The Falling Away of
In the last installment we considered the
words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 10:6-12
that deal with the fact that the nation of
Time of the Judges
The civil and spiritual
Is there any
comparison with their situation and the state of affairs within the Brotherhood
today? Like the Israelites during this
time we also are without a visible leader, which for us is by design and can
work to our advantage – just as not having a man as their King (God was their
King) was supposed to work to the advantage of the Jews if they had not desired
one. We do not answer to corrupt
hierarchies that can manipulate God’s word to their advantage or that make
profit off of the word of God. Christ is
to be our leader just as God was to lead
Is there a remedy to such confusion? If we are unsure of our direction the scriptures give us clear instruction as to how we can find our bearing. In Jeremiah we read the familiar but often ignored passage that declares, “Stand ye in the way, and see, and ask for the old paths where is the good way, and walk ye therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Several years ago a booklet was published known as “Christadelphian Standards”, which was a compilation of various quotes and beliefs written by earlier Christadelphian brethren on an assortment of subject matters in relation to “Faith and Practice”. It is interesting to compare the views of these earlier brethren in opposition to how we view matters of “faith and practice” today. It is rather frightening to see the sure and convicted stand taken by those who once “contended for the faith” in comparison to how lenient and liberal we have become in regards to the whole spectrum of the Truth. Though these are the words of men, nonetheless their views on what the scriptures teach on what manner of persons we are to be are worth our serious notice. Though they lived in a different world then we live in – it was a world that was not as weighed down by the modern comforts and pursuits of the times we live in, making their perception much clearer and focused on the Word of God then what we may have. The ultimate “old paths” that we look to is of course found in the Scriptures, but review and consideration of the expositions and exhortations by brethren that have come before us (with Bible in hand) can provide us with a proper compass in which to avoid the confusion that characterizes the condition of the Brotherhood today. In Romans 15: 5,6 we are commanded “to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How can we accomplish this if we do not collectively follow after “the old paths.”
Time of the Prophets
Now we move on
to a time of in
Kingdom ruled by the descendants of King David (known as the
What is most
tragic to consider when reviewing the
Spirit’s words through the prophet Isaiah, who was contemporary with Hezekiah
some 100 years before Jeremiah and
After reading these verses consider God’s perspective in opposition to the people’s perception of their actions.
1. They still sought after God (or at least they thought so).
2. They enjoyed coming before him.
3. They still celebrated the Day of Atonement.
4. They couldn’t understand why God didn’t recognize their action.
What was the problem here? Clearly the Children of Israel were doing these things for show. They were not approaching God “in spirit and in Truth”.
other passages, “Hear ye this, O house of
Jacob, which are called by the name of
“Wherefore the LORD said, ‘Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men.” (Isaiah 29:13)
Ignorantly continuing to believe that all was spiritually well, the Jews refused to hear the Prophets of Yahweh. They didn’t want to hear anything negative or that would make them look bad – even if it was the Truth. They wanted to hear things that would make them feel good. Does this sound familiar to the cries that are coming out of the mouths of many Christadelphians these days? Isaiah 30: 9,10 – “That this is a rebellious People, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, ‘See not;’ and to the prophets, ‘Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.’” Are we any different then the Children of Israel of the times of the Prophets? We still need God’s rebuke, correction and direction. But are we willing to listen?
Some 100 years
passed by and they never learned from the mouth of Isaiah and the other
prophets sent by God. Just
before their destruction by the hand of the Babylonians Yahweh sent Jeremiah as
to provide one last chance for repentance. Consider again Jeremiah – “Thus saith the LORD, ‘Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for
the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest
for your souls. But they said, ‘We will
not walk therein.’”. Also in
verse 17 and 20 – “Also I set watchmen
over you, saying, ‘Hearken to the sound of the trumpet,’ But they said, ‘We will not hearken.’ * * * “To what
purpose cometh there to Me incense from
They refused to worship God in the way proscribed, but worshiped him their own way as seen in verse 20. But God would not and could not accept their sacrifices. They refused to follow the old or “ancient” paths that God had clearly established, and ignored the pleas to return to the proper way. Again we must bring out the point, the Jews thought they were doing fine but from God’s perspective (the only one that matters) they were in fact doing wickedly. As Jeremiah describes them in chapter 12, verse 2 – “thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reigns.”
Why did the
Jews have such a problem following after God’s commands? Of course human nature is the simple answer,
but Ezekiel gives us an even more descriptive explanation. Comparing
How prideful are we? Do we think that the spiritual state of the Christadelphian community is “better then ever” or “just fine” as some contend? Are we “full with bread”, or in other words softened by our satisfaction with the prosperity and pleasures that are a part of our modern society? What do we do with the free time that we have that modern comforts and conveniences allow us? Do we “strengthen” others with the strong words of Truth and Righteousness that in fact help the “poor and needy”? What if God was pointing the finger at us with these words, how would we answer? Please remember, the Israelites were not able to see the problem in themselves.
God willing, we will continue this subject further in Part 3 in next month’s installment.