THE GLORIES OF MESSIAH (Part 2)
From writings by A. G. TINLEY, B.A.
The Messiah’s Ascension – clearly seen in Psalm 24, following the Good Shepherd Psalm and the Crucifixion Psalm (23 and 22), is also shown in Psalm 68, after He had led captivity captive (presumably in the underworld [Hades*]), and before He – by the Spirit – gave gifts unto men (Eph. 4: 8, and references).
[* The statement
will probably come as a great surprise to the vast majority of regenerate
believers, that for the first five centuries very few Christians (if any),
believed that Christ would deliver saints out of Hades before the time of
Resurrection. That saints are now reigning in Heaven is a Roman
dogma: – “The saints who reign together with Christ,”
say the Decrees of the Council of
Spiritist’s erroneously teach that the animating “spirit,” (which returns to God at the time of death, Jas. 2: 26; Acts 7: 59) - is the person: and multitudes of regenerate believers today believe them! The Word of God teaches us that the “soul” is the person, (Psa. 16: 10; Acts 2: 27, 31): and that the ‘soul’ descends into the “heart of the earth” immediately after the time of death; and that it must remain there - (in one of two distinct and separate places), until the time of resurrection when it will be reunited to the body: Luke 16: 22, 26; John 14: 4; 20: 17; Rev. 6: 9-11; etc.) “That the soul of Christ was in Hades,” says Augustine, “no Christian can deny.” “This opinion that believers at death go to heaven and glory,” says G. H. Lang, “is worse in its nature than the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary.”]
The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost (Whitsunday) ten days after the Ascension of the Lord. In this interval of waiting, Peter, experimentally and perhaps impulsively if not indeed prematurely – since the Apostle Paul was to fill the vacancy in the Apostolate, set about seeking another successor to Judas.
The Holy Spirit delocalised, so to
speak, the departed Lord, confined to Judea and
[* Individual A-millennialist Christians revolt openly against the scriptural teachings of the Lord’s ‘world-wide rule’ when he returns, (Rev. 20: 4-6).].
Filled with Holy Spirit of zeal and energy, wisdom and winsomeness, even laymen, appointed to perform secular service in catering for the poor, were enabled to carry on the healing and teaching ministry of the Risen Messiah, notably Stephen and Philip in Acts 6 - 8, and influential outsiders, Samaritan and Ethiopian - and later Roman, were brought into the growing and spreading Ecclesia, and the way prepared for the missionary journeys of Paul to the great centres of civilisation, Roman and Grecian.
What was proclaimed, was the Resurrection of the Messiah, and His Lordship over all.
Peter, prominent, though not pre-eminent in Acts 10 - 12, if looking for his own preview in the Old Testament, saw himself, though made of the right substance-stone, piece of rock, not yet solid or steady enough to be other than contrasted with the Rock Foundation, with which he has been mistakenly identified: ‘When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren,’ his Master had forewarned him. But to him, as to Paul, converted in Acts 9, and occupying the record from chapter 13 onward, wonderful revelations were given. Peter was the chosen apostle to the Jews (though beginning with Gentiles), as Paul was the chosen apostle to the Gentiles (though beginning with Jews, his dearly-loved countrymen).
Despite denials, there can be little serious doubt that Paul wrote the episitle he was by his training specially qualified to write ‑ the Epistle to the Hebrews. Warning Jewish converts against backsliding and apostasy from Christianity back to Judaism, he shows the superiority of the Messiah to Moses, as Lawgiver, to Aaron, as High Priest, and to angels, as sons of God.
He shows that by taking our human nature - and His memories of our frailties - to the Throne of Grace on high, He is still ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities,’ and intercedes for us on high. So we can always draw near with a full assurance of faith to the Father through Him. He is the One and Only Intermediary, Who never dies to be succeeded by another, for He ever liveth, the Same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
That, too, is a further Glory of the Risen and Ascended Messiah.
