September/October 1986

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


by Wm. Hoste

by J. B. Hewitt

by J. B. D. Page

by J. Ritchie

by C. Jones

by N. McDonald

by J. E. Todd

by W. Stirrup

by D. N. Martin

by J. Strahan



(Christ, the Interpreter of the Father)



We have already seen our Lord at Cana, in the house of feasting. We are now to see Him interpreting the Father in the house of mourning. There "He rejoices with them that do rejoice," here, He "weeps with them that weep." "It is better," the Preacher tells us, "to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart." And "the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools in the house of mirth" (Eccl. 7.2,4). The world’s feasts must sooner or later turn to mourning, and that often very suddenly. "Their laughter is like the crackling of thorns under a pot," but for a moment. But who but Christ can turn the house of mourning into a house of feasting? This is what we see at Bethany. The Comforter of chap 11 becomes the Guest of chap 12. "There they made Him a feast,," and the mourners of yesterday serve and adore. Thus will it be for every Christian mourner. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psa. 30.5). "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5.4). "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Rev. 21.4).

The sisters of Bethany knew to whom to turn in their sorrow. "A brother is born for adversity," but their brother was sick unto death. They knew the "Friend that sticketh closer than a brother." They had received Him into their house, He had supped with them, and where He sups, He sympathises too. They were so sure of His readiness to come to their help, they had but to mention the need. "Lord, he whom Thou lovest, is sick." The word here for love, *Philein, is not as weighty as that used in verse 5, Agapan. Though in a sense it is strong, it is not so deep. Philein implies a more passionate warmth of affection, but Agapan a love of more reasoned, deliberate choice. Philein knows to the full, how well it loves; Agapan can tell you why it loves. Yes, the Lord did love with the love of special * See Trench’s Synonyms of N.T., p. 41. friendship, and thus only displayed the perfection of His true humanity. But it was without prejudice to the fact that He loved all His disciples. No doubt John was one of His special friends, as were the three mentioned here. Those who insist on our Lord’s Deity (and thank God for all such!), must not do so at the expense of His true Humanity, or they seriously err from the faith, and disparage the glory of His Person Abraham and Moses were "friends of God," and no doubt the capacity for such friendship was originally one of the beautiful qualities of unfallen humanity, and now is restored in part to believers. Should we not expect to find it in fullest measure in the Perfect Man? The command to love all the brethren, does not mean by making all our special friends. For to "love" and to ‘Hike" are not the same. The latter term implies a certain similarity of tastes, disposition, and ways. When the Lord received the message of His friends at Bethany, He "abode two days in the place where He was." This delay may throw light on mysteries, that cross our own path, unexplained trials, apparently fruitless prayers, permissions of God’s providence, that seem to lend themselves to misunderstandings. "Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known" (Psa. 77.19), and by man cannot be, save in "the sanctuary of God" (Psa. 73.17). So the Lord says, "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter " (John 13.7).

The Lord might have saved Lazarus from dying, as He had the nobleman’s son (chap 4.50), and the centurion’s servant (Matt. 8.13), but here things must be allowed to go to the very worst. To save him "out of death" would be the greater deliverance. Nature says, "While there is life there is hope," and the sisters could not then see further than that, but faith must learn that "while there is Christ there is hope." There is for us all in trial, a bigger question even than "How to get out of it?" and that is, "What to get out of it?"

Another reason for the delay, which is sometimes overlooked, was .that the Lord knew that, travelling at the ordinary pace of men, He and His disciples would have arrived too late, even had they started to Bethany without delay. His failure to arrive in time would then have been gloated over by His enemies of to-day as a proof He possessed no real claim to omniscience. As it was, there was no haste, no hurry, and when they arrived, after a delay of only two days, they found Lazarus had been in the grave "four days already." Indeed, e’er our Lord started on His journey, He knew that His friend was already dead. But when He arrives, He brings present deliverance. As in the case of Jairus’ daughter and the widow’s son, so here. There was no need for Martha to wait for "the resurrection of the last day." The very Son of God, whose voice will then wake the dead, was present in all His resurrection power. So He said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die." These words seem to rise prophetically far above that dispensation. The mystery of the coming of the Lord to raise the dead and change the living (1 Cor. 15; 1 Thess. 4.15) had not then been unfolded. Yet we see it enfolded in these words of our Lord, to Martha. To those who vainly seek to find opposition between the teachings of the apostle Paul and His Master, and whose parrot and, we fear, hypocritical cry is, "Back to Christ," to escape "the pricks" of apostolic doctrine, we reply, there is not a truth found in the Epistles, that was not already latent in our Lord’s teaching. Both are equally the fruit of "the Holy Spirit’s teaching." Now, the Lord is about to display His power over death, as the Son of God. Will this hinder the deep outflow of His tender compassions as Son of Man, towards the mourners in their sorrow? No, indeed. In His groaning —for "He groaned in the spirit" (v. 43)—we hear fhe beating of the heart of God.

In the trouble of soul which the Lord manifested at the sorrow of those whom He loved—for "He troubled Himself" (v. 33, marg.)—we learn the practical workings of the Divine sympathies. In His tears— for "Jesus wept"—we behold the tender mercies of our God. Whoever else may be indifferent to the sorrows of His people, it certainly is not He. For truly, "in all their affliction He is afflicted." It is a fact, that may well arrest our thoughts, that we have in this scene, not merely the display of Divine power in the raising of Lazarus, wonderful though that be, but in the expression of His sympathy with the sorrow that death had wrought, we learn the affections of Him, of whom He was "the express image," "the Father of Mercies, and the God of all Comfort." Not only then were the sisters comforted by the Lord’s real human sympathy, but in God’s time and way, their prayer" was granted by His Divine power. This was, as God loves to answer, in a better way than they asked or thought. They received their brother back, not from a dying bed, but from the tomb. But would not the Other have been better? How much anguish it would have spared them! Yes, but what lessons they would have missed! What are usually called "wonderful answers" to prayer, are those received with the least possible delay, and in striking coincidence with the request. Such are certainly very blessed, and call for heartfelt praise. But often more wonderful still are the prayers answered in God’s better time and way. The answers we insist on, may prove anything but blessings in disguise, and ensue in leaness of soul. Hezekiah’s added 15 years (2 Kings 20.6) saw his failure before the King of Babylon (v. 12), the birth of Manasseh (chap.21. 1 and 2), and only one act which the Spirit of God has seen fit to leave for our instruction : "He made a pool and conduit and brought water into the city" (chap. 20. 20), a record of service much below the level of those first fruitful years of his reign, his originally allotted span.

