Vol 28 No 3
March 2003
Article 41



      This is Article 41 in the articles on the subject of The Firstborn Sonship of Christ. It is inserted here because it appears more appropriate here in the introduction to the Old Testament.


      9 "So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighed out to him the money – seventeen shekels of silver.
      10 "And I signed the deed and sealed it, took witnesses, and weighed the money on the scales.
      11 "So I took the purchase deed, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open;
      12 "And I gave the purchase deed to Baruch the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses who signed the purchase deed, before all the Jews who sat in the court of the prison.
      13 "Then I charged Baruch before them, saying,
      14 "'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may last many days.'
      15 "For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land,"'
Jer 32:9-15.
      The law of redemption by a near kinsman is found in Leviticus 25. We find it utilized in Ruth 4, in the above passage, and in Revelation 5. The laws of redemption include, 1) the objects of redemption concern the covenant people and their property, 2) the redeemer must be a near kinsman, 3) the redeemer must be able to pay the redemption price, 4) the redeemer must be willing to pay the redemption price, 5) the redeemer must pay the redemption in full, 6) the price was determined by the number of years remaining until the year of jubilee, 7) at the year of jubilee all persons went free, and all property was returned to its original owner.
      Jeremiah redeemed his cousin's property in view of prophecies of the Babylonian captivity for seventy years and of the greater scattering of the whole nation into all nations until the return of Israel to their own land, which we have witnessed, with the final regathering when Christ returns. The purchase deed was formally signed and sealed before witnesses who also signed the document, with an open copy that was not sealed.


      1 "And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
      2 "Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"'
      3 "And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
      4 "So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
      5 "But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.'
      6 "And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth,"
Rev 5:1-6.
      This scroll is clearly a redemption document that was written, sealed, and witnessed by the heavenly court which includes the Godhead, the twenty-four elders, cherubim, and angels, Dan 7; Rev 4 & 5. In this case, the scroll or redemption document is also a last will and testament, verified by the Lamb that was slain, and by the Lamb being the only one found worthy to open the seals and execute the provisions written in the scroll. The sealed scroll further reveals and verifies the validity of the open document, which obviously is the Scriptures. Both the Scriptures and the sealed scroll are mutually complementary and testify to the "redemption cycle." The redemption cycle includes the Son of God 1) becoming a human by the virgin birth, 2) living a sinless life as a human, 3) dying for the sins of mankind, 4) being buried as all humans are buried, 5) rising out of the grave into a divinely reborn body, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:44-50. All this was done vicariously in order to redeem God's creation and create a special firstborn nation of divine firstborn sons, who are also called His "bride" people, Isa 54:5; Jer 3:14; 31:32; Hos 2:16,20; 2Co 11:2; Gal 4:21 thru 5:5; Eph 5:31-32; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23; Rev 19:7-8.
      This scroll thus testifies that Christ is the Kinsman Redeemer and the last will and testament Testator. We have shown the basis for this transaction in the Law Covenant in Lev 25. There it has a fifty year Jubilee redemption requirement, which testifies of the Millennial liberty and glory of Christ and the firstborn sons, Rom 8:18-23; Heb 3 & 4. In the case of Boaz (Ruth 5), there is no clear indication of a written document mentioned, though there may have been one. Then with Jeremiah (Jer 32:9-16) there was a written document, very similar to the one in Revelation, Rev 5:1-5.
      The redemption document in Revelation (in correlation with other passages, Eph 1:4-5; 1Pe 1:18-20; Phi 2:5-11; et al), indicates that the time of the writing and sealing of the scroll was before the foundation of the world – or the earth as we know it, Job 38:4-8. It appears that the elders, the cherubim, and the angels are the witnesses of the writing and sealing of the scroll, and rejoice as witnesses when the divine Lamb of God is produced as the only one worthy to open the seals, Rev 5:1-10. It is a monumental landmark in testimony that the Lamb is the only one found worthy to take the scroll and open its seals. And the reason why He is worthy is because He was Jehovah as the Seed of the woman who fulfilled the redemption cycle projected from Genesis 3:15 throughout the Scriptures, Phi 2:5-11. He is the only one found worthy because 1) He is God and therefore the only One capable of exemplifying the zenith of God's love, compassion, mercy, forbearance, justice, wrath, etc., (Phi 2:6-11), 2) the design of the Godhead was that the Seed of the woman be properly worshiped as God (Rev 5:1-14), 3) God's redemption purpose provided for Him, as the Son of God-Son of Man, to rule all the works of God's creation together with His divine bride people, Ps 8:3-6; Ps 82; 1Co 3:21-23.
      The Bible is a book of two major parts called the Old Testament and the New Testament. They were named "testaments" rather than covenants, perhaps because a last will and testament is the predominant theme of the Scriptures, witnessed by the overwhelming emphasis on death and redemption by the shedding of blood in all covenants (Gen 3:21; 8:20; 15:7-18; Ex 24:7-8; Heb 9:13-17): when I see the blood I will pass over you (Ex 12:1-13), without the shedding of blood there is no remission, and almost all things are cleansed by the blood, Heb 9:16-26.
      The Bible is a sacred "last will and testament," and has, to a great extent, lost its inherent testament validity in contemporary theology. This is a major hindrance toward an accurate, full, and rich understanding of the Scriptures. Considerable emphasis is therefore placed on the redemption cycle and the last will and testament.


