"BLASPHEMY" AND "NAMES OF BLASPHEMY"
by John Thomas
BLASPHEMY SCRIPTURALLY DEFINED
"I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given to us to consume. Thus with your mouth ye have spoken great things against me, and have multiplied your words against me; I have heard them" (Ezek. 35:12,13).
IN the above passage of Ezekiel's prophecy the word "blasphemies" in the original text is neahtzoth, reproaches, contumelies, or, in the words of the prophet, "great things spoken with the mouth against" an object.
In the Greek, neahtzoth is expressed by the noun blasphemiai, which the English or Anglo-Saxon reader will readily perceive is the anglicized word blasphemies in its Greek dress. It is derived from the verb blasphemeo, which is itself derived from the phrase blaptein ten phemen, to injure the reputation or fame of any object; which, if undeservedly done, is to calumniate, rail against, revile, reproach it, etc.
In scripture the objects of blasphemy are various, such as "God, his name, his tabernacle, them that dwell in the heaven", the Jews, the mountains of Israel, the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of God, the word of God, the sanctified of the Father, the king of Israel.
The following passages will sufficiently establish this. In Rev. 13:5,6 it is said that a mouth was given to the Gentile Beast, or System of Powers, "speaking great things and blasphemies. And he opened his mouth (papal) in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his Name and his tabernacle and those dwelling in the heaven"; that is, to the injury of the reputation of all these in the estimation of society.
"The Jews " are blasphemed by pretenders to that honourable community who cannot establish their claim to citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel. Thus in Rev. 2:9, the king of the Jews says, "I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan": and in chapter 3:9, he styles them liars.
The text at the head of this article shows that the mountains of Israel may be blasphemed, and that in blaspheming them Jehovah is Himself blasphemed.
Mark testifies to the Holy Spirit being an object of blasphemy in his day, in 3:29,30; and Paul exhorts or commands that Christians, who are servants and wives, be respectful and obedient to their masters and husbands, that the name, doctrine and word of God be not blasphemed (1 Tim. 6: 1; Titus 2:5).
To blaspheme is, therefore, in a scriptural sense, to bring divine things into disrepute; so that whatever words or doings tend to, or really do accomplish this, are blasphemies.
The punishment of blasphemy, by divine law, is death. "He that blasphemeth the name of Jehovah shall surely be put to death, as well the stranger as he that is born in the land" (Lev. 24:16).
For men to say they are Jews, while yet they are not, is blasphemy, because it is a lie, whether they intend to lie or not. The intention does not alter the fact. Lying is the hypostasis or substance of blasphemy; for no good thing can be injured by the truth. When Gentiles, who are neither Jews outwardly nor inwardly, pretend to be Jews, they calumniate that society of which the King of Jews is the chief; and in so doing they calumniate or blaspheme him; the change of object from the less to the greater only enhances its iniquity. Verbal and practical lying are both mortal sins; but their iniquity is aggravated when the lie is against God, His name, and His doctrine or word. Practical lying is profession contradicted by practice. Thus, "If we say we have fellowship with God and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth". "If a man say I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar" (1 John 1:6; 4:20), and, "If ye love me, keep my commandments". (John 14:15) for "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you". [John 15:14] Thus, the truth of men's professions is made to turn upon the conformity of their actions to the words of God. When those actions are a denial of His doctrine or word they make God a liar, so far as their influence extends. If their words and actions agree, and both give the lie to God or His word, which is the same thing, though less hypocritical, they are not less impious; and the impiety is itself blasphemy.
No greater offence can be committed against God than not to believe what He has promised. The reason of this, is because he,"HAS MAGNIFIED HIS WORD ABOVE ALL HIS NAME"; [Ps. 138:2] and not to believe that word is to treat Him as a liar, which is blasphemy; and "he that blasphemeth the name of Jehovah shall surely be put to death", [Lev. 24:16] whether Gentile or Jew; this is the reason why it is decreed that "he who believeth not (the gospel) shall be condemned". [Mark 16:16] When we do not believe we walk in darkness and walking in darkness, or unbelief, we do not the truth; for in relation to the truth no man can walk in the light of what he does not see, or do that in which he does not believe.
There is another form of lying or blasphemy against God which is brought out in the text from Ezekiel. It is this; If men in their ignorance or impiety affirm a thing, which in its logical or practical bearing contravenes the promises of Jehovah, they blaspheme, or speak evil of the subjects of those promises; and in so doing speak words against, or blasphemies against the promiser.
