"THE PROMISED LAND?"--MO February 4, 1971 NO.46--GP
(Acts 13:4---written in Cyprus)
© Copyrighted February 1971 by The Children of God
P.O. Box 31, London WC2e 7LX, England or Box 3141, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936
1. WILL YOU PLEASE READ TOGETHER THE SCRIPTURE ROMANS 1:1-12 at this point by way of introduction to our explanation of the Scripture above? Thank you! God bless you! We love you and miss you greatly, but we know we are in His will in writing unto you these epistles of the new Paul, and studies of the writings of the old. PTL!
2. IT IS RATHER SIGNIFICANT, AS WE PASS THROUGH THIS TRANSFORMATION FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW, from a somewhat Old Testament stage to a genuine New Testament era in our own personal experience and doctrine, that we should also be passing through the same era geographically, as you will notice if you study the Scriptures above, as did the Apostle. This is extremely interesting and important, also appropriate.
3. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO STUDY WITH US THIS 13TH CHAPTER OF ACTS, let's especially note some particularly relevant passages regarding this missionary journey as it relates to us personally, and to our recent revelations.
4. YOU WILL NOTE THAT IN THIS INTRODUCTION TO THE SUBJECT IN V.16, PAUL RECOUNTS IN BRIEF THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF ISRAEL to explain what has happened, and this new transformation of his religion and doctrine, 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 12:2) Amen.
5. NOW READ VERSE 26 OF ACTS 13 ON THROUGH VERSE 33. Notice that he says, "that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled that same unto us their children," and that it was fulfilled in Jesus, and only in Jesus, as the 39th verse brings out clearly: "By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore!"
6. AND DON'T FORGET THAT WORD "WHOSOEVER" IN VERSE 26. Note also his condemnation of the unbelieving Jews in verse 41, and how soon they must have left the synagogue, verse 42, and only the Gentiles remained to beg for more! Apparently the church members were self-satisfied and disinterested, and only the underdogs were hungry for the Word, like this hippie generation of today, the offscouring of society, the lowest of the low, riffraff in the eyes of the church! Thank God, however, that apparently some of the church members did receive it, according to verse 43, but this new doctrine caused such an uproar, that everybody turned out next Sabbath to hear it. Obviously the Jewish church hadn't had that big a crowd in a long time, so "they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting, blaspheming" as they do to this very day!
7. SO THE APOSTLES "WAXED BOLD, and said, it was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for Salvation unto the ends of the earth!"
8. THIS MADE THE POOR GENTILES VERY HAPPY, and "they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the Word of the Lord was published throughout all the region," which shows they made very good witnesses!
9. BUT ALSO NOTICE THE CHRONOLOGICAL SEQUENCE OF THE GOSPEL IN VERSE 46--that it was to be preached first to the Jews, or the Jewish church of that day, the supposed worshippers of the true God, to give them first chance to hear it, but also to reject it, which, evidently, a good many of them promptly did, stirring up a lot of trouble for the Apostles, verse 50, so that they had to leave town. Result: They split, and took off for other parts, when the heat got a little too heavy! But they weren't sad about it; in fact, they were actually glad: "filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost"! PTL? Amen. End of story--or, perhaps we should say beginning of a new era of history, and a new phase in a revelation of the truth of God--the so-called "time of the Gentiles," or, as some call it, the Church age--today!
10. THIS DID NOT MEAN THAT GOD WAS ENTIRELY THROUGH WITH THE JEWS. It simply meant what He'd been trying to show them all along, and what they themselves proved continually, was, that they were absolutely no better than anyone else, without God, and they could only be saved by His Grace through Faith--they had to come to God the same way as everybody else, just like the Gentile dogs," the despised hippie generation of their day.
11. SALVATION HAD ALWAYS BEEN OPEN to these Greeks and other Gentiles throughout all the Old Testament Era, as you will find indications of in both the Law and history of the Old Testament, and as you can see by verse 43, many of them were present in the Synagogue on that day that Paul and Barnabas split the church! These Gentile believers amongst the Jews were called "proselytes," which is proof that the Kingdom was always open to them that believed, regardless of nationality or racial background, that these things had absolutely nothing to do with their Salvation, and that there had been no change at all in God's plan to save "whosoever among you feareth God"--verse 26! Hallelujah!
12. NOTHING HAD CHANGED IN THE EYES OR THE MIND OF GOD! He had only further opened the eyes of believers to the truth that "God is no respecter of persons", "and the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." So far the predominantly Jewish church hadn't done a very good job of witnessing to the world! They had pretty well confined the goodness of the Gospel of God to their own little clique and nation, and He was now fed up with their failures!
