Published Quarterly byThe Covenant People’s Fellowship
COVENANTVoice the magazine of The Covenant People’s Fellowship includes articles on a wide range of Bible teaching, prophecy, history, current events and other matters pertaining to the Christian faith. Published quarterly and mailed to subscribers throughout the United Kingdom and around the world it is available for a minimum annual subscription of £8.50 including postage. Overseas £10.50 or $17.00 (US dollars)
From the Summer 2000 Issue
Majesty Queen Elizabeth
THIS, the first year of our new century, the “nation’s favourite
Grandmother”, the Queen Mother, also attains her century. This should be an
occasion of national rejoicing, for she is the first member of the royal family
to attain this venerable age.
It seems, however, that our present
government and leftist BBC wish to play down such royalist rejoicings, but even
amongst our young people, tainted as they have been by the republican bias of
their education, there are many who are very fond of her, and who admire her
tenacity and devotion to duty. We, who are starved of colourful ceremony in
these days, will surely enjoy the festivities which are planned.
| The Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born on August
4th 1900. She was the youngest of four daughters of the 14th Earl of
Strathmore and Kinghorn, and his wife, Nina Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck.
The family seat was at Glamis Castle, the scene of Shakespeare’s tragedy
of “Macbeth”, and she had
a happy childhood amongst her brothers and sisters in the rural settings
of the family estates. This gave her an enduring love of the countryside
and its pursuits. One of her brothers was killed in the first World War,
and Glamis was turned into a convalescent home for wounded military
personnel. The young Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon helped with the nursing
In 1923 she married the Duke of York, the
second son of George V, who subsequently became King George VI, on the
abdication of his brother, Edward VIII. During the years of the second World
War, as Queen Consort, she was an inspiration to the beleaguered people of the
British Isles. Setting an example of steadfastness, in that she refused to allow
the princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, to be evacuated to safety and
plenty in Canada, insisting that as the King would never leave England, she too
would never leave the King, and that they wished to have their family with them.
Photograph Ó Copyright “The News, Portsmouth”
The two princesses lived at Windsor
Castle during the war, and the King and Queen continually did their best to
boost the morale of the Londoners who were enduring the Blitz. Queen Elizabeth
is said to have remarked, when Buckingham Palace was bombed, that she was glad
to have this affinity with the
people of the shattered capital.
Her charm and sympathy lifted the spirits of the battered people.
her daughter was crowned Queen, and Elizabeth became the Queen Mother, she was
at first devastated by her early widowhood, but realised her duty to support the
new young Queen Elizabeth II, and has fulfilled this role ever since, even to a
great age, for she still fulfils not a few public engagements, in spite of two
hip replacements. A lady of dignity and courage, she is an example to all.
It is not generally realised that the
Queen Mother’s lineage can be traced back as far as that of her daughter, the
Queen, or that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth had a common ancestor in Brian
Boru, who was King of Ireland from 1002 to 1014. King George VI’s descent from
Brian Boru was through his grand-daughter, Dearbforgail, who died in 1080. She
was married to Dermot MacMailnamo, King of Leinster and Ireland, who died in
1072. The Queen Mother’s line from Brian Boru was through Brian’s son, Teige
or Terence, who died in 1023.
Brian Boru’s ancestry goes back
into the mists of the distant past, in the BC. era. He was descended from the
ancient kings of Ulster and the present day O’Neills are a branch of this
ancient family, taking their name from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages.
He was not the original Niall, for Irish traditions tell of a Milesian prince,
called Nelius, who became Niul in the Irish records. He married one of
Zedekiah’s daughters, Scota, when the princesses Tamar and Scota were in exile
in Egypt under the protection of the Pharaoh.
Some of the Irish legends say that
Niul was a Scythian, but since the Scythians came later, after the deportation
of the Ten Tribes to Assyria, it would seem that the traditions have their
chronology somewhat muddled. It is feasible that he was a Milesian, or an
escaped Trojan from the destruction of Troy. What is more certain is that he was
of the same race as Scota, being of the nations of
Israelites who had left Egypt to go adventuring before the time of the
Exodus, and who had settled in Greece and, that which is today, Turkey.
