Thursday, April 30, 2009

STREAMS IN THE DESERT

Who was John the Baptist? (Luke 3:2-6, Isaiah 40:3-5)

John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets.

Today you might call John "a fire and brimstone preacher".

John the Baptist was chosen by God to point out the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus was sent by God to bring "Streams in the Desert". That is a title that needs some explanation.

Let's begin to read in Luke, chapter 3, verse 2.

Luke 3:2
The word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

Luke 3:3
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

Luke 3:4
As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Luke 3:5
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

Luke 3:6
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

When the leaders of the Jews asked John the Baptist who he was, John answered them with this quotation from Isaiah, the prophet.

When God places a quotation from the Old Testament in the New Testament it is there because God urges us to go to the Old Testament and look up this passage.

Hold your finger here in Luke and turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 40.

We will go back and forth from Isaiah to Luke.

Isaiah spoke of John more than 700 years before the Baptist came on the scene.

God says in:

Isaiah 40:3
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD (JEHOVAH), make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah 40:4
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

Isaiah 40:5
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

In verse 3: What does the voice of John in the wilderness cry out?

Prepare ye the way of Jehovah.

John was the messenger who would prepare the way before Jesus.

Prepare ye the way of JEHOVAH.

This verse clearly says that the Lord Jesus is Jehovah.

If you still do not see that, God says it again: "Make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Clearly this verse says that the Lord Jesus is God.

Like the prophet Elijah, John did not mince any words.

John addressed the multitude that came to him as "Generation of Vipers".

John openly scolded king Herod for taking his brother's wife.

This got John in trouble, and Herod locked him up in prison.

But while John was in prison, we have to ask the question:

Why Did John Doubt? (Luke 3:7-9, Luke 7:18-20, Isaiah 42:6-7)

John started out so full of assurance. John said in Luke 3:7-9,

Luke 3:7
Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Luke 3:8
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Luke 3:9
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

John did not have the full revelation from God. John expected that Messiah would come and reward the righteous, and He would pour out His wrath on the wicked.

John did not understand that all this was to be understood spiritually.

John baptized Jesus, and not long thereafter John was put in prison.

He heard about all the wonderful things Jesus did, but now it seemed as if Jesus had forgotten John.

If Jesus could heal all kinds of diseases, why could Jesus not give John some relief and get him out of prison?

We read in Luke 7:18

Luke 7:18
And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.

Luke 7:19
And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another?

Luke 7:20
When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another?

Why did John doubt?

It was announced that John would come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and here we find that John was behaving and thinking exactly like Elijah did.

But John was rotting away in prison, and John remembered that the prophet Isaiah spoke of Messiah as written in Isaiah 42.

Isaiah 42:6
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

Isaiah 42:7
To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

If Jesus could open the blind eyes, why could Jesus not get him out of prison?

We would like to scream to this prisoner: "John, this is to be interpreted spiritually!"

But would we do any better than John the Baptist?

When we see our beloved Church go apostate, or when we see our children join one of those apostate churches, are we not saying: "Lord, it is not supposed to go this way."

Is that not what we think in the face of such disasters?

Or can we say with John the Baptist: "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Show and tell (Luke 7:21-22, Matthew 20:28, Isaiah 48:8-10)

What was Jesus' answer to John? Jesus did a show and tell.

We read in Luke 7:21-23,

Luke 7:21
And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.

Luke 7:22
Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Luke 7:23
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Is this not typical of how God operates?

First God shows us the Gospel, and then God sends us out to tell the Good News.

Did you notice the last item Jesus mentioned: "To the poor the Gospel is preached."

Who, do you think, has been assigned this task of preaching the Good News to the poor in the entire world?

You and I and everyone who has been saved have received this commission.

What is the Gospel that we bring?

It is the news that Messiah has come, and has been crucified.

Matthew 20:28
The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Why did Christ have to give His life a ransom for many?

Today I would like to answer that question from Isaiah 48:8-11,

Isaiah 48:8
Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

This verse tells us of our initial condition.

Our ears were not opened to the Gospel when we came into this world.

We have dealt very treacherously with God.

We are called transgressors from the womb.

This applies to the entire human race.

That is why we all are by nature children of God's wrath

But God had mercy on His people.

Then God says in the next verse in Isaiah 48:

Isaiah 48:9
For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.

Who is God speaking about?

God is speaking about His people whom He will not cut off.

God speaks about all those He is going to save.

God is doing that for His sake, and for His praise alone.

None of us will be praised for making such a wise decision for Jesus.

None of us will be praised for having been baptized.

God did it alone, all by Himself.

Then God says in the next verse:

Isaiah 48:10
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

This is speaking about Jesus.

The Lord Jesus was in the furnace of affliction.

This is Jesus' answer to John (Isaiah 48:11, Luke 7:22, Isaiah 35:4-6)

John, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction".

Not your affliction John, but My affliction on the cross, which is infinitely worse than you will ever experience.

The Lord Jesus says this to every one of us who has become a child of God.

He has chosen us from the foundation of the world, since He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Because He has chosen us, He also paid the full price for our sins in the furnace of affliction.

God says in the next verse:

Isaiah 48:11
For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another.

For My own honor I will do this.

And I will do it 100%, or else My Name would be polluted, for I will not give My glory to another.

I will draw this chosen one to faith in Jesus, and I will make sure that this chosen one will not be led astray by one of the fabricated gospels of Satan.

This was Jesus' answer to John and to us.

It was an answer of show and tell.

We have to keep in mind that God says in the New Testament that Jesus spoke in parables, and without a parable He spake not unto them.

But Jesus also acted out parables.

The Lord Jesus said to the disciples of John in Luke 7:22,

Luke 7:22
Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

How was the Gospel preached to the poor?

Well, the spiritually blind can now see, the spiritually lame can now walk, those who were defiled with sin have been cleansed, the spiritually deaf can now hear, those who were spiritually dead are made alive.

