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When one speaks of a plumbline, one thinks of an uncompromising standard by which all are judged in the same way as a builder uses a plumbline to judge the quality of a wall that has been built, and against that plumbline, that which may appear to be adequate and straight and even that which may appear to meet the standard, is found to fall short.

To the prophet Amos, whose ministry was to Israel, that is the ten tribes that were separated from Judah and placed under the house of Jeroboam I, the son of Nebat, God promised, “I am setting a plumbline among My people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”[1] To see the plumbline in context, we must first look at Amos’ ministry. His was the ministry to Jeroboam II in Israel, the seventh last King of Israel after which God waited about 55 years before bringing to pass all the destruction decreed by Amos. The plumbline was revealed to Amos after Amos pleaded with God not to use locusts to strip the land or fire to dry up the great deep and devour the land, as Amos interceded each time, saying, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” “Sovereign Lord, I beg You, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”[2] So, at the third time, the Lord showed Amos: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumbline in His hand.[3]

Any builder knows that a wall not built true to the plumb must be demolished and cannot be made or remain part of the house if the house is to be true to its design and not crack or fall down. The Lord standing by the wall is Jesus—He is the only One who has the plumbline in His hand. As the Lord was revealed by the Lord after Amos’ plea for mercy on Israel’s behalf, then the appearance of the Lord next to the wall with the plumbline is the result of God’s Mercy and Grace. The plumbline has two parts, the line and the plumb that weighs down the line, so in the same way, Jesus came full of Grace and Truth, from the Father.[4] The plumbline is not a plumbline without the line and plumb together, and as such, the ministry of Jesus is not just grace or just truth, but Grace and Truth together.

God showed Amos the judgement, saying, “I will spare them no longer. The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with My sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.”[5] There is no mention by God of repentance being available for the people of Israel. The appearance of the plumbline set judgement in place once and for all.

What then is the plumbline of Grace and Truth that is in the hands of Jesus? When Jesus first preached, He preached to Israel just as God said He would. Jesus was not sent to the Gentiles, but to Israel. Jesus clearly stated this when He said to the Canaanite woman, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel,”[6] when He began to preach, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,”[7] to Israel, and, “The time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News!”[8] Jesus did not say, “Repent, for the time has come. The Kingdom of Israel will be restored,” or, “The Kingdom of Judah will be restored,” but rather, He spoke to the Jews formally of the Kingdoms of Israel and of Judah, of two Kingdoms that were coming that have nothing to do with Israel or Judah, the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God. It is clear from the beginning that Jesus was there not to restore the Kingdom of Israel at all, for He was indeed the restoration of Israel for He is its true King, the King of Israel and of Judah of the household of David. And as the true King of the Jews, He was telling His people to prepare for two Kingdoms that were coming, Kingdoms that would overtake and replace the Kingdom of Israel.

What we have failed to see, but perhaps the Jews saw it, was that the advent of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God would replace the Kingdoms of Israel and of Judah through Jesus Christ. For the Kingdom of Heaven would be the Kingdom of Grace where repentance was sufficient for entry into its citizenship, for concerning that Kingdom, Jesus said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” And the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Truth, for God is Truth and His words are truth. Jesus said, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.”[9] Jesus was introducing two new Kingdoms to the citizens of Israel and of Judah, and entry into these two new Kingdoms of Heaven and of God required them to believe what He was saying, for the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God are never mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, when the Laws for the Kingdom of Israel and of Judah were given to the twelve tribes. Only the psalmist spoke of an everlasting and eternal Kingdom, as did Daniel,[10] but they were referring to God’s Kingdom.

