Monday, March 23, 2009

IN THAT DAY

The title of this article is "In That Day" because, in the section we are going to cover, God uses the expression "In That Day" seven times. Remember this is a vision. First we have to ask ourselves:

What is God showing in the House of Jacob? (Isaiah 2:5-6)

When God speaks of the "House of Jacob" God is addressing the "House of Israel" in the corporate sense, with all its sins, and ugliness, and self-reliance that Jacob had before God changed his name to Israel. When we apply this term to the New Testament time, the "House of Jacob" represents the Corporate Church, or the External Church, the church that can be observed externally as an organization. As you know, the Bible teaches that not everyone in the Corporate Church is a saved person. Every Church contains people who are not yet saved. Therefore we want to distinguish the External Church, or the Corporate Church, from the Eternal Church, which is that body of believers who truly have been saved. Therefore, when God said in Isaiah 2:5.

Isaiah 2:5
O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.


This admonition to "let us walk in the light of the LORD" is addressed to the entire Congregation, admonishing them to a conduct that is befitting a child of God. Since the Lord Jesus Christ is the Light that God has sent into the world, this is an admonition to let us walk like Christians. Why did God say:

Isaiah 2:5
O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Because in this vision that God gave Isaiah, they were NOT walking in the Light of the Lord, and God was very angry about that.

We want to know: What makes God so angry?

We also want to know: When will this vision be fulfilled?

Well, we have already seen that the first four verses of chapter 2 apply to the New Testament Church. It is most likely then that the following passage also applies to some section of the New Testament time. And indeed, that is what the following verses bring out:

Isaiah 2:6
Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.


What was their sin?

The KJV is not so clear about that, but the original Hebrew text is clearer. Let me suggest four corrections that you write in the margin or between the lines:

"Therefore" could be translated "Because".

"be replenished" could be translated "are filled".

"please themselves" could be translated "clap their hands".

"children of strangers" could be translated "children of foreigners".

Isaiah 2:6 (LITV)
For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled from the east, and are spirit-knowers like the Philistines. And they clap hands with children of foreigners.

Isaiah 2:6 (YLT)
For Thou hast left Thy people, the house of Jacob. For they have been filled from the east, And are sorcerers like the Philistines, And with the children of strangers strike hands.

What was their sin?

They are filled with superstitions that have come in from the East, they engage in soothsaying like the Philistines do, and they make agreements with the children of foreigners. In other words, they began to be unequally yoked. (It is like a cancer in the Church; and it spreads like cancer)

Isaiah 2:7
Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:

Let me apply it in today's language: They have boats and mobile homes on their driveways.

Is that a sin?

Possessions are not sin. But when people work during the week, they tend to use the weekends to play with their boats and mobile homes. That means their Church life is out the door. If those possessions draw them to a life of pleasure, and away from Christ, then all that material wealth actually became a curse. This is one way how idolatry enters the life of modern day America.

Isaiah 2:8
Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

Isaiah 2:9
And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.


Fearful language is this: "Therefore forgive them not"

Why does God use this language?

Because, when the heathen worship their idols, that is to be expected. But when the people of God bring idols in the Church, that makes God furious. That was the vision that God gave to Isaiah.

The External Church In That Day (Isaiah 2:10-12, Isaiah 2:17-21)

There is a True Church and there is a False Church. God has a true Church, which is the invisible Eternal Church, of which Christ is the Chief Cornerstone. Christ is the Head of that Church.

We speak of the Corporate Church as the one that is externally visible, which consists of both saved and unsaved people. When the leadership in the Corporate Church contains no more saved people, and the preacher preaches a gospel that is more than the Bible alone, or if he takes away from the Word of God, then that church has become a false church. The Devil is the head of that church. And the Devil is a master counterfeiter, so that people have difficulty recognizing the imitation

In the vision that God gave to Isaiah, the Church has gradually changed to a false church, an idolatrous church.

What is idolatry?

When people do not worship the God of the Bible, they are worshipping devils. God's patience runs out, and God ends it all on Judgment Day:

Isaiah 2:10
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.

Isaiah 2:11
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. (1st time)


What is that day?

The next verse explains it:

Isaiah 2:12
For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

Clearly, when God said "in that day" Judgment Day is in view. Now, drop down to verse 17,

Isaiah 2:17
And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. (2nd time)

Isaiah 2:18
And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

Isaiah 2:19
And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

Isaiah 2:20
In that day (3rd time) a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;

Isaiah 2:21
To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.


But before Judgment Day comes, there will be a Final Tribulation Period.

During that time:

God will take away every kind of support (Isaiah 3:1-3, Isaiah 3:6-7)

Isaiah 3:1
For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,

Isaiah 3:2
The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

Isaiah 3:3
The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.


God will even take away the leaders of the Church:

Isaiah 3:6
When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:

Isaiah 3:7
In that day (4th time) shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.

Isaiah 3:8
For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.


What was their sin?

Why is Jerusalem ruined and Judah is fallen?

Because they provoked the eyes of his glory. They did not give God the glory that was His.

Isaiah 3:12
As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.


Today, many churches have women rule over them. They do that regardless what the Bible says.

The Daughters of Zion are haughty (Isaiah 3:16-19, Isaiah 3:25-26)

Isaiah 3:16
Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:

Isaiah 3:17
Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.

Isaiah 3:18
In that day (5th time) the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

Isaiah 3:19
The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

………………and so on.

God has a great deal more to say about the Daughters of Zion.

Isaiah 3:25
Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.

Isaiah 3:26
And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.


Then we come to Isaiah 4:1, which is a strange looking parable.

