Sovereign Grace Assembly
And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them. —Numbers 11:3
We all have a tendency to forget what we ought to remember and to remember what we wish we could forget. “For memory,” said Mr. Spurgeon, “graspeth evil things with an iron fist, but the good she holds with feeble fingers. Our God often tells us to remember because we are sinfully prone to forget. While our memory will preserve a thousand poisonous weeds, it suffers the Rose of Sharon to wither.” We all need to remember them that have the rule over us, who have spoken to us the word of God. We all need to remember Lot’s wife, lest we dare look back to Sodom with an apostate heart of unbelief. We all need to remember who and what we are by nature, as well as where we were when God found us by his grace. Paul says, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” These few things are a mere sampling of what we ought to remember. The list of needful reminders might be
greatly lengthened, but I add only this one thing to the brief list I have just stated: remember Taberah.
You May Burn
The name, Taberah, means thou mayest burn. How alarming! If we add the two preceding verses to our text, we get the full picture of Taberah and the warning it is intended to convey. “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.” Sadly, Taberah has been all but forgotten by us today. Perhaps if we remembered it, we would all complain far less. Beware of complaining, and remember Taberah because you may be the next to get burned.
Numbers 11:1 tells us that “when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” The Spirit of God does not tell us what they complained about, perhaps because it was too petty to mention. Regardless of the reason, the lesson for us remains the same: beware of murmuring and complaining, children of God—it is sinful and wrong. God rules all things by Jesus Christ our Lord, so whatever we complain about, we are finding fault with him. Complaining displeases the Lord our God, and he always hears it, even when those complaints are not dressed in audible speech. We need patience, brethren. We need faith and humility. We need to learn surrender. The way to the Promised Land is often difficult, but it is always best. We will not always get what we want, but we will always get what is best. We will not always get our way, but God will always have his way. Are these things not enough? I urge you, keep your heart from murmuring and bridle your tongue. The next time you are tempted to murmur and complain because things are not going according to your plan, just remember that they are going precisely according to God’s eternal purpose of grace. Remember Taberah, and be content.
Leeks and Onions
We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic, but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. —Numbers 11:5-6
These Israelites were not satisfied with God’s provision of manna in the wilderness; they wanted Egyptian food: leeks, onions, garlic, flesh, fish, melons, and cucumbers. They were not satisfied with Christ alone—the one that manna symbolized, the true bread come down from heaven. They wanted more because, to them, Christ was not enough, and they suffered dearly for their lust. What a warning for us today! Beware of despising God’s Son and lusting after Egypt! Beware of setting your heart on leeks and onions! “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” If Christ is not enough for you, if his righteousness does not satisfy you, and if his grace is does not satiate your heart, he may very well give all the world you can wish for, and then he will send leanness into your soul. Do you lust for flesh to eat? “Therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; but even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?”
Egypt and the World
How quickly we fall a lusting after the leeks and onions of Egypt! Does Christ not more than compensate for leeks and onions? Does he not more than make up for all those worldly and earthly things that we were devoted to while lost in Egyptian bondage? Oh, how quickly we grow dissatisfied with God’s provision! We must have flesh and fish. We must have leeks. We must have onions, melons, and garlic. We grow weary of Christ alone; we must have the world too! Is this not the very lust we are most prone to indulge? The wilderness journey becomes difficult. The marches become longer and longer. The desert heat grows hotter and hotter. The way is round and round. The progress is slow. God tries our hearts in a thousand different ways, and our first love for Christ declines. Christ does, in measure, cease to be the satisfying and altogether precious portion of our souls. The word of God and prayer lose their charm and become dull and heavy burdens. And what do we do? We lust after leeks and onions—worldly provisions and earthly pleasures. We ask, “What are we to do? How are we to fill up our time?” After all, we cannot always be thinking of Christ and heavenly things. He may very well fill up the hearts, eyes, minds, souls, and attention of the saints in heaven, but we are not in heaven—we are in the world. We cannot possibly be expected to be altogether devoted to Christ. We cannot possibly be expected to pray more than twenty minutes a day. We cannot possibly study the Bible that much. We must have some recreation—some of that coveted me-time. How fearful! Make Christ your portion, and beware of lusting after the leeks and onions of Egypt.
