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fhigham

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Dec 07   Job 9  Michah 5   James 1

 

James 1

 

Dear Brethren and Sisters, we have recently been reading together the epistle of James, and our thoughts this morning are on his first chapter. The writer of this book was almost certainly James, the Lord’s brother, the spokesman and leader of the ecclesia at Jerusalem. This epistle is generally considered the earliest, written, it is thought about 45 AD, although some date it a little later than that. It was written to Jewish believers of the dispersion outside of Palestine throughout the Roman Empire.

 It is very similar in its form of teaching to the teachings of Christ. There is more imagery from nature than in all of Paul’s epistles put together. We know that was a method by which Christ taught.

God uses different instruments for different purposes.

James gives very concise expression to basic principles and problems of character. Certain typical passages will come to mind to illustrate this, of which his book is full. He had the faculty of expressing basic truths very forcibly and strikingly. He goes right to the heart of things. His words are fairly simply, but actually very deep. His tone is positive and decisive. This short book contains over 50 commands.

After a brief salutation of just one verse, he begins his message with an arresting command. Verse 2 – “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” Now,trial expresses the meaning better, as the Revised Version and most modern versions have it. “Count it all joy”—rejoice, be thankful when you are tried, “knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” And this MUST happen, if we are to be accepted by God. He here goes immediately to the root of the purpose of our present mortal dispensation—the development of character by trial.

 Patience is a very beautiful thing. It is intelligent self-control and self-discipline—doing what is right and not what we desire. It is the triumph of the wisdom of the spirit over the evil of the flesh. “Let patience have her perfect work,” says James. Patience is character. It is the only true strength. Impatience is weakness, babyishness, immaturity—lack of strength.

In verse 5, James tells us that God will give wisdom liberally—abundantly—to any who seek. This wisdom, of course, is the Spirit guidance in the way of life. We can profitably connect this promise with what he has just said about patience. He has counseled joy and patience in every problem and trial, because that is wisdom.

The wisdom God will give is the wisdom to understand these things and to manifest the joy and the patience to be spiritually developed. We see that the spiritual lesson here is the same as that which the book of Job is designed to teach us—joy, patience, and spiritual wisdom, lovingly bestowed by God who understands and controls everything. The process sometimes is very hard, but the result is beautiful.

This leads James to a warning in verses 6-8. It is as if some had said, “We have tried this and nothing has happened. We are just the same as we were before. We are no closer than ever to the joy and patience and wisdom of the spirit.” James says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Such receive nothing from God. Only those receive whose eye is single—who seeketh with their whole heart. Those who face the great decision—the things of the world, the things of the flesh, the things that we desire OR the things of God—and having made the decision, faithfully hold to it, their course unshakably established. These alone are NOT double minded. These alone receive the wisdom. They are the only ones in whom God works, building them unto Himself in holiness and grief.

Verses 9-11 – The natural conditions of men in which they find themselves—rich and poor. This aspect of life is incidental. The Truth and the Eternal Purpose is so great that it entirely eclipses all natural differences of condition. They are absolutely unimportant. The time is so short. Let the poor glory in His great exaltation and the limitless riches of infinity and eternity to which he is related, as a son of God. And, let the rich glory in that he has been taught the emptiness of the present—the meaninglessness of position and possession in this life, and the wisdom and beauty of the humiliation that sees man as a perishing creature of dust for all his pomp and pride. Both have had their eyes opened to the true wisdom that shows them that present position in life means nothing. This life will be looked back on as but a brief flash of time, in which the only thing that mattered was the development of character. Therefore, our external circumstances do not justify either disappointment or glorying.

Verses 12-18 concern temptation—what it consists of, where its roots run, that all evil is from beneath—from within—and all good is from above—from without. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.” For him, there is a crown of life at the end. This crown of life, says James in verse 12, is for those that love the Lord.

What is the connection between loving the Lord and enduring temptation? Only those who love will be able to endure, because love is the only power that can overcome and control evil. Every effort—no matter how noble or how determined or how agonizing—will fail, if it is not based upon love. The crown is just for those who love the Lord with all their hearts.

Verses 14-15 of this section describe the basis of evil more simply and concisely than we find anywhere else. “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

The Apostle Paul says in connection with the memorial bread and wine, “Let a man examine himself.” And here is one of the basic tests to examine ourselves by—one of the basic insights that teach us what we are and why we act as we do and what we must do about it.

James’ figure is very striking. As soon as lust is embraced in the mind, conception of something begins. It is the beginning of bringing something to birth. Then, it grows within us—growing upon our own life blood for its development. And so sin comes to a birth. And sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Finished, here, means mature or fully grown. The sin, to which we give birth, itself at last gives birth, and its offspring is death. This is the inevitable course of development. And it all comes from the first concession to lust. The beginning is the important thing.

Continuing in verse 16 – “Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” There is nothing good from beneath, or within. All good is from God. “Do not err.” Do not be deceived. In the flesh—in the natural mind—in what we think naturally, there is no good thing. It’s all suffering. All good must come from without—from above—from learning what God has said. God stands waiting before our course.

Verse 18 – “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” Here is the same figure of conception and birth used for the other side of the picture. Here is the spiritual birth unto holiness and life. Of His Own will, He begat us. The Word sown in the heart begins the conception of the new man of righteousness within us. God Himself has begun all this within us for His Own holy purpose.

“Wherefore,” continues James, verse 19, seeing that God has initiated a glorious process within us, by bestowing His Divine Word in our hearts by the enlightenment of the Gospel, “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.” The thought is the same as in Ecclesiastes 5:2 – “God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore, let thy words be few.” God is above; we are beneath. God knows everything; we know nothing. Our purpose in life is to learn and to develop—to grow in knowledge and in godliness.

Let us clearly perceive the apostle’s point. “Be swift to hear, slow to speak. Realize your abysmal ignorance; realize the vastness of God’s wisdom. Earnestly fill your time with the true learning that you may modify just a little the depth of your natural ignorance—that you may be of some use and pleasure to God. As we are naturally, we are absolutely of no use to Him.

The words of a man of God will be few, cautious and well weighed. He would always be examining himself, checking his own knowledge, very slow to form opinion, very slow to be dogmatic, seeking and crying for the wisdom of God with all his heart and soul, never trusting his own thoughts.

To “slow to speak” James adds, “slow to wrath.” This naturally follows. For among other things, anger is an assumption that we know everything. If we think it over, we will realize it is true. Anger is an assumption that we are in possession of all the facts and are qualified to judge.

“The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God,” he says in verse 20. What depth of meaning there is there! What countless evils have been committed under the cloak of what is called righteous indignation! Human anger is a presumptuous evil, and evil can only breed evil. It is never good.

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness,” verse 21. Let us not just skip over this, because of its strange wording, or because we assume it refers to some excess of evil we have nothing to do with. Let us stop and try to find out what James really means, because it is clear his exhortation up to this point has been a general one to all, based upon the basic evil of all flesh.

Filthiness refers to everything that is defiling to holiness. We may not regard ourselves as filthy, but in our natural state, God does. Unless we are cleansed by His Word, we are filthy. James has just drawn a contrast between the motions of sin—the natural reactions of the flesh—all the filthiness of human evil, anger, and presumption (self will)—and the Divine good that is engrafted from above. He has shown that anger is foreign and defiling to the process of godly self-discipline and control.

Superfluity of naughtiness – when the Authorized Version was translated, naughtiness meant wickedness. Words gradually weaken with use. Superfluity seems to refer to a malignant growth, or a destructive fungus that will, if permitted to get a foothold, at last destroy all power to resist, and finally, life itself. Cancerous, or parasitic growth, of wickedness is the meaning here of superfluity of naughtiness.

“And,” he continues, verse 21, “receive with meekness the engrafted word.” The spiritual meekness contrasts with the natural anger, which he condemned. The engrafted Word is a beautiful contrast to the life sapping cancer of wickedness, against which he warns. Here also is something which once engrafted into the fleshly tables of the heart will grow and grow until it permeates and transforms the whole body. But this time the process is life-giving and beneficial, not destructive.

Verse 22-25 deal with the doing of the Word instead of hearing—just passively believing and offering but lip service to godliness. The exhortation is again emphasized by a striking figure—a man looks into a glass, and sees himself very clearly, just exactly as he is. While he confesses the truth of what he sees, and then immediately goes on his way and completely forgets? He forgets. Do not we do the same, time after time after time? We become engrossed in something else, and right away we forget. We forget that the basic purpose in life is spiritual development and self-discipline, and nothing else—not self-pleasing or self-comfort. We forget that we are only growing spiritually while we are consciously doing as unto the Lord whatever we are doing, to please Him, and not to please ourselves. It is possible to be deeply engrossed, even in the work of the Truth, and still be completely forgetful of the basic purpose of our life—why we are doing the work.

Verse 25 – “Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty; and continueth therein…this man shall be blessed in his doing (middle margin). What is the perfect law of liberty? The sense in the original is expressed a little better by rendering it as the Revised Version does, “the perfect law, the law of liberty.” In chapter 2, James terms it, verse 8, as the royal law, and defines it as, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” He again uses the term law of liberty in connection with it in 2:12. We know this law in its fullness, as Jesus expressed it, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and mind and strength and soul, and thy neighbor as thyself.”

There is a law of liberty in many ways. It is contrasted with the law of bondage—Moses’ law, which was given to bring all under condemnation and to teach men their hopelessness and need. It is the law of liberty from the slavery of the evil motions of the flesh, but by it God gives a spiritual way of life and the power to walk in it. It is the law of liberty from the law of sin and death—the general constitution of evil that comes in the train of Adam’s sin.

Verse 26 – “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” Unless the tongue is bridled, religion is vain. James does not mince words. His teaching is blunt and straight forward. No amount of religious activity and zeal are of any avail or have any meaning or value, if there is not a true and real control and direction of the tongue within the framework of divine instruction. When we talk without thought, we are sinning, that is without spiritual thought. James returns more fully to this basic and serious problem later in the epistle. Nothing could be more plain spoken and decisive than his words here.

There is much instruction in the Scripture concerning the use of the tongue. The Scriptures speak of grace and praise and meekness and sobriety and gravity and wisdom and gentleness and kindness of the tongue. And on the other hand, there is evil-speaking and clamor and bitterness and foolish talking and jesting and worldliness and ungodliness. James’ strong words show us here that it is preeminently a case of obedience being better than sacrifice.

“In the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin.” Realizing the propensities of the flesh, the quick untamed wildness of the tongue, and the requirements God has laid down in various places concerning the bridling, or proper use and control of the tongue, we can see how true this statement must be. In the multitude of words, there is bound to be sin. Unless words are carefully chosen, they are bound to be sinful, because they are naturally of the flesh.

The man of God will, therefore, be marked by great reserve and carefulness of speech. He will constantly re-examine himself to see if the fountain is flowing with sweet water or bitter—wisdom or foolishness, spirituality or natural fleshliness. Knowing that upon the answer will be determined whether or not his show of religion is a vain and empty shell.

Verse 27 – “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Another wonderful example of James’ Spirit-guided ability to express great divine truth in simple, striking, graphic words. Here he sums up all that is a true and living religion. He does not, as some argue, preclude belief of the Gospel, of baptism, and breaking of bread, and all the other pattern of divine instruction. He concisely sums up the purpose and principle and inner heart.

All good to others is embraced in the first phrase, “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.” All self-control and spiritual self-development in the second, “to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

The beauty of these teachings is in their limitlessness. We never fully plumb their depth nor fulfill their requirements. But if we grow in grace and spiritual knowledge, we find the engrafted Word gradually expanding in our hearts and lives. More and more, we shall find the gentle pressure of the growing Word within us. More and more, it will purify our hearts and reactions and motives and desires and the expressions of our tongue. More and more, the divine picture will unfold. More and more, the beauty of holiness will impress us, the ugliness of all that is natural to the flesh, the beauty of that transforming way of good that is entirely from above. “Let patience have her perfect work.”

                                                                                                                                        Bro. G.V.Growcott

 

fhigham

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Dec 08   Job 10   Micah 6   James 2

James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

James 2:2  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

James 2:3  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

James 2:4  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

 

Our heart aches for the rich professors of our day; for we perceive that very few of them, judging by the fruits of the tree, have faith enough to be saved. ‘The rich fade away in their ways.’ They value themselves upon what they possess, being for the most part full of goods, but empty of head and lean of soul. But God esteems them no more than a beggar full of sores, for there is no respect of persons with Him. Let us, then, imitate God, and ‘hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus anointed, of the glory with respect of persons.’ Let character and devotion to the truth, and active repudiation of all sympathy with the ‘names of blasphemy’ around us, and not pelf and position, the admiration and idolatry of a vain and shallow world, be the conditions of our sympathy with persons. For ourselves, be they rich or poor, we desire cooperation and fellowship with such only. ‘The truth as it is in Jesus,’ is the basis of our relations and intimacies with mankind; when this is repudiated or betrayed, or crucified, we consider ourselves as put to an open shame, and repudiated likewise. If people who profess the truth dishonour that truth, they dishonour us, and we do not want, nor will we condescend to have any co-operation with them, be they as rich as Crœsus or as poor as Job. They are only stumbling blocks and hindrances in the way, and the truth can never progress in the halo of their obliquity.”—Herald for 1859, page 276.

[1]

 

 



[1] The Christadelphian : Volume 17 Bd. 17. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1880, S. 17:361

fhigham

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------------------------------------------------
Dec 09    Job 11    Micah 7  Jas 3, 4
------------------------------------------------

Zophar the Naamathite

My thoughts constrain me to reply 

To thee, for thou dost vilify 

Our speech, and therefore I make haste 

To answer, though to my distaste, 

For truth and wisdom must arise

Above all vain and frenzied cries.

Know this, that since the world began,

The triumph of a wicked man

Is short, and all the transient joys

Of hypocrites an hour destroys.

Yea, though his ex’llency arise

In grandeur to the tow’ring skies,

From his proud height he shall be flung

To perish like his own vile dung!

They that have known him shall enquire

Concerning him, but their desire

Shall be refused. In swift decay

He like a dream shall fly away.

For why? Because he rolls his sin

Beneath his tongue, and glories in

His wicked way. The taste is sweet

Of the misdeeds he doth repeat.

Yet in his bowels a poison shall

Ferment, and taint his blood and gall,

And his amass’d unhallow’d gain,

Detested, prove a fatal bane.

Because the poor he hath oppress’d,

And help withheld from the distress’d.

The fraud and violence he hath wrought

Shall plague the house he never bought.

His hopes shall rudely to the ground

Be dashed, and all his wrath rebound

Upon himself; and foes in chase

Demolish every hiding place.

