Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 10, 1949
NUMBER 27, PAGE 3,7c

Where The Name Was Recorded

J. P. Lusby, Wellington, Texas

Under the old covenant, God recorded his name in Jerusalem. "And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord... the Lord said unto him, "I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually." (I Kings 9:1-3) The house Solomon had built was the temple of the Lord. It was built in the city of Jerusalem. And God said, "I have put my name there forever." Throughout the whole Jewish dispensation God's name was there, The Lord further declared, "In all places where I have recorded my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." (Exodus 20:24) But he has recorded his name in Jerusalem, in Solomon's temple. And that is the reason the Jews made the long trek to Jerusalem to worship. Nowhere else could they offer their sacrifices acceptably. Nowhere else could they meet with God. Nowhere else could they expect a blessing. "But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither shalt thou come: And thither shall ye bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes." (Deut. 12:5, 6) Also, "Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in he place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes, there shalt thou offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee." (Verses 13, 14)

God's Prerogatives

They could not choose the place where they would worship God. Neither was it left up to them to say what would constitute acceptable worship. God told them what to offer; he told them the time to offer it; and he told them the place where the offering should be made. "Three times a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose..." (Deut. 16:16)

Because God had recorded his name in Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, it is said that on the day of Pentecost "there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven." (Acts 2:5) They had come to Jerusalem from every part of the civilized world in express obedience to God's command, that they might keep the feast of Pentecost. Nowhere else could they keep it acceptably. For this same reason the Ethiopian eunuch had traveled a distance of approximately one thousand miles to Jerusalem "for to worship." (Acts 8:27) He could not worship acceptably in Ethiopia. He could not worship acceptably there because God had not recorded his name there, but in Jerusalem. God had specified Jerusalem, and had said, "In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee;" and "there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee."

Attempts At Substitution

After the ten tribes of Israel had rebelled against Rehoboam, their rightful king, and had made Jeroboam king, Jeroboam saw that he might lose their allegiance unless he could wean them away from Jerusalem. He began to reason, "Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah... Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem." (I Kings 13, 14)

Jeroboam set the example for many today. The idea of substitution of man's ways for God's ways is one of the commonest and most deadly sources of apostasy. Jeroboam's reasonings would have sounded strangely familiar to modern ears—God is asking too much of you. The trip is too far and too strenuous; besides the place is immaterial. You can worship God just as acceptably here as you can at Jerusalem. It is the condition of the heart that counts, not what one does outwardly. And so he said unto them, "Behold thy gods, 0 Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan." He substituted his own plans where God had legislated. He changed both the order and the place, as well as the object and manner of their worship. Instead of worshipping the true God, Israel was encouraged to worship the golden calves; instead of at Jerusalem, they were led to worship at Dan and Bethel; instead of the seventh month, they were told to worship in the eighth month; and instead of a priesthood from the tribe of Levi, they were given priests from any tribe or family who would serve. "And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan." (Verse 30)

Some men today are trying to substitute man-made institutions for the Lord's church. There are those who will tell you that a man can worship God acceptably out of the church. They teach that one does not need to be a member of the church to be saved from sin.

But it has ever been God's prerogative, not man's, to decide where he will save men and under what conditions. In the antediluvian world he promised salvation only to those who came inside the ark that Noah built. God saved them; he saved them in the ark; and he saved them by water. (I Pet. 3:20) When the Israelites were bitten by the fiery serpents in the wilderness, God saved them from physical death. But he placed salvation in the serpent of brass, which Moses had erected on a pole. "And it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Num. 21:8) God saved them; but he saved them only when, in obedience to him, they looked upon the serpent of brass.

When Naaman was afflicted with that incurable disease, leprosy, God, through his prophet, told him to dip himself in Jordan seven times, "and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." (II Kings 5:10) Naaman did what God told him to; and God cleansed him. So far as Naaman was concerned, God had placed salvation in the river Jordan; there was no where else on earth that he could have received the cleansing he did receive except in the waters of that river. But when Naaman dipped himself, as God directed, in the place where God had stipulated, then God cured him of his leprosy.

God has promised to bless, and does bless, only under the conditions that he has outlined. No man has any right to try to substitute any of his wisdom, or reasoning or philosophy for what God has taught. The humble man will always do exactly what God requires, and will always be blessed by God in so doing.