The Set Feasts of Jehovah
The Local Assembly
Brotherhood and Brotherliness
Dr R.C. Edwards
By William Bunting
REVELATION 20 (Continued).
TWO DISTINCT RESURRECTIONS
The other matter which we trust these lines will clarify is, of Course, that there will be two distinct resurrections. The passage in John 5, to which we have just now referred, is at times quoted in support of a general resurrection. The ground for this is that our Lord places the rising again of “them that have done good”, and of “them that have done evil” in the same “hour”. A moment’s reflection, however, will tell us that two events could transpire in the same hour, without their happening simultaneously. One has to consider the length of time which “hour” may denote. The use of the word by our Lord three verses earlier here, as also in chapter 4. 21-23, would indicate than “hour” may mean a very long and extended period of time. Hence we conclude that our Lord’s use of the word, “hour”, is no proof whatever that a general resurrection is taught in John 5. The same thing can be said of “the last day” in chapters 6. 39, 40, 44, 54; and of chapter 11. 24, where “Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”.
The concept of a general resurrection raises difficulties, which to us seem insurmountable. For example, in Luke 14. 14 our Lord said, “Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Why, however, did our Lord require to describe the resurrection as being that “OF THE JUST”, if all, just and unjust, are to rise at one and the same time? Do not these qualifying words, “OF THE JUST”, plainly imply another resurrection? Further, if all are to be raised together, why did the Lord Jesus on a later occasion speak of a class which shall be “accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead” (Luke 20. 35)? Since there is to be a resurrection to which all will not be “accounted worthy to attain”, it follows that there must of necessity be another resurrection.
A further deciding factor, however, is found in our verse in Luke 20. The words “from the dead”, are literally, “from among dead ones” (Gr. ek nekron). This expression, which occurs almost 50 times in the New Testament, should be carefully distinguished from the phrase, “of the dead” (Gr. nekron), found in many passages, such as Acts 17. 32; 24. 15, 21; 1 Cor. 15. 13, etc., in which the subject of resurrection is treated in a broad way applying to all that have died, both righteous and wicked. Our Lord used the former expression (ek nekron) in Mark 9. 9, in speaking of a time then future, “when the Son of Man be risen from among (the) dead ones”. The use of this language greatly perplexed the disciples. As Jews, they of course, believed in the resurrection OF THE DEAD. But “they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the- rising FROM AMONG THE DEAD should mean” (v. 10). With our knowledge, we know, thank God, what our Lord meant— namely, that His would be a resurrection out from amongst millions of other dead ones, who would remain undisturbed in their graves and be raised later. This also is what happened—“Now hath Christ been raised from among dead ones (ek nekron), the first fruits of them that are asleep” (1 Cor. 15. 20); and this is what we speak of as “THE OUT-RESURRECTION”. Here then is what our Lord had in mind in Luke 20. 35. The saints’ resurrection is to be after the pattern of His own. It will be an out-resurrection. To it no Christ rejector can “attain”, and therefore in the New Testament the word is used only of our Lord and of those who die “in Christ.” This thought Paul expresses with great emphasis in Phil. 3. 11. He had turned his back upon all that as a pious Jew had been dear to him (vv. 4-7), -that he might “win Christ” (v. 8), be found in Him (v. 9), “know Him”, etc. (v.10), and ultimately “attain unto THE OUT-RESURRECTION FROM AMONG THE DEAD” (Gr. teen exanastasin teen ek nekron).
With these passages the words of Dan. 12. 2 perfectly agree. S. P. Tregelles, whose authority in textual criticism is well known, says, “I do not doubt that the right translation of this verse is : ‘And many from among the sleepers of the dust of the earth shall awake; these shall be unto everlasting life; but those (the rest of the sleepers, those who do not awake at this time) shall be unto shame and everlasting contempt’.” (“Remarks on the . . . Book of Daniel”, page 165). A. R. Faussett, A.M. says that the Jewish commentators here support Tregelles (“The Portable Commentary”, in loco), and Chas. L. Feinberg, Th.D., Ph.D., believes this translation to be “the closest to the original” (“Pre-Millennialism or A-Millennialism? p. 182). See also the comments of J. D. Pentecost, Th.D., in “Things To Come”, p. 399, to the same effect.
