Wednesday, December 31, 2008
As you may well know, there are many wicked people described in the Old Testament.
How should we read and interpret these bad examples in the Old Testament?
What does the Bible say about that?
The Bible says:
"These examples were written for our admonition".
In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, God speaks about the Children of Israel in the wilderness, after they had left the land of Egypt and were on their way to the land of Canaan. God called them a "Stiff-necked People". We read here in 1 Corinthians 10:5-6,
1 Corinthians 10:5
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1 Corinthians 10:6
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Literally, with most of them God was not pleased at all. When someone is not pleasing to God, that person is still unregenerate and under the wrath of God. Yes, they died unsaved, and God says: "they were overthrown in the wilderness".
What does that mean "overthrown"?
Literally it means that they were scattered in the wilderness: Their dead bodies were scattered, as they wandered throughout the wilderness over a period of 40 years. And God says that these things were written as examples for us, that we should not fall into sin like they did. God says it again in verses 10 and 11:
1 Corinthians 10:10
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:11
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
They murmured against God many times, they were grumbling and complaining about what God has done in their lives, and that is a terrible sin. They died for their sin, some instantly and others after a while. They were not allowed to enter the promised land because their heart was not right with God. But God said: These things happened to them for examples to us, and the Greek word translated "ensamples" is the word "tupos", from which we derive the word "type". In other words, God says: These things in the Old Testament happened to them as types and figures of what was to come in the New Testament.
Let me give you an example of that. In Number chapter 14 we have the story that Moses sent twelve spies to spy out the land of Canaan, and the bad report that they brought. Ten of the twelve spies said: We are not able to fight those giants of this land.
Why was it that they were so fainthearted?
How was their heart?
God says about the heart of man:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
And now we can see an application of the fact that man's heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.
There was Rebellion in Israel (Numbers 14:1-4)
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Not only were they murmuring against Moses and Aaron, but they were blaming God that God had brought them to this land of Canaan so that they would be killed in battle and that their wives and their children would become slaves of these Canaanites. They were blaming God for deceiving them.
What a terrible thing they were saying?
What a terrible thing was going on in their heart?
Paraphrased they said: O, we wish that we had died in the land of Egypt, and O, we wish that we had died in this wilderness. What a disaster that Jehovah has brought us to this land of Canaan, this land that He has promised to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. It was all a scam; it was a trap.
What makes people blame God?
What a terrible inconsistency is this, if we believe that there is a benevolent Being, God, who created this entire universe, and us, and then accuse God for deceiving us and bringing a disaster in our life, for no good reason at all. God could have prevented this.
But, did you notice that this is what people still do today?
Haven't you heard people say: "O, why does this happen to me? I do not deserve this. Why did God do this to me?"
What they are actually saying in a hidden way is this: "This is unfair! God did this to me, but God could have prevented this. I do not deserve this kind of treatment, but God brought this disaster in my life for no good reason."
And now they wanted to return to Egypt. Think of it now!
Is this a general trend of Congregations to go back into bondage?
Yes! Absolutely! They tend to drift into works gospels, because the Gospel of Grace alone is repugnant to most people. And how hard it is to be in a works gospel! They will have a long list of things they HAVE to do, in order to appear righteous in God's eyes. I must say the sinner's prayer, I must be very sincere, I must accept Jesus into my heart, I must pray to get things done, I must work for the Church, I must work to abolish abortion, and so on. And they always feel guilty for not having done enough. The list gets longer instead of shorter. It makes great workers in the Church, but they always feel burdened, and the ones who are not saved eventually give up.
Works gospels are all rebellion against God.
How do we plead with rebels? (Numbers 14:5-9)
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
How do we plead with rebels against God?
First of all, we do not pretend that we are better than they are. The two highest officials in the nation, Moses and Aaron fell on their faces, humbling themselves before the Congregation, and pleading with God that He will forgive these rebels their blasphemy. Joshua and Caleb who were chiefs of the tribes of Ephraim and Judah, and who were the only two of the twelve spies who brought an honest report, they too pleaded with the Congregation to go forward and conquer the promised land, as the Lord had promised to give to them.
They described this exceeding good land. And how good was that land?
It was flowing with milk and honey.
Does this mean that they were wading through rivers of milk, and that the honey was flowing down from beehives all over the place?
No. Of course not. God defines His own terms.
Many years later God defined this expression when Ezekiel wrote in Ezekiel 20, verses 6 and 15, that it was "the land flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands".
Which land can claim the title that it is "the glory of all lands"?
Which land is more glorious than any other land on this earth?
Of course, it is the Kingdom of God. In the Old Testament God speaks in types and figures. The land of Canaan was a type of the Kingdom of God, and therefore the milk and honey are a type of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The milk and honey are flowing like the Word of God is flowing. That same Hebrew word for "flowing" is used for the waters that gushed out of the Rock when Moses struck the Rock in the wilderness. In the New Testament God says: "that Rock was Christ". Furthermore, in Psalm 19:10 God says that the Word of God is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.
Therefore, when Joshua and Caleb were pleading with the Congregation to enter into the promised land, it was a picture of one of us pleading with someone unsaved to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Can we plead with those who rebel against God?
Yes, we are commanded by God to do so. But they are spiritually dead. Only by the Grace of God will they hear. Look at the evidence!
They were ready to stone Joshua and Caleb.
God's patience was running out (Numbers 14:10-12)
But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
In other words: No one wants to go to the promised land that God offered as a free gift. Every one prefers to go to the land of Egypt, the land of bondage, as their promised land.
Is that not strange?
No! It is not strange at all. God is painting a picture here. The picture is that the natural man, the unsaved man, does not want the Kingdom of God. The true Gospel is an offense to the natural man. They do not want God's plan of salvation. They prefer their own plan of salvation, and they prefer to choose their own leader. The natural man does not like the God of the Bible. He wants his own god.