The legends tell that Jeremiah left
Egypt with the Princess Tamar Tephi, taking with him the Stone of Destiny, which
was known as Jacob’s Pillar, and which had been used for the coronations of
the kings of the line of David. Tamar was the elder daughter and as her sister
was married she seemed to be
settled in Egypt. Tamar was the heiress of the line of David, which was overturned
to the shores of
Hibernia, or Ireland. The stories go that a certain holy prophet landed
upon Hibernia’s shores, accompanied by his scribe, Brug, and a beautiful young
princess, together with a large stone. The reigning Heremon of the area, (Heremon
means “a crowned horseman”), was named Eochaidh. He fell in love with the
princess and married her, and their descendants may be traced through the Irish
records. Tamar was buried in the Hill of Tara, and the ensuing kings of Ulster
were crowned on the Stone of Destiny for 800 years. It still survives as the
Stone of Scone, which lay under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey until
its recent removal to Edinburgh Castle.
The traditions trace Jeremiah and the
princess, with Brug (Baruch) through Spain. Baruch is mentioned in Jeremiah
32:12. He is said to have been Jeremiah’s secretary.
The ships of Tarshish were the
paramount sailors and traders of those days, and there was a thriving trade with
Spain, the western coast of France, the British Isles, and even extending to the
Scandinavian countries, perhaps for the carriage of amber to the Mediterranean
countries. It may be that Jeremiah intended to go to Denmark, but the party was
shipwrecked off the coast of Ulster. Eochaidh
the Heremon was a member of the Darnaians, or Tuatha de Danaan. It has also been
said that the early settlers in Ireland were related to the Carthaginians, who
were Israelitish Phoenicians.
The ancient rulers of these people were descended from Zarah,
a son of the patriarch Judah, by Tamar, his daughter-in-law. Zarah was a twin of
Pharez, from whom the kings of Israel were descended. Zarah, however, appears to
have left his brethren and to go adventuring, perhaps with the Phoenicians, who
had a large admixture of
the descendants of Jacob amongst them. A famous port in Spain was called
Zara-gossa, (modern Saragossa), which was one of the colonies of the Hebrews and
Phoenicians. Thus, by his marriage to the princess Tamar,
Eochaidh united the Zarah and Pharez lines. The people who had settled in
Ireland were known as the Darnii, mentioned on Ptolemy’s famous map. Their
territory was the present counties of Londonderry and Antrim.
The Milesians arrived in Ireland
around 1,000 BC. The Darnii came later, arriving between 800 to 600 BC. Whether
the princess Scota came to live in Ireland to be near her sister, we are not
told, but there is a certain amount of confusion between the two princesses, and
it is reasonable that she did so. Her husband’s people most certainly settled
there. Dardanus was the mythical
ancestor of the Trojans, and his name has been linked with Troy, Phrygia and
Etruria, all colonies of Israelites.
It is significant that the emblem of
Northern Ireland, or Ulster is the Red Hand, which was the badge of Zarah. If we
look at the Biblical story of the birth of Pharez and Zarah, we shall see how
significant this is.
“And it came to pass in the time of
her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she
travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon
his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as
he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How
hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called
afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and
his name was called Zarah.” (Genesis 38:27-30)
The six main lines of the O’Neills
have the Red Hand in their coat of arms.
The Welsh princes are also said to
have been descended from Trojan settlers, and Queen Elizabeth II inherited their
line through the Tudors.
In this way, Queen Elizabeth II
unites many strands of the Israelitish princes and the Royal House of David,
just as her ancestress, Tamar Tephi, united the two lines from Judah, of Pharez
and Zarah. It is surely the overruling of
God which is responsible for bringing all these strands together.
We should understand our rich
heritage of history and our destiny as the Servant Race, but Satan is doing his
best to destroy this knowledge and the Royal House. We know that he will not
succeed, for the Lord said to David:
“For thus saith the Lord; David
shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.”
“And thine house and thy kingdom
shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for
ever.” (Jeremiah 33:20-21)
“Thus saith the Lord; If ye can
break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there
should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken
with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever
before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” (II Samuel 7:16)
There are numerous other verses in
the Bible which reiterate these promises to David, many more than the two
witnesses required by Scripture. In this way we may see how important it is that
the throne of David should be preserved,. It is as unconditional as the
Birthright Covenants, and exceptionally holy, for it had to be preserved for Our
Lord to take over at His Second Coming.
Black as the picture may seem at
present, and menacing as are the redoubled efforts of the republicans and
anti-royalists, God has assured us that His Throne will endure for ever, and we
value our present Royal House and their dedicated service to their people,
personified by our beloved Queen Mother and her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.,
“until he come whose right it is”;
From the Winter 1999 - 2000 issue
The Millennium Dawn
THERE HAS BEEN some concern expressed, as we come to
end of the year and indeed this century that the Millennium Dome, currently
under construction at Greenwich, will not be completed in time for the much
heralded ‘Millennium Celebrations’.
