Last Updated on :Thursday, November 20, 2014











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"Despisest thou the riches of his goodness ... not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" -- PAUL. (Rom. 2:4)

THE phrase "the goodness of God" is found occurrent in various places of the Holy Scriptures. It is not peculiar to the New Testament, but common to it and the Old. It occurs first in the writings of Moses, who, speaking of the effect of his narrative of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] severity upon Egypt and deliverance of Israel upon the mind of his father-in-law, says: "And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptian". (Ex. 18:9) From this the reader will perceive that the Lord's goodness is comprehensive both of good and evil. It is not unmixed good -good, pure, and absolute -- but mixed and relative. If His goodness had been pronounced upon by the Egyptians, they would have characterized it as pure evil; because His goodness plagued them with grievous plagues, and destroyed their army with a terrific overthrow. But this pure and absolute evil upon Egypt was unqualified goodness to Israel; for it delivered them from a sore and cruel bondage, and commenced the fulfilment of the "good thing" (Jer. 33:14) which Jehovah [Yahweh] had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and to Jacob, and their seed. God's goodness, then, is good in act and promise to His people; but only evil to them who afflict them, and blaspheme His name.

God's goodness to His people, and severity upon His enemies, are the necessary result of His peculiar character. Hence His goodness and character are inseparable; so that to declare "THE NAME" of the Lord is at once to make known His character and goodness, which stand related as effect and cause. Because of this it is written, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy". (Ex. 33:19) Jehovah (Yahweh), therefore, descended in a cloud, and stood with Moses on Mount Sinai, and proclaimed the attributes which constitute His character, saying, "Jehovah, Jehovah [Yahweh,Yahweh], a God merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and destroying not utterly the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth, generation" (Exod. 33:19; 34:6,7).

Such a God is Jehovah [Yahweh] in His character, or relations of goodness to those whom He chooses for His people; but at the same time "a consuming fire" to His enemies (Heb. 12:29). He is a great and absolute sovereign in all His doings, having mercy upon whom He will, and hardening at His pleasure (Rom. 9:18). He chose Israel for His people, or nation, to, whom He granted a constitution, laws, and institutions, burdensome to be borne, but most agreeable to Himself, and promotive of His purpose in the manifestation of His goodness concerning them in the latter days (Acts 15:16). All His promises emanate from the essential goodness of His nature, which is favour, forbearance, abounding in truth, faithfulness, pardoning, and corrective but not utterly destroying. His promises are made to Israel, and to Israel alone; nevertheless He has condescended to invite those of all nations who believe His promises to share in them when the time shall arrive to perform them. To Israel He is gracious; to Israel He is long-suffering; to Israel He is abundant in goodness and truth; for thousands of Israel He keeps mercy in store; He forgives Israel's iniquity, transgression, and sin; and He corrects Israel, but He does not utterly destroy him, as his history shows even to this day. He hath not dealt so with any other nation. "Jehovah [Yahweh] found Israel in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness: he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye" (Deut. 32:10) There is no nation so dear to him as Israel; for "Israel is beloved for the fathers' sake" (Rom. 11:28). So tenderly compassionate is He of His nation that He said by His prophet, "He that toucheth you, O Israel, toucheth the apple of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] eye" (Zech. 2:8). And all this mercy to Israel is shared by those Gentiles who believe the promises and obey the law of faith; for believing Jews and Gentiles are all the children of God through the faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of these believers as have been baptized into Christ have put him on. They are therefore all one in Christ Jesus; and if Christ's, then Abraham's seed or Israelites, and heirs according to the promise (Gal. 3:26,29). Being thus adopted, the Gentiles who believe the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus are no more strangers and foreigners, or aliens from Israel's Commonwealth, and strangers from the covenants of promise, but fellow- citizens with the saints of Israel, and of the household of God, which for about seven years after the resurrection of Jesus consisted only of faithful Israelites (Eph. 2:12,19).