Here in Numbers 14:10 they preferred to kill their faithful leaders and choose their own leader to go back into Egypt. Never mind all the signs God has performed to bring them out of Egypt. Never mind the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night they witnessed every day. Never mind the miraculous manna that rained from Heaven every morning and the water that gushed out of the Rock at two different occasions. Never mind that they heard God speaking at Mount Sinai, and that they trembled at God's voice. Never mind that the mountain burned with fire, and that Moses' face was brightly shining when he came down from the mountain.
And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have showed among them?
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
God's patience was running out. There are those who believe that God has infinite patience with the Congregation of Israel, or that God has infinite patience with the New Testament Church. It is true that patience, or longsuffering, is an attribute of God. It is also true that God has infinite patience with those who have become saved, who have become the building blocks of the Eternal Church, which is the Body of Christ. But not every one in the corporate Church is a saved individual, and God does not have infinite patience with the corporate Church. Last week we looked at the Church at Ephesus from the vantage point of Revelation 2:1-7.
Did God warn them that His patience was running out?
Yes! He did.
Has God been patient with the children of Israel?
Yes, He has been. But the majority of them rebelled again and again. They murmured against God many times.
What does that indicate?
It indicates that they were never saved. They were a stiff-necked people!
And God Rejected that Congregation (Numbers 14:26-30, Hebrews 4:2)
They did not want to enter into the promised land. Paraphrased God says: Have it your way!
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter into the promised land, but no one else of 20 years and older. It was as if God had rejected that entire Congregation except Joshua and Caleb.
In all fairness, we have to recognize a few individuals who were definitely saved people, besides Joshua and Caleb. There was Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam, and undoubtedly some of the faithful Levites who were on the side of Moses, and remember there was Bezaleel, and Aholiab who built the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, and there may have been a few more. None of those were allowed to enter into the promised land.
Had God rejected those people also?
NO! Of course not.
But God was drawing a picture, or types and figures of what the New Testament Church would be like. God rejected the Corporate Body for rejecting Him. They heard the Gospel through Moses, but they were not saved. Yes, that is a surprise to many that they too heard the Gospel. God says in Hebrews 4:2,
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
Could God have given faith to most of the children of Israel?
Yes, God could have done it. God could have prevented all of the catastrophes in history, but God chose not to do so, because God was carrying out His plan that gave Him all the glory.
God showed us in this story that He is capable of rejecting an entire Congregation, without actually harming the eternal security of some who were chosen by God unto salvation. And God did this again when He rejected the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but God preserved a Remnant chosen by grace. And God did this again when He rejected the Southern Kingdom of Judah, but God preserved a Remnant chosen by grace.
Every time, why did God reject them?
Because they have not hearkened to My voice (Numbers 14:22-23, Hebrews 3:17-19)
Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
God rejected this Congregation because, God says, they have seen my glory and yet they have not listened to my voice.
How did they see God's glory?
Did they see it in bright colors and sparkles?
NO! They saw that God was victorious over evil.
Have we seen God's glory?
I hope all of you have seen God's glory. The Bible says: "And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Those words are speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Have we seen Jesus Christ?
Not with our physical eyes, but with our spiritual eyes. With our spiritual eyes and ears we have believed that the Lord Jesus Christ was victorious over sin and evil, by nailing our sins to the Cross and binding the power of Satan. That is how we beheld His glory, because we have listened to His voice.
How did we come to believe all that?
The Bible says that God gave us this faith. We were saved entirely by God's grace.
But the children of Israel have seen God's glory, and yet they have not listened to His voice.
Their hearts were still in unbelief because they did not listen to His voice. God says, Hebrews 3:17-19,
But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
The great warning that flows from these words is this: When you hear the voice of God, LISTEN. God is very displeased with those who hear the Gospel and remain unsaved. It would have been better for them if they never heard the Gospel.
Whose voice are you listening to?
Are you listening to your Church, or are you listening to the Bible?
Did you know: Most people do not like to listen to the Bible. The majority of people in the United States of America have Bibles in their homes. Many homes have more than one.
But will they read it?
Most of those Bibles are collecting dust. Most people prefer to talk rather than listen. Most people prefer to generate their own opinion of God, rather than listen to the Bible. The consequences:
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness (Numbers 14:32-35, Matthew 25:41,46)
But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
God called them an "Evil Congregation", or in Exodus 34 God called them a "Stiff-necked People".
God says: "I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me". They would wander in the wilderness for 40 years and they would die in the wilderness.
What is so bad about that?
You know that the wilderness wanderings were a picture of our wanderings through this world, until we finally cross the Jordan River, which was a picture of entering the Kingdom of God.
What was the penalty of this Evil Congregation?
Just die in this world?
NO! The penalty was that they would die in this world unsaved, and never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
What are the consequences if someone dies unsaved?
The Lord Jesus described that in a parable of the great Judgment at the End of the world when He will separate the sheep from the goats, which means: when He will separate the saved from the unsaved people. The Lord Jesus as the Judge will say to the unsaved in Matthew 25:41,
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand (the goats), Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Then He continues to describe Hell in verse 46,
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
You see: Hell is everlasting punishment for sins, because the sins are against the infinite God, who created us not for sin, but to glorify Him. And if we fall short of this assignment, then there is Hell to pay. It is a place of everlasting torment.
What we have seen so far in Numbers 14 is bad, bad, bad. It is an Evil Congregation, it is a Stiff-necked people, God is not pleased with them and most of them will die unsaved. But look at the whole human race: Most of them will die unsaved. That is how people are born, and that is how most people die: Under the wrath of God. That is what the Bible says. And if God would not interfere in our life, all of us would end up in Hell, because all of us are sinners and voluntary slaves of Satan.