Which is a curious thing, because as most of us know, the true Millennium will not commence for another year; as, in fact, we
pass from the 31st December 2000 to the 1st January 2001.
simple fact notwithstanding, much of the world is determined to regard the 1st
January 2000 A.D. as the commencement of the next Millennium, so we cannot in
all conscience totally ignore the
change of year whilst perhaps feeling, as with the question of the
coming of age when many families now celebrate both the eighteenth and
the twenty-first birthday, that we shall most probably find ourselves similarly
celebrating both dates; although many currently do not seem too certain exactly
what it is they are meant to be celebrating. Certainly it has little to do with
the birth of Jesus Himself for if the generally accepted date of 4 BC is
correct, (some suggest other dates all of which are BC) the second millennium
from that date was in 1996, or even before!
may well be that much of the present confusion, aside from having its origins in
the original dating errors, owes
much to that other misnomer the, so called, Millennium
Bug which again has nothing to do with
the true Millennium and even less to
do with bugs, as we know them! Being merely a problem of computer memory capacity, or lack of it, in which the
earliest programmes, presumed to be destined to be totally obsolete long before
the year 2000 which in fact could never happen unless every original system was
scrapped, expressed built-in dates in terms of the last two digits only.
it seems that despite our better judgement, the ‘Millennium’
or perhaps we ought to say the ‘Pre-Millennium’
is almost upon us.
countries with calendars other than ours, the
Gregorian calendar, may
not celebrate the Millennium including the true one when it comes all nations, because
of the International Meridian
Conference held in Washington in 1884, allow that Greenwich is both
the centre of time and space and the home of the Meridian Line, Zero
Longitude, upon which all navigational
aids depend and where time, as we know it, commences.
was the matter of accurate navigation for shipping, in particular, which
prompted the United States to suggest a conference to establish the principles,
amongst others, to adopt a single world meridian based upon the meridian passing
through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, to agree that the universal day be a
Mean Solar Day beginning at the Mean Midnight at Greenwich and to accept that
nautical and astronomical days world wide would begin at Mean Midnight.
of the key reasons for the choice of Greenwich, at the time, was that three
quarters of the world’s commerce already depended on sea charts which used
Greenwich as the Prime Meridian which, as a matter of interest today, runs just
alongside the site of the Millennium Dome.
itself has a long and, one must say, distinguished history. Today, thousands
visit each year to see the splendid collection of charts, clocks, chronometers
and other inventions without which we, and most of the world, should still be
navigating the seas and getting lost; and to stand astride the Meridian Line
with one foot in the Eastern Hemisphere and
the other in the Western. Not, perhaps, a very significant step for mankind but
nonetheless something unique.
interesting aspect of all this is that because each day begins at midnight the
first people to actually experience the dawn
of the first day will be those living on the other side of the world, which has
generated considerable rivalry, with an eye to a commercial advantage, to be the
first to see the first dawn of the New
International Date Line at 180 degrees Longitude, which was also agreed at the
1884 Conference, being the other side of the Greenwich Meridian Line has caused
some heated competition as Pacific islands bordering the line which was
originally agreed not to pass over any landfall, is, it seems, being ‘claimed’ by some such as Caroline Island, in the Republic of
Kiribati where the sun will rise at 5.43 am on the 1st January 2000
(but it will be 3.43 pm GMT on the 31st December 1999). Other
claimants include Tonga, Pitt Island and the New Zealand’s North Island
coastal towns of Gisborne and Hastings while the United States claim the last
sunset and the first sunrise between Dibble Glacier and Victor bay in
astronomers at the Royal Observatory tell us that the place to see the first
dawn will not be in the Pacific but on Katchall island on the eastern edge of
the Bay of Bengal, 6000 miles west of the International Date Line. This
calculation being based on the Mean Solar Day, which as was agreed in 1884
begins at Midnight at Greenwich, it will at that moment be 5.30 am on the 1st
January 2000, on Katchall Island; the time the sun rises there.
is man’s ability to confuse the issue to the extent that we no longer know
what date we are talking about, nor why we are celebrating
it anyway, that it rather
overshadows all the forecasts, dire and otherwise, of the events
which the pundits promise us will take place immediately the Millennium begins.