The appearance of the Lord standing next to the straight wall, that is, the work that meets the requirement of the Law perfectly, meant certain destruction of Israel and all those who are of the house of Jeroboam who are those who worship idols at the former house of God at Bethel. The straight wall is what Jesus meant when He said, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them,”[11] so that He could say, “the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me.”[12] And since He also said, “Anyone who has faith in Me,”[13] and He called that “the truth”, it then meant that anyone who obeyed the Father’s command to listen to Jesus has come into the Grace of God through Christ and the Truth, by which they would be judged by are the truths that Jesus announced every time He said, “I tell you the truth.” The plumbline would consist only of the lines of Truth spoken by Jesus that are stretched out by the weight of Grace. Though the words of the Father are Truth, as He spoke them in the Old Testament, yet for the disciples of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, there would be a new measure, a new command, a new judgement, in the hands of Jesus only, for Jesus alone stood beside the wall that was straight. Jesus alone built a wall according to the Old Covenant that was true to the plumbline of the Old Testament, and since He came full of Grace and Truth, the new plumbline in His hands is Grace, stretching out the Truth of His words only, for the Father said, “Listen to Him!”[14]

Thus, those under the Law of Moses are subject to judgement by the Law of Moses still, and unless they have fulfilled all of it, they remain under a curse, for as Paul reminded the church at Galatia: All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is every one who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[15] Thus, if their works do not completely fulfil everything as it is written in the Law, they are under a curse. You are either cursed or blessed, there is no such thing as being a little bit cursed or a little bit blessed. In the same way, either you are completely under the Law of Moses or you are outside of the Law of Moses. And all who listen to Jesus are cut off by the Law of Moses.

Thus, those who listen to Jesus can only hold onto the lines of Truth as spoken by Jesus, for the Father said, “Listen to Him!” Now, it is time to understand how Jesus judges. Very clearly Jesus said, “I judge only as I hear.”[16] “For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.”[17] “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”[18] “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”[19] Indeed, it is by your confession that you will show which Kingdom you are loyal to. You see, the Law of Moses was given to the Kingdom of Israel and of Judah, and those whose mouths speak that Law declare what overflows out of their hearts, meaning to say, that is what they treasure. It is obvious that James the Younger treasures the Kingdom of Israel, for his entire judgement consisted of quoting from the laws of the Kingdom of Israel and of Judah and the promises of God to restore David’s fallen tent when he quoted: In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places.[20]

However, He who is the true Son of David, for David could not have fathered Solomon who is the father of Joseph, the father of James the Younger, if it had not been for the Grace of God that suspended the Law of Moses that demanded both David and Bathsheba be killed: David for murder and Bathsheba for adultery. As such, through David and Solomon, the line of the royal kings of Judah was always the line of Grace that suspended the Law of Moses, not the line that fulfilled the Law. Jesus is the true Heir of the line of David because He came full of Grace—and the true King, the true Heir of David, had pronounced that the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God would replace the Kingdoms of Israel and of Judah. The King of Israel and of Judah Himself had declared that new Kingdoms, Heaven and God, would now replace the old, and as such, new laws would come into existence. A new constitution would be set in place and citizenship would be gained first by repentance into the Kingdom of Heaven and then by faith into the Kingdom of God, faith in the words of Jesus, the King of the old, now also the King of the new. Loyalty then would be tested; loyalty to the old or to the new, for the two cannot exist together. If the new has come, then the old is gone!

Thus those who claim to be citizens of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God, yet continuously pronounce the old laws of the Kingdoms of Israel and of Judah, and force the citizens of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God to observe them, are no different to rebels who seek to overthrow the new Government to restore the old. It is not as if the Kingdoms of Israel and of Judah are to be destroyed. No, it is just that there will now come these two new Kingdoms, and the King of Israel and of Judah has Himself gone to have Himself crowned the King of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God. In the new Kingdoms, it is Grace and Truth that are the hallmark of its citizenship, not works and Truth, and even Truth in the new Kingdoms has a new manifestation. It is only the Truth as spoken by Jesus, for God said, “Listen to Him!”

Thus, there will be a weeding out of the citizens of the Kingdom of the Son of Man, which is the joint Kingdoms of Heaven and of God. “Everything that causes sin and all who do evil” will be removed. All betrayers will be removed. All who hold dual loyalties will be removed and they will be thrown into the fiery furnace because their loyalty was to the Law of Moses, and in their partial observance of the Law, they reaped for themselves the curse of the Law until God shows His final Grace on Judgement Day. What is about to happen is what the Lord said, “at the end of the age,” that is, at the time of the end of this age about which Jesus answered the question, “And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”[21] If you read Matthew 24 and 25 carefully, Jesus did not actually answer the question, “What will be THE SIGN of Your coming and of the end of the age?” He spoke of the signs that point to the end being near, but not THE SIGN that heralds His coming. He spoke of the signs before the end of the age and what will happen when He arrives, but THE SIGN is buried.

