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The Scientist who has lived by his faith in power of reason the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

By: Robert Jastrow
1925-2008
NASA Physicist and Astronomer
(God and the Astronomer pg. 116)download

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By: John N. Darby

Notice in the first place that the tabernacle has been set up. It is out of the tabernacle of the congregation that this instruction is given. It supposes God is there, and it is a question of approach to Him.

There are two classes of sacrifices: those made by fire for a sweet savour; and the sin and trespass offerings (pretty much the same thing), which were not for a sweet savour, though the fat of them was burnt on the altar. The three sacrifices of sweet savour are – the burnt-offering, the meat (or meal) offering, and the peace-offering. “Peace-offering” is a bad name: “sacrifices de prosperite” they are called in French.

As to the offerings, they are here given as from Jehovah in their order; they are for men, but still from the Lord, just as Christ was; whereas, when men came to offer, they came, not with the burnt-offering, but with the sin-offering first. Here the divine statement of them is made, and the sin-offering is last because this is what Christ became when He had offered up Himself. It is first when persons come by them, and the order in a measure shews the character.

We first come in Leviticus 1 to the burnt-offering. “If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd,” and so on. Sometimes a bullock, and sometimes a goat, or a sheep, but a “male without blemish,” representing Christ in His perfection.

“Of his own voluntary will” should rather be, “for his acceptance.” There is one passage made me question it rather, but I believe that is what it should be. In chapter 22 you may make a difference; in verse 19 it means “free-will,” but in verse 29 it should be “for his acceptance.”

The offerer puts his hand on the head of the victim. “And it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him, and he shall kill the bullock before the Lord.” Then the priest was to bring the blood, and deal with that; this is the priest’s first act – to bring the blood.

The special character of the burnt-offering is, that it was not for a committed sin; on the contrary, what is to me a most wonderful thing is, that not only the question of our sins is elsewhere met, but in the burnt-offering it is the question of glorifying God in the place of sin itself – Christ “made sin.” And He who knew no sin was made sin, and stood in the place of sin (at the cross) before God, so as to glorify God there; “made sin,” which, except in a divine way of wisdom, is impossible. But Christ was made sin of His own voluntary will, and yet it was in obedience: these are combined; the two things are together. God “hath made him to be sin.” God put Him in the place of sin, and He offered Himself for sin (and He is our passover), freely and entirely for it.

198 This is what we may see in John 18, “if ye seek me, let these go their way.” Christ put Himself forward, “offered himself without spot to God”; but at the same time He is “made sin” – it is obedience too. The thing was, to unite this fact of sin being under God’s eye, and so to have it there as that God should be perfectly glorified about it. And only in a victim could this be. And there was perfectness in bringing it, for it was the giving up of Himself. Besides the fact of our sins put away there, you get nothing like the atonement. It is all for us all the while; yet Christ is there “made sin,” in absolute obedience and self-sacrifice, but making good the righteousness, and love, and majesty, and honour, and truth of God, and everything else that is in God. Now it is by this we come; and therefore it is not only that the sin-offering has been there, but in coming by this I come in all the value of that which has glorified God in the very place where I was; I come to God in all the value of this, and get the acceptance of it before God, like Abel. Nowhere else at all is anything seen like this.

Until the man lays his hand upon the victim, it is not a sacrifice properly. Christ, “through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God”; but now when I lay my hand upon the victim, that is the application of it, more than part of it.

We hardly get the “made sin” in the verses here. A man’s bringing a burnt-offering is as good as coming to the Lord and saying, “I have no devotedness to bring; but all is due to the Lord, and I bring it in the person of my sacrifice,” which in principle would be Christ. This is our coming by it: but one must come as having undevotedness, and not only everything wanting, but enmity against God – all that is bad. And then I am accepted in all the value of what Christ has done. Christ has been perfect in obedience and devotedness unto death, and He glorifies God, giving Himself up to God altogether, for this is the character offering Himself has, and He is made sin, and dealt with as such, and in this shews His absolute devotedness to God. He is sinless too of course, for He is without blemish. You will get the perfectness of Christ looked at in all His thoughts and will, as attested in the meat-offering; but here more, He is given up as a victim, made sin: there is the blood and atonement here. In the meat-offering you get what Christ was Himself here it is His offering Himself in the place of sin, that is, made sin.” If I say “instead of,” I must say “sins,” here not “instead of,” but “made sin.” We have sin brought in, which is more than saying we have sinned.

