Turned away at the Gate

Perhaps you were a bit late in arriving at the theater or the concert hall only be turned away at the door. “Sorry we are full up. Come back another time.” 

There are many times in life when we have what looks like an offer that is too good to be true. After considering the challenge set before us, mulling over our options, we turn down the opportunity to enter in. “Too risky.” “Too dangerous.” “Too many chances for something to go wrong.” “I’ll err on the side of caution and hope for something safer down the road.” “I’m is safe place now, though it’s far short of what was promised me back in Egypt when I signed up.” “I’m in good company for now, ‘birds of a feather flick together’ they say.” “My best judgment is to back off.”  "If I'm lucky we'll get there eventually by a safer route." If your boss sees that you are ready, would you say "yes" to a promotion? It all depends, right? How about coming out of the closet and going public about your relationship with Jesus? Not me!

What if it was God would who had set before you an opportunity to move into a deeper, Spirit-filled segment of the Christian life--free from the mundane and the mediocre? "I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut." That is the situation the people of Israel were in when they reached the Southern border of the Promised Land. Is the Person promiing to prosper you reputable? It's not difficult to check out God's credentials.

After more than a year in the desert of the Sinai the people of Israel had at last arrived at the Promised Land. They had stayed healthy on manna and fresh water, learned how to live together in community, and stayed healthy. The man Moses was not a crowd pleaser but he had held together a diverse group of about 2.5 million men, women, children, plus sheep, goats, cattle —and much baggage. There were many signs of God's overarching power and protection. (Pillar of cloud by day, pillar of fire at night, etc.) The peoples of the surrounding tribes hated their guts though the travellers only wanted to pass on through to the Promised Land. 

Numbers 13, 14 describe the open door of opportunity God gave His people when they arrived at Kadesh Barnea.

Spies Sent into Canaan

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites; from each of their ancestral tribes you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.’ So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the Lord, all of them leading men among the Israelites. 

These were their names: From the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; from the tribe of Joseph (that is, from the tribe of Manasseh), Gaddi son of Susi; from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael;from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi; from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Machi. These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses changed the name of Hoshea son of Nun to Joshua.

Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, ‘Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified,and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land.’ Now it was the season of the first ripe grapes.

So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) And they came to the Wadi Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them. They also brought some pomegranates and figs. That place was called the Wadi Eshcol, because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down from there.

The Report of the Spies

At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, ‘We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.  Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan.’


But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’ Then the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we are.’ 

So they brought to the Israelites an unfavourable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’

The People Rebel

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become booty; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.’

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the Israelites. And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the Israelites, ‘The land that we went through as spies is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only, do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are no more than bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.’ But the whole congregation threatened to stone them.

Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will this people despise me? And how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.’

Moses Intercedes for the People

But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for in your might you brought up this people from among them, and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O Lord, are in the midst of this people; for you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go in front of them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if you kill this people all at one time, then the nations who have heard about you will say, “It is because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them that he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.” And now, therefore, let the power of the Lord be great in the way that you promised when you spoke, saying, 

“The Lord is slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
forgiving iniquity and transgression,
but by no means clearing the guilty,
visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
to the third and the fourth generation.” 
Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.’

Then the Lord said, ‘I do forgive, just as you have asked; nevertheless—as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—none of the people who have seen my glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors; none of those who despised me shall see it. 

But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. Now, since the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.’

An Attempted Invasion is Repulsed

And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying: How long shall this wicked congregation complain against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites, which they complain against me. Say to them, ‘As I live’, says the Lord, ‘I will do to you the very things I heard you say: your dead bodies shall fall in this very wilderness; and of all your number, included in the census, from twenty years old and upwards, who have complained against me, not one of you shall come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become booty, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have despised. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you shall bear your iniquity, forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I the Lord have spoken; surely I will do thus to all this wicked congregation gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.

And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report about the land— the men who brought an unfavourable report about the land died by a plague before the Lord. But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh alone remained alive, of those men who went to spy out the land.

When Moses told these words to all the Israelites, the people mourned greatly. They rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, ‘Here we are. We will go up to the place that the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.’ 