If the reader peruse Ezek. 35 in the light of God's covenanted promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and their seed, he cannot, we think, fail readily to perceive the truth of our statement. In that writing, Mount Seir, the seat of Edom's dominion, is addressed as a Power having perpetual hatred against the descendants of Jacob; rejoicing in their calamities, and in actual occupation of their country, commonly styled THE HOLY LAND. While thus possessed of Palestine as the fruit of conquest, Seir is represented as saying of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, "These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it though Jehovah were there". (Ezek. 35:10) Upon this the prophet forewarns them that Idumea shall be recompensed according to its hatred of Israel, who shall be delivered after Idumea is destroyed; "I will make myself known among Israel when I have judged thee, O Mount Seir, saith Jehovah; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume; thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me; I have heard them". [Ezek. 35:11-13]
The reader will observe that Jehovah regards blasphemies, or false statements, concerning the destiny of the mountains of Israel, as great words or boastings against Himself; the Idumean Seir declares that those mountains, even though Jehovah were there, would never belong to Israel, but to Edom; for it says, "they are mine, and we will possess it though the I -- Shall -- Be were there". [Ezek. 35:10] But why is this declaration a blasphemy against the Holy Land? and why, if a blasphemy against that land, is it a boast and multiplication of words against Jehovah? Because it states falsely the destiny of Palestine. At present the two nations of Israel and Judah, and their special divisions of the Holy Land, are in the hands of Esau, Edom, or Idumea, synonyms of the power that in the latter days inherits the hatred of Isaac's eldest son against Jacob; "for", says Adonai Jehovah (the Old Testament title rendered Lord Jesus in the New), "when the whole earth rejoices I will make thee desolate. As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the House of Israel because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee; thou shalt be desolate, O Mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it". (Ezek. 35:14-15)
Idumea, then, represents a power to be made desolate when the whole earth rejoices with God's people, Israel, as Moses has predicted. Idumea now triumphs over Israel and their land, and blasphemes them both; the Idumeans decree that Judah's and Israel's two territories shall for ever constitute integral parts of the Ottoman Empire* (*that is, in 1857.); and, consequently, that the two nations or twelve tribes of Jacob shall never constitute one independent kingdom and nation in the land; this is pronouncing a sore evil against Israel and their native mountains; but being a lie against their destiny it is a blasphemy against them all.
But why are these blasphemies against the Jews and their inheritance, boastings or calumnies against Jehovah? Because, if it should so happen that Idumea, in this controversy concerning Zion, were to establish its power in the Holy Land, to the final exclusion and suppression of the kingdom and throne of David there, it would make the promises of Jehovah, which He has sworn by His own life and holiness to fulfil, of none effect. It is impossible that such a result should come to pass; but to attempt to establish it, or to declare such a result, or to believe the declaration, is equivalent to denying and rejecting the contrary, and in effect declaring that Jehovah is a deceiver and a liar.
Now Iet us see what Jehovah has said -- whether He has given the inheritance to Esau or to Jacob. Read the next chapter of Ezekiel; this portion of his prophecy contains a testimony of God in direct opposition to the blasphemies of the Idumean nations, concerning Israel and their mountains; the prophecy is addressed to these -- a prophecy of good things.
"Because, saith Adonai Jehovah, the enemy (a term which stands for the Desolater who triumphs while the land enjoys its Sabbaths) hath said against you, Aha! even the ancient high places are ours in possession" -- thus they boast at this day -- "therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith Adonai Jehovah, Because they have made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession to the residue of the nations, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people; therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the words of Adonai Jehovah: Thus saith Adonai Jehovah to the mountains and to the hills, to the lowlands and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and a derision to the residue of the nations that are round about: therefore thus saith Adonai Jehovah: Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the nations (that "residue" to be stamped with the feet of the fourth beast -- Dan. 7:19), and against all Idumea which have appointed my land for their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.
Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the lowlands and to the valleys, Thus saith Adonai Jehovah, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the nations; therefore thus saith Adonai Jehovah; I have lifted up my hand (that is, I have sworn), surely the nations that are about you, they shall bear their shame. But ye, 0 mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel, for they are at hand to come. For behold, I am for you, and will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded; and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit; and I will settle you after your old estates, and do better for you than at your beginnings; and ye shall know that I (Adonai) am the I-SHALL-BE. Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them; thus saith Adonai Jehovah, Because they say unto thee, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations; therefore thou shalt devour men no more, nor cause thy nations to fall any more; neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the nations any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith Adonai Jehovah" (Ezek. 36:1,2-15).
