Monday, March 16, 2009

THE BRIDE FOR HIS SON

Someone in our Congregation asked me once: “Can you explain to us the parables in the Bible?”

Yes I can!

Where are the parables in the Bible?

When we think of the parables in the Bible, what do we think of?

We think of the parables that Jesus told, when He walked on earth almost 2000 years ago.

But did you know that the Old Testament is filled with historical parables?

These are stories which were really true historical accounts, but God wrote these stories in such a way that they became shining examples of some aspect of the Truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We want to find out, what does God say in the Old Testament?

In this article we will look at one of these historical parables.

A Bride for Isaac (Genesis 24:1-9, John 6:63)

Genesis 24:1
And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD (Jehovah) had blessed Abraham in all things.

Genesis 24:2
And Abraham said unto his eldest servant (slave) of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:

Genesis 24:3
And I will make thee swear by the LORD (Jehovah), the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

Genesis 24:4
But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

Genesis 24:5
And the servant (the slave) said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?

Genesis 24:6
And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.

Genesis 24:7
The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

Genesis 24:8
And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.

Genesis 24:9
And the servant (the slave) put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.

Perhaps many of you have read this chapter. It is a lovely story of how Rebekah became the wife of Isaac. Genesis 24 is a very nice love story. But there is more in it.

In this article I want to focus on: “What was the assignment that Abraham gave to his servant?”

In the historical context, this a very strange order that Abraham gave to his servant. Very strange. If you look at this assignment just in the historical context, I can raise at least three questions about this strange situation that is developing here before our eyes:

· Why is the servant not named? He had this important task; to go get a bride for Isaac. Eliezer of Damascus. (Genesis 15:2) Why is his name left out? Besides, this is not a servant like we might have servants. The word used here is “slave”!

· What is wrong with Isaac? He is an adult of 40 years old! Is a slave lording it over him? Is he not old enough to get a wife for himself? Can Isaac not speak up for himself?

· What was wrong with Isaac when he was 120 years old? He sent Jacob to, (that country of which Abraham said, “beware!”) Haran to find a wife! Twice did Abraham say to his servant: Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again!

If that was so important, then why did Isaac violate this command from his father?

But remember, this is the Word of God. This is God speaking. This is not just any story written in a history book. This is God Himself speaking to us today. This must be relevant to us, today! And all these apparent contradictions will just fade away when we look at the spiritual picture of this story. And it is already beginning to unfold in these first nine verses and that is just why I focus on these first nine verses. You can see this whole assignment that Abraham gave to his eldest slave summarized in Genesis 24:4:

Genesis 24:4
But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

The whole command from Abraham to his slave is summed up in this one verse.

What was Abraham saying in verse 4?

He said, “Thou shalt take..”

1. A Bride from My Country

2. A Bride from My Kindred

3. A Bride for the Seed of Abraham

Abraham said: “Thou shalt take a Wife from my country”, and I have paraphrased that in saying: “Thou shalt take a Bride from my country”. You see, the Hebrew word for “Wife” in this verse, actually means “Woman”, and a woman becomes a wife after she first has been a Bride.

Therefore, a Bride is exactly what Abraham had in view when he gave this charge to his slave: “Go and get a Bride for my Son”. The Father was choosing a Bride for His Son; and here are the specifications the Bride must meet: She must be from My Country, she must be from My Kindred, and she must become the Wife of My Son.

Which Son?

The verse says Isaac, Isaac the Son of the promise?

Why did God put this story in the Bible?

Does this story of finding a Bride for Isaac have anything to do with the Gospel of Salvation?

Why did God direct Moses to write Genesis?

Moses wrote Genesis.

Why did God direct Moses to write about this episode in so much detail?

This is a long chapter; 67 verses in all. For sure, God did not write this long chapter just to give us a juicy love story. That is not what God is like.

In John chapter 6, the Lord Jesus was teaching the Jews, and they did not understand Him at all. And then Jesus added a sentence that clarifies the whole message that He brought. Jesus said:

John 6:63
It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life.

Now, let’s apply this principle here in Genesis 24, and that will clarify this chapter a great deal.

If we read this chapter as just a historical account of finding a bride for Isaac, then we are in a position where “The flesh profiteth nothing”. It will not profit us anything. Nothing at all!

You are not going to be any wiser by reading this story. But Jesus said: “The words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life”.