In every one of these cases the person to be healed could not help himself.

The blind were blind from birth; they could not see where Jesus was.

The lame could not crawl to Jesus to ask for healing.

The lepers found out one day that they had a deadly disease for which there was no cure.

The deaf never knew that they missed something, because they never heard anything.

The dead were totally unable to do anything for themselves; they represented those who were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.

This is how the Gospel was preached to the poor in spirit.

In all this symbolism, we recognize that Jesus was referring to that passage in Isaiah 35:4-6.

Isaiah 35:4
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.

Isaiah 35:5
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Isaiah 35:6
Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Here are those Streams in the Desert.

And now we read in Isaiah 35 about:

The Habitation of Dragons (Isaiah 35:7, Ephesians 2:1-2)

Isaiah 35:7
And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

You wonder: Are we still on the same subject?

Yes we are still on the same subject.

The desert and the wilderness of verse 6 is the same as the parched ground and the thirsty land of verse 7, and this is the land that is the habitation of dragons.

But we know that literal "dragons" never existed at any time.

But there is an alternative:

The Hebrew word translated "dragons" is also translated "serpents".

For example, when Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh, and Aaron cast down his rod, it became a "serpent".

This word "serpent" is exactly the same Hebrew word.

When I examine all the verses where this Hebrew word appears in the Old Testament, in every case the context allows it to be translated as "serpent".

That is what we should read here in Isaiah 35:7. It is "The Habitation of Serpents".

But what does this mean that this is "the habitation of serpents"?

This was supposed to be the good place, where the eyes of the blind shall be opened, where the waters break out, and where there are streams in the desert.

Well, when you compare the last words of Jesus in Luke 7:22 with the second half of Isa 35:6, then you realize that "in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert" means that "to the poor the Gospel is preached".

The water is a picture of the Gospel, which flows like pure water, out of the mouth of those who preach it.

Where is the Gospel preached?

It is preached in this world.

This world is identified as the wilderness, or a desert, or a parched ground, or a thirsty land.

God says here in Isaiah 35:6-7 that if the Gospel is preached in the wilderness of this world, then some of that parched ground will become like a pool of water, and some of that thirsty land shall become springs of water, which in turn shall water more desert land.

The water of the Gospel has been poured out in the desert at Pentecost in 33AD, and it is still being poured out until now.

The desert is very dry, because it is "the habitation of serpents".

Who in the Bible is represented by a serpent?

The serpent represents Satan.

The serpents, plural, represent Satan and all his fallen angels.

This world is "the habitation of serpents".

We find in Revelation 12 that Satan and his fallen angels have been cast out of heaven when Christ died on the cross, and they have been cast out onto the earth.

We find this confirmed in Ephesians 2:1-2, where we read:

Ephesians 2:1
And you (hath he quickened), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Satan is "the prince of the power of the air" on this world.

Can we escape from prince Satan?

YES! Then God shows us:

The highway (Isaiah 35:8, John 14:6)

We read in Isaiah 35:8 that there is an escape from this habitation of serpents. It is The Highway.

Isaiah 35:8
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

The Highway is identified as "The Way of Holiness".

But we know from the New Testament that the only way to holiness is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus said in John 14:6,

John 14:6
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Christ is The Way.

His followers were called followers of the Way.

God has showed us this Way of salvation.

The only way to holiness, the only way to get right with God, is to have our sins paid for.

In the Bible God calls us transgressors from the womb.

We all were by nature children of wrath.

How could anyone of us turn to Christ if we were by nature enemies of Christ?

None of us was willing to admit that we were the enemies of Christ.

None of us was willing to let go of our sins.

None of us wanted the salvation of the Bible.

We were "strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." (Ephesians 2:12)

God says to us: "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction".

First God chose us, and then God sent His son into the world to pay on the cross for the sins of those whom God has chosen.

The next thing God did was to show us that Christ is the only way out of our sin-problem.

And because Christ has purchased us already in 33AD on the cross, that is why we believe that this Christ is The Way.

We had no other choice. We are His property.

God showed us this Highway; that is why we believe.

What is next?

All our sins have been paid for.

We have been adopted as sons of God.

What is next in our life?

The Lord Jesus Christ says unto us:

"Freely ye have received, freely give", (Matthew 10:8) and "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". (John 20:21)

We are appointed as ambassadors of Christ in this world, and we have a mandate to bring this Gospel of Christ into the world, to reach others for whom Christ died.

We are commanded to give a "Show and Tell" to the world.

Show them in the Bible, and then tell them the Gospel therein.

Where should we go?

The first place where we go is in our home.

Give a "Show and Tell" to your children every day.

Children learn by repetition.

Read them the Bible after dinner and ask them what they have heard.

This also gives you some practice when you witness outside the home.

For whom is this Highway?

Isa 35:8 says: "the unclean shall not pass over it".

Those whose sins have not been washed away may not use this Highway.

They will try to use another way to salvation.

They will use a self-help gospel, but they cannot, and they will not use the Gospel of grace alone.

The redeemed shall walk there (Isaiah 35:9, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Peter 2:7-8)

Only those who have been redeemed at the cross shall walk on that Highway.

God is very protective of His children.

Once we have come to faith in Christ, we have been placed on that Highway by the grace of God, and we are certain to escape that "Habitation of serpents" when our body dies.

God writes in Isaiah 35:9,

Isaiah 35:9
No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:

It is significant that God says: "No lion shall be there" on that Highway.

Whom does the lion represent?

We know that Christ is "the lion of the tribe of Judah".

But Christ is not in view when God says: "No lion shall be there".

The other person represented by a lion is Satan.

A lion also represents Satan, because Satan wants to look like Christ.

Satan comes as an angel of light.

He tries to imitate Christ, and thereby lure away those who have come to trust Christ for their salvation.

God writes in 1 Peter 5:8,

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

How does Satan devour people?

He comes with other gospels that are so close to the true Gospel that even the elect would be deceived if that were possible.

