BEHOLD YOUR KING
by J. Flanigan
ASSEMBLY TESTIMONY BIBLE CLASS
by J. Riddle
MEN OF GENESIS
by J. E. Todd
NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL
by W. F. Laidle.
THE KINGS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL
by G. H. Hutchlnson
PAPERS ON PROPHECY
by W. W. Fereday
THE JEWS SCATTERED
by John B. D. Page
MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by A. R. Christopherson
(Meditations in Matthew)
by Jim Flanigan (Belfast)
15. The Charge to the Twelve (Ch.10)
Chapter 10 brings to us the second of the six great discourses of the Lord Jesus in Matthew's Gospel. This "Charge to the twelve" is full of instruction on a variety of themes. There are 42 verses of directions, encouragements, and warnings, for all who would serve Him, and while there is much which is of particular relevance to the twelve, there are, nevertheless, unchanging principles for His servants in any and every age.
Those who serve Him are the servants of sovereignty. It is the Lord of the harvest who calls and sends and empowers the true servant. What variety there was in this original band of twelve. How different the personalities as they were sent out two by two. How would the impetuous, impulsive Peter work in the harvest field with the cautious, melancholy Thomas? How would Matthew, the former tax collector for the hated Romans, labour side by side with Simon the erstwhile Jewish zealot? Only the grace that called them could mould them and equip them and endow them with a compatibility to work together for Him.
The kingdom was at hand. There was an urgency which called them to the work and His servants were required to be sensitive to His call. They must indeed go at His command, to preach and give to men what He had given to them. But there were restrictions too. "Go not", He commands, "into the way of the Gentiles and Samaritans". The greatness of the need does not in itself constitute a call. It may truly be a cry for help but the labourer must be sensitive to divine leading and guidance in his response to the need.
They were to learn too, a dependency which would trust Him to meet their every need. He would not send them a warfaring at their own charge. They needed neither gold or silver or brass in their purses. Nor need they be anxious about food and clothing. He who cares for sparrows, v29-31, and who feeds the ravens and clothes the lilies, ch.6.26-30, will care for His servants. He who was sending them out would provide.
In it all they were to be characterised by a dignity which was worthy of the Master. They were not beggars. Nor were they canvassing. They were courteous ambassadors of peace. They should salute those who would receive them and leave those who rejected them, and in the day of judgment it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha than for those who refused the ministry of these apostles.
How wise and prudent they must be. He was sending them as sheep into the midst of wolves and they would need to be as wise as serpents. They were not to be cunning, of course, but watchful and wise, yet with the unalloyed simplicity and gentleness of the harmless dove. As wise as serpents they would detect the danger and as swift as doves they would flee from it.
For these twelve, as for the remnant of a future day, there were warnings of persecution. They would be imprisoned and scourged. They would be arraigned before councils and synagogues and before governors and icings. They would be charged falsely and scourged unjustly, but it was all for His sake and He would be with them in the trial. How literally was all this fulfilled in the twelve, and for that faithful preaching remnant after the rapture of the church it will be so again. But they must not fear. The Spirit of their Father would give them the right words for every occasion. Families would be divided, brother against brother, father against child, children against parents, even to causing the believing parent to be put to death. There would be universal hatred and persecution for His Name's sake, but their ultimate salvation was assured. It would be encouraging, though humbling, for them to remember that as it was with them, so had it been with the Master. The servant was not greater than his Lord. If men called the Master "Beelzebub", what would they call His household? It was a diabolical slander both of Himself and His disciples but they must preach boldly and courageously. They had truth which must be made known.
The Saviour looks for loyalty in the midst of adversity. He will confess those who confess Him, but will deny the unbeliever. He acknowledges that it will not be easy. It is a strange paradox, that the preaching of the gospel of peace and the presentation of the Prince of peace so often occasions strife among men. So again the Lord warns them of divided households. Sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, would be at variance. A man would not have to look beyond his own household for enemies. But love for Christ must prevail over family ties and relationships. The heavy cross of loss of friends and companions must be taken up to follow the Saviour, and if that seemed like losing one's life, then so be it. In the reckoning of heaven it would actually be finding life and keeping it eternally. We must get our priorities right.
The discourse is concluded with the encouraging reminder that all service and suffering is fellowship with Him. Whoever received them received Him, and this was a receiving of the Father too. In a coming day faithfulness would be rewarded. Prophets and preachers and hearers alike would enjoy His, "Well done". Even the little things done for Him would not be forgotten. A cup of cold water given in His Name would be remembered and rewarded. He would notice and would suitably recompense.
So the charge to the twelve is concluded. It is a dispensational discourse with a near and a distant application. The twelve were like a remnant of the nation acknowledging Jesus as Messiah, and they would suffer for their testimony. Likewise there will be a remnant testimony in a day to come. That future remnant will find much instruction and help and comfort in the reading of this tenth chapter of Matthew. We live and serve in an interim period but there are abiding principles in the discourse which we can safely apply to our service today. There is sovereignty, compatibility, urgency, sensitivity, dignity, courtesy, dependency, simplicity, loyalty. These great things should be the portion of His servants in every age.
May we endeavour to be loyal and true servants, diligent in the great harvest field for the Lord of the harvest. —to be continued (D. V.)
by J. Riddle (Cheshunt)
The Church and the Churches (22) Head Coverings (2)
We have noticed that in 1Cor.11, Paul deals with the question of head-coverings in the assembly in four ways. He points out that the uncovered head of a sister, and for that matter, the covered head of a brother, is:
- (1) Contrary to divine principle, v3-6;
- (2) Contrary to creatorial precedent, v7-12;
- (3) Contrary to spiritual propriety, v13-15;
- (4) Contrary to apostolic practice, v16.
1) IT IS CONTRARY TO DIVINE PRINCIPLE. v3-6
We have already considered this, and noticed that Paul establishes the principle of headship, v3, and refers to the violation of headship, v4-6.