We must realize that the words in the Old Testament are just as much the words of the Lord Jesus as the words we find in the New Testament in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These are all the words of God. They are just the same, the word of Jesus. The Old Testament is just as much the words of Jesus. We find, in the Old Testament, stories that directly apply to what we read there in the New Testament.

For example, do you remember that at one time God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac?

That was in Genesis 22. The kids already heard that in Sunday School. And Abraham almost sacrificed his son, but God stopped him.

Then why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son in the first place?

God knows what is going on in Abraham’s heart. God knows the end from the beginning.

Did not God know all along what was going to happen?

Yes God knew; but God did ask that from Abraham, because God was painting a picture for us. It was a picture of God offering His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sins.

That is a New Testament picture. In that picture Abraham was in the role of God the Father, and Isaac was in the role of Jesus Christ. God stopped Abraham because He did not have to go on with that picture. The reality would take place in the New Testament. Again, God painted a picture here in Genesis 24 where again Abraham is in the role of God the Father, and Isaac is in the role of Jesus Christ. And now, this love story in Genesis 24 is not just finding a Bride for Isaac, but it is a picture of finding the Bride of Christ.

And who is the Bride of Christ?

It is the Body of Believers. This love story, in Genesis 24, is the story of Evangelism. It is God’s assignment to His servant, (that is you and me) to bring the Gospel into the world, so that those whom God intends to save are going to be brought to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, God uses His words very carefully. God does not say “find a wife for my son”, but God says in Genesis 24:4, “Thou shalt take a wife unto my son Isaac”.

And she must meet these qualifications:

She must be from My Country!
Let us develop that picture!

A Bride from My Country?

What does that mean?

Where is NOT my country?

Did He not say: The daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I do not dwell?

THAT is not my country. God was not pleased with the daughters of the Canaanites. Remember Canaan, the grandson of Noah?

He was under a curse. Let us face it, we look at this world, this whole world is under a curse. The curse was already placed in Genesis 3, by God when He cursed this earth. And the whole earth is under a curse. These are the descendants of Canaan. God calls this earth the Bottomless Pit. It is the place where Satan is the Prince of the power of the air. This is a sin cursed earth. And we all are under the curse of Sin. Look at Rebekah. She was destined to be Isaac’s wife. She too, was raised in a house that practiced idolatry, and was spiritually in just as bad a condition as the daughters of the Canaanites.

God says: “There is none righteous, NO, NOT ONE!” We are all under the curse of Sin. We all came into this world as rebels against God. We all were under the influence of the prince of the power of the air. We were born as sinners and relished in our sins. We all deserved to go to Hell for our rebellion against God. And God passed by all the daughters of the Canaanites. But God in His great Mercy, decided to save one over there: There is Rebekah. I declare her to be My Country. Not her brother Laban, but just Rebekah. I will make her My Bride. I am taking her away from Satan. She is no longer the territory of Satan. Now she is My Country!

Who is the Bride? (Revelation 19:7-9, Ephesians 1:3-5)

Who is Rebekah a picture of?

When we look for the spiritual picture of a woman in the Bible, most of the time she is a picture of the Body of Believers; the Bride of Christ! For example, at the end of time, when Christ is coming back, when the Bride of Christ is going to be His Wife, we read in Revelation 19:7-9:

Revelation 19:7
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Revelation 19:8
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Revelation 19:9
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Did you hear the words: “Blessed are they which are called.”?

They did not make a decision for Christ. They did not accept Jesus into their hearts. They were called by God Himself, and that is why they desired to come to Jesus. That is the only reason why they came. Just like God chose Rebekah to be the bride of Isaac, so in like manner does God choose people to salvation, and the Father draws those people to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Look at Rebekah: She did not have any hand in it that she was picked to be the wife of Isaac.

In the same way, WE do not make the decision to follow Jesus. We were chosen by the Father!

Moreover, we were not chosen because we were so good. When God looked down the corridors of time, He saw dirty rotten sinners, ALL of us! God says: The Father hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

And why did He choose us?

He predestinated us to become adopted children, according to the good pleasure of His will. Just the good pleasure of His will. No other reason.

Why do most people object to the doctrine of God electing some unto salvation and passing others by?

It is the most beautiful doctrine there is. If God did not elect anyone, none would be saved; because none of us want to turn to the Lord Jesus. But it is a doctrine that is found all throughout the Bible. Remember, He passed by the daughters of the Canaanites and elected just Rebekah.

