THE BLESSED HOPE
by D. M. Martin
by E. W. Rogers
THE PROPHECY OF JONAH
by E. R Bower
THE LOVE OF CHRIST: OR, DESIRE
by Charles Stanley
LEVI-THE LAW FULFILLED
by H. Shackcloth
THREE POSITIONS OF JOHN
by B. Currie
by J. E. Todd
JOSEPH’S MINISTRY-FIRST AND LAST
by Ronald J. Johnston
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
by Anthony Orsini
A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE HEAD COVERING
by J. Kundas
MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by Daniel Ussher
by D. M. MARTIN, Dorset
Part II — A PRESENT OR A DEFERRED HOPE?
Will believers of this dispensation, i.e. the Church — remain upon the earth until the appearing of Christ? A close examination of Scripture shows that there are two distinct events defined: i) the coming of the Lord Jesus FOR His saints, and ii) the coming of Christ WITH His saints. In 1 Thess. 3.13, as well as in many other passages, we find the latter; and in 1 Thess. 4.15—17 the former; and Paul teaches us most distinctly in Colossians that the coming of Christ WITH His saints will take place at His appearing. He says, "When Christ who is our life, shall appear THEN SHALL YE ALSO APPEAR WITH HIM IN GLORY. (Col. 3.4). If this be so, the saints must have been caught up to be with Christ before His return to the earth in public manifestation.
Is there anything between the saint, as far as Scripture teaches, and the return of the Lord? All the Scriptures in which HE speaks of His coming it cannot be doubted for a moment that He intended His auditors to infer the possibility of His coming back at any, even the most unexpected moment. (See Mark 13.34—37; Luke 12.35—37; John 21.20,21, etc.). Paul uses similar language. In writing to the Corinthians concerning the resurrection of the bodies of believers, he is careful — led by the Spirit of God — to say "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" (1 Cor. 15.51): and in the epistle to the Thessaloni-ans he says "We who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (1 Thess. 4.15). It is clear, therefore, by the use of the word ‘we’ that he included himself as among the possible number who might be found alive on the Lord’s return; and that, as far as he knew there was nothing to hinder the Lord’s coming for His saints during Paul’s own life-time. That Peter thought it not improbable is likewise seen from the fact that he received a special revelation to inform him that he would have to die (2 Peter 1.15). And surely the fact that the last announcement of the inspired record is, "Surely I come quickly" (Rev. 22.20) would foster and strengthen the same conclusion. The ‘coming quickly’ refers to the actual event itself,
and not to any time scale (2 Peter 3.4). But notwithstanding all this presumptive evidence, everything depends upon the question whether, Believers (the Church) will remain on earth until the Lord’s appearing. If then we turn to Matt. 24, and contrast it with a scripture in Colossians, we find this question distinctly and plainly answered. In Matt. 24 we read, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, and then shall apear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of trumpet and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (vv.29,30). Here we have the order of events at the appearing of the Son of man; and the reader will note that (a) there is tribulation, (b) the disturbance of the heavenly luminaries, (c) the sign of the Son of man in heaven, (d) the mourning of the tribes of the earth, (e) their seeing the Son of man coming, etc., WHILE AS YET THE ELECT ARE UPON THE EARTH STILL UNGATHERED. But what have we read in Colossians? That "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3.4). So also in Revelation, we find that when Christ comes out of heaven for judgement (His appearing), "the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white." (Rev. 19.11—14). Who are these? Their dress is characteristic, and supplies the answer; for in the eighth verse we read "the fine linen is the righteousness of saints".
Evidently, therefore, "the elect" in Matt. 24 cannot be the Church, since the saints who compose the Church appear with Christ; and in fact as the chapter abundantly shows, they are the elect of Israel, the Jewish remnant whom God by His Spirit has prepared for the time when the Lord, whom they seek, shall come suddenly to His temple. (Mai. 3.1). It thus follows that the Lord Jesus will return for His people prior to His appearing; and, inasmuch as He destroys antichrist with the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2.8), IT MUST also be prior to His rise and sway, and also before the great tribulation, since this is connected with the time of antichrist. But thereon follows a further thing. All the predicted events which are looked for before the Lord’s appearing are connected with the restoration of God’s ancient people, and the actions of the man of sin, the son of perdition (the anti-christ): and consequently, as far as the Scriptures reveal, there is nothing whatever between the present moment and the possibility of the Lord’s return for the church.
How then, is the fact to be explained that we are said in Scripture to wait for the appearing, as well as for the rapture seeing that when Christ appears we appear with Him? Whenever the question of responsibility is brought in, the appearing, and not the coming, is the goal; and this is because that, since the earth has been the scene of the responsibility, the earth will also be the scene of the displayed recompense. This in no way interferes with the fact that the coming of Christ for His saints at any moment is the proper hope of the believer. On the other hand, it throws additional light on the ways of God in the government of His people, bringing out a new feature of the perfection of the Lord’s dealings with His servants. When departing, He entrusted to them gifts for His service, saying, "Occupy till I come". The responsibility of the servants in the use of that which has been committed to their charge is confined to, limited by, their sojourn upon the earth. Therefore it is when the Lord returns to the earth that the result of their responsibility is declared. But it is not only in the use of gifts that this principle seen; it is found in every sort of responsibility of every saint. The Corinthians came behind in no gift, waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Thessalonians are directed to look forward for the blessed issue of their persecutions to the lime when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels (2 Thess. 1.7) : and Timothy was to keep the commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Tim. 6.14). For it is then that He comes to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that have believed (2 Thess. 1.10); and then, therefore, that there will be the public manifestation of the result and issue of the pathway of the saint through this world. This is the consummation and the fruition of the service of the believer, as well as the time when the rights of the Lord Jesus Himself shall be declared and vindicated and consequently, in this aspect, we are said to love His appearing. (2Tim. 4.8).
