Studies in the Scriptures
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THE LORD’S HOUSE OVER ALL
"It shall come to pass in the last days, that the Mountain of the Lord’s House shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."
Our text has not yet been fulfilled, but we believe the beginning of its fulfilment to be near. It pictures Messiah’s Kingdom, for which Christian people have long been waiting and praying, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as in Heaven"—the same Kingdom for which the Jews so long waited and are still waiting.
Our text relates, not to the spiritual part of the Kingdom, but to that which belongs to the natural seed of Abraham. A great mistake has been made by many of us in the past, in that we have not discerned and acknowledged the two Israels, Spiritual and Natural, and the separate rewards and blessings apportioned to these by the Divine promises of the Scriptures. Both are to be used of God in fulfilling the promise made to Abraham—in blessing all the families of the earth.
Only a "little flock" is to be selected during this Gospel Age and tried, fitted and polished and eventually changed from human to spirit nature, "like unto the angels." These with their Lord and Head, will constitute the great Mediator of the New Covenant, under which all the families of the earth will be blessed. After the completion of Messiah, Head and Members, on the plane of glory, the New Covenant will be inaugurated with Israel, as the Scriptures distinctly teach. (
.) Our text, therefore, waits for its accomplishment until the last member of the elect Church of Christ shall have passed beyond the veil.
ISRAEL THE EARTHLY REPRESENTATIVE
In the symbolic language of the Scriptures a mountain always symbolizes a Kingdom. Hence the Mountain of the Lord’s House means the Kingdom of God, and that Royal House or Family recognized by Him. For instance, we read that David sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord, and that God made a Covenant with him, "even the sure mercies of David," viz., that none but his seed, his posterity, would ever be recognized as the Divinely appointed representatives of God in kingly authority and power. In other words, Messiah was to be the offspring of David, the great antitypical David (Beloved) who must "reign from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth." Under this power or rule Israel will be exalted amongst the nations and used as the Divine channel of blessing for all people, that eventually all the families of the earth may come to the true knowledge of God and to a full opportunity of becoming children of Abraham by faith and obedience.
The Messiah—King on the spirit plane, the Son of God (and like God invisible to men, as are also the angels)—is the antitypical David and the antitypical Solomon, the wise, the great, the rich. In the days of His flesh He was the Son of David according to the flesh, though begotten of a Divine life not tainted by any human imperfection. He was, therefore, holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. His faithfulness to the will of the Father made Him subject to all the experiences of a life of suffering and death, as expressed in His own words, "The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I refuse to drink it?" His obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, demonstrated His loyalty to the last degree and He received the high reward apportioned. "Him hath God also highly exalted and given a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow both of things in Heaven and things in earth."
Exalted to the right hand of Divine favor He waits only for the Father’s time to take to Himself His great power and reign. (
.) Meantime, in harmony with the Divine will, purposed before the foundation of the world, He acts as Advocate for such as have the hearing ear and the obedient heart, and will now respond to the special invitation of the Gospel Age. That call is to leave the world, its sins, its pleasures and its hopes, and to walk by faith in the exceeding great and precious promises of God—the things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man. These are the Heavenly things promised them as the Bride and Joint-heir with their Redeemer in His glorious Kingdom to come and its blessed work of uplifting Israel and the world.
IN THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAINS
We have before our minds the antitypical House of David, Messiah’s kingly household, the Royal Priesthood, Divinely prepared. As a Kingdom it will be at the top—above all the kingdoms of earth. Not only will this be true of the spiritual Kingdom (invisible to men as the angels are invisible), but it will include also an earthly Kingdom composed of "Israelites indeed." At their head as princes in all the earth will stand the resurrected Ancient Worthies, perfected as men and samples of what all mankind, by obedience to the laws of the Kingdom, may attain to with eternal life. Those Ancient Worthies are enumerated in the Scriptures—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Prophets, etc., and described by St. Paul in
To these belong the earthly promises of the Old Testament.
