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for my path.
Psalms 119:105

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Section 5

The Fate of the Amalekites

King Saul, never seemed to enter into the spirit of the Lord's commands. He always manifested self- will; even when given special directions through the Prophet Samuel, he deviated and was reproved.

One failure of King Saul was when called upon to slaughter the Amalekites and drive them out, he did not fully obey. He spared the king, etc. Many have thought it strange that God would give such commands as this and others similar. The most satisfactory explanation is that the whole world is under the death sentence, and that it makes very little difference whether they die by pestilence, famine, or sword. The wickedness of the Amalekites is declared to have come to its full, just as with the Sodomites. The decree was extermination.

Had the slaughtered people, as we once thought, gone to eternal torment, the matter would have been most horrible. However, the entire aspect is changed when we recognize that God's provision for the Amalekites as for the Sodomites is a resurrection, secured by Christ's death. As we have already seen, the Sodomites are to have the privilege of returning to "their former estate," and to human perfection. So all who do not receive a knowledge of God in the present life are to have that opportunity during Messiah's Reign.

Another illustration along this line is that of Sennacherib's army, which was smitten by the angel of the Lord in one night, probably by a sand-storm.--2 Kings 19:35,36.

Gross misconceptions of God's character and the Bible teachings accumulated during the Dark Ages, when the Bible was not in existence so far as the masses were concerned. Bibles were very expensive and possessed only by the few; besides, very few could read. They did not know that the worship of an eternal torment deity is the worship of Moloch, which God specially condemned. The dawning light of a New Age shows us God's character of love and illuminates the Bible, making its teachings most reasonable.--Proverbs 4:18.


The Witch of Endor

We have already noted that the fallen angels at the time of the Deluge were barred from further materialization. Since then they have sought otherwise to influence humanity. Few would communicate with them if they knew their real character; hence they represent themselves as being our dead friends and relatives. As such they attempt to communicate with the living through "mediums," who are deceived, else they would not serve as "mediums" for demons.--Isaiah 8:19;Deuteronomy 18:9-12.

In olden times these mediums were called witches, wizards, necromancers. They had "familiar spirits," or were familiar with the spirits who were disobedient in the days of Noah.

God had forewarned Israel against these evil spirits and their mediums. He said that no such mediums should be permitted to live in the land of Israel. They might operate amongst nations not under Divine care, but God's representative, Saul, was commanded to put to death all such.

When King Saul got out of fellowship with God, who refused further communications, he turned for advice to a witch at Endor, and asked her to awaken Samuel the Prophet, who meantime had died. The evil spirits impersonated Samuel easily enough, and the witch gave the King messages in his name, whereas Samuel was dead and could not give or receive messages. King Saul saw nothing; he merely received an answer from the witch, who said she saw and heard Samuel.

The evil spirits have some way of knowing much respecting the future. But anybody under the circumstances might have known the fate to expect for Saul and his army. The King himself knew what to expect. It was this that troubled him and led him to seek the witch, contrary to the Divine command. It is not for a moment supposable that God and Samuel, having refused to communicate with the King, would change and permit a witch, condemned by the Divine Law, to overrule the matter.--1 Chronicles 10:13,14.


The Prophet's Reproof

There is one thing about the Bible distinctly different from every other book--its honesty. Although David was king and his own family succeeded him for generations, nothing prevented the full details of his misdeeds in respect to Uriah and his wife. The wrong is as fully exposed as though the King had been a menial of the lowest class.

The Prophet of the Lord was sent directly to the King by Divine command. He made a parable showing the injustice, and asked what would be the just decision. King David was angry, and asked the name of the unjust man that he might be punished. God's Prophet fearlessly declared, "Thou art the man!" Humbly, the King confessed his sin to the Lord. He had already seen his horrible mistake, but its portrayal intensified the wrong. He wept and prayed before the Lord in sackcloth and ashes for forgiveness.

In this respect David was a man after God's own heart. Every time he was overtaken in a fault and snared by his own weakness, he confessed, reformed and sought forgiveness.