Moses Makes a Wish
And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! —Numbers 11:29
The Lord God had just taken of the spirit that was upon Moses and gave it to the seventy elders. Two of them, Eldad and Medad, were prophesying in the camp, and a young man ran and tattled on them to Moses, as if they were doing something evil. Even young Joshua found fault, saying to Moses, “Forbid them.” The Israelites were not accustomed to other prophets being among them, so they were a bit taken back and even a little offended, though needlessly, when they beheld Eldad and Medad preaching in the camp. But Moses took no offense whatsoever. He says to Joshua, “Are you envious for my sake? Don’t be. I wish to God that all the LORD’S people were preachers and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them all!” What a wish! Far from being covetous of preeminence and jealous of the gifts, talents, and labor of others, Moses wishes that more were like him. It is as if he said, “I wish all of God’s people could preach the gospel—that all of God’s saints could and would speak freely and boldly concerning Jesus Christ their Lord.” Oh, what a wish!
I second the wish of Moses, and I pray that God would raise up more Eldads and Medads. I wish all of God’s saints would make it a matter of personal concern, at the very least, to tell their friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors how great things the Lord has done for them. I wish that all of God’s people— men and women, young and old, well-spoken and poorly spoken—would seek more opportunities to open their mouths in favor of Christ and God’s free grace in him. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” If you seek opportunities, God will provide them. I know that very few will ever be eloquent preachers like Apollos, but the least of God’s saints can tell what they know. All of us can tell of that Savior who found us polluted in our own blood. Child of God, you may not know much, but you know him, and knowing him, you know all that you need to know. Open your mouth about him, and you can never go wrong.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. —Colossians 1:16-17
My friends, by teaching a false creation, men are teaching a false creator, and by teaching a false creator, they are teaching another Jesus! Just as the Lord Jesus is revealed, manifested, and made known by the works which he performs, so another Jesus is revealed, manifested, and made known by the works which he performs.
The true Jesus of Holy Scripture effectually redeemed his people from all their sins, but the other Jesus merely makes redemption possible for all men. These two Christs, the true and the false, are distinguished, not by their names, but by their works.
The true Jesus of God sovereignly and effectually dispenses his grace to whomsoever he pleases, according to the good pleasure of his sovereign will, but the other Jesus merely offers his mercy and grace to everybody. The effectual and sovereign gift of the true distinguishes him from the worthless offer of the false. They are distinguished, not by their names, but by their works. One performs grace, but the other merely offers grace.
The true Jesus of the Book needs nothing from us, but the other Jesus needs us to make a decision in his favor. He has done his part, but he needs us to do our part. He needs us to make up that which is lacking in his work of salvation. Again, the true Jesus is distinguished from the false by his works.
My point is this: the only way that we can tell the difference between the Christ of God and the devil’s counterfeit christ, between God’s anointed Savior and the devil’s false savior, is by the works that are ascribed to each. We all know this principle of distinction well. This is not some new principle. Every gospel preacher uses it to instruct the people of God, teaching them to beware of false teachers who come preaching another Jesus.
Now, employ this same fundamental principle of distinction to God’s work of creation. Christ the Creator created a flat earth. The other creator made a globe. The true Creator created a fixed earth upon immovable foundations. The false creator made a spinning ball that floats through outer space. The true Creator put the sun, moon, and stars in circuit above his flat earth. Another creator, who goes by the name of Jesus, put the earth and moon in circuit around the sun. The true Creator made waters above the heavens, waters above the firmament. The false creator made an infinite void, a dark and endless vacuum, called outer space above—or should I say surrounding—the atmosphere of the ball earth. The true Creator, on the fourth day, made two great lights in the heavens—the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night. The false creator made one great light, the sun, to rule the day, and one great reflector, the moon, to reflect the sun’s light to rule the night.
Again, my point is this: Christ our Redeemer is revealed, manifested, and made known to us by his great works of redemption, and the false christ, the false redeemer, is revealed, manifested, and made known by his weak and unsuccessful works of redemption.
Likewise, Christ our Creator is revealed, manifested, and made known by his great works of creation, just as the false creator, the false Jesus, is made known by his distorted works of creation. To ascribe a false redemption to the Lord Jesus—a redemption made possible—is to preach another Jesus. This is obvious, and we all know this to be so. Likewise, to ascribe a false creation to Jesus Christ the true Creator—a spinning ball earth, a heliocentric system, a moon that is a reflector, an infinite void called outer space—is to preach another Jesus! This is the inescapable conclusion of teaching a distorted heliocentric creation.
