Before we elaborate on this aspect of Headship, some facts may be stated, which will be of assistance in our exposition.
1. Headship is an Ordinance of God.
2. Headship requires two parties.
3. Headship requires two parties to be in agreement.
4. Headship, if accepted, brings harmony and joy.
5. Headship, if unacknowledged, destroys important relationships.
6. Headship, if unacknowledged, produces conflicts.
7. Headship, if unacknowledged, retards spiritual progress.
Paul's first statement in 11.3 indicates the Corinthians were ignorant of the truth of Headship. "I would have you know" How often he had to expose their lack of knowledge. "I would not have you ignorant, brethren," they, who prided themselves on their boasted gift. I suggest that Christ is the head of every man, because:—
Christ created man. He is his head Creatorially.
Christ died for every man. He is his head Redemptively.
Christ will judge every man. He is his head Judicially.
We see, then, Christ has a claim Creatorially, Redemptively and Judicially. He is the head of every man irrespective of Race, Colour, Creed or Generation. The Scholarly with the illiterate, the illustrious with the obscure. There are no exceptions or exemptions here.
The word for "MAN" in 1 Cor. 11, has 17 mentions. Twice it should read, "anyone"; Verses 16 and 34, In one occasion, V. 28, it is Anthropos, one of the human race, and in the 14 other mentions, it is Aner, an adult male. We are left in no doubt as to its meaning. Some, to evade the implications of Headship, would translate the word = Husband = such a distortion leaves the text in confusion.
Christ is his head Creatorially. John 1.3. All things were "made by Him," a positive statement; "Without Him was not any thing made which was made", a negative statement; amplifying the former.
Christ is his head Redemptively. He died for every man, whether man comes into the good and blessing of his atoning death or not. God's offer of Salvation is, "Unto all," but only "upon all" who believe.
Christ is his head Judicially. "God hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the World in righteousness, by that Man," i.e. Christ. "Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that He is Lord!"
In these relationships, the second partner is not consulted, for his or her approval; the principle is stated as being inflexible, not one for discussion, argument or compromise. It is already laid down autocratically in this section to the Corinthians.
On reading the epistle, how would the Corinthians understand such statements, in the light of local conditions? Was the Headship of Christ being violated in the company, likewise the Headship of man with the woman. And was the Headship of God with Christ fully appreciated?
Let us examine the Headship of Christ with every man first, as this is the order in which it comes. Does the principle reflect unfavourably on their sectarian utterances in Ch. 1.12, where every one of them were saying, "I am of Paul, I am of Cephas, I am of Christ!" The first two were clear evidence of the Headship of Christ being denied. To say, amidst such confusion, "I am of Christ", seems commendable, until we read, in verse 13, "Is Christ divided?" and the question is so framed in Greek as to demand an affirmative answer. Here is division in the body. Ch. 12.12. "So also is the Christ". So that to say, in conditions of division, "I am of Christ", likewise merits stern rebuke. "Is Christ divided?".
I judge this was questioning Christ's headship with men— saved though they be—as also the case of the brother in Ch. 5 who had unlawful intercourse with his step-mother; likewise, the law-seeking brother in ch. 6, violates the headship of Christ.
Next, the headship of the man with the woman. In this very chapter, she is seen as dishonouring her head (the man) v. 5 and 13, by her uncovered head in prayer or prophesying; whether at home or in church is not distinguished here.
The Headship of God with Christ is introduced to add authority to the first two headships, for it is suggested, that if Christ accepted the headship of God, and He did: it is expected that men will accept Christ's, and the woman the man's.
Paul understood what he was writing about. He had paid the price in acknowledged headship. Persecuted by his own nation, and by false brethren who would add Law to Grace. This is more than courage. It is conviction!. His, "What wilt Thou have me to do", binds him forever to Christ and his link in Headship.
Christ's headship with men, creatorially, redemptively and judicially places them under tremendous responsibility, when that headship is seen as operating at man's birth, throughout his life, and into eternity; all embracive, never a moment when he can claim to be exempt from its import.
We can now move in our consideration to other aspects :
HEADSHIP—CHRIST and THE CHURCH (ABSOLUTE)
When we note Christ is the Head of the Church, we speak of it in its Body aspect, not its local setting. There are those in the Body who do not meet with the local Church. The local church in any locality, can be, and usually is less than the Body. On occasions it can be more than the Body, if some gather who are not saved, with them. All the saved ones in any locality should gather with fellow believers in testimony to and for Christ. At one point in time, this was true. Acts 2.44. The next time this takes place, will be when the saved dead and the saved living meet in the air, at the Lord's second Coming. Between these two events, Christ exercises, and we are expected to recognise. His Headship in the Church.
He is Head of the Church because He:—
1. Loved the Church
2. Gave Himself for the Church
3. Set her apart for sanctification
4. He will present her to Himself
He is "Head over all to the Church" Eph. 1.22, the same thought as in 1 Chron. 29.11, where the Lord is seen as "exalted as Head above all"
He is Head over every member;
Male and Female
He is Head over every servant;
Prominent and obscure
He is Head over every deacon
He is Head over every overseer
He is Head in every exercise : Reception, Feeding, Guiding. Disciplining, Charging, supporting, comforting, correcting or excommunicating.
He is Head at every Meeting; Remembrance, Prayer, Ministry and Gospel. The Church is an organism of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, who meet regularly. They are not an organisation. They own no earthly head. They are guided by the Scriptures, as to doctrine, and led out by shepherds, set among them by the Holy Spirit. They claim affinity with all believers, similarly gathered. We have already noted, Christ is the Head of every man. Christ is the head of every so gathered company. He is the Head of every believer in the Body, whether meeting regularly or not with the local Church. Christ is the Head of all who, at any time, constitute the Body on earth. As gathered to His Name, we acknowledge His Headship.
Christ expresses His Headship in many ways. He has elected us, the Church, for future glory, and has brought us to faith in Himself. He instructs us from His Holy Word, protects us from the evil one, provides for us and one day will come for us. By His death on the Cross, He demonstrates His unfailing love, which withholds no good thing from us, and is presently preparing us for an eternity with, and like Him!
He is also Head of all principalities and powers, and is become the Head of the Corner. (Matt. 21.42: Mark 12.10: Luke 20.17: Acts 4.11; 1 Peter 2.7).