But John, ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved,’ likewise had revelations - in fact, the Revelation par excellence, of the Risen and exalted Lord Messiah. In chapter 1 of the Apocalypse we are shown a most impressive portrait of Him, the Son of man, with ‘eyes as a flame of fire,’ His voice ‘as the sound of many waters,’ and His ‘countenance as the sun shineth in his strength,’ and ‘when I saw Him,’ says John, ‘I fell at His feet as dead.’
‘Three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,’
Our Lord Jesus Christ was the first true space-man, the first real astronaut - quite distinct from a brave though common parachutist. He was also far more than a high diver - although He went down into the deep. He is the great, unique and only earth-penetrator.
When we think of digging - a few inches at a time, or even of boring, a few miles at most, out of up to 4,000 miles down into the heart of the earth, we can see what a glorious achievement it was to descend to the lower parts of the earth.
On his cross, shortly before he died,
the repentant thief was won over, converted, by the Lord Christ. He asked to be remembered when Messiah came into His Kingdom. That was then about 2,000 years distant, that
Coming - though now very near. The Lord
did not precisely grant the man’s request - but He gave him assurance of a joy
very much nearer. His reply was: ‘Verily I say unto you, TO-DAY
shalt thou be with Me in
In the Old Testament, we read - in Psalm 88 - that the Messiah was going to be free among the dead, to whom however He was going to show wonders, and in the New Testament He was going to take His most recent trophy with Him: ‘THIS DAY - WITH ME - IN PARADISE.’
Now we know that the Body of our Lord was going to be laid in the New Tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea; but His soul was going to Sheol (Psalm 16), or Hadees; His animating spirit was going to be where He had committed it - in His Father’s Hand, but not His Father’s Right Hand until after His Resurrection and Ascension, when the whole man – His spirit, soul and body – was reunited. And Psalm 95, verse 4 may throw a little light on this matter. (We could almost say ‘His Father’s Left Hand.’).
Romans 10: 7 may illumine this theme: ‘Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ - the. Messiah - again from the dead). So may Eph. 4: 9 which reads ‘Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?’
The Old Testament refers to digging down into Sheol, the nether regions, where the departed go: Ps. 139: 8; Amos 9: 2.
Light can penetrate hard solid glass;
sound can penetrate hard opaque walls and solid doors; and a resurrected soul can penetrate things too, (John
20: 19). Men have not come
across Sheol and
When the repentant thief was escorted
down into and around
John in the overwhelming vision was at once reassured and cheered, with the Lord’s right hand laid upon him and His Self-identification as ‘THE FIRST AND THE LAST’ of the great revelations in Isaiah 41: 44, 48 - The King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts. Then, ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hadees’ (Sheol) ‘and of Death’.
We see Him moving among the churches,
adjudicating and appraising the seven ecclesias of
The four cherubim, and the twenty-four elders - heads of the angels, one hundred million strong, and with many millions more, declaring: ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and glory, and blessing’ - for He was slain, and has redeemed men to God by His Blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation - and ‘THEY SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH’ (Rev. 5: 10). That is the height of Glory, linked with Dan. 7: 9-18.
What is noteworthy is that the Lord has at His disposal these myriads of angels, who ‘handle’ the ‘prayers of the saints upon the golden altar which was before the Throne.’ These angels are ‘ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who SHALL BE HEIRS OF SALVATION’: Heb. 1: 14; Rev. 8: 3-5.
Now the latest - and greatest - and most apposite, news of the Messiah is that He is coming back, soon, but do we love His Appearing?
We have not at present space to enter in much detail into the necessity, nearness and nature of the Lord’s Return.
Briefly, then, He has to come to literally fulfil the unfulfilled words of the prophets of the Old Testament, from Moses to Malachi: ‘The Lord cometh’ in many of the Psalms (e.g. 97-100), ‘The Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple’ (Mal. 3: 1), His Own word: ‘I will come again, and receive you unto Myself’ (Jn. 14: 3), the angels’ word: ‘This same Jesus ... shall so come again in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven’ (Acts 1: 11). Now of course it may be objected that this is prophecy - which no one can check or verify; that is perfectly true. Yet we are all prophets - microprophets, as a friend of mine has recently said. For every promise and threat, every law and command, is a prophecy, a short-range prophecy, or microprophecy.