Here is a time indicated which has manifestly not come; for the Jews and their country are still subject to all these things, which at a "set time" (Psa. 102:13) of their history shall be no more.
There is another testimony in Ezekiel which convicts "the talkers" [Ezek. 36:3] of the Gentiles of blasphemy against the two nations and their two territories which they claim for themselves, and of calumny against God. In chap. 37:21-28, Adonai Jehovah saith, "Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations whither they be gone, and I will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all; neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be my people, and I will be to them for Elohim. And David my servant (David II) shall be king over them, and they all (the twelve tribes) shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they and their children, and their children's children during the age (ad-olam); and my servant David shall be prince over them for the age (le- olam); moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them and multiply them, and I will set my temple in the midst of them for the age (le-olam). My dwelling place also shall be with them: yea, I will be to them for Elohim, and they shall be to me for a people. And the Gentiles shall know that I, Jehovah, do sanctify Israel, when my temple shall be in the midst of them for the age (le-olam)."
From these testimonies, then, we learn that the following things are decreed:
1. -- That "the two countries", or territories of the Holy Land formerly occupied by the "two nations" of the Jews, that is, the kingdom of the Ten Tribes and the kingdom of Judah, are to be exalted to a better condition than when possessed by the Israelites in the beginning;
2. -- That the Gentile Power in possession of Adonai Jehovah's land is to be finally dispossessed when He makes himself known among Israel's tribes;
3. -- That "all the house of Israel, even all of it" are to take possession of the land, and to be settled upon its mountains, and hills, and lowlands, and valleys, and desolate wastes, and forsaken cities, after the old estates of their realm, in peace, plenty, security, and great perpetual prosperity;
4. -- That the nations and kingdoms of Israel and Judah shall be one united nation and kingdom upon the mountains of Israel; so that "Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim" any more: but as a bird of prey, "they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west (the western powers); they shall spoil them in the east together; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them" (Isa. 11:13,14);
5. -- That when finally resettled in Adonai Jehovah's land (his, by covenant made with Abraham and his seed, "who is the Christ", (Gal. 3:16) says Paul), the whole twelve tribes will be under one supreme head or king;
6. -- That they will then be a purified and sanctified people -"they shall defile themselves no more with any of their transgressions"; (Ezek. 37:23) this implies that all their past national offences will have been blotted out;
7. -- That their Shepherd-King will be a David, and immortal; and reign over them during the age of their national glory, however long its continuance may be predetermined by Jehovah (ad-olam);
8. -- That all these benefits will be guaranteed to the nation by the "covenant of the age"; styled also the "covenant of peace" (berith shalom, berith olam); the Constitution of the Kingdom, in the phraseology of the Gentiles; (Ezek. 37:26)
9. -- That during the age, and for the purposes thereof, a Temple will be placed in the midst of the nation. Ezekiel described it, chapters 40-42. The mystery of the temple is set forth by Paul, Peter and John;
10. -- That Adonai Jehovah, Israel's Shepherd-King, will dwell with them, and be to them for Elohim, or Gods -- for all the saints or future kings and priests of Israel and the nations are consitutionally or federally "in him"; HE is for Gods.
Now, these ten items, deduced from the foregoing testimonies, are the intelligible and obvious purpose of Jehovah, with respect to Canaan and its heirs national. No language could have been devised to make His intentions plainer or more easy to be understood. He has not said that these things may come to pass if fortuitous circumstances favour their development; but He has declared that He will create the situation that shall necessitate the results; and that He will accomplish, them, not for the sake of the generation of Israel existing at, the crisis but for their fathers' sake, on whose account they are beloved, and for the honour of His own character. "I have pity for my holy name, which the house of Israel have profaned among the nations whither they went; therefore say unto the house of Israel: Thus saith Adonai Jehovah; I do not for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the nations whither ye went. And I will sanctify My GREAT NAME which was profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the Jehovah, saith Adonai Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land" (Ezek. 36:21- 24).
