| Lecture 1
Heavenly Father, By Thy mercy and by Thy grace we have been created by Thee O God. And so, all men, being created in the image of the Holy One, know that they are fully accountable to the moral Law of God yet because of the fall of Adam, our federal head, mankind has been plunged into ruin. Mankind has been plunged into the depth of total depravity where there is nothing but vain imaginations and vile thoughts. Father, for the human race in and of their own power and in and of their own selves, there is no hope but the fearful expectation of Eternal wrath and doom. But because Thou art Righteous, O Lord, because Thou art Holy, and because Thou art infinite in loving kindness, Thou hast set apart a people for Thyself and Thou redeemest a people for Thyself. Thou hast done this not merely by divine decree, but by perfect sacrificial blood payment as Thou would pay for the sin of Thine own people in the One Who is Christ Jesus. And Father, it is unto Jesus Christ, to Whom we look. Not that we might have any works of righteousness that we may boast of, but that we might boast of the faith thats been given to us in Christ and so that we might boast of the righteousness that is found only in the One who is the end of the Law for righteousness, even Jesus Christ.
Holy Father, if we have any hope of Heaven, our hope is based and founded upon the One Who is the Firm Foundation, even that Rock and High Tower, Christ. Our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for Thy grace and for Thy Word of Life. For we know that this Word of Truth is perfect and inerrant and finally authoritative, given to us by the inspired Word Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord, which is given to us through the Spirits leading of men. Therefore, we can trust implicitly in this Word and can hope in its promise. Furthermore, it is by this Word that our hearts are comforted, our faith is encouraged, and we are enlarged in our spirits because we know that this Word is True, and Perfect in every way. Therefore, Heavenly Father, to approach the Holy Word of God, we must have divine assistance. We cannot understand Gods Word unless Thou would interpret it unto us by the Spirits use of comparing the Scriptures, for they speak of themselves comparing oneScripture with another. May it be, our Father, because we are so prone to faithlessness and prone to wander, let it be that Thou would lay Thine hand upon us, that we would be faithful and that we would be steadfast walking in the pathways, which are Right. Our Father, let us not look upon the study of the Scriptures as something of a whim or something very light, but that when we look upon the Scriptures we may understand and fully grasp that fact that these are the issues of life. Thy Word is lively and powerful, not merely academic. We ask therefore, Thy blessings this evening not in the merit that we have in and of ourselves because there is none. But we ask in the merit and in the Name of the One Who is Christ Jesus. The One Who is Altogether Lovely, the Excellency of all Excellence, even Christ the Lord, our Prophet, our Priest and our King. Amen.
Together, weve been looking at the book of Job and have found it not unlike all of the other Scriptures, and certainly true to the whole manner and tenor of the whole Word of God. The Book of Job is the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Now why do I say this? Because the entire Bible, from the book of Genesis to the Book of the Revelation is the Divine Testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Bible, which testifies of the Glory and the Grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Job is perhaps one of the oldest books of the Bible and is quite a lengthy book, some 42 chapters. For the most part it may initially seem a confusing work, for it deals with a righteous, God fearing man, brought into direct affliction by the Sovereign intervention of God Himself. To the natural understanding it may seem somewhat unfair for a servant of God, in his pious fidelity and obedience, to be brought to such dramatic sufferings. One might expect that a wicked man would be given great afflictions by God and yet we find that Job, a righteous man, perfect, upright, and one that feared God, and turned away (i.e. eschewed) from evil, is the brunt of this affliction and sorrow. Furthermore, we see that this testimony of the righteous character of Job is Gods testimony and not mere mans. Weve learned also, that Job is not unlike any one of us. Therefore, he is (was) also a sinner. He was tempted and had similar passions like any of Gods people. Yet there is something we must take notice of. God speaks of Him as perfect.
What can we deduce from this?
Firstly: Job, as a child of God, is seen by God as perfect. Yet we understand that this assessment and this perfection is not because of what Job is, in and of himself, but rather of Who he is IN, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a forgiven sinner. He is a justified sinner, now a saint. HE now is redeemed, sanctified, and accepted in Christ Jesus the Lord. Therefore, Job is viewed by the Almighty as perfect and upright in a legal judicial standing. Job stands before God upon the merit and mediation of Christ the Savior without spot and without blemish.
Secondly: Yet here we must see also a pragmatic usage of the Scriptural description of Job the saint. Being a regenerate soul he practiced an outward form of piety and obedience from the inward principle of the Grace of God. His was a real religion and a manifestation of the Spiritual Reality in his temporal existence. His was a transformation by the Spirit and IN the Spirit, whereby he observed in his practical life the things of piety and Godliness. Job, being a man who loved the Lord, practiced that which he believed. It was not that he desired to become right with God by the keeping of the Law and the showing forth of pious deeds, but rather from the Resurrection Power of Christ, Job was constrained to be good and to do good. His was not some fanciful Phariseeism nor legalism. His was a true love filled with desire to follow the Lamb withersoever HE goeth. Job desired to walk in obedience to the Scriptures out of Love toward God.
Thirdly: Theres something else that we cannot help but grasp if we know anything about the Scriptures. Being that all of the Bible speaks of, and testifies of the Lord Jesus Christ, we find that Job is a picture or an illustration, or a type of Jesus Christ.
Job: A type of Jesus Christ.
Doctrine: Job is a great and glorious illustration of Jesus Christ.
Now is this something that is alien to the Bible? No. God illustrates, through historical accounts, the glory and the work and the majesty of Jesus Christ through other people. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Daniel and even the Apostle Paul are types of Christ. The fact is that the writers of the Scriptures who are the holy men of old all, in some way or another, typify the Lord Jesus. Now, this should not be viewed as something very odd.
Presently we have studied the first seven verses of Job and now we come to verse 8. Here we see something quite fascinating. The Scriptures declare that the Lord, Jehovah, said unto satan;
What is so fascinating about this verse, just on the outset, is that satan, the adversary, is not provoking God but rather God is provoking the adversary to attack, to bring discomfort, and affliction to Job. In our lectures we have understood that this is precisely the way God grooms His saints as they are upon the Pilgrims sojourn. Principally, God uses all trials for the perfecting of the saints. Therefore, we ought to view all trials as something by which we may profit. However, what weve been dealing with for the past couple of weeks is this phrase "My servant". Weve learned that when God calls someone His servant, God is speaking very carefully about the way that servant is attending to the affairs of God. One way to understand this in a general fashion is that everyone in the world is a servant of God.
Now some would say, "Well, Im not so sure I agree with that. What about the wicked people? They hate God. They dont want anything to do with God, therefore, how is it that they can serve God?"
