When one is handed ‘kingdom’ tracts or a ‘Business Card’ with in bold type printed on it, there sometimes appears to be a feeling that it must contain false teachings by unregenerate people who have not yet received eternal salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ: for, “Neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved” (Eph. 2: 8, 9; Acts 4: 11, 12, R. V.). 



The following selection may be of some assistance to clarify my beliefs as a disciple of Christ, and the nature of the work to which He has called me.  That is, (1) to speak and educate regenerate believers in things “concerning the kingdom of God”; (2) to urge them to “work heartily, as unto the Lord;”** and (3) to encourage them to seek to “enter into that rest***


* Acts 1: 3. cf. 1 Thess. 2; 12  **Col. 3: 23. cf. 1 Cor. 15: 58.).  ***Heb. 4: 11.  cf.  Heb. 4: 9; Rom. 8: 19-21; Num. 14: 30; Psa. 95: 11.



Sincere and Earnest



Sincere and earnest: is that all? come search The Word, and see;

For some have been sincerely wrong – John 16: 2 and 3.



Paul thought it right – Acts 26 – to kill the saints – verse 9.

Till God appeared and changed his heart – verse 4 - 6, Acts 9.



Many will say in that Great Day, What wonders did we do!

I know you not, says Matthew 7, verse 21, 22.



Some run with zeal the downward road, yet hope they’re climbing heaven

By way of Proverbs 14: 12.  How vain! says Mark 7: 7.



By nature blind – Ephesians 2: 2 – to wrath inclined – verse 3,

To seeing again – 1 Peter 1: 22 and John 3: 13.



Except ye be as John 3: 3, whate’er your faith, or zeal,

You please not God – Romans 8: 8 – nor understand His will.



Sincerity alone can’t save; it must with truth combine;

The faith that saves us is Romans 10, verse 7, and 1 Pet.1: 5, 9.



The Word, The Spirit, God alone – Acts 20: 32,

Can shed the light of Rev. 3; 11 and 21, on all we think and do.











By C C Morris (U.S.A.)



Definition of Terms



The term ‘millennium’ itself simply means a thousand-year period.  The Bible mentions a ‘thousand years’ nine times, six of which are found in Revelation 20.  It is from this chapter that the millennial views (a-millennialism, post-millennialism, and pre-millennialism) begin.  To save time and space, those who write or speak on prophecy sometimes abbreviate these three terms as ‘a-mill,’ ‘post-mill,’ and ‘pre-mill’ respectively. A term used by Mr Bonar referring to all systems opposed to the pre-millennial view (a-millennialism, preterism, post-millennialism, etc.) is ‘anti-millenarian



Important to note: The prefixes ‘a,’ ‘post,’ and ‘pre’ refer to the time when these various schools of thought believe Christ will return in relation to the thousand-year millennium of Revelation 20.






The prefix ‘a’ means ‘no  An atheist believes in no God (a = no, + theos = God; atheist = no God).  An agnostic believes one has no knowledge (a = no, + gnosis know, or knowledge; agnostic = no knowledge).



A-millennialists believe there will be no literal 1000-year millennium as such.  Therefore, discussing whether Christ will return before or after something they do not believe literally exists or will exist is irrelevant to them.



The a-millennialists believe the church is now in the millennium, which only figuratively represents (to them) a long time.  Their thousand years is already nearly two thousand years long, but to them that is only figurative anyway.  A-millennialism teaches that the church, the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven, Zion, Jerusalem, and Israel are all synonymous terms figuratively meaning the same thing.  Theirs is exactly the same logic as saying, ‘Corn, spinach, meat, potatoes, and chocolate pie are all the same thing, because they are all food  This ‘spiritual kingdom,’ they say, was instituted during the ministry of Christ, or at the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, or no later than the day of Pentecost; and that we are still in the kingdom-church and will be until Christ returns to conduct the final judgment of all mankind.



If the present church age is the prophesied millennium as a-millennialists believe, and Christ will return after the church age as they evidently believe, then I cannot see why a-millennialists are not all post-millennialist. Perhaps this is my problem alone; one of the a-millennialists might give me a simple explanation.



A-millennialists ask, ‘Where does the Bible mention a thousand-year reign  We have the same Scripture for the thousand-year reign of Christ that anyone else has for the final judgment of mankind - Revelation 20.  We can honestly ask them, ‘Other than Revelation 20, where else does the Bible mention the Great White Throne judgment






The prefix ‘post’ simply means ‘after  The post-millennialists believe Christ will return after the millennium. They believe the church is in the process of converting the world now, and that the church will gradually lead the world into a millennium of a thousand years of peace and prosperity, after which Christ will return, judge the world, and usher in the eternal state.



By the very nature of this idea, post-millennialists believe the world is getting increasingly better and will continue doing so until the whole world will eventually be Christianised.



Post-millennialism fits nicely with Arminian soul-winning, foreign missions, the ‘gospel regeneration’ theory, the modernists’ socio-political ‘social gospel’ (including governmental ‘faith-based initiatives,’ with federal grants in participating churches), and the general belief that it is up to man’s free will and efforts to convert the world.



What A-millennialism and Post-millennialism Have in Common



Both believe the 1000 year millennium is figurative and not necessarily limited to exactly 1000 years.  A-millennialists see the church age as being the millennium.  They say we are in the millennium now; but many a-mills also say we are in the tribulation period now; some say with the preterists that we are in the New Jerusalem now - such are the vagaries of substituting figurative applications to plain language.



Post-millennialism says that the church is at present converting the world to Christ, after which we will have a thousand year millennium of universal peace and prosperity, and after that, Christ will return to judge the world.



Both a-millennialism and post-millennialism are highly figurative and allegorical in their interpretation of Scripture.  There is a strong element of Sadduceeism in their belief, ‘For the Sadducees (and many anti-millenarians) say that there is no resurrection (of the physical body), neither angel, nor spirit’ (Acts 23: 8).



Thereby, the anti-millenarians furnish a starting-point for modernists, who might pretend to justify their existence from the Bible.  Yes, some modernists do quote Scripture, of sorts.  That is why they have their modem Bible versions.  Even Satan had a try at misapplying Scripture (see Matthew 4: 6 and Luke 4: 10).






The prefix ‘pre’ means ‘before  One definition of predestination is a destiny or destination that is fixed before (pre = before + destiny or destination).



Pre-millennialists believe Christ will return before the millennium of Revelation 20.  Indeed, they believe that a major reason for the return of the Saviour will be to institute His reign as King on the [this] earth, literally and visibly during the millennium, which will be the seventh millennium from Adam.



The pre-millennialist believes the world is getting worse, not better, as Paul said, ‘But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived’ (2 Timothy 3: 13).



Every previous age since the creation has ended in apostasy, and this present age is no exception to this. Indeed, it is a decree of God in His absolute predestination of all things, and that is for the express purpose of demonstrating to all sentient beings that ‘without Me ye can do nothing’ (John 15: 5).  Since Adam, we have been living in a divine demonstration programme proving that man cannot meet any conditions of law or works (conditionalism) to merit salvation, either temporal or eternal.  The experience of those taught of God has always been, ‘So by experience I do know, there’s nothing good that I can do; I cannot satisfy the law, nor hope nor comfort from it draw.  My nature is so prone to sin, which makes my duty so unclean, that when I count up all the cost, if not free grace, then I am lost



Only those who have been quickened by the sovereign grace of our Lord Jesus Christ can make such an admission with all their hearts, souls, and spirits.  All others will try innumerable Satanic and man-made schemes to save themselves, to no avail.  ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death’ (Proverbs 14: 12; 16: 25).



Pre-millennialists believe this present age will end in apostasy, as have all previous ages, and that our only hope is the shed blood and imputed righteousness of Christ, and the literal return of the Lord Jesus Christ Who, at His return, will raise and glorify His saints from all previous ages, put down all overt sin and rebellion throughout the entire world, and establish His literal reign of the thousand years on this earth spoken of six times in Revelation 20: 2-7.



Pre-millennial but not Dispensational



The terms ‘dispensation,’ ‘dispensational,’ and ‘dispensationalist’ are nowadays used as prejudicial words. Opponents of pre-millennialism enforce a double standard - A-millennialists can use the word ‘dispensation’ freely.  Modern a-millennial preachers and writers regularly refer to ‘the church dispensation,’ and ‘the law dispensation,’ but any pre-millennialist who does so, risks using the ‘D’ word to his own detriment.  It is like politics.  If an establishment newscaster calls a man an extremist or a racist, the conditioned masses must automatically fear and shun that man.  Likewise, call a man a dispensationalist and immediately everyone is supposed to fear him.



Cyrus Ingerson Scofield popularised dispensationalism in his Reference Bible first published in 1909.  His theory divided Bible history into seven periods he called dispensations:  Innocency, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and Kingdom.  The latter, Kingdom, refers to the millennial kingdom of Revelation 20 and is the only one of Scofield’s dispensations that he considered future from the church age (which he calls ‘Grace,’ where we are now).  Because pre-millennialists and Scofield both view the millennial kingdom as being yet future, a-millennialists, post-millennialists and preterists love to lump all pre-millennialists into the Scofield dispensational camp, using the dishonest tactic of guilt by association, in order to discredit those who believe in the literal, future, earthly kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.



The truth is, one can be, as I am, a pre-millennialist without following the dispensationalism set forth in Scofield’s system.  My view is pre-millennial; I am not a dispensationalist.






There is a fourth view, preterism, which should be addressed here.  Preterists believe all prophecies were fulfilled in apostolic times.  As far as I can tell, their sole justification for this belief is Christ’s statement, ‘Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled’ (Matthew 24: 34), or, as it is worded in Luke 21: 32, ‘Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled They say, ‘All prophecy will be fulfilled in this generation!  All prophecy means ALL PROPHECY.  This generation means the generation that was alive on the earth when Christ uttered these words.  Nothing remains to be fulfilled, because it has ALL already been fulfilled in that generation


A current book about the Book of the Revelation, advertised in a pro-preterist website, has this to say in its promotional blurb - ‘With 22 chapters of symbolism, mysterious characters, and apocalyptic drama, all told in picture language unmatched in the rest of Scripture, the Book of Revelation is difficult enough on its own



That is the way commentators love to present Revelation.  To prejudice their readers into accepting their misleading ‘interpretationspreterists and others convince the unwary to think Revelation is anything but a Revelation (which means a ‘revealing’ or an ‘unveiling’).  Revelation, they imply, is impossible to understand; so they predispose a gullible public to believe any preposterous theory their writers later espouse.



The preterists learned their lesson well from a-mllennialism, carrying the figurative or allegorical approach to Bible interpretation to its most ridiculous extreme.



The Book of the Revelation Itself



Because so many commentators have presumed that Revelation is highly symbolic, figurative, mysterious, and extremely difficult to understand (which is because so many writers and speakers insist on saying that Bible language is figurative), many saints who would like to read the Book of the Revelation are frightened away from this wonderful book.  Yet this is the only book in the Bible that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself directly recommends to be read.  ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand’ (Revelation 1: 3).



In spite of this endorsement from our Lord, many would-be readers of the Revelation have been convinced they cannot understand it.  They either assume they cannot understand it or that it is useless to try.  Consequently, questions abound about Revelation’s contents.  Perhaps no question has bothered Bible readers more than the twin issues of (1) whether the term ‘a thousand years’ is figurative or literal, and (2) whether those thousand years are past, present, or yet in the future.



The problem is compounded by those who hold to a ‘historic interpretation’ (historicism), saying that Revelation’s seals, trumpets, vials, angels, locusts, earthquakes, and plagues represent everything from Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo to obscure events involving the Goths and Visigoths warring against Rome, to Genghis Khan and the Mongolian hordes, to the Crusades, to Mohammedanism, to Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps.  Vint says Charlemagne bound Satan in AD 814.  Brown says the church will bind Satan during the Millennium.



If such an approach were valid, it would be no wonder that those of us who struggled with medieval European history in high school are a bit hesitant to tackle the Revelation.



Figurative, Literal, and Spiritual Application



My approach to Bible reading is simple and uncomplicated.  I wholeheartedly believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and that every word, every individual letter, means something.  That something is exactly what God intended for each word to say and mean.



Because pre-millennialists take the Bible literally, we are often falsely accused of believing there is no figurative language in the Bible.  We have been ridiculed as believing anything from God’s literally having feathers and wings (Psalm 91: 4) to believing the dragon coming out of the sea (Isaiah 27: 1) will be like Godzilla surfacing in San Francisco Bay.



Of course, this ridicule is false.  We fully recognise figurative biblical language exists.  That to which we object is the trying to make anything and everything a sign or symbol of something else, a subtle and easy step to unbelief.  The modernist’s saying that the resurrection of Christ only means ‘the teachings of Jesus live in our hearts’ is a case in point not so very far removed from the so-called ‘spiritual interpretations’ of the anti-millenarians.



*       *       *








By John Cox



(This is continued from the article in the April-June issue of ‘Watching and Waiting’, pages 88‑93. 

It is an extract from a booklet published in 1897)



The Order in Which Prophecy is Written



Prophecy is not written in the order of occurrence.  It is not, therefore, consecutive and chronological.  It cannot be represented by a straight horizontal line having a beginning and going on unbroken until the end, but it is written in the order best calculated to instruct the student, and to impress the mind and heart with the solemn truth and facts of revelation.  Instead of a continuous and unbroken record the instruction conveyed is by separate visions or sections, each dealing with the same period.



But while each line of prophecy refers to the same period there is a great difference between them.  The earlier visions or sections of prophecy are wider and more general, while the later are more specific, and contain details which are called for by enquiries arising from the consideration of the earlier visions or sections.  The later often contain instruction respecting things that take place before those which are revealed in the early visions or sections.  The mode of instruction is similar to that in which geography is sometimes taught by a series of maps, the first of which is a mere outline of a country, and the succeeding maps showing its rivers, mountains, cities, etc.  By this method of recurrence many aspects of the same truth are given which could not be so well supplied in any other form.



The narrative of the creation will afford an illustration of this principle upon which all Scripture is written.  It is not chronological.  The first verse of Genesis 1 tells of a completed creation.  Then the following verses describe the order in which all things were created, and the Rest of God in them.  In Chapter 2 the narrative recurs, and added details are supplied as to the creation of Eve and other things which are not found in their order in Chapter 1.



The prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah, etc., are manifestly written on this principle.  The early prophecies in each book cover the same period as the later.  The events foretold are not given in the order of occurrence.



There is also another important key principle which must be observed in order that prophecy might be rightly read and understood.  Not only are the visions or sections in relation to each other not consecutive and chronological, but oftentimes the order of each vision or section is also not the order of occurrence but of instruction, for each begins with a revelation, the fulfilment of which does not take place until the succeeding events are fulfilled; e.g., the blessing of Israel in the millennium is described in Isaiah 2: 24, before reference is made to the preceding sins and sorrows; and the advent of the Lord in His conquering might is symbolically foretold in Revelation 6: 2, before the preceding judgments are described.



Practical Conclusions



We have seen that Prophecy has revealed the coming apostasy of the Jew, the Gentile, and Christendom, and the judgments which will overtake those three bodies at the close of this present Dispensation.  Sad indeed is their present condition!



Blinded Israel are still rejecting and cursing their Messiah.



The great Gentile nations are increasingly misusing the governmental power committed to them by God.  What terrible inhumanities have been for ages, and are still being, perpetrated by Turkey (written in 1897 ‑ Ed.), one of those nations, while receiving sustainment from other nations, who have done little more than make unavailing protests against the fiendish tortures, outrages, and wholesale butcheries, and the destruction of the homes of hundreds of thousands of defenceless men and women and children who would not embrace Islamism.



Then there is guilty Christendom with its Greek, Roman, and Anglican idolatries; its compromised and enfeebled Protestantism, so weak because so worldly and tolerant of evil, and so worldly because it has not been mindful of the separating words of God by His holy prophets.  What great need is there at the present time, for those who have ears to hear His words, to take their stand outside the Camp of worldly Christianity, and separate from those so called national Protestant Churches in which Baptismal Regeneration, Transubstantiation, Auricular Confession, and other Popish and unscriptural doctrines and practices have become legalised; and also from those religious bodies where false doctrines are taught, and worldliness is manifested in the character of their buildings, in the form of their services, and in various expedients for raising money, and for attracting and amusing the people, by means of bazaars and so called sacred oratorios, concerts, cantatas, passion plays, organ voluntaries, fruit and floral decorations, festivals, secular lectures, bands, banners, processions, and other like worldly things, which loudly proclaim that those who resort to them believe that, for the present time at least, the Word of God and the Spirit of God and the Gospel of His Grace are, of themselves, insufficient for the conversion and instruction of souls.  Then there is a sorrowful need to separate also from those who while abstaining from such worldly expedients, reject the foundation doctrine of the imputation of the Righteousness of Christ; who exclude the Old Testament saints from the Church of God in Glory; who hold that the moral law is not now a rule of life for believers; who teach that there are two gospels, two ways, and two ends of salvation; who divide the New Testament into Christian and Jewish Scriptures and who strongly hold that the Coming of the Lord, and the rapture of the [whole] Church, may take place at any moment, and must precede the appearing of the antichrist, and the judgment of the great tribulation.



A new Reformation, based wholly on God’s neglected Word, is now greatly needed; the words of the prophets must be heeded and no longer ignored or perverted; false doctrine no longer tolerated; worldly expediency, alliance, and compromise be given up; and the whole truth of God be made the basis of union.



May many hearts be exercised as to these things, and earnestly pray for wisdom and grace to separate from evil, to cleave to the truth, to walk in ‘all holy conversation and godliness and to ‘grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen



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Believe God’s Prophets



By Benjamin Wills Newton



(The following is taken from Mr Newton’s preface to the third edition of his book, ‘Babylon and Egypt published in 1890.  We desire that true believers would solemnly consider the teaching of Mr Newton with regard to Prophetic Truth, not because it is his teaching, but because we sincerely believe it is the Truth taught in God’s Holy Word).



We may be very sure that the careless and erroneous way in which Christendom has interpreted Prophetic Scripture, has greatly tended to increase the Infidelity that now prevails so widely.



In 2 Chronicles 20: 20, we read of Jehoshaphat saying: ‘Hear me, 0 Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper These words of Jehoshaphat I implicitly receive.  I believe that God IS: and I trust in Him.  I believe that He would not deceive me.  I believe He would not place me in a world like this, full of sorrow and danger, and evil, without sending to me light adequate to direct my steps.  It is impossible to suppose that a good and gracious God should create responsible creatures, and give them no instruction as to their responsibilities.



Accordingly, I find that there has been sent into the world a Book that claims to come with the authority of God.  Its claim is founded on evidence, partly external, partly internal.  Amongst men, there are no accepted writings of their fellow-men that have for their genuineness and authenticity, external evidence so strong as that on which the Scripture rests: but the external evidence is as nothing compared with the internal.  No one, however, who is not brought, either by the consideration of the external evidence of the Scripture, or by other means, to receive the Bible as the Word of God, and to search it in His fear, will ever apprehend the demonstrative character of the evidence which the Scripture itself supplies of its Divine origin.



The woman of Samaria, when the Lord Jesus spoke to her conscience, and disclosed the facts of her personal history, instantly acknowledged His mission, and said to others, ‘Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ  So likewise, the written Word of God proves itself to be discernitive ‘of the thoughts and intents of the heartand those who become conscious of its power of doing this, ask for no further evidence of its being Divine.  The like, too, may be said of the light that it sheds on human history, past, present, and to come.  When any one has used Prophetic Scripture and realised the accuracy of its past fulfilments, and discerned the present signs indicative of the approach of those predicted events which yet remain to he accomplished, he will no more doubt that the Scripture illumines, than that the sun shines.



Moreover, God by His Spirit, Who dwells in the hearts of His [obedient]* people, ratifies and maintains the knowledge that He gives.  The figments of the sceptic or the scoffer no more affect such an one than the drifting flakes of a snowstorm affect a castle’s wall.  They who consorted with the Lord Jesus, received hourly evidence of His being what He was: but it was evidence about which strangers in the distance knew nothing.


[* Acts 5: 32. cf. 1 Sam. 16: 14; Judges 16: 20.]