But Moses said, ‘Why do you continue to transgress the command of the Lord? That will not succeed. Do not go up, for the Lord is not with you; do not let yourselves be struck down before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will confront you there, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.’ 

But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, even though the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, had not left the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them, pursuing them as far as Hormah.

The Promised Land is not heaven!  Not by a long shot. But it was bountiful. That land had been given to Abraham some 1500 years earlier so there was no Title Deed dispute. The squatters living in the land knew they were illegals. Their power had been shattered. They were terrified of the Israelites and their God.

Forty years later when finally the people of Israel did finally enter the land, a Canaanite woman named Rahab gladly changed her religion and became a true Jewish proselyte, "Now before the spies lay down, Rahab came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.  “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  “And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.  “Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, “and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2:8-12)

Egypt is a “type of the world” system, the Socio-Economic world order, the culture we were born into. It’s all a fallen, ruined system ruled by a bent angel, Satan, the “god of this world.” Back then, Egypt had more gods than Carter had pills, so when Moses insisted that there only one true God the Hebrews should have known but now they have have forgotten. The boiler plate chapters of the five books Moses wrote fill up the details. This is all important reading telling us much about the One God over all. 

It's good to consider this incident at the gate in context. Ray Stedman gave us a good summary of Numbers back in 1964:

Numbers: The Incomplete Christian Life

The Pentateuch -- the first five books of our Bible -- trace for us the spiritual journey of an individual from sin into belief and to glorification in Christ. The whole Old Testament was written so that we might see in a vivid way what the New Testament declares to be true. The New Testament confirms this. The New Testament says that all these events involving Israel happened as an example to us, and were written down for our instruction since they are pictures of what we will go through, as we move along with Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:11)

Now, the book of Genesis is a picture of humanity in all its strident, clamant need. It portrays what we look like as a result of the fall of man and the consequent need for God in our life. From Exodus to Deuteronomy, we have the way from Egypt to Canaan as a picture of the way the Christian will move from the slavery of sin to the freedom of victory in Christ, victory in the midst of his enemies. This is precisely the spiritual journey God has called us to, so these books become exceedingly helpful for us. If you read the Old Testament as nothing but a history of ancient events concerning people who have long since disappeared, it will be the dullest, most boring reading you can find. However, if you read it as a picture of what is happening in your life, vividly displayed in terms of these people of old, you will find fascinating reading indeed.

The book of Exodus is a picture of God's delivering power. There we have the three great events in the early life of Israel -- the Passover in Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. These correspond with God's work in us. Like the Israelites in the Passover, where the blood was sprinkled for them, we too realized that the angel of death had passed over us in the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross and by that event, we were saved. We too moved out across the Red Sea when we openly declared our redemption in Christ and cut off the ties that bound us to the world. We came into the wilderness and heard the law of Moses when we began to learn, perhaps for the first time in our lives, the kind of God with whom we had to deal, a God of utter holiness, of complete righteousness, utterly consistent with himself.

Then in the book of Leviticus we learn how to worship, what it is this kind of God demands, and how a God of such surpassing holiness can dwell with men and women like ourselves. Here we discover the means by which God makes possible the necessary intercourse between God and man.

Now we come to the book of Numbers. In Numbers we have dramatically set forth what is perhaps the hardest lesson a Christian has to learn -- to trust God instead of his own reason. This is where we struggle, isn't it? We think that what we want to do and the way we want to do it is the right way. The hardest struggle we have, even as these Israelites had, is to learn to believe that God knows what he is talking about and that what he tells us is the truth, and is for our good, and to operate on that basis despite what friends and others around are telling us concerning the right way. Proverbs puts it so graphically, "There is a way which seems right to a man, and its end is the way to death." (Proverbs 14:12) The book of Numbers is a picture of that experience in the believer.

You will recognize, of course, that it is the experience of Romans 7 where the unhappy, defeated Christian, who is his own worst enemy, is being disciplined by God because God as a father loves him. He is experiencing in the midst of this discipline the fatherly love and care of God and protection from his enemy. That is what the book of Numbers portrays. It is a picture of people who have come out of Egypt but who have not yet reached Canaan. They had the faith to follow God out of the bondage and slavery of sin but have not yet come into the fullness of liberty and rest in the Holy Spirit -- Canaan being a picture of the Spirit-filled life.

