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ALLON

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  1. Psalm 89 is an unusual psalm, finishing as it does with Ethan’s very strong complaint against God. Psalms may express many vexatious circumstances and emotions, but will finish with an affirmation of faith and confidence in God. But Ethan dares to suggest to God that He has failed to bring about the guarantees he gave to David concerning his throne and his seed. Ethan recounts them back to God; “My mercy I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall stand firm with Him. His seed also, I will make to endure forever, And His throne as the days of heaven. "If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, My lovingkindness I’ll not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn, by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and His throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever, like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.” And had God’s promises failed? Ethan thought so. ‘But You have cast off, and abhorred! You have been furious with Your anointed! You have renounced the covenant of Your servant! You have profaned his crown, by casting it to the ground! You have broken down all his hedges; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. All who pass by the way, plunder him; He is a reproach to his neighbours. You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice. You have turned back the edge of his sword, and have not sustained him in the battle. You have made his glory cease, and cast his throne down to the ground. The days of his youth You have shortened; You have covered him with shame. - How long LORD?! Will You hide Yourself forever!? Will Your wrath burn like fire!? ……. Lord! where are Your former lovingkindnesses, which You swore to David in Your truth?’ Had god’s promises failed? Not at all. Isaiah would show that the sure mercies promised to David would be fulfilled in an everlasting Covenant, that is, the New Covenant announced by the gospel of Christ. 55:1-5. "Ho! Everyone who thirsts; Come to the waters. And you who have no money, Come, buy, & eat! Yes! come, buy wine and milk, Without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread? And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, & your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you - the sure mercies of David.” In Psalm 89 a certain ‘David’ was promised a never-ending throne, and this promise coming after David the son of Jesse was dead and buried. Jesus Christ, the son of David, was announced as that prophetic David! ‘Then the angel said to her; "Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” - Luke 1:30-32. And Paul confirmed this; “And we declare to you glad tidings -that promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son: Today, I have begotten You.' And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption (ie., die again –v37.), He has spoken thus; 'I will give You (Jesus) the sure mercies of David.' - Acts 13:32-34. And no king on his throne is without a people, and the seed promised to the prophetic David was a people to whom the promises would be as sure and immutable as those given to Christ, for they would be to them in Him. These too would be part of the divine fulfilling of the sworn oath, consisting specifically of those persons given to Christ by the Father, and who would not be lost. And Jesus continually reiterated their part in the divine guarantee, declaring: “All that the Father gives Me, will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me: that of all He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” - John. 6:37-39; Of them being the Father’s gift to Him, Jesus said: “No-one can come to Me, unless the Father, Who has sent Me, draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It’s written in the prophets; 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” - John. 6:44,45. These, Jesus took responsibility to receive, to shepherd. to intercede for, and to raise up at the last day. What about those who clearly fall away from the Son of man? Jesus knew who these were. Others might seemingly follow Him, but He knew and distinguished between those who had been given Him by the Father, and those who had not. His words, He said, would thus be life to the one, but not to the other: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him, and He said; "Therefore I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted to him by My Father." - John 6: 63-65. He knew those whom the Father gave Him would follow Him. Both He and the Father would keep them: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.” - John. 10:27,28. He could assert that ‘they shall never perish’ because He would pray for them. He prayed; “Father, keep through Your name, those whom You’ve given Me.” (John 17:11) And four times He had vowed; “I will raise them up at the last day.” So we may not say: - that His prayers to the Father to keep them, will prove to have been in vain: - that He will be seen to have failed to accomplish the Father’s will, which was to keep them all: - That He will have failed to fulfilled His repeated vow to raise them up. In the Assembly of saints, He triumphantly cries; “Here I am, and the Children God has given Me!” (Heb. 2:13) These chosen, justified and kept ones, are the eternal heirs of ‘The Sure Mercies of David’ ! ‘Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy’ writes Jude. (24) He’s able to do it. It is His will to do it. And He will do it! God performs that which He promises: He does not merely foretell what men will and won’t do: He promises that which HE will do! And He will perform His sure promises to the Son of David and to His seed.
