May/June 1989

Printer-friendly version
Contents

THE BLESSED HOPE
by D. M. Martin

VITAL VERITIES
by E. W. Rogers

THE PROPHECY OF JONAH
by E. R. Bower

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
by Anthony Orsini

THE MILLENNIUM
by J. E. Todd

DELIVERANCE
by Charles Stanley

LEVI-AN HOLY PRIESTHOOD
by H. Shackcloth

THE TABERNACLE
by T. Comforth Taws

MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by J. Milne

QUOTES


THE BLESSED HOPE

by D. M. MARTIN, Dorset

An Introduction — THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH

As it is becoming every day more manifest that we are in the midst of perilous times (2 Tim. 3) it behoves the Lord's people to be increasingly occupied with the expectation of His return.

It is now very many years since the cry was raised, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him." (Matt. 25.6). Up till that time the Church had fallen into profound slumber, drugged by the influence of the world, so that the doctrine of the Lord's return for His saints was forgotten, ignored, or denied. We are in a similar condition now in 1987. But when, through the action of the Spirit of God, this cry went forth, thousands were startled from their sleep, and, trimming their lamps, went forth once again to meet the Bridegroom. For a season they lived daily in the hope of His return; and so mightily did this hope act upon their lives and hearts that it detached them from everything — every association, habit and practice — unsuitable to Him for whom they waited, and kept their loins girt, and their lights burning, as those who were waiting for their Lord. (Luke 12.35,36). But time went on; and while the doctrine of the Second Advent has been apprehended and taught by increasing numbers, and while the truth has been undoubtedly the support and consolation of many godly souls, it is yet a question if large numbers of the saints of God have not lost its freshness and power. For the following is patent to all observers — (i) the standard of separation is becoming lower and lower, (ii) worldli-ness is on the increase, (iii) saints are permitting themselves associations out of which they have professedly come. Many of us, therefore, are in danger once more of falling asleep, even when the doctrine of the hope is upon our lips.

If this be so — and it is the subject of common remark — the time has come when the truth on this subject needs to be pressed home again upon the hearts and consciences of believers. For the Lord is at hand, and He desires that His people should be on the watch-tower, longing and eagerly waiting of His return. Surely therefore it is high time to awake out of sleep, knowing that our salvation is nearer than when we believed, "For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." (Heb. 10.37). And He Himself has said "Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: truly I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." (Luke 12.37). In the previous remarks it has been assumed, and now we proceed to prove from the scriptures, that the coming of the Lord Jesus IS THE DISTINCTIVE HOPE OF THE CHURCH. This might be done from almost every book of the New Testament. We shall cite enough to place the subject beyond a doubt.

First, our Lord Himself prepared His disciples to maintain, after His departure, the expectation of His return. "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom His Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when HE cometh, shall find so doing. Truly I say unto you, that He shall make him ruler over all His goods." (Matt. 24.45-47). He then proceeds to characterize the evil servant as one who should say, "My Lord delayeth His coming," etc. (v.48), and indicates the punishment into which such a one should fall. The next two parables — that of the virgins, to which reference has been made, and that of the talents — teach distinctly the same lesson, and the more forcibly from the fact that the virgins who fell asleep, and the servants who received the talents, are the same who are dealt with respectively on the Lord's return.

The same instruction is found in Mark's gospel. "Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. (For the Son of man is) as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." (Mark 13.33-37). In the gospel of Luke the same truth is repeated again and again. We have quoted one striking passage. (Luke 12.35-37). Another may be added: "He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and gave them ten pounds, and said unto them Occupy till I come." (Luke 19.12,13). Then as in Matthew, we find him coming and examining the servants as to their use of the money entrusted to them. (v.15).

One scripture from John's gospel will suffice. The disciples were plunged into sorrow at the prospect of their Lord's departure from them. How does He meet their soul's need? He says, "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you. I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF: that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14.1-3). The four gospels therefore unite in distinct testimony to the return of the Lord for His people, the proclamation of this event constitutes their hope during His absence. We pass now to the Acts and the epistles.

Turning first of all to the Acts, what do we find? After His resurrection, the Lord had appeared to His disciples, "being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." (1.3). The time having come for His ascension, He led them out as far as Bethany (Luke 24.50) and when He had ended His instructions, "while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven, as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall SO COME in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." (Acts 1.9-11). Could any language be more precise? or, construed by the circumstances, be more significant? or we may add, less likely to be misunderstood? They had seen their Lord depart from them. He was taken up, and they watched His receding form until a cloud intercepted Him from their gaze; and while they behold in silent amazement, they receive the message that the One they had seen depart should return in like manner (and therefore) in Person as they had seen Him go into heaven. The wonder is, that with these distinct words the Church could ever have lost the hope of the Lord's return. The evidence of the epistles is no less clear and decided. For additional evidence, look up the following references:— 1 Corinthians. 1.7; Phil. 3.20; 1 Thessalonians. 1.9,10; 2.19; 3.13; 4.15-18; 2 Thessalonians. 1.7; 2.1; 3.5; Titus 2.13; Hebrews 9.28; James 5.7,8; 1 Peter 1.7,13; 2Peter 3; 1 John 3.2; Revelation 3.11; 22.7,12,20.

Although these are only some of the scriptures which might be used as examples, it will at once be seen how extensively the subject is dealt with in the word of God; on examination it will be discovered that this is because it is bound up, interwoven, with the very essence of Christianity. Take away the hope of the Lord's return, and you at once rob Christianity of its true character. It cannot be too strongly asserted, that it is not a doctrine to be accepted or rejected at pleasure, but that it is part and parcel of the truth itself, connected with the calling and place of the believer, their relationship to Christ, and their future blessedness.

Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they were converted to wait for God's Son from heaven; and every believer is born again for the same reason. To be without this hope and expectation, therefore, is to be ignorant of the believers portion in Christ.

It follows from this that the normal attitude of every believer is that of waiting for Christ. No, more, everyone brought upon Christian ground has this characteristic, though they may be all unconscious of it; for the Word says that the ten virgins, five of whom were foolish, took their lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. Their profession therefore — even though they had no oil — was that they were waiting for Christ. Is this then the attitude of the reader? Are YOU waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus? Is this the one blessed hope that cheers your soul along your pilgrim path? Are your eyes ever fixed upon the Bright and Morning Star? Or are you absorbed in present things that, like the five foolish virgins, you have grown heavy and fallen asleep? If, alas! it be so, let the words, "Behold, I come Quickly", "Behold the Bridegroom", rouse you from your slumbers, even while there is delay, lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. Or perhaps you know the truth of His coming. BUT the question, beloved reader is, Are you WAITING FOR Christ? To know the doctrine is one thing; but it is quite another to be living hourly and daily in the hope of the Lord's return. If you are waiting, your affections are all concentrated on Him whom you expect; you are apart from everything which is not according to His mind and will; you are free from all that nature holds dear; And from a full heart you can respond to His announcement of His speedy coming, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Rev. 22.20).

