Proclaiming the Herald of Christ,
as Bridegroom, Reaper and King
Faith's FoundationFaiths Foundations It is not our purpose to give an exhortation. We desire to draw attention to some interesting details in the Bible which we believe will stimulate faith. For when we observe how the Lord in times past aided the faith of all who had honest hearts, our own faith in His Holy Word is strengthened, and we are enabled to overcome. Does not the Scriptures say: This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith? The knowledge of these dealings of God with His people of former days lays in a firm foundation for our own faith. Knowledge is necessary for faith. There are varying degrees of faith; and there are also what we might term specialized faiths, requiring particular knowledge. Those who manifest a disposition to exercise and cultivate faith, are honored by God. They are frequently given special missions, and play favored parts in the Lords glorious Plan of the Ages.
The Jewish Nation not the only Nation Favored by GodMoses strengthened the faith of the Jewish nation, when about to cross the Jordan. He reminded them of Gods former dealings with four other nations. As this is an important point, we shall quote Deut. 2;1-23 at length. Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, as the LORD spake unto me, saying, 3 Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. 4 And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: 5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth: because I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. 6 Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink. 7 For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: He knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou has lacked nothing. 8 And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from Eziongaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab. 9 And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession: because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession. 10 The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; 11 Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims. 12 The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetimes; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them. 13 Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered. 14 And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them. 15 For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed. 16 So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people, 17 That the LORD spake unto me, saying, 18 Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day: 19 And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. 20 (That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt there in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummins; 21 A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead: 22 As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them: and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day: 23 And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.) According to the recital of Moses, it appears that the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, and the Caphtorims had all received national recognition by God. The children of Israel were commanded not to interfere with those people because God had given them their land; the giants in previous possession had been driven out to make way for them. The lesson that Moses desired to impress was that if God had favored and manifested his power on behalf of those older nations, then the Israelites might have faith that God could and would enable them to conquer and possess the land of promise, even though it were inhabited by giants, as had been reported by the spies some years before. These four nations are not to be confounded with the original ten heathen nations, which God commanded the Israelites to drive out of the promised land. See Gen. 15:19-21.
The Four Ancient Nations First Favored, but Afterward Cursed. Why?Two questions naturally arise here: (1) Why did God specially deal with these four nations? Did not the Lord say of Israel, through His prophet Amos, You only have I known of all the families of the earth? (Amos 3:1,2) (2) Why did the Lord latterly require to curse these four nations by His Prophets? The consideration of these questions will strengthen our faith in the overruling power of our heavenly Father. It will add to our knowledge of the wideness of His Plan, and of His particular care over His special covenanted peoples. The answer to the first question may be understood in line with the statement in Deut. 5:10namely, that the Lord extends His favors to those who manifest faith in Him, and to their descendants. And the answer to the second question can be found in the words of Zechariah (2:8), that he who touches the Lords people touches the apple of His eyefor the Lord cannot bear that anyone should molest His own covenant people, as the Edomites and the other nations afterward did. Deut. 32:7-12 The Moabites and the Ammonites were given favor because of their father Lot, a righteous man. The Edomites were favored because of Esau their father. For although Jacob received the chief blessing, having purchased the birthright from his brother, yet Esau had a blessing too.Heb. 11:20 Why the Caphtorims should have had the favor of the Lord we cannot be quite sure. It is just possible it is because they were instrumental in building the Great Pyramid, the Lords Pillar of Witness in Egypt.Isa. 19:19,20
Who were the Caphtorims?
The Caphtorims were the Philistines. (See Amos 9:7.) In Deut. 2:23 we are informed that the Caphtorim destroyed the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim even unto Azzah. This identifies the locality possessed by the Caphtorims, for according to Jer. 47:1, marginal reading, Azzah and Gaza are the same, i.e., a city in the southwest of Palestine which belonged to the Philistines. (Compare also Jer. 47:4.) In the Revised Version Hazerim is translated villages.
The country (or coastlandnot isle) of Caphtor is identified with the delta of Egypt. This can be seen in many of the usual maps contained in Bibles. Caphtor is thought by some to be the Island of Crete; but the evidences are strongly in favor of its identification with Lower Egypt. The reason why Caphtor is thought by some to be the island of Crete, is because of the other name frequently used in the Scriptures for the Philistines viz., Cherethites or Cherethims. (See Ezek. 25:16.) In the original Hebrew this name reads Crethim, and in the Greek translation of the Bible it reads Kretes, another way of spelling Crete. But instead of coming from the island of Crete, ancient historical authorities prove that colonists from among the Philistines or Cherethims (Cretans), migrated from Palestine to Crete, and gave their name to that island. The date of this migration was understood by Sir Isaac Newton to be 1055 B.C., but other chronologists of note date it about three or four hundred years earlier, which is more probable. In the Chaldean language the word Cherethites may be translated archers. The Cretans were particularly noted as bowmen.