Cases are not unknown to-day of lives prolonged in answer to insistent prayer, which have wasted out in backsliding and dishonour to the Lord. The Lord’s people may always count on His tender sympathy as they minister at a sick bed, but even when restoration is withheld, they can await a better answer, on the resurrection morn. The Lord was summoned once, we know, to another house of mourning, but here there was no delay in His response, for, as far as we know, Jairus was not a disciple, and what faith he had was only in the bud, and must not be nipped, as had been the case had "Jesus abode still in the place where He was." The delay caused by the healing of the sick woman, was no doubt providentially permitted to allow things to get beyond the hope of man. Trying, no doubt, was the crisis, but it elicited those four cheering words, "Fear not, only believe" (Mark v. 31), which we may well cherish. Here the Lord found the house full of the world’s mourners, well-meaning persons enough, but representing that official unbelief which would sooner see the dead girl buried "decently and in order," than raised from her bed by any unorthodox methods. Then let them go bag and baggage, with their commonsense unbelief, and only those remain worth training in the ways of God, or whose spark of faith may thus be fanned into a flame! Let these "see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living;" the others counted not, for they were very blind. This incident forms the link between the raising of Lazarus and that of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7.12). fcere, there was no request to the Lord for help. Neither was the miracle done in private, like the last. "Many of His disciples went with Him and much people," and they met the crowded funeral procession—the widowed mother and "much people of the city who went with her." One would judge she was a person beloved, and of some position in the city. It was the most public occasion possible. The Lord manifested fonth His glory before many witnesses. The widow made no appeal to Him, as Jairus or the sisters of Bethany; but he could not be indifferent in the presence of her tears. "And when He saw her, He had compassion on her and said unto her, Weep not," thus once more interpreting the heart of Him whose "tender mercies are over all His works." Then He gave life to the dead, and delivered him to his mother, perhaps in such a case the only practical way of drying her tears. We do not see the dead raised to-day. These miracles are now in abeyance. But a miracle of miracles is still to take place at the return of "this same Jesus." The dead in Christ shall rise first, the living in Christ shall be changed, and both together caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4.16-18). This is the Divine consolation to-day for believers, mourning the loss of their fellow-saints. "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

Top of Page


by J. B. HEWITT, Chesterfield


The Fact of His Coming. Introduction.

The Bible reveals the second Coming of Christ as the most majestic and stupendous event towards which all the ages move. His first Advent is now a matter of history, and the second still a matter of prophecy.

We are to "take heed" in our hearts to the prophetic Word (2 Pet. 1.19). God’s word deals with three classes, namely the Jew, the Gentile and the Church (1 Cor. 10.32). The latter are taken out of Israel and the Nations (Acts 15.14). The Church "which is his body" has a unique place in the ways of God (Eph. 1.22,23). The doctrine of the body of Christ is N.T. teaching and peculiar to the apostle Paul; no other Bible writer mentions it (Rom. 16.25,26; Eph. 3.4,8-11).

The truth of the coming again of our Lord is revealed and unchangeable. Our theories of the fact are NOT inspired, and we should endeavour to adopt an objective approach. Pray that the Holy Spirit may enlighten our minds, and encourage our hearts. Our consideration of this great theme demands, modesty, humility and abundant charity. It is essential to distinguish between the TWO STAGES of the Lord’s second coming.

(1)  His coming to the AIR, to catch up the Church, called the RAPTURE (1 Thess. 4.13-18; 2 Thess. 2.1; 1 Cor. 15.51,52).

(2)  His coming to the earth, called the REVELATION (1 Cor. 1.7; 2 Thess. 1.7-9; 2.8; Matt. 24.30).

The first is his coming as the Son of God, the second as the Son of Man, a title always linked with the earth (Zech. 14.1-3).

(a) Prophesied in the Old Testament. Most of the references are associated with "that day" — "the day of the Lord." The Lord Jesus is the promised King (Gen. 49.10; Isa. 32.1; Jer. 23.5; Ezek. 37.22; Zech. 14.9; Rev. 19.16). Compare references to "THE BRANCH" (Isa. 4.2; 11.1-9; Zech. 3.8; 6.12,13). These mean that Jesus will reign as King over the whole earth. He is coming to set up a Kingdom (Dan. 2.34,44,45, 7.13,14; Psalms 2, 24, 72). His Kingdom will fill the whole earth. The prophetic word will be verified.

(b)  Promised by the Lord Himself, (i) In plain language (John 14.1-3; Matt. 16.27; 24.27-31; 25.31-34; 26.64).

(ii) In parables (Matt. 24.30-35; 25.1-13; 25.14-30 with Luke 19.11-27). All these refer to His coming as the Son of Man to earth except (John 14.1-3). His promises are sure (John 14.2; 2 Cor. 1.18,20).

(c)  Proclaimed by Angels. (Acts 1.10-11; Rev. 11.15-17). Acts 1.11 is clear. He is coming as He went. Literal, personal, visible, in the clouds of heaven. Coming to the same spot (Zech. 14.4). Coming in glory and power.

(d)  Preached by the Apostles. PETER in Acts 3.19-21, the hope of Israel. Until the restoration (v.21). Meditate on these "UNTIL’S" (Isa. 6.11-13; Dan. 7.22-25 RV; 9.27 RV; Jer. 30.24 RV; Ezek. 21.27; Luke 21.24; Rom. 11.25 RV). In 1 Pet. 5.4; 2 Pet. 1.16,21; 3.1-15, a subject for scoffers in the last days.

By Paul. He writes about Baptism 13 times, but about the return of Christ, 50 times (1 Cor. 15.51,52; Phil. 3.20,21; 1 Thess. 1.10; 2.19; 3.13; 4.13,18). The second Coming of the Lord is the one hope of the Christian, and the sure hope of the Church (Eph. 5.25-32; Col. 1.22).

Study the passages on "the Day of Christ," a subject of New Testament revelation.

By John (See 1 John 2.28; 3.2; Rev. 3.11; 19.11-16; 22.7,12,20).

(e)  Published by Others. In James 5.7,8 patience in service. Jude 14 the "day of the Lord." A subject of O.T. Prophecy, it is a time of judgment. (Joel 2.18-32 RV). In Hebrews 9. 24-28 we see three positions in which we behold the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, viewed as a man. His three appearings. In verse 26 a Propitiating Saviour, with Titus 3.4. In v. 24 a Priestly Saviour, with Titus 1.3. In verse 28 a Powerful Saviour, to save us from the presence of sin, with Titus 2.13. R. A. Torrey writes, "The second coming of the Lord is mentioned 318 times in the 260 chapters of the New Testament." All the Gospels, the Acts, every epistle of Paul (except Galatians and Philemon), James, Peter, Jude, John (except his two minor epistles; yet hinted at in 2 John 8;) and the Revelation.

