Ezek. 3:18 These words were directed not to unbelievers, but to a prophet of God, who was commanded to go and to preach.The people to whom this prophet was commanded to go and to preach were the Jews. We also are commanded to go, and to preach-to the Jews!
True, we live in a different dispensation. True, the gospel has gone out to all nations. Nevertheless, the prophets’ task to go and to preach to the Jews has not been cancelled.
Our responsibility toward the Jews has by no means been diminished. We still must go to the Jews, and preach, and warn: or their blood will be required at our hand!
THE SEEKING JEW
The Jews are a seeking people. Whatever else may be said about Jewish life, this must be recognized, that at the heart of it there has always existed a great hunger-the hunger after righteousness. It is true, that, lacking the necessary element of faith, the Jews have come lamentably short of their goal, but it can hardly be denied that they have made a decided effort to reach it. “Israel, which followed after righteousness. . .”-one of St. Paul’s trenchant characterizations of his people-has all the tragic memory of lost horizons clinging to it. But the horizons are there, it is only the sight of them that has been lost, and across those horizons, Jesus the Messiah is slowly but surely making His triumphal return to Jewish thought and life.
THE FRUIT OF THE VINE
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:1, 2). When one becomes a Christian, his first concern is how to please the Lord: “What shall I do to work the works of Him who saved me?” Experience teaches us that a Christian may be faithful, obedient and fruitful, or he may be unfaithful, disobedient and unfruitful. There is so much church work today that parades under the name of the work of the Lord that it is possible for people to be pressed with religious activities and still not be fruitful servants of the Lord.
In John 15:1-8, we have the Lord’s teaching on the fruit of the vine. But before entering into a discussion of it, we want to make the statement which we hope you will keep in mind, that the fruit of the vine and the fruit of the Spirit are two different things.
In our Scripture lesson, the Lord designated Himself as the true vine and the Father as the husbandman. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ constitute the branches. In verse 2, we have the two types of branches in the Lord set forth; namely, the branch that does not bear fruit, and the branch that does bear fruit. When it comes to a discussion of fruit-bearing, of necessity we must declare ourselves in certain terms concerning two truths: (1) Salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing. (2) Rewards are a just recompense or remuneration for work done by a Christian.
Then we want to also emphasize three truths concerning the grace of God in the salvation of a lost individual. (1) One does not have to do any good work to be saved. (2) One does not have to do any good work to stay saved. (3) One does not have to do any good work to show that he has been saved. If salvation is by grace (and it is-Eph. 2:8, 9), then God considers neither our merits nor our demerits. With what difficulty do we grasp the truth of the grace of God! We want to see merit in those being saved and demerit in those not being saved, when the gospel truth of salvation by grace is that God justifies the ungodly and declares righteous the unrighteous, and is able to do so because He is the One who made the penalty for sin and also paid the penalty for sin. If an individual is not leading what some people call a Christian life, it does not mean that he is not saved. We read in I Cor. 3:10-15 that it is possible for a Christian not to have a single good work to his credit. It must ever be so, else salvation is not by grace.
Now in the study of the fruit of the vine, we read in John 15:2, “Every branch IN ME that beareth not fruit He taketh away.” This passage of Scripture has been a source of strength to the Armenians because of their misinterpretation. It has also been an enigma to the Calvinists because of their failure to understand the difference between salvation and rewards. The literal translation of this verse is, “Every branch in me that bears no fruit He takes up. ” The Greek word airo means “to lift up.” It was used by the Spirit when He spoke of Jesus lifting up His eyes and looking on the fields. It was used of the man who lifted up his bed and walked. It was used of the enemies of Christ who took up or lifted up stones to cast at Him. Now let us look at it once more. “Every branch in me that bears no fruit He lifts up. ” A very slight knowledge of the natural development of the grapevine which our Lord used as an illustration is very helpful. Often the branch will drop down and run across the ground for 30 or 40 feet. This branch can bear no fruit. The vine-dresser therefore lifts up the branch and places it on a trellis so it will bear fruit. All he does is lift it up. Often when our Lord sees a Christian bearing no fruit, He lifts him up-transfers him from one church to another, from one town to another, or from one state to another; and many times, having been unfruitful in one place, he becomes fruitful in another. We find Scriptural examples of children of God not bearing fruit, and God lifts them up. Moses became unfruitful through sin and was taken to heaven. Elijah became unfruitful through despondency and was taken on to heaven. In I John, we read that there is a sin unto death for Christians; and sometimes those who are unfruitful because of sin, experience physical death and go on to be with the Father. This means their opportunity for service with subsequent rewards is brought to an end, though their salvation is never in question. One can ascribe to the truth of Scripture that this branch which bears no fruit is in Christ.