If you have been deceived by the master deceiver, Satan, you do not know that you have been deceived.

We have to make sure, absolutely sure, that our Gospel is based on the Bible alone, without picking and choosing from the Bible.

We are walking on this Highway, which is Christ alone, and "no lion shall be there, nor any other ravenous beast shall go up" on that Highway.

God indicates thereby that once we have been saved, we can be absolutely certain that we shall never lose our salvation.

No one can steal us away from Christ.

Besides, no one else would want to use this Highway.

God says in 1 Peter 2:7-8,

1 Peter 2:7
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

1 Peter 2:8
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

The Christ whom we worship is to the unsaved "a stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offense".

The Gospel, which we believe, is to them an offensive religion.

Here God addresses:

The Offense of the Cross (Luke 7:23, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 1 Corinthians 1:23-25)

The Lord Jesus concluded His answer to the messengers of John the Baptist in Luke 7:23,

Luke 7:23
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

The Lord Jesus said this because He knew that there would be many who will be offended in Him.

God has a great deal to say about the offense of the cross.

First of all there is the blood of Christ that flowed.

Why was it necessary to have such a bloody scene?

You see, God knew that blood is offensive.

But Sin is even more offensive to God.

All throughout the Old Testament God wrote about animal sacrifices, almost from the beginning of time.

There was much shedding of blood.

And then the animals were burnt. There was fire!

Fire is a picture of Hell.

This too is offensive to most people.

All these burnt offerings were only shadows of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

But at Golgotha, where is the fire?

The fire of God's wrath is invisible, but it is burning intensely within the Lord Jesus Christ, so much so that the Lord Jesus cried out: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me".

Christ, who was God, was forsaken by God, on behalf of my sins and your sins.

He had to complete the full payment for our sins, in our place.

He endured Hell for us, because to be forsaken of God is to be under the wrath of God, which is Hell.

Then we read in 1 Corinthians 1:18,

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

The preaching of the cross is not done with wisdom of words, but it is the power of God.

Almighty God is able to deliver people from their sins through the preaching of the cross.

1 Corinthians 1:21
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

To those who are outside the grace of God, the preaching of the cross is foolishness.

But God is pleased by this foolishness, because God takes pleasure in saving those that hear the Gospel.

1 Corinthians 1:23
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1 Corinthians 1:24
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:25
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

We preach Christ crucified. Past tense.

He was crucified.

This is how God forgives sins.

There is no other way for sins to be forgiven.

Christ saved His chosen ones there on Golgotha, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Their number cannot be increased, nor can it be decreased.

But now look at the result of Christ's suffering:

There is Everlasting Joy (Isaiah 35:10)

Allow me to bring up the last verse in Isaiah 35:10,

Isaiah 35:10
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Who are "the ransomed of the LORD"?

The ransomed of the Lord are all those for whom Christ died.

He did not ransom everyone in the world, but only those whom God chose.

We were ransomed by God's grace, and not because of our works, lest any man should boast.

We cannot boast that we believed, and we cannot boast that God saved us because we believed.

That is a mixture of grace and works.

Now we know that we are saved by grace; that is a free gift.

Believing the Gospel is by grace alone, through Christ alone.

The message of the Bible is that we have everlasting joy because it has been freely given to us.

We were in the darkness of sin, but by His grace we have been translated into the Kingdom of Christ.

What a joy! YEAH!

We have eternal life now.

Our eternal life does not start when we have died and have gone to heaven.

Our eternal life starts now, while in this life on earth.

Eternal life also means that it shall never be taken away from us.

Now we have been called to proclaim the praises of Christ.

We have been called to radiate this joy that we have in Christ.

We have been called to bring the message of salvation to those who want to hear.

What a wonderful opportunity to be of service to God, and at the same time be a blessing to those around us.

And what a blessing we have in the life hereafter!

There will be No more sorrow and sighing (Isaiah 35:10, Revelation 21:1-4)

God spoke about this promise in Isaiah 35:10, when God said:

Isaiah 35:10
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

This verse ends with the wonderful promise of God that we will have more everlasting joy and gladness later, when we shall be with Him in the New Heaven & New Earth.

In the life hereafter there are only two destinies: Heaven or Hell.

Those who have been deceived by the master deceiver will spend eternity in Hell.

Those, on whom God has bestowed His favor, by having redeemed us through Christ's work on the cross, will spend eternity in the New Heaven & New Earth.

Have you been deceived, or have you been redeemed?

How can you tell the difference?

Begin with the Gospel you believe: Who receives all the credit?

You see. Now you know!

Be sure to tell your children what the difference is between the two Gospels.

Be sure to tell them what is at stake.

Then pray for them, and teach them to pray.

God has given us a glimpse into the wonderful future of the New Heaven & New Earth.

We read in Revelation 21:1-4,

Revelation 21:1
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:3
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The New Heaven & New Earth that God will create will be so magnificent that it cannot be described in earthly terms.

Sufficient to say that the New Heaven & New Earth will be more wonderful for our new glorified bodies than heaven presently is.

Would God create it if it would be less wonderful?

We must not think of the New Heaven & New Earth as two separate spaces.

It must be one entity that is titled the New Heaven & New Earth because God Himself will dwell with us there.

And God Himself will see to it that our joy will be full, and that there will be no more sorrow and sighing.

Let us praise God for such a great salvation.

By Alfred J. Chompff

Friday, April 03, 2009

SHE IS A SINNER

Luke 7:36
And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.

Luke 7:37
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

Luke 7:38
And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Luke 7:39
Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

Luke 7:40
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

Luke 7:41
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

Luke 7:42
And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

Luke 7:43
Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

Luke 7:44
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

Luke 7:45
Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

Luke 7:46
My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

Luke 7:47
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Luke 7:48
And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

Luke 7:49
And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

Luke 7:50
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.



Is this not a lovely story?

We always like those stories where someone becomes saved.