Are we living in the light of this glorious event? May we worship anticipatively (1 Cor. 11.26). Walk consistently and circumspectively (Rom. 13.12,13); witness carefully (1 Cor. 9.24-27); weep hopefully (1 Cor. 15.54; 1 Thess. 4.13); warn faithfully (1 Cor. 16.22); and wait expectantly (1 Thess. 1.10).

He is coming, PERHAPS TODAY. These precious words ought to thrill our hearts. May our response be, "Even so Come Lord Jesus."

Top of Page




Reading: Revelation 18.1.

"After these things . . . ," says John for the third time (cp. 4.1, RV, & 7.9, RV), referring to the downfall of a luxuriously arrayed harlot, who had upon her forehead a name, "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" (17.4f), just as other prostitutes of Bible times displayed their name upon their brow, the seer saw another angel. At this angel’s descent from heaven, the earth was lit up with his glory (18.1).

By describing him as "another angel," John differentiates him from the angel-speaker, who was one of seven with vials (17.1). In identifying him, Dr. F. A. Tatford says, "the angel is none other than our Lord Himself," whilst Philip Mauro writes, "The angel having great power, by whose glory the earth is illuminated, can be none other than Christ." Characteristics of this angel confirm that these writers are undoubtedly correct, and this is the third time that John saw Christ in the guise of an Angel.

Before proceeding with the activity of this Angel, we shall remind ourselves of a few facts about angels. Like men, angels are created beings (Col. 1.16), but, unlike men, they are spirits (Heb 1.7), who are invisible to humans (Col. 1.16).

Broadly speaking, angels may be arranged into two groups, viz., fallen and unfallen angels. All fallen angels give their allegiance to Satan, who is himself a fallen cherub (Ezek. 28.14-17). Fallen angels are divided into two groups, for some are free and others fettered. The abode of fallen and yet free angels is the atmospheric heaven, and their sphere of activity is amongst men to work out their evil designs (Eph. 2.2, 1 Pet. 5.8). Fallen angels, who are fettered, are destined to remain bound and incarcerated in the underworld until the day of judgment (1 Pet. 3.19, 2 Pet. 24, Jude 6). Unlike fallen men, all fallen angels are outside the scope of redemption.

Turning to unfallen angels, heaven is their realm where they stand "before God" (Rev. 8.2). As supernatural beings, angels "excel in strength" (Psa. 103.20; 2 Pet. 2.11), and yet they are the servants of God always ready to be "sent forth for service" (Heb. 1.14, Wigram), to "do His commandments" (Psa. 103.20). Therefore, essentially, they are servants, and they neither rise above that status nor desire to do so.

For the miracle of the incarnation, Christ was "made a little lower than the angels" (Heb. 2.9) who are the highest of created beings. But now "angels and authorities and powers (are) made subject to Him" (1 Pet. 3.22), for God has exalted Christ far above all angelic hierarchies (Eph. 1.21).

Equality amongst angels is unknown. Their powers are varied as the terms "thrones" and "dominions" denote, and their ranks and orders differ as the words "principalities" and "powers" indicate (Col. 1.16). Although angels may be great, Christ is greater than angels both in His Person and power. Angels owe their existence to Christ, because they were created by Him. As "the Head of all principality and power" (Col. 2.10), Christ is not only superior to, but supreme over, both fallen and unfallen angels.

This is the Person, Whom John saw in the guise of an Angel. Of Him, the seer says He had "come down from heaven," or was "descending from out of heaven" (RV), which is the same phrase used to describe the descent of the mighty Angel in ch. 10.1. Obviously, this is another cameo of the second coming of Christ to this earth.

"Having great power" is a descriptive phrase of the power vested in Christ in His Angel guise. The immensity of this exceeding great power was demonstrated when God raised Christ from the dead (Eph. 1.19f), and such divine power will be displayed when Christ comes again to the earth (Luke 21.27).

The Revisers adopt the alternative rendering, "having great authority," which is not contradictory, of, but complementary to, the other. For the effective exercise of power, there must be authority. Where angels display power, it is conferred upon them to act for God, and their authority is confined to within set bounds. But this Angel whom John saw, was vested with absolute authority and in possession of unlimited power in the spheres of both heaven and earth (Matt. 28.18).

As this all- powerful Angel descended from heaven, "the earth was lightened with His glory." For this global illumination, the Son of Man will come again in a cloud not only with power but "with great glory" (Matt. 21.27), and it is John who foresees in this vision the earth ablaze with Messiah’s great glory at His coming again.

As so much of the Apocalyptic text is interwoven with quotations from the Old Testament without introducing such citations with words such as ‘It is written,’ we should not be surprised to find that the seer is undoubtedly quoting here from Ezekiel 43.2, "… and the earth shined with His glory." With Solomon’s temple destroyed and the glory of the Lord departed from,, it, this exiled prophet had a God-given vision of a re-built temple in a coming day and he saw the return of the glory to the millennial temple. In watching its return, the prophet said, ”the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east" (Ezek. 43.2), indicating that the glory will come from Olivet, "the mountain on the east side of the city" whence it departed (Ezek. 11.23; cp. 9.3, 10.4,18). Before passing through the courts and entering into the temple (Ezek. 43.4f), "the earth was lit up with His glory," as J. N. Darby translates Ezekiel’s statement.

In Solomon’s day the glory was a symbol of the divine presence, but in the millennial era the glory will be a Person, which is clear from Isaiah 40.5, "And the glory of the Lord shall reveal Himself . . ." (lit.). Already, the glory is embodied in the glorified Christ "and all flesh shall see Him," so Isaiah adds, in the age to come. In view of this, Ezekiel’s phrase "the glory of the God of Israel" is applied apparently to the glorified Christ Himself, so that it may be considered as a title of His.

Furthermore, for the first occurrence of the divine name "God of Israel," we turn to Jacob who built an altar and called it "El-elohe-Israel" which means ‘God, the God of Israel,’ although he added the prefix ‘El,’ and abbreviated form of ‘Elohim’ (Gen. 33.20). The last mention of this title, "the Lord, the God of Israel" or ‘Jehovah-elohe-Israe],’ which includes the prefix ‘Jehovah,’ is used of the glorified Christ passing through the east gate of the outer court into the millennial temple, as foreseen in a vision by Ezekiel (44.1f). Surely, it is not by accident but rather by design that the first and last occurrences of this divine title are connected with a patriarchal altar and the millennial temple respectively directing our thoughts to "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow" (1 Pet 1.11).