When I refer to all people as Gods servants, I do not intend to infer that all people are regenerate and serve God because they love God. For the most part, the wicked dont even know they are servants to the Almighty, yet He reigns over all. "The Earth is the LORDs and the fulness thereof." The world is His and ALL THAT THERE IN IS. Cf Psalm 24 All souls are the Lords, and HE turneth the heart of the king withersoever He willeth. None can resist the Lord. We see this very clearly in the account of Balaam. We find this account in Numbers 22 and an address in the New Covenant also about him. Balaam did not love the Lord. According to the second letter of Peter, he was covetous and unregenerate. He was a wicked man and yet he served Gods purposes. He desired to curse Israel and yet he blessed Israel because God moved him according to His will because God is the Sovereign Lord. Therefore, generally speaking, everyone serves God whether they want to or not. cf Prov 16:1,9 even the wrath of men praise the Lord. But when God uses the words "My servant" Hes using the phrase "My servant" very, very carefully and very particularly to illustrate Christ the Servant of God.
cf Isa 42:1 Isa 53:11
Now, what does it mean to be a servant of God? We have considered the role of the saints as servants of God in past lectures. Carefully, we have observed exactly what the children of God are to consider as touching their duty, being sons, yet still servants of the Gracious King. For the children of God, the consideration of the role of servitude is an important one. Some of the words that are used in the Bible to designate who a servant of God is, what his office is and his standing, pinpoints various aspects of being a servant of God. The words which are used in direct relation to being a servant of God are; sealed, elect, anointed, ordained, and witness. Therefore, if you are a servant of God, you are a witness of Christ. Also, we find words used such as: ministers, believers, just, justified, devout. He also calls His servants shepherds and He also speaks about His servants as those who are appointed unto affliction.
cf 1 Thess 3:3 You see, if you are a true child of God, you are appointed unto affliction and we find that Job is a very interesting example of exactly that in the historical account. We also learned that the children of God, i.e. the servants of God, have a particular duty. They share a particular characteristic. We found that they were desirous to be pious, and their posture was one of honesty, and sincerity and although in and of their own selves they found indwelling sin still at work, they still desired (in the inward man) to do what is right, and that is where the battle is waged; i.e. between the flesh and the spirit. We also found that the servants of God had great blessings even amidst their affliction and suffering. They are sealed, given understanding, and wisdom and know about the things of the Gospel. This is very important. The apostles prayer in Ephesians 1 speaks of the illumination of the saints and that to be regenerate means that the mystery which was kept secret since the world began is now revealed to them. To know the mystery is to understand the Gospel of Grace in the face of Jesus Christ. Take note of this phrase for it will be pivotal to our study.
Question: What is the mystery of the Gospel?
In 1Timothy 3:16, God defines the Mystery of Godliness.
Notice that it speaks entirely of Christ and His Work. But what is His work? According to the Scriptures it is not only His death and resurrection but it also deals with the whole of His life under the wrath of God and the humiliation of sin. The mystery of the gospel is the whole life of Christ, including His precious atonement for our sins, BUT NOT EXCLUDING HIS LIFE OF HUMILIATION AS HE TOOK UPON HIMSELF FLESH AND BECAME A CURSE FOR THE ELECT.
Consider the greatness of such a wonder. Christ, who is God incarnate, takes upon Himself flesh, bowing down from infinite glory. In humiliation, being made like unto us (yet not like us because He is Holy God), perfectly fulfills the Holy Law of God, suffers under our sins, and in His atonement suffers the wrath of God because of our sins. Although spotless and blameless, He becomes sin and a curse. The Son of Man, now a worm and no man, takes upon Himself our sins in His own Body and brings it to the cross. cf 1 Peter 2:24. He becomes not only a man of sorrows but he becomes a man of sin and the chiefest of sinners because He bears the weight and magnitude of all the elects sins. This is all part of the Gospel. In fact, it is a very integral part of the Gospel. However, when we look at the Bible, we have to realize that the Bible speaks to us about spiritual things. Jesus said that the words which He spoke were both spirit and life. Cf John 6:63 Therefore, everything in the Bible deals with a spiritual reality. Some of the spiritual realities are very clear and plain and simply laid out before us. The questions we must always ask are, "Where is the Gospel in this passage? Where is Christ? Where is the Humiliation? Where is the Atonement? Where is the Victory?" All these are integral to understanding the deeper things of God. And all this is to give us a greater appreciation for the Person, Work and Love of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Heathen Kings: Servants of God and Types of Christ
Last week we looked at a heathen king, whose name is Cyrus. We find this account of Cyrus in Isaiah 44 and 45 of the Old Testament. Here we see that he wasnt a Jew by nature and yet hes called the anointed of the Lord. Yet when we read the language carefully we are intrigued with the reference to him as the shepherd of God. cf Isaiah 44:28
Firstly, we must pause and consider WHY would God call this Cyrus the shepherd of God?
Secondly, we must ask who is The Shepherd of God? Of course, we know that the title Shepherd is given and reserved only for Christ who is the Good Shepherd. Therefore, the Shepherd of God is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
The question is then raised;
Why would God call Cyrus, who is not a Jew, but rather a heathen king, a shepherd and His anointed? [By the way the word here for anointed is the Hebrew word "Messiah" or "Christ" Gr.]
The ONLY Biblical explanation is that God is using Cyrus to show us some of the aspects of the Gospel program and the person of the Lord Jesus.
The simple fact that it was under the rule of Cyrus that the Jews rebuilt the temple should be ample information to clue us in on the spiritual type used here by God. Now, one of the fundamental passages that tie this all together [actually two fundamental passages which really tie this altogether are John 5:39 and Luke 24:25.] These are principles of Scripture and are fundamental to understanding these types. Jesus says in John 5:39;
Question: What are the Scriptures?
Answer: They are the testimony of Christ.
On each and every single page, the Scriptures testify of Jesus Christ, because He is the glory of God.
In Luke 24 Jesus is speaking and in verse 25 He says;
And in verse 27, the Scripture continues;
Jesus in all the Scriptures is saying;
"Look here, this is talking about Me, and this is talking about me, this, and this, and this and this. This is a type of Me, and this is a typification of Me, and this and this and that and the other. The Whole of the Book is OF ME!" [My paraphrase]
Consider Luke 24:44;
But very importantly, in verse 45 we read;
You see, you can read the Scriptures from now until the day of your death or until the day the Lord comes but if Christ does not open your eyes, if Christ does not open your eyes by divine intervention, you will not understand the Scriptures. You might have natural knowledge of them, but you will not see Christ.
There is a big difference between knowing with your head the dead letter of the Law and understanding with your spirit the Living Word of God.
He who has ears (spiritual ears) let him hear what the Spirit says.
The difference is as far as Heaven is from Hell because, "Many in that day, Jesus says, will say Lord, Lord, did we not do many mighty things in thy name, and he shall say, I never knew you". "Search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have life..."
Doctrine: The testimony of Gods Word is about Jesus Christ.
Consider Revelation l9:l0;
Here the Scriptures define plainly that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Christ. The Scriptures are the Prophesy of God; therefore they are the testimony of the Savior. Everything in the Bible speaks about Jesus Christ, His person and His work. What did the Apostle Paul say in the Epistle to the Corinthians?
"For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified". Cf 2Cor 2:2
That was what he developed his whole ministry upon. The Person and the Work of Christ. Thats all that matters. That is what life is about. His Person, His Example, His Doctrine, Law and Teachings. All of His Works. So, as we look to the Scriptures, we should not be surprised when we read about, for instance, Cyrus, that he is called the shepherd of God, thus referring to the Lord through this type of Christ.
God here is absolutely talking about Christ. Although historically we know Cyrus to be a heathen king, yet he is also a figure of Christ. All that Cyrus undertakes, we see throughout the Scriptures, as the Spiritual undertaking of the Victorious Christ. This passage is a declaration of the calling and commission of the Lord Jesus unto a complete victory in behalf of His elect, as He builds them up as the Temple of God.
Question: But how do we reconcile the fact that Cyrus is a heathen?
The word heathen simply means national or gentile.
Therefore, He was a gentile king or a king of the Nations.
Firstly, let us see God referred to as a King of nations
(lit.Gentiles or heathen) in Jeremiah 10:7 to understand further.
This refers to God as the King of the heathen and the Nations.
Secondly, Christ is typified as the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.