Why did God do that?

Here is the answer: The Father was choosing a Bride for His Son.

What is so bad about that?

That is not bad at all. That is exactly what the election of God is: The Father was choosing a Bride for His Son. That is the meaning. Even though you do not find those exact words defining election. That is what it is. There is nothing bad about that! Now, let us turn to the question:

Where is My Country? (Mark 14:58, Romans 9:6)

You must take a Bride from My Country.

There are many people who believe that the real estate, there, East of the Mediterranean Sea that is called the land of Israel, that that is God’s sacred country. That is why, in the Middle Ages, there were so many Crusades to take that sacred country back from the Muslims; because those unholy people were taking that holy land away from us. Much blood has been shed for a cause that was absolutely nonexistent. That is what you get when people start to listen to their church, instead of listening to the Bible. Let the Bible itself speak. You remember, when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, at that same moment, in the Temple, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the remainder of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, as if the finger of God had torn it to pieces. That was a stupendous event. The Holy of Holies was representing the place where God resides, the place where God Himself was present in a very special way. God was hereby indicating that from that time on God no longer dwelt in the Holy of Holies. It ceased to be a holy place.

Therefore, the Temple ceased to be a Holy Temple. Instead, God says that He now dwells in a Temple that is not made with hands. Just listen to what we read in Mark 14:

Mark 14:58
We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

Christ now dwells in the souls of the Saints.

Who are the Saints?

They are the Body of Believers. The Bible says that in the New Testament time, WE are the Body of Christ; WE are the Temple of God. Therefore Jerusalem, the physical city of Jerusalem, is no longer the city of God, and therefore the nation of Israel is no longer the favorite nation of God. Today God has another Israel in view: It is the Israel of God, (you find that in Galatians 6) consisting of the souls of all those who have been truly saved. These souls of the Saints are really God’s Country. It is there where Christ is King. It is really surprising that so few people pay attention when God says in Romans 9:6:

Romans 9:6
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

God is clearly saying here that the Israel of God is not identical to the physical descendants of Jacob. There may be some among the Saints who are of Jewish descent, but not necessarily so!

Where is My country?

It is not the land of Israel, but it is the place where the lost sheep of the house of Israel are. Like, where Rebekah was…there. Now, Let us go on to the second point of Abraham’s request to his servant:

A Bride from My Kindred

Could it be that, when Abraham asks his servant to “take a bride from my kindred,” God here is referring to His command that we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

NO! That is not possible. This entire passage of Genesis 24 is dealing with salvation, is dealing with rescuing people from the hands of Satan.

Would God then throw in the midst of all this, one of His moralizing commands?

NO! Our interpretation must fit the context. Besides, we have to come to grips with Abraham’s command to his servant: Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. Therefore, let’s first ask the question:

Who is My Kindred? (Ephesians 1:3-5)

The answer is found again in Ephesians 1:3-5.

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by (through) Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

You see, those of us who have been chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world, have been predestined to become adopted children of God only through the work of Jesus Christ. He died on behalf of us. Just like Rebekah. She had no idea what has been going on with Abraham in that land one thousand miles away. Until one day she heard: He was going to be her Father in law. God had determined that she belonged to Abraham and Isaac. She was of His kindred.

Is it not amazing that the Hebrew word for “Redeemer” also means “Kinsman”?

Is it not amazing! In order for Christ to become our Redeemer, He first had to become our Kinsman: He had to become like one of us! One like us! WE were predestined to be in His family.

How did she become His Bride? (Ephesians 1:6-7)

Historically, how did Rebekah become the Bride of Isaac?

We will see that soon.

But more importantly, How did WE become the Bride of Christ?

Continue reading in Ephesians 1:5-7:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by (through) Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:6
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Ephesians 1:7
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Christ, who is the Beloved, made us accepted by the Father, because Christ redeemed us, He bought us through His blood and gave us the forgiveness of sins; Christ is in us and we are in Him. That is how we became His bride. Just think of it, WE were living in total ignorance of Him, until one day, our eyes were opened. For most of us it happened in the midst of a catastrophe in our life. We think our whole life was coming to an end. That is the time that we are most receptive to the Gospel. God usually has to knock us on the head with a two-by-four.

1. Then God showed us that Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He humbled Himself and became one of us. We could not save ourselves, so He came down to save us.