Yet the carelessness of the human heart and its innate antipathy to Truth, may be fearfully worked on by sin and by Satan, and cause evidences, that God has mercifully afforded to momentous facts, to be thrust aside or buried.  A remarkable example of this is afforded in the history of the rejection of the Lord Jesus.  No fact was more notorious than that of His birth at Bethlehem.  The chief priests and scribes when asked by Herod. instantly replied that Bethlehem was the appointed place of His nativity; and from the events that subsequently occurred in Bethlehem, thousands in Israel must have known the connexion that Joseph and Mary and the Lord Jesus had with that city.  Little enquiry was needed to ascertain the lineage and birth-place of the Lord Jesus. The National register of Israel declared that the Lord Jesus was of the family of David, and belonged to Bethlehem.  Yet the rulers of Israel silenced Nicodemus by saying, ‘Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet assuming that because Jesus lived in Galilee, He belonged to Galilee.  When carelessness, desires not to know, it can soon find excuses for not knowing.



Can we say that we have not showed like carelessness?  Infidels have declared that the Lord Jesus was a deceiver, for that He said that He would appear in glory ‘IMMEDIATELY’ after the destruction of Jerusalem, but that He did not.  What has been our reply?  We have virtually said that immediately does not mean immediately; or else, that the unequalled season of tribulation (immediately after which He will come) is past; that the sun and moon have been darkened; the stars have fallen from heaven; that the angels have been sent forth and gathered together the elect from one end of heaven to the other, and we have thus increased mistrust of Scripture in others, without satisfying our own consciences.



Our error in stating the unequalled season of tribulation to be past, is the result of unpardonable carelessness; for the words used by our Lord respecting it are virtually quoted from Daniel 12: 1 - a verse demonstrated by its context to be unfulfilled.  It is no little sin thus to nullify the solemn prophecy of our Lord in Matthew 24, and to feed Infidelity by our folly.  Yet this we have done, and this, not only in the case of Matthew 24, but generally throughout all the Prophetic Scripture.  A large mass of the Prophetic Writings refer to Jerusalem, Babylon, Nineveh, Egypt, Edom, Moab, and other countries.  The predictions respecting their now near future are awfully solemn, and should ever be present to the remembrance of those who fear God.  Such knowledge is an essential part of that Truth which ‘sanctifieth  ‘Sanctify them through (by) Thy truth, Thy word is truth  But we have not used this portion of God’s Word.  We have almost universally regarded it as a tale of the past: and have treated the unfulfilled portions of Daniel, and the Old Testament Prophets, as we have Matthew 24.  As a consequence we have thrown Scripture open to the assaults of the Infidel.



In Isaiah we read, ‘Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap  That is false, says Infidelity.  Damascus, from the days of Abraham until now, has ever been a city: and is at this present moment advancing in prosperity.  It has never been ‘a ruinous heap  What is our answer to this?  Have we any?



Of the Land of Edom it is said, ‘And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.  It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever’ (Isaiah 34: 9-10).  This too, says Scepticism, is false. Edom has ever been visited and traversed, and is so still. What is our reply? Of Egypt, Nineveh, and Babylonia, like things may be said.



The fact is that we have been in the habit of saying things that are not true respecting all these places; and thereby we have greatly strengthened the enemies of Scripture.  Infidelity cannot be silenced by falsehood: but it may bow, under God’s blessing, to the voice of Truth.  Several instances of this have come within my own knowledge.



To every argument, urged by Scripture respecting these things, the one same answer is to be given.  The predictions that are referred to have not been fulfilled.  Foreshadowing fulfilments there may have been, but foreshadowment is not fulfilment.  The period of their accomplishment is not only marked as future, but it is declared to be at the time when God shall forgive Israel, His nation; restore them to His favour; place them under the shelter of the Blood of Jesus, and make them a blessing to the whole earth.  The judgments spoken of will be inflicted in the ‘Day of the LORD’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversies of Zion



‘Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury, thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over’ (Isaiah 51: 22-23).  Then Damascus shall be taken away from being a city: then Edom will meet its doom.



Nor must we hide from ourselves the sinfulness of explaining away the force of the descriptions of Scripture under the pretext that the language is poetic, exaggerated, and virtually untrue.  If we say that the predictions of Psalm 18, or the closing verses of Revelation 6, or Isaiah 13: 9-11, or Joel 3: 9-10, etc. have been fulfilled in any past events in the history of Earth, we open wide the door to the reckless impiety of Neologianism, and the dishonesty of ‘Non-naturalism,’ in all its forms.



Satan, no doubt, desires that we should hide from ourselves, and from others, all that Scripture has revealed respecting both the glories, and the terrors, and the judgments of the great Day of visitation.  Shall we voluntarily enter his snares?  Shall we deliberately nullify that which God has said respecting the great Day of the Coming of our God and Saviour?  Figurative language, and symbolic visions, can convey to us the knowledge of literal facts, quite as well as simple language.



They who may kindly condescend to consider this matter will, I think, admit that, if those statements be true, the teaching of Christendom since the apostles died, has been on these subjects fearfully false; and that a rectification of doctrine is urgently required.  Such a rectification would, no doubt, involve a vast change in our present habits of thought and action.  If, on the other hand, these statements be false, they cannot be too strongly denounced, or too strenuously resisted.  These are subjects that do not admit of compromise, or qualification.



My earnest desire is that not one self-conceived thought of my own should have any influence.  I desire that all who fear God should be brought nearer to God and to His ways, and be truly enabled to say, ‘By the Word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the Destroyer The bright blaze of the light of concentrated Anti-Christianism will soon be seen in avowed contrast with the light sent forth by God, through His prophets and apostles, to guide unto His holy hill and to His Tabernacles.  Which shall we follow?  The one leads surely to the Pit; the other to Christ, and to His glory.



*       *       *





The Hope of the Church



By William de Burgh



(This is the last in a series of tracts on the Church written by Mr de Burgh

in the early part of the 19th century).



‘And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together’ (Romans 8: 17).



What is the Christian’s hope?  This is a question which, in one acceptation, receives for the most part in the present day a definite and scriptural answer: that is, understanding by hope the ground of hope.  Happily Christ is now by many preached as the ground - the only ground of hope for man as a lost sinner: the only Name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4: 12), and, as such, an ‘anchor of hope’ ‑ an ‘anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast’ (Hebrews 6: 19), in Whom, whosoever believeth ‘shall not be confounded’ (1 Peter 2: 6).



But this is not the only meaning of hope.  There is also that which we hope for, and this is its prevailing acceptation in Scripture; in which sense also it is a distinguishing characteristic of salvation as at present enjoyed by the believer: for, as the apostle says, ‘We are saved by (or in) hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it’ (Romans 8: 24-25).



What then, in this sense, is the Christian’s hope - for what does he thus with patience wait?  And this question the apostle answers in this same chapter, in the passage taken as the ground of these remarks, and on the same principle by which is brought out the calling of the church, and also its position in the world - namely, union and identification with Christ.  It is thus, by God sending the Spirit of His Son into our hearts - that we are made ‘children and here the apostle argues, ‘And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together’ (verse 17), mark, ‘joint-heirs with Christ [on condition of our suffering ‘with him’] and ‘glorified together  The question, then, as to the church’s hope is answered by another - when does Christ ‘inherit when is He ‘glorified’ as here?  For in like manner, and at the same time, shall those who are Christ’s inherit and be glorified.



1. The inheritance of Christ as ‘Son of God’ and Saviour is defined.  Psalm 2: 7-8, ‘I will declare the decree: Jehovah hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.  Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee THE HEATHEN (the nations) for Thine inheritance, and THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH for Thy possession  And how He shall obtain possession the Psalm goes on to state, verse 9, ‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel That is - it is by judgment, and not grace, the Redeemer shall, in the first instance, proceed to recover the inheritance; and establish His claim as king on the ‘holy hill of Zion’ (verse 6).  And who shall be the objects of the judgment?  ‘The kings of the earth’ at that time confederated in opposition to His pretensions (verses 1-5).  Turn to Revelation 19 and we find that the time is at the SECOND ADVENT of the Lord, when heaven is opened, and He comes forth in righteousness judging and making war: His eyes as a flame of fire, and on His head many crowns and clothed in a vesture dipped in blood (verses 11 - 13); the reference to the second Psalm being marked by the words, ‘And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron’  (verse 15); and further by the description of the opposing confederacy, verse 19 - ‘I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army (Compare chapter 16: 13-14, as to the means whereby they have been so ‘gathered together’).  And the [selected] portion of the saints in this as ‘joint-heirs with Christ,’ is stated chapter 2: 26-27, and still in reference to this same Psalm, - ‘And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father or, as in chapter 3: 21, ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in MY THRONE; even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in HIS THRONEwhere it should be observed there is mention of two thrones - one, ‘the throne of the Father,’ in which, Christ is since His ascension set down, and which it is His only to participate as ‘the only-begotten Son:’ the other, ‘His own throne,’ namely, the throne of the kingdoms of this world, which is that in which [the overcomers from amongst] His redeemed participate with Him, as it is obtained by Him for them - ‘the travail of His soul,’ the fruit of His sufferings as their Saviour and Redeemer, ‘the purchased possession for ‘the redemption’ of which - that is, its recovery out of the hands of the usurper - they wait (Ephesians 1: 14).



The same definition of the inheritance of Christ we have, Hebrews 2, where the apostle, (having first stated that God had appointed His Son ‘HEIR of all thingschapter 1: 2), proceeds to define His inheritance as follows, verses 5‑9, ‘For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world [inhabited earth] to come, whereof we speak.  But one in a certain place testified, saying, what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?  Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the work of Thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet quoting from Psalm 8.  On which He thus reasons, ‘For in that He put ALL in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him.  But now we see not yet all things put under Him.  But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour  A reference to the 8th Psalm will shew that the dominion here given to the Son is, (as ‘the world to come’ implies) the dominion which Adam was found unequal to sustain, but which Christ as the last Adam has purchased, and will in due time have ‘subjected to Him



Again, the same is declared in the 110th Psalm verse 1, ‘Jehovah said unto my Lord, sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool not ‘in order that I may make Thine enemies Thy footstool,’ as though this subjection of Christ’s enemies began from His ascension, as it is generally explained: but ‘until till the time comes for doing this; as the apostle explains it, Hebrews 10: 12-13, ‘This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God (rather, connecting ‘for ever’ with the sacrifice, as verses 1 and 14, ‘after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God not for ever, but) ‘from henceforth expecting (waiting) till His enemies be made His footstool Compare Acts 3: 21, ‘Whom the heaven must receive UNTIL the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began



And as this position of ‘waiting’ or ‘expectancy’ represents the relation in which the Saviour at present stands in reference to His [millennial] inheritance, so does it that of His [redeemed] people; and as well after death [in “Hades” – the place of the dead, (Rev. 6: 11)], as while living in the world.  They wait for [‘the First Resurrection’ and] His appearing, that they may ‘appear with Him in glory the promise to them being, that, when the earth shall be given to Christ for His inheritance, they shall be ‘joint-heirs with Him when the converted nations shall be His kingdom, they shall ‘reign with Him when ‘the world shall be ruled by Him in judgment, and its people with equity they shall be His assessors, exercising judgment and rule under Him, administering the ordinances, and dispensing the blessings of His government to the subject nations of the world.  Compare Matthew 19: 28; 1 Corinthians 6: 3; Revelation 20: 4-6; Daniel 7: 13-14, 17-18, 26-27.  And, as to the [present] position and expectation of the departed saints, see Revelation 5: 9-10, and 6: 9-11, and 19: 14*, compared with Colossians 3: 4, 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, etc.


[* This verse refers to watchful saints, who will ‘prevail to escape’ the Great Tribulation.  See Luke 21: 34-36. cf. Rev. 3: 10.]



This is but an outline of the HOPE of the church, the kingdom and inheritance for which the people of Christ, in common with Christ Himself, still wait: but it is enough to shew what is the time the apostle peculiarly intends in the passage before us, when the children of God shall be ‘joint-heirs with Christ and ‘glorified together with Him  And it is enough, also, to shew that which makes it especially important to have the Christian’s attention drawn to this subject at present - namely,



2. The character of the children of God, which the apostle subjoins as the condition of the glory, in the words, ‘if so be we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together



The evils resulting from the prevailing view of the kingdom of Christ, - which dates it from His ascension and represents it as in being established in the earth to the present time, and so to proceed till the world is completely evangelized, - are many: but the greatest is, that it leads the church to mistake its position in the world in this dispensation, as well as the object of the dispensation itself.  The latter, so far from the evangelizing of the world and general conversion of the nations, we are expressly told (Acts 15: 14) is, to take out of the Gentiles a people for the Name of God: and such, we know, has been the only result hitherto, after a period of eighteen hundred years and upwards.  And the object for which this people is so taken out, is declared with equal plainness in other Scriptures, namely, to WITNFSS for Christ in the world while held by another power; and during the progress to consummation, not of the kingdom of Christ, but of a ‘MYSTERY OF INIQUITY which should only be matured and fully developed at the eve of the Lord’s appearing, when it shall be judged and extirpated (2 Thessalonians 2).  The position in the world of the elect church up to the coming of Christ is consequently militancy and suffering, without any intermission - it being the time in which the disciples of the Lord are to be conformed to Him in His humiliation, as they have the prospect of being conformed to Him in His glory at His coming.  But the effect of the prevailing expectation is completely to alter this position, as it also plainly inverts this order: for, wherever Christianity is established, there, it says, Christ reigns.  And verily, the church has concluded, that if He reigns in the world, she should reign with Him in it; and accordingly she has sought to make it her own, and enjoy herself in it, anticipating in practice her millennium, as many of her expositors have done in theory, who have written to prove that we are now in the millennium - that it commenced with the Christian era, since which time the world is in process of alteration!  Well may we take up the keen reproof of the apostle, and say to such - ‘Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us; and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you;’ while he goes on to draw the contrast in his own and the other apostles’ case - ‘We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised(1 Corinthians 4: 8, 10).  And it is not only the church, collectively speaking, which has fallen into the mistake, but her members individually: who, we can everywhere see, are for the most part endeavouring to unite the profession of Christianity with a creditable appearance in the world, and the enjoyment of its good things.  And this, we are to believe, is to ‘suffer with Christ



But how do such read their Bibles?  Some writer has said, that the truth of the doctrine of Christ’s pre-millennial advent, or in other words, that his kingdom on earth will not come till He Himself comes - was forced upon his mind by the consideration, that, if His kingdom were to be gradually established in the way usually imagined, the Bible, and especially the Scriptures of the New Testament, would fall into disuse, inasmuch as they would no longer apply to this altered state of the world: for in them ‘the world’ has uniformly but one character - that of opposition to Christ; and the church also [should have] but one character - militancy and suffering: while all the exhortations to the Christian are worded accordingly.  Important argument this, not only as proving this truth, but also as showing its practical influence.  Would that it came home to the heart of every professing Christian in this our day, with all the force of a fact so undeniable, so plain and self-evident!



What, then, is it to suffer with Christ?  First, it is to sympathize with Christ: so is the word in the original - sumpascho.  To sympathize with Him in His present rejection by the world: to know no joy in it so long as he is disowned in it: to make His cause ours: to be separate from the world, as He is, in mind and feeling, living out of it with Him in Spirit.  And truly this will be a position of sorrow, knowing no comfort but the comfort of the Spirit, Who in His absence testifies and reminds of Him - no joy but the hope of His appearing, when, as He Himself says, ‘I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you’ (John 16: 22); when the character of the world shall indeed be altered, because it will then own Him as king; when ‘the meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace



But is this all?  Will it be confined to mere sympathy - to that which is in the mind and spirit only?  No! it will be an actual suffering with Christ, as it will be an actual separation from the world - from ‘ALL that is in the world for soon will the Christian find, that thus to track the path of Christ through the world, thus to follow Him fully, will make us partakers of His cross, and bearers of His reproach.



Finally - without this we are not [overcoming] Christians. ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us’ (2 Timothy 2: 12).  And it is to ‘deny Him to go in any respect with ‘the course of this world  It is apostasy from the hope of His appearing and kingdom - that hope which, in the scriptural apprehension of it, will ever be found to be the regulator of the Christian’s position in the world.



*       *       *





Israel in the Millennium



By H J Gamston



(This message was given at a meeting of the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony held in London on the 23rd June, 2000.

 It was recorded and cassettes can be obtained at £1.20 each).



I was once asked what the reason was for the millennial reign of Christ.  It is a fair question, and one which requires an answer.  The Lord Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, where He will reign for a thousand years.  He will reign as ‘King of kings and Lord of lords  But why?  What is the purpose?  The subject before us is that of Israel in the Millennium.  As we consider this subject, we shall hope to answer the question.



Many are the texts in Scripture which speak of this glorious future, and which reveal great blessings for the nations, and in particular for the nation of Israel.  Consider firstly the new covenant God made with Israel and Judah as recorded in Jeremiah 31.



This new covenant clearly states in verses 31-34, ‘Behold, the days come (literally, the time is coming), saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the LORD: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more



Notice where these verses fit in.  At the end of the previous chapter and the beginning of this chapter, you will see a wonderful promise had been made to Israel.  God said in chapter 30: 22, ‘And ye shall be My people, and I will be your God  This is followed by the prediction in verses 23-24, of the destruction of the forces of antichrist, ‘Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.  The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until He have done it, and until He have performed the intents of His heart: in the latter days you shall consider it



Then notice in 31: 1, ‘At the same time (the latter days), saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people  There then follows that lovely promise in verse 3, ‘Yea I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee



It is after these things that God finally establishes this new covenant with the whole nation of Israel.  This new covenant is recorded in the verses we are considering, verses 31-34.



Dr Charles L Feinberg in referring to these verses has said, ‘This mountain-peak Old Testament passage stands in a real sense as the climax of Jeremiah’s teaching.  Every one of its phrases and clauses is vital



These verses teach that the re-establishment of the nation of Israel as the people of God reaches its completion in the making of a ‘new covenant according to which the law of God is written in the hearts of the people; and the knowledge of God founded on the experience of the forgiveness of sins is such that there is no further need of any external means like mutual teaching about God.



The words ‘the time is coming’ have been used elsewhere by Jeremiah.  They are an eschatological formula that places the prophecy in Messianic times - in the day of the Lord.  That is, at the consummation period of Israel’s history.  It is a promise relating to a ‘new covenant’ and is a prediction of a radical change in God’s economy (that is, in His dealings with humanity).



When Jeremiah foretold this ‘new covenant by implication the ‘Mosaic Covenant’ became the old one (Hebrews 8: 13). Moreover, this ‘new covenant’ is an eternal one.



1. It necessitated the Work of a Mediator.  It is therefore based upon the full and eternal atonement secured by the death of Christ.  The old Mosaic Covenant spoke of a great physical deliverance from Egypt through the blood of the lambs and the power of God.  The ‘new covenant’ proclaims a great spiritual deliverance from sin and death through the efficacious Blood of the Lamb of God and the power of God, the Lamb of God being Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.



It is little wonder that at the end of verse 34, we read this wonderful promise from God, made to Israel, ‘I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more  Forgiveness for iniquity and the putting away of sin so as to be no more remembered, can only find its fulfilment in the atoning work of Christ, which He accomplished upon the cross.



2. A New Covenant can only be fulfilled literally by those with whom it has been made.  In verse 31, the covenant brings to mind the cleavage of the nation into two kingdoms, that is, ‘the house of Israel and ‘the house of Judah  But you will have noticed that in verse 33 the reference is only to ‘the house of Israelsignifying that it was made with the whole house of Israel.  Like as the old Mosaic Covenant was made with the whole nation, God’s ancient chosen people, it therefore follows that, the new covenant will be with God’s ancient chosen people.  It is for this reason that Dr H Ironside reminds us that, ‘It could not be made with the Church because no former (old) covenant had been made with her



It therefore follows that the new covenant will be fulfilled in the millennium, and not in this present age, during which time God is calling out a people to Himself from among both Jew and Gentile.  I must hasten to add that whilst the new covenant secures for Israel their perpetuity and future conversion and blessing, it also secures in this our day, the eternal blessing for all who believe and call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.