No coverts shall his deeds conceal.

The very heavens shall reveal

His secrets, and the earth arise

Against him to unveil his lies,

And fire, unblown, at last prevail,

And his dishonour’d lineage fail.

This is the portion and the ban

From God unto the godless man.

The Christadelphian : Volume 16 Bd. 16. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1879, S. 16:72

 

Micah 7

 

Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy (covenanted) to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old” (Mic. 7:14–20). Now the days of coming out of Egypt under Moses were forty years. This is the typical period pointing to the exodus from “the Great City figuratively called Egypt.” Israel’s passing through the people’s wilderness to the Covenant-Land will occupy forty years. During this time the Lord God pleads with them as He did with their fathers in the days of Moses; and with the same result. The carcases of the adult generation fall in the wilderness, as it is written, “And they shall not enter into the land of Israel;” which is equivalent to “They shall not enter into my rest” (Ps. 95:11)—the Messianic Sabbatism in the holy land. “The bonds” or “discipline of the covenant” purges the rebels out and trains up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; so that the second-generation of the emancipated nation takes possession of the promised land under the new covenant. I find in the Mosaic representation of the truth that when Israel arrived in Moab, words were added to what was spoken in Horeb. Moses assembled the second generation there just previous to their invasion of Canaan, and his handing them over to the command of Joshua, another type of Christ. On that occasion he said, “Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; the captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, &c.—that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day: that he may establish thee to-day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Deut. 29:1, 10–13). The covenant with the nation in Horeb was regarded as having been really made with the second generation, not with those who perished in the wilderness. Hence Moses says to the people in the land of Moab, “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Jehovah made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day” (Deut. 5:2, 3.) After the same representation, then, we are to understand that when the nation shall hereafter be brought into “the bonds of the covenant,” the covenant will be regarded as being made, not with the rebels who transgress, but with those who shall constitute the nation forty years afterwards, and shall actually enter into the land of Israel.

 

The Christadelphian : Volume 22 Bd. 22. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1885, S. 22:196-197

 

James 3

HUMAN nature is much the same all the world over, and experience in England, Midlands, East, West, North, and South, convinces me that even among the brethren and sisters human nature is still a factor to be reckoned with.

A man may think that he has contracted an entirely new disease; but when he consults a wise old doctor he is surprised to find that a score of such patients have been there before him. A man may think that the desperately hard struggle he once experienced in the commercial world was a most exceptional case; but probably this conviction is simply due to the fact that his friends are as unwilling as he is to speak of such matters.

As in the case of individuals, so with ecclesias. One might think that an ecclesia never had any difficulties, if it never came under observation except in the rose-coloured light of occasional visits. But with greater knowledge one knows that human nature needs very much correction before it loses its native ugliness; that the difficulties of one ecclesia are duplicated in another; and that, generally speaking, the same cause underlies all the turmoil. Indeed, it seems that one who has studied human nature is more likely to strike to the very root of the evil if he addresses a meeting concerning which he knows nothing, than if he speaks to the ecclesia of which he is a member. One feels a natural reticence in the face of a known situation, whereas one speaks freely in the absence of such knowledge.

More than once in my experience, an exhortation delivered merely to human nature, without the slightest knowledge of local conditions, has given the impression that it was prompted by an account of ecclesial difficulties from some one on the spot. I should never dream of attempting to administer a rebuke to one party in a dispute unless I had heard all sides, and had formed the judgment that such an effort was necessary. It would not be right for any member of an ecclesia to approach a visiting speaker with the idea of making him the mouthpiece of a disappointed minority. It is to be hoped that no one would do this; but if it should ever be attempted it is to be hoped that a speaker would know how to ignore it. When there is a general impression that a speaker is aiming his remarks at a special section, some of those who listen will resent the exhortation while others will greatly appreciate it. But, alas, poor human nature! It will generally be found that the resentful hearers are those who think the exhortation is aimed at them; while the appreciative ones are those who think how will it apply to others. The ideal is that one should say: “It was a good exhortation. It was not aimed specially at anyone but I can apply it to myself.”

I have often wondered why brethren should be so anxious to speak in public even when they are not adapted for the work. It is, of course, possible for one to cherish such an ambition with the purest of motives, an honest desire to render service to truth. But there are so many ways in which service can be given without incurring a tenth part of the responsibility that rests upon those who labour in the word and doctrine.

“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that these shall receive greater condemnation.” Or the passage has been rendered:—

“Be not many teachers, knowing that these shall receive greater judgment.”

This is only in harmony with the saying of Christ that where much is given much will be required. It suggests sobering thoughts for those who realise the responsibilities of the position. It is not simply a question of producing some interesting ideas clothed in suitable language. A process of most careful selection is necessary sometimes in the very act of speaking, and those who hear the words that are uttered have no idea of the debris of rejected words left behind.

One who exhorts the ecclesia to which he belongs may sometimes feel like a man who, on entering a building, discovers that a fire has broken out there. Not a serious fire, yet, perhaps, but one which may, unless it is checked, grow in dimensions, until it ends in irreparable disaster. The means of checking the fire are available, ready to his hand; there are hundreds of tiny vessels containing liquid. Unfortunately, however, it is not all water. Some of the vessels contain water, others petrol, and others mixtures of unknown combinations and unknown effects. For the man to stand idle while the fire grows before his eyes would be criminal. For him to throw petrol on the flame in mistake for water would be that which a cynic once described as “worse than a crime”—it would be a blunder. He must test and select with all his faculties alert, and his nerves at full tension; and then it is possible that he may do something towards checking the fire and making the building safe.

 

The Christadelphian : Volume 50 Bd. 50. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1913, S. 50:162-163

 

SPEAKERS AND AUTHORITY

Brother H. writes:—

As the first century church members did not have equal authority to preach and teach, or to create an individual membership or fellowship, it would most certainly be unscriptural for us in this dispensation to do otherwise. Now, we do not desire to go to an extreme, such as clergy and laity, but of necessity there must be a moderate line of separation between speakers and teachers, and those who are passive congregation members. Thus my belief and experience is, that it is quite impossible for some minds to get a thorough grasp of intricate points of Bible truth. Take, for instance, this much-vexed question of Resurrectional Responsibility. At the same time, preachers and teachers must “speak the same things” in vital or fundamental doctrines. Variety of views may be allowed on other matters of detail, so long as they do not interfere with Christ and the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the preachers and teachers should all speak the things as set forth in the Declaration as amended. If they refuse to do this, then they cease to have authority to teach on Christadelphian platforms. But they should not be put out of fellowship, unless they purposely cause a division. What is required is the standard of authority, and not so much division among passive members. It should not be permitted, by vote or otherwise. If we, as a body, will do this, I believe it will cure a lot—not all—of the evil of schism, and personal grievances, etc.; also our speakers would be united. I am not advocating too loose a method of fellowship, far from it; but let us not go beyond the simple doctrines of the gospel, and in the case of some who naturally are not deep thinkers, I take it, a simple assent to all the doctrines of the Bible Declaration; but teachers should give proof of their authority to preach and teach. Thus, the word Fellowship is different from the word Authority.

Answer.—“The first century church” worked under very different conditions from ours of “this dispensation.” In the beginning there was “authority” divine in the person of the Lord, who was the manifestation of the God-head upon earth, Immanuel, “God with us,” and who “spoke God’s words” and did His works. “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” He had “power upon earth to forgive sins” and even to raise the dead, and the Father abundantly attested this. His disciples likewise were by him divinely authorised to preach and work, “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his own will.” It was dangerous and even sometimes death to withstand their word and work. Elymas (Acts 13.) and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5.) are examples. But where in this dispensation is anything even remotely like this? The “moderate line of separation,” very rightly desired by our correspondent, between the teachers and the taught in these days, can, in the absence of the open attestation of the Holy Spirit, only be attained by all concerned giving heed to the written word which has been given by that “one and the self-same Spirit.” By the apostle James, the spirit saith, “My brethren, be not many masters (do not many of you become teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (Jas. 3:1). This restrains a wise man. But many men are not wise. And this, without reference to ability “to grasp intricate points of Bible truth,” but with reference to mental and moral ability to grasp the plainest. Many suffer from an incurable “itch for writing and speaking,” as the Latins put it, or in the apostolic phraseology, “desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” Imagine what an affliction such must have been to Paul who did know, and could speak with God’s open approval! To Titus, his son in the faith, he wrote concerning “many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers,” saying of them, “whose mouths must be stopped.” But even he did not and could not stop these mouths. Much less can or shall we. The ultimate “standard authority” is the Word of God. The proximate, is such a definition of their understanding of the first principles thereof, as any body of believers may agree to adopt. In the absence of the Lord and his “authority to execute judgment” (Jno. 5:27) there is no other way of getting along than by mutual agreement upon these first principles in the spirit of love and mutual subjection as is required by the Word (1 Pet. 5:5). Human nature being what it is, much good cannot be hoped for in so evil a time as the present. Indeed, worse evils might easily be introduced in the endeavour to force a technical conformity to certain human conceptions of a “standard authority”; going beyond and astray from the first principles of the Word of God. The history of Christianity is a terrible illustration of the truth of this. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). No. Then let them separate. Both cannot be right. Both may be wrong. The Lord will judge. Division is ugly, possibly sinful, sometimes righteous. But, such things must be as Christ has told us (Lu. 12:51) until he come.  RR

 

The Christadelphian : Volume 58 Bd. 58. electronic ed. Birmingham : Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, 2001, c1921, S. 58:449-450

 

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Dec 14 • Job 16, 17    •    Habakkuk 2    •    2 Peter 1, 2

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What Manner of Persons Ought We To Be

 

Adversity, trials and tribulations. These words cannot truly describe the

conditions that the Apostles Peter, Paul and John were experiencing. The

conditions during the time of the last days of Judah's Commonwealth are

parallel and foreshadow the conditions that we all may see as the last days of

Man's Commonwealth looms ominously on the horizon.

The Ecclesias and Apostles had either been put to death or scattered

throughout the Roman Empire. We can see hints here and there of this in the

various epistles and from other historian's writings. The adversarial

relationship between the Jews and the Romans had been boiling for many

years and was finally about to erupt in to a situation from which there was no

turning back.

There has been much speculation and tradition amongst the historians

about what happened to Peter – the Apostle to the Jews. Bro. Thomas made

mention in Eureka, "The Jews had chased the surviving Apostles out of Judea,

by which they escaped the terrible calamities that were about to fall upon

Jerusalem, where they generally resided—Acts 8:1. John and Paul were no

more to be found in Judea; and Peter writes from Babylon 1 Pet. 5:13; but

died before the siege." Bro. Thomas then mentions that some have thought

148 that Peter was actually referring to Rome when he said Babylon. But

Bro. Thomas goes on to say, "What they (the Scriptures) testy we believe;

but whereon they are silent, we have no faith. Peter may refer to Rome in

using Babylon; but there is no evidence that he certainly does. If by Babylon,

he do indeed mean Rome, it favors the supposition that the Apocalypse was

written before his decease."

In any event, it shows the urgency that the Apostles, and Peter

specifically, were under when writing to the faithful at this time. Peter knew

that this message was to be his last and that it was the strength of his words

that would carry them through the difficult years ahead.

Peter writes concerning his second epistle, "This second epistle beloved I

now write unto you in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of

remembrance." From this verse we observe that it was Peter's endeavor to

stir up, through these 2 epistles, the mind of the brethren and sisters by way of

remembrance. Peter used the word remembrance several times in this second

epistle. He states, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in

remembrance." Again he said, "I think it meet as long as I am in this

tabernacle to stir you up by putting you in remembrance." And again, "I will

endeavor that ye may be able, after my decease, to have these things always in

remembrance ."

The thought behind the first use of the word remembrance is a die, a

stamp, a scar, a shape, a resemblance, a type, a figure – something that makes

an impression. When we observe what he had been speaking about, about

developing ourselves from step to step, until we rise unto the stature of the full

man in Christ, we can see that he has set before the believers what is required of

them. Those characteristics add, as he says, unto your faith, virtue, to virtue

knowledge, to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to

patience Godliness, and to Godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly

kindness charity or love. These are to be impressed upon us so that the marks

will show clearly. The apostle Paul said that, "He bore in his body the mark of

the Lord Jesus." The scars, the resemblance, the impression, the figure of the

Lord Jesus. This is necessary if we are to stand with Christ in the time of the

end as the multitudinous son of man.

When we appear before the judgment seat, there must be these marks of

resemblance - that tie with the family relationship of Christ, for him to invite

us into his eternal family and association. As Christ was the manifestation of

God, therefore, we are called to be the sons and daughters of God and must

put on these Divine characteristics.

When we study this period we see the adversity that all the Apostles were

under. Peter is apparently near his death at the time he wrote this second

epistle. That appears to be obvious from the beginning of this second epistle,

"Knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle, even as the Lord

Jesus has showed me." He had been advised that such was the case. Jesus had

shown him that he must suffer a similar death to Christ.

The lessons, that he was drawing to their attention, the believers already

knew. They were all ready well acquainted with the things of which he states.

Now, toward his death, he wished to give them a final exhortation to remain

firm and steadfast against the coming wickedness of ungodly men. Those who

would be drawn away from the Truth.

The next use of the word remembrance carries the idea of gently bringing

back to mind. Gently persuading and refreshing of the memory. "I think it

meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in

remembrance. " In remembering the early life of Peter we think of him being

impetuous - full of zeal without full understanding. We recall the words of

Christ, after his resurrection, to Peter when he told him to, "Feed my lambs.

Feed my sheep." That was what he was called to do – gently to feed them.

While he remained in this tabernacle, he would feed, gently, leading the sheep

under the care of God.

A slightly different aspect of the word remembrance is brought out a bit

later. It carries the idea of a monumental stone, a marker, or a tombstone.

When we see that Peter is now speaking of his death at the end of his ministry,

how fitting then that this word should be used in this instance.

He was, anticipating death. And it was his desire that the lessons should

be well impressed upon his hearers and should be a monument of his service

to the ecclesias. Not as a personal achievement of Peter's service, but as Paul

says, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh." But it was the hidden man

of the spirit.

This final message was carried to us by the Spirit through the preservation

of the Scriptures and its preservation was the memorial marker. That was to be

the inscription on the tombstone. If we think of Peter after the flesh, our minds

go to his reflection of the master. Full of zeal, as we have said, but not fully

developed. The cutting off of the ear of the servant of the High Priest, to

which Christ said, "Put thy sword into thy sheath. They that take the sword

shall perish with the sword." That was Peter after the flesh. And later we find

it necessary for Paul to correct Peter in the matter of the keeping of the law.