We all live by faith; we all have to take one another’s word, and, if we have never let other people down, if we have always kept our word, we shall be believed as to our microprophecies. All our testimonials are based upon this principle. As a school-master I have written many a ‘reference,’ which could be summed up in these words: ‘I have always found this young man reliable in the seven years that I have known him; I have therefore every confidence that you will find him correspondingly trustworthy.’
Now the Bible consists of three main parts relating to the past and present and the future; in other words, history, experience and prophecy.
Wherever the Bible can be tested, e.g. the past - confirmed by archaeology, the present by personal experience (the inexperienced remaining silent and uncritical), the future by fulfilled prophecy, near or far remote, the Bible is true, and obviously to be accepted. This acceptability warrants us in receiving at present un-provable pre-history, and prophecies awaiting fulfilment. It is thus - on a lower plane - that we take one another’s word.
fact that the Messiah is prophesied is one of His Glories. How justifiably proud we would feel if we
found our own names recognisably written down hundreds and thousands of years
ago! How proud Cyrus must have been to
have Daniel point to his name - and called ‘My Messiah,
My Christ, My Anointed’ - in Isaiah 44
How this must have encouraged him to issue his decree as recorded at the
end of 2nd Chronicles and the
beginning of Ezra for the willing ones of
Prophecy, like creativity, is a prerogative of Deity - Who knows the end from the beginning. Prophecy is promise, threat, command - at short range, or at long. And at short range prophecy is man’s prerogative too - as being created in God’s Likeness. It is the expression of Will, God’s Will being irresistible - at however long range.
The ‘LORD’ of history is also the ‘LORD’ of prophecy; so that what was done in history, and what will be done in prophecy, is by the SAME PERSON, variously called The Lord, (the Lord’s Anointed Messiah or Christ), and also God, Divine. Thus, at the Deliverance of Advent, ‘This is our God, we have waited for Him’; ‘The Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple.’
‘He shall visit, sift and judge His people’; ‘unto Him shall the gathering of the nations, the Gentiles, be’: (Mal. 3: 1; Isa. 25: 9).
This Messiah is likewise called God’s Elect, God’s King and His Son, though this remarkable fact is often overlooked: Ps. 2: 8, 9; 26: 8; Prov. 30: 4.
There is a veil upon all men preventing them from sensing and ‘seeing’ their Creator - especially as the leading intellectuals plug Evolution so one-sidedly in home and school by T.V. and radio, textbook and teacher. The same is true as to the nature and purpose of God, steadily being eliminated from education, or misrepresented - so largely - in churches and ‘religious’ broadcasts.
Correspondingly, there is a veil over Israel: misunderstanding over the basic revelation (‘Hear, 0 Israel ... one God’ for ‘a UNITED DEITY,’ as expressed in ‘ELOHIM’) has led to a limited, unfruitful and indeed contradictory ‘monotheism’; the commentaries and targums have initiated and perpetuated traditional thought-patterns that have made the Word of God of none effect; the excuses of ‘Christian’ persecution and segregation have raised a barrier between the Testaments, and prevented a view of genuine apostolic Christianity, which would at the same time have permitted the identification of the one and only Messiah and Christ, Divine, Son of God, Present Helper, Coming King.
But let a thoughtful Jew or Israeli read the New Testament, with the minimum of prejudice, and the maximum desire for Truth, under a kindly knowledgeable guide, then the light can shine in, liberating, satisfying, living.
Yet, even in the Old Testament alone - or by itself, two facts emerge, and remain, undisputed: First, the revelation of God to Israel through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with Joseph, Moses and Joshua, the Judges, Kings and Prophets, is historical, seminal, linked with the very news of the day. It must be defended against all sophistry, doubt and denial.
Secondly, the unreliable, un-tractable,
perfidious, rebellious mob that
In spite of all, God remains true to His
covenants and promises, His pledges and purposes: read Hosea, and see there the Glory
of the Messiah in His superhuman mercy and forgiveness in His reception of the
returning divorcee -