But before we get too sentimental about the story of this woman, who became the center of attention at this party, let's not forget to ask the essential questions:

What exactly did God say in this story?

And: What doctrines did the Lord Jesus teach us here?

Let's begin with the historical details that are given: Simon the Pharisee invited the Lord Jesus "that He would eat with him". There is no indication here that Simon wanted to set a trap for Jesus. Jesus was not the only One invited; there were more people invited to this dinner. The Bible does not disclose who they were. But we can see from this invitation that Simon was a little bolder than another Pharisee we know: Nicodemus was also a Pharisee who came to Jesus by night, quietly, so that nobody could see him. This passage, Luke 7:36-50, was at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and Jesus was already getting a name for being a wise Teacher. Both Nicodemus and Simon wanted to talk to Jesus for the same reasons: They wanted to be taught by Him. Jesus addressed the Pharisee as Simon, whereas Simon addressed Jesus as "Master", which in the Greek text actually says: "Teacher". This was a great honor to Jesus. In the nation of Israel the Pharisees were the Doctors in the Law; they were the conservative scholars who had studied a long time before they became a Pharisee. In today's society you would address them as Doctor so and so.

Now, why did Simon invite Jesus for dinner?

This Pharisee invited Jesus "that He would eat with him"; and have the opportunity that they would communicate some spiritual food with each other, and that he may get to know this Jesus a little better, whether He was a fake or whether He was a true Prophet.

Now, while all the guests entered the house of Simon the Pharisee there was among them:

An Uninvited Guest

Now, we should not confuse this event of anointing Jesus' feet with another anointing that is mentioned in the other three synoptic Gospels. Here in Luke 7 the anointing takes place in the beginning of Jesus' ministry, whereas in Matthew, Mark and John the anointing takes place in the last week before Jesus went to the Cross. That was the second time Jesus was anointed by a woman.

But this woman, here in Luke 7, was a woman of ill repute. Usually, when we read in the New Testament about "a woman who is a sinner", it is meant that she is a harlot. A harlot is someone who sold out her body to sin. Publicans and harlots were usually grouped together, because they were considered the outcasts of society. There is no indication that Jesus has met this woman before, but Simon the Pharisee knew her.

How did Simon come to know her?

Well, that remains an open question.

And what did this woman come for?

She came to meet Jesus and to anoint the feet of Jesus with this precious ointment that she brought along. That was the primary reason why she came. She did not come there intentionally to weep.

Why did she come to do this?

Was this woman already saved?

Our English translation does not tell us that, but in verse 37 where it says, "which was a sinner", the verb in the Greek text is in the imperfect tense, which means that her lifestyle was not a thing of the past.

So here was a harlot among the small crowd that went into the house of Simon the Pharisee.

What a most unlikely place to meet Jesus.

What was drawing her to this place?

She heard that Jesus was going to be there in that house, and she wanted to meet Jesus, even if it meant that she would meet Him in the house of a Pharisee. Perhaps she heard what was said about Him in verse 34: "Behold, a friend of publicans and sinners".

But why was she drawn so irresistibly to meet the Lord Jesus?

The Bible tells us why she was drawn so irresistibly, in the Gospel according to John, chapter 6:37.

John 6:37
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Jesus was speaking to the crowd of people who were following Him, and paraphrased He said:

Only those whom the Father has given to Jesus, shall come to Jesus in a God glorifying way. All others will fall away, because they are following Jesus for their own selfish reasons. Very soon after the Lord Jesus said these words, indeed this large crowd reduced to a very small group. Just in case you did not understand what He said, Jesus said again in verse 44.

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him (2X): and I will raise him up at the last day.

These are the only ones who can come to Me: If the Father draw him.

1. All others who claim they have made a decision for Jesus of their own free will, and

2. All others who claim that they have accepted the Lord Jesus out of their own free will, and

3. All others who claim that they have decided to believe on the Lord Jesus,

They all claim that they are following Jesus, but they do that under their own agenda. They do not know these words, or they do not believe these words in John 6:44. They cannot believe these words. They seem to come from another Jesus. That is indeed true. They do not know my Jesus, who is the Sovereign, Omnipotent, and Almighty God who will not share His glory with another human being. And just in case you still did not understand what Jesus said, He repeats it again in verse 65.

John 6:65
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

It is impossible for sinful man, who is in willful rebellion against God, and who refuses to put himself under the authority of the Bible as the spoken Word of God, to come to Jesus, the Word Incarnate, and to believe that this Jesus hands out Salvation as a FREE GIFT. It is impossible for them to believe that. That is why the Father must personally choose those to whom He will send His Holy Spirit to make them Born Again, and only then will they believe it and follow Jesus.

Now we understand why this woman was drawn so irresistibly to this most unlikely place to meet Jesus. It was the Father who was drawing her.

In the eyes of man, she had no chance to be saved.

And actually, they were right. She had no chance to be saved, and neither has anyone else any chance to be saved, because none of the human race wants anything to do with the salvation plan that God has. But with God all things are possible. The Father drew her to the place where Jesus was, and God the Holy Spirit gave her a repentant heart right there, on the spot.

According to the custom of the Jews in those days, Jesus was reclining on one of the couches, and she was standing at Jesus' feet. Jesus looked at her. She began to think of all her sins, they pierced her heart; the tears of sorrow began to pour out of her eyes, and before she knew it her tears fell on Jesus' feet. Quickly she stooped to dry off those tears with the only towel she had: her long hair. If she had come for such a purpose she would have brought a towel. But tears do not come at will, especially not in a situation like this. No, her tears welled up quite involuntary and more tears fell on Jesus' feet. She kept wiping them with her hair and kept kissing Jesus' feet as if she was asking Him to forgive her for fouling His feet with her tears. Her entire soul went out to Him, and she tenderly kissed His feet and wiped them clean with her hair, and she began to pour the anointing oil from the alabaster box with ointment that she had brought.

