying, Get up, I am only a man myself (Acts 10:23-26).
doubtless felt that he should honor Peter as the representative of God.
Peter could not accept such homage. Too bad the self styled successors of
Peter do not follow him in this matter.
talking to him, Peter entered the house to find a large company assembled.
For Cornelius had been expecting him and had called his kinfolk and
intimate friends together (Acts 10:27-28).
was not only highly regarded by the Jews but was also acquainted with
their laws and customs. So Peter said to them, (Acts 10:28-29)
know yourselves that it is illegal for a Jew to join or accost anyone
belonging to another nation; but God has shown me that I must not call any
man common or unclean, and so
I have come
without any demur when I was sent for. Now I want to know why you sent for
yet, Peter did not fully understand but eventually realized that something
very unusual was about to transpire.
said Cornelius, 'at
hour.'" -- According to verse three, it was the ninth hour that
Cornelius had been given the vision, and now again it was the ninth
hour. This particularity about the hour both times indicates a
significance. It would seem to be explained by the fact that Jesus' death
on the cross occurred at the ninth hour (Lu. 23:44-46) and was the
means by which divine favor could now be extended to Gentile believers.
this very hour, I was praying in my house when a man stood before me in
shining dress, saying, Cornelius, your prayer has been heard [he was not
yet a Christian, but his prayer had been heard], your alms are remembered
by God, you must send to Joppa and summon Simon who is surnamed Peter, he
is staying in the house of Simon the tanner beside the sea. So I sent for
you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Well now, here we are
all present before God to listen to what the Lord has commanded you to
wonderful it would have been to be there, to see and to sense the
earnestness and eagerness of anticipation with which they awaited
instruction from God by the mouth of his chosen messenger. It was then
(Acts 10:3-38) that:
opened his lips and said, I see quite plainly [no mystery now] that God
has no favorites, but that he who reverences him and lives a good life in
any nation is welcomed by him."
God's name be praised! This was the event by which he opened the door of
opportunity to you and me; we were there representatively in that group.
Peter says to them (Acts 10:3) "You know the message he sent to the
sons of Israel when he preached the gospel of peace by Jesus Christ who is
Lord of all; you know how it spread over the whole of Judea, starting from
Galilee after the baptism preached by John -- how God consecrated
[sanctified] Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he
went about doing good and curing all who were harassed by the Devil; for
God was with him."
would indicate that Cornelius was well informed concerning the ministry
of Jesus in Galilee, and had his belief in God resulted therefrom,
surely some indication would have been given us.
for what he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem," says
Peter, "We can testify to that. They slew him by hanging him on a
cross, but God raised him on the third day, and allowed him to be seen,
not by all the people, but by witnesses whom he had previously selected,
by us who ate and drank with him after his resurrection from the dead,
when he enjoined us to preach to the people, testifying that this was he
whom God had appointed to be judge of the living and of the dead. All the
prophets testify to it, that every one who believes in him is to receive
remission of sins through his name."
not only came to realize that gentiles were to be fellow heirs in the
promise made to Abraham, but through this experience he had also recalled
that all the prophets testify that everyone, regardless of nationality,
who believes in Jesus is to receive the remission of sins. "And while Peter was still speaking, the
Holy Spirit fell upon all who listened to what he said."
this miracle of spirit manifestation, God gave unmistakable evidence
that Gentiles were now acceptable to him, and if Peter still held any
qualms in the matter, they were now dispelled. The six brethren who
accompanied Peter, not having had the revelation given to him, still were
evidently uncertain about certain matters, for the next verse (Acts
the Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were amazed that the gift
of the Holy Spirit had actually been poured out on the Gentiles, for they
heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. At this Peter asked,
[evidently of the six who were with him] "Can anyone refuse water for
the baptism of these people, these who have received the Holy Spirit just
as we ourselves have?" There was not a dissenting word, they could
not doubt the evidence. And so he ordered them to be baptized in the name
of Jesus Christ. Then they begged him to remain for some days."
may well believe that Peter and those with him were kept busy the next few
days telling of their association with Jesus and the lessons he had
Peter went to Jerusalem, the circumcision party fell foul of him. 'You
went into the houses of the uncircumcised,' they said, and you ate with
11). We are glad to know that when he and the six who had accompanied him
had explained the matter, and had said:
remembered the saying of the Lord, that John baptized with water, but you
shall be baptized with the holy Spirit. Well then, if
God has given them exactly the same gift he gave us when we believed in
the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I -- how could I try to thwart God? On
hearing this they desisted and glorified God saying, So God has actually
allowed the Gentiles to repent and live.