2. Just imagine when you look into the universe and see billions upon billions of galaxies, each containing as many stars as our own galaxy, that Christ who was King over this entire universe, became a little baby in the womb of Mary, living on this little planet earth.

3. And from that moment on, down into eternity future, Almighty God took on a human nature, a human body. In one moment Almighty God forever changed His constitution with a human body, and forever into the future He would carry this human body around. He did that just for us, so that He can be our Kinsman-Redeemer.

4. That was really nice of Him to do that for us. Was is not? But did we appreciate that? Did we really appreciate it that He came to earth to be our stand-in before the Judgment throne of God?

5. Not really! If we had been there in Jerusalem, we also would have been shouting: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

6. But why was He crucified? It was because we, relishing in our sins, and in bondage to our sins, were on the way to Hell! Because a Righteous God cannot tolerate Sin, those sins must be burned away under the awful wrath of God in a place that is called Hell. But Hell is so awful that Almighty God had Mercy on us and He sent His Son to endure that penalty in our place. Look at what God did!

7. What an incredible love that God had for us. I did not deserve it. You did not deserve it. We did not even want Him. But He did it for us. Totally Free!

8. How Free is Free? Well, if you must do something to earn it, then it is not free! But His Grace is unmerited favor. Can you merit unmerited favor? Of course you cannot! The Bible is perfectly clear that salvation is a Free gift.

9. Therefore it is by Grace that you have been saved, not of works, lest any man should boast. Why, because Christ does NOT share His glory with any man.

10. But look at the audacity of mankind. They say: Christ has done His part, now we must do our part. They say: We should come forward and accept Christ into our heart. Or they say: We have to be baptized in water first before we can be saved. Or they say: We have to clean up our act first and we have to obey the Ten Commandments, before we can be saved.

11. But God says: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man”. (Jeremiah 17:5) Don’t trust me. Don’t trust your church. Trust only what you read in the Bible.

And see if this passage in Ephesians 1 agrees with what you have learned in the past, from someone else. Look at the last point:

A Bride for the Seed of Abraham

The servant was sent out to bring home a Bride for Isaac.

Is that really the important information in Genesis 24?

To whom, were the promises made; to Abraham and Isaac?

NO WAY!

The promises were made to Abraham and his Seed. The Bible does not say descendants. It says, “his seed”.

· Who is the Seed of Abraham? (Galatians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

Galatians 3:16
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ.

All along, God did not have Isaac and Jacob and Israel in view. God had in view Christ! When Abraham sent out his servant to get a bride for his son, this servant was Abraham’s ambassador to do whatever was necessary to bring back the Bride for Isaac. But that was not what God had in view. God had in view the Bride of Christ. And WE are ambassadors for Christ. That is why we read in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20:

2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

God says we are ambassadors for Christ. What an honor! Almighty God chose us to be His instruments to reach the ears of those for whom Christ died.

And do you remember what Abraham said to his servant?

He said:

And I will make thee swear by Jehovah that you do this for me. (Genesis 24:3,7,9)

Genesis 24:9
And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.

Did the servant have a choice?

No, he did not have a choice. The servant did not have the choice: Shall I swear this oath or shall I not swear this oath? Shall I go; or shall I not go?

Abraham said: I will make thee swear concerning that matter. So likewise: We are the ambassadors for Christ. That is not an option. God made us swear that we will do the task to be His ambassador. And if we really are a child of God, if we really have been saved, then it will be our greatest desire to do this thing for our Master, because we love Him.

But why did Abraham give his servant this grave warning?

Genesis 24:6
Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again!

That is a great warning. And now that we have the spiritual meaning of this historical parable, now we can understand it. It is because God’s Son has been there already here on earth, and suffered the wrath of God for our sins on the cross. He did that once, and it was finished. The Bible warns us that it must not be repeated. The sufferings that Christ had to suffer were so great, that they must never be repeated. And look at the glory of Christ there after. The glory is so great that it can never be improved upon. So, that is why there should not be a second sacrifice, because His glory cannot be improved upon! Just think of it: WE are joint heirs with Christ.

Can there be a more glorious future for, those, who are the Bride for the Seed of Abraham?

By Alfred J. Chompff

Sunday, March 15, 2009

CAN THE LEPER CHANGE HIS SPOTS?

Can the Leopard Change His Spots? (Jeremiah 13:23)

Of course you know what a leopard is?

