Clean and Unclean creatures
The rule now in vogue among the friends of Christ is the one formulated by Paul: "Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (1 Tim. 4:4). *
1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
Clearly the wonderful list of animals and creatures in Lev.11 to some extent repeated in Job 38-39 all perfectly designed as masterful pieces of engineering and biotechnology, to teach spiritual lessons, did not just happen by chance, but were the handiwork of Almighty God. and named by Adam in the garden (Gen.2. 19-20).
Adam was given the wisdom to name all the animals according to their particular characteristics. And the many species of birds...As well as the plant kingdom (grass. herbs. trees) and the fruit trees of the Israel.
All being fruitful and multiplying and spreading out across the earth filling every conceivable habitat. Christ is to have the dominion over all flesh and every living thing which Adam forfeited through transgression (Pslm 8). **
The physical qualities of the flesh rejected as food are very secondary. A good digestion can assimilate almost any edible substance to the requirements of nutrition. It was the divine law in the case that was the material element. Now that the objects of the law have been accomplished in Christ, the law has been taken away. It was nailed to his cross (Col. 2:14). It "stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed till the time of the reformation", and "could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience" (Heb. 9:10). But the lessons taught by the law remain.
And let it also be said, the discernments of wisdom, as bearing on natural things, remain. It does not follow because distinctions between clean and unclean beasts have been done away as a ground of acceptance to God, that therefore a wise man will eat anything or drink anything without regard to their physical effects. It still remains a command to abhor that which is evil, and to cleave to that which is good and lovely and of excellent report. There are some things that are of excellent report with all men: such as bread, water, the fruits of the field, the rain of heaven, and a thousand things besides.
But there are other things and other habits that are not of excellent report, because of bad effects on the best faculties of men--that weaken and lower and debase the best powers of men, and that are always found in association with evil. Such are opium, tobacco, spirits, and the alcoholic drinks in common use among the people. They are in high favour with the children of the devil everywhere. They are not to be found with those who follow after righteousness, temperance, chasteness, holiness, in preparation for eternal association with Him who is Holiness itself. While all extremes and crochets are to be avoided, there is a middle ground of wisdom and excellence that affords a natural meeting place for the sons of God.
There are extremes of liberty from the law of Moses that degenerate to hurtful license: and there are extremes of fastidiousness as to meats and drinks that are hurtful to the true aims of the Gospel. The good sense fostered by the apostolic epistles is not likely to be found at either end, but in the wholesome middle ground, where all things that may be lawful are not necessarily practised as expedient, because of dangers in various directions. While no man is to judge another with respect to "meat, or drink, or an holy day, or the new moon, or the sabbath days" (Col. 2:16), we are to judge ourselves very severely under the law of Christ, which enjoins that we "neither eat flesh nor drink wine" if a brother is thereby stumbled, made weak or drawn into danger (Rom. 14:21).
Law of Moses Ch 29
Comment: We are reminded of the story of an elder brother who offered a young brother a small glass of 'Southern Comfort'. The young brother unexpectedly took extreme liking to it. It became an addiction leading to alchoholism.
God has designed creatures to teach spiritual lessons. The clean and the unclean. This shows intelligent design to teach wonderful spiritual lessons. **
'Clean' animals to be eaten
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
Hoof parted - sure footed
The hoof is a horny enclosure of the foot in hermetically sealed case, which, while contributory to the comfort of the animal, disqualifies it for walking on any but level ground. It cannot clamber among rocks or difficult places. It is liable to stumble on uneven ground: whereas, when the hoof is divided, and each half is parted into claws (Deut. 14:6), the creature can easily walk on hill sides and even among rocky places ---as in the case of the goat or sheep. Surefootedness is the result of dividing the hoof and parting the clefts.
It does not seem difficult to see why this should be selected as a typical characteristic of acceptable men. "He that walketh wisely walketh surely." "Walk in wisdom towards them that are without." "Walk as becometh the gospel." This "walking" is the practical direction of our affairs. A man who failed in this would be a very unsatisfactory kind of man, however much he might be given to ruminating on the word of God. A man all theory and no action--first class at describing what ought to be done, but with no gift at practising what he preached--would be the poor sort of creature signified by that which only chewed the cud but did not divide the hoof.