We need in all truth to ask only one question, “What millennium?”
the event, of course, despite all expectations the New Century will dawn and the
only certainty is that we know that God will be waiting there for us, as He
always is; every dawn. He has already prepared a new day and a new century for
us and we shall be that much nearer to that other Millennium for which we long
and pray. ‘The Millennium’
which really counts. The day when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ will
return; and here we do see a similarity in that where the day will soon come
when the year 2000 AD begins so too, although we have been waiting for it for
most of those two thousand years, the day will also come when, “every eye
shall see him” (Revelation 1:7) as He comes with clouds and His angels on His
return to this earth, to begin the restitution of all things.
Millennium, a word which does not in
fact appear in Scripture, is the one thousand year period during which Christ
will reign and Satan will be bound and helpless (Revelation 20: 1-3). which will
bring nearer to fruition God’s plan for His people Israel.
Satan’s influence it will be a millennium of peace. Something which we, with
our experience of life today and knowing that of our forefathers’ experiences
during centuries past, find difficult
to comprehend. Until, that is, we consider the causes of greed, envy and evil
which lay behind the problems which continually beset us. Without Satan’s
influence, even amongst our own people, how our thoughts would change and
consequently our actions.
when He caused the flood in Noah’s time did so because, “every imagination
of their thoughts were evil continually,” (Genesis 6:5). The people of his day
had begun some 1600 years previously well enough, they had known God and obeyed
His law. But generation by generation they began to think that the law did not
matter; and once they thought it, they acted upon that thought, until by the
time of the flood Noah was the only righteous man left. What they thought, they
we able to have just one generation without Satan’s influence our own and our
children’s thinking would change beyond all recognition. In the millennium to
come not only will Satan be bound but, even better, Christ will reign and the
Law of God will prevail. God has given mankind His law before, but man has never
kept to it so he has never seen the benefits of it; never reaped the rewards!
Consequently man tires easily and not understanding that “the law of the Lord
is perfect” (Psalm 19:7), as mentioned in our last issue of “Covenant Voice” with reference to the planets,
substitutes his own ideas, with disastrous
the garden, Adam conversed with God and could have learned to love good but
through Eve’s sin of disobedience he chose instead to listen to Satan. Since
when, for the past six millennia mankind has had to learn instead to hate evil.
God was with Adam in Eden so Christ will be with mankind during His millennium
reign. But since Adam, Christ came and paid the penalty for man’s sin and in ‘His Millennium’ there will be no serpent; and those who have witnessed to the word of God, “lived
and reigned with Christ a
thousand years”, (Revelation 20:4).
This Millennium is part of God’s plan for bringing together and fulfilling those
things promised which are yet to be and preparing the people of all the nations
for a righteous judgement, both the believer and the unbeliever. For it is not
until the end of the thousand year period that
scripture tells us of the casting of the devil into the lake of fire and the
second resurrection. “ …. and the books were opened: and another book was
opened, which is the book of life….and they were judged every man according to
their works” (Revelation 20: 12-13).
we see the Book of
Life, described earlier as, “… the
book of life of the Lamb ….” (Revelation 13: 8) so we know that those whose
names appear in it are those who belong to the Lamb of God, (John 1:29) or
Christ, which assures their place in the Kingdom of God. While the other books,
the Books of Works, record their doings
by which they are judged, or assessed, for their function in the Kingdom. And we
see here the operation of the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone, faith
being all that is required, followed by the Sanctification or works after faith
that there will be the
Millennium, the One
Thousand Year Reign, which Jesus Himself likened to the time of Noah when
those not understanding, not watching, there are so many today who will not
accept the fact of the promised return of Christ, will be taken unawares, “…
so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24: 37-39).
A FEW brief moments, on the 11th August 1999, people living across a
great swath-like band of the earth stopped whatever they were doing and gazed
skywards in awe and wonder at the majesty of God, as they observed the last
eclipse of both this century and this millennium.
the shadow of the moon sped across the world at 1,500 miles per hour, obscuring
the light of the sun, thus plunging the earth into total or partial darkness for
a brief period of from less than a
minute to just over two minutes, dependant on from where one was viewing the
event, most of us experienced an eerie sense of wonder at the strangeness of
this natural phenomena and, curiously, many applauded when the sun reappeared as
if they were, despite themselves, afraid that it just might not do so.
perhaps, appreciated for the first time in their lives how dependant we are on
the provision of God for our very existence and how precisely the apparently
random array of planets is in fact placed in the heavens; and ordered for
our well being.
that most actually mentioned God, for
across the world many myths still pervade the reasoning of man where some still
live in fear of the unexplained, while even here at home such is the
indifference amongst our own people who no longer believe in a munificent
Creator, choosing rather to see science, which is but the examination
of the created world and the Creator’s power, as the arbiter of all
the timing could be so accurately forecast was taken for granted. There have,
after all, been many eclipses before; and they have all arrived on time. So, to
the second the timing was calculated from Nova Scotia, as day dawned on the
eastern coast of Canada at 10.30 a.m.