I make one final observation regarding this new covenant before we move on to God’s purpose for Israel in the millennium.  This new covenant, according to verses 35-37, is to endure for ever like the unchangeable ordinances of nature; and in consequence of this, Jerusalem shall be built as the Holy City of God, and shall never be destroyed again.  Over the centuries, even to this day, we have not been able to see this.



Whilst, as I have said, there are numerous references to future blessings for Israel in the millennium, let us consider the passage in Isaiah 10: 28-11: 16.



Israel’s Aggressive Foes (10: 28-34)



The invasion of Israel by the Assyrian forms the historical background for Isaiah’s prophetic judgments here.  It is not my intention to open up these verses, suffice to say, that we see here two issues, both with prophetic significance.



1. The Overwhelming Miracle of Divine Prophecy (10: 28-32).



All that is predicted here by the prophet, when properly interpreted, has been literally fulfilled, although there will, of course, be a more complete fulfilment in the future.  The Assyrian did come from the north in order to conquer.  Their planned march from one Jewish stronghold to another actually did take place, but they did not reckon with the Mighty God of Israel.  They halted at Nob, a hill that rises to the north of Jerusalem; from here the way leads down into the Kidron Valley.  The Assyrian army, having made its final plans, would have sought to attack the Holy City.  But it was not meant to be, for the prophet saw the hostile Assyrian army standing in front of Jerusalem, like a broad and dense forest which was about to be cut down.



We have here also a prophecy of the end time battle referred to in Zechariah 14.  Zechariah speaks of the time which is yet to come, when God Himself ‘will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle a prophecy of the march of Antichrist and his armies on Jerusalem.  They will be gathered by his command to Armageddon (Revelation 16: 16), from whence God Himself will draw them, and gather them to the final battle against His Holy City.  In that day, says Zechariah 14: 3, the LORD shall ‘go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle



2. The Overpowering Might of Divine Providence (10: 33-34).



‘Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.  And He shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a Mighty One  Whilst the antichrist and his forces contemplate the overthrow of Jerusalem, and the final destruction of the nation, the Lord Himself will suddenly appear for the rescue of His elect remnant, and destroy Antichrist with the sword of His mouth.



At this point of time, Israel will have been exhorted in Joel 2: 12-13 to turn to the LORD, ‘with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and render your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil



The command is given by the Lord as further prophesied by Joel in verses 15-19, ‘Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, end the bride out of her closet.  Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, 0 LORD, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?  Then will the LORD be jealous for His Land, and pity His people.  Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto His people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen



Coming back to our verses in Isaiah 10: 28-34, we can see that the image used here most appropriately prepares the way for the introduction (in the next and connected chapter) of the Messiah, the Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and the fruitful Branch to grow from his roots.



Israel’s Almighty Friend (11: 1-5)



This is a very wonderful passage of Scripture!  In contrast with the destruction of the high and haughty Assyrian, and as predicted, any future imperial power of the world under the stroke of the LORD, we have in this chapter a remarkable and full description of the Messiah of Israel.  In verse 1 we see His Acknowledged Royalty.  Then in verses 2-3, we see His Accepted Responsibility.



We note that this responsibility as ‘Israel’s Messiah’ is in the first place, Personal.  ‘The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him He is acknowledged by the Father, Who consecrates and equips Him for His great work with the seven spirits.



Secondly, we note that this responsibility as ‘Israel’s Monarch’ is Positional.  In order to rule and to reign over His Millennial Kingdom, He will be supernaturally endowed by the sevenfold graces of the Holy Spirit of God. These are mentioned in verse 2.  They fall into three groups.



a) All laws pertaining to His Kingdom will be Adjudicated by Him, because upon Him rests the Spirit of the LORD, the Spirit of Wisdom, and the Spirit of Understanding.



b) All laws pertaining to His Kingdom will be Administered by Him, because upon Him is the Spirit of Counsel, and the Spirit of Might.



c) All laws pertaining to His Kingdom will be Adopted by Him, because upon Him is the Spirit of Knowledge, and the Spirit of the Fear of the LORD.



The description given to us by Isaiah of ‘Israel’s Almighty Friend’ in these verses is a reminder to us of the blessings which come to repentant sinners today, both of Jew and Gentile who truly believe.



The Bible makes it quite clear that there are three aspects to the Kingdom of Christ.  There is the Spiritual Kingdom into which all true believers enter.  Then there is the Millennial or Earthly Kingdom which is yet to be.  Finally, there will be His Heavenly or Eternal Kingdom into which all true believers, both Jew and Gentile, will enter everlastingly.



Was it not for this reason that He came the first time?  Did not ‘The Spirit of the LORD rest upon Him’ when He came to this earth 2000 years ago, to deal with the problem of sin?  Did not the LORD anoint Him then that He might preach good tidings (the gospel, good news) unto the meek?  And was He not sent to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to those enslaved by sin?



As Israel’s Almighty Friend, and as He is described in these verses, there is yet the day to come when He will infallibly bless both Israel and the Gentiles in His Millennial Kingdom on earth, that day when ‘righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins’ (11: 1).



The entire strain of the chapters 10 and 11, closes with a suited ‘song of praise’ (chapter 12) in the lips of Israel in the millennial day with their Holy One in their midst.



Israel’s Astonishing Future (11: 6-16).



Summing up these verses, someone has clearly stated that no Old Testament prophet paints Israel’s national future in more glowing colours than does Isaiah.



The actual rebirth of the nation of Israel in our own day is one of the most significant signs of the times - an event of tremendous prophetic import.  It heralds the approach of that era during which all God’s great material promises to Israel, presently held in suspension by the intervening Church age, will be fulfilled to the letter.



This chapter 11: 6-16, which we are considering, reveals a time of distinctive blessedness for Israel in the millennium.  Whilst they reveal a measure of blessedness for all nations during the millennial age, there is mention of special and distinctive blessedness in the nation of Israel.  All the nations of the earth will experience the blessedness that will result from the devil being bound and cast into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20: 2-3).  He will no longer be free to deceive the nations.  When this has happened, and as our chapter in Isaiah confirms, two things will be experienced.



1. The Redemption of a once-ruined Planet (verses 6-9)



This will take place under the Messiah’s active righteous and faithful rule. Under this ‘redemption,’ two remarkable things are going to happen!  Both are spoken of in these four verses:



a) All Nature will be Transformed (verses 6-8)



‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den



To spiritualise this passage as some have done is sheer folly.  Some early Church fathers, Luther, Calvin, and others, have taken these figures from the animal world as symbolical.  Modern rationalists regard them as a beautiful dream and wish.  I cannot possibly believe, as some do, that this passage refers to that time when the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, and that the wolf, the leopard, the bear, and the adder represent His infuriated enemies around the cross on Golgotha’s hill.  Nor can I possibly believe that the lamb, the kid, the calf, the cow, and the young child represent the Christians who would have to live with these enemies.



These verses, taken as they should be, quite literally refer to a time which is yet future a time when the whole of nature, literally ruined by the fall, will be literally transformed.



b) All Nations will be Transformed (verse 9).



‘They (that is the animals mentioned in the previous verses) shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea



The meaning of ‘the earth says Delitzsch, is determined by that of ‘all My holy mountain  If the whole of the animal kingdom is to be transformed, it follows that ‘the whole earth’ will also be transformed.  Delitzsch goes on to say that the land of Israel, the dominion of the Son of David in the more restricted sense, will from this time forward be the paradisiacal centre, as it were, of the whole earth, which will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD.



What a transformation this will be!  Under the direct rule and reign of Israel’s Messiah, peace on earth shall be established and maintained, wickedness shall be summarily dealt with, and the righteous upheld and made to flourish.  All political and social hindrances to the proclamation and prevailing of the Truth of the Gospel will be taken out of the way.  The Holy Spirit of God will be present in extraordinary fullness of energy in all the earth.



Yes! the whole earth ‘shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD’ (Habakkuk 2:14).  That is, the knowledge of the excellencies of Him Who is over all blessed for ever, and is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.



2. The Restoration of a once-rebellious People (verses 10-16).



Israel, who at this time have become a byword among the nations, will be restored and participate in the blessings which will come to all nations, and at the same time, will have a distinctive blessedness of its own. Israel, as a nation must be received back in order that the world may truly know ‘life from the dead’ (Romans 11: 15).



This is seen by what we read in verse 10.  Let me give it as it is rendered in the Hebrew; ‘And it will come to pass in that day: the root-sprout of Jesse, which stands as a banner of the peoples, for it will nations ask, and its place of rest is glory  This is a very precious verse!  It reveals something of the restricted blessings of a peaceful rule to Israel and the land of Israel.  We here find that the proud tree of the Davidic sovereignty is hewn down, and nothing is left except the root.



But now, as Delitzsch points out, ‘the new David is the root-sprout of Jesse, and is therefore in a certain sense the root itself, because the latter would long ago have perished if it had not been borne within itself from the very commencement of Him Who was now about to issue from it



This is confirmed by the apostle John in Revelation 22:16; ‘I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star  Delitzsch goes on to point out, ‘But when He Who had been concealed in the root of Jesse as its sap and strength should have become the rejuvenated root of Jesse itself (Revelation 22: 16), He would be exalted from this low beginning into a banner summoning the nations to assemble, and uniting them around Himself



So ‘to it (Him) shall the Gentiles seek (or, ask, for): and His rest shall be glorious’ (verse 10).  Thus being visible to all the world, He will attract the attention of the heathen to Himself, and they on their part, will turn to Him with zeal, and to the place where He settles down to rule and to reign (that is, in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem).



The nation out of which and for which this King will primarily arise, will, before this finally happens, be ‘redeemed and restored’ to its own land, as we see from verses 11-12.  It therefore follows, that throughout the millennium it will continually be said of Israel, ‘The LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the face of the earth’ (Deuteronomy 14: 2).



There is much more we could say of this nation. Many are the verses which confirm Israel's astonishing future. Let me bring to your attention six things concerning Israel in the millennium.



a) Israel will be united as a nation (Jeremiah 3: 18, 33:14; Ezekiel 20: 40, 37:15-22, 39: 25; Hosea 1: 11).



b) Israel will again be related to the LORD by marriage (Isaiah 54: 1-17; 62: 2-5, Hosea 2: 14-23).



c) Israel will be exalted above the Gentiles (Isaiah 14: 1-2; 49: 22-23; 60: 14-17; 61: 6-7),



d) Israel will be made all righteous (Isaiah 1: 25; 2: 4; 44: 22-24; 45: 17-25; 48: 17; 55: 7; 57: 18-19; 63: 16; Jeremiah 31: 11; 33: 8; 50: 20; Ezekiel 36: 25-26; Hosea 14: 4; Joel 3: 21; Micah 7: 18-19; Zechariah 13: 9; Malachi 3: 2-3).



e) Israel will become God’s witnesses during the millennium (Isaiah 44: 8, 21; 61: 6; 66: 21; Jeremiah 16: 19-21; Micah 5: 7; Zephaniah 3: 20; Zechariah 4: 1-7; 4: 11-14; 8: 23).



f) Israel will be beautified to bring glory to the Lord (Isaiah 62: 3; Jeremiah 32: 41; Hosea 14: 5-6; Zephaniah 3: 16-17; Zechariah 9: 16-17).






What message are we to learn from this today?  I say with the words of one of old, ‘Short of God’s glory established and manifested on earth, no true believer in Christ should ever rest  It is excellent to serve the living God and our Lord Jesus Christ; it is better still to worship in Spirit and in truth as we await God’s Son from heaven.  But best of all will be when He comes and in due time sets up the displayed kingdom, Himself the ‘Heir of all things,’ and we [if ‘accounted worthy’ will be] ‘joint-heirs with Him



This will surely be God’s glory below as well as above.  Preaching may win souls for heaven; but Christ must come from thence to restore all things to God’s glory.  Is not this the chorus which unites all the prophetic choir?  Most of all, should not the true believer in Christ have it at heart: for ‘many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them’ (Luke 10: 24)?  What it is to be a member of His body, to be part of His bride!  Should we rest satisfied with anything but Christ exalted over His universe to God’s glory?



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The Testimony of Apostles



By Adolph Saphir, D.D.



(This article is taken from Dr Saphirs book, ‘Christ and the Scriptures’).



Let us look at the Gospels, Epistles, and the Book of the Revelation, and notice their relation to the Jewish Scripture.



Here I cannot but express grief and astonishment at the prevalent neglect of the Jewish Scripture.  The term ‘Old Testament’ may partly have contributed to this, people imagining that what is old is antiquated.  These Scriptures are full of Christ; and were it but for the circumstance that they are the only writings of which we know that Christ used and loved them, they ought to be most precious to us.  Christ’s favourite book!  Christ’s only book!  The book He always read, always quoted; His guide and companion during life; His meditation and comfort in His sufferings and on His cross.  If you love Jesus, you ought dearly to love and diligently read this book.



But the thought of many is, ‘I can read all about Jesus and more fully, in the New Testament’.  I believe this to be erroneous, and in part bordering on superstition.



The Gospels



Take the Gospels.  How can we understand them without Moses and the prophets?  The very first verse of Matthew is unintelligible: ‘The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham Who is David?  Who is Abraham?  What meaning is there in this genealogy?  And yet we know that it is full of the most blessed meaning, viz., that Jesus is the Seed of Abraham, in Whom all nations are to be blessed; and the Son of David, the Beloved, the King of the Jews, and the Shepherd of the flock.



The name ‘Jesus’ refers to Joshua; the name ‘Christ’ to the anointing, the significance of which was well known to Israel, who had been taught the meaning of prophet, priest, and king.



The expression ‘Lamb of God’ does not refer exclusively, or even primarily, to the meekness of Christ.  The natural symbolism of the lamb was, indeed the substratum; but the real symbol is that lamb of which we read in Exodus, and which finds its perfect and minute fulfilment in Jesus, in His death on the cross, in the sprinkling of blood on the conscience, in the believer’s partaking of Christ, in the spirit of repentance and separation unto God with which faith is accompanied.  Therefore is Christ called the Lamb of God.  ‘Bearing sin’ is an expression based upon Leviticus, and illumined by Isaiah 53.



When we read the words, ‘generation of vipers we are unable to understand their real import, and are in danger of viewing them as the expressions of an unrestrained anger and abhorrence except by referring to Genesis 3: 15, Psalm 91: 13, and other Scriptures; where we are taught that there are two seeds, two generations; that of the serpent and the children of God, the seed of a woman.  If we wish to understand the Gospels, the life and teaching of Jesus, we require the same preparation as Israel enjoyed.



The evangelist Luke gives a lovely description of that garden of prepared Israelites who received the Saviour with joy.  Notice, in the first place, Mary, the blessed virgin.  The angel had announced to her the birth of the true David, and his words (an echo of 2 Samuel 7: 11-12; Isaiah 9: 6-7; Daniel 2: 44) sufficiently show that the prophetic word is known and believed in the angelic world.  Mary’s song is full of allusions to the promises of God as given to the fathers.



So is the song of Zacharias, who, being filled with the Holy Ghost, praises God for His gracious fulfilment of His Word, spoken ‘by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began  Simeon, who according to Luke, waited ‘for the consolation of Israel’ (what is this? Read Isaiah 40-46), rejoiced when he beheld the holy Child, and confirms the prophecy of Isaiah 8: 14, that the Lord is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.  The good news was joyfully received by them that looked for ‘redemption’ in Jerusalem - people who knew and believed the Scripture.



Again, how did John the Baptist prepare the way of the Lord?  He preached, according to the Scripture, of a change of mind, of the kingdom of God, of the great harvest, and the separation between wheat and chaff, of baptism with the Holy Ghost, of the Lamb of God (Jeremiah 3: 12-14; Isaiah 58: 6-7; Psalm 1; Isaiah 2; Ezekiel 36; Exodus 12; Isaiah 53).  To prove that the Gospels cannot be fully understood without the Scriptures of Moses and the prophets would be to go through the whole fourfold narrative.  It is not sufficient to say that many of our Lord’s actions were performed expressly with a view to the fulfilment of prophecy (Matthew 4: 13-16; 12: 16-21; 13: 34-35; 21: 4-5); it is not sufficient to recognise His references to the written Word.



The whole picture of Jesus given us in the Gospels is the fulfilment of that outline which was sketched in word, and sign, and fact, in Israel’s record.  The Gospels declare that Jesus is He.  ‘We have found Him  He is come that was to come.  But who and what that glorious and divine HE is, Moses and the prophets explain.



Consider, moreover, who were the Saviour’s first disciples.  Andrew said to Simon, ‘We have found the Messiah Philip said to Nathanael, ‘We have found Him, of Whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write  Nathanael welcomed Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel.  These men knew the Scriptures. They were waiting for the promised Messiah, the Anointed One.  They had studied Moses and the prophets, and recognised the fulfilment.  Nathanael knew that God had a Son; he had learned so from Psalm 2, from Proverbs 30: 4; he knew that Israel’s King was to come from above, that David’s Son was David’s Lord.



Thus we ought to enter on the study of the Gospels, on the contemplation of the life and words of Him Whose going forth are from of old; and then we shall see that it is He.



The Acts



And in like manner the apostles preached Jesus, not from their own writings, which did not exist then, but from the Scriptures.  What was Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost?  He announced (1) the outpouring of the Spirit according to Joel 2; (2) the resurrection of Jesus according to Psalm 16; (3) His ascension according to Psalm 110; and on this he bases (4) the lordship of Jesus as the Messiah.



When Peter is before the Jewish rulers he preaches Jesus from Psalm 118; and when the apostles return to the company of believers, the Church is of good comfort, because it knows (from Psalm 2) that Christ, and not it, is the object of man’s persecution.  It is on the ground of Scripture that the apostles decide the great question concerning the Gentiles and the law (Acts 15), even as it was the prophetic word which Peter had preached to Cornelius (Acts 10).



What did the evangelist Philip declare to the Ethiopian?  He expounded to him Isaiah 53, and the eunuch believed, and went on his way rejoicing.



What did Stephen testify?  Behold him, his countenance like the countenance of an angel; in the face of death his last word is a summary of Moses and the prophets!  How clear was this word to his mind!  How near to his memory and mouth!  How dear to his heart!



What was Paul’s preaching?  He proved from the Scripture that Jesus is the Christ; he opened the meaning of the prophetic word concerning the Messiah; he asked not merely the Jews, but also King Agrippa, ‘Believest thou the prophets  He sums up his teaching in these words, ‘that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures’ (1 Corinthians 15: 34).  Apollos also was ‘mighty in the Scriptures



All the apostles preached Jesus from Moses and the prophets.  The book of Acts is a continuous unfolding of the ancient Scripture. The Bereans are commended because they compared apostolic teaching with the Scripture; from which we learn not merely that the apostles based their preaching on Scripture, but that they were anxious their hearers should believe the message, because it was in accordance with the infallible Word of God.



The Epistles of Paul



Look at the Epistles.  What are they but the unfolding of the gospel of Scripture?



Take that most important Epistle to the Romans.  All Christians regard it as a very fundamental epistle, our great defence and bulwark, the basis of our instruction; containing so clearly the doctrine of justification by faith which we teach in our schools and congregations.  Now, analyse the epistle.  From the very outset Paul announces as his text and thesis the words of Habakkuk, ‘The just shall live by faith’ (Yet for a hundred people who read Romans, is there one who reads the prophet Habakkuk?).  He then proceeds to prove, from the Psalms, the sinfulness of man.  Then he shows justification.  But how?  By referring to the mercy cover, in Leviticus.



If we understand the tabernacle, the meaning of the ark, of the testimony of the law against us which it contained, of the mercy cover, of the sprinkling of blood, we see the force of Paul’s words, that ‘God hath set forth Jesus to be a mercy cover (Hilasterion), through faith in His Blood’ (Romans 3: 24-25).  He goes on to explain the way in which the sinner is justified, by the Scriptures concerning Abram (Genesis 15: 6) and David (Psalm 32).  He derives an additional argument from the date and meaning of circumcision.



In Romans 5, he shows how sin and death are connected with Adam, and righteousness and life with Christ.  Is this chapter not inseparable from Genesis 3?  If you know not the history of the fall, can you understand the teaching of Paul?  In chapters 9-11, he explains the doctrine of election, the position of Israel and the Gentiles, and the final conversion of the Jews as a nation; always quoting and illustrating the words of Moses and the prophets.  In short, the whole Epistle to the Romans is an unfolding of Moses and the prophets, even as Paul writes to them, ‘Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning’ (15: 4).