      The writings of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy, were written 2,500 years after the creation of Adam and Eve were created. The 50 chapters of Genesis covers that entire period of time, and give us hardly more than a summary of what happened and what God revealed to His prophets and faithful servants during that interval. Of course, this can be said about all the Scriptures, Jn 21:25. Yet, throughout the Scriptures, God gave us what He wanted us to know within His purpose of hiding the mysteries of the kingdom from those who are arrogant and self-willed.
      Therefore, the things we need to know about God's covenants (last will and testaments) are sufficiently written in full in the Scriptures, 2Ti 3:16-17. The Holy Spirit guided the inspired writers in such a way that the understanding is concealed from the natural man, as the term "natural man" is used in the Scriptures:
      14 "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," 1Co 2:14; Mt 11:25-26; 13:9-17.
      It appears vitally important that emphasis be placed on the fact that God has from the Garden of Eden wanted all His faithful servants to thoroughly know the contents of His covenants or last will and testaments. The impression is left that, until the time of Moses, God's people did not know much about God or His last will and testaments.
      Hence, the intent of this article is to demonstrate that God was not slack in revealing the full contents of His covenants, and His prophets and faithful servants well understood the testamentary and typological meaning of animal sacrifices. God made sure they recognized their Redeemer as God in a human body, who would die for the sins of mankind, and be raised from the dead in a "divine" human body. Therefore they walked before Him in the proper godly and well disciplined manner, precisely according to His fully revealed testament instructions. God wanted them to know, just as God wants us to know.


      14 "The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant," Ps 25:14.
      The word "secret" in this passage signifies counsel (intimate or close friendly counsel), and is tied in with God fully revealing His covenants to those who love and fear Him. God's compassionate disposition has always been and still is to reveal His covenants (last will and testaments) to His prophets and faithful servants.
      Compare this passage, Ps 25:14, with Mt 13:9-17. What was it the faithful of the Old Testament desired to see, but did not see? They desired to see the Seed of the woman in person. They desired to see Him as the Kinsman Redeemer and testament Testator. They desired to see Him work great miracles, feed thousands with a few loaves and fishes, give sight to the blind, hearing to the mute, heal the lepers, and raise the dead back to life. They desired to see Him as the Lamb of God raised from the dead after being consumed by the fires of God's wrath against our sins on the altar of burnt offerings. They desired to see Him in divine glory, speak to Him, and know Him face to face, as Moses knew Him, Ex 33:11; Deu 34:10.
      What was it they desired to hear, but did not hear? They desired to hear Him teach as no man ever taught, speak with the voice of God, and command demon spirits with divine authority. They desired to hear Him bless little children, bless the poor and broken hearted, speak words of comfort and miraculous healing to the blind, the deaf, the leper, and to those who were otherwise dysfunctionally impaired. They desired to hear Him, as the divine Seed of the woman, weep, pray together with, and comfort those caught in the grip of anguish of whatever kind. They desired to hear Him, as the promised Messiah, confound the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees with His questions and divine wisdom.


