Anticipation of Future Delights
by C. H. Spurgeon.
(This is the third and final part of a sermon preached on April 12th, 1863, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London from the text, For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me‑ Job 19:25-27).
And now, in the third and last place, as the anticipation of future delight, let me call to your remembrance the other part of the text.
Job not only knew that the Redeemer lived, but he anticipated the time when He should stand in the latter day upon the earth. No doubt Job referred here to our Saviours first advent, to the time when Jesus Christ, the goel, the kinsman, should stand upon the earth to pay in the blood of His veins the ransom price, which had, indeed, in bond and stipulation been paid before the foundation of the world in promise.
But I cannot think that Jobs vision stayed there; he was looking forward to the second advent of Christ as being the period of the resurrection. We cannot endorse the theory that Job arose from the dead when our Lord died, although certain Jewish believers held this idea very firmly at one time. We are persuaded that the latter day refers to the advent of glory rather than to that of shame. Our hope is that the Lord shall come to reign in glory where He once died in agony. The bright and hallowed doctrine of the second advent has been greatly revived in our churches in these latter days, and I look for the best results in consequence. There is always a danger lest it be perverted and turned by fanatical minds, by prophetic speculations into an abuse; but the doctrine in itself is one of the most consoling, and, at the same time, one of the most practical, tending to keep the Christian awake, because the bridegroom cometh at such an hour as we think not.
Beloved, we believe that the same Jesus Who ascended from Olivet shall so come in like manner as He ascended up into heaven. We believe in His personal advent and reign. We believe and expect that when both wise and foolish virgins shall slumber, in the night when sleep is heavy upon the saints, when men shall be eating and drinking as in the days of Noah, that suddenly as the lightning flasheth from heaven, so Christ shall descend with a shout, and the dead in Christ shall rise and reign with Him. We are looking forward to the literal, personal, and actual standing of Christ upon earth as the time when creations groans shall be silenced for ever, and the earnest expectation of the creature shall be fulfilled.
Mark, that Job describes Christ as standing. Some interpreters have read the passage, He shall stand in the latter days against the earth; that as the earth has covered up the slain, as the earth has become the charnel-house of the dead, Jesus shall arise to the contest and say, Earth, I am against thee; give up thy dead! Ye clods of the valley cease to be custodians of My peoples bodies! Silent deeps, and you, ye caverns of the earth, deliver, once for all, those [souls] whom ye have imprisoned [in Hades, (Matt. 16: 18; Luke 16: 23, 26, 30; Rev. 6: 9-11.)]! Macphelah shall give up its precious treasure, cemeteries and graveyards shall release their captives, and all the deep places of the earth shall resign the bodies of the faithful.
Well, whether that be so or no, the posture of Christ, in standing upon the earth, is significant. It shows His triumph. He has triumphed over sin, which once like a serpent in its coils had bound the earth. He has defeated Satan. On the very spot where Satan gained his power Christ has gained the victory. Earth, which was a scene of defeated goodness, whence mercy once was all but driven, where virtue died, where everything heavenly and pure, like flowers blasted by pestilential winds, hung down their heads, withered and blighted ‑ on this very earth everything that is glorious shall blow and blossom in perfection; and Christ Himself, once despised and rejected of men, fairest of all the sons of men, shall come in the midst of a crowd of courtiers, while kings and princes shall do him homage, and all the nations shall call Him blessed. He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth.
Then, at that auspicious hour, says Job, In my flesh I shall see God. Oh, blessed anticipation I shall see God. He does not say, I shall see the saints - doubtless we shall see them all in heaven - but, I shall see God. Note he does not say, I shall see the pearly gates, I shall see the walls of jasper, I shall see the crowns of gold and the harps of harmony, but I shall see God; as if that were the sum and substance of heaven. In my flesh shall I see God. The pure in heart shall see God. It was their delight to see Him in the ordinances by faith. They delighted to behold Him in communion and in prayer.