From this consideration then it is perfectly clear that there will be two distinct resurrections of the dead. Though many passages treat the subject without making this differentiation, the Bible does mot teach a general resurrection. It is only when we come to Rev. 20, however, that we are taught that one thousand years will separate the two resurrections. This need not surprise us, for it is only here, as we have already seen, that “the thousand years” period is mentioned at all. This harmonizes perfectly with earlier prophecies, and is thoroughly consistent with the acknowledged principle of the advancement of Divine revelation, which runs like an ever broadening stream through the Word of God. It is in the Revelation that the numerous lines of prophetic truth attain their most sublime heights and converge, and that prophecy as a subject is given its final amplification and confirmation.
“THIS IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION” (v. 5).
The sentence, “This is the first resurrection,” demands a few remarks. According to our passage, this resurrection takes place at the close of the reign of the Beast and at the commencement of the thousand years. Since it is described as “the first,” however, can there be a resurrection before the reign of the Beast begins, as Pre-tribulationists teach? Alexander Reese argues that if the resurrection of 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15 takes place before the Great Tribulation, then John should here have said, “This is the second resurrection” (“The Approaching Advent of Christ”, p. 81). He is confident, however, that the word “first” in Rev. 20. 5 is proof that there is no earlier resurrection than this. “Not a word,” he assures us, “is said by John in the whole of the Revelation of any such resurrection. Nothing can be found of an earlier one, either here or in any other part of the Word of God.” This certainly is a hasty statement. One wonders if Mr. Reese has not read of the four and twenty Elders in earlier chapters of Revelation. Whether they represent Old Testament saints and the Church, or the Church only, their presence in heaven presupposes resurrection. Further, what about the two Witnesses of chapter 11? Are we not expressly told that they were resurrected? Yet this writer has the temerity calmly to inform his readers that “not a word is said by John in the whole of the Revelation of any such resurrection”.
AN ORDER, NOT AN ACT
Now what is contemplated in “the first resurrection” is the raising of the saints, and we believe it is called “first” because there will be another and later resurrection—that of the wicked dead. It is important, too, that we should understand that the expression, “the first resurrection”, does not mean that there will be but one Divine act of raising the sleeping saints. The words denote an order of resurrection rather than an act. “Every man” will be raised “in his own order” (1 Cor. 15. 23). “Christ the firstfruits” of the resurrection of His people has already been raised from the dead. In later stages of resurrection, companies of saints will arise, for while it is one resurrection, it will be in a number of successive stages. See 1 Thess. 4. 13-18 with 1 Cor. 15. 51-55; Rev. 11. 11, 12; and 20. 4. To consider these different risings more in detail would be beyond the scope of this chapter. What we desire to make clear is that the expression, “This is the first resurrection”, indicates that the final stage is now past. The last company or detachment of sleeping saints to form part of the pre-millennial resurrection has now taken place. “This is (the completion of) the first resurrection”.
That the saints will be raised in companies, at different times, to form one resurrection, is quite consistent with the ways of God. He established a covenant with Abraham in Genesis, chapters 15 and 17. It is ever after referred to as being one and indivisible, but it was established in two stages, which were over 14 years apart. Our Lord’s Advent was in stages—Bethlehem, Jordan, Calvary—but it was one Advent. His next Advent will also be in stages, for if He will come WITH His saints, He must first come FOR them—one Advent, but in two distinct stages or parts. In like manner, the Word of God teaches, with unmistakable clearness, one pre-millennial resurrection of saints, but it will be comprised of a number of risings from the dead which are plainly defined in Scripture.
(To be continued).
By Fred Whitmore, Lancashire, England.
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
The Feast of Tabernacles provides a fitting conclusion to all that has been previously considered, relative to the Divine programme and the unfolding of God’s purpose in grace.
It sets before us, typically, the period of our Lord’s millennial reign over the earth, also by its continuance into the eighth day, it is suggestive of the end of time and the eternal state, wherein will be enjoyed the blessedness of the New Heavens and the New Earth.
This feast has been likened to a “Harvest Home”, the celebrations and thanksgivings known in some areas after the completion of ingathering. Unlike the earlier feast of Firstfruits, the harvest was necessarily completed before this feast commenced. The one marked the commencement, the other the ending of the harvest.
The time of year when this feast was celebrated is important. Note what the Scriptures say regarding it: “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days : on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath” (Lev. 23. 39). “Thou shalt observe the feast of Tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine” (Deut. 16. 13).
With the completion of ingathering—the glorious and abundant harvest referred to in John 12. 24—and the treading of the vintage—the winepress of the fury and the wrath of God (Isa. 63. 1-6; Rev. 14. 14-20)—comes the period of peace and joy, wherein the earth shall rejoice beneath the beneficent control of our victorious Lord.