HEADSHIP—MAN AND CREATION (DELEGATED)
The Triune Godhead, at creation, placed mankind, by Royal decree, over the creatures He made. In the sea, in the air, and over the cattle and creeping things. Dominion caries the thought of suppression and treading down. Two words in Gen. 9.2. describe a change in the attitude of the animal creation to mankind. These words are Fear—MORA, meaning reverence, and Dread—CHATH, Terror. God brought them to Adam to have them named. There is no evidence of fear or dread in Gen. 2 nor until after the flood;
only when man is allowed animal flesh without blood, is this fear instilled into fish, fowl, and cattle. Man is now a hunter of them. It would seem, that before the flood, the animals required no domestication: even Cain was told, "Sin offering lieth at the door." So Adam would have the animals to help in his husbandry; their strength to assist in ploughing, their milk to augment his diet, but not their meat. Noah was the first man allowed this. James tells us that every kind of beasts, birds, serpents and sea creatures have been tamed of mankind. Here is headship explained in a good sense. Baalam's female ass, speaking with man's voice, protests at being beaten: Both illustrate man's sovereignty over the animal world.
God speaks, and the whale vomits Jonah. God speaks, and ravens feed Elijah. Christ spake, and a fish gathered the tribute money from the sea. Man has his dominion from God, Who controls all flesh for His Glory.
HEADSHIP—MAN AND THE WOMAN (ABSOLUTE)
In the various grades and gradations of Headship, that obtaining between man and woman have caused much thought, and evidenced much rebellion, bringing with them, disruption in the domestic, matrimonial, parental, industrial and spiritual realms. The spirit of hostility to a Divine Ordinance from the female side, is readily detected from the Scriptures. 1 Cor. 11.3 is a statement without restriction or escape. The man is the head of the woman. First, let us examine what headship is not. It does not invest the man with superiority over the woman, nor does it place the woman in a position of inferiority. As her head. God would hold the man accountable before Him for the womenfolk God had placed in those spheres of life associated with him, the man. Thus his marriage partner, his sisters and his daughters, whether in adulthood, spinsterhood, as minors or in their majority. As a Mother, she is in headship relationship with her husband, as is his Wife. As a sister, she is under her Father as a Parent, even as is his Daughter. The Aunt or neice come under headship in their respective homes. Thus woman is under headship, wherever she dwells. This teaching stands opposed to the current demands of the Women's Liberation Movement.
HEADSHIP—HUSBAND AND WIFE (SELECTIVE)
There are some outstanding differences between Headship and Lordship. We do well to note the main feature wherein they differ.
Headship is more extensive. It operates in the Heavens and the earth. Every person is subject to Christ, whether acknowledged or not.
Lordship is limited to redeemed beings, who have acknowledged Christ as Lord, in their lives.
When we examine the Headship of the Husband with the Wife, we are confined to the Matrimonial realm. The subjection of the wife is:—
Wives submit yourselves.
Wives submit yourselves.
As unto the Lord.
Even as Christ.
Saviour of the Body.
Church subject to Christ.
Her subjection is Practical. In submitting to her husband, she is not being asked to do the impossible.
It is Personal.
Yourselves: your own husband.
It is Ideal.
As unto the Lord. Highest standard.
It is Comparable.
Even as Christ, the Great Exemplar.
It is Beneficial.
The Saviour of the body. Spiritual and Physical
It is Total.
In everything, not some things.
It is Doctrinal.
The husband the head. God's pronouncement.
In conclusion, there are two other spheres where Christ is the Head.
He is Head of all principality and power. Colossians 2.10.
He is Head of the Corner. 1 Peter 2.7.
SAILING WITH PAUL
by J.G. GOOD
How often has inspiration been drawn from Acts 27, by those passing through a time of trial, overcome by the force of circumstances, at wits end comer, despite the darkness of the clouds there was a brightness, the Presence of One Who worketh all things according to the good pleasure of His will. This chapter has been viewed as the passage of the Christian over the tempestuous sea of life, there is a lesson to be learned of far greater import, namely, that we must be subservient to and in the current of the will of God for us.
This chapter is a shining illustration of the revealing of God's will in the life of Paul, we see as we read the book of the Act's, that there was a synchronising of Paul's will with God's will. Paul's burning desire was that he might visit Rome, not merely as a traveller or adventurer, but as a herald of the Cross. God's plan for Paul was that he would be in Rome to bear witness before kings (Acts 9. 15), The following references from the Acts corroborate this; "I must also see Rome" (19. 21), "So must thou bear witness also at Rome" (23. 11), "Unto Ceasar shall thou go" (25. 12) "Thou must stand before Ceasar" (27. 24).
We speak of God's will for us after having plotted our own pathway, but surely here is a lesson for us, we must be in harmony with the will of God for us as individuals to know and experience Divine intervention in these lives of ours. It is possible to thwart God's will for us, by failing to discern and following our own desires. On the other hand there is no power on earth which can intervene, relative to the purposes of God in the life of the individual resigned to the will of God. Dismay and distress there may be in the voyage to Rome, but the power and purposes of God prevailed as the historian records, "so we came to Rome" (28.14).
'He always wins who sides with God,
To 'him no chance is lost,
God's will is sweetest to him when,
It triumphs at his cost'
Let us voyage with Paul learning to trust and triumph, discerning through the darkness, knowing with assurance that He will bring us safely to our desired haven.
PAUL IN THE SUNSHINE (1.8)
With his Fellow Prisoners (1. 2). It is fitting that the centurion should be one named Julius, (wheatsheaf), having as a passenger and prisoner the apostle of the resurrection. Aristarchus is worthy of mention, there are three references to this brother in the New Testament, (Acts 20. 4) a fellow traveller, (Col. 4. 10) a fellow worker, and (Acts 27. 2) a fellow prisoner. Is there not a significance in this, no mention of a word spoken or of a specific work accomplished, his name means 'best ruler,' would this speak of the One Who as the Comforter who will be with us until the end, (John 16. 13), the work of the Holy Spirit in and with the believer.
With his Fellow Believers (3). Paul revelled in the company of fellow Christians, loyalty was treasured by Paul, if there is a blessing taken for granted today it is this manifold blessing of fellowship with the people of God. This was not only Paul's attitude towards other believers, but it was their attitude toward him. (Acts 28. 15). Appii Forum was 51 miles, and the Three Tavems 33 miles respectively from Rome, could there be a greater testimony to the love and esteem of the believers in Rome for Paul, as they journeyed in primitive conditions to meet the beloved Paul.
