“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The unknown God

“For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you.” (Acts 17:23). It wasn’t only the Greeks who had an unknown God. The Jews had one, as well.

“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (Jn. 1:10,11). “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (vs. 5).

This was a sorrowful statement, calamitous. It meant the sad woes of the loss of the one Person who was good and worthy to be loved. The Lord, who brought Israel out of slavery because He loved them, went unrecognized from the manger to the cross. Him in whom every Jewish song gloried, and on whom every Jewish hope clung, was overlooked.

The Jews expected someone else. “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Isa. 53: 2,3).

Their rejection deeply grieved their God. His woeful tones of their coming desolation came from a broken heart. The day of reckoning was fast approached for them, and, knowing His Father’s terror, He sought to dissuade them away from their evil end. He came to the nation that had been the apple of His eye, the one object of His supreme regard for two thousand years.

“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? [Admah and Zeboim were destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah.] Mine heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together,” was His scripture-filled appeals to the Jews. (Hos. 11:8,9). Their probation was almost finished; Daniel’s seventy week prophecy of final retribution on them hastened on to its sure fulfillment.

How could they miss their Messiah? Did He not give enough evidence to overthrow their preconceptions? Did He correctly and fully present His case before Israel well enough? Could He be chargeable in a subsequent trial by His adversary the devil?

Prophet after prophet rose up and described for us, the jury, the condition of Israel’s character flaws and blatant disregard to the most fundamental principles of truth and mercy. They describe the thievery of the poor by the powerful rich, the lying, the marital infidelity, the idolatry and spiritualism, the murdering. The written word of the prophets have built a seamless case against Israel in God’s eyes. Yet He gave them 600 more years. Now, their God, in person, “came down to see the [apostate religion], which the children of men builded.” (Gen. 11:5). There remained no lawyer to deliver them. It had been pure mercy toward them that they were not destroyed then, while their response was yet fully engaged toward “the daughter of a strange God.” (Mal. 2:11). “They have not known nor understood: for He hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.” (Isa. 44:18). “What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it?” (Isa. 5:4).

They didn’t strive to know Him, therefore He came to them as a thief in the night. (Lk. 13:24,25). Some had strived with God before His appearing. As Gideon hid during the Midian occupation, disillusioned and distraught, and, in faith, complaining to God for the dismal conditions, these forlorn Jews had wrestled with the Holy Spirit with regard to the condition of Roman subjugation, the obvious disfavor of heaven; but they wrestled in a humbled attitude, recognizing that their troubles were well deserved. They had been broken, and would not suffer the punishing wrath as those who would not be humbled, but who would bristle under the Roman yoke until they were ground to powder. (Matt. 21:44).

Thus, the Baptist’s preaching struck a chord of harmony with the hearts of the humbled, and it came as the gracious communication from the God they had offended. And when John pointed to Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, these humbled ones were ready to look into His claim as the Son of God. They were open to the truth, and daily found this new Personality to fulfill exactly what they had heard from John’s expounding of scripture. These fulfilled the scripture which was a time sensitive prophecy, and which Christ could not finish for the whole nation, “I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee.”

But from the very beginning of His work to gradually introduce Himself to His unacquainted nation, the leadership remained prejudiced and made this “Man an offender for a word, and lay[ed] a snare for Him.” (Isa. 29:21). In their minds they twisted His plain statements so that His truths to them, like the seed on the hardened pathway eaten up by the fowls, were dissolved by Satan before the seed of truth and grace could germinate in the hearts and minds of the priests and Pharisees. They could not strive to know Him while they resisted Christ’s every overture. Therefore He remained the unknown God to them.

“I am sought of them that asked not for Me; I am found of them that sought Me not: I said, Behold Me, behold Me, unto a nation that was not called by My name.
I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
A people that provoketh Me to anger continually to My face.” (Isa. 65:1-3).

Is not scripture written for reproof, correction and instruction? What can the church learn from Israel’s failure in history? We have a Savior, as Israel had a Deliverer. Would not it be wise to examine our faith in Him? Should not we be revisiting our conceptions of Him, as the Jews failed to do during the centuries leading up to their Messiah? Can we honestly believe we can safely navigate the way of salvation without rethinking our understanding of the character of Jesus, when we know the way is full of the devil’s sophistries and spells? Is Christ really who we think He is? Might we have subconsciously “married the daughter of a strange god” as Judah had, and now walk down a path far diverted from His true will? (Mal. 2:11).

Are we not afraid of repeating the same devastating experience of ancient Israel in these last fearful days when the hour of His judgment is come? If He must use recourse to scattering the church’s power, as He foretold He would in Daniel 12:7, then we must warrant His punishment. We must be doing just as Israel did, who ended its favored history in total divine disdain. “[Because of] the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Dan. 9:27). To the church He is saying, ‘Thou must be due thy consuming desolation because “because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Lk. 19:44).

If Jesus is not a God of truth and justice because the church will not give Him the authority to command them and expect their obedient fear, from the bottom to the top of the church structure; in short, if the church does not tremble before His word with a contrite spirit, then they are not His. They have left their husband and lain with another god whom they mistakenly believe is their original Master. Their original God is unknown to them.

The church’s unknown God has gone silent since 1915, when His faithful servant finally passed into the grave. Yet, He will make one last appearance before His judgment on the church. The Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit will be full of peace and grace, but unfailingly mingled with the straight testimony of the True Witness.

Watch out, Laodicea. As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens. Be zealous therefore and repent.


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