This book falls into three divisions. The first is included in chapters one through ten, and is a picture of God's provision for guidance and warfare. These are the two critical needs of Israel in their march from Mt. Sinai, where the law was given, until they came north across the wilderness of Paran to the edge of the promised land, the land of Canaan. On the way they would need guidance, because this was a trackless wilderness; moreover, they would need protection, for the wilderness was occupied by fierce, hostile tribes that opposed them every time they turned around.

All of this, you will recognize, is an exact picture of our need, isn't it? We need guidance because of the clever subtleties of the world in which we live and the ease with which we can be misled and derailed; and we need protection because of the enemies among whom we dwell, those within us and round about us, who would defeat us if they could.

In this section that begins with the arrangement of the camp, note two things -- the position of the tabernacle with the tribes on every side, and a numbering of the armed men of Israel. These are pictures for us of the need for defense against the enemies of God. God provides all the strategy and resources necessary to meet every enemy that comes our way. There is not only the order of the camp (the tabernacle surrounded by the tribes), but also there is the cloud over the camp by day and the pillar of fire by night -- all of which (tabernacle, cloud, and pillar) picture for us the great truth of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have God in our midst. That is a great truth. He is able to direct and to lead us through the wilderness of the world by the guidance of the Word. We are led by the cloud and the fire, just as Israel was led, and we are to be obedient to that leading. This is all the potential we need to get us from the place of the law (the knowledge of the holiness of God) to the rest in the Spirit which the land of Canaan represents. We have everything we need, just as Israel had all that they needed.

But what happened? Well, the major part of this book, from chapter eleven through twenty-one, is a description of the murmuring and rebelling of the people. It is a most remarkable fact, but one every pastor and parent is fully aware of, that rebellion and willful disobedience to God always begin with murmuring and critical complaining. Whenever you find yourself beginning to complain and murmur and whisper and carrying on a carping campaign against the circumstances in which you find yourself, you know that you are on the threshold of rebellion, because it always begins there. Notice that there are three kinds of murmuring -- three levels of complaint -- that occur throughout the wilderness journey.

There was, first of all, the complaint of the people against the circumstances. They complained about the manna and about the lack of water; they complained about the meat and about the wilderness itself. They were always murmuring. This was their favorite outdoor sport, it seems, and they worked at it day and night. Nothing was right, not even the manna, the miraculous supply of God every day. I wonder if you know what manna typifies in your life? Well, it typifies the Holy Spirit. For the manna, it says, tasted like oil and honey mixed together into a thin w wafer. Oil and honey are both symbols of the Holy Spirit. On this they were to feed. But it was just a thin wafer. It wasn't enough to satisfy them -- although it was enough to sustain them -- because God never intended them to live so long in the wilderness. He intended them to get on over into the land of Canaan and begin to feed upon the abundant food there. But the! got sick of manna. Who wouldn't after forty years, when it was only intended for a few days? Manna for breakfast, manna for lunch, manna for supper. Nothing but manna, manna, manna -- until finally they began to complain and rebel.

Yet it wasn't God's fault. Manna was never intended to satisfy. It was merely a temporary provision until they could get into the fullness of the land, just as God never intended you to live on the experience of the meager contact with the Holy Spirit you get in a defeated Christian experience. Go on into the land of abundant living. That is where you will find satisfaction.

They also complained about the lack of meat, so God gave them meat for a month until they were sick, and then they complained about the abundance of meat. So on it went. In murmuring they always thought about Egypt and this is a picture for us of a degenerating Christian experience. All they could think of was the meat, the melons, the cucumbers, leeks, onions, and garlic of Egypt. Imagine dreaming of that kind of food! But that is what Egypt meant to them. They had no thought of Canaan because they had no knowledge of it. All they had heard were sermons about Canaan. They had no experience of it. All they could remember was the world out of which they had come. As Major W. Ian Thomas puts it in his book, The Saving Life of Christ,

What are these a picture of? A cucumber is 12 inches of indigestion! Leeks and onions and garlic have a very peculiar property about them. They are the kind of food you eat in private but everybody knows about it in public.

