Outlining the Book of Revelation
My Conversion to God
By Wm. Bunting.
THE TEACHING OF A-MILLENNIALISM
TO examine this teaching in detail, point by point, would be impossible within the limits of a magazine article. Since, however, there has been a resurgence of A-Millennialism in recent years, and simple souls may be misled by its specious arguments, it is felt that some warning against its unscriptural views are timely. Much has been written to combat the Tribulation Theory, but very little, in this country, at any rate, to expose the errors of A-Millennialism. We shall therefore look at some of its principal tenets in the light of God’s Word. That many who hold this teaching are sincere believers and otherwise sound in the faith, must not blind our eyes to its insidious dangers.
It is well to remember, of course, that irrespective of what prophetic view we accept, it will have its difficulties. Indeed, if we with our limited capacities could fully understand the Bible, it would not be a Divine Book. For how can the finite comprehend the infinite? When knotty points arise, or objections obtrude themselves, however, we should remember the famous dictum of Butler : “If a fact is once settled, objections cannot unsettle it, for the fact rests on our knowledge, but the objection on our ignorance.” Therefore we never should allow what we do not know, or what is not perfectly clear to us, to disturb our assurance of what we do know; and in the realm of unfulfilled prophecy there are certain well established facts about which we can have no doubt. If we are clear as to these, and keep their broad outline before us, then without dogmatism about difficult details, we can afford calmly to await the day when the unfolding of God’s purposes will make all things plain.
We believe that Old Testament saints must have been perplexed to understand certain prophecies of Christ’s first advent. Indeed the prophets themselves had to “search” for the meanings of some of their own predictions (1 Peter 1. 11). Did Micah know that the “son”, “called out of Egypt”, of whom Hosea spake (ch. 11. 1), was the Christ? If so, must he not have been puzzled by his own inspired statement that the long promised “Ruler in Israel” would come “out of” Bethlehem Ephratah (ch. 5. 2) ? How could He come “out of” Bethlehem, since He was to come “out of” Egypt? Must not Isaiah also have long pondered upon the meaning of his prophecy : “And they made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death” (ch. 53. 9)? Was Christ to have two burying places? These are a few of the many problems of prophecy, the solution of which awaited the coming of our Lord. When He came the historical events of His sojourn here and the Old Testament prediction of these events, fitted the one into the other as a key into its complicated lock. The fact that there are difficulties in connection with some aspects of our Lord’s Second Coming and subsequent events, need not therefore for a moment disturb our confidence in the certainty of those things which are clearly foretold in the Word of God.
Let it be understood then that our objection to A-Millennialism is not merely that its views present difficulties. Our objection is that it contains, and opens the door to, serious error. We have already seen that its system of interpretation is to a large extent based upon the principle of allegorizing and spiritualizing Scripture—a principle applied by A-Millennialists in a most arbitrary and quite unwarranted manner, and which not infrequently has led to conclusions, fantastic, contradictory, and dangerous to the faith. We now wish to deal with its TEACHING. One of the serious weaknesses, discernable at almost every point in it, is that of confounding things which, though having in some cases outward similarities, are not essentially the same. It is an elementary maxim of sound exegesis that we must distinguish between things which differ. “Distinguish the Dispensations and the Scriptures will agree”, said Augustine. Failure to do so is largely responsible for the major errors of A-Millennialism. It fails properly to distinguish between the different time-periods in history, and between God’s different methods of dealing with man in those respective periods. It groups together peoples, times, things and passages of Scripture which should be carefully discriminated the one from the other. Its basis is thus faulty, and we wish to demonstrate that the doctrinal superstructure reared upon it is also faulty.
A-MILLENNIALISM DENIES DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH
The Bible reveals God as being orderly, methodical, and progressive in all His ways. The very first chapter of the sacred volume, which describes the six days of creation, illustrates this. Each day saw its own particular work accomplished, and all culminated in man as the crown of creation.