199 Just look round about, and always, and see what has come of God! He created everything good, and what state is it in? It is all corruption and defilement, and, if you could have the devil gay, it is here. Where was God’s glory, and all that He had made blessed? and where was His power? It was all utter dishonour done to God. Therefore there was Jehovah’s lot on the day of atonement. The whole thing was God’s character. Suppose God cut all off: it would have set aside wickedness, but there could be no love in that, though it would have shewn how man had failed. It would have looked like, “I have not made the thing well, and I am obliged to smash it up.” But the moment Christ comes in, you get perfect love, complete righteousness against sin, all that God is, looked at as against sin in itself; you get in the cross perfect love to the sinner, God’s majesty maintained. “It became him, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” You get the truth of God carried out even against His own Son; that everything God is, the most opposite things, righteousness and love (which would have been so without sin, but) all brought out here in the person of Him who offered Himself in obedience and love; “that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” Every moral element, even that which seemed incompatible, all that God is, was displayed. And this is the place where God has been dishonoured. Thus, where all evil was, everything that was base and degrading, there the opposite was brought out when Christ was made sin.

Hints on the Sacrifices in Leviticus…..

By: J G Bellet

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Obadiah

But the garment which Obadiah wore in those days cannot be mistaken. It needs no close inspection to make out what it is. The “divers sorts” of woollen and linen are to be seen in it from head to foot. His life was of that texture. It was not that he was betrayed at times merely, nor was it that his way was stained at times, but his whole life evinces a man of mixed principles.

He was a godly man, but his ways were not according to the energy of the Spirit in that day. He had respect to the afflictions of the prophets, hiding them in caves from the persecution and feeding them there; but all the while he was the adviser, the companion, and the minister of king Ahab, in whose kingdom the iniquity was practised. The “linen and woollen” thus formed the garment that he wore all his days. It was not the leathern girdle of Elijah; and when they come together this difference is preserved and expressed most strikingly.

Obadiah is at some effort to conciliate the mind of Elijah. He reminds him of what he had done for the persecuted prophets of God in the day of their trouble and tells him that he feared the Lord; but Elijah moves but slowly and coldly towards him. Painful all this between two saints of God, but it is far from being rarely experienced; it is a common thing, I would say, but much more commonly felt than owned. 1 Kings 18.

There could have been no blending of the spirits of Abraham and Lot after Lot took the way of his eye and of his heart and continued in that direction – a citizen of Sodom. We are not told this, it is true, in the history; but we find from the history, as I observed before, that they never meet after that, and we may easily know why. Because such things are real and living things still. The Abrahams and the Lots of this day do not meet; or if they meet it is not communion. They do not enjoy refreshment in the bowels of Christ.

Abraham rescued Lot from the hands of the king Chedorlaomer, but this was no meeting of saints; they could not blend. And if the people of God cannot come together in character they had better be asunder. In spirit they are already severed.

So was it in a far more vivid expression of it in Elijah and Obadiah. The man with the leathern girdle – God’s stranger in the land in the days of Ahab – could not be found much in company with the governor of Ahab’s house. But they meet in an evil day, a day which may remind us of the day of the valley of the slime pits, the day of Lot ’s captivity.

Ahab his master had divided the land with Obadiah to search for water in the day of drought. The Lord his God had put the sword of His servant Elijah over the land to give it neither rain nor dew; and in an hour of Obadiah’s perplexity and of Elijah’s commission under God they meet. The occasion is one of interest and meaning and has lessons for our souls. There is effort on the part of Obadiah and reserve with Elijah. This is naturally and necessarily so. Obadiah seeks to combine with Elijah, but Elijah resents the effort. Obadiah calls Elijah his lord, but Elijah reminds him that Ahab is his lord.