A Samaritan was not exactly a full-blooded Jew. The Samaritan was a cross between an Assyrian (a heathen) and a Jew. When the Assyrians intermarried with the Jews during the captivity they defiled the pure lineage of the Hebrews. It is as if the Jews who were still of a pure blood lineage said;
"We dont want anything to do with these Samaritans. These people from Samaria, theyre heathens they are a mixed breed with the Assyrians".
And yet Christ likens Himself to the Good Samaritan. Whereas the Priest and the Levite, who were of the lineage of pure Hebrew blood line, walked past the man who was in need, showing themselves to be more heathenistic than the Samaritan. So, again, it is not unlike God to typify Himself as a heathen.
If we use the passage from Titus 3:2 where Paul cautions us to "speak evil of no man" in a purely spiritual and typical fashion we may conclude that God is teaching us that even gentile heathen men in the Scriptures can portray some aspects of Christ and the Gospel.
There is a principle we must illustrate here which is of utmost importance. Although Cyrus was a heathen king in an earthly and historical fashion, God still utilizes him spiritually to show truth. For instance, Abraham was a heathen from Ur of the Chadees, yet he is the father of many nations (literally: heathens/gentiles) and he typifies Christ in a most dramatic fashion. Josephs Pharaoh is also a great type of God, whereas Joseph typifies Christ in this Genesis illustration of the Gospel. Ruth was a Moabitess woman (i.e a heathen woman). Yet she typifies the Church. King Artaxerxes, also a heathen king, typifies God. Darius another heathen king, is a type of God and Daniel in the lions den, a type of Christ. The lion is a spiritual figure of the Law of God whereas the lions den is a figure of hell and Gods wrath, or the condemning fierceness of Gods Law. Remember IN CHRIST the lion lies down with the lamb and there is full reconciliation between the Elect and God. This is also why Christ is called both the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb of God.
Therefore we might conclude that the Spiritual Types and illustrations are autonomous from any historical and earthly relation, even when the earthly accounts or persons seem to be evil or unsaved.
In other words, the types and figure stand by themselves without reference to history. Again let me reiterate. Simply because a king is heathen or a man is less than pious, does not rule out the reality that God typifies some aspect of Himself or the Lord Jesus or the Gospel by use of that character. If we can see this we will be able to see so much more of the Person and the Work of the Lord and the Gospel than ever before.
Consider now King Nebuchadnezzar.
We know that Nebuchadnezzar was also a historical heathen king not unlike Pharaoh, Darius and Cyrus. He was not a Jewish man; he was a Babylonian man. He was what God would lead us to understand as an enemy of the Jews. This is important. Nebuchadnezzar was an enemy of Gods Israel. In fact, it was Nebuchadnezzar who came to destroy Israel and to bring them into hard bondage in captivity because of their apostasy. What is curious, however, is that when Nebuchadnezzar comes against Israel, Jeremiah counsels the Jews to come under his yoke. His counsel from God was in essence "Dont fight against Nebuchadnezzar but rather bear this oppression"
This perhaps seems contrary of so many passages of Scripture concerning wicked tyrants who wage war against Gods people. The Whole of the Book of Judges speaks of battle upon battle against the oppression of wicked heathen kings that desire to bring Israel under dominion. Therefore, at best, this request for Israel to bow under the yoke of the heathen king and his Godless law is quite strange. It just doesnt harmonize with the historical examples and precepts of Scripture. Gods counsel however in this case is "if you dont come under the yoke to Nebuchadnezzar, youll be destroyed." Yet Israel rebelled against God again and fought against Nebuchadnezzar and they were destroyed. They were taken into captivity.
Firstly: Let us establish what God is teaching historically.
It was not that God desired that any of Gods people bow to wicked tyrants and wicked kings and wicked governments. This flies in the face of myriads of Spiritual and Scriptural truths. We always are to obey God rather than man because GOD IS OUR KING and His Laws are and must be Our Laws even if (and especially when) wicked tyrants oppress Gods people.
"A power contrary to justice, to peace and the good of the people, that looketh to no law as a rule, and so is unreasonable, and forbidden by the Law of God and civil law... cannot be lawful power, and cannot constitute a lawful judge; but an absolute and unlimited power is such. How can the judge be the minister of God for the good to the people (Rom 8:4) if he have such a power as a king, given him of God, to destroy and waste the people?"
"That power which is contrary to Law, and is evil and tyrannical, can tie none to subjection, but is a mere tyrannical power and unlawful...wickedness by no imaginable reason can oblige any man."
"But in that obedience which we hold to be due to the commands of rulers, we must always make the exception, nay, must be particularly careful that it is not incompatible with obedience to Him to Whose Will the wishes of all kings should be subject, to Whose decrees their commands must yield, to Whose Majesty their scepters must bow. And, indeed, how preposterous were it, in pleasing men, to incur to offense of Him for Whose sake you obey men!" (Bold print mine)
Gods message was that the Jews ought to accept their chastisement from Babylon and from Nebuchadnezzar because of their idolatry and failure to obey God. This chastisement was from God. His desire was that they repent and call upon the Name of the Lord in contrition and sorrow. This Principle is found in Judges 3 where God constantly brings heathen governments against His elect to chasten them and bring them grief so they might be more diligent in the things of God. We find that whenever Gods people forget Gods Law and are slack to keep His precepts of obedience and proclamation of the Truth, God chastises. Unfortunately today, many so-called Christians believe that whatever government is in power has the favor of God by simple providence. They misunderstand and misuse Romans 13:1-4 to defend their sloth and ignorance without taking all of Holy Scripture into account. In a word they have put evil for good and good for evil. Not only that, but they are compromising the Word of God by bowing to the world and its wisdom. This is Idolatry. Nothing more, nor less. The fact is that whenever the leaders of any people disobey Gods Universal Law of kings and rulers found in Exodus 18, Deuteronomy 17 and 2 Samuel 23 they lose the favor of God and are rejected of Him. This principle of rejection from office is found in Hosea 4:12 where the priests of God hold office but are no longer in favor with Him because they have perverted the truth of Gods Law. One case study is stated graphically in 1 Samuel 15 when God rejects Saul through Samuel the Prophet. Although Saul was rejected by God and no longer in favor with God, he remained upon the throne for approximately 10 years or more. When God brought Babylon to chastise Israel, Jeremiahs counsel was to bow NOT TO THE WICKEDNESS AND TYRANNY of Babylonian laws, but rather to the Chastisement of God through the captivity of Babylon. This is fundamentally important to understand. If the coming under the yoke of Babylon meant that the Israelites must submit to the heathen laws which contradicted Gods Law, then Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would have been in error and in rebellion against God for disobeying the wicked law of the Babylonian king. David also would have been in error for disobeying Saul the king and setting up his own form of government in the caves of the wilderness. The fact is that all saints must obey God rather than any man or any man made law, which is in contradiction and rebellion to Holy God.
When we look at Nebuchadnezzar on the outset, we say "Oh, he was a wicked man. He was a heathen king, and being he was a heathen king, he probably did a lot of bad things". But can he typify Jesus Christ?
Well, I believe that he does in some instances and in others he is a type of God as He comes with His Holy Law against a rebellious Israel.
But we must proceed very carefully and methodically in the unfolding of this proposition because it is not as simple as it seems.
Nebuchadnezzar typifies various aspects of God and the Gospel, as we shall see.
When we look to the Scriptures as our only authority we must address all the questions that come about.
Firstly, Why is Nebuchanezzar called a king of kings in Daniel Chapter 2:37?