Take the Epistle to the Hebrews, and its most striking points.  Christ’s divinity is proved from various Scriptures, His humanity and future glory from Psalm 2, the glory of His priesthood from the history of Melchisedec.  Hebrews is a commentary on Leviticus.  It is a book in a foreign tongue, unless read in the light of the Scripture.



Look at the Epistle to the Galatians, a Gentile church, only of recent date in their experience of Christian Truth. Paul’s argument is about Isaac and Ishmael, about Sarah and Hagar.  This most fundamental, evangelical defence of the liberty of the children of God rests upon Genesis.



So with all the apostolic epistles.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul shows from Isaiah and Jeremiah the true character of the world’s wisdom, and that ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered in to the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him’ (2: 9).  His exercise of discipline (chapter 5) he founds on Deuteronomy 13: 5.  In chapter 10, he explains the history of the wilderness, and from the law of Moses he urges the duty and privilege of the support of the ministry.



I will only add his references to the creation of the woman out of Adam (chapter 11), and his exposition of the resurrection (chapter 15), so full of Scripture.  How striking and powerful is his quotation in 2 Corinthians 6 of four different passages (Leviticus 26: 11-12; Isaiah 52: 11; Jeremiah 31: 33 and 32: 38), introducing them with the words, ‘As God hath said’!  And it is truly the voice of God speaking to us to be separate unto Him.



How beautifully does Paul explain in the Epistle to the Ephesians (this most characteristic portion of the book of the Church) the words of Psalm 68.  How emphatic is his testimony concerning the Scriptures in his Epistles to Timothy, possessed of special solemnity in the prospect of his departure, and of perilous times.



Other Epistles



Equally rich in Scripture quotation and illustration is Peter in his Epistles; indeed, no apostle speaks more decidedly and clearly on the authority and Divine inspiration and fullness of Scripture, even as no one uses more beautifully and abundantly the Scriptures for our instruction and comfort.  The Rock on which this rock was founded was Christ and Christ according to the Scripture.



The little Epistle of Jude refers to Cain, to Sodom, to Balaam, to Korah, and speaks of the body of Moses, in harmony with Deuteronomy 34: 6.



‘The Epistles of John are a powerful exposition of the history of Cain and Abel’ (Kohlbrugge).



James speaks of Abraham offering up Isaac, of the faith of Rahab, of Elijah and his prayer, of Job’s patience and the Lord’s dealings with him, of the law in its unity; and his epistle abounds in allusions to Scripture thoughts and words.



The Revelation



The Book of the Revelation is a compendium of Moses and the prophets, referring especially to Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah; a summary of all the preceding revelation of God, the beautiful culminating point of the whole record.



The New Testament as a Whole



It is not too much to say, that as a dictionary is necessary to explain the words of a new language, so the words and facts of the Gospels and Epistles require the explanation of Moses and the prophets.  You cannot read the ‘New Testament’ without using the ‘Old’ as a dictionary.



Martin Luther said, ‘The most beautiful exposition of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms is the New Testament, and especially John and Paul; even as the Old Testament is the foundation and fortress of the New Testament.  If I were younger, I would seek all the words of the New Testament in Moses and the prophets.  By placing expressions and texts of the two together, grand and wonderful expositions of Scripture would be obtained



It is a very superficial view to think that, because we see the word ‘Jesus and the word ‘Lamb and the words ‘blood’ and ‘mercyseat we have therefore clear and full views, and solid and substantial ground of confidence, comfort, and hope.  Unless we know the meaning which is explained in the history, the types, the institutions, and the prophecy given to Israel, we do not rest on a solid basis; we are not feeding on nourishing food; we are not growing by the sincere milk of the Word.



Oh that we were wise and read the Scripture, the whole Scripture from Genesis to Malachi, and the inspired commentary from Matthew to the Revelation!  That we went into God’s school, learning His ideas and language, and explaining His Word, not out of the dictionary of reason, the opinions of men, and the traditions of the Church, but out of the dictionary He Himself has graciously provided!  That we used a wholesome frugality in our reading of uninspired books and tracts, and that we possessed a healthy appetite for the nutritious and strengthening Word of God!  That we would not confine ourselves to our favourite chapters, but launch out into the free, majestic, infinite ocean of Scripture!  That we fed on the green pastures, so spacious and so varied!



Let me entreat the young especially to read the whole Scripture, copiously, regularly, and systematically.  The older people among us enjoyed a training in systematic theology, according to catechisms (written over a century ago ‑ Ed.). It is not the best way, but it is far preferable to what alas! is too much the state of things now - that is, the absence of systematic spiritual training.  Scripture knowledge derived from Scripture itself is the best.  But what is to be feared at present is, that our young people, fully sharing in the general and somewhat exaggerated dread of catechisms and systematic manuals, live chiefly on popular sermons and tracts.



Of too many it must be said, they are not convinced by Scripture.  They do not possess an insight into the scope of the Bible.  They know little of Moses, and still less of the prophets. They do not understand the drift of an epistle.  And therefore they may easily be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.  A good flow of language, solemnity of manner, and plausible philosophy, carry them away.  Our armour is the Word.  Read the Scripture, and prayerfully and diligently study ‘the whole counsel of God



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The Day of the Lord

(Zechariah – Malachi)



By H G Harvey



(This niessage was given at a meeting of the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony

held in London on June 27th, 1975).



The Prophecies of Zechariah and Malachi are a part of that more sure word of prophecy whereunto we do well to take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place - this evil world of sin, darkness, and woe.






Now to begin with, it is well to have in our minds a little outline concerning the prophets of Israel in their relation to the time of the captivity of Israel in Babylon.



Jeremiah prophesied before the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity; Ezekiel and Daniel prophesied during that period; and Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi prophesied after the return from captivity.  Ezra and Nehemiah are the historical books relating to the resettlement of Israel in their own land and give descriptions of their difficulties and afflictions and rejoicings.



We learn from these historical books how that after the return of Israel to their land again, an altar was erected. They offered unto the Lord thanksgiving and sacrifice for His mercies in bringing them back to the land of their fathers.  Also, the foundation of the Temple was then laid, but due to difficulties and persecutions from the Samaritans around, the people grew discouraged and weary and left off building the Temple of the Lord and turned to elaborate their own dwellings.



Because of this, the Prophets Haggai And Zechariah were sent to stir up the people to complete the Lord’s house, and although the Temple which they had started to build was insignificant as compared with Solomon’s Temple, Haggai and Zechariah assured the people that God would take pleasure in their labours, and they were given rich promises of restoration and of blessing if they continued faithful.



The Structure of the Prophecy of Zechariah



Regarding the structure of this book of the Prophecy of Zechariah, there are eight visions which God gave to the prophet to record, and these are found in chapters 1-6, while chapters 7-14 record more direct statements of prophecy.  We also find in the visions and the promises connected with them, that they go beyond their immediate application to Israel at that time, and thus unfold end time conditions and God’s judgments on the wicked, and His final purposes of grace to His own repentant Israel in a yet future day.  This is illustrated in Haggai’s prophecy (2: 4-9), not yet fulfilled, were the shaking of the heavens and of the earth are mentioned which is reserved for the Day of God’s judgment and wrath at the return of the Lord from heaven. The third vision of Zechariah may also be mentioned as clearly depicting future Millennial blessing.



It is always important to remember that sometimes prophecies have a double fulfilment.  We see this in connection with the prophecy in Joel 2.  Peter referred to this on the day of Pentecost.  Truly, Pentecost was an earnest of this, but how brief!  And the final or complete fulfilment is to be in the ‘Day of the Lord,’ when the Lord will be once again in the midst of His people Israel, and when they as God’s priests and ministers will dispense justice and truth and healing in the earth.



Its Opening Message



In the opening words of the Prophet Zechariah, before the visions are enlarged upon, we find how God, through His servant, first called the people to repentance (verse 3).  And this is exactly how both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus began their message and ministry to the nation of Israel.  They both came saying, ‘Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 3: 2; Mark 1: 5).  This is the only ground upon which God can truly bless His people, and Zechariah bade them take warning.  They were not to be as their fathers who had provoked God’s displeasure and who had set at nought His prophets (1: 4).  Their fathers suffered God’s judgment by being sent into captivity (1: 5-6) and of this calamity they themselves were partakers.  God’s anger had indeed been turned away; their fathers had suffered the judgment of God.  Let not the people incur God’s anger again.



We also read in verse 1 of the actual time when the prophet received this Word of the Lord.  It was in the eighth month, in the second year of Darius the king; and it was exactly two months earlier, in the sixth month of the second year of the same king that Haggai began to prophesy.



In Zechariah 1: 3, we have the term ‘The LORD of Hosts and in passing I would just state that this majestic Name is used no fewer than eighty times by these last three Prophets - Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.  And note also that it is ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts  It is evidently to inspire the people with confidence that God was mightier than all their outward circumstances - however great and powerful their enemies were.



Then in verses 5 and 6 we have the questions, ‘Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live for ever  Their lives were of short duration, but God’s words and God’s statutes, in contrast, remain.  Did they (these are God’s words) not overtake your fathers?  Yes truly, and in judgment, and they turned, but not in repentance; only to acknowledge that their afflictions were from the hand of God.  The literality of the judgment was too apparent to deny; they recognised that they had reaped what they had sown, and said, ‘according to our doings so hath He dealt with us



Now since my subject is ‘the Day of the Lord’ which is yet to dawn, I must pass over the visions which are described from verse 7 of chapter 1 to the end of chapter 6, and concentrate our thoughts more upon chapters 7-14 and also briefly refer to the prophet Malachi.  This, of course, is a vast subject and therefore one can only summarise some of the most important details of these latter chapters.



In chapter 7 we find that nearly two years had elapsed since that memorable night on which the series of the eight visions were shown to the Prophet - in which were unfolded in a wonderful panorama the thoughts and purposes of God concerning Israel and the nations from the beginning to the very end of this age.  Then the word of Jehovah came again to Zechariah.



Again the day, the month and the year of the Divine Oracle are clearly given as being the fourth year of King Darius.  Thus it would be about two years after Haggai had stirred up the people to recommence the building of the Lord’s house, and about two years before the house was finished (Ezra 6: 15; Haggai 1: 1-15).



At this time, a deputation came from Bethel to the elders of Israel regarding the continuation of fast days which the nation had instituted while they were in Babylon.



Their enquiry was, need the people continue to keep these fasts and afflict their souls in memory of their former calamities, namely the invasion of their land and destruction of their Temple by Nebuchadnezzar?



The Cause of Israel’s Calamity and

Promise of Future Blessing



The Prophet Zechariah however, who spoke to them in the Name of the Lord did not answer them directly, and the first part of the prophetic discourse as contained in chapter 7 was intended to bring home to them and the nation the cause of their former and present sad and reduced circumstances.  The cause of their low estate was moral, the perverting of justice, oppression of the poor, and their hardness of heart.  It was because of these things that they had been scattered with a whirlwind, and their land made desolate.  The causes were divinely reiterated.  It was of their own making.  So with God’s condemnation of the nation the chapter ends, but as it is seen so often in these prophetical passages, after the condemnation of His people Israel, the Lord affirms that His love will not utterly depart from them - there will always be a remnant.



And this prophetical discourse continues in chapter 8 with gracious promises that He will yet save His people and be their God in Truth and Righteousness, resulting in world-wide blessings.



This same climax of blessing is found in earlier chapters – 1-6, and in later chapters – 9-10, and 12-14; in other words, throughout the whole Book.  In wrath, God ever remembers mercy.



Restoration and Blessing



And so we have the closing words in chapter 8 declaring ‘It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people(s), and the inhabitants of many cities ... saying, Let us go speedily to pray ... and seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem ... In those days ... ten men out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you’ (8: 20-23).  Such words imply eagerness and assurance for the Lord will take away the reproach of His people Israel from off the whole earth.  Instead of being a byword among the nations they will be held in high esteem as Isaiah 25: 8 definitely declares.



The nations will then realise that their fathers have inherited lies and vanities, and that God’s favour rests upon Israel (Jeremiah 16: 19), and as the priests and ministers of God, Israel shall teach the people knowledge.  They will bring peace and healing to all nations.  Such will be the power of the age to come.



We pass on to chapter 9 and here it is reiterated, like each of the passages already noted, that much is beyond the then present circumstances or contemporary history, and culminates in the time when Israel shall be brought to true repentance and will return unto the Lord never more to be forsaken, neither their land again made desolate.



Although some of the expressions in this chapter, as indeed in other chapters in this book, may seem somewhat obscure, yet the general trend of events is clear, and especially as they accord with the prophetical passages in the New Testament concerning the end of this age.  Take such words as we have in verse 10, ‘And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off  These things will not be needed by Israel, not even for their final deliverance from the hosts of Antichrist.  Their deliverance will not be by munitions of war but by the Spirit of God, and the Lord’s intervention on their behalf.



True Peace and Rest



‘And He shall speak peace unto the nations’ (9: 10). How parallel are such words with Isaiah 2: 14, ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks ... neither shall they learn war any more  And Psalm 86: 9, ‘All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship (brought low) before Thee, 0 Lord; and shall glorify Thy Name  ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river (Euphrates) unto the ends of the earth ... He ... shall save the souls of the needy.  He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence’ (Psalm 72: 8-14).



And as to spiritual life, it will still be peace through the Blood of His Cross, and through Israel, God’s gospel will be declared to all nations.



Verse 14. ‘And the LORD shall be seen over them, and His arrow shall go forth as lightning  And in the Isaiah 63 context with Zechariah 14: 3 we read of how the Lord will fight for them, when He comes from heaven glorious in apparel, the day of vengeance in His heart for the year of His redeemed is come.



‘And the LORD God shall blow the trumpet’ (9: 14).  How fitting are such words with the New Testament passages, ‘The trump of God’ (1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18) and ‘the last trump’ (1 Corinthians 15: 52), linked with Revelation 11: 15-18 when resurrection and reward to saints takes place and God’s wrath follows on the ungodly and ‘the kingdoms of this world ... become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ



‘And shall go with whirlwinds of the south’ (9: 14).  The elements of nature shall be used to effect God’s judgments.  The sun darkened, the moon as blood, the heavens departing as a scroll, mountains and islands removed out of their places are accompaniments of the Lord’s second advent as confirmed by Revelation 6 and 7 and Hebrews 12.



‘For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty’ (9: 17).  Such will be the words used by converted Israel in this day of the Lord’s Glory as they receive this manifestation of His grace and the fulfilment of His immutable promises as recorded in Jeremiah 31 and 32, as they behold Him in His beauty - they who once saw no beauty in Him, that they should desire Him.



True Contrition and Confidence in the Messiah



But in that Day, Israel, when they look on Him Whom their nation once pierced and despised, shall be brought to mourn and lament for Him, with deep contrition of heart as the words of chapter 12: 10-14 state.  But their mourning shall be turned to rejoicing, for the Lord shall preserve them during the brief time following His glorious coming, while the vials of wrath are poured out on the wicked.  Then He will make Himself known to His brethren in everlasting embrace, nevermore to be pulled out of their land.  ‘And I will bring again the captivity of My people of Israel ... And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD’ (Amos 9: 14-15).



Now may I just draw your attention to chapter 10: 4-7.  In verse 4 we read ‘Out of (literally, from) him (that is, from Judah, as the preceding verse shows) shall come forth the Corner (Stone), from him the Nail, from him the Battle Bow, from him every Oppressor (Exactor or Ruler) together  Here we have four Messianic Titles of dignity and judgment.



From him (Judah the royal tribe from which our Lord sprang), the One Whom God laid ‘in Zion for a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious Corner Stone, a sure foundation  These are expressions giving varied aspects of the dignity and glory that belong to the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah. 28: 16).  We may also call to mind the somewhat similar figure given in Daniel 2: 44-45 - the Stone cut out without hands which shall destroy and consume all the kingdoms of this world, so that His Kingdom of peace and righteousness shall stand for ever.



From him (Judah) the Nail fastened in a sure place and upon Whom shall hang all the glory of His Father’s house (Isaiah 22: 20-25).



From him (Judah) the Battle-Bow.  The Lord is a man of war.  He will not let the wicked go unpunished.  He will come in all His strength to save all the meek of the earth (Psalm 76: 7-9).  His wrath will be poured out (Isaiah 63: 1) upon the ungodly, upon Antichrist and all his evil hosts.



From him (Judah) every Exactor or Ruler together.  All ruling power and authority united in Himself - both Kingship and royal Priesthood, as Psalm 110 makes clear, and all who do not submit themselves shall perish.



And they (Israel) shall be as mighty men, treading down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. And they shall fight because the Lord is with them and the riders on horses shall be confounded (10: 5).  Such words again confirm how Israel will be empowered to overcome their enemies in the final conflict when they shall no more be pulled out of their land.  They shall be as mighty men confounding their enemies.  God’s promises of deliverance include all the tribes, as Judah and Joseph and Ephraim suggests, and in that Day they shall be one in heart and purpose (Ezekiel 37).



‘They of Ephraim, shall be like a mighty man ... yea their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD’ (10: 7) on account of His mercies and deliverance.



Verse 12, ‘I will strengthen them in the LORD  On this bright note the chapter ends.  ‘And they shall walk up and down in His Name saith the LORDsubdued and conscious of God’s mercy, and ‘none shall make them afraid’ (Micah 4: 14).



Divine Events in that Future Day



We thus arrive at the last three chapters of this prophecy.  These chapters (12-14), link together events connected with ‘That Day,’ the expression so often used in the prophetic Scriptures in reference to ‘The Day of the LORD which embraces the 1,000 years of sabbattic rest in contrast to ‘Man’s day’ of misrule and oppression which has now continued nearly 6,000 years.  It is the ‘last day’ spoken of in John 6 (mentioned four times); the day of resurrection unto life when the Lord takes control, and saints enter into their rest, and judgment follows upon the ungodly (2 Thessalonians 1).  We can only give a very brief outline of these three last chapters.



Chapter 12 sets forth God’s Sovereignty over all creation, and reminds us of the immutability of His promises to Israel.  Jerusalem is spoken of as a burdensome stone to all nations who intermeddle with her policy.  God not only gives deliverance to His people Israel from their outward enemies but also saves them from internal strife.  His Holy Spirit mightily works within them resulting in a humbled and repentant people made conscious of their nation’s sin and of their own evil heart of unbelief.



Chapter 13 reveals that in this Day of the Lord there will be a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; how idolatry and false prophets will be exposed and cast out from the land.  And we see the process of God’s saving work with His people Israel; how ‘that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die ... And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried’ (13: 8-8), solemn words of discriminative judgment.  The Lord, however, will preserve the remnant who will be brought through His refining fires, and to repentance, when they will once more become His people, and become a praise and blessing in the earth nevermore to be cast away as confirmed by Jeremiah 33; Amos 9 and Zephaniah 3.  At that time, even as the chapter ends, the Lord will say ‘It is My people and they (Israel) shall say, The Lord is My God’ (13: 9).



And this brings us to the last chapter wherein is brought before us how all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem at this time, and how the city will be taken.  It also records how the Lord will come and deliver His people Israel from their enemies, overcoming them, and establishing His kingdom of Peace and Righteousness in the earth; how there will be geographical changes in the land and in the service and worship of the Lord; how in that Day the Lord shall descend from heaven and His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives which shall cleave into two, one part moving toward the north and the other toward the south, causing a very great valley between its two parts.  This glorious consummation and Coming of the Lord with all His saints and mighty angels is referred to in Matthew 24: 30-31; 2 Thessalonians 2: 7-10 and Revelation 19: 11-16.  It will be the time when He shall gather His elect (the church) from the four winds; from one end of heaven to the other.  It will also be the time when the last trump, the trumpet of God, shall be sounded (1 Corinthians 15: 52); 1 Thessalonians 4: 16; Revelation 11: 15-18; Matthew 24: 31), when the first resurrection - the resurrection of the just, and reward to saints takes place; with judgment to follow on the ungodly.  It shall be one day, known unto the Lord, not day nor night (reminding us of Matthew 24: 36), but at evening time it shall be light (verse 7).  And in that Day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem (verse 8; see also Psalm 46: 4; 65: 9; Ezekiel 47: 1-12), ‘a river making glad the City of God



The True King



‘And the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that Day shall there be One Lord, and His Name One’ (verse 9).  No longer, ‘gods many and lords many’ 1 Corinthians 8: 5).



