The Church in the Millennium
By Brian Green
(This message was given
at a Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony meeting in
I am delighted to be here and take my stand for prophetic truth. I spoke at a Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony meeting in my twenties, and now I am in my seventies. As a young man or as an older man, it is a joy to be associated with this Testimony. It helps us considerably if we rightly understand the Word of God and thus know what is taking place in the world.
My subject is ‘the church in the millennium.’ This may not be an easy subject. We can talk about various aspects of the millennium, but what do we know about the church in the millennium? However difficult the subject is, we must never be deterred from searching the Scriptures to see what the Word of God tells us about these things. Once we know what we believe then we should always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us. This is paramount in the Word of God.
The more I have studied this subject, the more I have been impressed that it is a wonderful one. It has something to do with all of us. Every person, born again of the Spirit, washed in the precious Blood of Christ, has an involvement with the church in the millennium.
I want to begin by speaking about the three main views concerning the millennium. I know that you have looked at this matter already this year but I would like to remind you of these things because it will give a foundation. Once we have the foundation then we can build the superstructure.
I mention first of
all, the theory of a-millennialism. A-millennialists believe in no
millennium. The ‘a’ comes from the
Latin, meaning ‘no.’ Many reformed
persons have held this view. They say
there is no literal thousand year reign of Christ, and the number ‘a thousand’ is only given to indicate quality rather
than quantity. They believe that Satan
was bound when Christ died upon the cross at
Then, there is post-millennialism. This is
the view that the world is gradually conquered by the gospel until it ushers in
the thousand year reign of Christ. Some
have described it as ‘millennium by degrees,’
and others as ‘the gradual coming of summer.’ First there are the bright and cheerful days,
and then gradually come the summer months.
They think that is what is happening in the world. They quote Luke
17: 20, ‘the
The other main view is pre-millennialism. We come into this category. We believe in a coming of our Lord Jesus Christ before the millennium begins. We believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture and therefore if the Bible says it, God means it. You do not have to be a theologian or have a giant intellect to take the Bible at its word. The weakest and the least educated among us can read and understand by the [Holy] Spirit’s illumination. We believe that today is the day of grace when the gospel [of the kingdom] is to be preached as a witness to all the nations. This is a time of ingathering of God’s elect upon the face of the earth, and we bless God for the evangelism whereby souls are brought under the sound of the Word of God and are born again by the Spirit of Christ. But we also believe that this world is getting, and will continue to get, worse.
If you look at the magazines this Testimony circulated many years ago, you will see that the speakers in those days spoke about the world getting worse prior to the coming of the Lord. Christ spoke of signs in the earth during the last days, of wars and rumours of wars, of famines and earthquakes and persecution. The Bible speaks of the revealing of the man of sin and of the great persecution of the Jewish nation. Remember this. If we think that the Jews are persecuted today, then read the Bible and see what persecution they will have in the last days. The Bible speaks of it as the time of Jacob’s trouble.
We are told that
Make no mistake about it, the Word of God teaches that Christ will come to deliver His ancient people in response to their prayer to Him to destroy antichrist and to punish the nations. At His coming, ‘the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air’ (1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17). It is not a two-stage coming. The Word of God is clear about that.
I have sought to lay
the foundation. It is when Christ comes that this earthly millennial reign will begin. We can call it ‘the golden age,’ completing something like seven thousand
years of [mankind upon]
this old earth.
There will be the removal of the curse so that the desert shall blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35: 1), and the wild ferocious nature of the beasts will be changed (Isaiah 11: 6-9); there will be longevity of life, for Isaiah 65: 20 speaks of the child living to one hundred; the gospel will be preached; and governments will be subservient to the cause of the gospel. It will be a time of universal peace and prosperity; a time of righteousness and justice. It is little wonder we sing with all our hearts,
‘Jesus shall reign where’er the sun doth his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore till moons shall wax and wane no more.’
The millennium will be the greatest revival of all time, when souls will be saved and swept into the kingdom.
In Matthew 19: 28 the true interpretation of ‘the regeneration’ is the millennium; and in Acts 3:19, the reference to ‘the times of refreshing ... from the presence of the Lord’ is a description of the millennium; and in Acts 3: 21, ‘the time of restitution’ is the millennium. If you understand these verses in this way, you will see so much more in these passages. But now I return to my subject. I have been trying to build up to this by showing what a remarkable occasion the millennium is to be. Yes, it is going to be a wonderful time, but what about the church?