How easy to be understood, how devoid of mystification! Is it not astonishing that any man professing to believe and study the scriptures should affirm that God has utterly and for ever cast off the Jews; that there will be no restoration of them to Palestine; and that God has no more use for them than for the gypsies! To affirm this is to speak blasphemies, or lies, against the mountains and people of Israel; and in so doing to speak great things against God with the mouth, and to multiply words against Him. This is the wickedness of all the children of Esau. Nationally they seize upon Jacob's inheritance, slay his seed with the sword, and proclaim the independence and integrity of a dominion that incorporates the land of Adonai Jehovah and His people in its domains. "These two nations and these two territories", say they, "shall be mine, and we will possess it though Jehovah were there", (Ezek. 35:10) "they are laid desolate, they are given to us to consume". (Ezek. 35:12) Individually, they endorse the truth of this; they preach it from their "sacred desks"; they publish it in their creeds; ignoring Israel and Israel's land in all the plentitude and folly of their traditions. But the issue is briefly and simply this: If the doctrine of Esau's progeny be true, then the promises of Jehovah, covenanted with an oath, and confirmed by the blood of Adonai Jehovah, are a deceit and a bald imposition on the credulity of the Jewish nation and their friends. TO AFFIRM THE DOCTRINE OF ESAU IS TO GIVE THE LIE TO GOD.
But with the apostles, we say, "Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it written, That thou mightest overcome when thou art judged". [Rom. 3:4] The sentence of God stands firm though over thirty-eight hundred years have elapsed since it was uttered -- "The elder shall serve the younger". [Gen. 25:23 Edom shall be subject to Jacob; therefore Edom shall not always triumph in the land. He that doctrinally reverses this decree belongs to the family of Esau, sets himself against the promises of God, and becomes the enemy of Jacob. Can the reader possibly have any difficulty in discerning this principle? We blaspheme God when we affirm the contrary of what He decrees. It is an oblique method of telling Him that He has not decreed the truth. It is taking sides against him in "THE CONTROVERSY OF ZION" (Isa. 34:8), a controversy to be decided in favour of them that believe truth.
This great controversy it is that in reality defines the seeds -- the seed of the woman, and the seed of her enemy. The seed of the woman are all on the side of Zion. They believe all "the glorious things" that Jehovah hath spoken concerning her. They love Jerusalem, and rejoice in all the good Jehovah hath sworn to do unto her; while they repudiate with indignation all traditions which reduce the promises to a nullity. This is right in every view; for to make void the future glory of Zion is to rob the faithful of their inheritance for "Salvation", saith Adonai Jehovah, "is of the Jews", [John 4:22] and when men are robbed of their rights, they do not feel very charitable towards the thieves.
All systems of religion, or forms of faith, are blasphemies or "abominations", which uphold dogmas subversive of the promises of Jehovah. Piety of disposition in the worshippers, or moral precepts commingled in their ethics, will not transform blasphemies or indignities into things worthy of God. His doctrine and word are blasphemed when they are brought into disrepute, and contempt is generated in men's minds respecting the things they set forth. This is characteristic of the thing called "orthodoxy" among the Gentiles; which assigns all the curses of God to the Jews, and all His blessings to their enemies. But all Gentilisms that do this, whether orthodox or heterodox, are blasphemies against God, His name, His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. They constitute the darkness of this world, and they who walk in them "walk in darkness", [1 John 1:6] and neither believe nor do the truth. Such, persons are very apt to "say they have fellowship with God", [1 John 1:6] because they appear to one another to be righteous in talking piety, and making long prayers; and because, under the influence of human applause, they "feel good", profess to be "at peace with God", and are on excellent terms with themselves. But it is easy to show that their peace with God and their conscience is all on one side.
THE BLASPHEMY OF THE CHURCHES
Blasphemy against the mountains and people of Israel, and consequently of the covenanted promises of Jehovah, is the mortal sin of all who believe not "the gospel of the kingdom", which is the said promises evangelized. He that directly denies the restoration of the Jews, and the reign of Jesus over them in the Holy Land "during the age", [Ezek. 37:25] or indirectly denies this by affirming that his hope, and consequently his only hope (for scripturally, there is but "one hope of the calling" [Eph. 4:4]), is the translation of his immortal soul to transkykingdomia at death, and its return for reunion with the mortal dust it left when it comes with Jesus to burn up the earth and world; he who thus directly or indirectly denies this great and divinely attested purpose of the Most High One, is under the condemnation of the sentence which reads, "He that believes not shall be condemned". [Mark 16:16] This infidelity is the sin of all the ecclesiastical factions of the Gentiles. They content themselves with the creed prepared for them by the Apostasy, called "the Apostles' Creed", which ignores the Hope of Israel, for which Paul was a prisoner in Rome, as completely as if earth had no Holy Land, no Jewish inhabitants, and no destiny involved in their glory and independence! This credal version of what the apostles believed recognizes a resurrection of the body and a judgment; but such a resurrection and judgment as never entered into their heads to conceive of. This resurrection dogma of Gentilism is the reunion of a fictitious celestial soul from the skies with certain grains of dust in the earth's crust! This is not the resurrection the apostles believed in. To admit the Gentile dogma is to admit "the immortality of the soul", which is Paganism, and not Christianity. Their "judgment" is akin to it -- a judgment invented by the fleshly mind for "immortal souls"; the judgment of nonentities! It is a libel upon the apostles, a defamation of their Christian fame, a blasphemy of their glorious faith, to dignify such nonsense with their official name. They believed in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His son, their Lord; they believed that he was born of a virgin, but not of an "immaculate" one, nor that his nature was immaculate, as Protestants do; they believed that he was condemned by Pilate, and crucified unto death, and buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to heaven afterwards; and that he will come from thence again to judge the world, but not to burn it up; they believed in remission of sins, the resurrection of the body, and in life everlasting; but not in the sense imposed upon the words by Gentile theology. The Gentile "Names and Denominations", styled apocalyptically "NAMES OF BLASPHEMY", [Rev. 17:3] do not believe the things the apostles believed and taught, and interpretations of some of those things approved by their blind leaders of the blind. These interpretations, which are anti scriptural discords, constitute their theology, which, making of none effect the promises of God, as the leaven of the old Pharisees did, generates a vain worship, and blasphemies against Him and His doctrine.
