‘re-think’ No. 21
‘A PEOPLE WITHIN A PEOPLE’
Right through the scriptural record, it is evident that God did not accomplish His plans with His people altogether at one time. He chose certain ones to experience in advance each unfolding part of His plan. Being God, Who rules in the affairs of man and surely works all things together for good . . . the good of His glorious triumphant conclusion to His plan of the ages. This basic principle we will try to unveil in this writing.
By way of introduction, we can go to the first three chapters of Revelation. We see that there are two types of people in God’s Family. . . those who ‘overcome’ and receive certain promises and those , by implication, ‘do not overcome’ and therefore do not receive such specific blessings until they do.
This is a principle that occurs all through the scripture and God is desiring for us to grasp certain truths as we see His purposes in such a principle. Let us now look back at the Old Covenant and see the same pattern of God having ‘a people in the midst of His people’. . . usually the ones who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying . . .
THE PRIESTS WITHIN ISRAEL
God had chosen Israel as His nation, His people . . . they were special to Him and they received many blessings for being such a people. He even called them ‘His Son’!
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Notice the ‘IF’ . . . conditions for being God’s chosen ones. The conditions were simple — that of obeying His voice (which, of course, they had to hear first) and keeping His Covenant.
(6) And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
God separated them because they were . . .
i] a peculiar people/treasure,
ii] a kingdom of priests
iii] a holy nation.
God had separated His Israel from all the peoples of the earth. In the earthly scene. . . God had His Old Covenant people, Israel, within all people of the earth. The principle is introduced here.
God did move initially so that all of Israel could leave Egypt as ‘one man’. All were liberated from Egyptian bondage at one time . . . but when on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, they arrived at Mount Sinai, all the people of God were commanded to Mt. Sinai to a fixed boundary at the foot of the mountain: they must not come closer . . . they must not pass that given boundary. They came . . . but when the Presence of the Lord God was seen in thunderings, lightnings, the mountain smoking and a loud trumpet . . . they removed from their place by the boundary and stood afar off. Moses went up unto God (Exodus 20).
Exodus 32 gives the record of what happened while Moses was up the mountain with God the fifth time. (Moses went up eight times all told). The people pushed their leader, Aaron, to go man’s way instead of God’s way. The result of their carnal desires was that there came forth a ‘golden calf’ (the expression of the ‘beast nature’ of fallen man) and the people started to worship it. Such worship released many evil spirits among the people and they threw off all restraints and were naked and rose up to ‘play church’! (verse 6). There was a shout of mastery (= me first!) in the camp. Please loved-ones, never let ‘voting’ replace what God speaks.
Levi-Priests within the nation of Israel
Moses now returns with the Word of God (two tablets of stone carved by the finger of God) and is absolutely disgusted with how quickly the people of God had sunk into ungodly ways of idolatry. The two tablets of the law get broken and Moses stands before the people giving them an opportunity to repent. Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
“If you repent, come and stand by me”, said Moses. One would have thought that, being God’s special people, that they ALL would have repented and stood by Moses. Alas, only the tribe of LEVI came and submitted to the word of the Lord through Moses. The majority broke the covenant that they had with God and were not obedient unto His voice . . . therefore the forfeited their all-inclusive calling of being a peculiar treasure, a holy nation and a kingdom of priests.
CHOSEN by God . . .
In passing in I Peter 2 there is an application of this promise in the New Testament, but with conditions . . .verse 9,
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Back to Israel’s ‘black day’. The Levites were the instruments of judgment on that day and they had to kill 3000 of their fellow compatriots. (Note that on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, God cancelled out that failure by drawing some 3000 to Himself that day). Then in verse 29,
Exodus 32:29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.
We pick up the account of God’s next step in Numbers 8: 11, 14-18
(11) And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD.
(14) Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.
(15) And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.
(16) For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.
(17) For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
(18) And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.
At this time God took all the Levites as His first-born in place of the whole nation. (see separate study).
Exodus 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
God initially chose the whole of Israel . . . they were ‘chosen’. He gave them the privilege of being the firstborn and He called them His Son. God’s ‘SON’ was about two and half million strong !!! It is not difficult to follow in this hour, that God is calling out a people who will be considered by Him as His firstborn . . . and such will be a corporate son in the image and likeness of the Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ.
(23) And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.
God even referred this people as ‘His Son’ to Pharaoh.
The nation was to be a kingdom of priests but now, God replaced them with the tribe of Levi. Levi was now ‘a people within the people’ . . . of Israel.
In Judges 6, 7 and on, God’s people were surrounded by the enemy called the Midianites and had the Amalekites to help them. (Interesting to note that:- Midian means argumentative, contentious, unteachable while Amalek means warlike. . . seems those sort of enemies are still around Christian circles !!!). God orchestrated the whole thing for his purposes. Why not ? He is God who works ALL things for His good (Romans 8:28).
Gideon had 32,000 volunteers to go fight the enemy. God says, ‘Too many’ and tells Gideon (the reluctant Leader!) to send home any who were afraid. Surprise! 22,000 willingly obeyed and went home. This now leaves Gideon to command 10,000 men who were not afraid. Gideon all ready to go into battle and God says, ‘Too many’.
Judges 7:4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
God does the selecting of who will fight on behalf of the nation. Thus those He chooses will be labeled ‘chosen’. Take these unafraid volunteers down to the water (of My Word - Ephesians. 5:26) and instruct them to drink . . . to take in the water into their lives!
(5) So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that laps of the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that bows down upon his knees to drink.