But God has: A Covenant with Some (Numbers 14:24, Numbers 14:30-31)
Here and there, sprinkled throughout this gloomy story in Numbers 14 are a few sparkles of God's Amazing Grace. God has a Covenant with some, and that Covenant is a Covenant of Grace, which means: it is not earned or deserved, but it is totally a Free Gift. Look at Numbers 14:24,
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Who does God have in mind with the words: "another Spirit"?
It was not Caleb's spirit, but another Spirit. Whose Spirit was it?
At the evidence of the presence of that Spirit: "he hath followed Me fully", which means it was the Spirit of God who was in Caleb.
The Lord Jesus said at two different occasions: "Many are called, but few are chosen". These words state the principle of salvation, which has been in effect almost from the beginning of the world. These words also were fulfilled in the history of that entire generation that was called out of Egypt, to come to a land flowing with milk and honey. Many were called out of Egypt, but only Joshua and Caleb were chosen to enter into the promised land, because with most of them God was not pleased.
Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
Joshua and Caleb did not earn this special favor with God. It was a Free Gift.
But there was another group of people who were chosen to enter the promised land. God said:
But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
Here too we can see that these children did nothing to deserve such a favor with God.
Had not God promised that He would visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him?
Therefore, these children did not deserve anything. But God chose to give the promised land to them as a Free Gift.
The nature of God's Covenant is that it is a Free Gift, not based on anything that we have done.
NONE of us deserve any gifts from God, because: "There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE." But God, in His great mercy, decided to bring certain people into the promised land, which stands for the Kingdom of God.
How did God save Joshua and Caleb?
They too had sins attached to them.
Did God invite them with their sins into God's Holy Heaven?
Did God wave His hand and forgave them all their sins?
NO! God is not an unrighteous Judge that He will forgive sins without demanding that the penalty for those sins be fully paid. Those sins of Joshua and Caleb also had to be fully paid by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. That is why God could say:
I have pardoned (Numbers 14:17-21)
In Numbers 14:5 Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the Congregation. And Moses pleaded with the Lord that He would not destroy the Congregation. And Moses reminded God of His own words that He is a merciful God. And Moses said in Numbers 14:17,
And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
Moses pleaded for his people like Christ has pleaded for us.
What was God's answer?
And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:
But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
There were two things that God said here. Allow me to paraphrase the verses we have just read:
I have pardoned already, past tense. According to your words, Moses, I have already forgiven, but at the same time I will by no means clear the guilty. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. I have pardoned those individuals that are mine. I have already chosen them. They are the ones for whom Christ has died, who is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And with all the others, though I know that they are wicked and that they will die in their sins, I will be longsuffering and I will endure them for 40 years, but no longer.
As I promised to Abraham: "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed". Another way of saying this is: "All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD". This is going to find its fulfillment when Christ shall have fulfilled His mission of atoning for the sins of all those whom I have given Him, and when the Holy Spirit will have proclaimed that Good News to all those for whom Christ has come to save. To begin with, here are Joshua and Caleb. They receive the Good News that they will inherit the land of Canaan, the Kingdom of God. After them there will be many more who hear that same Good News, until this Good News has spread throughout the whole earth.
But the glory of the Lord, the glory of victory over Sin and Satan, and the glory that forgiveness of sins has been obtained through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, that is the glory which will be spread to the farthest ends of the earth. And the Redeemed of the Lord shall inherit the earth:
For an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:7-8, Isaiah 32:18)
NO! Not this sin cursed earth, but a New Heaven and New Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. That is the new universe, which God shall give us for an everlasting possession. Not this earth, because this earth will pass away. God did not promise this earth to Abraham.
God said to Abraham in Genesis 17:7-8,
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
God made a Covenant with Abraham and with his Seed. Now, the Seed of Abraham is first of all Christ. Therefore all those in Christ also become the seed of Abraham. God said in Galatians 3:29,
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
What are we heirs of?
Heirs according to the promise made to Abraham. In Genesis 17:7-8 God says that He made an everlasting Covenant with us to give us "all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession". But the actual land of Canaan will disappear when the big meltdown comes on the Last Day. Therefore, the actual land of Canaan is not what God had in view when He made that promise to Abraham, but it was the New Heaven and New Earth. The land of Canaan was a picture of the Kingdom of God, the New Heaven and New Earth.
Now, what are the consequences?
When God denied the Congregation of Israel (as a whole) to enter into the land of Canaan, what was that a picture of?
The Old Testament Congregation was prefiguring the New Testament Church. Unfortunately, we are not wiser, or smarter, or more holy than they were. What happened to the Old Testament Congregation is going to happen to the New Testament Church. When God denied the Congregation of Israel (as a whole) to enter into the land of Canaan, God gave us a picture of the End of time, when the Corporate Church goes apostate. It is the picture that He will deny the Corporate Church entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, except for Joshua and Caleb, which typify the two witnesses of Revelation 11.
Where does that leave you and me?
If we bring a faithful report of the Kingdom of God, faithfully according to the Bible, then we are faithful witnesses like Joshua and Caleb, and like the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Pray to God that we may remain faithful, because it is only by His Grace that we can remain faithful. Listen to God's Word coming out of the mouths of Joshua and Caleb in Numbers 14:8.
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
If the Lord delight in us, then He will give it to us. What a wonderful ending for such a sad story.
And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
Did the Congregation repent?
It seems so. But there was no repentance, because the next day they again rebelled against the Lord.
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
By Alfred J. Chompff
Today I want you to think about a balance; an old fashioned balance: You know, two scales hanging from a beam that is pivoting at the middle. In our High Tech society you do not see those things any more, but such balances were used for more than 3,500 years. They are called either a balance or scales, plural, because each balance had two scales, and they were used any time someone needed to weigh something: when something was bought, or when something was sold, or when money was weighed, and so on.
In the Bible God has a great deal to say about balances, weights and abominations. Let's read in Proverbs 20, beginning at verse 9. We are not going to read the whole chapter, just a few verses.