The popish and sectarian interpretation of "the Apostles' Creed" is the gospel believed by all "Christendom". The apostles, however, did not preach the Gentile interpretation of their creed, which is therefore "another gospel". [Gal. 1:6] This the Papal and Protestant, or sectarian world, now believes. The world's gospel is that Jesus, a person of immaculate nature, is Son of God, who died for sins, was buried, and rose again; and that whosoever believes this, and believes that he died for him, and repents, his immortal soul shall be saved from eternal torment in liquid fire and brimstone! Some sects may modify this statement somewhat; nevertheless, as a general definition, it is the Gospel according to "the Mother of Harlots and of all the Abominations of the Earth", [Rev. 17:5] and of those Harlots and Abominations too. This is a gospel that has nothing to do with the promises covenanted to the fathers. When a man professes this gospel, and presents himself to the old Roman Mother, or to any of the State-Harlots, or to any of the innumerable sectarian Abominations, or "Names of Blasphemy", [Rev. 17:3] all styled "Churches", from the Mother to the most insignificant of her rebellious progeny: when such a one makes application for admission within their pale, no member thereof, lay or clerical, ever thinks of inviting his confession of faith in the things promised to Abraham, David, and their seed! The unlucky zealot, or bigot (by whatsoever name they might reproach him matters not), who should presume to make inquiry as to whether the candidate's "faith" embraced "the substance of things hoped for" [Heb. 11:1] "unto which hope the twelve tribes of Israel, constantly serving night and day, hoped to come" [Acts 26:7[ and on account of which Paul was accused of the Jews if such should be his inquisition that he might assure himself if the candidate's faith were justifying faith; and, finding that he knew nothing about the good things God had promised to Israel, nationally and individually in Christ, he were to object to his fitness for admission to church- fellowship -- were he clergyman or layman, who does not know that he would immediately become a marked man, an object of suspicion, and be regarded as an uncharitable disturber of the peace, a presumptuous and conceited fellow? It is well known that such is the fact. What has Gentile church-fellowship to do with God's promises to Abraham, David, and their seed, national or individual? Nothing! Only "believe in Jesus", as they define it, and a fig for Israel, their mountains, and the promises. It is enough, say they, that you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. But the demons believed this, and trembled [James 2:19].
This is enough for them who endorse the blasphemies of Edom. Believe a barren proposition, and be pious, and make a bonfire of the promises. I say, a barren proposition; for the confession that "Jesus is the Christ", in the Gentile sense of it, is the mere acknowledgment of "a fact", irrespective of the promises evangelized concerning the kingdom by the apostles and himself. What more natural than that the sons of Edom should delight in a gospel that ignores the promises? Is it likely that they would rejoice in the blessing of Isaac upon their brother Jacob -- that he "shall be as the smell of a field which Jehovah hath blessed"? [Gen. 27:27.28] Would they, pluming themselves on having the birthright, rejoice that God should give Jacob "of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine"? [Gen. 27:27,28] Is, it to be expected that, they being Gentiles, and rejoicing in Gentilism, would respond "Amen"! to the eulogy, "Let people serve thee, O Jacob, and nations bow down to thee; be thou lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee"? [Gen. 27:29]. It is expecting too much of reckless Edom that he should delight in such promises as these, "Thou shalt serve thy brother Jacob", to a man that lives by his sword (verse 40), is a galling and bitter humiliation. No wonder that Edom hate Jacob, and repudiates all the promises concerning him -- that having acquired dominion by his sword, and for the time, broken Jacob's yoke, he should seek to persuade himself that Jehovah hath indeed cast off his people, Israel, for ever! For, if this be so, then Edom shalt not serve Jacob, and the word of God becomes a lie!