The same characteristics of order, method, and progression are to be seen in human history. “The great procession of the centuries,” says F. J. Scroggie, “is no disorganised march of years.” Time is divided into Ages or Dispensations. The word, “Dispensation,” is a perfectly Scriptural term. It represents a word which occurs eight times in the New Testament. It is translated “Stewardship” in Luke 16. 2, 3, 4; and “Dispensation” in 1 Cor. 9. 17; Eph. 1. 10; 3. 2; Col. 1. 25; 1 Tim. 1. 4 (R.V.). The literal meaning of the word is, “The ordering, management, or administration of a house.” Thus it does not strictly denote a time period, but we use it of the method or manner of God’s dealings with man in any particular Age. In all, there are seven great successive Ages or Dispensations. This, we believe, is the simple view of Bible history held by most of our readers.
The A-Millennialists, however, do not thus see things, though how they fail to do so it is indeed hard to understand. They not only ignore great dispensational distinctions, but deny that they exist. “There is,” they declare, “no dispensational plan running through the Scriptures.” To say that there is, is “all a mistake.” “We are all wrong,” so they claim, “in thinking that the Old Testament presents a series of Dispensations, and that in the New Testament we find people passing out of one dispensation into another” (H. A. Ironside). “Since they emphasise the unity of God’s purpose from the fall of man until the eternal state, they fail to make any distinction between God’s programme for Israel and that for the Church, and … in spite of the contradictions that such a method entails, they persist in it” (J. D. Pentecost in “Things to Come”). As for a future earthly millennium, it is viewed by them as being a mere “notion”, based upon the interpretation found in the Scofield Bible (W. J. Grier in “The Momentous Event”).
THE TESTIMONY OF SCRIPTURE
What then is the testimony of Scripture? Does it recognise distinctive Ages or Dispensations? Most decidedly it does. It is true that it does not furnish us with a formal list of these, but no such table is given in connection with many other Bible doctrines. Nevertheless it recognises, and carefully differentiates between, the great historic Ages. To have a clear grasp of these it is necessary “rightly to divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2. 15). This expression, of course, applies to more than dispensational truth. It applies to every Bible doctrine, each of which should be given its proper place, and be held in proper balance with other doctrines. Nothing, however, is more important than an intelligent apprehension of the great time periods and their respective characteristics. Indeed without this it is impossible to avoid utter confusion of thought in the study of Scripture. It speaks of past Ages (Eph. 3. 5 ; Col. 1. 26); the present Age (Rom. 12. 2 ; 2 Cor. 4.4; Gal. 1. 4; Eph. 1. 21; 2. 2; 6. 12; Titus 2. 12, etc); and a future Age (Eph. 1. 10 : “the dispensation of the fulness of times”; 1. 21 : “that (age) which is to come”; Heb. 2. 5 : “the world (“the inhabited earth”) to come”; etc.). In most of these passages the word “world” is correctly rendered “age” in the R.V., or R.V. Margin. References to “times”, seasons”, and “days” of Scripture could be added, but some of these terms are used to denote Jewish or Gentile periods which are not of such major importance, hence we do not include them. A little diligent study should satisfy any candid, unbiased reader that the following are the great Ages or Dispensations of human history :—
- The Dispensation of Innocence Creation to the Fall.
- The Dispensation of Conscience Cain to the Flood.
- The Dispensation of Human Government Noah to Babel.
- The Dispensation of Promise Abraham to the Exodus.
- The Dispensation of Law Moses to Christ.
- The Dispensation of Grace Christ to the Second Advent.
- The Dispensation of Righteous Rule Second Advent to the end of the Thousand Years.
Scripture teaches that these Ages were Divinely planned. Heb. 1. 2 (R.V.) says, “He made the ages”; and chapter 11. 3 (R.V.M.) that the “ages were framed.” We know, of course, that the word, “ages”, here is understood by many to signify, “the universe”. The Greek Fathers, however, saw in the word its original meaning, “Ages of Time”, and Alford, Vine and other reliable commentators agree that the time factor is included in it. Further, these Ages exhibit a marvellous Divine order, method, and progressive purpose. Man tried in one way and another, has proved a complete failure. Yet God in infinite wisdom, patience, and love, has, Age after Age, changed His ways of dealing with him, all to afford opportunity for further tests of obedience. We do not suggest that God has ever changed, and there is but one Gospel, though it has various aspects, but His methods do vary according to human needs. There is not space here to elucidate details, but a little thought will also show that these Ages have certain features in common. At the beginning of each, God makes a new approach to man, vouchsafes to him a new revelation of Himself, and commits a fresh stewardship to chosen leaders. During each Age man proves an utter failure and becomes apostate. Consequently each Age terminates in judgment, which clearly defines its time-limit.