The alabaster box with ointment was a very precious gift. In the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 14, this ointment is also mentioned, and there it was valued at 300 Denarii, which was equivalent to 300 man-days of work, or roughly one-year salary. So, whatever your annual income is, fill that in. That was the value of this ointment.

What prompted all this?

Jesus, who knew her heart, tells us that it was much love for Jesus that made her do this. Perhaps she had heard Jesus speak before, while she was in the crowd of publicans and sinners who so frequently were drawn to Him, and perhaps she heard from His lips some of those wonderful words such as never man spake. And now that she is at Jesus' feet she could no longer keep her feelings to herself.

Only Jesus knew that He had come: "To seek and to save that which was lost". (Luke 19:10

Only Jesus could understand what was going on within her, because Jesus knew that the Father had been drawing her to Him. Jesus expected her this day, because Jesus knew her from before the foundation of the world, and He knew the day and the hour when she would be saved. It is true that she had much love for Jesus, but the Bible says that Jesus loved her before she loved Him.

1 John 4:10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:19
We love him, because he first loved us.

The woman's love was more precious to Jesus than Simon's feast. But now the time had come to draw her into the Kingdom, and the woman who was a sinner became a Saint.

Why had He allowed her to live in sin and misery for so long?

Only God knows the precise answer to that question.

But how differently did Simon the Pharisee look at this event. He saw the woman only as the scum of society, and his opinion of Jesus dropped a step lower on the Simon scale of decency. Jesus should not have permitted such a thing to be done to Him by such a harlot. She is a sinner. Simon thinks within himself that this is conclusive evidence that Jesus is not a prophet.

Jesus knew what Simon was thinking, and for the benefit of Simon, and for our benefit, Jesus began to explain the need for Salvation and the nature of Salvation. First Jesus tells us:

The Parable of the Two Debtors

When the Lord Jesus told the Parable of the Two Debtors, He did not have in view that these two debtors were representing Simon the Pharisee and the woman. Jesus was teaching Simon some basic principles of salvation. Let's look at those three verses again.

Luke 7:41
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

Luke 7:42
And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

Luke 7:43
Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

"There was a certain Creditor". Of course, this Creditor represents God Himself. Jesus chose His metaphors with good reason:

A Creditor is one who is benevolent and trustworthy. God is trustworthy, and God will not deceive us. But the Creditor also sets His rules, which we are to follow.

A Creditor is one who is independently wealthy.
His resources are sufficient for all your needs. "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

A Creditor is one who looks for some return for His investment. God gave His very best; He gave His only begotten Son.

What do we give Him?

Do we return Him evil for good?

God says that there will be a day of reckoning, a day to settle the accounts.
So, God represented as a Creditor is the basis of this Parable. This Creditor had only Two Debtors:

They were helpless bankrupts

The amounts they owed were not excessive. One owed 500 Denarii, which is almost two man-years of salary, and the other owed 50 Denarii, which is about two months of salary. You can see that these debts are only symbolic, because they are a mere pittance compared to the debts that we owe to God. Therefore, this parable only serves to establish the principle of verse 43, but not to give us an estimate of the debt we owe.

But there is something significant in the fact that this Creditor had only Two Debtors. If it has any spiritual significance, like here in this parable, the number Two is pointing at the Church. In other words, these Two Debtors are representing two groups of people in the Church.

The Lord Jesus says: "They had nothing to pay". They were bankrupt. Just like we all stand bankrupt before God. We are unable to pay what we owe. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". Then Jesus said: "He frankly forgave them both", or literally the Greek text says: "He freely forgave them both". The small sinners and the great sinners were all freely forgiven. "Therefore, which of them will love Him most?" Now comes the Principle of verse 43:

And Simon answered: "I suppose, to whom he freely forgave the most."

And Simon almost had it right.

Simon was thinking, as so many theologians are thinking, that the small creditor represented Simon and the large creditor represented the woman, and that Christ had both forgiven all their guilt. But that is not so.

Did Simon love Christ less than the woman?

How much less?

Look at the record Simon:

Luke 7:44
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

Luke 7:45
Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

Luke 7:46
My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

Look at the record Simon.

You did NOTHING to show your love for Me.

How much less do you love Me?

What is the evidence?

It is ZERO. You have not even anointed My head with a little inexpensive olive oil, but she has anointed My feet with precious ointment.

Now, read verse 47 carefully. Jesus was still speaking to Simon when He said:

Luke 7:47
Wherefore I say unto thee (Simon),
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

When Jesus said, "Wherefore", He does not mean: "Because she did all this, therefore are her sins forgiven" That conclusion would clash with everything else we read in the Bible. But paraphrased Jesus said: "Wherefore, I say unto thee Simon, look at this woman; her sins, which are many, are forgiven. And look at the evidence: she loves Me much. Her love was not the cause, but the proof of her forgiveness; and this is also evident from the structure of the parable. And then the Lord Jesus laid down this awesome principle:
"To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little".

This is a message not just to Simon, but also to all of us. A wrong concept of sin leads to a wrong concept of our guiltiness before God, and to a mistaken notion of the nature of God's provision for sin, the Atonement, and to a wrong concept of God Himself.

Can anyone of us say that he is forgiven little?

Breaking even one commandment makes us guilty of all of them (James 2:10).

And if we say that we love the Lord Jesus Christ, then where is the evidence of that love?

Can we examine ourselves and search our lives for that evidence?

You might say: those are works!

Does God want to see works in our lives after we have become saved?

That is right. The Lord Jesus explains to us here in a few words what the nature is of our Salvation, as well as what the nature is of our Sanctification.

This woman demonstrated what James said in James 2:17.

James 2:17
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Simon the Pharisee accused this woman of being a great sinner. He considered himself to be just a small sinner. That is why the Lord Jesus gave him this parable, which was really a very polite way of putting Simon in his place.

An unnamed woman

This was an unnamed woman. That is very important. Usually, when a person is not named in the Bible, God intentionally does that to paint a historical parable, so that this unnamed person is representing a certain group of people. This unnamed woman represents any person who is being drawn by the Father and is going to be saved and she is going to be the Bride of Christ.