Such a period as is here foreshadowed was also faintly pictured in the reign of Israel’s king, whose name signifies, “peace”—“And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon” (1 Kings 4. 25).
The Greater than Solomon, shall yet “judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks : nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid : for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it” (Micah 4. 3-4).
The observance of this feast was inclusive in its character. It was enjoyed by the household and by the servants; it extended to the Levite and the stranger, and made a particular provision for the fatherless and the widow (See Deut. 16. 14). How complete will be the blessing outpoured from the gracious hand of our Lord, and how comprehensive in its scope! Surely we can add our “Amen” to the prayer of David the son of Jesse—“Let the whole earth be filled with His glory” (Psalm 72. 19).
It is not surprising that great joy is associated with this feast. After the weeping, and the repentance wrought at the sight of Him, comes the blessedness assured by atonement made. The sorrows and darkness of the night depart as He arises, “The Sun of righteousness . . . with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4. 2). The Scripture is emphatic upon this point—“Thou shalt rejoice in thy feast” (Deut. 16. 14). The thought of His power and manifested glory causes the heart of the believer to overflow, for we know that “In His days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth . . . For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper” (Psalm 72. 7, 12).
Days of pilgrimage are not overlooked in the observance of this feast. Seven days the children of Israel were to dwell in booths, as a memorial to the fact that “I made the children of Israel dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Lev. 23. 43). Present experiences provide us with many opportunities of proving the sufficiency of our God, but this is not the sum total of the blessing they afford. Lessons learned, and circumstances through which we are called to pass while here, will carry with them eternal benefits.
The branches of the palm were interwoven with those of the willow (Lev. 23. 40). The olive and the myrtle are also referred to in Nehemiah 8. 13-15.
The palm tree is suggestive of those many victories won by grace, while the olive tells of the fulness of Divine power experienced through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit The myrtle tells of joys and of the occasions when the heart has been made glad in the Lord. The willow of the brook speaks to us of times such as Israel had known, when in grief their harps were hung upon the willows, and they wept in exile as they remembered Zion.
Will there be sorrows and tears to mar the bliss of millennial joy or the blessedness of Heaven? Surely not.
The remembrance of the past will enhance the joy of eternity. It will continually cause our hearts to overflow with gratitude, praise, and adoring worship.
- Shall the memory be banished
- Of His kindness and His care,
- When the wants and woes are vanished,
- Which He loved to soothe and share?
- All the way by which He led us,
- All the grievings which He bore,
- All the patient love He taught us,
- Shall we think of them no more?
- We shall read the tender meaning
- Of the sorrows and alarms,
- As we trod the desert, leaning
- On His everlasting arms,
- And His rest will be the dearer
- When we think of weary ways,
- And His light will shine the clearer
- As we muse on cloudy days.
- Oh! ’twill be a glorious morrow
- To a dark and stormy day!
- When we smile upon our sorrow,
- And the storms have passed away.
By Wm. Gibson, Stockton-on-Tees.
We shall now consider some further aspects of fellowship in the local church. We finished the last paper by considering very briefly one or two things in chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians concerning Headship. We noticed that there had been some disorder at Corinth and that the Apostle wrote to correct it. He follows with teaching about the Lord’s Supper. It too was being marred by disorder.
It would seem that in the days of the early Church the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the evening, either before or immediately after a meal. It would also seem that at Corinth some during their meal became drunk, and so were not in a fit state to remember the Lord. This the Apostle condemns as he seeks to lift the remembrance of the Lord from the low level to which they had brought it—that of an ordinary meal—to the height, importance, and significance the Lord intended it to have. Now its importance can be gauged by the fact that it was the subject of a special revelation given to the Apostle by the Lord Himself. Says he, “I received of the Lord.” Notice the repetition of the “Lord”. He received it from the Lord. It was the Lord Jesus who took the bread. This the Apostle emphasises—the fact of who He is, for it is the honour, dignity, the worth of the Person we remember that gives character and weight to the remembrance.
Let us now look at one or two things in connection with the remembrance. Notice when it was instituted—“the same night in which He was betrayed”. Not only the night he was betrayed but the same night, as though the Apostle by the Spirit wants to emphasise the time factor. The Lord was within a few hours of the garden, the judgment hall, the palace of Herod, the shame of the cross, the fearful judgment of a righteous God, the orphan cry, the borrowed tomb, and it was then, with these things weighing heavily upon His spirit, He took the bread and the cup and said, “This do in remembrance of Me”. For the Lord to do this at such a time, would speak to us of the importance, the value of the remembrance, both to Himself and to us His people.