It is a very big cat, almost as big as a lion, with many dark spots on the fur growing on his skin.

Why does the leopard have these dark spots on his skin?

Because his father and mother leopard also had the same dark spots on their fur. And it is a Biblical principle that like begets like. The Bible says, 'As the father is, so is the son'. This principle does not only apply to the animal world, but it also applies to mankind: Our forefather, Adam, fell into sin. He became a sinner and therefore all his descendants, down the line, were sinners from birth.

Can the Leopard Change His Spots?

Of course he cannot!
No matter how hard he would scratch!

You could say that: the leopard is in bondage to his skin, he is born that way. The leopard will always have this kind of skin, because that goes with the nature of the leopard.

Now, why would I bring up such a strange question?

Can the Leopard Change His Spots?

Why, because God uses this question as a parable in the Bible, to teach us the doctrine of man. In Jeremiah 13 God is speaking to the nation of Judah through the mouth of the Prophet Jeremiah, and God is prophesying all kinds of calamities that come to the nation of Judah. God says in Jeremiah 13:23:

Jeremiah 13:23
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

God says, “Can the black man change his skin? or Can the leopard change his spots?” Of course you know the answer to this question: The black man is not able to change his skin to a white skin, and likewise a leopard cannot change his spots. In other words, God says: Just like the Ethiopian or the leopard cannot change their skin, because they are born that way, so ye that are accustomed to do evil are unable to do good.

Who is God speaking to?

Is God speaking to the nation of Judah?

Are they the bad guys?

If God is only speaking to the nation of Judah, then we can ignore what God says here!

Is this not written for a people a long time ago, in a land far away?

You know, this is the wrong conclusion. That cannot be. The Bible was written for all mankind, throughout all time. The Bible is not just a history book. The Bible was written to all mankind, so that all mankind might hear the Gospel of salvation.

But who is God referring to? (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10-12)

When God says: “ye that are accustomed to do evil”, does God include us?

Are we perhaps accustomed to do evil?

Listen to what God says in Ecclesiastes 7:20:

Ecclesiastes 7:20
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

Can we agree to that?

Are we all sinners?

Is there no one who is free from sin?

And, you know that is really true. If the Bible says that we are all sinners, does that imply that we are all “accustomed to do evil”?

Is that really the state of mankind?

The Bible says, Yes it is!

In the New Testament where God speaks of all mankind, God underscores that there is NONE that doeth good:

Romans 3:10
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:11
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Romans 3:12
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

God says this is the state of mankind, all of us. This is how we were born.

How is anyone going to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ?

There is none that seeketh after God! (Romans 3:11) This means that nobody of his own initiative will seek to come to Christ.

Who are we going to run after?

We all seek after idols!
Gods of our own liking!

Moreover, since Romans 3 says, “there is none that doeth good”, this also means we are all “accustomed to do evil”. There you have the answer. Therefore, when God says in Jeremiah 13:23:

Jeremiah 13:23
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil,

God was not just talking to the nation of Judah, God was talking to US! If there is none that doeth good, then we all are accustomed to do evil. It really means that:

Man’s heart is in bondage to sin (Jeremiah 17:9-10, Romans 8:7-8)

As you know, God gives many examples in the Bible about the fact that man’s heart is in bondage to sin. One of the best known examples is also in Jeremiah 17:9-10:

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jeremiah 17:10
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins (kidneys, inward parts), even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

This is serious business. If God “gives to every man according to the fruit of his doings”, it means that all of mankind is in trouble with God.

Can we do anything about it?

If we start to pay attention to God’s Laws, is that going to bring peace between God and us?

If we would stop sinning right now, and obey all God’s law, we still do not have peace with God because there are all those sins in the past.

What are we going to do with all those sins in the past?

That is a BIG problem! God says in Romans 8:7:

Romans 8:7
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

You see, the carnal mind, or the natural man’s mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. Romans 8:7 says that the natural man does not have a free will to obey God’s laws.

Do we have a free will?

NO! Our free will only wants to sin, and sin, and sin more. The Bible says our will is in bondage to sin. Our sinfulness is not free to do good. There is none that doeth good, No Not One! (Romans 3:10) It means that everyone of the human race is on the way to Hell, unless God somehow rescues us. We all were by nature the children of wrath, on the way to Hell, unless God does something about it.

