1 And the word of Yahweh came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith Adonai Yahweh unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
He has just a few more words of condemnation first (1-10), not against the people, but against the wicked rulers who exploited them for their own profit, and simply as an introduction to the promise of a perfectly just, righteous, and loving Ruler to come (23-29)-
"I will set up one shepherd, even My servant David ('THE BELOVED'). And I will make with them a covenant of peace . . . They shall no more be a prey to the heathen . . . And I will raise up for them a plant of renown."
Bro Growcott - Prophecies in the captivity
-The word shepherd is translated from the Hebrew ra'ah which is derived from a root signifying "to pasture, rule, associate with" (as a friend). This is what a true shepherd should do. The term comprehends both civil and ecclesiastical rulers (see Isa. 56:11; Jer. 2:8).
"Woe to the shepherds"-They are indicted because of their failure to look after their charges according to their appointment. See similar "woes" pronounced (Jer. 23:1; Zech. 11:17; Matt. 23:14).
"That do feed themselves"-The word in the Hebrew for "feed" is that used in the same verse for "shepherd." The shepherds shepherded themselves! They were prepared
to sacrifice the flock for themselves, whereas they should have extended their self-sacrificing devotion to the flock, and carefully pastured, or shepherded it.
The Christadelphian Expositor
23 And I will set up one shepherd [ Ro'eh Echad]over them, and he shall feed them [tend them as ro'eh], even my servant David [Avdi Dovid]; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd [Ro'eh].
This restitution of all things pertains to the seventh vial, which embraces "the times of" that "restitution of all things which the Deity hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the days of Moses" (Acts 3:21). Jacob is saved out of his trouble; the yoke of Esau is at length broken from off his neck; and the first dominion, the kingdom, has come to the daughter of Jerusalem (Gen. 27:40; Mic. 4:8). The vindication of the holy is complete.
Now, as the reader may well suppose, this wonderful and mighty operation of Deity becomes an affair of world-wide interest and importance. It will not be a work of peace. The Frog-Dominion has been proclaimed to be peace: l'empire c'est la paix but not so the kingdom proclaimed in the gospel.
This kingdom, in the period of its establishment, is not peace; but war, until it has been broken in pieces and subdued the four beasts of Daniel; and planted itself without a rival in all the earth.
Such an enterprise as this may be planned and prepared, but cannot be executed in secret.
It is therefore testified that "the nations shall see and be confounded at all Israel's might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid Of YAHWEH our Elohim, and shall fear because of thee" (Mic. 7:16).
The testimony of Micah is developed in the forty years of the time of the end immediately preceding the Millennium, as the result of the Seven Thunders, by which, not the earth, but those who corrupt the earth, are destroyed (Rev. 11: 18).
24 And I Yahweh will be their Elohim, and my servant David [Avdi Dovid ] a prince [Nasi] among them; I Yahweh have spoken it.
David will be in the Kingdom when Christ reigns. Will he not "reign with Christ" as all the other saints will? This is so unquestionable that we will not stay to prove it. ...
Well, in what position is David likely to reign with Christ? The twelve apostles are to be heads over the tribes (Matt. xix. 27; Luke xxii. 29): approved brethren of the Gentiles are to have "power over the nations" among whom they have been developed (Rev. ii. 26). Christ is to be "King over all the earth," with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets under him.
What portion more appropriate for David than to be "a prince among them?" By the covenant God made with him his kingdom is to be established "before (or in the presence of) him."
Though Christ, the son of David, is the head, David himself is there, in some ruling capacity - perhaps "king's friend," like Hushai, the Archite, in the typical arrangement of things under David's mortal kingdom-in whatever capacity it will be as "a prince among them," necessarily as conspicuous as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, seeing the covenant of the kingdom was made with him.
The headship of Jesus, his son, will not interfere with this conspicuousness of David in the day of glory, when "on the throne of David and his Kingdom," Jesus shall reign in Mount Zion "before his ancients gloriously," who will reign with him.
That David should mean the Beloved is a beautiful secondary sense, enabling us to realise David in the son as well as the father.