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
And now, we move to verse 21:
An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
All these verses are somehow related, believe it or not. The common denominator for all these verses is the text for our article for today, which is from Proverbs 11:1.
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
The title for our article today is: "A False Balance".
What an uplifting title. Really a topic that makes you feel warm all over, doesn't it?
What is God saying to US here in this one verse:
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
Let's break this verse up in two parts. The first question we should ask ourselves is:
What Is a False Balance? (Proverbs 11:1)
Is that a balance whereby one of the scales has a lead bottom to make it heavier, or have the weights been tampered with because the owner of this balance is a crook?
He is not an honest. We can find all kinds of historical, or cultural, or moral applications to describe this false balance. But when you seriously want to interpret this verse, you have to keep two things in mind:
1. First of all, God wrote the Bible so that man may be saved. Through the Bible God teaches US about Salvation.
What has a physical balance to do with Salvation?
Nothing! Therefore, instead of seeing here one of the moral laws of God, it means that we have to interpret this verse spiritually.
2. Secondly, The word "Proverb" is the same word as "Parable".
What is a Parable?
A Parable is an earthly story with a spiritual meaning. All the Proverbs are really Parables, and we have to search out each one for the hidden spiritual meaning.
Therefore we should try to find out, from the Bible, what the spiritual meaning is of a balance, and preferably we should not get the answer from another parable. If we interpret one parable with another parable, then we may be building on quicksand. So, the first question is:
What is a balance for? (Daniel 5:1-6, 22-28)
God answered this question unambiguously when God wrote the story that is written in Daniel, chapter 5. Daniel was a captive from the nation of Judah, and king Nebuchadnezzar brought Daniel as a young man to Babylon. At the beginning of this chapter, Daniel had lived already 59 years in Babylon. So Daniel was already an old man. At this time the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar ruled the kingdom. His name was Belshazzar. Now read Daniel 5:1
Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father (grandfather) Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister (the plaster) of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
Everyone could see the hand that appeared, and the hand wrote on the wall words that nobody could read or interpret. And the king was so terrified that his knees were knocking against one another. Then the king brought in the astrologers, and the soothsayers, and the wise men of Babylon, but no one could read or interpret the words that were written. Finally Daniel was brought in, and Daniel interpreted the words that the hand of God had written. And Daniel said to the king:
"You, Belshazzar, knew what God has done to Nebuchadnezzar when He lifted up himself in pride: God drove him from his kingdom and God humbled him severely".
And now let's pick up the reading in Daniel 5:22,
And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
Thou hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances (Lit: scales), and art found wanting.
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
That same night, while everyone slept, Belshazzar the king of Babylon was killed and his land was taken over by the Medes and the Persians. Now I want you to take a good look at verse 27:
"TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the scales, and art found wanting".
In the Bible, when we need a spiritual meaning for a balance, what is a balance for?
It is for weighing people! In fact, we read in the Bible that God speaks to the whole human race and says: "Thou art weighed in the scales, and art found wanting". God says that:
"We all were conceived and born in sin",
"We all went astray as soon as we were born, speaking lies",
"We all were by nature children of wrath",
"There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God",
"We have all gone out of the way, we all have become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one".
That is how we were born. That is our human nature!
And what is the consequence of all this?
God's Justice requires payment for sin. Therefore, the whole human race, which is accountable to God, is on the way to Hell. And if God would not interfere, that is where we all would end up. That is what we deserve.
How does God weigh people?
What is the standard that God uses, to see if we measure up or not?
Yes, you guessed it right. It is the Bible. It is the Word of God, the Two Edged Sword of the Spirit that Judges all the unsaved on the Last Day. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 12:48,
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the Word (the Logos) that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Therefore, what is the balance representing in Daniel 5:27?
The balance is The Word of God, the Gospel! And now we can understand why God said in Proverbs 11:1:
A false balance is abomination to the LORD, ………
Of course, a false gospel is an abomination to the Lord, because it leads people to another god; it leads people straight to Hell. That is why it is so important to tell the True Gospel!
Summarizing, we have already seen two conclusions we can draw out of Daniel 5:27
· A balance is used for weighing people, and
· The balance itself is representing the Gospel.
Now logically follows the third question:
Who does the weighing? (Proverbs 16:11, 20:9-10, 23-24)
Of course, we have already seen in Daniel 5:27 that it is God Himself who does the weighing. And we also find that in Proverbs 16:11.
A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are His work.
"A just weight and balance are the LORD'S", because it is God who crafted the fabulous Gospel of Salvation that we find in the Bible. Actually the first word weight and the second word weights are totally different words in the Hebrew text. Literally this verse says:
Scales and balance of justice are the LORD'S: all the stones <68> of the purse are His work.
It is God who makes the judgment whether the scales are balanced, and it is God who crafts the stones of His purse. The stones are used for weighing. A stone is put on one scale and the person who is to be weighed is put on the other scale. But it is God who must determine the weight of the stone; because this verse says that "all the stones of God's purse are His own workmanship". He is going to make sure that the Judgment He does is right and perfect. Of course, the stone that God uses to weigh people is His Righteousness. We must measure up to His Righteousness.
But People do not like the Gospel of the Bible: They do not like the balance that God has provided in the Word. They prefer to make up their own way of salvation: They make a false balance, a false gospel. And they do not like the stones that are God's workmanship. They make up their own stones: They make up their own weights with which to compare themselves. People like to think that if they have lived a fairly decent life here on this earth, and have done more good than bad, then God will consider them good enough to take them up into Heaven.
But that is not good enough. That kind of a gospel is an abomination unto the Lord. God says:
Divers weights (Lit: A stone <68> and a stone <68>) are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
What is the meaning of "A stone <68> and a stone <68>"?