The problem is that no one realizes how bad sin is. Only God knows how bad sin really is, and God says that our sin is so bad that we deserve to go to Hell and stay there forever. Now that is bad! But God has given us a physical picture how bad sin is: Here and there in the world people were smitten, and still are smitten, with the disease of Leprosy. It is caused by certain bacteria.

· A person who has leprosy is called a leper. Just like sin, it is a deadly disease! Just like sin, a person who has contracted Leprosy is condemned to die.

· Leprosy is a disease which is first visible in the skin as brownish-red spots, they become thick nodules. Then these nodules become open sores with pus oozing out, with an awful smell.

· It is the smell of rotten meat and it attracts flies and other insects. It is a terrible sight. It is repulsive. Throughout the world, some people, who have gotten leprosy, have been so rejected by their society, that some of them have been buried alive. They were condemned to die, so they were killed right away.

· In addition, the leper becomes numb in his skin where the nodules have been developing and he begins to lose tissue without feeling it.

· Then he becomes paralyzed in certain muscles of his hands and his feet. As a result the muscles atrophy, the hands and feet become deformed and he loses fingers and toes.

· Then he loses his ears and his nose and other extremities.

· The leper is gradually eaten up by this bacteria. It is a process which takes from nine to eleven years. Just imagine suffering through this kind of horrible disease.

· Today the media are very concerned about Aids. But Aids is nothing compared with Leprosy. A person who has Aids is dead in two years. But a leper suffers 9, 10 or 11 years with this disease before he dies.

· When our forefather Adam sinned, and the whole human race was plunged in sin with Adam, then God cursed this earth, and one of the consequences of this curse was Leprosy.

· Leprosy was recognized in the Bible as the outward and visible sign of the innermost spiritual corruption of man. It is a picture of sin destroying the human body. It starts as a small spot, then spreads gradually, accompanied by deformation of the body, and continues to eat the man little by little, just like sin, by that which corrupts, degrades and defiles man’s inner nature until he dies.

· God made Leprosy to be a vivid picture of what sin is, as a reminder how bad sin is in all of us. This is how God sees us spiritually. Like, walking around with rotten flesh on ourselves.

Can the Leper Change His Spots? (Luke 4:27)

Can the person who has contracted Leprosy do anything to heal himself from his Leprosy?

Today, with modern technology, you can stop the disease from spreading. But in all the previous 129 Centuries when a person has contracted Leprosy, it was a death sentence. There was nothing a leper could do, but just wait for his death. The Lord Jesus confirmed this record when He said in Luke 4:27:

Luke 4:27
And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus (Elisha) the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

Only one person was cleansed of his leprosy, and this person was not even a descendant of Israel. He was Naaman the Syrian. Do you realize that God wrote an entire chapter, about healing from Leprosy, in Leviticus (Leviticus 14). It is a long chapter, dedicated to what religious rites to perform when a person is healed from leprosy. You know, in all recorded history, until Jesus came, nobody was healed of leprosy! No one except Naaman the Syrian! Leviticus 14 did not apply to him.

Can the Leper Change His Spots?

Just like the Ethiopian cannot change his skin, just like the leopard (the big cat) cannot change his spots, so in like manner the leper cannot change his spots. Just the same, a man cannot change his sins. They will always be there, continually accumulating, continually accusing the man. Just like the leper is in bondage to death, so the sinner is in bondage to sin. And so it would be until the end of his days, unless God would do something about it. Then the Lord Jesus Christ comes on the scene. We read in Luke, chapter 5:12:

An unclean man pleads for mercy (Luke 5:12-16)

Luke 5:12
And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Luke 5:13
And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

Luke 5:14
And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Luke 5:15
But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

Luke 5:16
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Can the leper change his spots?

Luke 5:12
And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

The leper fell on his face, pleading for the mercy of Jesus, to heal him of his Leprosy. That is where we find ourselves: pleading for the mercy of God to heal us from our sins. There were many lepers in Israel in the days of Jesus, but only this one leper came to Jesus, knowing full well that he was at the mercy of Jesus. This holy Rabbi could have walked around him. Now this leper was in the city.

How dared he to be in the city?

He was cast out of society because he was a leper. He was supposed to walk in a big circle around everyone and screaming and holding his mantle in his mouth and shouting “Unclean, Unclean”. When he approached the Lord Jesus, he really took his chances. People could have thrown stones at him. But this leper was so thoroughly convinced that the Lord Jesus could heal him. He could not help himself. He knew Jesus was the one who could help him. Jesus was the only One Person who could make him whole.