There in heaven they shall have a vision of another sort. We shall see God in heaven, and be made completely like Him; the divine character shall be stamped upon us; and being made like to Him we shall be perfectly satisfied and content. Likeness to God, what can we wish for more? And a sight of God, what can we desire better? We shall see God, and so there shall be perfect contentment to the soul and a satisfaction of all the faculties.
Some read the passage, Yet, I shall see God in my flesh, and hence think that there is here an allusion to Christ, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Word made flesh. Well, be it so, or be it not so, it is certain that we shall see Christ, and He, as the divine Redeemer, shall be the subject of our eternal vision. Nor shall we ever want any joy beyond simply that of seeing Him. Think not, dear friend, that this will be a narrow sphere for your mind to dwell in. It is but one source of delight, I shall see God, but that source is infinite. His wisdom, His love, His power, all His attributes shall be subjects for your eternal contemplation, and as He is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, His purposes, His gifts, His love to you; and His glory in all His purposes, and in all His deeds of love - why, these shall make a theme that never can be exhausted. You may with divine delight anticipate the time when in your flesh you shall see God.
But I must have you observe how Job has expressly made us note that it is in the same body. Yet, in my flesh shall I see God; and then he says again, Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another. Yes, it is true that I, the very man standing here, though I must go down [into Hades] to die, yet I shall as the same man most certainly arise and shall behold my God. Not part of myself, though the soul alone shall have some view of God but the whole of myself, my flesh, my soul, my body, my spirit shall gaze on God.
We shall not enter heaven, dear friends, as a dismasted vessel is tugged into harbour; we shall not get to glory some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship, but the whole ship shall be floated safely into the haven, body and soul both being safe. Christ shall be able to say, All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, not only all the persons, but all of the persons - each man in his [own order, (1 Cor. 15: 23) and] perfection. There shall not be found in heaven one imperfect saint. There shall not be a saint without an eye, much less a saint without a body. No member of the body shall have perished; nor shall the body have lost any of its natural beauty. All the saints shall be all there, and all of all; the same persons precisely, only that they shall have risen from a state of grace to a state of [immortality and] glory. They shall be ripened; they shall be no more the green blades, but the full corn in the ear; no more buds but flowers; not babes but men.
Please to notice, and
then I shall conclude, how the patriarch puts it as a real personal
mine eye shall behold, and not another.
They shall not bring me a report as they did the Queen of Sheba, but I
shall see Solomon the King for myself. I
shall be able to say, as they did who spake to the woman of
Not another. If I could be a changeling and could be altered, that would mar my comfort. Or if my heaven must be enjoyed by proxy, if draughts of bliss must be drunk for me, where were the hope? Oh, no; for myself, and not through another, shall I see God. Have we not told you a hundred times that nothing but personal religion will do, and is not this another argument for it, because resurrection and glory are personal things? Not another. If you could have sponsors to repent for you, then, depend upon it, you would have sponsors to be glorified for you. But as there is not another to see God for you, so you must yourself see and yourself find an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In closing let me
observe how foolish have you and I been when we have looked forward to death
with shudders, with doubts, with loathings.
After all, what is it?
I am sure my venerable
friends now present, in coming so near as they do now to the time of the departure,
must have some visions of the glory on the other side the stream. Bunyan was not wrong, my dear brethren, when
he put the land Beulah at the close of the pilgrimage. Is not my text a telescope which will enable
you to see across the
Those of us who are young, are comforted by the thought that we may soon depart. I say comforted, not alarmed by it; and we almost envy those whose race is nearly run, because we fear - and yet we must not speak thus, for the Lords will be done - I was about to say, we fear that our battle may last long, and that mayhap our feet may slip; only He that keepeth Israel does not slumber nor sleep. So since we know that our Redeemer liveth, this shall be our comfort in life, that though we fall we shall not be utterly cast down; and since our Redeemer liveth, this shall be our comfort in death, that though worms destroy this body, yet in our flesh we shall see God.