2) IT IS CONTRARY TO CREATORIAL PRECEDENT. v7-12
Paul now examines the subject in view of creation, and draws two important conclusions, each of which is introduced by the word "ought", which means 'it is necessary', or 'one must'. It has the idea of logical necessity.
A) That a man ought not to cover his head. v7-9
The couplet "man . . . woman" occurs three times in this paragraph, and on each occasion it has a different emphasis. He looks at the relative position of man and woman, in order to emphasise why a man ought not to cover his head.
i) In creation glory, v7. "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man". In the case of the man, he is "the image and glory of God". See Ps.8: "Thou hast crowned him with glory and honour". Adam was the representative of God. The word "image", see Gen. 1.27, means the visible representation of God. This description of the man therefore emphasises his dignity in the assembly. In the case of the woman, she is "the glory of the man". 'She is not designed to reflect the glory of God as a ruler. She is the glory of the man . . . She always assumes his station; becomes a queen if he is a king, and manifests to others the wealth and honour which may belong to her husband', (C. Hodge, A Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians).
ii) In creation order, v8. "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man". This emphasises the man's precedence in creation. See 1Tim. 2.13, "For Adam was first formed, then Eve".
iii) In creation purpose, v9. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man". This emphasises the purpose of her creation: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (or, answering to him)", Gen.2.18. This is rendered by the New Translation (JND) 'A helpmeet, his like', with the footnote, 'or counterpart'. Eve was the complement or counterpart of Adam.
B) That a woman ought to cover her head. v10-12
In this paragraph, Paul draws two important conclusions about the woman from the preceding verses:
i) Her subject position, v10. "For this cause", that is, in view of God's purpose in creation, "ought the woman to have power (a sign of authority) on her head, because of the angels". That is, a sign that she is subject to authority. Then Paul adds, "because of the angels". We must think about this.
Since Paul has been appealing to precedent in creation, he is evidently now saying that the angels who saw divine authority flouted in Eden, expect to see it maintained in the church. Angels are interested spectators. They carefully observe the affairs and conduct of God's people: see Eph.3.10, 1Cor.4.9, 1Tim.5.21, 1Pet.1.12.
The angels who said at the Lord's birth, "Glory to God in the highest", expect to see "glory to God" in the assembly. The Lord Jesus has been dishonoured by men, but angels expect Christ to be honoured in the assembly. We must remember too that there had been rebellion amongst the ranks of angels: but there was to be no rebellion in the assembled church.
ii) Her equal position, v11-12. "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither is the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God". These two verses have been properly termed 'Safeguard verses'. They emphasise that what has been taught thus far, in no way infers an inferior place for the woman. A subject place is not an inferior place.
Man and woman are mutually dependent. In the assembly, both sexes are mutually dependent "in the Lord". It is beautiful to observe that in the assembly, the relative position of man and woman, as designed by God in creation, is to be exhibited. Paul has dealt with this in the preceding verses. Now he says that the mutual dependence of man and woman, as designed by God in creation, is also to be exhibited in the assembly. The assembly is the place where God's purposes for man and woman are fulfilled, and where the respective glories of man and woman are acknowledged.
When Paul says, "For the woman is of the man", he refers to creation. Adam exclaimed, "She shall be called, Woman, because she was taken out of the man", Gen.2.23. When he says, "even so is the man also by the woman", he refers to procreation. Eve exclaimed, "I have gotten a man from the Lord", Gen.4.1. (This could be rendered, 'I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord'). Both quotations enable us to understand why Paul added, "but all things are of God".
Paul deals with the mutual dependence of man and woman within marriage in 1Cor.7.3-4: "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence ('her due'): and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife". Both passages emphasise, amongst other things, that God assigns equal importance to brothers and sisters in the assembly, and to man and wife in marriage.
3) IT IS CONTRARY TO SPIRITUAL PROPRIETY. v13-15
Literally: 'is it becoming or fitting that a woman should pray to God uncovered?' That is, does a display of natural beauty and glory accord with ministry in the presence of God? In the assembly, no attention must be drawn to woman's beauty and glory. God's glory must have undivided attention.
Paul emphasises the unique position of the woman in this respect by contrasting the length of hair on men and women respectively.
i) There is no beauty and glory in a man with long hair! "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" It is "a shame unto him" because he has abandoned his own masculine dignity by looking like a woman. God expects men to look like men, and women to look like women. This applies to dress as well as hair. God has given to men and women distinctive glories, and these should be carefully maintained for His pleasure.
ii) There is beauty and glory in a woman with long hair. "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering". We should carefully note that the word "covering" translates a different original word from that used in v4,5,6 and 13. It means 'something thrown round': a mantle about her body. The same is rendered "vesture" in Heb.1.12. This emphasises the necessity for a second covering. As J. Heading observes, 'even the natural senses of a believer would cause him or her to own that such natural glory has no place in spiritual service or in the presence of God'.
4) IT IS CONTRARY TO APOSTOLIC PRACTICE, vl6
"But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God". The words, "we have no such custom", refers to the apostles. Compare 4.9 etc. Then there was assembly practice: "neither the churches of God". This suggests that this particular disorder was peculiar to Corinth. It is sobering to remember that whilst each assembly is responsible to the Lord alone, and that any idea of church federation is unknown in the New Testament, each local assembly is nevertheless not at liberty to introduce or allow whatever it thinks fit. In the days of the Judges, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes", with dire consequences. This attitude is still a recipe for disaster. We must recognise that apostolic teaching is binding on every assembly: Paul refers to his "ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church", 1 Cor.4.17.
Let every believer, whether brother or sister, esteem it great honour and privilege to give glory to our beloved Lord by fully recognising His blessed headship when we gather in assembly capacity. —to be continued (D. V.)
by J. E. Todd, England
5. Lot and his choices
We have noted that in the book of Genesis the lives of many men of God centre around a single feature. In the case of Lot it was the choices he made.
