Lent status: Available
1 Kings 12:24;
24 Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.
In 1 Kings 12 we find the recording of the division of the Twelve Tribes of Israel into two houses, namely the House of Judah, consisting of the tribes of Benjamin and Levites, and the Priests and the House of Israel namely the Ten Tribes. Now what happened? You will find that, when you read the whole of 1 Kings Chapter 12, that after the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam became king.
Then the people, of all twelve tribes, came to Rehoboam and said to him that “we had things very difficult under your father, Solomon. We paid heavy taxes etc. Can’t you make the burden for us lighter?” Rehoboam went to the counsellors, who were counsellors to his father, the old ring heads, the elders, and they said to Rehoboam: “That’s right, listen to the people, and make the burden lighter”. But he also went to his age group, to the younger counsellors, and he said to them: “What do you say?” And they said: “No, these people are only rebellious. Make it harder for them, and make the burden even heavier for them.”
In 1 Kings Chapter 12 you will find he listened to his younger counsellors and went to the people and said to them: “You are just rebellious and I am going to turn the screw on even tighter”. Then the Ten Tribes said: “Well, if that is the position, we are going to break away from the house of David, and they went and made Jeroboam their king”.
Now I don’t want to go into too much detail about this, but if you even go to the previous chapter in 1 Kings chapter 11, you will see how that Solomon had already started to backslide when he went completely and directly against the law of the LORD as far as marrying into other nations and he had many strange wives and they turned his heart away from the LORD.
It was then that the LORD by his prophet had already spoken to Jeroboam. So they made Jeroboam their king and they rebelled against the house of David. So then, Rehoboam, the king, said: “Very well then, I will call up my army and I will compel them by force to return” and it is from there that we found this verse, which we have read together. The LORD sent the prophet
to Rehoboam as we see in verse 23: “Speak unto Rehoboam, son of Solomon, king of Judah, and Benjamin to the remnant of the people say for “this thing is from me” (that scripture we read together - 1 Kings 12:24).
Well, praise God, he hearkened to the voice of the LORD, spoken through the prophet and he didn’t move against the Ten Tribes, and from that day until this, that division has existed. When we go through the Bible we find that they set up different kingdoms. They each had their own line of kings. They set up their own capitals, the house of Judah retained Jerusalem as their capital, and the Ten Tribes went and made Samaria their capital.
Now this is very significant if we want to understand the Bible, if we want to understand the times, we must pay close attention to this, though the churches do not, and that is why, especially in these crucial and critical days in which we are found where we have to understand the scriptures because we have come into the final fulfilment of the prophecies of the Bible.
Great and mighty prophecies; times and circumstances that move towards the return of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ. But, we must see these two houses then, as separate. We must see the plan and the purpose of almighty God otherwise we will never understand. It is the same with the book of Romans. That’s why I start here.
Any Bible teacher, any preacher, pastor, minister, whatever title, if he doesn’t see this difference, he will not know what Paul meant when, for instance, he said: “First to the Jew and then also to the Greek.” etc. and then further on in Romans.
So that is my first important scripture and one you must never forget, not only for the book of Romans, but for the whole Bible. This thing said the LORD through the prophet to Rehoboam “This thing is from me” – (1 Kings 12:24).
It is a verse in the Bible that we should frame: “This thing is from me”.
Now, seeing that “this thing is from me”, we must turn to our Lord, Jesus Christ. When our LORD came upon the earth, what did He come to do? – if “this thing is from me”. We must also look out for that in the ministry of our Lord Jesus, in the teaching of the Lord Jesus, in the whole mission of our Lord Jesus, and that is exactly what we find.
Let’s turn to Matthew 10:5-8;
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
So what did the LORD tell his disciples to do? He said: “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Now remember, when this division took place, and that’s basic. The Twelve Tribes were divided into two houses, the house of Judah, that’s Judah and Benjamin with the Levites, and the priests, and the house of Israel, the Ten Tribes. Therefore, we can’t just change it around as we please.