For this will not do. We are not to be serving the world and going on in the course of it behind each other’s backs and then, when we come together, assume that we meet as saints. This will not do; but the attempt to have it so is very natural, nay, it is very common to this hour.

But Elijah acted in character, faithful to his brother now as he had been to his Lord before; and beautiful this is, and precious it ought to be whenever we get it. Obadiah had been walking with the world in Elijah’s absence, and Elijah cannot let him now assume that he was one with him though in his presence.

Obadiah pleads: “What have I sinned that …”. But why this? Elijah had not accused him of sinning. Why this alarm and perturbation of spirit? Elijah was not hazarding his life or safety, or any of his interests; he was disturbing nothing that belonged to him.

Why this alarm and taking refuge in the thought of finding his plea in the fact that he had not sinned? It is a poor, low state of soul when a saint has only the consciousness of this, that he has not sinned. Is that enough to enjoy the communion or understand the mind of an Elijah?

Had not Obadiah been in Ahab’s palace when Elijah was by the brook Cherith? That is the question, and not the question whether he had sinned or not. Had Obadiah been with him over the barrel of meal or the cruse of oil?

Elijah had not told him that he had been sinning; he need not shelter himself or commend himself thus. But Elijah cannot but let him know that their spirits were not blending; for they had met from different quarters.

“Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets?” What was all this to the point? Elijah had not been going over his past history; it was better to leave the most of it untold; and it is a miserable thing for a saint of God to be trading after this manner on his character or his past ways. This is no title, no sufficient title, for the present communion of the saints, nor competency for it either.

And these are Obadiah’s thoughts and refuges and pleadings now that he is in the presence of a faithful witness of Christ. He had not sinned, and in days past he had done service.

What a low sense of the common calling of the people of God the soul must have that can think it can be maintained and that saints can go on together on such a title and competency as this!
If the world be served when we are behind each other’s back, though we may not have sinned, as people speak, and though we may have had character and done services in past days, we are not fit for each other’s presence as saints of God.

Have we been in the heavenlies or in Ahab’s court? Have we been making provision for the flesh or desiring the things of Christ?

There are other things than pleading “we have not sinned”, or trading on established character and past services. These are what alone fit us for the true communion of saints.

Obadiah was governor over Ahab’s house; how could such a one as Elijah be comfortable or at ease with him? He felt reserve, and he expressed it in manner if not in words. Obadiah is the man of words on the occasion – that was natural also, and is the ordinary style of such occasions or of such intercourses between Elijahs and Obadiahs to this hour. For indeed it is not communion when there is effort on the one side and reserve on the other. This is surely not the communion of saints.

But it all has a voice in it, and is common enough now-a-days. They were not in company with each other; that was the fact. Their spirits could not blend. The garment of divers sorts, of woollen and of linen, which a saint of God could not but wear in Ahab’s court, ill-matched the leathern girdle of a separated, suffering witness of Christ. We see this saint of God thus in his party-coloured dress but once; but this voice is thus full of holy, serious meaning to us.

The poor widow of Zarephath, whom Elijah had lately left, enjoyed the full flow of Elijah’s sympathies; and that humble, distant homestead, with its barrel of meal and its cruse of oil, had witnessed living communion between kindred spirits, and presented a scene which had its spring and its reward with God.

But Elijah and Obadiah were not thus in company with each other. Elijah is too true to let Obadiah come near to him in spirit or to answer the effort he was making to conciliate him.

There is character in all this I am fully sure. Abraham and Lot never met, as we have said, after they parted on Lot ’s lifting up his eyes on the well-watered plains of Sodom . There was moral distance quite sufficient to keep them asunder, though a sabbath day’s journey might have brought them together. Very significant evidence that is!

And so Elijah and Obadiah: their meeting was no meeting. As well might Abraham’s rescue of Lot out of the hands of Chedorloamer be called a meeting. This was not “the communion of saints”. This was not refreshment of bowels in the Lord. But all this repeats for the heart an oft-told tale.

J G Bellet

The Days of Ahab

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The days, for instance, of Ahab king of Israel , king of the ten tribes, were fruitful in illustrations of this kind. There were in those days an Elijah and a Micaiah, a Jehoshaphat and an Obadiah, beside seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to the image of Baal; and all these in the midst of the foulest departure from the ways of God, the times of Jezebel and her abominations.