(To be continued, D.V.).
By S. Jardine, Belfast.
Ch. 9—FACTORS AND FORCES DURING “THE HOUR OF TRIAL.”
WE now enter upon the second section of the third main division of this prophecy (Chs. 12-19), where in symbolic and spiritual terms the Spirit of God identifies for enquiring minds the dominating factors and forces which will operate during the final stages of man’s rebellion against God. Only one other attempt at such a state of affairs will be permitted and the record of its summary destruction will come before us in chapter 20. A new and more specific treatment of the conditions and causes of world-rebellion is called for and given in Chs. 12-18. The amazing symbolism could only be conveyed through a Spirit-energized and illuminated agent. As we survey the spiritual, religious and political forces that will so thoroughly corrupt the habitable earth, we can the better appreciate God’s methods of subjugating them. Hence John must PROPHESY AGAIN CONCERNING peoples, nations, tongues and many kings, in order to divulge the contents of the little book he had consumed.
Many of the expressions of these chapters are used for purposes of IDENTIFICATION rather than to indicate happenings of those times. The woman of Ch. 12. 1 is by this means recognisable as Israel. She will share the glory of the Sun of Righteousness, as well as have precedence among the nations as suggested by her position over the moon and the wearing of a Tiara of Stars. See Malachi 4. 2; Genesis 37. 9. To no other could the birth of “the Man child” be attributed, so that a further identification is provided. See Romans 9. 4: “Israelites … whose are the Fathers and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.”
“The Man child” who is undoubtedly our Lord Jesus is recognisable by two appropriate facts, first, that it is His to rule the nations with a rod of iron—a prophetic feature, Psalm 2. 9; and second, that He was caught up to God and to His throne—a historical one. Acts 2. 23-33.
The further demonstration of who the Man child is, is furnished by the second sign, a great red dragon, greedily awaiting the birth of the Man child, with intent of devouring Him (v. 4). Satan’s malignity against the Lord and against His Christ has been too often manifested to need more than a fresh reference—Matthew 2. 3-13. These important factors have paved the way for the introduction of yet another, the future great battle in Heaven by which Satan’s expulsion from Heaven will be effected. Michael, the heavenly Field-Marshall will make war on the usurper and thrust him from the Heavenlies into “the habitable earth.” Five descriptions of this great enemy of God and man appear in the passage, making his identity unmistakable and his character clear. As Dragon he is mighty and loathsome, as Serpent ‘more subtil than any beast of the field.’ As Devil he is the slanderer of the saints, and as Satan the adversary, the relentless opponent of God and His people. The next description, the deceiver of the whole habitable earth, shows the terrible success he attains with those who make earth their only home and heaven. Finally he is referred to as the “Accuser of the brethren”, which while being part of his work as Slanderer (Devil), seems to go further, and suggests that he lays charges against the people of God because of their failures and sins (Job 1. 9-11). Their only recourse is to the value of Christ’s death, “the blood of the Lamb” and to confident testimony to Him. Verse 11 should not be slurred over: “They overcame him on account of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony.”
A compulsory change of Satanic Headquarters in the middle of “the week” is clearly predicted and it will entail an increase of sorrow and woe to men on earth, because of his keenly-felt humiliation and his realization that his tenure on earth is to be very brief (v. 12). All his venom will be directed against the woman (Israel) for that period (vv. 13, 14), which confirms our previous assertions that make this to be principally “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”
The important thing for us is to get the dominant factor in each one of these pictures, and to give only a place of proportional importance to the identifying circumstances. If we do this we shall see the nation of Israel, privileged as the vehicle of the Incarnation, set forth to share world rule in the Kingdom of “the Man child” (v. 1). We shall see Christ, the object of Satanic hatred waiting at the right hand of God, the day when He shall descend to adjust earth’s wrongs and rule its peoples. And ^ve shall further see the Jewish nation subjected to a fierce and malignant attack by a defeated and angry Devil, during the latter half of the week of years (vv. 7-14). Since providentially she will be given sanctuary, the great enemy will make a further effort to annihilate her, which will be thwarted just as remarkably as the first (v. 16). Satan’s attention and assaults will then focus on Jews who in this “hour of trial” have owned Christ as Lord and King, accepted God’s programme of rule and who bear loving and loyal testimony to Jesus Christ (v. 17).
