CHRIST IN THE APOCALYPSE
by John B. D. Page
ISAIAH’S PORTRAITS OF CHRIST
by J. Flanigan
FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
by J. B. Hewitt
THE PROPHECY OF JONAH
by E. R. Bower
THE WILL OF GOD FOR THE GOSPEL WITNESS
by E. Coppin
THOUGHTS OF CHRIST
by Eric G. Parmenter
A STUDY IN JUDE’S EPISTLE
by Tom Wilson
HIS UNCHANGING NAME
by Samuel Dawson
by Nelson McDonald
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
by Anthony Orsini
THE ROMAN ROAD
by T. Cornforth Taws
HYMNS AND THEIR WRITERS
by Jack Strahan
CHRIST IN THE APOCALYPSE (26)
by JOHN B. D. PAGE
THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST (iv)
Reading : Revelation 22.16 and 5. 1-6.
THE ROOT AND OFFSPRING OF DAVID
On three past occasions, the glorified Christ has supplemented His ineffable Name with a metaphorical designation — three times with "Alpha and Omega" (1.8,11; 22.13), and once with "the First and the Last" (1.17) — now He does for the last time with another (22.16).
During His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus followed this practice of amplifying His unutterable Name on seven occasions. For instance, He said, "I am the bread of life" (John 6.35), meaning that, ‘as the "I AM", (I am) "the Bread of Life", and so I am able to impart eternal life to believers whose spiritual needs are met and satisfied for ever’. Similarly, now glorified, He speaks from heaven to the exiled seer and He explains His declaration of being the "I AM" with one or more metaphorical tides. On this last occasion, He styles Himself as "the Root and Offspring of David", and so He relates Himself to the Davidic dynasty. Upon hearing this unusual designation, the seer in the solitude of Patmos may have reflected upon several Scriptures in connection with the fall and future rise of the monarchy, although there were no visible signs of its restoration in his day with Israel subject to Imperial Rome.
Even before the downfall of the royal house, Hosea (3.4) foretold that "Israel shall abide many days without a king and without a prince", meaning that the nation would be without a king of God’s appointment and without a ruler of its own choice, and this state of affairs had already prevailed for about seven centuries at the time of John hearing his Lord’s pronouncement from heaven. Since then, another eighteen centuries have elapsed under such conditions.
A similar thought is expressed by Isaiah (11.1, RV), who says, "there shall come forth a Shoot out of the stock (stump) of Jesse and a Branch out of his roots shall bear fruit". Using metaphorical language the prophet indicates that the royal house of David, having become so degenerate, is likened to a tree that had been felled but there remains the stump of Jesse, out of which a Shoot, referring to Christ, would grow, arid He would become a fruit-bearing Branch. Isaiah continues with the idea of a glorious prospect in verse 11, where he foresees the "Root of Jesse", a Messianic title, standing for an ensign of the Gentile peoples and summoning them to Himself during the millennium for an era of rest. There is no contradiction between these two titles ascribed to Christ for the age to come — He is the "Root of Jesse", because He is God, He is the "Shoot… of Jesse", becoming a fruit-bearing Branch, because He is Man. This reasoning lies behind the glorified Lord’s Self-ascribed title. Although the royal house of David had sunk into oblivion in Isaiah’s day, the divine purpose was not for it to remain in insignificance, because there is the prospect of a glorious future for the monarchy in David’s greater Son, designated here as Jesse’s "Root" and "Branch".
Turning again to Hosea (3.5), who says, "Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, . . .". Not only a national and spiritual restoration of Israel is foreseen but also a re-establishment of the monarchy. Commenting upon the phrase, "David their king" in Prophet of a Broken Home, Dr. F. A. Tatford says, "David was regarded as the prototype of perfect kingship (Ezek. 34.23; 37.24) and the Targum of Jonathan identifies him here with the King Messiah. The reference was, of course, to the Davidic dynasty and not to David personally. The ruler referred to would be one from David’s line, the Lord Jesus Christ".
Later in Isaiah (53.2f), Christ is depicted as "a tender plant", or ‘a pleasant sapling’ in the eyes of Jehovah during the days of His childhood and growth into manhood. As the simile is of a tree when it is young and pleasing to behold, the first advent of Christ is in view. There is no thought of maturity about the tree and its branches, such as a fruit-bearing Branch (Isa. 11.1) which anticipates Messiah’s millennial reign. In the same verse, He is likened to "a root out of dry ground" — what a contrast! It has been suggested that there is an allusion to the unattractive root of a shittah tree growing on the surface of arid and stony ground in its native wilderness, so descriptive of Christ as seen by men who, in their barren spiritual state, saw no beauty in Him to feel attracted to Him and so, despising Him, they hid their faces in repulsion from Him.
Such humiliation of Christ may be prefigured by the tabernacle in the wilderness in which only wood of the shittah tree was used.
These scriptures in Isaiah provide some background for understanding Messiah’s Self-ascribed title, "the Root and Offspring of David". The divine Speaker anticipates the time when the Davidic dynasty will be no longer insignificant and lost in obscurity but it will be restored to a dignified position and held in esteem. Consequently, He describes Himself not as the Root of Jesse or as a Root out of dry ground but as the Root of David. He does not portray Himself as the Shoot from the stump of Jesse or as a pleasant Sapling, but as the Offspring of David. When Israel is seen figuratively as "branches" of an olive tree, Abraham is viewed as the nation’s "root" in an ancestral sense (Rom. 11.16), but Christ, who was born more than ten centuries after David, is not David’s Ancestor! Therefore, there is a deeper significance in the title, "the Root… of David".
Botanically, the root provides an unseen anchorage for a tree. If this botanical principle is applied to the family tree of the Davidic dynasty then, throughout the long centuries of oblivion and subsequent absence of the monarchy, Christ, as "the Root of David", has been, and still is, its invisible anchorage. Again, thinking of a tree, sustenance for maintaining its life is derived from the root. Humanly speaking, the Davidic monarchy is dead outwardly and there is no apparent prospect of its restoration even with the Jews now back in part of the promised land, because the independent State of Israel is not a kingdom but it is a republic. From the divine viewpoint, the monarchy is not dead and its life is sustained by "the Root of David" who, being Deity as the "I AM", is the Antecedent of David, and so the monarchy has a secure anchorage in Him besides being sustained by Him, making it unique among all others in the world where so many monarchs have fallen with no prospect of restoration.
"The Offspring of David", which is the remaining part of, and complementary to, the first part of this compound title, signifies that Christ, in becoming Man, is the Descendant of David. Implicit in this title is the truth of His Incarnation — as God, He was the Antecedent of David; as Man, He became the Descendant of David. Therefore, "when the fulness of the time came" not a moment too early or a moment too late but at the time fixed in the counsels of God in eternity, "God sent forth His Son", who was, and from eternity had been, the Son of God, "born of a woman,…" (Gal. 4.4, RV)., which expresses the method of the Incarnation, so that Christ did not come ‘into the flesh’, that is, into an already existing man, as taught by the Gnostics, but He came "in the flesh" (1 John 4.2), partaking of flesh and blood (Heb. 2.14), and so He possessed true Manhood. His human line of descent is traced back to Adam in the genealogy recorded by Luke (3.23-38).
For His humanity, unlike all other human beings who are the seed of men, He was the Seed of the Woman who would, in the consummation of the ages, bruise fatally at the cross the head of the serpent whose diabolical intention was to thwart the divine plan of redemption (Gen. 3.15). For His nationality, He was the Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3.16, cited from Gen. 13.15, or 21.12) and so in Him, as the Child of Promise, all families of the earth will be blessed (Gen. 12.3). For His royalty, He was the Seed of David (Rom. 1.3), and so Matthew, who introduces Him as "the son of David", gives His legal line of royal descent in a genealogical table (Matt. 1.1-16), and consequently He is the Heir of the promised kingdom which means that" the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David,… and of His Kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1.32ff).
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah Messiah, whose royal lineage is in view, was not only of the house of David but He belonged also to the royal tribe of Judah as indicated early in the book (5.1-6) when the seer gazed upon the Occupant of the throne in heaven in whose right hand there was a seven-sealed scroll, and he saw there was no celestial, terrestrial or infernal being able to loose the seals. Then one of the twenty-four elders around the throne directed his attention to One, standing between the throne and the seraphim, whom the elder called "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David", for He had the ability to unloose the seven seals of the scroll. In spite of these regal titles, the seer saw no richly-clad monarch but instead "a Lamb as it had been slain" (5.1 -6) — there could be no greater contrast than a lamb and a lion!
No wild animal is mentioned so frequently in the Bible as the lion, for it abounded in the land, making its lair in the forests or in the tangled thickets of the Jordan valley or in the mountain crevices (Jer. 4.7; 5.6; 12.8; 49.19; S. of S. 4.8).
Several Hebrew words are used in the Old Testament for describing a lion, such as
- gur, translated ‘a whelp’, which the lioness nourished and trained to catch its prey until it was fully grown (Gen. 49.9; Ezek. 19.2ff; Deut. 33.22);
- kephir, that is, ‘a young lion’ which, having its teeth grown, is able to hunt for its food (Jer. 25.38; Psa. 58.6; Judg. 14.5);
- ari, the most frequently used word, denotes ‘a fully grown lion’ (Gen. 49.9), and it was a beast of prey, lying secretly in wait ready to pounce upon its victim, devouring it ferociously (1 Sam. 17.34; Psa. 7.3; 10.9; 22.13; Isa. 31.4).
The "lion … is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away from any" (Prov. 30.30), says Agur for Solomon who, as a recognized authority on wild beasts (1 Kings 4.33), saw the lion as a symbol of strength and courage, not fearful of any predatory animals. This may portray the lion-like might of Messiah, Who will not turn away from His foes but He will vanquish them, when He comes again with power and great glory.
As a probable admirer of the lion as ‘king of beasts’, Solomon made a great throne of ivory overlaid with gold and its arm-rests had two lions whilst its six steps were flanked with twelve lions, so that there was no comparable throne in any other kingdom (1 Kings 10.18-20). In this symbolical way, Israel’s greatest monarch emphasized his unequalled regal majesty to his courtiers who attended upon him and to visiting dignitaries who had an audience with him. Such matchless royal splendour applies to One Who is greater than Solomon when He takes the reins of government as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah".
Not surprisingly, the lion, as a symbol of strength and grandeur is used figuratively of Babylon, the greatest of Gentile world empires (Dan. 7.14; cp. Jer. 4.7; 50.17).
This king of wild animals is used metaphorically of Israel, which is yet to be the greatest of nations. Like a great lion about to rise up were the Israelites encamped east of Jordan, as seen by Balaam, and they would lift up themselves as a young lion in its strength, ready to attack the prey west of Jordan (Num. 23.24). In his next parable, Balaam pictures the Israelites, after their military victories in Canaan, crouching and lying down like a great lion satisfied in its triumph — no one would dare to "stir him up"! (Num. 24.9). Such words, applied not to the royal tribe but to the whole nation, are prophetic of Israel’s imperial greatness, still future, even as the Lord told the nation, "thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee" (Deut. 15.6) and, at that time, "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" will be Israel’s King. No Gentile nation will be able to withstand the strength of that little nation and its mighty Monarch.
Upon hearing this royal designation, "the lion of the tribe of Judah", John would have been familiar with these scriptures depicting the majestic splendour of the lion but he would have undoubtedly recalled the divinely ordered layout of the Israelites’ encampment in the wilderness. Pitched around the tabernacle, the twelve tribes were arranged in four camps, each with its own standard. On the east side, Judah, after Moses and Aaron, occupied the place of honour in front of the entrance to the tabernacle together with two other tribes, Zebulon and Issachar (Num. 2.2-9). The camp emblem for Judah’s standard was a lion, probably based on the blessing that Jacob pronounced upon his son, "Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up?" (Gen. 49.9, RV). A lion was Judah’s emblem, so the aged patriarch said, and he applied it to his son personally and tribally. Judah was like a lion’s whelp, which had gone up from the prey, and like a young lion, full of strength, and like a lioness, dangerous to arouse. David came from the tribe of Judah and the whole Davidic dynasty belonged to it. The Lord Jesus himself came from Judah’s line and descended from the house of David.
Whilst Judah’s emblem appears to be founded on scripture, the emblems for the other three camp standards, apparently based upon tradition, were a man for Reuben, an ox for Ephraim, and an eagle for Dan. In his vision of the glory of the Lord, Ezekiel saw four living creatures each with four faces which, remarkably, were like these four camp emblems (Ezek. 1.5,10). Centuries later, John saw in a vision four living creatures with similar faces (Rev.4.7, RV), but in contrast to the exiled prophet in Babylon who mentions "the face of a man" first to stress the Humanity of Christ, the Patmos seer places first "the living creature like a lion" for emphasis upon Messiah’s Kingship. Even in the Israelites’ march out of the Sinai wilderness, the camp of Judah with its lion embellished standard was in the lead (Num. 10.14), foreshadowing the foremost position of "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" in a coming day.
Hearing these illustrious titles from the lips of the elder, John would have observed that the descriptive "the Lion of the tribe of Judah", representing Christ not only in His Manhood but primarily as Israel’s King, takes pride of place. Next, as "the Root of David", He is David’s Predecessor because He is Deity. Then He is distinguished as "a Lamb as it had been slain", signifying that He has made peace through the blood of His cross, reconciling all things unto God in the age to come. Consequently, when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together in the coming age of peace, then He, who was the Lamb once slain, will be the Lion of the tribe of Judah enthroned.
(To be continued).
ISAIAH’S PORTRAITS OF CHRIST
by J. FLANIGAN (Belfast)
Isaiah 61 evokes precious memories of Nazareth. After His baptism and the temptation in the wilderness, our Lord returned to Galilee and to His home town. What wondrous grace it was that He should have chosen to be brought up in Nazareth; to be called a Nazarene. "Can there be any good thing come out of Nazareth?" It was a town of ill repute. It was a stopping place on the road south from Damascus and from the Lebanon and beyond. Merchants, traders, soldiers, and a variety of travellers lodged here overnight, and they made it infamous for immorality and vice. Here, in this environment, for thirty years, our Lord lived and laboured, humbly and sinlessly.
He would have been so familiar with the Nazareth Synagogue. It was the centre of learning, the meeting place for devotions and for daily discussions. On Sabbath days it was His custom to be there, and as an adult Jewish male it was His right and privilege to be involved in the public reading of the scrolls. The Sabbath referred to in Luke 4 was one of those days. But it was to become a memorable "Shabbat". Our Lord stood up to read. He took the scroll from the attendant. He quietly and confidently, with holy familiarity (Psalm 1.2), found the place which we now know as Isaiah 61, and having read the appropriate portion, He rolled up the scroll, returned it to the attendant, and sat down.
"Gracious words" were spoken, says Luke. They marvelled at His exposition. It was an historic, remarkable day, when the ancient Isaiah prophecy was being fulfilled in their midst. Messiah had come. He had lived amongst them unknown. He had for thirty years been with them unrecognised. A carpenter, and a carpenter’s son, His Messianic glory had been veiled. But now the veil was to be lifted; He would present Himself to them and to the Nation.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me", He read. "He hath anointed Me". Our Lord was the true meal offering. His lovely life had been a perfect blending of every desirable moral feature. Fine flour indeed; the finest of fine flour to be presented to Jehovah. Now the oil had been poured upon the flour. The offering had been anointed. He had stood in Jordan and the tender Dove had settled upon Him and marked Him out. As Israel’s prophets, priests, and kings had always been anointed into their offices, so too had our Lord been anointed. Now, this day, in the Nazareth Synagogue, He would reveal Himself as the anointed Messiah.
From this day He would be a preacher of the gospel to the poor. He would herald the riches of the glad tidings to those of meagre resources. To men unable to pay, He would offer the wealth of the heavenly message. To poor sinners, morally and spiritually bankrupt, He would proffer the gold of a precious pardon and forgiveness. That is, if they, on their part, would but acknowledge their poverty. This, however, was not to be.
He had healing too, for the broken hearted. It was a divine characteristic (Psalm 147.3), that He should bind up the hearts of those who were wounded with grief. But with the men of Nazareth, as with Israel in general, there would be a notable absence of sorrow for sin. There was little heartache for either individual or national guilt. Nevertheless, there would be some who would grieve, and the anointed One had come with healing.
There was deliverance too, for the captive. The Emancipator had come. Not that the yoke of Roman bondage would yet be lifted. That was a secondary thing. Men were in fetters worse than that. The chains of sin were strong. Man was helpless to entangle himself from such, The people, though many knew it not, were imprisoned by their own sinful thoughts and deeds. They were captives to their habits and vices. But the Deliverer was here. For those who knew their bondage, and the reality of the captivity in which they were bound morally, the Redeemer had come.
But how blind they were. He had come to give them new vision. If only they could know how blind they were. But like men blind from birth, they did not, could not, know the beauties and glories to which sin had blinded them. This very blindness was, in fact, a form of imprisonment too. Messiah in their midst had deliverance from that too.
Indeed, they were Blind, Bruised, Bankrupt, Brokenhearted Bondmen, but they knew it not. And in the humble confines of their local synagogue stood the Christ of Isaiah 61, as Prophet, Priest, Potentate, Benefactor, Healer, and Redeemer, and they knew not this either. The day which should have been a day of gladness and rejoicing was shrouded in sadness. Their day of visitation had begun and they did not and would not know it. It was the acceptable year of the Lord. He had there closed the book. In gentle, tender grace, He Who knew the hardness of their hearts would not yet announce the day of vengeance which would one day be their portion.
Their eyes were fastened upon Him as He read. Their ears had heard the gracious words as He spoke. But their hearts were hard. Could Joseph’s son really be Isaiah’s Christ? Could one from their own country be the Messiah for whom they had waited? In questioning disbelief they heard His rebukes, backed with stories from the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. Sidonians and Syrians had been blessed in those days, in a ministry that had by-passed lepers and widows in Israel. History would repeat itself. They were filled with wrath. They rose up. They thrust Him out. They led Him to the brow of the hill, not knowing that three years later, in national rejection of the ministry that had just begun, they would lead Him, outside Jerusalem, to the brow of another Hill.
But His time had not yet come, and passing through the midst of the men of Nazareth, He went His way to Capernaum.
The day of Vengeance would inevitably come, but, in grace, not yet.
FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
by J. B. HEWITT.
Peace is one of the thrilling notes of the Gospel, "preaching peace by Jesus Christ" (Acts 10.36). He is "the Lord of Peace" (2 Thess. 3.10). Job reminds us that peace comes through submission to the will of God (Job 22.21). In this restless age men and nations yearn for universal peace.
There are many aspects of peace in the N.T. and the three Persons in the Godhead are united in providing perfect peace for every believing soul. The Father is the God Peace (1 Thess. 5.23); the Lord Jesus is the Prince and Personification of peace (Isa. 9.6; Eph. 2.14), and the Holy Spirit provides the Fruit of peace (Gal. 5.22).
RECONCILIATION Col. 1.20,21. This is our need as sinners. The work of the Lord Jesus at Calvary secures our peace. The claims of God’s holy justice have been fully met, and blood-brought peace is the portion of the believer in Christ (Rom. 5.1). The work on the Cross reconciles the sinner to God (2 Cor. 5.19,20; 1 Pet. 3.18). Peace is proclaimed in the Gospel (Acts 10.36).
UNIFICATION Eph. 2.14-16. The divine work accomplished a change for both Jew and Gentile. Now the believing Jews and Gentiles would be mutually at peace and at unity. The Jews and Gentiles were separated in unbelief by "the middle wall of partition". The barrier was removed by Christ. The ceremonial law has been annulled or rendered inoperative. "One body" has been made from believers extracted from the two opposing parties, a living unity with Christ as Head (Eph. 3.6; Col. 1.18). He procured peace (v. 16) preached peace through His apostles (v. 17) and is our Peace (v. 14). He is also our peace in Resurrection (John 20.21).
We have been brought into all the wealth of a covenanted privilege. We are brought into the fellowship of the church as the body of Christ (v. 19). The church as a spiritual entity, is precious as seen by God (v. 21,22).
JUSTIFICATION Rom. 5.1. We are free from any charge of guilt, and have a righteous standing before God. The righteous act of the Lord at Calvary (v. 18), has procured our acquittal from guilt (v. 15,16). This all comes to us through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This justification is perfect and permanent. There are no degrees in justification. All is ours freely by grace (Rom. 3.24); instrumentally by faith (Rom. 5.1). Study the blessings of justification in verses 1-11.
SANCTIFICATION Phil. 4.7. We need peace of heart within us as well as peace of conscience (Rom. 5.1). Not all saints enjoy peace within. We fail to enjoy our inheritance in Christ. Peace comes through sobriety — gentleness (Phil. 4.5). "The Lord is at hand", beholding us, as well as upholding us, enabling us to be tolerant and considerate when troubles assail us.
The secret of serenity depends upon three conditions (v. 6). Be careful for nothing, be prayerful in everything and be thankful for anything. Praise, prayer and peace are good friends. Tranquility is ours for Peace will stand as a garrison round our heart. Peace as a sentinel guards us as a sentry guards a palace. The God of Peace in His presence and defence (v. 7,9). Is this experimentally true of us each day?
ARBITRATION Col 3.15. The "peace of Christ" RV. Let this peace govern there, as an umpire deciding all matters of difference among you. Peace with God is our privilege, peace with our brethren is our duty. This peace must regulate our relations one with another in the local company. Where this peace arbitrates, and the Word of Christ permeates there will be acclamation of the Person of Christ and everything done in the Name of Christ.
PERFECTION Isa. 26.3. This chapter looks on to a restored and converted Israel. What assurance — "Thou wilt keep him" — what abundance "in perfect peace". Nothing to disturb it, invade or destroy it. It passes all understanding. The mind may enjoy peace as it is stayed on Him. Our attitude "stayed on Thee, trusteth in Thee". This is the secret of tranquility in any storm that might upset us. As we hearken to God’s word we can have "peace like a river" (Isa. 48.18).
AFFECTION Psa. 119.165. This great peace is the fruit of faith, and the motive of obedience. The practical influence of faith is wholehearted obedience (v. 166). The highway to happiness is love of God’s Word (Ps. 119.16,47,97). Our communion is sweet and our confidence assured. This is a law of obedience, as we walk in the light we will go on to the full enjoyment of peace. This peace is an incalculable blessing (Isa. 54.13). "nothing shall offend them" is translated, "to them is no stumbling block". There are many things to stumble us; fiery trials, daily croSs-bearing and temptations all around us. This is the consolation to the faithful lover of God’s word, "The work of righteousness shall be peace". (Isa. 32.17).
BENEDICTION Heb. 13.20,21. This prayer is frequently and appropriately, used as a benediction. Here is a word of cheer for persecuted saints. For my troubled heart — "the God of peace", for my trembling soul — the power of God in "raising our Lord from among the dead". This great act guarantees our peace for time and eternity. My tendency to wander — the pastoral care of "that great Shepherd". For my tender conscience — "the blood of the everlasting covenant". We are eternally secure and have eternal life.
The God of purpose — "to adjust thoroughly"; I need this for my-daily life, equipped "to do His will", how necessary (Col. 4.12; 1 Thess. 4.3; Eph. 6.6).
We can bring pleasure to God in all that we do (Col. 1.10; 1 Thess. 2.4; 1 John 3.22). All God’s work is "through Jesus Christ", He is the Lord of glory, may we daily glorify Him and magnify Him in our bodies (Phil. 1.20). Amen.
"THE PROPHECY OF JONAH"
by E. R. Bower.
(A) The meaning of prophecy.
Before entering into the book of Jonah — a book which would appear to be chronologically the first of the books usually referred to as ‘the prophets’ (not the first of the prophets!) it will perhaps be of help to find definitions for a prophet and for his work.
It has been said in "Life and words of Christ" (by Geikie) that "A prophet, in the Jewish point of view, was less a seer than a fearless preacher, from whom, (to use the words of Clement of Alexandria), the truth shone forth, as the light streams from the sun. He might reveal the future, but his great characteristic was, that he was the mouthpiece of God, to utter, by resistless impulse, the rebukes or commands of the Almighty, as His ambassador, and the interpreter of His will to men."
The word ‘prophet’ in the Hebrew is ‘nabi’, from ‘naba’ to ‘boil up’ or ‘boil forth’— hence to pour forth words with the fervour and inspiration of a prophet. A prophet can be (1) one who foretells future events by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1.10,11). This is the accepted sense of the term. (2) One who reveals the mind of God to man by way of reproof, exhortation, warning, expostulation etc., This includes all the words of the prophets while under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 11.13). (3) One who makes known things already done, the declaration of which shews more than human knowledge, (e.g. Luke 22.63,64). (4) One who speaks with a divine afflatus (inspiration or impulse) though not amounting perhaps to what is commonly called inspiration. (Luke 1.67-69). (5) One who gives expression to the praise of God in musical form (1 Chron. 25.1-7). Noting here (v.5) "the words of God". (6) One who declares or expounds Divine truth under the influence and with the aid of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 7.22; Acts 19.1-6; 1 Cor. 11.4-5; 13.2,8,19; 14.1-40; Rom. 12.6; 1 Cor. 12.10).
Prophecy was one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and its chief design was to comfort, exhort and testify from the Scriptures, for the edification of believers. (Acts 15.32). See 1 Cor. 12.28; Ephes. 4.11. (John Brown’s Bible Dictionary).
(B) Jonah the prophet.
Jonah was the son of Amittai (Jon. 1.1; 2 Kin. 14.25) and a native of Gathhepher in the tribe of Zebulon (Josh. 19.13; — Gittah-hepher). He prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam (the second) king of Israel, and was contemporary with Amos and Isaiah. In Judah, Uzziah was on the throne. He predicted the success of the struggle with Syria and the subsequent restoration of some of Israel’s ancient territory. Gath-hepher was about three miles north of Nazareth which, in turn, is in Galilee. Thus the Pharisees were incorrect in saying, "Search and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." (John 7.52).
(C) Jonah, the book.
It has been described as "this book of unknown authorship, of unknown date, of disputed meaning, but of surpassing interest." It’s literary character, or the various opinions concerning it (e.g. that it is fiction, not fact; a parable; an allegory; a poetical myth; literal history; a dream; an embellishment of an historical narrative etc.,) is outside the scope of this present study, except perhaps to note that the allegorical nature of the narrative finds some support, according to which Jonah is a symbol of Israel as a nation entrusted with the oracles of God, and a witness to Divine truth. Israel shrank from the commission, and often apostatized. It was ‘swallowed up’ by Babylon. In exile, it sought the Lord, and was afterwards restored to its own home. One other allegory may be seen later. Whatever the arguments may be among the learned, one thing is certain; the Lord Jesus Christ Himself referred to the Queen of Sheba (an historical fact) and at the same time said, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment . . . because they repented at the preaching of Jonah" (Matt. 12.40; 16.4;Luke 11.30). How can those who are myths arise in the judgment?
The book of Jonah kept alive in the minds of the people an incident which in due time, as a signpost on the road, would be a sure and certain sign to them of the presence of the Messiah. "No sign shall be given … but the sign of the prophet Jonah."
Here, it may be, is the key to prophecy fulfilled and unfulfilled, that many things were written which appeared as "dark sayings" and their meaning was only seen "as through a glass darkly", but when "the fulness of time was come" then by all the sign posts along the road, by all the descriptions given, was the event recognised.
Of the ‘improbability’ of the story of Jonah’s miraculous release from the deep, and despite what some commentators say, but one comment is really necessary—that of our Lord who said, "As Jonah was three days and nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Some have suggested that Jonah actually died, but was resurrected alive, and by so doing became a true sign of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord. The sign was twofold — (1) As Jonah was three days and three nights … SO SHALL the Son man be …" and (2) As Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites… SO SHALL also the Son of man be …" (to be continued).
THE WILL OF GOD FOR THE GOSPEL WITNESS
by E. COPPIN
The proclamation of the Gospel is an ever-present responsibility of the Church, a trust committed to every Christian. Whatever the reactions of past generations, we of this one must face up to the tremendous need, accentuated by the apparent imminence of the close of this Gospel day.
Our work is not to make better a God-hating world, but to beseech as many sinners to repent and be saved as we can; not to bolster up the hopeless derelict, but to invite people into the Lifeboat. The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto that end. (Rom. 1.16).
Our Master was Himself the Great Exemplar
… in the winning of the souls of men. Any time or place was to Him an occasion. Tradition and convention were ignored when a needy soul was at hand. His love for the perishing was manifested in His miracles, and throbbed in His earnest message. Preaching may cost little now-a-days, His message cost Him His life.
In a Pharisee’s house where He was invited to dine He healed a palsied man; tired and weary, beneath the burning noon-day sun, when others might be taking siesta, He reached the heart and conscience of a sinful woman; when others had retired to bed He devoted His sleeping-time to leading Nicodemus to God; He stopped a funeral procession to bring life and salvation to a dead young man and his broken-hearted widowed mother; and in a cemetery one day He brought salvation to a poor demoniac who was the terror of the district.
His passion for souls never waned, and on the cross of shame, enduring inexpressible agony Himself, His love was transcendent—right there He won the soul of a dying thief. Now if we claim to have the Spirit of Christ, …
Would His Spirit act differently in our lives?
We have much doctrine which finds little expression in our life. We believe in a Heaven where we expect to be for ever, but apart from our relatives and a few others we are not specially anxious to take people with us. More strange still, we believe, or say we do, that there is a hell for the unsaved, yet we have not been concerned about our neighbours going there. Is there not something wrong with a heart like that?
The Risen Lord said: …
"Ye shall be Witnesses"
(Acts 1.8; Luke 24.48); and witnessing begins at home (Mark 5.19; Luke 8.39; Acts 1.18). Have we witnessed to every person in our home, and shown in our life what it means to have Christ? Are there not many in our street we have not yet visited? Or where we have visited, were we so earnest that they thought in some way they had seen Him?
One Hour’s Gospel Meeting A Week
… does not discharge all our responsibility either to the Saviour or the sinner. The Gospel is the Christian’s full-time work, not a spare-time occupation. The degree of our interest in bringing the Gospel to the perishing nearby is surely a measure of our love for the Saviour who died for us and for them.
Divine love cannot be worked up, and we do not possess it by nature. It is the Holy Spirit’s prerogative to shed the love of God abroad in our hearts, and He will do that in our case if we are willing to pay the price. Christ wants all — all we are and have. Our bodies with their members and organs, He will accept as His weapons of righteousness unto God (Rom. 6.13), if we will yield them. The Holy Spirit requires human lives through which to display Christ, lives to be used up or burned out in the work of reaching the perishing. Every Christian should yield to God, and acknowledge the new Ownership (1 Cor. 6.19-20).
This experience of the fulness of Christ and Divine Love is just as necessary for speaking to the man or woman over the back-yard fence as it is for going to the so-called heathen.
The New Testament Assembly
… is the best place in the world to be, yet we are far from what we ought to be. When assemblies grow cold they desire some substitute for power, and multiply machinery to maintain declining efficiency. The last thing, alas, is prayer. The unsaved must be attracted? so we play instead of pray, or organise instead of agonize, entertain instead of entreat and turn to the world instead of the Word, when we should retrace and repent (Rev. 2.4-5).
The Gospel message should be preceded by …
The Preaching of Repentance.
So did Paul preach "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20.21). A clear definition of the Gospel is in 1 Cor. 15.1-3: "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures … was buried … rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." Paul preached the Gospel to the Thessalo-nians with power which produced faith; in the Holy Spirit who produced love; and in much assurance, which produced hope. The converts were "ensamples." Every one must have been a winner of souls, for he could say of them, "We give thanks to God always for you ALL." In under two years they evangelised more than all Greece.
In the face of this we must confess we are only lukewarm; but there is …
No Need to Regard This as Inevitable.
Why not take our Lord’s advice and "Remember," "Repent," and "Do" (Rev. 2.5).
Remember the joy of our early Christian life. We wanted to tell everybody of Christ.
Repent—change our mind about our cold-hearted formal profession.
Do—the "first works" of faith, hope and love, and seek heart-fellowship with Christ in all that concerns Him. Let us look again at the
Unchanging Terms of Christ’s Commission. (Matt. 28.18-20; Mark 16.15-16).
- The Gospel witness has the highest authority: "All power is given unto Me. Go ye, etc."
- The widest possible scope, and the nearest possible starting point—"Into all the world."
- A complete policy: Salvation from sin, Satan, the world and wrath, and public identification with Christ by baptism "into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
- Definite terms to proclaim: "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned."
- A new rule of life to propound: "Teaching them to observe all things, etc."
- Unlimited Power and Sufficiency: "Lo, I am with you alway."
- No "out of season" periods: "All the days, even to the end of the age."
The Gospel’s long view is of eternal salvation. Its immediate aim is the "calling out of a people to the Name of the Lord" (Acts 15.14). The complete terms require to be honoured and obeyed. They include directions for the formation and continuance of One Distinctive Form of Gathering.
To join with any "movement" which failed to observe the "all things" of the commission would be disloyalty to the Lord, which grieves the Spirit and loses power. Better it is to go in the way of the Word of the Lord, and receive the blessing and approval now and in that day when every man’s work shall be tried. (2 Tim. 2.5).
THOUGHTS OF CHRIST
(for the busy Housewife) No. 8
by Eric G. Parmenter, Basingstoke
What beauty and power is found in the Saviour’s words "Come ye yourselves apart" (Mark 6.31).
The place was busy "for there were many coming and going", and the Saviour would have His own retire with Him into a desert place to rest awhile in the secret of His presence. To come apart with the Saviour gives opportunity to empty our whole hearts to Him, tell Him of our service, our joys, and cast our whole burden at His feet.
In this desert place with the day far spent His disciples would not only find rest for themselves, but learn also the depth of the Saviour’s compassion and the resources of divine power to meet the need of a hungry multitude. They said of the multitudes — "send them away": He said "give ye them to eat". In this lovely setting we learn the ways of the Lord as he corrects the selfishness of their hearts by making them the channels through which His grace may flow to the multitude.
"Come ye yourselves apart" — "Give ye them to eat", is still the message of the Saviour: He who had furnished a table in the wilderness would not send a hungry multitude away.
What profit to contemplate the sympathy and grace of the Saviour — to His own, and to the hungry multitude.
A STUDY IN JUDE’S EPISTLE (cont.)
by TOM WILSON, New Zealand
Having vividly exposed the danger caused by apostate teachers among the believers, Jude now turns his attention to how they should deal with the problem. The danger in confronting those in error is always that we adopt a purely negative attitude so that instead of presenting the truth with grace, with mercy, peace and love (cf. v.l), we simply argue the case.
Paul warned against this when he spoke of those who had come among the believers by "cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive". They were to be corrected in love. In this way, the believers would themselves grow spiritually as they contended for the truth, "(growing) up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Eph. 4.14,15). This is the same point that Jude takes up as he nears the end of his epistle.
How to Contend for the Faith, vv.17-25
Vv.17-19. First, he reemphasizes that the emergence of false doctrine had been anticipated (cf. vv.14,15). As Enoch had predicted it, so had the apostles. This probably refers to previous oral ministry by the apostles whose preaching must have been widespread among the early churches. They had predicted that "there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts". They would "separate themselves," causing division. These people, says Jude, are "sensual" (lit. "soulish," "unspir-itual"), and in spite of all their claims to superior knowledge, do not have the Spirit.
Vv.20.21. While it was important to contend with such people, they were to be careful at the same time to maintain their own spiritual growth. It is easy to become overwhelmed by problems, even at the assembly level; how important that we should continue to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ"!
Notice the different tone as Jude compassionately addresses the faithful in Christ. Twice he calls them "beloved" (vv. 17,20), a very personal word of endearment. Then he encourages them with a fourfold exhortation:
- To build themselves up in their "most holy faith." They would do this personally, and corporately through the study of Scripture and by remembering the Lord at His table.
- To pray in the Holy Ghost. The thought here is that the Holy Spirit helps us to intercede for others in prayer, however weak we may feel in ourselves (Rom. 8.26; Eph. 6.18).
- To keep themselves in the love of God. This they would do by being obedient to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ — "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love" (Jn. 15.10). There is little value in reading the Word, if we do not subject ourselves to its authority!
- To look for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. In other words, they were to anticipate His appearing when they would be removed from the world and its problems and ushered into His immediate presence for all eternity.
These are still the means by which God "stablishes, strengthens and settles" His people—not by the activities of the flesh (religious or otherwise).
Vv.22.23. The writer redirects their attention to the immediate problem of those who have been affected by the false teaching. Verse 22 probably refers to some who were at odds with themselves over what was being taught by the apostate group. The faithful believers were to treat them compassionately as they opened the Scriptures to them. They were to "make a difference (distinction)" between that group and others who were more deeply entrenched in the false teaching and would have to be "pulled (snatched) out of the fire." Jude speaks of "hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." A possible inference here is that of allowed, maybe even promoted, immoral behaviour. In any case, they would have to be careful that they themselves did not become affected. May we also be warned: certainly we must reach out to those in error and in need, but we must never forget our own natural weakness. We must "save with fear."
Vv.24.25. In the light of verse 23, how apt is this great doxology! He is able to keep us from falling (stumbling). And indeed, when we appear before Him, we shall be faultless, clothed in His own perfect righteousness. What joy! So we unite with Jude’s readers in the final paean of praise to the only wise God.
Here is the secret. We must certainly "earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints." But at all times our eyes must be on the Lord. He is our sufficiency. He knew that the ungodly would creep in among the believers, in Jude’s time and in ours. Just as surely as the event has taken place, so will His judgment follow. As we seek to rescue those who have been turned aside from the truth, we must always be careful to keep ourselves in the love of God. Our Lord says to us, as did the nobleman in the parable of the pounds, "Occupy till I come" (Lk. 19.13).
His Unchanging Name
by SAMUEL DAWSON, Banbridge
It is of interest to notice the Names that God gave to people in the Scriptures and what they mean, but we somehow become more interested and inquisitive when we read of their names being changed. In some cases the names were changed by God at a particular time in their lives, others were changed because of the desire of the ruling Monarch as with Daniel, or even by a request from the person themselves as in the case of Naomi.
We shall look at some of the names which were changed. In Gen. 12 God called Abram with the promise to make of him a great nation, but in chapter 17 the Lord changed his name to Abraham and declared, "a father of many nations have I made thee." Then in v.15 God changed the name of Sarai to Sarah for "she shall be the Mother of nations." Next in chapter 32 we have Jacob blessed on different grounds than before, for he acknowledged his true name and then had his name changed to Israel. Then in chapter 35 we have Rachel bearing a son, she would have him called Benoni "Son of my Sorrow," but his Father called him Benjamin the "Son of my right hand." In the Book of Ruth we are introduced to Naomi who left the House of Bread, lived in Moab, and returned. She has, however, learned a bitter lesson and said "call me not Naomi (Pleasant), call me Mara" (Bitter). In chapter 1 of Daniel, he and his friends had their names changed by the monarch. However, he did not accept his new name (nor food either) for he often referred to himself as "I Daniel". In chapter 5 Belshazzar inquires, "art thou that Daniel" and Darius in chapter 6 says "Daniel O Daniel."
We come to Saul of Tarsus as he was known when he was breathing out threatenings, but Paul, as he fought a good fight until he finished his course. Finally Luke chapter 1 where Elizabeth brought forth her son whom the neighbours would have called Zacharias, nevertheless according to the mind of God, his father and mother called him John.
In the Old Testament, even from Genesis, we have been told of the many Titles given to our Lord Jesus Christ and one of the sweetest things to notice about them is that God does not take one Tide from Him in order to give Him another. In Matt. 1.21 we read His Name shall be called Jesus, and in v.23 He is called Emmanuel so He carries both names and is none less one than the other, being both Perfect Man and Very God. His Titles and Names bring comfort and encouragement because they, like Him, are unchanging. We have an Advocate; a High Priest; He is coming for us as the Lord from Heaven; and in a further day the King of Glory, the Lord of Hosts. We rightly gather that God has a programme, and One to carry it out to His glory, as the poet said. "Monarch of the smitten cheek, Scorn of both the Jew and Greek, Priest and King Divinely meek, He shall bear the Glory."
How encouraging to appreciate the changeless One "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever." Truly we sing "I change — He changes not!"
by NELSON McDONALD, Scotland
In Psalm 23 we have the Christian’s Full Government. That is one of the reasons I have never visited the polling booths since the Lord saved me. I have a full government in the Lord who is my Shepherd.
Verse 1: The Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is the leader of the people and the Lord is the Leader or Author of His people, for there is none so stable or strong as He. We think of the power of His hand — Ps. 89.13 ‘Thou hast a might arm: strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand.’ Refer also to Isa. 9.6,7; Heb. 12.2; Rev. 1.8,17,18; Isa. 42.4, ‘He shall not fail nor be discouraged.’
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
‘I shall not want! Never was there a Chancellor like the Lord Jesus, constantly controlling to attend to the needs of His people. Deut. 2.7 "They lacked nothing.’ Ps. 37.25; 1 Thess. 4.12 and Phil.
