The Land of Israel & Judah,
The Kingdom of God, The City of Jerusalem, & Mount Zion
Section #1: The Old Testament – how it was
Section #2: The Consummation – how it will be
Section #3: The New Testament – how it is
The Old Testament – how it was
Having just examined the persons who congregated and assembled, specifically speaking, let us turn and gaze upon the locations in which they gathered: The Land of Israel & Judah, The Kingdom of God, The City of Jerusalem, and Mount Zion. These locations are listed in order from greatest to least in terms of size, which means that the length and breadth of the regions become increasingly narrow, but each region is vast enough to be considered in separate categories of study.
The Land of Israel & Judah
“For the upright shall dwell in the Land, and the perfect shall remain in it.” – Proverbs 2:21
“they shall not enter into the Land of Israel” – Ezek. 13:9
“They shall not dwell in the LORD’s Land” – Hosea 9:3
Like all other locations and for the same reasons, not just anyone can “enter into the Land of Israel” (Ezek. 13:9). As we have covered already (verses applicable to The Land of Israel & Judah), all rebels, false prophets, sinners, and unconverted people were put to public execution (Ex. 32:27, Deut. 13:1-11, 17:2-7 Num. 15:30-31). This is not a subject which the Lord has been unclear about. The Lord said,
“He that putteth his trust in Me shall possess The Land, and shall inherit My holy Mountain” - Isa. 57:13
“For the upright shall dwell in the Land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.” - Prov. 2:21-22
When the Law was kept, and, therefore, the public execution of sinning Israelites was consistently beheld by the populous, it was so that “all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this among [them]” (Deut. 13:11). A consciousness of holiness and fear was to remain “among [Israel]” and in “the midst of [Israel]” (Deut. 13:5), for thereby the people were enabled to “perfect holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). Henceforth we can see, according to scripture, an exclusive and specified populous was allowed to inhabit The Land of Israel and Judah: “the upright”, “the perfect”, “He that putteth his truth in Me”. All others, called “the wicked” and “the transgressors”, or whatever “they” are called (Ezek. 13:9), were eradicated from the Land by the penalty of death so that, thereby, all the people who remained in the Land did hear, fear, shun wickedness, and perfect holiness!
It was a glorious privilege – equivalent to salvation – for God to allow a people to “come into the Land” of Israel (Num. 14:30). The oaths of salvation given to Israel promised that they would “dwell therein” (Num. 14:30, see also Hebrews 3-4). Typologically speaking, this means that their inheritance of the Promised Land was equivalent to our inheritance of Heaven! In unison with this, do you remember how many times the New Testament writers warned of heaven and hell on these terms: “the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:5)? Have you ever understood why, my reader? Do you know the eternal significance of the event when Rahab was ushered out of Jericho and into the midst of Israel (Joshua 7)? Notably, the Israelites which began their pilgrimage through the Red Sea were all-holy and all-regenerate (see Chapter 1, Chapter 2, & Chapter 3), therefore all of them were worthy to inherit the glories of Heaven at that time. Therefore, also, when and if Israel was contaminated by “rebels” and there were no men of God to fulfill the public executions required by the letter of the Law, God intervened to do the deed. God intervened BECAUSE it is impossible that rebels should inherit Heaven! Therefore, God said, “I WILL purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me: I WILL bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not ENTER into the Land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD…For in Mine Holy Mountain, the Mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall ALL the House of Israel, ALL OF THEM OF THE LAND, serve Me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things” (Ezek. 20:38-40).
Such men must be removed from Israel, my reader. Salvation is when Israel, Judah, and Ephraim are no longer meeting the caricature spoken of old, “he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not…” (Hos. 7:8-9). Therefore as a declaration of salvation, God said, “O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off” (Nah. 1:15). When Israel made inordinate unions with strange lovers inwardly, God turned their lovers against Israel so that by invasion, outwardly, it was written of Israel: “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers” (Isa. 1:7). For good reason it was written, standing as a typological expression of our King David who is Jesus Christ (Ezek. 34:23-24, Jer. 30:9): “A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the Land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD” (Psalm 101:4-8).
What does it mean for Israel to, as God said, “put on Thy strength”? What does it mean for Israel to, as God said, “put on thy beautiful garments”? At the time when the “Arm of the LORD” is awakened and made bare, Israel shall “trust” in the Lord (Isa. 51:5, 9), but… to what beautification? As God’s Arm awakens to act, so also Israel, Jerusalem, and Zion will awaken to their beautification, that “henceforth there shall no more come into [Israel] the uncircumcised and the unclean” (Isa. 52:1)! Their exodus out of Babylon and their regathering within Israelite borders was and will be by this very act: “The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isa. 52:10). This passage does, with inferiority, declare the Regathering of God’s people into Israel after the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities. It does also, with inferiority, declare the 1st Advent of Christ (Isa. 52:7, 53:1). Notwithstanding it does, furthermore, with superiority and entirety, declare the 2nd Advent of Christ - therefore Israel’s regathering thereto and salvation within happens by this one single act! In preparation of this act God calls forth Israel’s regathering, saying, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD” (Isa. 52:11). For good reason the Lord says, “be ye clean”, for these individuals are going forth to enter within The Land of Israel & Judah and The Gates of Jerusalem as inheritors of The Kingdom of God, from thence to ascend the holy hill of Mount Zion to appear before God forever!
With all scripture heretofore considered, applied, and fulfilled, the inhabitants of The Land of Israel and Judah were exclusively: “the upright”, “the perfect”, “He that putteth his truth in Me”, “the faithful”, “he that walketh in a perfect way”, and those who are “clean” (Prov. 2:21, Isa. 57:13, Ps. 101:4-8, Isa. 52:11). Those who were eradicated from The Land of Israel and Judah via the death penalty were, very specifically: “the wicked”, “the transgressors”, “rebels”, “them that transgress against Me”, “a froward heart”, “a wicked person”, “whoso prively slandereth his neighbor”, “him that hath an high look and a proud heart”, “he that worketh deceit”, “he that telleth lies”, “all wicked doers” in whatever name “they” are called - “the uncircumcised”, “the unclean”, and the “unclean thing” (Prov. 2:22, Ezek. 20:38-40, Nah. 1:15, Ps. 101:4-8, Ezek. 13:9, Isa. 52:1, 11). With the death penalty successfully exercised and the scripture fulfilled, the inhabitants of the Land did hear, fear, and shun wickedness in all forms; one of which included mixing with strangers (Hos. 7:8-9). The Land of Israel and Judah was established by God that it might be a Sanctuary of HOLINESS in this very specific way, my reader! Oh, but we want a more tolerable holiness that we have invented! Shun it, my reader. On God’s terms, “let us cleanse ourselves form all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).
After surveying all the aforementioned scriptures, it is apparent that Israel was intended to be territorially clean, according to the Law. Shockingly, though, this is demonstrated in more ways than the expulsion of sinners from the Holy Land. Everything outside of Israel was considered territorially unclean, my reader! E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! In other words, everything inside of Israel was intended to be territorially clean, lawfully speaking. This is easily discernable when reading the history of how Israel conquered the native peoples of The Promised Land. When God first gave the Israelites the Promised Land, He forbade the cohabitation of Israel and Gentile Nations. On this vein, God demanded the total annihilation of all Gentiles which abode in the Promised Land (Ex. 23:20-33, 34:11-14, Lev. 18:24-30, 20:22-27, Num. 33:51-56, Deut. 7:1-6, 16-19, 23-26, 12:1-4, 29-32, 18:9-14, 20:16-18, 23:1-17, Josh. 23:2-16, Judges 2:2-3). God was intent upon eradicating from the Land of Israel every person, tradition, and custom of all Gentile peoples, that He might, in turn, preserve Israel as a holy and set-apart people unto Himself (“I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people”-Lev. 20:24).