The Christadelphian, Jan 1898
The period of Israel's probation drawing to a close, they will have advanced as far as Egypt on their return to Canaan, as it is written, "They shall return to Egypt" (Hos. 8:13). This is necessary, for it is written also in more senses than one, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." As they are to be gathered from the west, north, and east, they will have gone through the countries by a circuitous route to Egypt. They are to be gathered from Assyria, or the countries of Gogue's dominion; but I have not yet discovered in the word the line of march they are to follow in arriving at Egypt.
But that they are to be assembled there is certain; for it is written, "I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt." This was spoken some two hundred years after the overthrow of Samaria; and it is indisputable that neither Israel nor Judah have been again brought out of Egypt to inhabit their land: the exodus from Egypt is therefore still in the future. But in coming out of Egypt they will have to cross both the Nile and the Red Sea; and although their march thither will have been one of conquest, it will not have been unattended with defeat, because of their own rebelliousness. The hearts of their enemies will be hardened to their own destruction to the last conflict.
The south will still be disposed to "keep back" Israel from their country. Therefore, in leaving Egypt, "Ephraim shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away" (Zech. 10:10,11). The combined forces of Egypt and Assyria shall be broken as the hosts of Pharoah, and the horse and the rider be drowned in the depths of the sea. For "the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make Israel go over dry shod. . . . like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt" (Isaiah 11:15,16).
They will now sing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb, who will have given them such a mighty deliverance from all their enemies. Being now "the ransomed of the Lord, they shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads." The prophet, "like unto Moses," mightier than Joshua, and "greater than Solomon," will conduct them into the Holy Land; and, having delivered to them the New Covenant, will "settle them after their old estates." Having "wrought with them for his own name's sake," and by them as his "battle-axe and weapons of war, subdued the nations, and brought them to his holy mountain, he will "accept them there," and "there shall all, the house of Israel, all of them in the land," as one nation and one kingdom under Shiloh "serve the Lord God" (Ezek. 37:21-28; 20:40; 34:22-31).
Elpis Israel 3.6.
29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land [ra'av in HaAretz], neither bear the shame of the heathen [Goyim] any more.
30 Thus shall they know that I Yahweh their Elohim am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel [Bais Yisroel], are My people, saith Adonai Yahweh.
THE PLANT OF RENOWN AND THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS
BY DR. THOMAS'S DAUGHTER.
REFERRING to recent criticisms on the doctrine advocated by the Christadelphian concerning Christ, Dr. Thomas's daughter says:-
why should this be so perplexing to many? Why is it not as easy to comprehend 'the union of Spirit with flesh.' as to understand the union of Spirit with the manna in the wilderness? The Spirit preserved the manna from decomposing, yet it was manna in substance still-suitable for food to sustain natural life.
"It appears almost singular how views so different and opposite can be taken of the same author, as seen from different standpoints. We have failed to discern in your teachings concerning the nature of Christ, any of the ideas attributed to you. We have never understood you to teach that the substance of the body of Christ was a 'mixture of human and divine substance,' although you do hold that the operation of the Spirit of God, in and through the 'body prepared,' was according to the Scriptures from the beginning of its formation.
It would scarcely become a question in our minds whether the Spirit had transformed the substance of the manna into 'semi-Spirit substance.' Why, then, should it be more difficult to realise that Spirit operation upon flesh substance should animate the flesh without changing the substance? The Spirit of Deity being subject to the will of Deity, would perform no more and no less than He purposed it to accomplish.
The power that divided the waters of the Red Sea, and brought water out of the flinty rock, could also, under fiat of the same sovereign will, bring forth a 'Plant of Renown.' Plants grow from seed or roots embedded in the earth. Yet, if not subject to the subtle, penetrating, vivifying influence of the sun's rays, they would never come to maturity. Naturalists know well how to estimate the electrical power and life-giving agency of the sun's rays, without which no vegetation would mature, and nature would remain shrouded in eternal winter. And still they do not contend that the plants or the seed have incorporated a particle of the substance of the sun, but simply the electrical influence of its rays.