With his Fellow Passengers (4.8). Paul had a compelling committal to the service of God, it might be a ship of Adramythium or of Alexandria it mattered not, he never missed the opportunity to witness, not vindictive or arrogant, but in a practical and powerful way he testified to the keeping power of Him Whom he loved and served. To his fellow passengers he demonstrated that his faith in God was expressed in practical terms and not merely theoretical, (see 27.19; 27.34 and 28.3). Gospel preaching will carry little weight if it is not accompanied by a willingness to be identified with the ordinary things of life and the burden of living. Nearness to our God brings with it a sympathy with the needs of our fellow men, and we show this in a practical way.
PAUL IN THE SHADOW (9. 19).
Paul's Premonition Concerning the Voyage (9.10). The secret of (he Lord is with them that fear Him (Psalm 25. 14) bow true this was of Paul in this instance. There is such a state of spiritual attainment whereby many are initiated into the mind of God with regard to God's will for them. The shadows in life tend to cast us upon the wisdom of God, provoking a trust and a confidence in the One Who never errs.
The Centurion's Opposition regarding the Voyage (11.14) "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit" (1 Cor. 2. 14). The natural man can never be convicted of spiritual and eternal realities apart from the operation of the Spirit of God. Little did the centurion know that his physical well being during the voyage was assured simply because he was in the company of the man of God's purposes.
The Ship's Disposition during the Voyage (15.19). We can almost hear the howl of the wind, the creaking of the timbers, as we read this graphic account recorded for us by Luke. It is in the storm's of life that we learn to lean hard upon God, experimental knowledge is priceless. David refused the armour of Saul, (1 Sam. 17. 39). God tests individuals, to be persuaded by others apart from a personal conviction is certain to end in failure.
PAUL IN THE STORM (20. 32).
Storms are the test of character, how we react under pressure. Paul's joy in the Lord, certainly did not depend on circumstances.
Hopeful amid the Hopeless (20.22). Despite the severity which filled the hearts of the mariners with fear, never was there a doubt in the mind of Paul as to the outcome of the voyage. The words of counsel and comfort came not from the master of the ship, or from the centurion, but from the prisoner, how amazing can be the transformation when a sense of the Lord's presence is realised.
Fearless amid the Fearful (23.26). Paul was conscious of the presence of God with him, more than sufficient for any emergency. Faith grasping the word of promise in the hour of crisis. How important to hear above the tumult of our day, when infidelity and modernism prevail, the words of Paul, 'I believe God.' There can never be questionings or reasonings as far as the child of God is concerned, but in every circumstance of life, and in local assembly life too, we can take no better stand than 'I believe God'!
Restful amid the Restless (27.32). "Except these abide in the ship ye cannot be sawed" verse 31. How true this is in the life of a believer. Chat deliverance can only be experienced from a situation which demands it. The ship of our circumstances can become the ship of communion, Paul's thorn in the flesh and his infirmities were the means whereby Paul knew in a read way that the "'power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor. 12. 9) Paul was not a victim of circumstances, but he was content in spite of them (Phill. 4. 11).
'O for the peace that floweth as a river,
Making earth's desert places bloom and smile,
O for the faith to grasp heaven's bright for ever,
Amid the shadows of earth's 'little while'.'
PAUL IN THE SHIPWRECK (32. 44).
Paul affirms the Divine word of Promise (32.35). By exhortation and example Paul shows his concern for the physical needs of all on board. "Not a hair shall fall from the head of any of you" verse 34. We can be bold in our testimony when we have a 'Thus saith the Lord.' Again we repeat the importance of having that experimental knowledge of the ways of God.
The Company accepts the Divine word of Promise (36.41) What a change of heart, 'Then they were all of good cheer' verse 36. How powerful was the testimony of Paul, based on a sanctuary life, the manner of Paul's witness was that of persuasion and appeal. It is possible to antagonise our hearers by a rough and vindictive approach, making it well nigh impossible to be recognised as those who 'have been with Jesus' (Acts 4. 13).
The Lord fulfils the Divine word of Promise (42.44). When we read the words, 'So we came to Rome' (Acts 28. 14), a simple statement, and yet how much was involved. The voyage could have been smooth and easy, but could the power and presence of God have been realised in so great a measure. 'Believe ye that I am able to do this' (Matt. 9. 28). There may be fear and frustration but there will assuredly be fulfilment, but there must be on our part a recognition of and resignation to the will of God for us!
by W. W. FEREDAY
Atonement in its primary meaning is the vindication of the claims of the throne of God in regard to human sin. This stands out very clearly in the High Priest's procedure on the Day of Atonement in Israel as described in Leviticus xvi. First he carried into the holiest the blood of the bullock for himself and for his house ; then he presented the blood of the goat for the people of Israel; but not until these things were accomplished was the scapegoat dismissed with all the sins of the people upon its head. God was considered first, then man.
Sin is a grievous offence in the eyes of the Creator. It has destroyed His delight in man ; it has wrought mischief and ruin in His creation both above and below ; it challenges His authority perpetually; and it menaces His throne. Not even Divine longsuffering, still less Divine grace, could be shewn to the guilty save on the ground of atonement. The mercy-seat in Israel's tabernacle was God's earthly throne. but it typified His throne in the heavens. The animal blood that was sprinkled on and before His earthly throne to Him from year to year of the richer blood that would in due season be shed—the blood of His own dear Son. God has signified His acceptance of the precious blood of Christ by raising Him up from the dead, and seating Him in glory at His own right hand. The Old Testament declares "it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul"; the New Testament solemnly insists that "without shedding of blood is no remission" (Lev. xvii. 11 : Heb. ix. 22).
Good resolutions and deeds of charity cannot be accepted in atonement for sin. To present them to God for such a purpose would be to repeat the grave blunder of Cain. Abel's lamb was "a more excellent sacrifice" than the products of his brother's toil. The one was a humble acknowledgement of guilt; the other was a virtual repudiation of guilt. God could not do otherwise than resent the attitude of Cain, while opening the door for repentance even for so serious an affront.
The Christian has the testimony of no less a person than God the Holy Ghost that all the claims of the Divine throne have been met by the one offering of Jesus. No other offering of any kind whatsoever is required or could be accepted. To put anything human alongside of Christ's perfect sacrifice would be to question its worth and efficacy. If God is satisfied with what Christ has accomplished, the Christian may well be satisfied also. The Israelite on the afternoon of the Day of Atonement had the comfort of seeing all his sins dismissed with the scapegoat; the Christian has the assurance from God that his sins and iniquities He will remember no more (Heb. x. 17). There is this immense difference however between the Israelite and the Christian : the one was set right with God for twelve months by Aaron's atoning work ; the other has been set right with God for ever by the infinitely more precious work of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Sanctified" and "perfected" are God's grand terms descriptive of the present position of all believers.