We can’t say, when I say the house of Judah, that means all Twelve Tribes, or that means the ten tribes. No, the house of Judah is the Two Tribes, and when the Bible speaks about the house of Israel, it means the Ten Tribes. Therefore if the Lord Jesus says, and it is important, go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, he meant the Ten Tribes. If we then interchange them as we please, we lose the whole meaning. That is absolutely important.
Remember that, and now while we are there, in Matthew 10, let us look at the 23rd verse. Jesus was still speaking to his disciples, it’s a wonderful chapter, as a matter of fact, and it is especially precious to me because it is part of my own personal testimony. When I was still in secular work, doing research work because I’m a scientist by training, and this is how the LORD finally spoke to me. I wrestled with the LORD, and He wrestled with me for three years, to resign my work and to go and work for Him. Matthew chapter 10 was finally one of the calls of the LORD. You will receive great blessing when you read Matthew 10, and you will also see the demands of discipleship.
So Jesus was speaking to his disciples and He came to verse 23:
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
This is a tremendous statement.
In other words, by the time that Jesus will be coming, we will not even have reached all the cities of Israel.
When we think of the Western world, and writing here from South Africa, I can say our whole country lies almost untouched. But what about our
Western world, the British Isles, the United States of America. Think of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Western Europe. All these still have to be reached before Jesus comes, and they have to be reached with this message, telling them about their identity. What a tremendous challenge.
Let us look now at these with you before we can enter the book of Romans. Matthew 15:24; (this is where the Syrophenician woman came to the LORD so that her daughter could be healed).
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Jesus considered his whole mission to be to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In the general preaching this “lost sheep” of the house of Israel are made of all kinds of things – very inconsistent, for instance, one of the main teachings is that you become Israel when you become converted, no matter of which nationality – black, yellow, white or brown. If you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, you now become spiritual Israel, or you become a child of Abraham, you become part of the covenant of Abraham, and so there are all kinds of teachings along these lines.
If you become Israel because you have accepted Jesus Christ then according to that argument you are no longer lost, and therefore, if you are then sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel and you’ve become the house of Israel through faith, then you are not lost anymore. “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.
Here is another rule I want to lay before you and to which we must strictly keep. The Bible never changes its terms. When the Bible calls anything by name, it keeps to that name all the time. Therefore, when Jesus spoke about the lost sheep of the house of Israel, remember this, dear people, Jesus always had the whole scripture in his mind and in his heart. Jesus came to fulfil the scripture.
Even if you make a study of the words of Jesus on the cross, it is thrilling! It is a blessing to see! Jesus said this that it might be fulfilled. Jesus came strictly to fulfil the scriptures. And therefore when Jesus spoke about the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Jesus had exactly in mind what the Old Testament said, who the house of Israel was – the house of Israel, the Ten Tribes, and nothing else and no one else.
Therefore what Jesus said, He said: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. That is what Jesus said, because that is what the house of Israel means. Now that is something to meditate on until it sinks
into your spirit and therefore we must know – this was what Jesus had in mind all the time. And if He said this to his disciples, would his disciples go and do something else?
Therefore let us take a few scriptures and see what these disciples, who heard the voice of Jesus, went and did. How did they carry out this commission?
But before we go to that, turn to:
21 Then said Jesus unto them again, - - - -
(This now He said to his disciples after his resurrection and before his ascension. On one of the occasions on which He appeared to his disciples)
- - - - Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Look at Matt. 15:24 again where Jesus said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Now, take the emphasis on the word ‘sent’, “are not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. And here He appears to his disciples after his resurrection and said: “as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you”.
For what purpose did the Father send Jesus? He sent Jesus only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He says to his disciples, as the Father sent me, so I send you. In other words, to whom must they go? They must go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They must not go all over the world; they must have a specific target, because God has a purpose in that.