      23 "And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God," Ja 2:23.
      Enoch was a friend of God and walked with God hundreds of years, Gen 5:22. Noah was a friend of God and walked with God hundreds of years, Gen 6:9. Abraham was very warmly called the "friend" of God, 2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8; Ja 2:23. Jehovah, in the Seed of the woman, is that Friend who sticks closer than a brother, Prov 18:24. And was such a friend to all who sought after Him from Adam on. He fully told His prophets, priests, and faithful servants about His identity and destiny as Kinsman Redeemer and testament Testator. He revealed the secrets (the hidden things, the mysteries of the kingdom) to them, Mt 11:25-26; 13:9-19.
      To reveal His covenants to them, He had to tell them accurately about what had happened prior to them from the Garden of Eden, some of which was later written by Moses in Gen 1 thru 4. He revealed to them the understanding of the shedding of the blood, about the death of "clean" animals, the burning of animal bodies on the altar, about the Son of God Himself being the Seed of the woman, the necessary resurrection of the Seed of the woman in order to crush the head of the serpent (Jud 14-15), and perfect the salvation of the new birth into the fullness of the divine nature – into the full image and likeness of God, Heb 1:1-14.
      There are many friends who stick closer than many brothers, but this Friend (this Seed of the woman) is the Redeemer and testament Testator who will redeem His faithful testament people into the glorious image and likeness of God. Would we say God was not such a friend to Adam and Eve? Enoch prophesied of Jehovah coming in great power and glory in the clouds of heaven with vast hosts of brilliantly shining and deified saints, Jud 14-15. How many hundreds of years did Noah walk with Jehovah (Gen 6:9) and found Jehovah to be a Friend who sticks closer than a brother, and reveals His covenant to those who fear Him? Did Noah find the Lord to be a Friend who gives detailed counsel of His infinite redeeming power and glory, as well as His terrifying judgments. No doubt Jehovah also told Enoch and Noah that He Himself was their "burnt offering and their exceeding great reward," Gen 15:1.


      9 "Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel," Pro 27:9.
      17 "As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend," Prov 27:17.
      When did God start revealing His covenants to those who love and reverence Him, Ps 25:14? At what time in the Bible did God start giving secret, hidden counsel of His last will and testaments to His prophets, priests, and faithful servants? Jehovah found great delight in walking with Enoch, as His friend, revealing to him both the obvious and the hidden secrets of His last will and testament, and giving him hearty counsel in all the ways of holy worship and testimony. How could Jehovah walk with Noah as a dear friend for hundreds of years and not reveal the full details of His last will and testament, Ps 25:14?


      11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
      12 "Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
      13 "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
Jer 29:11-13.
      Here is a brief but excellent description of God's will and desire for us to seek Him, find Him, and know Him and know His last will and testament. The Greeks had an altar to the unknown God, and Paul preached that God to them. God made all nations of one blood, set the times and boundaries of each people, and ordained that they should seek after Him and find him, Act 17:23-27. Paul further wrote that no one would have an excuse for not searching after God and finding Him, because God's disposition and the working of His Spirit is to reveal Himself, His power and glory, through His vast creation, as well as to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, Ps 19; Isa 45:22; Jn 1:9; 12:32; 16:7-9; 17:26-28; Act 14:16-17; Rom 1:16-20. "Come now, and let us reason together," Isa 1:18. This is God's desire not only toward the covenant people, but toward all mankind, 2Pe 3:9.