C. H. Spurgeon
me remind you all, you faithful believers in Christ, that you are compared
to trees -- trees of the Lord's right hand planting. Seek to grow as the
tree grows. Pray that this year you may grow downward; that you may know
more of your own vileness, more of your own nothingness; and so be
rooted to humility.
that your roots may penetrate below the topsoil of truth into the great
rocks which underlie the upper stratum so that you may lay hold on the
doctrines of eternal love, of immutable faithfulness, of complete
satisfaction, of union to Christ, of the eternal purpose of God, which he
purposed in Christ Jesus before the world was.
will be a growth which will not add to your fame, which will not minister
to your vanity, but it will be invaluable in the hour of storm. The true
value of roots are evident only when the hurricane of life's experience
has destroyed the hypocrite.
you root downward, seek to grow upward. Send out the shoots of your love
towards heaven. As trees send forth their spring shoots, so pant after
more love and desire after God which will bring you nearer to him in
prayer, in the sweetness of the spirit of adoption, and into the intimacy
of your fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. This
mounting upward will add to your beauty and to your delight.
pray to grow on either side. Stretch out your branches. Let the shadow of
your holy influence extend as far as God has given you opportunity. See to
it that you are fruitful, for to increase in leaves without adding
fruitage is to diminish the beauty of the tree. Labor this year by God's
grace to bring forth more fruit unto him than ever before. Is it not
better to be like the Valley of Eschol, whose presses burst with new wine,
than to be like the gleanings of the vintage when there is only a cluster
here and there upon the uppermost bough?
is to grow in grace; to root downward, to shoot upward, to extend your
influences like far reaching branches, and to bring forth fruit like the
the "shout," "voice," and "trump" in 1
Thessalonians 4:16 descriptive of the same event?
do they represent?
translation is very accurate.
the Lord himself with a word of command, with a chief -- messenger's
voice, and with a trumpet of God shall descend from heaven..."
Even with this
exacting translation, these words are hard to interpret. All three can
refer to the same event, but more likely they are three phases of the
event heralding the advent of Christ.
a command or an order to pay attention, Joshua 6:20-21 gives us an idea of
how God's power can work through the sound of the "trumpet."
This phenomena got the attention of the inhabitants of Jericho as the
that the "voice" of our Lord is connected with the raising of
the dead. "... all
that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and come forth..." (John
5:28-29). "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with
voice, Lazarus come forth. And he that was dead
came forth..." (John
The sequence appears
"shout" (command or order) and
"voice" of the archangel for the dead to rise.
"trump" sounds as a signal for the faithful, both dead and
living, to be gathered to the Lord.
For the comprehensive
interpretation of Pastor Russell see Vol. 2, The
Time Is at Hand, pages
-- A. Jarmola
directly with the question, we would briefly like to note the Greek word
translated "with." It is the Greek en,
and corresponds more closely to the English "in."
This suggests that the
events symbolized by the shout, trumpet and voice do not accompany the
returning Lord but are on the earth already at the time of his arrival.
He does not bring these actions but comes into the midst of them.
The Greek word keleusma
rendered "shout" in this verse is an unusual word. Professor
Strong defines it as "a cry of incitement" and relates it to kelleno
meaning to command and kello meaning
to urge on. In classical Greek, it is used of the galley master's cry to
the oarsmen, "Row! Row! Row!"
The Septuagint uses
the word only once, as does the Greek New Testament. It is found in
locusts have no king, yet they go forth, all of them, at the shout of
We suggest that this
word describes the voices of unrest which elsewhere are associated with
the second advent of Christ. Perhaps it may be identified with the clamor
of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) and the name associated with the last stage of
the Christian church in Revelation 3 -- "Laodicea" --
"justice for the people "
is very specific -- "the voice of the archangel." Jude 9
identifies this archangel as "Michael." Daniel 12:1 further
identifies this Michael as "the great prince." In 1 Chronicles
5:2, the same Hebrew expression is translated "the chief
ruler." In this context, he is noted as the promised one to come
from the loins of Judah. The combined evidence of these verses seems to
indicate that the archangel -- Michael -- is none other than the
"chief ruler" which is to come. from the line of Judah --
"the lion of the tribe of Judah" Most scholars agree that this
is an identification of Jesus Christ himself.