* * * * * * *
Seven Divine Statements
that Stand Concerning
Each Assured by Facts from History or Nature
Gods attitude towards
Assurance: The immobility of the mountains.
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee (Isaiah 54: 10).
Gods chastisement of
Assurance: The guaranteed immunity from a second flood.
For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee (Isaiah 54: 9).
Note. That this statement does not mean that God
is never wroth with
3. God will never cast off the people of
Assurance: The immeasurability of the heavens above and the impenetrability of the earth beneath.
Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 31: 37).
4. God preserves the national existence of
the people of
Assurance: The regularity of planetary motion and the stilling of the sea.
Thus saith Jehovah, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His Name; if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever (Jeremiah 31: 35-36).
The promises of the future restoration and salvation of
Assurance: The historical literality of their age-long suffering.
And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 31: 28).
For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them (Jeremiah 32: 42).
6. The covenant by which God has guaranteed the perpetual rule of Davids seed on Davids literal throne is irrevocable.
Assurance: The fixity of the earths diurnal motion.
Thus saith the LORD: if ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne ... Thus saith the LORD; if My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and will have mercy on them (Jeremiah 33: 20-21, 25-26).
7. God will increase and dignify the descendants of David and the tribe of Levi.
Assurance: The innumerability of the stars and sand.
Note. The innumerability of the stars and sand in reference to the increase of Davids house is not so much an illustration of degree as an assurance of certainty.
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me (Jeremiah 33: 22).
In these seven great Divine utterances it will be noticed that God speaks in each case in the first person singular, and in direct terms, without any symbolism or obscurity.
from Samuel H. Wilkinson, The
* * * * * * *
Distinctions which make Difficulties Disappear
by B. W. Newton.
(The following is taken
from the valuable booklet, On the
Prophecies Respecting the Jews and
I am well aware that many who have written on the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus have, by crude and mistaken statements, given ground to the attacks of their opponents. But the doctrine of the millennium, as it is taught in Scripture, is not to be rejected on account of the errors of its advocates. We cannot blot from the Scripture such words as these: And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High (high places) (Daniel 7: 27); nor can we cancel the thirteenth and fourteenth verses of that chapter. And again: they (those who will have part in the first resurrection) shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20: 6).
It would indeed be strange if Satan were always permitted to be the deceiver of the nations - the god of this world. And if he is to be bound, and to be cast into the bottomless pit, it is impossible that preaching or any form of moral influence could accomplish such an end. The binding of Satan, and other events associated therewith, require for their accomplishment an agency different from any that God is at present pleased to employ. The day of the Lord, the day when He will come out of His place to punish the inhabiltants of the earth for their iniquity (Isaiah 26: 21), will bring the world and all that is therein under the operation of a power very different from that which beareth on it now. The LORD my God, says the prophet Zechariah, shall come, and all the saints with thee, after which the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His Name one. See the connection of these verses in Zechariah 14.
We are not, however,
to suppose that because the Lord will reign over the
In like manner, when
Christ shall reign from heaven over Israel and over the earth, and when
pardoned Jerusalem shall be the earthly seat and centre of His government and
the place of His throne, this shall not render earthly, either Christ, or the
saints, or the angels who shall act under Him, although they shall from time to
time, in accomplishing the objects of their ministration, visit the earth and
hold intercourse with those who dwell therein.
Heaven, saith the Lord Jesus is Gods throne ... the earth
is His footstool ...
In the new earth there shall be nothing that bears the likeness of the first Adam. There, all will reflect the glory of the Second Man: there all the redeemed shall be finally united ‑ alike perfect ‑ alike conformed to the likeness of their glorified Lord. Millenarianism as taught in Scripture confounds not heaven and earth. It preserves their distinctness. It leaves intact the everlasting distinction between the flesh and the Spirit ‑ the old and the new creation, the first Adam and the last Adam.