Look at this woman: She wept for the many sins she had committed, she humbled herself to the uttermost, she was putting everything she had at His feet, she held nothing back, and she did it with a broken heart. This was not her own doing. It was the Father who was drawing her.

I used to think that I was just a little sinner, because I never committed any gross sins. I obeyed those who were in authority over me. I smoked just a little, I drank just a little and I rarely used foul language. But if I think about my past honestly, I never was given the opportunity to lead a sordid lifestyle. There was no "femme fatale" in my life, and there were no real wicked friends in my life. And so my life went on like a whisper, and I thought I was a self-made man.

But the Lord taught me differently. He showed me my sinful secret thoughts, and my discontentment with many things, and my pride that I was better than someone else. Slowly, but surely I came to realize that I was a BIG sinner, who was forgiven much. We have seen in this passage in Luke 7 that the Lord Jesus came for BIG sinners, not for little sinners. He also demonstrated that by being a friend of publicans and sinners. Therefore, if the Lord Jesus came also for me, then I must have been a BIG sinner. I am still a sinner, saved by Grace, and now I love Him more and more as the days go by.

Your experiences may not be like mine. But the BIG question for each one of you is this:

Are you forgiven much, and do you love Him much?

Or do you still find it hard to believe that He loves you so much, that all those ugly sins have been blotted out and are remembered no more.

What would it take for you to believe that?

It is so difficult, that it takes an act of God. But remember that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Therefore, as long as you are reading your Bible there is hope. When you stop reading your Bible, then you stop communicating with your Heavenly Father, and then you become like Simon the Pharisee, who knew it all.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for us.

What more could He give?

What do you have to give Him?

Does He expect you to give Him your life, out of gratitude?

Oh Yes!

What you give Him out of gratitude is actually the evidence of your relationship with Him.

But what are the blessed results?

When Jesus said to Simon: "Seest thou this woman", I am sure that her heart was jumping up and down for joy. She was receiving Jesus' approval. Jesus' words were like music from heaven.

When Jesus said to her: "Thy sins are forgiven", she could hardly believe her ears. Her sins, which were as scarlet, were made white as snow. What an encouragement for the wicked to forsake their ways is found in His abundant pardon.

Then Jesus again assured her: "Thy faith hath saved thee". His Grace had saved her. Now she was free from the tyranny of the power of sin. She was now freed from the very love of sin. It was not her tears that saved her, not her kisses that saved her, not her precious ointment that saved her, but it was His Free Pardoning Grace that saved her.

And last of all, He said: "Go in peace".

Romans 5:1
Therefore being justified, by faith, we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By Alfred J. Chompff

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

ALL THE HEATHEN

One of the absolute essentials concerning the death of Christ is the following question:

Who Did the Lord Jesus Die For? (John 14:7, Amos 9:11-12, Acts 15:13-18, Acts 11:26)

The Lord Jesus said in John 14:7, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

The meaning of this statement is absolutely true: “No man.”

But before the Lord Jesus was born into this world many civilizations have come and died without ever having heard of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is to become of their souls?

The answer is found in the words: “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” It means that anyone who dies without ever having heard the Gospel of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ cannot come into heaven. And the same applies to the barbarians of northern Europe and of Asia who did not hear of the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ until at least 500 years later. And so, the conclusion is that the Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer and die for everyone in this world.

Who then did He die for?

Now, that is the topic that I would like to teach in this article. We read in Amos 9:11-12,

Amos 9:11
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

Amos 9:12
That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.

Did you see those words in verse 12?

“That they may possess the remnant of Edom”

This refers to the remnant of Esau. Esau was never saved. But that does not mean that all his descendants also must remain unsaved. Our God, who is rich in mercy, has mercy on a remnant of the descendants of Esau.

Moreover, verse 12 also mentions, “All the heathen, which are called by my name.”

Who are those?

Let us see if we can work out this interesting question in this article.

These two interesting verses in Amos 9 have been quoted in Acts 15 by James, the Lord’s half brother, the son of Mary. After the Lord Jesus went back to heaven the first church in Jerusalem was headed by James, not Peter, but James. This was not the apostle James, the brother of John, for that James was beheaded by king Herod in Acts 12. During the first counsel that was held in Jerusalem circumcision of the Gentles was brought up for debate. After long deliberations and listening to Peter, and Paul, and Barnabas, then James made the final decision. He said in Acts 15:13,

Acts 15:13
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

Acts 15:14
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

Acts 15:15
And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

Acts 15:16
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

Acts 15:17
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Acts 15:18
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Did you notice, in verse 17 the words of Amos 9:12 are repeated, “All the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called.”

What does that mean?

When we search out the precise meaning of the Greek text we find that primarily it could mean two things:

1) it could mean that the name of the Lord was preached to these Gentiles,

or

2) it could mean that the name of the Lord is given to these Gentiles.

From the context we can see that the second meaning must be the right interpretation: The name of the Lord was given to these Gentiles, since not all the Gentiles to whom the Gospel was preached believed. In fact, only a small number of them believed the Gospel.

What was the name of the Lord that was given to these Gentiles?

In Acts 11:26 we read, “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” They were called “Christians”, which means “Of the family of Christ.” They received the name of Christ.

Now we need to apply this conclusion to all the places where in the Old Testament we find the expression “Called by My Name.”


Who Are Called by My Name? (2 Chronicles 7:14, Isaiah 49:3, Matthew 2:14-15, Hosea 11:1, Isaiah 43:6-7, Jeremiah 15:16, Amos 9:12)

This is a very familiar verse in 2 Chronicles. After Solomon finished building the temple, and all his other building projects, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream to give him support for all his works, and to give him warnings for the time when they shall fall away from the true Gospel. We read in 2 Chronicles 7:14,

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

What is meant by “my people, which are called by my name”?