God accepted King David's penitence and restored him to His favor; but this did not prevent his suffering punishment for his wrong course. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth."-- Job 5:17; Proverbs 3:11,12; Hebrews 12:5,6.

The honesty of the Bible is exemplified in both the Old Testament and the New. We are told of Abraham's mistakes-- "the friend of God." We are also told the faults of the Apostles. The noble St. Peter was so overcome with fear that he denied his Master three times with oaths. We are told of St. Peter's dissembling before Jews and Gentiles. We are told that St. Paul, the Apostle that took the place of Judas, was once the cruel Saul of Tarsus, who authorized the stoning of St. Stephen, and was very injurious to the early Church. Of St. Peter and St. John we read: "They were ignorant and unlearned men." No other book in the world manifests so great honesty or deserves the same confidence as the Bible.


Solomon in All His Glory

As King David, who was after God's own heart, loyal to Him, represented The Christ in earthly trials, afflictions and victories, so King Solomon typified the Church glorified. Whereas King David's reign was full of wars, King Solomon's had none. He was not only a prince of peace, but was a wise, rich king, who builded the Temple of Jehovah.--1 Kings 4:24;6:1;10:4,23,24.

King Solomon's fame spread abroad through the then civilized earth. The Queen of Sheba, who came to see for herself, declared that the half had never been told. Jesus referred to this visit of the Queen of Sheba, saying that she came from a great distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Thus she put to shame the people of Palestine, who disregarded the great Teacher of superior wisdom, a greater than Solomon.

Evidently our appreciation of values depends much upon the eye. So the eyes of our understanding must be opened before we can truly appreciate spiritual things. Thus Jesus said to His followers, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear."--Matthew 13:16.

Already we see many of the inconsistencies of the past. No longer would a Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury condemn to the flames Sir John Oldcastle because of episcopalian differences. Our eyes, both Catholic and Protestant, have opened and are still opening. What we evidently need is that the eyes of our understanding should be opened widely that we might see the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths of the love of God. God is pleased to open the eyes of only a small class at the present time; namely, that class which turns from sin and makes a full consecration to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Their eyes shall be opened that they may see the King in His beauty, even by the eye of faith, looking through the telescope of God's Word. "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord," the followers of Jesus are "changed into the same image, from glory to glory."--2 Corinthians 3:18.


The Temple of the Lord

We have already noticed that the Tabernacle represented God's temporary residence with the Israelites. Later on, the Temple was substituted for the Tabernacle. Thus God indicated that He would later abide permanently with His people.

King David, as we have seen, represented Christ during this Gospel Age. He collected the materials for the Temple, but was not permitted to build. The lesson is that the Divine arrangement complete is not to be established by Christ in the flesh, but by the Christ of glory, represented by Solomon.

The Temple of Solomon was destroyed in B.C. 606, but later on King Herod, who was not a Jew, but a descendant of Esau, favored the Jews by building a great Temple which was in its grandeur in Jesus' day.

Those Temples were merely typical of the greater Temple which St. Paul and St. Peter declared to be the Church. "The Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are;" and again: "Ye are built up a Holy Temple, a habitation of God through the Spirit." St. Peter declares all of God's faithful saints to be Royal Priests, living stones in the Temple of God, through which, eventually, all the world shall have access to God.

The stones of Solomon's Temple were shaped at the quarry before being brought to the Temple site. Likewise its beams were prepared in advance. The workmen put together the Temple "without sound of hammer." Every piece was so thoroughly fitted that no force was necessary.

This typified the building of the antitypical Temple, the preparation of the Church in the present life and their construction by and by as God's Spiritual Temple, by resurrection power. This is the meaning of the trials, chiselings and polishings which all true Christians must receive. The resurrection change will bring all these living stones together without force or compulsion. Then the glory of the Lord will fill the true Temple and the New Dispensation will begin.