The answer is: These are stones crafted by man, or else they would not be an abomination to the Lord. These stones are weight measures of their own invention so that they look good in their own eyes. When they compare themselves to other people they appear to be in good standing with the Lord. But it is their own self-righteousness; it is not God's Righteousness.
Likewise, men are not in charge of crafting their own gospel. That is why "A false balance is not good". It is God alone who has authority to design the Gospel. It is God alone who decides whom He is going to save. Look at the next verse. The key to understanding verse 23 is verse 24:
Man's goings (Lit: Man's steps) are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
The answer is: Through the Bible alone. That is the only way we can understand that our steps
are ordered by the Lord. God says in Psalm 37: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delighteth in his way." But if God is the One who determines our steps, then it is only God who decides whom he is saving. You see, God Elects people unto salvation!
Exactly the same information is given in Proverbs 20:9-10. Let's first look at verse 10:
Divers weights (Lit: A stone <68> and a stone <68>) and divers measures (Lit: An ephah <374> and an ephah <374>), both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
A stone <68> and a stone <68> , an ephah <374> and an ephah <374> are measures of weight and volume of man's own invention, and they are typifying our own measures of righteousness. But only the Righteousness of God will be acceptable to God. That is why the previous verse says:
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Nobody! Nobody can purify their own soul. Only Christ can wash us from our sins and impute to us His Righteousness. Only then will have the Righteousness of God, as a Free Gift.
Let's return to the second half of the text of our article, Proverbs 11:1
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
What Is His Delight? (Proverbs 11:1)
Literally, the second half of this verse says: "but a Perfect Stone <68> is His delight".
God delights only in a Perfect Stone. The Perfect Stone must come from God, or else it would not be Perfect.
What then is that Perfect Stone?
A Perfect Stone <68> (Isaiah 8:13-14, Romans 9:31-33)
When we search the Bible, we find that this Perfect Stone is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. And when WE are in Christ, then we have had the Righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and then we also have become the delight of the LORD.
Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone <68> of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin (trap) and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
"The LORD of Hosts" in verse 13 means "Jehovah of the Armies", and God explains in verse 14 that this refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ became a stone <68> of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, both to Judah as well as to Israel.
We now turn to Romans 9:31 where this verse is quoted:
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Only the Righteousness of Christ is acceptable to God. He is the Perfect Stone.
But to most of the nation of Israel Christ became a stone <68> of stumbling and a rock of offence. They wanted a salvation by works. They wanted to become right with God by performing the Ceremonial Law. But God's salvation is a salvation by Grace alone.
It is a Free Gift!
Again, when we search the Bible, we find that this Perfect Stone of Proverbs 11:1 is also spoken of as a precious Foundation Stone.
A Foundation Stone <68>
Again it is the same word Stone <68> that appears twice in this verse:
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone <68>, a tried stone <68>, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste (Or: he that believeth shall not come quickly).
Look at ourselves: We did not come quickly to the Lord Jesus Christ; first we lived a life of sin.
And when you see the word Zion, it usually means: The place where God resides. Just like here, Zion in this verse, is not physical Jerusalem, but spiritual Jerusalem because God says: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone <68>. Christ is the foundation for the Church (New Jerusalem - see Galatians 4:25-26, Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 3:12 and Revelation 21:2-10), not for physical Jerusalem. He is just the opposite for physical Jerusalem. Remember, in Isaiah 8:14 God said that Christ would be "A stone <68> of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
The same information has been repeated in Psalm 118:22.
The stone <68> which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
The Lord Jesus quoted these verses to the Pharisees, after He told them the Parable of the wicked vinedressers. Jesus made it clear that He was the Stone, which the builders rejected, and that He will become the head stone of the foundation. Therefore He said in Matthew 21:42,
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Which nation was the Lord Jesus talking about?
Paraphrased, Jesus said: The treasures of the Kingdom of God would be taken away from the nation of Israel, and God would give those treasures to the nation consisting of all true Believers throughout the world.
Let's summarize now what we have learned from the text that we have under consideration:
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a Perfect Stone is his delight.
The balance is used for weighing people one by one.
The balance itself represents the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit.
God Himself does the weighing, which means God is the Judge, God decides what is right.
The weight that God uses is the Perfect Righteousness of Christ.
Unless we receive the perfect Righteousness of Christ, we will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. It is a matter of eternal life, or eternal damnation.
How then can I receive that perfect righteousness of Christ?
There is only one way: Christ must be my Substitute.
Christ must have taken all my sins upon Himself and Christ must have endured the wrath of God, the Judgment of God, for all my sins when He suffered and died on the cross in 33 AD.
Then Christ must also send His Holy Spirit to give me a new soul, so that I can believe that Christ has successfully paid for all my sins. That is the time when I receive what Christ has already prepared for me in 33 AD: I receive the forgiveness of sins and am made aware that the perfect Righteousness of Christ has been charged to my account. I rejoice that I have been made righteous in the sight of God because of what Christ Jesus did for me.
All this God gives to us as a Free Gift.
There are Two False Balances that are prevalent in these days:
The balance can be false because the weights, or the stones may be falsified.
The stones may be an abomination (Proverbs 16:11, 20:9-10, 23-24)
Let's look again in Proverbs what we have learned about false stones:
A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the stones of the bag are his work.
If we have a gospel where the stones for the balance are not 100% God's work, then we have falsified the stones. If we have to do 0.1% or 0.001% of the work to get ourselves saved, then the stones are not 100% God's work, and we have falsified the weights.
Can you see that?
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Nobody can say that. God must do 100% of the cleansing. That is the only way I can pass the test when the Lord is weighing me in His balance. I cannot cleanse myself from my past sins.
Man's steps are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
If I do not admit that the Lord has guided all my steps through this life, then I take on some of the credit that belongs to the Lord. Then I would have falsified the stones.
