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In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.

The blamelessness of both Zechariah and Elizabeth is not a blamelessness of perfection in that they were not so perfect in fulfilling the commands of God that they were blameless, but rather, their blamelessness came from their fulfilment of that which was the custom with regards to the fulfilment of the law in their days.  More than 1,000 years after the law was given to Moses and some 400 after the return from Babylon, the practice of the fulfilment of the law, even concerning things in the temple, had rituals and customs that were not in the original.

You need to look no further than the way Zechariah was appointed to serve as priest before God:  Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. See that the casting of the lot was never intended for the appointment of the priest in Leviticus.  In Leviticus 16.8-10 it was used to determine which is the scapegoat and which is the sacrificial goat for the Lord.  And later in Numbers 26.55 and 33.54 Moses was commanded to distribute the land by the casting of the lot.  However, the priest to serve before God was chosen and appointed… but not by the casting of the lot.

As such, the blamelessness of Zechariah and Elizabeth was not on the basis that they fulfilled the law, but rather, they did what had been passed down to them by custom and they fulfilled it… even ignorantly.  But nevertheless, they did and practised what was the custom because the exact command of the law was not available for them to fulfil… for after all, that temple that Zechariah served in was devoid of the ark of the covenant.  It was an empty shell, a shadow of what was, without the real treasure to remind the Jews of what was and not what is and what will be.  For what they had in their present temple in Zechariah’s days could never meet the standard of what the temple was in Solomon’s days.

Zechariah was going through the motions of fulfilling his duties, never expecting that the stories of angels’ visitations and wombs of barren women opened just like it was with Samson and Samuel could happen in his day.  For Zechariah, the days of angels, miracles and prophets were the days of old, not the days of now.  But because he and his wife were blameless in fulfilling that which had been passed down by custom to fulfil the commands of God, they were viewed as upright in God’s eyes.

As that temple of Herod was an empty shell that looked like the first temple to remind the Jews that there was a first temple, so likewise the fellowships now are like that – believers meeting resembling something of what the first fellowships were like, but without the treasure.  As the second temple had no gold shields and no ark, so likewise the present fellowships have very little of the gold, that is, the faith in Jesus Christ to the point that the faith is indeed a shield, and so little power that it is like the ark that parted the Jordan for Israel is also missing.  For the prosperity of Israel came when they remained faithful to the word of the Lord – the law they had – and the power of Israel was present when they kept their covenant with God as they celebrated the Passover in the prescribed way and the blood was poured on the mercy seat at the prescribed time.  The observance of the word and the upholding of the covenant gave Israel their gold shields and their power during David’s reign and then Solomon’s.

So likewise now, the forsaking of the law of God by the believers and disciples of Jesus Christ in not listening to Jesus but instead listening to James the Younger and his friends and disciples has lost the ‘gold shields’ from our temple, for the words of men cannot be used to shield us and have the value of the words of Jesus, which are spirit, life and truth that when kept save, protect and overcome all situations.  The casting aside of the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins evidenced by the denominational wars of the millenniums on a global scale is the proof that we have forsaken the covenant, our covenant with God, just like the Jews forsook their covenant with God.

Just as Zechariah’s times was filled with customs that were never part of God’s intentions, so likewise now the church is filled with customs and practices that are not part of God’s original instructions and intentions.  However, in the midst of this poor reminder of what was and what should have been but never was, we find men and women who, like Zechariah and Elizabeth, are upright in the eyes of the Lord, not because they have fulfilled the law perfectly, but they are observing the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly as the custom has been passed to them.  It is to such as these that our message and the restoration of the command of God to them will be like the message of the angel to Zechariah.

At first disbelief, as Zechariah disbelieved then as the angel struck with power to render Zechariah speechless, so likewise the disbelief will be overcome by signs and wonders that leave them speechless and the impossible happens to them.  So that like Zechariah who had finally become fully convinced when indeed he saw his son, for after all the pregnancy could have yielded a girl, and had his speech restored… so too will the fullness of faculty be restored to those men and women of our time who are upright in the eyes of the Lord and who have followed the regulations and commandments blamelessly as dictated by the custom of those they fellowship with.

So it is important for you, for us, elect, to understand what blamelessness is for men and women like Zechariah and Elizabeth who were practising error as far as the letter was concerned, but faithfully as far as the spirit was concerned.  This understanding of how the Lord sees those who are considered blameless in His eyes will allow you to be more gentle in restoring the command to those the Lord is calling in.  Though they may answer you with disbelief and it will take signs and miracles to fully convince them, nevertheless remember why this is so.