      10 "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
      11 "If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead,"
Phi 3:10-11,10-21.
      Paul gave up all things that he might gain Christ in the fullness of His divine nature. He wanted to be found in the divine righteousness of God that is in Christ, Phi 3:7-9. He urged us to be constantly looking into the Word of God, beholding the glory of God that we may be being changed into the same image and likeness from glory to glory, 2Co 3:18. His passionate desire was that the Spirit shine into our hearts giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2Co 4:6. Paul pleaded that we be constantly putting off the old man and putting on the new man who was created in Christ after the true image of God's glory and righteousness, Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10.
      Would Enoch walk with God for 300 years and not learn about putting off the old man and putting on the new man? How did God and Enoch spend that long length of time? 300 divided by 50 equals 5.88 times longer than a 50 year old person has lived. This indicates that Enoch likely learned nearly 6 times as much as one of us at 50 years old. Enoch probably spent more time in talking with God and in meditating on what he learned than we spend in direct study and meditating on the Word of God.


      17 "If anyone is willing to be doing His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority," Jn 7:17.
      This is a clear statement and a steadfast promise that those who earnestly desire to be doing the will of God (His last will and testament), will know the doctrines (the contents) of the last will and testaments. Are we to take this as a hyperbole or can we accept it as a steadfast promise to all who truly believe and obey? The Scriptures are filled with these encouragements to stringently live holy lives and diligently search the Scriptures with an unrelenting desire to understand, believe, and obey the Scriptures at all costs.


      11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
      12 "Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men,"
Act 17:11-12.
      The Bereans were more pleasing to the Lord by their ready minds to search the Scriptures to prove what Paul and his companions were preaching. A ready mind is one that is alert, fair, ready to listen and learn. Adam and Eve, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, and others like them before Moses, all had hearts or minds that were eager to ask questions and learn more about God, His angels, His creation, His last will and testament, His eternal purpose in life, death, and life after death.
      Their knowledge and immediate relationship with God surely overwhelmed them with a desire to ask questions and know more about all such things. This innate posture of the human mind moves us to search out all things, especially these things.


      22 "But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves," Ja 1:22.
      We are deceiving ourselves if we think we can do God's will without knowing God's will. God ratified a last will and testament with Adam and his descendants in the Garden of Eden by shedding the blood and taking the life of clean animals and clothing Adam and Eve with their skins, Gen 3:15-21. We can be assured that God gave Adam and Eve reasonably full and detailed instructions of the last will and testament, normally called a covenant in the Scriptures.
      These instructions included, at least, general details of daily life, and more particularly of the manner and meaning of daily and Sabbath worship. This further included God's record keeping and the resurrection and judgment at the end of the sixth millennium, with the seventh day of "rest" that will follow.


      18 "Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
      19 "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
      20 "But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken,"
Isa 1:18-20.
      God wants us to know about Him and His testaments, and desires passionately to share His divine attributes with us. In one of His last prayers before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed to the Father to protect, train, and qualify the covenant people that they may be "one" with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as They are "one" in each other in a divine oneness, Jn 17:21-23.
      God has always from the Garden of Eden been saying "Come now, let us reason together." But it appears that more often than not, Israel and the Lord's churches have gone astray, rather than fearfully and reverently reasoning with the Lord and diligently searching the Scriptures in view of being approved by God, 2Co 13:5; 1Co 9:23 thru 10:13.


      14 "Now thanks be to God who is always leading us in triumph in Christ, and through us is diffusing the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
      15 "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
      16 "To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?
" 2Co 2:14-16.
      God wants us to know. He desires passionately that we understand, believe, and obey His last will and testaments. The Holy Spirit can thereby diffuse out from us the sweet fragrance of His knowledge and redemptive purpose in every place.