If I have a gospel, which requires that I have to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, or
If I have a gospel, which requires that I must be baptized in water before I can be saved, or
If I have a gospel, which requires that I must be do something before I can be saved, then I have falsified the stones. God says: That is abomination. It is disgusting to God. It is robbing God of the honor that belongs entirely to Him.
But there is another false balance that is very popular these days:
Not the stones, but The balance itself may be false (Revelation 22:18-19)
In many churches the Word of God itself has been falsified and changed.
They have ignored the warnings of Revelation 22:18-19.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
In many churches people believe that God the Holy Spirit is still bringing divine messages today in dreams, or in visions, or in angel visitations, or in an unknown tongue. All those are additions to the Bible. God promises that they who practice bringing those additions to the Word of God, are still unsaved and are in danger of the Judgment of God.
In many churches people believe that certain portions of the Bible are not to be taken seriously. For example, they hold that the theory of evolution is also acceptable, ………..
All these are false balances that God warns us for. God says: Watch out!
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a Perfect Stone is his delight.
By Alfred Chompff
In 1st Kings chapter 6 we read how the temple in Jerusalem was built under the leadership of king Solomon. No, Solomon did not build it himself, but it was built under his leadership, and it was built according to the pattern that king David, his father, had given him. And so, Solomon obeyed and he built the temple, and he particularly paid attention to the details of the holy of holies where the Ark of the Covenant was to be placed. The title of this sermon is: "The Oracle"
What is an Oracle? (1 Kings 6:1-6)
An Oracle is a "saving from God". Any message from God is an Oracle. In the Old Testament, the place where God spoke His words also came to be called "The Oracle". And thus, the Holy of Holies, in the temple, where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, where God spoke from between the two Cherubim on top of the Ark, this most holy place was also called "The Oracle". This most holy place in the temple is the focus of our sermon today. Let us begin to read here in 1 Kings 6:1,
1 Kings 6:1
And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
1 Kings 6:2
And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
1 Kings 6:3
And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.
1 Kings 6:4
And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.
1 Kings 6:5
And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the wails of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:
1 Kings 6:6
The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.
Thus, it was a building that was about 90 feet deep, and 30 feet wide, and it was about 45 feet high. Today we have houses in suburbia that are this large, and some are even larger, but not with the lavish interior of Solomon's temple. In addition, there were chambers built round about this building that were built up three stories high. The lowest story was 714 feet wide, the middle story was 9 feet wide, and the top story was 10/4 feet wide. The reason for these differences in width was because the walls were thicker at the bottom than they were at the top. The walls had to be much stronger at the bottom than at the top. Much craftsmanship was needed during the construction of this temple. For example, there were neither hammers nor axes heard during the construction.
Neither Hammer Nor Axe (1 Kings 6:7, Eph 2:9). We read in verse 7,
1 Kings 6:7
And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
Every stone was precut to size and shape so that each stone fit perfectly in place. We do not read of any mortar that was being used in this building. The stones were shaped such that they interlocked with each other. The wooden beams interlocked with each other, and the panels of cedar wood also were put in place without hammering. This required a great deal of preparation. Solomon employed 153,600 men for 7 years just to build the temple and finish the work. Just imagine that all the male workers in the city of Long Beach would be fully employed for 7 years to work on just this project. That is how extensive this project was. But at the place where the temple was built, every stone and every wooden beam fell in place. God recorded this to indicate that the temple in Jerusalem was pointing to another temple, a spiritual temple of God. The unique stones of Solomon's temple were more than complete in an earthly sense; they were perfect. God declared them perfect. There was no defect in them & there may nothing defective be added by applying iron tools to fasten them in place.
This must be the temple of the God of peace, and therefore no iron tools may be heard in it. God's work must be done with as much care and as little noise as possible. Noise and violence will only hinder the work of God, but they will never be of any help to the work of God. Iron symbolizes violence. Iron is used in weapons of war. Iron is used in shaping building materials, but they are shaped with a great deal of force and violence. Moreover, God indicated hereby that the spiritual temple of God is built without human hands. God prepares the stones, which represent all the saints whom He chose unto salvation, and they are put in place without any work from mankind. Our salvation may not be a product of our work, or of anything that we DO.
God says in Ephesians 2:9 that our salvation is: "Not of works, lest any man should boast".
Before God saves us, He does a great deal of preparing us. God's providence, operated by God's Holy Spirit, shapes us and prepares us for the moment that we are "put in place". The entire history of the world serves to prepare the stones that are going to be "put in place", and once we are put in place, which is the moment we have become "Born from Above", God declares us perfect, and God declares us to be the place:
Where God Dwells (1 Kings 6:11-13, Psalm 80:1,1 Kings 8:27, John 14:23)
1 Kings 6:11
And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying,
1 Kings 6:12
Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep ail my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:
1 Kings 6:13
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
Can this be true?
Does God dwell in temples made with hands?
God did not specifically say that He will dwell in this temple, but it is implied. It is "as if God would personally be in their midst, and "as if He was dwelling in the temple that was in their midst. There are many verses in the Old Testament that point to this. For example, we read in Psalm 80:1, "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth". This expression "between the cherubim" occurs 10 times in the Old Testament, but everywhere you see this expression the word "between" is in italics, which means that the translators inserted it as a suggestion, but it was not in the original text. You could change this to "Thou that dwellest as the cherubim", and still be correct. The point I am making is that you do not find a verse in the Bible where God says that He personally was dwelling in the temple at Jerusalem, although from the context, it is implied, and it is so used in New Testament doctrine. Solomon knew this already.
1 Kings 8:27
"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee: how much less this house that I have builded?"
God is omnipresent, which means that God is present everywhere.
But will God personally dwell in something that His creatures have made?
Could the building that man made be more glorious than heaven itself?
Of course not! In the beginning, God made heaven and earth.
Could this mean that God made heaven for Himself as a dwelling place?
Did God improve on His situation by creating heaven?