The other state of the case would be equally abortive--that is, where there might be excellent capacity for execution, but no understanding of what the will of God required. This case is also provided against in the type: "The swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase" (Deut. 14:8).
Cheweth the cud - Assimilation of the word
What sort of men are they who correspond to the type of cud-chewing and hoof-parting animals? We are in the presence of at least the shadow of an answer when we hear the modern phrase "chewing the cud of reflection".
The literal act of chewing the cud is part of the process of preparing the food for assimilation by the animal tissues. Digestion in the grand requisite. For gross organizations, no great thoroughness is necessary in the process: a short alimentary canal is sufficient for the carnivorous races. The lion and the tiger bolt their food and it is converted quickly.
But in the higher races, where a finer result is aimed at, in producing food for man in the flesh of the ox and sheep, there is a greater elaborateness in the structure provided for the conversion of grass and turnips into beef and mutton. The chewing of the cud belongs to the greater elaborateness of structure: the thorough preparation of food for conversion into life is the essential idea of this act.
It is not difficult to go from the typical to the spiritual in this matter. There is spiritual food and there is spiritual life that results from the eating and assimilation of that food. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them", said Jeremiah. "The entrance of thy word giveth light", wrote the Psalmist. "He that eateth me shall live by me", said Christ; "the words that I speak unto you are spirit and life".
Men, then, who are given to turning over in their minds the divine knowledge conveyed in the words of truth are men who spiritually chew the cud. They are spiritually ruminant animals. They are the clean among men. As Jesus said, "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
There is nothing mystical about this. It is the obvious fact that a man with the word of God stored in his mind, is a clean man by comparison with the man in whom the mere mind of the flesh prevails. He is clean in thought, clean in action, clean in all his ways--in a word, holy. His holiness is not the result of natural organization, but of the presence in that organization of the truth which sanctifies. The truth is the sanctifying power, and this not merely as a thing once learnt, but a thing constantly read and thought about.
The sheep nibbles the grass all the day long. Men of God are in harmony with the command which says "Be thou in the fear of God all the day long", The sheep is constantly growing as a sheep. If it ceased its activities as a living animal, it would die. In the antitype, the process of spiritual life is constantly going on. There is no arrest or suspension. The word of God is read and pondered every day: God is thanked every day, "in sincerity and truth", both at meal tables, and at bedside night and morning.
God is before the mind every day, as a factor in all life's calculations. The truth is much more than a knowledge of the fact that man is mortal and that Christ is the Saviour and that the Kingdom is coming. It is a knowledge of God as the possessor of heaven and earth and the weigher of actions. This knowledge cannot be retained except by the constant reading and reflection typified by the chewing of the cud by the clean animals--reckoned clean because they did so..."He that walketh with wise men shall be wise." The men who chew the cud, not only benefit one another, but are pleasing to God. "He taketh not pleasure in fools."
...But things signified by the distinction established by the law between things clean and unclean, remain unchangeable parts of eternal truth--that those men only are acceptable to God who are given to feeding and reflecting on His truth, and to directing their ways in harmony with His commandments.
Law of Moses Ch 29
Unclean and clean. Noah recognised clean and unclean creatures to go into the Ark, so this differentiation was there before the Law as in Lev l l. .Those creatures which part the hoof and chew the cud constituted clean creatures. Mainly farm animals (flocks and herds) and the deer and antelope family, but including the wild ox. aurochs (unicorn). **
'Unclean' animals not to be eaten
4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
The camel is a marvel of design as the ship of the dessert, but cantankerous in character and unselective in diet. **
Israelites must not be led astray by animals that seemed to qualify; a careful observation so that the animals qualify in every particular is thus invited.
"The camel because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof"
— A person may ruminate on the Word, and yet not apply in a practical way the very principles upon which he delights to think or discuss. He is a mere theorist. He is like
the camel in that regard. He may ruminate upon the Word, but his walk leaves something to be desired. He should take heed to his ways so as to correct his faults.