Now let us enquire wherein its value lies. Is it to test our obedience? Is it in the strict observance of an ordinance? Is it in the bringing of the saints together? I think not, however important these things may be. Methinks the importance of it lies in keeping ever-green in the memory of the saints the peerlessness of His Person and the preciousness of His work. I know of nothing to stimulate affection for Him, I know of nothing to enthuse for service, like the remembrance of Him in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. I am convinced of this, that the continuance of assembly testimony throughout the world, the measure of faithfulness to His Word, the mighty missionary enterprise by the assemblies, is very largely due to the fact that once a week we gather together around Him, and call to mind the glory and beauty of His Person, and the value and perfection of His work. But when I have said all this, I want you to keep things in their right perspective. I have been emphasising the importance of the remembrance to the Lord and to the believers. But what is happening now, and has been growing over the past years, is that it has assumed an importance out of all proportion, and many believers come to remember the Lord, and that is all they do. You never see them at any other meeting, and the larger the Assembly the greater the danger there is of this happening. The danger is that it can be something like the Roman Catholic Mass. As long as the Roman Catholic attends his mass, then everything is all right and he can more or less do as he wishes. This ought not to be so amongst the saints. It is not fellowship, and in the truest sense those who do this are not in fellowship, for fellowship is partnership, and in a partnership the responsibilities as well as the privileges must be shouldered by all.
I am prepared to say with little hesitation that those who do this are not in true fellowship with the Lord and can hinder the worship of the occasion. I hope you will bear with this little word of exhortation.
Now just one further point I would make. There is no legislation in Scripture as to how the remembrance meeting should be ordered. This gives perfect liberty, but does not give licence. Let us always have before us the true character of the meeting; it is to remember the Lord, “This do in remembrance of Me.” We do not come to remember our blessings, our privileges, or anything to do with ourselves, but to remember Him. Surely it is not too much for the Lord to ask one hour in the week during which we forget ourselves and think upon Him. I would resist any attempt at any form of legalism with regard to the remembrance. I believe the bread should be broken and the cup poured, but let us be careful that we do not get so taken up with how it should be ordered, that we lose sight of the One we come to remember.
Again, with regard to ministry, in my judgment any ministry of the Word should be after the breaking of the bread, and I would never feel free to give practical ministry prior to it. Apart from the institution of the remembrance in the Gospels, we have only one recorded breaking of bread meeting, in Acts 20. There we read, “And on the first day of the week,” etc. The words, “break bread”, are in the aorist tense, and it means they came together to break bread, and they broke bread. Then Paul ministered to the company. So in the one record of such a meeting in the New Testament, ministry was given after the breaking of the bread.
I must say one final word about the Supper. From verse 27 to the end of the chapter a warning is given, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” What is meant by eating and drinking unworthily? Well, in the text it is not so much a question of spiritual condition. What is meant is eating and drinking in an unworthy manner. You see they were making of it a drunken feast, and as such the bread and the cup lost all significance. They were not discerning the Lord’s body, and, says the Apostle, they were guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, that is, partaking of the emblems of the Lord’s body and blood without understanding or appreciation of what they were doing. Thus they brought guilt upon themselves in respect of His body and blood. He goes on to say, “For whoso eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself,” and he adds, “For this cause many are weak,” This is physical illness and death. This surely will tell us the value of the remembrance in the sight of God. Hence, “Let a man examine himself and so let him eat”— not stay away. “For if we would judge ourselves we should not be judged”-—of God (v. 31).
By Dr. Rowland C. Edwards, Australia.
In the New Testament the people of God are described in their individuality as believers, brethren, Christians, disciples, saints. Writing to the Corinthians, for example, Paul uses the term brethren more than twenty times. All this however does not justify the formation of a company calling itself by the distinctive title The Brethren, or The Disciples, or The Saints.
Certain denominationalists, existing as a section as long ago as 1708, appropriated the name Brethren because they wished to emphasise the Lord’s words of Matthew 23. 8, “all ye are brethren”. They thought its adoption would help them to testify to the appropriateness and urgency of what the Lord said. It may be that they had before them the desire to exhibit that brotherliness which all feel to belong to brotherhood, but which is not always manifest as it should be. It is certainly due to the Lord Jesus to value His teachings aright, whatever their topic may be. But to apply the term brethren differentially to themselves as a section was a grave mistake. It involved sectionalising, making themselves into a sect distinct from other Christians, and then it involved sect-naming. Despite good intentions they did not act wisely. The idea of sect-making came naturally to them; they did not see that it was wrong. Of course that was 250 years ago; these folk had inherited a tradition of sect-making; their knowledge of New Testament principles was defective. Thus despite their conscientiousness they did not act scripturally. There have been many such Brethren sects, in Europe and America, some of which are still in existence.