But, as has been shown from Scripture, the Lord returns for His saints before His appearing; and it is to His coming, therefore, for them that their eye is directed. This is the proper object of our hope. Our hearts occupied with Himself, we wait longingly for the moment when, according to His word, He will come to receive us to Himself, that where He is we may be also. (John 14.3). Such then is our attitude. As Israel on the passover night, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and their staff in their hand waited for the signal to depart, so we should ever be found, with our loins girt and our lamps burning, expecting the Lord to descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, to take us out of this scene, to be forever with the Lord. Are we constantly maintaining this attitude? Do we begin the day with the thought that, before darkness returns, we may be caught up into the unclouded light of His presence? When we lie down at night, do we remember that before the morning dawns we may be caught away from our beds? Are all our matters kept so constantly arranged that we should desire to alter nothing, if the next moment we should be with the Lord? Are all our purposes, all our occupations, undertaken and carried on with this wonderful prospect before our eyes? Surely nothing short of this should satisfy those who are living in the expectation of the Lord. May He Himself lead us into all the power of this blessed truth, using it to separate us increasingly from everything not suitable to Himself; and, by the presentation of Himself to us in all His beauty as the Bright and Morning Star, may He occupy and absorb our hearts and minds!
by E. W. ROGERS
Paul and the Hebrew Scriptures
Paul, notwithstanding his unique position in the Church, was "a man of like passions with ourselves," whose attitude toward his Bible becomes, in consequence, of added interest.
Both in his unconverted days and his later converted days the Scriptures played an important part in his life, although it is true that once he was blindly fanatical as to them, but later he became an inspired expositor thereof, revealing the meaning hidden beneath the letter.
THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES WERE THE BASIS OF HIS EARLY TRAINING
Listen to him as he says, "I am verily a man, which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God as ye all are this day." And again, "After the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." And yet again, "As concerning the law, blameless." Being, as he says, "the Son of a Pharisee" he would have had the advantage that he refers to when writing to Timothy "that from a babe he had known the sacred letters," albeit that all the while the "veil" was on the book and on his heart, so that it was the letter (which kills) which engrossed him, and not the spirit thereof.
Nevertheless, such a substratum in early life could not have been without its advantages when the Spirit of God began to deal with him. The importance of having the mind stored with the letter of the Word of God is not adequately estimated in these days!
IT WAS THE GUIDE OF HIS PRIVATE LIFE
In order to be effective in the ministry of the Word of God to others, its power and comfort, its searching and cleansing character, must all be known in the private life and be matters of personal experience. Otherwise, the ministry of that Word becomes merely a theological exercise, and is devoid of living power.
There is an excellent example in Acts 18, verses 9 and 10 of how an Old Testament Scripture came to the heart of the Apostle with divine power when he was in difficult circumstances. In verse 9 the words "Be not afraid" can be read "Fear not," and these two words linked with the first five words of verse 10 make the very well-known passage of Isaiah 41.10. "Fear not for I am with thee." This is an instance of the Spirit of God applying the Scripture to the circumstances in which the Apostle then was, a thing not unknown by His people today. "The Lord spake" to Paul from this scripture. "Fear not" —that meant that he was to "speak and hold not" his "peace." "For I am with thee" —that meant "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee." The Lord thus applied this passage to Paul’s heart when he was "in fear and trembling" at Corinth. "Fear not" enjoined on Paul boldness. "I am with thee" assured to Paul security.
Not only did he derive comfort from the scriptures, he also sought to guide his conduct thereby. When (Acts 23) he inadvertently spake improperly to the high priest he explains, "I wist not brethren that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people," by which he gave those to whom he was speaking to understand that in no case would he wittingly and deliberately infringe the will of God as contained in those writings.
His faith in the scriptures was unreserved. He affirmed he "believed all things which are written in the law and in the prophets." In his unconverted days, so blinded was he that, although he might not have thought it to be the case, he only believed some of the scriptures, and had, for example, no room in his mind for a suffering Messiah or for Gentile blessing. He did not then believe all that was written. It was otherwise after God had dealt with him in saving grace. He believed it all, let the rationalising Greek or blinded Jew say what they would concerning the histories and prophecies of the volume.
Happy the believer who today derives from his Bible comfort in the midst of troubles: guidance in the midst of opposition: and confidence despite alleged scholarly criticism.
IT WAS THE TEXT-BOOK OF HIS EVANGELICAL MINISTRY
Paul knew the difference between chaff and wheat: the one light, dead and non-productive; the other having weight, life, and the power of propagation. In consequence we find that everywhere in his evangelistic labours "he preached the Word of God," both in the synagogues of the Jews, and to the Gentiles. It is true that to the Jews he quoted and read the scriptures, for they had the book—it was their national volume —and to a large extent were acquainted with its letter. But it is equally true, that although in Acts chapters 14 and 17 Paul does not appear to quote the Scriptures to the Gentiles, yet his remarks are based thereon and embodied as part and parcel of his own sentences.
At Antioch Paul alleges that the scriptures which were read weekly in the synagogues were not understood, and as a direct consequence of this ignorance the nation became guilty of the murder of Him of whom they spake. He shows that the death and resurrection of Christ were the fulfilment of those scriptures, and when met with Jewish opposition cites the scripture as his authority for going to the Gentiles (13.47).
In Acts 14.15 Paul before a Gentile audience states in the very words of scripture, "God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all things therein." In chapter 15, verse 15, the scripture is cited as justifying the course of evangelism among the Gentiles adopted by Paul. In chapter 17.2,3 Paul uses the scriptures as the basis of his arguments concerning the identity of the Hebrew Messiah with the Man Jesus who had been crucified but was now risen again. In the same chapter before a Gentile audience, he does not read the scriptures, or indeed say that he was quoting them (for what did they care for the Jewish sacred book), but he none the less embodies in his own remarks the words of scripture, as will be seen in vv.24,25, where respectively he states, "God made the heaven and earth and all things therein," and it is He who "giveth breath" to man. The allusion to Genesis is apparent to any who know their Bible. Indeed in Acts 26 he could affirm before Agrippa that he had said "none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come" and appealed to that King by enquiring, "Believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest."
The preacher today who knows his Bible sufficiendy to be able to enforce his arguments by its statements, use its phrases in his preaching, and regulates his evangelistic activities by its precepts, and who does not fail so to do, will surely gain the ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ from the lips of his Lord.
IT WAS THE WARP OF PAUL’S EXPOSITIONAL WRITINGS
It was not both ‘warp and woof.’ It was not the entirety of Paul’s writings, for the ‘woof was that new Revelation communicated to Paul and which hitherto had been kept a secret, not to be found in (although space had been left for it) the Old Testament writings. Of the origin of that revelation, of the terms of its inspired communication, and of the means of its explanation Paul speaks at length in 1 Cor. 2.
