|BIBLE STUDY SERIES #110, 111 and 112|
26 December, 1993
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
For centuries the Christmas season used to be considered an high point in the calendar. Most people in the Christian world were generally expected to take time out, so to speak, at this time in the year, to celebrate the events surrounding the birth of Our Lord in Bethlehem. That, of course, was before commercialism took on the pagan face of a rotund bearded patriarch and distorted the focus of our people. If you don't believe that this has now become the true picture, try counting the number of Santa Clause pictures and then counting the truly Christian "Christmas cards" on store shelves, these days!
It has now become quite obvious to us, that by edict of the present rulers of affairs all mention of Jesus Christ is to be eradicated from public schools and every government controlled area of society in order to facilitate the emergence of The New World Order in which multi-cult prevails. Christianity, it seems, is to be suppressed as a deviant and troubling minority infatuation of those whose attitude will eventually be reckoned rebellion. Shades of the Catacombs!
That scenario, however, when viewed in the light of scripture, leads not to the victory of such forces but to their total collapse in the light of Christ's Second Advent, thus Christians need have no feelings of gloom amid the dismaying trends of society at the present time.
Thus, for this programme, I feel led to articulate some desirable message pertaining to the great First and Second Advent themes of Scripture. However, I want to look at the First Advent within the context of the whole pattern of God's Plan for His people.
Many people will yet thrill to the great Christmas theme presented to us in the Gospel according to Luke 1:26-56.
26. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
I want us to note that last prophecy by Gabriel. "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest." That first part of the prophecy has, to a certain extent, become a reality throughout Christendom. But continue. "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever..." In order that this become a reality, He must return in His Second Advent.
That throne was never transferred to Heaven. How do we know this? Because it must yet be upon the earth, for King David was promised unconditionally in II Samuel 7:4-17 that, even if his seed sinned (vs. 14-15!), David's descendants would always occupy it. So that promise applied to fallible descendants as well. It was not a reference confined to Jesus Christ. Thus as the house of Jacob, Israel, is still upon the earth, "in a place of their own" (v. 10), that throne must be here, among them, and it awaits Christ's return for He certainly did not receive it at His First Advent.
That throne was always to be over some portion of the house of Jacob, which means Israel, and Gabriel spoke of Christ reigning over the house of Jacob! It does not apply to the Jewish state, for at this time they do not have a king sitting on a throne. Therefore it must apply to another nation. We of the British-Israel-World Federation state that this throne is that which is found among the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and related peoples for they are Israelites. It is that monarchy which is presently under attack in the gutter media, and by treacherous politicians, as would be expected in the last days as Satan seeks to supplant it with his own domain.
Indeed having these things in mind, Christ spoke His parable of Luke 19:11-27 which concerns "A certain nobleman" who "went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." this parable was given precisely because those about Him "thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear."
34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37. For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
39. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
40. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42. And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44. For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
46. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55. As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
56. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
To this passage, I would add some portions taken from Isaiah 30. The placement of these passages together may at first appear to be a surprising one. Isaiah 30:1 states:
1. Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin.
Israel is shown to be seeking protection of Egypt, rather than the God of their fathers. Is not the tinsel and artificially contrived pagan excitement of media and commerce the modern spiritual equivalent represented by the word "Egypt" in that passage? In verses 8-21 we read:
8. Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
9. That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
10. Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
11. Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
I want to draw attention to that verse. We are the people of Israel who are to read this passage in Isaiah's prophecy in that "time to come." The officials in our land have done just what the passage describes. They have stopped their ears from hearing the law of the LORD. They have told our schools and government organizations that they must not present Christian messages for fear of offending those who despise Christ. They have told the seers not to see, and God's spokesmen not to prophesy right things. They substitute a pagan deceit, in their attempt to "cause the Holy One of Israel to cease" from before them.
12. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:
13. Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.
14. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters' vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.
15. For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
16. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.
17. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.
Has this not happened to our people? Do their officials not, indeed, quake at the hint that multi-cult spokes-persons may be offended if Christ is given His proper honour?