When we search out the Hebrew word for “called by My name”, which is “qara shem”, we find that it is primarily used for name calling. In other words, the beginning of 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that the people of God carry God’s name.

How can this be?

God’s name is Jehovah, and the people’s name was at that time Israel. These were the children of Israel which were at that time called the nation of Israel.

Has God perhaps adopted the name “Israel”?

When we search the Bible, we find that this is indeed so. In Isaiah 49 we read the 8th Servant Song that we find in the prophecy of Isaiah. There are a total of 10 Servant Songs, the last one in Isaiah 53. But in chapter 49 we find that the first 10 verses make up the 8th Servant Song, and it is a song that entirely refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We read in Isaiah 49:3, “And Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

This says plainly that Christ is called “Israel”. But if you still doubt that this is the right interpretation, then please turn to the 'Gospel According to Matthew', and read the 14th verse of chapter 2. We have here the event of the flight of Joseph and Mary and the baby Jesus into Egypt, for Herod he king intended to kill the baby Jesus. Then we read in Matthew 2:14-15,

Matthew 2:14
When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

Matthew 2:15
And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Where is that found in the prophets, “Out of Egypt have I called my son”?

We find in Hosea 11:1,

Hosea 11:1
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

This verse does not refer to the nation of Israel which was taken out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus, but according to Matthew 2:15 this refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is here called “Israel”. And so, we have double proof that the Lord Jesus is also called “Israel”. And thus, when we read in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “my people, which are called by my name”, we must understand that Jehovah in 2 Chronicles 7:14 gives Himself the name “Israel”. This also gives further support to the notion that the Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah. And if Christ is called Israel, then all those who are “in Christ” are also called Israel.

In Isaiah 43 we read the 4th Servant Song in Isaiah, and it is a song which refers to the church. God is addressing the church, meaning the body of saved people all over the world, whom He addresses in the beginning of this chapter as Israel, and then in verses 6 and 7 God declares that hey will be brought in from the ends of the earth. We read in Isa 43:6-7,

Isaiah 43:6
I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

Isaiah 43:7
Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Who does God refer to in verse 7 when He says, “every one that is called by my name”?

It means that every one who is truly saved is called Israel, which is also the name of Christ. To this the prophet Jeremiah testifies when He writes in Jeremiah 15:16,

Jeremiah 15:16
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

When Jeremiah says, “I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts”, Jeremiah does not refer to him being named “Jehovah of Hosts”, but to him bearing the name Israel.

When we read in Amos 9:12 “All the heathen, which are called by my name”, we now understand that this refers to the remnant chosen by grace out of all the nations of the world, including the nation of Israel, and they all receive the name Israel, because they were and are “in Christ” from before the foundation of the world. Let us now look at a few examples of the word “Called” and see if we have used it properly.

Called <07121> (Genesis 1:5,8,10, Genesis 2:19, Zechariah 8:3, Zechariah 11:7, Zechariah 13:9, Malachi 1:4)

It is the Hebrew word with Strong’s Concordance number <07121>, which occurs 689 times in the Bible. Obviously I am not going to show you a list of 689 verses. But let us just look at a few verses in the beginning and a few verses at the end of this list. And let us see if this word indeed is used to call to someone with a name, or to call to give that person or thing a name.

Genesis 1:5
And God called <07121>
the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Genesis 1:8
And God called <07121>
the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Genesis 1:10
And God called <07121> the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called <07121>
he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 2:19
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call <07121> them: and whatsoever Adam called <07121>
every living creature, that was the name thereof.

And now we turn to the Prophecy of Zechariah chapter 8, near the end of the Old Testament.

Zechariah 8:3
Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called <07121> a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.

Zechariah 11:7
And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called <07121> Beauty, and the other I called <07121> Bands; and I fed the flock.

Zechariah 13:9
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call <07121> on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Malachi 1:4
Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call <07121>
them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.

From these examples we can conclude that the primary use of the word <07121> is indeed for calling out a name. And so we are on the right track.

A Nation that Was Not Called by My Name (Isaiah 65:1, Hosea 1:6-10, Hosea 2:23, Romans 9:23-26)

In Isaiah 65 the Lord points to the nation of Israel as a nation to whom He has spread out His hands all the day, but they remained a rebellious people who walked after their own thoughts and not after the thoughts of God. And then God speaks of the heathen nations in Isaiah 65:1,

Isaiah 65:1
I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called <07121> by my name.

God says here that He was found by the heathen, a remnant from the nations of the world who formerly were not called by the name of Israel; a nation that did not labor to seek for Him, for God says in Romans 3:11, “There is none that seeketh after God.” God simply said to them, “Behold Me, Behold Me” and this was enough to draw them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, God is speaking of the New Testament time when He will draw a remnant from all the nations of the world to the Lord Jesus. God uses similar language when He speaks of the Gentile world in Hosea 1.

In this first chapter of Hosea, God uses the marriage of the prophet Hosea with his wife Gomer and her three children as a historical parable. It was historically true, but the spiritual meaning of all these historical events is the dominant theme of this chapter and of the following three chapters. Hosea plays the role of God, and Gomer plays the role of the harlot nation of Israel. We read in Hosea 1:6,

Hosea 1:6
And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call <07121> her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.

Therefore, Loruhamah represents the house of Israel, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel as well as the southern kingdom of Judah, which will completely be taken away, first by the kingdom of Assyria, and thereafter by the kingdom of Babylon. But then God will have mercy on the house of Judah and rescue them from their bondage to Babylon. We read in Hosea 1:7-9,

Hosea 1:7
But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

Hosea 1:8
Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.

Hosea 1:9
Then said God, Call <07121>
his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

Now we are entering into the New Testament age. Lo Ammi is a picture of the remnant chosen by grace out of all the nation of the world. Initially we were all by nature the children of wrath, even as others. We were not His people, and on the way to Hell, and this condition applies to Gentiles as well as those who were born as natural descendants of Jacob. We read in Hosea 1:10,

Hosea 1:10
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people (Loammi), there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

“The place where it was said to them” refers to the Bible. This is the place where it was said to them. There is no other place in the world that can fulfil this promise. When we have received our regenerated soul, God says to us here in the Bible, “Ye are the sons of the living God”. God says in Hosea 2:23,

Hosea 2:23
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy (Ruhamah) upon her that had not obtained mercy (Loruhamah); and I will say to them which were not my people (Loammi), Thou art my people (Ammi);
and they shall say, Thou art my God.

In other words, a remnant from the house of Israel, Loruhamah, as well as a remnant from the Gentile nations, Loammi, shall obtain mercy and shall be called the sons of the living God. We know that this is the right interpretation, for God says so in Romans 9.

In this chapter of Romans God revealed His plan of salvation for mankind, and His plan entails that He has reserved for Himself vessels of mercy, and the rest of mankind He calls vessels of wrath. This is God’s plan. He is the infinitely wise God. This is the best plan He could have designed, for if there would have been a better plan, then God would not be infinitely wise. Romans 9:23-26,

Romans 9:23
And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Romans 9:24
Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Romans 9:25
As he saith also in Osee (Hosea), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

Romans 9:26
And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

When God reveals to us that we are saved by grace, through the faith that He puts within us, and that He has made us children of the living God, then this prophecy from Hosea and from Romans 9 has found its fulfillment. Then the nation that was not called by My name from Isaiah 65:1 has been identified.

The House Which Is Called by My Name (Jeremiah 7:10-11,14,30, Jeremiah 32:34, Jeremiah 34:15, 1 Kings 8:43)

We now understand who the people are that are called by the name of God. They always refer to the remnant chosen by grace out of all the nations of the world.

But what is “the house that is called by My name”?

God is definitely referring to a building made by man; the temple in Jerusalem. We read in Jeremiah 7:10-11,

Jeremiah 7:10
And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?

Jeremiah 7:11
Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

In verse 11 God emphasizes that this building was a house that was called by His name. And in verse 14 God compares this building with Shiloh. Shiloh was the name of a city which was abandoned after the Ark of the Covenant fell into the hands of the Philistines, which occurred through the sin of the priests of those days who used the Ark of the Covenant as a “good-luck-charm”. We read in Jeremiah 7:14,

Jeremiah 7:14
Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

At this time in history the nation of Judah had completely lost their proper mode of worship, and God was not pleased with their worship in the temple. We read in Jeremiah 7:30,

Jeremiah 7:30
For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

When we think of the name of the house which is called by the name of God, we must harmonize it with those that are truly worshipping there. And certainly there will always be a remnant chosen by grace from Israel who will worship there. And since God’s name is Israel, it stands to reason that this building, the temple in Jerusalem, should be called “the glory of Israel”.

And this does not refer to the apostate part of Israel, but to the Israel of God, those who are truly saved. This conclusion is also borne out by the prayer of Solomon. In 1st Kings chapter 8 we read about the dedication of the new Temple in Jerusalem, and Solomon delivered the prayer of dedication.

1 Kings 8:43
Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

This house serves to be to the glory of God, and thus the name God refers to must be related to “The glory of Israel”. We arrive to the same conclusions when we see another edifice which man has made.

The City Which Is Called by My Name (Jeremiah 25:29, Daniel 9:18-19)

Let us return to the Prophecy of Jeremiah and take a look at chapter 25. In this chapter God pictures the end of the world. God says in verse 26, “And all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth”. Clearly the end of the world is in view. We read in Jeremiah 25:29,

Jeremiah 25:29
For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.

What is the reason why God calls for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth?

It is not because the calendar says that it is the time for judgment, but because the church has turned to other gods than the God of the Bible. If the nations of the world have turned to other gods, that is expected. If the heathen still worship their idols, that is nothing new; they have been doing that for many thousands of years. But if the people that are called by God’s name are turning to other gods, and are holding on to works gospels that cannot save, and are defiling the temple of God which had as its purpose the glory of Israel, then the end of the world is near. The first time this occurred God gave the nation a second chance. In Daniel 9:18-19 we read a part of Daniel’s prayer, where Daniel realized that the destruction of Jerusalem was brought about by the apostacy of the nation of Judah. We read in Daniel 9:18-19,

Daniel 9:18
O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

Daniel 9:19
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Both the city and the people are “Called by Thy Name”. And thus we conclude that the city which is called by thy name has as its name: “The Glory of Israel”.

But Who Are Thy People Israel? (Deuteronomy 21:8, 2 Samuel 7:24)

It is commonly understood in most churches that whenever the Old Testament speaks of Israel, it must refer to the entire nation of Israel, all the descendants of Jacob. But from what we have learned so far in this study of who the people are who are “Called by Thy Name”, it seems that we need to make a correction there. Let us learn from the compassion of Moses for his people, the descendants of Jacob. But let us also learn that these words were crafted by God, and thus they are full of meaning. We read in Deuteronomy 21:8,

Deuteronomy 21:8
Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.

Here is the answer to our question: “Thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed”, can only refer to those within the nation of Israel who belong to the elect of God, the remnant chosen by grace. At the time the nation of Israel went out of Egypt this was a very small number, for we read in Hebrews 3 that most of them died in unbelief.

Again, God tells us here in 2 Samuel 7:24 that we must not refer to the entire nation when we see the name Israel in the Old Testament, for that will not fit the description God gave of those who are called Israel. We have here a prayer of David concerning Israel. We read in 2 Samuel 7:24,

2 Samuel 7:24
For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.

The specification “for ever” can only refer to the elect of God. And so, when we read the Old Testament we should be aware that in many places the name Israel can only refer to a small fraction of Israel, the small group of saints who belong to the elect of God.

How Shall We Know if We Are Called by His Name?

1 John 5:1
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

1 John 5:2
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

1 John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

AMEN.

By Alfred J. Chompff