One of your critics makes the extraordinary assertion that the 'seed of woman' cannot be understood to mean the seed of woman physiologically. If this were true, then of what value are the testimonies which trace the descent from Abraham and David according to the flesh?
The prophet Isaiah says: 'He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, as a root out of a dry ground.' With this beautiful figure, we associate the idea of parent earth and Spirit sun in combination. The plant derives nourishment from both, though of a different kind and different nature, yet the substance of the plant remains the same.
We sometimes derived much assistance in studying the figures borrowed from nature, although they may not in every particular be fitted to the heavenly subjects represented. The figures presented in the Word will, doubtless, be more appropriate than those of our own choosing. The 'Tender Plant,' to which we refer, receiving nourishment from its mother earth-colour, size and mature growth from the rays of its father sun, grew and developed to a 'Plant of Renown.' 'The child grew and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.' Although this plant was to be laid low for a time, it was not doomed to decay, because the Father's Spirit preserved it from decomposition, raised it up again, transplanted it into a heavenly atmosphere, where it fully expands into the 'Tree of Life:' retaining life, and giving life to as many as shall be engrafted upon it in the appointed way.
It is further asserted that the Word was made flesh only at the time of anointing with Holy Spirit and baptism. Here we are puzzled again with mathematical definiteness, without reference to the harmonious grouping of testimonies. Is it to be maintained that the wisdom or thought of Deity was not at all incorporated with the mind and thought of the Son, until the anointing? Are we not rather to believe that it was only the fulness of measure that was conferred at the anointing? If the latter, then we may be able to find scope for certain testimonies which otherwise might have to be excluded.
'The child grew, waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom.' Another Scripture says, 'there is a spirit in man:' this we know is 'the spirit of the world,' which inclines the thoughts towards the things of the world. 'The Spirit which is of God' directed the thoughts and mind of Christ towards the things of God, endowed him with wisdom beyond his years, prompted attention towards the Father's business and gave him understanding concerning it which astonished all who heard him. This manifestation of Deity in him was 'mental and moral.' His mind and thoughts tended heavenward, because the 'Spirit of wisdom and understanding rested upon him.' Thus the spirit of his mind was pure and holy. Innocence characterised him, as the Lamb without blemish.
The Deity, as exhibited in the mental and moral characteristics of the Son, can be traced only in a limited degree of manifestation, in the stages of youth and early manhood. We see in this the gradual unfolding of the beauties of 'the Plant;' not an instantaneous or meteor-like development.
In the revelation unto Moses of the name of Yahweh, we see how limited was the first exhibition simply, 'He who shall be.'
The second was fuller and more comprehensive, proclaiming the moral attributes of Yahweh: 'Gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth,' &c. Then there was a manifestation of the glory. Afterwards, the word or law went forth to the children of Israel.
The Mosaic pattern of heavenly things exhibits the order and system according to which Yahweh manifests Himself. Everything has its order and system of development. We must observe times and seasons in this manifestation of Deity.
The real name-bearer of Yahweh, in the time appointed, appeared in the person of Jesus. The manifestation of the Father in and through him was according to the Mosaic pattern: first, his name and existence; afterwards, the development of moral attributes; then the giving of the Word to Israel, with power and miracles; and finally, the manifestation of His glory to certain witnesses. These things, however, were not exhibited all of a sudden; like a shooting star, or a meteoric shower.
When our minds become deeply impressed with the grandeur of this subject, we shall cease defining it in terms of human wisdom; but grouping all the testimonies pertaining to it, combining their separate relations, and arranging them in harmonious combination according to their proper relations and positions, we shall see the grandeur of the subject, and be content to contemplate, wonder and adore.
Let us bear in mind the greatness of the subject before us, the manifestation of Deity in flesh. It is the 'great mystery of godliness,' which we have the privilege of looking into. Let us, then, approach it with reverence; free from cramping imitations, and mathematical lines, which tend to confuse and perplex, instead of to enlighten and build up.