A correct estimation of Satan’s character, control and cruelty can be formed from this most important chapter, and no informed believer ever thinks lightly about him. Yet, while recognising the power and purposes of the foe (v. 9), we are reminded that he is defeated and powerless in the presence of the Lamb of God. The Lord Jesus met Him in the greatest battle of all time, wrested authority from him, cancelled his power and laid the basis of enjoyed victory over Satan and all his rule for every child of God both in this day of grace and in that coming day of struggle and sorrow (Col. 2. 14-15 ; Heb. 2. 14-15; Rev. 1. 18).
(To be continued).
By Wm. Campell, Belfast.
IT is often said that “salvation does not run in the blood,” but I am very pleased to be able to write the simple story of my conversion, following my father’s testimony, which appeared in the last issue of this magazine.
There were no wonderful events leading up to my conversion. I was saved when just a boy at school. As my parents both knew the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour years before I was born, I was brought up in a godly atmosphere, and never had the opportunity of going out into the world to enjoy its pleasures and sins. So I never could with true meaning sing the lines :
- “I tried the broken cisterns, Lord,
- But ah! the waters failed;
- E’en as I stooped to drink they fled,
- And mocked me as I wailed.”
Yet, as I was taught from childhood, both by my parents and godly Sunday School teachers, I was born into the world a sinner, and would perish eternally, unless “born again” by the Spirit of God.
As a boy I regularly attended the usual Sunday evening meeting in the Gospel Hall to which we went. I also passed through many series of special evangelistic meetings, when faithful men of God such as the late brethren, Mr. George Gould (Sr.) and Mr. John Poots, warned us of our danger and sought to point us to the Saviour. I went through these meetings without any thought of where I would be in the great Eternity, until one night in Donegall Road Gospel Hall. It was the usual Sunday evening meeting, and in it I was awakened by the Holy Spirit to see my need and danger as 1 had never seen them before.
The speaker that evening was the late Mr. John Money-penny. God spoke loudly to me through his preaching, and I went home very anxious to be saved. I could not hide my anxiety, and my Mother who is now in Heaven, was glad to see that I was concerned about my precious soul. She tried to explain to me God’s way of Salvation, by reading to me well known portions of Scriptures, such as John 3. 16; 5. 24. She also read from Acts 16 the story of the Jailor’s conversion. Rut I went to bed that night still unsaved. Next evening when sitting alone in our kitchen, thinking over the Scriptures which had been read to me, I saw clearly from Acts 16. 31, that if I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ—that is, believed that He died in MY place and bore MY judgment— I would be saved, for the verse says, “thou SHALT be saved.’ I there and then rested on the work accomplished at Calvary for me, and in a moment I passed out of death into life.
That was on the 14th June, 1926, and after 35 years of Christian experience, I rejoice to sing :
- “Now none but Christ can satisfy,
- None other name for me;
- There’s love, and life, and lasting joy,
- Lord Jesus, found in Thee.”
OPEN your Bible at 2 Chron. 19. 2 and you will find it. Read it and its context, chs. 17 to 20.
“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?” It is addressed by God through Jehu to Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was a good man who walked in the first ways of David, he sought God and walked in His commandments and not after the doings of Israel (17. 3, 4). But, like many a child of God in our days, he joined affinity with ungodly Ahab in different enterprises (18. 1). He was guilty of that which God prohibits in the New Testament: “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6. 14).
On this account he received the very stern rebuke of our question and incurred the wrath, or displeasure, of the Lord.
Is it possible that you, dear child of God, are guilty of similar conduct and merit the same rebuke?