As we search our own hearts we are forced, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to acknowledge ourselves as unfruitful servants standing in the need of confession, forgiveness and special empowering of the Holy Spirit, that we might yet be fruitful while the Lord permits us to remain here on the earth.
Now we come to the branch that bears fruit. We are shocked when we come to realize that the things which we thought applied to the unfruitful branch applies to the fruitful branch. “Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it.” This means He cleanses, refines, purifies, cuts off, separates; and all for the purpose of making it to bear more fruit. We shall never forget our feeling when we first saw a vineyard after it had been pruned. We had seen the same vineyard with its luxuriant branches and foliage, and after it had been pruned, we thought it was ruined. Upon inquiry, we learned that the vines must be pruned if they are to bring forth more fruit the next year. Now we come to understand and appreciate one of several reasons for Christian suffering. When one boasts of no suffering, no persecution, no hardship, he is simply proclaiming to the world that he is an unfruitful branch and is not being purged in order that he might bring forth more fruit. Study the lives of God’s true and faithful servants and you will find that it is preeminently true that every branch which bears fruit He purges it that it may bring forth more fruit. We are sure many can call to mind individual friends who have suffered greatly because of their fruitfulness, and it was for the purpose of making them to bring forth more fruit.
Now the final thought, “What is the fruit of the vine?” Many think it is the wine, while others think it is the grape juice, jelly, jam and preserves. But if you will take a grape and hold it up to the light, you will see that within are some dark spots. The skin of the grape holds the pulp and the pulp holds the juice, all for the purpose of providing nourishment to the dark spots which are seeds. The fruit of the vine is another vine. The fruit of the Christian is another Christian. The cycle of life is not completed until one reproduces himself; and a Christian can do that only under the leadership of the Spirit of God as he witnesses to the lost and sees them born from above through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the teaching of the story of the vine, a fruitful Christian is one who is used of God to win others to the Lord.
It would be false to say that salvation was intended for the Jew first in preference to the Gentiles. Paul has in mind the right of priority in time and order because of the heritage of Israel. As to this right, God has recognized it by making Jesus to be born of the Jews; Jesus recognized it by confining his earthly ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; by forbidding the twelve to go into the way of the Gentiles; by commanding the apostles to begin the world-wide evangelistic campaign at Jerusalem, the capital of Jewry. Paul recognized the priority of Israel by going first to the synagogue in each city to preach to the Jews, and then he went to the Gentiles of that city. Israel has been called to the task of EVANGELIZING THE WORLD and if she is to fulfill her calling she must herself be evangelized.
ARE ALL MEN CREATED EQUAL?
A fallacy that is common currency today is that God created all men equal. That statement is false. After Adam fell be begot sons and daughters in his own sinful image and likeness. Since the fall, not only has God not created men in the flesh but no two men have been born into the world with equal potentialities, capacities or rights. Some are born rich, some poor; some normal, some crippled; some white, some black; some intelligent, some mentally incapacitated; some born to rule, some born to be ruled; some to be masters, some to be slaves; some to be saved, some to be damned; some strong, some weak; some healthy, some sickly; some ambitious, some slothful, and ad infinitum. Do not ever be guilty of saying God created all men equal.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Among innumerable signs pointing to the soon coming of the Lord, the most prominent are the ones growing out of man’s attempt to throw off the authority of God and exalt man himself. We see this evidenced by: (1) man’s attempt to abolish the relationship which God established between man and woman (Gen. 3:16; Eph. 5:22), (2) man’s attempt to abolish capital punishment established by God (Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:1-4), (3) man’s attempt to curse Shem whom God has blessed (Gen. 12:3), (4) man’s attempt to bless Canaan whom God has cursed (Gen. 9:25-27), and (5) man’s attempt to build a worldwide church which is the prerogative of the anti-Christ (Rev. 17). Submitting to the Word of God, however humbling it may be to the flesh, is far better than the supernatural exaltation of the flesh, thus dishonoring the Word of God.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits,. afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rnle and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:22-26).