—But the Old Testament scriptures found a large place in the fabric of Paul’s writings, and was entwined with the statements that pertain to the ‘mystery’ of which he became the chief depositary. No one can fail to see how greatly Paul drew upon the Hebrew scriptures, citing them here, alluding to them there, and affirming to his son Timothy that ‘they were sacred letters’ and in their entirety ‘inspired of God.’ In every Epistle, except perhaps Philemon, is there one or more verbal quotations from the Old Testament. And if so be the Epistle to the Hebrews is Paul’s, his thorough acquaintance with, and understanding of the significance of, the Old Covenant and its Tabernacle is too apparent to emphasize. Surely it is manifest that for sound and profitable oral or written exposition of New Testament doctrine, a knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament scriptures is a sine qua non.
by E. R. Bower.
No. 5 — CHAPTER 4
V.1. "But (another ‘but’) it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry (Lit. ‘it was evil to Jonah and anger burnt to him.’). The "buts’ are mounting up! "But Jonah" (1.3,5; 4.1); "But God" (1.4; 4.7); "But I" (2.9); "But man" (3.8). The last word is always with God.
How easy it is to feel angry with God when His way is not our way! Cf. David, 2 Sam. 6.8.
V.2. "And he prayed." What a difference in two prayers. God answered Jonah’s prayer, but Jonah did not wish for God to answer the prayers of Nineveh; He acknowledged the salvation of God in his own recent experience, but refused it to others. "I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil". Cf. Ex. 34.6; Num. 14.18,19. The greatest of the ‘greats’ of the book! David (Ps. 86.5), Hosea (11.8,9), Joel (2.13), Micah (7.8), all shared the knowledge of the character of God. Jonah knew, but how reluctant to share his knowledge with others.
V.3. "Take I beseech Thee, my life (soul) from me: . . ." Cf. 2.5,6,7. Jonah was no newcomer to this experience of wishing for death, for Elijah (1 Kin. 19.4), David (as expressed in some of his psalms), Moses (11.15) had passed this way. But such experiences do not always spring from the same cause. One is inclined to think of Jonah here behaving like a petulant child because things did not go his way; because God had apparently ‘changed His mind.’
Vv. 4—5. Compare God’s question here with that in 1 Kin. 19.9. Jonah makes a booth for shelter and sits down to wait "what would become of the city." Abraham had once prayed for a city, but he was to see the smoke of its judgment; did Jonah sit and wait for a similar experience, anticipating the fire from heaven? What he did see, was the mercy of God. Do we ever experience similar feelings as those of Jonah?
V.6. "And Jehovah Elohim prepared a gourd… to deliver him from his grief." Thus God pities Jonah in that surge of grief born of his anger. "And Jonah was exceedingly glad of the gourd." How strong were the emotional reactions of the prophet! "Exceedingly displeased… very angry … exceeding glad."
V.7—9. "But God prepared a worm .. . and … the gourd . .. withered."
"And God prepared a vehement east wind… that he fainted, and wished to die." And the anger of Jonah again expresses itself. "It is right for me to be angry, even unto death." (cf. v.4). The character of this man of God; this prophet; this servant of God, revealed by this chapter, is the character of the ‘old man of the flesh’ — something of which indwells each one of us.
Jonah again has physical suffering added to his mental anguish; that inner battle which brought him to the depths of despair. Natural feelings were allowed to subjugate his compassion and pity. Self pity became an excuse for self justification, and the purposes of God which as a prophet he should have known, became of a secondary consideration. Why should the gourd be destroyed? Why should Nineveh be spared? Why does it have to be ME? Jonah’s message was one of judgment, but in his blindness he did not see that the Law in which he believed was a law of love and mercy, "shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments." (Ex. 20.6). A Law which says, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Jonah — the messenger from God who had little or nothing of the love of God, and in this he was typical of Israel. Remember Paul’s "Song of Love"? "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love … I AM NOTHING." (1 Cor. 13.1—2). Jonah prayed from the depths of despair: he still prayed, but his prayer was at variance with his penitence. Prayers for self interest are usually at variance with prayers for others. This life of a ‘minor’ prophet, or rather, this incident from his life, is full of lessons for it is God who appoints His agents, whether prophet, wind, fish, gourd, worm or silent wind. Said a writer, "Special preparation is not implied, still less creation for the particular purpose. God employs existing agents to do His bidding." God’s way is not our way (Is. 55.7), so why, as Jonah, have a fit of the sulks when His way of love over rides our way of self?
Vv. 10—11. God has the last word, and it is a question, "… should I not spare . . .?" Not only the hairs of our heads, but the populations of cities are known to Him. If the herbs of the field are worthy of the pity of a man, how much more worthy of pity are those of Adam’s race? Cf. Matt. 10.29—31, "Ye are of more value than sparrows." and Matt. 6.25—34, "If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you?"
Thus the book of Jonah ends; a sign that was to be remembered in due time. In this little book there are many lessons, lessons which we tend to lose beneath the shadow of our Lord’s references to the sign of the prophet. We may see, for instance, that any reluctance to fulfil His purposes does not frustrate them. We see that God is indeed "Merciful and gracious, longsuffering (slow to anger. What a difference to His creatures!), and abundant in goodness (lov-ingkindness or grace), and truth (faithfulness). (Ex. 34.6). We see that Jonah, the servant of the Lord (2 Kin. 14.25) was (so it would appear) the only one ‘out of step’. The elements, animals, plants, worms, obeyed His will, BUT Jonah… Whatever we may think of this prophecy, whether we look at it as an allegory (as the Apostle Paul treated the story of Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael and Isaac); as an O.T. parable, or as a "literal narrative of actual facts", let us remember that it has long been regarded by Jew and Christian as the Word of God, and if, indeed, we so regard it, then it must go without saying that it has a message to, and for, all who read. Against a back cloth of human emotions from the humanity of the sailors and their reverence for their gods, to the callousness and bigotry of the prophet, we become aware of the pity and compassion of God for the ‘great city’ and for those "that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand." We may also see, as God saw, the true forgiveness-seeking penitence of the Ninevites. It has been said that "in this little book of 48 verses, we reach the high-water mark of O.T. teaching. It is of priceless value, and will remain so as long as men need to learn what God thinks of the teeming masses in the world’s great cities, what we ought to think of them, and how God judges us by our judgment of them."