According to God’s Law the Gentiles were unclean - their religion, way of life, culture, customs, manners, and traditions made them so to be (Lev. 18:24-30, 20:22-27) - therefore in the process of war to inhabit the Land of Canaan, while the Israelites were utterly eradicating the peoples and customs of the Canaanites, there was a difference maintained between the Israelites who were defiled at war and those who remained clean at the main camp of settlement. According to God’s Law the Israelites were cleansed and commanded to remain clean and holy: in clothing (Deut. 22:5, 11-12), farming (Deut. 22:9-10), eating (Lev. 20:25), taxing (Ex. 22:25, Lev. 25:36-37, Deut. 23:19), living (Ps. 34:12-16, Deut. 32:39), dying (i.e. funeral ceremonies: Num. 19:16-18), and even in the excrement of their waste (Deut. 23:12-14), to name a few. In Israel every man (Prov. 5:21, 19:16), household (Prov. 3:32-35, 12:17), city (Eccl. 7:19, Prov. 11:11, 29:8, Deut. 28:3, 16), and province (Eccl. 5:8), and the entirety of the Land and Nation (Prov. 2:20-22, 10:27, 30), all of it belonged immediately and especially to God, therefore the Gentiles were considered aliens, strangers, and enemies to the progress and prosperity of religion and society.
To squelch any possible mixing of these two peoples, the Israelites were commanded to slaughter everything that breathed throughout the entire countryside of the Land of Canaan. Shockingly, this meant that no person or animal was salvageable from the curse of territorial uncleanness (Deut. 20:16-18)! Furthermore, also, if Israel happened to go to war against any non-Canaanite City or Nation, even though the rules of war were altered from the course of total annihilation, the code of cleanliness was maintained through the maintenance of Divine ceremonies. In the event of war with non-Canaanite Cities or Nations all the males of the society were to be slain… but nothing more. Therefore, circumstances permitting, everyone and everything else was salvageable from territorial uncleanness (Deut. 20:10-15)… but how? The salvageable persons and objects from these Cities or Nations needed to undergo a cleansing ceremony of purification before entering the settlement Camp or territory of Israel (a clean place). Cleansed things belong in clean places, my reader! Ceremonial instructions of purification were specified categorically according to what the object was: a person (Num. 31:19), an imperishable object (Num. 31:21-24), or a perishable object (Num. 31:21-24). All these rules of war and ceremonies of cleansing existed because the Land of Israel – Itself – was meant to be a clean place; and when and if that which was ordained and intended to be clean was defiled, it happened via unlawful bloodshed (Num. 35:33, Deut. 21:23), sexual sin (Deut. 24:4), idolatry (Jer. 3:9, 16:18, Ezek. 36:17), and the increase of all kinds of iniquity, transgression, and sin (Jer. 2:7, Ezek. 22:24, Lev. 18:25, 27). Therefore, my reader, it is an indisputable fact: the concept of territorial uncleanness was introduced to Israel by the Law and enforced among Israel through the power of Divine-anger all throughout biblical history, according to the scriptures.
The Kingdom of God
“I AM a great KING, saith the LORD of hosts,
and My Name is dreadful among the heathen” – Malachi 1:14
We know that in Israel, God was KING. Before an earthly King was ever set up in the days of the prophet Samuel, God was KING. God’s Kingship is an eternal office, without a doubt, but within time this attribute of God was not always apparent. Therefore seeing that The Kingdom of God was increasingly manifest throughout the ages of human redemption, nativity to maturity, a brief survey is necessary for our topic of study. Notable points of the progressive manifestation of The Kingdom of God are numerically ordered below.
#1) Kings rule a people, thus God had an earthly Throne in the midst of His people Israel.
This was true before Israel had their own Land to inhabit and defend. When Israel did sojourn in tents and dwell in camps, the most notable component of any Kingdom could be seen. It was, namely, the very Throne itself. “The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: He sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved” (Ps. 99:1). Speaking of this Throne, God said to Moses, “there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Ex. 25:22). The Most Holy Place and The Ark were, in modern terms, The Throne Room and The Throne in and upon which God Almighty reigned on earth! This visible room and earthly seat did house and support the invisible KING of Israel! And what is more amazing is that the physical elements represent spiritual realities! Seeing this invisible reality, David declared, “[God] rode upon a Cherub, and did fly: yea, He did fly upon the wings of the wind” (Ps. 18:10)! Can you see the mystery, my reader? Can you see why the saints of Israel did address God in prayer, saying, “Thou that dwellest between the Cherubims, SHINE FORTH” (Ps. 80:1)! The Almighty was not confined to that earthly room, was He? Nay, the room in which God was housed, the throne upon which He sat, and the Cherubim statues’ in which He was among – these were mere symbols of the transcending radiance by which GOD was KING in Israel!
#2) Kings rule territories, thus God had a Land over which He ruled.
At the first, long ago, God named the territory which He claimed for Himself and His people (see Gen. 15:18-21). God chose this Land and the generation which would possess it. When the generation came which God enabled to take possession of the Land, the KING wrote a Law by which He would govern the Land and people (Gen. 15:13-16, Ex. 3:17).
#3) Kings rule by Law, thus God had a Government to enforce what was written.
God took the people of Israel which were purchased by ransom and brought them to Sinai. For what? It was written, “The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery Law for them. Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand: and they sat down at Thy feet; every one shall receive of Thy words. Moses commanded us a Law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And HE WAS KING in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together” (Deut. 33:2-5). The physical government of Israel did not exist in the infrastructure seen in heathen nations at Moses’ time, the time in which Deuteronomy 33:2-5 was written. The governmental infrastructure changed in the days of the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 8:7, 12:12). From Moses to Samuel God was KING through this means: firstly, through Spirit-filled Prophets (Ex. 19:9, 1 Sam. 7:16), secondarily, through Princes/Elders (Num. 1:16, 11:16-17, 25-26, Deut. 1:15), and thirdly, through Levitical Judges. During the days of Samuel the people rejected the most pure form of God’s Government. They lusted after the infrastructure of heathen nations instead of God’s Government until, tragically, they rejected God as KING. As a result, God did not relinquish His rule as KING – this is impossible! – but He did yield to their request to change the means of Government so that, henceforth, from Samuel to the Captivities, God’s Rule was implemented: firstly, through Kings (Deut. 17:14-20), secondarily, through Spirit-filled Prophets (2 Chron. 20:20, Amos 3:7), thirdly, through Princes/Elders (Prov. 28:2, Eccl. 10:17), fourthly, through Priests and Levitical Judges (Deut. 17:8-13, 1 Chron. 23:2, 4, 2 Chron. 30:22, Neh. 8:1-12). There were many different seasons in which God’s ordained method of Government decayed, thus inferior manifestations of God’s Rule did intermittently mark the ages, but in seasons of revival - the KING, King, and Kingdom of Israel flourished in worldwide fame and glory!
#4) Kings invade, conquer, and defend, thus God had armies of sword-drawn men to command.