But all these are not to be classed together. To use the language of “woollen and linen”, or “garments of divers sorts”, I might say there was no mistaking the cloth of Elijah and Micaiah. The leathern girdle of the one and the prison bands of the other tell us what men they were and bespeak their complete separation.

The seven thousand we cannot speak of particularly; we know them only under the hand of God as “a remnant according to the election of grace”, and that in an evil day they “had not bowed the knee to the image of Baal”.

But Obadiah was not Elijah, and again, as between him and Jehoshaphat, we are still to distinguish; such was the moral variety illustrated for our admonition in these days.

Jehoshaphat

By: J G Bellet

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Jehoshaphat, king of Judah , of the house and lineage of David, was a separate man, but a man who at times, and that too pretty largely, is found in defiling connection. He was of Jacob’s generation, though it may be more faulty than Jacob in that generation. Vanity betrayed him again and again, as worldly policy betrayed the patriarch.

Jehoshaphat joined affinity with Ahab. In the day of the battle he put on the royal apparel, a garment sadly and shamefully of “divers sorts”; and it was near costing him his life, as the same clothing nearly cost Lot his life in the city of Sodom .

He acted there in terrible inconsistency with the sanctity and separateness of the house of David. But, though all this is so, I am not disposed to put Jehoshaphat in company with Lot . His life was not one of mixed principles; his garment was not advisedly wrought of “woollen and linen” together, though sadly and shamefully untrue to the testimony which became a son of David and a king in Jerusalem . Very noble deeds were done by his hands, and very dear affections were breathed by his spirit, and the God of his father owned him; but, like Jacob, and to a more painful extent, he was betrayed; he was betrayed into connections which make his testimony a very mixed, imperfect thing.

It was not merely nature prevailing at times – that may be seen in all, in those of the best generation, in Abraham, and in David.
It was not merely a soiled garment whose blot is palpable, but a garment the texture of which is scarcely discernible, whether indeed it be of one sort or a condemned garment of “woollen and linen”; so shamefully do the “divers sorts” appear in it at times, but not throughout.

By J G Bellet

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Jonathan

Nature prevails sadly and variously in all the recorded saints of God; in some more, in some less, just as the fruitfulness of the Spirit is seen in them in affections and services; in some thirtyfold, in some sixty, and in some an hundred.

But this is a different thing from being men of mixed principles. It was so with David. Nature prevailed in him at times, but he was never a man of mixed principles.

He never deliberately sat down in a connection which was untrue to the call of God under which he had to act. His character was formed by that call and his ways were according to it: but it was not so with his friend Jonathan; his life was not formed by the call of God, and the energy of the Spirit working in the rule of that call. He acted nobly and graciously at times, but still he was not the separated man. He was not true to the pure principles of God made manifest in that day. He was a man of faith, and of many endearing spiritual affections, such as give him, without reserve, a place in the recollections of the saints. But withal he was not where the call of God would have had him. Saul’s court was a defiled, even an apostate, place then.

God was with David then. The glory was in the wilderness with him; the dens and caves of the earth hid it in that day. The ephod was with David, the priest, the sword of God’s strength, the witness of victory. The flower and promise of the land were with him also, those who gain a name in the cave of Adullam , or in the day of vengeance at Ziklag. Such sons of Israel as these, such as shine afterwards in the court and camp of the kingdom, were all with David then.

The call of God was then to the caves and dens of the earth with the son of Jesse, and the energy of the Spirit worked there; but Jonathan was not there. That is the sad story. Jonathan was not where the glory was, where the priest with the ephod was, where the rejected man after God’s own heart was, where all the promise of the coming kingdom was. That is the sad story.

Jonathan was lovely individually, he had done some noble deeds and was breathing some heavenly affections; and to the end we may be sure David lived in his heart; and many misgivings about his own father, we may be equally sure, that same heart was troubled with. He never personally gave David anything but joy; while we know those who companied with him, even in his afflictions, were betimes both a shame and a sorrow to him. But still his position was not true to the call of God in that day. It kept him apart from all that was of God then, though he had the Lord with himself personally. Till he falls on Mount Gilboa , he is with the camp and the court that fall with him there, dishonoured and defeated as they were, having ere then lost the glory, and all that was of God nationally departed from them.