How did our Lord see, and speak of, "the sign of the prophet Jonah?" It will be of advantage to set out the four mentions of the sign in the following way —
MATTHEW 12.38-41 when "certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees sought a sign "from Thee."
Our Lord answered, "An evil and adulterous GENERATION seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it (to that evil and adulterous generation) but the sign of the prophet of Jonah;
- For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly;
- So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
- The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this GENERATION and shall condemn it
- Because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, a greater than Jonah is here."
LUKE 11.29—32 (seen by some as a different occasion to that of Matt.12 probably because of the variations in the narrative) tells us that it was the PEOPLE who sought a sign "from Heaven" and "when the PEOPLE were gathered thick together, He began to say,
This is an evil GENERATION: they seek a sign; (see vv.47—51)
- and there shall no sign be given it,
- but the sign of Jonah the prophet
- For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites (no mention of the three days etc.)
- So shall also the Son of man be to this GENERATION.
- The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this GENERATION, and shall condemn it.
- FOR they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and
- behold, a greater than Jonah is here."
MATTHEW 16.1—4 (Vv. 2 and 3 omitted by some authorities) records the second occasion when our Lord spoke of the sign, and here, it is to "the Pharisees also with the Sadducees (who) came and tempted him desired Him that He would show them a sign from heaven.
- A wicked and adulterous GENERATION seeketh after a sign,
- and there shall be no sign given unto it,
- but the sign of the prophet Jonah. (No mention of the 3 days etc.)
- And He left them and departed." (No mention of the judgment)
MARK 8.11—13 is a precis of Matt. 16.1—4. "And the Pharisees come forth, and began to question with Him, seeking of Him a sign from heaven, tempting Him.
- And He sighed deeply in the spirit, and saith,
- Why doth THIS GENERATION seek after a sign? Verily I say unto you,
- There shall no sign be given unto THIS GENERATION."
- And He left them …"(How suggestive this phrase is! Cf. Luke 17.25).
As we read these four Scriptures we cannot help but notice the emphasis that our Lord places upon THIS GENERATION: AN EVIL AND ADULTEROUS GENERATION.
Jonah was himself a sign, a testimony, to the Ninevites; our Lord was a sign to His generation. Cf. Is. 7.4, "The Lord HIMSELF shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel." He was a sign "which shall be spoken against." (Luke 2.34).
Jonah went to Ninevah, albeit unwillingly, with a message of judgment; our Lord also preached to a "great city, which spiritually is called Sodom" (Rev. 11.8) of a coming judgment (Matt. 23.36; 24.34).
Jonah’s experience in the deep was a sign, not to the Ninevites, but for that generation which crucified Him, and rejected His resurrection (Matt. 27.62—66; 28.11—15; Acts 4.1—3; 28.23— 28) and rejected Him.
Jonah’s psalm was a sign to THAT GENERATION if they were but prepared to search (Luke 24.27; John 5.36—44).
by Charles Stanley
Many Christians spend much of their lives desiring the love of Christ, and still more in desiring to love Christ. "Draw me, we will run after thee." There is love to Christ, but a sense of distance. "Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon? for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?" Such expressions as these in the Song of Solomon express the state of many a soul now, as well do they describe the condition of the remnant of Israel in days to come. How many of us have felt a well-known line in a hymn suit the real state of our souls—"Oh, draw me, Saviour, after
Thee"—and many have wondered why a dear servant of the Lord, more deeply experienced in the love of Christ than ourselves, should have altered it to, "Lord, Thou hast drawn me after Thee." Is not the difference immense?
The difference would not be greater than if you saw a child looking eagerly through a shop window at various kinds of delicious fruit within. Yes, that child loves grapes, and pears, and plums, and greatly desires them, but not one does it enjoy; it is outside, and they are all inside. A kind hand opens the door, and a loving voice says, Come in, my child. Freely I give you all. Eat, and enjoy, whatever is for your good. How real the difference between the desire of that child, and the enjoyment of the fruit! And has not that One with the wounded hand opened the door? Or does He leave us outside still, only to desire? It is, or was, the true place of a Jew outside the holiest; he could only earnestly desire. That is not the true place of a Christian. "The king hath brought me into his chambers." "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight; and his fruit was sweet to my taste." Is not this the King with the wounded hands? "He brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me was love." What holy, deep, real enjoyment do these words describe! Is this desire at a distance, looking through the window? No; "I sat"—perfect repose of heart—in the presence of Christ. No fear; no, such perfect love casteth out fear. God is love, and that new nature born of Him delighteth in Him "with great delight." And it is not longing to love Him, but delighting in Him. "And his fruit was sweet to my taste."
Now a very common mistake is often made. It is this: that we must love Him more, and more, and more, until at last we may hope to arrive at this banquet of love. It is not so; it is not an act of our own. "He brought me to the banqueting-house." Oh, how tenderly He led me, with those wounded hands, to the banquet of love! But must it not be our love to Him that makes the banquet of love? No, "His banner over me was love."
Is it not evident, then, that if we truly "have known and believed the love that God hath to us," we must go beyond "Oh draw me, Saviour, after Thee"? It is quite true, in another sense, that we need constantly His power to keep us, and guide us through this wilderness. But "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." Yes, He has not only brought us into the banquet of love, and spread His banner over us, and this is our dwelling, abiding place. Is it not written, "Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end"? The banner of love ever floats over us. The fruit is ever sweet. The perfect rest is ever secure. Not a sin did He fail to bear. Never can He cease to love or intercede for those whose sins He bore.
No, the believer has not to desire peace with God, and rest to his soul. "I sat down." He has not too long for repose of soul in the presence of Christ. No, he rests under His shadow in sweet repose. He has not to desire the love of Christ: that love is sweet to his taste. He has not to say, "Oh draw me," he is brought into the banqueting-house. He can say, "My beloved is mine, and I am his; he feedeth among the lilies."
There is no effort to love; all is deep, perfect, full enjoyment. A miner in a deep pit, on fire, and about to perish in the suffocating fumes, may well cry out, "Oh, draw me out; oh, draw me out into the bright day and pure air." But if a nobleman sent his own son as volunteer to fetch him out of that pit of death, and then made him joint-heir with that son of a large estate, he would not then desire to be out. Neither could he desire to be brought into the sunshine and light of day, nor to breathe the pure, fresh air. No; see him walking with and talking to that son who had saved him, and who delighted to share with him all the estate.