They never heard of the Heavenly or spiritual promises. Their loyalty will find its reward in the fact that they will come forth from the tomb no longer blemished and imperfect, but fully, completely restored to the perfection originally enjoyed by Father Adam. Additionally, these will have the special guidance and instruction
of Messiah (Head and members) in all the affairs of mankind. Thus as the Master said, speaking of that time, "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Prophets in the Kingdom." (
.) The world will have contact with them and will be blessed by their instruction. But the world will never see Messiah, except as they will see His mind, His disposition, His character, through these, His earthly representatives in the Kingdom. He fully meant it when He declared before He died, "Yet a little while and the world seeth Me no more. But ye shall see Me." (
.) The Apostle assures us that we shall see Him as He is, because we shall be like Him. The Church will experience the First Resurrection change from earthly to Heavenly nature.—
ALL NATIONS FLOW UNTO IT
God’s Kingdom will be represented in the earth by Israel—especially by these saintly men of Israel, resurrected perfect, who will be the special appointees and representatives of the glorified Messiah’s Rule. As it is written, "instead of the fathers [the ancient saintly ones were styled "the fathers," as Jesus was styled the Son of Abraham and David] shall be Thy children, whom Thou mayest make princes in all the earth." (
.) These princes, acting under and continually in contact with the spiritual Kingdom and rulers styled in the Scriptures "the Royal Priesthood" will, of course, be so superior in their wisdom and power as to command the obedience of the whole earth. The nation of Israel, with whom they are related, would naturally respond more quickly than others to the new order of things, which is just that for which they have been waiting and praying for more than thirty centuries.
In these words the Lord through the Prophet assures us of the wonderful success which will attend the establishment of the New Empire of earth, the dominion of the Prince of Light, which supersedes the dominion of
the Prince of Darkness, when Satan shall be bound for a thousand years, that he may deceive the peoples no more.
Messiah’s Kingdom will be high above all other Kingdoms, not only in its grandeur, majesty and authority, but also in the lofty principles which it will represent.
Thus it is written, "He shall lay righteousness to the line and justice to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies." (
.) Nevertheless, as the world shall come to appreciate the new order of things all nations shall flow unto it,
to it—contrary to the downwardness of fallen human nature. It will make manifest such wonderful rewards for righteousness and obedience to God, and it will so make manifest the stripes that must attend all wilful disobedience to the Divine arrangement, that the Scriptures will be fulfilled which declares "that when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."—
For six thousand years humanity has been learning "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," its downward tendency in every sense of the word. Every form of government has been tried in an endeavor to secure the greatest amount of blessing. But the uniform results have been that those exalted to place and influence and power have proved themselves unequal to the opportunities and temptations of the positions and have abused them selfishly.
Whoever is acquainted with history realizes the truthfulness of all this. If some of us have hoped that the general education of the masses and the general enlightenment of the race would abolish sin and selfishness and demonstrate the truthfulness of the proverb, "Honesty is the best policy," we are willing to confess that this has been a mistake. We perceive that the greater the wisdom and intelligence granted to a selfish mind and heart the greater will be its opportunities for evil.
As a consequence the world is losing confidence in itself. All, whether politicians or judges or governors,
great or small, of one party or another, of one nationality or another—all are accused of being "tarred with the same stick" of selfishness. The Bible clearly indicates that this distrust is not without reason and that the great Time of Trouble soon to come upon every nation (
) will be the direct result of this loss of confidence.
The Bible description of the matter briefly summed up is that every man’s hand shall be against his neighbor. (
#Zec 8:10; 14:13
.) It will be after that great Time of Trouble shall have thoroughly sickened humanity as respects itself and any hopes it might have had of bringing about a Millennium by its own efforts—that God will manifest His Kingdom in the top of the mountains—higher than all other kingdoms every way, and all people shall flow toward it. As it is written, "The desire of all peoples shall come."—
This is described in the verse following our text which reads, "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, let us go up to the Mountain [Kingdom] of the Lord, to the House [Temple] of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion [the spiritual, unseen Kingdom of Messiah] shall go forth the Law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the seat of earth’s empire to be]. And He shall judge among the nations [rewarding and punishing justly], and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
All Christians agree that these words apply to the Messiah’s Kingdom. They tell us clearly and distinctly of how the judgments of the Lord will be abroad in the earth, causing wars to cease and the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. (
.) Notwithstanding, therefore, the picture of the intervening trouble, which Divine Wisdom sees necessary for the humbling of human pride let us
rejoice in the glorious arrangement God has made on mankind’s behalf. And let the Church of Christ specially rejoice in the favored position offered to her in connection with the world’s salvation—a seat with the Redeemer in His glorious spiritual Throne and share with Him in the great work of blessing Natural Israel and all the families of the earth.