  2. Romans 16:25-27. “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began, but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures, made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God for obedience to the faith. To God alone wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” Thus does Paul close his great letter to the Church at Rome, and signals the significance of its contents by his description of his letter as being ‘my gospel’. By this he was referring to his having received the understanding of ‘the mystery’ directly from the Holy Ghost. (Eph. 3:1-6. Col. 1:24-27). By use of the ‘prophetic Scriptures’, that former mystery was now being openly preached in the world. A seminal theme of the Old Testament prophets was the scattering of the twelve tribes because of their unfaithfulness, in two expulsions, Israel first, and later Judah, and then a regathering of both, in mercy. But that regathering of God’s people, the Jews had always assumed, would bring about the re-establishment of the nation such David ruled over, comprised of the ethnic sons and daughters of Abraham, in a nationalistic glory. This nationalistic vision was very strong, and surfaced in the hearts of Christ’s disciples after His resurrection, when they eagerly asked Him; "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" This nationalism had always blinded the Jews to the correct interpretation of the eschatological prophets. Peter’s nationalism was entrenched and had to be rebuked, and he was shown that his refusal to eat unclean foods was akin to refusing to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, being told; "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy!" The coming kingdom the prophets spoke of would include the Gospel-cleansed from every race on earth. And thus later Peter would take the words that had always been considered nationally applicable by the Jews, and correctly apply them to the gathered saints; ‘But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession.’ (1 Peter 2:9.) Not only Paul and Peter were given to properly understand the ‘prophetic Scriptures’. At the Antioch conference it was James who categorically asserted from the prophet Amos that the joining together of Jew and Gentile into one in the Body in Christ, was the fulfilment of the sure promises made long ago to David (Acts 15:15-17 - Ps.89). By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the New Testament Apostles were given to see that there was an eschatologically prophetic ‘Judah’, and an eschatologically prophetic ‘Israel’, who were given promises that only the Gospel could ever realise. Cleansed by the Gospel, both Jew and Gentile would be made into ‘one new man’ in Christ (Eph. 2:15). This ‘mystery made manifest’ is the key to interpreting the prophets. They were so interpreted by the apostles, and the Holy Ghost affirmed their word, with power. Old Testament promises reveal their consummation as coming in the form and power of the Gospel. Examples are exceedingly many, but Jeremiah chapter 50 provides a number of good examples. The promises are given to a ‘Judah’ and to an ‘Israel’, and these long after the natural Israel was no more. (as in Ezekiel 37:15-24) Jer.50:4,5. "The children of Israel shall come, they, and the children of Judah together. With continual weeping they shall come, and seek the LORD their God. ‘They shall ask the way to Zion, With their faces toward it, saying; 'Come and let us join ourselves to the LORD In a PERPETUAL COVENANT, that will not be forgotten.' The New Covenant promise is patently obvious. There is only one perpetual covenant: it is the ‘Everlasting Covenant’. Another example in Jeremiah Chapter 50, is found in verses 33,34. ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: "The children of Israel were oppressed, Along with the children of Judah; All who took them captive, have held them fast; They have refused to let them go. (But) Their Redeemer is strong; The LORD of hosts is His name. He will thoroughly plead their case.” The apostles preached this ‘Strong Redeemer’ and also His heavenly intercessory ministry, echoed in Paul’s use of a legal context in Romans 8:33,34. “Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and also furthermore is risen, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also makes intercession for us.” John says; ‘We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ (1 Jn. 2:1) He is now in heaven on our behalf. (see Heb. 9:24) ‘Known to God from eternity, are all His works’, said James to the gathered apostles, and that sure work, foreordained in eternity, was to take out of every race, ‘a people for His name’. (Acts 15:14 & 18). Every Old Testament eschatological prophecy promised what was to be fulfilled in Christ. This was the apostles’ doctrine, and it changed the world.