Happily, however, many Christians have had sufficient insight to recognise this error and have studiously avoided it. The well-known Henry William Soltau, author of The Tabernacle, the Priesthood, and the Offerings, and other works, was one of the many. He was born in Plymouth (England) and spent his boyhood there. Several years after being brought to the Lord he married and the devoted couple were in an assembly in Plymouth for some years. But though he was a Christian man and thus a brother, living in Plymouth, and, moreover, in an assembly whose meetings were held in Plymouth, he refused the name Plymouth Brethren, which was frequently on the lips of uninstructed people. For he recognised that since, according to Scripture, he was no more a Christian brother than any other Christian man, it would have been out of accord with Scripture, and hence wrong for him as a Christian, to own any distinguishing appellation incorporating the term brethren, with or without an adjectival accompaniment. An address he published in 1862 bears the title, “They Found It Written, or, Those Called by Some, ‘The Brethren’. The title was discriminately worded to impress on others his disapproval of any such group-name as the Brethren.
William Collingwood was an eminent man of culture and refinement. He was born in London in 1819 and he became well known for his Christian testimony in Lancashire and Bristol. About 1899 he wrote a small book about “The ‘Brethren’ (so-called)”. He stated that “they became popularly distinguished from other Christians as ‘the Brethren’,” and proceeded to add, very carefully and significantly, “Any such distinctive title they always repudiated.”
The brethren Soltau and Collingwood are not mentioned here as authoritative in all matters of doctrine. One has to dissent from what they say at times. But it is noted with pleasure that they both repudiated sectarian, distinctive appellations such as The Brethren (with variations). At least, they were clear on that, as for four generations were many others, some of very high standing among Christians, some more lowly as to gift.
The first sentence of the present article, as the reader will recall, mentions that individuals in the family of God are described in Holy Writ as believers, brethren, Christians, disciples, saints. How are local companies witnessing for God according to New Testament principles described therein? We may note, without going into detail, that Scripture calls them “churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14. 33), “churches of Christ” (Romans 16. 16), “churches of God” (1 Cor. 11. 16; 1 Thess. 2 14; 2 Thess 1 4, in the plural; and 1 Tim. 3. 15 in the singular). Their members are Christians (if non-Christians find their way into these churches it is against the plans of God for them), they own Christ as Lord in their collective witness, and they are God’s recognised units of collective testimony in their localities. Each such church (assembly, congregation) is built on Jesus Christ alone as Foundation (1 Cor. 3. 10, 11), not on Christ plus a movement, or Christ plus a denomination, or Christ plus anything. This is legitimate exclusiveness (not Exclusivism but only-ness) as much as that exclusiveness or only-ness which is prominent in Acts 4. 12 in relation to individual salvation. These terms are not given to local churches to puff up the Christians in them, but to put them on their mettle, to show themselves men and women of God in their testimony.
These comments will introduce the reader to a sentence from an author who on his own subject was sympathetic and authoritative. He says, “From this point dates the separate existence of the religious body known as the Disciples of Christ.” The year was 1830, and the place in U.S.A. But why does one mention this; what is its relevance? Just this, the sentence brings before us the formation of a world-wide religious body, and its being given the title The Disciples of Christ. Now the men behind this were high-principled Christians desirous of pleasing the Lord, nevertheless they made the two mistakes that are identified above. They formed a number of presumedly Christian congregations into a worldwide body, for which Scripture gives no warrant. What they did was to create a sect, a body distinct as a body from other Christians. Sect-making leads to sect-naming, and so it was found necessary to give this body a name to distinguish its members from other Christians. And now we must recognise another mistake; they applied specially to themselves as a body, a sect, the name disciples which Scripture applies to children of God without any distinction. The intention was to choose a name which “should be comprehensive enough to include all who love the Lord”. (Many will find an echo of this wording in a much later pronouncement). Despite this intention however, to employ the term disciple in this way is an abuse of the language of Scripture. It gives to the Scriptural term disciple a slant which it does not possess in Scripture, while professing to use it in accordance with the meaning it has there.