13. THEY WERE LIKE THE SELFISH CHURCH OF TODAY WHOM GOD HAS REJECTED for its perpetual disobediences, and turned to you, His new Bride, the lowly generation of this day, to seek followers who will forsake all and do His will! Hallelujah! PTL! Thank God! You're a modern-day illustration of what God did then in the time of Paul, and what happened to them then, is happening to us today! It's amazing, the parallel! There's a remarkable similarity between the two, even now in our own personal experience! In fact, there are a couple of similar analogies in our personal history! You have to keep dropping out, and as already revealed to you, "HIS-story" is just one big long series of dropouts to keep things fresh and moving in God's great Plan for man, for you and me, as already shown you in other lessons!
14. IN MY OWN LIFE, MY OWN MOTHER AND FATHER HAD TO DROP OUT of their own formal denominations and join a rebel Gospel group who had the truth for their day. Then when that group became cold and hard, old and unmoving, I and my little family dropped out of it to go on the road to preach the truth to whoever would listen! We found a lot of the churches would listen, as they did to Paul, but as in his day, they too would not obey! Therefore, we dropped out of the churches entirely, declaring war on their hypocrisy, pronouncing the judgments of God against them, as Paul did, and turned to you "Gentiles," the most despised generation of this day, who have gladly received it and obeyed to the glory of God! Hallelujah! PTL! Amen!
15. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! WE OURSELVES HAVE NOW TRIED TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK and go again to the Jews, after so long a time, but found only the lowly Arabs were willing to listen! The Jews have not changed! Their leaders are harder than ever, and have made it even more difficult, if not impossible, to preach the Gospel amongst them, so that Israel has become almost a closed nation to the Gospel, as we are showing you in other lessons! Any nation who forbids the preaching of the Gospel to its younger generation and closes its doors to new missionaries, freezing the status quo to the formalised, organised churches who are little or no different from themselves,--this nation is shutting out the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as best it can. And since its government is officially Jewish, it is therefore, officially anti-Christ, and a Christian is more or less an enemy of the state in effect, and this is really what it has boiled down to in Israel! Only Jews can be first-class citizens. The rest--Christians, Arabs, and others--are a discriminated minority, and on the bottom of the totem pole of Israeli society, living in fear and segregation.
16. THE FULL STORY AND EXPLANATION OF THE SITUATION WE HAVE EXPLAINED ALREADY, and are explaining in other lessons yet to come! Suffice it to say for now, that we, like Paul, on the expiration of our visa, have had to leave Israel, and turn to the Greeks, literally as well as spiritually, geographically, as well as historically! We have again dropped out! We were warned of this from the beginning, even in prophecies before we left, which were confirmed in our experiences there! Some are yet unfulfilled, and either had a spiritual meaning, as applied to you, His children, His spiritual Israel, His New Jerusalem, His Promised Land, the Kingdom of God, or are yet to be fulfilled at a later date, during the very last days or the Millennium.
17. LUKE 17:20,21: "AND WHEN HE WAS DEMANDED OF THE PHARISEES, WHEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD SHOULD COME, He answered them and said, the Kingdom of God cometh not by observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. "Those of you looking for the Kingdom of God on earth will only find it within your own hearts and fellowship of the saints, the Children of God--Heaven on earth! Any looking for any more literal Promised Land, or Kingdom of Heaven on earth, will have to await the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ! I didn't find it in Israel, I'll assure you! If anything, it was a poor substitute, a counterfeit, and a delusion! It's no refuge for Christians, that's for sure, and we had better thank God for what He has given us, a more wonderful and glorious Kingdom of the Children of God than would be at all possible under the present Israeli regime.
18. WE EVEN HAVE LITTLE OR NOTHING TO LEARN FROM THEIR KIBBUTZIM, other than that which we already know, for they, themselves, are backsliding in this respect! Kibbutz life is fast fading because of the selfishness of the people, with growing dissension because of the lack of love, and an increasing desire for selfish privacy and personal gain. So that the most popular form of cooperative society in Israel today is no longer the kibbutz, but the semi-cooperative moshav, where everybody lives his own life, in his own private house, and does his own thing, with his own little family, with very little fellowship or association with the others, and only a quasi-cooperation in material business, so we found Israel tending more and more toward typical American living, desire for the so-called "better things of life," and the "good" things that American capital is helping them to attain!