The nations shall realise that their idols are vanity and less than vanity and that they have inherited lies.  The satanic veil of superstition and idolatry shall be taken away (Isaiah 25: 7).



The Session of the Ancient of Days will have taken place, and the Son of Man given dominion and glory and a kingdom that will not pass away, that all peoples and nations and languages shall serve Him (Daniel 7: 13-14).  Truly, then, will a King be reigning in perfect righteousness as Isaiah 32:1 states and it shall be fulfilled, ‘The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end’ (Luke 1: 32-33).  Verse 21: ‘And in that Day there shall be no more the Canaanite (or merchant) in the house of the LORD, for then will be designated everything as ‘Holiness unto the LORD,’ when Israel as a nation will be conscious of God’s grace, loving Truth and Righteousness.



My Messenger



Now, I refer to the Prophet Malachi.  The name Malachi means ‘My Messenger  This is the last of the Old Testament prophecies and Malachi was to Nehemiah what Haggai and Zechariah were to Zerrubbabel.



Following a period of revival after the return from captivity in Babylon, the people of Israel had become indifferent and morally lax and this is the state of things which Malachi rebuked.  The heart of hope in the prophecy is in chapter 3: 16-18, where we read, ‘Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His Name.  And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of Hosts, in that Day when I make up My jewels (or special treasure); and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not



And chapter 4 continues, ‘For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts






As already mentioned, Israel in their previous kingdom failed, and the kingdom was taken away from them. The Church, likewise once manifestly the body of Christ on earth, fell away and did not continue in the unity, the faith, and the discipline which God gave for its continuance.  But redeemed Israel in the age to come is to continue in faith and power, an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations, and unlike this age they shall fill the earth with fruit even as the apostle exclaims, ‘How much more their fullness?’ (Romans 11: 12).



All these consolatory announcements given to Israel show clearly that ‘Jehovah is jealous for Zion with great jealousy’ and will return to Jerusalem with mercies; and that not only will the people be restored and the land rebuilt, but that He Himself will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem which shall be known as ‘the City of Truth’ and ‘The Holy Mountain’ - the centre to which the Gentile nations shall come to seek Jehovah and be taught His way.



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A Message to Preachers



By A W Pink



In this message we purpose to treat of those things which have a particular bearing upon those whom God has called to preach and teach His Word: those whose whole time and energies are to be devoted unto seeking the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls, and the better equipping of themselves for that most blessed, solemn and important work.  Their principal tasks are to proclaim God’s Truth and to exemplify and commend their message by diligently endeavouring to practise what they preach, and setting before their hearers a personal example of practical godliness.  Since it be the Truth they are to preach, no pains must be spared in seeing to it that no error be intermingled therewith, that it is the pure milk of the Word they are giving forth.  To preach Error instead of Truth is not only grievously to dishonour God and His Word, but will mislead and poison the minds of the hearers or readers.



The preacher’s task is both the most honourable and the most solemn of any calling, the most privileged and at the same time the most responsible one.  He professes to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, a messenger sent forth by the Most High.  To misrepresent his Master, to preach any other gospel than His, to falsify the message which God has committed to his trust is the sin of sins which brings down upon him the anathema of heaven (Galatians 1:8), and will be visited with the sorest punishment awaiting any creature. Scripture is plain that the heaviest measure of Divine wrath is reserved for unfaithful preachers (Matthew 23: 14; Jude 13).  Therefore the warning is given, ‘be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation’ (James 3: 1) if unfaithful to our trust.  Every minister of the Gospel will yet have to render a full account of his stewardship unto the One Whom he claims called him to feed His sheep (Hebrews 13: 17), to answer for the souls who were committed to his charge.  If he fails to diligently warn the wicked, and he dies in his iniquity, God declares ‘his blood will I require at thine hand’ (Ezekiel 3:18).



Thus the chief and constant duty of the preacher is to conform unto that injunction, ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2: 15).  In the whole Scripture there is no exhortation addressed to preachers which is of greater import than that one, and few equal.  Doubtless that is why Satan has been so active in seeking to obscure its first two clauses by raising such a cloud of dust over the last one.  The Greek word for ‘study’ here signifies ‘give diligence;’ spare no efforts, but make it your paramount concern and constant endeavour to please your Master.  Seek not the smiles and flatteries of worms of the earth, but the approbation of the Lord.  That is to take precedence of everything else: unless it is, attention to the second thing mentioned will be in vain. Entirely subordinate all other aims to commending thyself unto God - thine own heart and character, thy dealing with and walk before Him, ordering all thy ways according to His revealed will.  What are your ‘service your ministrations, worth if He be displeased with thee?



‘A workman that needeth not to be ashamed  Be conscientious, diligent, faithful, in the use you make of your time and the talents God has entrusted to you.  Give unremitting heed to that precept, ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might’ (Ecclesiastes 9: 10) - put your very best into it.  Be industrious and assiduous, not careless and slovenly.  See how well you can do each thing, not how quickly.  The Greek word for ‘workman’ is also translated ‘labourer,’ and in twentieth century English might well be rendered ‘toilerThe ministry is no place for triflers and idlers, but for those who are prepared to spend and be spent in the cause of Christ.  The preacher ought to work harder than the miner, and to spend more hours per week in his study than does the man of business in his office.  A workman is the very opposite of a shirker.  If the preacher is to show himself approved unto God and be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, then he will have to labour while others sleep, and do so until he sweats mentally.



‘Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee’ (1 Timothy 4 : 15-16).  This is another part of the mandate which Christ has laid upon His official servants, and a most comprehending and exacting one it is.  He requires them to put their hearts into the work, to give the whole of their thoughts to it, to lay themselves completely out in it, to devote all their time and strength thereto.  They are to keep clear of all secular affairs and worldly employments, and to show all diligence in the task assigned them.  That it is an arduous task appears from the different designations given them.  They are called ‘soldiers’ to denote the exertions and fatigue which attend the proper discharge of their calling; ‘overseers and watchmen’ to intimate the care and concern which accompany their office, ‘shepherds and teachers’ to signify the various duties of leading and feeding those committed to their charge.  But first and foremost they are to take heed to their personal growth in grace and piety, if they would minister effectually unto others.



Particularly does the minister need to attend unto this injunction ‘take heed unto thyself’ in his study of the Scriptures, reading them devotionally ere he does so professionally, that is, seeking their application and blessing to his own soul before searching for sermonic materials.  As the saintly Hervey expressed it, ‘Thus may we always be affected when we study the Oracles of Truth.  Study them not as cold critics, who are only to judge of their meaning, but as persons deeply interested in all they contain; who are particularly addressed in every exhortation, and directed in every precept; whose are the promises and to whom belong the precious privileges.  When we are enabled thus to realise and appropriate the contents of that invaluable Book, then shall we taste the sweetness and feel the power of the Scriptures.  Then shall we know by happy experience that our Divine Master’s words are not barely sounds and syllables, but that ‘they are spirit and they are life.’ No man can be constantly giving out - that which is fresh and savoury - unless he be continually taking in. That which he is to declare unto others is what his own ears have first heard, his own eyes seen, his own hands have handled (1 John 1: 1-2)



The mere quoting of Scripture in the pulpit is not sufficient - people can become familiar with the letter of the Word by reading it at home; it is the expounding and application of it which is so much needed.  ‘And Paul, as his manner was ... reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again [out] from the dead’ (Acts 17: 2‑3).  But to ‘open’ the Scriptures helpfully to the saints requires something more than a few months’ training in a Bible Institute, or a year or two in a seminary.  None but those who have been personally taught of God in the hard school of experience are qualified to so ‘open’ the Word that Divine light is cast upon the spiritual problems of the believer, for while Scripture interprets experience, experience is often the best interpreter of Scripture. ‘The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips’ (Proverbs 16: 23), and that learning cannot be acquired in any man’s school.  No one can learn what humility is by means of the concordance, nor secure more faith by studying certain passages of Scripture.  The one is acquired through painful discoveries of the plague of our hearts, and the other is increased by a deepening acquaintance with God. We must ourselves be comforted of Him before we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1: 4).



‘To seek after mere notions of Truth, without an endeavour after an experience of its power in our hearts, is not the way to increase our understanding in spiritual things.  He alone is in a posture to learn from God, who sincerely gives up his mind, conscience, and affections to the power and rule of what is revealed unto him. Men may have in their study of the Scriptures other ends also, as the profit and edification of others.  But if this conforming of their own souls unto the power of the Word be not fixed in the first place in their minds they do not strive lawfully, nor will they be crowned.  And if at any time, when we study the Word, we have not this design expressly in our minds, yet if upon the discovery of any truth we endeavour not to have the likeness of it in our own hearts, we lose our principal advantage by it’ (John Owen).



It is much to be feared that many preachers will have reason to lament in the day to come, ‘They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept’ (Song of Solomon 1: 6) - like a chef preparing meals for others and himself starved.



While the preacher is to ponder the Word devotionally, he is also to read it studiously.  If he is to become able to feed his flock with ‘the finest of the wheat’ (Psalm 81:16), then he must needs study it diligently and daily and that to the end of his life.  Alas, that so many preachers abandon their habit of study as soon as they are ordained!  The Bible is an inexhaustible mine of spiritual treasure, and the more its riches are opened to us (by hard digging) the more we realise how much there is yet unpossessed, and how little we really understand what has been received.  ‘If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know’ (1 Corinthians 8: 2).



The Word of God cannot be understood without a constant and laborious study, without a careful and prayerful scrutiny of its contents.  This is not to say that it is recondite and obscure.  No, it is as plain and intelligible as in the nature of things it can he, adopted in the best possible manner to give instruction in the holy and profound things of which it treats.  But none can be instructed by the best possible means of instruction who will not take pains with the same.  Promise of understanding is not made to the dilatory and indolent, but to the diligent and earnest, to those who seek for spiritual treasure (Proverbs 2: 33).  The Scriptures have to be searched; searched daily, persistently and perseveringly, if the minister is to become thoroughly familiar with the whole of what God has revealed, and if he is to set before his hearers ‘a feast of fat things  Of the wise preacher it is said, ‘he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought to find out even ‘sought to find out acceptable words’ (Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10), as if his whole soul was engaged in the discovery of the best mode as well as the best substance of instruction.



No preacher should be content with being anything less than a man ‘mighty in the Scriptures’ (Acts 18: 24). But to attain thereunto he must subordinate all other interests.  As an old writer quaintly said, ‘The preacher should be with his time as the miser is with his gold - saving it with care, and spending it with caution  He must also remind himself constantly Whose Book it is he is about to take up, so that he ever handles it with the utmost reverence, and can aver ‘my heart standeth in awe of Thy Word’ (Psalm 119: 161).  He must approach it in lowly-mindedness, for it is only unto such that the Lord ‘giveth more grace  He must ever come to it in the spirit of prayer, crying ‘that which I see not teach Thou me’ (Job 34: 32): the enlightening grace of the [Holy] Spirit will often open mysteries to the meek and dependent which remain closed to the most learned and scholarly.  A holy heart is equally indispensable for the reception of supernatural truth, for the understanding is clarified by the purifying of the heart.  Let there also be a humble expectation of Divine help, for ‘according to your faith be it unto you’ holds good here, too.



It is only by giving heed to the things which have been pointed out in the preceding paragraphs that the necessary foundations are laid for any man’s becoming a competent expositor.  The task before him is to unfold, with clearness and accuracy, the Word of God.  His business is entirely exegetical - to bring out the true meaning of each passage he deals with, whether it accords with his own preconceptions or no.  As it is the work of the translator to convey the real sense of the Hebrew and Greek into English, so the interpreter’s is to apprehend and communicate the precise ideas which the language of the Bible was meant to impart.  As the renowned Bengel so well expressed it, ‘An expositor should be like the maker of a well: who puts no water into it, but makes it his object to let the water flow, without diversion, stoppage, or defilement  In other words, he must not take the slightest liberty with the sacred text, nor give it a meaning which it will not legitimately bear; neither modifying its force nor superimposing upon it anything of his own, but seeking to give out its true import.



To comply with what has just been said calls for an unbiased approach, an honest heart, and a spirit of fidelity on the part of the interpreter.  ‘Nothing should be elicited from the text but what is yielded by the fair and grammatical explanation of its language’ (Patrick Fairbaim).  It is easy to assent to that dictum, but often difficult to put into practice.  A personal shrinking from what condemns the preacher, a sectarian bias of mind, the desire to please his hearers, have caused not a few to evade the plain force of certain passages, and to foist on them significations which are often quite foreign to their meaning.  Said Luther, ‘We must not make God’s Word mean what we wish.  We must not bend it, but allow it to bend us, and give it the honour of being better than we can make it  Anything other than that is highly reprehensible.  Great care needs ever to be taken that we do not expound our own mind instead of God’s.  Nothing can be more blameworthy than for a man to profess to be uttering a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ when he is merely expressing his own thoughts.  Yet who is there who has not, unwittingly, done so?



If the druggist is required by law to follow exactly the doctor’s prescription, if military officers must transmit the orders of their commanders verbatim or suffer severe penalties, how much more incumbent it is for one dealing with Divine and eternal things to adhere strictly to his text book!  The interpreter’s task is to emulate those described in Nehemiah 8: 8, of whom it is said ‘they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading  The reference is unto those who had returned to Palestine from Babylon.  While in captivity they had gradually ceased to use Hebrew as their spoken language, Aramaic displacing it.  Hence there was a real need to explain the Hebrew words in which the Law was written (cf. Nehemiah 13: 23-24).  Yet the recording of this incident intimates that it is of permanent importance and has a message for us.  In the good providence of God there is little need today for the preacher to explain the Hebrew and the Greek, since we already possess a reliable translation of them into our own mother tongue - though occasionally, yet very sparingly, he may do so.  But his principal business is to ‘give the sense’ of the English Bible and cause his hearers to ‘understand’ its contents.  His responsibility is to adhere strictly to that injunction ‘let him speak My word faithfully.  What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD’ (Jeremiah 23: 28).



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The Spiritual Nature of

Christ’s Millennial Kingdom



By J A Green



(This message was given at a Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony meeting in London on February 24th, 2006.  The whole has been slightly revised, but it was thought best to reproduce the message as delivered.  This will account for slight repetition.

 Cassette tapes and CDs are available).



The Kingdom of God Always Spiritual



We do not accept the charge of our a-millennial brethren that we hold a ‘carnal,’ ‘materialistic’ or ‘slavishly literal’ idea about the kingdom of God, and especially not about Christ’s millennial kingdom.  What we believe is simply that, in essence, the kingdom of God is always the same.  The essential features of the kingdom of God remain the same throughout all ages.  It is merely the form of the kingdom that changes from time to time, but the essential facts and basics of the kingdom do not change.



In Mark 1 we read that we have the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and in verses 14-15, our Lord introduces His public ministry.  It says, ‘after John was cast into prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (or has drawn near): repent ye and believe the gospel  That was the commencement of His public ministry.  But prior to that, the Lord Jesus had given an earlier exposition of the kingdom of God, which brought out and expounded the very basic essentials of that kingdom.  In John 3: 24 there is an index.  It says, ‘John was not yet cast into prison  So the exposition of the kingdom of God in its basic essentials in the earlier part of John 3 was given by Christ Himself prior to the commencement of His public ministry.



What are those basic essentials?  That man must needs be the subject of an almighty operation of the Spirit of God in the exceeding greatness of His power to lift him out of the realm of nature and to put him into Christ. That man must experience a birth from heaven, a rebirth, and that that rebirth by the sovereign operations of the Spirit of God, as sovereign as the wind blows in its circuit, would be based upon the death of our Lord Jesus as the One Who was lifted on Calvary’s cross as the Son of man, the Lord from heaven, the Last Adam, the second man, the Life-giving Spirit, the Head of the new creation of God, the Life-giver.  As those Israelites of old looked to the brazen serpent lifted on that standard by Moses, in Numbers 21, to escape the fatal issues of their situation, so must man look to the life-giving Christ and discover that there is life not for, but in a look at the crucified One.  Man is the subject of a birth by water and the Spirit, by the mighty operations of the Spirit of God.  As the Lord said, ‘the kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17: 21); and we must experience what Paul said in Colossians 1 - we must be transported or translated out of the jurisdiction and the power and the authority of darkness, and into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love, and made meet to be made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.



This is the basic essential and it matters not whether it is the Old Testament in type and promise or the kingdom inaugurated by Christ, as He said, when He came as the suffering Messiah, ‘The kingdom of God is come unto (or, come upon) you’ (Matthew 12: 28).  It matters not whether it be in this present age, where the kingdom of God comes to manifestation and expression by those who are born again and translated into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love, who follow the laws of the king and honour His Word and dispense His ordinances, and are the companions of all them who keep His precepts diligently (that is how the kingdom comes into expression today); or whether it be millennial saints, born again and brought to Christ in the millennium.  The basic essential is that it is God ruling and reigning and holding sovereignty by new birth [regeneration] in the hearts of His people.



Further, that will obtain in the eternal kingdom, when the interregnum is finished, when the thousand year intermediate, mediatorial kingdom of our Lord Jesus has run its course for those one thousand years that we read about six times, three times with the article, the thousand years (Tregelles says in his text that it is four times), to make it specific, it is an allotted portion of time.  When that interregnum, intermediate, mediatorial kingdom has served its purpose and run its course, the Son will deliver the kingdom to the Father, that God, the Three in One, the sacred Trinity, may be all in all.  And in Christ’s millennial kingdom - despite the charges that come against us, whilst we believe that there will be outward blessing; whilst we believe that the curse will be taken off creation and it will be released from the thraldom and the bondage of corruption and futility and that there will be widespread blessing in the natural realm, basic to it all will be the spiritual quality of Christ’s millennial reign through His saints.  So, this we repeat is the basic essential of the kingdom of God.



The Spiritual Destiny of the Church, Israel, and the Nations



In Acts 15: 13-18, there is what we can call, in the parlance of today, a ‘road map  It is not another human road map to peace.  It is a divinely given one.  James the apostle at the council at Jerusalem was expounding Amos 9, and he said, ‘Brethren ... Simeon (that is, Simon Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name  That is God’s present work in the world, and blessed be His Holy Name for that divine visitation, visiting the nations in new birth and blessing and in spiritual exercise, adding to the body of Christ the Spirit baptised fellowship which is the witness to the ascended glory of Jesus, forming and building that church against which the gates and counsels of hades shall never prevail.  So it is that the Lord is still doing that work today.  When that work is completed, what will happen then?  The next thing is in that very statement by James.  He added, ‘After this (these things - when the church of this age is completed) I will return (that is the return of our Lord Jesus) and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again (repair) the ruins thereof, and I will set it up’ (verse 16).  This is the restoration of Israel.  It is the redemption and the salvation of the house of Israel. That is going to be the main feature in the Lord’s advent; that is the first thing He is going to do.  He will deal with the people of Israel.  He will bring them to Himself.  He will convert them.  He will give them a national resurrection, and He is also going to give them widespread natural and outward blessings.  And verse 17 teaches us that the result flowing therefrom is that the residue of men and all the Gentiles shall seek the Lord over whom (those Gentiles) ‘My Name is called, saith the Lord  Then Paul said the very self-same thing in Romans 11: 1-2.  He says that the Deliverer will come to Zion.  ‘God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew  There is a resounding ‘God forbid far be the thought; let it not be.  That people shall be saved; ‘All Israel shall be saved’ (Romans 11: 26).  Paul says it was by their fall, blindness (hardness), and their casting away, that there accrued to the Gentile world salvation, riches and reconciliation.  He goes on to reason and to ask what will their receiving back by God be, ‘but life from the dead  That is not the [last] resurrection; it is world-wide blessing in the gospel, the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ which will bear upon the Gentiles because of Israel’s salvation.  Israel’s fall has brought blessing today; their restoration will bring a more widespread blessing in a day to come.  Acts 15 and Romans 11 confirm this.