Lot can be counted as a man in touch with God because he was saved by God from the judgment that fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Also Peter describes him as such, '(God) delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)', 2Pet.2.7. But he was a man whose choices in life became more and more based upon material considerations and less and less upon spiritual. We are warned by his experience to give heed to the text, 'For we walk by faith, not by sight", 2Cor.5.7. This is specially relevant in the materialistic age in which we live.
LOT CHOSE TO ACCOMPANY ABRAHAM
'So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him', Gen.12.14. This was a wise choice to accompany a man of God on a God-directed journey. To join men and women of God on life's journey of faith is excellent, but to rely on them rather than to rely directly upon God and His word can be disastrous. When Abram left the path of faith and went down into Egypt, Gen.12.10-20 and 26.1-3, Lot accompanied him, 'And Abram went up out of Egypt . . . and Lot with him', Gen.13.1. Was it there in Egypt that Lot, the plain-living nomad, fell in love with materialism, the Egyptian way of life?
To receive help and blessing from our fellow Christians is one thing, but to become slavish followers of a human leader is quite another matter. Personality cults arise even among Christians. Such names as John Calvin and J. N. Derby could be named as victims of cult followers, see 1Cor.3.4. The Lord Jesus Christ often said, "Follow Me", He, and He alone is the Person we must follow.
LOT CHOSE THE VALLEY OF JORDAN
Abraham gave Lot the choice as to which way he (Lot) should go. 'Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where . . . even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt", Gen.13.10. Lot made this choice for purely material reasons, ignoring the spiritual dangers of the godless population, vl3. Its lush meadows would mean large flocks and herds which in turn would mean great material wealth. But by making material considerations the sole basis for his choice, Lot had set his feet on a very slippery slope. First, he descended into the valley, 'Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east' v11. Then, living in tents, he moved his tent nearer Sodom, v12, R.S.V. Finally, he lived in Sodom itself, 'Lot . . . who dwelt in Sodom', Gen.14.12.
But the material wealth and luxuries of city life were transient. 'They (the conquering kings) took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed, Gen.14.12. For us, our earthly treasures can be transient, consumed by the moths of redundancy and the rust of unemployment. 'Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also', Matt.6.19-21.
LOT CHOSE THE CITY OF ZOAR
Rescued by Abraham, Lot failed to learn his lesson and returned to Sodom. Not only to live there but also to participate in the running of that wicked city. 'Lot sat in the gate of Sodom', Gen.19.1. The expression, 'sat in the gate', as equivalent to the modern phrase, 'sitting on the council'. Did Lot hope to improve the morality of the place?
But God could not judge Sodom, even when only one righteous man dwelt there (much less than 10, see 18.32!). So angels were despatched to drag Lot from the city, 'While he (Lot) lingered, the men (angels) laid hold upon his hand ... and they brought him forth, and set him without the city", v16. The angelic advice was to flee to the hills. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed", v17. But Lot chose, indeed he insisted upon, going to the city of Zoar. "Oh, not so, my Lord . .. this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one", v18-20.
To be motivated by material considerations had now become a fixed habit with Lot. It must be a city however small. But the superstitious citizens of Zoar must have looked upon Lot as a bad omen. Would the disaster upon Sodom, his former dwelling place, now visit them? It was no doubt their hostility that caused Lot to fear and depart to the hills. 'Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar, v30. Had he gone to the hills at first, he would have avoided the hostility of the citizens of Zoar, and possibly found husbands for his daughters. But now isolated, drunkenness and immorality followed. A sad end.
'Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh (greed), and the lust of the eyes (covetousness), and the pride of life (selfish ambition), is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever', 1Jn.2.15-17.
—to be continued (D.V.)
by W. F. Laidle (Scotland)
Scripture reveals that from the beginning of human history, natural and spiritual have been fundamentally different and opposing conditions. Cain was opposed to Abel in his response to divine things and this established a principle repeated throughout the Word of God, whether in Jacob and Esau, David and Goliath or the Lord and the Pharisees. Nicodemus was left in no doubt about the gulf between natural and spiritual, Jn.3 and the apostle Paul confirmed it in his letter to the Corinthian church, 1Cor.2.14.
What may not be as readily appreciated is that the same principle is equally applicable to the believer. This is so because he represents the two identities in one body, the flesh or human nature and the divine nature. The one has reference to natural life, the other to spiritual life and both are clearly demonstrated in the exercise of gifts. The natural gifts common to mankind are exercised by the Christian in daily secular life, whether in employment or the home, but all such skills and abilities of the flesh are excluded from the spiritual sphere of the house of God, where only spiritual gifts apply.
We see, therefore, that the natural and spiritual elements in the believer are quite different and separate, having their own spheres of operation. However, some have thought that the flesh in the believer is dead in secular life as well as in divine purpose, but this fails to distinguish between the different spheres in which the believer is engaged, quite apart from the contradiction of daily experience in which we use the natural abilities of the flesh common to man, 2Cor.10.3. The flesh is, of course, useless so far as divine things are concerned, which is why natural gifts and propensities are excluded from spiritual considerations. Again, some have thought that the flesh is represented only by Gal.5.17-21 but this fails to recognise that the flesh is descriptive of natural man in his totality (Vine).
The testimony of Scripture is also clear in the matter of natural and spiritual. We sometimes hear reference to 'the plain truth of Scripture', as though divine revelation was a simple, straightforward exercise of reading the letter of the Word as a student would read a text book. But spiritual truth cannot be discerned by the natural faculties of man. On the other hand, there is plain truth in the epistles, relating to secular life, that anyone can understand because it is not of a spiritual nature; nothing concealed about that. Not surprisingly, it is this natural aspect of Scripture that the religions of Christendom erroneously perceive to be Christianity. We see, therefore, that Scripture itself testifies to the separate nature of natural and spiritual, an important distinction to recognise if we are to have a proper understanding of the believer's place in the spiritual sphere and in the world and thus of the nature of Christianity.