Such is the blasphemy of Edom, the name used in Scripture for the enemies of the Jews; and surely they are their enemies who assign all God's curses to them, and monopolize the blessings for themselves. Upon this principle, then, all the sects of Edom are incorporations of blasphemy against God; an idea apocalyptically set forth in the words, "Upon the seven heads of the beast THE NAME OF BLASPHEMY"; [Rev. 13:1] and in Rev. 17:3, where the beast is said to be "full of names of blasphemy", and commented on above; a gospel-nullifying fraternity, denying the truth in ignorantly maintaining the opposite; or, in mixing it up with their traditions; or, in rejecting it without qualification or reserve. The disciples of these systems are the "talkers" (Ezek. 36:3) on whose lips Jewish affairs are taken up reproachfully. They prate against the truth with volubility inexhaustible; being unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, whose mouths", says Paul, "must be stopped. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith". Titus 1:10,11].
The same apostle says, "There is one faith". [Eph. 4:5] Now this is the faith which justifies; but not the faith of Christendom. Justifying faith, and the faith of the unruly talkers of Edom, are antagonist and mutually destructive systems of belief. The latter has no soundness; and in the former, soundness can only be attained by an intelligent belief of the "covenants of promise" [Eph. 2:12] Men are justified by an enlightened and hearty faith in the gospel of the kingdom of God preached by Jesus and the apostles. This is evident from the consideration that when the Lord Jesus sent Paul to preach the faith that justifies, he sent him to "open the eyes of the Gentiles, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they might receive remission of sins (or be justified) and inheritance among them (the saints of Israel) who are sanctified by faith the which leads into him" [Acts 26:17,18] (pistei te eis eme). It is clear from this, that illumination of mind preceded the reception of remission, and a right to the inheritance. He whose eyes are unopened by the gospel of the kingdom "walks in darkness" [John 8:12;1 John 1:6] and is obnoxious to the sentence, "he that believes not shall be condemned". [Mark 16:16] As there is but one true faith [Eph.4:5], it is also manifest that this condemnation, is pronounced upon him who believes not that "one faith", [Eph. 4:5] or the gospel; and therefore styled "the faith of the gospel". [Phil. 1:27] Now we have shown often that the faith of the children of Edom is not the "one faith" [Eph. 4:5] which the apostles preached; nor is any other form of faith which ignores the promises covenanted to the fathers of Israel: for "faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen"; [Heb. 11:1] and these unseen matters of hope are the subject of the covenants of promise; for in speaking of the death of that cloud of witnesses who had obtained renown through the possession and exercise of this faith, Paul says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but saw them afar off" [Heb. 11:13]; and the reason he gives for their dying without receiving, is that "God has provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect ", [Heb. 11:40] or immortal.
The gospel, we have said, is the covenanted promises evangelized. To make our meaning distinct, a word or two must be said in regard to "evangelized". This is a Greek word in an English dress, being in its own country called evangelidzo. This is the noun evangelion, with a verbal termination implying action -- a putting into action the noun. Now this noun is composed of eu, signifying good, well; and angelia, a message, from angelo, to narrate; from which comes angelos, one sent, a message-bearer, angel. Evangelion, therefore, signifies a good message, which, when put into circulation, is evangelized. Now, a message to be good must be something excellent, beneficial, and to be desired by those to whom it is sent; and because this is the fact, God has called the message, or "word he sent unto the children of Israel proclaiming peace" to them, good.
That "peace" is the subject matter of the covenants of promise and is the reason why we so often meet with such passages as these: "Thou shaIt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel" (Psa. 128:5,6), "As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, Jehovah shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity; but peace shall be upon Israel" (Psa. 125:5); "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes (the saints) I (Messiah the Prince of Peace) will now say, Peace be within thee!" (Psa. 122); "In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endures" (Psa.72:7). "He will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints but let them not turn again to folly. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psa. 85:8-10) "I will extend peace to Jerusalem like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream" (Isa. 66:12).