Spiritual Functions of the Church of Firstborn Ones in Millennial Kingdom



Now I do not suppose anybody would challenge that when the church of the firstborn is completed, when it is transfigured, by rapture or resurrection and we are in risen glory performing the functions of priesthood unto God and Christ for a thousand years, that that is spiritual.  I would point out what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, that we are the spiritual seed of the Last Adam, the Life-giving spirit, the Head of the new creation and that in resurrection.  Paul states there the resurrection order is, ‘Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming’ (verse 23).  And, to give us suitability and capacity to function as priests unto God and His Christ and to reign with Them for a thousand years and then for ever and ever, we are going to have glorified bodies.  Paul says these bodies will be bodies of power and of glory, and they will be spiritual bodies, and they will also be immortal, and incorruptible, and imperishable.  And it is in those bodies [of ‘flesh and bones’], as part of the integrity of our humanity, that we will be capacitated to minister as priests unto God and unto Christ for a thousand years.



I particularly want you to notice that we will have spiritual bodies.  We speak of steam engines and petrol engines and diesel engines.  We do not mean that they are made or formed of that; but that they are driven, or empowered, by steam, petrol, or diesel.  And when we speak of a milk bottle, nobody, not even the youngest, thinks we mean a bottle made of milk.  We mean a container suitable for containing milk.  And that is what our bodies will be; vessels completely indwelt and empowered.  When we begin to function in that risen glory when we are the transfigured church of the firstborn, when we need no more discipline, when we need no more wilderness intercession, no more temple, and no more commemorative ordinances, what we shall do perfectly is to function spiritually.  However, those bodies of ours they will be substantially physical, like the Lord said, ‘Handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have’ (Luke 24: 39).  A spiritual body is a body which is adapted to the Spirit of God, actuated and empowered by the Spirit of God, as He will suffuse all of that risen state into which we shall be brought, for remember that glory is not a place. People speak as if it was.  They say, ‘he or she has gone to glory  But glory really is a state and in that state of glory we shall function as priests unto God and to His Christ for a thousand years.



I want you to look at what there will be then for believers, the blessings that we shall receive and those things in which we shall participate.  We read in Revelation 21 of that city, the heavenly Jerusalem.  Here I would say that it is of the first importance to know that Revelation 19: 1 to 21: 8 form one unit.  They depict the descent of Christ from heaven, His judgment of the antichrist, His binding of Satan, the establishment of the millennial kingdom, the first resurrection, and then straight on into the eternal state.



Thereafter, in verse 9, we have what we may call an appendix, or a glance back at the relations and the connections of the new Jerusalem and the Bride of the Lamb to the millennial earth, and the administration and the ministry of the risen saints towards the millennial earth.  And in that wonderful time, as depicted in Revelation 21: 9 - 22: 6, we are going to have a divine energy.  John sees the water of life springing ‘out of the throne of God and of the Lamb The sacrificial Lamb is brought onto the scene with that river of water of life, pure as crystal, which is, of course, a symbol (we believe in symbols and figurative language; but they convey specific truth; they are not poetic exaggeration).  Here, as elsewhere, where we have the seven spirits of God, where the almighty power and the divine wisdom of the Spirit of God are depicted, we have His life-giving energies flowing from beneath a satisfied throne.  And it is in the energy of the Spirit of God that we shall minister and reign with Christ in the thousand years, and then, of course, for ever and ever.  That is why these bodies will be spiritual bodies; they will be adapted to, actuated by the Spirit of God.  They will be empowered for the highest spiritual worship.  So we see that there is this life-giving energy which will pervade the whole scene in that time of risen glory.



Then we see that there will [then] be perfect government for it is the throne of God and of the Lamb.  There will be the highest spiritual service – ‘His servants shall serve Him’ (22: 3).  That is a very interesting word.  This word and its cognates are used in the Scripture, for instance, in Hebrews to show us what the divine service of the priests of the tabernacle was (8: 5).  It is used for a person who has had the Blood of Christ applied to purge the conscience from dead works that such might serve the Living God (9: 14). It depicts those who have received a kingdom that cannot be moved and who seek grace to serve God with reverence and godly fear (12: 28).  It is used of purged worshippers in Hebrews 10: 2 without any more conscience of sin, in the holiest of all, shut in with God, ‘far above this restless world that wars below, seeking all His wisdom and His grace to know,’ and they are purged worshippers, purged and sanctified and perfected for ever (in perpetuity) by the hallowing efficacy of the Blood of Jesus.  Thus it is, that in that coming day it will be the same, that same Blood will place us before God in total acceptance, accepted in the Beloved.



It is used elsewhere in the New Testament for the presentation of our bodies as a living sacrifice which is our intelligent and priestly service (Romans 12: 1).  It is used of the presentation of our persons, of our praises, of our possessions and of serving God in the gospel of His Son in a spiritual manner, serving Him in the Spirit in the gospel of His Son, disseminating His light and truth in His glorious and blessed gospel of grace far and wide.  And there will also be these spiritual exercises in that coming day.  And these wonderful truths pertaining to the glorified saints of God, in full acceptance before God, now transfigured, translated and at home with God.



Also, there will be open vision for ‘they shall see His face’ (Revelation 22: 4), like those Persian princes who had access to the king’s presence and to the king’s face (Esther 1: 14).  And so shall we, without a cloud between, because we are accepted and perfected in perpetuity, for ever, in the person and work of our Lord Jesus gaze on the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.



And then there will be an acquired glory as well as a manifested ownership for it says ‘His Name will be in their foreheads’ (Revelation 22: 4).  A name denotes person, or character, and although we try to now and fall short, in that day we shall fully express the name and the character of our Master, and His ownership of us will be manifested to wondering worlds.  Many years ago, I asked Mr George Fromow when the unity will be manifest that our Lord Jesus prayed for in John 17 in the high priestly prayer.  His answer was immediate.  He said, ‘In the New Jerusalem  The Lord in His wonderful prayer, said. ‘The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them’ (verse 22) - this is not godhead glory; this is His acquired glory, His earned glory as a man.



There was a godhead glory that pertained to our Lord Jesus in eternity past and He never left it: not even when He became incarnate. There was also moral glory when He walked this scene.  He has gone now up to the Throne of God and as man He has an acquired glory.  And He says, ‘the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them  He had prayed earlier for a vital oneness. He asked the Father ‘that they may be one as We are’ (John 17: 11).



That is vital oneness.  Then He prayed for the practical oneness.  He said, ‘that they also may be (made) one in us; that the world may believe’ (verse 21); the world looking on may see the unity and believe.  But then He went further than that.  In verses 22-23, He said, ‘The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them that they may be one (perfected into one).’  That is at the great consummation.  That is in the New Jerusalem. ‘That the world may know (that is, without gainsaying) that Thou hast sent Me



Listen to this.  What a word where everything is divine!  He says, ‘that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.’  These are staggering words.  We ought to meditate the import of them.  So it is that these functions and blessings, these wonderful truths all bespeak the spirituality of the risen church in that millennial reign when we shall reign with Christ and be priests unto God and His Christ for a thousand years.



Israel Objects of Saving Grace and Material Blessings



Now Israel, we will deal with them next.  They are certainly the objects of a temporal deliverance.  From Zechariah chapters 12, 13 and 14 we learn how that at the end God, by His providence and His sovereignty, will gather the nations against Jerusalem.  These things are all heading up.  There is a great deal of anti-Semitism again in the world.  Nations will be gathered, and the intent of their heart will be to cut off Israel from being a nation (Psalm 83: 4).  The intention is as the Iranian president said not long ago - to wipe them off the map for good.  God will gather them.  God is sovereign.  God does not just do what men permit Him to do.  ‘He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?’ (Daniel 4:35).  Mr Spurgeon used to quote the hymn, ‘He sits on no precarious throne, nor borrows leave to be  He gives no account of His matters (Job 33: 13).  He will gather those wicked nations to Jerusalem and then He will intervene and there will be a great temporal deliverance.



Yes, we are taking the prophecies literally; not slavishly literally, but taking them literally.  We understand them in their grammatical, historical sense, the only way that a rational being can really arrive at an understanding.  And there will be this temporal deliverance for Israel; the Lord will step in and His feet will touch the Mount of Olives and He will intervene for Israel in a wonderful way.  He ‘will go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle’ (Zechariah 14: 3), and Israel will take courage and the one who stumbles and the weakest of them will be like David the greatest warrior, ‘and the house of David will be as God, as the angel of Jehovah (going) before them’ (Zechariah 12: 8), and there will be this great temporal deliverance wrought; but withal, and I want to stress this, the spiritual will not be forgotten, for immediately He will pour out upon them the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall mourn for Christ when they look upon Him Whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12: 20).



John referred to this chapter in Revelation 1: 7, ‘Every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him and all the tribes in the land shall mourn because of Him, there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem. And by the Spirit of God, the prophet by his pen changes into the first person and gives our Lord Jesus His Jehovah title and he says, ‘they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced and there shall be this great mourning.  There shall be evangelical repentance.  There shall be penitential sorrow, and the fountain for sin and for uncleanness shall be opened unto them.



Mr David Baron said that those words echo Numbers 19, where the water of separation flowed over the ashes of the sacrificial heifer which was given to atone for those who were defiled by death.  So it will be in that day that the Spirit of God will convey the saving virtues of the redemptive power of Calvary’s cross and will apply it to the brethren of Christ, and they will say, ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with (by) His stripes we are healed’ (Isaiah 53) - the passion song of Israel.  Then the idols shall be swept from the land, and the traffickers from the house of Jehovah, and the very meanest task will be weighed in the light of eternity, spiritual worship will have returned to the land, and from the highest to the lowest, the very common round and common task will be marked by spirituality, by the worship of the Lord.  There shall be one Jehovah, and His Name shall be one, and He shall be King in all the earth (Zechariah 14:9), and a pure worship will be restored to Israel.



Now it is not otherwise in Ezekiel.  We cannot read all the Scriptures involved although we like to give place to the Word of God, but I would recommend, especially to the younger people, the reading of Ezekiel 36 and 37.



In chapter 36 there is a wonderful work done by God in restoring Israel to their own land in unbelief.  Then there is an almighty inward operation of the Spirit of God in removing their stony heart and putting a new spirit and a new heart within them, and, by means of the washing of water that is in the Word, conveying to them the saving virtues, the redemptive power of Christ’s cross.



In chapter 37 there is another miracle.  There is a national resurrection and they are placed in their own land, and they have a new polity.  The divided tribes are brought together as one stick under their one Shepherd, their one King, their Prince, the second David upon Whose head the crown shall flourish for ever.  And with all these spiritual blessings and with the national resurrection, there will be a new national polity and we read that the seed of the earth shall be productive, that the earth and the meadow and the field and the tree, shall yield their increase, and they shall be fruitful, and there will be vast and widespread outward blessing hand in hand with these spiritual truths which we have been expounding.  So it will be a wonderful thing when Israel is restored like that, and these outward, bodily aspects are not at all incompatible with spiritual blessings; they go hand in hand.  The substratum, the essential thing is the spiritual, as Psalm 84, where all of nature will be brought under the applied power of Christ’s redemption. And when that pertains, there will be no contradiction between spiritual blessings and temporal and outward mercies.  They will go hand in hand.



Spiritual Blessings For All Nations in the Millennial Kingdom



Let us think of the saved nations.  We read in Zephaniah that after God has judged the nations He will bless them.  After He has disciplined them, He will save them, and He said, ‘I will  It should be strictly plural in 3: 9, ‘Then will I turn to the peoples a pure language or, a pure lip, because it is not merely the vehicle, the language, that is in view.  What is indicated is that God has cleansed the person, like Isaiah when he was in the midst of a people of unclean lips, that seraph flew with the living coal from off the altar of sacrifice, and he said, ‘Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is atoned for, thy sin purged  He was blessed, and he was sanctified, and his lips were cleansed and that is what will happen to the nations in a coming day when God saves them.



Why will the peoples be turned to a pure language?  ‘That they may all call upon Jehovah (call upon Him for salvation, call upon Him in worship, call upon Him in prayer), to serve Him (Jehovah) with one consent literally in the Hebrew, with one shoulder.  There will be unanimity of service, oneness of shoulder. In that coming day the nations will serve the Lord.



They will have a connection with Israel, of course, because it says (and we have to link this with the end of the prophecy of Isaiah) that they will be instrumental, once they are saved, in assisting the dispersed of Israel to come back to their land.  They will bring back ‘the dispersed daughter of My people the Diaspora of Israel will then be helped to go back to the land of their fathers, to that land that has been given for an everlasting possession by the Lord Himself, by a one-sided grant that can never be set aside.  Those who are seeking to set that aside are coming on to a collision course with the Word of God, and it will never prosper or succeed, for ‘He will bring the counsels of the nations to nought’ (Psalm 33: 10-11), and He will fulfil His Word.  ‘What God hath said must be fulfilled, on this firm rock believers build’ (Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).



So it is that those nations will have a connection with Israel in that day.  We see that the ‘dispersed of the daughter of My people’ shall be brought from beyond the rivers of Cush, the rivers of Ethiopia, and they shall be brought back, ‘the dispersed of My people the Diaspora.  And they shall be brought back to worship the Lord truly in that day.  The saved nations also shall come, as you can read in the Revelation.  They will walk in the light of the millennial city of which we have been speaking.  And it says the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and their honour to it.  And the glory and honour of all the earth shall be brought to it, and they shall walk in the light of that city that has the glory of God, that city that has no need of the sun which is created light, or the moon which is reflected light, or a lamp which is artificial light; for the Lord God illuminates it.



He diffuses His light throughout that glorious scene but, as ever in the Word of God, when you have the glory of God and the light of God concentrated, it is the Lamb Who is the light thereof.  The glory of God is always concentrated in our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, He Who is the effulgence, the radiance of God’s glory, the Light of the world, the Sun of righteousness, Who shall soon arise with healing in His wings.  So we see that we have produced evidence that we have no carnal concept of the kingdom of God.  We believe that all the pre-eminence in the things of God is given to the spiritual but withal, the bodily and the outward and the natural are not neglected.



We are not going to fall into the error of some which is the ancient heterodoxy of Gnosticism, which says that everything material is necessarily evil, for the Lord can deal with those things, and He can and will bring the whole of nature, and renovate it, and place it under the headship of the Lord Jesus.  He can make the natural and the temporal and the outward the instrument for blessing with the spiritual that is at the back of it, for the good of all, and that God may be all in all.



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Why Study Biblical Prophecy?



By Henry T Hudson (U.S.A.)



Why study Biblical prophecy? Why not? A negative attitude is, more often than not, the result of either anti-supernaturalism, or a reaction to sensationalism which tends to run rough shod over those passages of Holy Scripture that are predictive in nature.  On the other hand, a positive approach usually springs from curiosity, and from acknowledgement that prophecy forms a prominent part of Holy Scripture, and therefore must be profitable in coming to a fuller appreciation of the overall plan and purpose of God.



Paul reminded Timothy that, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable’ (2 Timothy 3: 16).  Peter, likewise, informed his readers that scriptural prophecy could be likened unto ‘a light that shineth in a dark place and that his readers would do well to pay attention to it.  His words, ‘Knowing this first’ make it clear that he was giving counsel which was of primary importance.  He then went on to explain that the prophetic word did not originate of itself or by the will of man, ‘but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’ (2 Peter 1: 20-21).  Hence, the prophetic word, of which he was speaking, was ‘a more sure word that is, it was more sure than any man’s word, and more reliable than any human experience, and therefore was a word that should be heeded.



With this in mind, why would any Christian deliberately neglect biblical prophecy? Added to what was said above about sensationalism, there are at least four other basic reasons: (1) It uses a lot of symbolism, and related figurative language, (2) It frequently becomes an end in itself without any practical application, (3) It is sometimes assumed that the truths associated with ‘the revelation of the mystery which are delineated in the epistles of Paul, rule out the value of prophetic studies, and (4) It seems to produce a lot of controversy; especially among those who make it their business to study and speak about it.  In other words, as far as this last point is concerned, if the ‘experts’ and ‘professionals’ cannot agree among themselves, what chance do rank and file Christians have?



Symbolism and Figurative Language?



As to the first point, suffice to say that figurative language is a valid means of communication, and can serve vividly to intensify meaning.  Some cultures use it more than others, but it seems to be a part of every known language, and therefore, one might readily expect to find it in Holy Scripture.



Even English, a language which tends to be prosaic, is not without its own peculiar repository of graphic imagery.  Often I have heard people talking about ‘smelling a rat,’ ‘putting on the Ritz,’ ‘hauling coals to Newcastle,’ and ‘the penny dropping  There are hundreds of other examples, which, when taken at face value, might be difficult to understand, but when filtered through their respective socio-historical context and culture can dramatically impact on the mind.



Sometimes, when culture and context are ignored, the door is opened to all manner of distortion and sensationalism.  Be this as it may, misuse of truth, should never be allowed to detract from the proper understanding and application of truth.  Distortion is as old as ‘the Father of lies’ (John 8: 44), but nevertheless, truth has survived, and is still discoverable by those who have the noble disposition of the Bereans, who received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily.  Such ‘noble’ people, possessed the appropriate spiritual attitude of mind to hear and to believe (i.e. accept and act upon) what was confirmed through their searchings (Acts 17: 11, 12; Revelation 3: 11).



One oft-recurring illustration of the misuse and abuse of the prophetic Scripture can be seen in the perennial attempts to set dates for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This, in the face of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ said categorically, that, ‘of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ (Mark. 13: 32).  When the disciples heard the post-resurrection teaching of the Lord Jesus concerning the kingdom of God, and of the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower them for the task of witnessing, they asked him, ‘wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel  He answered them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His Own power’ (Acts 1: 6, 7).  In spite of these clear statements, time and time again throughout history, men have attempted to fix specific dates for the return of the Lord Jesus and for the establishment of His [millennial] kingdom.  What is more, such men, somehow or other, usually manage to arouse substantial followings.



The twentieth century has had its share of date-setting predictions for the Second Coming of Christ.  All kinds of Biblical ‘scholars’ have brazenly published their ‘assured’ findings.  For example, Charles Taze Russell set the year 1914; Gratten Guinness picked 1930; and Bell Dawson, the year 1934 (The Millennial Hope, by S. J. Case).  A recent attempt, which caused a great stir in evangelical circles, was made by a certain Edgar Whisenant.  His little booklet was entitled, 88 Reasons why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.  Some 2,000,000 copies were printed and distributed.  Not only did Whisenant pick the year, but he also was bold enough to declare the exact date, namely, September 12th  When the event did not take place he consequently apologised, and admitted that he had made a mistake in his reckoning by one year, and that it would really take place September 1st., 1989.  Again he was wrong, but still he was not daunted, for in a booklet which was co-authored by Whisenant and Greg Brewer, entitled, Rapture Report - 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 (published in 1989), there is yet another prediction, only this time somewhat more flexible, stating that, ‘Jesus is coming and I would give it at least a 50% chance in 1989; if not then, an abundance of Scriptures point to 1992.  However, if the birth of Christ is off one or two years, then it could be 1990 or 1991. There seems to be a lot more evidence for ’89 and ’92 than any other time for the Rapture  One cannot help but wonder if Whisenant and Brewer have learned anything from their attempted predictions, or if there is another report already at the printers.



No Practical Application?



The second point mentioned as a possible negative influence in causing Christians to neglect the study of the prophetic scriptures most likely arises from a misunderstanding of the basic nature of biblical prophecy.  In other words, the problem is not in the Bible itself, but in some false assumptions about the purpose of prophecy.  That the prophetic scriptures were intended to have practical application is obvious in a number of references, even beyond the two already cited (i.e. 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17; 2 Pet. 1: 19-21).



For example, there are the words of Peter, where, after having discussed the future coming of the day of the Lord, and some of the events related thereto, he made practical application no less than three times.  ‘Seeing then that all these things shall be  ‘Seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless  ‘Ye therefore, beloved, seeing that ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness’ (2 Peter 3: 11, 14, 17).



Let me suggest two basic things to keep in mind when approaching any study of Biblical prophecy.  The first concerns the meaning of the word ‘prophet and the second involves a formula which should help to promote balance with regard to interpretation, and application.