British Summer Time (BST) to the Bay of Bengal at 1.29 p.m. BST, as dusk began
to fall, and the shadow of the moon completed its three hour journey across the
earth. Reminding those who have “eyes to see” that in the words of the
psalmist, “The Heavens Declare the glory
of God”. (Psalm 19: 1).
which he adds that which is self evident in the beginning, “and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” For it was in
the beginning that God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1: 1) as it
was in those earlier times of creation that,
“God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser
light to rule the night….” (Genesis 1: 16). Two lights,
the Sun and the Moon, which together played out this particular drama, this last
spectacular show in the heavens of
God’s handiwork before we pass into a new millennium, and all which that may
hold for us in the wonderful plan of God.
we continue to the end of this verse we find, in a very few words, another
instance of God’s handiwork,
indeed in so few that it almost seems like an afterthought, “…he
made the stars also.” And then in the next verse we are told that He set
them in the firmament (heaven) to give light upon the earth and then we find
later in the Word of God that these stars, these lesser planets which fill the
heavens and make up our night sky, are not so insignificant after
all for in Psalm 147: 4 we read, “he telleth the number of stars;
he calleth them all by their names.” We then recall that other
reference to stars when the Lord promised Abraham when He chose him because of
his faith, as His friend, to be the founder of the nation of Israel, “…. I
will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven….” (Genesis 22:17) and we know
that God knows all their
names too, as He does everyone who
will acknowledge him as their personal Saviour and call him Lord.
Know that the heavens and the planets have long held an immense fascination for
mankind, from Abraham’s time; and before. The ancients searched the heavens in
anticipation, that they would foretell future events. Abraham, himself was
something of an astronomer and we know that the Magi,
at the time of the birth of Jesus, told Herod that they had seen His star in the
east, “ and are come to worship him”. (Matthew 2:2).
read that when Moses gathered the Israelites together before they crossed over
into Jordan into the land which God had promised them he said, “…ye are this
day as the stars of heaven for multitude” (Deuteronomy 1 :10}. We find that
David when he had appointed his son, Solomon, to become king of Israel and had
arranged for a census of the people that he did not count those under the age of
twenty one, “because the Lord had said he would increase Israel like to the
stars of heaven.” (1 Chronicles 27:23). In
Daniel, we read of the time of the end days when every one that shall be found written in the book, the believers,
“they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and
ever.” (Daniel 12:3).
must have been the times when our ancestors gazed at the sky, as we do, and
wondered as to the order of it all, and perhaps dreamt the impossible dream that
one day there might be a means of reaching the stars and the planets.
event, then future, was destined to take place just thirty years ago when
mankind made that first giant step as
Neil Armstrong, walked on the Moon in 1969. Whilst this could never have been
achieved without expertise of the Lunar spaceship planners and programmers
and the courage and expertise of the astronauts themselves, that they
could ever reach the moon at all depended on one factor over which they had
absolutely no control at all; the certainty
with which they could calculate the exact location of the planets at any
one time; and that depended on the precision with which God has set and ordered
the movements of the planets over the millennia past by which one can predict
the present and, when planning years in advance for a space voyage, the future.
The same means by which we were able to know, in advance, the precise moment of our
Eclipse at any place along its path .
that first visit to the moon the explorations, which commenced in earnest during
the 1930’s when probes discovered that Pluto was ice-bound, have increased in
range and number until the Voyager
space probe launched in the late 1970’s embarked on a twelve year journey to
explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and found worlds that defied
imagination. Bringing to us images of God’s handiwork so magnificent that they
truly declare the glory of God and the
majesty of His power.
power which these planets, and in some cases their satellites, unleash and is so
awesome and devastating that life as we know it could not survive, let alone
thrive. Power from God, which mankind on earth despite all these discoveries
arrogantly chooses to defy every day. Yet God, in His provision for us, has
given us in the midst of this turbulence which is there for our benefit, for
without the intense heat caused by the violence of the sun we could not
flourish, a world so little affected by all that goes on around us, so gentle
and so perfect for our peaceful existence, if we would but obey Him and keep His
law as the planets do, despite their volatility.
in the words of the psalmist, in the same psalm which speaks of the sun and the
moon and the stars, we read, “the law of the Lord is perfect.” (Psalm 19:7).