Only when Israel comes back into the place where God had ordained for them to be, then only will the world be able to see the glory of God. And we have come and changed that right around. No wonder the world is in the state in which it is. But can you also see our challenge; because the devil wants to have it this way. In this way he will keep us in darkness, especially seeing that that teaching goes out from our pulpits, into the hearts of our people.
So where is your greater deception? Your greatest deception is coming directly from the pulpit. What an influence there is that we have to break by the grace and the power of God. Let us not be fainthearted, but let us be strong and full of faith. Because as Jesus enabled and empowered his first disciples, I believe, if we take the truth and the word of God and we yield ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of God again, I believe the LORD will enable us to do a short work of tremendous importance in these last days. Jesus said: “as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you”.
Let’s go to Act’s Chapter 15 from the 14th verse.
In the “Scofield Study Bible”, above the 13th verse of Chapter 15, there is the following heading: James declares the result: (1) the out calling of the Gentiles agrees with promises to Israel.
Reading from the 13th verse then (by the way, this was after they had a discussion, you could almost say a dispute concerning these Gentiles as they were called, but this word Gentiles in die Greek - (Etnos), means nations).
When these nations, to whom the disciples went, came to conversion, decrees had to be handed down to them that they must observe. So they had this council meeting in Jerusalem over which James preceded, and after their discussion this was the summing up of the findings and James acted as spokesman.
This is now Acts 15:13-15;
13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying: Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles (nations) to take out of them a people for his name.
15 And to this agree the words of the prophets, - - -
(And here we need to be re-educated, we need to study our Bible all over again, even for a series of studies like these, we need to have as our background, a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament. Therefore, when he says, “and to this agree the words of the prophets”, verse 15, we ought to know precisely what the prophet is saying.
Let me say this, and please check it up for yourselves, when you go to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, or any of the prophets, or the Psalms, or the books of Moses, you will find that no where do they speak anything about other nations, apart from Israel coming to conversion, of finding the LORD, in other words, the entire Old Testament only mentions contact with Israel. But Israel is the nation that is spoken of by the prophets.
So, when James says there in Acts 15:15;
- - - - as it is written.
We must go and look what the prophets said.
And the prophets in glowing terms speak of the conversion and the return of the whole Israel, that’s the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, to the LORD. And that is in the fullness of time when the Messiah Jesus will come and gather Israel, and with them as his nucleus will rule over this world. Will bring this world back into harmony with God, and bring peace to
this world, and all the other nations that will survive this time of judgement that will lead up to it.
They will be subject to God’s Israel people and walk in the light of them. That is what the prophets foretell, and is exactly what is at stake today. It is what the devil knows and therefore, if you want to sum up, the challenge of the times in which we live. All our political analysis, all our economic analysis, why is our economic situation the way it is, why do we have all these racial problems etc.
The summary is this, the devil is stirring up the nations to destroy God’s Israel People, whom we find amongst our Western Christian Nations, because if we can be destroyed either by annihilation or by bastardization, the mixing of our blood, we will not be Israel any more and according to the prophets Jesus will not be able to return; because God then would have been made a liar. The result is, Jesus cannot return, and the devil can just carry on with his reign of darkness. That’s the whole summing up of the situation in which we find ourselves today.
What a tremendous challenge!
Let’s go back to James’ discourse in Acts 15:15-18;
15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written.
16 After this, I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
(In other words, Jesus, the Messiah says that He will return and restore again the entire kingdom of David. Now over whom was David king? David was king over the Twelve Tribes of Israel. That situation will be restored, the throne of David will be restored, and Jesus will sit on the throne of David and will be king over this world).
17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
In other words, God has set out his plan, and God will not deviate from it, and if we want to know what God’s plan is, know the Scriptures, and we will also know what his plan is.
So, He will set up the tabernacle of David, and restore everything, so “that the residue of men might seek after the LORD and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called saith the LORD who doeth all these things”. Who are these nations upon whom the name of the LORD is called? Has the name of the LORD ever been called upon the Philistines? Upon the
Hittites? Upon the Moabites? Upon the Ammonites? Where in the scriptures will you find that the name of the LORD had ever been called upon them?