Most of the time, when English-speaking people use the word ‘prophet they are thinking of someone who claims to have the ability to predict the future.  In the Greek language, the word ‘prophetes’ was used to describe a person who spoke on behalf of someone else, which meaning, comes closer to the Biblical use of the word.  When Moses objected to the LORD that he lacked eloquence, and hence could not be a spokesman unto the people, the LORD said unto him that Aaron, his brother, would be to him ‘instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God’ (Exodus 4: 16).  In other words, as Exodus 7: 1 makes clear, Aaron became the mouthpiece of Moses, and hence became his prophet.  Therefore, in Biblical usage, as the parallel would indicate, a prophet is primarily a mouthpiece, or a spokesman for God, that is, he is someone who speaks, or who interprets the will of God.  While fore-telling (i.e. predictions) could be involved, the emphasis needs to fall more on the forth telling (i.e. the telling forth) of a message which comes from God.



With this in mind, the student of Biblical prophecy should study every prophecy looking for at least three things: (1) A Primary Association, (2) A Prophetic Anticipation, and (3) A Practical Application.  This formula, when apprehended, will go a long way toward making interpretation easier, and will help make application more intelligent.  The idea behind ‘Primary Association’ involves the thought that the prophecies of Holy Scripture should be viewed in relation to their historico-grammatical contexts.  In other words, they did have some practical significance for those who first heard them.



In this connection, a few words are in order concerning the phenomena sometimes referred to as the foreshortening of prophetic horizons, when in actual reality there are prolonged ‘gaps,’ or ‘intervals’ between prediction and fulfilment.  The phenomenon is not unlike the function of a telescope which takes an object on the distant horizon, and brings it into closer purview.  For those who might be at a loss to comprehend what exactly this phenomenon involves, a few references could be of some help - Genesis 3: 15; Isaiah 7:14; 9: 6; 61:1, 2; Luke 4: 18,19; 1 Peter 1: 10, 11.



A number of years ago, I ran across the word ‘apotelesmatie  Etymologically, it comes from two Greek words, ‘apo,’ a preposition which carries the connotation ‘away from,’ and ‘telos,’ which signifies ‘end, fulfilment, or completion  In other words, certain Biblical prophecies, while they deal particularly with ‘the end times,’ or the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the establishment of His [millennial and eternal] Kingdom[s], can nevertheless, have practical bearings on those who first heard them, and on those in subsequent generations who study them.  Such is the very nature of biblical prophecy, for like a telescope, it brings that which may be distant into closer perspective, and thus makes possible, profitable and practical application.



Revelation of the Mystery?



The third impediment sometimes hindering a constructive study of prophetic scripture comes from a bent of mind which is regulated by a premise that acts as a sort of master-key to the understanding of all Holy Scripture.  In short, the premise holds that the revelation of the mystery, given to the apostle Paul, is of such a nature that it excludes prophecy.  In fact, the distinction between the two (i.e. between prophecy and mystery), as is stated in C. R. Starn’s book (page 47), ‘Things that Differ,’ is seen as being the most important division in the Bible!  The two become, in the words of S. Craig MacDonald, ‘mutually exclusive.’ (‘Understanding Your Bible,’ page 54).



If the premise be true (i.e. that prophecy excludes mystery, and mystery excludes prophecy), then it is not difficult to understand how deductive reasoning could conclude that the prophetic passages of Holy Scripture, which speak particularly of Israel, and a coming Messiah, have little or nothing to do with Gentile Christians, and why there would then be a consequent degree of neglect of interest in the study of the prophetic scriptures.  Let Paul’s words to Timothy serve as a warning signal to anyone who might unquestionably accept the aforementioned premise, and who consequently might disparage any serious study of the prophetic scriptures.  Paul declared categorically (and it can hardly be doubted that he had the Old Testament scriptures in mind), that ‘All scripture (i.e. every separate portion forms a part of the whole) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable’ (2 Timothy 3:16).






The fourth negative influence, as far as discouraging Christians in their attempts to study and understand the prophetic scriptures, springs from the extensive controversy that seems to plague the subject.  Of course, it might be exclaimed, ‘So, what else is new? Does not all biblical doctrine elicit some degree of controversy  While there might be an element of truth here, the fact remains that there does seem to be a disproportionate degree of controversy related to the doctrines associated with prophecy.



Since I myself have experienced destructive backwash from controversy over prophecy, I can sympathise with those who have problems in this regard.  However, be this as it may, controversy or not, 2 Timothy 3: 16-17, and 2 Peter 1: 15-21 can hardly be ignored.  Moreover, if I am to take heed to the word of prophecy, then I must know the word of prophecy.  At the same time, I must remind myself that I need to make a qualitative distinction between ‘the word of God and ‘the word of men(1 Thessalonians 2: 13). Here, once again, is where genuine Bereanism enters the scene. True, I cannot escape the use of my reasoning powers, but they must be submissive to the authority of Holy Scripture.  I must receive the word with all readiness of mind, and I must search the scriptures daily, whether those things, which I hear are really so. Regardless, of any controversy, I must continuously be guided by one foundational question: “WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES



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The First Resurrection



By Horatius Bonar



‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death bath no power, but they shall be priests of God and Of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’ (Revelation 20: 6).



Resurrection, not death, is our hope.  It has always been the Church’s hope, - the hope of patriarchs and kings and prophets.  Martha only uttered the confession of the Church universal when she said, ‘I know that he shall rise again  Israel knew resurrection well; and the Old Testament assumes the truth of it.



It is not the putting off this vile body (or this ‘body of our humiliation’), but the putting on of the immortal and incorruptible that is our hope; not our going to Christ, but His coming to us; not merely our victory over sin and its spiritual consequences, but victory over death and the grave.  This hope grew brighter as the ages went on, till it was fully revealed in Him Who is the resurrection and the life.  But still more was needed; and it was reserved for Paul and John fully to unfold the hope.



This twentieth chapter of the Revelation is a very wonderful one, and specially valuable as giving us details of the resurrection-hope.



An angel is seen descending out of heaven; he has the key of the bottomless pit, or abyss, and a great chain in his hand.  He seizes the dragon, the old serpent (the murderer and liar from the beginning, John 8: 44), who is the devil, and Satan; binds him for a thousand years; casts him into the abyss; shuts him up; sets a seal above upon him, to hinder his escaping and deceiving the nations for a thousand years.  Then thrones are set up (Daniel 7: 9); and there are sitters upon then, to whom judgment is given (1 Corinthians 6: 2); the souls (Acts 2: 41; 7: 14) of the martyrs and the non-worshippers of the beast are made to live again; and being thus raised, they reign with Christ (chapter 5: 10).  But the rest of the dead are not raised till the end of the thousand years.  This is the first resurrection.



It gets the designation of ‘first not because of its pre-eminence and glory, but because it is before another.  Properly speaking, the great resurrection-fact is but one, - ‘all that are in their graves shall arise but it divides itself into two parts or acts, separated from each other by a considerable interval, - an interval (like that between the Lord’s two comings) not at first revealed.  But here the interval is explicitly announced, - a thousand years.  The righteous rise to glory at the beginning of that period, and during it they live and reign with Christ.  At its close, the wicked rise, and are judged.  This resurrection of the wicked at the close of the thousand years, sets aside the doctrine of annihilation entirely.  They do not rise in order to be annihilated.  They do not get new bodies merely in order to have these new bodies destroyed.


[* NOTE. Always keep in mind the fact that in scripture, the word “wicked” is sometimes used to describe some of the Lord’s redeemed people!]


When Is It To Be?



It is when the Lord comes the second time.  In the preceding chapter He is described as coming with the hosts of heaven for the destruction of His enemies (see also 1 Corinthians 15: 23; 1 Thessalonians 4: 16; 2 Thessalonians 2: 1).  He comes as the Resurrection and the Life; the Abolisher of death, the Spoiler of the grave, the Raiser of His saints.



Of Whom It Is To Consist



This passage speaks only of the martyrs and the non-worshippers of the beast; but other passages show that all His saints are to be partakers of this reward.  ‘This honour have all His saintsall who have followed Christ, or suffered for Him, from Abel downwards.  They have suffered with Him here, and they shall reign with Him here.*  They have fought the good fight; they have overcome the world, and the god of this world.  The conflict and the tribulation have been sore, but the recompense is glorious.  Oneness with Christ now secures for us the glory of that day.


[* Rom. 8: 17b; 2Tim. 2: 12; 2 Pet. 3: 8; Rev. 2: 26; 3: 21.]



What It Does For Those Who Share It



It brings to those who share it such things as the following:



1. Blessedness.  Peculiar blessedness is to be theirs.  God only knoweth how much that word implies, as spoken by Him Who cannot lie, Who exaggerates nothing, and Whose simplest words are His greatest.



2. Holiness.  They are pre-eminently ‘the saints of God set apart for Him; consecrated and purified, both outwardly and inwardly; dwelt in by Him Whose name is the ‘Holy Ghost;’ and called to special service in virtue of their consecration.  Priestly-royal service is to be theirs throughout the [millennium and] eternal ages.



3. Preservation from the second death.  They rise to an immortality which shall never be recalled.  No dying again, in any sense of the word; not a fragment of mortality about them, nothing of this vile body, and nothing of that corruption or darkness or anguish which shall be the portion of those who rise at the close of the thousand years.  ‘Neither can they die any more’ (Luke 20: 36).  They ‘shall not be hurt of the second death’ (Revelation 2: 11), but shall feed upon the tree of life.  Their connection with death, in every sense, is done for ever.



4. The possession of a heavenly priesthood.  They are made priests unto God and Christ - both to the Father and the Son.  Priestly nearness and access; priestly power and honour and service; priestly glory and dignity; - this is their recompense.  They, with their glorified and reigning Head, form the link between creation above and creation below, between the Creator and the creature, carrying up the incense of prayer and praise and service from all parts of a holy universe, now linked to Godhead for ever, beyond the possibility of fall.  They maintain the communication between God and His world, between Paradise gained and the Paradise that was never lost; nay, between God and His innumerable worlds throughout all space.  For priesthood is not for sacrifice alone, but for carrying on the endless intercourse between heaven and earth.



5. The possession of the kingdom.  They shall reign for a thousand years over a renewed earth, where there are traces still of the fall, and on which Satan is for a brief season to be let loose; and they shall reign for ever and ever over a world thoroughly restored and purified, into which Satan shall never again find entrance.  They are kings as well as priests, both in one; God’s Melchizedeks, wearing the priestly mitre, and wielding the royal sceptre.  Having their home and place; and throne in the new Jerusalem, they rule over a delivered creation, over the converted nations, over a world now filled with the Holy Spirit in all its nations.



Such are our [overcomers’] prospects; let us live accordingly.  Let [the hope of] our coming honours influence us now; making us self-denied, consistent, heavenly; quickening us to zeal and love.



(Dr Bonar wrote a series of books entitled ‘Light and Truth; or, Bible Thoughts and Themes  The series includes ‘The Old Testament,’ ‘The Gospels,’ ‘The Acts and Epistles,’ ‘The Lesser Epistles,’ and ‘The Revelation  The above article is taken from the last mentioned book, which was published in 1872).



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To Jerusalem



By Mrs M A Chaplin



(This poem is taken from a collection of poems in a book entitled ‘Chimes for the Times  It was written in the last century, the book having been published in 1891.  These are not the only verses written by Mrs Chaplin on this particular subject.  Being over 100 years old, and written a long while before the State of Israel was set up in 1948, and even before 1917, it reminds us that those who, like Mrs Chaplin, understand that God means what He has said concerning the Jewish people, can always be confident that God will fulfil His Word ‑ Ed.).



Queen of the cities of earth, oh when

Shall thy glory gladden the eyes of men?

All Kings, all peoples look with pain

To see thee desolate remain.

The heathen adore who were wont to deride thee;

Thy ‘beautiful garments’ are lying beside thee;

Fling them about thee.  Rise ‘from the dust

Daughter of Zion, ye shall and ye must.



God, thy Redeemer, is mighty and true.

Soon shall thy children with penitence view

Him Whom they pierced on yon fair hill,

Despised - yet the Messiah still.

And their keen self-reproach shall break forth into sighing,

(Like the wail of the East when the firstborn is dying;

Like home-yearning exiles, heart broken and sore),

They shall kneel to the King they have learned to adore.



Sad is the spell which has held for so long

The children of that land of song.

It suited not their native pride

That the King of the Jews should be crucified.

But to call them forsaken of God is a libel,

The ‘Jew’ shall return to the land of the Bible.

And a crucified God be the soul’s only stay

When the children of Israel are passing away.



Beautiful land! Our eyes would see

The glory yet in reserve for thee.

The Gentile world will rejoice to share.

In the rivers of blessing rising there.

The hearts cased with pride as with stone shall be broken,

And only the language of penitence spoken;

And Zion, the chosen of God from her birth,

Shall be crowned by all nations the Queen of the earth.



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The Reasons for Our Belief in the Literal

Reign of Christ over the Existent Earth



By James Payne



(This message was given at a Conference of the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony held in Highgate Road Chapel, London, in April, 1947).



The reasons for our belief must be based upon the Word of God.  What God has said we rest upon by faith, and faith is the foundation of our hope, so that in giving the reasons for our hope, we must always come back to the Word of God to ascertain what God has said concerning the matter.  I want to call your attention first of all to some direct scriptural statements concerning the literal reign of our Lord over this present earth.  Then I want also to give some reasons for our belief, based upon scriptural inferences.



Direct Scriptural Statements of the

Fact of Christ’s Literal Reign over the Earth



The Scripture teems with expressions concerning His reign, but some of our opponents may say that many of these references are not to be understood literally.  The right way to understand the Word of God is to understand it in its literal sense unless there is something in the context to show that it is obviously to be taken in a symbolic sense.  I want to draw your attention to passages of Scripture concerning this subject which cannot be understood other than in a literal sense, and those passages are the basis of the reason of our hope in the literal reign of Christ over this earth.



Zechariah (chapters 12-14) is an Outstanding Example



I want to bring you first of all to the prophecy of Zechariah 14: 4.  The prophet is speaking of the coming of our Lord.  He refers to Him here under the title of Jehovah.  In the third verse he says, ‘Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle  This is when He appears for Israel’s final deliverance, ‘And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east ...’



Now he does not simply say the Lord is going to appear on the mount of Olives.  If that were so it might have been assumed that He would appear in a representative way, in the way in which He appeared in the Shekinah glory between the cherubim on the ark of the covenant.  The literal coming of the Lord is emphasised in the expression that ‘His feet’ shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.



When He went up from His disciples, the two angels which stood by said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, Which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven  Zechariah says, ‘In that day His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives’ - exactly as they did then.  What will follow when His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives?  In verse 9 we read, ‘And Jehovah shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His Name one He is coming then, and His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives so that He may be King over all the earth.



In verse 16, ‘And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King’ - the great King over all the earth – ‘the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles  The prophet goes on to say that in Jerusalem at that time everything, even the pots and the bells on the horses, will be holiness unto the LORD.



Plain Utterances of the Psalter



Now, keeping that passage in mind, let us turn to one or two of the psalms, which emphasise the same truth.  In Psalm 2, David is speaking concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and he says, in verse 6, ‘Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion* or, as the margin has it, ‘I have set My King upon Zion, the hill of My holiness  That is where Jesus will reign; and then Jehovah says to Him, ‘Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel  Here is the King on Mount Zion inheriting the uttermost parts of the earth.


[* NOTE. On the Sunday morning - August 4, 2013 - I heard the minister of a Presbyterian Church say: “Mount Zion EQUALS Heaven”!  Of course this spiritual interpretation from one of the psalms can only come from someone who doesn’t believe in a millennial kingdom of Messiah; and who has no message of hope for salvation for the remnant of the nation of Israel, (Rom. 11)!]



Now let us run on from Psalm 2 to Psalm 47.  It is a song of joy and triumph.  ‘O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.  For the LORD Most High is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth  I need not remind you that Jesus is Jehovah.  There are many passages in the Old and New Testaments which would prove that conclusively, but I cannot go into that now.  ‘He is a great King,’ says the psalmist, ‘Sing praises, for God (for Jesus) is the King of all the earth; sing ye praises with understanding.  God reigneth over the heathen  He has asked for them for His inheritance and He has been given them.  ‘God (Jesus) reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness where everything will be, as we have seen, holiness unto the Lord.



Then in the following psalm, which is speaking of Zion, we read in verse 2, ‘Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King  The great King over all the earth will exercise His [millennial] government from Mount Zion.  So, when Jesus Himself was here, He referred to that when He exhorted us in this wise, ‘Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: nor by the earth; for it is His footstool: neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King’ (Matthew 5: 34).  The same Jerusalem, whose streets He then walked as the Man despised and rejected, He declared was to be the city of the great King when He should come in all His glory.



Then, if we pass on again to Psalm 72, the psalmist begins: ‘Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness unto the king’s son He looks forward very clearly to the coming of the Lord Jesus, and in verse 8 he says, ‘He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him; and His enemies shall lick the dust.  The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts  This must be upon the [this] earth.  There is no wilderness in heaven; there are no kings of Tarshish and of the isles, no kings of Sheba and Seba in heaven.  They are going to bring gifts and presents to the King that is exalted to Mount Zion.  ‘Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him  The psalm goes on to speak of the characteristics of His kingdom.  ‘For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper ...’



The Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision



I want now to lead you along a somewhat similar line of thought from a few other passages of Scripture.  In the prophecy of Ezekiel, in the last chapters where Ezekiel describes that wonderful temple which is yet to be built in Jerusalem, in vision Ezekiel stood at the door of the temple, and he saw the glory of the Lord enter in and fill the temple, and out from the temple there came a voice speaking thus:  ‘Son of man, the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet (here again the literality of it is emphasised by ‘the soles of My feet’) where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever ...’ (43: 7).  There, in the holy of holies of that restored temple, is Jehovah’s throne.  When our Lord Jesus Christ was born of the virgin in Bethlehem, it was said to her concerning Him before His birth that God should give unto Him the throne of His father David.  Ezekiel saw Him in vision as occupying that throne which God had ordained that He should have.



Come back to the prophecy of Zechariah, and in chapter 6 he speaks again of this glorious king (verses 12-13): ‘And speak unto him (that is, Joshua, the high priest), saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the Man Whose Name is The BRANCH  The Man Whose Name is The BRANCH is clearly our Lord Jesus Christ.  ‘And He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD; even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne: and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both  That is between the kingship and the priesthood, which will both centre in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  He, then, is to sit and rule as a priest upon His throne, the throne which He Himself shall establish in Mount Zion, and He shall reign over Israel.



The Prophecy of Micah (chapter 4)



The prophet begins with that wonderful prophecy of the days of peace.  ‘But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it And Isaiah enlarges on it and says, ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (2: 4).



Micah goes on, in verse 7, ‘And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation; and the LORD shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.  And thou, 0 tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem  The dominion, the first dominion, the kingdom, is to come to the daughter of Jerusalem.  The Lord Jesus Christ, their true Messiah, is to sit upon the throne of David and reign over them.  They are to be the leading kingdom of the world, to be known among all nations as the people whom the Lord bath blessed, and when our Lord Jesus reigns over the nation, to which is to come the first dominion, then the result must be, as John declares in the Revelation, the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. The same kingdoms ‑ the kingdoms of this world ‑ shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.



David and His Seed



And now another similar line of thought.  It is recorded in 2 Samuel 23: 3 that when David went into his house to muse upon God and His goodness, he said, ‘He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.  And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain  He looks forward to One Who shall rule in justice, but he mourns over his own rule when he says, ‘My house is not so with God  He knew he had not exercised absolute righteousness and justice in his kingdom, but he says, ‘Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure



God’s covenant with David was that his seed should rule with that justice and righteousness which David himself had failed to exercise; and Isaiah says concerning Israel, ‘Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this’ (9: 6-7).  What David could not do, God has ordained that his seed upon his throne shall do.



Then, if we turn over again from that chapter to chapter 11 of that prophecy, ‘And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD: and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD; and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earthThe word ‘reprove’ in the margin is ‘argue  The Lord, when He was here said, ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5: 5), and the time is coming when He is going to argue before all kingdoms and nations for the meek of the earth, to give them the blessing He pronounced upon them in the days of His rejection.