Secondly, Why is he referred to as the shepherd of the Lord which is seated upon a throne and arrayed in a glorious pavilion in which he covers the stones which are hidden by him in Jeremiah 43? This language only can be properly used for the True King of Kings the Lord Jesus Christ.
We must dispel the traditional myths and contrived interpretations of these passages simply because they fit into our theology.
We must also refuse a "group think" mentality which holds to a doctrine simply because it is held by a large group.
It must be our desire to let the Scriptures teach us so that we might know truth and see the Glory of Christ.
I know some of you are shaking your heads saying, "I dont understand. How could this be? Does God do this? Does He use the heathen to typify Himself, the Law and The Lord Jesus in the Scriptures?" Isnt this referring to a counterfeit shepherd? Satan or the Devil?
The fundamental issue here is "Does the Bible define the Bible?" What we need to do is lay down solid precepts and fundamental scriptural ground work in order to come to truth, because I believe if we see Nebuchadnezzar in the proper light, we will be able to better understand whats happening today in the Church. Then we might understand whats going on in the world today and how God is dealing with us in this time that we live or how He is dealing at any time for that matter. This understanding of the Babylonian Captivity is more than an achedemic or theological exercise. It deals with our lives NOW.
Let us lay down a series of fundamental principles.
Im going to need a few lectures to lay down and solidify various precepts. Then we are going to get into the book of Daniel because here Nebuchadnezzar, for the first four chapters of Daniel is featured, and I submit to you that no where is anything in the Bible featured unless it focuses upon Jesus Christ or some aspect of His work. I vehemently oppose any superficial, un-thought out, traditional idea that Nebuchanezzar is a picture of some fallen satanic being simply because this is what so many have been taught for so long. We must look to the Truth as the Bible declares it to be so.
Therefore, what we need to do is lay down some fundamental principles.
Firstly, we know that Babylon was ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar. He was the King of Babylon. But again you see, the Bible must interpret itself. If I tell you Babylon is a type, or a figure of this thing, or that thing or the other thing, I better be able to prove it. So, if I tell you that Babylon is a type of the whole world, I have to validate it with the Scriptures. If I say that Babylon is a type of the Church externally or eternally, I must submit Biblical proof for your critique and consideration. Whatever our propositions, we must have Biblical validation and we must never be afraid to ask some hard questions even if they threaten our traditional sacred cows.
In one instance, Babylon can be a figure of the whole world. Even so, I find more evidence to the truth that Babylon is a figure of the Church more than a figure of the world. Of course, we can draw conclusions from Revelation 17 and 18 to substantiate both suppositions, yet I believe that the overwhelming evidence points to the fact that Babylon figures the Church. It seems that God uses Babylon for the most part to prefigure the apostate corporate Church, i.e. the external Church, or the visible Church because Hes got a lot of nasty things to say about Babylon in both the Old and New Covenants. We know that in the corporate (or visible) Church there exists believers and unbelievers. And when God comes against anyone who is unregenerate and outside the will of God, He uses a specific instrument of Judgment. That instrument is the Elect, as they come with the Law of God or the Sword of the Spirit. It is the Elect of God who bring the Word either as a Sword unto death or a Sword unto life. Ultimately, the Sword or Word must kill. In fact that is all the Law does. It is a minister of Death. Either death unto life in conviction and the killing of the flesh, or unto death unto death in the Laws Condemnation. The Bible talks of the believers being as arrows in the hand of a mighty hunter. That mighty hunter again is a figure of Christ. So lets see if we can solidify this first proposition and move on to develop it further.
HELPS FROM THE BOOK OF JONAH
Turn with me please to Jonah Chapter 3. Im going to refresh your memory here and lay down additional fundamental foundational rules and you check it out to see if these things are so.
Remember when we studied the Book of Jonah? We carefully researched Nineveh, and found it to be a great city. We then looked at the literal Hebrew text and saw, to our surprise, that it was translated as that great city of God. Therefore, we were able to identify it as a great type of the Church. In fact it is not representative of the Visible Church, however, but all the Elect of God. In other words, the City of Nineveh, (a heathen city) especially and absolutely typifies the True Eternal Church. The literal Hebrew text shows what the King James Version does not, in the fact that Nineveh was a great city of God. The King James simply states that Nineveh was a great city. To see this clearly you must go to the Hebrew text and check the language in chapter 3. We saw also that the Ninevites were typifications of the true believers because all of Nineveh becomes saved as declared in the New Testament by the Lord Jesus.
We can know this for certain because Christ testifies of Jonahs Nineveh and says that [these] men will rise up in the Judgment in Nineveh at the last day.
If Nineveh pointed to anything but the True Eternal Church, then we would have all those in the Church saved and we know that this is not sound doctrine. There will be many in hell who attended the Visible Church regularly. Therefore, the City of Nineveh absolutely typifies these Ninevites as true believers in this instance. Also, we see God had mercy upon the Ninevites in Jonah 3 and they turned from their wicked ways. Furthermore, we saw that the King of Nineveh was a King who descended from his throne to cover himself in sackcloth and ashes and caused the people to do likewise. This is another account of an historical heathen king who dramatically typifies the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Christ the King of the Great City of God who heard the Word of God and the warning of Judgment, who came from His eternal Throne to humble Himself in sackcloth and ashes. It is Christ who decrees that the people repent, as did the king of Nineveh decree. And yet in the Book of Nahum, Ninevah is a bloody city, a wicked city. Here, Ninevah is a depiction of the Church as it becomes apostate and idolatrous. This can also speak of the saints who so very often go astray, and God, therefore, needs to chasten them and cause them to repent and return to God. Carefully compare Daniels prayer in chapter 9 and the language of Psalm 107 and you will see that God often uses very harsh language to speak of His Children when they go astray.
Therefore we must conclude that because there is harsh language associated and directed at the Church, that the Elect are not exempt from this chastening rod.
To associate all harsh language to "those out there" smacks of pride and ungodliness, much like the Pharisee in the temple thanking God that he was not like other men. We must beware of good opinions of ourselves, especially when they come from ourselves.
Look again at verse 3 of Jonah 3 for further proof.
You see that phrase great city? These are very important words. Very, very, very important. It is a great city. These are the words, A great city of God (lit).Nineveh was a great city of Elohim, i.e. of God.
Now that we know the literal Hebrew phrase let us search the Scriptures to see where else God refers to a great City of God.
Turn with me please to Jeremiah 22:1
Now to whom is Jeremiah going to? The King of Judah right? Who is the King of Judah? (Here again we find a reference to Christ in the Spiritual realm). Did he understand Gods Laws? He sure did. He absolutely knew about Gods Laws.
Notice what Jeremiahs going to say to the king.
Here, hes going to be admonished unto righteousness. Historically, the King here is Zedekiah, who would be delivered to the King of Babylon. Perhaps you can begin to see how the Lord Jesus fits in as typified by Zedekiah. It was Christ who was delivered to the Law, i.e. Gods Chastening Hand and Wrath for our sins. We will discuss this at length shortly.
Now what does this mean? When anyone preaches the Gospel and says "Listen, you must do something to get saved or once youre saved you must do something to keep your salvation", that is doing violence, oppression, and shedding innocent blood, spiritually speaking.
Notice verse 4;
Notice God says the gates, not over the wall but right through the gates of this house,
In other words, if the Gospel is preached then many will enter into the gates of salvation and into the courts of regeneration praising God because of Christ the Son.