A common case he illustrates. Was it ignorance of the call of God, or double-mindedness? We will not say; but still in this our day there is, like Jonathan, many a saint dear to one’s heart, and outshining in personal graces the larger number of the day, who is found apart from the place where the energy of the Spirit, according to the rule of the dispensation, works.

Noble and generous deeds are done by them individually, but their connection is their dishonour, as it was Jonathan’s – linked with a world which is speedily to meet the judgment, and in courts and camps which are to lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with them that be slain with the sword.

“Tell it not in Gath , publish it not in the streets of Askelon”. Jonathan illustrates this, and this is known abundantly to this hour. But Jonathan cannot sanction the place; Jonathan’s presence did not make Saul’s camp or court other than it was.

The only impression the soul has of Lot in Sodom is that of a tainted Lot and not of a sanctified, purified Sodom . According to the word in Haggai, “If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No”. But “If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean”.

There are, however, “things that differ”, and the soul exercised of God is to distinguish them. There is a soiled garment which is, however, at the same time not a mixed garment, a garment of “divers sorts”, of “woollen and linen”.

Our way under the Spirit is to keep our garments undefiled; and anything other or less than that is not the way of communion with the Lord. But still, a soiled garment is not a mixed garment; nor is a garment with a thread now and again of another sort to be mistaken for one whose texture is wrought on the very principle of “woollen and linen”.

Scripture, ever fruitful and perfect, exhibits characters formed by what has been termed “mixed principles” and characters which occasionally become tainted by such, but are not throughout formed by them.

The life of Lot , as we have been seeing, was formed of mixed principles throughout. There was double-mindedness in Lot ; I say not the same with the same clearness of Jonathan; but still the life of each of them from the outset to the close, when the scene of temptation set in, was tainted by connection with evil.

Lot , though associated with the call of God, was a man of the earth; Jonathan, though witnessing the sorrows and the wrongs of David, continued in the interests of the persecutor unto the end.
Their life was thus formed by connections which were untrue to the way of God and the presence of the glory all through. The garment upon each of them was made of divers sorts, of woollen and linen.

But look at Jacob in contrast, and in him we find one of another generation; he was a cautious man who had his worldly fears and schemes and calculations; and they greatly disfigure several passages of his life. His building of a house at Succoth, his buying of a piece of ground at Shechem, were things untrue to the pilgrim life, the tent life, which a son of Abraham was called to know.

But Jacob is not to be put with Lot ; his life was not formed by Succoth and Shechem, though we thus see him there, and out of character there, but he was a stranger with God in the earth. And in the closing days of his pilgrimage, when he was in Egypt , though with many a circumstance around him there to tempt him to have it otherwise, we have many a beautiful witness of the healthful and recovered state of his soul.

By J G Bellet

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Lot

Lot was associated with the call of God. Like Abram, his uncle, he left Mesopotamia , and then after the death of Terah, his grandfather, he came with Abram into Canaan , and he was a righteous man, there was no palpable blot upon him.

Abram betrayed the way of nature, again and again recovering himself, with shame too, from the snare of Egypt and of Abimelech. But Lot was not so rebuked all the time he sojourned in Sodom . We only read of him that his righteous soul was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. But withal, he was sadly of the generation I am now speaking of.

If Abram’s garment was soiled now and again it was not “a garment of divers sorts”, but Lot ’s garment was “woollen and linen”. He was untrue to the call of God; he became a citizen when he ought to have been only a sojourner, choosing well-watered plains and taking a house in a city, when God’s witness was going over the face of the country from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.

Fewer mistakes are recorded of him; but what then? He was a man of mixed principles all his days, while Abraham all his days was true to the call of God. And his life of false principles leads him into sorrows that are his shame, and that is the real misery of sorrow. He was taken captive while he lived in the plains of Sodom , and was nigh unto destruction after he had removed to the city of Sodom ; and he is still, and ever has been in the church, the witness of one, saved it is true, but “so as by fire”.