God was checking on the motives of each man. Those who went down on their knees and sucked up the water with their face on the water were not suitable. Why not ? Their motive was to see what they could get out of the Word for their own improvement. All they could see was themselves reflected in the water . . . they had temporarily forgotten that they were soldiers who were acting on behalf of the nation.
(6) And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
There were 300 who lapped the water from a hand . . . a picture of those who know their calling and keep one hand on their sword and one hand filled with water. They lapped out of that hand and were able to watch all around while they drank. A very unselfish motive and worthy of a place in the 300.
(7) And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
God’s chosen group was 300 strong and with this ‘people within the people’
GOD’s 300 within the 32,000 — with these ones, he obtained the victory and all 32,000, the whole nation, enjoyed the result.
I trust that you are seeing that God’s chosen ones do not received anything extra to any of His people . . . except the privilege of being used by God to achieve His purposes.
We have covered this subject in another study. Simply in the layout of this tabernacle which equates with the people of God . . . God dwelling in the midst of His people . . . has two major parts. The Outer Court which covers all those who are born again and in the middle of that area there is a tent which houses the Holy Place and the Holiest of All. The tent is within the whole Outer Court area. There are different and special dealings of God and requirements in the ‘tent’ compared to the Outer Court.
Revelation 11:1-2 parallels this picture. Theme of the Temple itself being in the Outer Court of the Temple. We are the temple of God (I Corinthians 3:16) and God has a ‘temple within the temple’. . . as it were. God is measuring us to see if we are nearing the ‘measure and the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13). A special calling with great responsibility is for those who will press in and stand by ‘Moses’ or the ‘Word of the Lord’ instead of the ‘word of man’.
DAVID v. GOLIATH
One ‘man’ (God’s ‘man’) pictured in David as he went out to defeat Goliath. God’s man from within the whole of Israel gained the victory which all enjoyed.
JESUS (‘the last Adam’) v. THE FIRST (fallen) ADAM. It is the same pattern concerning Jesus. He was God’s man in which was the fullness of His life that has gained the full victory for all men.
DAVID’S 400 CHOSEN MEN WITHIN HIS 600 MEN
1 Samuel 30:9 So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.
(10) But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.
David went into battle with just 400 men. They obtained the victory and brought back spoils. As you read on, you will see that the whole 600 shared in the victory and in the spoils. Would you have desired to be a part of the ‘400’ achievers or settle for someone else to obtain the victory for you?
MOUNT ZION within JERUSALEM
Jerusalem has seven hills within its vicinity. The highest is Mount Zion (Sion in N.T.). God uses this natural phenomena to continue His ‘people within a people’ principle. Jerusalem speaks of the Church . . . the people of God — while MT. Zion speaks of the overcomers who are a part of the Jerusalem-Church but are called by God to a higher place with higher or greater responsibilities.
Psalm 102:16 When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
(17) He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
(18) This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
(21) To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; Different promises to Zion and Jerusalem.
NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
EKLESIA is the Greek word for ‘Church’ and means the called out ones. The Church consists of all Christians but within them there is a people who are overcomers and they have been chosen for to come forth first in His new order. The ‘chosen’ are within the ‘called’. These ‘overcomers’ like Gideon’s 300, will obtain the fully victory for the whole of God’s people for they have received a revelation of God’s plan and His supply toi achieve that plan . . . it is called ‘grace’.
Romans 8: 28-29
(28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Called out especially . . . God’s perogative. Fully sold out to God’s purposes and overall plan.
(29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
These ones who God knew afore time, have a revelation and a calling to come into His image . . . here is the mention of ‘firstborn’ again. ‘Firstborn’ among MANY brethren. Note that ‘many’ is NOT ‘all’. Similar scripture is found in Hebrews 2:10, For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
THE FIVE WISE VIRGINS WTHIN THE TEN
Matthew 25: 1-12
The account of the parable of the TEN virgins. The five wise were in the ten total. The five wise received their reward of being with the Bridegroom because they were ready. The other five virgins had to wait until later. The wise had to move in their responsibility and were blessed in doing it. They all knew what was required. . . oil in lamps and vessels. . . a simple ‘double portion’.
PETER, JAMES AND JOHN
Mark 5:37. . . Peter, James and John were chosen to go in with Jesus to see Him raise the daughter of Jairus.
Matthew 17: 1-9 . . . Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain of Transfiguration leaving the others to have a deliverance meeting at the base of the mountain.
Mark 14:33 . . . Jesus took Peter, James and John aside to pray in the garden of Gethsemane . . . and other occasions. It wasn’t that He loved Peter, James and John more than the others . . . it was because they were more yielded to whatever He was doing.
MAN-CHILD within THE WOMAN
Revelation 12:1-6. The ‘manchild’ within the woman. The manchild-overcomers within the Church. They will come forth first and will gain the whole out-worked victory for the whole Church. The victory being that what Jesus provided and requires of us CAN BE ACHIEVED BY HIS GRACE. Jesus Christ gave us the whole victory at Calvary and He also gave us, by the same grace, the ability to manifest what He provided for us.
Enough to lay this foundational principle that God will work line upon line, order by order, wave by wave to accomplish what He set out to do. . . namely to have every man in His Image and in His likeness as seen in Genesis 1:26. God’s plan had not changed, but His method or way of achieving has. Let us yield to His voice and simply do what He says even if there is opposition to what God has spoken into your heart. Opposition comes from those who have not heard the call to press towards the high calling of God in Christ-Jesus. (Philippians 3:14). §