O HOUSE OF JACOB, COME!
We have already noted that this prophecy belongs to Natural Israel and not to Spiritual Israel. As the first verse declares, it concerns Judah and Jerusalem. By the time this prophecy will have begun to be fulfilled, Spiritual Israel will be beyond the veil. It is in full harmony with this that we read in the fifth verse, "O House of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord!"
This is particularly the time when this message to Natural Israel should go forth. We understand the Scriptures to teach that during the next few years the Lord will have special dealings with Israel in connection with this call. He will point out to them the way of righteousness and the great privileges that are theirs as a people, because of Divine promises to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc. But only those who respond by turning to the light of God’s Word to walk in it will be in the proper condition of heart and obedience to promptly get the blessing at the beginning of Messiah’s Reign. Those most prompt to respond will get the greater blessing.
Verses 6-10 portray some of the reasons why God’s favor has been withdrawn for a time from Natural Israel—aside from the fact that His special favor was for the time to be given to Spiritual Israel. Then follows a description of the Time of Trouble, in which present institutions will succumb, to be followed by Messiah’s Empire. Let us read some of these verses and note their applicability to our day and the correspondence between these statements and very similar pronouncements in the
Book of Revelation, applicable also to the time in which we are living. We will quote and paraphrase.
WHAT THE TROUBLE WILL ACCOMPLISH
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day. One of the greatest obstacles in the pathway of humanity, hindering approach to truth and righteousness, is pride. The Almighty God is not sufficiently reverenced. The very learned men of all our colleges seem more and more to doubt that there is a God and that the affairs of earth are subject to any other regulations than those of chance, except as the learned can regulate them. The Time of Trouble, when the various theories of man will be tried and found wanting, will demonstrate most thoroughly that the wisdom from Above is neglected in favor of earthly wisdom.
The Lord says in another place, "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish and the understanding of their prudent men shall disappear." This will go from bad to worse; and all the Wisdom of the learned and the methods to which they have trusted will prove futile.
The result will be the glory of the Lord and the humbling of human pride.
For the day of the Lord of Hosts shall be heavy upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low, and upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up (the ecclesiastically great) and upon all the oaks of Bashan (the politically strong); upon all the high mountains (the kingdoms of the world) and upon all the hills that are lifted up (the smaller princedoms); and upon every high tower and upon every fenced wall (representing human organization for strength and protection) and upon all desirable prospects and ideals of earthly ambition, the arm of the Lord will be heavy. The result will be that the loftiness shall be bowed and the haughtiness shall be made low and the Lord alone shall be exalted in
that day; and the idols shall be utterly abolished. (
.) God must be first under the new order of things. No peace or blessing will otherwise result.
HIDING IN ROCKS AND CAVES
Those in distress and perplexity will in that Time of Trouble flee to the holes and the rocks and the caves of earth in fear. As Revelation (6:16) expresses it, They shall call to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the Throne." We are not to understand this more literally than its context. It does not signify that people will be so foolish as to literally pray for rocks to fall upon them, when they could more easily destroy their lives in another way. The thought is the very contrary of this—that they desire protection, shielding, hiding, covering from the trouble of the coming Day of the Lord. These shelters of the rocks and caves of the earth symbolically represent the attempted protection of human organizations, insurance companies, secret societies, etc. But none of these will be able to protect from the trouble which is coming and which will be world-wide, involving every earthly thing and interest, religious and secular, financial and political.
This will take place when the glory of the Lord and His majesty are manifested in connection with His standing up to assume command of the world and when He will shake terribly the earth (society), that everything contrary to righteousness and holiness may be uprooted and overthrown. St. Paul pictures that same Time of Trouble and declares that the only thing that will not be shaken will be whatever is in harmony with God’s Kingdom of righteousness.—
Though round about Him clouds and darkness Obscure the beams of dawning day, Above the clouds, upon the mountains, The Watchers see the morning ray.