: This particular passage is misunderstood and has been grossly misinterpreted in recent months in current religious periodicals. The general theme of such interpretation has been that Christ is now ruling and reigning on His throne and will continue there until every enemy has been put under foot. It is thought that the church is supposed to be the one to put all enemies under foot, and with its great program of philanthropy, social service, education, medicine and reform will usher in the millennium, apart from and without the personal presence of Christ.
Let us look carefully at this passage of Scripture which is set in the midst of this great chapter on the resurrection. Bear in mind that Scripture must be interpreted in the light of Scripture. Scripture does not contradict itself; but prejudice, tradition, denominational jealousies, and preconceived ideas cause many to ignore and overlook much that is in the Scripture. This particular passage is logical and analytical and does not admit of the misunderstanding that is manifested.
The subject under discussion is the resurrection; and the Holy Spirit is setting forth the Scriptural truths that there is more than one resurrection. Of course we see that strikes immediately at the argument that there is just one general resurrection which takes place at the time of the end. Rev. 20 shows that the first and second resurrections are separated by a thousand years. Acts 24:15 separates the resurrection of the dead into two resurrections – that of the just and that of the unjust. Dan. 12:1 separates the resurrections, one unto everlasting life and one unto everlasting contempt. John 5:28, 29 separates them as the resurrection unto life and the resurrection unto damnation.
Now our passage in I Cor. 15:22-26 sets forth the following truths:
I. ALL ARE GOING TO BE MADE ALIVE. This includes both the redeemed and the unredeemed.
II. EVERY MAN IS GOING TO BE MADE ALNE IN HIS OWN ORDER OR COMPANY. The word order is a military term and has the meaning of division, platoon, company. We also have order used today in a way that brings out the same truth in this Scripture; for instance, we have the Order of Elks, the Order of Masons, the Order of Moose, etc., distinguishing one group from another group. So shall it be in the resurrection – not all will be resurrected at once, but different groups raised at different times. Let us note the order of resurrections:
A. Christ the firstftuits: You will notice that “firstfruits” is plural; therefore it includes Christ and some others. A study of Lev. 23:9-14 shows that the offering of firstfruits was made up of several stalks of grain into a sheaf. Matt. 27:51-53 tells us that when the veil of the temple was rent in twain, the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints arose, BUT, they did not come out of their graves until after Christ’s resurrection because He was first and they followed Him, and with Him apparently constituted the firstfruits. That event took place about 30 A. D.
B. They that are Christ’s at His coming (I Cor. 15:23); but when we turn to I Thess. 4:16, 17, we find there are two groups belonging to Him: (1) the dead in Christ which arise first, and (2) we which are alive and remain, caught up together with them in the clouds.
Now here we have two distinct groups; a hope prevalent among Christians since the day of Christ’s ascent into heaven has been to be among the living when Christ returns. I Cor. 15:54-56 gives us the triumphant cry of the two groups. Those who died and put on incorruption cry out in the resurrection, “0 grave, where is thy victory?” This is because the grave could not hold them. Those who are living and put on immortality will shout, “0 death, where is thy sting?” This is because they did not taste of death but were caught up alive.