Returning to Daniel
12:1 we find that work of this great prince, Michael, being that of the
deliverer of Daniel's "people" and "the children of thy --
people" -- Israel. Thus the "voice" would seem to have
particular reference to the stirring of Jewish hopes which, since the
beginning of the diaspora, have lain dormant. This revitalizing of
Israel's national interests is here indicated to be an ongoing event
at the time of the Lord's return.
We note that the
"trump of God," the final symbol, refers to the silver trumpets
which were only blown by the priesthood of ancient Israel. The obvious
suggestion is that the time of the Lord's second presence would be marked
additionally by proclamations of truth, and an intense search for truth,
by the religious leaders of the people of God -- the antitypical priests.
Thus, taken together,
these three symbols identify three concurrent actions in three diverse
sections of society -- the "voice" showing the stirring of
Israeli hopes and aims, the "shout" identifying the incitements
among the people at large, and "the trump of God" portraying the
activity in searching for, and the proclaiming of, truth at the time that the Lord descends from heaven.
we look around us today, it is hard to deny that all three of these areas
of endeavor have been specially active throughout the last century as
never before in history -- mutely pointing to the fact of the Lord's long
awaited descent from heaven for his church.
we note that all three terms -- "shout," "voice," and
"trump" are words usually associated with battles. The shout
refers to the war cry of the soldiers as they head into the fray. The
trumpeters signal the time of attack, which is reechoed by the
commanders shout. However, all three of these actions precede the
battle. If, therefore, we see in progress before us "the great time
of trouble;' then the "shout," "trump;" and
"voice" are historical events.
now we see through a glass darkly [obscurely]; but then face to
face." - 1 Corinthians 13:12
In this context, the
Apostle Paul is dealing with the growth of Christian character. He
personifies character in the attribute of love because God is love, and
those who have been begotten by his spirit as sons must develop a
character in harmony with their heavenly Father.
It is in this context
that the word "glass" appears. The word is translated from esoptrou
meaning "a transparent
substance through which, because of its imperfect clarity, one could
only see faintly or obscurely; something not completely clear"
This is how Paul
analyzes love in its everyday appearance: whether seen in a person's
thoughts, words, or deeds. Only as a believer develops this godly
characteristic can they appreciate the nature of life's experiences
from God's viewpoint. One might paraphrase the text this way: "Now in
proportion to our growth in grace, we understand that the purpose of our
experiences is that we might reflect the character of God." When we
grow more loving we will better reflect God's likeness just as when we see
him face to face we shall be like him.
ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt.
5:48). To this end, Jesus interpreted the characteristics of his Father.
pupil is not superior to his teacher,, but everyone, when his training is
complete, will reach his teacher's level" (Luke
6:40, NEB). Let us look, then, at this
course of instruction, remembering that God has called us unto his kingdom
and glory (1 Thess. 2:12).
see through a glass darkly" -- life
sometimes appears to us as an enigma. The monotony of daily activities
takes on the aspect of a maze in which we lose sight of the purpose for
our experience: our being trained up into the character likeness of Christ
Jesus. Men, even those seeking to walk in the Master's footsteps, easily
loose consciousness of the unseen presence of God who promises to be our
daily companion. With him at our side, our "maze" can be seen
for what it is, a plan which is too wise to err and to good to be unkind.
not five sparrows sold for two farthings and yet not one of them is
forgotten before God ... are ye not more precious than many
we forget these sweet words of
Jesus when a crisis arises? A molehill, viewed in the smallness of faith,
appears to be a mountain which looms so high that we lose sight of all
the precious promises of God.
Do you think God gave
Moses the details of the Tabernacle's services as a matter of course? Or
did he do so just to give Israel as much work to do as possible? No! We
find in the Tabernacle the sanctification of life's most commonplace
duties. These should be performed with a consciousness of God just as he
ordered every detail of natural Jewish life and is as conscious of our
living as he was of theirs.