Since the days of Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21), ten different nations were already established and thriving in what God would eventually call, “The Holy Land” (Zech. 2:12). At that time, from Abraham’s day to the Exodus generation, the chosen Land was defiled underneath the native inhabitants because of their wicked and abominable sin against their Creator. Because of this, to say the least: God intended to invade and conquer! For God, this was righteous (Deut. 9:4-5). The fame and success of this invasion won for God the title, “The LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Sam. 17:45). Swords are drawn to defend Lords: their properties, familial inheritances, geographic Kingdoms, and all such things that belong to Kings; the enforcement of Law was by sword-drawn men (Rom. 13:4).
#5) Kings fight battles, thus God went out with the forces of Israel to war.
Moses said, “The LORD is a Man of War: the LORD is His Name” (Ex. 15:3). Isaiah said, “The LORD shall go forth as a Mighty Man, He shall stir up jealousy like a Man of War: He shall CRY, yea, ROAR; He shall prevail against His enemies” (Isa. 42:13)! Therefore Joshua – who was the highest officer in the armies of Israel – beheld a vision at the onset of God’s invasion into The Holy Land: “behold, there stood a Man over against [Joshua] with His sword drawn in His hand” (Josh. 5:13). This mysterious Man then confessed, “as captain of the Host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship…” (Josh. 5:14). Kingdoms are established and ruled by sword-drawn men, yes, but the KING of Israel was The Sword-Drawn Man!
All of these details have been reviewed to emphasize that in Israel, God was KING: of a people, a territory, by Law, through Government, by war through battles in which God commanded and fought. In all of this, God was the center. This means that, furthermore, on the basis of the KING’s pleasure the Kingdom prospered and Israel was undefeatable, or on the basis of the KING’s displeasure the Kingdom fell and Israel was slaughtered. The King’s pleasure or displeasure was the single most important factor of gain and loss, prosperity and catastrophe, or life and death in Israel! Oh, my reader, let this saying sink down into your ears! God was pleased with holiness.
God’s Kingdom was born a “Holy Nation” (Ex. 19:6), scripture states, and God intended that it would persevere a Holy Nation. God Himself bore witness to the people why He did what He did: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of Priests, and an Holy Nation” (Ex. 19:4-6). Nevertheless, sadly, many generations were interrupted from their promise-bound course of salvation, glory, and victory in “The Kingdom of God” because they did not comprehend the necessity of holiness! The KING made these terms very clear, my reader… but do we comprehend them? Oh, my soul! How estranged have we become to the personality of GOD that we cannot remember His pleasure: “HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14)!? Nor did Old Testament Israel remember it, my reader, to their eventual demise and everlasting shame (most of them!).
God gave terms and conditions, you might say, but they are better known as promises - some to salvation and some to damnation.
A Promise of Salvation: When the scripture declares/promises salvation upon any person who, by “such and such” conduct (all necessary faith and repentance required by God wrought by provisional grace), will inevitably become what the word of the Lord has promised.
A Promise of Damnation: When the scripture declares/promises damnation upon any person who, by “such and such” conduct (sins of commission or omission), will inevitably become what the word of the Lord has promised.
The Exodus Generation beheld with their own eyes the salvation which would become their hope in future conquests. It was told to them in these words, “The LORD shall FIGHT FOR YOU, and ye shall hold your peace” (Ex. 14:14). On the very edge of Heaven (The Promised Land) it was said, yet again, “Dread not, neither be afraid of them. The LORD your God which goeth before you, He shall FIGHT FOR YOU, according to all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes” (Deut. 1:29-30). The Exodus Generation fell short of these promises because they were not mixed with faith in them that heard them (Heb. 3:16-4:1, Deut. 1:32), and, thus, after their carcasses were wasted in the wilderness and their children were risen up in their stead, the LORD said, “Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall FIGHT FOR YOU” (Deut. 3:22). This was the language of salvation to Israel, communicated in promises which could be resisted and denied through unbelief.
If these promises of salvation were believed then the commandments of God were not burdensome to the Israelites. This is because, it was written,
“And ye shall chase your enemies and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – Lev. 26:7-8
“Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.” – Deut. 28:6-7
What a glorious experience this must have been! When, namely, God led forth His army to victory! The songs of Israel did resound, “Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: let them that hate Him flee before Him” (Ps. 68:1)! Shockingly, this was literal. This song was literally fulfilled in real time before their very eyes! Can you imagine being a part of the camp of Israel which sojourned in the wilderness, and then, suddenly, the pillar of Cloud was removed from its resting place yonder to lead the march toward the distant battlefield!? As soon as the camp did move forward to follow the pillar of Cloud, do you know what thoughts were stirring in the heart of the Israelites who followed on? “And it came to pass, when The Ark [The Throne] set forward, that Moses said, RISE UP, LORD, and LET THINE ENEMIES BE SCATTERED; and let them that hate Thee FLEE BEFORE THEE. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel” (Num. 10:35-36). Oh, my reader! With what anticipation would a believing Israelite approach the battle line knowing that GOD ALMIGHTY was in the front of the host!? And, on the contrary, with what presumption and foolishness would an Israelite go to war without the ark of God going before them (Num. 14:44)!?
With all things prepared and all conditions fulfilled, strong effort was given to keep the people believing in God (“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises…” – Heb. 11:33). Speaking on this wise, it was written,
“When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is He that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” – Deut. 20:1-4
In all the former passages which we have just covered – the passages which express a promise for salvation – the acts of faith were manifest in unwavering fearlessness and undaunted confidence before enemy hosts, a minding of the former works of salvation wrought by God to the wit, at the present time, their expectation was for unconquerable victory! GOD Almighty expected nothing less than absolute victory for Israel and utter destruction of the inhabitants of The Promised Land. The LORD commanded, “thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: but thou shalt utterly destroy them” (Deut. 20:16-17). Does that shock you, my reader?
This commandment was unusual behavior in pastime or modern warfare. Ordinarily upon a victory at war, those who remained alive were made to serve as tributaries to the victor, but God forbade this option during the conquest of The Promised Land. God commanded total annihilation, or what the world would slander as genocide. Why? Think of it, my reader. To fully annihilate every living person was both meticulous and exhausting, and it was also unwise and unprofitable according to the wisdom of the world at that time. Such a task would be exhausting because after battles were won, the defeated people scatter into remote areas for hiding or refuge. They could resettle in the mountains or the woods, or in remote cities if there were any which could serve as a refuge. To survey the land in search for them was no small enterprise. Furthermore, such a task could be called unwise and unprofitable because making the defeated people tributaries was both quicker and financially boosting. Seeing this is the case, how did the warriors of Israel agree with the command of their God and KING? Only a certain frame of heart could tirelessly kill and kill until all was accomplished, don’t you think?
The LORD commanded Israel, “And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have NO PITY upon them...” (Deut. 7:16). Think of it, my reader! “NO PITY” – when before a weeping teenage girl, when before a mourning old woman, when before a mother with child, when before children in the streets! No man in his natural mind could accomplish this task unless they were filled with the same righteous motivations which burned in the heart of their God and KING; until they, like God, had no more pity left in them! God wanted Israel to be morally and legally repulsed at the nations which inhabited The Promised Land; and Israel, being so filled with this righteous and moral hatred, would exercise their swords according to what justice required. The heart of Israel shouted, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Prov. 8:13)! – thus they were warriors for God.