Now here is where the majority of commentators get lost: “Then cometh the end WHEN. . . ” (notice that the end does not come until after WHEN). The true meaning is that the end will come when, or after, Christ has put all enemies under His feet, has put down all rule and authority and power, and has destroyed death. Verse 25 tells us that He must reign until all of these things are accomplished, THEN comes the end. The confusion comes as a result of the mistaken idea that Christ is now ruling and reigning over the earth. This is an error, for Satan is the God of this age, ruling and reigning not only over the earth but over the powers of the air. See Eph. 2:2; John 14:30; II Cor. 4:4, and in particular, Matt. 4:8-10 wherein Satan as the God of this age offers to Christ the kingdoms of this world if He will fall down and worship him. If Satan, then, is the one who is ruling over the affairs of men, what is Christ doing?
In Luke 19:11-12, we read that He has gone into a far country to receive a kingdom, and after He receives it, will return. According to John 14:2, He has gone to prepare a place for us. Heb. 7:25 tells us He is fulfilling the type of the Aaronic priesthood, having entered into the Holy of Holies by His own blood and is now making intercession for His own. I John 2:1, 2 shows us that He is now our Advocate, or lawyer, who pleads our case before God, when according to Rev. 12:10 Satan accuses the children of God.
One of the contributing factors to the misunderstanding of this entire passage of Scripture can be attributed to the fact that such interpretation does not distinguish between the offices of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King. It is imagined that these three offices are discharged simultaneously, when according to Scripture, they are discharged consecutively. As Prophet, Christ came into the world and bore testimony to the Father. This resulted in His death. After His death, He entered into heaven to be our Great High Priest to plead for us before God the Father. He came as King of the Jews and they rejected Him. He is not to be King of the church or of Christians. He is the Head of the church and the Bridegroom of the church, which is also called the bride. He is to rule and reign as King of the Jews. He is not now reigning over the Jews, but the day is coming when He will return, and as King of kings and Lord of lords reign over the Jews and bring all the Gentiles into subjection unto Himself. Judgment and justice belong to the administration of righteousness which will not be established until Christ returns and establishes His kingdom. Justice and righteousness do not prevail now. We are living in the era of grace-in a day when God justifies the ungodly, saves the sinner and redeems the damned, simply because He wants to and not because they merit or deserve it.
III. As stated in the paragraph immediately above, Christ must return to the earth and reign until He has put every enemy underfoot. Psa. 2:8, 9 tells of the day when He shall rule with a rod of iron. Rev. 19:11-21 tells of the day when He rules with a rod of iron and treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. Rev. 14:14-20 tells of Christ shedding the blood of His enemies when He returns in judgment as King. Joel 3:9-16 tells of the judgment of the Gentiles when He returns. Isa. 63: 1-6 and Rev. 19:13 tell of Christ being splattered and covered with the blood of His enemies when He returns in judgment as King of kings. The whole tempo of Scripture from Gen. 3:15 to Rev. 22:21 is set toward the day when Christ triumphs over His foes, shall have conquered all His enemies, shall have put them under His feet, and shall have established His sway. Then after the last enemy, death, shall have been destroyed, Christ shall turn everything back to God the Father that He may be all in all (I Cor. 15:27, 28).
Let us rejoice and give praise to God that Christ today is pleading and interceding for the saints and not executing justice upon us. Let us open our hearts, our minds, our souls, our whole being, and receive the blessed truth that God is now dealing with us in grace. Let us pray for the coming of the Lord when we shall be caught out of this sin-cursed world into the presence of Christ, because not until then will there be set in motion these events which will culminate in the supression of every enemy of the Lord God Almighty. Let us join together in the final prayer of the Scripture: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
THE TWO WITNESSES
There have been a number of inquiries of late about the two witnesses mentioned in Rev. 11:3-12. We have worked out this outline which might be of help to all who are interested.
1. The mission of the witnesses is to testify in Jerusalem during the last three and one-half years of the Times of the Gentiles (Rev. 11:3).
2. The witnesses are the same as the two olive trees and the candlesticks described in Zech. (See Rev. 11:4; Zech. 4:2-4, 11-14.)