An unsaved, ungodly man, an unbeliever, a Christ-rejector may occupy the pulpit in the place that you attend. He cannot be a help, but is an enemy, to those who are on the way to heaven. He cannot be a help to those who, like himself, are on the way to hell. On the contrary he encourages them in their unbelief, in their disobedience to the Gospel, in their rejection of Christ. He lulls to sleep those whom you would like to see awakened, even your own loved ones. He leads them to believe that they do not need to be born again, nor worry about being saved. He encourages the natural deceit of their heart and increases the satanic blindness upon their minds. You in God’s mercy have been enlightened, awakened, regenerated, saved. You have escaped from the religious delusion in which you once lived. You are indwelt by the Spirit of God. You believe in, and love the Lord Jesus Christ Who died for you. “Shouldest thou, then, help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?”
Are you helping that unsaved man to lead your loved ones and others to hell ? Are you helping him by your attendance at his soul-destroying preaching? Are you helping him by your membership of his congregation? Are you helping him by your financial support? Are you actually paying him to lead sinners to destruction? Do you love him just because he may be a nice, kind, amiable man, but a hater of the Lord?
Dear child of God, do you not see that the whole thing is a devilish farce? It is not of God that an unsaved man should be preaching His Word. God did not ordain it. God did not call him. “Unto the wicked God saith : What hast thou to do to declare My statutes?” (Ps. 50. 16). The writer was saved under the preaching of the late W. P. Nicholson and he learned from that fearless preacher of the Gospel that it is wrong for one that is saved to sit under the ministry of an unsaved man. So one of the first steps in his Christian life was to leave a Presbyterian Church where the minister was unsaved and join another Presbyterian Church where the minister was a Christian.
But you are also yoked to the members of the place to which you belong. Christ established the church. He formed no mission, union or society for His people. If you are saved you should belong to a church, and to nothing else. A church of God is a congregation of born-again people, of saved people, of Christians, of saints. Is that the “church” to which you belong? A “church” that admits the unsaved to membership, and which may in fact consist of 95% of unsaved members is not a church of God. In no other sphere but the religious could people be so deluded. Imagine a man who believes in the principles of Orangeism. Would he be content to belong to a lodge of which the master, most of the office-bearers and the vast majority of the members are Roman Catholics? He would leave it at once and for ever. He would not stay to help them.
Child of God, hear God’s message to and of His own who are still in Babylon, the counterfeit of that which God established : “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins” (Rev. 18. 4). And also, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 6. 17; 7. 1).
Do not be deceived with the argument that you will lose your witness. You can never lose your witness by obeying God. Lot lost his witness by dwelling in Sodom. You can never bear witness against the evil in which you share.
“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?” Your problem may be: “What can I do? Where I live there are only the so-called churches.” If you know of any other children of God, cultivate their company, commune with them of the things of God, read the Scriptures together and pray together. Seek with them guidance from the Bible as to the pathway of the Christian, obey all that you learn, walk in the light God gives you from His Word. Soon you will find yourself one of a company which God can approve, and you will have ample room for witness for the Lord you love.
Enquiries and comments should be addressed to the author: H. Winfield Graham, Lenamore, Muff, Co. Donegal, Eire.
AN OUTLINE OF BIBLE TEACHING
By Dr. J. W. McMillan, India.
1. The Church and its Members.
IN studying any subject in the Word of God it is wise to pay special attention to : (1) the first mention of the subject in the Bible, and (2) what the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said about it. In this instance the first mention of the subject was by the Lord Jesus Himself, and it is these words which we shall consider in this chapter. They should be studied in their context, and the reader is urged to open his Bible and read Matthew 16. 13 to 17. 21 to understand the importance of these words. In this short passage several key events are mentioned :
- The Lord’s question, and Peter’s confession of His Christhood and Deity (16. 13-17).
- The first mention of the CHURCH (16. 17-20).
- The first clear announcement by the Lord to His disciples concerning His death (16. 21-23).
- The cost and reward of discipleship, with the first clear mention of His Second Advent (16. 24-28).
- The Transfiguration (17. 1-13).
- The healing of the epileptic boy (17. 14-21).