Is this an over-drawn picture? Far from it. Every illustration fails to set forth the eternal love of God in Christ. "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love." Surely, then, He could not love us more. "So have I loved you." Mark, we have not to keep His commandments to cause Him to love us, or to attain to His love, but to abide in His love. "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love." And why does the Lord thus speak to us? He says further, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." He would not have us remain outside in the continual disappointment of mere desire, but come into the banquet of full joy in the everlasting possession of His love, with the conscience purged, and in perfect repose, through His precious blood; the heart for ever satisfied, dwelling in His unchanging love; the affections now free to act and flow forth from Himself to all the objects of His love. For this is the desire of His heart. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Have we to desire Him to do this? Surely not. Who could have conceived such a thing? No, God so loved. Jesus so loved. It is done. "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
It will thus be seen by the Christian reader, that we cannot desire Christ to love us. His love to us has been displayed to the utmost. We cannot desire God to love us more than He has loved, or more than He does love. For nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
We may have a desire to depart, and be with Christ, which is far better. Paul had this desire. (Phil. 1.23). But this was because he knew the love of Christ to him. We may long and hope for that moment when we shall be like Him in the glorified body, but this is because of the certainty that when He appears we shall be like Him. Yes, we shall see Him as He is, and be like Him. But all this is far different from desiring now that Christ would love us. No, He wishes our present joy to be full, dwelling in His love. He says to the Father, "And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me." (John 17.23,23).
Just think of the glory given to Christ, already given to us. And shortly the world shall know that the Father hath loved us, even as He has loved Christ!! Oh, yes, the blessed One, with those wounds in His hands, says, Come into the banquet; my banner over you is eternal love.
But the reader may say, Ought I not to desire to love God? How plain the answer! If you know and believe this wondrous love of God to you, you will (not desire, but) love Him, because He first loved you. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." "We love him, because he first loved us." As the children of God, we have the nature of our Father, and He is love. Would not that be a strange child that desired to love its parent? And the love of God leads us to delight to keep His commandments. It is the very outflow of the new nature, by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. True love is never occupied with self. Desire to love is always so. We may read page after page of those seeking and desiring to love God, and find nothing but self-occupancy, from beginning to end. If you ask them the meaning of those words, "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Rom. 5.5), their thought will be, the more we love God, the more He will love us. Th is shews sad ignorance of the great fact declared here. Believing God, who hath raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, "who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification," we are justified, accounted righteous, before the very eye of God. "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." To desire to make peace with God would spoil all. It would be to set aside the peace now made by the blood of Jesus, and thus desire to make peace with God ourselves in some other way. No, it is as certain a fact that we have peace with God, as that He who has made our peace is raised from among the dead. We do not desire peace, we have it WITH GOD. We do not desire access to the banquet of love, we have access by faith into this grace, this wondrous free favour wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
In like manner, though we pass through tribulation, yet we "glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us."
Do not mistake: if the love of God is not shed abroad in your heart, if the Holy Ghost is not given to you, then you are not a Christian, and that is another matter. But if you know and believe the love of God to you in sending His Son, then every barrier to the love of God has been removed. You have not to desire, but the love of God is shed abroad in your heart, the Holy Ghost is given to you. That love is revealed in Christ, cease your vain, unbelieving desires. No longer stand with the doubting crowd without, but take your happy seat beneath His shade in everlasting repose. The Lord bless these few thoughts on the difference between love and desire to every Christian reader, and may we evermore rejoice in the Lord.
by H. Shackcloth
The true operation of the law of God as we understand it in its spiritual application was foreshadowed by Moses immediately prior to his departure. He committed the writings to the Levites, its future custodians, with this interesting direction, Take the book of the Law and put it in the side of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee for I know thy rebellion’ Deut. 31.26,27. A remark which embodied in itself disappointment and hope, after forty strenuous years on the part of Moses.
Our thoughts are taken at once to the statement of the Psalmist, ‘The law of God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.’ Ps. 31.31. This can refer to none other than the Blessed Man of Psalm 1, whose delight was in the Law of the Lord and in whose law He meditated day and night. The law of God was also intended to dominate the hearts of His people, and we can claim no more than to seek by His help to ‘follow His steps’ in this vital matter.
One of the problems implicit in the operation of the Levitical law was that of its overwhelming insularity; as it stood in the way of Gentile participation of the blessings of the Gospel, and for this reason had to be abolished — ‘rendered inactive’ (Vine) — Ephesians 2.13. Paul elsewhere reminded the Colossian church that they, as Gentiles, were ‘circumcised with the circumcision made without hands’, and that the ‘bond’ of the ordinances which was against us, which was contrary to us, was taken out of the way being nailed to His Cross.’ Col. 2.11—14. The influential deputation to Antioch from the church at Jerusalem, testified to the same truth. Acts 15.27—29.
We can deduce from this that if the pursuit of righteousness is to be practical experience it must first of all be shown that ‘by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified’, and that ‘the righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all that believe, for there is no difference’. Rom. 3.20—22.
To those who nevertheless hankered after the Law, Paul could write, ‘the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith we are no longer under a schoolmaster.’ Gal. 3.24,25.
By contrast the law of Christ is said to be a ‘royal law’ to be fulfilled as we obey Christ, a ‘law of liberty’ by which we shall one day be judged according to the measure of our faithfulness. James 2.8—12.
Perhaps the most encouraging statement was made to those Galatian would-be defectors by the Apostle, that, ‘Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.’ Gal. 3.13,14; whilst one of the first statements from the Gospels was this, "The law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.’ John 1.17.
We hear our Lord’s gracious words to His disciples, ‘A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another, as I have loved you that ye love one another.’ John 13.34. These words are not from a Levite priest but from Him whose service was of ‘the order of Melchizedek’, a Royal Priest for ever more.
To those who would rob us of our liberty in Christ by legalistic practices which have no authority from God’s Word; to those who are enmeshed in slavish cults which have no basis of Divine truth, and to those bound by human traditions from whatever direction they come, we may well repeat the following challenging words from the pen of the Apostle Paul, ‘After that ye know God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements?’ Gal. 4.9.