Elijah and the Priests of Baal

Ahab, King of Israel, misled by his queen, Jezebel, perverted the religion in God's typical Kingdom. The ordained worship in the Temple was neglected and image worship established. The faithful Prophet Elijah reproved King Ahab, and was compelled by the wicked Queen Jezebel to flee into the wilderness, where ravens fed him for three and one-half years.--1 Kings 17:5,6.

Finally, by God's direction, Elijah reappeared and challenged the priests of Baal to a public test as to which god could answer prayer, Jehovah or Baal. Whichever god would accept the offering by fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, should be acknowledged as the true God. The Israelites saw the fairness of the proposition, and Baal's priests could not avoid the issue. Elijah gave them the preference. All day long they agonized, cut themselves with stones and cried to Baal to accept the offering and vindicate his cause. Elijah mocked them, saying, Cry a little louder! Baal may be sleeping! or perhaps he has gone on a journey!

When the evening came, Elijah gave his test. First of all he had water carried and poured over all the altar and the sacrifice, that there should be no mistake; lest any one might think of any concealed fire. Then Elijah prayed to God to vindicate His cause. Fire descended from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, licking up even the water in the trench. When the people saw this they gave a great shout and declared, "Jehovah, He is God!"--1 Kings 18:30-39.

Bible students claim that Elijah represented the True Church, Queen Jezebel a false religious system, Ahab the governments of Earth. The time of Jezebel's persecution, when Elijah hid in the wilderness and there was no rain for 1260 days, represented 1260 years of spiritual drouth (538 A.D. to 1798 A.D.), when the antitypical Jezebel's power to persecute to death ceased.--Revelation 12:6,14;13:5.

Elisha, Elijah's successor, restored the Shunammite's son.


King Zedekiah Blinded

God promised King David that the Messianic Kingdom should come through his line, and for several centuries no king reigned in Jerusalem except David's posterity. The last was King Zedekiah. Of him God declared through the Prophet (Ezekiel 21:25-27), "O thou profane and wicked prince, whose time is come that iniquity should have an end! Take off the diadem, remove the crown; this shall not be the same. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, until He come whose right it is, and I will give it to Him." This was another way of saying that there would be no more kings of David's line until Messiah. This has been fulfilled during the long period of 2519 years from then until now. All later kings were tributary, and none of David's line.

When God took His Kingdom from Zedekiah, He told him through one of the Prophets that he would be carried prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; and by another Prophet that he would never see Babylon. Both prophecies came true, for Nebuchadnezzar caused his eyes to be put out when a prisoner, and in that condition he went to Babylon.

But God's promise to David, "Of the fruit of thy loins shall a king sit upon thy throne forever," was not broken. The message to Zedekiah merely indicates that the throne ceased to be recognized of the Lord, and would thus remain until Messiah's Kingdom.

But the First Advent of Jesus did not fulfil this prophecy; for, although Jesus is the Messiah, He has not yet entered upon His Kingly office. Jesus began His service as a Priest-- "He offered up Himself." His offering continues these nineteen hundred years. Since Pentecost He has been accepting and offering as His members such as present their bodies living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1.) These joint-sacrificers are promised, as "members of the Body of Christ," a share in the Messianic reign of a thousand years, for the blessing of Israel and the whole world.--Revelation 20:6.


Jerusalem Desolated
Seventy Years

Nebuchadnezzar, after blinding King Zedekiah, deported him and the people to Babylonia, and utterly destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple with fire. The Bible says that the city lay desolate for seventy years.

Those seventy years of desolation of Jerusalem are Scripturally declared to have been a punishment upon the Israelites for not properly keeping their Jubilee years, which God had appointed them. Every fiftieth year was to be a Jubilee year, when all debts expired and all property was to be returned to its original owner--typifying the coming "Times of Restitution." (Acts 3:19-21.) But the Israelites, like all other peoples, were selfish. They knew that this observance would mean loss. Hence they kept these Jubilee Sabbaths very imperfectly for awhile, and gradually discontinued them.

God explains that the seventy years' desolation following the taking of the Israelites into captivity was a substitute for the whole number of Jubilee years. This we read was, "to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths; for so long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years."-- 2 Chronicles 36:21; Jeremiah 25:11.