Without this perfection none of that which we see in the heavens would be
possible, and we would not be able to predict the future orbits of the planets
nor, least of all, the eclipse which so many have so recently witnessed.
eclipse, and although the next total eclipse which will be observable in the
British Isles will not be for another ninety two years, at 5pm on the 23rd
September 2090 in West Cornwall, there are many others in other parts of the
world before then, the next being in 2001 over Southern Africa, should remind us
that, “The Heavens declare the glory of
God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.”
From the Spring 1998 issue
The Fruitful Seed
had been another of those
occasions, one of the many during His ministry, when Jesus speaking to the
multitude spoke about that which most readers will know well; that which we have
come to know as the Parable of The Sower.
He said, “a sower went forth to sow and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the
wayside,… some fell upon stony
ground, … some fell among thorns; but
other seed fell into good ground and brought
forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears
let him hear.” (Matthew 13:3-9).
meaning to us is plain. We understand
that this seed is the Word of God. We
know about the seed by the wayside, where those who hear about the word but do not
understand it, find that Satan comes along and takes it away from them before
they have a chance of accepting it. We know too about the stony ground, when some who receive the Good News initially with
joy, but developing little depth to their understanding
reject it in times of difficulties. We also know about the thorns,
and how they choke and strangle the Word with the cares of this world; and we
know too of the Good Seed which
flourishes and bears fruit. We know
because, unlike those who were hearing it for the first time, we have the
explanation in the verses following and
we have the benefit of the witness of those who have expounded the scriptures
down through the centuries. We are heirs to their work and faithfulness.
is clear, however, that many who heard on that
day did not have the ears to hear, or
the understanding to understand, and when the disciples were with Jesus later
during those times when He discussed with them the day’s events, which
scripture tells us He frequently did in private following His preaching to the
multitudes, even they asked, “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” His
reply, which is as much to us today as it was to them, “Because it is given to
you to know the mysteries of the kingdom….” reminds us of the great
privilege that we share in knowing something of God’s plan for His people
Israel and the Kingdom of Heaven, for He went on to conclude, “but to them it
is not given.” And with our privilege, as with any privilege, great is our
we contemplate, at this time of the year - when we see the rebirth of Springtime and the coming to life and blossoming of that
seed which has lain dead in the ground
these past months - those events which took place in Jerusalem
culminating in the ‘trial’ and, at the behest of the people, the crucifixion of our
Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and all that He endured that all
who believe in Him might have eternal life; we do well to remember this parable
of the sower. For it surely points the way to us today in our witnessing and
teaching of the Word. Encouraging us when we might, in these days
of unbelief, perhaps, be inclined to despair just a little, as we see the
‘faith once delivered to the saints’ denigrated by many through their
ignorance and undermined by others, who should be upholding it and proclaiming
parable fixes in the minds of those of us in these days, who have ears to hear, the difficulties which even our Lord encountered when
reasoning with some people. Should we therefore expect to find it any different?
Any easier? Even He, we find, spoke to people whom He knew
would not understand, about the Kingdom of God. “Therefore I speak to them in
parables, because they seeing see not; and hearing hear not, neither do they
understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias… for this
people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their
eyes have closed….” (verses 13-15). Note, they have
closed. How like today!
with His foreknowledge
of their spiritual blindness He spoke to them, when He did not need to do
so, in such a way that those who would
hear and would understand might not remain in ignorance, but might hear and
see, “Blessed are your eyes,” He tells the disciples, “for they see: and
your ears, for they hear.” (verse 16).
came to understand then, as we do now, that the seed to which Jesus referred in this
parable is the seed of the Word of God, just as they already
knew what He meant when He said to the Pharisees on
another occasion, when castigating them for their unbelief, “I know
that ye are Abraham’s seed.” In response to their attempts to justify
themselves in their misguided belief that all that is required for Salvation is
to be able to claim descent from Abraham.
Today, it is this other seed which is largely misunderstood rather than the seed of the Parable of the Sower. This seed of Abraham which God promised would also be a good seed, not in the sense of being good but in the sense of being fruitful, “That in blessing I will bless thee, in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore…” We have much explaining, much teaching, to do today to reach out to the Lord’s people if they are to truly understand the plan of God. For they have, in the main, lost sight of the vision of the disciples with regards to the return of