Top of Page

VITAL VERITIES (3)

by E. W. ROGERS

Our Lord and His Bible

After our Lord Jesus was raised from the dead, He opened the Scriptures to the understanding of His people revealing Himself to them in "the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets." This was, then, and still is, the recognised division of the Old Testament Scriptures which constituted our Lord's Bible. Obviously, in the days of His flesh, none of the New Testament was written.

The fact that the Lord Jesus taught, obeyed, read and explained the Scriptures is, in itself, a certificate of the highest authority of their validity and accuracy. He was eternal in His Being, and therefore was at the time when all the recorded events happened. He, in Manhood, was omniscient and, therefore, knew whether or not the records were accurate, distorted, exaggerated or fabricated. Since His endorsement of the Old Testament Scriptures is absolutely unequivocal they may, with good reason, unhesitatingly be accepted by all in their entirety.

The allegation that the Lord Jesus shared the ignorance common in His day is blasphemous, and cuts right across the Deity of our Lord.

HE SIMULTANEOUSLY WAS GOD AND MAN

His affirmations concerning the Old Testament Scriptures are, therefore, the competent assertion of their reality by One entitled to speak, and were in no way assertions made according to the alleged ignorance of His day.

The human parents of our Lord Jesus were, each of them, devout adherents of the Scriptures. Mary's Song in Luke 2 is a wonderful example of a Spirit-given extempore utterance made up of extracts from sundry parts of the Old Testament such as Genesis, Job, Samuel, The Psalms, Isaiah and Micah. This maiden's mind was stored with the Scriptures, the result of a diligence exerted before domestic duties made increasing demands on her time.

Joseph's cogitations by reason of the difficulties in which he found himself concerning the birth of Mary's child {i.e. whether to put her away or to make her a public example) were not the product of his own ideas, but the alternatives prescribed in the Holy Scriptures by which alone he desired to be guided. Would God that all Christian homes were marked by such Bible-reading, -memorising, -conversant and -obedient parents!

At the age of twelve our Lord was found in the Temple, with the doctors, hearing them and asking questions, such was His keenness for Bible knowledge. To His parents, who were disturbed because they had lost Him, He said, "Wist ye not that I must be in the things of My Father?" or paraphrased, "Are you surprised that I am reading, meditating in, and enquiring concerning the Scriptures which are My Father's things." Oh, that God would stir up the youth of our day to adopt a similar attitude despite the exacting claims on time which studies, duties and business make. "I must get at my Bible" — "I must hear my Father's voice" — "I must learn my Father's will" should be the attitude of all His children.

This is essential, for it is acquaintance with the Scriptures that furnishes a safeguard in the hour of temptation. This the Lord Jesus proved. Thrice to the devil He said "It is written." If the devil in his subtlety misquoted Scripture the Lord bound Himself by "It is written," knowing full well that no two scriptures contradict each other or justified opposing courses. He was the true David who took out of the brook of Scripture the five smooth stones of the Pentateuch (the Law) and slinging but one of them (Deuteronomy) stunned the devil (who "departed from Him for a season") only later to take his own sword (death) and by it to slay him.

To the Father's voice, in the Scriptures of truth, He opened "His ear morning by morning" (Isa. 50). In His heart, as the unbroken tables of stone in the ark, He hid God's word that "He should not sin against Him." "By the words of God's lips He kept Him from the paths of the destroyer." He was the "godly man" who "meditated in God's law day and night." Finally, when on the cross, having regard to the accomplishment of all the things that had afore been written concerning His sufferings, He cried, "It is finished," and on the completion of the foreshadowed word concerning Himself He lay His head down to rest.

If the Scriptures played such an important part in the private life of the Lord Jesus, they no less figured in His public ministry.

In Nazareth, His native city, he read the word of God reverently (He stood up) and intelligently (He knew where to finish the reading for His immediate purpose) and enforced His comments thereon by citing Old Testament examples which, He made plain, were historical records and not mythical compositions. To the dead rich man in Hades it is said concerning his living brothers, "They have Moses and the Prophets — let them read them," for they are more powerful than the visible resurrection of a man from the dead. To the Pharisees He says, "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me." -He certified the origin of the human race by sayingi that in the beginning "God created male and female." Thus He-branded the evolution theory as a lie. He speaks of the flood, Lot's wife, Jonah and the fish, Daniel the prophet, Abel's sacrifice, Moses and the bush, etc., etc., as historical events, the inspired record of which was altogether trustworthy. It was He who said

"THE SCRIPTURES CANNOT BE BROKEN"

—it all hangs together, is a united whole, binding on its readers from which they cannot free themselves.

Of what use indeed is he, either to God or man, who assuming the place of a public preacher, has misgivings concerning the accuracy of the Scriptures? If one of its links is unsound then the whole chain is broken.

But not only did the Lord Jesus use the Scriptures for Himself personally, and to the outside world, He also expounded them to His own followers.

To His disciples He explained that He had not come "to destroy the law and the prophets," but contrariwise "to fulfill." The Sermon on the Mount must not be read as if it was a setting aside of the Old Testament and the bringing in of a new teaching: it is the amplification, the filling up of that which had been sketchily furnished before. After His resurrection, He expounded the true meaning of the Old Testament to His own. He was the centre of that book and the key to its proper understanding. In Him the types had their fulfilment. Adam's coat, Abel's lamb, Noah's ark, the son on the altar, Joseph in the pit, the blood on the door post, the animal on the altar, David in the valley, etc., etc., all become plain when Christ is known: all is dark and without significance when Christ is unknown. By the presence of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer the book becomes "opened" and its inner meaning is available for the soul's enjoyment.

That a further volume was to be added to the Old the Lord foreshadowed. "When the Spirit is come He will bring "all things to your remembrance" which He has now done in the gospels: "He will take of my things and show them to you" which is effected in the Epistles: and He will "show you things to come" which we have in the Revelation.

Top of Page

"THE PROPHECY OF JONAH"

by E. R. Bower.

No. 4 — CHAPTER 3

V.1. "And the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the second time." Not everyone has a second opportunity. The 'second times' of the Scripture are worth a study. "God speaketh once, yea twice."

