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The Song for Yehudah-the Kingdom age to come
1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will Elohim appoint for walls and bulwarks.
2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
This declaration of the Spirit introduces us to a subject of great depth and beauty-and one also of great and abiding importance. We do well to meditate upon it-to consider it word by word.
"Thou"-God is the beginning and foundation. God is also the ending and completion. This divine charter of eternal peace is encompassed by God: "...whose mind is stayed on Thee."
"Thou wilt." Here is purpose and assurance. No yea and nay. No perhaps, or possibly, or usually-but a sure and all-powerful guarantee: "Thou WILT."
"Keep." Permanence and stability. What value is this peace, if it will not endure? But here we are dealing with One who wearies or changes not. "Thou wilt KEEP."
"Thou wilt keep him." Who? Everyone? All who ask? No. Only a certain class. Only those who follow a certain, prescribed course. Only the ones described in the latter part of this promise.
In natural things, intelligent men do not take the road south, and expect to reach the north, or the downhill road and expect to reach the top. Rather are they very careful as to their methods and directions. But in spiritual things-the only things of any real importance-wishing and assuming so often take the place of planning and doing.
The Scriptures say: "As a man sows, so shall he reap." It is as simple as that. This is not recorded for us in bitterness or anger, but it is a plain statement of fact. In natural things, men accept this fact. They do not sow one crop, and expect to reap another; or sow nothing at all, and expect to reap as if they had sown.
If we give our lives and time and energy to natural, passing things, we shall reap natural, passing things-very nice and gratifying natural things, if we work hard in that direction.
If we give our lives and time and energy to spiritual, eternal things, we shall reap spiritual, eternal things (and our crop of natural things will be poor, but what matters that?).
The choice is ours. We each have our life. We can invest it exactly as we choose. But let us be sure that we have thought it well out, that we know just which we are doing, and that we will be satisfied in the end with the results.
Christ will not wave a magic wand at the judgment-seat, changing wishes and intentions into facts. He will be judging sober judgment-according as every man's works shall be found to be
4 Trust ye in Yahweh for ever: for in Yah, Yahweh is everlasting [ Olamin] strength [Tzur]:
Tzur - The Rock
The rock, then, we are led to understand, is a symbol, representative of the One who is the only enduring foundation - the only source of everlasting strength and power - the place of refuge, of shelter, and of safety.
Sis Lasius - Yahweh Elohim
5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Yahweh, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
9 With my soul [nefesh] have I desired thee in the night [lailah]; yea, with my spirit [ruach] within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments [mishpatim] are in the earth, the inhabitants [ha'aretz] of the world will learn righteousness [tevel will learn tzede].
Perhaps we can do no better ... than resume the consideration of the song to be sung in the land of Judah at the crisis of the day of salvation. The day of salvation is a long and cloudless one. The song belongs to the beginning of the day - when as yet its full glory has not been manifested.
The Lord has come and expelled the Russian invader from the Holy Land, but the whole earth beyond Judah's frontiers is in arms, and, under "the Beast and the false prophet," will put forth a gigantic effort to crush the newly manifested Israelitish power. A recognition of this is necessary to discern the bearing of some parts of the song.
The righteous, in one body, look back from the song point of view, upon the night from which they have just emerged. They rejoicingly declare the fact which is now sweet to them in retrospect...
...It was sweet to them at the time, but sweet to bitterness, for the desire for God in a day when He is not to be found, is not a refreshing experience but the reverse. It is as David expresses it:
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks," which is not an enjoying state.
But now, when the day of song for the righteous has come, it will be pleasant to look back and think that while the night prevailed upon the earth, their eyes were in strong desire towards God, and that God has openly acknowledged their love by manifesting Himself to them in the sending of Christ.
"Early" is suggestive of morning. The morning has come when the song is sung, but the seeking for God has not ceased. Only now it is a seeking with a finding, which differs from the seeking of these days of darkness. The sons of God will always seek God. They will never forget Him or tire in their love...
'the inhabitants of the world'
They have not learnt righteousness at the day of the song. They are about to do so by the judgments about to be manifested in the terrible war of the great day of God Almighty; and it is meet that those by whom those judgments are to be inflicted should have their eyes especially on God. How incongruous it would be that those who are about to bring the world to God should for a moment lose sight of Him. They are for the time being in the position that Christ occupies in the interval between his rejection by Israel and his coming. *
10 Let favour [ grace] be shewed to the wicked [rasha], yet will he not learn righteousness [tzedek]: in the land of uprightness [Eretz Nekhochot (Land of Straightforwardness)] he [will] deal unjustly, and will not behold [regard] the majesty [ge'ut (majesty, exaltedness)] of Yahweh.