What if Aaron said,
"Tomorrow morning I will rest, and I will not offer the burnt
offering -- it will not matter if I miss just once; I have offered the
same offering so many times." Would God have been too busy to enjoy
the sweet incense that accompanied the burnt offering and which was the
means of union between him and Israel through Aaron? Aaron's contact
with God would have been interrupted, and God made no provision for such a
lapse (Psa. 27:4, cf. Heb. 9:3-5). Consider this if you ever feel that
your life has become monotonous.
times are in thy hands." There is a translation into an
Indian dialect which suggests the fullness of the psalmist's idea,
"All my hows and whens and whys are in his care."
Continually, growth in
grace and love helps keep us in touch with God. Every prophecy that is
fulfilled will appeal to us in proportion to our growth and love for God;
every inquiry into our Lord's presence will stir up the emotion of our
hearts and the prayer will escape, "Even so come, Lord Jesus, come
quickly." Every evidence of his providence will deepen our
appreciation of his love for us, and we come to accept every opportunity
for service to our brethren not as opportunities we have recognized but as
provisions of his love for us. Each child of God is the special object of
our Father's attention, and he has in his care all of our hows and whens
Some of our problems
are obscure. This may be because we lose sight of our objective, God's
is it that divine love often wounds in order to heal? "My
not your ways,
my thoughts your thoughts." God's way often leads us through Gethsemane in order to reach Bethany.
The reason we have passed through some sorrowful experience is often
only seen in panorama from the other side of the experience. Then his
footsteps can be seen, and the pains he has taken for our growth may
become apparent. He proves his love for us so that we might prove our
love for him.
Thorns and Blessings
you ever picked fruit? Have you pierced your flesh on a thorn while trying
to lift up a prickly branch so as to reach the ripened fruit? You want the
fruit. You are even willing to pay the price (in pain) in order to obtain
it. Even the grandest and sweetest human characters who have ever graced
this earth have caused the heavenly Husbandman pain. Yet, because he saw
in them the potential for savory fruit he continued the work of nurturing
other occasions, we' may feel like the negatives being developed by some
master photographer. We know that God is doing something in our life
because we are passing through various processes; but in the obscure red
light of the darkroom, we are quite unable to tell what he has
accomplished. Not until he shines the bright projector lamp upon us can
the secrets of the darkroom be understood.
our development experiences are known to only God and ourselves. We are
subjected to various experiences so that the Great Photographer might
see in us his own likeness. These processes he carries on in the shadow of
a red light -- the glowing love of Jesus -- because those faithful
followers, of this age are to be his gift to his dear son Jesus as an
expression of God's love to him. Indeed, Jesus bestowed his love upon man
in giving his life a ransom for all. In our darkroom experiences, we are
lead to appreciate the offering of Jesus for us.
is also the experience of the weaver intertwining the woof and the warp
with various colored threads. If we could stand on the reverse side of the
cloth, we would see what appears an unintelligible design and a mass of
threads. Only when we look at the opposite side can we see the beauty of
the weaver's craft.
we view the work of the Divine Weaver from the converse side. His
variegated threads seem purposeless to us, bewildering. But when we
understand the Weaver's grand design, we find that life's experience is
interwoven by divine love, wisdom, justice, and power so that he might be
glorified in the end of our life.
look next at the colors employed by the Divine Weaver. God's glory is
compared to a rainbow (Ezek. 1:28). Some of these many colors are
highlighted in the Tabernacle. There, on the Second Veil, we see the
figures of cherubim woven into the material. God used color to portray the
life of his son, from his prehuman existence to the end of the Millennium.
He has done this in a design which illustrates his divine plan of the
silver, and green, represent the purity, the spiritual life of the Logos
in his creative works and the activities as the Father's agent in the
affairs of man. Copper and red represent the Logos taking upon himself the "seed of Abraham, human
conditions to give himself a ransom for all. Blue, purple, and gold
represent the faithfulness of our Lord in his covenant of sacrifice with
his Father, his reward to be king of kings and his exaltation to the
these threads mean little or nothing, especially if viewed from the wrong
side of the Weaver's pattern. They mean much, however, if we are
associated with Jesus. (cf. Psa. 45:13-14; Psa. 139:15; Rev. 3:3; Rev.