Some have imagined that because there is no difference between Jew and Gentile as viewed in Christ, and in their relation to heaven, therefore there can be no temporary distinction between them in the earthly dispensations of the Lord below. But are we prepared thus to interpret the verse throughout? As viewed in Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumeision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free (Colossians 3: 11); for all are one in Christ Jesus: but does this imply that there are no temporary distinctions between these various classes in the earth? Does it not belong to the man to govern, and to the woman to obey? The man, if qualified by the Spirit, has a right to speak in the Church, but the woman is commanded to keep silence. In Christ, Philemon and Onesimus were one; but as to the arrangements of earth, Philemon was the master, and Onesimus the slave.
Christianity is not
Socialism. It gives unity of blessings
in the heavens, but it destroys not the distinctions which God has established
in the earth. The national standing of
* * * * * * *
The European Union
by Benjamin Wills
(The following is taken from the booklet on Zechariah 5, with the sub-title, The Vision of the Ephah considered in Relation to the Principles of Modern Legislation, still available from the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony price 50p. The work was first published in 1851. It is still up-to-date, although things have deteriorated. We have, however made no alteration to Mr Newtons wording. Footnotes have been included in the text but are in italics and in brackets).
There is a remarkable
prophecy in the Book of Zechariah (a prophecy distinctly unfulfilled) which
bears very closely on the circumstances of which we speak. The object of the vision shown to Zechariah
is to instruct respecting the character of the influence which shall be
The Symbol of Commerce
An Ephah is the symbol of Commerce. There is to be a period, therefore, during which Commerce is to rule the earth; a period when an Ephah might fitly be emblazoned on the banner of each Kingdom of the Roman World as the device best suited to indicate where the secret of its influence lay. This, said the angel, speaking of the Ephah This is their eye* through all the earth (Zechariah 5: 6).
word (Hebrew: ayin) literally means eye, thus the Vulgate Haec est oculus
eorum in universa terra. Eye may either mean
aspect, appearance, ‑ as in Numbers 11: 7,
where it is said of the manna, that the colour or
appearance thereof was as the colour of bdellium - or eye may mean that to which we look for guidance,
favour, or any supply of blessing. This,
no doubt, is its meaning here. If the
eye of a father or friend rest benignly on us, we look to its kindness as a
source of supply to all our requirement.
Hence eye is continually used of
fountains in the wilderness, and wells of water. See Genesis 16: 7. Also Deuteronomy 33:
In the outward appearance of the Ephah there was nothing to terrify. Men have learned to dread the sceptre, the sword, and the mitre; but the Ephah presents an aspect than which nothing can be more innocent or peaceful. The Prophet, however, was commanded to look again. A heavy weight of lead rested as a lid or covering on the mouth of the Ephab. The Angel raised it, and directed the Prophet to look within. He looked within, and beheld a Woman sitting in the midst of the Ephah. A Wornan, when used symbolically, is in Scripture the emblem of a moral system. When we speak of the reign of Commerce, we do not mean merely that commercial activities are to be increased, and that the nations will begin to trade one with the other more energetically; but we mean that the influence of those whose commercial wealth enables them to touch and control the secret springs of government will be directed to the sustainment of certain formed principles ‑ political, educational, religious, and the like ‑ as definite and precise as any which have heretofore characterised popery, or any other similar system.