The sign is buried in two parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, the parables of The Ten Virgins and of The Talents, but it is in an earlier parable in Matthew 13 that He clearly said, “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.”[22] Anyone who causes anyone else not to obey God causes sin, just like Satan did to Eve. Anyone who causes a believer of Christ or a disciple of Christ not to listen to Jesus causes sin, and anyone who causes the Kingdom’s loyalty to be divided does evil, for a kingdom divided will not stand. Thus, those who try to divide the loyalty of the citizens of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God by reintroducing the Law and its practice are dividing the Kingdom of the Son of Man to cause its downfall. Thus, the judgement is simple and right.

The plumbline is Grace and Truth. It has no room for justification by works and Truth, for that old plumbline belongs to Judah and Israel and it is to judge them. Anyone who holds to the old will be expelled to the old and will receive the judgement the old receives, which is destruction by fire and “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”[23] Thus, it will be based on what they say, not what we say, for Jesus said, “I judge only as I hear.” So likewise, we are not to judge for the Lord commanded us, “Do not judge.”[24] Rather, like the prophets of old, we proclaim that which we have heard and that which we know, the declaration of the advent of the NEW, reminding all who are in the Kingdom of the Son of Man that the Father said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”[25]

To those who are zealous for the Law and who listen to James the Younger, we say, “Repent and live!”[26] for we who are no longer under the Law will uphold the Law of Moses as that Law came from God and it is good. So, for those who have put their faith in Jesus but have been deceived into returning to partial observance of the Law by men from James, they must repent that they may live, for the harvesters will come and they will be weeded out. It is the will of the Lord that His Kingdom will endure forever and for that to happen, all dividers, all who cause division in the Kingdom by proclaiming a conflicting loyalty to two incompatible systems of Law, the Law of Moses and the Law of the Spirit of Life, must be removed.

Grace then is the plumbline that stretches straight the Truth of God in Jesus’ hands, by which all the works of the citizens of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God will be judged. We have no business with those who belong to the old, for they have their own plumbline, the fulfilment of the Law of Moses in full or they are under a curse. It is the mercy and compassion of God that before the sign of the end of the age manifests, we will have the opportunity to cry out to those who are confused in their loyalty: “Repent and live!” because the angels of the Son of Man are coming to weed His Kingdom of all who cause sin and who do evil.

With the raising up then of a group who listens only to Jesus and who shuns listening to James the Younger, the availability of such a group is like the presence of that wall that is true to the plumb. Then the plumbline can be set again among the people of God. The Grace of God can only be attached to the lines of Truth given to Jesus; it cannot be attached to the lines of Truth given to Moses, for the two are incompatible. One is of the old and the other is of the new. You do not sew on new cloth to patch up the old and neither do you pour new wine into old wineskins. In the same way, you do not put a patch of old cloth on a new dress nor waste a new wine skin to store the dregs of old wine.

It is the narrow road, it is the plumbline, it is whether you listen to Jesus or James the Younger, or anyone else who comes in His Name who speaks anything contrary to what Jesus said. God promised, “All the sinners among My people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’”[27] If we are not ready, disaster will overtake us for the days of distress are here, but if we have the power of the Lord, we will meet the disaster and overcome it before it overtakes us. AMEN


 

[1] Amos 7:8

[2] Amos 7:2,5

[3] Amos 7:7

[4] John 1:14

[5] Amos 7:8-9

[6] Matthew 15:24

[7] Matthew 4:17

[8] Mark 1:15

[9] John 17:17

[10] Psalm 145:11-13; Daniel 4:3

[11] Matthew 5:17

[12] John 14:31

[13] John 14:12

[14] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[15] Galatians 3:10 (Deuteronomy 27:26)

[16] John 5:30

[17] Matthew 12:37

[18] Matthew 12:34

[19] Matthew 6:21

[20] Amos 9:11

[21] Matthew 24:3

[22] Matthew 13:40-41

[23] Matthew 13:50; 25:30

[24] Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37

[25] Matthew 17:5

[26] Ezekiel 18:32

[27] Amos 9:10

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