Notes on Revelation
by JAMES FLANIGAN, NORTHERN IRELAND
John, the Beloved, has been privileged to write for us three parts of our New Testament, and these are related to the Past, the Present, and the Future. From his memories of the past he has gathered precious clusters of fragrant things, and has given us the fourth Gospel. For our present guidance and help he has written for us three small letters. As the New Testament seer he has given us his Patmos visions in the "Book of the Revelation," sometimes called the "Apocalypse".
In his Gospel, John never once mentions his own name, but five times calls himself, "the disciple whom Jesus loved". In the Revelation, he five times refers to himself by name—"I John". It is highly unlikely that the writer of the Revelation could have so simply signed himself, with no additional, identifying, term or designation, had he not been the aged, sole-surviving Apostle who gave us the Gospel and the letters—the John so well known by first Century Christians. He is the Daniel of the New Testament, the man greatly beloved, of the Church Age.
Without doubt, the Apocalypse is the most neglected, most un-read book of the New Testament. Believers may often advance reasons why this is so, but there are many reasons why it ought not to be so.
(i) This is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament.
We have books which are Historical, and books which are Doctrinal; we have some which are Devotional, and some which are Practical; but only one book is purely Prophetical. It is sad that the only book of prophecy in the New Testament should be so neglected.
(ii) This is the final, closing, book of our Bible.
There is undoubtedly a Divine arrangement in the order of the books of our Bible. Genesis was not the first to be written, but it is the obvious book to introduce all the others. Revelation was not the last to be written, but it is the great closing counterpart to Genesis. The comparisons and contrasts of Genesis and Revelation have often been pointed out. How much that has its beginning in Genesis, has its culmination in Revelation. How much finds its fruition in Revelation that had its roots and origin in Genesis. Like corresponding clasps on either end of a girdle, these two great books complement each other. They unite to form the complete circle of Divine revelation. Only the Apocalypse could intelligently be placed last as the capstone of Holy Scripture. We must not neglect this closing book.
(iii) This is the only book which opens with a specific promise of blessing for those who read and obey.
While this may primarily be a reference to public reading, in the days when not everyone had the ability or privilege to read personally; and while also the principle of blessing for obedience is everywhere in Scripture, nevertheless, this is the only book so to be introduced. We must not miss that blessing.
(iv) This is the REVELATION of Jesus Christ.
It is not "The Mystery", but "The Revelation". It is the Apocalypse, which means that it is an unveiling, an unfolding, of the Christ. Is it a revelation given to Him? Or is it a revelation given concerning Him? Are both true? Either way, it is a revelation. Here is a rebuke to our neglect, and a great encouragement to read.
How often too, in this connection, is the title of the book misquoted. It is the "Revelation"—not the "Revelations". There is no "s". It is not a plural word. This is not quibbling, or unimportant. Many revelations indeed there may be throughout the book, revelations in every chapter, but these all blend together to became one harmonious Revelation of the Lord Jesus. It is one unveiling of Himself.
An analysis of this book is difficult. It does not readily lend itself to simple divisions and sub-divisions, as do some other books. So many crises, parentheses, climaxes, defy any straightforward analysis. There is however, one interesting way of dividing the visions.
Throughout the course of the Revelation, John's position and circumstances are changed several times. Indeed we find him in five different positions. The visions then given to him are accurately and absolutely in accord with his position at the time.
In chapter 1, John is bowed low at the Feet of the Lord of the churches. On a rocky, barren island, so symbolic of our place of pilgrimage and testimony, he kneels at the Saviour's Feet. Where better to receive the messages of chapters 2 and 3, concerning the ministry of the lampstands, the churches? In chapter 4 his position is changed. He is caught up to the Throne. What more fitting place from which to see the workings of Sovereignty? From this glorious vantage point John will see the purposes of God being accomplished.
In chapter 13 his position is changed once again. He is now at the sea-shore. Here will he see the waves and billows of democracy rolling into anarchy and tyranny, and, rising out of the sea, the Dictator of the last days.
In chapter 17 there is a further change, and John is taken to the wilderness. In desert conditions he sees the great Babylon Mystery—a fitting prelude to his final position and the closing visions.
In chapter 21 he is taken to the mountain top. From this lofty viewpoint John sees the glory of the New Jerusalem and the ultimate bliss of the Christ and His people.
Five positions then, and five series of visions completely in harmony with the Apostle's circumstances. To summarise:
Ch. 1. At the Lord's Feet to learn the Principles of Testimony.
Ch. 4. At the Throne, to learn the Purposes of Sovereignty.
Ch. 13. At the Sea-shore, to see the Progress of Iniquity.
Ch. 17. In the Wilderness, to see the Power of Apostasy.
Ch. 21. On the Mountain, to receive the Promise of Glory.
The Book of Revelation is a book of symbols. The truths given us here are conveyed in the language of symbolism. So the opening verse states specifically. The word "signify", is literally "SIGN-ify"—to make known by signs. Our approach then, will be to see symbolism, unless, for some obvious reason, the passage should be taken literally. We shall find these symbols drawn from almost every part of life. There is symbolism from
What a variety of numbers there is in Revelation! 2, 3, U, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 24, 42, 144, 666. 1,000, 1260, 1,600, 7,000, 12,000, 144,000, 100,000,000, and 200,000,000, There is a predominance of the number "7".
Red, Green, Scarlet, Purple, Black, but especially White. There are, in this book of symbols. Men with Swords, Reapers with Sickles, Trumpeters with Trumpets. There are Flutes, Lyres and Harps.
It is interesting, that in all the book of Revelation, there is not a single direct quotation from the Old Testament. Nevertheless, the book is saturated with Old Testament imagery, drawn especially from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. For instance—
The Glorified Christ of ch. 1 is in Daniel ch. 10.
The Rainbow-circled Throne of ch. 4 is in Ezekiel ch. 1.
The Scroll of ch. 5 may be seen in Ezekiel ch. 2 and Zechariah ch. 5.
The Measuring Reed, the Two Witnesses, the Two Olive Trees, and the Lampstands of ch. 11 are in Zechariah ch. 4.
Beasts from the Sea, as in ch. 13 are in Daniel ch. 7. Gog and Magog are in Ezekiel chs. 38 and 39.
The Great Assize of ch. 20 is in Daniel ch. 7.