The Woman in the Ephah
If old principles are abandoned, new principles must be supplied in their stead, or else the world must be left ungoverned: and as these new principles are formed and brought into operation, so, of course, a new system of moral agency is created. For example, it was once taught as a principle that all power was from God; and it was deemed a kind of Atheism to teach that the people were its source: but now the latter principle reigns, and the former is utterly abjured. Once it was thought fit to maintain the truth of Holy Scripture, so far as to refuse to sanction idolatrous and corrupt religions; but now such sanction is freely and systematically given. Once it was thought desirable to encourage those who circulated the Word of Life; but, now, they who circulate it in some of the districts where it is most needed are crushed, and their enemies honoured. The Bible was once thought to contain principles which it was the duty of the Governor to recognise; but now the Bible, in legislation, is to be ignored. It was once thought that all right fraternity must be based on Scripture; but now fraternisation, apart from Truth, is to be the panacea of the worlds disorders. It was once thought that the ruler should encourage Truth where he discerned it; now he is not to believe that certain Truth is anywhere to be discovered. Such are some of the principles. It is impossible that they can be adopted without a system being formed, as definite, and probably more definite, than any of the systems which it supersedes.
The vision, however, plainly indicates that this system is formed secretly, for it is represented as hidden in the Ephah. And nothing can be more true. Sheltering itself under the excuse of expediency, this nation, which more than any other owns the sway of the Ephah, has secretly and stealthily adopted principles which it is still ashamed to avow as the fixed acknowledged rule of its conduct. Many a sentiment has dropped from the lips of legislators and statesmen, which, although welcomed by multitudes, and acted on, have not yet become the recognised principles of the State.
Who, for example, would
dare to enter on the Statute-Book of England that tribute should be paid to
Juggernaut; all Mohammedan festivals honoured; Popish priests duly paid;
Protestant testimony, in certain spheres, forbidden? Who would at present dare to propose that it
should be registered as a principle amongst
The Scarlet Harlot of
The time has not yet come for them to be presented to the world in a systematised and ordered form, nor, indeed, are they as yet brought into that form: but when that time does come, they will no longer remain a mystery hidden: they will be seen in the manifested, displayed attractiveness of the scarlet Harlot of Babylon. Her hidden existence in the Ephah precedes her manifestation IN THE LAND OF SHINAR.
As soon as the leaden lid was removed from the mouth of the Ephah, the Prophet beheld the Woman, who had been hidden within it, preparing to spring up from her imprisonment. But she was not permitted to arise, the angel, exclaiming This is Wickedness (Hebrew: rishah), thrust her down into the midst of the Ephah and cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. Thus Wickedness was hidden within the Ephah. Wickedness, when thus definitely used in prophetic Scripture in relation to the closing events of our dispensation, is a word of very precise meaning. The Wicked One is, both in the Old and New Testaments, the designative appellation of The Antichrist. Compare rasha (Hebrew) of Isaiah 11: 4, and anomos (Greek) of 2 Thessalonians 2: 8. Wickedness, therefore, as used in this passage, is a word that expresses the fullness of those principles of lawless evil that will finally be embodied in Antichrist, and make him what he will be.
exists before Antichrist. That system of
lawless infidelity to which he will ultimately give full effect, becomes a
formed, though not a manifested system, during the time that Commerce is
advancing to her place of sovereignty. When
the time comes for that sovereignty to be displayed, and the Ephah be
transferred to its resting-place in the
The System of Syncretism
How long this system
will remain hidden in the Ephah we are not told. Its manifestation will certainly, I believe,
follow, not precede, the return of
The course which
Responsibility for Negation of Truth
As regards the various degrees of responsibility attaching to those who are leading, or being led in these paths, I say nothing. There is One only Who can determine to whom responsibility attaches, and in what proportion. We have to remember, however, that it attaches to the people of this country, more, perhaps, than to its Governors; for the theory of modern Government is, that the Governor is the servant, not the master, of the popular will. The hour of civil and religious liberty proves the truth of its pretensions, by so fettering the hand of the Sovereign that she can neither govemmentally maintain the sole supremacy of the Word of God, nor refuse to pay and honour the ministers of a system at which her conscience trembles. Practically, however, it often happens that individual Governors, by force of skill and talent, sway the minds of the people, so as to mould the spirit of the age. On such, of course, the deepest responsibility rests.