If there was one thing Leah craved more than any other, it was to experience a less precarious relationship with Jacob than she knew at first; but when Levi was born she expressed a new confidence as she exclaimed, "This time will my husband be joined unto me". Gen. 29.34.
As believers in Christ our Confidence too may be expressed by the words, ‘He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit1. 1 Cor. 6.17.
(To be continued).
by B. Currie (Belfast)
Of all the apostles who companied with the Lord Jesus on earth John appears to have been the closest. This may have been because he likely was the youngest and therefore required more support, assurance and friendship than the others who were more mature. He is found in at least three position relative to the Lord Jesus:
- His feet in the Lord’s hands — John. 13.5 — FOR CLEANSING.
- His head in the Lord’s bosom — John. 13.23 — FOR COMMUNION.
- He lay at the Lord’s feet — Rev. 1.17 — FOR COMMUNICATION.
The order of these is most significant since without cleansing there will be no communion and Without both cleansing and communion there will be no communication.
This short paper would be insufficient to develop the deep meaning of the Lord’s actions in John 13. The reader may wish to compare His movements in this chapter with those delineated in Phil. 2. Sufficient it is to see that this cleansing is the first thing brought to our attention by John in his account of the upper room, thus implying its foundational character.
The feet were the only part washed. When Peter requested full washing v.9, the Lord clearly indicated that such was required only once but feet washing was a constant need. The meaning of the Lord’s words "He that is washed (bathed all over) needeth not save to wash his feet" can be understood from Old Testament ritual. When the priests were being consecrated they were washed or bathed by Moses, Ex. 29.4. In this Moses was acting for God and this never was repeated. This equates with the new birth, the washing of regeneration of Tit. 3.5 and having "our bodies washed with pure water", Heb. 10.21. We are only born again once and since there is no such thing as falling away, it can never be repeated. However the priest had to constantly use the laver in order to remove the defilement contacted as he walked through the wilderness. We too require daily cleansing from defilement by the application of the word of God — John. 17.17. "Sanctify them through Thy truth : Thy word is truth." Thus we learn that for cleansing the daily application of the word, not the blood, is vital.
It is full of significance that before John’s head lay in the Lord’s bosom his feet had been cleansed. The world in which we live is a corrupt and sinful place and it is becoming worse. It is in the midst of such that we long to have sweet and holy communion with the Lord. What a privilege for John to be so close as to hear His heartbeat and feel the very throb of His pulse. How we would long to know Him better! The knowledge of Him is Christian maturity. In 1 John. 2.13,14 the fathers i.e. the mature Christians, are identified by this, "ye have known Him that is from the beginning." Even after many years of Christian experience and service Paul could still say "that I may know Him", Phil. 3.10. It is unfortunate but true, that the words of the Lord Jesus to Philip apply to so many of us, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?" John. 14.9.
It is as John lies at His feet that he is commissioned to "Write the things which thou hast seen, the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter," Rev. 1.19. It was at His feet that Mary heard His word, Luke 10.39. It was at the feet of Boaz, a type of Christ in exaltation, that Ruth was blessed. If we could cultivate the secret of being at His feet in quiet contemplation then we would receive much more from Him and be able to say "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened unto us the Scriptures?".
After the high priest had been to the altar in the Tabernacle and was approaching the holiest of all, there were three articles of furniture in a straight line, one after the other.
- The laver — CLEANSING,
- The golden altar — COMMUNION,
- The mercy seat — COMMUNICATION.
For intelligent and happy Christian living this must be the order.
by J. E. TODD.
The Holy Scriptures record two covenants which concern the nation of Israel. The first of these was made with Abraham, ‘In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram’ (Gen. 15.18). The second was made with the nation of Israel itself, ‘The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb’ (Deut. 5.2). This is distinct from the covenant with Abraham, The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us’ (v.3).
The two covenants are distinct and therefore must not be contused. The Abrahamic covenant, which was dealt with in the first article, must not be confused with the Mosaic covenant which was made centuries later. This distinction must be made for the following reasons.
First, the Abrahamic covenant was made with an individual in his lifetime, whereas the Mosaic covenant was made with a whole nation from generation to generation.
Second, the covenant with Abraham was an everlasting covenant (Gen. 17.13,19), whereas the covenant with Israel was an ‘if covenant. ‘IF ye walk in my statutes . . . But IF ye will not hearken unto me’ (Lev. 26.3,14). This covenant God made with Israel at Mount Sinai, Moses acting as their representative. Israel’s part was to obey God, ‘And he (Moses) took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient’ (Ex. 24.7). God’s part of the agreement was to bless Israel in their wars, their crops, their water-supply, their health, their cattle and their inheritance (Ex. 23.22—33). Israel’s obedience to God meant Israel’s blessing from God. As an ‘if covenant it was a continually conditional covenant, it required continual obedience on the part of the Israelite nation from generation to generation, otherwise the covenant would become null and void.
Third, the Abrahamic covenant is of perpetual effect, Abraham fulfilled his part by faith and obedience and is now dead, therefore the human side of the agreement cannot be broken. Whereas Israel broke their covenant by disobedience to God, and this resulted in the catastrophe of the Babylonian captivity. "The covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake’ (Jer. 31.32). But Jeremiah hastens to state that although Israel had broken the Sinai covenant, this in no way affected-the covenant with Abraham. ‘Thus saith the LORD; if heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD’ (verses 35—37).
Now we come to the paradox. Under the unalterable Abrahamic covenant the Israelite nation was to possess the land of Canaan for ever, but under the Mosaic covenant, which they had broken, they were to be thrust out of the land. Because of their sins, even to the point of human sacrifice, the former inhabitants of Canaan were driven out to make way for Israel. (Deut. 18.9— 14). The Israelites, as part of their covenant with God, were forbidden to follow their example (Lev. 20.1—5). If Israel broke the covenant they too would be thrust out of the land, ‘If ye shall… break my covenant … I will scatter you among the heathen’ (Lev. 26.15,33). They did break the covenant (2 Chron. 33.1—9) and were likewise driven from the land (2 Chron. 36.15—20). The paradox being that under one covenant the land was their’s for ever, whilst under the other covenant they were to be driven from the land. The solution to the paradox was that whenever Israel was driven from their land because of divine judgment against their sins, nevertheless because of the covenant with Abraham they would be brought back again later to the land of Canaan (Lev. 26.40—45).
This prophetic scenario has been enacted twice in history.