How will He do it?  ‘He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked (the Wicked One (Isaiah 11: 4).  Those who have risen up against the meek will be slain with the breath of His mouth while He argues with equity for the meek of the earth.  We see the nature of the kingdom in that chapter.  The animal kingdom shall be placid and peaceful, the lion shall lie down with the lamb.  In the following chapter, Isaiah goes on, ‘And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise Thee: though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me  And in the last verse, ‘Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee  There never has been a holy Israelite in the absolute sense, save our Lord Jesus Christ, and when the Holy One of Israel is in the midst of her, then the inhabitants will shout with joy and triumph.



So much for the direct scriptural utterances concerning the literal reign of our Lord Jesus Christ upon [this] earth.



Some Forceful Inferences from Scripture



In the gospel by Luke, the Lord Jesus Christ said that if any are ashamed of Him in this sinful and adulterous generation, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He shall come in all His glory, and in the glory of the Father, and in the glory of all the holy angels (9: 26).  That is how He is coming, and if He is coming in all the glory of heaven, surely it will be to exercise His supremacy and to put down all rule and all authority that is in opposition to Him.



In the prophecy of Micah, to which we have already had occasion to refer, in chapter 5 we have that well-known passage, ‘But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting  That passage is quoted as having been fulfilled, or at least commenced to be fulfilled, at the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He was ‘born King of the Jews  That was literally true.  He was sole heir to the throne of Israel at His birth.  The prophecy goes on, ‘And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian (the Antichrist) shall come into our land and when Antichrist comes against Jerusalem, the Lord will be there to meet him, because He was born King of the Jews.  Our Lord never disputed that title of King of the Jews.  It was ascribed to Him, and indeed, He claimed it.  When Nathanael first came before Him, this was his testimony, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel  Nathanael had learned very much more in his early days of discipleship than a good many Christians have learned today.



Zechariah, long years ago, predicted, ‘Thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass  This was literally fulfilled when He rode into Jerusalem and the people cried, ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord  If Zechariah’s prophecy concerning His riding into Jerusalem on an ass was literally fulfilled then surely the prophecy of His coming in glory to sit on the throne of David shall be literally fulfilled too.



You will remember what our Lord Jesus Christ said when he was brought before Pilate, Pilate asked Him, ‘Art Thou the King of the Jews  Our Lord’s reply was, ‘Thou sayest’ (Matthew 27: 11), simply meaning, ‘What you say is the truth  We use a similar expression today when someone says something with which we agree.  We say, ‘You have said it  We mean we agree perfectly with what has been said, and that is the meaning of our Lord’s words.  He acknowledged that what Pilate had said was true; He was the King of the Jews.  And what happened when He had acknowledged that, and Pilate handed Him over to the soldiers to be crucified?  They took Him and put a crown of thorns on His head, and put a purple robe on Him and a reed in His hand and bowed the knee before Him, mocking Him and saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews  And then they hung Him upon a cross, and the soldiers who did it said, ‘If Thou be the King of the Jews, save Thyself Likewise the chief priests said ‘If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross  They did not doubt that the King of Israel should have that power.  They mocked His claim to be the King of the Jews and the King of Israel.



Satan had used that ‘if’ before.  He used it to our Lord in the wilderness when there had come a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased  Satan said, ‘If Thou be the Son of God...’ but Paul says, He is ‘declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection [out] from the dead’ (Romans 1: 4).  Satan’s challenge is answered by the resurrection [out] from the dead.  Is this mockery of men concerning His claim to be the King of the Jews - is this challenge of Satan at the cross - to go for ever unanswered?  God forbid!  The same God Who answered the challenge of Satan in the wilderness will answer the challenge of Satan upon the cross.  Our Saviour was declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection, and will be declared to be the King of Israel at His return in His glory and all the glory of the holy angels.  It is to be answered, and it will be demonstrated before angels and men and devils, that He is the King of the Jews, and all those who mocked His claim and scorned Him will sink into everlasting humiliation and shame.



The Saviour of the World



Just one more thought.  Our Lord Jesus Christ created this world.  He was in the world and the world was made by Him.  The world, the Kosmos, was made by Him, and the world knew Him not (John 1: 10).  Again, it is said that when He separated the sons of Adam, when He drove asunder the nations, He fixed their bounds according to the number of the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 32: 8).  He made the world and He sustains it. ‘He upholds all things by the word of His power’ (Hebrew 1: 3).  The nations, however, have been delivered over to Satan, who has been deceiving them for six thousand years.  ‘The whole world says John, ‘lieth in wickedness (the lap of the Wicked One (1 John 5: 19).  They are governed, for the time being, by Satan, and in due course, at the end of this age, Antichrist, Satan’s deputy, is going to govern the nations seven years.



Is Jesus Christ never to come and assert His rightful claim, to wrest this world out of the hands of the usurper? How can He be the Saviour of it unless He comes to the earth to take His great power and reign?  The nations then will no longer be deceived by Satan.  Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire, and the kingdoms of this world will [then] become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11: 15).  When John speaks of this in the Revelation he says, ‘This is the first resurrection’ (20: 5).  When the dead in Christ shall rise at His coming, it is then that the Lord is to be manifest as King of kings, and Lord of lords, when He is to take the government upon His shoulder, and reign with justice and judgment.  He shall reign for ever and ever. HALLELUIA!



(Mr Payne, in this message, referred to the temple of Ezekiel’s vision.  Readers may like to know that his little work entitled, ‘The Millennial Temple of Ezekiel’s Prophecy’ is still available - with diagram - from the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony at only 40p per copy).



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It is no good sign of the times that controversy should be looked down upon.  In the records of the life of Jesus we have pages upon pages of controversy.  It may have been far from the work in which He delighted most to be engaged; but He had to undertake it all through His life, and especially towards the close.  The most eminent of His servants in every age have had to do the same.  St. Paul may not have been indisposed by nature to throw himself into controversy; but St. John had to enter into it with equal earnestness.  It is scarcely possible to mention a representative man in any section of the Christian Church in any age who has been able altogether to avoid it.



The spirit of the true controversialist is the joyful and certain sense of possessing the truth, and the conviction of its value to all men, which makes error hateful and inspires the determination to sweep it away.  It was as the King of Truth (John 18: 37) that Christ carried on controversy, and He was borne along by the generous passion to cut His fellowmen out from their imprisonment in the labyrinth of error.  Excessive aversion to controversy may be an indication that a Church has no keen sense of possessing truth which is of any great worth, and that it has lost appreciation for the infinite difference in value between truth and error.



There are differences, indeed, in the present feeling of the public mind to different kinds of controversy.  One of the tasks of controversy is to combat error outside of the Church.  Christianity is incessantly assailed by forms of unbelief which arise one after another and have their day.  At one time it is Deism which requires to be refuted, at another Pantheism, another Materialism.  To defend the temple of Christian truth from such assailants is popular enough and meets with perhaps even excessive rewards.  When it is of the right quality, however, its value cannot be over-estimated; and the present moment it requires the very highest talent, the apologetic problems of our century have not yet been solved.



It is controversy within the Church which excites alarm and aversion.  Yet the controversy which our Lord waged was inside the Church; and so has that been carried on by the most eminent of His followers.  It would, indeed, be well if the sound of controversial weapons were never heard in the temple of peace; but only on condition that it is also a temple of truth.



In the time of Christ the Church was the stronghold of error; and not once or twice since then it has been the same.  Jesus had to assail nearly the whole ecclesiastical system of His time and a large body of the Church’s doctrines.  To do so must, to a thoughtful mind, in any circumstances be an extremely painful task; for the faith reposed in their spiritual guides by the mass of men who have little leisure or ability to think out vast subjects to the bottom, is one of the most sacred pillars of the edifice of human life, and nothing can be more criminal than wantonly to shake it.  But it sometimes needs to be shaken, and Jesus did so.



Of course the opposite case may easily occur; the Church may have the truth, and the innovator may be in error.  Then the true place of the Christian controversialist is on the side of the Church against him who is trying to mislead her.  This also is a delicate task, requiring the utmost Christian wisdom and sometimes likely to be repaid with little thanks; for, while he who defends the Church against error coming from THE OUTSIDE is loaded with honours as a saviour of the faith, he who attempts to preserve her from more menacing danger WITHIN may be dismissed with the odious and withering title of heresy-hunter.



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In the Epistle to the Galatians five phases of crucifixion occur.  The first in order of date is found in chapter 3. verse 1:- “Jesus Christ openly set forth crucified  The most amazing spectacle the world has ever witnessed! The incarnate Son of God hanging on a gibbet for the sins of a lost world!  “When I survey the wondrous Cross on which the Prince of Glory died, I count my richest gain but loss and pour contempt on all my pride



The second phase occurs in the preceding chapter, verse 20:- “Crucified with Christ  The [regenerate] believer is judicially reckoned so, and the resultant effect is a life of faith in the One “Who loved me and gave Himself for meWondrous love.  “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin” (Rom. 6: 6).



This is God’s side of our crucifixion: our side of it (the third phase) is set out in chapter 5. verse 24:- “They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof”: it is self-crucifixion.  The ‘lusts’ of the flesh are enumerated in the preceding verses, 19-21, the deadly result of the practice of which excludes from the [Millennial] Kingdom of God.  What the ‘affections’ of the flesh are is more difficult of definition.  May we say, anything and all things which, though possibly right in themselves, hinder us in the race set before us, and may, therefore, forfeit to us the Prize.



Two illustrations in real life may be helpful.  An old gentleman of over 70 years of age, completely blind, whose pipe was his solace in hours of loneliness, deliberately put it away after years of use, because, as he said, he found it hindered him in prayer.  The second illustration is that of two girls who were the champion players of lawn tennis in the Island of Jamaica, and who threw up the game in public because they felt it was too much ‘of the world  One of them is now a missionary in Africa.



A full surrender, a presentation of our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God is enjoined on the Christian believer; but crucifixion must precede surrender.  The Holy Spirit cannot fall on un-crucified flesh.  In the cleansing from leprosy - God’s own type of sin, in the Book of Leviticus - the oil - a type of the Holy Spirit - might only be placed on those parts of the leper’s body on which the blood had first been put.  A missionary in India tells of having procured some doves which he put in a well-constructed dove-cot; but neither grain nor any gentle compulsion would induce them to enter.  Taking down the cot he discovered the cause - a deadly cobra lay coiled within.  May it not be that the Holy Spirit, who descended as a dove from heaven, and abode upon the Lord Jesus, is unable in much measure to enter into our hearts and lives because the snakes within have not been cast out - the lusts and affections of the flesh have not been crucified?  It is essential too that the attitude of crucifixion and surrender be maintained - to imitate the example of the Apostle Paul and “die daily” - not to rest on past experiences, however valuable, but to renew that surrender and crucifixion day by day; as in the old tabernacle services the priests were enjoined to burn wood on the altar every morning and to “lay the burnt offering in order upon it” (Lev. 6: 12).



The fourth and fifth phases of Crucifixion are - “crucified unto the world,” and “the world crucified” to the believer; and they form part of the concluding portion of the Epistle, chapter 6, verse 14.  By the world, of course, is meant the aims, principles, spirit and society of the world, and our crucifixion thereto, “not from any pharisaic conceit of our moral superiority, but for our safety and usefulness and for the honour of God  It has been somewhat humorously said that the world is the Devil external; the flesh the Devil internal; and the Devil himself, the Devil infernal.  Certain it is that the world, the flesh and the Devil will combine to drag us down, and trail our Christian profession in the dust if given way to.  Many Christians profess to go into the world to win worldlings to Christ, but do they ever succeed in doing so?  It is easier far, as in the physical realm, to be dragged down than to lift others up in any such attempt.  The Greek in the text implies not only that the world has been crucified, but remains a crucified thing.  “Henceforth, we are dead each to the other” (Lightfoot).  “Let self be crucified and slain, and buried deep, and all in vain may efforts be to rise again



“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast

Save in the Cross of Christ my God;

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to his Blood



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Devout Jews of the time of our Lord looked for a general resurrection - “in the last day” (John 11: 24).  Christ had confirmed this belief, declaring Himself to be the One who would effect this resurrection (John 6: 39, 40, 44).  But neither the Old Testament nor Himself had as yet taught clearly that some would rise earlier than that general resurrection, though we now see this to have been involved in Daniel 12: 2 and John 5: 28, 29.



But at the very close of His public ministry (Luke 20: 34, 35), the Lord said that “the sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that age, and the resurrection which is from among the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage etc.  As the provisions of an Act of Parliament must be read in the light of its preamble, so must all subsequent teaching upon the First Resurrection be construed consistently with this primary statement.



“That age” to follow “this age” cannot be eternity, for that will not be one age but “ages of ages  It is the age, of the thousand years of Revelation 20., the era of the [millennial] reign of Christ.  Only those who are raised from the dead at the First Resurrection can share that era and reign with the Lord.  The rest who have died will remain [in “Hades” the place of the dead] until the second Resurrection at the close of that era (Rev. 20: 5).  No dead persons are yet, or could be, in the glory of the heavenly world.



Only by resurrection or translation can that be reached (1 Cor. 15: 50-55, “cannot … must”; 1 Thess. 4: 17, “so not otherwise).



In the words quoted, the Lord stated unequivocally that sharing in the First Resurrection is a matter of being “accounted worthy” and of “attaining  These terms standing together are the antithesis of being accounted worthy in disregard of attainment.



When Paul wrote to the Philippians, and referred to the same event, he quoted those words of Christ, speaking of “the resurrection which is out from among the dead” (3: 11).  If the prefix exanastasis has any special force, it can only strengthen the idea of a select resurrection; and so Lightfoot, but see Ellicott’s note.)  And the Holy Spirit through Paul strongly emphasizes the thought that this resurrection must be won, by the words “if by any means I may attain unto (or arrive at) the resurrection etc.



On this “if by any means” Ellicott says: “The idea of an attempt is conveyed, which may or may not be successful  Lightfoot remarks: “The Apostle states not a positive assurance but a modest hope  Alford says of the expression: “It is used when an end is proposed, but failure is presumed to be possible  The New Testament itself puts the force of Paul’s words beyond doubt by using the exact expression in a historical narrative where the sense is unmistakable (Acts 27: 12): “The more part advised to put to sea thence, if by any means they could reach Phoenix which we know they did not reach.



The attempt to make these words mean that Paul, now nearing the end of his long and wonderful career, was still only endeavouring to reach that moral union with Christ of which long before he had written to the Romans (ch. 6.) is unworthy of his sanctified life, for without having already known that union, he could not possibly have lived as he had done.  Moreover, it is not sound practical theology.  Freedom from enslavement to sin is to be gained only by an act of faith, by which the believer accepts once for all that which God says took place in the past at the Cross: “your old man was crucified”; whereas Paul is speaking of a goal to be reached in the future by a course of practical fellowship with Christ in His sufferings, by which means the believer becomes more and more outwardly conformed to the death of his Lord.  The present participle (summorphizomenos, becoming conformed), carries clearly this progressive sense.  Moreover, only one already by faith in the moral power of Christ’s resurrection is able to endure a perpetual sharing of His sufferings. Romans 6. must be first an experience before Phil. 3. can begin to be known experimentally.  “Any reference here to a merely ethical resurrection is wholly out of the question,” says Ellicott, when referring the passage to the First Resurrection.  The application of this passage to the resurrection of the body has ample support.  It was the view of Alford, Lightfoot, Ellicott, Bengel, Wordsworth, Bloomfield, Whitby, and others.



Thus the goal, to reach which Paul was straining every fibre, was the “out-resurrection  Hence for the Thessalonians he prayed that “our God would count you worthy of your calling”: that is, not to salvation from hell, but “ye should walk worthily of God who calleth you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2: 11, 12; 2 Thess. 2: 12).  If this calling is assured to every one justified in Christ, solely on the ground of His righteousness imputed to the believer, why should Paul need to pray that God would count them worthy, for in that case they were already worthy?  Our prayers add nothing to the justification of fellow-believers, but they do help them to walk godly and worthily, and so to attain to the recompense of thus living.



The possibility of missing the First Resurrection, and therefore of reigning in the [Millennial] Kingdom, explains a staple of Paul’s ministry, that believers may be disinherited (1 Cor. 6: 9, 10; Gal. 5: 21 ; Eph. 5: 5). “Inheriting a kingdom” means sovereignty in it.  “Thou art come to the kingdom” was said of a queen (Esth. 4: 14).  The ordinary subjects of a monarch are not heirs of his kingdom.  That is the right of the firstborn son; and we are warned by the case of Esau not to forfeit our rights as the firstborn (Heb. 12: 16, 17).  Esau was Isaac’s legitimate son and heir; he did not lose his sonship or his life through his sin, but he lost his priority as the firstborn to inherit the rule of the clan, with the accompanying dignities of being its priest to lead its worship, and of the double portion of the inheritance (Comp. Rev. 1: 6).  Moreover, there is no such middle ground as that all believers rise but only some reign, for all who then rise reign (Rev. 20: 4, 6); therefore, those not worthy to reign do not rise.



The view also gives clear sense to the teaching that the “sabbath rest” of God must be reached by diligence and may be missed (Heb. 4,); for God’s eternal rest (which all the saved must share at last or they would not be saved) is not a sabbath rest, because the latter is rest after labour.  On this rest being future see Alford, Delitzsch, and especially William Kelly (Hebrews, pp. 65-74).  It is the millennial rest as in Zeph. 3: 17: “He will rest in His love



Thus it becomes simple that redeemed Israelites not reaching their inheritance is solemnly and repeatedly urged as a warning upon Christians, some of whom had given remarkable proofs of their faith (Heb. 10: 32, et seq.). That Hebrews is “Jewish” is negatived by the application of the same history and argument and warning to the believers at Corinth (1 Cor. 10).



Not one redeemed Israelite ever got back to his former place or state prior to the sprinkling of the blood in Egypt and his baptism in the sea; but many did not get on to their inheritance.  Their title to the land came by grace through Abraham; their possession, however, depended upon efforts of faith which they refused to make. Calvinism is right in its assertion that no saved person can ever become unsaved, but wrong in attaching the same security to post-conversion privileges.  Arminianism is wrong in applying uncertainty to final [eternal] salvation instead of to post-conversion possibilities only.



If the last chapters of the Book of God be approached along this line, it will be found simple and consistent that it is said that “blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (Rev. 20: 6).  The statement “And I saw thrones and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them” is readily explained by the law of former reference.  Those who should conquer in the wars of faith, had been before assured that they should sit down with Christ on His throne and rule the nations (Rev. 3: 21; 2: 26, 27).  Still earlier the Lord had given a similar promise to the Apostles in connection with their fidelity to Himself under severe trials (Luke 22: 28-30); and later it was declared that the saints should judge the world and angels (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3).  It is the amplification of Daniel 7: 18, 22, 27.



The bride who shall share her sovereign’s throne and glory must array herself suitably.  It is her royal husband’s bounty that makes this possible, so it is all of His grace: nevertheless every bride makes up her own trousseau and herself puts it on (see Esth. 2).  “The fine linen (of the queen) is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19: 7, 8): it is not that imputed righteousness in which all saved persons share equally through faith apart from works.  “In one New Testament passage at least (Rev. 19: 8) dikaiomata appears to mean a righteous act or course of acts” (Moule, Camb. Bible, Rom. 5: 18).



The bridal glory of the queen pictures the highest position and glory that any subject of the crown can possibly reach.  If that is absolutely secure to every believer utterly irrespective of conduct, as I have heard asserted, then nothing can be lost, for as the greater includes the less, the greatest includes everything.  This nullifies entirely the whole doctrine of rewards and prizes, and the theory which does this is self-condemned as not scriptural.



But it has been generally taught that, whereas eternal life is a “free gift” (Rom. 6: 23), i.e., free of conditions, as well as of purchase-price, rewards in the Kingdom may be lost and must be won.  It is no more than an extension of this undeniable principle that the millennial kingdom is itself a reward and that attaining it is subject to the same rule.  And by as much as the reward is made more magnificent the incentive to attain to it by grace becomes the more regnant, and the pursuit of holiness the more urgent.  The Christian athlete will cry: “Not that I have already obtained (the prize), or am already made perfect; but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3: 12).



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“So then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober. … For God appointed us not unto wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ …” (1 Thess. 5: 6, 9); cf. 1 Pet. 1: 5, 9.