V.2,3. Obedience follows the chastisement of God. Nineveh was an exceedingly great city (great to God) of three days journey. Great in size: great in wickedness; great in potential.

V.4. "Yet forty days". The forty days of probation (cf. the flood (Gen. 7.17; 8.6); the Exodus (Num. 14.33); Elijah (1 Kin. 19.8); the Temptation (Matt. 4.2); Moses (Acts 7.30); and other examples of probation) were sufficient to bring a city to repentance.

VV. 5-9. "So the people of Ninevah believed ... who can tell if God will turn ..." Thus to a 'divinely great city' came a reluctant messenger with the word of the Lord. A short compelling message setting out the impending fate of Ninevah. Taking the story as it stands recorded for us, there is no questioning as to the source of the message. The messenger and his message were recognised as coming from a God outside of their polytheism. From man's point of view Nineveh did not have a conscience about its evil ways or its violence, but God, as always, sees the heart. Beneath its surface Nineveh was seemingly well aware that its way of life was contrary to Divine law. In the words of Rom. 1, "that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them ... so that they are without excuse." The king of Nineveh recognised that there must be no half measures in their repentance. There must be a "mighty cry." What a change would be seen in our present world if only the nations would clothe themselves with the sackcloth of a true repentance! "ALL have sinned"; ALL must repent.

"And God saw their works" (v.10). "Faith without works is dead" (Jam. 2.20). The message of the Baptist was repentance, and John was followed by our Lord. The "greater than Jonah" was there present with that generation who were, despite outward appearance, "evil and adulterous." Cleansed once, yet in a worse state than the first. And the word fell upon deaf ears (Luke 12). The light they had was darkness to them. (Luke 11.32-36). Truly the men of Nineveh would rise in the judgement... because they repented.

V.10. "And God saw their works . .. and God repented . ..". Such is the longsuffering of God. When man turns, God turns.

(to be continued).

Top of Page

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The seed is God's Word, the sowing time is now, and the result is sure.
When a man's temper gets the best of him, it reveals the worst of him.
Like steel . . . when a man loses his temper he becomes worthless.
Where God's finger points, God's hand will make the Way.
Behind our darkest clouds the sun of God's grace is always shining.
An obstacle cannot stop you if you keep your eyes on the goal.
No matter how much applause sin may draw—it's still sin.

—Anthony Orsini, U.S.A. ,

Top of Page

The Millennium - (1)

by J. E. TODD

THE COVENANT

The word 'millennium' is not a scriptural term, although it does describe a scriptural doctrine. The term is made up from two Latin words, milk meaning a thousand and annus meaning a year, therefore millennium means a thousand years.

The doctrine thus described is that at His second advent the Lord Jesus Christ will be accepted by Israel as their Messiah and He will reign over the whole world from Jerusalem for a thousand years. This thousand years of the Lord's reign is spoken of in the Revelation 20.1-6. Here we are told that the thousand year period begins with the resurrection of the righteous and concludes with the resurrection of the rest of mankind for judgement (20.7-15).

It is said that the millennium is mentioned only in one place in scripture, that is here in Revelation 20 (six times).  Certainly this is the only statement as to its length, but we intend to show that the millennium is one of the great themes of scripture.'

There is recorded in the book of Genesis the covenant which God made with Abraham (Gen. 12.1-7). Indeed the repeated references to this covenant, with its reaffirmations to Isaac and Jacob, make it the main theme of the book of Genesis, being referred to at length no less than fifteen times. (12.1-7; 13.14-18; 15.1-21; 17.1-27; 18.1-19; 22.15-19; 24.7; 26.1-5; 28.1-4; 28.10-22; 32.12; 35.9-15; 46.1-4; 48.1-4 and 50.24).

This agreement (covenant) was that as Abraham believed and obeyed God by leaving his country then God would make of his descendants a great nation (12.2), which was to become the nation of Israel; and through that nation to bring a blessing to all mankind (12.3), which was to be the gospel (Gal. 3.8); and that nation would possess the land of Canaan (12.7). Abraham fulfilled his part of the covenant by obeying God (12.4) and believing God (15.6).

It is to be noted that this is called an everlasting covenant (17.7,13,19). It cannot be broken or abolished. Abraham has fulfilled his part by his obedience (26.5) and now has died, therefore God must keep his part. This means that the nation of Abraham's descendants cannot be wiped out; though many have been the attempts to do so. Also that the land of Canaan will be their's to the end of history (17.8; 48.4).

It is also to be noted that the nation would produce kings (17.6; 35.11), to be from the tribe of Judah (49.10). This part of the covenant was explained when David, the king of God's choice, was established over Israel. This expansion of the Abrahamic covenant is recorded in 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17. 'And thine house and thine kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever' (2 Sam. 7.16). This declares that not only would the kingdom continue for ever, but also that a king of David's line would reign over that kingdom for ever. This is confirmed by the prophet Jeremiah, 'Thus saith the LORD; if my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them' (Jer. 33.25,26, see also verses 19-24).

Hence the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the birth of this king, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9.6,7). Hence the announcement of the angels before his birth, 'He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of David for ever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end' (Luke 1.32,33).

Thus the sum total of God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David is that the descendants of Jacob (Israel) would dwell in the land of Canaan, reigned over by a king of David's house, while ever the earth exists.

Top of Page

Deliverance

(A few thoughts on Romans Chs. 7 & 8)

by Charles Stanley

The doctrine of the believer's being dead to the law; and his being married to another who has been raised up from among the dead, as the alone source of fruit-bearing, is set forth in the first six verses of chapter 7; afterwards, we have a case supposed of the experience of a quickened soul under law struggling for deliverance. This deliverance is stated by one who has been delivered. Practice follows deliverance.

The person supposed to be here speaking has life, for,

  1. He knows that "the law is spiritual"—that is, not merely applicable to outward conduct, but to the inward feelings and desires; and that he is fleshly, sold under sin—the slave of sin.
  2. He declares that the law is good, and resolves to be good, and to do good, but cannot.
  3. He delights in the law after the inward man, and says the commandment is holy, just and good. It is because his understanding is changed he consents to the law that it is good; because his will is changed, to will is present with him for good; and because he has a heart now according to God, he delights in the law of God according to the inward man. This reveals his state, and that he is born of God; but the context shews also that he is occupied neither with Christ nor with the Holy Ghost, but with self.

