The Holy Seed
By Pastor Peter Bond
Recently, we stood round the Communion table and sang that lovely chorus, ‘I see the Lord … He is high and lifted up, and His train fills the temple’.
Isaiah, in the 6th chapter of his prophecy, actually saw Him. So awesome was the sight that the prophet was immediately struck by a keen sense of His own unworthiness. It drew from the depths of his heart that memorable cry, ‘Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips’ (Is.6:5). Following the Lord’s gracious cleansing by fire of his prophet, the invitation to service is given to which Isaiah responds by saying, ‘Here am I; send me’. (vs. 8).
We often refer to Jesus’ words at the close of the first two gospels as ‘the great commission’: but who can comprehend the magnitude of the commission the Lord lays upon this prophet! Like Noah before the flood, he is to preach to a people hard of heart, blind, and dull of hearing: he is to preach on faithfully and persistently even though divine judgment is determined upon this people; they are to be removed, carried into captivity as a consequence of their chronic rebellion and idolatry. (vs. 9-12). I believe the faithful preacher in our day must prepare himself to face conditions similar to these if he is to remain as a faithful servant of God.
We see on every hand in the British Isles the evidence of such a bondage. A people, once so signally blessed of the Lord with gospel liberty continuing over centuries, and even into our present day, has determinedly turned its back on Jesus Christ, rejecting the things of God; and becoming self-satisfied, materialistic, deaf to the appeal of Calvary’s love, blind to the light of God’s truth; preferring to give its allegiance (and credence) to the theories of evolution and the big bang!
In the professing church at large we can observe the fulfilment of Paul’s prophecy in (II Tim. 4:3-4): ‘For the time will come when they (the people of God) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables’. We understand from Jesus’ own teaching in (Jn.8:31&32) that the pathway of freedom is only by knowledge of the truth, and that this knowledge cannot be had except by the obedience of faith. For Christians to resolutely ‘turn away their ears from the truth’ is to embark upon a state of spiritual captivity and bondage to the persuasions of men in which they are ‘tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph 4:14). Whether that ‘wind’ blows from Toronto, Brownsville, Pensacola or Lakeland, Florida, we are tragically witnessing thousands who are being swept along by its gale force of false claims and manifestations mixed in with foolishness, and compounded by manifest ungodliness of character in those who are in the forefront of these so-called ‘moves of the spirit’!
Happily, when confronted with these monstrous perversions, we can take our own stand and find a place of rest in the truth of (Is.6:13). Look at that powerful verse with me just for a moment. What is God saying through it to the church of this present time? Simply this:
(i) Somewhere, mixed up in that captivity is a remnant, a surviving portion, what the prophet calls here ‘a tenth’;
(ii) That remnant, that ‘tenth’ is going to be turned back to the ways of truth and righteousness; the promise of God is, ‘and it shall return’ ;
(iii) It is going to regain a right standing with God, ‘accepted in the beloved’, as once again its worship, witness and service return to biblical patterns. It ‘shall be eaten’ (not ‘devoured’!) Eating here is symbolic of a total acceptance. In the same way, when we eat, we consent to accept something intimately into our physical bodies, so the Lord will accept that remnant people into His spiritual body.
(iv) This is to be established in us by faith despite the overwhelming signs of the onset of a spiritual ‘winter’. The ‘teil tree’ and the ‘oak’ are casting ‘their leaves’, (autumn, proceeding towards winter, is the image here); yet the very means of continued life (the ‘substance’) is still present (though hidden) in their bare and tortured forms;
(v) That means, or vehicle, or promise, of continued life is identified as ‘the holy seed’ – the remnant, God’s true people through whom the Lord will continue His unceasing and eternal work – Halleluiah!
In the Babylonian captivity there was an Ezekiel, a Daniel; but also an Ezra, a Nehemiah, and a people who would ultimately (and literally) ‘return’ to re-establish God’s unchanging purpose for His people.
In the darkness and despondency following the crucifixion of Jesus, from all who may have heard Him ‘in the days of His flesh’, God secured to Himself a ‘holy seed’ to wait for his promise in the upper room in Jerusalem.
In the Babylonian gloom and the spiritual winter of our day, dear saint of God, the same is true: there is a ‘tenth’, a ‘holy seed’ about to spring forth with renewed life before He comes! O, believe it, child of God; and determine to be a part of it – in Jesus name, Amen.