18. And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
19. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
20. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
21. And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Perhaps we may yet turn to the remnant of light as a beacon on a hill, and find the blessing which God intends for His people. The promise of Christ's return is the corresponding part to that of His First advent. As the first came to pass, so shall the second. Let this season be one of refreshing of spirits as we meditate upon these promises concerning the near return of Our Lord.
2 January, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
When we enter a new year, we generally tend to step back and take a long range view of our path. We need to review where we have been, and we need to consider our ultimate destination from time to time. We want to know that we are moving in the proper direction. Well, where have we been? What is our ultimate destination? Are we, indeed, moving in the proper direction? Both as individuals and as a people, we need the guiding word of Almighty God to bring us to a clear understanding and a satisfying grasp of the answers to these questions.
In our present series of Bible Studies, we are following the course of God's Great Plan as He moves to accomplish His age-long cleansing and renewal of His Creation, and, as a central part of that plan, to accomplish the redemption of His people, Israel, through the forthcoming yet ever-present sacrificial gift of Jesus, The Christ.
We, of the British-Israel-World Federation, believe that modern Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples are the descendants of those same Israelites whom The Almighty God had delivered from Egyptian bondage through the astounding miracle acts of The Exodus, and who have, in the Biblical account, lately arrived under the leadership of the Prophet Moses to camp before Mount Sinai.
Sinai was the mountain, you will remember, upon which The Burning Bush grew, that was not consumed, and where, on that previous occasion, The Almighty God had commissioned Moses to return back to Egypt in order to extract Israel from that land of bondage. At that time, The Almighty God had made a promise to Moses in the words "and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain" (Exodus 3:12). God had, in those words of promise, set the course of Israel's emergence towards this mountain.
The locality of Sinai was a wilderness area, and perhaps rather a desolate one at that. It was, then, to this rather arid spot, the scenery of which was dominated by stone and sky, to which The Almighty had drawn His people, in order to gather them to Himself. Sometimes the best place to speak a very important word to somebody is a quiet spot aside from the rush of civilization and its many distractions either of concern or pleasure. It is frequently necessary, in order to get the full attention of someone to focus upon an important exchange of values or vows, to draw them into a sanctuary of silence where the sanctified words will not be garbled by admixture with other distracting sounds.
Back in Exodus 3:10, God had called the children of Israel "my people", and so they are not, for the first time, to hold that special relationship to Him, but that relationship is now to be formalised at this time and place. This people of Israel had been promised in Abraham, sanctified in Isaac and multiplied in Jacob. Now these children of Israel were to be formally confirmed as God's special nation by a great act of national consent, to serve Him among the rest of mankind as a peculiar people, that is to say, a people set apart as a people dedicated to Himself for special service upon the earth.
Perhaps we can, in our imagination, draw near as we read the holy record of today's passage found in Exodus 19, starting at verse 1. As usual, I shall have some comments to insert as we read.
1. In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
2. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
This is the picture which we have just been discussing. Here, fifty days after leaving Rameses, the multitudinous tribes of Israel were assembled, no doubt with some sense of expectation and wonder for in this locality they were in fact quite dependent upon the God Who had led by pillar of cloud and of fire, for sustenance of every variety.
We ought to remember that, while the setting of Sinai was familiar ground to Moses himself, this land of massive steep rocky slopes formed a very strange and unfamiliar setting to the rest of the tribesmen of Israel, accustomed as they were, for generations, to the flat deltaic sweep in which lay the fields of their recent home in Goshen. Perhaps we may sense the general absence of distractions in this rather dry and austere setting.
Moses is now about to make his first ascent into the cloud which was at this time resting upon the steep slopes and rocky summit of the holy mount, there to receive on behalf of his people one of the most stupendous offers ever given to any people.
3. And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
5. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
Regarding the reference to "eagles' wings", Keil and Delitzsch make the very perceptive comment that "The eagle watches over its young in the most careful manner, flying under them when it leads them from the nest, lest they should fall upon the rocks, and be injured or destroyed..."
Of the words "a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation", the New Bible Commentary suggests that each person in Israel "...had also equal access to God, as priests, but this did not preclude the appointment of official priests for the duties of the tabernacle. `Priests' may also imply that Israel was to act as the mediary in bringing the other nations to God." Of "...an holy nation", it says "i.e. separate from the other nations in being devoted to the Lord, who is holy."