You don’t have to be a freewill Arminian to preach another Jesus. All you have to do is ascribe false works to the true Christ, and you are preaching another Jesus—whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not. A false creation necessitates a false creator, just as a false redemption necessitates a false christ. A false ball earth necessitates another Jesus, just as ineffectual grace necessitates a false gospel.
You see, this entire creation controversy that merely began about the shape of the earth is about much much more than the earth being flat and not round. When you put the puzzle pieces together, the image formed is not the image of Christ the Creator, but the graven image a false creator, the graven image of a false god, the graven image of a false savior, the graven image of a false Jesus.
There is much more to this subject than what merely floats upon the surface. The surface of the matter is the shape of the earth, but beneath the surface—that is where the truth lies hidden. Satan and the powers of darkness are hiding the true Christ of God behind a false creation. The spinning globe earth and the heliocentric model of creation conceal and deny the glory of God revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ—our true Creator and Redeemer—our Maker and Master—our God and our Friend.
You see, the real issue is not about the earth being flat at all. The real issue is idolatry, religious superstition, and false religion. By clinging to a false creation, men are clinging to a false god. By clinging to the devil’s globe, men are clinging to an idol—an idol that God hates, because he is a jealous God, who refuses to give his glory to another. This graven image carved by wicked man’s fallen imagination will fall—it must fall. Men will either forsake this false god, or they will perish under the wrath of God. That is precisely what the book says.
Exodus 20, verses 1 through 7, says this: “And God spake all these words, saying, (2) I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (4) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (6) And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
According to the Book of God, no idolater shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 9 through 11, says this: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor IDOLATERS, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Our brethren in Christ are presently in bondage to a false god, doing their dead level best to cling to the true Christ of God with one hand and a filthy idol with the other. They have one Jesus who performed redemption, but another Jesus who constructed a false creation; however, the fact is, the Creator and the Redeemer are one and the same God. The Creator is the Redeemer, and the Redeemer is the Creator—and once you mix the false with the true, you have invented something that is altogether false.
A drop of arsenic in a glass of clear water is what? A glass of 100 percent poison. Mix 5 percent works with 95 percent grace, and what do you have? 100 percent works. Mix 1 percent lie with 99 percent truth, and what do you have? 100 percent falsehood. Mix a drop of idolatry with the true worship of God, and what do you have? 100 percent idolatry. Mix the fictitious works of a false creator with the real works of the true Creator, and what do you have? A false creator. Mix another Jesus with the true Jesus, and what do you have? A 100 percent counterfeit christ. This is inescapable irrefutable truth!
Does the present state of idolatry in the church and kingdom of God mean that some of God’s people will perish in their sins, under the wrath of God? God forbid! God forbid! God forbid! All of God’s elect will be saved from this false god, this worthless idol that they are presently clinging to and defending. Yes, they are wrong, but God is gracious! He will remember his covenant with Israel. He will, with absolute certainty, in mercy, love, and grace, humble his people before him, and cause them to know, recognize, and confess their error. They will be saved with an everlasting salvation, and they will be delivered from this delusion for one simple reason—our God delighteth in mercy!
The Little Foxes
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. —Songof Solomon 2:15
Oh, child of God, protect the fruitful clusters of the Spirit that dangle from your heart, and beware of those little foxes that spoil the invisible vines within! Do not deceive yourself with carnal reasoning, saying within, “It’s just a little indulgence—it’s just a little sin.” Will not a little poison ruin us? Will not a little bullet effectively end our lives? Will not a little germ, a little virus, a little microbial invader take us to the grave? Just because something is small that does not mean it is harmless or insignificant. Mighty Goliath fell before a little shepherd boy with a little sling and a little stone!
According to the scriptures, it is dead flies and not dead elephants that spoil the ointment of the apothecary, causing it to send forth a stinking savor. Solomon says that a little folly in one who is respected for wisdom will tarnish his reputation. We need to be reminded often that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump! Remember, Adam ate only one little piece of fruit, perhaps only one little bite, and 6000 years later we are still reaping the consequences of that little bite! Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt for one little look back to Sodom! Uzzah died because of one little peak into the ark! A small sin is still sin, and the wages of sin is death!