Now if you do what is right, God says, Ill bring in the believers. But if you do what is evil, you will be made a desolation. (Now the Lord never did evil, yet He was made for us sin that He would be made a desolation, an hissing and a by word.)
To bring in kings on chariots from the house of David refers to salvation, reformation and revival. Otherwise, God assures the king of Judah that if he transgresses the precepts of God he will be destroyed.
Here God again speaks of making them desolate, a wilderness and uninhabited
These are very harsh words. These are words of war. These are words of chastisement. These are words of war from God who has this city as the city which bears his name.
See the words, great city. God is calling Judah a great city. Not only is God saying that Judah is a great city but Hes also saying Hell be an enemy to the city, because they are an enemy to Him.
(Remember, the Scriptures identify both Christ and the elect as the City of God. Therefore both are in view.) We will find that this is not the only place where God speaks in this fashion in no uncertain terms. And yet when we look at this language we say, "Wow, this is very horrible!" Yes, it is horrible. But how much more horrible is apostacy and rebellion against the great Almighty?
The question is "Why has he done this?"
Notice the answer in verse 9;
Here God is bringing some dreadful language not only against the externally wicked but also against His own apostate people, the saints of God, who often fall into rebellion and sin. It is the true people of God that God is ultimately concerned with.
Be reminded again. Its always comfortable to say,
"Oh yes, all the bad things that God says is going to happen to those people out there" (Or to the unregenerate in the congregations). But thats not so, thats not so at all. In Revelation 11:7, God speaks of the two witnesses, a picture of the True Church.
Now turn with me please to Revelation 11:7
Now where was our Lord crucified? It wasnt in Sodom and Egypt. It was outside of Jerusalem. But God is likening Jerusalem, the spiritual city, the Church Eternal, to Sodom and Egypt and again calls it a great city.
Turn with me to Revelation l7:l
If youre familiar with the Scriptures you know that God talks about a harlot many times. Two places most prominent in the Scriptures that certainly stand out are Proverbs 5 and Proverbs 7. If you study Proverbs 5, youll find that the harlot, or the whore, is one who is mimicking someone who is righteous or holy. And yet the Bible says "her way" (i.e. her false gospel ways), although she has her bed decked with the tapestries of Egypt and the man of the house is gone on a long journey, her way is the way of death". Therefore, when we read about an harlot we know that there is something very dangerous, sinful and very ominous in view. We must consider something else. We are likened in our own nature as harlots. Let us never forget this. All unbelief and disobedience are spiritual whoredoms. In Revelation 17:1-2, God is speaking of a great harlot that sitteth upon many waters with whom the kings
We see very much wickedness in this spiritual language.
notice, a woman [i.e. the Church], [this is very important language],
When we look at verse 4 of Rev 17, we ask,
"Why is God telling us what shes wearing?"
Why is that? When we study the Bible, we must face the question:
"What do these colors symbolize?"
"And what of the ornamentations spoken of?"
The answer is simple. Again it points to either all of us when we rebel or those who have upon themselves an appearance of Christianity. In other words it points to those who are in the church. Remember the parable of Lazarus and the rich man? What was the rich mans attire? It was similar to what we read here in Revelation 17. He also was decked in fine linens and purple. He faired sumptuous everyday. This is the language of those who have an outward form of Godliness, an outward show of righteousness, who say, "Oh, Im a Christian" and yet they never, never experienced, by the grace of God, the regeneration. They have a form of Godliness but they do not know the power thereof. They do not have that grace of God indwelling them as a living principle of life and therefore they are void of true contrition and brokenness [in order to show them that they themselves are this woman]. They are blind and poor yet they think they can see and are rich. The great need for them is to cry unto God and confess "Lord, Im in my own nature a grievous adulterer, a grievous harlot, a grievous hater, and a murderer" because thats what we are by nature.
But this woman sat very, very comfortable.
Now, when you read the Bible, who was the greatest affliction and oppressor of the saints? Was it the heathens? No.
Who was Jeremiah afflicted by? Israel.
Who was Ezekiel afflicted by? Israel.
Who was Isaiah afflicted by? Israel.
Who was CHRIST afflicted by? The Pharisees.
Who had him crucified? The Pharisees said "Crucify him" and they moved the people to insurrection against Christ.
Who killed Abel? Cain. His own brother. Someone from his own house.
Christ says in the last days and in any day, "your foes will be of your own household." And thats talking about the household of faith. Jacob and Esau, they were from one father. Ishmael and Isaac, one father, from their own house.
But notice, verse 7 of Revelation l7,
Then he goes through this very difficult language and continues to expound upon the beast in all of this language.
But notice verse l4, speaking about the enemies of the church.
Lets ask the question now.
Why did God here identify Christ as a Lamb?
Why didnt he say the great almighty God?
Why didnt he say Christ?
Why didnt he say Jesus?
Why did he especially and purposely say Lamb?
What does Lamb have to do with? The sacrifice.
What is the fundamental Principle and underlying thread of this whole glorious Gospel?
It is GRACE.
Grace Alone apart form the works of the Law and the deeds of men. And the thing which so infuriates man is just that. That they can never merit any favor with God whatsoever to attain heaven. The keeping of the Law cannot save.
If you were to ask, "What is man so angry at God about?"
The answer would be Free Grace.
Why? Because this places them as wretched, needy, poor, vile and rebellious insignificant creatures, without any hope whatsoever in the world. This Gospel places them upon a level of beggars and leprous folk. It places man upon the level of needing mercy from a Just and Holy God. It places them in the dust of the earth as slithering serpents in defiance to truth and righteousness.
Free grace is the great enemy of Works oriented sinful man.
Mankind wants to work for salvation.
They want to be able to say;
"Well, yes God sacrificed Christ for us. Christ came to sacrifice Himself but I had to choose for Christ. Therefore, its a little bit of me a lot of God, but still just a little bit of me. I saw the pros and the cons, weighed out the matter and reasoned in my heart and I reached out."
If this is your doctrine then you have blasphemed the Spirit of Grace and remain in the Covenant of works, and without repentance you are going to go to Hell. Its as simple as that! Because no flesh shall glory in His presence. Mankind hates Sovereign Grace. They dont want to say, "Im undone and Im going to Hell unless God intervenes in my life." Thats why God is likening God, the Lord Jesus Christ, here to the Lamb. They make war with the Lamb. They make war with the fact that they have to come to God on His terms before the Cross of salvation. They make war with the fact that they need a sacrifice. They cannot save themselves so their warfare is not only with Christ, its with Christ as the great sacrifice and the Giver of Grace. And I believe thats why God here is speaking of this warfare with the Lamb. Man wars against Free Grace. This is why the Psalmist in Psalm 2 speaks of mans warfare against the LORD, i.e the covenant God, and against His Christ, i.e His Sacrifice for sin.
Look at verse l8,
Theres that phrase again.
God is calling this woman a great city, "That great city."
Lets continue in Revelation 18:1-2
Now we see that theres an angel coming down from heaven having great power and this is absolutely a picture of Christ. Not that Hes an angelic being, but the word angel means messenger. Hes the Great Messenger and He cries mightily with a strong voice saying;
Now what happens when mankind go their own way in the church? What happens when mankind brings in the things of the world into the church? They pollute it, right? What happens when mankind no longer uses the Bible as their regulatory system of Precepts, Commandments and Laws? If theyre not regulated by the Scriptures then they have been defiled. They become a habitation of unclean spirits and are bringing forth doctrines, not of Christ, but of devils. And here the unregenerate corporate church and /or the rebellious saint are spoken of as Babylon.