First, as recorded above, Israel sinned and were taken into Babylonian captivity. But, as prophesied by Jeremiah, the exile was to last only 70 years (Jer. 25.11—13; 29.10—14), then Israel returned to their land (2 Chron. 36.22,23) as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Second, Israel committed the supreme sin against God by crucifying their own Messiah. ‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Messiah)’ (Acts 2.36). The Lord Jesus Christ himself warned of the consequences of their ultimate sin. They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’ (Luke 21.24). This prophecy was fulfilled when the Romans captured and destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. But now, after 1,900 years, the descendants of Abraham are back in their land. The scene is being set for the return of their Messiah.
by Ronald J. Johnston, Bangor.
That the ministry of choice servants of God in the Old Testament has proved to be profitable for saints of all times is undeniable. But the final words of some have made lasting impressions in particular. Spiritual men going out of this scene, still with a heart for God. His work and His people. They spoke of prevailing conditions and what would follow their decease, and like so many events and pictures in the Old Testament they relate, so often unerringly, to the circumstances and experiences of our day.
Of these servants, Joseph is an outstanding example. Excelling in character from his youth, separated from his brethren, he was a man whose ministry would have far reaching effects in Egypt as a nation and Israel as a nation in its infancy.
His first ministry
As a young man, what was revealed to him (Gen. 37.5-7) he made known to his brethren in words of brevity and simplicity. They had no difficulty in understanding and did not like it, but Joseph gave what God had given him. We may learn some lessons viz:
- the value of ministry from spiritual younger brethren.
- the ministry we like is not necessarily the ministry we require.
- ministry should be understood and expressed suitably without veneer and exaggerated mannerisms which unfortunately can be cultivated with the passing of time and only detract from the message.
His last ministry
Joseph’s ministry did not alter at the end of his life (Gen. 50.22-26). He obviously had heard of the word of promise to Abraham concerning Israel’s release from Egypt (Gen. 15.13,14). In absolute confidence, therefore, he says "God will surely visit you…" (Gen. 50.24). By faith Joseph, when he died made mention of the departing of the children of Israel…" (Heb. 11.22).
God had fulfilled to the letter Joseph’s first ministry and this was proof that He also would fulfil what He had promised to Abraham. In calm confidence Joseph goes out — no generation gap either for his great grandchildren are brought up upon his knees. The first mention of Joseph’s age at seventeen years (Gen. 37.2) is followed by his first recorded ministry to his brethren. The last mention of his age one hundred and ten years (Gen. 50.22,26) is linked with his final ministry. As a young man and as an old man the character of his ministry is unchanged. He is absolutely confident what God has promised He will surely fulfil and ministers accordingly. May we by His grace be as confident in the unchangeableness of God and His word and communicate likewise.
An outgoing generation
"And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation" (Ex. 1.6). The uniformity of death — not only Joseph died, but his brethren (Reuben to Benjamin) and all that generation. A threefold reminder of death. They all died but not at the one time. Joseph had served his day and generation and we reap the fruits of such in our day. May our generation have something to pass on to the next.
An incoming generation
"And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly and multiplied and waxed exceeding might and the land was filled with them" (Ex. 1.7) Death and life. One generation going out and another generation coming in (Psalm 90.3). Two processes at work. A silent dropping away and a silent growth. Like the season — May with its green leaves and opening buds and November with its fallings leaves and changing greenery. Death and young life. We witness this twofold process daily. The house with the coffin downstairs and the cradle upstairs. Children playing in a cemetry. The web run down at one end and woven at the other. Said the poet:—
- "Every moment dies a man
- Every moment one is born."
A serious contemplation of this would stimulate our thinking as to the preciousness of time.
God buries His workmen but carries on His work. One generation passes away, another takes up the work. We are inclined to look back on earlier generations and bemoan the loss of well known spiritual men and women, and undoubtedly we are deeply thankful for such. But another has said "There is as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it, especially when God casts the net." Joseph may have said "Perhaps I have made a mistake after all, I should not have brought this people down to Egypt." But Joseph had done exactly what God intended him to do. Someone else will carry on the work (ultimately Moses). One sows, another reaps. The work is all one with many parts. There are a great many threads in a piece of cloth. A great many movements in a shuttle. A great many pieces of glass to make up the mosaic pattern. "For David after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep…" (Acts 13.36). May the Lord enable us to do the same.
- Faith knows that whatever God promises — He performs.
- When love reproves and corrects, it encourages and gives hope.
- Compassion is investing everything necessary to heal the hurt of others.
- Faith helps us to walk fearlessly, to run confidently, and to live victoriously.
- A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian.
- The secret of true service is to be faithful wherever God places you.
- The sinner’s credit is of no account; his only hope is Christ’s account.
- If you want to know how to pray in hard times, practice praying in easy times.
- Safety is not the absence of danger but the presence of God.
—Anthony Orsini, U.S.A.
by J. KUNDAS, Pa., U.S.A.
The woman wears a veil on her head because she is the glory of the man, and man’s glory is not to be seen. In 1 Cor. 11.1-16, there is much precious teaching on the God appointed differences between a woman’s natural hair, and that which is worn ON the head, i.e. the veil, or covering.
As with all spiritual instruction, the end should be for the glory of God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. It is with this in view that we approach this portion of the word of God. The apostle states his recognition of the headship of Christ (vs. 1,3) and connects this truth with ordinances, "as I delivered them unto you." Since Paul was a chosen vessel of God (2 Tim. 1.11), then the Spirit of God would have us know that 1 Cor. 11 falls in the category of the apostles doctrine, in which all spiritually intelligent would desire to continue in steadfastness (Acts 2.42).