The people of Israel are about to receive, in effect, the honour of a national proposal of marriage to Yahweh (Jehovah), their God. We are not in error in so stating the case, for in later centuries we find that Hosea 2:7 mentions that relationship. Also the forty-ninth and fiftieth chapters of Isaiah, speak prophetically to Israel in the isles, far off, (Isaiah 49:1), in a north-westerly direction (Isaiah 49:12), in terms of a past divorce but future redemption (Isaiah 50:1) while this very marriage relationship with the Judah portion is confirmed by the Prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 3:14. The words of that passage make this relationship clear: "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you...".
There exists a parallel between the marriage agreement of a man and a woman and that of Almight God and His people collectively and we see here that the developing Kingdom of God incorporates such a commitment on the national scale. Moses now descends to present the gracious offer to the people of Israel.
7. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.
8. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.
This is now the Second Ascent which Moses has made up the slopes of Sinai in order to approach The Almighty. All this mountain climbing must have been quite a challenge even for Moses, considering that he is at this point eighty years of age. He will eventually make no less than six trips up that mountain! However we may be sure that he was filled with the joy of accomplishment as he made this journey, bearing the word that the people of Israel had nationally accepted God's offer.
9. And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
The majesty of this occasion must have been extremely impressive to the whole of the people spread out below the mountain. The Almighty God, Yahweh of Israel, the God of all peoples, was graciously drawing the Israel nation to Himself, but although he had the strength and power to force a decision to His liking, He would not force them to accept Him. He gave them the right to refuse Him. However, with such a proposal, what people, knowing now the power of their God, could take any other decision than to accept the magnificent offer? As a man might ask the hand of a maiden, so had The Might God requested Israel to become His own people. As a maiden, Israel, through her leaders, had spoken in agreement.
The New Bible Commentary puts the matter thus: "On the human side the covenant between the Lord and Israel was based on the willing assent of all the people. It was not imposed upon them." Of the words "That the people may hear", it says: "The people were themselves both to see the manifestation of God's presence in the cloud and to hear His voice, so that they might receive a direct and lasting impression of the majesty of the Lord and also be assured that the law which Moses was about to give would come as the result of an immediate communication from God Himself."
On our next study, we shall follow the succeeding verses and find the manner of the formal undertaking of the covenant. May we, as we close this week's account, meditate upon the fact that it is this same God Who will come again to establish His Covenant with Israel and all whom the Holy Spirit will call to the great assemblage marking the firm establishment of the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Let all who are weary of the present turmoil rest our assurance in the joyful prospect.
9 January, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
In our ongoing series of Bible Studies, our regular listeners will know that we have been examining the course of unfolding events through which The Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, has seen fit to perfect the imperfections which sin introduced into the equation of Man's relationship with Himself.
The descendants of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (re-named Israel), have developed into tribes which, for some generations, were under bondage in Egypt, then expelled through the pressure of God's miraculous plagues upon that land, which forced Pharaoh to let God's people, Israel, go free.
Emerging into the harsh wilderness of Sinai, they have had second thoughts on several occasions, but God always provided that which was essential to their needs when, at each seeming impass, Moses interceded for their requirement of protection, water or food and, at each request, the miracle was granted.
On our last programme, we saw how Israel had encamped before the holy mount called Sinai, and there, Moses had ascended to the cloud which rested upon that eminence where he met with The Almighty and God had made the amazing announcement, offering a proposal in which, by a covenant, Yahweh (Jehovah) would take Israel into a special relationship with Himself which we may term, as several portions of Holy Writ confirm, national status as God's wife.
The exact words, as Scripture records them, were "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel."
Moses had brought word of this magnificent offer down to the people, and they, through their tribal leaders, had made answer in the words of commitment, "And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do." Moses had once again returned up the steep slopes of the mountain to bring these words of the people unto the LORD. We pick up today's Bible reading at Exodus 19:10:
10. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
11. And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
12. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13. There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
14. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
15. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.
Almighty God has laid down the conditions of sanctification of the people. They must not seek to enter such a marriage ceremony in any flippant or careless manner. They must be deeply respectful and in full agreement as shown by their personal cleanliness and, cleansing of their clothing. They must demonstrate by their conduct their personal commitment to this undertaking to obey God, and to reject their sinful everyday experiences for a holy walk with Him.