None of this excludes the fact that being a believer influences secular life, in that different motives and priorities now apply than was the case prior to salvation. Life in the world for the Christian is seen from an entirely different perspective to his fellows, ideally being lived "in the Lord", that is, in subjection to the plain commandments of the Lord relating to natural life; not Christianity but secular life influenced by it.
Another aspect of the believer's life that illustrates the difference between the natural and spiritual spheres is that of kindly deeds. There are the natural deeds of kindness of daily life with which we are all familiar, such as any public spirited person might undertake, including the believer, and there are spiritual goods works that only a regenerate person can perform, Jms.2.21-25. Ideally the believer is engaged in both, whereas the unbeliever can only engage in one because he is separated from things spiritual.
It could hardly be clearer that the world is the sphere of the natural and moral, the scene of the manifestation of the flesh, whether for good or bad, whereas the house of God is the sphere of things spiritual. They are quite separate and the believer has his place in both, alive to the world in the flesh with its varied gifts, abilities and failures and alive to God in the new nature with its spiritual gifts and appreciation of divine things. Scripture makes a clear distinction between these two opposing conditions and so should we, recognising that Christianity is an exercise of spiritual things, not to be confused with the natural considerations of secular life.
by Graeme Hutchinson (Belfast)
With their departure out of Egypt, the children of Israel emerged as a nation in their own right. From the remarks of Stephen recorded in Acts 7 we understand that, during this sojourn, the association with the well-organised Egyptians and the subsequent oppression, served to prepare the Israelites for their future kingdom. As this kingdom belonged to God (Ex. 19.6), it was to be ruled by God Himself and not man - a theocracy. A large portion of the Old Testament records how responsibility for rule was first devolved to Moses (Acts 7.35) then Joshua (Deut. 31.14) and the judges (Jud.2.16), and then under the first three kings - Saul, David and Solomon - the kingdom enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth and development.
The events that led to the establishment of the kings in Israel was a combination of disappointment with the judges and a desire to be like other surrounding nations (1 Sam. 8.1-5). Sadly from the divine viewpoint such a transition was wholly unnecessary, for as the nation was subsequently warned (1 Sam. 8.7-20), the simple form of the previous rule was being exchanged for something more complex and bureaucratic. The record of Scripture testifies to the truth that, just as in other occasions, when man pursues his own path, failure is certain.
The period that concerns this and subsequent papers is when Solomon died and the nation was divided in two - ten tribes comprising Israel in the North and the remaining two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) forming Judah in the South. Figure one outlines the various kings that ruled over the separate nations together with some of the major prophets that served during the period. Figure two represents a summary of the two nations, outlining their respective differences. A brief bibliography is included that outlines material pertinent to the subject and well worth a read!
Therefore as we examine the lives of some of the kings that ruled during this period - all but one within Judah - there are two main objectives. Firstly, by assessing what kings ruled where and when, a better understanding of the Old Testament should be gained. This will be especially the case if figure one in the present paper is retained and cross-referenced with subsequent studies. Secondly, as each king represents individual character studies, it is hoped that numerous and varied practical lessons will be gleaned to help us in our present Christian pathway.
Figure One: The Kings of Judah and Israel and the Pre-exilic Prophets
Source: Adapted from the Bible Knowledge Commentary, John F Walvoord & Roy B Zuck, Victor Books (p.513)
- Includes one queen (Athaliah)
- In a coregency, the kings ruled together; in overlapping reigns they reigned separately; in a vice-regency a son ruled with his father in a subordinate position.
|873-870||Coregency with Jehoshaphat||(3)||Elah||2||886-885|
|853-848||Coregency2 with Jehoram||(5)||Tibni||6||885-880|
|Overlapping reign with Omri||(6)||885-880|
|790-767||Azariah's vice-regency under Amaziah||(23)||Jehu||Elisha||28||841-814|
|750-739||Coregency with Jotham||(11)||Jehoash (Joash)||16||798-782|
|750-735||Jotham||Micah||Isaiah||16||Coregency with Jeroboam II||(11)||793-782|
|744-735||Aha's vice-regency under Jotham||(9)||Jeroboam II||
|735-732||Coregency with Ahaz||4||Zechariah||1/2||753-752|
|729-715||Hezekiah's vice-regency under Ahaz||(14)||Menahem||10||752-742|
|715-686||Hezekiah||29||Overlapping reign with Pekah||(10)||752-742|
|697-686||Manasseh's vice-regency under Ahaz||(11)||Pehahiah||(2)||742-742|
|55||Overlapping reign with Pekah||(2)||742-740|
Figure Two: The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
|Referred to as Judah||Referred to as Israel|
|Consisted of two tribes||Consisted of ten tribes|
|Twenty Kings of mixed characters||Nineteen Kings of evil characters|
|Capital - Jerusalem||Capital - Samaria|
|931 - 586 BC (345 years)||931 - 722 BC (209 years)|
|Invaded by Babylon||Invaded by Assyria|
- Davis, John, and Whitcomb, John, (1980), A History of Israel, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids.
- Heading, John (1980), Understanding 1 &2 Chronicles: The House of God and Its Service, Walterick Publishers, Kansas.
- Henry, Matthew (1994), Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, America.
- Jensen, Irving (1978), Jensen's Survey of the Old Testament, Moody Press, Chicago.
- Long, David (1993), Revival: A Study in Biblical Patterns, John Ritchie, Kilmarnock.
- Merrill, Eugene (1986), '2 Chronicles', in The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Old Testament), pp.619-650, Victor Books, Illinois.
- Steeds, Ivan (ed.) (1992), The Minor Prophets: Their Relevance for Today, Precious Seed Publications, Neath.
- Wood, Leon (1986), A Survey of Israel's History, Academie Books, Zondervan, Grand Rapids.
by The Late W. W. Fereday (written in 1897/98) VOLUME 2
10(c)—Babylon and the Beast
Now let us look into the name and character of the great whore. It is on her forehead; there is no effort at concealment. Names in Scripture are declarative of character. Accordingly in this instance we have corruption unblushingly displayed. Evil as her history has been in the past, there are darker developments at hand. Her full character has not yet been told; but the day of her complete manifestation is near upon us. "And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth", v5.
