THE BASF - ITS IMPORTANCE AND TEACHING
XIV: “That he is a priest over his own household only, and does not intercede for the world, or for professors who are abandoned to disobedience. That he makes intercession for his erring brethren, if they confess and forsake their sins. (Luke 24:51; Eph. 1:20; Acts 5:31; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:1; Acts 15:14; 13:39; Heb. 4:14-15; Jno. 17:9; Heb. 10:26; 1Jno. 2:1; Prov. 28:13)
It is written by the Spirit through John that:
“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1Jno. 2:15-16).
The love of the Father then, according to the testimony of Scripture, is not found in those who are lovers of this world. To love this world, and to love the Father, are two mutually incompatible; by very definition of what each is, it is impossible to have both. One who has love for the Father can have no love for the things that the Father hates – for if he does, that love found within him is not a love of Yahweh; but a love for the pleasures of this life. And this being the case, it is evident that the Lord Jesus Christ in whom the love of the Father was made manifest (1Jno. 4:9) had no love for the world; and the world had no love for him. On the contrary, it hated him because he testified of it that it’s deeds were evil (Jno. 7:7). Those evil deeds were “not of the father”, that is, not of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, but were of another father – the diabolos. “Ye are of your father the diabolos, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the Truth, because there is no Truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (Jno. 8:44).
There are then, two “fathers”, and two families. Father Diabolos, and his sons who do his lusts, and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, with His sons who do His Will. And there is no amity between the two; only animosity arising from the persuit of incompatible interests: “they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:5-8).
The Spirit of Yahweh speaking first through His Son, and then through his Apostles, could be no clearer in the teaching that there is a definite and fixed line of demarcation between these two groupings of mankind. The Seed of the Serpent, and the Seed of the Woman; the Carnally Minded and the Spirit Minded; the sons of the Diabolos, and the sons of Yahweh. The earth is presently inhabited by two distinct families of men whose interests, aspirations and modes of conduct are indeed worlds apart. The fleshly minded belong to “the world” which neither Christ or his disciples have any love for. But the Spirit minded belong to another future world; the world that the Father so loved, that He gave His only begotten Son for; the world of those who aspire to everlasting life through belief in him (Jno. 3:16). These two families of men thus belong to two worlds: one a present reality of evil, sin, and wickedness, apostolically styled “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4), and the other, “the world to come” (Heb. 2:5; 6:5; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30), a future reality concerning which “the god of this world” hath blinded the minds of those who believe not (2 Cor. 4:4); a world which is soon to replace the present world which “passeth away,” being a new kosmos, or order of things, to be established by Yahweh’s Anointed at the appointed time.
Despite the claims of some, it is both a righteous and divine principle that Christ does not have favourable regard for both “worlds”. He does not interceded for them both; but only for those who forsake this present evil world, to seek an age of righteousness to come; the time when He will reign as king. “I pray not for this world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine” (Jno. 17:9) is the Master’s own testimony. We know that the whole world lieth in darkness; and the Master does not pray for those who are of the night; but those who, having been enlightened by the shining forth of the Gospel glory though his face (2 Cor. 4:6) are of their Father, Yahweh, and the doers of His desire.
CLAIMS OF THE APOSTASY
It is claimed by some purporting to be Christadelphians, or Christ’s Brethren, that “the accolade and favour of God is obtainable by those in doctrinal ignorance” (The Endeavour, June 2001, p 45). A letter appearing in another issue of Endeavour contained the following:
“Having just picked up the December 1999 copy of Endeavour and read Joan White’s very positive words on the Jubilee 2000 campaign, I was very disappointed to receive, that same day, Tearfund’s report on the G8 conference at Okinawa in July 2000. Lots more words (at a cost of $750 million, enough, apparently to cancel the debt service repayments of 9 of the poorest, heavily indebted contries!) and no real progress since the G7 summit of 1999.
Rather than give up hope, I feel that we should redouble our efforts to pray and write to show our support as Christians for this campaign. If we have not been actively involved, then now is an opportunity to give the matter serious thought …” (Endeavour, December 2000).
So it is, that we are being urged “as Christians” to “pray” for the success of a particular campaign being conducted by men of the world – members of that family of men whose ways are “enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7), and concerning whom Christ’s brethren are under the command to “love not”. Such sentiments demonstrate before all that the term “Christian” is not synonymous with being a follower of Jesus Christ. Christ himself stated that “I pray not of the world,” and if part of being a “Christian” is to do just the very opposite – to pray for the world, and the success of it’s campaigns – then by this definition, a “Christian” is one of those who do the opposite” of that which Christ did and commanded, not one of those who “follow his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).
In keeping with this, the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (BASF), which forms the basis of Christadelphian fellowship, state that:
“he is a priest over his own household only, and does not intercede for the world, or for professors who are abandoned to disobedience.”
Christ is not a priest for the World, any more than Aaron was. Aaron and his successors made atonement for sins yearly – but for Israel only, and not for any other people. The High Priest did not make intercession for the Amalekites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, or any other people, but those who were part of the “Israel of God”. And following this same pattern, the Master Jesus, as a Great High Priest makes intercession only for those who have been taken out to be a people for the Name of Yahweh (Acts 15:14). He does not intercede for the unenlightened bestial masses of mankind, but only for those who have been drawn by the Father.
But neither does he intercede for those who have once known, yet have departed from the Way of Righteousness – “professors who are abandoned to disobedience”. The prophet Jeremiah was given a command regarding this practice, in relation to the disobedient people of Israel:
“Pray not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jer. 7:16).
Here is the Divine Principle stated: Yahweh “will not hear” the petitions made on behalf of those who wilfully turn away from him. He has commanded that such prayers should not be made. Again, Jeremiah was told:
“pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble” (Jer. 11:14).
“Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offerings and an oblation, I will not accept them …” (Jer. 14:11-12).
PLAIN SPEECH DISREGARDED
Nothing could be stated in plainer terms: Yahweh “will not hear” such prayers. He “will not accept” the offerings of professors of the Truth who “are abandoned to disobedience”. Why then are we being urged by some purporting to be Christadelphians to do exactly this – to offer prayers which Yahweh has declared He will not hear? (and in the last issue of Endeavour, the editor had the temerity to complain that the present writer will not call these disobedient persons his “brethren”!!!)
The truth of the matter is that the priestly intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ is no indiscriminatory affair, but is a priviledge of the highest order, only available to those who have the humility to approach the Father on His Own Terms. The Apostle was quite correct when under Spirit guidance he write in direct contradiction of Endeavour: “if we sin wilfully after that we have received a knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries (Heb. 10:26-27)
The intercession of Christ is only available to those who have faith in Christ, not those who scorn his ways, as those Endeavourites who disregard the words of Yahweh would have us believe:
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11:6)
“being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by him also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2).
Examples of such testimonies could be multiplied. It is by faith that we enter into the grace of God; standing in a position of being able to approach unto, and have peace with our God, through the priestly office of our Lord Jesus Christ. In order to come unto God through him, belief is necessary, for without faith it is not possible to please Him, and He does not countenance petitions from those with whom He is not pleased – as witnessed by His dealings with Israel, referred to earlier. The position we have before the Father is a most great and precious privilege indeed:
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1Jno. 3:1).
Let us therefore give no heed to the calls from pretenders who claim to be Christ’s brethren, and who urge us to reject his example, and “pray not for the world” or for those who are wilfully abandoned to disobedience. Yahweh had decreed that those prayers will not be heard, for his Son makes no intercession for such. And let us rather seek to be faithful in the sight of the Father and His Son, that we may yet have our prayers for lawful things answered, and find grace and reconciliation through the precious blood of Christ.