Why was it that only this one leper was drawn to the Lord Jesus to find mercy?

What was wrong with the other lepers in the country?

Why did they not come?

Why, because, at this point in time, the Grace and Mercy of God was extended only to this one leper. It was the Grace of God that made him believe that only Jesus could save him from this cruel death. It was the Mercy of God that the Lord Jesus was willing to make him whole. That is really how we come to Jesus. The healing of this leper is a picture of anyone who becomes saved. First we become convinced that we are spiritually like this leper: We have a deadly disease called Sin. This sin which is not just killing us physically, but it is bringing us down to Hell.

Do you think that you will come to Jesus on your own initiative?

Then you are kidding yourself. We will not come to Jesus, because we do not want to admit that we have this deadly disease. We are much too proud to admit that we have Leprosy. We are good, moral, law abiding citizens. We are not that bad.

Only when the Grace and Mercy of God has been extended to us, only then will we admit that we have this disease. Only then will we seek to be saved from our sins by the Lord Jesus. No, not any Jesus, Only the Lord Jesus of the Bible. No other Jesus would do. We will only come broken before Christ when we have discovered that we are the worst of sinners. We will only come broken before Christ when we have discovered that we have Leprosy. Not the ordinary kind of Leprosy that kills the body, but the Leprosy that is infinitely worse than that. It is the Leprosy that can throw you in Hell.

And what did Jesus do when the leper pleaded for mercy?

Jesus made Himself unclean (Mark 1:41, 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Do you realize that?

Let me read to you. In the Gospel according to Mark, where this same event is recorded, we read in Mark 1:41:

Mark 1:41
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

The Lord Jesus Christ is moved with compassion for everyone who is drawn by the Father to Him. No one else will come to Jesus except those that are drawn by the Father. Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)

And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him. That was no incidental matter that Jesus touched this leper. You see, everyone who touched a leper became ceremonially unclean. It means that at that moment Jesus became ceremonially unclean, and at the same time, the leper was cleansed. Jesus did not have to touch the leper. He could simply have said, “Be clean”, and the leper would have been cleansed. But Jesus touched him. You see the reason why Jesus touched this leper, God is giving a picture that is full of compassion: The uncleanness was taken off from the leper and it was put on Jesus. Now Jesus Himself had to get rid of this uncleanness.

Remember that Leprosy is a picture of Sin. Jesus touched this leper, because the Lord Jesus is showing us thereby that He took his sins upon Himself, so that this leper may be whole again, may be totally righteous in God’s sight. And so, that is what Jesus does with us. He took our sins upon Himself, so that we may be totally righteous in God’s sight. God says in 2 Corinthians 5:21:

2 Corinthians 5:21
For He (God) hath made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin (Christ); that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Christ).

Our sins were imputed to Christ, so that the righteousness of Christ may be imputed on us. Look at the immense compassion of the Lord Jesus for us lepers, carriers of dead flesh. Jesus, who is Almighty God Himself, stooped so low that He was willing to bear the burden of our sins to the cross. He was willing to do that, because we could not help ourselves. Just imagine for a moment how God looks at us; as a leper. Someone who has hands that are already eaten away, and there are only stumps left at the elbow. And your toes and your feet are eaten away so that you are down on your knees and standing up. And your face is eaten up. The ears are gone, the nose is gone and it is all one wound. The pus is oozing out, and the flies are all over. It is a horrible smell. That is how God looked at us; the walking dead.

And, what did Jesus do when Jesus touched this leper?

He gave us a picture that He took our sins upon Him, so that we would be cleansed from our leprosy. It is as if He would embrace this leper; this dirty, stinking leper, and the leprosy would come on Jesus and the leper would be whole. He would get rid of his leprosy.

That is the picture. That is exactly what Jesus did, when He took our sins upon Himself. He embraced us, so that we got rid of our leprosy and He now got the leprosy.

Now how is He going to get rid of the leprosy?

He had to pay for it on the cross.

How much did He have to pay, just a little, or a lot?

There was no one else to have mercy on Him. He had to pay for those sins the full price that had to be paid, according to the Law of God. And the Law of God demanded that Jesus must pay the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That is the full price for carrying our sins. What an immense compassion of the Lord Jesus for us lepers.