There is only one thing to do with foxes, brethren, be they big or small: they must be taken by throat and executed with extreme prejudice. They are not pets—they are pests, devilish pests that desire our everlasting destruction. They may appear to be fuzzy, friendly, and cute—all foxes do—but they must not be cuddled or caressed. They are villainous wretches that will wreak havoc upon the vineyard of the soul, if left to freely roam about. “But it’s just a little fox. What harm can one little fox do?” says the unsuspecting soul. Do you not know that for every little fox you see within, there are ten more hiding in the bushes? Moreover, even the little foxes have sharp teeth, and they ruin the souls of men through their apparent smallness and cunning craftiness.
By the crucified Christ and the promise of eternal life, if you have any love for God and any concern for your immortal soul, I beseech you, “Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind…Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness…For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live…Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”
A Prison without Walls
Everything we are taught by modern day science is a lie. Anything and everything we have been indoctrinated to believe concerning our history and origin is a lie. From the start of our so-called universe, to the shape of the earth, to man’s metamorphosis into an upright creature, has all been lies. Frankly, I’m disgusted with it, and it makes me sick. If it makes me sick, a vile sinner, how do you think it makes the thrice holy God feel? The very fact that he has not thought us humans and the earth we live on out of existence displays his long-suffering, forbearance, and faithfulness to his chosen redeemed race. Just as God told Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah that he would not destroy those cities, if he found ten righteous among them, so it is today. It is by God’s grace making his people righteous through the person and work of his son, always leaving a remnant, that “salt of the earth” that keeps our world from being destroyed. Once God saves his last elected soul for whom Christ died, he will put an end to this wicked evil world—this world of God-hating, God-denying, God-like, supremely evolved intellectuals. These intellectuals have duped the masses into believing that they live on a sphere, rotating at 1000 mile per hour on an invisible axis and revolving at 67000 miles per hour around the sun. These superior intelligent rebels are nothing more than marionettes in the bloody hands of the devil who have been “taken captive by him at his will.” Satan plucks a string or two, and God’s “circle” is transformed into a sphere. He pulls on this string and gives a little tug on that one, and men come from monkeys. He yanks on another string and jerks this one, and boom—a “big bang” started life. The serpent has been plucking the heart strings of man since the beginning, and his puppet show will continue until God Almighty casts him and all his marionettes into hell. The question is—will you be a puppet or an audience member who knows the truth.
Everything we have been taught in science pertaining to the world in which we live is based on assumptions, theories, and deliberate lies, and all these falsities hinge on a spherical earth. Without a ball earth you cannot have an infinitely expanding universe. Without an infinitely expanding universe you cannot have a big bang. Without a big bang you cannot have evolution. Without evolution you must have a Creator. With a Creator you must be here purposely. If you are here purposely then you are not a “perfect random accident.” If you are not a perfect random accident, then you and the world you live in are special and unique. If you are special and unique then why are you here? Instead of dealing with these thoughts and questions it is much easier for the devil and his puppets to put you on a spinning ball flying through space, (which motion you cannot feel, measure, detect, or prove) making you one in billions of galaxies, each having their own sun and the possibility to sustain life. What utter nonsense! Such an idea is as foolish as curved water! Satan has built a prison without walls, and man knows it not. If the bondage you endure is liberty to you, then how great is that bondage? Men and women in such bondage are just as the foolish Israelites in the wilderness, who murmured against Moses, declaring they were better off by the flesh pots in Egypt and having bread to the full, than being delivered from Egyptian bondage and wandering in the wilderness, according to the will and purpose of God. How long will men continue to exalt man’s word over God’s word? How long will men continue to believe the lies of the devil over God’s truth? How long will men strive for bondage and forsake liberty? How long will men glorify pseudoscience and deny the God of revelation? The God of heaven asks this question in Psalms 4:2, “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame (the same glory that the heavens declare in Psalm 19)? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.” It will not last forever. A day of reckoning is fast approaching. Where will you be found? Will you be found wobbling on your axis of freewill as you orbit around the center of your own thoughts and scientific knowledge, while hurdling through the infinite vacuum of your works of righteousness? Or will you be found fixed, firm, settled, and unmoved on that established, permanent foundation that is the absolute center of all things—Christ Jesus? —Curtis Hall