The New Jerusalem, the River of Life, and the Tree of Life, are in Ezekiel ch. 47.
Many of these symbols are explicitly explained for us. For the rest, may we approach the book in a spirit of wondering humility, asking for Divine aid to know the mind of the Spirit.
May this great book become indeed to us—"The Revelation of Jesus Christ."
(To be continued)
". . . SPARED NOT . . ."
by CLIFF JONES, Cardiff
Our God is a God whose resources and attributes are infinite. He made all things, John 1.3. He owns all things, Ps. 50.10. His power is limitless—"For with God nothing shall be impossible," Luke 1.37, Rev. 19.6, Matt. 19.26, Job 42.2. God's love and mercy are infinite and everlasting, 1 John 4.8, Jer. 31.3, Eph. 2.4,5.
All God's attributes are infinite and He therefore experiences an infinite depth of feeling. The love of God the Father for God the Son, and the love of the Son for the Father are infinite and cannot be comprehended.
God's holiness is absolute—"Who shall not fear thee, 0 Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy . . .", Rev. 15.4. Our God is absolutely holy and righteous, Ps. 145.17, and cannot tolerate sin, Hab. 1.13.
Sin is an affront to a Holy God and we read, in passages which the Holy Spirit caused to be written for our admonition, of occasions when, because of their sin, angels and people were not spared by God. We read that ". . . God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgement; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly", 2 Pet. 2.45.
We read in Rom. 11.21 ". . . God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee."
In these verses we see the hatred and severity of God in relation to sin. Those of us who have been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ know something of the holiness of God and of the love of God in that He spared not His own beloved Son that we might be spared an eternity in hell.
The death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross enables us to appreciate, in some measure. God's hatred of sin and His love for us, for "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him," 1 John 4.9. Love results in giving and God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to take the punishment for sinners such as we are, John 3.16.
There cannot be a greater demonstration of love than the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 5.8. Such perfect love will withhold no good thing from us. Knowing these things we can rejoice in the words "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8.32.
We have peace with God for, by grace, we know whom we have believed, 2 Tim. 1.12. We know the love of God who never changes, 1 John 4.16, James 1.17, Mal. 3.6. His love was and is so great that He spared not His only begotten Son that we might be spared the wrath of God.
FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
by J. B. HEWITT, Chesterfield
(9) THE PRE-EXISTENCE, ETERNAL SONSHIP OF CHRIST
By eternal nature the Lord Jesus is the Son of God. He did not become God's Son at the Incarnation neither when He rose from the dead (Acts 13.33; Rom. 1.4), though by the latter event His Sonship was fully manifested. He is the "Only-Begotten" of the Father, of the same nature and with the same powers, to Whom equal worship is due.
He is the Divine Logos, in the beginning with God, the full and final revelation of God, and Himself very God (John 1.1; Col. 1.15). If our Lord had no existence prior to His Incarnation at Bethlehem, the Christian claim that He came to be the living Revelation of God is at once invalidated and His claim to have revealed the Father is abrogated.
The Lord's discourse on the Bread of Life is replete with proof of His Pre-existence. He is the Antitype of the manna; He is the Living Bread out of Heaven (Jn. 6.50, 51);
Christ in His Person is the Bread of Life (v.35-50), here in verses 51-58 He is the spiritual food of the believers in the Redemptive work of His Death. Verse 62 indicates a relationship prior to Bethlehem condescension (John 1.1). Before Abraham was "I AM" (8.58). He is Jehovah, the eternally self-existent One; the provider and sustainer of Divine life (6.35). The idea of "Sonship" is necessitated by a revelation of the "Fatherhood" of God in the Sacred Trinity. John's Gospel clearly presents the Eternal nature of the Sonship of Christ (1.14, 18; 3.16-18).
The expression "Only-Begotten," used of Christ points to something ABSOLUTE, but "Firstborn" expresses what is RELATIVE.
This title "Only-Begotten" is used five times in reference to Christ. The Lord ever did and ever will occupy this peculiar and unique place in the Father's thoughts and affections. It marks off His unique Sonship from the "sons of God" (v.l2). The title "Son of Man" is used only by our Lord, never by His disciples. It does not refer to His origin from man, but His relationship to them, it links Him with earth (Psa. 8).
The error taught at Colosse was undermining the Christian system, it was twofold; doctrinal and practical, theological and ethical. All the glories essential to Deity are the prerogatives of Christ, He is absolutely supreme. His identity as Son (1.13), His image, demonstrating the subsistence of Deity (v.l5). The Invisible and Unknowable God has revealed Himself fully and finally in and through His Son, Who being His Father's "image" has manifested Him. His Infinity is displayed in Creatorship (v.l6). "Who is" in v.l5, and "He is" in v.l 7 declare His Pre-existence. "HE" emphasizes His Personality, and "IS" His Pre-existence and Self-existence. He is prior to creation. Firstborn of all creation, being Originator of all things. Controller of all things, and Perfecter of all things (v.l6, 17).
Hebrews chapter one describes a Personality that precedes time, controlling and governing forces of all history. Everything Divine resides in Him, is manifested in Him and Divine Titles are ascribed to Him. His eternal Sonship as Creator and Heir (v.l, 2); His Expressed Sonship (v.2-4); His Exalted Sonship (v.5); His Exhibited Sonship (v.6).
Phil. 2.6 is not a discussion in technical theology, but a question of practical ethics. In John 8.58 we have His claim to pre-existence; in Col. 1.16, it is to priority, here in Phil. 2.6 it is His Divine Personality and His condescending stoop is an example of humility. His example is the sum and life of all morality. In v.6 the Pre-existence of Christ in heaven; v.7, 8 the Incarnation of Christ. In v.6 we see the heights of glory, implying the Personality of the Son as distinct from the Father. The Pre-existence of the Son from all eternity; the full and proper Deity of the Son.
He eternally existed in the form of God (v.6). He essentially and eternally was and is, sharer of Divine Nature and bearer of Divine attributes, that is to say. God. He is supreme in being. The word "Form" means literally that he outwardly manifested the inner reality of His being.
Christ's inner reality was Deity. The equality of Christ's Deity is stressed in the phrase, "thought it not robbery to be equal with God." He had it as His right. Yet He determined upon an infinite act of self-sacrifice for others and took upon Himself humanity (II Cor. 8.9; John 1.14).
The Son's exercise of His Own Will in contemplation of human need, was to effect redemption. This is the humility of Deity. He is supreme in life—"obedient unto death." His death is an indisputable evidence of His divine live. He is supreme in glory for all eternity (Phil. 2.9-11). God wants Him to be supreme in our lives (v.5).