Those instances were not to be marked on the tombstone. This higher mark

was to be his message of life – of hope that we should bear in mind what he

stated, "By us, the Apostles and of the prophets."

The record that Peter leaves in his epistles is an exhortation for all of us to

look unto, that we may apply our minds unto those things which have been on

record for generations. Now he states that the things which he has taught them

and which he was now refreshing their minds about, were not cunningly

150 devised fables. But they were things which he had expressly received

from the Lord. He had actually witnessed the things that he was speaking

about. "for we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God

the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the

excellent glory, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." On the

mount of transfiguration, Peter, James and John heard those momentous

words. They saw and witnessed the glory of Jesus in his kingdom. The Word

is a light and a lamp and a witness for us to apply ourselves. It also teaches us

that there is no broken theme in the scriptures — that is the common theme or

thread running from cover to cover that Christ and the apostles gave witness.

"Knowing this first that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private

interpretation, for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man." It

wasn't a human fabrication. It wasn't cunningly devised fables as Peter says.

"Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." And so this

record — this marker of Peter's is a record that is preserved by the Holy Spirit.

Peter said, "Having the assurance of the things of the kingdom, beware, for

there shall be false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false

teachers among you."

There were false prophets in Israel in the past who would draw them away,

from the Truth as Paul also said to the Ephesians that their own elders should

rise. There would be those who would draw away disciples after them and who

would draw them away from the Truth. "And many shall follow their pernicious

ways by reason of whom the way of Truth shall be evil spoken of."

Now, to impress his hearers with the thought of the danger of the drawing

away, he calls their attention to two, outstanding, historical events. He warns

them to be watchful. "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast

them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved

unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah, the eighth

person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of

the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes

condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that

after should live ungodly; And 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" This is the case of Noah and seven others that were saved,

when the earth was destroyed by water and also the case of Lot and his two

daughters being saved out of the multitude of the wicked of Sodom and

Gomorrha. Then, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of

temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be

punished:"

God is in complete control. Regardless of the judgments he is to bring, it

is clearly shown that he is able to deliver the righteous, the few righteous, in

the day of trouble and adversity. So he warns us not to be disturbed by

these things which overthrow and trouble the brotherhood. This was coming

about quickly at this time, as Paul had also said should come about.

They were not to be disturbed to the point of loosing faith in God, but as

Peter warned them again of the dangers of worldly associations, telling them,

and us, to keep separate. He says that they were as natural brute beasts. They

shall utterly perish in their own corruption. And he likens them to Balaam the

son of Bosor who loved the wages of unrighteousness.

He states that all such are wells without water, clouds that are carried with

the tempest. Not like the Word of God. There is no water in them. Coming

unto them, there is no refreshing. They promised liberty, but they themselves

are the servants of corruption. They are bound by their lusts – their

wickedness. For he said, "of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he

brought in bondage." He is held a servant to his lusts. In these last days of the

Gentile times we too can see the lusts that surround us and bombard us daily

from newspapers, computers, billboards and the like. There are many

enticements to the weak of mind. It is up to us to help each other in

strengthening the body.          FJH

 

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------------------------------------------------
Dec 18   Job 22     Haggai 1,2     1John 5
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The Apocalypse in Haggai

HAGGAI prophesied about a century after Zephaniah; and was

contemporary with Zechariah, and the rebuilding of the Temple after

the return from Babylon. He stirred the people up to finish it. Zerubbabel,

son of David, and ancestor of Joseph the husband of Mary,

and of Mary and Jesus, was Governor of Judah under the Persians;

and Joshua, the son of Josedech, high priest. These were "men of sign;"

that is, men representative of ONE, who shall afterwards himself occupy,

at one and the. same time, the position of Governor and High Priest of

the nation. Zerubbabel and Joshua are so regarded both by Haggai and

Zechariah. In reference to the apocalypse of the Holy One they typified,

Jehovah says in Haggai, "Yet once, it is a little while, and I will

shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry; and I

will shake all nations, and that to be desired of all nations they shall

come (*iaa bahu, 3 p. plur.), and I will fill this house with glory. And

this "yet once more," says Paul, "signifieth the removing of those

things which may be shaken as of things that are constituted, that those

things which cannot be shaken may remain." The heavens and earth

shaken in the Babylonian desolation, were shaken "once more" in the

Roman. But the time approaches when the heavens, earth, sea, and

dry land of the Gentile world, are also to be convulsed. Therefore

Jehovah commanded Haggai to speak to Zerubbabel, and say, "I will

shake the heavens and the earth: and I will overthrow the thrones of

kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the

nations; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them;

and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the

sword of his brother. In that day, saith Jehovah of armies, I will take

thee, Ο Zerubbabel, my servant, son of Shealtiel, and will make thee as

a signet; for I have chosen thee, saith Jehovah of armies"—ch. 2 : 6,

7, 21-23. Now as these things did not come to pass in the lifetime of

Zerubbabel, he was either a representative of his descendant the Son of

Mary who shall be the ensign; or he must be raised from the dead if it

is to be personally accomplished in him. Whichever alternative may

be accepted, this is certain, that Zerubbabel is to be a living man when

the shaking of the nations predicted shall come to pass. The prophecy

then, relates to our future, and will be found hereafter to have been incorporated

in some of the scenes of the Apocalypse.

Eureka Vol. 1 pg. 53 Logos edition

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------------------------------------------------
Dec 19   Job 23, 24    Zech 1     2, 3 John
------------------------------------------------

 

The Apocalypse in Zechariah.

The next prophet in the order of the Old Testament is ZECHARIAH;

a book which, like all the preceding, is intimately connected with the

Apocalypse of the Anointed Jesus. Zechariah was contemporary with

Zerubbabel, Joshua the High Priest, and Haggai, and prophesied about

520 years before the birth of Jesus.

Like John in Patmos, Zechariah had a Vision of Horses of divers

colors—red horses, bay horses, and pale horses, ranged behind a Man

upon a red horse, standing among myrtle-trees. The branches of myrtle-

trees were used in the construction of booths under which Israel

dwelt in celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. In their rebelliousness

the Jews are regarded as briers and thorns; but in restoration, because

of righteousness, they are olive-branches, pine-branches, myrtle-branches,

and palm-branches. When, therefore, it is prophesied in Isaiah 55 : 13,

"Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the

brier shall come up the myrtle-tree: and it shall be to Jehovah for a

name, for an Aion-memorial that shall not be cut off;" and in Ch. 41 :

19, "I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shi..ah-tree, and the

myrtle, and the olive-tree: I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the pine,

and the box-tree together; that they may see, and know, and consider,

and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah hath done this, and

the Holy One of Israel (Christ) hath created it:"—when these things

are declared, it not only imports that the land previously desolate shall

become like Eden, the Garden of Jehovah (Ezek. 36 : 35), but that

all its inhabitants in Messiah's Olahm, the Millennial Aion, shall be

trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he might be

glorified"—Isai. 61 : 3.

These considerations fix the time of Zechariah's horses at rest,—at the

Feast of Tabernacles first ensuing, when the Holy One of Israel, the

Man on the Red Horse, shall have completed his conquests, and shall

be Prince of Peace in the midst of Israel. He and his cavalry march

to and fro through the earth with blood, signified by redness, famine by

the bay, and pestilence by the pale or whitish, until the earth is reduced

to submission, and obtains rest from these calamities. This vision is

reproduced in the Apocalypse, only on a more extended scale; but with

the same result.

"Thus saith Jehovah of armies," who, as Moses saith, "is a Man of

War" and "a Jealous Power," "I am jealous for Jerusalem and for

Zion with great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the

nations at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped

forward the affliction." Now, if this were the state of Jehovah's mind

in the days of Zechariah, what must be the intensity of his jealousy for

Jerusalem and Zion at this day! The Chaldeans destroyed Jerusalem,

and burned the temple, and overturned the kingdom and throne of

David; and he punished the Chaldean Babylon with the loss of empire,

and a conversion into heaps of ruins as at this day. The Roman nations

followed in their steps; and have aggravated the affliction and their own

guilt, by great cruelty towards Israel, and slaughters, or rather torments

inflicted upon the brethren of Jesus, the Saints. The Little Horn Babylon,

therefore, of our times, will be subjected to a more terrible vengeance

than hitherto experienced by any power, or confederacy of powers, hostile

to the Jews.

The decree of Jehovah concerning Jerusalem and Zion hath gone

forth; and he commanded Zechariah to proclaim it, saying, "Thus saith

Jehovah of armies, My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread

abroad; and Jehovah shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem."

But how shall this come to pass?

In reference to this inquiry the prophet is introduced to another

scene—the visions of the Four Horns, and of the Four Carpenters or

artificers. He is told that the Horns represent the powers by which

Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem are scattered; answering to the Lion, the

Bear, the Leopard, and the Fourth Beast of Daniel; whose oppression

has so completely scattered the power of Judah, "that no man doth lift

up his head." And in this prostrate condition the Jews and Jerusalem

must remain until the "Four Carpenters" are apocalypsed or revealed

for the work assigned them. This work the prophet says, is to terrify

the horns; to make them afraid; to cast out the horns of the nations,

which lift up their horn, or power, over the land of Judah to scatter it.

No such power, with such a mission, has appeared since the days of the

prophet: on the contrary, all the powers that have arisen have been

Gentile, and ambitious of exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem and

Judea, as at this day. These "Four Carpenters" are, therefore, not

Gentile, but of Jewish nationality; and are yet to be apocalypsed, or

revealed. We may here say in passing, that they are the Brethren of

the Carpenter's Son; the squadrons of the Man in the midst of the myrtle-

trees; the Seraphim of Isaiah; the Four Cherubim of Ezekiel; and

the Four Living Ones of the Apocalypse.

These are they by whom the Horns of the Gentiles are to be broken,

and the Holy Land and City are to be avenged, and Zion comforted.

But the prophet and his friends would, doubtless, delight to know "the

times and seasons" when Jerusalem should be exalted to the dignity of

"Jehovah's throne"—Jer. 3 : 17. Might this happen in Zechariah's

day; or when Ezekiel's 430 years were expired during which Judah and

Israel were to eat defiled bread among the Gentiles (4 : 4-6, 13); or

were there any times measured offihsX must expire before the work of

the Four Carpenters could be commenced?

To afford them some idea of the fact in relation to this matter, another

vision was granted to the prophet. He saw a man with a measuring

line in his hand, who told him he was going to measure the length and

breadth of Jerusalem. He saw by this that there were measurements,

and that the fortunes of the city were not abandoned to accident or

caprice. He was told what the line of Jerusalem's humiliation extended

to; but he was not informed of the number of the years that humiliation

should continue. He could not discern from what he saw, whether the

treading of Jerusalem under foot by the Gentiles should terminate in

A.D. 35, when the apostles inquired if the kingdom should then be restored

again to Israel; or in A.D. 1864-8, to which we look with earnest

expectation. Zechariah was told what the line was for, but he was

not informed of the details of the measurements. These details were

reserved by the Father, to be communicated afterwards to the Anointed

Jesus, that he might send and "indicate them by sign," represent them

symbolically, to his servant John. The apocalypse, however, to which

the "measuring line" extended, was communicated to Zechariah. He

was told these words, "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without

walls, for the multitude of men and cattle therein:" and the reason given

why it should be so secure in such a country was, "Because, saith

Jehovah, I will be unto her a Wall of Fire (the Jasper-wall of Apoc.

21 : 12, 14, 18) round about her, and will be the Glory (the Jasperstone,

clear as crystal— ver. 11) in the midst of her."

He perceived from this, as we may also perceive, that Jehovah would

appear in Jerusalem at the end of the measuring line. He found also,

by attending to the words spoken, that when he should be therein apocalypsed

or unveiled, he will make a proclamation to the Israelites dwelling

in the countries north of Jerusalem, called "the Land of the North,"

the territory under the dominion of Gog, the then Head of the Little

Horn Babylon of our future. The Israelites dwelling in this Babylon-

Confederacy of Greeks and Latins are thus addressed in the proclamation

stirring them up to war, "Ho! ho! Come forth and escape from the land

of the north, saith Jehovah; for I have spread you abroad as the four

winds of the heavens. Deliver thyself, Ο Zion, that dwellest with the

daughter of Babylon." Here is a call upon the Jews to rise against the

governments of the nations, and doubtless because those governments

will not regard the proclamation of the Apoc. 14 : 6, 7. Zion, thus appealed

to, will respond to the invitation; and in concert with the Four

Carpenters (the resurrected saints and the true believers living at the

time of the proclamation) proceed to break in pieces and consume the

power of the nations. These are to be spoiled and subjugated by their

servants, the Jews; and after that the glory will be apocalypsed. Things

will proceed very much upon ordinary principles before the public; only

those who carry on the insurrection, or revolution, will know the reality

of things. This is the import of the words spoken to Zechariah in connection

with the call upon Zion to "arise and thresh the nations"—

Mic. 4:13. "After the glory he sent me unto the nations which spoiled

you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of Jehovah's eye."

"For, behold, I will shake my hand upon them, and they shall be a

spoil to their servants; and ye shall know that Jehovah of armies hath

sent me," the Christ. "After the glory" is apocalypsed in Jerusalem,

in other words, after Messiah effects his entrance into Jerusalem, the

work begins that is to result in removing the veil from the mind of Israel

with respect to Jesus; in their restoration to Palestine; in the subjugation

of the nations; and their subsequent enlightenment.

When this work is accomplished the apocalyptic millennary is

introduced, in which the things expressed in the following words of

Zechariah became the order of the times: "Sing and rejoice, Ο

daughter of Zion; for, lo! I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee,

saith Jehovah; and many nations shall be joined to Jehovah in that day

(the Day of Christ), and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the

midst of thee; and thou shalt know that Jehovah of armies sent me

(Jesus) unto thee. And Jehovah shall inherit Judah, his portion in the

Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be at rest, Ο all flesh,

from before Jehovah; for he is risen up from the habitation of his

holiness"—ch. 2 : 13.

The mind of the prophet having been thus fixed upon Him who is to

deliver Israel, and to rule over them in Jerusalem, becomes the subject

of a vision in which is brought before him the Apocalyptic Stone, the

Jasper and Sardine Stone, with Seven Eyes, the Head Stone, whose

graving is of Jehovah; and which being laid before Joshua and Zerubbabel,

men of sign, is representative of the Divine Governor and High

Priest of the house of David. He sees Joshua, the High Priest of the

Restoration, angelized, and clothed in filthy garments. That is, he represents

the Christ, in the capacity of Jehovah's Messenger, "the Angel

of the Covenant," clothed with "the flesh of sin," in which, Paul tells us,

"dwells no good thing." While Joshua was in these filthy garments,

Zechariah sees the Adversary at his right-hand; that is, in power, standing

to resist him. This represents the resistance of power that would

be brought to bear against the Christ in the days of his flesh. But that

the Adversary should not finally prevail is indicated by the words of

Jehovah to the Adversary, saying, "Jehovah shall restrain thee, Ο

Satan; even Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem shall restrain thee:

Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" That is, that although the

Adversary that possessed Jerusalem might resist the High Priest of the

Order of Melchizedec, and wound him in the heel, He shall, nevertheless,

wrest Jerusalem from his grasp, and restrain, or bind him, as is

apocalyptically represented in ch. 20 : 1-3.