Returning to the title "the God of Israel" in Ezekiel 43.2, it is without either an Elohistic or a Jehovistic prefix, but it is connected with the glory of Christ, Whose Person will be so radiant with glory that the earth will be aglow with it, as He proceeds to enter the millennial temple.

This provides the background of the Patmos seer’s thinking in his vision when he too, like Ezekiel in exile, saw, after the Angel’s descent, "the earth was lightened with His glory" (ch. 18.1). One writer says, "He, by Whose glory the whole earth is illuminated, can be no other than the Lord of the earth." The seer saw the "earth" (ge, Gr.), meaning ‘land as distinct from water,’ was lit up by the glory of the Angel. Concerning the phrase, "with His glory," the preposition "with" does not convey the thought of ‘glory associated with Him," but the word is literally ‘out of (ek, Gr.), signifying ‘glory proceeding out of Him.’ Therefore, the glory was not reflected from the Angel as the moon reflects the light of the sun, but the glory was shining forth from out of the Angel, and so He was the Source of the glory as the sun is of natural light. Surely, this only confirms that Christ was seen in the guise of an Angel.

Such truth is in keeping with "the Son . . . , being the brightness of His glory" (Heb. l.lf). The word "brightness" {apaugasma, Gr.) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and W. E. Vine explains in his Expository Dictionary that it means " ‘a shining forth’ of a light coming from a luminous body," indicating that His glory is not merely a reflection from another source but, being the embodiment of the glory, His Whole Person is luminous and radiant with glory.

In the day of our redemption, we shall be partakers of His glory (1 Pet. 5.1) when we shall be changed for meeting the Lord in the air. Also, we shall accompany Him in the day of His manifestation when the earth will be lit up with His glory. What a blessed hope is ours!

Top of Page

Talks to Young Believers



Spirit and Soul and Body.

The rapid spread of Materialist views, which declare that the body alone is the man, and of Annihilationist doctrine, which insists that at death the human organism is dissolved, and the man ceases to be—i.e., becomes extinct in his entire being—is a cause of sorrow to all who love the truth. There is a certain plausibility and cunning in man’s way of stating these errors, which tends to carry conviction to minds untaught in the truth of Scripture, and thus they are led into the by-paths of error. By the truth alone shall we be preserved— therefore, it should be earnestly sought for as hid treasure, and, when found, held fast in faith and love for our own preservation and edification, then held forth for the help and blessing of others

Man’s Triunity.

Man, as created by God, and living on earth in mortal flesh, is a triune being, composed of "spirit and soul and body" (1 Thess. v. 23). These three parts constitute the man. He may be, and is, in the language of Scripture, identified with either, according to the line of truth being revealed. He usually is so with the "body" when his relation to others is in view, and with the "soul and spirit" when his attitude toward God is under consideration. It is the possession of "spirit" which makes man a moral and accountable being, fitted for acquaintance and intercourse with God, and which links him, in his hopes or fears, with a life and a world beyond the present.

The Creation of Man.

The words in Genesis 1.26,27, "Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness : and let them have dominion," are peculiar to man’s creation. Other forms of life had already been brought forth, by the "waters" and the "earth" (vv. 20,24), but in man’s creation, Elohim — the Triune God—acts directly and deliberately. Genesis 2, 7-25, gives the details of his creation in the concrete, as the earlier mention of it does in the abstract—not two events, but the same in different aspects. This record of man’s creation is neither mythical nor parabolic, but literal. It is assumed as historic fact by the Lord (Matt. 19. 4-6) and the inspired Apostle (1 Tim. 2.13,14), and is fundamental to revealed truth concerning man in his present condition (Rom. 5. 12-19) and future state (1 Cor. 15.12-19). Evolution, in its modern aspects, virtually denies this record, although it is endorsed by the Son of God (Matt. 15.6), who in Scripture is honoured and owned as man’s Creator (John 1.3).

The Body of Man.

"The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." There was first the figure of clay, formed of the dust, concerning which it is written—"Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3.19). Into this lifeless form, God inbreathed "the breath of life." The body is spoken of in Scripture as man’s "tabernacle," which he may "put off" (2 Pet. 1.14), in which he may be "at home" (2 Cor. 5.6), or from which he may be "absent" (ver. 8). It is said to be "mortal" (Rom. 8.11), that is, subject to death as a result of the fall. Men may kill it (Matt. 10.28), and it may see corruption (Acts 13.36), from which it will be delivered at resurrection (John 5.28, 29). Materialists say the body is the man, ignoring spirit and soul as Scripture describes them and their functions, and denying consciousness or any survival after death. With Annihilationists, death is the "extinction" of man’s being.

The Soul of Man.

Derived, as Genesis 2.7, informs us from the breathing of the Creator, which raises him far above the beasts, which are said to have "soul" (Gen 1.30, margin), man is the offspring of God (Acts 17.28), formed to have dominion, in the image and glory of God (1 Cor. 11.7), even though now fallen from his first estate. Man is linked with the inferior creatures by being, as they are, "a living soul," and distinguished from angels, who are only "spirits" (Heb. 1. 7,14), but not "souls." While man is alive in the body, he is a "soul" (see Ezek. 18.20; Lev. 5. 2,4; 7.20, where the person—the individual—is clearly meant); when out of the body, he is then called a "spirit" (Heb. 12.23). It is the intermediate link between spirit and body, and the life of the latter. To it are ascribed the functions of loving (1 Sam. 18.1), hating (2 Sam. 5.8), desiring (Job 23.13), longing (Psa. 84.2). Affections, appetites, desires belong to the soul. The soul is said to be the seat or spring of sin—"the sin of the soul" (Mic. 6.7)—for it atonment is said to be made (Lev. 17.11), and as it is by the soul needed, so by it is it made, as we read, "When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isa 53.10,11).

The Spirit of Man.

"The spirit of man which is in him" (1 Cor. 2.11), "formed within him" (Zech. 12.1), a separate entity in each individual, his highest part, linking him with God, who is the "Father of spirits" (Heb. 12.9), and the "God of the spirits of all flesh" (Num. 16.22; 22.16), which is equivalent to saying, of all men (see Gen. 6.12; Luke 3.6), saved and unsaved. This "spirit" which animates and controls the bodily organism is from God Himself, and without it the body is "dead" (James 2.26). At death it returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12.7). In the case of the believer, it is received by the Lord Jesus (Acts 7.59), and exists in consciousness apart from the body (Heb. 12.23). To the spirit is ascribed the functions of intelligence, understanding, and judgment. It can "know" (1 Cor. 2.11), be "stirred" (Acts 17.16), be "provoked" (Psa. 106.33), while by it moral and spiritual qualities may be developed, such as a "right spirit" (Psa. 51.10), a "meek and quiet spirit" (1 Pet. 3.4). "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1.47) tells of its capability of spiritual joy, while the Spirit of God bearing witness "with our spirit" (Rom. 8.16) tells of its capability for intercourse with the Divine.