To claim Messiahship was to claim Deity (Psa. 2.6-12; Psa. 24.7-10; Psa. 45.1-8; 110. In Psa. 2.6 God speaks of Him as "my King;" v. 7 "my Son;" v. 12 "the Son;" v. 8 as the Heir, and in v.9 as the Conqueror. Peter applies Psalm 2 to the Lord (Acts 4.25-28). He is the King of Glory and Lord of Hosts in Psa. 24 with I Cor. 2.8; James 2.1.
These titles are given Him by God and remind us of His coming in glory. God addresses Him as King, His throne is unchangeable (Psa. 45.6). He is the Eternal God and Creator in Psa. 102.25-27, with Heb. 1.8, 10-12.
The Lord quotes Psa. 110.1, as written of Himself (Matt. 22.42-45), Psa. 110 is the most quoted Psalm in the N.T. always referring to the Lord Jesus. He is the Priest (Heb. 5.10). As Jehovah of Hosts (Isa. 6.1-3); His glory is revealed (John 12.41).
His eternal Sonship guarantees redemption, priesthood, Kingship, Headship and every blessing associated with these glorious titles of Christ.
by E. R. BOWER, Malvern Link, Worcs.
The so called 'minor' prophets are a fascinating study. The 'writings' which they provided for their day and generation became Scripture—Holy Scripture,—both to Jew and Gentile. It is the Word of God, not only for the day in, and for, which it was given, but also for all generations from then until the times of the end when all prophecy will be fulfilled.
Israel had, and has, a belief in the immediate, inter-mediate and ultimate fulfilment of God's Word as it affects them, and through them the nations, and every Christian believer should have this same confidence for there is with-out doubt—in this latter two decades of this twentieth century — a growing awareness among the Lord's people—and here it is emphasized that this phrase includes not only God's ancient people, Israel, but also the Christian believer — that we are living, if not actually in the last days, then in that uneasy calm which is the forerunner of the gathering storm indicated by the 'signs of the times', and let all those who acknowledge the Word of God take notice that the rulers of this world are also very aware of the approach of the storm, and humanly speaking there is little that they can do about it.
In view of the foregoing it is to be regretted that so little attention is given to these 'men of God who spoke as they (no less than the 'major' prophets') were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1.21). These men were the men of the hour. Whether 'major' or 'minor'; whether their writings covered many years or few days is immaterial. They were the chosen mouthpieces for the Holy Spirit of God which moved them to meet a particular circumstance or circumstances, whether occurring at the time of their prophecy or was to occur in the near or distant future. To each was given "according to their several ability" and, fulfilling their tasks —sometimes unwillingly as, for instance, Jonah—they went their way. Herein is a lesson which all may learn and put into practice. The crown of the glory of God, as it is seen in the Church, has many jewels, some large and some small, but each is joined to its fellow by the gold of the crown thus constituting a shining whole.
The name of the prophet—Zephaniah—"Jehovah hides". or "Jehovah protects"— is perhaps an indication of that which God has done, and will yet do, for Israel during the years of dispersion for Zehpaniah was the last of the prophets preceding the Captivity. (Cf. Isaiah 26. 20-21; Revelation 12.6).
Contemporary with Jeremiah, it is more than likely that he made his own individual contribution to the revival which took place in Judah during the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 21—25; 2 Chronicles 34—36). The reign of Josiah, though good in itself was, as Josiah himself knew, under the shadow of impending judgment upon Judah and the nations—a judgment which was finally pronounced in the days of Manasseh (2 Kings 21.10-15) and which fell some two generations later. The revival was shortlived for it lasted little more than a generation. It could be said that this revival gave some respite to the nation before judgment fell.
How easy with the benefit of hindsight to point accusing fingers at Israel and at Judah, either because of their continuing disregard of their God, or their failure to maintain the fires of revival. But how long do revivals last? Why do the fires go out? Instance the revivals which have taken place within the history of the last one hundred years. How quickly the fires died away! Seek the answers for such subsequent deadness, then point the fingers—to ourselves! Fires are not maintained without fuel and attention. Too little fuel; too much ash; too little attention; too little care. How true that for every finger pointing at others, there are three pointing to ourselves. The hindsight given by Scripture to the failures of Israel and Judah should be our foresight! And it is the Apostle Paul who gave this lesson to his readers.
It has been affirmed by some that a true understanding of the closing Book of the Scriptures—the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ—can only come from an understanding of the prophets, and in particular, the 'minor' prophets. We may notice as we read through Zephaniah's prophecy just how apocalyptic his words are. He is concerned with the Day of the Lord, nevertheless "The things written aforetime were written for our learning . . ." (Romans 15.4;) and further, these things happened unto them for types (margin): and they are written for our ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (1 Corinthians 10.11). Note: ADMONITION—a putting into mind; a warning.
1. An introduction (1) To the Word of the Lord, and (2) Zephaniah.
The prophecy begins with the ancient formula, "The Word of the Lord came." How careful the prophets were! Their sayings and their writings were not personal compositions, but that which 'came' and bore them along. Peter wrote (2.1.21) "The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The prerequisite of their speaking was their holiness. How little do we know of the Holy Spirit, let alone being 'borne along' by Him! Is our lack of holiness the stumbling block to the movements of the Holy Spirit?
Zephaniah appears to have been a descendant of Hezekiah (A.V. 'Hizkia), king of Judah, but other than that, nothing is known of the prophets life.
Josiah was fortunate, as we might say, in having Jeremiah, Zephaniah and Hulda the prophetess to guide him during these years of impending judgment. Could the judgment be averted by a revival? No. Deferred maybe, but not averted. The Word of God and hence the purposes of God must stand. But what of that, then present, generation?
We may think of Jeremiah, Zephaniah and Hulda (and do not let us forget the role of the womenfolk!) with Josiah, as the architects of revival and, briefly, it was built upon the foundation of repaired breaches in the House of the Lord, and upon a newly discovered Book of the Law. What better foundations? Another lesson!
It could be that Zephaniah prepared the ground for Jeremiah. "Little men" are very important! How tragic it is, in a day when the word 'revival' appears to be archaic and obsolete, that there are those who would belittle the 'little men' of this generation; denigrating those who do have a care as 'little men with big Bibles.' What a way to speak of their brethren in the Lord! How Pharisaic! These critics follow in the steps of those who spoke of Peter and John as ignorant and unlearned (Acts 4.13). The picture comes to mind of Zedekiah son of Chenaanah (1 Kings 22.24). How many churches are being held together by these 'little men' who, always in their place, constitute the backbone of the local church? Why do we not give credit where it is due, and not omnibus criticism, to these little men with big hearts? Men who have been with Jesus.