For if they are listening to Jesus, practising His word and fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit sincerely according to that which is the custom, that is, the tradition handed them, then they too are blameless as Zechariah and Elizabeth were blameless.  And through them can come the heralds who will also prepare the way of the Lord as John prepared the way of the Lord.  However, to convince them, elect, you will have to be as an angel to them, that is, not only having the message but also having the power to perform the required signs and wonders that it takes to convince them.

Now look at the sign that the angel struck Zechariah with – nine months of dumbness.  Indeed, an affliction, so too sometimes our signs to those who will not believe must come as an affliction and not as a blessing… for otherwise it would be a bribe and not a disciplinary action.  The angel could just as easily have made Zechariah young and virile again or his clothes golden as he struck him dumb… that is, Zechariah could have come out to the people with his face shining with the glory of the Lord, like Moses, as a sign to the people that he had seen an angel, but instead he came out afflicted as the sign that an angel had spoken to him but he did not believe it.

Your ministry, elect, of restoring the command and the power to those whom the Lord sees as upright can meet with the same unbelief, and even though it would be better if we could bless rather than afflict, see that the example set for you in Scripture is one of affliction for those who do not believe the message so that even as the fulfilment of prophecy occurs around them, they remain in their affliction so that when it is lifted, their words will acquit them, just as Zechariah’s words acquitted him when he was finally able to speak again.

So do not be concerned when like the angel you are met with unbelief, rather be concerned for those who are blameless and upright in God’s eyes but are trapped in practising error because it is the custom handed to them.  See that Zechariah had no trouble casting off the old and the traditional and defied custom to name his son John… for it was the custom to name a son after someone in the family.  You will find that many who may voice unbelief to your initial message with the passage of time will like Zechariah become fully convinced, especially if you are able to perform a sign or wonder like the angel did.

As for your own blamelessness, likewise if you are upright in God’s eyes and not your own and are observing all the Lord’s commands and regulations according to the custom that has been passed onto you, you too are blameless.  Then what is the custom that has been passed onto you, just as Zechariah accepted his appointment by the casting of the lot, for it was the custom, then what custom or by what custom are you instructed to observe the Lord’s commandments and regulations?

Is it not the custom and tradition set out by Jesus Himself – the custom and tradition of listening to God as a well pleasing, beloved son would listen, and to say it as He said it, and to watch and to do it as He did it?

It is the custom and tradition of listening to God, to say what He has said just the way He said, and the practice of watching what He does or has done and to do it the way He has shown us.  So like Zechariah accepted the casting of the lot as the way he would be selected to burn incense even though it is not written, then likewise just as it is not written that we should highlight the word or to write it or to rearrange the four gospels into a single timeline gospel… nevertheless, that is the custom, that is the tradition of the way an elect of the Holy Spirit observes the commandments and regulations in their service to God in the temple of our time.  A temple not unlike Zechariah’s temple, a temple that is a shadow of what it should be, a temple awaiting its God and its King to return to restore it to full glory.

And just like Zechariah, Elizabeth and the angel, so you and those whom the Lord sees as upright before His eyes are given a role to play, and even as the pharisees, sadducees and herodians also played their part, so too now the false Christs, the false prophets and the antichrists will be raised to play their part in this next act of the opera of God.

So be blameless as you walk before the Lord preparing the way for Him, elect… observing the commandments and regulations of God as they have been made known to you, and practise them in the way that it has been shown to you until you too have established the custom and the tradition that defines the way an elect of the Holy Spirit who has been set aside for the work the Holy Spirit has for him – listen to Jesus and practise His words under the supervision of the Holy Spirit.

Learn to observe, that is, set them before your eyes and watch how they come to life and see how the commands and regulations of the Lord are played out to affect this world as you practise what you have read over and over again.  Be an observer – watch; and a commentator – pray; in such a way that you and those who are assigned to you learn, discover and innovate (remember this?) so that what needs to be done is done effectively, efficiently and accurately.

Thought:  Who has ever thought of restoring the genuine so that the counterfeits may be perfected to fulfil the word of Christ?  Your Lord did and will and is and has, that’s who, elect.  So put your faith in God, for He will have whatever He says, for He has no doubt in His heart and He has forgiven those who have sinned against Him.

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