In Life and Death.

While spirit, soul, and body continue in the harmonious relations to each which constitute the man, he is in LIFE, as that word is ordinarily used. When the triunity breaks up—when the soul and spirit leave the body—the condition is reached which is called DEATH. Neither of the three component parts becomes extinct, but their disruption breaks up the man—the man dies. The body returns to dust; the spirit to God who gave it. The former we know by sight; the latter comes to us as a revelation from God (Eccl. 12.7).

Death is separation : never extinction. Even Annihilationists are compelled to admit that something survives, in which the identity of the man is preserved till resurrection and judgment (John 5.28,29; Rev. 20.12). This "something," Scripture informs us, is the disembodied spirit, which, liberated from its tenement, continues to exist. The question remains—Where ?

The Unclothed State.

At death, the tenant leaves the "earthly house" in which through life he had dwelt (2 Cor. v.l). The spirit "puts off" the tabernacle, in which it had sojourned through earthly years (2 Pet. 1.13,14). In the case of the Christian—the man who has been born of God (John 1.12,13), who has become a possessor of eternal life (1 John 5.13), and on whom as a seal the Spirit of God rests until the day of redemption (Eph. 4.30), the redemption of the body (Rom. 8.23)—the emancipated spirit "departs to be with Christ" (Phil. 1.23). When Stephen was being stoned to death, he said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7.59). It is there, absent from the body, and at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5.8 R.V.) in conscious blessedness—"very far better" (Phil. 1.23, RV) than it ever could be in mortal flesh. Thus, the ransomed spirit of the saint awaits the coming hour of resurrection, when it will be re-united with a spiritual body, fitted to its new conditions, and capable of heavenly and eternal glory.

The unbelieving and unsaved sinner passes at death from his present condition of spiritual death (Eph. 2.1), and alienation from God because of sin (Eph. 4.18), to Hades, there to consciously suffer torment while the body is in the grave, (and surviving brothers living in sin on earth, where the Bible is known (Luke 16.23-31)), reserved under punishment to the day of judgment (2 Pet. 2.9, RV), when "death" shall deliver up their bodies, and "Hades" their souls, to be re-united, and the man re-constituted for judgment (Rev. 20.13), followed by the final doom, the second death, the damnation of the entire person in Gehenna (Mark 9. 43-49; Rev. 10.15; 21.8).

Scriptural Definitions.

The current use of certain popular theological but un-scriptural phrases in this connection, has done much to give the enemies of the truth a foothold, which they are not slow to use in making their onslaughts. "Immortal soul," "never-dying soul," "sudden death is sudden glory," and other similar expressions, are not Scripture nor does Scripture teaching warrant their use. They are sentiment and excrescence, arising from erroneous views or interpretations read into God’s Word. Immortality is a word which only applies to the resurrection body, yet to be put on 1 Cor. 15.54), which no man yet possesses, notwithstanding the phraseology of religious newspaper obituaries and tombstones, where someone is said to have "departed this life, and entered upon a glorious immortality." The Apostle’s injunction—"Hold fast the form of sound words" (2 Tim. 1.13)—is nowhere more needful than in the consideration and discussion of subjects which are matters of controversy, and concerning which we have nothing save the words of Divine revelation to guide and assure us Man’s present tripartite nature, his dissolution, his ultimate destiny, and his endless being, are pre-eminent among such, and we do well to abide by and cleave to the inspired words of Holy Scripture in seeking light for ourselves and giving instruction to others, on a subject of so vast and transcendent importance.

Questions and Answers.

1.—Does death, in Ezekiel 18.20, where the words are, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," mean extinction?— No ; neither there nor anywhere else, where it is used in Scripture. Annihilationists say that the judgment of sin is the death of the soul. But Scripture never so speaks. Nor does it speak of the death of the body. It is the man who dies, not his body or his soul. The word in Ezekiel 18.20, is the person—the individual—not the father for the son, but the person who sins, he shall die. The word "soul" is so used in 1 Pet. 3.20; 4.19.

2.—What do the words, "shall not see life," in John3.36, mean?—If he never sees life, must he not be exterminated? Existence and life are not synonymous. All have the former —saint and sinner alike; only the former have "life," as the word is here and elsewhere used. (See John 17. 3; Rom. 6.23), Eternal life is the possession of the believer now, and in the future. The unbeliever "hath not life" (1 John 5.12) now; and of him it is said that he "shall not see life" hereafter. Yet -he exists without it, as we know. That he shall continue to exist while never seeing it, is equally sure, as the closing words of the verse, "The wrath of God abideth on him," solemnly tell. Wrath cannot "abide" upon a nonentity. Endless existence is common to all men and angels; eternal life is the present possession of believers only (John 5.24). Immortality, Which applies to a condition of life in the future, they look for (Rom. 2.7), and will "put on" (1 Cor. 15.53) at the coming of the Lord.

3.—How was the word spoken to Adam, in Genesis 2.17, "Thou shalt surely die," fulfilled?—Not by natural death, for he lived 930 years. Nor was it "extinction of his being," as Annihilationists say, for neither "in the day" Adam ate of the tree did his being become extinct, nor is it now. Nor did the promise of redemption suspend or postpone the sentence. When Adam sinned, the threatened death came upon him that day. His near relationship to God was broken. He was severed from His presence by sin; such is death in its deepest sense (see Eph. 2.1; 4.18). Yet he existed, as sinners still exist "without God;" so Rom. 5.12,13, clearly tells us. And if, while now without life in Christ, fallen angels and sinful men exist, so, in the disembodied and the eternal states, they shall exist, as Scripture fully shows (see 2 Pet. 2.4; Rev. 20.10; Luke 16.23; Rev. 20.15).

Top of Page



The references to Enoch in the Word of God are few and brief. In Genesis 5.22 and 5.24 we are told that ". . . Enoch walked with God." In Jude 14 we learn that he prophesied and in Hebrews 11.5 we read that "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated fhim: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

Chapter 4 of Genesis traces the posterity of Adam through Cain to Lamech. Chapter 5 traces the posterity of Adam through Seth to Noah who was the great grandson of Enoch and who also walked with God (Gen. 6.9).