But though he has life, he is really under law, and, through his struggling with the law, learns,

  1. That in him (his flesh) no good dwells. (V. 18),
  2. That sin dwells in him. (V.20).
  3. That he has no power to perform that which is good, so that he is brought into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members. He finds that he is powerless to overcome indwelling evil by efforts of law-keeping. Three profitable lessons, but often learnt through deep distress and humiliation of spirit. And having found out by experience, though painfully, that sin dwells in him, that his whole Adam nature is sinful, with no good in it, and that he has no power over it, he is truly "wretched," and cries out for a deliverer to bring him out of it: "Who shall deliver me?" Then he finds God has already done this for him, through Jesus Christ our Lord; and, believing this, he thanks God. He now has soul-deliverance, and waits for the deliverance of his body, for God's purpose is that we shall "be conformed to the image of his Son." He may have received forgiveness of sins before, but now he finds he is delivered from sin and the law by the death of Christ, and from that time he has a new experience. No doubt, among many other profitable lessons, such learn that experience never gives peace with God, but that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ always does.

In Romans 3-7. God is the Justifier of the ungodly, the Reconciler of His enemy—man, and the Deliverer from sin. The law, instead of justifying, condemned; instead of reconciling, gives the knowledge of sin; and instead of delivering, brings him in guilty, and under the curse. Yet the law is "holy," because, instead of excusing sin, it exposes sin; the law is "just," because it judges even the motions of sin, as well as sins committee; and the law is "good" if a man use it lawfully. Our sins are forgiven on the ground of Christ having died for us, but we are delivered from that evil principle in us (sin) by death, for Christ having "died unto sin once," we have died with Him, and are now alive unto God in Him who is alive again, and that for evermore.

As to his experience now—

  1. His eye is off self and the law, he looks to God in Christ, and becomes occupied with all that divine grace has accomplished for him in that work. Before he knew deliverance, it was self-occupation, "I" and "me"—but now he is before God, thanking Him for what He has done through our Lord Jesus Christ. This produces an amazing change in the state of soul.
  2. He has God's thoughts, instead of his own about himself. He now knows that he has two natures of very opposite qualities— "that which is born of the flesh," and "that which is born of the Spirit:" the former he sees as having been judged by God on the cross; the latter he knows is a new creation in Christ, in which God always views him. He is aware that both these natures are unchanging in their moral qualities, for "that which is born of the flesh, is flesh," and "that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit." Both these natures are in the believer; the one acts out what is "only evil," the other what is for the glory of God. In looking at himself now,-he takes sides with God, and, recognising these two natures, he concludes, "So then with the mind (or new nature) I myself serve the law of God," but "with the flesh (or old nature) the law of sin." (V.25).
  3. He has done with himself as to having any standing in the flesh before God, and as to confidence in it; for God has given him a new state, and put him on entirely different ground before Him. Not only is he forgiven, but God has delivered him from his old fleshly state, and given him a new place before Him. He is no longer in Adam, but in Christ Jesus: not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwells in him. This is a real deliverance, and, believing God's testimony concerning it, we have, by the Spirit, the comfort and power of it; for "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." (8.1). What a wide contrast now as to state and standing, and what comfort and rest the soul has that simply receives God's testimony!
  4. He has power over sin. If he thinks of sin in the flesh, he remembers that God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. It is gone thus for ever to faith, under the judgment of God. If he considers that in his flesh no good dwells, he knows that his standing before God now is not in the flesh, but in Christ Jesus. And now, instead of being helpless as to sin and its captivity, he finds he has power to walk in the light, as God is in the light, to resist the devil, and to overcome the world. He knows that by the gift of the Holy Ghost he is connected with a triumphant Christ. He is conscious of being set free, and that SIN is no longer his master; and, looking up, he can say, that "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the law of sin and death." (V.2). Thus, having a new nature, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, the two great requirements of the law are fulfilled in him—love to God, and love to man; though he is not under law, and he walks "not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom. 8.1-4).

In the scriptures we have thus far looked at, it may be well to observe, that there are four laws brought before us:

  1. "The law of God," the demands of which even a quickened soul finds himself powerless to answer. (7.22).
  2. "The law of my mind," the resolution of a quickened soul to obey God. (V.23).
  3. "The law of sin and death," the principle of enmity and antagonism of the natural man to God, of in subjection to His will; as another has said, "that deadly principle which ruled in us before as alive in the flesh."
  4. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus"—the principle and power of that new life given us in Christ by the Holy Ghost, who now dwells in us.

The soul thus brought into liberty, or set free by divine grace, is delivered in three ways:

  1. By death. Our old man is crucified with Christ, for God condemned "sin in the flesh" in the death of His own spotless and well-beloved Son. We have thus "died unto sin," "have died with Christ," and are clear from the law, having died to that in which we were held; and can a dead man have lusts or sin?
  2. As "not under law, but under grace," sin shall not have dominion over us. We are now "in Christ Jesus," brought into the full and abiding favour of God. Faith knows no other position. And will this lead us to sin? Shall we not rather have our fruit unto holiness? (Rom. 6).
  3. By the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, bringing us into a new order of things—new life, new position and state. Will, then, this new life and power in the Holy Ghost lead us to sin; or shall we thus be strengthened to resist the devil, and to abstain from all evil?

We are set free, then,

  1. As to conscience, by the death of Christ, in whom God condemned "sin in the flesh."
  2. As to state and position, as not in the flesh, but in Christ; and the Spirit dwelling in us, and not under law, but under grace.
  3. As to experience, sin no longer has dominion over us, but having love in our hearts to God and man, and power by the Spirit to overcome, we find the mind of the Spirit to be life and peace.
  4. As to practice, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

What a deliverance! What praise and worship it calls forth! What never-ending cause of thanksgiving to God! Surely we may say to the disconsolate believer—"Look off unto Jesus, and sorrow no more."

The comfort of this deliverance we have "in believing." Our power for the enjoyment of it, and for life and godliness, is the Holy Ghost, and we are told that if we are led of the Spirit, we are not under law; and if we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Before deliverance it was all "I," "me," and "my," but after deliverance, CHRIST becomes the object of faith, and the Holy Ghost the power for holiness. We can therefore do all things through Christ which strengthened us. As to the Spirit, we may observe that—

  1. He gives us "life in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8.2).
  2. He dwells in us as a divine Person—the Spirit that raised up Jesus from among the dead, and shall "quicken your mortal bod; ies." The Holy Ghost Himself dwells in our bodies. (V.11).
  3. He is our power to "mortify the deeds of the body." Observe, it does not say "the body," but, "the deeds of the body." (V.13).
  4. He is "the Spirit of adoption," to make us know we are God's children. He forms affections and thoughts in us suited to such a relationship, leads us, and "whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (V.15).
  5. He is the "first-fruits of the Spirit," because, by-and-by, the Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh. (V.23).
  6. He is the Helper of our infirmities in prayer, and makes intercession for us. (V.26).
  7. He teaches us to wait for the redemption of our body. (V.23). Thus we have brought before us something of the power that works in a delivered soul. Ought we not, then, to "abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost"?