We have seen that, at
the second coming, the dead in Christ will rise and that those who are alive
will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
What will happen to them? Then
will be fulfilled the Scripture that is found in Revelation
21: 9 - 22: 5. William Wheatley was one of the
speakers for the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony many years ago. He said that in this chapter we have ‘God’s
The first thing I want
you to notice is the Manifestation. ‘And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the
seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come
hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a
great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy
will notice that we have the description in verse
10; it is called a city, ‘shewed me that great
city, the holy
have seen the description, and now let us look [at] the distinction.
Cities on earth are built up.
This one comes down. We know that
cities are places of vile sin. You only
have to look at the city in which we are.
But the city about which we are talking is holy and pure. It is interesting to contrast this passage in
the Revelation with the Book of Genesis.
In Genesis 1, the heaven and the
earth were created; in Revelation 21 there
is [after the millennium] a new heaven and a new earth.
In Genesis, night was established; in Revelation there is no night. In Genesis 3
there was the curse; in Revelation there is no curse. In Genesis 3
man was removed from the garden; in Revelation he is restored to this wonderful
place of blessing. In Genesis 1 the sun was created; in Revelation there
is no need for the sun because God is the Light thereof. In Genesis we read of the sea; in Revelation
there is no more sea. In Genesis we read
of death; in Revelation there is no more death.
In Genesis 3 we read of sorrow and
pain; in Revelation there are no tears.
What a remarkable place we are thinking about! I would make it clear, there is [during the millennium]
an earthly kingdom at
The design. What
is the purpose of this city? It is the
home of the church [of the firstborn] during the millennium. My suggestion is that this is ‘the beginning of our heaven.’ We read ‘and they
shall see His face’ (Revelation 22: 4). What a wonderful verse! Yes, He will reign in
In verse 11 we read, ‘Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.’ These are majestic words and in a certain sense they are beyond human description. We have to study them and try to understand. I want to emphasise the word ‘glory’ – ‘Having the glory of God.’ We remember this is the home of the church [of the firstborn] during the millennium. We are talking about the bride, clothed with the glory of God. We sing the hymn, ‘0 that will be glory for me,’ and surely that takes on a new meaning when we consider that it is the glory of the King Who is reigning. Isaiah 6: 5 says, ‘Mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts,’ and that is what John speaks about. Isaiah actually saw the glory that the Lord Jesus had with the Father before the world was (John 17). It is the glory which the saints will share in the millennium.
Thomas Houghton called it ‘a donated glory.’ John 17: 22 says, ‘the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them.’ It was a predestined glory. Christ prayed in John 17: 24, ‘that they may behold My glory.’ It was an anticipated glory. Romans 5: 2 tells us, ‘we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ It is an incomparable glory. Romans 8: 18 says, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.’ It is a resurrection glory. The body of the believer is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is an eternal glory. ‘(The) eternal weight of glory’ (2 Corinthians 4: 17). It is a heavenly glory. There is nothing earthly about this. Remember that wonderful word that whom He did predestinate, He called, He justified, and what else? He glorified. This glory is greater than the glory of the sun, and you cannot look upon the sun. It is greater than the glory of the moon, and of the stars. It is greater than the glory of the rainbow. Imagine the glory of God in the sky, the home of the church [of the first-born (Heb. 12: 23)] in the millennium; and, if you are a true Christian [and ‘accounted worthy’ (Luke 20: 35)], you will be part of that. This is what it is to be a [chosen] Christian. So we should be glad if the Lord has saved us and given us a hope for this future [millennial] glory, the great prism of light shining from the heavens down onto the earth.
The second thing I want to emphasise concerning this majesty is this great wall that is mentioned in verse 12, ‘and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates.’ Think of this great wall for a moment. Walls are sometimes to keep in, but that is not the case here. We could say it is to keep out, because verse 8 refers to ‘the unbelieving, and the abominable, the murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars,’ and then in verse 27, ‘and there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.’ That wall is the ultimate protection. It is great and it is high. The breadth of that wall, if you work it out, would be about 216 feet, something like a five-lane motorway.
