Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly . . . the LORD bringeth upon them . . . the king of Assyria.”
The “waters of Shiloah” refers to a source of water that was at Jerusalem, the city that, according to David, God had chosen as the capital of the ancient nation of Israel. But ten of the twelve tribes of Israel had rejected both David and his proclamation that God had chosen Jerusalem and had formed their own nation apart from David’s line of kings and apart from Jerusalem. They chose from among themselves a king, and chose another city in the land of promise to be their capital. From among the sons and daughters of Israel, they raised their own army, but without God’s approval, it could not withstand the onslaught of the world and its ways.
God responded to His people’s forming their own nation and rejecting the men He had anointed to rule over them. His response was a threat, contained in the verse above from Isaiah, to send foreigners to be their rulers, foreigners who would oppress and enslave them. Still, they would not listen. Isaiah was connected with Jerusalem, and they had long ago rejected the prophets of that place. Nothing would persuade them to submit to the men God had chosen and anointed to be their guides and rulers, and so, nothing could save them from becoming the subjects of an evil empire governed by men who never knew God at all.
Paul said that whatever was written by men and women of God during that ancient time was written for our learning and our warning. What then are we to learn from Israel’s rejection of God’s true servants and forming their own kingdom apart from David’s sons? If your eyes have been opened by the Spirit to see Christianity for what it really is, you already know the answer to that question.
In the beginning of this age, when Jesus had accomplished his sacrificial work, God gave to those who believed in His Son prophets, and apostles, and evangelists, and pastors, and teachers so that His chosen people could have peace and grow in grace and in the knowledge of God (Eph. 4:11-12). But God’s people soon rejected the men and women whom God had chosen and anointed for their good, choosing their own leaders and forming their own congregations after their own will. The true servants of God lamented that God’s children were being lured away from them.
“Who has bewitched you?” cried Paul to the saints of Galatia, who had been turned from him and had begun to follow false teachers. Speaking of such false teachers, John wrote to the saints he was teaching, “They went out from us, but they were not of us.” And Peter foretold of the victorious effect that these men would have upon the unsuspecting children of God. He wrote, “Many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the truth shall be evil spoken of.” In the end, the aged apostle Paul grieved that throughout the Roman province of Asia, all of the many congregations of saints that he had long ago established in Christ had rejected him as their teacher and guide (2Tim. 1:15). His own “children in the Lord” had forsaken him! They had, in effect, “refused the waters of Shiloah that flow softly” and had made themselves a kingdom of their own liking. But their kingdom was made of straw, and it could not withstand the onslaught of the world and its ways. Like ancient Israel, this new nation of believers, without God’s anointed leaders to guide it, would soon be overwhelmed by men who were foreigners to God and His Spirit.
These foreign rulers, by whom the children of God are still held in bondage, are called “Christian ministers”, and the name of the spiritual Babylon in which the children of God have lived for so long is “Christianity”. Christianity is the name of the curse with which God cursed His rebellious people, but (thanks be to God!) there is a way out.
God is calling to His precious children, “Come out of her, My people!” Do you grasp the significance of this call, my brother? The fact that God is calling us at all means that He is giving us a way out of both our rebellion and the captivity that it led to; it means that His permission is being granted for us to “forsake the foolish and live!” It means that God is offering us the golden opportunity to submit ourselves to the shepherds who are true shepherds, teachers who are true teachers, and pastors who are after His own heart. It means that He is opening a door for us that no man can shut. He is offering us peace. The call for us to come out of Christianity is a most precious opportunity to escape the spiritual darkness of men who have never known our God! Our Father is giving us another chance to obey Him and to have our hearts cleansed from the ways of the heathen, and to be forgiven for the stubbornness that led to our becoming slaves and officers in the kingdom of Christianity in the first place!
The lesson we learn from Isaiah is sobering. The example of ancient Israel that God has preserved for us in the Scriptures is so clear! That lesson is this: If God’s children want to make their own kingdom among themselves, they cannot have it. The only choice that God gives to His children is either submit to His anointed servants or become the servants of men who do not know God at all.