The word "camel" is from the Hebrew gamal and signifies labour or burden-bearing... The camel has some good qualities. It is an excellent worker noted for its strength and endurance. It is a speedy traveller, and a storer of water, so that it has the unusual ability to do without replenishment for some time. These are attributes that, in a spiritual sense, every true Israelite should aim to emulate.
But the camel does not "divide the hoof". It has a ball at the back of the foot in the nature of a heel, but it does not truly divide as required in v. 3. The construction of the hoof is excellent for travelling on sandy soil, but not so good for rocky terrain. Therefore, its ability is greatly impaired when the way is hard.
Because it chews the cud, but divides not the hoof, the camel can be likened to those whom the Lord described as
"hearing these sayings of mine, but doeth them not", so "building their house upon the sand" (Matt. 7:26).
There is a type of believer who delights to "hear the word, but they will not do" what it requires.
"With their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth alter their covetousness"(Ezek. 33:31).
The camel illustrates that principle: for excellent worker though it is, it has an evil, uncertain temper, and its foul breath is repulsive.
"He is unclean unto you"
— Let true Israelites observe the good qualities of the camel, and become effective storers of the water of life, drawing upon it so as to endure the rigours of their wilderness wanderings, whilst learning to avoid its evil qualities: its uncertain temper, its repulsive presence. They must be doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving themselves (James 1:22).
The Christadelphian Expositor - Logos
7 And the swine [Deut 14: 8];, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
There is no evidence that swine's flesh was interdicted to the natural Israel because it was not good for them. We care nothing at all about the physiologists, who have as many crotchets when it suits them as the theologists.
If we square our diet by their fashions, which are as outrés and unstable as a French milliner's, we shall be reduced to bran bread and water. We shall not quarrel with any one who chooses this sort of prison fare, provided he does not incorporate it with the gospel as a condition of salvation.
Swine's flesh, horses, hares, eels, all legally unclean, are wholesome enough where the digestion is good; but where this is not the case it is difficult to find any thing that agrees.
There are some that cannot eat it; and there are some that cannot eat beef or mutton; the peculiarity is in the eater more than in the eaten. According to a man's experience, so let him eat, and be thankful; for both clean and unclean are sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jun 1860
'Clean' aquatic life.
9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
Scales and fins appear to sustain the same analogy to chewing the cud and dividing the hoof: the scales rendering the creature more accessible to the watery element of life around it than when clad in an impervious skin; and the fins giving greater power of guidance in "the paths of the seas" than where motion has to be obtained by contortion of the body. *
In shoals - multitude in one. **
'Unclean' aquatic life.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
The fishes forbidden are also those from which human appetite would naturally shrink; all those approaching the reptilian type in lacking fins and scales, and having therefore a heavy, greasy texture of flesh. *
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
Clean and ,unclean. fish; Shell fish and eels were unclean, yet the pearl produced from an unclean shellfish, speaking of a beautiful spiritual mind produced through irritation; in.the uncleanness of the flesh (Rev.21.21). This is miraculous. Their mathematical ability to produce complex spiral shells e.g. murex from which purple dye is obtained (Acts 16.14, Ex.28.6). Yet this little fish does not know what it is doing! The flesh is crushed to extract the valuable dye, as ours has to be to produce the divine character (Rom,6, Rev.7.13,14).
Some eels are electric, or have electric lamps to see in the depths of black darkness of the ocean deeps. We, although unclean need to have that power or energy of the Spirit Word Working in us to deter the enemy (Hb 4;12, Eph.6, 1 Jhn 2.15,16), and light our way through,the black darkness of this evil age (Mtt.7.13·27). The phenomenal biotechnology involved proves Creation or Intelligent Design, not chance.