While Zechariah was beholding, he saw the garments of Joshua, the

High Priest, changed; and was instructed that the action represented

the putting away of iniquity which the priest is supposed to bear. In

this we see, by the light of New Testament, the change of nature,

or body, in relation to the Christ, "whom," says Paul, "we know henceforth

no more after the flesh." He was crucified in "flesh of sin;" and

then sin was "condemned in the flesh." But when he rose again he

became spirit-body, called by Paul pneuma hagiosunes, spirit of holiness—

Kom. 1:4. He is now the Angel-High Priest of Jehovah, no

longer oppressed with our filthy nature, but "clothed in a garment white

as snow" (Dan. 7 : 9) reaching to the foot (Apoc. 1 : 13): and the

words of Jehovah are now addressed to him, saying, "If thou wilt walk

in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge

my house (rule my kingdom), and shalt also keep my courts (be High

Priest of Israel), and I will give thee places to walk among those that

stand by," the Angel Princes, or Elohim, we read of in Daniel.

Eureka Vol 1 pg 54  Logos edition 

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--------------------------------------------———---
Dec 22   Job 29, 30    Zech 6,7     Rev 3,4
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A Review of Revelation

 

The Book of Revelation is Christ’s last message to his people—a book of exaltation, comfort and enlightenment. It is an outline of history from God’s point of view from John’s day until the end of the millennium—the development of God’s purpose. And it is important that we endeavor to keep these things before our minds.

Chapter 1 is an introduction, stating it to be a message from God through Christ to Christ’s Brethren, revealing in sign, “things which must shortly come to pass.”

Verse 3 – “Blessed is he that readeth,” that is, who values the message and applies himself to it, heareth, pays attention, and accepts what it says, and keepeth—bears it in mind and puts it into practice in his life. To say that such are blessed is to say in effect that such as do not do so are not blessed. Herein is the vital importance of constant study of the word. Only such are blessed and will be blessed.

The Revelation portrays the age-old struggle between the Truth and the apostasy, which began in the Garden of Eden—the enmity, the true bride, and the false woman—Jerusalem and Rome. And the more we know about it and understand its true meaning, the more firmly we can keep separate and keep on the right side of the enmity—the very narrow way. This is a Roman world and all nations are drunk with the wine of her fornication. Let us not be among them. We particularly notice this at the time of the year, and the line of demarcation is clear.

The latter part of chapter 1, from verse 10 forward introduces the symbolic Son of Man—the multitudinous Christ and the messages to the seven representative ecclesias of Asia Minor.

Chapters 2 and 3 contain these messages. They are a cross section of ecclesial life as viewed by Christ. The key thought with which each begins is “I know thy works.” And we notice the emphasis upon “works,” so belittled in Protestantism. All is known, noted and permanently recorded. Mainly they are urgent warnings. To five of the seven, he has to say “repent, or else.” Things were not good in the ecclesias. They never have been. Only a very few will be saved. We must take both warning and encouragement from this, and we must constantly compare ourselves, not with each other, but with the perfect standard of the Word.

Chapter 4 is a vision of the end. God manifested in Christ on the glorious throne of David, surrounded by his immortalized brethren who are portrayed by the Israelitish symbols of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. Before the throne is a sea of glass—the pacified and purified nations of the peoples of the world to whom Christ has said, “Peace, be still,”—no longer a troubled sea casting up mire and dirt. And circling the throne is the rainbow of the everlasting covenant—the emerald green of everlasting life.        GVG

 

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--------------------------------------------———---
Dec 23   Job 31,32       Zech 8     Rev 5,6
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A Review of Revelation

 

Chapter 5 introduces the seven-sealed scroll, which contains the historic revelation. It is written inside and out—that is, the things to do with the people of God on the inside and the things of the nations on the outside.

The call is made (verse 2) for someone worthy to open the scroll. No one can be found, and John weeps (verse 4). To open the scroll is to put in motion the events recorded. The Divine plan—the working out of the development of a people, the abolishing of sin and death and the filling of the earth with God’s glory—cannot be fulfilled until someone is found worthy to do so.

John next sees (verse 6) a lamb that had been slain but now lives. It stands in the midst of the throne, identifying it with the occupant of the throne, but representing a different aspect of Christ’s work. The lamb takes the scroll (verse 7), and all creation (verses 8 to the end of the chapter) give praise and honor to him and proclaim his worthiness.

Chapter 6 begins the historical outline. It records the opening of the first six seals. It covers 228 years, from 96 AD (John’s day) to 325 AD, the establishment of Constantine as sole emperor—the first, so-called, “Christian emperor.”

The first seal (verse 1) opens with thunder—the assassination of the Emperor Domitian, who had banished John to Patmos. This seal covers 87 years, from 96 to 183 AD, described by the historians as the happiest years of human history—a period of peace and prosperity under five strong, capable, intelligent emperors devoted to public service and well being.

John saw (verse 2) a horse representing the Roman Empire. It was white, symbolizing peace and well-being. It was ridden by a bowman who was given a crown of victory and went forth conquering. This peaceful conqueror was the Ecclesia of Christ overcoming paganism. In a sense, this bowman continues all through the book. His conquering is really the theme of the book—it’s eventual conquering the destruction of all paganism—the flesh.

Verse 3 – The second seal—a red horse, and the rider with a great sword to take peace form the earth, to kill one another. From 180 to 211 AD there was a complete and sudden and dramatic change in the Empire. Commodus, son of the previous emperor and a vile incompetent youth, inherited the throne of the world. Because of debauchery and tyranny, an attempt was made by one of the senate to assassinate him. Aroused, he began a wholesale destruction of senators and influential men. He was killed and the army seized control. The senate appointed an emperor, and the army killed him, because he cut their allowance. The army sold the throne to another senator, and after two months they killed him. Two more claimants were killed within a year or so. These conditions led to the events of the next seal.

Verse 5 – The third seal—a black horse and a rider with balances—wheat and barley at famine prices. The balances indicate taxation and scarcity. The period from 211 to 235, 24 years—5 emperors; all were killed. Some were dissolute monsters, imposing heavy taxes, incompetent administration, squandering the treasury on the army to hold its support. Taxation and oppression were such that vast areas went out of cultivation. It didn’t pay to farm. The final emperor of the period cut taxes to 1/30 of what they had been and began to restore order and prosperity. The army killed him and anarchy reigned.

Verse 7 – The fourth seal—a pale horse and the rider was death and hell (the grave) followed. Power was given to them to kill the fourth part of the earth with sword, hunger, pestilence and wild beasts. In the period from 235 to 284 AD, 49 years, there were 39 emperors or claimants, and they all died violently except one. There was constant strife and bloodshed. The army murdered any emperor who tried to do good and restore order. Industry and agriculture collapsed. A plague due to food scarcity raged for 15 years, and nearly half of the population of the Empire died. We can see that the Roman Empire destroyed itself long before the barbarians came.

Verse 9 – The fifth seal—an entirely different picture. This concerns events within the household—the inside of the scroll. The souls under the altar that were slain for the Word of God, crying for vengeance against the oppressor. History records ten persecutions of the Christians by the pagan Roman emperors from Nero to Diocletian. And this was the tenth, the worst and the last, from 303 to 313—10 years. All who held religious meetings or were found in possession of the Scriptures were to be put to death. All who refused to worship the Roman gods could not hold office or have the protection of the law.

Verse 12 – The sixth seal—a great earthquake. There are four earthquakes in the Revelation. All involve a complete change of government—both political and religious—a complete sweeping of one order out of power and the rise of another. They are: 1st, this earthquake, which cast out the pagans and elevated the so-called Christians. 2nd, the Julian earthquake, about 40 years later, which reversed this briefly and put the pagans back in power. 3rd, the French Revolution that ended the Holy Roman Empire after 1000 years of rule and began modern history. And finally, the 4th and last, the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom.

We are considering the first earthquake. “The sun became black”—the pagan emperorship was extinguished. “The moon became as blood”—the priesthood was slain, the pagan priesthood. “The stars of heaven fell”—all the subordinate officials. Heaven itself was rolled up as a scroll—the whole government apparatus rolled up and swept away as finished.     GVG

 

fhigham

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Dec 24    Job 33       Zech 9       Rev 7,8,9
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A Review of Revelation

 

Chapter 7 – The sealing of the servants of God—going back to the inside of the scroll. Verse 1 – The angels hold back the four winds. These are the wind trumpets of chapter 8 – the barbarian invasions that were to destroy the Western Roman Empire centered in Rome. The barbarians were now providentially held back for a period of about 50 years, from 325 to 375 AD, so that God’s servants could be sealed under these entirely new circumstances. The establishment of Christianity, so-called, and the rise to political power about 315 AD by the victory of Constantine was a tremendous change for the true people of God. There had to be a new sorting out and a new line up—a new feeling. Up to this point, Christians, real or pretended, were all one body in the eyes of the government, whether they joined the world and took the sword and entered politics or remained faithful to the Truth. But now there is a complete open and public cleavage. The worldly and nominal—the overwhelming majority—rise to power. The faithful brethren disassociate themselves from these and call upon all others to stand with them against the new imperial apostasy—to come out and be separate. The true brethren are the angel from the east (verse 2) who are to seal a symbolic 144,000 out of the tribes of Israel. This is spiritual Israel, which is now apostate—now raised to political power under Constantine. The faithful must be taken out of that formerly faithful, but now corrupt, body—the Laodecean state.

The latter part of chapter 7, verses 9-17, show the final result of the sealing—not only just of this 50-year period of sealing, but the end of the whole process down through the centuries—the great multitude glorified with the lamb.

Chapter 8 – The seventh seal is opened. “There is silence in heaven (verse 1) about half an hour.” This was the last peaceful 14 years of Constantine’s reign from 324 to his death in 337 AD, after he had completely obliterated the pagan power and defeated all his opponents. The symbolic hour here being 30 years, and this is half hour about.

The seventh seal is revealed (verse 2) as composed of seven trumpets of judgment, and these are in answer to the prayers of the saints of verses 3-4. As soon as the Catholics come to power under Constantine, they persecuted the true believers, who testified against them and would not conform to them and condemned them as apostate. The angel with the incense censor of the saint’s prayers (verse 5) cast fire upon the earth, causing thunder, lightening and an earthquake. This is the 25-year civil war that broke out from 337 to 361 AD at Constantine’s death among his sons, culminating in the Julian earthquake. Julian, 361 to 363, the last ruler of Constantine’s line, briefly restored paganism and cast out the Catholics from power with great persecutions. He testified truly that Christians had no part in war or politics, and so he threw them out, according to their own original teachings, which they had abandoned. When he died, Catholicism came back permanently to power in the Empire.

Verse 6 of chapter 8 – The seven angels with the trumpets prepare to sound. There is a period of preparation first before they sound. The Goths from the north, the barbarians, were on the Danube border north of the Empire. They had been converted to the so-called Christianity, and they were relatively peaceful and friendly. They were awed by the ancient grandeur and civilization of Rome. Beyond them, the fiercer Huns were pressing in upon them. The Goths asked to be allowed to cross the Danube into the safety of the Empire and to settle along the border. This appealed to the Romans, and they let them in and trained and armed them as a border defense against the Huns. But the Goths soon awoke to their own strength and to the Empire’s weakness. They became more and more demanding for pay and privileges. This was the preparing to sound. In 376, war broke out between the Goths and the Romans. The Romans were defeated and the Emperor slain. This was the sounding of the first trumpet. “Hail and fire mingled with blood” cast upon the Roman earth and a third of the trees—the outstanding men—and all of the grass—the people—was burned. On and off during the next 35 years, 376 to 410, the Goths ravaged a large part of the Empire, culminating in the capturing and pillaging of Rome itself in 410 AD, which had never before been conquered ever since its founding 1100 years before.

Verse 8 – The second trumpet—“a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became as blood.” In 429, the Vandals, who had occupied Spain moved into Africa and within 10 years, by 439, had conquered much of North Africa, taking it away from Rome. Then they took to the sea, building a huge fleet, which totally dominated the western Mediterranean and pillaged all its coasts. Rome built a large fleet to try to stop them, but the Vandals completely destroyed it. Rome built another fleet, but the Vandals defeated them again. And in 455 they came by sea and captured Rome, reeking such destruction upon it—such senseless, wanton destruction, that their name ever since has stood for such kind of mindless destruction—vandalism. This was the burning mountain that made the sea blood.

Verse 10 – The third trumpet—a great burning star or meteorite fell upon the rivers and fountains of waters. We have seen pictures of what happens to the earth and the trees when a large meteorite strikes the earth. This was the brief but terrible career of Attila the Hun—ruthless, barbaric, cruel in warfare. With a vast horde from central Asia, he ravaged Northern Italy, right down to the gates of Rome and forced Rome to pay tribute.

Verse 12 – The fourth trumpet—“the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars.” Here the sun being smitten brings us back to the pattern of the government being changed—the head rulership. The western part of the Roman Empire with Rome as its head, now fell to the barbarians. In 476, the Goths under Odoacer deposed the last emperor, and Italy became a barbarian kingdom. The divine judicial work of the four wind trumpets was completed. The Western Roman Empire was ended.

God’s judgments now turn to the Eastern Roman Empire, whose government is centered at Constantinople. The fifth and sixth trumpets of chapter 9 describe the judgments against this area. There is a 150-year gap between the end of chapter 8—the fall of Rome in 476 AD—and the beginning of chapter 9 in the early 600’s, when we come into the time of the Arabs. From some points of view, chapter 9 is the most interesting chapter in the book, because of how vivid the imagery is. The fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpets are spoken of as the Woe Trumpets, as the first four are referred to as the Wind Trumpets, because of the language used in connection with them.

Verse 1 - The fifth angel sounded; a star—Mohammed—fell from heaven unto the earth, and he was given a key with which (verse 2) he opened the pit of the abyss, out of which came smoke, and (verse 3) out of the smoke came locusts, which were given power to torment but not to kill. They were told in scriptural language (verse 4) to hurt only the men of the apostasy. They had hair like women; they were in shape like horses. They were given tormenting power for two periods of five months each. According to the simplest day-for-a-year symbol, this is two periods of 150 years each, or 300 years total for their rise and fall.