      2 "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
      3 "As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,"
2Pe 1:2-10; 3:18.
      Again, how can we do God's will if we do not know His will, and how can God expect us to do His will if He does not reveal His will to us? We must know in order to obey. God knows this much better than we do. Therefore He has given us the written Word, and before Moses began his inspired writings, God was making sure all His prophets, priests, and faithful servants had sufficient knowledge to do all His will.
      God wanted them to know the redemption cycle from the Garden of Eden to the virgin birth, to the cross, to the resurrection birth, and to the crushing of the serpent's head by the Seed of the woman. He wanted them to know His testamentary purpose from start to finish from the Garden of Eden to the return of the Testator in divine resurrection new birth glory. God showed Enoch the end time, Ju 14-15. He showed Abraham the day of the Lord (Jn 8:56), and the heavenly city (Heb 11:8-16), and He revealed to Job His divine resurrection glory, Job 19:25-27.


      3 "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
      4 "He who says, ‘I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him,"
1Jn 2:3-4.
      God wants us to know by having book knowledge, as we use the expression, but God wants us also to know by experience. He wants us to know by mental perception, but also by experience. And we do know by experience by the indwelling Holy Spirit, yet this experience must be by proper faith obedience according to the last will and testament. We have been given the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ that we may experience the things of Christ more than by mere mental grasp.
      The Holy Spirit works on us and in us according to the doctrine of Christ, 2Jn 9-11. If we do not keep the commandments of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we transgress and are cut off from Christ, 2Jn 8-11; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 5:1-4; 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3:6-19; et al. God's compassion and mercy moves us in the direction of faith obedience, but many transgress the doctrine of Christ and fail to make their calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:4-10.


      8 "And he said, ‘Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?'" Gen 15:8.
      Abraham asked, "How shall I know?" And God instructed him what to do. That was important. Abraham wanted to have more information and assurance, and God responded by telling him to do such and such. Abraham faithfully obeyed, and God further responded by giving him much more information. God gives us information, and we are to believe and obey. If we do, God will give us more understanding. He wants us to know more, but there are conditions for us to meet.


      10 "And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?'
      11 "He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
      12 "'For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him,'"
Mt 13:10-12.
      As in the parables of the talents (Mt 25:14-30) and of the pounds (Lk 19:11-27), everyone in the church has been given a work (a ministry or function) to perform as a member of the body of Christ. We are to grow and increase in productivity. If we do, we will be redeemed from all judgments against sin, and will increase in the measure of all the divine attributes of God. If we do not perform acceptably, we will be cut off out of the firstborn sonship and placed in the servant sonship with its mere human status among the nations.
      As the disciples heard Jesus, they listened, believed, and obeyed by grace through faith. The result was that Jesus continued to teach and prepare them in the last will and testament ministry, Mt 28:18-20. This same principle has been applied to the testament people through the ages, as recorded in Deu 6:1-9 and otherwise throughout the Scriptures. Growth in the grace and knowledge is promised to those who will believe and obey. They will know and grow and increase in all the fullness of God's divine attributes, as promised in the last will and testament, Heb 9:11-17; Eph 3:8-19; Mt 25:14-30.


      6 "Therefore be careful to observe them (statutes and judgments); for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'
      7 "For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?
      8 "And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this Law which I set before you this day?"
Deu 4:6-8.
      The Law Covenant was given by God, and is a perfect governing economy for sinful people, as all nations are. No one can add to it or take from it and thereby make it better. It was, furthermore, a last will and testament for the redemption of mankind, that cannot be excelled; except by the New Covenant, which the Law Covenant required in its typology, prophetic projection, and inability to make the anyone perfect, Heb 7:19.
      God wanted His covenant people to be a wise and understanding nation, above all nations, especially in His eternal redemption activities. We can be assured that all His prophets, priests, and faithful servants from Adam to Moses were also well informed of the redemption cycle of God's last will and testament with Adam and later with Abraham.