Of course, the answer is NO!
God is not more perfect now than He was in the past, because then He would continuously improve on Himself, and then He would not be God. We do not understand exactly in what way God would dwell in a temple made with hands, and we do not understand exactly in what way God will dwell in the souls of those whom He has saved, but we accept these words as truth even though we cannot fully understand them. And so, we see that we must be careful in understanding the place where God dwells. Almighty God who is infinite and who is greater than this universe, which we already call infinite, and who already is present everywhere in this universe, this great God declared that He would dwell in certain places in a special way. For example, the Lord Jesus said in John 14:23, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me. he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and make our abode with him".
Will God shrink Himself to pinpoint size and so dwell in our souls?
No! We cannot understand how God would do this, but we must believe that it is true. He dwells in our souls, but we do not know in what way He dwells there. Let us turn again to 1 Kings 6:16.
Cedar and Gold (1 Kings 6:16-22. Romans 8:32)
Now God speaks about the oracle, the most holy place in the temple, because there is where God was believed to dwell "between the cherubim" above the Ark of the Covenant.
1 Kings 6:16
And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
1 Kings 6:17
And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.
1 Kings 6:18
And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
1 Kings 6:19
And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
1 Kings 6:20
And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar, which was of cedar.
1 Kings 6:21
So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.
1 Kings 6:22
And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.
First, the entire interior of the temple was covered with cedar, and then all the cedar was covered with gold.
What could this mean?
Cedar is strong and durable. Many houses in California have roofs of cedar shingles. Cedar also has a very sweet smell. Moreover, the cedar tree is used in the Bible as representing "mighty conquerors". The kings of Assyria, and the Pharaoh's of Egypt, and the kings of Judah, and the Hebrew commonwealth itself, and the majesty of the Messianic age, are all compared to a towering cedar, in its royal loftiness and supremacy, like a mighty conqueror. But all the cedar in the temple was covered with gold. In fact, all the interior of the temple, and all the candlesticks, and all the vessels, and all the utensils, were covered with "pure gold". Gold stands for being rich. Gold is not representing the elect people of God, because gold was found in Arabia, in Sheba, and in Ophir, but gold was not found in the land of Canaan, symbol of the Kingdom of God. Gold was abundant in Babylon, and the Babylonian Empire is spoken of as a "head of gold" because of its great riches, but the gold in Babylon as well as the gold in the land of Israel was all imported gold. So, gold Is the mark of being rich. Babylon was rich in material things, but God is rich in material! things as well as spiritual things. In the days of Solomon's temple people walked on a golden floor, anticipating what we read in Revelation 21 that in the New Jerusalem people will walk of streets paved with gold. When gold is abundant, it lessens its value. Rightly so, because the attraction of the New Jerusalem is not for its gold, but because Christ is there. He is worth more than ail the gold in the universe. And thus, when we look at the spiritual temple of God, the New Testament church, then the two attributes of the spiritual temple of God shown here are: It is a mighty conqueror and it is rich. But the conquering character of the church is overshadowed by the characteristic of being rich; not with the riches of this world, but with the riches that God bestowed on us. God says in Romans 8:32, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" If God has given us all things that we need, then we are rich beyond belief. We have been redeemed through the blood of Christ "according to the riches of His grace", and we have been redeemed:
Not With Silver or Gold (Jeremiah 31:3, 1 Peter 1:18-19, John 10:26-28)
We have not been bought back with earthly silver or with gold, but by the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the meaning of the blood of Christ.
In 1 Peter, Chapter 1 we can compare the earthly temple in Jerusalem with the spiritual temple that God speaks about so often in the New Testament. God speaks here through the pen of the Apostle Peter, and God reminds us in this chapter that we are special in His eyes. God said in Jeremiah 31:3, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love", which means that we were always special in His eyes, because He loved us from the infinite past. But there was a time between our physical birth and our spiritual birth that we were, "by nature children of wrath, even as others," (Ephesians 2:3) we were in bondage to sin. It was for these sins that Christ had to redeem us. And then the oracle from God came in the form of a sermon that we heard, or in the form of a Bible study teacher that we heard, or in the form of a fellow church member that we heard, for which we suddenly had ail ears. It made us sit up and listen, because we realized that it was an oracle from God. Briefly summarized, this is what we heard:
1 Peter 1:18
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1 Peter 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1 Peter 1:20
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
In 16th century English: "We were redeemed from our vain conversation". In 21st century English: "We were delivered from the sinful life that we lived".
And how were we delivered?
God bought us back so that we became one of His sheep. He did not buy us back with silver or gold, since these are corruptible things, which will be burned up at the end of the world, but He bought us back with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How did we happen to live the sinful life that we lived?
It was received by tradition from our fathers, such as Adam, and anyone else of our fathers between Adam and now. We learned from our direct fathers by imitation, but the reason why we liked it was because our father Adam gave us this sinful body, and thus we really like our sins. But Christ bought us back, by substituting for us before the Judgment throne of God. Christ paid the penalty for our sins in our place. He was the Lamb of God, without blemish and without spot. And He was foreordained before the foundation of the world to suffer and die in our place for our sins. It means that our sins were also in God's view before the foundation of the world, and it means that everybody's sins were also in God's view before the foundation of the world. But Christ did not suffer and die for everybody's sins. He specifically chose to pay for the sins of those who were His sheep. The Lord Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews in John 10:26-28, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish". When He gave us eternal life, we became aware that this was an oracle from God. We became aware of it because God came to dwell in our soul. This is:
Where God Dwells (Revelation 21:9-16, 3)
This is where God dwells here on earth, in the souls of those whom He saved, by first having Christ pay for our sins, and then by applying that payment to our life at the time that fit God's plan.
Is that not glorious?
But it will get even more glorious.