All these events took place within a short time of each other, about six months before the Lord Jesus was crucified.
The Lord Jesus first asked His disciples what people thought of Him, and they quoted the popular opinions. Then He asked them what they themselves thought, and Peter, speaking for them all, said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The Lord Jesus had referred to Himself as the Son of Man, a title which emphasises His real humanity: Peter confessed Him as the Christ, i.e. God’s Anointed Prophet, Priest and King, and emphasised His deity—“the Son of the Living God.” The Lord Jesus replied that Peter was blessed, in that these truths had been revealed to him by God Himself. Then He went on to say : “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of blades shall not prevail against it.” In the first sentence there is a play on words, for the name Peter (in Greek Petros) means “a stone,” and is similar to the word petra, which means “a Rock.”
Much controversy has raged as to who or what was meant by the “rock.” The official view of the Roman Catholic Church is that Peter was the rock, and on this is based their teaching as to the importance of the Pope, whom they claim to be the spiritual successor of Peter. But the Scriptures are quite clear on the matter, for the apostle Peter himself was inspired to write in his first epistle about this very subject. We find his explanation in 1 Peter 2. 1-10. There he clearly describes our Lord as a “living stone,” rejected by men, but chosen by God to be a “chief corner stone”, and believers as “living stones” built into a spiritual house. There is no suggestion that Peter thought that the Church was built on himself. In the epistles of Paul we have the same picture used, with Christ Himself described as the foundation and chief corner stone (1 Cor. 3. 11; Eph. 2. 20), and believers in Him being described as making up a holy habitation on this foundation.
Although the Church is here compared to a building, we should note that the word “Church” is never applied in the Scriptures to an actual building used as a Christian meeting place, but always to a company of believers in Christ.
This first mention of the Church teaches us a number of important facts :—
- The foundation of the Church is the Rock, Christ Jesus Himself. No one who does not belong to Christ can really belong to His Church.
- Those in the true Church are those who believe that Jesus, the Son of Man, is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and who have received life through His name.
Have you done this? Then you belong to Christ, and you are a living stone in His Church. But the Bible speaks also of churches (in the plural), local companies of believers, and of these we shall speak in the next chapter.
(To be continued, D.V.).
- “God IS faithful”—not He HAS BEEN,
- Not He SHALL BE—both are true:
- But, to-day, in this sore trial,
- “God IS faithful” now, to you. (1 Cor. 10. 13).
FOR many of our readers the past year will be remembered as the year of trial. Illness and bereavement entered many of their homes. Trials in other forms came uninvited. These experiences are long remembered. Our associates in connection with “Assembly Testimony” have not been exempt. Our brother Bunting, as many readers are aware, had to cancel meetings arranged in North America, and, on medical advice, return home. A major operation became necessary, through which it has pleased the Lord to bring His child successfully. Our brother still remains weakened, but is improving. Prayer will be valued, that our faithful God may be pleased to fully restore our brother’s strength, and fit him for further usefulness in His service.
Notwithstanding our trials, because of the continuing faithfulness of our Gracious God, “Assembly Testimony” has been regularly issued throughout another year. For this we give thanks to the Lord. We also record our gratitude to His dear people for their help in distribution, in submitting helpful suggestions, in their many expressions of encouragement, and in their prayers. We warmly thank those assemblies and individuals whose practical fellowship has enabled us, in the kindness of God, to meet all the increasing costs of publication and mailing. God willing, the magazine will go forth bi-monthly in 1962. Let us repeat, it is gladly sent without charge, and post free to all who desire to make proper use of it. All money received is expended exclusively on printing and postage. No contributor of any paper receives any financial consideration, and those who share in the work connected with the magazine do so entirely in an honorary capacity.
Our responsibility in the matter of the money entrusted to us by the Lord’s people, makes it imperative that we should avoid every form of waste. Hence, we strongly urge all our friends
to ensure the return to us of all surplus copies. These, as back numbers, are required. Should a reduction in number at any time meet requirements, please advise us promptly. We do not publish “Assembly Testimony” for indiscriminate distribution to those unappreciative of, or unlikely to be profited by it. When remitting money, please state amount enclosed. Each gift is acknowledged by official printed receipt. Please let us emphasise, names and addresses MUST be written in BLOCK LETTERS, to avoid waste in preparing plates, etc.