14:1; Rev. 21:11 which show the reflection of God's glory by the follower
of Jesus. Read also Rev. 22:4, which shows the same ultimate reflection by
the world of mankind.) "We see through a glass darkly,"
obscurely, so long as we look on the wrong side of the Weaver's pattern.
lapidary is another example of God's style of workmanship. Uncut and
unpolished stones come to his attention. In each, he formulates a design,
even an ultimate mounting, as in a royal crown. He sets about cutting and
polishing each gem until it is fit to be mounted in the kingly crown. Each
jewel requires individual attention from the lapidary who is familiar
with its peculiarities and knows what treatment it needs.
we conscious of the Lord's care over us as prospective jewels in the royal
careth for you"
-- even in the cutting and polishing experiences of life. He values the
jewels he is preparing; they are his workmanship, precious in his sight
-- "They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I gather up
my jewels..." "...a crown of glory
in the hand of the
Lord," to show forth his praise.
to the potter's shed and watch him mold clay on the wheel. The design of
the intended vessel is clear, complete to his own satisfaction. The clay
endures several processes after being formed on the wheel -- glazing and
hardening -- to make it durable for its future service.
experience may be similar. We may have enjoyed the sunshine of God's love
for a long time, only to find ourselves placed into circumstances
requiring a proof of our faith. Will the Potter's firing be too much for
us? Or will we endure as seeing him who is invisible? At such times, we
most need to know that he is watching over us. We need learn the faith of
Job who said, "He
knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth
vessel unto honor for the King's palace to please the king with the
joy that he saw before the foundation of the world which he created for
his own pleasure.
Godlike character cannot be developed unless there is an
acknowledgment and appreciation for the foreknowledge of God and the
predestination of the Christ, head and body (Psa. 139:14-18). This
acknowledgment is often the solution to many questions and difficult
situations. In fact, this acknowledgment is a dominant factor in our
resting by faith in God.
the day break and the shadows flee away" is another
way of illustrating our theme text. "Until the day cools," matures in experience after morning light, the heat
of noonday and the approaching eventide, when all the shadows, the hazy
recollections, the half -- appreciated experiences, flee away and we
understand exactly all their true import, because, as we said in another
connection, our course of instruction is complete. Studying the Song of
Solomon (especially Song of Solomon 2:17 & Song of Solomon 4:6-8) we
see that we abide on the mountains which divide him from us "until the day break," and we see him face to face.
scientist may attempt to explain the riddle of life as he probes the
wonders of the universe. One scientist may dare sum up his life's
discovery and go so far as to say that "death ends all" --
his disbelief in the purpose of this present life. Another scientist may
boldly declare that he has been able to create life in his laboratory, but
he is forced to admit that it is not intelligent life -- it can hold
fellowship with neither God nor man; so what is° the use of it? Science
will not succeed in explaining the riddle of life until it learns to live
a life in constant touch with the creator, the fountain of life and the
source of light, and until they acknowledge that the reverence of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom. When we reverence God, we can learn to love
him and his son, who is the resurrection and the life.
the riddle of life appears more perplexing the longer you consider it.
Gaze into the eyes of a newborn child and see that mutual recognition
which holds silent fellowship. Stand at an open grave and bid farewell
to a lifelong friend, a life that was unselfish, patient, loving,
gentle, noble in purity, fragrant in virtue, a life of hidden sorrows and
shared joys, a life perfumed with the sweet incense of self -- sacrifice
which ascends to the presence of God -- What a moment! Jesus has waited
through the centuries for just this moment. God foresaw it before the
foundation of the world. Each member of the body of Christ has waited
patiently throughout his life. What a meeting!
to Genesis (Gen. 24:63-67) Isaac met Rebekah and saw his bride for the
first time -- when the veil was removed from her face. We wonder what the
first words spoken by Isaac to his bride might have been and what her
first words to him. Equally, we wonder what our Bridegroom's first words
will be to his bride when he sees her for the first time beyond the veil
and what will be her first words to her adored bridegroom!
as Isaac took Rebekah to his home and comforted her, so will Jesus take
his bride to his father's home and present her to his Father before his
throne faultless, without blemish. Those who are faithful will see him
face to face, will abide with God through the ages of glory -- and not for
a mere forty days with hidden face as did Moses in the mount. There will
be complete happiness in God and pleasure in the Millennial restitution of
which the faithful Bride will have her share.
abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is
Cor. 13:13). "We
all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord"
following passionate description of the status of the Middle East and of
the position of Israel is published even though it does not directly
resort to Scripture in its exposition. On this subject we all seem to
have some bias. This author is obviously no different. Yet, the reprise
of historical events provides a broad context in which to place today's
arguments -- and to that purpose we commend it to your attention. --
lived in the Middle East and having followed events there closely since
1947 I offer some insights to the complex events there unfolding. One of
the most glaring mistakes, with misleading connotations, is the statement
that "the 1948 war created Israel." Much of the truth of the
situation in the Middle East hinges on the fact that the State of Israel
was created by a dramatic vote of the United Nations in 1947.