He had no comfort in his soul; his righteous soul was vexed day by day. This is told of him, but no brightness is there: no joy, no strength, no triumph of spirit is told of him. The angels held much reserve towards him, while the Lord of angels was in nearness and intimacy with Abraham.

He had to escape with his life as a prey when Abraham was on high beholding the judgment afar off. And, what is full of meaning, we observe that after he had taken his own course and become a man of mixed principles, departing from the track where the call of God would have kept him, he and Abraham had no communion.

Abraham will run to his help in the day when his principles were bringing him into jeopardy; but there is no communion between them. They could not meet in spirit. The saint of God will own him as his kinsman, and do him the kinsman’s service; but there is no present communion between them. And this is no uncommon case to this day.

Such was Lot . Instead of making his calling and election sure, he is one whom the people of God receive on the extraordinary testimony of the Holy Ghost, rather than on the necessary and blessed credit of his assured call of God, or as one of that people of whom Paul could say, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God”.

By. J G Bellet

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J G Bellet

David and Peter

Mistakes of this kind are very old mistakes. David was erring this way when he purposed to build a house for the Lord; but it was an error, though committed with a right desire of the heart.

The time had not come for building the Lord a house, because the Lord had not yet built David a house. The land was still defiled with blood; and till it was cleansed there was no place for the rest and kingdom of the Lord.

David therefore greatly erred, yet not through double-mindedness but through ignorance. David’s error was this – that the Lord could take His throne in the earth before the earth was purged.

The servants in the parable erred on the other hand in this, that the church was made the instrument of purging the earth or the world.

I might say, in the language of the Levitical ordinance, that David was about to put on a garment of “divers sorts”, but the Lord prevented it. The motion of his heart – as far as it was expressive of himself – was acceptable with the Lord, but still it was hindered and disappointed.

Something to tell us how jealous the Lord is that His own principles be observed and the position in which He has set His servants and witnesses be maintained; nay, that even the most affectionate and jealous desire of the saint, though it be valued by the Lord and get its personal reward or acceptance, can never reconcile the mind of the Lord to an abandonment of His thoughts and purposes.

All would be confusion. David’s thoughts, however innocent and in some sense to be approved of God, would have confused everything, bringing about this strange result – the Lord taking His throne in an uncleansed kingdom and allowing His servant to give Him rest before He had given His servant rest!

What confusion this would have been! What an evil testimony these mixed principles would have produced! Who could have read in the result, had it been allowed, either the grace or the glory of the God of Israel?

The rebuke of Peter at Antioch was more peremptory; for Peter erred, not like David, through ignorance, but through the occasional fear of man, which, as we are taught and as we experience, “bringeth a snare”; and it was something worse than confusion, it was perversion – in Deuteronomy 20:19-20 we have an ordinance against perversion, or turning things to a wrong use.

But still, even if it amount only to confusion, and that by the hand of the dearest and most loved servant, it is not to be allowed, as this case of David shews; as also in his other act of bearing the ark from Kirjath-jearim.

The confusion there was not made excusable by all the true-heartedness and religious joy that attended it, 1 Chronicles 13: it could not be. Place by subjection was not to be given to it for an hour, and, however acceptable with God the motion of David’s heart was, these ways must be withstood, because the way, and purpose, and counsel, and thoughts of the Lord are precious in His sight and are to stand for ever.

It is not that David and Peter were men of mixed principles, as the word is, or were wearing, as the ordinance speaks, garments of woollen and linen, but these instances in their history illustrate a serious truth, which is much to be remembered, that the Lord will vindicate His own principles in the face of even His dearest servants, that He will and He must withstand the motions of their hearts if they go to obscure or disturb His purpose and His testimony, even though such motions have much of a personal, moral character in them which He can accept and delight in.

Double-Mindedness

But, beside these cases of David and of Peter, and of the disciples in Luke 9, who, in mistaken, misapplied zeal for the Lord whom they loved, would have avenged His wrongs with a true and righteous affection, there is a generation who are seen apart from the way of God through double-mindedness.