In the old-creation line of things, we have sin, flesh, death, sufferings, groanings, and infirmities, often struggling under law; but in the new creation we have deliverance from sin, life in the Spirit, thanksgiving, peace; we are in Christ, and the Spirit in us— all things working together for our good—are more than conquerors through every trouble, "are not under law, but under grace," having no condemnation, and knowing no separation.

But be it remembered, that, though so blessedly delivered, and walking in the Spirit, we can never forget that the flesh is in us; but the flesh is not us, for we are in Christ, and are not in the flesh before God. Yet we never lose the sense that in us, that is in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing; we know what the conflict between the two natures is, and find our communion with the Father interrupted the moment we trust the flesh, and walk in it. Besides this, the delivered soul groans—

  1. As having a mortal body: for "we that are in this tabernacle do groan." "In this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven"—our glorified body. He knows that he has a "mortal body," liable to disease and pain. (2 Cor. 5; Rom. 8.11).
  2. Groanings within. "Ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of the body." (Rom. 8.23). This is more than suffering in our bodies; for, having the Spirit, the affections and thoughts are according to Christ, the suffering and rejected One, who is coming, not only for the redemption of our body, but to bring even this groaning creation into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
  3. Unutterable groanings in prayer, for "the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

How many groans the Lord Jesus will hush when He comes again! How blessed is the thought that when Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, we also shall be manifested with Him in glory! (Col. 3.4). Meanwhile may our hearts by taken up with Him, stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has made us free, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God!

Top of Page

LEVI - AN HOLY PRIESTHOOD

by H. Shackcloth

Part I

The third son of Jacob, Levi headed a family in Israel which had the distinction among the tribes of being called of God to the priesthood, with its many responsibilities, especially those relating to the Tabernacle and later the Temple. (Gen. 29.34).

They were said to be 'separated unto Him' and as a result, unlike the other tribes, were given no territorial possession in Canaan, and were exempt from all Civic and Military duties; in spite of this, there was not much that occurred in Old Testament times which was not influenced in some way by this Theocratic order. Judah, the next son, also stood in a unique relationship to God, but for a different reason. (See footnote).

As a direct result of the 'fall' through Adam's disobedience it became necessary for God to institute some means of reconciliation between man and Himself if the communion enjoyed in Eden were to be re-established. The first tentative steps towards this end are to be seen in the early sacrifices in the book of Genesis. No sooner had man severed his relationship with God, than God responded by requiring substitutionary sin offerings by way of atonement; the only other" sacrifices which are mentioned at that time were the burnt offerings which, unlike the sin offerings, represented a voluntary response to God on the grounds of His deliverance and reconciliation. In this way God's demands in the sin offerings and man's response in the burnt offerings established a pattern as seen later in all the Levitical offerings. The 'sweet savour' of the burnt offerings remind us that this was to be the way God would express His satisfaction. (Gen 8.21). We may be sure these early worshippers understood by God's statement, that the woman's seed who was to bruise the serpent's head, would be His only begotten Son. (Gen. 22.8).

It is clear from the records of God's dealings with man that He devised His own means7 to -instruct him. The Divine tides for example were revealed one at a time as some new experience of God was made known. God's plan of redemption with all that it entailed was taught first to Moses and then to the people by the unique 'pattern' of heavenly things revealed to His servant. *

This we have come to know as the Levitical priesthood outlined in Exodus and the book which bears Levi's name, i.e. Leviticus. • The leading themes from these books are as follows :

  1. Man was provided with the means by which his moral character might be made to conform to his Creator's, who says, 'Be ye holy, for I am holy'. Leviticus 20.17.
  2. Communion with God was to be restored typically by means of the tabernacle and the priesthood. The tent was to occupy the central position in the Camp, and the mercy seat above the ark of the, covenant was said by God to be man's meeting place with Himself in the words, "There I will meet with thee and commune with thee'. Exodus 25.22.
  3. A comprehensive system of sacrificial offerings was ordered with the essential directive 'It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul'. Leviticus 17.11.
  4. Representation between God and man was made possible through the priesthood, which represented man to God and God to man.

'He spake by the prophets'. Hebrews 1.1.

  1. A calendar of feasts commencing each year with the Passover, and ending with the Feast of Tabernacles illustrated God's plans for Israel and the church during the entire period of their existence from the original Passover to the future 'day of God'. Included among the Feasts was the Day of Atonement on which day Israel could be reassured of God's 'forbearance' during the coming year, as the people anxiously awaited the re-appearance of the High Priest from the Holiest on that day. Leviticus 23.25,26; Hebrews 9.25-28.

The Levites special place in the nation of Israel is given in Numbers 1.47-53 where it will be seen that apart from some features of the tribe, already mentioned, they played a preserving role on behalf of the other tribes, 'that there be no wrath upon the congregation' V.53. This can only underline the importance to all humanity of those who know the secret of communion with God, as our Lord said of His disciples, 'Ye are the salt of the earth'. Matthew 5.13.

In the same way the Consecration of the Levites at the time of their initiation to the Priesthood (Numbers 8) has valuable spiritual lessons. Their cleansing by the water of purifying would suggest a life which is blameless in the sight of men. The special meal and sin ('wave' margin) offerings have a deeper significance, 'the action of waving before the Lord, that which was presented to Him, seems to denote the passing to and fro before His eyes, so that He may scrutinize every part' —Soltau.

A further privilege which the Levites enjoyed was to be counted as Jehovah's first-born sons, instead of every first born in Israel as at the time of the first Passover in Egypt. Vv. 17,18.