Let us keep clear of sect-making; let us give to terms of Scripture the meanings they have in Scripture. Let nobody think such injunctions are unnecessary. Who would have thought that men in the direct succession from Soltau and Collingwood would to-day eagerly espouse the sectarianism which these worthies abominated and repudiated? “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
(To be continued).
By John Glenville.
Many derive the word “worship” (proskuneo) from “kuon” a dog, thinking, no doubt of a dog’s attitude of crouching and fawning at its master’s feet. However, this is rather a debased conception of what constitutes true worship, and many lexicographers rightly assess a derivation from the classical Greek “kuneo”, to kiss. Indeed, the Word of God intimately links worship with the act of kissing, as in the case of Job, “If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand … I should have denied the God that is above” (31. 26-28).
1 Kings 19. 18 reminds us of those seven thousand worshippers who had not bowed the knee to Baal, neither had their mouths kissed him. Hosea, too, associates kissing with worship, as in 13. 2 (see 14. 2 quoted in Heb. 13. 15). When Moses went out to meet his father-in-law in Exodus 18. 7 we discover that he did obeisance and kissed him. Ninety-nine times the word translated, “do obeisance”, is translated, “worship”, in the Old Testament.
The ancient oriental and especially Persian mode of salutation was, between persons of equal rank, to kiss each other on the lips; when the difference of rank was slight, they kissed each other on the cheek; when one was much inferior, he fell upon his knees and touched his forehead to the ground, or prostrated himself, kissing at the same time his hand towards the superior. In making a “salaam” there would thus be an expression of profound reverence.
It is a fallacy to speak in this present dispensation of “a place of worship”, as true worship, being in spirit and in truth, constitutes and demands an abandoned and prostrate attitude of heart. Priestly functioning under an old economy meant bare feet on bare earth. Dying daily, and being destitute of self facilitates worship, not music nor an aura occasioned by externalities which only have a sensual appeal to the flesh.
Observe in each of the following three characters that there are seven stages plainly delineated in this reverential approach. Particularly to be noticed is, that in the case of the woman which was a sinner, she never so much as uttered a word: a beautiful anticipation of the closing verses of 1 Timothy 2.
- ABRAHAM, father of a multitude.
- Seven stages of Genesis 18. 1-3 :
- SAT in the tent door in the heat of the day.
- LIFT up his eyes, and
- LOOKED, and lo, three men stood by him . . .
- SAW them, he
- RAN to meet them from the tent door, and
- BOWED himself toward the ground, and
- SAID, My Lord.
- ABIGAIL, source or cause of delight.
- Seven stages of 1 Samuel 25. 23, 24:
- SAW David, she
- HASTED, and
- LIGHTED off the ass, and
- FELL before David on her face, and
- BOWED herself to the ground, and
- FELL at his feet, and
- SAID . . . my Lord.
- A WOMAN in the city, which was a sinner.
- Seven stages in Luke 7. 37, 38 :
- KNEW that Jesus sat at meat
- BROUGHT an alabaster box of ointment, and
- STOOD at His feet behind Him weeping, and
- BEGAN to wash His feet with her tears, and did
- WIPE them with the hairs of her head, and
- KISSED His feet, and
- ANOINTED them with the ointment.
May we seek to cultivate a due sense of appreciation of the awe-inspiring majesty of the august presence of God, as with reverence and godly fear, with feet unshod, yet with faces unveiled, we approach through the medium of the unsullied Man in the Glory.
THE SEED I HAVE SOWN
- The seed I have sown in the spring-time with weeping,
- And watered with tears and with dew from on high;
- Another may shout while the harvest is reaping,
- And gather my sheaves in the sweet bye-and-byes
- Over and over, yes, deeper and deeper,
- My heart is pierced thro’ with life’s sorrowing cry,
- But the tears of the sower, and the song of the reaper
- Shall mingle together in joy bye-and-bye.
- The thorns may have choked, and the summer sun blasted,
- The most of the seed that in spring-time I’ve sown,
- But the Lord who hath watched while my weary toil lasted
- Will give me a harvest for what I have done.
- Another may shout when the harvest is reaping,
- Another rejoice in the fruit of my pain
- Not knowing my tears when in summer I fainted,
- While toiling sad-hearted mid sunshine and rain.
- LET us give up our works, our thoughts, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into His hand; and then there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about, or to make trouble about. When all is in His hand, all will be safe, all will be wisely dealt with, all will be done and well done.
- Dr. J. Hudson Taylor.