Bible students reason that if the entire number of Jubilees was to be seventy, and if the Jubilee cycles were forty-nine years each, then seventy cycles from the time the Jubilees were instituted would mark the beginning of the Antitypical Jubilee--the "Times of Restitution." This they reckon somewhere about the year A.D. 1874. Many hold that we are living in the time when the Antitypical Jubilee is being inaugurated; mankind will return gradually to all their rights and privileges for a thousand years. The present social unrest is incidental to the great change. We are living in the beginning of the New Era. Growing intelligence is bringing emancipation, and shortly the Messianic Kingdom will multiply the blessings and wipe out the curse.--Revelation 21:4,5.


Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Interpreted

Daniel, a young Israelite taken captive to Babylon with others, later became God's Prophet. King Nebuchadnezzar had an impressive dream which on waking he could not recall. His "wise men" could not help him. Finally Daniel, guided by the Lord, told both the dream and its interpretation.--Daniel 2:1,5,26-30.

The dream and its interpretation interests and concerns us today as much or more than it did Nebuchadnezzar. In his dream the King saw a great Image; its head was gold, its breast and arms silver, its belly and sides brass, its legs iron, and its feet iron intermingled and smeared with clay. Then the King saw a Stone cut out of the mountain without hands and hurled at the feet of the Image. The Image fell, ground to powder, and the wind carried it away. Then the Stone grew until it filled the earth.--Daniel 2:31-35.

The Divine interpretation of this dream, given through Daniel, explains that the head of the Image was the Babylonian Kingdom, the breast and arms the succeeding Medo- Persian Empire, the belly and sides of brass the Grecian Empire, which followed, and the legs the succeeding Roman Empire. The feet represented the "Holy Roman Empire" and its successors; the iron of the feet the civil power, the clay intermingled and smearing over the iron pictured the ecclesiastical power of our day. Thus seen, we are living in the days of the ten toes, or divisions of the Image.

The Stone represents God's Kingdom, which the clay on the feet of the Image imitated. The Stone represents God's Elect Church, gathered out from Jews and Gentiles, and from every nation and denomination, to constitute Messiah's Kingdom. Shortly, this Kingdom will be established in power and great glory, and the kingdoms of this world will disappear as by magic. Messiah's Kingdom will then grow until it fills the whole earth, and brings all things under its control, every wilful sinner being cut off in the Second Death.


Daniel's Dream-Another View

Between Zedekiah and Messiah, there has been a long period of time. During this period God gave a lease of government to the Gentile Kingdoms, represented in Nebuchadnezzar's Image. That lease of power to rule the world as best they could was to last for "seven times"--seven symbolic years, each day of which (lunar time) would represent a year. Thus "seven times" would mean seven times three hundred and sixty, that is, 2520 years. That period  expired in 1915. In other words,  the Gentile lease of Earthly Dominion has expired. Then the due time will come for Messiah's Kingdom to begin its reign. This seems to explain present social unrest.

The same facts presented to King Nebuchadnezzar, God showed under different symbols to the Prophet Daniel. Instead of a great Image, Daniel saw great Beasts. This means that the Gentile governments, so grand to worldly men, appear beastly from the Divine viewpoint. Surely we can agree to this as we look over the bloody pages of history; the world has been under beastly rule, even though the best it was able to provide for itself--and though much worse conditions could be imagined--for instance, Anarchy.

The first beast of Daniel's dream, a lion, represented Babylon; the second, a bear, Medo-Persia; the third, a leopard, Grecia-- the four heads representing Alexander the Great's successors, four generals. The fourth beast represented the Roman Empire. Its ten horns corresponded to the ten toes of the Image. The horn that had eyes and was crowned, is believed by many to represent ecclesiastical power enthroned amid political power.

A judgment scene was shown to Daniel, in which all these governments were disapproved, and the dominion taken from them and given to One who appeared like unto The Son of Man. The Kingdom given Him was a perpetual one, that all should serve and obey Him; and all beastly governments were destroyed.--Daniel 7:13-27.