There are many striking items in the Revelations that seem to shout out their own interpretation, and of them this chapter is perhaps the most striking. It deals with the two great foreign powers that came against the Eastern Roman Empire—the first to torment and the second to destroy. There were two, and only two, in history, and they stand out very vividly—the Arabs, from about 630-930, and the Turks, from about 1060-1453—the year of the final obliteration of the Eastern Roman power. These two powers are unmistakably portrayed in this chapter. Every detail fits perfectly.

 The bottomless pit (verses 1 & 2) is called in the Revised Version the pit of the abyss—a more literal translation. The abyss, or unmeasured, is the whole area outside the Roman world. Abyss means bottomless, unmeasured, or unmeasurable. The pit, or low place, of the abyss is shown by the history of the case to be the long valley up from Arabia through the Dead Sea area—the pit, or lowest place, on the face of the earth. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on the earth, fitly spoken of as the pit, out of which these locusts poured.

Once they had the key to this, that is control of it, they issued like a cloud of smoke that on closer appearance became a cloud of destructive locusts, and closer still became fierce-faced, long haired, yellow turbaned, horsemen warriors. It is a very dramatic picture. The identification that we have is irresistible. Never before and never since have the Arabs done anything like it. For 150 years, they spread invincibly over all the Mid-East possessions of Eastern Rome, and all North Africa, and all of Spain. Then for another 150 years, they gradually declined in power and importance. The similarity to a sudden destructive swarming of locust is remarkable. And the principle target of their fanatic religious zeal was the idolatrous, Trinitarian, Catholic clergy. “Cleave only the shaven skulls,” one of their early leaders instructed them. This was a religious war. We notice that that is almost a direct quotation of verse 4.

The sixth trumpet is even more striking and unmistakable, if possible. Verse 14 – “Loose the four angels bound in the great River Euphrates.” There were four separate successive waves of Turks—four separate nationalities, separated quite widely in time—the Seljuks, the Moguls, the Tartars, and the Ottomans—each with its own separate period. Of the leader of the first wave, Gibbon says, “He passed the Euphrates at the head of the Turkish cavalry and entered Cappadocia.”  Of another leader a little later, Gibbon says, “He passed the Euphrates and his flying cavalry laid waste the country as far as the Hellespont.” Notice that the Euphrates is the barrier crossed. The four angels bound by the great river Euphrates were to be loosed. And notice that cavalry were the striking feature all through the Turkish picture. The Arabs were horsemen, and were so shown in the symbol. The Turks, even more so, as to multitude, all were mounted—armies of 100,000, or 200,000, even 300,000 horsemen are mentioned in history. This was their terrible power and mobility. Never before, or since, in history, has the horse been such a decisive factor in war. Nothing could resist them, and they could cover tremendous distances. It was the original Blitzkrieg.

Verse 15 – Their period was an hour, day, month, and year. At a-day-for-a-year this is 391 years, if we take a year as 360 days as it usually is in Scripture; or 396 years, if we take a year as the exact 365 days. It’s only a five year difference. Either way, it fits perfectly. The first leader who attacked the Eastern Roman Empire captured Baghdad in 1055 and became supreme beyond the Euphrates, that is, he ruled up to the Euphrates. He died in 1063. Figured either way, the time period measured back from the fall of Constantinople—a very specific date—starts within his short reign.

Verse 16 – Two hundred million horsemen—nothing like it in history ever before or since. But for the whole period of the Turkish scourge (nearly 400 years), this figure is reasonable and probable. Repeatedly, Gibbon mentioned the myriads of Turkish cavalry.

Verse 17 – “Out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.” Constantinople was captured in 1453 with, and could not have been captured without, giant cannons—an entirely new development in warfare, and brimstone (sulphur) was the basis of the gunpowder used—certainly unknown when the Revelation was written. Its massive fortifications had withstood sieges for 1000 years. (Actually the Eastern Roman Empire had had been very weak for hundreds of years, but Constantinople’s invincible position kept it alive.) The Turkish cannon broke down the walls of Constantinople and finally obliterated the Eastern Roman Empire. The Arabs were commissioned to torment the Empire but not to kill. The Turks were to completely destroy it.

Verse 18 – “By these three (fire, smoke, and brimstone—the cannon) was the third part of men killed.”    GVG

 

fhigham

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Dec 25    Job 34       Zech 10       Rev 10,11
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A Review of Revelation

 

Chapter 10 – This is the mighty rainbowed angel clothed with the clouds, (verse 2) puts his feet on both sea and land, holding an open book of thunder judgments, and crying (verse 6) “that there should be time no longer.” John (verse 4) is not to reveal the contents of the little open book, but (verse 9) to himself eat the scroll. This is Christ and the saints subduing the world. This chapter is one of the things of the inside of the scroll. (You notice we go back and forth—inside and out.)

The Revelation is not just an outline of human history. It is a loving message of inspiration and hope for Christ’s brethren. Its aspect as history is incidental. Its aspect for Christ’s brethren is fundamental. That is why we have interspersed such glorious chapters as 7 and 10. These are the real living things; human history is the dead outer shell—utterly without meaning apart from God’s purpose. That is why so much of it that man thinks is important is not even mentioned.

Eureka  This "little scroll" is the most important fragment of the apocalypse. It contains the catastrophy of the plot, without which all the rest would be of little interest to the believer. By the angel holding the little scroll "in his hand," his power is identified with the execution of its contents, and the character of these is indicated by his voice. They are "the lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and earthquake, and great hail," of ch. xi. 19—the judgments of the seventh vial; which exhaust the wrath of Deity, and give victory to the saints, and rest for a thousand years—ch. xv. 2 ; xiv. 13; xx. 4  vol 2 pg 544

 

Chapters 11, 12, and 13 deal with special subjects:  11 – the two witnesses; 12 – the woman and the dragon; 13 – the two beasts. Chapter 11 is still part of the sixth trumpet, for the seventh does not sound until the close of this chapter 11.

Verse 1, of chapter 11 – (We go back now to the West.) John is given a reed like a rod to measure the temple of God. The rod is clearly a measurement of affliction, as verse 2 shows, “They shall tread the holy city under foot 42 months,” which is 1260 day-years.

Verse 3 – Two witnesses are to prophesy in sackcloth, which represents affliction and mourning, for 1260 days: A downtrodden temple, sackcloth witnesses, and a period of 1260 years. Verse 7 – At the end of that period the beast kills the witnesses. Verses 8 and 9 – They lie dead but unburied in the street, or broad place, of the great city, rejoiced over (verse 10) by the followers of the beast. Verses 11 and 12 – After 3 ½ days they rise and ascend to heaven. Great fear falls on those who see them. Verse 13 – There was a great earthquake, and the tenth of the great city fell; seven thousand names of men are slain, the remnant gave glory to God.

Again, history fits perfectly. The Catholic Church came to imperial power under Constantine in 312 AD. Immediately, the false brethren, now in political power, began to persecute the faithful who kept separate from the apostasy, and tried to force them into line. This began a 1260-year sackcloth witnessing against the Man of Sin—the god of the earth.

 1260 years from 312, when Constantine came to power, is 1572—the Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre of the Huguenots—the opening gun of a concerted war to stamp out parsonism in the Papal dominion. The Pope commanded a great jubilee and had medals made to commemorate the bloody victory of Catholicism over the Huguenots. France was the central scene of this war. France is the street, or broad place, of the great city. Rome being the great city (verse 8) and there was also the tenth of that city, that is the outstanding tenth, out of the ten divisions of the Roman Empire—the primary tenth. Ever since Charlemagne, king of the Franks in the ninth century, defended the Pope and reestablished his authority in Europe, France was considered the eldest son of the church—the chief or principle tenth of the great city. And in this period France fell; that is, fell as far as Catholic power is concerned.

History is not, of course, always clear-cut in sharp breaks from one period to another. But certain dates are typical, significant, and major turning points. In 1685, the Edict of Nance, which had given certain rights to the French Protestants, was revoked. This marked the death of the witnesses. In 1687, just two years later, a Huguenot, a Bible student, Peter Jurieu, writing on the Revelation, identified this as the death of the witnesses, and predicted that France, as the tenth of the great Papal city Rome, would break away from the Pope, and lead the period when the king of the earth would turn against the Papacy and greatly torment it. This is exactly what happened as we see in the vial. This is another very powerful confirmation of the basic soundness of the historical interpretation of the Revelation, because this man foresaw from the Revelation the general outline of what was to come.

There were two witnesses. This indicates a distinction—two classes. They were the true woman and the earth, which helped the woman. The Brethren of Christ, who held the Truth and kept separate from the world, on the one hand, and on the other all in the world, who for various reasons—social, political, or religious—opposed the Papacy and sought liberty. It is the latter class—the outer shell, which appears in history. The Huguenots were of the outer witness. They entered politics and war.

The witnesses were to lie dead three and one half days (verse 9). Peter Jurieu thought this would be 3 ½ years, which is a natural assumption. But history reveals it to be 3 ½ months of years. 3 ½ months is 105 days, and the period of their death turned out to be 105 years, until 1790—the French Revolution, the greatest turning point of European history. The ministry of the Papacy and Rome, the great enemy in the Revelation, before and after the French Revolution are two completely different worlds. Again within three years of the French Revolution, in 1793 an English Bible student named Bicheno had the clue, and identified the 105 years from 1685 to 1790 as the death period of the witnesses. This is another very strong evidence of the soundness of the basic framework.

Verses 11, 12, and 13 – The witnesses were given life, stood up, and a great voice called them up to heaven; fear fell on all that saw them, and there was a great earthquake, and seven thousand names of men (note the middle margin) were slain, and the tenth of the city fell.

Since 1685, the revocation of the Edit of Nance, the Catholic monarchy, clergy, and nobility had ruled France with an iron hand, but increasing disorder and bankruptcy cause Louis XVI in desperation to summon the national assembly. This was the ascension of the witnesses to heaven. The time was right, and events soon snowballed into the execution of the king, the abolition of the nobility, or names of men, confiscation of all church property, and end of all church power, and the terrible blood bath, known as the Reign of Terror. Out of this came Napoleon, with the vials of God’s wrath against the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire that we shall see later in chapter 16.                     GVG

fhigham

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We cannot put Christ too high. God hath given him a name above every name, even His own name, the name of God, which shortly cometh from far. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Resurrection, the Hope. He is the Head; the beginning of the creation of God, the first-born of every creature, Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Lord Almighty (Rev 1:8, 11,17). 

bro Roberts, Seasons of Comfort, Vol 1: "Consolation"

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Dec 26 • Job 35,36 • Zecariah 11 • Revelation 12,13

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 Reference to:

Job 34, 35, 36

 

... Job hath said, I am righteous, and God hath taken away my judgment ' "(xxiv. 5 ; compare xxvii. 2). “He hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself in God ' " (v. 9). This was the logical outcome of some of his words, which, Elihu argues, really placed him in company with the wicked (v. 7-8). “Far be it from God," said Elihu, " that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should commit iniquity" (v. 10). No injustice could be imputed to God if he gathered to himself his Spirit and his breath, and destroyed all flesh together (v. 14-15). He must not be questioned or criticized, far less condemned (v. 18-19). He will put away many mighty men without consulting flesh and blood (v. 24).

 

Chastening should be endured patiently, even if not understood. In any case, there should not be the least reflection on God's justice and mercy. " Surely it is meet to be said unto God : I have borne (it), I will not offend. That which I see not, teach thou me ; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more " (v. 31-32). The omission of the italicised words in this place leaves the meaning more obvious (compare R.V.).

Continuing, Elihu declared that some of Job's sayings amounted to a declaration that his righteous-ness was more than God's (xxxvi 1). And, however severe such a construction may at first sight seem, it was one which God Himself put upon Job's case (xl. 8).

Elihu argued that Job's righteousness might profit a man or his wickedness hurt him; but that neither one nor the other could materially affect God, who is the giver of all things to man (v. 6-8).

 

This reminds us of what Jesus himself says con¬cerning the servants of God: " Doth (a man) thank (his) servant because he did the things that were com¬manded him ? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things that were commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we “have (but) done that which was our duty to do “(Luke xvii. 9-10).

 

But Elihu recognized (xxxv. 15) that these slips of Job's were those of a righteous man in severe affliction, and therefore exhorted him (v. 14) still to trust in God: “Judgment is before him, therefore trust thou in him."

 

And then he goes on to speak more “on God's behalf " (xxxvi. 2-3), ascribing righteousness to Him as the first of all first principles. Though He afflict, yet God "despiseth not." He " would have removed (Job) out of the strait " in due time (v. 16), but to criticize and impute cruelty was a sin.

 

“Desire not the night," said Elihu, referring to Job's cursing his day and wishing to die. “Take heed, regard not iniquity, for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction " (v. 21). Suffer, and hope, and magnify God, who is so high above us that we can only see Him “afar off." And he goes on with a beautiful reference to God's mighty works, and concludes: " Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict, Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart." ...

 

bro C.C. Walker, JOB pp 22-23

 

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Reference to:

Zechariah: CHAPTER 11

The Rejection of the Good Shepherd and the Scattering of the Flock

 

Zechariah Chapter 10 prophesies the regathering of the flock by the Good Shepherd (see v.8); Chapter 11 reveals why the flock was scattered. It commences with a figurative description of the devastation that swept guilty Judah in A.D. 70. Sweeping down from the north, from Lebanon (v. 1), it involved Bashan in the east, descending to the lower Jordan valley (v. 3 ) , and onwards to Jerusalem. The prophet's words vividly describe the swift destruction of the land, the despair of the "shepherds" in consequence, and the fear of the flock.

 

Condemnation is heaped upon the so-called shepherds of Judah who failed to care for the flock, in consequence of which they are cut off. The prophet then enacts the parable of the Good Shepherd (vv. 4-14), dramatises the conflict which would ensue between the Lord and the so-called shepherds of his day, predicts his betrayal, the scattering of the flock, the breaking of the brotherhood of Judah and Israel, the manifestation of a "foolish shepherd," and finally, the vindication of the Good Shepherd in the punishment that shall be heaped upon the idol shepherd who leaveth the flock.

 

It will be noticed that Zechariah himself enacts the parable the Good Shepherd, thus dramatising the "determinate counsel" God with the Lord Jesus.

 

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v 1-3

The overthrow of the Jewish State - A.D. 70

 

Zec 11:1 Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.

 

Lebanon is at the northern extemity of the land, and is here invited to open its doors to the invader (Rome) who was to com from that direction. Lebanon signifies the White One, an apt name for the tall mountain with its peaks covered in snow. It is used in Scripture to symbolise Israel's glory (Isa 10:34), the apex of which was the Temple in Jerusalmen (Luke 21:6).