Verse 19 speaks of the jasper. The jasper is a bright, clear stone. Probably here it is a diamond. If it is a diamond, it is the hardest natural material. Now pick up the picture of this which we are trying to paint. Then there are the gates. In Nehemiah’s time the wall was for the testimony, and what grieved Nehemiah was that the wall was broken down, the testimony was broken up and the gates were burned with fire. Why? Because the gates stood for praise and for glory. In this millennial city, there were gates on the four sides, three on each, twelve in all; which speak of an abundant entrance for the saints; and each gate was a pearl.
At the gates are
twelve angels. Why are they there? I think that they are there to welcome the
saints into this new Jerusalem. Somehow,
it seems that this is the royal gem at which we are looking. On the gates are the names of the twelve
The next thing is the
golden city. Read verse 18, ‘And the
building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto
clear glass.’ Then in verse 21, ‘And the twelve
gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street
of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.’ We can hardly understand this, but we do know
that somehow this is a picture at which to marvel, and to long to be
there. James Payne, who was a brother beloved, said that this gold is a
symbol of the love of God. The bottom of
Solomon’s chariot was paved with gold for the daughters of
When Solomon’s temple was opened and the light shone in, nothing could be seen but gold. And if we were to look into this wonderful new Jerusalem, we would see the divine gold of that city, the streets paved with gold, and a whole city which would be of gold; and it will be transparent so the saints can look below upon the earth. Why is it transparent? It is because there is nothing to hide. Oh, my friends, we cannot have transparent things; we have things to hide, but in that day, there will be nothing at all to hide.
My third point concerns the measurements, and I do this quickly, but I do not think that we should overlook the size of this particular city, because it is perfection itself. It is equal on all sides. It is cube-shaped, just like the holy of holies in Solomon’s temple.
There is nothing out
of order. There is nothing
imbalanced. When we think about
We have thought of the
foundation and the beautiful stones.
Remember the question that was asked of the Lord, ‘Are there few that be saved?’ Oh, my friends, think what was said to
Abraham about his seed being as the stars of the heaven, as the sand of the
seashore, as the dust of the earth, innumerable, a multitude that no man could
number. All the Old Testament
believers, all of the New Testament believers, the overcomers, together
make up the church in the millennium.*
This is the place of
the many mansions and the Lord will be there, and we shall see His face. We
should be rejoicing in our hearts that the Lord has saved us and showed us that
we are marching to that beautiful city of
[* That is, all overcomers from both Old and New Testament times, (Heb. 11: 39, 40). - Ed.]
We have seen the manifestation, the majesty, and the measurements of the city. Now I want to speak of the ministry of it. I do not believe that we are going to that place and do nothing. What does the Bible teach about the ministry of the church in the millennium? It is interesting that B W Newton, whose works are as relevant today as they were when he was alive, warns against fanciful ideas. Whatever he had in mind, I have heard people say they will be visiting the earth to have a meal or cup of tea. I do not believe that will happen. I know that many good men, whom I hold in great esteem, would believe that they are to visit the earth for particular ministry, and maybe that is true. I want to give some thoughts about what I believe the Word of God teaches concerning our ministry at that time.
1. Christ will be united with His people and He will share His glory and His sovereignty. We read in Colossians 3: 4, ‘When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.’ 2 Thessalonians 2: 14 says, ‘He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ So we are united with Him and we will share in His glory and the sovereignty of His millennium.
2. Christ will reign with His people. 2 Timothy 2: 12 says, ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.’ There are a myriad of scriptures concerning this reign with Christ. Look at Revelation 20: 6, ‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection (that is the [out] resurrection of the saints, caught up to meet the Lord in the air): on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’ That is reigning on the earth. It is reigning in the glory, and it is reigning, as I have described, from this new Jerusalem.
3. The church will be a heavenly body of light. Look at Revelation 21: 11, ‘Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.’ So here we have the heavenly body of light, and we are part of that. All light emanates from this. It is the very centre of the universe.