As the New Bible Commentary puts it, regarding those words "sanctify them", of verse 10, "...The infinite holiness of God was to be further impressed upon the people by two things. First, their own sanctification: the external ordinances of washing themselves and their clothes, and abstinence from sexual intercourse... symbolized the inner holiness without which no man can see God. Secondly, there was the fence which was to keep them, even sanctified as they were, from touching the mountain while it served as the `holy of holies', the seat of God's immediate presence (12)."
Of the words "In the sight of all the people" (verse 11), The Commentary continues: "Yet all that they could bear to see was the thick cloud which shrouded God's unapproachable glory (9)." The Commentary further states that the words of verse 13, translated "touch it" would be better translated `touch him', as in the R.V., explaining that any man or beast which did transgress the bounds set before the mountain would have touched that holy ground, and could not be then touched by others by taking hold of the transgressor. Thus such must be slain from a distance, by stones or arrows.
It is also worthwhile to quote that reference on the matter of the trumpet, mentioned in verse 13. It says: "This was the signal for Moses and Aaron to come into the mount (24). A call on the trumpet is the normal prelude to a special, particularly a royal, proclamation. This peculiarly terrible blast of the trumpet (16, 19), accompanied as it was by phenomena of supernatural awfulness, heralded a divine manifestation equalled in its cataclysmic effect only by the appearing of the Lord in the last day. Cf. I Thes. iv. 16; I Cor. xv. 52."
16. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
17. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
This marks the third occasion in which Moses again ascends Mount Sinai to commune with God. Keil and Delitzsch comment upon the appearance of Jehovah thus: "manifesting His glory in fire as the mighty, jealous God, in the midst of fire... and the smoke of the burning mountain ascended as the smoke..., and the whole mountain trembled..., at the same time veiling in a thick cloud the fire of His wrath and jealousy, by which the unholy are consumed. Thunder and lightning bursting forth from the thick cloud, and fire with smoke, were the elementary substrata, which rendered the glory of the divine nature visible to men, though in such a way that the eye of mortals beheld no form of the spiritual and invisible Deity. These natural phenomena were accompanied by a loud trumpet blast, which `blew long and waxed louder and louder'..., and was, as it were, the herald's call, announcing to the people the appearance of the Lord, and summoning them to assemble before Him and listen to His words, as they sounded forth from the fire and cloudy darkness."
21. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
22. And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.
23. And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
24. And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them.
Keil and Delitzsch note that "This repeated enforcement of the command not to touch the mountain, and the special extension of it even to the priests, were intended to awaken in the people a consciousness of their own unholiness quite as much as of the unapproachable holiness of Jehovah. But this separation from God, which arose from the unholiness of the nation, did not extend to Moses and Aaron, who were to act as mediators, and were permitted to ascend the mountain. Moreover, the prospect of ascending the holy mountain `at the drawing of the blast' was still before the people..." Obviously, from the Biblical account all the people were extremely impressed, indeed quite fearful.
Keil and Delitzsch conclude their comments on this chapter in the words "After the people had been received into fellowship with Jehovah through the atoning blood of the sacrifice, they were permitted to ascend the mountain in the persons of their representatives, and there to see God (chap. xxiv. 9-11)." The concluding verse 25 states "So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them."
Moses has thus concluded his third trip up Mount Sinai, and returned to the people. In the next chapter, Exodus 20, we are to study the giving of the Law summary known as the Ten Commandments, each one of which, taken alone, deserves more time than would be available on a programme of this length. I do propose however, to give our careful attention to each one of these laws in turn, in our forthcoming studies.
May I, in concluding today's study, pass along a few thoughts regarding what we have read. We are assured by all the prophetic force of Scripture, that this same Almighty God, Yahweh or Jehovah, who appeared in power at Sinai, and in the manger in Bethlehem is yet to appear again in the powerful glory of His Second Advent. Those who are wise, and who are able to read the signs of the times, ought to be preparing their own lives, even now, to face Him in that soon coming day with as deep respect as was displayed by our forefathers of ancient Israel at Sinai.
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