 

The cedars of Lebanon symbolise the leaders or chief ones of the nation. (Isa 37:21-24) (Eze 17:22-24). The prophecy shows that these would be overthrown by the fire of war.

 

 

Zec 11:2 Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.

 

"Howl, fir tree"

The lesser trees are invited to lament at the overthrow of the chief ones, and as the fire sweeps along to threaten them also.

 

"Howl, O ye oaks of Bashan"

See Isa. 2:13 where these are used as figurative of people. Bashan is southeast of Lebanon, so that the fire of war is represeted as sweeping southward to encompass the whole land --- as it did when Rome invaded Judah and destroyed it in AD 79. The figure of this verse expresses the wailing of the wind through the trees as it fans the fire of judgment. The prophet hears it howling in the branches, and feels the heat of the flames fanned by the wind and fed by the timber.

 

"The forest of the vintage is come down"

RSV = "The thick forest has been felled!" The fire of war and judgment has swept through the forest of Judah and destroyed it.

 

 

Zec 11:3 There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.

 

"There is a voice"

Notice the words in italics indicating there are no equivalent words in Hebrew. The original introduces a dramatic, excited style: "Listen! The howling of shepherds" etc.

 

"Their glory is spoiled"

The figure is that of a fire sweeping the forest, destroying the tall trees, and also eating up the pasture beneath. The shepherds are the spiritual leaders fo the people, and in Isaiah 40:6, the people are likened to grass. All theis is represented as being destroyed by the fire of war.

 

"The roaring of the yound lions"

Figurative of the tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 19:1-2), here seen as roaring in anguish at the destruction that involves them.

 

"The pride of Jordan is spoiled"

The pride, or splendor, of the upper Jordan is the lush growth of its banks. This was once the favorite haunt of lions. The figure of the chapter represents the fire sweeping down to consume the "glory of Jordan" forcing the lions to vacant their haunts, and thus driving them away. The judgment of A.D. 70 did this to the remaining tribes of Israel (the lions); they wee driven from their haunts and scattered throughout the world.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, A verse by verse commentary on The Prophecy of Zechariah (p 82)

 

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Reference to:

 

THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED

(4) THE DEVELOPMENT AND DESTRUCTION OF THE BEAST, HIS IMAGE, AND ORGANISATION -

Chapters 12-14

 

The conclusion of Chapter Eleven brings us to the end of the first half of The Apocalypse. Now, with the

commencement of the second half, it retraces its steps and again reviews history from the epoch of Constantine onwards.

 

Why the repetition? Is it not confusing?

No, a little thought will reveal that The Apocalypse proceeds on a systematic plan of historical development. The previous chapters predicted the following events of a political character:

1. The "Christianising" of pagan Rome (Chs. 6, 7).

2. The break-up of "Christianised" Rome (Chs. 8,9).

3. The warfare of the witnesses and the triumph of the truth (Chs. 10,11).

 

In thus concentrating upon political developments, religious developments have been largely ignored. Now, in orderly fashion, "The Apocalypse" re-traces its steps to take up that theme. Hence we have:

1. The development and destruction of the Holy Roman Empire (Chs. 12,13,14).

2. The Divine judgment on the latter day political system (Chs. 15,16).

3. Divine judgment on the latter day religious system (Chs. 17,18,19).

 

The second half of "The Apocalypse" follows the first half in orderly fashion. The Holy Roman Empire replaces the Roman Empire, and its destruction is described. The "two witnesses," after resurrection, develop in political influence (Ch. 16), and though they are used to punish "the beast," they likewise are destroyed, so finally Christ's Kingdom succeeds over all. Hence there is a proper progression of history.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED p147

 

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THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED

CHAPTER TWELVE

WAR IN HEAVEN

 

Perhaps no chapter of "The Apocalypse" has been the subject of more controversy than this one. It has been used frequently to support the theory of the devil as a fallen angel. It is claimed that "the man child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron" is Christ, that the "war in heaven" is literally fulfilled in the heavenly realm of God's abode, and that the "casting of the dragon into the earth," represents the literal ejection of the devil as a fallen angel from heaven, to roam the earth in search of victims.

 

Such a theory takes hold of the Apocalyptic statement that there will be "war in heaven," and interprets it literally. But if the term "heaven" is to be applied literally in v. 7, it must be similarly applied in v. 1, which states that the woman gives birth to her son "in heaven." Obviously this cannot relate to the atmospheric heavens above (see notes Ch. 4), and must apply to the political "heaven" on earth.

 

Moreover, any exposition of "The Apocalypse" to be sound, must conform to the basic principle that it was given to reveal "things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1). Applying this as a rule of interpretation, we must seek for the fulfilment of the birth of the man-child, the war in heaven, and so forth, at some time after A.D. 96, when the revelation was given to John. Furthermore, as it is specifically stated that "he (Christ) sent and signified it (the revelation) by his angel unto his servant John," we must recognise the "sign" language as such where appropriate. That is surely the case in this chapter, which describes a dragon whose tail drags the third part of the stars of heaven and flings them to the earth — a physical impossibility.

 

The chapter should be linked with two other sections of "The Apocalypse." Firstly, with the message to the eldership in Thyatira, in which a warning note was sounded against the influence of "that woman Jezebel" then found in the midst of the Ecclesia. Secondly, with the great earthquake of Chapter 6:12 which resulted in the overthrow of the pagan system of government, and its replacement by one claiming to be "Christian."

 

The "woman Jezebel" symbolised a class of heretics tolerated in the Thyatiran Ecclesia, which developed into the great harlot system described in Revelation 17:4-5. The "woman" of the chapter before us (Ch. 12) symbolises this same system (Roman Catholicism) in its early political development.

 

Revelation 6 describes the effect of a great political earthquake ( vv. 12-17). This overthrew political paganism, and replaced it with a pseudo-Christian system. In the chapter before us greater details are provided of this important development of history.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED p148

 

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

UPRISE OF THE BEASTS OF THE SEA AND OF THE LAND

 

In this chapter, John reports on the uprise of two beasts. The first he sees arises from out of the sea; the second arises from out of the earth. The first is likened to various beasts and has seven heads and ten horns; the second has two horns, and whilst having the appearance of a lamb, it speaks and acts like a dragon. The first beast suffers a serious wound, but recovers therefrom to manifest great power with the help of the dragon; the second beast has dominion co-etaneous with that of the first, and by its influence induces the world to do homage to the first beast. The first beast continues for forty and two months exercising great power and blaspheming God and His people: the second beast erects an image to the first beast, and compels all to give homage to it on threat of death. As a whole the vision symbolises the power and influence enjoyed by Roman Catholicism in its political manifestations, and depicts the brutal persecution by which it endeavoured to bend the minds of men to its doctrines and practises.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED p160

fhigham

Registered:
Posts: 1,023
Reply with quote  #882 

The longer we live, the more do we see the wisdom of Christ in having required his brethren and sisters to come together once a week, to break bread in remembrance of him.

 

bro Roberts, Seasons of Comfort, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ" (p 74)

 

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Dec 27 • Job 37 • Zecariah 12 • Revelation 14

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Reference to:

Job 32-37

 

Elihu’s argument against Job, and against his three friends; and in justification of God in His chastening of the righteous (chaps. 32.–37.)—Job ceased, and then there arose a young man, Elihu (God himself), son of Barachel (Blessed of God) the Buzite (descendant of Nahor, Abraham’s brother), of the kindred of Ram (Exalted). He was angry with Job “because he justified himself rather than God”; and with his three friends “because they had found no answer and yet had condemned Job” (32:2–3).

 

The most diametrically opposite opinions have been, and are, held concerning this man; some supposing him to be a presumptuous young man whose meddlings and reproaches are worse than the blunderings of the three friends, while others regard him in the light of a truly wise mediator, whose justification of God’s ways is immediately endorsed by the divine voice itself.

 

“It is now, however, generally agreed that Elihu does represent a different standpoint from the friends, and really provides a solution of the problem which they discuss. Whereas they supposed that punishment implied sin, and was proportionate to the sin, he regards it as necessary to perfection, and therefore most likely to overtake the relatively most perfect.” (Smith’s Dict. Art. Job.)

 

For “punishment” read “suffering,” and this paragraph then expresses the truth.

 

Excusing his youth, and pleading the “inspiration of the Almighty” (32:6–8), Elihu first rebukes the friends, and then turns to Job. He offers himself as the desired mediator, a partaker of the same earthly nature (33:6). He convicts Job of a grave error in maintaining his righteousness at the expense of reflecting on God’s justice and mercy; as when he says: “Behold he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy” (5:10). He argues that “God is greater than man . . . and giveth not account of any of his matters”; that he chastens the most upright, to set him on high for ever at last. Elihu’s words in this chapter concerning the “messenger,” the “interpreter,” “one among a thousand,” who will “show to man God’s righteousness,” and who shall be delivered from the pit, are highly suggestive of Christ, in whom all these things are fulfilled.

 

Elihu paused for Job to answer, declaring that he desired to justify him (5:32). No answer being forthcoming from Job against this new construction of his case, Elihu proceeded in ch. 34. to paraphrase some of the arguments in which Job had erred. “Job hath said, ‘I am righteous, and God hath taken my judgment’” (5:2; compare 27:2). “He hath said, ‘It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself in God’” (5:9). This was the logical outcome of some of his words, which, Elihu argued, really placed him in company with the wicked (5:7–8). “Far be it from God,” said Elihu, “that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should commit iniquity” (5:10). No injustice could be imputed to God if he gathered to himself his Spirit and his breath, and destroyed all flesh together (5:14–15). He must not be questioned or criticised, far less condemned (5:18–19). He will put away many mighty men without consulting flesh and blood (5:24). Chastening should be endured patiently, even if not understood. In any case, there should not be the least reflection on God’s justice and mercy. “Surely it is meet to be said unto God: I have borne (it), I will not offend. That which I see not, teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more” (5:31–32). The omission of the italicised words in this place leaves the meaning more obvious (compare R. V.).

Continuing, Elihu declared that some of Job’s sayings amounted to a declaration that his righteousness was more than God’s (35:1). And, however severe such a construction may at first sight seem, it was one which God Himself put upon Job’s case (40:8). Elihu argued that Job’s righteousness might profit a man or his wickedness hurt him; but that neither one nor the other could materially affect God, who is the giver of all things to man (5:6–8). This reminds us of what Jesus himself says concerning the servants of God: “Doth (a man) thank (his) servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things that were commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have (but) done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:9–10).

 

But Elihu recognised (5:15) that these slips of Job’s were those of a righteous man in severe affliction, and therefore exhorted him (5:14) still to trust in God: “Judgment is before him, therefore trust thou in him.”

 

And then he goes on to speak more “on God’s behalf” (36:2–3), ascribing righteousness to Him as the first of all first principles. Though He afflict, yet God “despiseth not.” He “would have removed (Job) out of the strait” in due time (5:16), but to criticise and impute cruelty to God was a sin. “Desire not the night,” said Elihu, referring to Job’s cursing his day and wishing to die. “Take heed, regard not iniquity, for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction” (5:21). Suffer, and hope, and magnify God, who is so high above us that we can only see Him “afar off.” And he goes on with a beautiful reference to God’s mighty works, and concludes: “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.”

 

The Christadelphian : Volume 39. c1902. The Christadelphian, volume 39. (electronic ed.) (39:167-168).

 

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Reference to:

Zechariah: CHAPTER 12

 

Israel to seek the Good Shepherd

THE COMING DAY OF YAHWEH

 

Chapter 12 commences a new prophecy that continues on to the end of Chapter 14. The theme of this long, extended prophecy is the Coming Day of Yahweh; a Day when Yahweh will be vindicated by the outpouring of compelling judgments. See Ezek. 39:8. Isa. 2:10-22. Isa. 13:1-6. Zeph. 1:7. The Day of Yahweh is thus not the return of Christ, but His vindication in judgment. There have been similar days in the past (Isa. 13:1-6. Zeph. 1:7), as there will be in the future.

 

Notice the significant repetition of the phrase, "In that day" contained in this section of Zechariah's prophecy: Chapter 12:3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11. Chapter 13:1, 2, 4. Chapter 14:4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 20, 21. For this Day, Yahweh "waits". Isaiah declares: "Therefore will Yahweh wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you; for Yahweh is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for him" (Isa. 30:18). In that Day, also, He will repair the breach made when Jewry rejected the Good Shepherd, and when the staves Beauty (Grace) and Bands (Unity) were severed. In that Day, also, Israel will learn that everything that has been done has been for the ultimate good of the nation — even its punishment. Ezekiel 14:22-23 declares: "Ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem . . . and they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings; and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord Yahweh."

 

As is appropriate, in these closing chapters of Zechariah's prophecy which deal with that Day, Yahweh is mentioned some 30 times, Jerusalem some 22 times, and the nations some 13 times. It is emphatically HIS Day. As he will dominate events, so His Name dominates the prophecy; it is the Day when Jerusalem shall be elevated to glory, thus constant reference is made to it; and it is the time when the nations will at last be humbled under His power, so they too are brought into the picture.

 

That Day will soon be revealed in the earth. It will be the time when the followers of the Lord will be glorified, so that every care should be taken in studying the wonderful events that will then take place in the earth.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, A verse by verse commentary on The Prophecy of Zechariah (p 89)

 

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Reference to:

B

 

Having outlined the development of the seven-headed beast that has inscribed upon its head the names of blasphemy (Ch. 13:1), John is now shown the destiny of those who have been mentally sealed with the name of Deity (Rev. 14:1), against whom the many-headed beast has waged war. They are shown in triumph on Mount Zion, surrounding the Lamb; their faith and patience are now rewarded in the glory that is bestowed upon them. From the millenial throne of Christ a proclamation goes forth commanding the nations to submit; and when this is rejected, it is followed by the outpouring of divine judgment that destroys forever the influence of Babylon the Great. Thus the final issue of the war initiated by the beast (Ch. 13:6) is that of victory and triumph on the part of the redeemed.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED p160

 

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Revelation 14

 

Chapter 14 is a complete change. Verse 1 – A lamb on Mt. Zion with 144,000 redeemed—Christ and the glorified saints. (We are going back briefly to the inside of the scroll, although we are now coming to a point where the inside and the outside converge.) This chapter deals with the final judgments of the earth—that which was hidden in the seven thunders which John saw—after the overthrow of Gog and the establishment of Christ in Jerusalem.