In the song which shall be sung in the land of Judah when Jerusalem become "a strong city", [Isa. 26:1 and others] Israel sings, "O Jehovah, thou wilt ordain peace for us" (Isa. 26:12). Yea, "I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill (Zion) a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I (Jesus) am the Jehovah (I shall be) when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And THEY SHALL NO MORE BE A PREY TO THE NATIONS, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a PLANT FOR RENOWN, and they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land; neither bear the shame of the nations any more. Thus shall they know that I Jehovah their God am with them, and that they, the house of Israel are my people, saith Adonai Jehovah" (Ezek. 34:25-30) The Son given to Israel is styled "the Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6), of whom it is written, "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order and establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth and during the age" (Isa. 9:6,7). Then, "He shall speak peace unto the nations; and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river (Euphrates) to the ends of the earth" (Zech. 9:10). "And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make Israel to lie down in safety" (Hosea 2:18).
Now, when the time had nearly arrived for the Prince of Peace to be born, a communication was made to Mary that she should be his mother; and that, as Isaiah had predicted, the throne of his ancestor David should be given him by the most High, whose Son he should also be; and that, when seated there, he should reign over the house of Jacob for the ages, and that of his kingdom there should be no end [Luke 1:32-33; Isa. 9:6-7]. This was announcing peace to Israel through the Son to be born. So Mary understood it; and in the rejoicing of her spirit in God, said, "He helps his servant Israel in remembrance of mercy as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his Seed, for the age". [Luke 1:54,55]
That the mercy covenanted to Abraham was peace to Israel through the Messiah is also manifest from the words of the Holy Spirit spoken through the father of John the Baptizer, who said in view of the birth of the Christ, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he visits and redeems his people, and raises up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets which have been from the beginning of the age; that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life" (Luke 1:68-75). What a beautiful comment is this upon the Abrahamic Covenant; how forcibly it exhibits the national blessedness to come upon the hereditary seed of Abraham through the Christ. But not exclusively upon them; but upon all other nations through him also; for "In thee and in thy seed, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed"; [Gen. 12:3,4; 22:18] therefore it came to pass when the birth of Jesus had occurred, that his mission was proclaimed by a multitude of the heavenly host, saying, "Glory in the highest places to God, and over the earth peace, and goodwill among men". [Luke 2:14].
Here, then, is peace to Israel, and peace to all other nations, promised and confirmed by oath to Abraham, David, and their seed, when Christ shall sit upon David's throne as the result of "mercy and truth meeting together, and righteousness and peace embracing each other". [Psa. 85:10] When Abraham rises from the dead, and becomes the patriarch, or chief father, of a believing and righteous world, the multitude of its nations will become "his seed" as well as Israel, and the saints, the kings and lords of all. This is Moses' doctrine of a future state, amplified by all the prophets. Their oracles were its depository; and until Peter visited the house of Cornelius, these covenanted promises were supposed to be confined to Israelites alone. It was not conceived possible that men of other nations would be associated with Messiah in the government of the Jewish nation and the Gentiles. The promises of the holy covenant had not assumed the form of a message of invitation to aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel [Eph. 2:12]. The Jews were exclusively invited by Jesus, and by the apostles for several years after his ascension. They went about explaining the purpose of God, which was full of goodness and glory for Israel; and inviting them to partake in it with endless life and honour. This was evangelizing the promises, or setting before them the hope. They were called upon to become heirs of that hope by embracing it, and becoming obedient to the commands of Jesus. It was therefore styled "the hope of their calling", [Eph. 4:4] by faith in which, says an apostle, we are saved [Eph. 2:5,8].