The 7 wills' of judgment. (I) Upon the earth. General.
The evil king Manasseh, despite his late repentance, left a terrible legacy. Jeremiah and the chronicler of 2 Kings 21 had no doubt about this, and it is quite probable that this legacy, in itself, affected the build up to revival, inasmuch as there was an apparent determination by many to go in the way of Manasseh—in much the same way as those who followed in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. It is likewise probable that there was a 'behind the scenes' rebellion against the 'narrowness' of the true worship which destroyed their many idols, both tangible and intangible, to which they had long given their willing subservience. One of the quirks of human nature is that evil is tolerated in spite of the horrors that only too often flow from it. Manasseh made the streets of Jerusalem to run with blood, yet the people seemed to be quite content to go on in their departure from God and His Word. How soon we become accustomed to evil and the circumstances which accompany it; how soon we become accustomed to the things which 'creep in' and allow them to become part and parcel of our ways! This applies both to our moral and our spiritual lives.
The wilderness experience did not eradicate Egypt from Israel's thoughts or, indeed, their deeds. (Acts 7.40-43; Amos 5.25-26). The goodness and majesty of God their Saviour was, for them, poor substitute for the gods and pleasures of Egypt. So, too, the nations when the final and inevitable judgments of God fall upon them will shew no signs of repentance. (Revelation 20.9).
Zephaniah saw about him the sins of the people which ranged "from gross external to refined internal apostacy" (vv. 5-6), but note how the prophet expresses the will of God in judgment. All things were to be utterly destroyed, or taken away (margin) from the face of the earth— man and beast; the fowls of the heaven and the fish of the sea; the stumbling-blocks or enticements to sin; the idols; the wicked; and man would be cut off from the earth.
This all-embracing judgment would appear to have a point in view beyond the near judgment upon Judah and indeed goes beyond the confines of Judah. Notice the 'also' of v. 4 which concerns Judah, as against the 'earth' of v. 3. A world engulfing judgment is envisaged. Mankind is bringing much of this judgment upon himself, by its very disregard, especially during the years of industrial development, of its environment. "The day of the Lord is at hand." (v. 7).
(to be continued)
The Doctrine of Christ - THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
by the late William Hoste, B.A.
The Person of Christ is the Citadel of Divine Truth, for He became in Incarnation, "the Image of the Invisible God," the "One Mediator between God and man," the only "Way" to the Father, and much else besides. He was the One into whose hands the Father had committed all things. To belittle His Person, then, is to degrade the true idea of God, compromise fatally His Mediatorial work, and endanger the stability of the moral and material Universe.
Men will acknowledge His influence, laud His ethics, and profess to follow His example, who deny His Divine personality, miraculous birth, atonement and resurrection. But wrong here, wrong everywhere.
(a) The Virgin Birth
The earliest attacks on the Person of Christ converged on His humanity. It was to prove "Jesus come in the flesh" that John wrote His epistles. To deny this is to undermine His atoning work. He must partake of flesh and blood in order to die; and to One of perfect holiness, death, viewed merely as physical dissolution, must have seemed more repulsive than to any man—not to speak of what His contact with sin and separation from God entailed. He must be truly man to be (1) the Seed of the woman and act the Kinsman's* part (Gen. 3.15; Gal. 4.4); (2) the Seed of Abraham to inherit the promises (Gal. 3.16); and (3) the Son of David, to claim the throne of Israel (1 Chron. 22.10). When king Ahaz refused to ask a sign. God gave one for all time greater than earth or heaven could afford: "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa. 7.14). This was fulfilled, as we know, by the birth of Jesus as narrated by Matthew and Luke.
*Goel is the equivalent of 'Redeemer' and 'Avenger,' because it was the next of kin who had the right to redeem and avenge.
Gesenius, the well-known Hebraist, of decided Modernist leanings, asserts that the word galmath does not mean 'virgin,' but "a youthful spouse recently married," and cites this passage in proof, which seems like begging the question. But it would hardly be a 'sign' for a "young married woman" to conceive and bear a son. Dr. Tregelles, a scholar of at least equal reputation with Gesenius, and his translator, denies his conclusions, and refers to the fact that the LXX renders the word 'virgin' by parthenos in this passage, which must have been a difficulty to them. Galmath in Punic does undoubtedly signify 'virgin', as the doctor points out. Gesenius says that, 'b'thoolah' is the true word for 'virgin,' but this is not always the case as a study of the references shows. Galmath occurs in six other places in the O.T.; in Gen. 24.16 of Rebecca; Exod. 2.8 of the Miriam; Ps. 68.25; Prov. 30.19; Cant. 1.3; 6.8. In not one of these occurrences is Gesenius' meaning apparent. One would suppose, as Dr. Tregelles suggests, that the use of the passage in Matt. 1.23 would settle the dispute for any Christian.
If the Eternal Son was to become incarnate how else but by virgin-birth could it take place? If Jesus were the son of Mary and Joseph, then there was no "incarnation" and those who worship Jesus are credulous idolaters. To deny the virgin-birth and His Divine personality, while accepting results of His life and influence, is to accept transcendent effects without adequate cause.
But had Jesus not been what He claimed to be, there would have been no controversy about Him to-day. His very name would have sunk into oblivion, ere the first century passed away. How could a Jewish peasant, if He were only that, with a few unlettered followers, rejected by his own nation and dying a felon's death, have become the greatest influence the world has ever known, subduing empires and wills of men, so that nearly two thousand years after His death. His name is known and reverenced throughout the civilized world, and millions would die for Him, persuaded He is in fact "God manifest in flesh," their Redeemer and Lord?