3. The witnesses will perform the miracles of Moses and Elijah. Fire will devour their enemies (II Kings 1:14; Rev. 11:5). They will shut up heaven that it rain not for three and one-half years (I Kings 18:1; Rev. 11:6). They will turn water to blood and smite the earth with plagues (Ex. 7, 8, 9, 10; Rev. 11:6).
4. They are immune to death until they have finished their testimony (Rev. 11:7); but when they are killed they will remain in the streets of Jerusalem untouched for three and one-half days. (Note that Jerusalem is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt.)
5. While their dead bodies lie in the streets, they will be viewed by people of all nations (Rev. 11:9). It is interesting to note that this could not have been fulfilled until the present day of jet plane travel and television.
6. After three and one-half days, their bodies will be revived and they will ascend into heaven in full view of all their enemies (Rev. 11:11, 12).
7. The identity of these witnesses seems to be Moses and Elijah. They perform the miracles, wonders and works of Moses and Elijah. Then there is the transfiguration (Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30,31) where we see Moses and Elijah talking with Christ about the death which He would accomplish in Jerusalem. That of which they are speaking is the content of their testimony in the streets of Jerusalem during those three and one-half years. The Spirit of God tells us in II Pet. 1:16-21 that the transfiguration is a preview of the coming kingdom of our Lord.
Moses and Elijah were the witnesses on the Mt. of Transfiguration and logically must be the witnesses spoken of in Rev. 11.
WANT A BLESSING?
It is noticed in many prayers, both public and private, that the Lord is besought for certain blessings. Ofttimes we hesitate to ask for specific blessings and simply request the Lord to bless according to His will. It is because we stand in the need of blessings and because we are seeking the blessings the Lord desires to give His children that we want to call your attention to a few passages of Scripture. The Lord has enumerated many blessings which He is anxious to bestow on us, and all we have to do is put ourselves where these blessings can be manifested.
1. In Rev. 1:3, the Lord promises blessings upon those who read and hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things that are written therein. He does not say what the blessings will be; but we can rest assured that any blessing from God is sufficient, adequate and appropriate. The meaning is simply this: if one will read the book of the Revelation, God will bestow blessings upon that one. Our own personal experience has been that after a drought of warmness in fellowship with the Lord, we can turn to the book of the Revelation and read it through daily for several days in succession, and the Lord blesses beyond all expectation. Try reading the book of the Revelation through daily for seven days and you will see and experience the blessings of the Lord.
2. God has promised special blessings upon those who will remember and help the poor, for He says in Provo 21:13, “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” Here we learn that answers to prayers at times are dependent upon our response to the cry of the poor. Prov. 19:17 says, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again.” This is a promise of God to repay whatever one gives to the poor. Again, our personal testimony is that never once have we suffered loss from giving to the poor; on the other hand, we have been repaid many fold in blessings, both material and spiritual.
3. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10). Here is the promise of abundant blessing upon all who give their tithes to the Lord. (Do not let the word storehouse confuse you. There is much false teaching abroad in the land today relative to the storehouse. Here is the truth concerning it. Lev. 27:30 tells us that all the tithe is the Lord’s. The Old Testament saints carried it to the storehouse, which was the temple, because that was where and only where they could meet God. Since the rending of the veil in twain, no longer has a building constituted God’s meeting place with His children, but rather in this day of grace, the storehouse or meeting place is as given in Matt. 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This place of meeting could be in a church building, in a home or anywhere; so today, to take the tithe to the storehouse is to put it wherever the Lord’s work is being carred on.) Do you want a blessing? Put your tithe in the Lord’s work. Seek the leadership of the Lord, and not man’s, as to where to put it.
4. Possibly the greatest source of blessing is to be found in connection with God’s chosen people, Israel. God loves Israel. So many people hate them that God has promised special blessings upon all who will prove themselves to be a blessing to Israel.