Notice verse l6;
Again, notice that great city, that great city.
In Revelation 2l, God just lays the ax to the root if we have any problems with this interpretation that Babylon is a type of the Church, sometimes corporately, sometimes eternally, because God certainly is the King of Babylon, isnt He? Hes the King of the Church. Hes the Head of the Church. Oh, yea, Hes the head of the world too, but Hes the head of the Church in a most intimate fashion. And as His Church became defiled He became defiled, i.e. made a curse and laden with sin in order to redeem us from the Curse and set us free from sin. Hes the King of Kings. We are priestly kings.
Consider Revelation 21:l0,
Now the word that God uses for this great city is the word which means "mega", and certainly that word is used to depict God Himself and His work.
God uses another word identifying the Church as the Great city in Revelation l8:l0,
You see that word mighty? That word is valiant or strong. It is actually translated once as strong man, and we know that Christ is the strong man in both the Gospels and Psalm 19. But its also the same word that we find in Revelation l0 which speaks of Christ Himself as the mighty angel. Or Mighty Messenger. Therefore we find a very interesting pattern in the Scriptures identifying what Babylon is.
Question: Where exactly can we read of God coming against the Church where the elect reside?
We know that within the Church are the true believers. We have determined that although the Church contains true saints, God comes with Nebuchadnezzar as an enemy against the Church as a faithful Chastisement of a Loving Father. And even though Daniel, Job and Noah are in the corporate assembly, as we read in Ezekiel 14, God still brings chastisement upon all the Church as He did to Israel in the rebellion of Aichan. In fact, chastisement is only brought about FOR the true saints that they may profit thereby, according to Hebrews 12:7-11
The Next Question: Who does Nebuchadnezzar come with?
His soldiers right? How does God, chasten either the wicked or the saints?
Answer: By use of the Law.
Gods Law is always the administrator of death. The saints are chastened by the Spirit as He uses the Law upon them and the wicked are chastened (or perhaps if they are entirely reprobate they are condemned) by the saints as THEY use the Law of God to convict and to point to the Saviour.
Firstly: God often, as we have seen, uses the heathen, as He did in Jeremiahs day with King Nebuchadnezzar, or in Ehuds day as He did with Eglon the King of the Moabites, or even with Goliath in the days of David and Saul.
Secondly: He uses the believers. We are called threshing instruments in the Bible. We are called mighty and valiant men. We bring Gods Word. We bring the blinding truth to dispel all darkness and religion of men. But when we bring Gods word, what happens to those who hear Gods word that are still unregenerate? It is savor of death unto death. And it is judgment and condemnation. Unrepentant mankind keeps arguing against grace. Now of course, God plucks many from that apostate situation eternally to give them either regeneration or if they are already are children of God He gives them a rekindled spirit through grievous chastisement.
What I want you to see is that Babylon is a figure of the church either in the External Sense or the Eternal Sense depending upon the framework of the Scriptures.
Often the application can be used for both. Even the most horrible language can be traced somehow back to the true saints because they still dwell in a body of death and rebellion and are often rebellious and stiff-necked. Let us be reminded to be careful of casting the blame on all others, not examining our own selves.
Now, I know many have looked at these passages concerning Babylon as a picture of the world and Nebuchadnezzar as a picture of a literal angelic being Satan coming into the church and destroying the church; but then the whole idea concerning Gods admonition through Jeremiah about coming under the Yoke of the King of Babylon just doesnt hold water. Where do we ever learn that God commissions us to go back to Satan and the world!!?? Would we come under the yoke of Satan again after we have been delivered from the Power of Darkness and translated into the Light of the Kingdom of His dear Son? No, we are to flee all that offend and all that are anti Christ. We must admit, that up until now we have NOT understood this teaching of Scripture correctly. The fact is that we are to come against Satan by the promises of God and by faith, but we are never to come under his yoke or walk according to his unjust laws and power. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar in that regard can never be a type or representation of Satan as a fallen created being.
It just cant happen.
Question: But then how can we see Nebuchadnezzar as the adversary at all?? Is he or is he not the adversary? And if he is, then isnt he typifying satan?
To consider this over all, let me say that when we see satan as a created being, that has fallen from the heavens to ravage the earth and the saints, we can never identify him as the types we have established. The truth of the matter is that once we misunderstand and attribute characteristics to satan that the scriptures do not entirely substantiate we become very confused.
So then what are we looking at?
Consider another point of question in 1 Corinthians 5:4-5.
The immediate question here is why would the Apostle Paul condone and even admonish the saints to turn a sinner over to satan? What about Godly Chastisement. Certainly the turning over a sinner to satan seems contrary to the Gospel message of salvation if satan is a wicked fallen being sent to destroy and to kill. Even God protects us from satan who is the enemy of the People of Grace. The answer becomes very clear if we think it out carefully.
Consider the goal of the chastisement i.e. the destruction of the flesh.
Firstly, being turned over to satan as we have been traditionally taught of satan as a fallen angelic being, will never destroy the flesh but rather enforce and please the flesh. Why? Because the flesh lusteth against the Spirit. Therefore, in principle, turning over a sinner to a fleshly carnal tempter can never bring him to his senses. Instead of convicting a soul, satan, as a fallen being, would rather pacify and support complacency in sin, but never be used to bring a soul out of sin. The only thing that destroys the workings of the flesh is the Law of God. Then what is Paul inferring in this passage. I believe that the adversary, which is the literal translation of "satan" here refers to the Law of God which is the Holy adversary against all sinners and seeks to convict and destroy the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Notice the Text:
Question: When are the saints gathered together?
Answer: When they assemble to worship and read the Word.
What is the purpose of the reading of the Word?
That we might be exposed as sinners and look to and cleave to and close with the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Word is read we realize that no flesh should glory. We see how the flesh tries to profit; yet it cannot. The Word of Gods Law is expounded that we may be assisted in the destruction of the flesh. Notice the words, "with the power". This is the power unto conviction for the saint as well as the sinner.
When the Lord Jesus refers to the adversary in Matthew 5:25, He admonishes us to agree with the adversary while we are IN THE WAY. The adversary here is Gods Law. It is the Law of God that ACCUSES us and being Christians we must agree with the Law that we are sinners and we deserve the wrath of God in hell forever. In a very real sense, the Law of Gods Perfect holiness is the accuser of the Brethren. Yet, after regeneration we are now no longer under the condemning power of Gods Law. Therefore, in our regenerated soul it is no longer an adversary but a lamp and a light. There is a new relationship to the Law of God after conversion. Still, however, the Law does accuse our carnal tendencies and body of death that it is still sinful. In this way it is the Law of God that is the Accuser of the brethrens fleshly old Adamic nature which they are a part of throughout their whole pilgrimage. What Pauls admonition and counsel is to the Corinthian elders is translates into this: that this sinner should be turned over to the condemning power of Gods Law, i.e. the adversary to all sinners, so that his fleshly tendency and power of sinfulness be destroyed so that he might be saved in the day of Christ. Doctrinally and Biblically, there is no other way to understand this passage.
Lets look at something in Exodus 23.
Traditionally, many have seen Nebuchadnezzar as satan. As I have said, in a way this is accurate yet not the way so many would think. Here, again, because of the overwhelming evidence, satan cannot represent a fallen angelic being who is evil and wicked. To better clarify the role of Nebuchadnezzar therefore as the adversary, we must re-examine him as a picture NOT of a wicked fallen angelic being, but as Gods Perfect Law, as it is a fearful adversary to all rebels of Righteousness. In this respect Nebuchadnezzar is an enemy of the rebellious Church whether corporate or eternal.