Understanding then that the gospel, or glad tidings, is not salvation of immortal souls from endless torment in material fire who believe that Jesus in flesh was God's immaculate Son and died for them; but that it is the promises of everlasting peace and glory to the Jewish nation, and of contemporary blessedness to all other nations; when, as one dominion, they shall exist under the government of Christ, and of his called, chosen and faithful (Rev. 17:14) "brethren and companions" (Psa. 122:8) when he shall sit arid rule as a priest upon David's throne which promises were covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David and their seed; and confirmed by the death and resurrection of Christ; it is these confirmed and covenanted promises evangelized, or circulated among men in a proclamation, in which Jews first and afterwards Gentiles who believe said promises and recognize the claims of Jesus to be that Christ as he is described in Moses and the Prophets, are invited to co-partnership with him in said covenanted kingdom and glory, on condition of becoming the subjects of repentance and remission of sins in his name. This is the Pentecostian Gospel of the Kingdom of God preached by Peter and the apostles; the other, the salvation of immortal souls from endless torture in material fire, is the Pope's gospel -- the clerical gospel of Rome, Wittenberg, and Geneva -- the gospel according to Christendom, by which its intoxicated peoples are ecclesiastically policed: the gospel of Antichrist, which, admitting the divine sonship and sacrificial character of Jesus, ignores the promises, blasphemes Israel, and so "speaks great words against the most High", [Dan. 7:25] who has "formed that people for himself that they may show forth his praise" (Isa. 43:21). Understanding, then, these things; and that justification comes by belief and obedience, or an enlightened and obedient belief of the gospel -- what intelligent man can be at a loss to perceive that they are not justified who are ignorant of, or reject the promises, when they seek, or are sung, prayed, or scared into immersion? Belief of the gospel of Antichrist does not make water saving; and certainly none but a Romanist, Puseyite, or baby-sprinkler, would make it saving of itself alone. What makes baptism saving, then? For Peter says, "We are saved by baptism". (1 Pet. 3:21) We answer according to the word, the belief of the promises: that is, of the gospel the apostles preached. The Baptistic, Millerite, Campbellite, Mormonite, and general paidorhantist theories of belief, are not justifying; because they either ignore or destroy the promises. In doing this they are, as we have shown, "blasphemies", and punishable with death. Can a man be justified by the belief of blasphemy? Will a pious profession of love to Jesus transmute blasphemy into justifying truth? Is the sincere belief of what the Scriptures style blasphemy less offensive to Jehovah in a modern religionist, than in an ancient Edomite? Is it less blasphemy to say with Millerism, "God has cast away the Jews; he will destroy the nations; he will burn up the earth; and we shall inherit Paradise with dominion over the beasts after the similitude of Adam"; than to say with Edom, "The mountains, of Israel are laid desolate, they are given to us to consume"? [Ezek. 35:12] One saying is as subversive of the truth of God, and as derogatory to His veracity, as the other. If immersed- Millerism decree the truth, Jehovah's promises, which we have set forth, will never come to pass. Hence God and Millerism are as much at enmity as God and Edom; it is logical and scriptural therefore to place Millerism and Edom side by side against God. We say Millerism, not simply as such; but as representative of all Gentilisms ending in ism, whose theology does not teach for justification, and whose organizations do not require for admission to their fellowship, an intelligent belief and confession of the message of peace to Israel, as taught in Moses and the prophets.
one read the faith of Mary, Zacharias, and Simeon, as expressed in their
utterances prompted by the Holy Spirit; and then imagine the proclamation of
such gospel as sounds forth from the pulpits of the Gentiles, being made to them
a gospel which assigns the Holy Land to Edom, and consigns Israel to curse and
perdition: what does he think those ancient worthies would have said? Would not
their souls have boiled, over with bubbling and steaming indignation? Would they
have rejoiced that their eyes had seen such a Saviour as the Gentile character
styled Jesus? Would they have seen in him an earnest of the remembrance by
Jehovah of the oath He had sworn to Abraham, and of the covenant He had made
with David? No: they would have been like our Jewish contemporaries, rejecters
of Jesus, because the Gentile description of his character and mission did not
accord with the Messiah as defined by Moses and the prophets. Let all, then who
believe in "the exceeding great and precious promises", [2 Pet. 1:4] and who are
disposed to accept God's evangelized invitation to His kingdom and glory, which
He has promised to them that obey Him -- let such be honest to themselves and
true to God. Let them repudiate the uncovenanted traditions of Gentilism as
"blasphemies against their king". If dipped into Baptistism, Campbellism, or
Millerism, etc., let them put them off as "filthy rags" -- as garments "all
tattered and torn", and "spotted with the flesh". [Jude 23] They are investments
unbecoming the divine presence of the Nazarite King of the Jews. He invites men
to walk with him in white -- a white which the sectarian fullers of Edom cannot
produce. "What is the chaff to the wheat, saith Jehovah?" [Jer. 23:28] Some who
read these lines may have been dipped into divers Gentilisms, sincerely
believing they were obeying the truth; but, if you have studied the prophets to
any good purpose, you will know that the truth according to Edom is not "the
truth as it is in Jesus" [Eph. 4:21] -- your own good sense will teach you that
your sincerity will not transmute the one into the other. Do you find in the
Bible such adogma as, "He that is sincere and immersed, shall be saved?"
This is one of the gospel-nullifying principles of Edom -- a mere tare sown among the wheat. Abandon it, dear friends, and consent heartily to the wholesome, unrepealed words of Adonai Jehovah, that "He who believes (the gospel or promises) and is immersed shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned". [Mark 16:16]
Berean Home Page