We trust our Gracious God will be pleased to bless future issues of “Assembly Testimony” to His dear people in many lands, producing in our hearts a love of His Word, and increasing our affection for His redeemed people, and deeper appreciation of the assemblies of His saints, walking in “the old paths” until our Lord returns.
John Hogg, Chas. H. McCalister.
AS the New Year dawns, we cordially greet our readers in many lands, and pray that they may in an increasing measure experience the Lord’s gracious presence and blessing in the days that lie ahead.
Everything in the Word and in the world indicates more than ever the imminence of our Lord’s Return. Israel is back in “the land” as an independent, sovereign State. Achievements in every field of scientific discovery amaze us. International problems increase and seem insoluble. “The character of the reign of Antichrist, with its numerical aspect,” says one writer, “is evident on every hand, the ‘ten toes’ (of Daniel) gradually emerging out of the Common Market.” Violence, crime and immorality increase at an alarming rate. The nations seethe with revolt. Communism threatens to enslave mankind. The great Powers stockpile the most fearful weapons of destruction. The judgment of God in earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, famines, pestilences, and disasters leave men unrepentant. Yet their hearts are “failing them for fear,” and in Britain alone there were over 5,000 suicides last year. It seems obvious to thoughtful people that the world is rapidly approaching some great catastrophic event. Men like Bertrand Russell see “World Government as mankind’s only chance of survival in the nuclear age.” At the same time apostate Christendom unites, the love of many waxes cold, and spiritual deterioration and Laodiceanism mark many professed believers.
To the people of God all of this is profoundly significant— “OUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH.” “I do not feel,” writes an esteemed correspondent, ‘that we can contemplate the Lord’s Coming as being as far away as even tomorrow.” In view of these things, beloved, “What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness’ (2 Peter 3. 11)! May we be amongst those that fear the Lord, that tremble at His Word, and whose walk through this defiling scene is characterised by separation and devotion to His blessed Person. O how we need to cleave to Him at God’s right hand for grace in these serious, darkening days! Thank God, dear tried, troubled, suffering saint, the night will soon be over. It is only “till He come,” and what a glorious daybreak that glad event will be!
We regret to state that Mr. McCalister, one of our esteemed treasurers, and Mr. Jardine, whose valuable papers upon The Revelation are so appreciated by many, have been ill and in hospital. Prayer for these beloved brethren will be valued.
Also please pray that the magazine may be made a blessing both to saints and sinners, and introduce it to others.
We take this opportunity of thanking all who in one way or other have helped in our magazine work. The kind gifts, papers for publication, prayers and practical interest of friends near and far are sincerely appreciated. We also wish to express grateful thanks to our printers, Messrs J. Ritchie Ltd., for their very kind co-operation and assistance during the present writer’s absence from home, and illness for some months last year. Above all, we offer praise to our good and gracious God for all His help and blessing in this work since its inception.
With warm love in Christ our Lord,
Before and Beside
- Before me is a future, all unknown,
- A path untrod;
- Beside me is a friend, well-loved and known,
- That Friend is God.
- Before me lies a new and unseen way,
- ’Mid shadows dim;
- Beside me is my Guide, and day by day
- I walk with Him.
- Before me may be trials, dark and strange,
- And loss and pain;
- Beside me is the One Whose love will change
- Earth’s grief to gain.
- Before me I discern but barren land,
- And desert waste;
- Beside me is the Lord, and His dear hand
- My path hath traced.
The word “World” in Scripture, is used of the unsaved, and generally bears an evil meaning.
- The Christian is Crucified to it—Gal. 6. 14. “The world has been crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
- He is Delivered from it—Gal. 1. 4, “that He might deliver us from this present evil world.’
- HE IS NOT OF THE WORLD, EVEN AS CHRIST—John 17. 16. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
- He is Sent into it, even as Christ was—John 17. 19. “As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
- He is not Conformed to it—Rom. 12. 2. “Be not conformed to this world.”
- He is to “Keep Himself Unspotted from it”—James 1. 27.