When the Last Day of this earth has come, and God has given everybody a new immortal body, and when God has destroyed this earth, and God has judged and removed all the wicked from our sight, then He will take us up into a place that is called the New Heaven & New Eearth. And there God will show us the complete set of all the saints. It is impossible to describe it in terms of this universe what God is showing us in the next universe, where all the laws of nature are different. Literally, we have no words for it, because everything we will see and everything we will do is literally out of this world. That is why God described it to us in the form of a parable. He said in Revelation 21:9,
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
All the saints together are called "the bride, the Lamb's wife". She is called "the bride" and at the same time "the Lamb's wife" because we will be celebrating a wedding feast which will continue into eternity future. When God describes the New Jerusalem He describes it in a parable. The Bride of Christ, or the body of believers, or all the Old Testament and New Testament saints together, does not look like an earthly city and it does not look like a gigantic Jasper stone. These are earthly representations of something that God describes as super glorious. But look now at the dimensions of that city. Drop down to verse 15.
And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
Here is a cube of 12,000 furlongs on each side; it is not important how long 12000 furlongs are. The main thing is that this is a cube where God promised He would dwell. We read in Revelation 21:3,
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Therefore, the New Heaven & New Earth is not another planet earth where we are, and a heaven above it where God dwells. NO! It is a place all right, but God will dwell with us, in the same place, which is called the New Heaven & New Earth. At the same time, God describes it as a cube of 12,000 furlongs where God dwells with man and among man.
Does this not remind us of another cube, the Holy of Holies in the temple, where God promised to dwell?
This was the cube that was called the Oracle, and it was 20 cubits in length, 20 cubits in breadth, and 20 cubits in height. God dwelt there, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, which was placed there. God approved of it, as demonstrated by the fire from the Lord when Solomon offered a burnt offering at the completion of the temple. And so. we have come full circle back to the Oracle, or the Holy of Holies, or the most holy place. There God spoke oracles from between the two cherubim. The New Testament uses the word oracle only in the plural form. What are:
The Oracles of God? (Acts 7:37-38, 47-50)
In the New Testament, the Oracles of God refer to the Scriptures. Please turn in your Bibles to the Acts of the Apostles 7:37. In Acts, chapter 7 Stephen, one of the 7 deacons of the church at Jerusalem gave his defense. He was accused of blasphemy, he was brought before the council of the Sanhedrin, and there he gave his last sermon before he was stoned to death. God spoke through the mouth of Stephen, and God said in Acts 7:37,
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him shall ye hear.
This is he (Moses), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
The prophet, whom God raised up, like unto Moses, was the Lord Jesus Christ. Then Moses received "the lively oracles" to give to the children of Israel.
What were those lively oracles?
They were Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Now, drop down to verse 47,
But Solomon built him an house.
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands: as saith the prophet,
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Hath not MY hand made ail these things?
God takes full credit for all the building efforts of Solomon. God says that His hand has made all these things. God made the temple in Jerusalem, and God was responsible for enforcing the rules that no hammer blows and no axes may be used on the building site. God determined that the Holy of Holies must be 20 cubits X 20 cubits X 20 cubits, signifying His dwelling place within the temple. And God did that because He was going to describe another cube where He would dwell among the children of men. God determined that the entire temple would be encased in cedar and gold, and God saw to it that gold would be available when the temple was under construction. God saw to it that His oracles would be completed by the end of the 1st century, and that His people, those for whom Christ suffered and died, would know in their lifetime that they had been redeemed by the blood of Christ. As a result, God says to those who have been redeemed:
Be Ye Separate (1 Peter 1:16, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, John 8:44)
God says in 1 Peter 1:16, "Be ye holy, for I am holy", or "Be ye separate, for I am separate".
In what way is God separate?
God is separate from other gods. God does not mingle with other gods. God is set apart by Himself, and He demands from us that we set ourselves apart from those who will draw us away from God. He demands that from us because we have become the dwelling place of God. He says in 2 Corinthians 6:14,
2 Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:15
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2 Corinthians 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2 Corinthians 6:17
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2 Corinthians 6:18
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
We must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. If a Christian girl meets a boy who is of a different persuasion, and he insists that his religion is best, then she should not try to win him over for Christ, because in that way she would be violating what God has stated here in verses 14-16. Do not try to find loopholes by making your fiancé your evangelism ground. God says in verse 15, "What agreement has Christ with Satan?"
An unregenerate individual is still in the hands of Satan and we do not know if this person who is in this unregenerate state is a reprobate or not. The Lord Jesus said to them in John 8:44. "Ye are of your father the devil". If you get married to an unregenerate individual, then your father in law is the devil. This can never be a happy marriage. Moreover, your children will be drawn away to follow the devil. Then they will marry unregenerate spouses and so your entire posterity will be drawn away from the word of God (Read Judges 3:6, 1 Kings 11:3-8). The term "unequally yoked" also applies to business relationships. We should not imagine that we would receive a fair treatment from those business partners who are in the clutches of Satan.
You know that Satan hates you, and thus he will try his level best to harm you in any way he can. Your business relationship may be sailing smoothly for the first few years, but when troubles start everything will be falling apart. The term "unequally yoked" also applies to your place of worship. If you are a member of a church that has become a different gospel, then you are worshipping in a temple dedicated to the worship of devils.
God says in verse 17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate". God's command to us is that we come out from among them. Leaving that church will be pleasing to God. If you stay, trying to convert someone, you will be swallowed up in their cesspool of unrighteousness. God's command to us is that we must remember that, we are the temple of God. Therefore, we must conduct ourselves in such a way that we remain unspotted from the evil that is ail around us. Pray to God that He will give us the wisdom to recognize when we should refuse an unequal yoke. Pray to God that He will give us the courage to cut the ties of our existing unequal yokes. Pray to God that He will give us the grace to bring it to a conclusion that is pleasing in His sight. AMEN.
By Alfred J. Chompff