There is much exhortation in verses 4 and 5. The 144,000 are a very exalted and select multitude—those who in this life have overcome the flesh and given themselves wholly to God. They are, we are told, virgins—that is, no defilement with any thing to do with the apostate woman. That is their important identification. They follow the Lamb in everything they do. They have no guile; they are perfectly pure in heart. They are all without fault before the throne of God, because they have remained in Christ and are completely covered by his righteousness and repeatedly purified by prayer and repentance, so that they continually stand before God perfect, as they must if they are to be accepted. How dimly we realize the tremendous height of our calling!

Verses 6 and 7 give the proclamation to all the earth of the everlasting Gospel. “Fear God…the hour of his judgment is come.” Before pouring out worldwide destruction, Christ and the saints call on all the earth to submit. The besotted earth is today so drunken with the Babylonian wine that a considerable time will be needed for all to awake out of their stupor and find out what is happening and decide what side they are on.

There is much in Scripture to study. We shall never know a fraction of it, but we are required to learn as much as we can in the opportunity given us. We shall be judged for what we could have done with our time and opportunity. We shall be called to account, and we shall be rejected if we have not tried our best to do what is required. “Blessed is he that readeth.” We have no time to waste on worldly things. Only the faithful stewards of time and goods will be accepted. And let us make sure we are among that very, very few.

                                                                                                            Bro. G.V. Growcott

 

 

14:6-12

The Midheaven Angelic Proclamation

 

John's attention is drawn to an angel in the midst of heaven who proclaims the everlasting gospel to all nations, warning them to fear God and gie glory to Him for His judgments are about to come. This is followed by another angel proclaiming that Babylon is fallen; and by a third, warning the nations against worshipping the beast and his image, or against identifying themselves with such in any way. Those who fail to head the warning are destroyed. The symbolism reveals that after Christ has consolidated his power in Zion, he will issue an ultimatum to the nations, calling upon them to submit to his rule.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED p177-178

fhigham

Registered:
Posts: 1,023
Reply with quote  #883 
Joy Overflowing

We should all be always in an ecstasy of spirituality and divine joy. If we are not, we are tragically missing the whole real meaning and beauty and power of the Truth. We are then just clods masquerading as stars. Total joy, perfect peace, and the beauty of holiness are all ours for the asking -- unwavering, unassailable, unending. Why then are we timidly and unworthily content to lie earthily among the pots?

Search Me O God, bro Growcott

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Dec 28 Job 38     Zec 13,14   Rev 15,16
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Reference to:
Job 38:7  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

... All this is equivalent to saying that the Father-Power is omnipresent by His Spirit. Hence, He needs not to be locomotive to see what passes in the sun, moon, earth and stars. His all-pervading spirit places Him in contemporary juxtaposition with them all; so that at one and the same instant, He knows the fall of a sparrow on earth, and any other event, small or great, on the sun. In this way it is that, as Paul told the Athenian idolators: “He is not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27). We are out of Him, and through Him, and in Him as physical beings. This is equally true of all flesh that breathes. Hence Moses styles the Father-Power Ail Elohai haruchoth l’kol-bashar, power, powers of the spirits, for all flesh (Num. 16:22). Here is power as the cause of life, called Ail; and powers as distributed to each living thing, and therefore styled Elohim. A dozen creatures have life. This life is Ail’s spirit in them all. It is not, however, a dozen separate and independent Ailim; but one and the same Ail multiplied by twelve. Ail is life absolute; for as Paul says: “He only hath deathlessness.” Life radiating from His hypostasis or substance, is spirit-life Eloahh ruach, power of spirit. Formative of a creature, and sustaining it in life, it is power of spirit, or spirit-power for that creature. Twelve such Eloahh ruach become Elohim ruchoth, spirit-powers of the twelve. Hence, these Elohim are son-powers, or emanations from Ail, the great “paternal power.” He is therefore the Ail of all flesh, as well as Elohim for all flesh. “The ruach or spirit of Ail  has made me, and the nishmath or breath of the Shaddai, or Mighty Ones, hath given me life” (Job. 33:4). Here is the Spirit of Ail through the breath of Shaddai that gives life to men. This withdrawn and they die. Hence it is written: “If He gather unto himself His spirit and His breath, all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn unto dust” (34:14).

In this elaboration, then, we have Father-Power, Son-Power, or emanation, and Free Spirit. Moses and the prophets teach this, as we have seen. The Father-Power is One; the Son-Power is the One Father-Power in plural manifestation; and the manifestation is developed by Free Spirit emanation from the Father Power. This is not only Scriptural but reasonable; and right reason and Scripture always go together.

We affirm then, that the Mosaic and prophetic revelation concerning Deity is that there is ONE POWER, multitudinously manifested; and that these manifestations constitute GOD. The One Power inquires of Job: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who laid the corner stone thereof; when the stars of the morning sang together, and all the Sons of Elohim shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7). This inquiry teaches, that  before the earth was fitted up Mosaically, or as Moses has described in Genesis; the Supreme Power existed in multitudinous manifestation. The plurality was composed of intelligences styled ”Stars of the Morning” and “Sons of Elohim” the former kokvai voker, and the latter benai elohim. In Rev. 22:16, the glorified Jesus is styled “the bright and morning Star.” The enquiry put to Job showed that there were many such before Adam was created, and that these stars are sons of Elohim, even as Jesus is Son of Eloahh. The word bain, signifies a son, from banah, to build. A son is the thing built. The Stars of Morning Light were things built and made resplendent by Ail, whose spirit formed and illuminated them. His Spirit was their atomic nucleus, the organic principle that made them what they are.  ...

bro John Thomas, Phanerosis  : An exposition of the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments concerning the Manifestation of the invisible eternal God in Human Nature.

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Reference to:
Zecariah 14


... This great national celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, then, argues the previous cessation of judgment; and consequently, the resting of the Saints from their labors in the execution of it. There will be festive rejoicings while the events symbolized in ch. 14., are in no manifestation; neither will there be any national rejoicing which is not celebrative of their glory. When Jesus and his Brethren, the incorporation of the Eternal Father’s Spirit, the Yahweh-Elohim Name, “rest from their labors,” they do so because they have “gotten the victory over the Beast, and over the Image, and over his Mark, and over the number of his name” (ch. 15:2). Israel, whom they will have gathered into their own land, and the nations, will all rejoice with them in this great victory of the day—a victory, pregnant with political, social, and moral results, which only Omnipotence could gain. Never before will such a Feast of Tabernacles have been observed. World’s Fairs, and Fourths of Julys, and the Birthdays of Queens and Washingtons, will fall into eternal insignificance and oblivion before it. “The First in War, the First in Peace, and the First in the hearts” of the peoples, will not be these idols of the heathen, but the Lamb in the midst of this great palm-bearing multitude, which will make the welkin ring with their “Hallelu-Yahs,” ascribing, “the salvation to him who sits upon the throne of our Deity, and to the Lamb!” The Elohim of this celebration will be the stars of divers magnitudes, represented by “the Elders and the Four Living Ones,” who themselves fall prostrate before the throne and worship the Deity, saying, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might unto our Deity for the aions of the aions,” or during the Millennium and beyond, “Amen!” These palm-bearing Elohim are the goodly trees, the palm trees, the fig trees, and the willows of the brook; the Trees of Righteousness, whose leaves are unfading; “the planting of Yahweh on either side of the pure river of water of life clear as crystal;” the great forest of evergreens filling the earth with their perfume, to the glory of his Name (Isa. 61:3; Psa. 1:3; Apoc. 22:1, 2).  ...

bro John Thomas,  Eureka  : An exposition of the Apocalypse. Volumes 1-5. (electronic ed.) (volpg.2.353)

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Reference to:
Zec 14:4

The Mount of Olives Cleft in Twain

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south” (14:4).

The Lord’s feet are the feet of Jesus. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7). He has long ago stood upon this mountain and published peace in the proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom of God; but he has never yet proclaimed the actual reign of Zion’s God! He will do this to the accompaniment of this earthquake long foretold. He has faith to remove mountains (1 Cor. 13:2). “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain (Hermon, presumably), Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20). He will, in effect, say that to the Mount of Olives. In the days of Noah “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up” (Gen. 7:11). And in the days of Moses God by him proclaimed an earthquake that swallowed up the rebels in the camp of the Lord (Num. 16). These things were typical of Zechariah’s “day of the Lord” in Jerusalem, when Jesus returns thither according to the promise of the angels when he departed from the Mount of Olives nineteen hundred years ago.

“And ye shall flee to (or by, R.V.) the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (14:5).

There is no historical record of the earthquake in Uzziah’s day, but it seems probable that it was a retributive divine visitation (in addition to his leprosy) for his pride and profanation of the temple (after the type of Korah, Dathan and Abiram; 2 Chron. 26:16–21; Isa. 6:4). Azal (Azel) is unidentified, and some even doubt whether it is a proper name at all. But there does not seem to be room for this last idea. It is a Benjamite proper name (1 Ghron. 8:37, 38); and Pusey tells us that “Cyril had heard of it as the name of a village at the extremity of the mountain”. The position of Jerusalem is peculiar with relation to the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, being in the tribe of Benjamin. “The border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom” (Joshua 18:16). It would seem that the new great valley will run eastward from somewhere about the present site of the pool of Siloam. Compare the very interesting large scale map of Jerusalem in The Temple of Ezekiel’s Prophecy, p. 65 (third edition, 1921). Whether or not this suggestion be correct, there will be no doubt about the association of the “living waters” of Jerusalem in the future, with the work of Jesus in the past (John 9:7; 7:37).

bro C. C. Walker. (1990; 2002). God Manifestation or Theophany (174). The Christadelphian.

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Reference to:
Rev 15:2  And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

... In chap. 16:3, the second angel-power is exhibited as pouring out his vial upon the sea; “and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.” Here is a sea of living souls in anything else than a translucent state like to crystal. It was opaque with human blood to excess, as symbolized by the death of all the souls it contained. The naval anti-revolutionary war, which commenced in 1793, and continued with brief intermissions till 1815, illustrates this judgment upon the sea. It is a sea of living souls noted for their wickedness; and hence it is that the Spirit speaking of them, says, “The wicked are like a troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. No peace for the wicked, saith my Elohim.”—Isa. 57:20.

This is the present condition of the Apocalyptic sea, representative of the nations of the four beasts of Daniel; the people of the interior, as of Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and so forth, being represented by “the earth.” The sea-nations are more especially before, or in the presence of the throne; the earth-nations being more remote. Nevertheless, the nations, or “inhabiters of the earth and sea,” are all of the same character, and in the hour of judgment “equally obnoxious to the wrath of the Deity. They are both a dead and a troubled sea, and so charged with mire and dirt,” that nothing can make it transparent to the light of the divine glory, but the judgments of the Deity—the bolts of the seven thunders pealing from the throne: “when his judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness;” and “all nations shall come and worship before Yahweh; because his judgments are made manifest”—Isa. 26:9; Apoc. 15:4.

This, then, is the purpose of the Deity upon the sea; to make it “like to crystal,” transparent with righteousness and truth. This is the mission of Yahweh’s servant when he comes in power to enlighten the earth with his glory. But this must be preceded by judgments upon the sea. The representation of this is found in Apoc. 15:2, in which John says: “I saw as it were a translucent sea that had been mingled with fire (memigmenen perf. part pass.).” But the fire had ceased to burn, and those who had gained the victory over the sea of nations, he also saw standing upon it, and with their harps celebrating their victory over the Papal and other dominions, and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. The fire with which the sea will have been mingled is the wrath of the Deity contained in the Seven Thunders, or terrors of the Seventh Vial, to be hurled from the throne by Jesus and his Brethren, who constitute the Rainbowed Angel, “whose face is as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire”—ch. 10:1.  ...

bro John Thomas,  Eureka  : An exposition of the Apocalypse. Volumes 1-5. (electronic ed.) (volpg.2.50)

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Reference to:
Rev 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

“The Lamb of God”

This is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” of which John the Baptist and Jesus himself speak so particularly. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:19). In the Book of Revelation the expression “the Lamb” (or an equivalent) is found about thirty times, which of itself shows the importance God in Christ attaches to the sacrifice which is the basis of all “good things to come.”

“The Lamb,” by divine paradox proclaimed in the context as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” opens the divinely-sealed scroll of human history, and receives the ascriptions of the praises of the “redeemed” for whom he was slain (Rev. 5). Under the “sixth seal” the whole pagan world comes to an end before “the wrath of the Lamb” (6:16), another divine paradox. Then there is the vision of the new world of “the Israel of God” (7:9, 14, 17) “before the throne and before the Lamb” in “salvation.” “By the blood of the Lamb” these “redeemed” ones overcame the world (12:11) and maintained their separation from the “wild-beast” apostasy that hunted them to death as it did him (13:8, 11; 11:8). They stand at last “on Mount Zion” with the “Lamb” (14:1, 4, 10) and “sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb” (15:3). They have been with the “Lamb” in his victory over the kings who made war upon him (17:14) and are united to him in anti-typical “marriage” (19:7–9). By another figure they are “the holy city, new Jerusalem,” “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (21:2, 9, 14, 22, 23, 27), incorporating “wall” and “temple,” “light” and “life.” And the book ends on the theme of “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1, 3), and the assurance that he “comes quickly,” to which the apostle says fervently in conclusion, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

bro C. C. Walker. Atonement: Salvation Through the Blood of Christ (20).
fhigham

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Reply with quote  #884 

It is not for us to trust ourselves in deciding what sort of a walk is worthy of God. We must be guided solely by what is revealed. We are safe in taking the cue from the Scriptures. We are in danger if we trust to our own thoughts, and still more so if we yield to the sentiments current in society.

 

bro Robert Roberts, Seasons of Comfort Vol 1 (Walking Worthily) (p 194)

 

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Dec 30 • Job 40 • Malachi 2 • Revelation 19,20

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Reference to:

Job

 

(continued from yesterday)

 

God gave JOB into The adversary's hand, with limitations as to his power for evil. —So God gave JESUS into the hand of The adversary; but with the final reservation" Spare his life "—that is to say, the Sin-power was not allowed to hold him in death, for he was a Holy One.

JOB received evil at the hands of the LORD.—S0 did JESUS, even unto death, saying, "the cup that my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it ?"

 

Jos in his deep affliction "cursed his day," saying in effect : "I wish I had never been born."—So did JESUS ; but he discerned the time of his visitation: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name" (John 12: 27-28).

 

JOB was tormented at the hands of his friends.— So was JESUS, even to crucifixion, and when he comes again he will exhibit the wounds as "those with which he was wounded in the house of his friends " (Zech. xiii.).

 

JOB, though himself a mediator in a sense, yet longed for a mediator to come.—Jesus is he.