What has this parable to do with the Gospel?

Ah, then we remember that the Bible is a spiritual Book. This parable reveals to us a
portion of the history of the New Testament Church. It is:

The Parable of the Defiant External Church (Isaiah 4:1)

All along in Isaiah 1, 2 and 3, the language has been difficult because God has been speaking in parabolic language. But here, in chapter 4, just in that first verse, God gave us a complete parable that describes to a tee the condition of the Church in the Final Tribulation Period. This is the sixth time that God says "In That Day". Here God does not focus on Judgment Day itself, but on the Final Tribulation Period, which is the last event just preceding Judgment Day.

Isaiah 4:1
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

There are seven objects, or action items, in view here that we have to look at:

1) Here are seven women.

2) They take hold of someone.

3) There is one man. Literally the Hebrew text says that these seven women "hold up" or "support" this one man.

4) We will eat our own bread.

5) We will wear our own apparel.

6) Only let us be called by Thy Name.

7) To take away our reproach. In the Hebrew text the primary meaning of this verb is "to gather and take away". Secondly, this is said in the Imperative Mood, which means: it is said like an order or a command.

Remember, this is a parable. First we must find a spiritual meaning for these seven women.

Who are the seven women representing? (Revelation 1:4,11)

Whenever we need a spiritual meaning for a woman in the Bible, she always turns out to be a religious organization, such as the New Testament Church, or the Old Testament Congregation, or a false gospel.

For example, you ladies should not get depressed when you read about the perfect woman in Proverbs 31. This is not describing a perfect Christian woman.

Did you know that?

This is the Church.

Another example is that the Eternal Church, consisting of all the Old Testament and New Testament Saints, is called the Bride of Christ. This is the Bride of the Lamb that is described in Revelation 21.

And now, look at the context where Isaiah 4:1 is located: In Isaiah 3:16 God started to speak to the Daughters of Zion, which is the Church, and God was still speaking to them at the end of the chapter in Isaiah 3:26. But then in Isaiah 4:1 their condition has become so terrible that God does not use the name Daughters of Zion any more. But it is the same women whom God has in view.

These seven women represent the New Testament church in the Final Tribulation Period.

When I think of the Final Tribulation Period, what portion of the Bible does that remind me of?

Of course! The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you remember our opening verses this morning:

Revelation 1:4
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Do you see the connection?

Seven Churches = Seven women


The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the Apostle John and commanded him in verse 11

Revelation 1:11
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

This letter was not meant just for these Seven Churches of Asia minor.

To whom was this letter written?

Who do the Seven Churches of Asia Minor represent?

They represent the entire New Testament Church.

And what is the dominant feature in this letter of Revelation?

At least eight chapters in Revelation are dealing with some aspect of the Final Tribulation Period.

And when you read Revelation chapter 2 and 3, is it not astounding that already in the 1st Century AD five of the seven Churches in Asia Minor are in some state of apostasy?

From thereon was it getting better or worse?

History proves that it was getting worse as time went on.

The number 7, if it has any spiritual meaning, indicates "Perfection". In Isaiah 4:1 these Seven Women represent the New Testament church, which has become a false church, matured to perfection.

The gospel that is preached in the false church during the Final Tribulation Period is no longer the Gospel of the Bible alone. It is no longer the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has become another gospel, and in reality they are worshipping another jesus. God accurately describes the condition of the Church in that day in Amos 8:11-12.

Amos 8:11
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:


Amos 8:12
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.


Perhaps many of you can identify with that. Perhaps you have experienced that you went to a church on Sunday, but you came home empty. Today we are may already be living in or are very close to that period of time which the bible calls "the great tribulation". In most Churches today the Word of God is not the center of all the attention. Instead they say:

1) Come and receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.

2) Come and hear this famous personality.

3) Come and be blessed by the music, or see the nice building.

4) Come and see miracles performed and demons cast out. And so on.

You see, this is attracting the multitudes: see and feel good and have this experience.

But there is more in Isaiah 4:1. See the false church in action:

Isaiah 4:1
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

Who is this one man that they hold up?

That man represents the Lord Jesus Christ.

When a man marries a woman, he is to provide for her. But here these women want to provide for their own bread and for their own apparel.

Why?

Because they do not want Christ to be ruling over them (2 Thessalonians 2:11-13)

Instead of being subject to the Gospel of the Bible alone, and being subject to Christ who is the Bread of Life, they want to eat their own bread, they want their own gospel, their own plan of salvation.

Instead of receiving the Robe of Christ's Righteousness freely, without any work on their part, they want a righteousness of their own, they want a security which is not only based on Christ's work only, but also on something that they can FEEL or something that they can DO. They do not trust Christ, but they trust in something that they have done. Let me suggest seven examples:

1) They trust the action that they came forward in church and accepted the Lord Jesus in their heart.

2) Or, they trust in the action that they said the sinner's prayer just like their Pastor said.

3) Or, they trust in the action that they have been baptized in water.

4) Or, they trust that they have lived a very good life, and God will reward their good works.

5) Or, they trust that Christ has done all He could, and now all you have to do is believe in Jesus.

6) Or, they trust that the good and warm feeling inside comes from God the Holy Spirit.

7) Or, they trust in a dream or vision they have received, and that they now have received the ability to speak in tongues.

All these ideas are not from the Bible; they are doctrines of devils. But when a church has drifted into apostasy, they will generate more and more of these doctrines of devils. This is what God warned us for in 2 Thessalonians 2:11-13. This you have to read carefully:

2 Thessalonians 2:11
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: (Note: It is God who sends them strong delusion.)