Satan always imitates the work of God. God has spoken of a "mystery" — Christ and the Church, Eph.3; Satan must needs have a mystery also. So at about the same epoch, when God is about to bring in His King of kings and Lord of lords, Satan brings forward his king of kings in the person of the Beast.
It may be asked, "Why is the false Church named Babylon?" It is an interesting but solemn study to gather together from the Old Testament Scriptures the various features that concentrated themselves in the city of this name of old. In Gen.11.1-9, we have its foundation as the expression of man's pride and independence of God; in Gen.10.8-12, in connection with Nimrod it becomes the sea of oppression and violence; later it becomes known for its splendour, even Israel being ensnared, Josh.7.21; and, finally, it was the very centre of idolatry, into which the people of God were carried captive because of their sins and unfaithfulness to God, Isa.46, etc. These are some of the leading characteristics of Babylon in the Word of God. It is exceedingly solemn therefore that when the Spirit of God would select a name whereby to describe the professing Church in its last stage on earth He judged no name so suitable as Babylon. The sober and reflecting reader has but to consider and look around, and he will see all these features before his eyes under the holy name of Christ.
There will be no real doubt that Rome is here before the mind of the Spirit of God. Two marks are given — one geographical, the other political — which the reader should observe. The woman is said to sit on seven mountains, v9, and stated also to be "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth", vl8. Rome, as a seven-hilled city, is well known; her political ascendency was no less apparent when the vision was vouchsafed to the Apostle in the isle of Patmos.
Papal advocates have frequently endeavoured to turn away the keen edge of this Scripture by applying it to pagan Rome, but all to no purpose. It is but to do violence to the Word of God. Better far own the truth of it, and separate from the evil before the judgment falls, ch.18.4. Such is the Divine path for all who really desire to do the will of God.
On the other hand, Babylon must not be confined to the papal system. We are firmly convinced that it includes a great deal more. We have heard and read much of late years about "the reunion of Christendom", which appears to be the cherished ideal of a very large number of professing Christian people. We believe this will come about yet, but it will be reunion in darkest evil. No doubt, while the true saints of God remain in the world, such a calamity will be averted. Not a few find considerable difficulty in surrendering or sinking all that they believe they have learned from God, and thus a great barrier is raised by conscientious souls against the accomplishment of such a project. But when all the saints are removed to the Father's house, those who remain in the various ecclesiastical systems will doubtless sink their doctrinal and other differences, and unite together for the common weal, as they fondly suppose, in this way will ambitious Rome preside over the religious destinies of Europe once more, with the results that this chapter declares. No thoughtful observer can fail to see that this is the direction in which everything is now tending. The religious bodies are not today where they once were. Things have greatly changed during the last half-century. Doctrines that were regarded as vital realities then are viewed as mere matters of opinion now, to be held or surrendered at pleasure; principles for which earnest men contended and suffered in the past are waived and very lightly regarded today. The various systems are gravitating towards each other in a way that cannot be overlooked or denied. The Established Church is not now divided from Rome by such an impassable gulf as formerly; and the dissenting bodies have followed in her wake to an alarming degree. We are not now speaking of the increased fraternising of Christian men apart from denominational differences, but the gravitation of the various systems towards each other. This," we believe, will culminate in Babylon the Great, fully developed. At least, let the Christian reader pause and consider.
One more mark remains to be noticed before we turn from the vision to the angel's explanation of it: "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration", v6. The seer wondered, and well he might! He knew Jerusalem to be thirsty for the blood of the saints, Matt.23.34-37, and at the time of the vision he was suffering under the persecuting hand of pagan Rome, but he was here shown a symbol of the professing Church, and she drunken with the blood of the saints! It has been painfully verified. Pagan Rome slew its thousands, but Christian Rome (so-called) has slain its tens of thousands. What a day of reckoning is at hand! The sighs and tears of the helpless and the suffering have gone up to God. In His book all is faithfully recorded, and the tears are in His bottle. Righteous retribution will yet fall. Babylon will be overthrown and judged, to recover herself no more for ever.
In the interpretation of the vision some important particulars are added (quite a usual thing in Scripture), but the interpretation is chiefly occupied with the Beast. On this we shall be brief, as we remarked on this when dealing with "the times of the Gentiles". Three things are stated as to the Beast: "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition", Rev.17.8. That is, it has had a past history, it is at present non-existent, but will yet be revived by Satanic power and energy. Of no power but Rome could this be written. Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece have each had their day and have fallen, never to rise to an imperial place in the earth again. But Rome will rise once more. The mighty power of the West will be brought together again by Satan just about the time when God will bring his First-begotten into the world.
The Beast's seven heads and ten horns are carefully explained by the angel. The heads have a twofold signification. First, they represent the seven mountains on which the woman sitteth, wherein we recognise the well-known fact that Rome is a seven-hilled city; secondly, "they are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition", vlO-11. "Seven kings", or forms of government. Five had passed away before John's day: kings, consuls, decemvirs, military tribunes, and dictators; the sixth, the imperial, was then in power. The seventh is thought by many to have been the empire of Napoleon I. Satan's aim by his instrumentality was evidently to revive the old empire of Rome, but God's time had not come, so he continued but a short space. The eighth, which is of the seven, we believe, will be the imperial revived. In Rev.13.3, where the same power is before us, the wounded head of the Beast was healed, by which we understand the revival of the imperial authority.
The horns are kings, as the angel tells us: "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast", vl2-13. It is very clear that this is still future. Never in the past did the Roman empire consist of ten kingdoms welded together, as this prophecy plainly describes. In ancient times Rome's vast dominions were under one government, and since the early part of the fifth century it has been in a state of dissolution, and many smaller kingdoms have arisen on its ruins. But in the future ten distinct kingdoms will be cemented together, each retaining its own sovereign, yet all under the general leadership of one head.