Note in Gen. 12:3, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee. . .” This was spoken to Abraham and his posterity, the children of Israel. There has never been a portion of Scripture that has been more literally fulfilled than this. God’s blessings, both materially and spiritually, have followed those who have loved, prayed for, and ministered to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This has been true individually and nationally. Also, God’s curse has been upon every nation or individual that has hated, mistreated, or neglected the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The fact is that nations rise and fall according to their attitude toward and treatment of I.lrael. In Psa. 122:6, spiritual and material prosperity is offered to those who will pray for the peace of Jerusalem. There are several things you can do in regard to Israel that will guarantee the blessings of the Lord upon you and your family: (a) Pray daily for the day when Israel shall be at peace in her own land; (b) pray for the salvation of Jews with whom you may be acquainted; (c) pray for mission organizations, churches, and individuals who are laboring for the salvation of the Jews; (d) use a part of your tithe and offerings to support those who are laboring among the Jews.
A word of caution: In the administration of your tithes and gifts, it is not necessary to let anyone know what you are doing, for Jesus Himself said that you are not to let your left hand know what your right hand does. Your tithing and giving is unto the Lord-He alone needs to know. There are those today who set themselves up as administrators of your affairs and they would tell you where and what to give. Beloved, you are accountable to the Lord, and no one else, in this matter of stewardship. Want a blessing? We wonder.
LAWS NECESSITATED BY SIN
The entrance of sin into the bloodstream of the human race became the occasion for a marked change in God’s dealings with man and the other living creatures. While some of the laws came into existence in the name of a curse, all were established as laws which are still binding upon the human race. Man’s failure to understand this, coupled with his philanthropic desires apart from the Word of the Lord, has resulted in much confusion in the affairs of men. We are listing these laws with the prayerful hope that they will throw light upon God’s dealings with the human race, and that those who read this may have a deeper appreciation of God’s plans and purposes.
1. Gen. 3:14-A curse is pronounced upon all living creatures, and the serpent is cursed above all of them and made to go upon its belly all the days of its life. That is one curse that will never be lifted as long as the serpent lives.
2. Gen. 3:15-The law of enmity is established between Satan and the woman and their progeny. That will continue until Satan is cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
3. Gen. 3:16-Increased pain and multiplicity of conception is to be the portion of womankind. This continues as long as woman is in the body of flesh, and that will be until deliverance comes through the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Gen. 3:16-Because of woman’s part in the original sin, she shall be in submission to her husband. Man is given the rulership over woman, and this means she is to have neither voice nor vote in the government of man. In I Tim. 2:11, 12, we learn also that she is not to have power or authority in teaching man.
5. Gen. 3:16-Because of sin, the ground was cursed. It brings forth thorns and thistles, making planting and harvesting a severe burden for man.
6. Gen. 3:19-Man must labor, and in the sweat of his face eat his bread.
7. Gen. 3:19-Because of sin, death has entered into the world and will continue until it is destroyed as the last e,nemy of man (I Cor. 15:25, 26). With the new beginning established by God with Noah and his family after the flood, we find under the covenant God established with Noah and every living creature (Gen. 9:9, 10) certain additions to the original and fundamentallaws given to Adam and Eve. They are as follows:
8. Gen. 8:22-As long as the earth remains, there will be seasons of planting and harvesting. The earth will have cold and hot seasons called summer and winter; and day and night will continue to follow each other. Again we say, these will continue as long as the earth lasts, and the earth will not be destroyed until the consummation of God’s plans and purposes pertaining to it (II Pet. 3:10, 11; Rev. 20:11).
9. Gen. 9:2-The fear of man is to be upon every beast, fowl and fish.
10. Gen. 9:3-Every living creature is to be meat for man. (See also I Tim. 4:1-3.)
11. Gen. 9:4-Man is forbidden to eat blood or flesh with blood in it.
12. Gen. 9:5, 6-Whatever animal or man is guilty of taking the life of a man shall be executed by man (society or the governing body of society).
13. Gen. 9:7-Man is to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
14. Gen. 9:25-Canaan, representing the whole Hamitic race, is to be the servile nation. Being such they have no political rights and are to be the servants of the descendants of Shem and J apheth. This curse will not be lifted until the establishment of Christ’s kingdom upon the earth (Zech. 14:21).