  3. THE LORD TAKES AWAY, AND THE LORD GIVES A KINGDOM. After providing a telling and prophetic parable, in which Jesus spoke of Himself being the vineyard owner’s son, who would be rejected and killed by the vine-dressers when He came to inspect it, and thus once more revealing to them who He was, said; "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected, Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes'? "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you, and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” - Matt. 21:42,43. "Therefore I say to you” The Son of God hereby signals what follows is His immutable decree. ‘The kingdom of God will be taken from you.’ Jesus cannot be more succinct. They are dispossessed. All their nationalistic claims are now invalid. So much theological argument is found redundant if only we accept and believe these words of the Son of God. The nation of Israel had so grievously fallen short of the fruits which God might have expected of it, and concerning the Son, it was about cry out before Pilate, “Away with Him! Crucify Him!” just as Christ’s vineyard parable had indicated. They fulfilled the parable and their appointed place in the vineyard of God was lost. Only days before, the crowds had rapturously welcomed Him into the city, imagining that He had come to restore Israel to a sovereign state, throwing off the hated subjection of Rome. But seeing Him now in chains, with all His followers having fled, disappointed, their love turned to hate. Washing his hands before the multitude, Pilate said; "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." And so they called upon themselves a terrible curse; "His blood be on us, and on our children." Thus the Son of God had firstly uttered the sentence on His own nation, and secondly had predicted another nation (‘ethnos’ -people) would come, which would give God the fruits that the Jewish nation had failed to give, that is, to honour the owner’s Son. “and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” (the kingdom) The kingdom of God would be given to the people-group bearing fruits appropriate of the citizens of the kingdom of God, namely a life which honoured the Vineyard owner’s son and heir, Jesus Christ. A life which persistently dishonours the Son of God, is a life dispossessed of God’s promises in Christ, because it is a life which deliberately rejects Him as Lord, not according Him His place. This fruitful people which Jesus spoke of was the nation which God would create in a day (Isa. 66:8), namely on the Day of Pentecost. The word ethnos which Jesus used was a word denoting a people, and was often used to describe the Gentiles. And it would come about by way of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit would bring into being this new people, called out of every race. These would be the citizens of the new nation that Peter later spoke of, describing the Christians as the heirs of Christ’s promise in this manner; 1 Peter 2:3-9. ‘If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men (ie., by the Jews as a nation), but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture; "Behold, I lay in Zion A Chief Cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him, will by no means be put to shame." 7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone," 8 and " A stone of stumbling, And a rock of offense." They (Israel) stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen generation (‘Genos’), a royal priesthood, a holy nation (ethnos – people), His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness, into His marvellous light.’ Stressing that a new pan-ethnic people would be created, Peter quoted the prophet Hosea; ‘Who once were not a people, but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.’ Peter says these new citizens would be from among the Gentiles, just as Paul asserted; ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh --- who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands --- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now, in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace. That He might reconcile them both to God in one body, through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.’ (Eph. 2:10-16.) And dispelling the error of so many nations in history which have thought of themselves as nationally being the people of God, Peter describes this people’s journey as being not in this world, but through, beyond and above; ‘Beloved, I beg you, as being sojourners and pilgrims,’ The testimony of Hebrews regarding this people is; ‘ But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.’ (11:16) Philippians 3:20. ‘For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.’ A gentile Roman Centurion assured Jesus that he knew Jesus had authority over sickness, and needed only to speak the command, and his servant would be healed. Jesus replied; saying to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you, that many will come from the east and the west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the sons of the kingdom, will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." - Matt. 8:10-12. Here again, Jesus identifies who will be the heirs of the kingdom to come. Those who place their faith in Him, regardless of their human ethnicity, status, or circumstances. The doctrine of the apostles was; ‘For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.’ Gal. 3:26-29.
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