Sharks - unclean predators like the false brother who oppresses his neighbour, or the world Jew and Gentile, corrupt philosophies (Mtt.27, Rev.17, Ga1.3.1, 4.7-11, Col 2:8). The clean fish has an armour of silvery scales, and. fins, to navigate through the pathways of the ocean, and often travel in immense shoals - a multitude in one (Deut.6:4).,
A salmon returns to its exact birthplace along a complex river system, after years in the ocean! Plankton int the ocean are a main food source for fish, in themselves a whole miraculous world of infinite variation of design and form, all mathematical! **
13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
Amongst the fowls of the air seed eaters. But not webfoots or raptors or crow family ostrich or cuckoos (all unclean). These are the clean creatures Pslm.l.3. Psalm 119:101,Jer3. Is.54. Is.7. How love I thy Iaw. **
Brother Richard Lister
FROM THE APOCALYPTIC MESSENGER,
The eagle eye is among the strongest in the animal kingdom, with an eyesight estimated at 4 to 8 times stronger than that of the average human. An eagle is said to be able to spot a rabbit 2 miles away. Although an eagle may only weigh 10 pounds (4.5 kg), its eyes are roughly the same size as those of a human. If you swapped your eyes for an eagle's, you could see an ant crawling on the ground from the roof of a 10-story building.
The eagle, due to superior eyesight, sees things not revealed to other birds. Through Yahweh's prophetic Word, we can also see things which are not perceived by others. Christ said of Abraham that he rejoiced to see his day and was glad!
Eagles represent immortality - they fly in the thermals of air currents and therefore use very little energy in the air. They are "heavenly" birds - their work and service is done up high, Our minds should dwell on eternal things. Jeremiah 49:16,22
Eagles are "heavenly" birds, their abode is high in the sky - we must be heavenly people ("Set your affection on things above, not on the earth beneath" (Colossians 3:2)
They are strong birds - they take great care of developing their young, protecting and encouraging them. So must we.
Bro G V Growcott says:
The eagle is the symbol of the endless youth and strength and freedom of the Spirit-body (immortality)-
"They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary" (Isa. 40:31).
"Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psa. 103:5).
The eagle is a symbol of Yahweh's divine care for his children
"I bare you on eagles' wings" (Ex. 19:4).
"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young . . . so the LORD alone did lead him" (Deut. 32:11-12).
Wings in the Cherubim represent the spiritual aspect (as the eagle does), and they symbolize four things; overshadowing, dominion, exaltation, and swift, free movement.
OVERSHADOWING AND CARE-
"Under whose wings thou art come to trust" (Ruth 2:12)
Posted on Facebook by Bro Stephen Male
14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
Heb dayah is probably the kite which has a forked tail, and sweeps down with great rapidity in mobs, preferring offal and garbage, therefore cleansing and purifying agents, as we should be not in consuming, but in repudiating that which pollutes and defiles Yahweh's sanctuary (Rev.22. 11,12, Lev. 11. 44,45).
15 Every raven after his kind;
16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
Owls have soundless flight (stealth technology), and night vision. Falcons are much prized by the bedouin Arabs for hunting prowess. Tristram notes 15 different Hebrew names for raptors. Showing their diversity in the Holy Land. Fowl Heb ayit is a general term Gen 15.11, for raptorial birds which Abraham could not keep from the sacrifice, only Yahweh could do this (Is.53) (also Job 28.7, Is.18.6). **
18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
The birds forbidden are all those that are birds of prey and feed on carrion, such as the eagle, the vulture, the raven, the owl, the swan, etc., which would naturally stand as the types of men of low tastes and predaceous instincts. *
Birds of prey: Although unclean (not to be eaten). yet wonderfully made and a diversity in Palestine: Larger eagle. ossifrage. osprey. vulture, gier eagle. Smaller: kites (kites have awesome hovering powers) night hawk. hawk kestrels. falcons (peregrine falcons can reach 200 mph in a down swoop). hobbies. harriers. Sparrows, hawks etc.), owl. little owl. great owl.
All raptors have curved beaks and talons and incredibly sharp eye sight (symbolic of the Spirit - Isa 40:31, Exo 19:4, Deut 32. 11) for spotting and killing, rending and devouring flesh (Job 39:26-30, Ezk, 1. l 0. Mtt.24.18). Also speed. Complete mastery of the ariel domain. Incredibly dynnamic due to increased blood temperature. Advanced optical engineering. All these features reflect design for a purpose, not chance mutations.
Tristram in his Natural History of the Bible gives many ornithological details. We give a few details and scriptural refs.