is equally significant that the Arab nations rejected this vote of the
United Nations, five of them violently invading the new state of
Israel with vast amounts of troops and armaments -- despite the fact
that the United Nations had called for the creation of an Arab State
alongside the State of Israel. Had the Arabs accepted their state, as
declared by the United Nations in 1947 the Arab Palestinians would have
avoided decades of refugee status, Western nations would have been saved
billions of dollars to bankroll refugee camps, and both Arabs and Jews of
Palestine would have been saved untold misery. Israel immediately accepted
the vote for the establishment of an Arab state as called for by the U.N.,
but the Arab nations not only refused to recognize an Arab state adjacent
to Israel but actively set out to destroy the new Jewish state.
the public and the media seem to have forgotten these historical facts.
Now, when the Palestinian Arabs are clamoring for statehood in the West
Bank and Gaza, we must remember that they could have had a larger state,
without war and bloodshed and all the intervening forty years of
should be understandable that Jewish leaders are suspicious and
concerned about the true aims of their Arab neighbors. Hours after their
creation as a state Israel experienced the swift onslaught of war and
invasion by Arab nations; they heard threats that the Jews were to be
thrown into the sea, and have seen no diminution of hatred even after
forty years. What are the true aims of the Arab nations in general and the
PLO in particular?
should be noted that the Arab nations have supported Arafat's
murderous PLO with billions of dollars during recent decades. Even so
called "moderate Arab nations" such as Saudi Arabia have given
huge financial support to the PLO. *
Editor's Note: The investment portfolio built by the PLO from Arab state
donations produces more than $200 Million per year in revenue for the
PLO, cf. From
Beirut to Jerusalem, Thomas
L. Friedman, Anchor, 1989
can we trust a seeming complete reversal made by the likes of Yassar
Arafat, at whose hands as leader of the PLO the world has suffered so
Israelis surely cannot forget that at Arafat's direction, hundreds of
Israeli civilians have been murdered, those being mostly women and
have non-Jews escaped the horrendous attacks of the PLO under Arafat. I
was in Israel in May of 1972 when many Puerto Rican tourists were mowed
down under the gunfire of the PLO in Tel Aviv airport. Americans surely
cannot forget airplane hijackings, bomb attacks, the Achille Lauro ship
hijacking and murder of an American citizen, etc., all under the watchful
eye of "peaceful" Yassar Arafat?
can an honest comparison be made of the Arab terrorists, who cowardly
attack unnamed citizens, to the groups of Jewish Palestinians who struck
at British military compounds and units in the days preceding their
statehood. Menachem Begin and others like him felt the need to attack
the British military because of their oppressive policies in Palestine
toward Jews during the British Mandate regime.
guilt falls on the shoulders of that British administration for closing
the doors of Palestine to millions of European Jews? Many of these could
have found a way to escape Hitler's death camps had they been allowed into
Palestine in conformity with another vote of the nations, the 1922 League
of Nations declaration, which appointed Great Britain as administrator
of all Palestine as "a homeland for the Jews."
Israel's legal status is based on a vote of the nations. It should also be
remembered that there were no Arab nations in the large area controlled by
Turkey before World War I. It has only been in recent decades that
European nations established Arab nations, such as Syria, Lebanon and
Jordan in that area.
Jordan was created by Great Britain, giving this Arab State almost eighty
percent of the area of Palestine which was previously declared as a
homeland for the Jews by the League of Nations, ratifying the Balfour
Declaration. Therefore, present day Arab Palestinians really had no
statehood at any time, though they give the impression that Israel drove
them out of their nation. In fact, they became refugees not because they
were driven out by the Jews but because they fled the invading Arab
armies who attacked the new Jewish state in 1948.