 

JOB looked to the latter day to see the resurrection of the dead and his Redeemer standing upon the earth.—JESUS is "the Resurrection and the Life," and looked, and looks, for the same day, when he will bring Job forth from Sheol.

 

JOB complained that God had " taken away his judgment "—The prophets said that Messiah should so suffer; and JESUS was "taken from prison and from judgment; " but complained not.

 

God turned the captivity of JOB when he prayed for his "friends."—JEsus having prayed for his enemies: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," God "turned his captivity," so that "he ascended up on high, led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men," who were thus by God made to be " accepted in the Beloved " (Eph. iv. 8: i. 6). He has now a double portion of the Spirit, and is the "Heir of all things." A new and happy family will yet gather round him, in which Job himself will figure. Let Job's brethren "endure," that they may be accounted worthy of a place therein.

 

bro C.C. Walker, JOB (p 27,28)

 

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Reference to:

MALACHI CHAPTER TWO

 

WHO MAY ABIDE THE DAY OF HIS COMING?

THE PRINCIPLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PRIESTS

 

As Yahweh's representatives within His nation, the priests bore a peculiar obligation. They were required to uphold the Word of God and to teach the people concerning His wisdom. When they neglected that responsibility, they allowed the nation, once called by divine invitation from Egypt, to return to the "weak and beggarly elements" (Gal. 4:9) from which Yahweh had rescued it. Malachi saw such a situation; he recognised that the people who had been redeemed from Babylon had similarly deteriorated as did the generations before them. Malachi drew attention to the priests' responsibilities, and warned the people of impending judgment for accepting a way of life incompatible with the divine principles. The chapter commences with a challenge to the priests, and concludes with the imminent approach of the God of Judgment.

Admonition for the Priests vv. 1-10.

 

The priests stood in a privileged position to Israel, as Christ's brethren are in this present society, and should have set the nation an example.

 

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Verses 1-10 is an admonition directed specifically at the priesthood; although all the people should have absorbed these words and acted upon them. "If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart," warned Yahweh, He would send dreadful judgments upon them. These words are taken from Deu. 28:1, 15. "It shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of Yahweh thy Elohim, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that Yahweh thy Elohim will set thee on high above all nations of the earth... But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahweh thy Elohim, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee..." They were not only to "hear" the voice of Deity, they were to "lay" the things they heard "to heart." This was a reminder that mere theoretical knowledge in the minds of His people, is not sufficient to please Yahweh. The Truth must lodge deeply within us, causing us to walk in the ways of Deity, the power of the Truth becoming the motivating power in our lives. Failure to do this will result in blessings being turned into cursings. — bro John Ullman

 

bro HP Mansfield, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, The Christadelphian Expositor, p 205

 

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Reference to:

Revelation

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN

THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB AND THE CONQUEST OF THE NATIONS

 

The destruction of Rome is viewed with relief, so that Halleluyahs ascend to heaven in thankfulness. This chorus of joy is echoed and repeated as the smoke of her torment ascends. A decree is heard from the throne calling upon all saints to praise God, and is responded to by another mighty Halleluyah from the great company of the Redeemed. The statement is made that the marriage of the Lamb has already taken place, and now invitations are extended calling others to the supper that will shortly begin. A blessing is pronounced upon those who accept the invitation.

John is so overcome by the scene that he falls down in adoration at the feet of the presiding angel. He is warned against doing this, and exhorted to direct his worship and his thanksgiving to God.

The final conquest over the beast and false prophet then follows. John sees an army emerging from heaven identified with the Redeemed, and led by one described as "King of kings and Lord of lords." A call is made to those who are prepared to partake of the "supper of the great God" to separate themselves for that purpose. A war of conquest is commenced against those who remain, in which the beast and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire, and the remnant of their followers are slain with the sword. This triumph over the forces of darkness comprises the cause of rejoicing at the feasting that follows.

 

The chapter can be divided into two parts:

The Marriage of the Lamb Vv. 1-10

The Conquest of the Nations Vv. 11-21

 

The former can be sectionised:

The Marriage come Vv. 1- 8

The Marriage celebrated Vv. 9-10

 

The Marriage Come — vv. 1-8

Amid the Halleluyahs that ascend consequent upon the destruction of Babylon the Great, a voice is heard calling upon all to Praise God, for that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, and the marriage of the Lamb has taken place. The bride is then described as prepared and dressed appropriately for the occasion.

 

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CHAPTER TWENTY

SATAN BOUND FOR 1000 YEARS

 

Though the "beast" and the "false prophet," have been silenced, the moral regeneration of mankind still remains to be accomplished, and with this, the complete and final conquest of sin and death. This will occupy one thousand years. Paul declares that Christ "must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:25-26). A perfect Kingdom will then be handed over to God "that He may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28). The chapter before us outlines the means by which this is done. Though "the dragon," or political rebellion aganst the rule of God (see Rev. 2:10; 12:34), will be humbled at Armageddon, its influence will not be completely destroyed until the end of the reign of Christ. Meanwhile, having dealt with the "beast" and "false prophet," Christ will set about limiting the influence of the "dragon," until the very seat of its influence (the flesh) is swallowed up of life.

 

Satan Bound — vv. 1-6

 

An angel is seen descending from heaven with the key of the bottomless pit. He lays hold on the dragon identified with the serpent, and called the Devil and Satan, and imprisons him for one thousand years, after which he is loosed for a little season. Meanwhile, the Redeemed are elevated into positions of authority with Christ.

 

bro H.P. Mansfield, THE APOCALYPSE EPITOMISED (pp 225,226,235)

fhigham

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Reply with quote  #885 
Things Too Wonderful For Me (Job 42:3)

Will you lay your poor little insignificant present life and possessions on the scale, if God will lay the glories of endless eternity on the other side? Does not the gracious, marvelous prospect make you anxious to heap every possible service and sacrifice you can on your side, to manifest your bursting and overwhelming sense of thankfulness and awe? -- to compensate with the manifestation at least of love and willingness for the utter nothingness of the very best you can offer? If not, are you really a living creature, or just a piece of dead, unfeeling wood? Does not the infinite wonder and beauty of it all fill your heart to overflowing? A cow cannot appreciate the marvels of a sunset, and we are all cows by nature, as to spiritual things. But God be thanked that we can LEARN to be something more than cows, if we desire it above everything else, and strive for it with all our heart.

Search Me O God, bro Growcott

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Job 41,42   Mal 3,4   Rev 21,22   
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Reference to:
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Job 42:6  Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

The Fallacy of False Theories

For the reasons given in the foregoing, we reject the “clean flesh” theory, and hesitate not to say that the following statement made some time back in support of it, is a mere assertion, and is in flagrant contradiction to the Scriptures: “Sin tendencies are not sin, nor are they the product of sin, nor were they established in the human body through disobedience”.

A great deal of the stumbling of “clean flesh” advocates is due to their failure to realise the evil of human nature. Let them catch more discerningly the spirit of both prophets and apostles: “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa. 51:5). “My loins are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh” (Psa. 38:7). “For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me” (Psa. 40:12). “Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I myself with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Rom. 7:24–25, RV). “We ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23).

This lament and hope of the apostle reveal the salient features of the facts which have been marshalled.
Salvation is not merely a mental and moral necessity, but a bodily one also. Man is in a state of bondage, the bondage of “corruption”, and needs bodily redemption. Till sin entered Adam was a “dust” (flesh and blood) creature, but was not subject to death. Mortality means sin: sin in the flesh.

Many have failed to learn the lesson which God taught Israel, “that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live”. When God made man “a living soul” he continued to live until the word of God decreed that he should die.

The truth of the vital doctrine of sin is quite simple, but it is slowly vanishing, owing, largely, to the plausible and unscriptural arguments of modern religious scientists. It is the talk of these enemies of God that has stimulated the speculations of “clean flesh” theorists to the nullifying of the truth.

bro C. C. Walker. Atonement: Salvation Through the Blood of Christ (248).

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Reference to:
Job 42:7  And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

... It is the doctrine of Eliphaz and his two friends which God condemned, and which Job had previously opposed. The contention of Eliphaz and his friends was that now in this life, the wickedness of the wicked is punished and the righteousness of the righteous rewarded. They interpreted Job’s affliction in the light of this doctrine, and elicited a severe reprimand from God for their folly (Job 42:7). The truth is that there is no hard and fast line in the matter, and that though wicked men and nations sometimes suffer and righteous men sometimes prosper (as God may please), the present, in the main, is a time for the wicked to prosper and spread like a green bay tree, and for the righteous to be in affliction—a fact which distressed Jeremiah (12:1–4), exercised David (Psa. 73:3–9), and was noted by Solomon in his wisdom (Ecc. 8:10–13). If the experience of this present time exhausted God’s dealings with the righteous and the wicked, it would be impossible to understand much that is written in the scriptures. But it is not so. It is written “that God will judge the righteous and wicked” in the day appointed—of which the young man is forewarned (Ecc. 11:9). That day will show such things “that the righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance. He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. And one shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous. Verily, he is a God that judgeth in the earth” (Psa. 58:10).   ...

The Christadelphian: Volume 31. c1894.

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Reference to:
Mal 4:4  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal 4:6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.


... While they are in this wilderness it is, that the Lord Jesus becomes “a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to the house of Israel”, as he had before been to Judah; and the consequence is that “the rebels among them” are excluded from the blessings of Shiloh’s government and eternal life and glory in the then world to come. Nothing can be plainer than Ezekiel’s testimony. If the reader know how the Lord pleaded with Israel face to face in the wilderness by the hand of Moses, he will well understand the ordeal that yet awaits the tribes to qualify them for admission into the Holy Land. The Lord’s power and the angel were with them in the wilderness of Arabia, but they saw not his person; so, I judge, will the Lord Jesus and some of the saints be with Israel in their Second Exodus, seen perhaps by their leaders, as the Elohim were by Moses, Aaron, the elders and by Joshua; but not visible to the multitude of the people, who must walk by faith and not by sight; for, though God is able to graft them in again, He can only do it upon a principle of faith; for the condition of their restoration laid down in His word is, “If they abide not in unbelief, they shall be grafted in again.”

It would seem from the testimony of Malachi, who prophesied concerning the ten tribes, that while they are in the wilderness of the people they will be disciplined by the law of Moses as their national code, while things concerning Jesus will be propounded to them as matter of faith; for it is testified by Hosea that they shall be gathered, and “shall sorrow a little for the burden of the King of prince”,(b) The person with whom they will have more immediately to do in their Second Exodus is Elijah. There would seem to be a fitness in this. In the days of their fathers, when they forsook the Lord and abolished the law of Moses, Elijah was the person whose ministerial life was occupied in endeavouring to “restore all things”. Though he did much to vindicate the name and law of Jehovah, he was taken away in the midst of his labours. For what purpose? That he might at a future period resume his work and perfect it by restoring all things among the ten tribes according to the law of Moses, preparatory to their being planted in their land under a new covenant to be made with them there. (c)
But it may be objected that Elijah has come already, and that John the Baptist was he.(d) True, in a certain sense he was. John was Elijah to the House of Judah in the sense of his having come “in the spirit and power of Elijah”(a) But John was not the Elijah who talked with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. The latter is Elijah to the house of Israel. The scribes taught that Elijah must precede Christ; which Jesus approved, saying, “Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things”. He said this after John was put to death. John did not restore all things; but Elijah will, and that too before the Lord Jesus makes himself known to the ten tribes, whom he will meet in Egypt.

b. Hos. 8:10.
c. Mal. 4:4–6; Jer. 31:31.
d. Luke 1:17.
a. Luke 1:17.

bro John Thomas,  Elpis Israel: An exposition of the Kingdom of God. With reference to the Time of the End and the Age to Come. (electronic ed.) (451).

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Reference to:
Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Rev 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

The Blessings of the Book

However, more than any other book of the Bible, divine blessings are pronounced upon those who study the Apocalypse with understanding. Daniel was told that “the wise shall understand” the prophesies delivered unto him (Dan. 12:10), John in Patmos was told that the wise who came to understand the things revealed unto him will be “blessed.”

In fact, this “blessing” is pronounced seven times throughout the book. And that is quite significant, for The Apocalypse is a book of “sevens”: seven messages to the Ecclesias; a seven-sealed book; seven trumpeters; seven vials, and so forth. Seven is the number of completion, the number of an oath which seals a matter. The proclamation of seven blessings throughout the book emphasises the importance of its study.

Here are the seven blessings:

 1. —A Blessing pronounced upon the accurate study of its message:
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein” (Rev. 1:3).

 2. —A Blessing pronounced upon those who will be resurrected to help fulfil it:
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth, yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).
 
 3. —A Blessing upon those who watch and walk in the light of its teaching:
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments” (Rev. 16:15).
 
 4. —A Blessing upon those who partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb:
“Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9).
 
 5. —A Blessing upon those who attain unto life eternal:
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power” (Rev. 20:6).
 
 6. —A Blessing upon those who keep the sayings of the book:
“Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22:7).
 
 7. —A Blessing upon those who keep the Lord’s Commandments:
“Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev. 22:14).

The word blessed is from the Greek makarios and signifies to pronounce happy. A cognate word is found in James 5:11: “We count them happy which endure.” The word is used in relation to the beatitudes (Matt. 5), and there denotes the nature of the blessing. The “poor in spirit,” the “mourners,” the “meek,” the “hungry and thirsty,” the “persecuted” are pronounced “blessed” or “happy,” because they are enabled to look beyond their present sufferings, to the glory of the Kingdom of God.

The Apocalypse sets forth that hope as a reality. It makes clearer and more substantial the joyous anticipations of the present. More than any other book of the Bible, it enables one to look beyond the present to the joy of the future. It enables one to appreciate better the words of Paul:

“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:15–18).


A Message for Every Age

Throughout the Revelation, Christ has injected personal messages to his brethren of every age. For example, his messages to the seven Ecclesias related primarily to the brethren of the first century; his encouraging comment recorded in Revelation 13:9–10 particularly concerned the faithful of the Middle Ages who had to endure the bitter persecution levelled against them by the Papacy during the time of its ascendancy; the proclamation of Revelation 16:15 is directed to those living at the epoch of his return.

So the book has encouragement for believers of every age, and words of warning, exhortation and advice for every situation. Above all else, it directs attention to the time when “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

The book, therefore, comprises Christ’s personal message to “his servants” whom he treats as “his friends” (John 15:15). As his friends, let us heed the words he has directed for our learning and admonition, and particularly the powerful exhortation that is inserted in the prophecy of Chapter 16 for the benefit of believers of this Age.

bro John Thomas, Eureka  : An exposition of the Apocalypse. Volumes 1-5. (electronic ed.) (volpg.1.461).
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