There may be some,
however, who, like Darius, when he prayed for the liberation of Daniel, feel
overpowered by circumstances too strong for them, and yield because they fear
to resist. To yield is indeed not
weakness merely, but sin; nevertheless, the heart of Darius was not so far from
God as that of those who constrained him into a path in which their hearts
indeed delighted, but which his heart and his conscience abhorred. Such, of course, plead no necessity in excuse,
for they acknowledge no sin. They are
not like Naaman, who confessed that it was a sin to bow in the
The Duty of Believers
Some, perhaps, will say, that it is better for the people of God to dismiss all questions respecting the world and its government, and to concern themselves only with those things which immediately affect their own condition. It is true, indeed, that it would be most wrong for the servants of Christ to quit their own peculiar sphere and to attempt the government of nations; but it is not wrong for them to search the Scripture, that they might be able to admonish and advise all men according to the truth therein revealed. To admonish and warn is their duty.
Both Prophets and Apostles have testified many things concerning the nations, their prospects, and their end: and are the servants of Christ to quench that light, or to put it under a bushel? In that case their own condition will soon become fatally affected. They will soon begin themselves to stumble. He who at the midnight hour casts away his torch and buries himself in darkness may have a seeing eye, but, practically, he is little better than the blind; and whether the blind be led by the blind, or by those who have thus darkened themselves, matters little as to all present consequences. They must both grope in darkness, and nothing but undeserved sovereign grace could prevent either the leaders or the led, from falling into the ditch at last.
Present facts justify the strength of my expressions. Many who profess to lead in the paths of Christ are speaking of this gathering as being a kind of second Pentecost, and request that it may be remembered in prayer as one of the great instruments whereby God intends to accomplish His work of final blessing on the earth.
How little would the
heart of John in
On Earth Peace, Goodwill towards Men
It is marvellous how readily mercies and words of mercy are, in the thoughts of men, separated from Him, through Whom and by Whom these mercies come. Men, for example, like to be reminded of the words, Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men.*
(*The words which the angels really sang were, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth the peace of complacency, or well-pleasedness, in the midst of men. As commonly understood, these words are regarded as expressing nothing more than Gods kindness and beneficence towards all His creatures. We have indeed to thank and praise Him for that beneficence. TrulyHe is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works. He hath so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. But the words which the angels sang express something different from this. They speak of something being found in the midst of men, in which God could rest in satisfied complacent peace. In the midst of the darkness of earth One stood, around Whom a circle of heavenly light was drawn. Of Him God could say, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased The peace of well pleasedness was in the midst of men, because Jesus was in the midst of men. A circle of acceptance, and peace, and love, was drawn around Him; and all who by faith were brought within that circle, were received within that circle, and were rested in with the peace of well-pleasedness. The being objects of this complacency is something very different from being the objects of kindness and beneficence merely, and is the portion of believers only).
Some have proposed that these words should be multiplied in ten thousand various forms of inscription in every known language of the earth, and placed on all the arches of that vast edifice, which is now being builded as the Tabernacle - the Congregation-place - of all nations. Men love to hear these words, but do they remember the earths present relation to Him over Whom those words were sung? Have the nations repented of their rejection of Him - of their persecution and corruption of His Truth? Have they fled to Him and to His Blood for refuge? Have they confessed His name, and gathered round the banner of His Truth? Has the Jew done this, or the Mohammedan, or the Romanist, or the Heathen, or the Infidel? Has England remembered Him, owned His servants, favoured His Truth, or is she ready - [like so many regenerate believers today appear to be doing] - to barter [like Esau] it all away ‑ to sell it for influence and for gain? Perhaps the words which the angels sang may be sung again: perhaps they may again herald Christs return unto this earth; for when God again bringeth the Firstbegotten into the world, He will say, Let all the angels of God worship Him (Hebrews 1: 6). Would the nations welcome these words so employed, or would they be as words of thunder in their ears, awakening the wail of everlasting anguish?