tasted death for every man, -- Heb. 2:9
this but once -- no more; -- Rom. 6:9
willeth all men to be saved; -- 1 Tim. 2:4
will all things restore. -- Acts 3:21
all the dead shall hear Christ's voice -- John 5:28,29
wake them from death's sleep; -- Dan. 12:2
death and hell shall yield their dead -- Rev. 20:13
earth and ocean deep. -- Isa. 26:19
Abraham's Seed shall bless the earth -- Acts 3:25
give to all the light, -- John 1:9
they may know God's holy will -- Jer 31:34
learn that which is right. -- Isa. 26:9
those who will not hear the voice -- Acts 3:23
the Spirit and the Bride -- Rev. 22:17
be destroyed in Second Death -- Rev. 21:8
life denied. -- 1 John 5:12
they "who will" need never die, -- John 11:26
plain will be the way -- Isa. 35:8
leads to perfect human life -- Joel 2:28
joys of endless day. -- Isa. 35:10
Satan bound a thousand years, -- Rev. 20:2,3
Christ's chastening rod -- Psa. 89:32
ransomed race can seek and find -- Hosea 13:14
harmony with God. -- Rev. 21:3
race redeemed, and earth made new, -- Isa 65:17
and wealth untold; -- Num. 14:21
world where righteousness will dwell -- 2 Peter 3:13
man God's grace behold! -- Psa. 97:5,6
pain and sickness, grief and death -- Isa. 33:22,24
memories of the past; -- Rev. 21:4
loving faithfulness to God -- Matt. 25:31-40
will last. -- Rev. 21:22-26
it proper for a Christian to have a creed?
is not only proper for a Christian to have a creed; it would not be
possible to be a Christian without one. We content ourselves here in
quoting from C.T. Russell, who wrote on this subject years ago:
word creed comes from credo and means "I believe." It is
proper that every Christian have for himself a creed, a belief. And, if a
number of Christians come to a unity of faith upon the lines of the Word
of God, their assembling together for fellowship and communion is both
proper and helpful, as the Bible declares. The general difficulty is that,
when groups of Christians meet as brethren, they either make a written or
an understood creed, which goes beyond the Word of God and includes human
tradition; or else they ignore all faith, and make morality -- good works
-- the only basis of fellowship. But, as the name indicates, Christians
are believers in Christ, and not merely moralists. While a creed is
necessary and he who has none has no belief, and would therefore be an
unbeliever, and while in Christian fellowship harmony of faith is
necessary to communion, all should see that the fellowship and faith of
the early church, under divine direction, were built upon the first
principles of the doctrine of Christ. Nothing more or less should be the
basis of Christian fellowship here and now.... And since the credo or
belief of each Christian professes to be built upon God's Word, it follows
that each should be not only willing but ready at all times to change his
belief for one more scriptural, if such can be pointed out to him."
another discussion Charles Taze Russell raised the question:
not abandon all human systems and confessions, now used for tying men's
tongues and consciences, and let each other stand free to study God's Word
untrammeled, and to build, each for himself, such a creed as he shall find
authorized in God's Word; adding to his creed or subtracting therefrom
continually, as he grows in grace and in the knowledge and in love of God.
This is the attitude which God designed; this is the liberty wherewith
Christ made us all free. Why surrender our liberties and enslave our
consciences and tongues to a sect, or the decisions of majorities in
sects? If all of God's children were really free, thus, it would not be
long before they would be at perfect oneness of heart and nearly at one in
faith and work -- the only true union" (R1168).
men surrender themselves to the Spirit of God,
loam more concerning God
and the Atonement in a week, than they would learn in a lifetime, apart
from the Spirit.
only sure way to take fear out of
to keep a respectful fear of God in
our lives, which means to maintain a reverent attitude toward his place
and influence in the scheme of things.
This brand of
fear is a
healthy ingredient, a deterrent to want, a spur to courage and confidence,
an' insurance against loss, a source of
understanding at any age
Eugene Asa Carr: "Freedom from Fear"
a wonderful God we have -- he is the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so
wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And
why does he do this? so that when others have are troubled, needing our
sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and
comfort God has given us."
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 TLB
not reject what you do not understand; for with understanding comes
is more hope for a self convicted sinner than there is for a self --
are immortal till our work is done.
does not consist in minute accuracy of detail, but in conveying a right
impression; and there are vague ways of
that are truer than strict facts would be. When the Psalmist said, Rivers of
down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law,"he did not state the
fact, but he stated a truth deeper than fact and truer
you have a Bible creed, it is well; but is it filled out and inspired by
J. F. Brodie
prophet and the martyr do not see the hooting throng. Their eyes are fixed
Benjamin Cardozo: Law and Literature