      4 "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one!
      5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
      6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
      7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
      8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
      9 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,"
Deu 6:4-9.
      God wants us to know His last will and testaments. May God know us, as He did Abraham (Gen 18:17-19), so that we may also teach our children, grandchildren, and others to keep the way of the Lord, that He may bless us with His firstborn birthright blessings. God wants us also to know, to believe, and to obey, as the faithful of the past (Heb 11) were so diligent to do.


      3 "The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider.
      4 "Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward.
      5 "Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints.
      6 "From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment,"
Isa 1:3-6.
      In Isaiah's time, Israel was in this very sickening state of gross ignorance and paralytic indifference toward the true understanding of God's Word. This is just the opposite of what it should be with Israel, with the Lord's churches, or with all of us as individuals. Israel did not know because they did not diligently and prayerfully search out the true meaning of God's Word. God has made every preparation for our spiritual growth and welfare, Eph 1:3; 2Pe 1:4-10.
      Beyond all else, immeasurably so, God wants us to fully know the truth, and grow in all the godly virtues that will transform us into His image and likeness, 2Co 3:18; 4:6-12,17; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10; Rom 12:1-2. Thus He says, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure by adding the godly virtues that produce the necessary spiritual knowledge and growth, 2Pe 1:4-10.


      41 "Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
      42 "Saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
      43 "‘For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
      44 "‘And level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation,'"
Lk 19:41-44.
      Verse 41 provides the underlying and perhaps predominate tone of the passage: when Jesus drew near and saw the city, he wept over it. From eternity God had chosen Jerusalem as the place of His special dwelling on earth, and in the New Jerusalem eternally. From the throne of David in Jerusalem, the testament Testator will rule the earth in divine righteousness. We are in awe as we meditate on how God has, through many emotional and memorable experiences, affixed His love on Jerusalem, Ps 137:1-6.
      Observing Mary and others weeping at the grave of Lazarus, who had been dead and in the grave four days, Jesus groaned in His Spirit and "wept," Jn 11:35. When He called Lazarus out of the grave as full of life and health as ever, many believed, Jn 11:45. Jesus wept over the grievous state of Jerusalem and over the long and bitter judgments the city and people would pass through, because they did not know the "unsearchable riches" (Eph 3:8) the Holy Scriptures hold for all who will humbly search Them out, believe, and obey by grace through faith. How sad that they did not know what God had so graciously and abundantly prepared for Adam and Eve and all their descendants who truly love and obey Him! God wants us to know and share in His testament inheritance.


      17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked," Rev 3:17.
      We are so very confident that we are OK, and these words do not apply to us. We know because Landmark Baptist doctrine says that nothing can separate us from the love of God and of Christ, Rom 8:28-39. We can walk in the flesh, enjoy Hollywood, the sports world, all the lusts of the flesh, and pay no attention to Rom 8:6 and 13.
      We know we are OK because nothing can snatch us out of the hand of Christ or the Father, Jn 10:28-29. We can ignore John's baptism, Lk 7:29-30. We can make the doctrine of Christ (2Jn9-11) look as good as the Pharisees did the Law of Moses, Rom 10:1-3. We have "faith," and "faith" is everything. With faith we don't have to be concerned about the doctrine of Christ. The Pharisees had faith also, and so do demons, Ja 2:19. Our faith must be based upon the doctrine of Christ, or we will be among the servant nations on the new earth, and not in the hea-venly city for which Abraham and his faith descendants looked, Heb 11:8-16.
      We can outwardly have the faith of Christ and the doctrine of Christ, and yet be as doctrinally lukewarm as the churches in Ephesus (Rev 3:1-7), Sardis (Rev 3:1-6), and Laodicea, Rev 3:14-22. God wants us to know the true doctrine of Christ: Satan has prepared a system of doctrines that looks very good, sounds very good, and feels very good. Furthermore, he is much smarter and more powerful than we are. Our only hope is in the Scriptures and in the Holy Spirit to interpret the Scriptures correctly to our hearts. We cannot trust the traditions of the elders, even though much, even the majority of what has been handed down to us is correct.