2 Thessalonians 2:12
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

(Don't stop there)

2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Can you see how these three verses hang together?

During the Final Tribulation Period, when a Church has drifted into apostasy, God will reinforce their unbelief by sending them a strong delusion of some kind, verse 11, because they believed not the Truth, as it says in verse 12.

What is the Truth that they do not believe?

The answer is in the next verse, verse 13, where God in the end of verse 13 again repeats "Belief of the Truth".

And what is their sin?

God spells it out in verse 13,

"Beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation".

This is what the Bible declares almost on every page, if you want to see it. Our God does the saving, and we have no contribution in it. But the false church close to the end of time does not want the Authority of the Bible; rather they want their own gospel.

What is their sin?

They do not want a God who hath from the beginning chosen us to salvation.

And yet, and yet, they take hold of Christ and want to be called by His Name: They want to be called Christians. But they do not trust that Christ does the saving, rather they trust that Christ will do what they command Him. Look at the words of Isaiah 4:1 one more time:

Isaiah 4:1
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

What is the reproach that these women have?

What is a reproach?

A reproach is a Discredit, or a Disgrace because of Sin. They have enough sense to realize that they are not sinless. The Bible says that there was only one day in the history of the world that sins were gathered and taken away. That was when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross almost 2000 years ago. But He did that without our approval. He did that without us asking for it, because we were not around at that time.

But the church near the end of time does not believe in a God who chooses whom He will save, rather they believe that they must do something to claim the Blood of Christ. That is why they say to Christ in the Imperative Mood: gather and take away our reproach. Which almost sounds like:

Yes Lord, I want to be saved and I want it right now.

That is a sad state of affairs for the Church in the end time.

Will there be any true believers alive when the church is worldwide in a state of apostasy?

Yes, there will be true believers alive. The Eternal Church will never die, because the Lord Jesus said:

Matthew 16:18
Upon this rock (i.e. Christ) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The Eternal Church In That Day (Isaiah 4:2, Jeremiah 23:5)

God comforts those who have remained faithful until the end in Isaiah 4, beginning at verse 2.

Isaiah 4:2
In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, ...


This is the SEVENTH time God said: "In That Day".

Who is the Branch of the Lord?

There are many places where the Branch of the Lord is spoken of. Just listen to this one. Jeremiah 23:5,

Jeremiah 23:5
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Who is this King who shall execute judgment and justice?

Well, we don't have to guess. This can only be the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me continue in Isaiah 4:2.

Isaiah 4:2
In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

On the Last Day Christ will appear, every eye shall see Him and He will be beautiful and glorious.

Then what is the fruit of the earth?

The fruit of the earth is the New Heaven & New Earth we will inherit on the Last Day, and it will be for pride and for glory to those who have remained faithful and have escaped the trappings of the false church. God will again perform surgery: He will remove the false church into Hell, and the Eternal Church will be called "the New Jerusalem". Look now at verse 3. We see here:

The Remnant Chosen By Grace (Isaiah 4:3-6)

Isaiah 4:3
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:

In verse 3 God speaks about: "every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem." They are among the living, not because of their endurance, but because they have been written. The New Testament says: They have been written in God's Book, the Book of Life of the Lamb, which was written before the foundation of the world. Look how this is confirmed in verse 4:

Isaiah 4:4
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

Did the Daughters of Zion deserve to be saved for their endurance?

No! Not at all. But God has His Elect people whom He intended to save from among the Daughters of Zion. They are the ones whose names have been written in God's Book. Their sins were washed away at the Cross, not everybody's sins of the whole world. And the sins of Jerusalem, the Church, were rinsed from their midst by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning on the Last Day. But to indicate our safety, God draws a picture, parallel to the protection He gave to Israel in the desert:

Isaiah 4:5
And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.

Isaiah 4:6
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.


God's irresistible Grace will keep His people protected throughout the Final Tribulation Period. We will be safe. Nevertheless,

We have to be on the alert (2 Peter 3:17-18)

2 Peter 3:17
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

We cannot sit back and assume that our Church will not be attacked by apostasy.

God says: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6) Apostasy comes into a Church when the people do not know the Bible, so that they have to trust the clergy instead of trusting God.

We need to know what the Bible says, and we need to learn how to compare Scripture with Scripture.

We need to search the Scriptures like the Bereans in Acts 17. But in the end, it is only by the Grace of God if we come to know the Truth.

By Alfred Chompff

Saturday, March 21, 2009

THE DAUGHTER OF ZION

Unfortunately, in many churches the Old Testament is not being preached any more. That is a shame. The Bible is One Book. They have forgotten that the Church in the 1st Century AD had only the Old Testament and they preached Christ from the Old Testament. That is what I plan to do today in this article.

The Scroll of Isaiah stands out in the Old Testament as one very special revelation from God. Although the division into chapters and verses came about 1000 years after Isaiah wrote this scroll, we are struck with the similarities between this scroll and the whole Bible. Isaiah, as we now know it, consists of 66 chapters. The Bible, which is One Book, has been compiled out of 66 Scrolls. The Old Testament, as we now know it, consists of 39 scrolls and the New Testament consists of 27 scrolls. Quite remarkably the 66 chapters of Isaiah can be distinguished as 39 chapters emphasizing that "Judgment Is Coming", and 27 chapters emphasizing "The Wonder of Salvation". It is even more amazing if you know that orthodox Jews have worked out the division of the Scroll of Isaiah into chapters and verses; they had no knowledge of the 27 scrolls of the New Testament, which were canonized in the 3rd Century AD.