Such a generation may be tracked all through Scripture, a people of mixed principles, as we say, who wear garments of woollen and linen contrary to the call of God and the pure ordinances of His house. It may be humbling to oneself more than to most others to look at such a generation, but it has its profit for the soul and its seasonableness in this hour.

J G Bellet

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The Parable of the Tares: Matthew 13

They remind me of the servants in the parable of the tare-field. The disciples were right according to man, and so were those servants.

Is it not fitting to weed the wheat? Are not tares a hindrance, sharing the strength of the soil with the good seed, while they themselves are good for nothing? The common sense of man, the right moral judgment, would say all this, but the mind of Christ says the very contrary: “Let both grow together until the harvest”.

Christ judged only according to divine mysteries. That is what formed the mind in the Master, perfect as it was; and that is what must form the like mind in the saint. God had purposes respecting the field. A harvest was to come and angels were to be sent to reap it, and then a fire was to be kindled for the bundled and separated tares; but as yet, in the hour of Matthew 13, there were no angels at their harvest-work in the field, nor fire kindled for the weeds, but all was the patient grace of the Master.

The Lord will have the field uncleared for the present. The mysteries of God, the counselled thoughts and purposes of heaven, precious and glorious beyond all measure, demand this;
and nothing is right but the path that is taken in the light of the Lord, in the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

Nor is the church to go to heaven through a purified or regulated or adorned world, any more than Christ would have gone to heaven through a judged world. This is to be well weighed; for what is Christendom about? Just practically gainsaying all this. Christendom affects to regulate the world, to keep the field clean, to make the path to heaven and glory lie through a well ordered and ornamented world.

It has put the sword into the hand of the followers of Christ. It will not wait for the harvest, nor will it go into “another village”. It avenges wrongs instead of suffering them. It orders the church on the principles of a well regulated nation and not on the pattern of an earth-rejected Jesus. It is full of the falsest thoughts, judging according to the moral sense of man and not in the light of the mysteries of God. It is wise in its own conceits.

I know full well there beat in the midst of it a thousand hearts true in their love to Christ; but they know not what manner of spirit they are of.

I know that zeal, if it be for Christ, though misdirected, is better than a chill at the heart or indifference as to His rights or His wrongs. But still, the only perfect path is that which is taken in the sight of the Lord in the understanding of the mysteries of God, and the call of God, and the directions of the energy of the Spirit, and not merely after the fashion or dictates of the morals and thoughts of men.

And the call of God now demands that the tare-field be left unpurged, that the indignity of the Samaritans be left unavenged, that the resources and strength of the flesh and of the world be refused rather than used, and that the church should reach the heavens, not through the judgment of the world by her hands,
but through the renunciation of it by her heart, and separation from it in company with a rejected Master.

“He that gathereth not with me scattereth”, Luke 11:23 ; that is, he that does not work according to Christ’s purpose is really making bad worse. It is not enough to work with the name of Christ: no saint would consent to work without that; but if he do not work according to the purpose of Christ he is scattering abroad.

Many a saint is now engaged in rectifying and adorning the world – getting Christendom as a swept and garnished house; but, this not being Christ’s purpose, it is aiding and furthering the advance of evil. Christ has not expelled the unclean spirit out of the world. He has no such present purpose.

The enemy may change his way, but he is as much “the god” and “prince of this world” as ever he was. The house is his still, as in the parable (Luke 11:24 -26). The unclean spirit had gone out, that was all; he had not been sent out by the stronger Man so that his title to it is clear; and he returns, and all that he finds there had only made it more an object with him. He finds it clean and ornamented; so that he returns with many a kindred spirit and thus makes its last state worse than its first.

by J.G. Bellett

jgb

“Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together”, Deuteronomy 22:11 KJV.

The path of the church of God is a narrow path, such a one that the mere moral sense will continually mistake it. But this should be welcome to us, because it tells us that the Lord looks that His saints be exercised in His truth and ways, unlearning the mere right and wrong of human thoughts that they may be filled with the mind of Christ.