The judgment to be inflicted upon the world is not in wantonness or superfluity. It is a necessity: it cannot be dispensed with. The righteous, rejoicing together, recognise it.
"Let favour be shown to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness. In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord."
The history of the world is the proof of this. God's favour has been shown to the race of Adam since the day the first sinner was driven out of Eden; and the result is before our eyes in a world lying in wickedness. The wickedness differs in form, complexion, and intensity, but in its most cultured forms, it is wickedness still, the rejection of the law God has given; the refusal of His rights and honour, the assertion of man's right to what he enjoys by favour; the appropriation of earth's goodness to human service and glory. Favour does not teach mankind righteousness-judgment will, and in the song under consideration, the righteous contemplate the prospect with satisfaction. It is a divine purpose much spoken of throughout the Scriptures.
"For a long time I have holden my peace; I have been still and refrained myself. Now will I cry like a travailing woman. I will destroy and devour at once" (Isa. 42:14).
"The needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever . . . The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth. Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup" (Psa. 9:18; 11:5-6).
"The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance. He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth" (Psa. 58:10-11).
"They shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in that day that I shall do this" (Mal. 4:3).
"For my determination is to gather the nations . . . to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy" (Zeph. 3:8). *
* Bro Roberts - Yahweh's judgements
11 Yahweh, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.
12 Yahweh, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
13 O Yahweh our Elohim, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
15 Thou hast increased the nation, O Yahweh, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
16 Yahweh, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Yahweh.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, Yahweh cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
It must be obvious, then, that before this judgment period commences, the saints will be removed from the spheres which they occupy in the world; otherwise they would not be with Christ, and would be involved in the general troubles
...The mode of this "entering into the chamber, and shutting the door" to hide, is made apparent in the New Testament; first, by reference to Matt. 25:10, where we read
"They that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut":
and second, by reference to Rev. 19:7, 8, where we find that this marriage is the reunion between Christ and his people at his coming. This is further manifest from the teaching of Paul in I Thess. 4:16-17:-
"The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then, WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD."
This is referred to in II Thess. 2:1, as
"the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him."
The first event that takes place, then, after the return of the Lord from heaven, is the "gathering together" of all His saints to him, including the dead of past ages, who shall have been raised for the purpose. This gathering together is to judgment. Paul says:
"We (brethren) must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (II Cor. 5:10);
and the parables which Christ spake on earth, illustrative of his then approaching departure to heaven, and his subsequent return, have this characteristic:
"And it came to pass that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants TO BE CALLED UNTO HIM, to whom he had given the money."
From all this, it appears, that on his return, his dead servants will be raised, and his living servants gathered with them from every part of the earth where they may be scattered, to be arraigned before him, that he may "take account of them" (Matt. 18:23).
He will approve of some, and reject others: the latter will be sentenced to share in the judgments which will descend upon the apocalyptic "beast and his armies," or sin, as politically and ecclesiastically incorporate in the powers that will "make war with the Lamb" and his army; the former will be admitted to the marriage ceremony, in which they will be confessed, "before the Father and all the holy angels" (Matt. 10:32; Rev. 3:5), and will thenceforward "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth" (Rev. 14:4), and co-operate with him in the infliction upon the nations of that "judgment written" which was treated of in the earlier part of the lecture.
All this takes place before divine judgments commence, but not before that "distress of nations with perplexity," which is the preliminary symptom of the approaching "time of trouble, such as never was."
That state of political embarrassment will, probably, prevail for a considerable time before the saints are called away to the reckoning, and men will only consider it a repetition of commotions that have many times recurred in the course of history. They will only look to its proximate cause. They will never suspect that a divine hand is guiding the development of events, or that "the judge is nigh, even at the door."
They will never dream that the world is on the verge of the most awful crisis that has ever occurred in its history--that divine indignation, long restrained, is about to visit the world in destroying judgments that will break up the entire system of human society, as politically, ecclesiastically, and socially organised.
But like the little hand-cloud presaging the coming storm, the saints will be removed at a particular juncture of affairs without previous intimation. In all probability, the event will be so inconspicuous as to attract little attention. All that the world in general will know of it will be that a few obscure individuals, holding "fanatical" doctrines, have mysteriously disappeared; few will ever seriously suppose that there is anything supernatural in the occurrence.
Theories of the phenomenon will be ready to hand, and the incident will be forgotten-at least by the majority. Some who happened to know that this expected removal was part of the doctrine of these fanatical people, may be unable to quell a certain feeling of uneasiness which will trouble their breasts; but the world at large will be unaffected, and will move on to the destruction that awaits it at the revelation of Jesus with all his saints.
Christendom Astray Lecture 15