The entire Levitical system is seen to call for man's obedience; the Sabbath breaker must be stoned to death; 'strange fire' introduced at the time of the offerings spelt instant retribution; secret sin in the camp of Israel brought judgement upon all. This plan would seem to have seriously misfired had not God revealed that 'the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh to God. Hebrews 7.19. The Levitical order was nothing more than a pattern ('type' 1 Corinthians 10.11 margin) of heavenly things for the teaching of the Church. Its useful purpose was to reveal to man that which God in His inscrutable wisdom knew from the beginning, that man was irrevocably lost, and utterly powerless to effect his own redemption. Once the Shekinah glory departed from the Temple in Ezekiel's day, no corrective ministry of the prophets proved able to bring about recovery; 'Lo Ammi' became the expression of God's fateful sentence (Hosea 1.9). Christ, the Messiah, was their only hope, and as Peter said, they 'killed the Prince of Life whom God hath raised from the dead' (Acts 3.15). In this manner they sealed their fate.

A fundamental truth which is becoming obscured today in some quarters, is that God is never seen to be operating through Israel and the Church at one and the same time, and it is now to this teaching from the New Testament we must turn to see how the Law must be regarded today.

Footnote—Those of our readers who may be interested in Bible Chronology may like to reflect that whilst all the other tribes can be traced through Jacob as far as the sojourn in Egypt, Levi and Judah can be traced through the Captivity (see Exodus 6.16-27) for the Levites, and Ruth 4.18 for Judah). The ten tribes are taken up again when the heads of the tribes were appointed (Numbers 1.5-16) the intervening generations not being recorded. That the Levitical priesthood and the Kingly and Messianic lives were singled out in this way from the beginning is a remarkable example of the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures.

Top of Page

THE TABERNACLE

Thoughts from John's Gospel

by T. Cornforth Taws (Leicester)

The primary purpose of God in ordaining the Tabernacle was, Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them' Ex. 25.8 and the instructions were given to Moses that it be made 'according to the pattern I shewed thee in the mount'.

When we turn to John's Gospel we find a profound statement regarding the incarnation of the Son of God, 'The Word was made flesh and dwelt (or tabernacled) among us' John 1.14, revealing once again God's desire to abide in the midst of His people for we read 'when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son' Gal. 4.4 even our Lord Jesus Christ, who was 'God manifest in the flesh' 1 Tim. 3.16 and He was called 'Emmanuel, God with us'. Matt. 1.23.

It is interesting to observe that in this same Gospel the Lord Jesus is revealed as fulfilling the various 'types' as set forth in the 'Tabernacle in the Wilderness'.

Note : Single items in the Tabernacle e.g. the Lampstand, usually refer to the Saviour; while multiples suggest the saints, e.g. the posts of the Court or the boards of the Tabernacle.

THE GATE OF THE COURT — compare John 14.6

This was the only entrance or way of approach into the precinct of the court and so opened the way into the Tabernacle proper i.e. into the presence of Jehovah, the Triune God who dwelt between the cherubim above the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.

Equally true today, there is only 'one way' whereby we can draw nigh unto God and that by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the type is fulfilled in John 14.6 where He said 'I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by Me'. He alone is 'the new and living way' Heb. 10.20 giving access 'into the Holiest of all' Heb. 9.8.

"THE GATE' was made of fine twined linen, reminding us of the purity and righteousness of our Saviour, while the colours of the needlework suggest the beauties of His Person and character; the blue suggests His divinity as Son of God; His humanity as the Son of Man is revealed as scarlet. When these two colours are blended together we have purple, speaking in type of our Saviour the 'one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus'. 1 Tim. 2.5.

THE LAVER— compare John 13.5

As we approach this interesting object, placed between the Brazen Altar and the Tabernacle, we notice very few details are recorded, only it was made of 'looking-glasses' (for self examination) and contained water for cleansing (from daily defilement).

When our Saviour washed the disciples' feet He emphasized that having been 'cleansed' (i.e. the altar) then to be 'bathed' (Newberry margin) was now necessary to be 'clean every whit' (John 13.10), in preparation for the Lord's service. We also, like the priests, must learn that God still requires His servants to be sanctified and cleansed 'with the washing of water by the word' Eph. 5.26 having clean hands to do His work and clean feet to walk in His ways. The prayer of the Lord for His own was 'sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth'. John 17.17.

As we now leave the court and by faith seek to enter the 'Holy Place' we notice that the 'Door of the Tabernacle' is of the same materials as the 'Gate of the Court', also the area is the same, only the shape is different (10 by 10 cubits compared with 20 by 5 cubits), suggesting that in our worship our approach to God is more limited, but with a 'higher' appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ and what He accomplished at Calvary and now exalted to 'the right hand of the throne of God'. Heb. 12.2.

THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK (Lampstand)— compare John 9.5

This beautiful article (made of pure gold) sheds its light throughout the Holy Place, illuminating its glory and splendour and giving light to the priests who served. The pure gold reminds us of His majesty and glory while the lamps speak of our Saviour's witness and testimony as He said, 'I am the light of the world' and now by His grace His light 'hath shined in our hearts' 2 Cor. 4.6 helping and guiding us in our praise and worship to

'Behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in His temple'. Psa. 27.

THE TABLE OF SHEWBREAD— compare John 6.35

Here, in type, the bread reminds us of the Son of God who declared 'I am the bread of life', while the table suggests the fellowship we enjoy with our Saviour day by day. cf. Psa. 23.5.

The bread, made of fine flour, presents the purity and holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ, while the absence of leaven reminds us of the impeccable character of His Person for 'in Him is no sin'. 1 John 3.5.

The twelve loaves, representing the tribes of Israel, provided food for the preists, so we who are called 'a kingdom of priests' should feed on Christ 'the Living Bread' John 6.51 for 'none but Christ can satisfy'. "We taste Thee, O Thou living bread, and long to feast upon Thee still".

THE ALTAR OF INCENSE (Golden Altar)— compare John 17

The contrast between the Brazen Altar and the Golden Altar is very interesting; the former was a place of death and suffering reminding us of the humiliation of our Lord, while the other, covered with gold and complete with a crown, suggests Christ's exaltation and intercession. It was a symbol of prayer and mediation, the incense ascending to God speaking of our Saviour, who as our Great High Priest 'ever liveth to make intercession', Heb. 7.25 even as He did 'in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications', Heb. 5.7 on behalf of His own as recorded in John 17.

Believing that the Son of God has entered 'into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us' Heb. 9.24 we are able to 'draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith' Heb. 10.22 knowing that with boldness we are able to 'offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually' Heb. 13.15.

THE ARK OF THE COVENANT— compare John 1.1

Within the veil, the Ark of the Covenant was a reminder of God's presence, accessible only by the High Priest once a year on the day of atonement, and not without the blood of a sacrifice, because 'the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest'. Heb. 9.8.

By faith, we now are able 'to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh'. Heb. 10.19,20.

