COVENANT
           Voice

    Published Quarterly by The Covenant People’s Fellowship

 

 

 COVENANT Voice 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

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

   The Queen Mother

IN 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 duties.

 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.  

When 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 Pharez.

And 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.” (Jeremiah 33:17)

      “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”;  (Ezekiel 21:27)     

 

   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.  

This 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!     

It 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.  

So it seems that despite our better judgement, the ‘Millennium’ or perhaps we ought to say the ‘Pre-Millennium’ is almost upon us.  

Whilst 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.  

It 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.  

One 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.  

Greenwich 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. 

One 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 Year.  

The 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 Antarctica.  

However, 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.  

Such 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?”  

In 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.    

This 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.  

Without 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. 

God, 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 did!   

Were 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  consequences  

In 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.  

As 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). 

Here 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 which follow.  

Before 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).

  “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” (Matthew 25:31). And The Millennium will dawn.

    From the Autumn 1999 issue

The Heavens Declare …

FOR 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.  

As 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.  

Some, 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.  

Not 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 things.  

That 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).  

To 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.  

If 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.  

We 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).  

We 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).  

Many 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.  

That 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 .  

Since 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.  

The 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. 

For 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.  

Every 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

It 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.

“Behold,” 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).  

The 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.  

It 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 responsibility.  

As 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  it.  

This 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!

Yet, 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).  

They 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