4. The church will be a channel of grace
and peace and even of healing. Now, from
where do I get that? Well, Revelation 22: 2, ‘In the
midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree
of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month:
and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.’ That is a verse which troubles many people,
and some cannot understand what it means, but one thing it does mean is, it is
in that time of which we are talking, and it is from this city. So we have something to do with that. I turn to Galatians
4: 26. ‘But
5. The New Jerusalem will rule. 1 Corinthians 6: 3 says, ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels?’ That is remarkable. And the Word of God teaches it is according to our faithfulness. In Luke 19 there is a parable speaking of one servant being given ten pounds, another five pounds, and another one pound, that they might bring forth gain. Those with ten and five pounds multiplied their pounds, but the servant with one hid it in the earth. We are told concerning those who had used their pounds, ‘because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ... cities.’ I would not be dogmatic about what that means, but it could refer to our judging or ruling over angels. Some speculate that they will be over this or that city. I do not know, but it teaches me that it is not to be a time of laziness.
6. There will be service there. Look at Revelation 22: 3, ‘And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ I remember hearing Bishop Thompson speak at these meetings. He used to meet with our church and worship with us from time to time. We loved him. He was a wonderful man of God. He used to say that he would be serving the Lord in the new Jerusalem. He liked preaching so wanted to have a preaching ministry. I do not know how we are going to serve the Lord, but what I can say is, there will be service for the Lord. There will be no idleness in this new Jerusalem.
7. We are priests. Look again at Revelation 20: 6 ‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God.’ You know the office of priests. We are made kings and priests of God and we shall reign on the earth. That is what the Word of God says. One of the things that priests do is pray. Will there be prayer? Yes, of course there will be. What prayer meetings there will be in that place. People will not say I have to get home to get my supper, or that it has gone on too long. No, there will be a good few amens and hallelujahs then and people will not have stiff upper lips or be scared to say anything. There will be shouts of ‘Hallelujah,’ ‘Praise the Lord,’ ‘Amen.’
The Holy Spirit,
The Fulfiller of Scripture.
By Thomas Houghton
(Mr Houghton was for many years the editor of ‘The Gospel Magazine.’ He spoke regularly for the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony.
The following is taken from his book entitled, ‘The Holy Spirit’).
The Apostle Paul, in his final word to the leading Jews who had assembled in his prison-lodging at Rome, said, ‘Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers’ (Acts 28: 25). He quoted to them the ninth and tenth verses of the sixth chapter of Isaiah, and though he acknowledged that Isaiah the prophet was the human author of the words, he plainly declares that the Holy Ghost was their Divine Author. He it was Who spake through Isaiah. The words written, therefore, were Divinely authoritative because they were the words of God the Holy Ghost.
This view of the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures is the view uniformly taken by our Lord Himself, and by the writers of the New Testament.
There can be no doubt that the New Testament teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Author of the Old Testament Scriptures.
While meditating on this subject a new thought came to my mind, viz., that the Holy Ghost is not only the Author, but the Fulfiller of His own predictions. This is strikingly prominent in regard to the [Holy] Spirit’s predictions concerning the birth, the ministry, the death, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. On this occasion we would specially draw attention to this aspect of Divine truth.
1. First, the Holy Spirit fulfilled His own prediction concerning Christ’s birth.
Christ was to be born of a virgin and regarded as Emmanuel, a Divine Person, God with us. That was the prediction of the Holy Ghost by the mouth of Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 7: 14). This prediction was fulfilled by the Holy Ghost Himself. When the Virgin Mary had been told by the Angel Gabriel that she would bring forth a Son and call His name Jesus ‑ Who would be great and ‘called the Son of the Highest’ - she asked, ‘How shall this be?’ The angelic answer was, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee’ (Luke 1: 35).
In other words, her conception of the Child Who was to be born would be due to the supernatural power of the [Holy] Spirit. Jesus would be born without a human father. Hence Joseph was assured that ‘that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.’ In reference to this remarkable, supernatural, and unexampled event the inspired evangelist says, ‘Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us’ (Matthew 1: 20-23). The Lord Jesus was thus ‘conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary.’
