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“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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Three examples of using holy things for common use

Three examples will prove instructive in their results from not cooperating with God in His work of advancing His kingdom and fighting the devil and his earthly organizations when that work is the Lord’s and that battle belongs to Him and Him alone.

1) Israel had fallen far away again after Samson had subdued the Philistines and now the sea peoples arose to destroy the people of God. Due to apathy and outright mockery for the God who had delivered them from Egyptian bondage and the contempt of the services of His covenant by the wicked priests Hophni and Phineas’, the people lost faith and turned away from the sacrificial service given by the Lord God in Eden and expanded into a beautiful system by Moses. “Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord; men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” (1Sam. 2:17).

Yet, despite this departure from God, when the armies of Philistia amassed against the Hebrews, and Israel’s men gathered to defend themselves, Hophni and Phineas, brought forth the ark of the covenant to go with the Israelite armies. God could not fight for Israel because their hearts were not right and because it was wrong to use the holy thing in the war against God’s enemy. If God would fight, He would use common items to shed blood, not sanctified ones. For God is primarily a God of mercy and His holy things must ever remain without association with death and human blood. Thus, the priests of the Lord fell in the battle and the ark was taken, at a total loss to Israel.

2) King Josiah had been very faithful to all the light that he had. Even without instruction from the scriptures, he feared the testimony of Jeremiah and moved quickly to institute reforms among the nation, overthrowing the pagan religion that had destroyed Israel’s knowledge of the true God and faith in Him, without which it is impossible to please Him.

The Assyrian empire was waning, but Babylon was rising in power and Jeremiah warned Josiah that soon-coming Babylonian destruction for nationwide apostasy would sweep away Israel in divine retribution. Josiah had made great progress in laying a foundation for the repentance and conversion of many hearts, when Pharaoh Necho appeared to pass through Israel on his way to fight against Assyria in Carchemish.

Josiah, without seeking counsel of Jeremiah or directly from the Lord, attempted to fight against the king of Egypt who also wore the hat of the high priest of Egyptian paganism. “But he sent ambassadors to [Josiah], saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that He destroy thee not.” (2Chron. 35:21).

The warning off of Pharaoh did nothing to reverse Josiah’s mindset and operating on his own human wisdom. “The Lord is…longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish.” (2Pet. 3:9). Nevertheless, the king’s insistence to fight without God’s direction and blessing resulted in his death.

“And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.” (2Chron. 35:23,24).

This was a huge loss for the nation which had just begun to take hold of his reforms and to accept their importance. The love of God had begun to spring up again as a new thing, and their attachment of Josiah was deep and strong. His passing would also affect the reformation of Judah in a negative way, now that no champion for holiness was available to stand in his place. His sons had no interest in the Lord God and His righteous laws. The former apostasy prior to King Josiah rapidly returned and the people quickly regressed into the previous pagan practices. Jeremiah’s warnings and instruction from the Lord were rejected. Soon afterward Babylon destroyed the nation.

3) The preaching of Martin Luther made haste to Switzerland where a humble and holy priest accepted the reformed faith and ran with it. Swiss Ulrich Zwingli attained such a hold on the truth of the Bible and his mind so penetrated the gospel that his grasp of God’s word exceeded Luther’s. Zwingli and his assistant Oecolampadius formed a tight bond that the papist priests could not gainsay even as Luther and Melanchthon formed an unassailable team in Germany.

But Zwingli and Oecolampadius proved themselves superior to Luther and Melanchthon when the two teams met to join forces against Rome. Every doctrine was discussed and harmony reigned between them as the structures binding them to the Romish church fell away one by one and their joyful deliverance from the shackles of Satan’s errors loomed on the horizon like the bright, dawning sun.

But just as full accord was about to be reached, the subject of the Mass and the dogma of Transubstantiation was dealt with. An impasse came as Zwingli sought with all his heart and soul to cut off the corrupting influence of this falsehood from the Reformation he had so loved and hoped in. But Luther’s loyalty to Rome would not budge on the Mass; he refused to leave this sacred cow. So even of the Reformation champion extraordinaire it was true, “Babylon …made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (Rev. 14:8).

So Zwingli went on to fight the full truth alone. Yet, he also unwittingly retained another tradition of Rome, that men should fight bloody wars for God. So he united with the armies of the Swiss Reformation, as their chaplain. He could not remain home, knowing they were fighting without his encouragement. The army would never have allowed him to take part in the battles, had they but heeded the counsel of scripture, “Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.” (2Sam. 21:17).

But father Zwingli went with them, as a holy protection in a common capacity; and he was slain on the battlefield. Thus, Switzerland lost their great champion for the truth; and Protestantism lost its chief of the office of internal affairs. They lost a heart for God like none other on the earth, and a man whose mind was keen and discerning, who loved the people and the cause of God. Oecolampadius was unable to carry the dangerous work of God, being alone, especially under the stress of losing his close friend and associate. The Protestant work and influence in Switzerland suffered, and eventually Rome regained every step of progress Zwingli had accomplished by faith and prayer and study of the Bible.

What a loss! Such a beautiful and strong character sacrificed unnecessarily to practices contrary to God’s will! And what a faltering of the cause of God as His Reformation work suffered its ultimate demise! “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” (2Sam. 1:27).

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