Now this murmuring against the circumstances in which they found themselves was met by the judgment of God in three forms -- fire, plague, and poisoned serpents. I wonder if you can see in each of these a picture of the inevitable result of whining, complaining, and murmuring as a Christian. When we begin to complain about where God has put us and the kind of people he has put us among and the kind of food we have to eat and all the other circumstances of our life, we discover that the fire of gossip, scandal and slander; the plague of anxiety and nervous tension that takes its daily toll of our life; and the poison of envy and jealousy are released in our own life to sap our strength. These things are inevitable.

Not only did the Israelites murmur against their circumstances, but there were several times when they murmured against the blessing of God. Imagine that. They came at last to the edge of the land of Canaan, standing on the very border line at Kadesh-barnea, and there God said to them, "Now move forward. Possess the land." They had sent out the spies and had learned that it was a land flowing with milk and honey. The spies had brought back grapes so large that they had to carry them on a stick between the shoulders of two men, the bunch was so heavy. But they also knew that it was a land full of giants, and because of the giants they were afraid to go forward. They thought the giants were greater than God, so they refused to go on into blessing. They resisted God's efforts to bless them. They were glad to get out of Egypt but they were unwilling to go on into Canaan. This is why they wandered for forty years in the wilderness. The inevitable judgment to them was that if they would not go into blessing, they must experience the full results of a failure before moving on in God's program.

Many, many Christians are living right here today, square in the middle of a howling wilderness, living on a minimum supply of the Holy Spirit -- enough to keep them going, and that's all. They spend their lives in complaining, unending murmuring against their circumstances, yet still are unwilling to move on into the land that God has fully provided for them. This is the problem of so many. While you can be sustained in the wilderness, you will never be satisfied, never. And that is why the wilderness experience is always marked by a complaining heart and an unending criticism of something or someone. In this book it never ended until a new generation was ready to enter the land. God said, "Not one of you older than twenty years who went back at Kadesh-barnea will ever enter this land, except two men." (Numbers 14:29, 30) Those two men -- Caleb and Joshua -- were men of faith who went on.

Thus it isn't until we make a new beginning in our lives, when we come to the end of ourselves and it seems almost as if we begin again in the Christian life, that we can go on after we have resisted the work of the Spirit in taking us into the land. This is why so many Christians never seem to come to victory until they have a crisis experience, a new beginning, and then they enter into the land.

The Israelites had one other occupation in the wilderness besides murmuring, and that was burying. The mark of the wilderness is that it is a land of death. Did you ever think how many Israelites died in those forty years in the wilderness? This book begins with a census of Israel, and it totals 603,000 men alone, men able to go out to warfare, who are at least twenty years old. Six hundred and three thousand. Most of those men were married. That meant an equal number of women, as well as all the children that were in that camp. Many have estimated the total population at that time to have been well over two million people. Yet in the wilderness, in the space of forty years, one million two hundred thousand of them died, an average of 82 per day, so there was nothing but a great big funeral going on all the time. The wilderness was one huge graveyard. No wonder they had to move so often. You can imagine why, as literally scores of people would die every day through that forty years' time. What a picture of what Romans says, "to set the mind on the flesh is death." (Romans 8:6)

Finally, there is one other form of murmuring here; murmuring against authority. They murmured against circumstances; they murmured against God's effort to bless them, and they murmured against the authority of God expressed through Moses! They said, "All the people are holy. Moses and Aaron, why do you put on airs as though you were better than we are? All of the people of God are holy, in their own eyes." They judged themselves by their own standards and thus rebelled against the properly constituted authority in their midst. They resisted with all their strength the suggestion that these two should be anything more than they.

Have you noticed that this is another characteristic of the defeated Christian? He always thinks he is holy enough, that he is as holy as he needs to be, and he resents anyone else who seems to be ahead of him or to exercise any authority. He resists any attempt to suggest to him that he ought to be more than he is. That is what these people did.

