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Jottings

God who said to Abraham, "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed", also said, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will shew thee" (Genesis 12.1-3). Emphasis is put upon the first statement in Galatians 3.8, "The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed". The second is emphasised in Hebrews 11.8, "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." The divorcing of these two statements in their present-day application has led to much confusion among believers. For believers to get saved and then to remain in false religious associations is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. The truth of the necessity for those who have been saved by faith to know divine separation is fundamental to the Faith. There are sinners that need to be saved where they are. Indeed, that was so in Abraham's case in Ur of the Chaldees. Ur was no doubt a large and idolatrous city. Abraham's family too were idolaters. The God of Glory appeared to Abraham and in consequence he knew the only true God, but the true God who appeared to him called him out of his land, his kindred and his father's house. The gospel which was preached to him, that all earth's families would be blessed in him, and the call to separate himself from his father's house, his kindred and his land formed part of the same covenant which was confirmed by God when Abraham left Haran (Galatians 3.17). Unless believers see clearly that the gospel and the truth of separation are integral parts of the New Covenant the confusion that exists will continue. Those that love and fear God should make it their aim to learn what is proper to the New Covenant (1) that sinners should be justified by faith, and so be saved with an eternal salvation, then (2) that they should be separated, that they should go out at the call of God, to be found gathered with others who likewise have responded to the call out: "Wherefore, come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,

And touch no unclean thing;

And I will receive you,

And will be to you a Father,

And ye shall be to Me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty"

(2 Corinthians 6.17,18).

This is not the reception of the sinner by the Lord, neither is it the matter of the new birth, but it is what God will be to those who obey His call to come out and be separate, and also what they will be to Him.

The same truths and facts are seen in the children of Israel. They were saved in Egypt through the blood of the paschal lamb being put upon the lintels and sideposts of the doors of their houses, and God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." Then they were to go out of Egypt into the wilderness to be a people of and for God. Pharaoh laboured hard against this separation of Israel from Egypt. At the time of the plague of frogs he said that he would let them go, but later he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them. Then he made four compromising proposals. None of these proposals was acceptable to God and Moses. So Moses said, "Thou must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind" (Exodus 10.25,26).

And so it was Israel was saved and separated to serve God.

The covenants of the promise relative to the coming of Christ to earth were made with men of the children of Israel (Ephesians 2.12), yet as Balaam said of them,

"Lo, it is a people that dwell alone,

And shall not be reckoned among the nations" (Numbers 23.9).

They were separated from the nations, yet God's purpose in them was that they should be a testimony to the nations, as well as, of course, to be His servants to serve Him in His sanctuary which was established among them. But it is sad to think how sadly they failed in God's purpose in them. The last sight we get of them in their collective life, in the remnant that had returned from Babylon, is dark and dismal. The blind of divine revelation was about to be drawn down which would leave them in the dark, and in the dark they staggered on for about 400 years until the rise of John the Baptist. Malachi bore witness to him, as the messenger who would be sent before the Lord to prepare the way before Him (Malachi 3.1; Matthew 11.10).

John was the son of Zacharias, a priest who had the important work of entering the temple and burning the incense at the hour of prayer (Luke 1.8-10). But John did not follow his father in the priest's office, for it is said of him, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel" (Luke 1.80). Why was this? No doubt the answer is a double one. (1) Because of the sad state of God's people, (2) also of the rise of John the Baptist we read:

"The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached" (Luke 16.16).

A new movement was on foot when John appeared, but prior to his showing to Israel he had those years of separation to the Lord in the wilderness, where he learned from God the message that he was to deliver to Israel. His work was important and vital. He was to prepare a people for the Lord's coming, and he was to point out Him who was the Son of God and Lamb of God (John 1.29,34).

As John was an outsider, so also was the Lord. When Christ was born in David's royal city, there was no room in the inn for Joseph and Mary who had come from Nazareth to enrol themselves according to the decree of Caesar Augustus (Luke 2.1-7). Thus it was that the Lord was born outside of human habitation and laid in a manger. So from the first He was One who was outside of human society at that time, and He is still outside. We sometimes sing, and sing truly,

Our Lord is now rejected, and by the world disowned;

By the many still neglected, and by the few enthroned.

Our Lord was brought up in Nazareth, a city of no consequence, of which the guileless Nathanael said, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Prophetically it was said by Him,

"I am become a stranger unto My brethren, And an alien unto My mother's children" (Psalm 69.8).

"For even His brethren did not believe on Him" (John 7.5).

But that state of things did not continue, for after the Lord had been raised from the dead, His brethren were found with their mother and the disciples at those prayer meetings in the upper room in Jerusalem (Acts

1.12-14).

Then the Lord suffered without the gate, and this should make us to be outsiders. "Let us therefore go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach" (Hebrews 13.12,13). We shall find this the right and most profitable thing to do.