It is my job to teach you the Gospel of Salvation, so that you can take this Bible and understand the spiritual truths that are hidden herein.

Let's begin with Isaiah, Chapter 1, verse 1.

The Vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1-7)

Isaiah 1:1
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

God gave the Prophet Isaiah a vision of the future of Judah and Jerusalem. It is not a bright future at all; it is bad, bad, bad. It was not a future that you would expect from God with this lineup of kings. Of these four kings there were three good kings: Uzziah was a good king, and he reigned 52 years. Jotham was a good king, and he reigned 20 years. Hezekiah was a good king, and he reigned 29 years. Only Ahaz was a bad king, and he reigned 16 years, but the first 8 of those 16 years were in co-regency with his father Jotham. So Ahaz had only 8 years to carry out his wickedness. Besides, it was to this same king Ahaz that God, through the Prophet Isaiah, uttered the wonderful prophecy of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He said in chapter 7:

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

And then in chapter 9 He said:

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Wonderful prophesies. But then, why did God give Isaiah such a terrible vision of Judah and Jerusalem?

I can think of at least two good reasons why God did that.

First of all, the principle: If you have guests, you cannot serve your guests an omelet of 10 good eggs and one rotten egg. And neither can you serve it to God. You do not balance your good works against your bad works. Just one sin is enough to make you end up in Hell. That is the proverb of Isaiah 1:1.

Secondly, God knew the hearts of this people: Most of them remained unsaved. God also knew that the son of Hezekiah was Manasseh. Manasseh was the most wicked king in the history of the nation of Judah, and the nation of Judah followed their king in all his idolatry. That is the proverb of Isaiah 1:1.

God, in His great mercy, sent this warning by the hand of Isaiah the Prophet, to Judah and Jerusalem to let His people know that there was something wrong with them. And when we read warnings from God in the Bible, we must see in those warnings the mercy of God that He lets us know our error, and in His mercy He has given us time to repent and turn to Him.

This message of Isaiah was to Judah and Jerusalem.

But who are Judah and Jerusalem representing?

They are the people of God: the Old Testament Congregation. God is also speaking here to the New Testament. Congregation. It is also a message to us, who are living in this wicked age where idolatry abounds, and where people are so blind that they can walk from church to church and not even recognize if the true Gospel is preached or if a false gospel is preached.

God says: My people have not known Me

Isaiah 1:2
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

Isaiah 1:3
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

My people "Israel doth not know". Literally the Hebrew text says: "Israel have not known".

What is so serious?

What have they not known?

They have not known God. They are dumber than an ox, and they are dumber than a donkey, because "My people doth not consider". Literally the Hebrew text says: "My people have not understood".

What have they not understood?

The next verse says it: They have not understood that sin requires the payment of the Wrath of God.

Isaiah 1:4
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

Just like in our time, in this 21st Century. We are living in a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers. The reason why crime in our society is at an all time high is, because the Church is not performing the task they have been appointed to. The Church is supposed to be a blessing to our society by proclaiming the Gospel of Salvation, so that people may become saved under the hearing of the true Gospel and become a beneficial influence in our society. But when the majority of Christian churches preach a moralizing gospel, or when they preach: "Jesus loves you and is waiting for you to accept Him", then they preach a gospel that does not save. That is indeed the situation in our country today. That is why God calls it a sinful nation.

The salt of the Gospel has lost its savour. It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

In the majority of Churches the Gospel of the Bible is no longer preached.

It is good for nothing!

No longer do they preach Christ crucified for the elect whom He came to save. No longer do they preach that God is sovereign and that He saves whom He will. Continuing in Isa, God says:

Why should you be stricken any more?

Isaiah 1:5
Why should ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

Does this not sound strange?

"Why should ye be stricken any more?"

Who struck them?

Was it God who brought affliction to them?

Indeed it was. We can see this confirmed in many places in the Bible.

Isaiah 9:13
For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.

Indeed, God afflicted them, because God uses the "Rod of Correction" to correct those whom God intended to save. For example, we read in Jeremiah 5:3.

Jeremiah 5:3
O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.


When the Last day comes and people are thrown into the lake of fire, no one can blame God for their destiny. Paraphrased, God says: "I warned you often enough, but you did not listen." And so it is with the people of Isaiah's days. He says in verses 6 and 7:

Isaiah 1:6
From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Isaiah 1:7
Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

Your land is desolate.

Did God give them up?

Did God give them over to a reprobate mind?

Let us remember that we were there at one time. We too came into this world as incorrigible sinners. We too "were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Ephesians 2:3). We too had to be stricken by God to come to our senses. Most of us had to go through some kind of a calamity before we were made willing to listen to the Gospel. And now the question is:

Is There Still Hope for the Daughter of Zion? (Isaiah 1:8-15)

It seems that God is not putting up with Judah and Jerusalem any more.

Isaiah 1:8
And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.

What is God saying here?

We have already seen that this Old Testament language is filled with parables. But here we have three parables in one verse. Literally in the Hebrew text God says in verse 8:

Isaiah 1:8
And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a hut in a garden, like a city kept.

What is so bad about a booth in a vineyard?

What is so bad about a hut in a garden?

But let us now focus on the third parable: What is so bad about a city that is kept?
(This is the primary meaning of that Hebrew verb.)

What is so bad about a city that is besieged, and is kept?

Well, the city is kept, but the land around it is desolate. That is what the previous verse explained. The country is desolate. Let's work this verse from back to the front:

1. The daughter of Zion is left like a city that is kept, but the countryside is desolate.

2. The daughter of Zion is left like a hut in a garden, but the garden is desolate.

3. The daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, but the vineyard is desolate.

What is the spiritual meaning of a vineyard that is desolate?