This pitiless and merciless hatred was moral because God commanded it, my reader. God hated these people and Israel was required to be like God (i.e. in legal agreement with God; Lev. 20:23). In the sense that the inhabitants of The Promised Land were legally repulsive, legally unclean, legally condemned, and legally penalized with total annihilation with no possibility of pity or mercy, Israel hated them. The legal case that God had against the Canaanites was made clear to Israel. At the beginning, when God first decided to overthrow the nations of The Promised Land and give the Land to His people for an inheritance, it was required that Abraham would wait 400 years because, God said, “the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet FULL” (Gen. 15:16); and, furthermore, when it became full, the hour of their merciless and total annihilation was merited as a just recompense, according to the scriptures. It was written,
“Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.” – Lev. 18:24-30
“Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out. And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine. A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.” – Lev. 20:22-27
“Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven, A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak! Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire He shall destroy them, and He shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” – Deut. 9:1-5
Israel was very conscious why God was intent upon destroying all the nations of The Promised Land. In the process, they became conscious of God’s furious hatred of sin. They learned to hate what God hated, at least in the beginning. Thus far, according to the scriptures, Israel needed faith-empowered fearlessness and confidence in God for the victory, and, furthermore, the victory was not to be enjoyed for the sheer excitement of war or the advantages of personal gain. No! Israel was commanded to fight and win, yes, but their warfare was to be fueled by a burning sense of justice to hate, to destroy, and to fully annihilate. If they failed to have such a heart – to be driven to kill and spare not – damnation would fall upon Israel. God was so furiously opposed to the inhabitants of The Promised Land that if Israel did not destroy them, God would turn against Israel. On this condition God promised Israel damnation, my reader… but do we understand the language of it? God promised,
“it will surely be a snare unto thee” – Ex. 23:33
“lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee” – Ex. 34:12
“that will be a snare unto thee” – Deut. 7:16
“lest thou be snared therein” – Deut. 7:25
“take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them” – Deut. 12:30
“those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes,
and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the Land wherein ye dwell” – Numbers 33:55
“they shall be as thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare unto you” – Judges 2:3
Oh, my reader, do we understand the metaphorical language undertaken by God whereby He promised certain damnation to His ransomed and beloved people? By interpretation and in more apparent terms, God said,
“they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, UNTIL YE PERISH from off this good Land” – Josh 23:13
“they will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods” – Deut. 7:4
“That they teach you not to do after all their abominations,
which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.” – Deut. 20:18
“lest they make thee sin against Me” – Ex. 23:33
“lest thou be cursed like it” – Deut. 7:26
Can you see the interpretation, my reader? These nations were doomed to total annihilation so that Israel would be totally preserved from damnation! The “snare”, which was as “pricks” in the eyes and “thorns” in the sides, which was as “traps” and “scourges” – they did turn the people away from “following” the LORD (Deut. 7:4), and they taught the people “to do” all manner of abominations and “sin” (Deut. 20:18); they were thereby made to sin (Ex. 23:33) and brought under the curse of damnation (Deut. 7:26)! These “snares”, “traps”, “scourges”, and “thorns” took hold upon the people so that they would unwillingly decline from the path of righteousness over time, the paths of righteousness they once adored (Josh. 23:13)! According to God’s promise, this happened until Israel perished from off the good Land (“until ye perish” – Josh. 23:13)! My reader, it is important that we see that these were promises of damnation, but it is equally important to see what conduct (sins of commission or omission) merited the performance of this woeful fate. A promise of damnation is when the scripture declares/promises damnation upon any person who, by “such and such” conduct (sins of commission or omission), will inevitably become what the word of the Lord has promised. In survey of the former verses, God commanded,
“utterly overthrow them”
“quite break down their images”
“drive them out from before thee”
“make no covenant with them”
“they shall not dwell in thy Land”
– Ex. 23:23-24, 31-33
“utterly destroy them”
“make no covenant with them”
“nor shew mercy unto them”
“neither shalt thou make marriages”
“destroy their altars”
“break down their images”
“cut down their groves”
“burn their graven images with fire”
“thine eye shall have no pity”
“burn with fire”
– Deut. 7:1-6, 16-21, 25-26
“destroy their altars”
“break their images”
“cut down their groves”
“Lest thou make a covenant…
“and they go whoring”
– Ex. 34:11-17
“overthrow their altars”
“break their pillars”
“burn their groves with fire”
“hew down the graven images”
“destroy the names”
– Deut. 12:1-4, 29-32
“save alive nothing”
“utterly destroy them”
“that they teach you not”
– Deut. 20:16-18
“drive out all the inhabitants”
“destroy all their pictures”
“destroy all their molten images”
“quite pluck down all their high places”
“dispossess the inhabitants”
– Num. 33:51-56
“come not among these nations”
“neither make mention”
“nor bow yourselves”
– Joshua 23:1-16
The Principle Command
See for yourself, my reader. Examine the context of these commands thoroughly. If these commands were left undone by Israel via sins of omission, the promises of damnation would overtake them and destroy them – the saints of Israel would inevitably become sinners nationwide! Though the process of degeneration be subtle in its progress, the doom is suddenly realized. Consider the witness of biblical history below and you will see the awful course, my reader, just as it panned out.
“For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images… And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.” – Exodus 23:23-24, 31-33
“Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.” – Exodus 34:11-17
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.” – Numbers 33:51-56
“When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth… And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible… The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” – Deut. 7:1-6, 16-21, 25-26
“These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God… When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” – Deut. 12:1-4, 29-32
“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” – Deut. 18:9-14
“But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.” – Deut. 20:16-18
“And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age: And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you. Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you. Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof. Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.” – Joshua 23:1-16
What became of Israel confirms God’s promise of damnation. The promise was sure. The sins of omission were very specifically recorded in Judges Chapter 1. Future generations were expected to learn from the devastation that ensued when, alas, small compromises led to nationwide apostasy! When a little leaven of sinners did permeate and overcome the righteousness of the saints nationwide! When, shockingly, holiness went unperfected and salvation went unperformed!
“Judah…could not drive out” – Judges 1:19
“Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites” – Judges 1:21
“Neither did Manassah drive out the inhabitants…but the Canaanites would dwell in the Land. And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.” – Judges 1:27-28
“Neither did Ephraim drive out…” – Judges 1:29
“Neither did Zebulun drive out…but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.” – Judges 1:30
“Neither did Asher drive out…” – Judges 1:31
“Neither did Naphtali drive out…but he dwelt among the Canaanites…nevertheless the inhabitants…became tributaries” – Judges 1:32
“And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain…” – Judges 1:34
Here we see the awful omission… Israel in the deplorable condition which God warned against! We see no victory at war because there was no faith. We see no perseverance to fight because there was no hatred of the legally repulsive. We see no godly fear that sin can overtake Israel’s saintliness and that sinners could nullify Israel’s saving separateness. We see an immoral satisfaction with dwelling among those whom God forbade cohabitation. We see an obvious denial of the promise that hereby, by these sins of commission and omission, the saints of Israel were doomed to become sinners. Israel was in for a wakeup call which, when they heard it… they wept. It was written,
“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but YE HAVE NOT OBEYED MY VOICE: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.
And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.” – Judges 2:1-15
That which almost befell Joshua, befell the nation. God said to Joshua, “Israel hath sinned…therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: NEITHER WILL I BE WITH YOU ANY MORE, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. UP, SANCTIFY THE PEOPLE…” (Josh. 7:11-13)! When Israel was found out to be in a deplorable condition of unholiness, what God commanded---Joshua did! He sanctified the people. He made them holy again. But Israel as a nation, after they were reproved of the breaches in the Covenant agreement they made with God, they did not arise and sanctify the people from the unholy and the unclean… therefore a little leaven took its violent course to wit, shockingly, a nation of saints became a nation of sinners by the next generation! Approximately 13 generations (from 1425 to 1063 B.C. according to Ussher) were scarce able to lift their heads from the stormy waves of apostasy which well-nigh drowned them into the deep. A momentary breath was granted here and there, as the billows of God’s anger crashed upon their heads from generation to generation… until the prophet Samuel took up the mantle of intercession for a lifetime of rigorous prayers for revival, and, thus, God found David.
In a sweeping and broad survey, we have seen the devastating fate of Israel according to the word of the LORD. We have seen a War won through the valiant leadership of Joshua, yes, but the minor battles were lost and a nation was undone. A little sin worked like “a little leaven”, and the whole nation apostatized! That which was unthinkable just 20 years prior became reality, according to the promise of damnation. Let the alarm sound in your soul, my reader, how that in Israel: the rules of holiness are rules of salvation!
The Kingdom of God existed because God became KING over a people, a territory, by Law, through Government, by war through battles in which God commanded and fought, but when at battle against enemy nations and the rules of holiness were defied, God abandoned the armies of Israel leaving untold numbers to die! Even before the conquest of The Promised Land, the Captain of the Host forewarned,
“When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall NOT come within the camp: But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again. Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that He see no unclean thing in thee, and TURN AWAY from thee.” – Deut. 23:9-14
As much as Israel turned away from “every wicked” and “unclean thing”, God did not turn away from them. The war-camp itself needed to remain holy and pure if Israel was going to fight alongside the God of Israel. These rules existed for the war-camp and the whole congregation of Israel, without differentiation in their own senses. God demanded the eradication of all Canaanites from The Holy Land lest they mingle and mix among the holy people of God – the holy with the unholy. So also if an Israelite turned Canaanite, which means that he turns from the LORD unto idolatry, sin, or Canaanite customs, the Israelite man would be expelled from the people of God through the death penalty. The heart of mercilessness (formerly addressed) by which Israel was enabled to totally annihilate the defeated and surrendered Canaanites was, yet again, employed upon backsliding Israelites turned Canaanite (saints turned sinners)! Consider the unanimity of the following scriptures, my reader.
Mercilessness & Pitilessness unto Death
“Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him…And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.” – Deut. 13:8-9, 11
Congregation-wide Holiness & Purity
“So shalt thou put the evil way from the midst of thee.” – Deut. 13:5
“So thou shalt put the evil away from among you” – Deut. 17:7
“thou shalt put away the evil from Israel” – Deut. 17:12
“Therefore put way from among yourselves that wicked person” – 1 Cor. 5:13
“There shall not be found among you any one…
Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD Thy God”
– Deut. 18:10, 13
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate…
perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
– 2 Cor. 6:17, 7:1
Israel was commanded to mercilessly annihilate the unholy and sinful Canaanites from The Holy Land, this we know, but if in the process of or after Israelite settlement began within The Holy Land, if Israel found any Israelite turning Canaanite (turning to sin, to unholiness, to idolatry) the guilty man would be subjected to the same judgment which fell upon the Canaanites: total annihilation. The unholy and sinful chaos which ruled within once-born mankind worldwide – it was unwelcome in Israel. The passions and persons of hell were given their boundary point---stopping at the borders of Israelite settlements (Isa. 26:1-2, 60:18-19). My reader, Israel was sanctified to God as a “peculiar” and “separated” people (Ex. 19:5, Deut. 14:2, Lev. 20:24-25) above all other peoples on the face of the earth! Like the crest of earth was appointed by God and fixed with immovable fortitude before the whelming and untamable sea, the borders of Israel were appointed to withstand the untamable chaos of depravity that it would pass no further (Zech. 2:5, Isa. 4:5, 60:18-19, Psalm 48). As God “gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth” (Prov. 8:29), even so, likewise, God gave sin and sinners His decree that they should not pass into the camps, settlements, cities, or Lands of Israel: when He appointed the foundations of The Kingdom of God amidst the people of Israel (Isa. 26:1-2, 60:18-19). That which was expelled without would die if it was found within. The judgment that was exercised outside of Israel was used inside of Israel, wherever the need required. Look closely at the passages of scripture which were provided above in different subject categories, my reader. Seek to understand the context and application in both the Old and New Testaments.
The scripture teaches that the making of an idol is a sin that does “corrupt” oneself (Deut. 4:16), legally speaking. The crime of idolatry was punished without mercy or pity as long as two or three witnesses were confirming the crime (Deut. 17:6). Israel was commanded to take every individual who had done this “wicked thing” and “stone them with stones till they die”. According to the word of the LORD, they were “worthy of death” (Deut. 17:5-6). In this manner Israel was commanded to be a witness against backsliding Israelites turned sinners, and the Lord phrased their public execution as: “So thou shalt put the evil away from among you” (Deut. 17:7). Undeniably, this judgment was a Church Purity judgment. Undeniably, this judgment stood as a type of what is now expected of Christians in the New Testament. We too are called, “to judge” (1 Cor. 5:12), so to speak. Thus in like manner we must “put way from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:13). Old Testament Israel was to “put the evil away from among [them]” as New Testament Spiritual Israel is to “put away from among [ourselves] that wicked person” (Deut. 17:7, 1 Cor. 5:13). Do you agree, my reader?
This judgment existed without partiality in the Old and New Testaments. Judgment was just as severe upon a supposed “prophet” or “dreamer”, upon any family member or dear relation, if any one of them sought to “entice” an Israelite away to serve other gods - God commanded merciless judgment: “So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee” (Deut. 13:5). The backslider could have been your nearest and dearest, and the judgment stood the same. I repeat, God hated idolatry and idolaters, without partiality. These passages and the like were undeniably quoted by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:13, my reader. Can you see it? Take a thorough look at Deut. 13:5-11, for example, and see the contextual correlation to 1 Corinthians Chapter 5.
“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.” – Deuteronomy 13:5-11
The Lord warned Israel and promised them damnation if they did not keep Israel holy by disallowing idolatry within their congregation. Likewise, also, damnation was promised if the idolatrous nations were not utterly destroyed or expelled from their midst and their Land because then Israel would be infected by the sin of the Canaanites. God emphatically warned that a tributary covenant (or agreement) with the Canaanites would be “a snare” (Ex. 34:12) BECAUSE the mixed-in-presence of the Canaanites would certainly compel Israel to sin and apostasy. God meant what He said. There was no escaping it. When He said, “lest they make thee sin against Me” (Ex. 23:33), He meant, “LEST THEY MAKE THEE SIN AGAINST ME”! Contrary to God’s promise, the proud in heart think that they cannot or will not, by any situation or circumstance, be made to sin against a God they love! This is high-mindedness. This is unholy and inordinate fearlessness. With staggering contextual significance in Romans Chapter 11, God said, “Be not highminded, but FEAR” (Rom. 11:20). The Old Testament saints who believed that they could not be snared were snared. The Old Testament saints who believed that they could not be made to sin were made to sin. This snare was wrought by the cohabitation of the people in bodily presence, by the nearness of proximity, and by any relational interaction or communion which would be had thereby, according to the scriptures. This very same snare is emphatically warned against in the New Testament (here in metaphorical language), saying, “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6). What God said through the Spirit of Inspiration, God meant! When He said, “a little leaven leaveneth” (1 Cor. 5:6), He meant, “a little leaven leaveneth THE WHOLE LUMP”! In context and with the correct interpretation and application, this means that one sinner turns the whole Church of saints into sinners! That which was Nation-ending in the Old Testament is Church-ending in the New Testament! This was the contextual and historical situation warned against in 1st century Corinth (see 1 Corinthians Chapter 5). Therefore we, like Old Testament Israel, must “put away from among [ourselves] that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:13)! Like Old Testament Israel, we must refuse to be “yoked” in “fellowship”, “communion”, “concord”, “part”, and “agreement” with those whom God commands separation from (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1)! Or else like Old Testament Israel, we will be infected, undone, and doomed!
Understandably so, that which was Nation-ending in the Old Testament is Church-ending in the New Testament. The same sins committed in two different Covenants do result in the same fate. Therefore, likewise, the judgment of God is the same: in description of the Canaanites, it was said, The Promised Land did “vomit” (Lev. 18:25) or “spue” (Lev. 18:26-29) them out, and the Lord said that this would happen to Israel if they mixed-with the Canaanites so as to become like them (according to the promise of damnation). Even so, also, God warned the New Testament Church that He would vomit or “spue” (Rev. 3:16) them out! Those of Israel who are vomited and spewed-out in both Covenants were lukewarm believers, so to speak: those who have learned the way of the heathen (the way of the world) enough to be cooled down from whole-hearted service to God. In this case, unperfected and incomplete holiness is damnable worldliness. Do you know what I mean by “unperfected holiness”?
“There shall not be found among you any one…
Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD Thy God”
– Deut. 18:10, 13
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate…
perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
– 2 Cor. 6:17, 7:1
When surveying the whole congregation of the LORD in the Old Testament, if there was NOT FOUND anyone among them who was a sinner, a Canaanite, an idolater, and the like, then Israel was perfected in holiness (see. Deut. 18:9-14). The New Testament command, “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1), is a New Testament rendition of the Old Testament command, “Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God” (Deut. 18:13). The New Testament command is, “Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing…” (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1), and the Canaanite nations were unclean, idolatrous, and wicked beyond recovery. Therefore to “be perfect” in Deuteronomy 18:13 was, in context, to be perfected in holiness and separateness. It is certain that Paul had Deuteronomy 18:10 & 13 in his mind as he was writing 2 Corinthians 7:1, under inspiration.
So also and yet again, the writer of Hebrews makes an exact parallel. If an Israelite departed from faith in the LORD – being turned unto sin and idolatry (see Deut. 29:16-18) – while abiding among the congregation of the LORD nevertheless, his presence among them was said to be “a root that beareth gall and wormwood” (Deut. 29:18). Gall and wormwood are archaic words for poison. These backsliders were called roots of poison in God’s garden! Therefore they were roots which were doomed to be uprooted and eradicated from among the people of Israel (see Deut. 29:20). Speaking of this, Moses said, “The LORD will not spare him [the backslidden Israelite turned into a root of poison], but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this Book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven” (Deut. 29:20). With staggering clarity and unison, the writer of Hebrews warned New Testament saints likewise. The degeneration which took place within the backsliding saints of the Old Testament was quoted and applied in the New Testament.
“lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood” – Deut. 29:18
“lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” – Heb. 12:15
While the writer of Hebrews is expounding the need for personal holiness, saying, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”, he points the reader to behold the potential end of a man who fails to follow the command of holiness. The writer of Hebrews wrote in full, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Heb. 12:14-15). The potential fate that was warned against was called, “failing the grace of God”, doctrinally speaking, and this resulted in a man becoming a poisonous root, metaphorically speaking. All of this happened through a faith-failure: a failure to “look diligently” at Jesus Christ who presently and progressively delivers the saints from the ever-present battle against sin and unholiness (see Heb. 12:1-2 & 15). Therefore upon this failure and fall the degeneration took place: the saint became an unholy, defiling, and poisonous root which must be uprooted and eradicated from among God’s holy people, The Church. As we can see, those who don’t follow holiness must be eradicated from a holy people.
When Israel, because of these snares, became as vomited-out-poison in the mouth of God, the Lord described the severity of their crime as spiritual adultery, fornication, and whoredom or harlotry (Ezek. 23:11, 36:25, Jer. 3:1-10, 13:27). Their “whoredom” was evident in the saying, “We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone” (Ezek. 20:30-32). Israel’s “whoredoms” were “with all their idols”, and with these “she defiled herself” (Ezek. 23:7). Israel had become “corrupt in her inordinate love” with idolatry (Ezek. 23:11). With the aid of confrontational and shocking imagery, God decried Israel’s “bed of love”. God said, “And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them. So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then My mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister” (Ezek. 23:17-18). This is because the LORD was a betrayed Husband unto Israel, with jealously enraged. God said, “I will set my jealousy against thee” (Ezek. 23:25). “I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with her idols” (Ezek. 23:30).
Oh, my reader! New Testament saints might acknowledge the enragement of jealously in God on behalf of idolatry, but Israel never believed they would reach such a stage of degeneracy and fallenness from what they once were. They were “a noble vine” and a “wholly right seed” (Jer. 2:21), God said. Israel was once “holiness unto the LORD” and full of love toward God (Jer. 2:2-3). God said, “Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour” (Isa. 63:8). This was when Israel was all-saved and idolatry-free, as it was written: “So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him” (Deut. 32:12). What Israel never believed could happen, happened! What they disbelieved they could become, they became! And what Old Testament Israel became, the New Testament saints can become! Consider the following parallel carefully, my reader. It was written,
"And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face…They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened…there is none among them that calleth unto me (1 Cor. 5:2). Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not (1 Cor. 5:6). And the pride (1 Cor. 5:2) of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this." (Hosea 7:2, 4, 7-10)
"And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you… Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:" (1 Corinthians 5:2, 6-7)
If Israel would have simply obeyed the voice of God and destroyed all the nations of the Promised Land, they would have persevered. Instead, God said, “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people”. This mixture is, in other words, a mingling among the heathen (see Ps. 106:35). This inordinate mixture (holy-with-unholy) hindered Israel from finding “strength” to obey God in perseverance, and, thus, their heart was turned away from the Lord. Surely the scriptures are repetitious on this matter for a reason, my reader! Why did Israel become so terribly wicked? Why did she degenerate? Because they did not kill and destroy what God said to mortify, they did not separate from those whom God said, “be ye separate”, and thus they became mixed and mingled to their own destruction and death. If Israel, who was a “wholly right seed”, committed whoredom and adulteries through mixing with the heathen… can New Testament saints expect anything different? Can we expect that we will never be leavened no matter what the mixture (1 Cor. 5)? Can we expect that we will never become adulterers (James 4:4)? Can we expect to be received by God no matter the uncleanness, the unperfected holiness, when all necessary separation is lost (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1)? We would be proud to think it so, as Old Testament Israel and 1st century Corinth were proud (Hos. 7:10, 1 Cor. 5:2)! I marvel if we will ever come to know what Old Testament Israel and 1st century Corinth knew not (Hos. 7:9, 1 Cor. 5:6). We live in a generation of saints who are high-minded and fearless, who think they can never fall (Rom. 11:20-22). Decrying this pride, God said, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. WHEREFORE let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:11-12).
They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions." (Psalm 106:34-39)
The Lord said to Israel, “I am married unto you” (Jer. 3:14), but they did not repent of their adulteries. God’s marriage would not be ended with a divorce even though He did give His wife “a bill of divorce” (Jer. 3:8) via temporary judgment. God promised to redeem Israel in the last days (Jer. 3:14). As the virgin expression of the New Testament Bride does tarry from the holy beautification necessary for marriage with the Bridegroom, I marvel at the rampant adulteries committed! We are altogether ignorant and proud, unknowing that Israel stands as an example to the saints of the Last Days (1 Cor. 10:11-12)! God divorced Israel for adulteries, my reader. “Whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I HAD PUT HER AWAY”, God said (Jer. 3:8). Do you think that no such thing can happen to you, dear saint of God? Dear backslider of Israel? “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4)? It is adultery, my reader, and only God’s people (who are married to God via the Covenant of salvation) are able to commit adultery against the LORD. Heathen sinners cannot commit adultery, only saints can. God’s jealousy that burned in the Old Testament is still alive in the New Testament (see “envy” in James 4:5), my reader, and so is the Divine-right of power to divorce. The long road to this final rejection point starts with “a little leaven” (1 Cor. 5:6).
New Testament Promises of Salvation
· “14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 [see Deut. 7:1-16, 18:9-14]
· “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good word.” – 2 Tim. 3:21 [see 1 Cor. 3:16-18]
· “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2 [see John 7:16-17]
New Testament Promises of Damnation
· “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”–1Cor. 15:33 [see 2 Pet. 2:18-21]
· "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you… Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven,that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." - 1 Corinthians 5:2, 6-8 [see Exodus 12]
· “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”- Gal. 5:9 [Matt. 16:6-12, Mark 8:15, Lk. 12:1]
· “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant… Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” – 1 Cor. 10:1-12 [see Jude 3-4]
· “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the Living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” – Heb. 3:13 [see Heb. 10:24-29]
The City of Jerusalem
This City of Jerusalem was the Empire City of the Kingdom of God, therefore it was called “the City of our God” (Ps. 48:1), “the City of the Great King” (Ps. 48:2), and “the City of the LORD of hosts” (Ps. 48:8). What a glory! Dear reader, do you understand what this means?
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the City of our God, in the Mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the City of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah. We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple. According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness. Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments. Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” – Psalm 48:1-14
Aye, my reader, let us behold the wonder of The City of Jerusalem! In so many words the psalmist declared, THE LORD IS THERE! And because the LORD was there, sinners were not! The people meekly bid the Lord to abide among them, saying, “O when wilt Thou come unto me” (Ps. 101:2), but by what appeal and on what merit would they make such a request? Only certain environments are fit for Kings and Dignities on earth, and how much more for God Himself, The KING of Kings? The people of Israel appealed to and invited God to abide among them by preparing the environment in which The Dignitary would potentially grace with His Presence. In preparation for this, for instance, the people of Israel exercised a firm and unwavering hand of “judgment” within the Land and City of Jerusalem. Judgment prepares the scenery for The Judge. Think of it, my reader. How do you make a sin-hating God feel welcome? King David lived-out the answer with his life and songs (see Psalm 101:1-8). David said, “I will early destroy all the wicked of the Land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the City of the LORD” (Psalm 101:8). Upon this accomplishment David was emboldened to make the appeal to God, “O when wilt Thou come unto me” (Ps. 101:2).
To understand and agree with biblical judgment, one must agree with the Personality of God. A sin-hating, sin-stopping, sinner-killing God was welcomed by saintly people who were separated and sold-out to God. In the language of their prayers, you will hear, “Yea, in the way of Thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy Name, and to the remembrance of Thee” (Isa. 26:8). In the charisma of their songs as well, the people sang, “Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of Thy judgments” (Ps. 48:11). These people loved God’s sinner-killing judgments! …does that amaze you? Even in the New Testament, God does not save a sinner unless he can kill the sinner (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:2-6)! The God of the Old Testament IS the God of the New Testament, my reader – LITERALLY SPEAKING – therefore He, in the same holy and unapproachable Personality, beckons the otherwise condemned Gentile humanity into everlasting life by a bloody and cruel execution device --- The Cross! A sin-killing and self-crucifying Cross does not make sense to most, especially to those who don’t want any freedom from themselves! Those who love their own way of life know nothing of The Gospel (“For the preaching of The Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” – 1 Cor. 1:18). Furthermore, also, let it be known and understood: anyone who is happy to dwell among sinners will be miserable among the company of Heaven; anyone who wants to cohabitate with sinners does hate the habitation of Heaven; and anyone who desires a City to be judgment-free will spend a God-less eternity!
Just as Heaven is, The City of Jerusalem was patterned. Hallelujah! Therefore the populous of them both is rebel-free, according to scripture. The King of Israel said, “I will early destroy all the wicked of Land; that I may cut off all the wicked doers from the City of the LORD” (Ps. 101:8). All the citizens of Israel shouted in agreement with their King because in this City, within these Gates, the people were commanded to walk in a certain code from whence came peace and truth in the Presence of God, in Whom they dwelt. “Execute the judgment of truth and peace in your Gates” (Zech. 8:16-19), God Almighty said. In certain times of history when such judgments were successfully accomplished to the perfection of holiness, the entire world staggered to behold Jerusalem beautified in holiness! There was nothing on earth like it, no, not in all the world! According to God’s promise, it was written,
“The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in His ways. And ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE EARTH SHALL SEE that thou art called by the Name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.” – Deut. 28:9-10
Oh, my reader! Can you imagine it? Israel was an astonishment to the whole world. As if the world were seated in galleries round-about The City of Jerusalem, it was written, “The Kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the Gates of Jerusalem” (Lam. 4:12)! This is a staggering claim and a staggering fact! The City was a holy place which was chosen, defended, and made unconquerable by GOD HIMSELF, and the entire world marveled! A sanctified, separated, and unstoppable City of Jerusalem was, obviously, the signet of salvation adored by the world; but, nevertheless, a defiled, mixed, and invaded City of Jerusalem was the signet of damnation and infamy. Because of this, damnation was lamented in these terms: “O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy Temple they have defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps” (Ps. 79:1). Do you understand why, my reader? Do you agree? That which was forbidden to happen, transpired, when the holy God of Israel was offended. That which no King or people would have believed, came to pass. Shockingly, “the adversary and the enemy” entered into the very “Gates of Jerusalem” (Lam. 4:12)!
With all scripture heretofore considered, applied, and fulfilled, the inhabitants of The City of Jerusalem were not “the wicked doers” (Ps. 101:8), “the adversary”, or “the enemy” (Lam. 4:12). By no means! On the contrary, every citizen was a saint, every sinner they did morally hate (Deut. 23:1-8), and judgment was the filter of the populous who passed through the Gates! This City was the place in which “the heathen” would NOT come except in the case when the unholy sons of Adam broke through the boundaries which God had ordained by Law that none should trespass (Ps. 79:1, Isa. 26:1-2, 60:18-19). The walls and Gates of this City were not meant as mere barricades of defense in times of war, oh no! They were meant to be of old what they will finally become in the Consummation: The Walls and Gates of Salvation (Isa. 26:1-2, 60:18-19, Rev. 21:22-22:5, 22:11-15).
“Mount Zion which He loved” – Ps. 78:68
Approaching the scenery of salvation from the pages of biblical history, the psalmist said: “Moreover He refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion which He loved. And He built His Sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which He hath established for ever” (Ps. 78:67-68). My reader, do you know what this means? The arena of salvation is, namely, the arena where God’s presence abides. Therefore the psalmist declared the wonder that Israel is the Land, Jerusalem is the City, and Zion is the Mountain of GOD’s dwelling place!
Israelites, who began as “nourished and brought up children” (Isa. 1:2) before the Lord, and, The City of Jerusalem, which began as a “faithful city” which was “full of judgment” so that “righteousness lodged in it” (Isa. 1:21), all were likened to be as pure “silver” and aged “wine” without mixture (Isa. 1:22). Nevertheless, eventually, her purity and without mixture blessedness was defiled! …and how? She dwelt in harmony and unity with what the Law forbade as inordinate. She continued in this estate without separation until finally, she was without salvation: she was “overthrown by strangers” (Isa. 1:7). Israel was born alienated and separated from all other peoples, but when she mixed with strangers she was overthrown like they were overthrown (“as Sodom”-Isa. 1:9). Therefore Israel, in this estate, was an insult and profanation to “appear before [God]” and “tread [His] courts”, the Lord said (Isa. 1:12). Sins which were by proximity, before the Lord, were such that are “against the LORD to provoke the eyes of His glory” (Isa. 3:8). As a consequence, a cry of justice rose up to the heaven eliciting a baptism of fire, and this is, namely, God’s FIRE: a furnace of purification to un-mix the holy from the unholy. It is ordained of God that He act in judgment to separate the unholy mixture by judgments which are comparable to immersing Israel into the flames of a furnace – therein to remain until “the transgressors” and “the sinners” from among His people were utterly “consumed” (Isa. 1:21-31). By this FIRE, God said, “I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin”, so that henceforth, by God’s glorious grace, Israel shall again be called, “The City of righteousness, the faithful City” (Isa. 1:25-26). Let us therefore take note, my reader: This salvation cometh by “judgment” (Isa. 1:27), “when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (Isa. 4:4)! Because of this “burning” which “none shall quench” (Isa. 2:31), and because the Lord “standeth to judge the people”, and because He entereth “into judgment” with them (Isa. 3:13-14), “the Mountain of the LORD’s House” (Isa. 2:2) is “called holy” yet again, and everyone living therein did abide likewise (Isa. 4:3)! Finally, then, at this time, “Mount Zion” and “her assemblies” were acceptable to the Lord (Isa. 4:5), when before they were a troublesome and unbearable weariness (Isa. 1:12-16).
“Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.” – Isaiah 1:27-28
Everyone in the city “shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem” (Isa. 4:3)… but how shall the Lord accomplish this thing? It is accomplished “by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (Isa. 4:4). Such a course as this, just described, is a snap shot of redemptive judgment wrought throughout the ages. What is seen of Israel here, in Isaiah chapters 1-4, is a concentrated rehearsal of what is said by God and done in Israel throughout the ages. This is because Israel is by essence and birth, “a faithful City” (Isa. 1:21), the Land wherein dwells “the Mountain of the LORD’s House” (Isa. 2:2), “Mount Zion” and “her assemblies” (Isa. 4:5), the places and persons which are to be all-holy because they, unlike all others places and persons, “appear before [God]” and “tread [His] courts” (Isa. 1:12). Therefore let us understand how, by characteristic, when Israel existed in this estate, she was arrayed in the garments of salvation. Therefore, by necessity, when Israel existed in declension from this estate, she was clothed in the unclean-rags of damnation. Thus by acts of judgment comparable to FIRE, separation restores salvation! “He that putteth his trust in Me shall possess the Land, and shall inherit My Holy Mountain” (Isa. 57:13), God said. What a glorious fire! God set forth His annihilating hand to destroy “the transgressors” from among His people (Isa. 1:27-28, 57:12-16) so that, afterward (after the Captivities), yet again, those with saving faith (exclusively) would inherit The Holy Mountain of God.
“Who shall ascend into The Hill of the LORD?” – Psalm 24:3
“Who shall dwell in Thy Holy Hill?” – Psalm 15:1
Of Mount Zion it is written, “WHO shall ascend” and “WHO shall dwell”… but why? For the same reason God said, “WHO is this that engaged his heart to approach unto Me? saith the LORD” (Jer. 30:21). My reader, tremble at this: “the LORD dwelleth in Zion” (Joel. 2:17, 21, Isa. 8:18)! This Hill is not just any hill, and the people who ascend and dwell upon this Hill are not just any people. This Hill is, “The Hill of the LORD” (Ps. 24:3). These people are the holy, beloved, and regenerated “children of Zion” (Joel. 2:23, Ps. 149:2)! Be astonished and wonder at the searching question, “WHO”, my reader, because God is talking to YOU! Can you answer God? Mount Zion is set-apart by God and consecrated above and beyond the un-touchable holiness of Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:9-24), my reader (Heb. 12:18-29). Do you understand the terror of this (Heb. 12:18-21, 25, 28-29)? There is a greater holiness and a more terrifying terribleness to approach Mount Zion! This is because the God of the New Testament is still “A Consuming Fire” (Heb. 12:29), my reader! The instruction of God is to tremble at the fact, “everyone in Zion appeareth BEFORE GOD” (Ps. 84:7)! Zion is for a Greater Covenant, “the Mountain of His holiness” (Ps. 48:1), and the people ascending thereto are the people of His holiness. When looking upon Zion, God said, “My holy Mountain” (Isa. 11:9, 57:13, Joel 3:17), and when looking upon the people of Zion, God said, “My people” (Jer. 30:22). Are you one of them?
“Who shall ascend into The Hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His Holy Place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.” – Psalm 24:3-6
“LORD, who shall abide in Thy Tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy Holy Hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that DOETH THESE THINGS shall never be moved.” – Psalm 15:1-5
Of the blessedness of these people, it was written, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). The revelatory sight of God upon Zion exceeds that of Sinai, of which it was written, “they saw God” (Ex. 24:10-11). Even to “ascend” The Hill and survive it (Ps. 24:1), and furthermore to “dwell” or “abide” upon it (Ps. 15:1), requires a lifestyle of narrowness, hallowedness, and cleanness (as described above in Psalm 24:3-6 & 15:1-5). How happy are such men, my reader! The truth of this only the children of Zion know. Only the children of Zion know the ocean-deep enjoyment of God, the happiness of holiness! It was written for good reason, “children of Zion… rejoice in the LORD your God” (Joel 2:23, Ps. 149:2)!
With all scripture heretofore considered, applied, and fulfilled, the inhabitants and visitors of Mount Zion were exclusively: “He that putteth his trust in Me” (Isa. 57:13), he that has “clean hands” and a “pure heart” who has not “lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sword deceitfully” (Ps. 23:4), He that “walketh uprightly” and “worketh righteousness” (Ps. 15:2), that “speaketh truth in his heart” and “backbiteth not with his tongue” (Ps. 15:2-3), He that does not do “evil to his neighbour” (Ps. 15:3), He who hates “a vile person” and “honoureth them that fear the LORD” (Ps. 15:4), “He that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not” (Ps. 15:4), “He that putteth not out his money to usury nor taketh reward against the innocent” (Ps. 15:5), even these, and none other, shall “receive the blessing from the LORD” which is “righteousness from the God” (Ps. 24:5), which is, furthermore, the privilege to circuit Mount Zion and appear before God Almighty! Therefore is Zion remembered by God to be, metaphorically speaking, pure silver and un-mixed wine (Isa. 1:22). This means that The City of Jerusalem and Mount Zion was a “faithful City” which was “full of judgment” so that “righteousness lodged in it” (Isa. 1:21), before the silver became dross and the wine was mixed with water (Isa. 1:22), and after Mount Zion was defiled, God said: “I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin” (Isa. 1:25-26). This metaphorical purging and taking away is, in other words, the destruction of “the transgressors”, “the sinners”, and “they that forsake the LORD” (Isa. 1:27-28).