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"PRIDE GOETH BEFORE DESTRUCTION"
A TYPICAL KINGDOM--MESSIAH TO ESTABLISH THE ANTITYPE – UZZIAH'S
POLITICAL AND MILITARY SUCCESS PROVES A SNARE TO HIM – HIS SIN OF
PRESUMPTION – ITS PUNISHMENT – A LESSON TO BOTH THE CHURCH AND
THE WORLD--IGNORANCE OF GOD'S LAW NOT AN ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE.
man's pride bringeth him low; but he that is of a lowly spirit shall
was a great and prosperous king in Jerusalem. He made a good
beginning, was reverential toward God, and put his capital and the
remainder of his kingdom into good condition for defense against
enemies. When thinking of the wars of Israel, we are to remember that
for a time this nation represented God's rule in the earth in a sense
that no other nation ever did, either before or after them.
kings of Israel were anointed by Divine commission and authority, as
were no other kings; and they were said to "sit upon the throne
of the kingdom of the Lord," as no other kings before or since
have held dominion. Theirs was not, however, the Kingdom of God for
which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," but merely a preparatory
arrangement with the typical Israelites.
Kingdom will really come to earth after Messiah shall establish it.
For a thousand years He shall reign, to uplift the humble, to bless
all who seek righteousness, to punish and correct all others, and
finally to destroy the incorrigible in the Second Death. It was,
therefore, quite in line with the arrangements of the time that the
kings of Israel and of Judah should fortify and strengthen themselves
and defend the land which the Almighty had especially given to their
truthfulness of the Scripture, "Pride goeth before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall," was illustrated in King
Uzziah. When his fame had spread abroad [R5804 : page 350] and
he began to feel his greatness, pride came in. He forgot that he was
merely the Lord's representative in the kingdom, and that his first
duty as a loyal subject of God was to hearken and to obey the Divine
accomplished great things from a political and military standpoint,
King Uzziah essayed to a religious distinction. Evidently he felt
that God was proud of him and of his success, and would be very well
pleased to have him enter the Temple after the manner of the priests
and offer incense at the Golden Altar. He knew of the rules and
regulations governing the Temple and its service, but considered
himself above them. He would go directly to God, and not recognize
Many successful people
fall into the same error of supposing that their success in business
or in politics, their brilliancy of mind or their polish of education
is the only requisite in the sight of Jehovah God. They feel that if
they should go to church and acknowledge God, He should be very proud
to have them and, of course, should give them the first place in
everything. This is a mistake. The great King Eternal, "the
Lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity" (Isaiah
has rules and regulations governing all attempts to approach Him.
There is just the One Way of approach, and no other.--John
says one, "I see. You wish us to understand that the laity have
no access to God; that they must come through the clergy, even as
King Uzziah should have approached God through Israel's high priest.
But I deny that the clergy are any more than other mortals. I claim
that many of them are less brilliant of mind than myself; that many
of them are less educated, and others totally devoid of business
sense. I admit that it may be well enough for the common people to
approach God through the clergy; but whenever I approach, I do so on
the strength of my own personal intelligence and with the realization
that the Almighty is glad to have me come. Often I pray, 'O Lord, I
thank Thee that I am not as other men, nor even as this
friend; this is not our thought--not the Bible thought, not the
lesson which we should draw from the Scriptures under consideration.
We must admit that there is no Scriptural authority for a clerical
class in the Church of Christ--unless it be the Twelve Apostles, St.
Paul taking the place of Judas. Scripturally those Twelve rank as a
hierarchy--the special mouthpiece of Jesus.
We are not intimating
that the soul desirous of approaching God must come through the
clergy of any denomination. We do emphasize, nevertheless, the fact
that there is but the One Way of approaching God, and that is by and
through the Great Advocate whom He hath appointed for us--"Jesus
Christ the Righteous"--"a Priest for the Age after the
Order of Melchisedec." (1
John 2:1; Hebrews
"No man cometh unto the Father but by Me," was His Message.
"There is none other name given under Heaven or amongst men
whereby we must be saved," is the Apostle's Message.--Acts
AT THE GOLDEN ALTAR
whose eyes of understanding have never been opened to a realization
that Jesus is the Divine Appointee for the reconciliation of the
world to God may be excused if they approach God in prayer aside from
Him. Their prayers may be answered to a limited extent, if offered in
sincerity, from the heart, and because, as St. Paul intimates, "God
winked at" their ignorance of His arrangements. --Acts
as King Uzziah knew of the Divine arrangement that only the priest
could offer to the Almighty incense on the Golden Altar, so those who
have come to a realization of the fact that Jesus is the great
antitypical Priest, through whom communication with the Father has
been opened up, would come under condemnation should they intrude
into the Divine Presence in prayer otherwise than as provided in
God's arrangement, even as King Uzziah was smitten with leprosy for
his presumption and pride.
Scripturally considered, is a type of sin. King Uzziah's experiences,
therefore, signify typically that whoever would approach God aside
from His ordained Priest, having a knowledge of the impropriety,
would come under Divine sentence as a wilful sinner. The penalty
would be in proportion to the degree of enlightenment previously
the king entered the Holy of the Temple to offer incense at the
Golden Altar, the high priest and eighty of the under priests
followed him, protesting against his sacrilege. Although this was
only their duty, nevertheless it marked them as valiant, courageous
men; for in ancient times a king had great power. King Uzziah was
feeling his own greatness and was proud of it; therefore he was
likely to resent any interference with his kingly prerogatives.
words of protest voiced what the king already knew respecting the
restrictions attaching to the services of the Temple. But they added,
"Go out, for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine
honor from Jehovah God." True honor, true blessing, true
prosperity, cannot be found in opposition to the Divine arrangements.
The king's course, therefore, must bring him dishonor. Had he
hastened to glorify God, he would have received a blessing, no doubt.
But instead, violation of the Divine Law brought him the curse.
The lesson is a plain
one, exemplified by our text and by our Lord's words, "He that
humbleth himself shall be exalted; he that exalteth himself shall be
It was not enough, even if the king had good intentions, instead of
pride, backing him up. Good intentions should have guided him to a
study of the Divine arrangements and promises. Ignorance of the Law
is not an excuse. Hence the Apostle's exhortation, "Study to
show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."-- 2
lesson seems to be one of humility, both for the Church and for the
world. Some are born humble-minded, and others are born
self-conceited. The latter, therefore, are handicapped as respects
this grace, though Scripturally advantaged in respect to courage to
battle against present adversities. On the whole, our handicaps
through imperfections of the flesh are not so unequal as to make it
easier for one than for another to enter into the Kingdom under the
call of this Gospel Age. For where much is given, much is required;
and the judgment of the Lord will be according to the heart, the
will, the intention, the endeavor, and not according to the flesh,
its weaknesses and its failures.
is important, not only on its own account, but also because the other
graces of the Holy Spirit cannot be cultivated without it. At the
head of the list of these spiritual graces is meekness. How could one
be gentle or make good progress in the cultivation of these graces if
he were not meek? How could one be patient and submissive in the
trials and difficulties of life if not meek? How could one be kind
toward opponents and kind in all things if he were not meek? How
could one be patient [R5804 : page 351] toward all if he were
not meek? How could one have brotherly kindness except through
meekness? How could one be Godlike except he possessed meekness? How
could one be loving in the Scriptural sense without meekness? Along
these lines all who will be of the Church will be tested. And
meekness and humility must be cultivated and must abound in the
heart, in order to enable the cultivation of the other fruits of the