It yields no grapes. It yields no grape juice. And grape juice or wine is a type of the blood of Christ, an essential ingredient of the Gospel of Salvation. The vineyard then is the Congregation of God where the Gospel must be preached. If the vineyard is desolate, then it will yield no Gospel of Salvation. This prophecy was actually fulfilled in the nation of Judah when they developed a plan of salvation through obedience to the Ceremonial Law.

If the Church preaches another gospel than the Gospel of the Bible alone, then the vineyard is desolate. This prophecy is again fulfilled in the end time, the time that we live in now, when churches all throughout the world are engaging in additional revelations through dreams and visions and tongues and angel visitations; not realizing that they have a gospel that is no longer the Gospel of the Bible alone. It is no longer a Church where people are being saved. They may go through the motions that Churches are supposed to go through, like Water Baptism and the Lord's Supper, but rituals don't mean anything to God. They think they are saved, but they are not. And God says:

To what purpose are your sacrifices?

Isaiah 1:10
Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

Isaiah 1:11
To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

Isaiah 1:12
When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

Isaiah 1:13
Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

Isaiah 1:14
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

Why would God say this to them?

God Himself ordained these sacrifices and ceremonies and feast days when He commanded them through Moses.

Why did God want them to stop worshipping Him that way?

Well, God commanded the Ceremonial Law only for His people, so that they through these ceremonies, which were only shadows, would look forward to the coming Messiah, who would perform the ultimate sacrifice, the Cross. But God did not command the Ceremonial Law to the unsaved heathen. In the Bible, anyone unsaved is called "wicked". Listen to Proverbs 21:27

Proverbs 21:27
The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

This tells us that there are many "wicked", or unsaved people, who bring sacrifices. They may be very religious, they may be in a church, but they do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. God further defines those who are unsaved in Prov 28:9

Proverbs 28:9
He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Anyone who does not want to listen to the Word of God is called "unregenerate". They may be in a church and they may be sending up prayers to God, but if they disbelieve part of the Word of God, then they are in the same category as those who are adding to the word of God. Even their prayers shall be abomination before God. That is why God is not pleased with their sacrifices.

We too must take the Word of God seriously. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24:

Matthew 5:23
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Matthew 5:24
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Therefore, we too must remember that if we bear grudges against someone else, it may indicate that we have not been saved. We may not outwardly have bloody hands, but in our heart we may have already murdered that person. God looks on the heart. God said in verse 15:

Your hands are full of blood (Acts 20:26-27)

Isaiah 1:15
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

Is God saying that they were murderers?

There may be some murderers among them, but to interpret this verse correctly we must compare Scripture with Scripture. Let's take an example from the New Testament:

Saul of Tarsus was a bloody man. He was trained to be a religious Pharisee, but in his unsaved condition he held an intense hatred for the Christians. He persecuted them, threw them in jail, and even killed some of them. But God, in His great Mercy and Grace, saved this enemy of God and made him to be the Apostle Paul. Then in Acts 20:26-27, speaking to the Church at Ephesus the Apostle Paul said these remarkable words:

Acts 20:26
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

Acts 20:27
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

How could Paul say that he was pure from the blood of all?

What about the Christians he murdered?

The answer is: "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." Now apply that to us: We are not guilty of the blood of all those whom we counsel in the Gospel and who remain unregenerate, because we were not afraid to declare unto them the whole counsel of God. On the other hand, if we did not declare to them the whole counsel of God and they remained unregenerate, then we are guilty of their blood.

That is why God says in Isaiah 1:15, "Your hands are full of blood", because the Jews have been teaching their children and their children's children a false gospel, which was either an idolatrous gospel or it was a works gospel through obedience to the Ceremonial Law, but it was not the Gospel of Moses, their teacher. The Lord Jesus said in John 5:46,

John 5:46
Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

John 5:47
But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Is there still hope for the Daughter of Zion?

What a strange name: "Daughter of Zion".

Who is Zion?

Historically, Zion was one of the hills on which Jerusalem was built. Later it was extended to include the Temple, and eventually entire Jerusalem was named Zion. But the New Testament gives an additional meaning to Zion. On the first Palm Sunday, when the Lord Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem seated on two donkeys, God, through the hands of the Apostle John, wrote these words in John 12:15

John 12:15
Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

To whom are these words addressed?

To the Jews in Jerusalem?

No!

This verse starts with "Fear not".

Who are those who have nothing to fear?

Only those whose sins have been paid for at the Cross have nothing to fear. Moreover, these words are addressed to those for whom Jesus is King. Therefore only the Saints, the true believers, are in view. Daughter of Sion is the name given to all the believers, throughout time, who make up the Temple of God.

Let's further define "all the believers, throughout time".

Except the Lord of Hosts had left us a remnant (John 12:15, Isaiah 37:32)

Isaiah 1:9
Except the LORD of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Not only at the time of Isaiah's prophesy, but all throughout time did God save only a remnant of the human population. God says in Romans 11:5,

Romans 11:5
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

God is the One who chooses the Remnant that is to be saved. They are the Remnant according to the election of Grace. The Remnant is chosen entirely by the Grace of God. This is the same group of people that is called the daughter of Sion in John 12:15. Let's return now to Isaiah 1:9.

Is there still hope for the Daughter of Zion?

Most definitely! They are the only ones saved.