2. Secondly, the Holy Ghost fulfilled His owu prophecy concerning Christ’s being anointed with the [Holy] Spirit.
The Holy Ghost, speaking through Isaiah the prophet, said of Christ, ‘The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him.’ He represents the Father as saying, ‘Behold My Servant, Whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in Whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him’ (Isaiah 11: 2; 42: 1). Later, the Holy Spirit put into the mouth of Christ the words, ‘The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound’ (Isaiah 61: 1). These passages clearly teach that Christ would be anointed and endued with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. The [Holy] Spirit Himself predicted this great event through the prophet. The New Testament shows that He Himself fulfilled this, His own prophecy. When our Lord was baptized, and while He was praying, ‘The heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art My beloved Son; in Whom I am well pleased’ (Luke 3: 21-22).
Thus Jesus was
anointed and filled with the [Holy] Spirit, and was led afterwards by the [Holy] Spirit into
the wilderness, and there tempted by the devil for forty days. Then He ‘returned in
the power of the Spirit into
The Spirit of the Lord was then upon Him. The prediction of the Holy Ghost in reference to His being anointed with the [Holy] Spirit was fulfilled. The Holy Ghost had voluntarily descended on Him, and brought about the fulfilment of His own prediction.
3. Thirdly, the Holy Ghost fulfilled His own prophecy
concerning our Lord’s miraculous ministry.
Through Isaiah, the Holy Ghost had predicted that Christ’s ministry would be accompanied by miracles. He had said, ‘Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing’ (Isaiah 35: 5-6).
During our Lord’s public ministry He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and walking power to the lame. All these and other wonderful miracles [miraculous signs] He wrought by the power of the [Holy] Spirit. Peter says, ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil’ (Acts 10: 38). The Holy Ghost was with Him, and in His power the Lord wrought His wonderful miracles. He Himself said, ‘If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you’ (Matthew 12: 28).
4. Fourthly, the Holy Ghost fulfilled His own prophecy in regard to Christ’s atoning death.
In reference to that death the Holy Ghost had said, ‘When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days.’ An alternative rendering is, ‘When His soul shall make an offering for sin’ (Isaiah 53: 10). The Holy Ghost thus predicted that our Lord would make an offering for sin, and the Holy Ghost may be said to have fulfilled this prediction; for we read, ‘How much more shall the Blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?’ (Hebrews 9: 14). Dr. Gill says, ‘As the Holy Ghost formed and filled the human nature of Christ, so He assisted and supported it under sufferings.’
The offering was Christ’s offering alone, He offered Himself, and by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, but through the eternal Spirit He carried through His great work of redemption. ‘As to the Person of Christ, it (the Epistle to the Hebrews) sets forth how the Redeemer, through the Eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God’ (Sineaton’s ‘Doctrine of the Spirit,’ page 90).
5. Fifthly , the Holy Spirit is represented as the Agent in Christ’s resurrection.
The [Holy] Spirit predicted the resurrection in the sixteenth Psalm. (See Acts 2: 25-27, 30-32). Sometimes the resurrection is attributed to the Father, sometimes to the Son (John 10: 18), but it is also attributed to the [Holy] Spirit. ‘Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit’ (1 Peter 3: 18).
Thus the [Holy] Spirit fulfilled His own prediction in reference to Christ’s resurrection. That the Redeemer was quickened and raised up by the Holy Spirit is here affirmed by Peter, and is not obscurely intimated by the Apostle Paul (Romans 8: 11).
‘The same Spirit that formed Christ’s human body and gave it life in His mother’s womb, gave to Him the restored life when He rose from the dead. He Who raised up Christ from the dead, indeed is frequently mentioned as one of the Father’s most memorable titles or designations; and to prove that it was the Spirit Who performed this work, we have only to recall the fact that the Holy Ghost is the executive in every Divine operation (Romans 4: 24; 6: 4)’ (Smeaton’s ‘Doctrine of the Spirit,’ page 94).
Even after our Lord’s resurrection He still ministered by the Spirit. We read, ‘Until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen; to whom He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God’ (Acts 1: 2-3).
It was by the Holy Ghost that David predicted our Lord’s session at the right hand of God (Psalm 110: 1; Mark 12: 36), and it seems right to assume that the Father set Him, through the Holy Spirit, at His own right hand far above all principality and power. (See Ephesians 1:20-21).