Enoch, whose name means ‘dedicated’ or ‘initiated’ was ". . . . the seventh from Adam" (Jude 14) and his life can be contrasted with that of Lamech. We learn in Genesis 4 that Lamech was boastful, a bigamist and a murderer, and the contrast between the lives of Lamech and Enoch is only exceeded by the contrast in the ways in which they ended their lives.

Man had believed the devil when he said ". . .Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3.4) and yet eight times in Genesis 5 we read the words "and he died" proving the devil to be a liar (John 8.44). Enoch, however, is an exception for of him we read ". . . and he was not; for God took him" (Gen. 5.24).

Enoch exercised faith in God and by his life witnessed against the increasing wickedness in the world in which he lived. He prophesied of judgment when he stated that the Lord would come to judge the ungodly with myriads of His holy ones (Jude 14,15) and he was taken from the world before the terrible judgment of the Flood came.


Enoch had the most outstanding testimony of those listed in Genesis 5 and lived for the shortest time. We are told that "Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years" (Gen. 5.22). Enoch lived for three hundred and sixty-five years (Gen. 5.23) and therefore we can calculate that he was converted when he was sixty-five years old. Bearing in mind the length of his life we can say that Enoch was converted at a comparatively early age. For three hundred years he walked with God, making spiritual progress, witnessing and moving continually against the rising tide of evil around him.

We might well wonder what conditions were like in society in the period during which Enoch walked with God. The conditions described in Genesis 6 would suggest that as things got worse and worse during the period before the Flood, evil abounded on every hand.

The conditions in which Enoch lived and witnessed would seem to be very similar to those in which we live. Enoch lived in a period which preceded the pouring out of judgment by a sin hating God, and likewise we live in a period which precedes the revealing of the wrath of God and His judgment on all who have not repented of their sins and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Lord and Saviour.

We are not given any details of Enoch’s life and yet the words "And Enoch walked with God . . ." (Gen. 5.22) have arrested the attention of generations of God’s people. The words make us stop and consider their meaning and the man himself.

Enoch was not a fool: he acknowledged that God exists (Psa. 14.1; 53.1) and he came to God who is not far from every one of us (Acts 17.27). He walked with God who waits to save us (Rom. 10.13), orders all things for our good (Rom. 8.28) and who rewards those who seek Him diligently (Heb. 11.6).

We read in Genesis 5.21 that Enoch named his son Methuselah. This name means "his death will bring it" or "when he is dead it will be sent." It is noteworthy that death is in the name of the man who lived longer than any other.

It would appear that Enoch was aware of the inevitable judgment of God on sin. Enoch knew that judgment was coming at the end of Methuselah’s life and he concentrated his mind on what mattered—he walked with God. We too know that time is short and we should face reality and appreciate the wisdom of walking with God in this world.

Methuselah lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years and during that time, due to the longsuffering, grace and mercy of God, no judgment came. In the year that Methuselah died, however, God sent the Flood.

Enoch’s conversion was not an easy, unreal profession of faith. He knew the holiness of God and the consequential judgment of sin. Enoch had the promise of Genesis 3.15 to rely on and his faith was entirely in God. He walked with God and two cannot walk together if they are not in agreement (Amos 3.3). Enoch led a separated life, witnessing and communicating to others the truth he received from God. Here we find lessons for ourselves in the very difficult days in which we live. If we are to walk with God we must be separated from the world and to Him (2 Cor. 6.14,17). If we are to walk with God and please Him we must know His will and do it. The only way to know His will is to set aside time to read His Word and meditate therein. This involves sacrifice, time and effort. If we are thinking about some aspects of the cost to us of walking with God let us also remind ourselves of the cost of our redemption, for we were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6.20; 7.23). We have been redeemed with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1.18,19). Let us also consider the love of God to us, and the fact that He is for us and spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us (Rom. 8.31,32).

We have been left in this world to serve the Lord. Without Him we can do nothing (John 15.5). We are not left to our own devices or wisdom. We have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to teach us and reveal to us the things concerning the Lord (John 16.13,14). Only when taught by the Holy Spirit from the Word of God and led and empowered by Him can we lead victorious, consecrated lives which exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Enoch’s witness was good because of his consistent walk with God. So it must be today. If our way of life is not consistent with what we say we believe, that is if we do not walk with God through this life, then no one will listen to us and God will not be honoured by our lives.


Enoch witnessed and he prophesied. He warned of wrath and judgment to come. He prophesied at a time when sin and ungodliness were rampant and the world was heading for the judgment of the Flood.

The prophecy in Jude 14,15 tells of the time when ". . the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment . . ." These words are words of warning but how sad it is when people so often ignore God’s message and His messengers. It has always been so, in that the majority have always ignored the truths God has revealed. God is long-suffering (2 Pet. 3.9), and yet so few are saved. Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2.5) and yet only eight souls were saved (1 Pet. 3.20).

Enoch’s prophecy was the first ever given through a man and is concerned with the second coming of the Lord to execute judgment.


Like Elijah (2 Kings 2.11), Enoch did not pass through death because God took him.

Enoch’s translation prefigures the return of the Lord for the saved. Christians who are alive at the coming of the Lord will be taken away and will not be found for God will have taken them. Enoch is a type of those saints who will be raptured before the great tribulation to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4.15-17). Noah and those with him in the ark were preserved during the Flood and are a type of the Jewish Remnant who will be preserved during the tribulation.

Enoch’s faith is mentioned in Hebrews 11. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11.6). Enoch had faith and by faith he pleased God (Heb. 11.5). His faith produced works and witness, and if we are to please God we must have a faith, like Enoch’s, which produces good works and a consistent witness.

Top of Page


by NELSON McDONALD (Scotland)


There are no touches in the gospel of John. There the Lord is the Voice and He speaks, 7.46.

Matt. 8.15. He touched the woman and the fever of sin was calmed—Mk. 1.31; Lk. 13.13; Psa. 107.29; Isa. 57.20.

Matt. 9.29. He touched the eves and the darkness of sin was cleared—John 9.6; 2 Cor. 4.3,4. Mark 1.41. He touched the leper and the filth of sin was cleansed—1 John 1.7; Lev. 13.3,20,25,30,45,46; 1 Pet. 1.18.

Luke 22.51. He touched the ear and the hardness of sin was cured—Heb. 3.7,15; 4.7; Prov. 27.1; Matt. 7.24; John 5.24.

Luke 7.14. He touched the bier and the wages of sin was conquered—John 11.25; Rom. 6.23; Eph. 2.1,5; John 5.25.  Death was obedient to Him here, Lk. 8.54,55; John 11.44, and yet the Lord in obedience went into death, Phil. 2.8.