"Within the holiest of all, cleansed by His precious blood, Before Thy throne Thy children fall, and worship Thee, our God."

The Ark reflects the deity and humanity of the Son of God. Being overlaid with pure gold it reminds us that The Word was with God and The Word was God' John 1.1, while the wood suggests His humanity, "The Word was made flesh', v.14.

The Mercy Seat was the place where God was willing to meet His people Ex. 25.22, revealing His holiness and divine righteousness, which was satisfied only by the sprinkled blood of the sacrifice (sin offering), typifying the blood of Christ "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood to declare His righteousness'. Rom. 3.25.

As our Great High Priest our Saviour is able 'to make reconciliation (propitiation R.V.) for the sins of the people' Heb. 2.17, reminding us as the Scripture declare 'HE is the propitiation for our sins'. 1 John 2.2 and 4.10.

In the Tabernacle the priestly work was never finished, but maybe the Mercy Seat would suggest the 'finished work' of our Lord Jesus Christ, because as our Great High Priest it is written 'But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God'. Heb. 10.12.

"There is a place where Jesus sheds The oil of gladness on our heads; A place than all besides more sweet— It is the blood-stained Mercy Seat."

Top of Page

MY CONVERSION AND CALL

by J. Milne, Venezuela

I being in the Way, the Lord led me. Genesis 24—27.

I, with four brothers, and five sisters were blessed with God fearing parents. They were brought under the influence of the Gospel preached in Belfast around 1920 by Mr. H. P. Nicholson. In those days many were led to Christ and gloriously saved.

From my birth on May 2nd, 1916, the word of God was often read in our home and with my brothers and sisters I attended the Sunday School in the Presbyterian, and Church of Ireland, and thought to gain a place in heaven by good works. I well recall family gatherings after attending church services when we sang hymns, that were used of God to impress us with the fact that we had God to meet. One was, "A few more years shall roll, a few more suns shall set, and we shall be with those who rest asleep within the tomb". Then "O my Lord prepare my soul for that great day, and wash me in thy precious blood and take my sins away". Another was "Rock of Ages cleft for me", the last verse struck terror to my soul, "When I soar through realms unknown, see Thee on thy judgement throne", caused me to fear meeting God.

In the year 1930 having lived for about eight years in Cloverhill, Co. Cavan, where my father was employed by the G.N.R. Railway Company, we went to live in Tates Avenue, Belfast. On a nice bright evening, a number of Christians from the Kilburn Street Mission Hall held an open air meeting. The brethren preached the gospel, and the sisters went from door to door with Gospel Tracts, and invitations. A sister called Rebekah Clarke, invited us to the gospel meetings, and when my father heard it was in connection with the Presbyterian Church, he willingly excepted it. We heard the gospel faithfully preached, and I got to know for the first time John 14.6. Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me". This word was like cold waters to a thirsty soul, and as I attended the meetings I learned my need of Christ and desired to be saved. One night I indicated by raising my hand that I desired to be saved. One of the brethren spoke to me and pointed out that the "Whosoever", meant me. He did not press me into a profession, but that night I professed to be saved. Soon I found out that I was not saved, as I had not the joy and peace that comes through believing. I desired more than ever to be saved, and made up my mind I would not raise my hand again to be spoken to. The night came when I was in deep soul trouble, as I feared to die in my sins and go down to hell. The enemy suggested that I put it off, also that I was thinking too seriously about the matter, when I felt that I was dying I could call upon God to save me. I had a great struggle as I sat on the seat, but in that dark hour the Holy Spirit brought before me 1 Peter 2.24. "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree". I thought how good of Christ to bear our sins, but I desired to know if He bore my sins? I then saw for the first time He died for me, and understood He was my substitute, and became answerable to God for my sin. Joy filled my soul, and soon other members of our family trusted Christ and became active members in the work. The Christians encouraged us to read the word of God, so I carried my New Testament and read it in the Tramcar, and if I arrived ten minutes before starting work I read and reread it. I learned to witness for the Lord in a personal way, but was two years saved before I took part in public prayer or preaching.

I was saved at the age of fourteen on a Lord's Day in Kilburn Street Mission Hall, in 1930, but I do not recall the month, as it was all new to me. Three years later when busy in Sunday School work and other activities for God, a Christian who became my brother-in-law, N. McKee by name, asked me if I knew that as believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I should be baptized. I said no, but if it was a command of God I was prepared to obey it. He gave me a number of verses to read, such as Matt. 28.19; Mark 16.15,16; Acts 2.41,42; Rom. 6 and others. I saw clearly it was commanded by the Lord Jesus, and practiced by the Christians of the New Testament. He encouraged my sister and I, to go and see how the Lord's people gathered to remember the Lord in Lower Windsor Assembly. We did, and will not soon forget the kindly manner by which we were received, and shown to the back seat where we observed with interest the godly order. After one month we expressed a desire to be baptized and to meet with the saints. A number of the elders heard our simple story of conversion, and arranged to baptize us on August 4th. We gathered to remember the Lord Jesus Christ the following Lord's Day, and have been in happy fellowship in the same Assembly since that time.

It was like a second conversion as the Bible became a new book to me. I read with interest to see if it were true that the brethren had chapter and verse to support all they preached and practiced. The more I read, the more I was convinced there was scripture to support nothing else but an Assembly gathered to the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, with saints, overseers and deacons. Phil. 1.1. It was a pleasure to attend the meetings and hear our beloved brethren Dr. W. Matthews, and Mr. Samuel Beattie with others open up the Holy Scriptures.

In those days quite a number of Christians by reading the Word of God, learned the truth, and gathered alone to the worthy Name and Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, outside the camp. Heb. 13.13. One, was a younger brother named Stanley Wishert, who left the Baptist after much exercise in prayer before God. He and I became close friends, and would meet together in the fields, (that later became Belvoir Park) behind his home in Miltown Village, to read the word of God and to pray for help and guidance. Stanley knew more than me, and helped me much in the reading of Nehemiah. We preached the gospel in the open air, and in many of the Assemblies in and around Belfast, when we travelled on our bicycles against storm, wind and rain.

The need of foreign lands was laid upon our hearts, very especially Stanley, became burdened about Africa, and Venezuela was laid upon my heart. I recall hearing Mr. B. Duglas, and Mr. W. Wills speak of the work in Venezuela, at the Easter Conference Belfast, in 1936, also Mr. S. Saword and the late W. Williams about 1939.