Bishop Moule says, ‘To this must now be added the truth that all through the historical process of Incarnation and Redemption the Spirit has intense relations with the Incarnate Son. He is the immediate Agent in the holy Conception (Luke 1: 35). He ‘descends’ in ineffable speciality upon the Son at baptism (Matthew 3: 16, etc.), so that He goes to Temptation (Matt.4: 1), and Ministry (Luke 4:14, 18), ‘in the power of the Spirit.’ The Spirit secures for the Son of Man that He shall speak ‘the words of God’ (John 3: 34).’
‘It is by means of the eternal Spirit that the Lord offers Himself without spot to God (Hebrews 9: 14). He is profoundly concerned in the Resurrection (Romans 8: 11). After Resurrection, it is by the Holy Spirit that the Lord gives commands to the apostles (Acts 1: 2). And when the glorified Christ speaks to the Churches, as the Slain One risen, His voice is also the voice of the Spirit (Revelation 2 and 3).’ (‘Outlines of Christian Doctrine,’ page 134).
This thought, that the Holy Spirit, of Whom we speak as the Third Person in the Trinity, fulfilled His own predictions, is a very precious one. Scripture often emphasises the love of the Father for the chosen objects of His mercy. In like manner we read of the love of the Son. ‘Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.’ He ‘loved me and gave Himself for me.’ We do not, however, in so many words, read of the love of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15: 30 probably refers not to the [Holy] Spirit’s love to His people, but to the love which He produces in them. Yet the [Holy] Spirit sheds abroad in the hearts of God’s people a sense of God’s everlasting, saving, and abiding love to them. But what is it which led the Divine Spirit to foretell the coming, the birth, the ministry, the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Redeemer, but love to the elect people of God?
What is it but love to the people of God which leads the Divine Spirit to wash, sanctify, and justify them? What is it which leads the Divine Spirit to dwell in God’s people, but love to them? What is it which leads the Divine Spirit to teach, to comfort, and to strengthen God’s people, but His love to them? What is it that leads Him to make them fruitful in every good word and work, but His love to them?
The doctrine of the Trinity is beyond our comprehension; but while we rightly believe that ‘the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God,’ yet we go on to say, ‘there are not three Gods but one God.’ When therefore the apostle says, ‘God is love,’ He is surely making a declaration of the eternal love of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost for the great multitude which no man can number who shall hereafter stand before the throne, washed and made white in the Blood of the Lamb.
Some of our hymn writers make reference to the love of God the Holy Ghost. Joseph Irons says,
‘Jehovah’s love first chose His saints;
Love listens now to their complaints;
Love paid their debt incurred by sin;
Love breaks their hearts, and enters in.
Thus Father, Son, and Holy Dove,
The Three in One, a God of love,
Engaged in Covenant for our sake:
This threefold cord can never break.’
C J P Spitta says, -
‘See, 0 see! what love is shown us
Also by the Holy Ghost!
How He strives with us poor sinners,
Even when we sin the most!
Teaching, comforting, correcting,
Where He sees it needful is!’
Toplady, addressing the Holy Spirit, says, -
‘With our perverseness here,
How often hast Thou strove,
And spared us year by year,
With never‑ceasing love!
0 set from sin our spirits free,
And make us more and more like Thee.’
Again he says, -
‘Loving Spirit, God of peace,
Great Distributor of grace,
Rest upon this congregation,
Hear, 0 hear, our supplication.’
Dr. Gill writes of ‘that love with which the Spirit of God equally loved them, as the Father, and the Son; and which He had shown in their conversion and sanctification, in applying all grace unto them, and indwelling in them as the Spirit of adoption, and as the earnest and pledge of the heavenly inheritance’ (On Romans 15: 30).
The constant action of the Divine Spirit in announcing through the Scriptures the Coming of a Redeemer was at once a manifestation of the love of God the Father, the love of God the Son, and the love of God the Holy Ghost for the great multitude ‘out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation’ which the Father had given the Son to redeem by His Blood. The inspired Scriptures revealed this great and unfathomable love, and the Holy Ghost took a real part in fulfilling the Divine purposes of love which He Himself predicted through the Scriptures of the prophets. Well may we say when reading those Scriptures, -
‘On Thy love my spirit ponders,
Praising, magnifying Thee;
Hallelujah to the great Eternal Three.’