It is an attribute of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] goodness to "keep mercy for thousands". (Ex. 34:7) These thousands for whom mercy is kept are "those who love him, and keep his commandments" (Exod. 20:6) -- the Israel of God in the higher import of the phrase. The mercy kept for them is the chesed styled the berith olahm chasdai Dahwid, or Age-covenant mercies of David, rendered by Lowth "an everlasting covenant, the gracious promise made to David", which shall never fail (Isa. 55:3). These gracious promises, or loving kindness, or mercy which Jehovah [Yahweh] keeps for thousands, are based upon the chesed or mercy to Abraham, to which Mary and Zacharias refer in these words: "He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever": "Jehovah [Yahweh] hath raised up a horn of salvation for us (Israel) in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been from the beginning of the age: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us: to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, that he would grant us (Israel) that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life" (Luke. I:54,55,69-75). The birth of Jesus was a proof that Jehovah [Yahweh] remembered the mercy he had promised to Abraham and David. Jesus, the born king of the Jews, was the Horn or Power by which the nation is to be saved from all its enemies; he is therefore styled "a horn of salvation for Israel". He has not saved them yet. They are still subject to the Horns of the Gentiles, and have no part in their native land. So long as their condition remains as it is, the mercy promised to Abraham and David continues unfulfilled. The resurrection of Jesus, however, is the earnest that it will be accomplished in the appointed time; and that he will certainly deliver them from the tyrants "who destroy the earth". (Rev. 11:18)_ Hear this, ye who profess to love the Lord, but believe not what He saith: "Behold, saith he, the days come that I will perform the good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem dwell safely: and this (is his name) which shall be proclaimed to her: The Lord our Righteousness. For thus saith Jehovah [Yahweh]; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the House of Israel: neither shall the Priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offering, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually" (Jer. 33:14-18; 23:5,6). This "good thing" is the subject-matter of the mercy promised to Abraham and David, which Jehovah [Yahweh], the fulfiller of promises keepeth for thousands; and which is as certain to be communicated as that He exists, for "He magnifies his word above all his name" (Psa. 138:2). That good thing in its details is abundantly spoken of by the mouth of all the Prophets through whom Jehovah [Yahweh] hath kept alive the remembrance of it from the foundation of Israel's Commonwealth. It is Israel's Hope, and therefore the hope of the true Christian; for "salvation is of the Jews". (John 4:22)

Behold, then, the promised goodness of God! An Immortal King shall reign and prosper in the land of Israel, and shall execute judgment and justice there over the Twelve Tribes, and the obedient nations of the world, for a thousand years. This is the oath which Jehovah [Yahweh] swore to Abraham, saying, "In thee and in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 18:18; 22:18) -- a blessedness in the establishment of which Israel will have been delivered out of the hand of all their enemies, and henceforth enjoy the privilege of serving Jehovah [Yahweh] without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of their mortal career. The nation of our adoption will then be the chief of all the nations dwelling safely in its own land. Gentiles by birth, but Jews by regeneration, the goodness of God promises us resurrection from among the dead, and exaltation to the highest honours of the State; as it is written, "The saints of the Most High shall possess the Kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever". (Dan. 7:18)

Such mercy Jehovah [Yahweh] keeps for thousands of Israel and adopted Gentiles who believe the promises He has made to the fathers. But His goodness promises even more than eternal life and honour to the just. It promises them wisdom, and knowledge, and physical strength, the possession of the world and the fulness thereof, glory, equality with the angels, and the high favour of God for ever. He keeps this mercy in store for them that love him, and obey His word. Who that believes these things would hesitate to respond, "Jehovah [Yahweh] is good, for his mercy endureth for ever?" (1 Chron. 16:34; 2 Chron. 5:13; 7:3; Ps. 106:1; 107:1; 118:1,26; 136:1) Yea, it is even so: for "the mercy of Jehovah [Yahweh] is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those who remember his commandments to do them". (Ps. 103:17,18) Mark, dear reader, "to such as keep his covenant and obey him". Dost thou know what it is to keep Jehovah's [Yahweh's] covenant and obey Him? Know then that it is to believe the gospel of the kingdom, and to be baptized, or united to the name of Jesus, and thenceforth to continue patiently in well-doing. The covenant is the covenant concerning the kingdom of which the gospel treats -- the oath of national blessedness through Abraham and his seed, which Jehovah [Yahweh] swore to him when He brought him into the territory of the future kingdom. You must believe this same particular gospel or you cannot "keep the covenant", or have any part in the kingdom it proclaims


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