In Ex. 23:20 we read,
In your King James, very wonderfully, Angel is capitalized. But wait a minute. Why is it capitalized? Well, it is because the translators realized that this angel was a figure of Christ or more accurately the Pre Incarnate Christ. Here the word angel is the Hebrew word "malak" which means messenger and again we see Christ as the eternal messenger. He is the perfect preacher.
God is talking about Christ as this Angel. It is as if He is saying,
"Youve got to watch yourself, youve got to beware, obey him, provoke him not for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him."
This is talking about Christ. He puts the fear of God into these people.
Notice the next statement carefully.
What God is saying here for the Hebrews is that "If you obey the Covenant, if you obey the Messenger, then I will be an enemy to your enemies."
The enemies that God is talking about spiritually are our sins and fleshly intentions which war against His Holiness. We see the converse principle to this when we look to compare this with Leviticus 26. Here we see that God will walk contrary to us if we are disobedient to His truth. Also when we compare Deuteronomy 28 and observe the language there we see God will be valiant over our enemies. Sin, which is the greatest of foes, is the one principle that is causing the curse of the Lord to abide upon us. And because of sin, the Holy Law must condemn man and send man to hell. For the believer, indwelling sin (which is in our flesh) robs him of his assurance and comfort and often brings about Gods correcting chastisement.
Notice again the language.
Isnt that interesting. HE becomes our adversary when we transgress. Literally He becomes hostile and afflicting unto much distress if we disobey. If we are His Children He will chasten us with His rod of the Law, and reprove us. But if we are not His seed He gives us up to our own depravity and the power of sin and the condemnation of the Law abides upon us.
In 1Kings 8:3l we read,
Notice verse 33;
This is speaking of the Israelites being smitten down before their enemy because they have sinned. God provides a means of reconciliation because they are the elect of God, by way of prayer and repentance. And through the confession of the people, God works in them to will and to do of His good pleasure thereby restoring Israel. Spiritually speaking the enemy here is sin.
In Isaiah 63, God likens Himself again to an enemy.
And what is God an enemy to? Only to unrighteousness. Holy God is only an enemy to unholiness and unrighteousness. Hes not an enemy to those that worketh righteousness. For the beloved children of God HE is our loving father. Yet in our flesh wherein dwelleth NO GOOD thing, there is all manner of rebellion. Not only is our flesh OUR ENEMY but it is Gods. That is why we are dead to this body of this death judicially and are admonished to crucify the body with its affections and its lusts. Thankfully God looketh upon the new heart which is now sanctified in Christ Jesus and there is forgiveness and acceptance. Yet when we sin God will correct us that we manifest not the works of the flesh but the work of the Spirit.
Consider verse l0 in Isaiah 63;
Whos He talking about? Hes talking about Israel. Hes talking about Gods people. When they turned away from God, they vexed His Holy Spirit. God says then, "I became their enemy".
Principle: Whenever theres disobedience in the camp, God becomes the Enemy and chastens the people of God with His Law.
When we carefully reflect upon what the Scriptures teach in this regard, we see that the enemy of mankind is both the Law of God and Sin itself. The Law of righteousness is an enemy and adversary because of sin and sin is an enemy because it places man under the wrath of God.
When we look to the word adversary again, we see that the word satan is actually the word adversary. It is the Hebrew word saw-tawn. This Hebrew word is a transliteration as opposed to a translation. This means the Hebrew word saw-tawn is directly taken and made into a English word-form, satan, in order to arrive at the word satan. We find Strongs concordance numbering the word satan as 07854, which is translated in the King James as satan 19, times, adversary 7 times, and withstand once. The word itself is used in both a general form of adversary and a personal form of adversary. Interestingly, the word adversary (07854 saw- tawn) is used to depict the Angel of the Lord standing as an adversary against wicked Baalim in Numbers 22:22. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) defines saw tawn as:
Adversary, enmity, one who resists or withstands and one who accuses.
In 1 Kings 11 Solomons adversaries are identified as saw tawan[s]. Abishai, the vengeful man in opposition to David the King is spoken of as saw tawn. This word is used by David in Psalm 38:20 and Psalm 109.4 to describe those who would be in opposition to him. However, as we again consider the term adversary, let us remember that the Holy Law of God is also adversary and in opposition to sinful man. If we are going to grasp the depth of the various implications and teachings of the Scriptures, we need to look carefully at these inferences and uses of these words.
Therefore, a simple directive comes to all of us.
It is very, very dangerous to disobey God in light of what His commandments are. Of course, as believers we know God as Our Heavenly Father. Illustratively, we can see this when Mommy or Daddy is disobeyed and children need to be disciplined; they have to get a spanking. Here, the child sees Mommy and Daddy no longer as a friend with warm smiles and myriads of hugs and kisses, but rather as an enemy. The Loving yet firm parental authority becomes an enemy to the rebellion of the child. The parental authority and rule has been transgressed and now that Law and Rule stands as an Accuser of the child and demands satisfaction. Now Mommy and Daddy must spank that child in order to bring them into submission to what is right. As a response to the rod, the children should not run from the yoke of the chastisement, but rather submit to it. There is never a break in the Covenant relationship nor is there a severing of love. However, correction, out of that love, must be administered. This is precisely what the situation was like in Israels day when God through Jeremiah told them to submit to the chastisement of Nebuchadnezzar. We must remember, God always loves His children. And because of that everlasting love, in the face of rebellion, He corrects them in order to destroy the antagonistic relationship, which has developed out of fleshly lusts. God becomes an enemy to all those who disobey and provoke Him to anger.
Job chapter 13
Now turn with me to Job l3.
Remember Job was a man who God loved and yet God is going to chasten him. Firstly, notice how God identifies Job as upright and righteous. Also remember Job is a type of Christ. Jobs trials and distresses are figurative of the Lord Jesus Christ as He takes upon himself all of our sins, and because He had all of our sins laid upon Himself, He became an enemy of God. Remember, however, Christ in His Eternal Perfect Sinless Nature NEVER was an Enemy of God, but only as HE BECAME SIN FOR US. We must know that Christ always was the Eternal Beloved Sinless Son of God and yet because of our sins, God had to desert Him and forsake Him. This is an incredible truth.
Consider what Job says as a type of Christ in Job l3:23:
Job, as Christ the righteous man, calls God his enemy and speaks of his many and great transgressions, which of course were the elects. Yet Christ would own them all as His own, so that the elect might own His righteousness as their own.
In Job l6:9 again,
Theres no doubt from Job l6 that hes talking about God. Not only that, but when we factor in the reality of the Type Job illustrates, we learn a great deal about the perfect and glorious humiliation of the Savior.
In Job 33:10-12, again,
Principle: God finds occasion against all unrighteousness and becomes an enemy to it. The fact is God must become an enemy of all unrighteousness BECAUSE HE IS by nature the enemy of all wickedness. If He would condone any sin whatsoever, and not become active in defiance against it as an enemy, He would cease to be God. For in Him is Light and in Him dwelleth NO DARKNESS at all..
Furthermore we can now see clearly how God was relating to the humiliation of Christ as He was laden with our sins, becoming sin and a curse for us. God could no longer look upon Christ because of our sins so He effectively deserts Him at the Cross. Herein is the reason for the woeful words of our Lord, "My God My God why has Thou forsaken Me?" The reason is simply because He took upon Himself OUR SINS and became an enemy of God so that we might become the sons of God.