God met this attitude with the severest judgment of all. There is that dramatic account of the rebellion of Korah and Abiram when they openly challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron. God divided the camp in half and said, "Moses and Aaron you stand over here. Korah and your group, stand over here, and the people stand there." And then he said, "Stand back. I am going to show you who is in authority here." He led Moses to say, "If these people live out their lives as normal ordinary men. then it is a sign that God is not with me, but if God does something absolutely new and the ground opens up beneath them and swallows them alive, it is an indication that God is with me." And as he said the words, the ground opened up beneath Korah and Abiram and all their families, and they went down alive into the pit. Thus God established his authority through Moses by this remarkable judgment. When we rebel against authority, God judges with the utmost severity.

Through all this. interestingly enough, the murmuring went on, in spite of the severity of this judgment, until two things took place. One was associated with the rebellion of Korah and Abiram and the other was in connection with the serpents that came and bit them at the time they complained about the food. Do you remember what Moses did to stop the rebellion at the death of Korah and Abiram? All the leaders of the twelve tribes took rods and put them before the Lord. Aaron's rod was included among them, and when they came back in the morning, they found that Aaron's rod had grown branches, the branches had blossomed and the blossoms had grown fruit and there were almonds hanging on the branches, all taking place overnight. Of the twelve rods, only Aaron's blossomed. This is a picture of the resurrection life. In this, God is saying that the only ones who have the right to bear authority are those who walk in the fullness and power of resurrection life.

Then when they murmured about the food, he sent poison serpents among them. In the third chapter of John our Lord makes reference to this story. Moses cured the effects of the poison by lifting up a brazen serpent on a pole, and all who looked at it were healed. By that God was saying the only cure of sin of any kind, even sin in the Christian, is a look again at the cross and the way it utterly repudiates all human endeavor and human worthiness by putting Christian living solely on the basis of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." (John 3: 14)

The latter part of the book, chapters twenty-one through twenty-six, is a remarkable record of protection in spite of failure. Here you find victory over the enemies around, the outward forces of King Arad, Sihon, Og, King of Bashan, and the attempts of Balaam, the false prophet to try to undermine the people of God, which resulted only in greater blessing. All of it is simply saying to us, in the most vivid language God can find, that though we are disobedient, though we are rebellious, though we turn and refuse to go into blessing, though we wander in a wilderness of defeat and despair and barrenness year after year after year -- nevertheless, the Holy Spirit will never leave us. Even in the midst of our weakness, he grants us protection from our enemies and deliverance from complete defeat. What a remarkable book. But what a picture of what Paul sums up in the poignant phrase, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24) That is why we need to move on into Deuteronomy, where we get the second law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus --Ray Stedman, The Hardest Lesson

At the Very Gates

The Coming of the Son of Man

‘Immediately after the suffering of those days
the sun will be darkened,
   and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
   and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn,
and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” with power and great glory. 

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 
So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 
Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

The Necessity for Watchfulness

‘But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 
For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
|until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away,
so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 
Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 
Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.
Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 
But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

The Faithful or the Unfaithful Slave

‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household,
to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 
Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 
Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 
But if that wicked slave says to himself, “My master is delayed”, 
and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 
the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 
He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 24:29-51)

The Tree of Life is Accessible Through the Gate of the Cross


Hard Times (Stephen Foster) 

I Saw the Light

Camping in Canaan's Land

Just Over in the Glory Land

On My Way to Canaan's Land

On Jordan's Stormy Banks

Further Reading

Idolatry Notes 

The Temple Cleansings by Jesus,

In Canaan Land

Sheep and Goats Judged

Christian Deism

False Messiahs

Our Hiding Place

The Solid Rock

False Messiahs, Antichrists and Modern Caesars


Baal in America

Jehovah Rophe  

The Wasted Years

Exodus 2020



Jesus as the Greater Moses

Circumcision (The Pure in Heart)

In the Wilderness  

The Ten Plagues  

The Crossing  

Mt Sinai 


The Scapegoat  

Lambert's Main Library 
Email is welcome: Lambert Dolphin
Archive for Newsletters
Library Annex (new articles since 2018)  

September 16, 2021