Because there is a remnant, God addresses this remnant, the Daughter of Zion, and says:

Come Now, and Let Us Reason Together (Isaiah 43:25-26)

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

God is not saying that He is starting a debate. Paraphrased, God says: "Let's clear this up, and put an end to all reasoning. Here are the facts: I have chosen you before the foundation of the world, and I am going to wash your sins, and I am going to make you mine." End of debate!

What could be more wonderful than that?

God says in Isaiah 43:25,

Isaiah 43:25
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Isaiah 43:26
Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

Put Me in remembrance. Repent of your sins. Let us declare it together. Of course, a child of God will be so delighted that his transgressions were blotted out, there will be no end to our gratitude. That is why God said:

Wash you and make you clean (Deuteronomy 10:16, Deuteronomy 30:6)

Isaiah 1:16
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

This may sound strange. Is this a command to wash ourselves from our sins?

No! Only Christ can do that. Only God can make us Born Again.

This command is similar to that of the Circumcision of your heart:

Deuteronomy 10:16
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Deuteronomy 30:6
And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

The only ones who will repent of their sins, are the elect of God who have become Born Again, who are righteous in the sight of God.

White as snow and white as wool (Revelation 1:14)


Revelation 1:14
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

Revelation 1:15
And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

Who had to wash our sins?

The Lord Jesus!

Revelation 1:5
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Revelation 1:6
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

By Alfred Chompff

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I WILL HAVE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE

One of the attributes of our God is that He delights in mercy. But when we try to understand the mercy of God, we must be careful that we do not bring God down to our level of humanity. Our God is a Sovereign God who brought this world in existence, and He is still in control of the affairs of this world. Our God is not a spectator of this world’s affairs, but an active participant. And when we speak of the fact that God delights in mercy, we must not imagine a god who is wringing his hands because sinful man is really not cooperating with God. That is not the God of the Bible.

We may not take out of context God’s own words that say:

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

And we may not take out of context God’s own words that say: “God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”, and we may not conclude that God would want to save every body, but He really cannot do what He would like to. God would like to save you but He cannot save you because you are not cooperating.

That is not the God of the Bible.

The God of the Bible is a sovereign and righteous God. He is fully described in the Bible.

God says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD; For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

This is what we must keep in mind when we read about God’s MERCY. We may not bring God down to our human level. God’s ways are far greater than our human ways, far greater than we can think of. The Bible says that we have a Sovereign and Righteous God “who will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15)

"I Will Have Mercy, and Not Sacrifice." These words are found in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 9, verse 13.

Matthew 9:13
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

The Lord Jesus is speaking here to the self-righteous Pharisees, and He is pointing out to them the errors of their doctrine. Let us read it in the context in which these words are found:

Jesus called a publican (Matthew 9:9-13, Titus 3:3)

He is called Matthew. This account is also in Luke 5 and in Mark 2. (There, He is called Levi, it is the same person)

Matthew 9:9
And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Matthew 9:10
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

Matthew 9:11
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

Matthew 9:12
But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

Matthew 9:13
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Our Lord Jesus saw Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom.

What is the receipt of custom?

You know, when you pass the border, you have customs. That is the Tax Office, where they receive the taxes for the Roman government. Matthew was a tax collector. Another name the Jews used for a tax collector was “Publican”. It is a bad name. Publicans were hated by the Jews, because they worked for the enemy: the Roman government. They occupied them for many years.

Then Jesus said to Matthew, the Publican: “Follow me.” Immediately he arose, and followed Christ. Now, you can surmise that it is possible that Matthew has heard about Jesus, before Jesus met him. It is possible that Matthew was sick and tired of this job as a tax collector. But all that is just speculation! It has nothing to do with the word of God. The word of God is very plain. The only information we have in the Bible is: “Jesus saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him”. That is all that the Bible says about it.

Why did God put these words in the Bible; what have these words to do with the Gospel?

Have they anything to do with the gospel?

Yes they do!

You see, the Lord Jesus is usually calling unlikely candidates to the ministry. Prior to this event, Jesus had already called four uneducated fishermen: Peter, Andrew, James and John. Now a tax collector is added to the circle of disciples; A despicable Publican, the lowest of the low; a traitor who had sold them out to the Romans. Publicans and Harlots were usually grouped together as the scum of Judaean society. You would not want to be called a publican or a harlot. They were the worst of sinners. They did not deserve this honor to follow Jesus! No one would want to associate himself with such people. But Jesus did!

Look at ourselves: Did we deserve to be followers of Jesus?

Not at all!

In the past we were haters of God. In the past, we were living a life totally contrary to what God wanted us to live. God created us for His glory, but that is not how we lived. Listen to what God says about us through the pen of the Apostle Paul in Titus 3:3:

Titus 3:3
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

God says this applies to all of us: We all were in the past just like Matthew, like the scum of Judaean society, and we also did not deserve to be called by Jesus to become His disciple. But Jesus did! He called us. He called us like He called Matthew.

Moreover, in this story of Matthew’s call, does this not show that God is drawing to Jesus those individuals whom God decided to save?

It is a special call of Grace, and it is an irresistible call. Matthew was called and immediately he arose and followed Jesus. In fact, we read in Luke’s Gospel account that “he left all, rose up, and followed Him”.

Is that typical of someone who is called by God to follow Jesus?

Is that typical?

Absolutely! A total abandonment of self, that is characteristic of the Christian.

To the world this is an impossible idea. But remember: It is God who does the saving! The Lord Jesus says at another place: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”. (John 15:16)

What did Matthew do when Jesus saved Him?

What does anyone do when they became saved?

We tell the world what great things God has done for us!

That is what Matthew did. Matthew made a great feast. Matthew introduced all his friends to Jesus. That is also what we all are called to do!