The Philistines, therefore, were brought up from Egypt by the Lord, and given a possession of land in Palestine, long before the nation of Israel were accorded the same favor. (Amos 9:7) Indeed, the Holy Land is named after the Philistines; for Palestine and Philistine are the same in the Hebrew (Pelesheth). Philistia is another form of the word (Psa. 60:8). One of the reasons why the master builders of the Great Pyramid are identified with the at one time divinely favored Philistines, is because of a statement by the Greek historian Herodotus, to the effect that a man named Philitis fed his flocks near the site of the Pyramid while it was being erected; and that this Philitis was understood to be in some way connected with the buildings construction. Herodotus, who lived about 500 B.C., is one of the very few early writers who give us information about the Great Pyramid.
Then we have the statement of the Egyptian priest and historian, Manetho, who wrote about 300 B.C., to the effect that the nation who set up the Pyramid afterwards left Egypt and travelled eastward to a land named Judea, and built there a city called Jerusalem. Thus the inference is that the Caphtorims or Philistines, who came forth out of Caphtor (orcoastland, i.e., the delta of Egypt), and dwelt in the villages around Azzah (Gaza), are the same as the Hyksos or Shepherd Kings, who after erecting the Great Pyramid, left Egypt and settled in Judea or Palestine.See Great Pyramid Passages, Vol. I, Pars. 4-6.
The Philistines were Shemites
Abraham, and later on Isaac also, had friendly intercourse with the Philistines, who evidently spoke a Shemitish language, so that difficulty of speech did not arise. When Jacobs sons were in Egypt, on the contrary, an interpreter was required (Gen. 42:23), for the Egyptians spoke a Hamitic language, a strange language to the descendants of Shem. (See Psa. 81:5; 105:23; 114:1.) Thus, in spite of the seeming connection of the Caphtorims with Ham in Gen. 10:6, 13, 14, it is not probable that they were Egyptians. Verse 6 of Gen. 10 says that Mizraim was the son of Ham; and verses 13 and 14 read: And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim (out of whom came Philistim) and Caphtorim. Some commentators regard the words:out of whom came Philistim, which are in parenthesis, as an interpolation by a later writer who desired to explain from whence came the Philistines. In any case the word whom may equally well be translated where; and the whole of the parenthesis should be inserted after Caphtorim, and not as at present after Casluhim.
When we recall to mind what the historian informs us regarding the Hyksos or Shepherd Kings, the master-builders of the Great Pyramidnamely, that they invaded Egypt from the East; and subduing the Egyptians without a battle, enlisted that people to erect the Pyramid under their supervision, after which they departed eastward to Judeawe are inclined to the thought that the Philistines were really Shemites, and not the true Caphtorims. Because they <invaded> Caphtor (Lower Egypt), compelling the people of the land, the true Hamitic Caphtorims, to do their bidding, these Shemitic Philistines could themselves be spoken of as Caphtorims. Gen. 10:13,14 might be rendered: And Mizraim [son of Ham] begat Ludim ... Casluhim, and Caphtorim (out of where came Philistim).
The Israelites the Most Favored Nation on EarthWithout doubt, then, we see that the Philistines, as well as the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, were in the beginning recognized by God. But the Israelites were afterwards favored more than they all because of Jacob their father. He showeth His word unto Jacob, His statutes, and His judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any [other] nation. (Psa. 147:19,20) The Apostle Paul makes it clear that the Jews were Gods special people, to whom pertained all the covenants and promises, and of whom the Messiah was destined to come. (Rom. 3:1; 9:4,5) Jealousy and hatred quickly rose up against the Israelites in the hearts of the other nations. They spoke against, fought, and persecuted the Lords chosen people, and even blasphemed Gods holy name because of them. In 2 Chron. 20:1-25, we have an account of an attack against Judah by the allied armies of Ammon, Moab, and Edom (Mount Seir) during the reign of Jehoshaphat. We read that Jehoshaphat feared, and prayed to the Lord for deliverance. Verse 10And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and MountSeir, whom thou wouldst not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and destroyed them not (Deut. 2:4-19): behold, I say, how they reward us to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou has given us to inherit, O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee. Because of the Kings faith in his Gods power, the Lord delivered Judah by causing their fierce enemies to turn against each other and thus defeat themselves. In the 25th chapter of Ezekiel, all four nations are mentioned, and judgments passed upon them. The Edomites are singled out for special denunciation in Ezekiel, 35th chapter. The Lord there says: When the whole world rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. The Prophet Obadiah speaks much against the Edomites, because of their manifest hatred of the Israelites. Jeremiah, also, utters words against them. (49:7-22) This nation, descended from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, is denoted by several names, as Mount Seir, Mount Esau, the land of Seir, Edom, Idumea; and in Isa. 21:11 by the name Dumah.