Elijah (Luke 9:52 -56)

The case of Elijah judging the captains of the king of Israel , referred to as it is in the course of the gospels, brings these thoughts to mind. The Lord had steadily set His face toward Jerusalem under the sense of this, that “he should be received up”. Something of the thought of glory and of the kingdom was stirring in His soul.

I believe the consciousness of His personal dignity and of His high destiny, as we speak among men, was filling Him as He began His journey toward Jerusalem . “It came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem , and sent messengers before his face”.
The expression of conscious dignity breaks forth from this and gives character to the moment, and the disciples feel it. They appear to catch the tone of His mind, and therefore, when the very first village, through which the path of their ascending Lord lay, refused Him entrance they resent it, and would fain, like Elijah in other days, destroy these insulting captains of Israel .

This was nature, the natural sense also of right and wrong. Why then did the Lord rebuke it? It was not wanting in either righteousness or affection. The day will come when the enemies of Christ, who would not that He should reign over them, shall be slain before Him. There was nothing unrighteous in the demand, “Wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?”, if we but think for a moment of the person and rights of Him who was thus wronged and insulted.

Nor was there a wrong affection in this motion of the heart. Jealousy for their divine Master stirred it; this motion may be honoured, the moral sense may justify it fully; but Christ rebukes it: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of”, said the Lord to them.

But why, again I ask, this rebuke? Was it because they were exacting beyond the claims of Him whom they sought to avenge?
No, as we have said, for such claims will have their day; but the disciples were not in the spiritual intelligence of the moment through which they were passing.

They had not “the mind of Christ”; they did not discern the time so as to know what Israel ought to do, 1 Chronicles 12:32 ; they were not distinguishing things that differ; they were not rightly dividing the word of truth.

This was their error: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”. It was not a wrong principle of moral action which the Lord discovers in their souls, but ignorance of the real or divine character of the moment through which they were passing.
They did not perceive – what thousands (disciples of this day, as they were of that day) do not yet perceive – that the path of Christ to glory does not lie through the judgment of the world, but through the surrender of it; not through self-vindication, but through self-renunciation.

This was their mistake, and this is what the Lord rebuked.
They naturally thought that this indignity must be recognised; that, if the prospect of glory was filling the mind of their Master, and if they themselves, in the spirit of such a moment, had gone before His face to prepare His way, whatever stands in the way must surely be set aside. Nature judged thus; and nature thus judging would be justified by the moral sense of man.

But the mind of Christ has its peculiar way, and nothing guides the saint fully but that: analogy will not do, there must be the spiritual mind to try and challenge even analogies.

Certain correspondences were remarkable here: Elijah was but a stage or two from the glory, just going onward to be “received up”, when he smote again and again the captains and their fifties.
He was on a hill, full of great anticipations, we may say, and the chariots and horsemen of Israel and his heavenly journey were lying but a little before him in vision.

The soul of their Master appeared to the disciples on this occasion to be much in company with that of Elijah. But analogies will not do, and the use of them here was confounding everything, taking the Lord Jesus out of His day of grace into the time of His judgments; inviting Him or urging Him to act in the spirit of the times of Revelation 11 when He was in the hour of Luke 4.

The witnesses of Revelation 11 may go to heaven through the destruction of their enemies, fire going out of their mouth to consume them that hurt them, as after the pattern of Elijah; but analogies are not the rule.

They must be challenged by that “mind of Christ” which distinguishes things that differ, and which teaches in the light of the word that Jesus goes to heaven through a path which procures the salvation and not the destruction of men; through His renunciation of the world and not His judgment of it.

Elijah avenged himself on the insulting captains and then went to heaven; the witnesses will ascend to heaven, and their enemies shall behold them, Revelation 11:3-11. But Jesus takes the form of a servant, and is obedient unto death, and then God highly exalts Him. And so the saint: so the church. “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed me”.

Here was the mistake: here was the not knowing what manner of spirit they were of. Analogy strongly favoured the motion of their minds. The moral sense, which judges according to man’s thoughts and not in the light of God’s mysteries, justified it.
But He who divinely distinguishes things that differ rebuked it: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of”. The way of the disciples here would have disturbed everything, counteracting all the purpose of God.