We have indeed reason to thank God as we remember these things, that He is pleased still to continue in the earth the message of His GRACE. Whilst His Holy Word exposes and denounces the path which the nations tread, it speaks also of a refuge: it proclaims a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness in the Blood of the Lamb. There God receives the humbled sinner, receives him in his guiltiness, asks from him no character (for he has none to bring), justifies him freely, imputes to him righteousness without works, accepts him in the Beloved. Have we not then reason, whilst we consider the abounding evil, to thank Him that the master of the house has not yet risen up and shut to the door? ‑ although the hour now draweth near, when it will be finally said, he that is unrighteous let him be unrighteous still.
The Book of The Revelation
The last book of Scripture, which more than any other is concerned with the closing scene of the worlds evil, and which chiefly sets Gods holiness in contrast therewith, does not conclude without the fullest and most explicit testimony to the freeness of GRACE. The Spirit and the Bride ‑names Whose holiness stands in living contrast with the earths abominations the Spirit and the Bride, holy though they may be, nevertheless say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Blessed words of grace, when we think of that coming Day of visitation!
Not one, be it remembered, of the Old Testament prophecies which speak of the coming of the day of the Lord is as yet fulfilled. The day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, ... and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day... And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty. when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth (Isaiah 2: 12-19).
Chapter after chapter in the Old Testament speaks in language similar to this; and when we turn to the New Testament, the closing book of prophecy there describes the last great City of human greatness ‑ that City which is especially to evidence what modem Civilisation and Commerce are able to effect. We read of the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble (Revelation 18: 12) ‑in a word, all that modern art and science are able to effect in developing the resources of the earth, and making them available for the purposes of man, will be developed in that great City. Her merchants are to be the great men of the earth, waxing rich through the abundance of her delicacies (Revelation 18: 3). But what is to be the end of these things? Is this the City of which it shall be said, Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee (Isaiah 60: 1)?
Is this the City that
shall call her walls Salvation and her gates Praise (Isaiah
60: 18)? ‑ or is the word of the Lord against her, saying, that
she shall be the habitation of devils, and the hold of
every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird (Revelation 18: 2); and that they who rejoice in
her are to wail the wail of everlasting anguish, when the Alleluias of Heaven
are sung over her destruction? The sovereignty of the world will then, at
last, become the sovereignty of our Lord and His Christ (Revelation 11: 15), and He shall reign in
The Day of the Lord
Therefore wait ye upon Me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger, for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent (Zephaniah 3: 8-9). Civilisation will cease then to be the servant of pride, and shall no longer ripen the nations for destruction.
It is true, few, very few, believe these things. Even [regenerate] Christians are falsely prophesying peace, and encouraging the nations in their prosperous course of ruin.* Mans expectations are found increasingly at variance with the predictions of God. But which shall we follow ‑ the words of men, or the testimonies of the living God?
By John Berridge
When Jesus would His grace proclaim,
He calls the simple, blind and lame
To come and be His guest;*
Such simple folk the world despise;
Yet simple folk [can] have sharpest eyes,
And learn to walk the best.
[*Rev. 3: 17, 21.]
They view the want of Jesus light.
Of Jesus, Blood, and Jesus might
Which others cannot view;
They walk in Christ, the
And fight, and win the well-fought day,*
Which others cannot do.
[* 2 Tim. 2: 1-7.]
They all declare, I nothing am,
My life is bound up in the Lamb,
My wit and might are His;
My worth is all in Jesus found,
He is my Rock, my anchor ground,
And all my hope* of bliss.
[* 2 Tim. 2: 12. cf. 1 Thess. 2: 12, N.I.V.; Rom. 8: 17b.]
Such simple soul I fain would be,
The scorn of man, the joy of Thee,
Thy parlour guest and friend;
Do make me, Lord, a little child,*
Right simple-hearted, meek and mild,
And loving to the end.
[* Matt. 18: 1-3. cf. Matt. 5: 20; Luke 22: 28-30.]