Idumea the Type of Christendom
There was always enmity between the rival nations of Israel and Edom. Before Jacob and Esau, their founders, were born, they strove against each other. (Gen. 25:21-26) And even to this day there is strife, because fleshly Israel typified the spiritual Israelites of the Gospel Age; and fleshly Edom prefigures a class who have, like Esau, despised and sold their spiritual birthright for an earthly portion. The strong language directed by the prophets against Edom is more truly applicable to Christendom, the antitypical Idumea. Thus, when the Lord declares through Isaiah (34:5): For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, we understand that Christendom, ecclesiastical and social, will be destroyed by the two-edged sword of the spirit, the Word of God. The destruction of Edom, also, is likened to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jer. 49:17,18); and our Lord said that the fiery judgment upon these cities of the plain illustrated the overthrow of the Present Evil World at the time of his second advent. (Luke 17:28-32) See specially Isa. 1:10-15, and note that this warning was uttered centuries after the literal cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. The prophet was therefore likening Israel to the ancient evil cities (a city is often taken as a symbol of a government); and sinful nominal fleshly Israel is a type of the nominal spiritual Israel of todayi.e., Christendom, which claims to be the people of God. Sodom and Gomorrah were situated at the south end of the Dead Sea (according to many competent authorities, whose arguments we believe to be correct); and this portion of land was afterwards included in the northern part of Idumea.
The overthrow of ancient Babylon, also, which typified Babylon the Great, another name for Christendom, is likened to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Jer. 50:40-46)
This again shows how Edom prefigured the present social order; for Edom was associated with Babylon at the dethronement of the kingdom of Judah in 606 B.C., and was therefore doomed to partake of the retaliatory judgment on Babylon, and thus also on the judgment of the antitypical spiritual Babylon the Great. The 137th Psalm, which pictures the captive Israelites weeping in Babylon during the 70 years desolation of Palestine, makes it clear that the Edomites were specially vindictive against Jerusalem, during the final siege and overthrow of that city. The captives ware represented as praying: Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem: who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
The Lord said: Was not Esau Jacobs brother?...yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau. (Mal. 1:2,3) The Lord loved Jacob because he had respect to the future promises, and was willing to surrender earthly advantage to secure things not seen as yet.
But Esau despised his birthright, and sold it for a morsel of meat. His very name, and the name of his descendants, was ever after associated with this barter; for Edom was the name of his pricered lentils. (Gen. 25:29-34)
This earthly tendency of Esau or Edom was further emphasized by his descendants, for the Edomites lived in holes and caves of the earth. The Horims who formerly dwelt in Mount Seir were troglodytes, that is, cave-dwellers. The Edomites pride in the security of their rock-dwelling is referred to in Jer. 49:16 and Obad. 3. Even to this day cave houses are to be seen in Mount Seir, which lies to the south of the Dead Sea.
In the Gospel Age the antitypical Edomite class were collectively the prospective bride of Christ, to whom they were originally espoused as a chaste virgin. (2 Cor. 11:2). But because they preferred earthly things, and sold their spiritual birthright, the Lord rejected them from being his bride, and conferred this honor upon the true Israelite class. This rejecting of the spiritual Edom is picturesquely referred to in the words of the Psalmist: Over Edom will I cast out my shoe. (Psa. 108:9)
According to Ruth 4:5-9, it was the custom for a man to pull off his shoe when he renounced his liability to marry the wife of his dead brother, or any other liability imposed upon him by the law. It is probable that the custom mentioned in Ruth is a later modification of the requirements of the law, as stated in Deut. 25:7-10.
God alone is worthy
Lest we should think that it was because of great virtue in the nation of Israel, that Gods special favor was with that people, while his disfavor was with the others, the Lord explains through the prophet Ezekiel: I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy names sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went...For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land...then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you; be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel (See the whole of chapter 36 of Ezekiel, and contrast it with chapter 35).
We are glad to know that in the times of restitution, all men, be they Moabites, Edomites, Philistines, or any other, shall surely be blessed by the seed of Abraham, and be given an opportunity to live; for Christ died for every man. The Lord used these nations as typical of great evil systems which must be destroyed forever, for they are the product of Satans evil mind.
When Moses had strengthened the faith of the nation of Israel by his recital of how God had similarly aided four previously favored nations, the people then crossed over Jordan into the promised land.