He also could be touched, Mart. 14.36, and even when pressed and pushed by the jostling throng, Lk. 8.45. Just a touch and the weak was strong. He can still be touched! Heb. 4.15.

Top of Page


By J. E. TODD, Chesterfield

The disciples were troubled. They had embarked upon a voyage with the Lord, thirteen persons in all, and with only one loaf of bread between them (Mark 8.14-21). Their concern did not evoke sympathy from the Lord, but rather rebuke in the form of a barrage of nine questions. The final question being, "How is it that ye do not understand?" (v.21)

These men had seen with their own eyes the Lord feed five thousand with five loaves and then have twelve full baskets over. These men had seen with their own eyes the Lord feed four thousand with seven loaves and then have seven full baskets over. Now they were concerned lest he could not feed thirteen with one loaf! Well may our Lord ask the question, "How is it that ye do not understand?" The Carefree Christian

‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ (Genesis 1.1). The psalmist explains to us the significance of the creation in Psalm 19, verses 1 to 4. The wonders of the universe around us, which we see with our own eyes, the summer flowers and the starry skies, speak to us. There is no audible voice, but the message is continuously and clearly expressed in every language, "God is glorious, glorious in power, wisdom and ability." "How is it that ye do not understand?" Our Lord has to spell out to us, as He did to the disciples of old, the spiritual significance of the things we see with our own eyes. This He does in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6.24-33). ‘ "Take no thought for your life . . . Behold the fowls of the air . . . Consider the lilies of the field … O ye of little faith . . . Therefore take no thought . . . your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."’ If God could create and maintain a universe, can He not care for His own people? Anxiety is due to lack of spiritual perception. "How is it that ye do not understand?"

The Confident Christian

Again, we read in scripture, ‘And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of k; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ (Matthew 26.27-28). When we gather to break bread and see with our own eyes the bread and the wine, the symbols of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, are we ever guilty of the lack of spiritual perception?

"How is it that ye do not understand?" ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? … Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8.32 and 39). If while we were sinners, God’s love for us was so great that He would sacrifice His Son for us; now we are His own children, is there anything His love would withhold from us? Eternal salvation is ours! ‘ "I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand"’ (John 10. 28-29). To doubt our eternal salvation in any way and for any reason is lack of spiritual perception. "How is it that ye do not understand?"

The Conquering Christian

Christians sometimes excuse their behaviour by blaming the weakness of the flesh, the power of temptation and the attractions of the world. "How is it that ye do not understand?" We constantly read in the Gospels with our own eyes of the sinless and perfect life of our Lord Jesus Christ, undeviated by temptation or the world or Satan. The life which led to the cross did not end at the cross, He rose again and is the ever living One.

‘Strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith’ (Ephesians 3. 16-17). If the risen, living, sinless Son of God dwells within us by the Holy Spirit, then what endless possibilities of holy living open up before us! "How is it that ye do not understand?" What matters is not our weakness, but His strength, ‘My strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor. 12.9).

Our Lord as the true vine has bidden us to abide in Him (John 15.1-8), that is to continually look to Him to provide both the desire and the power to live a holy life. ‘ "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing"’ (v. 5). The Christian who produces this fruit, ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5.22-23), need never excuse himself. ‘Against such there is no law’ (v. 23)!

‘That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us’ (Ephesians 3.19-20). "How is it that ye do not understand?" ‘We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us’ (Romans 8.37).

Top of Page


If our salvation depended upon our walk, we would never be saved.

We tell unsaved one that he may be sincere in what he does, though wrong.
And a Christian may be sincere in what he does, and be far from the mind of God.

The moment we start a friendship with the world, that moment begins the weakening of our friendship for the Lord Jesus Christ. Victoria, B.C.                                            William Stirrup.

Top of Page



The Church’s relationship with Christ is founded upon blood, and the manifestation of the power of that relationship will, necessarily involve death to nature, "And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised in the circumcision made without hands in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead." (Col. 2.10-12). Such is the doctrine as to the Body’s place with Christ—a doctrine filled with the richest privileges for the Body, and each member thereof. Everything, in short, is involved; the perfect remission of sins, divine righteousness, complete acceptance, everlasting security, full fellowship with Christ in all His glory. "Ye are COMPLETE in Him." This surely comprehends everything. What could be added to one who is "Complete"? Could philosophy, the tradition of men, the rudiments of the world, meats, drinks, holy days, new moons or sabbaths? Touch not this, taste not that, handle not other things, the commandments and doctrines of men, days, months and times, and years, could any of these things, or all of them together, add a single jot or tittle to one whom God has pronounced "Complete?" We might just as well enquire if man could have gone forth upon the fair creation of God, at the close of the six days work, to give the finishing touch to that which God had pronounced "very good!" Neither is this completeness to be, by any means viewed as a matter of attainment, some point which we have not yet reached, but after which we must diligently strive, and of the possession of which we cannot be sure until we lie upon a bed of death, or stand before a throne of judgement. It is the portion of the feeblest, the most inexperienced, the most unlettered child of God. The very weakest saint is included in the apostolic "YE" all the people of God "are complete in Christ" He does not say "ye will be" "ye may be" "hope that ye may be" "pray that ye may be," NO, He. by the HOLY SPIRIT, states, in the most absolute and emphatic way, that "YE ARE COMPLETE." This is the true Christian starting-post, and for man to make the goal of that which God makes the starting-post, is to upset everything But, then, some will ask, have we no sin, no failure, no imperfection? Most certainly we have. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1.8). We have sin IN us, but no sin ON us. Moreover our standing is not in SELF, but in Christ, It is IN HIM we "are complete" God sees the believer in Christ, with Christ, and as Christ. This is His unchanging condition, His eternal standing. "The body of the sins of the flesh," is "put off by the circumcision of Christ." The believer is not in the flesh, although the flesh is in him. He is united to Christ in the power of a new and eternal life, and that life is inseparably connected with divine righteousness in which the believer stands before God. The Lord Jesus has put away everything that was against the believer, and He has brought him nigh unto God, in the self-same favour as that which He Himself enjoys. In a word Christ is his righteousness. This settles every question, answers every objection, silences every doubt, Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified, are all of one! (Heb. 2.11). F. B. Meyer makes a thought provoking comment on this Colossian reference. "To believers being like Lazarus, "risen from the dead, but still wearing the grave clothes, instead of arraying themselves in the radiant beauty of the risen Lord, which is the common heritage whatever their rank or nationality of all who believe in Him."