The Apostle Paul takes up this whole line of thinking in the Epistle to the Galatians. The problem of those in Galatia was that they struggled with the keeping of the Law as a means to gain acceptance with God as well as defiling Gods Law with the introduction of mans traditions and superstitions. Their mentality was that they could maintain their standing with God by good works and righteous deeds. They thought just because they began in the spirit that now they could make themselves perfect by the works of the Law according to the flesh.
Paul reproves them in Galatians 3:3.
You see, Paul is saying, that often the Truth becomes the enemy simply because it tells the Truth. Also it is the truth which shines light into darkness in order to reprove it. Those who are reproved by the Truth of Gods Word do not often embrace that chastisement and that Truth often becomes an enemy.
"Am I your enemy now because I tell you the truth?
These are the words of Christ as well.
From still another vantagepoint we see the wrath of the Lord as the enemy of all unconverted souls and those in stubborn rebellion. In Psalm l8:l7 and in Psalm 3l:8, the Lords wrath is clearly the enemy. In Ezekiel 33, where God speaks of the sword coming, we see the sword as the Law/Word of God. Cf Eph 6:17
Principle: To all in rebellion, saint or sinner, the Word of God, which is the Law of His Holiness is adversary and may be very much an accuser and an enemy to those who remain impenitent.
Turn with me please to Micah 2:1
Here God is giving reasons for the coming judgment.
If you will notice verse 8, youd think Hes talking about some heathen people who have no knowledge of God. But Hes not.
Hes saying these people are not battling in the battle of faith, but rather have become Gods enemy because they have a works-righteousness. Therefore, here, Hes calling the Church His enemy. And again all the elect are indicted in the body of death because the flesh still desires to be justified by the works of the Law.
Lets look at two other Scriptures.
Didnt they say this to Christ when He was on the cross?
They said ; "Let God save you". "Physician heal thyself".
This is Christ prophesying as to the time when he would be upon the cross. Hes speaking of those who were His enemies and believe me we were His enemies before we were reconciled by His blood; "for while we were yet sinners", being aliens from the commonwealth, He reconciled us. But still there are those in the church that will not be reconciled. There are those that take the covenant of God upon their lips, according to the Psalmist, yet in heart they are far from the will of God. These are Judas and Demas. And these are those who are fallen eternally away into perdition.
Firstly, weve learned that Babylon is a figure of the Church. Especially in the book of the Revelation its the apostate Church. A careful understanding also leads us to see Babylon as the true saints when they are in the position of rebellion as they are often in because of the lusts of the flesh and the remains of indwelling sin.
Secondly, we have seen that natural man has the enemy of both the Law of Holy God and the power of unregenerate flesh to contend with. Remember even redeemed saints contend with old, natural, unregenerate, Adam in our body of death. We especially need to come to terms with this because we are still in this body of death and it will remain with us throughout our lives. It is very much a part of us. It is therefore this portion of us, which is our enemy and seeks to destroy. We are admonished to learn of its craftiness and deceit so as to buffet it daily.
Thirdly, because of our sin, Gods truth (or His Law) becomes our accuser and God becomes our enemy.
Yet for the regenerate, there is therefore NOW NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus. We are judicially made right with God, and are in our spirit- essence the "spirits of Just Men made Perfect". Yet in the body of this death (i.e. in our members which still lust after sin) we are enemies when that body of sin and death seeks for and takes dominion over our will. This is when God must chasten His children for their benefit. These saints are forever redeemed and sanctified and will be preserved unto the time appointed to be received up into Glory in spite of all their sins because the Work of Christ for their reconciliation is FINISHED.
Lets look at Acts l3:8-10. Paul and Barnabas are dealing in Antioch.
Elymas was trying to turn some away from the faith and if you turn some away from the faith, what are you turning them to? WORKS! If youre turning them from faith, youre turning them to something, which is some form of a works gospel and religion, which is all without substance. Paul then links the devil with enemy and unrighteousness. The literal word here for devil is slanderer or false accuser. It is translated that way in 1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3
In James 4:4 we read:
The question for all of us is:
"How many times today did we befriend the world?"
We are indicted, are we not?
Thats why Christ could say to Peter,
At that moment, Peter was thinking with a carnal mind. And if youre carnal minded, ultimately it is death. But when we are carnal minded, because of the power of the sinfulness of sin, we are accusers and enemies of God. Saved in the spirit, yet rebellious and antagonistic in the flesh. The fact is that carnal mindedness is placing the things of the flesh BEFORE Christ. The Greek for before, is "anti" as in anti Christ. Anti does not only refer to that which is against but that which is before. AND if any has another BEFORE God they are actually against God and a breaker of the First Commandment.
Another principle we must be constantly reminded of is that God is the King of the Church. There are no other Kings who are powerful and Sovereign and who especially are called King of Kings except Jesus Christ. Furthermore, there are no principalities or powers in heaven or upon earth other than God who can be rightly called King. Therefore, we must look at Nebuchadnezzar most carefully to see how God typifies him and uses him as a type of God as HE comes with the Law and as a type of Jesus Christ who is the King of Kings.
In our next lecture well begin by looking at Daniel 2 and consider the dream that Nebuchadnezzar has, why he calls for Daniel and how thats all working out together to show us the Gospel. Then we shall go into Daniel 3 and then proceed to look at Daniel 4 and see what this all means. In Daniel 4 we will see more of the atoning work of Christ as we compare the Scriptures with the Scriptures to see if we can make sense out of all this. Once we see these Scriptures properly we will see this whole mystery come together beautifully.
A FINAL CAUTION
If we are going to build upon anything we must build upon the truth. We must never build any doctrine upon preconceived notions of mans wisdom or the tradition of others no matter how faithful those others may be. God alone teaches truth. We must reason and logically let the truth be unfolded without forcing the Scriptures. When we ask the hard questions let us not fall prey to the traditional answers. When we ask, "why is Nebuchadnezzar likened to a shepherd and a king of kings?", let us pause and look through the Word of God to find out. Otherwise truth will always be an obscurity to us. Weve got to be so, so, so very careful because were not talking about some scholastic differences, we are talking about Gods Word. To rightly divide the Word of Truth is important because the Word of Truth contains the issues of Life. A mishandling of it could lead to very disastrous consequences. The study of the Scripture is a very serious matter.
Our Father in Heaven, we thank Thee for Thy mercy. Let us take to heart that tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us whether we be young and of good health or whether we be on in years. Father Thou art the God of the universe; Thou holdest the breath of Thy people in Thy hand; and Father we are not guaranteed of anything. Therefore, our Heavenly Father, we pray that Thou would convict many of their sin and their unrighteousness; that they might look to Christ; that they may read the Scriptures and say "Lord, I read Thy Holy Word and I find in mine own self that I am so undone and so miserable and blind and naked that I have no hope in my own works for any grace or any righteousness because thy righteousness which is required for Heaven is a righteousness which is of infinite value and excellency and Im already a sinner by nature." Therefore Father, clothe us, we pray, with righteousness, which is the righteousness of Christ, which cometh down from the Father of lights, that we might find peace in the day of adversity and that we might find grace in the day of wrath. Our Father, we thank Thee for Thy mercy, we thank Thee for Thy glorious Word which teaches us; and as the loving hand of a Father cometh upon us to show us in Thy firmness and yet in thine infinite love, all of our need, all of our transgressions and all of Thy love Father, we rest in Thy promises. We thank Thee for Thy Son Christ Jesus our only hope of glory, the One who has been made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and eternal redemption.
In Jesus name, Amen.
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