From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 12- Tabernacles – The Feast of Glory- The Events of the Seventh Month Blend Into One, continued
THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL, A PATTERN OF THE CHURCH
In the history of Israel’s Kingdom we have a picture of the Church of Christ throughout her long history. As a young lad on the hillsides of Bethlehem David received his Pentecost. There it was that the prophet Samuel poured the anointing oil upon his head, and he was anointed as king over Israel. So it was that the Church of early apostolic days received a mighty anointing from God, an anointing which constituted her a “royal priesthood.” Like David, the Church was anointed to rule and reign; but her kingdom was in exile much of the time; she reigned amidst much conflict and tribulation. Hunted and hounded on every hand, she dwelt in caves and holes of the earth, persecuted, martyred, tortured, tossed to the lions, burnt at the stake. Every conceivable device was used against her; but the more she was persecuted, the stronger she became. The kingdom of Saul waxed weaker and weaker, and the kingdom of David waxed stronger and stronger. Finally, by the end of the third century A.D. it is said that about one-half of the Roman Empire had been converted to Christ.
Then for a brief period it would seem that the Church entered into her “Solomon” stage. Solomon means “Peace.” The persecutions ceased, and for a time the Church enjoyed rest from tribulation, and she became a mighty and powerful and prosperous kingdom. However, it was not for long. The Church soon lost her power and her glory; for Satan had succeeded in deceiving her; and the prosperity which she enjoyed served only to lull her to sleep, and to rob her of her spiritual life. God warned Israel that when they took possession of their heritage, “Houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deut. 6:11, 12). Israel did forget, and so did the Church. Solomon’s glory departed and his temple was destroyed; and likewise the glory departed from the Church, and her beautiful temple was destroyed.
Then began the captivity. Israel went into Babylonian captivity; and the Church went into her spiritual Babylon of the Dark Ages. Solomon turned away from the Lord in his old age and built idolatrous images, and the king who had received the greatest wisdom ever accorded to any king in Israel–lost his glory and turned to folly. So the Church married many strange women of idolatrous and heathen Rome, and the wisdom of God which had been displayed in mighty signs and wonders and demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, degenerated into the utmost of folly.
Then there was restoration from the captivity. After the captivity a believing remnant returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple and restore Israel’s order of worship. And after the Dark Ages a spiritual remnant returned from spiritual Babylon to restore God’s pattern for the Church. There was Restoration for Israel; and there was Reformation for the Church. There was great persecution for the builders of the second temple in Jerusalem; and there was great persecution for Luther and his allies as they began to restore the foundations of Truth which had been lost during the Dark Ages.
Once again there was disobedience in Israel, until we come to the time of Christ, when Israel’s worship had degenerated into a meaningless system of form and ritual, devoid of the glory of God. There were Scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, and great activity in the temple; but there was no real worship of the one true God of Israel. And so we have the same thing in the Church. Protestantism itself had degenerated into a meaningless system of religion, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. True there is much religion, great temples, fine orchestras and choirs and illustrious preachers; but so very little real spiritual worship of God and His Christ. GHW
Certainly, the Church has played a game of lost and found throughout her history. And today, some 70 years after Bro. Warnock wrote this volume, we find her lost again. Not that she cannot be seen, but rather what is seen is a far cry from what God expects her to be; a bride without spot or wrinkle. In so many ways we have let the culture influence us rather than us influence the culture. Can we redeem the time? Can we redeem the culture? Can we redeem our vision? Certainly not in our own strength. It will take surrender to the Holy Spirit of God and obedience to His direction for us individually and corporately. But the bigger question is not can we do it, but will we do it? That remains to be seen.