15. Gen. 9:26-Spiritual blessings for all mankind are to come through Shem and his descendants, Israel.
16. Gen. 9:27-Japheth and his descendants (Gentiles) are to be enlarged and fill the earth.
These fundamental laws established by God, in the main, are political, social and material. They are to be enforced as long as the earth remains. God’s children should have no part in seeking to revoke, annul or overrule these laws of God.
THIS GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED
For some years, the postmillennialists and a-millennialists have been using as their theme song: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). As they chant this verse over and over, their conclusion of the whole matter is that Jesus Christ is not coming back until every person in the world has heard the gospel of Christ. This false deduction is then used as a club to beat their listeners into submission to their mission programs, forcing them to increase their gifts so more missionaries can be sent out and every ear thus hear the gospel-that not until then will Jesus return the second time.
The advocates of the above view are willfully ignorant of this one truth; namely, the gospel was preached to every nation and creature under heaven in all the world before 64 A.D. The fact of the matter is, this gospel went out to the ends of the earth to every language and people soon after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
NOW, the end of the matter is this. From the day of Pentecost until today, there has been nothing to hinder the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in the air for His saints. Your attention is called to three passages of Scripture testifying to the fact. that the gospel was preached to the ends of the earth immediately upon the coming of the Spirit of God at Pentecost:
(1) Acts 2:5-” And there were dwelling at Jerusalem devout men; out of every nation under heaven.” These men from every nation under heaven came to Jerusalem for the observance of the Feast of Pentecost according to the requirement of the law of God: “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose: in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty” (Deut. 16:16). The purpose was fulfilled when every man heard the gospel in his own language on the day of the Feast of Pentecost and returned to his home with this message. Right then and there the gospel of the Kingdom was preached in every nation for a witness.
(2) Rom. 10:17, 18-“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yea verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”As the Apostle Paul is addressing the church at Rome, the Spirit of the Lord speaks through him and conveys the news that the word of glad tidings has gone into all the earth and unto the ends of the world. This is the second proof of my promise that from the day of Pentecost until today, there has been nothing in unfulfilled prophecy to be fulfilled before the coming of the Lord.
(3) Col. 1:23-“lfye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. . .” This verse is of great interest because Mark 16:15 says, “Go ye unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The word creature is the same as used in Col. 1:23.
Please note this conclusion-our Lord said in Mark 16:15 to preach the gospel to every creature in all the world. In Col. 1:23, the Spirit of God says through Paul that the gospel has been preached to every creature under heaven; so, the coming of the Lord is not waiting on the gospel being preached in all the world, for that was done within the range of experience on the day of Pentecost ten days after the ascension of our Lord. The disciples were required by the Lord to remain in the upper room ten days between His ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit. There was no preaching, no witnessing and no missionary effort at all in these ten days. But when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the gospel was preached on that day in every language to all nations.
Now I want to show what men are doing by interposing their mission programs between us and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. I quote: “But, and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming . . .” (Matt. 24:48). “But, and if that servant say in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming. . .” (Luke 12:45a). These two verses taken together say that the Lord calls anyone who interposes any event or movement or prerequisite before His coming, an evil servant. The postmillennialist qualifies as an evil servant because he says the Lord delays His coming until after the millennium. The post-tribulation premillennialist qualifies as an evil servant because he says the Lord delays His coming until after the middle of the Tribulation which is the middle of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. Many missionary leaders qualify as evil servants because they say the Lord is not coming again until their mission program has been completed. There is just one group of people who, in theological terms, can have the opportunity to qualify as faithful servants, and that is the group who, in the light of the above, would be called pre-tribulation premillennialists. This term describes those people who believe that the rapture takes place before the Tribulation according to the teaching of the Lord, and that this event can take place at any moment.
Your attention is called to the following Scriptures to show that the Lord commanded and expected us to hope, pray, watch and wait for His Son from heaven, and that we are not to be watching for the Great Tribulation, the millennium, world evangelization, or the anti-christ-but for the Lord Jesus Christ in His second coming: Matt. 24:37, 40-42, 44, 50; 25:6, 13; Mark 13:34-37; I Thess. 1:9, 10.
