Dear Friends and Fellow Believers,
The greatest commission ever given to man since the fall of Adam and Eve, has been for those who know and understand the everlasting gospel of saving grace through Jesus Christ, to share it with our fellow humans and offer them the same hope that we all enjoy. That commission will be open for active service right through until probation closes, when the opportunity to accept the saving grace has also come to a close. That will be the time when, “he that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” ~Rev 22:11
The saving message started when Christ Himself gave the promise to our grief stricken parents in the garden of Eden, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” ~Gen 3:15
The Lord had great plans for the Hebrew nation when it was first established. It was His purpose that it should be a messenger of light and truth to the world, and that its beneficent influence should continue to grow until it embraced the earth and brought light and peace to all men. It started with the raising up of Abraham with the promise of his seed being the line for the promised Messiah. It was their commission to show the then known world the plan of salvation through their behaviour and conversation.
Sadly, Israel did not fulfil its role that God ordained it to fill. Much of the Old Testament is given to reveal the journey Israel, and later, Israel and Judah took. They realised they were mightily blessed, but instead of opening their hearts in gratitude to God and to share their blessings with the surrounding nations, they prided themselves that they were better than all others and shut themselves into their ‘holy’ environment, shutting their borders to the very neighbours that needed that saving grace they had been blessed with. Strangely enough though, when Israel did move away from God in their pride of place, it was the world that evangelised Israel and while they thought they were better than the world, finished up running to the world to be as much like them as possible. Eventually, because of their disobedience, the nation was to lose its freedom and ultimately be taken captive.
But try as he did, Satan could not break the line of Messiah to come. He taunted God so much through the disobedience of Israel and Judah and tried to break that line to interrupt God's plan. The devil had success with Israel and it became so corrupt that the northern kingdom of the ten tribes was finally obliterated by the siege of Shalmaneser V. He tried the same with the southern kingdom of Judah and Benjamin, but repeatedly God held things in check. “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” ~Isa 5:25; 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4. Yes, disobedience was punished, but it was never God's plan that any of His people would be destroyed. Israel became so depraved that it lost its identity in the 700 BC era. God had a purpose for Judah and 'His hand was stretched out still' to carry the seed of the Messiah. And succeed He did.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” ~Matt. 1:18-25
Yes, Jesus came right on time, through the exact line prophesied those centuries, even millennia before. Even though over and over again the devil tried to thwart God's plan, God's purpose would never fail.
“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” ~Gal. 3:17-19
But who is this seed?
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” ~Gal. 3:16
Even though Joseph was not Jesus' biological father, he still came through the line of Judah (Matt 1:20), and while the female line was not registered in the ancestry records, Mary also came through the line of Judah – exactly as God had predicted.
Yes, the southern kingdom of Judah would fall, it would be destroyed, but not before God's plan would be fulfilled. They refused to be the light to the world that God so wanted them to be, and they sealed their doom in their bigoted pride when the chief priests uttered the words, “We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.” ~John 19:15,16. Finally, as we understand through diligent study of Scripture, Judah was totally rejected when they turned on the new fledgling church that Christ Himself established in the stoning of Stephen in 34 AD. (Acts 7:54-60)
When Christ came to this earth, He took over the commission from where the elected Jewish race had dropped it so long ago. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ~Luke 19:10
While the promise of salvation through Israel/Judah came to an end, God was still not impeded to accomplish His end. It was in Antioch where the Christian Church was born (Acts 11:26), and from this time, God has tended His Church on earth to carry out the original commission, “to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Did the promise of the promised seed stop when the Messiah was born, or when Judah was rejected? No, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” ~Gal. 3:26-29
Heirs According to the Promise
Those who have taken on the name of Christ from that day to this, have taken on the seed of Abraham and become Christ's chosen people by adoption, 'heirs according to the promise'. Their responsibility is to represent Christ in true form – to take over where Israel/Judah left off and failed. The commission is still valid and will be to the very end of probationary time.
So we ask the question, does the promised seed of Abraham continue beyond the time of the Galatians?
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” ~Rev 12:17.