Venezuela was before me day and night, and I felt that God was speaking to me in my daily reading, also by other brethren. Mr. Tom Madill an honoured elder read in the prayer meeting, Ruth 2.9. "Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap," and spoke of the many needy fields in the world. Mr. J. Hutchinson ministered in Lower Windsor on Ps. 78.18-20 "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" He said, there may be someone in the meeting, and if you put your hand in the hand of God He will lead you to a distant land to serve Him". I thought it remarkable as I did not know Mr. Hutchinson, and I don't think he knew me.

The second world War commenced, and I thought I had lost my opportunity to go to Venezuela. I got married to Miss Georgina Donald, and together we learned quite a number of lessons that are needful, by those who would go forth to serve the Lord. One was a knowledge of Gods will for our lives, to know Him as a faithful God who answers prayer, and not to lean on the arm of flesh, with many others. I became concerned about my link with the Trade Union, and the unequal yoke, 2 Cor. 6.14. We prayed much about it, and spoke to some brethren about it, who thought it to be a necessary evil in life. After much prayer and having counted the cost as we had a little family, I sent in my resignation to the Union, and soon the shop Stewart, and convener came to see me. I was at this time employed on the Tool bench, in Short and Harland's Factory. They did a lot to convert me from the error of my way, as they thought, but failed. The result was the next day I lost my employment. I was more than ever cast upon God, Who did not let me down. He provided me with a better job the day following, with a higher salary and better conditions, and free from the unequal yoke and thus manifested His faithful care.

Venezuela was before me continually, and Jer. 1.7. "But the Lord said unto me — Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak". I thought, is it possible that the Lord will yet open the way for us to go to Venezuela? Mr. E. Fairfield to whom I had written concerning our exercise, returned to N. Ireland. He told us he had shown my letter to his fellow labourers in Venezuela, who said that we should be encouraged in our exercise. Sometime later he invited me to join him in gospel meetings in London Road, in Cregagh district Belfast, they continued for around eleven weeks. God gave the increase, and fruit remains to this day to the glory of Christ, after forty-four years.

Toward the close of 1946 doors were opening in different lands for those with an exercise to serve the Lord. I felt that I must get alone with God, and His word and know His will concerning our path. I asked Him to make it clear, so commenced reading Deut. Ch. 1 not knowing it's contents. The people suggested to Moses that men be sent to search out the land, and Moses said, "the saying pleased me well: so I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe. "Ten returned with an evil report, and discouraged their brethren and 2 with fruit, and a good report. Moses said, "Dread not, neither be afraid of them," and spoke of the Lord their God, what He did for them in Egypt, and in the Wilderness, "until ye came into this place, YET IN THIS THING YE DID NOT BELIEVE THE LORD YOUR GOD." I almost trembled when I saw in what they had failed, and that I was in danger of failing there to. I told the Lord tremblingly, I was willing to go to Venezuela if He opened the way. As I continued on my knees, three men were brought before me who had secret dealings with God concerning His will and way. Jacob in Gen. 31.3. when he knew God's will called for Rachel and Leah, and told them what God said to him. Their reply was, "whatsoever God hath said unto thee do." It is very important to have our partners with us in such a stept. I knew that I had the whole hearted fellowship of my dear wife. Moses was the second, who in the mountain of God, learned many things and the will of God for his life. Ex. 3.1,16; 4.29-31. He went and told the elders, and the people. We did the same, and one brother told us that they had been waiting for years for such news. They gave us the right hand of fellowship as did the whole Assembly, also four neighbouring Assemblies. Donegall Road, Kingsbridge, Finaghy, Apsley St. The third man was Nehemiah, who was the king's cupbearer in Babylon. He had prayed day and night for months, but the day had come when he would make his request. Nem. 1.6,11; 2.4,8. The king granted him his request according to the good hand of God upon him. In those dark years of war and for some time after, no one could travel very far without permission from the authorities.

It was suggested by one brother, the night that it was made known to the brethren our exercise, that a circular letter be sent to the Assemblies to inform them of our going forth to serve the Lord in Venezuela. I asked them not to do it, but to let God work, if it was His will for us to go to Venezuela He would supply the need. We praise God that he did, as we left Belfast, on February 1 lth with our little family of two, and arrived in Venezuela on May 7th, 1947. We have been tested again and again in different ways, but our God has proved to be a Faithful covenant-keeping God. It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in princes. Ps. 118.9.

Top of Page

Quotes

Tune : Aurelia — 7-6

Our God we think of Calvary Our Saviour suffering there. Condemned by those that gathered All their reproach did bear. No words against transgressors Who cursed the Lord that bled. The crowd expressed their hatred Against One they wanted dead.

The scorn of men deriding

Had long since reached its peak,

When contrary to nature

Created orbs are bleak.

Those wicked men at Calvary

Are silenced as He dies

And the heavens remain darkened

As heavenward He cries.

In His life the Heavens opened God's gracious voice we hear Declaring all His wonders And to His heart how dear. Some men received Him gladly. And some His worth extolled Now what God does in judgement No mortal eyes behold.

Affliction came to Israel

As punishment for sin

Their glory stripped, men wondered

Why God's fierce wrath was seen

"Forsook their God" the answer

For Israel's lonely day

"No comfort and no mercy"

We hear the heathen say.

On Calvary the Lord was suffering God's anger against sin Yet His holy life revealing That no sin belonged to Him. Then why were heavens darkened? And why the silence cold? God hath the Christ forsaken Those lonely three hours told.

Our God we do adore Thee He sustained in full — our load The curse for sin — He bore it As it had been foretold And yet the more we praise Thee That in His lonely hour Those who did well esteem Him Allowed Him sin to bear.

— J. Whitmarsh


"THERE AM I IN THE MIDST"

Matthew 18.20

A little company of Russian peasants had met for worship, and while their gathering was proceeding suddenly the door was flung open and there entered an agent of the secret police with a body of men. "Take these people's names" he commanded. The names were written down. One old man stopped him and said, "There is one name you have not got." The officer said in surprise "I assure you, you are mistaken. I have them all." The peasant insisted that one name was missing from his list. "Well, we'll prove it. We'll count again.—Thirty!—you see," said the officer, "I have them all, every one!"

But still the peasant persisted "There is one name you haven't got."

"Who is it then?" asked the officer.

"The Lord Jesus Christ," was the answer. "He is here."

"Ah!" answered the officer, "That is a different matter."

—Selected.


EPIGRAM

In worldly ambition men constantly say
That where there's a will there is always a way;
O Lord, be our maxim more excellent still—
"There is surely Thy way where there is not a will."

E. L. Bevir.

Top of Page