We read in Luke 5:29,

Luke 5:29
And Levi (another name for Matthew) made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

This was Matthew’s way of witnessing to his friends: to invite a big party. This does not have to be the way everyone of us does witness. Everyone does it in his own way.

But is it not true that feasting with Jesus and following Jesus is a wonderful combination?

Every Lord's day we feast here on the Word of God, because we celebrate that glorious day that the Lord Jesus rose from the grave. And what a wonderful day is this also to invite our friends to come and introduce them to Jesus. That is what Matthew did. That is a good enough reason to follow Matthew’s example. Invite them to come to Church with you on the Lord's day, and spend the whole day with them, and pray for them that they may get to know, Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, do not expect everything to go as perfectly as you have planned. It is God who uses us as human instruments to accomplish His goals. God says: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. (Philippians 2:13) Conversion is entirely God’s action. We do not get the credit, and we do not get the blame. What a wonderful relief, if we make a mistake, that we do not get the blame either.

But who was on the guest list of Matthew’s feast? (Matthew 9:10)

Not the Pharisees! They were on the outside, looking in.

Matthew 9:10
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

Publicans and sinners. Publicans and women of ill repute. Jesus was eating and drinking with them. Jesus did not reject them like society had done. With Jesus there was hope for them.

What were they seeking from Jesus?

What are you seeking from Jesus?

You are seeking what they were seeking, exactly the same thing: “Forgiveness of Sins”.

Here again, we marvel at the mercy of God. These people were the worst of sinners, but these were also the people with the greatest need. They had one up on the Pharisees. These Publicans and their companions knew that they were great sinners. And they had heard that the Lord Jesus was in the business of forgiving sins. Remember, that was last week’s sermon.

What was the outcome of this great feast?

And they followed Him, just like Matthew had done (Mark 2:15, Titus 3:4-7)

Mark 2:15
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.

There is no sin too great that cannot be forgiven by Jesus.

But after they were forgiven, did they continue in their sinful lifestyle?

NO!

Because they followed him. Just think of our own situation for a moment. God allowed us to live a life totally contrary to Him, a life filled with sin until we were 30, or 40, or 50 years old, and then suddenly God saved us. And with that salvation comes a different lifestyle. First we were slaves of Sin and slaves of Satan, and now we are willing servants of Jesus Christ; we became followers of Christ. All those years God knew He was going to save us, but God patiently waited and waited and waited. We do not know why, but God has His perfect plan.

What an incredible Mercy of God to allow these sinful years to go on and on and on, knowing full well that the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross had to pay for all those sins the full price that the Law of God required: The equivalent of an eternity in Hell. And He paid it. Then He gave that to us freely!

Titus 3:4
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:6
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Titus 3:7
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Look at verse 5; we could not do anything in return for our salvation. It is entirely according to His mercy that He saved us, not by our works of righteousness, but entirely by His Mercy and Grace.

Not by any good work that we can do, if that could be called a good work.

Not by an act of water baptism, although water baptism might be called a good work.

Not by service work in the church, although serving the church might be called a good work.

Not by drudging up a faith in Jesus Christ, although faith in Jesus Christ might be called a good work.

There is nothing we could DO that would make us justified in the eyes of God. It is all done by His Grace. In verse 5 it goes on: The washing of regeneration means the washing away of our sins through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, and which was applied to our souls at the time that God the Holy Spirit gave us a new soul. That was the time when our spiritual eyes and ears were opened. Drop down to verse 7. After He made us justified by His Grace, He made us heirs, inheritors, according to the hope of eternal life.

It means that God calls us Sons, and we are made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. We cannot even begin to imagine what a glorious blessing that would be. Given to us free! It is true that the Lord Jesus received Publicans and Sinners. He did, and He still does! It is also true that the Lord Jesus did not call the self-righteous Pharisees. And He still does not!

Why would people throw away such glorious Good News; such a glorious Gospel?

Why?

Because they cannot see it; they are dead, dead in trespasses and sins. As dead as these self-righteous Pharisees who murmured against Jesus and against His disciples.

Murmurers

We find this word in the account of Luke 5:30:

Luke 5:30
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

Perhaps you remember that during the forty years of wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel that they murmured against Moses and Aaron. Murmuring is not such an incidental sin. It is a terrible sin! Murmuring, or grumbling, or complaining, leads to envy. And envy leads to murder in the heart. For example, when the leaders of the Jews wanted to put Jesus to death, they brought Him to Pilate, and “Pilate knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy”. (Mark 15:10)

I must alert you to the fact that murmuring is not some heinous sin OUT THERE; murmuring also occurs in the Church. And how devastating it is when children are present. They grow up in such an atmosphere, and they will turn out to be greater critics than their parents ever were.

Why were the Scribes and Pharisees such complainers, such murmurers, such critics?

They were used to doing things their way (Matthew 23:5-7)

What was their way?

If anyone was not doing things their way then they criticize that person, and they malign that person, and they destroy the reputation of that person, because that person is not conforming to their way, which they see as the only correct way. If they had been so scrupulous with the Word of God, then they would have received the praise of God. You remember, the Prophets Ezra and Nehemiah were scrupulous with the Word of God, and they received the praise of God. But the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ days were scrupulous with human traditions and customs that were designed by men. They were a people that were proud because they had attained to a level of religiosity that was far above that of the common population. The Lord Jesus described the Scribes and Pharisees of His days in Matthew 23.

Matthew 23:5
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Matthew 23:6
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

Matthew 23:7
And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

You see, most of the Scribes and Pharisees had as their first priority the outward praise of men. How they looked like, and how they were perceived in society, that was their highest priority.