Historical Knowledge a Basis for Faith
Another outstanding example of how the faith of the Lords people is strengthened by a review of history, is furnished us in the case of Jeremiah. This prophet ministered during the forty years up to the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah in 606 B.C. His prophecy that Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed, and that the land would lie desolate for 70 years while the nation was in captivity in Babylon, seemed incredible. The Jews could not bring themselves to believe that the Lord would permit the destruction of the great Temple erected by David and Solomon, and into which His own glory had entered at the dedication over four centuries ago. The prophetic declarations of Jeremiah were therefore discredited. The calamity he spake of seemed too drastic to be relied upon. But Jeremiah fearlessly proclaimed the future doom of Jerusalem with its glorious Temple; for he reminded the people of a similar overthrow by the Lord in Shiloh.Jer. 7:11-14 According to Josh. 18:1, when the land of promise was subdued after six years of conquest from the time of crossing Jordan, the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. During the whole of the period of the judges the Ark of the Covenant, representing Gods presence, remained in Shiloh. But in the last days of the priest Eli a great calamity befell Israel. The ungodly conduct of the sons of Eli occasioned the loss of the ark, which had been carried into battle against the Philistines. (1Sam. 4) Thus, after about four centuries, the Lord caused a great overthrow in Shiloh because of the wickedness of the priests and people.See Psa. 78:55-64.
Jeremiah was confident that his message was from the Lord. What had been done before could be done again, even though it might seem improbable. In Jer. 7:11-14, we read: Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel...Therefore will I do unto this house [Solomons Temple], which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done in Shiloh.
Just as Jeremiahs faith in his own prophecy was made strong by his review of parallel history, so the faith of the Lords people who are proclaiming the destruction of the present nominal antitypical Spiritual Temple, is similarly strengthened. Our historical outlook, and our knowledge of Gods judgments in the past, are greater and more comprehensive than Jeremiah could have possessed. But our message has been more terrible; for have we not proclaimed the overthrow of all Christendom?
The common proverb, that history repeats itself, is more true than many think. The Christian knows that the Lord supervises all things; and if history repeats itself it is the Lords doing, not chance.
Knowledge is Necessary for an Effectual Prayer of FaithJames says that the prayer of faith shall save the sick. As an example he cites the prophet Elijah, who prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain for three and a half years; then he prayed again, and it rained abundantly.See Jas. 5:15-18. It may not be clear at first why the writer connects these particular prayers of Elijah with the prayer of faith that saves the sick; but when we study the matter carefully we must agree that the illustration is appropriate and forceful. Baal-worship had overrun the land of Israel, and completely captivated the people. Queen Jezebel was dominating her husband, King Ahab, and the prophets of Baal under her direction were causing Israel to sin, by falling away from the God of their covenant. Then Elijah bethought: The God of Israel is a living God, and His judgments are truth. Surely if the punishments pronounced by Moses, His servant, should ever be applied, the occasion has now fully come! Did not Moses say that if the people forsook the Lord and served other gods, that the Lord would make the heaven over their heads like brass, and the earth under their feet like iron?Deut. 28:14,15,23 Images and abominations were everywhere set up in the land, and the Lords commandments were forgotten. Therefore Elijah prayed earnestly that it might not rain; for as God lived, this judgment was due. And the Lord heard Elijahs prayer of faith, and honored it. James says it did not rain for three and a half years. When the Israelites had been brought low because of the great drought, Elijah drove home the lesson to them. His method of accomplishing this was effective and highly successful. (See 1 Kings 18:17-40). He proposed to the priests of Baal that an answer by fire should decide whether Baal, or Jehovah, was the God of Israel. As Baal was the great sun and fire god, the test proposed appealed to the people as reasonable. The result was a complete vindication of Jehovahs name. Elijah prayed: Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then Jehovah sent down fire upon the sacrifice that had been prepared; and when the people beheld this manifestation of Gods presence, they fell on their faces and cried: The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. Elijah commanded that the idolatrous priests of Baal be slain; then he besought the Lord in prayer to send rain. The hearts of the Israelites were turned again to their God. Elijah therefore knew that he prayed according to the will of God when asking for rain; because just as the curse for idolatry had been sure, so the blessing was equally certain when the worship of the true God returned. King Solomon had said, at the dedication of the Temple: When the heaven is shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; then hear thou from heaven...and send rain upon the land.2 Chron. 6:26,27 Thus we see that the effectual fervent prayers of Elijah, which were based upon his knowledge of, and absolute faith in, Gods living Word, had saved the people of Israel from their sinsickness. We perceive, therefore, that God always honors faith in Him; but if we have knowledge of His Plan of the Ages, and place faith in this plan and pray in accordance with its innumerable details, we become co-laborers with God in a very actual sense. By our prayers of faith, uttered in harmony with the revealed will of God, we make it possible for the Lord of heaven and earth to execute His great work of salvation. It seems a great claim to make; but this is the clear teaching of the Scriptures. (See John 15:14-16, especially verse 16.) Who would not desire to have a faith like this?
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