4.19 remind us that He shall supply all our need, not our greed, nor all our wants. These at times, are many and often inessential but all our need shall be met according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Verse 2 : The Home Secretary
His position is to see us all settled down and at peace with one another. Thus we have the green pastures, the waters of stillness or unruffled calm and quietness and assurance. These thoughts are seen in Ps. 4.8; John 14.27; 16.33; 1 John 5.4. The victory that overcometh the world is the victory that believes the world has been overcome.
Verse 3 : The Minister of Health
Our Minister of health gets to the root of the trouble — He restores the soul first. Ps. 103.1-5, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul … who healeth all thy diseases.’ Refer also to Matt. 12.15,22. He healed all and never asked one of them to come back for a check up — What a Minister!
The Foreign Minister
His job is to lead us in right paths in connection with other nations. The right path — the path of life, the presence of joy, the pleasures for evermore, Ps. 16.11 — the path of plainness because of those who observe me, Ps. 27.11.
Men are not reading the Bible nowadays but they are still reading the Christians, to see if we are walking in paths of righteousness.
- "You are writing a gospel, a chapter a day,
- By deeds that you do, by words that you say,
- Men read what you write, whether faithless or true,
- Say, what is the gospel according to you?"
Ps. 119.105 it is the path of light while Prov. 4.18 the path of the just is being led in paths of righteousness.
Verse 4 : The Minister of Propaganda
His position is to boost the morale of the people, and the Lord encourages His people by verses like this, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.’ He takes fear from us by assuring us of His Presence with us in the valley experiences of life, see 2 Tim. 4.17; Ps. 119.50; 2 Cor. 1.3; Eph. 1.3; Ps. 37.4,11,23.
Verse 5 : The Minister of Food
Now He is preparing a table for us—Job 23.12; Jer. 15.16; John 6.32,33. The table is well furnished, fully laden with all that God Himself enjoys. Thus in John 6 ‘the Bread of God,’ Ps. 78.24 ‘the Corn of Heaven,’ Ps. 105.40 ‘the Bread of Heaven,’ it is all the fulness of Christ for our sustenance.
The Minister of Joy
In every circumstance we can have a ‘cup running over.’ Ps. 4.7; 16.5,6; John 15.11, ‘My joy’ and ‘your joy full’ If we enjoy His joy in our lives then our cup will be running over.
Verse 6 : The Minister of Compassion
Goodness and mercy following us. Our God is a good God and doeth good, Ps. 119.68. Not only is God good but He is merciful as Ps. 136 reminds us twenty-six times ‘His mercy endureth forever.’
The Minister of Housing
We have no problems with our housing either in terms of shortage or requiring renovation — John 14.1-3; 2 Cor. 5.1. Goodness and mercy following us and the lights of home ahead.
We have thus a full government, a Great God, and an assurance of glory.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- One cannot be envious and happy at the same time.
- A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers
- nothing, is worth nothing. Christ was lifted up that He might lift us up.
- The world is not interested in our views… it needs the good news.
- TRUE WORSHIP acknowledges the TRUE WORTH-SHIP of God.
- Don’t save your breath when it is time to breathe a
- PRAYER OP THANKS. God does more than hear words; He reads hearts.
- He who is good to others is good to himself.
- When we recognize Jesus’ Lordship, we’ll give Him our worship.
- He that will not command his thoughts will soon lose command of his actions.
—Anthony Orsini, Florida, U.S~A.
THE ROMAN ROAD
by T. CORNFORTH TAWS, Leicester
A Study in the Epistle to the Romans
THE CHRISTIAN’S PATHWAY AND CHARTER
Key thought: "The Righteousness of God."
- Introduction : Ch.1 vv.1 to 17.
- The Man, A Bondslave of Jesus Christ, v. 1.
- His Mission, To the Saints of Jesus Christ, v.7.
- His Message, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, v. 16.
- Condemnation : Ch.1 v.18 to ch 3 v.20.
- Gentile 1.18 to 2.16.
- Jew 2.17 to 3.8.
- World 3.9 to 3.20.
- Justification : Ch.3 v.21 to ch.5 v.11.
- Defined 3.21 to 3.31.
- Distinguished 4.1 to 4.25.
- Displayed 5.1 to 5.11.
- Sanctification : Ch.5 v.12 to ch.8 v.13.
- Foundation 5.12 to 6.13.
- Fulfilment 6.14 to 7.6.
- Function 7.7 to 8.13.
- Glorification : Ch.8 v.14 to ch.8 v.31.
- Announced 8.14 to 8.17.
- Anticipated 8.18 to 8.27.
- Assured 8.28 to 8.39.
- Consternation for Israel: Ch.9 to ch.11.
- Condition Ch.9.
- Consideration Ch.10.
- Conversion Ch. 11.
- Consecration : Ch.12 v.1 to ch.15 v.13.
- Dedication 12.1 to 12.2.
- Devotion 12.3 to 13.7.
- Discernment 13.8 to 15.13.
- Conclusion : Ch.15 v.14 to ch.16 v.27.
- Contemplation 15.14 to 15.33.
- Commendation 16.1 to 16.16.
- Concernment 16.17 to 16.20.
- Consolation 16.21 to 16.27.
HYMNS AND THEIR WRITERS (48)
by Jack Strahan, Enniskillen
"ALL HAIL, THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME"
EDWARD PERRONET (1726—1792)
E. P. Scott, a missionary in India, saw in the street one day an obvious stranger. On enquiry as to his identity, he was told that he was a member of a distant inland mountain tribe who had come down to the city of trade. On further enquiry, Scott discovered that these mountain people were heathen and had never been reached with the gospel but that to venture among them was very dangerous. The news caused Scott deep exercise of heart. He retired to his lodging, fell on his knees and cried to God in earnest intercession. But before he rose, he felt that God was calling him personally to carry the gospel to them. He packed his few belongings, picked up his violin and pilgrim staff and went to bid farewell to his fellow-missionaries. "We will never see you again", they said, "it is madness for you to go". "But", he replied, "I must carry Jesus to them".
He set out and after some two days of trekking over difficult terrain, located the tribe. Quickly the heathen savages surrounded him, every spear pointing towards his heart. In those tense moments Scott raised his violin, drew upon its strings and with upward face and closed eyes started to sing,
- "All hail, the power of Jesus’ name!
- Let angels prostrate fall;
- Bring forth the royal diadem,
- And crown Him Lord of all.
- Crown Him, ye martyrs of our God,
- Who from His altar call;
- Extol the stem of Jesse’s rod,
- And crown Him Lord of all.
- Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race,
- A remnant weak and small;
- Hail Him, who saves you by His grace,
- And crown Him Lord of all.
- Ye Gentile sinners, ne’er forget
- The wormwood and the gall,
- Go, spread your trophies at His feet,
- And crown Him Lord of all.
- Let every kindred, every tribe
- On this terrestrial ball,
- To Him all majesty ascribe,
- And crown Him Lord of all."