This remnant will be a people right at the end of this world who will partake of the divine nature of that very seed, Jesus Christ. They will reflect His nature, they will reflect His character, they will keep all ten of His commandments and they will uphold the testimony of Jesus. Their characters will reflect Jesus Christ Himself.
How do we know this is at the end of time? In the verses just above we read, “for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” ~Rev 12:12. Yes, the verse previous to these words indicates that when the devil was cast out of heaven to this earth, it was then that his time was short, but surely as we put the multitude of signs together in the days that we are now living, his time is extremely short. Every one of us has to admit with those signs about us, we are living in the very last days. He surely is our “adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” ~1 Peter 5:8
Friends, every one of us are called to this great commission. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature...Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” ~Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19,20
The amen hasn't come yet. It means 'so be it.' This commission hasn't ended. There is still a work to do. As a family, we found this message 32 years ago this very month. It was embraced into our hearts right from the beginning and within two years we were entering into ministry work - yes, of a different nature to many who entered the ministry at that time – but none-the-less devoted to what we knew to be right at the time. That decision has led to just on 30 years in self-supporting ministry, and to many experiences, some of which we would not wish to repeat, but some of which we rejoice to see people encouraged in their Christian walk. We will be the first to admit mistakes have been made on the one hand, but also on the other, God has sustained the work we have endeavoured to do for Him with a ready heart to see His word go forward. In recent study we read these very encouraging words from M L Andreason, “We should thank God for adversity as well as prosperity. Rain and dark days as well as sunshine are needed for the maturing of the grain.” ~ Isaiah the Gospel Prophet, p.41.
We had a vision to see literature put into the hands of the people of New Zealand, and that vision has never died. Perhaps some of the focus has changed, or should it be said, expanded to include media in these latter days of ministry, but still the vision remains to see people both in the message and outside of the message, come to know in a very real way, the saving grace of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We are so grateful as parents to see our four children all remain in the message, all of whom have given at some point, part of their lives to the ministry work in our home, and still today, with an interest to see the ministry work continue. Yes, all four of our children are now married and making lives of their own, but as age starts to catch up on us as parents, we look back over the last 32 years since finding this life changing message with no regrets at all. Please do not think by the above words that we think we have made it, that our family has made it. As a family, we are all still a work in progress, such as every one of us. The purpose of including these words is that we as parents just appreciate so much for what God has done for us, that we in turn cannot turn away from Him. To offer ourselves in service to Him, is the least we can do for all He has done for us. Even then, what can be offered in our humanity is pitiful, but may we at least give our hearts and our all to Him.
Take Up the Commission
We just reach out to every one of you as a reader of this editorial. Take the way of Jesus; take up the commission given; give your heart to Him to live His life in and through you; make Him the first priority in your every day; openly confess your weakness and sins to Him, and you will rest from the guilt and pressures of this world.
The world is real. The political, financial, religious engine in this world is real. If we were all frankly honest with ourselves, we would have to admit it is frightening as we see the power this world wields with its threats of war, bloodshed and annihilation. But please take seriously the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is just as real, but it is the answer to the corruption and confusion in the world. Plus it is more powerful than what the world wields in our faces.
“As we, the seed of Abraham's promise – the remnant, face what is about to come upon us, don't feel you have to face it alone. At the time of Sennacherib's invasion of Israel, it was God, not the walls of surrounding Zion, or the armies of Israel that gave salvation to His people. In the last days the faithful remnant will be saved from the power of the enemy by the hand of the Lord.” ~SDA Bible Comm. Vol.4 p.161
Don't think this world, or the church is going to continue in its present state for much longer. Something will hit very soon and many will be left wondering what on earth has happened. Prepare for big changes that will hit with blinding force very soon, be prepared for the blast of the storm that will sweep many, many people off their footing – physically and spiritually – and it will be frightening.
Dear friends, the challenge is put to you every one, and also to ourselves as we pen these words; a plea to humble our proud hearts and to see God in all His fullness, and be ready to answer the call.
Isaiah’s Willing Gift - Himself
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people...” ~Isa 6:5-9