But now, let’s go to scriptures and let us see who the nations are upon whom the name of the LORD had been called.
Let’s read Deuteronomy 28:9-10;
9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he has sworn unto he has sworn unto thee, if thou should keep the commandments of the LORD thy God and walk in his ways.
10 And all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD and they shall be afraid of thee.
To whom are these words addressed?
And God does not change his purpose. The calling and the election of God is without repentance.
We turn now to Jeremiah 14:9;
9 Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a like a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.
“Called by thy name; leave us not!”
We are still busy here with Acts – all the nations upon whom my Name is called, so that they can also know the LORD.
Now we go back to:
2 Chronicles 7:14; (That beautiful chapter in which Solomon prayed that beautiful prayer when he was anointed king).
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
We have come into the position, in our Christian walk of today, that we have departed so far from the pattern and the blueprint of God’s word, that it just comes automatically. My people that are called by my name means all Christians, black, white, yellow. We’ve had in the past a few such rallies on the Day of Pentecost and on a few other big occasions where people gathered on the Sports grounds, in Pretoria and various places.
Handbills by the tens of thousands were spread around and this was one of the verses – prominently displayed: “My people called by my Name” and then it’s black, white, yellow and everyone mixed. They are the people
called by the Name of the LORD – completely unscriptural. There is only one people called by the Name of the LORD and that’s Israel! Isra-el – the word of God is in the Name – a Prince with God Isra-el; ‘El’ is one of the names of God.
They are the only people who have the name of God called upon them and it is with this people that God will yet complete his purpose and his plan upon this earth. That’s important!
Let us read two more Scriptures:
2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
The LORD says to Israel – “You only have I known of all the families of the earth:”
Let us also read Joel 3:2;
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
So Israel is called God’s heritage, and no other people.
To summarize and emphasize why I have gone into detail about this; because Jesus said: “I’m not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father hath sent me, so send I you”. Therefore, we want to see if his disciples not only understood what he said, but also obeyed what he said, we must look at what they did.
We see James in this Counsel of Apostles and elders in Jerusalem, when he summarized about these nations who came to conversion. He absolutely concentrated on the building again of the Tabernacle of David which was fallen down and that He will build it again and that He will set it up and that for the residue of men; and then He specifies who they are, “those nations on whom the name of the LORD is called”, that they might seek after the LORD. So, that was the purpose, and that is how the disciples understood it, and that is how we must understand it.
Now, seeing that Paul wrote this letter to the Romans and we commencing with a study of the book of Romans, let us now look at the call of the Apostle Paul, and see what is the make-up of this man’s thinking and of what this man’s call was, then we will also understand what he meant when he wrote to the Romans.
Now let us look at the chapter describing his conversion to us, namely Acts chapter 9. In Acts chapter 9, verse 15, this was on the Damascus road,
when he fell from his horse and this light that made him blind, and the Lord Jesus spoke to him and said: “I am Jesus who thou persecuted etc.”
15 But the Lord said unto him - - - -
(to Ananias who had to go and lay hands on Paul, so that he may receive his sight again)
- - - - Go thy way: for he - - - -
(that is Paul)
- - - - is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles
(or more correctly - nations),
- - - - and kings, and the children of Israel.
So that was Paul’s calling.
We go now to:
Acts 13:17; (This is Paul’s sermon in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, and this is what he said:)
17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
What did Paul say?
He said that the God of this people of Israel chose our fathers and exalted them. So Paul has not deviated, he has not got another calling as is ascribed to him, ‘Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles’; God has forgotten about Israel, it’s a new Israel and that is now all the converted ones, regardless of nationality, that is not what Paul said here.
Paul had in mind that the God of this people of Israel, (he calls God the “God of the people of Israel”) chose our fathers. So Paul still adhered to that, so that we can understand Paul when we come to the book of Romans or any of the other epistles. That is very important.