Nature itself teaches that it is a shame for a man to have long hair. What is the covering spoken of in verse 4? Certainly it is not his hair. If those that suggest that the woman’s hair is her SPIRITUAL covering, then this text would say, ‘any man that prays with hair on his head dishonors his head.’ This is absurd to say the least! Again, the key is headship, and a recognition of order is humbly submitting to the Lordship of Christ. The man that dishonors his head in verse 4, does not dishonor his own physical head (v.3), and the same truth MUST follow in verse 5, concerning the woman. If she prays or prophecies with her head uncovered, she dishonors her head; that is, she dishonors her husband, or if she be single, she does dishonor to men. This is easy enough. The head of every man is Christ; the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
A woman’s glory is her long hair. This is, as I have said, a natural truth. But in 1 Cor. 2.11—16, our same apostle states definately, and with no room for compromise, that the natural man receiveth NOT the things of the Spirit of God. In 1 Cor. 11.15, none would fail to see that the long hair is given the woman for a glory to her. But this is a NATURAL truth. "Doth not nature itself teach you?" But when the saints are assembled, is the glory of the woman to be seen? Verse 5 states with all authority that if a woman is not covered, it is as if she were bald, and would not a bald woman attract attention to herself? Yet, this is precisely what occurs when she is not covered! If a woman chooses not to cover herself, she is stating, "I do not recognize the authority of man to woman; Christ to man; nor do I recognize the authority of God to Christ." Strong language? I think this is exactly what the woman states when she wilfully disobeys the plain word of God. The fact that some women cover themselves prove they bow to the revelation of the word, and surely God bestows blessing on obedience. "Trust and obey, for there is no other way." She is stating simply that she agrees with God, that her glory is not to be seen. Can we say perhaps that one reason for this is found in 1 Tim. 2.11—14; "… but the woman being deceived was in the transgression?"
The veil of the woman is (when used in faith before God) spiritual truth. There is no less of rank in this, just order, because of the man being the head of the woman. Knowledge of this is respect for godly order, and it reveals a heart being ever ready to understand the deep things of God. What does it profit if a man (or woman) SAY he has faith? True faith rests on the word of God. Many women think because they have long hair, this is spiritual, and they are showing obedience to their husbands or to men, or to God, but this should be accompanied by a spirit of meekness, humility and subordination, otherwise it is meaningless. Without the headcovering she reveals that she desires her glory to be seen, and that she does not care what the ANGELS see when the saints are gathered (1 Cor. 11.10). The angels cannot read hearts when a woman with long hair sits quietly. But, alas, when a woman covers her head, the angels can read the activity of the inner man, because, even though the woman cannot see them, she believes the record that the angels desire to look into the activity of the saints.
"… That the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened . . . And hath put all things under his feet, and GAVE HIM TO BE HEAD OVER ALL THINGS to the Church…"
by Daniel Ussher, (Trinidad)
As I was requested to put these lines together the words of 2 Timothy 3.15 came to mind, "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation." At time of writing a father and mother that prayed for me, and taught me the Word of God are at Home with the Lord. I thank God for the memory of such. I was taken to Sunday School and meetings before I can remember and listened to many messages from the Word of God.
In January 1949 I was invited to Gospel meetings in Ballylin-tagh Gospel Hall which were conducted by the late Mr. Frank Knox. The Lord was pleased to work at that time and I came under deep conviction of sin. On Wednesday 12th of that month the Lord in His sovereign grace and mercy saved me. Indeed at one point I despaired thinking that I would never be saved. The words of John 5.24 were used by the Holy Spirit to give the assurance of salvation. After much trying to "believe" I got occupied with the fact that God sent His son to die for my sin and thus I became the possessor of eternal life.
At the Easter meetings in Belfast in 1960 we (my wife and I) heard various reports of the Lord’s work in foreign lands. These we listened to with great interest as we were exercised before the Lord as to the future path. An aged brother, the late Mr. Henry Spencer gave a report on the work in Trinidad and gave a stirring plea for help in the work. On the advice of Mr. Edward Fairfield we wrote to Mr. Spencer in Cardiff, Wales and went over to visit him and his wife in July of 1960. Prior to going to Cardiff we informed the Assembly at Limavady where we were in fellowship about our exercise. At first my late father was much perturbed about our exercise in relation to going abroad, he felt there was much need for help locally and we were much together in various aspects of the Lord’s work. However he did encourage us to keep close to the Lord and seek His will in the matter.-
In March of 1961 we were commended to the grace of God by the assembly at Limavady and well reported of by several other assemblies. At our farewell meeting goodly words were spoken by brethren David Craig and Harold Paisley as well as other brethren. Our letter of commendation was signed by eight brethren, six of these are now with the Lord. In January 1982 our letter was updated by the Limavady assembly by brethren who were then caring for the flock. We arrived in Trinidad on 20th March, 1961 and over the years there have been many ups and downs but in our own measure we can say like a great servant of the Lord, "Having therefore met with (the) help which is from God, I have stood firm unto this day." (Acts 26.22 J.N.D.) The Lord and His beloved people have been very kind to us over the years. What the prayers of the saints have meant to us we will never know this side of heaven. We deeply appreciate same aVid to all in touch with "The Throne" we will value your continued prayers for ourselves, fellow workers and the Lord’s work in general in this little corner of the vineyard.
THE SAVIOURS NAME
Tune — St. Cecilia or Quam Dilecta. 18.104.22.168.
- How great the Saviour’s Name!
- He is the God of might;
- He made the sun and moon,
- And all the stars of light.
- How good the Saviour’s Name!
- His love’s an ocean wide.
- It was in love He came;
- It was in love He died.
- How sweet the Saviour’s Name!
- How True in every look, I
- n every sigh and tear, I
- n every step He took.
- Unique the Saviour’s Name!
- He is exceeding fair;
- The Holy, Just and Pure,
- He is without compare.
- Distinct the Saviour’s Name!
- He is from all apart;
- The Man of tender touch
- Is He with perfect heart.
- Supreme the Saviour’s Name!
- He’s seated now above.
- We would His worth proclaim
- And His undying love.
— Harold Butcher.
DAVID AND GOLIATH
- A great big giant well protected,
Held Israel’s army so dejected,
Defiant, proud, he challenged all,
To raise a man, to hear his call.
They all stood by in fear and trembling,
They watched the Philistines assembling,
Just then a young lad did arrive,
His care for Israel much alive.
He made it known of his intention,
To face this foe with no declension.
A sling, a stone and skill from God,
The giant’s body hit the sod.
The Philistines ran off in fear,
And Israel’s army loud did cheer,
For David had again made known,
That Israel’s God was on the Throne.
- The light of heaven is the face of Jesus;
- The joy of heaven is the presence of Jesus;
- The melody of heaven is the name of Jesus;
- The harmony of heaven is the praise of Jesus;
- The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus;
- The employment of heaven is the service of Jesus;
- The duration of heaven is the eternity of Jesus;
- The fulness of heaven is Jesus Himself.