When Scott had reached the verse, "Let every kindred, every tribe", he opened his eyes and, lo, a wonder had taken place. Every spear had dropped from their hands and tears were streaming down their faces. They invited him to their homes and for two and a half years he lived and laboured in their midst. At the end of that period his health had so deteriorated that he decided he must go home. The tribe’s people accompanied him for some thirty to forty miles on his journey. "Oh, missionary", they said in parting, "come back to us again. There are tribes beyond us that never heard the glad tidings of salvation". So, after restoration of health, Scott returned to their midst and there he spent the remainder of his days.
The hymn, "All, hail, the power of Jesus’ name", sung by Scott on that memorable occasion was written by Edward Perronet some two hundred years ago. Edward Perronet was a descendant of a distinguished Huguenot family who, because of their faith, had suffered much persecution in their native homeland of France. Edward’s grandfather, David Perronet, had come to England in 1680. Edward’s father, the godly Vincent Perronet, was a minister in the Church of England and for over fifty years was vicar of Shoreham in Kent. He was an earnest evangelical, closely identified with the great revival of the 18th century and an intimate friend of John Wesley. Vincent lived to the ripe age of ninety-one and many were the occasions when John Wesley visited Shoreham on horse-back to spend time with this white-haired and respected saint of God.
Edward Perronet, the subject of this sketch, was born at Sun-dridge in Kent in 1726. He grew up at Shoreham rectory and there received his early education under a tutor. His upbringing was very much influenced by the traditions of the Church of England and there was every hope that Edward would, one day, become one of its ministers. As a youth, however, he had regarded John Wesley as his hero and, when he became a young man, identified himself with the Wesleys and the Methodist movement. For years, together with his brother Charles, Edward travelled up and down the country in their company and for the cause of the gospel of Christ, suffered much persecution.
The relationship between the Perronets and John Wesley, however, was not always harmonious. By nature Edward was passionate, impulsive, strong-willed and rebellious; besides he was a man of sharp intellect, of deep insight and of a critical mind. With his facile pen he set about to expose the shortcomings of the Established Church, much to the displeasure of Wesley. Other differences arose and eventually the Perronets and Wesley parted company, Wesley entering in his record that Charles Perronet, "desisted for want of health" and Edward "for some change of opinion".
After rupture with the Methodist movement, Edward Perronet then became minister in one of the Countess of Huntingdon’s chapels in Watling Street, Canterbury but after a brief ministry resigned from that charge to become pastor in a small but strongly evangelical chapel in the same city and there he continued for the remainder of his days. The ambition of his life had been to serve his Lord devotedly and faithfully, and at the close, in dying and yet undying words, he still sought only the glory of God.
- "Glory to God in the height of His divinity;
- Glory to God in the depth of His humanity;
- Glory to God in His all-sufficiency,
- And into His hands I commend my spirit".
Thus Edward Perronet passed away at Canterbury on January 2nd, 1792; he was buried in the cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral.
Edward Perronet was both a poet and a hymn-writer. His works received publication, often anonymously, in the later half of the 18th century; these appeared in several small volumes, as "Select Passages of the Old and New Testament versified" (1756), "A Small Collection of Hymns, etc., Canterbury" (1782) and "Occasional Verses, moral and sacred" (1785).
"All hail, the power of Jesus’ name" is the crowning jewel of all Perronet’s compositions. It’s popularity now for over two hundred years bears ample testimony to its undoubted worth. It is a hymn that will never die. It first received attention in November, 1779, when its first verse, together with an accompanying tune, "Miles Lane" appeared in "The Gospel Magazine". Then the completed hymn of eight stanzas, as Perronet had originally penned it, was published in the following April and entitled, "On the Resurrection, the Lord is King". Some years later the hymn was recast by Dr. John Rippon and this is the form in which it appears in most hymnals today. In this modification some of Perronet’s original stanzas were omitted, some rewritten and a closing stanza, entirely the work of Dr. Rippon, was added,
- "O that, with yonder sacred throng,
- We at His feet may fall;
- Join in the everlasting song,
- And crown Him Lord of all!"
There is a majesty about this hymn which is unique and nothing thrills the heart more than to hear it well sung by a large congregation to one or other of its companion tunes, either "Miles Lane" or "Diadem". Both these tunes were written by young men while still in their teens., — "Miles Lane" by William Shrubsole, a chorister in Canterbury Cathedral and "Diadem" by James Ellor, a hat-maker from Droylsden village in Lancashire.
The words of this hymn command attention. "All hail" — it was the glorious and joyous salutation of the risen Lord on the resurrection morning as He stepped out on the upward pathway to ever-increasing exaltation and glory. Edward Perronet in his hymn anticipates the final movement, majestic and triumphant; as at the first, so on that day devotion’s response will be, "they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him (Matt. 28.9). "Crown Him" — the "crown rights", undisputed, undivided, universal and eternal belong to Jesus Christ; they are His by Sovereign’s decree and His because of Calvary. His rights still await recognition; when that day comes no dissenting voice will be heard and gladly will we, His redeemed, join in the universal proclamation "He is Lord of all". (Acts 10.36).
GOD MANIFEST IN FLESH
TUNE : Sagina — "And can it be that I should gain"
- Father to Thee our voice we raise,
- Remembering Thy lovely Son.
- The subject of our thanks and praise
- For all He is and all He’s done.
- Image of the Invisible
- Almighty God invincible!
- Firstborn of all creation,
- He Brought all things forth by powerful word.
- The sky, the land, the mighty sea,
- Upheld by Him as Sovereign Lord.
- And yet this One of matchless worth
- Was firstborn of a maid brought forth!
- He, being in the form of God,
- Equal with Thee in every way,
- Yet as a Man this earth
- He trod And glorified Thee every day.
- "Behold a Son is given" to us
- In servant form to please Thee thus!
- Perfection marked His every move
- And everything He did and said.
- A Man of whom Thou did’st approve
- By signs, as by Thy Spirit led.
- He showed to men Thy heart of love
- Delighting Thee his God above.
by Matthew Cordiner, (Kilwinning).
- It’s given to you to keep today
- With honour and integrity — THE WORD OF GOD
- You must not add or take away
- But teach with all authority — THE WORD OF GOD.
- There are things which the church may try
- Which cannot be supported by — THE WORD OF GOD
- It’s up to folks like you and I
- To stand for truth and to apply — THE WORD OF GOD.
- For very soon we’ll all be gone
- And one thing will abide alone — THE WORD OF GOD
- So when our work for God is done
- Will we to younger ones pass on — THE WORD OF GOD?
HE IS COMING
- He is coming, for our peace,
- Every Saint shall share release,
- Trouble not your hearts, at all,
- He is coming, for us all.
- He is coming, let us work,
- Always abounding, nothing shirk.
- Stedfast, firm, it’s not in vain,
- He is coming back again.
- He is coming, sorrow not,
- Precious Hope, O murmur not.
- Find much comfort, hear Him say,
- He is coming, perhaps today.
- He is coming, watch and pray,
- We’ll be like Him, wondrous day.
- Meanwhile, may we be kept pure,
- He is coming, that is sure.
- He is coming, forward look,
- What a meeting, read His Book,
- We shall meet Him in the Air
- And to be forever there.