—to be continued (DV)
by John B. D. Page (Weston-super-Mare)
14th MAY, 1948
(A Foreshadowing of a Greater Regathering)
When people of various nations emigrate to another country they invariably lose their national identity within a comparatively short period of time and become absorbed into that nation. But that has not happened with the Jews. After nearly 2000 years of worldwide dispersion, despite atrocious persecution and terrible sufferings, the Jews have retained their racial identity. That is an ethnic miracle.
After long centuries of exile in foreign countries many Jews had, 50 years ago, returned to the promised land. That was the time of the rebirth of the nation. Contrary to all expectations, the United Nations voted in 1947 for a Jewish state to be set up. The following year Britain's mandate of Palestine was brought to an end. And so, in that year, on the 14th May 1948 the state of Israel was proclaimed. Never before have people, who have been scattered worldwide for centuries, come together and formed a sovereign state. It is a national miracle.
In the countries of their dispersion, the Jews have adopted the languages of those nations for everyday conversation in business. Consequently, the Hebrew language has been dormant not lost. Although this ancient language was in abeyance for so long, Hebrew has been restored in Israel for speaking and teaching, and adapted to modern technology. Admittedly, English is used for conducting international business transactions. But Hebrew, now revived, is the official language of the state of Israel. That is a linguistic miracle.
Dispersion of the Jews from their homeland, after A.D. 70 when Jerusalem fell to the Romans, meant, for centuries to come, de-population and desolation of the land which was accelerated at that time by the cessation of "the former and latter rains" so necessary for a high yield in the crops, Deut.ll.12-17. The centuries passed until the 19th century dawned. In the 1830s only 500 Jews inhabited the land, living in abject poverty, says one writer. That once fertile land, no longer cultivated, had become barren and swampy. In 1855 a few Jewish migrants purchased some land from the Arabs. Others followed. Unknowingly, they were fulfilling Jer.32.43f ". . . fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; . . . Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe (i.e. sign) the deeds, and seal them, . . ." After about 1800 years of no rain, "the former and latter rains" started again unexpectedly in the 1870s. Obviously the Lord was preparing the land for His people to return. With the rise of Zionism towards the end of the 19th century the number of returnees increased, so that by 1900 about 50,000 Jews had returned to Palestine.
In the 20th century, this migration has continued and by the mid 1920s some 150,000 Jews had arrived in the land. Jews in some countries had settled comfortably and were reluctant to leave. But through the prophet Jeremiah 16.16 the Lord had said, "I will send for many fishers,... and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks". Seemingly, the appalling anti-Semitic persecution in Europe during the 1930s and until about 1945 was the divine means of fishing and hunting the Jews out of these countries. For instance, in the late 1930s a train, full of Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi persecution, arrived daily at 4.30 p.m. at London's Victoria Station. After the Second World War, 1939-1945, some emigrated to Palestine. When the state of Israel was established in 1948 some 650,000 Jews from 70 countries were living in the land. In more recent times persecution has broken out against them in several countries and this has meant an influx to Israel on such occasions. Overcome with emotion on arrival, many of them have knelt down and kissed the ground. In recent years the writer was told by a Jewess, who had suffered at the hands of the Nazis and escaped, that on disembarking at Dover she stooped, kissed the ground and said "Thank God for England".
Little was said by Moses of this remarkable gathering: "... the Lord thy God will . . . gather thee from all nations, whither (He) hath scattered thee", Deut.30.3, but much more was said by the prophets. Through the prophet Isaiah 43.5, the Lord told His people, "I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather them from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back". Although this amazing prophecy was addressed to the people of Isaiah's day, it concerned not them but "thy seed" — a future generation of Jews. As the scattering of a past generation, subsequent to Isaiah's time, was worldwide, so the gathering of a future generation will be worldwide — from "the east", from "the west", from "the north", and from "the south". After many centuries, this is now happening. To date, the Lord has brought them back to the land from more than 100 countries; there are still about as many countries from which they will yet return.
This miraculous gathering of the Jews is expressed in picturesque language when the Lord says, "I will hiss for them", as a shepherd did by playing a reed pipe to call his sheep, "and gather them; . . ." Zech.10.8. Not only will the Lord gather His scattered people, but He promises them: "... I will give you the land of Israel", Ezek.11.17, that is, the land of Israel will be a gift from the Lord to them. As this country is described by the Lord as "My land", e.g. Isa.14.25; Jer.2.7, He has the right to make it a gift to His people.
According to Jer.16.15 the Jews will be "brought up ... from the land of the north, and from all lands . . . into their land". Strangely, "the land of the north" is signalled out from the numerous countries of their dispersion. It may refer to Russia where some two million Jews are in exile and not permitted to emigrate to Israel except for the occasional few. Not only from the north but "from all lands" which may include countries such as the U.S.A. where six million Jews live, and Britain with its three-quarters of a million Jews, besides other countries where they are reluctant to leave and emigrate to Israel.
This gathering to the land is not of man although men have been used by the Lord, but it is primarily of the Lord Himself as stated in Jer.31.10, ". . . He that scattered Israel will gather him,...". This verse indicates clearly that as the scattering of Israel was a sovereign act of God, so their gathering will be to the promised land.
As Christians we are privileged to live in these days of the Jews returning to their land and its significance should not be under-estimated in Jer.16.14-15 "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither He had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers", cp. Jer.23.7f. This means Israel's miraculous deliverance from Egypt, so long ago and remembered annually at Passover down through the centuries even to the present time, will be eclipsed by the Lord bringing them from out of the north and all other countries, without exception, into their land given by the Lord to their forefathers.