Top of Page


by Jack Strahan, Enniskillen



The birth of this widely known gospel hymn is very intimately connected with the conversion of its author, George West Frazer. Frazer, an Irishman, was led to Christ at the age of 20, in the city of Dublin during the great revival of 1859/60. He had been born in the West of Ireland in the year 1840, the third son in the family of ten children of William Potter and Matilda Eleanor Frazer. His father was an Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary and had come to Ireland from Inverness in the north of Scotland.

The first step in George West Frazer’s conversion was his spiritual awakening caused by the death of a young brother. His older brother William had been converted to Christ and requested of George that he would accompany him to the "Rotunda" in Dublin to hear Dr. H. Grattan Guiness preach the gospel. Large crowds were attending those meetings and there was much blessing. George consented to go and one evening when the two brothers arrived at the "Rotunda" they found the building full to overflowing and large numbers crowded the entrance. George determined, however, that at least he would see the preacher and so by climbing up an outside waterpipe he reached a second-storey window and from there he surveyed a sea of faces below. The preacher’s voice came floating through the open window as he set to work upon his text for that meeting, "Yet there is room" (Luke 14.22). George West Frazer listened attentively as he heard the gospel preached with power; indeed, he heard the voice of God to his own soul and was troubled. Fourteen days and fourteen nights of deep anxiety followed during which he sought salvation but could not find it At last he resolved to seek it no longer but have his ‘fling’ in the world. However, the contemplation of such a thought caused him to shudder, for he knew that in the end he would have to meet God.

"If I must perish," he cried, "I am resolved to perish at His feet," and he cast himself at the Saviour’s feet for mercy. The words of 1 Tim. 1.15 brought peace and assurance to his troubled heart, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Those words were sufficient to quell his fears and that

night he slept like a little child. Next morning he woke early to bear the news to his brother, but when about to leave he wondered, "what shall I tell him?"; the joy of the previous night had disappeared, his assurance of salvation gone. Then, in a moment, he recalled again the words of 1 Tim. 1.15, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." That was the word that had first brought him peace and that word had not changed! George West Frazer in that moment perceived that the assurance of his salvation rested not upon his own feelings but upon the unchanging word of God.

Frazer thereupon confessed Christ, first to his brother, then to his family and afterwards to a wider circle of friends. God acknowledged the faithfulness of His servant and blessing attended his witness. He was employed at that time as a clerk in Close’s Bank in the city of Dublin and such was his godly testimony there that he commanded the respect and later the close friendship of his employing banker, Mr Farnham Close. He severed his links with the Church of Ireland and met simply with like-minded believers in assembly fellowship; that step was taken at no small cost for the Frazer family had had long-standing links with the established church and nine of his own cousins were at that time clergy in its ministry.

Times of close communion with God marked those early years in the city of Dublin. His days were happy but extremely busy. The preaching of the gospel, both indoor and in the open-air, occupied more and more of his time until at last he decided to leave the bank and give all of his time to the work of the Lord. His early ministry centred around Dublin city but later he moved to England and lived in Cheltenham. In that Gloucestershire town he enjoyed and appreciated olose fellowship with C. H. Mackintosh, the latter oft referring to him as his "son by adoption." E. E. Cornwall who knew and often heard Frazer in those days of his Cheltenham ministry wrote of, "his freshness of spirit and evident enjoyment of that whereof he spake. He delighted in the company of saints, and gave himself to their service: the meeting-room was to him a hallowed place."

Devotion to the Lord and obedience to His word were ever the hallmarks of Mr. Frazer’s service. However, at the early age of 56, his days of service were complete and he entered into the presence of his Lord. His last testimony was both triumphant and blessed, "I grieve to leave my work for the Master . . . and all whom I love but it is infinitely more precious to me to be with Christ than all beside." It is indeed fitting that these lofty sentiments, expressed in lines from his own pen, should conclude the epitaph upon his tombstone in Cheltenham cemetery.

In loving memory of


Departed to be with Christ

January 24, 1896, Aged 56

"THOU REMAINEST" (Heb. 1.11)



His spirit now has winged its way

To those bright realms of cloudless day;

Then, mourner, cease to weep;

For better is it thus to be

From self, the world, and Satan free,

By Jesus put to sleep.

George West Frazer throughout life composed many hymns and these he published in three volumes—"Mid-night Praises," "Day-Dawn Praises," and "The Day-Spring." Though most of his hymns have now fallen into disuse, a few remain and are treasured. Perhaps, of all his compositions none is more widely known or better loved than his gospel hymn, "Come, hear the gospel sound."

"Come! hear the gospel sound—
"Yet there is room!"
It tells to all around—
"Yet there is room!"
Though guilty, now draw near,
Though vile, you need not fear,
With joy you now may hear—
"Yet there is room!"
God’s love in Christ we see—
"Yet there is room!"
Greater it could not be—
"Yet there is room!"
His only Son He gave,
He’s righteous now to save
All who on Him believe—
"Yet there is room!"
"All things are ready: come!"
"Yet there is room!"
Christ everything hath done—
"Yet there is room!"
The work is now complete,
"Before the mercy-seat,"
A Saviour you shall meet—
"Yet there is room!"
God’s house is filling fast—
"Yet there is room!"
Some soul will be the last—
"Yet there is room!"
Yes, soon Salvation’s day
From you will pass away,
Then grace no more will say—
"Yet there is room!"

Throughout this present dispensation God in grace is inviting sinners to Himself. In the gospel He announces to men and women the sufficiency of His provision to meet their every need and bids them to "come." The gospel’s mighty message once came to the heart of George West Frazer in the Spirit’s power; the memories of its coming and that eventful night in the city of Dublin ever lingered in his heart—his late arrival, the crowded building, his place upon the window-sill, the preacher’s fervour and most of all the arresting text and message of grace that reached his sinful heart. Ever afterward Frazer longed that others be enlightened and in this, his much-loved hymn, he clearly presents the truth of the glorious gospel, both in its blessed rich appeal and in its solemn warning note.

Top of Page

Tune … Jesus Thy Dying I Own

Gathered around our blessed Lord
With heart and voice in one accord,
Afresh we view the mystery,
The Christ of God nailed to the tree.
O was there ever such a sight?
The noonday sun with-holds its light,
Earth trembles at His parting cry,
But sinners sit and watch Him die.
And can it be with heart unmoved
We scan that love wherewith He loved?
Be this the burden of our sighs
That we are here with tearless eyes.
Sweet this memorial bread we eat
With heart all prostrate at His feet,
And with what joy we take the cup
From Him Who drank our sorrows up.
Lord write Thy love upon each heart
That we might know some feeble part
Of that eternal, sovereign grace
Which stooped to take a sinner’s place.
O blessed Lord, our hearts would bow
In silent adoration now,
Henceforth declare with every breath
The saving worth of such a death.
Top of Page