Watch out now, how high on your list of priorities is your status?

Is your nice home, or your nice car, or your nice job very high on your list of priorities?

For example: Does your job have a higher priority than reading the Bible every day?

For example: Does your job have a higher priority than going to Church on the Lord's day?

For example: Does your circle of business acquaintances have a higher priority than your Church family?

Watch out now, that you are not sliding into the same attitudes that the Scribes and Pharisees had. Their social status was their first priority. According to Matthew 23, this is deadly! Therefore, they wanted nothing to do with Publicans and Sinners. These sinful people would drag them down. They had a status as holy men. These sinful people were living like the Gentile dogs. A Rabbi in good standing would not want to associate himself with one of these dogs.

But now, this Jesus, this Rabbi from Galilee, was eating and drinking with Publicans and Sinners; He should not do that, because that would put the Scribes and Pharisees under obligation to do the same. So, that was why they were murmuring and complaining against the disciples.

But Jesus was doing things His way.

What is Jesus’ way?

There are 3 Points Jesus brought up to indicate His Way that leads to Salvation.

The First Point is the principle that, “Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost”. Those Publicans and Sinners were lost. Then out there is where Jesus had to preach the Gospel. When Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 9:12: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick”, Jesus did not mean that the Pharisees were already spiritually healthy. What Jesus was referring to was: that the Pharisees, like so many millions of people now, were not sin-sick in their heart, but they were self-satisfied. Jesus did not come for the self-satisfied, but He came for those who heard that they were in need of a physician for their soul. Jesus came for those who were sick in their souls, who were on the way to Hell and they were pleading for mercy. Then Jesus said to the Pharisees:

Matthew 9:13
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

The Second Point, what Jesus said to them was: "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." (A quote from the Old Testament)

The Third Point, this is the application: Jesus said: “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. In the second point, Jesus said that He will have mercy on sick sinners, who have heard and believe that they are sick in their soul and without Christ they would end up in hell. Jesus will have mercy on every one of those sinners. But first they have to know that they are sinners. First they have to come to know that they are in need of the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ. But Jesus will not receive the sacrifice of the self-righteous. Paraphrased, Jesus says to these Pharisees: “Ye who would be saved by your works, Go ye and learn what this meaneth”. Literally, Jesus quoted from Hosea 6:6.

But He could also have quoted from Micah 6:6-8. In Micah 6:6-7 are listed all the sacrifices that the works gospels want to offer unto God, but of course, God would not accept any of those sacrifices. Those are the sacrifices of the self-righteous. God says: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”. (Proverbs 15:8)

Micah 6:6
Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?

Micah 6:7
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?


In Micah 6:8 God contrasts these sacrifices of the self-righteous, with the salvation that the Lord Jesus Christ provides. This now is the Third Point, the application that Jesus introduced in Matthew 9:13, “For I am come to call sinners to repentance”. Here in Micah 6:8 it is worded a little differently:

Micah 6:8
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

He has already shown us what is Good. In Micah 6, verses 1-5 God repeated the many instances in Israel’s history where God miraculously saved them. And these were pictures of God’s salvation through His Grace alone. Only salvation by Grace through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is Good, only that is Good, because only God is Good.

Then what does the Lord require of us?

Do you see Micah 6:8?

Can we do anything for our salvation?

NO Nothing! We cannot do Anything! It is Jesus Christ who must do all of the work. He said: “For I am come to call sinners to repentance”.

How does a repentant sinner live?

To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. That is how a repentant sinner lives. Micah 6:8 is not a requirement for salvation, it is a statement of fact. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who works in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Only then, when He works in us, will we do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. That is the only way in which all the glory goes to God. The comparison of Micah 7:18 with Matthew 9:13 is even more striking.

Matthew 9:13 Jesus said: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. It is showing the attribute of God.

We have a Merciful God

Micah 7:18
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

Micah 7:19
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:20
Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

What is this passage saying?

First of all it says that: We have a God who delighteth in mercy

Micah 7:18
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

How does God pardon iniquity?

Can He really pardon like the Governor gives a pardon to a criminal on death row?

Can He wave His hand and say: “I forgive you”?

NO! Our God is a Righteous God who requires that every sin must be accounted for. But our God delights in mercy so much that He is willing to send His only begotten Son to the cross to pay for our sins to make the payment the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, so that He can pardon us our sins. We are the ones who are pardoned.

Who are the ones who are pardoned?

Only the remnant of His heritage. Those who are saved by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ are only a remnant of humanity. Only a small fraction of mankind. But when you have heard the true Gospel, and you have checked it out in the Bible and you have found that it is true, and when you find in your life all the indications that you are not your own any more, but that you have been bought with a price, and you now belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, what a wonderful realization that you are among the remnant of His heritage.

Now, what happened to our sins?

Micah 7:19
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue (lit: trample)our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Once our sins have been paid, He will trample those sins and cast them in the depths of the sea, never to rise again; buried out of sight in eternal oblivion. That is how great God’s compassion is upon us. We, who really have been the cause of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, shall be adopted as Sons of God and shall be in the presence of Christ forever.

God has sworn unto our fathers with an oath that He will be faithful to the Israel of God.

He is not talking about National Israel. All the promises to Israel, in the Old Testament, refer to the Israel of God.

Micah 7:20
Thou wilt perform the truth (lit: the faithful promise) to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

Why does God have to swear?

God swore in an oath to indicate that He is dependable, that His decisions are unchangeable. Our God is as unchangeable as a Rock. We can depend on Him.

By Alfred J. Chompff