Eagle Hb, Nesher = tear'. rend: the Nesher is considered to be the griffon vulture, a large powerful bird common in Egypt and Palestine, which rips. tears and consumes flesh rotting or newly killed (Mtt 24:.28). like a vulture appears in large numbers when a carcase is spotted, inhabiting and watching from the mountain fastnesses, gorges, crags and caves of Israel e.g. Mt Arbel (Hbk.1.8. Hos. 10. l4. Job 39:30).
Such were Israels enemies depicted as the Nesher that rent and tear apostate Israel in pieces 2Kgs 19.37 .. Assyrian Nisroch eagle headed idol. Babylon (Ezk, 17.3. Persia (Is,46. 11 ). Rome (Deut.18:49). The Roman eagles swooped in devouring the rotten carcase of Israel (Mtt.24, Lk.21). The Spirit's eagle will finally save Israel (Is 40.3 I. Ezk, 1.10. Deut 32. 11.12). Eagles have binocular vision and sight 10x more powerful than human and can look directly into the sun.
Osprey Hb. Asayeh. This is thought to include not only the osprey or fish eating eagle but many other species of eagle such as the majestic Golden eagle, short-toed eagle, Imperial eagle, Tawny eagle, Spotted eagle, Bonelli's eagle. All these are magnificent birds which swoop down from vast heights and kill their prey such as a lamb, kid, deer or dove.
Generally eagles symbolise power, majesty. invincibility, and appear in the heraldry of many nations e.g. Assyria. Babylon, Rome. The Byzantine double eagle which Russia displays today. The fourth element of the Cherubim is an eagle. symbolic of the Spirit.
Ossifrage Hb. Peres. This is a large (length 4 1/2 ft). powerful predator known as the Lammergeier or bone breaker from its habit of carrying its prey to a considerable height and dropping it to break its bones in order to extract the marrow. Rome was the bone breaker (Jhn19;32,33).
"Then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead they brake not his legs." (Ex. 12.46).
Vulture Hb. Davah could include kite and buzzard which are ever looking for prey, patrolling the skies. ready to swoop at a moment's notice. Also also carrion eaters equipped with razor sharp beaks and talons and capable of lightning swoops and dives sweeping down with great suddenness, snatching their prey and then rapidly ascending to a safe rocky ledge of tree to consume the prey or wait and watch from a suitable, often dead tree.
The desolations of Edom and the humbled nations after the battle of Bozrah. become the haunt of dayah or vultures (Is.34;15).
Gier Eagle Hb. Racham = -Egyptian vulture. a feeder on offal and garbage, vile smelling, although beautiful plumage like the Pharisees Mtt.23.27). Black wings, white plumage (like clergy) it frequents the dung heaps of villages, and is a conspicuous carrion scavenger.
So do these death dealers. **
Bro Richard Lister
THE APOCALYPTIC MESSENGER,
41 And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.
42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
Among insects, all mere creepers, or having more feet than four, were forbidden as food...
All that is odious and unwholesome among the creatures is forbidden; all that is beautiful, innocent, and good for food, is allowed. We have only to apply this in the amplest way to see with new force the spiritual comeliness that is required at the hands of those whom God will take into His eternal fellowship.
* Law of Moses Ch 29
44 For I am Yahweh your Elohim: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Be Ye Holy -- For I Am Holy
If we are to attain to the Kingdom of God, and to a condition of eternal usefulness to God, we must in this life lift our minds to an entirely new plane of consciousness and thinking: to the plane of holiness -- far above the natural, animal desires and interests of the flesh. Holiness is Beauty: the Beauty of Holiness: all else is ugliness.
Holiness is Separateness and Purity: a Separate Purity: a Pure Separateness. The mental food that creates the transformation of our minds from natural repulsiveness to spiritual attractiveness is the Spirit-Word, continuously and liberally indulged in. "Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord."
Naturally, we are the very opposite of holy. To become so, more and more, is life's purpose: its ONLY purpose. Any time spent that does not contribute to this is precious divine time wasted: unfaithful stewardship. "Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord" is a large enough command, and a high enough ambition, to completely fill any lifetime.