Christ was then, indeed, "The Word become flesh." "tabernacling among men," "in the likeness of sinful flesh," with a real human body, spirit, and soul, passing through all the experiences proper to man and his mission. His body was capable of weariness, hunger, pain and death; His soul of all true sinless affections; His spirit of grief and joy. But we must not allow all this to eclipse the facts of his miraculous conception and Divine personality and innate sinlessness. Rather than say "He assumed our manhood," which might convey the idea of His partaking of our sinful nature, we should say, "He entered into manhood" and "all that is truly man finds in Him its perfect exponent and fulfilment."**
** Christ Crucified, p. 80, by Adolph Saphir.
The much-debated passage in Philippians has usually been discussed in the light of the one word ekenosen—"He emptied Himself" (R.V.) —instead of the context, which seems to favour rather the A.V., "He made Himself of no reputation." We are told*** that, at the time the N.T. was written, the word kenoo like so many others, had lost its strict etymological and classical meaning, and had become equivalent rather to the A.V., "to make of no reputation," which seems to fit in better with the context, for whatever the word meant for our Lord, we are called to experience the same ourselves. It would be unsound exegesis, therefore, to give it a meaning for our Lord which would make it impossible for us. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." It is an attitude of mind we are to seek, not an evacuation of our memory, knowledge, scholarship, etc., which Modernism predicates of our Lord, without however, it would seem, any intention of emulating Him We cannot perhaps close this section better than by quoting from the second of the "Thirty-Nine Articles." He entered into manhood "in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance, so that two whole and perfect natures . . . were found together in one Person, never to be divided."
*** e.g., G. Bennets, B.A., D.D.
(b) Heresies relative to Christ's Humanity.
But the integrity of the manhood of Christ has been tampered with and denied. The Docetae (dokein, "to appear") in early church times denied the reality of the Lord's body. It was only apparently flesh and bones. But His own words refute this, "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24 : 39). Though He was to be called the Son of God, because Pie Who was the Eternal Son had become incarnate (the calling succeeding the being). He was also the firstborn son of Mary (Matt. 1.25). His was a true human birth, though altogether unique.
In the 4th century, Apollinaris, Bishop of Laodicea, in his eagerness to oppose Arianism and assert the Deity of Christ, was led so far as to deny the existence of a rational soul in Christ's human nature. For Him the Divine Logos took the place of the rational soul. If so. His humanity was defective and was that of an animal or idiot. Our Lord's words, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" imply a rational soul. The idea that the body was a mere case in which the Divine person of the Son replaced the spiritual part of man, is entirely subversive of the truth of Christ's humanity. Man is tri-partite, spirit, soul and body. Another heretical teacher of the 5th century, Eutyches, a presbyter of Constantinople, taught that the Divine and human natures in Christ, instead of continuing distinct, coalesced into a third Divine nor human. This also denies the true humanity of our Lord; but Rom. 9.5 describes Him in the following sentences as, "according to the flesh" and as being He "Who is over all. God, blessed for ever."
On the other hand Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople (A.D. 428) held the distinction of the two natures in such an extreme way, as to involve a dual personality, the Eternal Logos and the human soul. All these erroneous teachings, together with the crude Modernist views of our day, which deny to our Lord His divine**** attributes, as being in conflict with true humanity, "arise from the deductions and inferences of human minds working in things too high for them." The humanity of Christ, though in some ways modified by the resurrection, is essentially unchanged. Could we with anointed eye pierce the unseen, passing the angelic hosts and all the hierarchies of heaven, we should see on the highest pinnacle of the Universe, the throne of the Father, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, the Son of Man, glorified with the same "glory which He had with the Father, before the world was," no less truly and completely man than in this scene, for "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day and for ever," still the one Mediator between God and man—and a merciful and faithful High-priest in things pertaining to God, "being in all things made like unto His brethren," that is as Alford points out "all things wherewith the present argument is concerned." Heb. 2.18 Greek Text (in loco).
**** Mark 13:32. "Neither the Son" is quoted as disproving this. It would be strange if one verse nullified a hundred. Fortunately we are not driven to this. There are different lines of interpretation. Dr. Shedd (Dogmatic Theology, Vol. I, p. 319) writes : "An official ignorance is meant. Augustine so explains. Christ as the Mediator was not authorized at that time to give information respecting the time of the final judgement." See in this connection 1 Cor. 2.2, "I determined not to know, etc." The verse must be taken with Acts 1.7. Here, admittedly, Christ was no longer in any supposed "kenosis condition," and yet He says, "The Father hath put the times and seasons into His own power," and, therefore, it did not belong to the Son to reveal.
HE IS COMING!
He is coming! He is coming!
Our long-looked-for, absent Lord!
He is coming for His people,
As He promised in His Word.
He is coming! He is coming!
Don't you feel that He is near?
He is on the very threshold,
Soon His voice will greet your ear.
He is coming! 0 what rapture!
Our beloved One is near.
He is coming! He is coming!
Soon His loving voice we'll hear.
He is coming! Are you ready?
Is your lamp all trimmed and bright?
Are you waiting for the morning?
Are you looking toward the light?
He is coming! He is coming!
Hark His footsteps drawing near!
How it thrills your very being,
As you list His voice to hear!
Lo, the eastern sky is glowing,
Soon the glorious day will break,
Soon He'll burst upon our vision;—
O, ye sleeping saints, awake!
Soon the "trump of God" will call us,
Soon we'll meet Him in the air,—
Him, the altogether lovely,
And the fairest of the fair.
He is coming! He is coming!
Cast the shades of night away!
He is coming! Our Beloved!
Dawns at last the glorious day.
"In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. Thus have I been twenty years in thy house."
— Genesis 31. 40,41.
One much greater than Jacob said, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it I will keep it night and day" (Isa 27.3). In both cases care is given night and day, but with what different results. Notwithstanding all Jacob's watchfulness he has to confess that some of his flock were "torn" and others were "stolen." The earthly shepherd could watch, but he could not keep. Christ is "able to keep." He could say, "Of them which Thou gavest Me, have I lost none."
— F. E. Turner.
Samuel among them that call upon His Name. Psalm 99 : 6
Samuel was a man who could pray and get answers from God. The Philistines were stirred up to oppose Israel. "Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him" (1 Sam. 7:9), It is needless to add that the enemy was defeated. Samuel was God's mouthpiece to His people, and the people's intercessor with God. He answered the desire of his mother who, seeing the ruin of the testimony, did not despair, but rather laid hold on God that He would raise up a man to be a link between Himself and His people.
—P. J. Pell
O Thou by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way !
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod:
Lord, teach us how to pray!
The fear of man bringeth a snare. Proverbs 29 : 25
Bishop Latimer, having displeased the king, was commanded to preach again and recant his former sermon. At that time he prefaced his message with: "Hugh Latimer, do you know this day to whom you speak? Even the high and mighty monarch, who can take your life if you offend! Therefore, take heed how you speak." But he proceeded: "Hugh, Hugh, do you know upon whose message you are sent? Even that Almighty God who can cast body and soul into hell forever. Therefore be sure that you deliver your message faithfully.