The Jews are returning to their homeland in unbelief; whilst their spiritual quickening is still future because their full restoration will be in stages as shown in Ezek.37.12,14, where the Lord says to them: "I will open your graves" of exile "and cause you to come up out of your graves" of worldwide dispersion, "and bring you into the land of Israel" for your national restoration. "And (I) shall put My Spirit in you, and ye shall live" spiritually, cp. Ezek.ll. 17,19; Jer.32.37ff. Surely, the coming day of Israel's salvation will be the answer to Paul's prayer in Rom.10.1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved". Until that day, let us, too, pray for Israel.
Of this remarkable gathering of the Jews from distant lands to their homeland, although a token of the ultimate gathering, we may say as the psalmist did: "This is the Lord's doing: it is marvellous in our eyes".
by A. R. Christopherson (Iowa, U.SA.)
For 18 years of my life, growing up on an Iowa farm, in the favoured country of the United States, Satan had me convinced the attractions of the world and its many bright lights would eventually bring satisfaction. But in the lines of Gal.6.7 I truly had been deceived.
I was born into a home where the gospel and the truth of God were reverenced. My grandparents on both sides of the family were saved in earlier years and were among the 55 believers who gathered to the Lord's name at the commencement of the Hitesville Assembly in December of 1927. Yet neither my father or mother were saved until the early '70s, many years after my own conversion in 1961. My parents wisely insisted we attend the Sunday School and as a family we seldom missed the Lord's day Gospel meeting. My grandparents could now see the result of Prov.22.6, "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it". My parents always had a deep longing to know Christ as Saviour which prompted us to travel countless miles when various gospel series were in the area. Along with many believers in the community I had the distinct privilege of having three gospel preachers, Paul Elliott, Leonard DeBuhr and Robert Orr, living within five miles of home. I remember with joy both their testimony before me and soul winning spirit. In addition, five assemblies had been planted within 25 miles of my home. These unlimited privileges often impressed me that the Lord in His wondrous grace had set a hedge around this sinner which was impossible to ignore.
The coming of the Lord often sobered me as I thought of being left while my grandparents and other relatives would be taken. However this often quickly passed as the devil whispered, "what about your friends". Even though the sports world and the applause of the crowd had captivated my interest, the Spirit of God often spoke these words "just where is real satisfaction found?" Because the school cafeteria didn't always supply enough food we frequented the downtown cafe. This short walk made us pass by Paul Elliott's house where I would notice on his garage door "Jesus said, Ye must be born again". This was again a vivid reminder which spoke loudly as I sensed I was running from God. Little did I dream it would be this man who would ask me to share in a gospel series eight years later.
I began to discover during my last year of high school that the close friends were losing their importance. Satan's bright lights which he showed me as a young teenager began to dim and I often had disappointing experiences.
On July 2, 1961 we went as usual to the gospel meeting at Hitesville. There was no gospel series but rather the usual Sunday night meeting conducted by the local brethren. That night Robert Orr spoke on Matt.24 "for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh". It was like an arrow from God which pierced my conscience. After the meeting, my cousin, who was saved a year earlier showed me various verses and before leaving prayed for my salvation. God spoke so suddenly leaving me broken and troubled. The four years of high school seeking popularity left me with nothing and before God empty for eternity.
I remember thinking that I have played the role of the fool permitting Satan to offer me that which would never satisfy. Three full days passed as I remember reading the Scriptures and different tracts. All seemed to be so dark. That Wednesday night, July 5, 1961, I found myself in Leonard DeBuhr's study as he showed me verses. The simplicity of Lk.19.10 conveyed hope to my darkened mind. I found myself alone reading that text in what was once my pride and joy — my '57 Chevy. For some reason my eye caught only a portion of the verse "the Son of man came to seek the lost". I had to admit that's just exactly what I was. Lost, friendless and helpless before God. I then read the rest of the verse to discover that the same Man who came for the lost — saves the lost. Right there I caught myself trusting what I had never trusted before. I remember the SUN was setting in the west bringing darkness for another night, but, at the same time the SON was sunshine to my heart. If I had known the hymn I could have sung "I seek no other argument, I want no other plea, It is enough that Jesus died, and rose again for me".
Only a few weeks elapsed before entering the waters of baptism and then shortly received into the fellowship of the Hitesville Assembly. It all seemed so overwhelming. In such a short period of time brought under conviction of sin, saying goodbye to the attractions of the world and now being linked with people whom I had admired and respected. The following year I was introduced to a young woman who would, in the fall of 1963, be my wife. Little did I know the great blessing and helpmeet she would prove to be in the service of God. Employment had transferred me to the Marion Assembly where we were now in fellowship with 15 instead of 95. This was another turning point in my life which caused me to face responsibility much sooner than I had expected. With stammering lips and trembling knees I finally got my start in worship along with a gospel exercise.
In 1969 Paul Elliott, who gave of his time and patience in working with not only me but others, asked me to join him in a tent series in Walker — a nearby town. After the first week I was convinced I had preached everything there was to preach and wondered how we were ever going to finish. But the Lord gave help and granted joy to finish this five-week series with the salvation of one. Now aware that this work was easier "said" than "done", I was convinced the work of an evangelist was beyond my ability. However, a short time later we were once more quite active with children's work. Two years later I again joined brother Elliott in another tent series. From then on my involvement in all phases of gospel work increased while working with my brethren in surrounding areas. I remember thinking one day, "Will the Lord push me into the fields that are ripe unto harvest?"
By 1976, going to work each day seemed such a waste. To "rescue the perishing and care for the dying" was the only work that really counted. Lk.12.15 spoke to me often, "Take heed and beware of covetousness for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth".
The spring of 1978 brought John Slabaugh and Bill Lavery to Marion for a gospel series. We had the joy of having them in our home during these six weeks when God worked in a marvellous way. Many homes of the believers were blessed with children awakened and saved including our own. But equally as important was the personal counsel these men gave which has been remembered till this day. The next summer I joined brother Lavery in another tent series in Central City. I remember getting alone with God and asking for a definite sign of one soul to Christ which would confirm my exercise toward the Lord's work. God in His grace answered with two souls. But what I hadn't expected was still a resistance of being fully committed to the will of God. Two large conferences were held in 1979 where I sensed the Lord speaking. In addition five responsible brethren, all from different assemblies, had verbally given me their right hand of fellowship. For this I was greatly thankful — yet having the approval from men was one thing, the call from God quite another.