19. IN FACT, ISRAEL REMINDS US MORE OF AMERICA THAN ANY COUNTRY we visited with all its busy materialism, its riches, power, and armaments, its noisy traffic and air pollution, and its increasingly materialistically-minded younger generation. The dream of nearly every Israeli we met was not an idealistic and spiritual Israel, but another little America on wheels, and getting there fast, sad to say!
20. IF WE'VE DESTROYED YOUR "CANDY-LAND" CONCEPTION OF THE PROVERBIAL "HOLY LAND" WE'RE NOT SORRY, because delusion must be destroyed to build a firm foundation of truth! We have left behind us now the shattered materialistic dream of a literal Promised Land and are moving on into the heavenly reality of the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men!
21. SO WE HAVE BEEN LIBERATED FROM THE NARROW CONFINES OF CARNAL HUMAN LIMITATIONS, into the glorious freedoms of the realm of the reality of His Spirit! Our vision has expanded beyond national boundaries of human origin, to that of His worldwide universal Church; from tiny isolated revolts to widespread worldwide warfare in the Spirit; from insignificant earthly goals to the interplanetary Heavenly Kingdom!--From an earthly Sinai which cannot be touched to the New and Heavenly Jerusalem built of living stones one by one; from the superstitious darkness of traditionalism into the glorious light of His Love! We are the Children of God! We have a Heaven on earth in our hearts, the Promised Land of His Kingdom within! Let's spread its glories all abroad in the hearts of all children of men! Thank God we have been freed from the bondage of Hagar, and are finally appreciating our true importance as the Bride of Christ, the one and only Israel of God!
22. THIS TRUTH IS SO TREMENDOUS, IT'S ALMOST BEYOND COMPREHENSION! We are stunned with the stupendous magnitude of the Spirit, so far beyond finite minds of men! We are shooting for the stars, and beyond! Why piddle around with puddles, when there are oceans to swim in, and all space to revel in! At last we're free, thank God! It's a terrific transition, like being born, or born again, a terrible shock, a climactic change, to be suddenly catapulted from the comfortable cradle of a dogmatic doctrine into the full stature of the spiritual man, but it's worth it all! For we enter a new world of freedom from the shackles of the flesh, into the vast and boundless universe of the Spirit! We are free, free, free! Thank God! Hallelujah--free to do His will, free to follow Him withersoever He leadeth, to abandon the boundaries of man for the boundless abundance of God! Hallelujah, we're free! Suddenly I feel liberated, as from an old burden, an ancient bondage, a binding tradition, a childish, earthly fancy of a worldly dreamland, into the fullness of the stature of God, with my head above the clouds! I have come out into the sunlight! Earth recedes, Heaven opens! It feels like my coronation day, a sudden recognition of what it means to be a son of God in all its fullness, instead of a mere child of fleshly Abraham, with only an earthly home!
23. I JUST CAN'T GET OVER IT! IT'S SO WIDENED MY HORIZONS, I CAN'T EVEN SEE WHAT'S BEYOND! There's no stopping us now with some earthly destination! Heaven is my home! Earth is my footstool, a mere stepping stone to all the glories of God! "If My Kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, but My Kingdom is not of this world." This world is not my home, I'm just passin' through!
24. "THEREFORE SPRANG THERE EVEN OF ONE, AND HIM AS GOOD AS DEAD, SO MANY AS THE STARS of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an Heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city ... a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God!"
25. FOR "BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN HE WAS CALLED to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God!" Even though he got to the earthly promised land, he never found the place he was looking for, because it wasn't there! Israel's not where it's at! Israel couldn't even begin to hold it! If you want to read a description of the real thing, you'll have to turn to the Grand Finale of the Bible, Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22, the thunderous climax of the symphony of God, a place of such resplendent beauty that it lifts you into the heavenlies, beyond the imagination of man!
26. "BUT AS IT IS WRITTEN, EYE HATH NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit." Hallelujah! Praise His Name! Amen!
27. HOW COULD WE HAVE BEEN SO CARNAL as to have longed for an earthly home? How could we have been so fleshly as to have desired an earthly rest from our labours? How could we have been so limited in our spiritual horizons as to have hoped for some earthly fulfillment! How could we have been so blind as not to have known that there was no exception to His admonition: "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth!" "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven!" ... "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal!" Amen!
28. LIKE ABRAHAM, WE WERE DISAPPOINTED IN ISRAEL! It's not what we're looking for! "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Hallelujah!
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