With God's bountiful and loving help, lift your mind above all natural childishness and foolishness, all interest in worldly things, all unclean fleshly habits and thoughts, all of the ugliness of the flesh, as anger, impatience, harshness, unkindness, selfishness, lack of sympathy and compassion and healing, forgiving love. "
Be ye holy, even as God is holy." What a joy! What a revelation! What a beautiful, noble company! "Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness!"
45 For I am Yahweh that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Under the Law, everything to do with natural man, from birth to death, was defiled, impure, unclean. Over and over the lesson is emphasized: cleansing, purifying, purging, washing- sacrifice, atonement, reconciliation, redemption-
"Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29).
What is holiness? The Hebrew original is kodesh, meaning "SET APART, separated, sacred, dedicated, devoted in worship and service." Arising from this comes its secondary meaning of "PURE, undefiled, godly."
Holiness is separation-separateness. What is involved in the conception of separateness, as regards the world of mankind in general? What associations and relationships are
forbidden, and what are required as part of our testifying for God?
We know that the interpretation of separateness that would have us live in seclusion as monks or hermits-severing all contact with the world-is unscriptural, a deformed travesty of the Truth. Jesus' prayer to the Father was (Jn. 17:15)-
"Not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
Jesus' words and Jesus' own life and example are the key to this question. He mingled freefy with harlots and sinners, those who were morally the lowest and least respected classes of
society, but he never for a moment took part in their activities, their worldly and fleshly interests. Though in intimate association with them, he was always separate.
Wherever he was, whoever he was with, he was wholly devoted to his Father's business-working for God-manifesting God-showing how beautiful and desirable and satisfying and
more excellent is the way of godliness and holiness and love.
Without difficulty, without incongruity, without any violation of holiness, we can imagine Jesus going anywhere and associating with anyone. But when we visualize what he would be doing, what he would be saying, how he would be comporting himself-we can never picture him stepping even for a moment outside of the narrow and exalted path of holiness, graciousness, complete and single-minded dedication to the service of God. We can never picture him allowing the issue of separation from the world to be obscured or confused, though associating with them in the most intimate way.
The principle of separateness must go much deeper than the juvenile hermit conception of not having physical contact with the world-that is shallow and superficial, a childish running away from reality and duty. It does not come to grips with the state of the heart and mind.
We might never actually have any contact with the people of the world, but if our hearts are in their worldly activities, their amusements and entertainments, their foolish, small-minded gossip about trivialities which makes up most of their conversation and what they consider news, we are not holy and separate.
We could sit at home all our lives and never see a soul, but if we fill our hearts and minds and interests with these things through newspapers, magazines, radio and television, we are
just as much a part of the world of the ungodly as if we were bodily and actively in the front lines of every one of their activities.
The separateness must enter right into our hearts, or it is just a vain form-just a self-righteous, ritualistic, superficial fulfilment of uncomprehended regulations.
And it must go even deeper than just separation from the interests of the world. We could be totally uninterested in anything the world did, and still we could be just as much a part of the world and its wickedness as anyone.
How? Here are very fertile grounds for hypocrisy and Phariseeism, for while we are condemning others for outward and obvious worldliness, we may ourselves be far more seriously guilty of the more deceptive and dangerous inward worldliness-harshness, unkindness, bad temper, selfishness, lack of self-control, pride, inconsideration, the universal tendency of the flesh to bully and domineer when it is a position of advantage, unfair criticism, gossip, back-biting, indulging our own ugly fleshly desires and lusts in many ways.
All these things come from within, and defile a man-make him unholy-make a mockery of his professed separation-make him a part of this present evil world.
How rare and precious is consistency! The better we discern our own weaknesses, the slower we will be to criticize the weaknesses of others. Jesus said-
"I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33).
What did he mean? What was the world which he had overcome? Did not the world overcome and kill him? John defines the world as-
"The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 Jn. 2:16).
To the extent that we are motivated by the flesh in any way, to that extent we are part of the world and overcome by the world. To the extent we overcome lust and pride, to that extent we overcome the world, and are separate from it.
Bro Growcott - Our call to holiness