Now, when we read in the Bible of the love and compassion of the Lord Jesus for us, that He saved us from our sins and that He saved us from going to Hell; could it be that we just say “Thank You Jesus”, and then we continue on our own merry way?

Is that possible?

No, that is not possible. That is making a mockery of the Grace of God.

The Grace of God is far more powerful. The Bible says that at the time of our salvation, at the time of our regeneration, we want to do those things that please God.

What are some of the things that please God?

When Jesus prayed to the Father, He said in John 17:18:

John 17:18
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

We cannot die for the sins of someone else. Only Jesus could do that.

But Can We Change the Leper’s Spots?

When we apply the Word of God in our daily lives, you realize that we are not dealing with literal lepers. Very few of us come in contact with even one leper in all our life. That is not the application of the word of God. Instead of lepers, we are dealing with unsaved sinners. In God’s eyes they are the walking dead. They are enemies of God until at some point in their life they may become saved. They are in bondage to sin and Satan.

Who holds the key to their bondage?

Of course God holds the key. That is why we pray for somebody’s salvation, because it is only God who can unlock their bondage. And God saves those whom He wants to save. But God uses people as instruments. Here is the reason why some people are still spiritual lepers.

Is it possible that they never heard the true Gospel?

Yes, that is possible. In this day and age the true Gospel is very scarce. Let me try to summarize in ten points, the True Gospel:

1. Almost everybody in the world has heard about Jesus, but they have not heard Jesus. They have not heard the True Gospel from the Bible.

2. They have heard that everyone in the church is already saved; but that is not true. That is not what the Bible says. In nearly every church there are people who have never been saved.

3. They have not heard that all of mankind is born in sin and most are still in bondage to sin.

4. They have not heard that a Righteous God must send most of mankind to Hell because He is righteous.

5. They have not heard that anyone can only be saved by the Grace of God, by the sovereign Mercy of God.

6. They have not heard that God’s Mercy only comes through Jesus Christ dying on the cross. And He died for those sins.

7. They have not heard that when Christ died on the cross He paid for all our sins, not a part of them.

8. They have not heard that God, the Holy Spirit opens the eyes and ears of those for whom Christ was crucified, so that they begin to cry out for mercy. God is still in the business of saving people.

9. They have not heard that a person once saved is always saved. We can trust God’s promises.

10. They have not heard that the true Gospel is circumscribed by the Bible only. Nothing but the Bible. Don’t trust your Church. Don’t trust your Pastor. Trust the Bible only: Trust Christ, the Word of God.

The question then that follows is:

Can we, former lepers, also show mercy to those who are still lepers? (Romans 10:14-15)

We cannot embrace another leper. We do not have that power. We do not have the power to transfer the leprosy, but, of course, we are talking about spiritual leprosy. And, you know, we have been there. We know where the pitfalls are and we have heard what the true Gospel is. We have been in the spiritual battle. It stands to reason then, that we pray to God, that we may be used by God as instruments to show others where the true Gospel is. This is how we can please God in the most God-glorifying way. God says in Romans 10:14-15:

Romans 10:14
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:15
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

God describes here how wonderful our task is in God’s eyes: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Can God do it without our witnessing efforts?

Of course God can; He will use someone else.
But it is the character of a child of God to desire this task of witnessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why?

Because we have been rescued from a great fire!

Should we not be boasting of the One who rescued us?

He gave His only begotten Son for us, in our place, so that we could be saved.

Should we not proclaim, to all the world, what great Mercy He has had on us?

You know, Mercy received cannot be hidden

If God so loved us, while we were still stinking and rotting lepers, with a love that is described with the Greek word “Agape”, should we not have a reflection of that same kind of love for our fellow man?

If we truly have been saved, then absolutely, a reflection of this “Agape” must be found in us.

That is why the KJV translators used the word “Charity” in various places where they found “Agape”.

You remember 1 Corinthians 13?

That is exactly what it is: “Charity”; a gift to a beggar; a leper. A gift so great, that nothing is expected in return.

We cannot give God anything in return for His great gift of salvation. We have nothing to give. It is all tainted with sin. There is no value in anything that we bring except by the Grace of God. Our “Charity” for our fellow man can be used for the glory of God. If we have no “Charity”, we really have not been saved. God’s Mercy received at the hand of Jesus Christ cannot be hidden.

By Alfred J. Chompff