An incident at the factory reminded me of another voice from God during these days of heart searching. A six ton fork-lift crashed into full storage bins exactly where I had been standing not more than 30 seconds earlier. Serious injury would have been inevitable. The question was simple, "Is this a direct message from God?" Brother Slabaugh, whose personal counsel was greatly appreciated, told me often that God was more interested in my availability than my ability.
Never will I forget January 28, 1980, around 10.30 p.m. reading Judges 6 when God's four promises to Gideon became real. God had reminded Gideon in v12 that "the Lord is with thee". In vl4 he told him to "Go" and at the end of the verse the third convincing factor was "have not I sent thee?" If there was any doubt v16 reinforced the command, "Surely I will be with thee". This was more than man's approval but a call from God I could not ignore. It was as clear, if not clearer, than the day of conversion years earlier. Unable to sleep I returned to Judges 6 and while reading v34 noticed that Gideon's work was to blow the trumpet.
Two days later I turned in my resignation after 18 years of service. Leaving the factory that last day and the work I had enjoyed, was a lonely feeling and yet I was 100 per cent convinced God would meet every need. Even though there is at times a great sense of failure yet I thank God for thrilling times in the gospel when the Lord Jesus has been glorified, sinners saved and saints encouraged through the blowing of the gospel trumpet.
AN UNEXPECTED EVENT — TRANSLATION
Sudden events are reported every day in the media. A politician dies, a plane crashes, a bomb detonates, a government falls and we awake to the news that, somewhere in the world, situations have suddenly changed. There is an event which will soon take place and will be reported on the media the world over. This will be when millions of people suddenly, dramatically and unexpectedly disappear! Such a statement may well sound fantastic or as from the realm of science fiction, but, dear reader, it comes from God's word.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God came into this world, born as a babe at Bethlehem around 2,000 years ago. This was not the beginning of Him as a Person, but as a Man. Thus Isaiah recorded, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given", Isa.9.6. Note it does not say a Son was born, but a child. God's Son He was eternally but a child He became at Bethlehem. Why did He come? The answer He gives Himself, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost", Lk.19.10. This is confirmed by Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief, 1Tim.1.15.
How was He going to save the lost, save sinners? There was only one way and that was by shedding His blood on Calvary's cross and bearing the judgment of God. 1Pet.2.24, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree"; 1Pet.3.18, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God;" Eph.1.6, "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace". Without this mighty atoning work of Christ, no person could ever reach heaven.
Before He returned to heaven, the Lord Jesus promised His own that He would return for them. Jn.14.3, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also". This promise was confirmed by the Holy Spirit through Paul, 1Thess.4.16, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord". Notice this promise is for those who are termed, "you and we". The "you" were the disciples only and the "we" are defined in v14 of the chapter as "we believe that Jesus died and rose again". Thus the Lord Jesus is coming for His own, that is those who have believed on Him for their eternal salvation.
Dear reader, are you among those who can be called His, those who have believed on Him? If not, when this event takes place suddenly and without warning, you will be left for the judgment of God. There will be no second chance for those who have rejected the gospel. Their doom will be sealed and their end in the lake of fire assured. It is no wonder the apostle wrote, "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation", 2Cor.6.2. He was urgent in his appeal, "we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God".
- Be not proud of thy beauty or of thy strength, for a little sickness will deform the one and consume the other.
- Donald Rossop
PRESENT AND FUTURE
(May be sung to CWM RHONDA)
Dwelling here in mortal weakness,
Conscious of my human way,
Daily spoiling best intentions,
Needing help Divine each day,
Leaning on Him,
Who has promised strength alway.
One day when I'm in His presence,
When I see those pierced palms,
Gaze upon His feet disfigured,
Prophesied within the Psalms,
Then I'll praise Him,
Throughout all eternity.
When I leave this scene of sorrow,
Know no more of sin and shame,
Changed in body, soul and spirit,
Raised to glorify His Name,
Dwell in glory,
Being part of His own Bride.
W. Benyon (S. Wales)
Tune: "BACA" (Just as I am)
- All for Thyself He lived and died,
- In love for Thee He self denied,
- We and Thyself are satisfied,
- With Thy beloved Son,
- Thy Son.
- He on Thyself didst ever feed,
- Trusting on Thee to meet His need,
- Delighting Thee in every deed,
- Thy blest dependent Son,
- Thy Son.
- He every Word of Thine obeyed,
- Treading the path before Him laid,
- Fulness of grace and truth displayed,
- In Thy obedient Son,
- Thy Son.
- Blessing and virtue from Him flowed,
- He health and power and peace bestowed,
- He bore our grief and sorrows load,
- Thy well beloved Son,
- Thy Son.
- Matthew J. Cordiner, Kilwinning
- "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved". (Acts 4.12).
- "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him . . ."(Hebrews 7.25).
- "Come unto Me, all (ye) that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11.28).
- "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out". (John 6.37).
- There is no sadder thing than to lack the absolutely necessary.
- There is no gladder thing than to have the absolutely sufficient.
- There is no madder thing than to deliberately refuse that which is:—
- Absolutely necessary;
- Absolutely sufficient, and
- Absolutely accessible,
- Which Jesus our Saviour IS.
When a thing is absolutely necessary we leave no stone unturned till we get it. When a thing is absolutely sufficient we are absolutely contented when it is in our possession. But when a thing is absolutely sufficient and also absolutely accessible, a man would be a fool in every meaning of that word if he did not at once secure that thing.
However that "Thing" is a "person" — a Divine Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY:
Jesus Christ is ABSOLUTELY SUFFICIENT:
Jesus Christ is ABSOLUTELY ACCESSIBLE: