"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).

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Together by Different Routes

The sameness in some instances of outward positions oc­cupied by legalists and those constrained by grace is remarkable. That is especially so when the vitally-different routes by which they arrived there are considered.
The former group, in personal dissociation from God, come to their attitude by the Sinaitic principle of "Thou shalt," or "Thou shalt not," as applied by them to a given situation. On the other hand, the ones living by grace through faith adopt their stance out of spiritual awareness of the demands of the situation. In that way, they act intelligently as those indwelt by the Godhead, i.e., in knowing response to the necessities of their earthly pilgrimage.
Take, for example, the Babylonish emphasis on special-day observance in the church. Those operating from Sinai cite the practice's condemnation in Galatians, and the utter lack of its authorization in the new-covenant writings. The children of the heavenly Jerusalem take much the same attitude toward Babylon's endless parade of special days, as regards rejection of them. They do so, however, primarily because they realize that the faith life is not adaptable to seasonal stress, being a constant experience, and requiring unceasing devotion. Living in the heavenlies with Christ simply does not brook seasonable stress. Such, in fact, militates against it.
Or, consider the matter of abstention from such worldly things as the usually-abominable theater, very much of televi­sion's presentations, secular literature, and the like. Sinaitic lawmakers lay down regulations in these areas, and attempt to coerce people to keep them. Not so with the folk who have risen with Christ and are companying with Him in the Spirit. They scrupulously refrain from those things, because they militate against their union with Christ, who is their life. That is what Paul calls "discerning what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:11-17). It is the modus operandi expected of new-covenant subjects.
We suppose it is better to make a legalistic effort at doing God's will than not to make any effort at all to that end. The frustrating factor about trying to serve Him in personal separa­tion is the intolerable flaw in that method. Actually, people can effectually and acceptably do God's will only in union with Him through Christ. That is why Sinaitic legalism cannot please God, or bring the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit to those exercised by it.
The Divine kingdom is so constituted that the Father, Son, and Spirit are at its center, as well as its foundation. Without them, people cannot dwell therein as citizens, or do the kingdom's work. It is impossible to bypass personal union with the Godhead and still do the will of God. --Fred O. Blakely
 

 

The Witness of Israel's Gathering

By Fred O. Blakely
"And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel" (Ezek. 20:42).
A Testimony to Scripture's Integrity. To those who know and believe the holy Scriptures, and have not been blinded by the pseudo-wisdom of the world, the present gathering of the Jews in the Lord's land (Hos. 9:3) is a thrilling and exciting spectacle. It is the greatest single piece of collateral testimony to the integrity of the ancient prophecies that the world has witnessed for centuries. Indeed, since the establishment of the State of Israel in Palestine in the year 1948 -- which event was predicted by Bible scholars more than a hundred years previously -- we of today have witnessed the beginning phases of the literal fulfillment of numerous foretellings by the Hebrew Prophets.
As the twentieth century draws to its close (this article was written in the 1970's), we may well expect in the decades immediately ahead to see sharp acceleration of this assembly of Israel in the holy land, and such other epochal events related to it as we probably at present are incapable of conceiving. The increasing clamor of the vociferous clerics, more schooled in the learning of earth than that of heaven, who wholly dissociate the contemporary Jew from the purpose and working of God, should not be allowed to dissuade those who are given to discern the stupendous signs of the times.
"As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes," declared Paul to Gentile believers: "but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes" (Rom. 11:28). Let us who are of the day remain spiritually alert and perceptive of God's manipulation of the Jews in our very midst, therefore, that we may magnify His Name and be in a state of constant readiness to fall quickly into step with the unfolding of His eternal counsel in Christ.
The Witness of the Prophets. That Israel is to be reassembled in their land is a subject, not of one, but of many pronouncements by Jehovah through His holy Prophets. What is more, it is made equally plain and emphatic that they are to turn from their unbelief and embrace the Lord Jesus, their Messiah. The gathering, it seems, is in order to that blessed end, which the power of God is committed to achieve. Among the many Scripture passages which proclaim the gathering of Israel, the beginning stages of which we are now beholding, we give you the following twenty-two specimens: Isa. 2:2-5; 19:24-25; 25:6 - 26:2; 30:18-19; 59:20 - 60:22; 65:17-25; Jer. 31:10-12; 46:27-28; Ezek. 20:33-44; 34:11-31; 36:8-15; 37:20-28; 39:25-29; Joel 3:1-2, 17, 20-21; Amos 9:9-15; Obad. 17, 21; Mic. 2:12-13; 4:3-7; 7:18-20; Zeph. 3:19-20; Zech. 8:1-8; 10:6-12.
"Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles," remarks the Apostle with reference to Israel's blinding and the subsequent dispatch of the word of salvation to the heathen; "how much more their fulness?" And "if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world," he goes on to elaborate, "what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11:12-16).
"The restoration of the Jews to a state of favour with God to which Paul refers, and which is too plainly intimated by the spirit of prophecy to admit of a doubt, will be a most striking event. Their being preserved as a distinct people is certainly a strong contemporary proof that they shall once more be brought into the church of God. And their conversion to Christ will be an incontestable proof of the truth of divine revelation. Doubtless it will become the means of converting multitudes, who will see the prophecies of God, which had been delivered so long before, so strikingly fulfilled in this great event. We need not wonder, if a whole nation should then be born in a day."
The Close of the Gentile Era. As we stand on the verge of this grafting of Israel back into its own olive tree, it ought to remind us of a gravely sobering circumstance. It is evidenced by this imminent event, that we are in the fast-closing days of the Gentile era. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles," declared the Lord Himself," "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Lk. 21:24). "Blindness in part is happened to Israel," asserted the Apostle, "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25).
The Day is Far Spent. As concerns this dispensation of God's grace, it is indeed "toward evening, and the day is far spent" (Lk. 24:29). "The shadows of the evening are stretching out apace upon us, and the signs of the eventide are very manifest, and will shortly appear yet more." Let us, therefore, improve the great favor bestowed upon us by God, being good stewards of His manifold grace. At the same time, let us give glory to Him as we are given to behold the lighting down of His glorious arm upon the Jews, in execution of that which He aforetime said that He would do.
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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).

 

 

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