In these last two verses, there is set forth in no uncertain terms the order as prescrihed by the Lord: (1) they turned to God from idols; (2) they served the living and true God; (3) they waited for His Son from heaven (not the Tribulation, not the anti-christ, nor world evangelization-but His Son). All of this was because (4) we have been delivered from the wrath to come (the Great Tribulation).
WANTED: A MARTIN LUTHER
Approximately speaking, from about 500 A.D. until 1500 A.D., there was a period of time commonly referred to as the DARK AGES. There were many contributing factors which combined to produce this era. One was the surrendering on the part of the church of the Blessed Hope. The Christians ceased to look for the second coming of Christ and settled down in the world, adopted its philosophy and attempted to establish a world civilization which, in effect, was simply leaving God out of all its plans and purposes. In the light of history, our conviction is that the primary factor in producing the Dark Ages was the taking away of the Bible from the people and putting it into the hands of the denominational leaders, which at that time was the Church of Rome. It usurped the authority of the Word of God and the Bible became a closed book. Only the Roman priest had access to it. The people were forbidden to read it, and the heresy known as the “infallibility of the Pope” was adopted by the Roman Church. This was used to brainwash the people with the idea that only the Pope could understand and interpret the Bible.
With the coming of Martin Luther, the Bible became an open book, and with the invention of the printing press, the common people had access to it. When they started reading it, they began to leave the Church of Rome, and the Word of God dispelled the gross darkness of Roman superstition in which they had been engulfed. John 8:32 says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This was demonstrated as true. Rome sought to suppress the reading of the Bible; they chained it to the pulpits; they burned all they could get their hands on; they burned the translators at the stake as well as the printers. Today, Rome still hates the Bible, and everywhere they can possibly do so, keep it from the people. In a word, the main pillar of strength of the Roman Catholic Church is keeping its constituency in total ignorance of God’s Word.
With the release of the Bible from Rome and its free access to the common people, there was what is known in history as the REFORMATION. Out of this movement came innumerable groups of people who met in homes and other places and worshipped God according to the dictates of their own consciences, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God.
But, with the passage of time, there has again developed the same situation which existed before the Reformation; and if one like Martin Luther does not arise, we are headed for another era like the Dark Ages. God’s Word is light, and only where it is disseminated, only where the common people have access to it, only where it is preached from the pulpits and taught in the schools, in these places will light dispel the darkness which envelopes the world.
What is the situation today? Once again denominationalism (Not just Rome) and kindred groups who claim not to have been a part of the Protestant movement are seeking to keep the Bible from the people. Great ecclesiastical hierocracies have been developed under the guise of denominationalism. The principal purpose of each denominational program is not to tell the story of Jesus; it is not to teach the Word of God; it is not the evangelization of the world, but it is the propagation and perpetuation of its own denominational life and program. They discourage the study of the Bible in Sunday School classes, forcing rather the study of propaganda sheets and literature published by the denomination. In fact, today as never before, Matthew 15:1-3 and Mark 7:7 are being fulfilled: “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Today, the leading denominations of the world refuse to recognize any church or Sunday School that teaches the Bible instead of the traditions of men, which, in short, is the denominational literature. Today, a man can go through a denominational school, graduate from the denominational seminary, and become a pastor of a great denominational church without a conversant knowledge of the English Bible. The fact of the matter is, the denominational program has its ministers so involved that they have no time for the study and the ministry of the Word of God.
After prayerful consideration, observation and experience, we would say advisedly that the source of strength of the great so-called Protestant denominations today is the same as that of the Roman Church-namely, keeping the common people in ignorance of the Word of God. They claim to be teaching it, but instead they are teaching their leaders’ interpretations and not the Word itself.
If another Martin Luther does not appear on the scene to rebuke the denominations and urge them to give the Bible again to the common people and restore it to its rightful place in the pulpits, encouraging the men of God to preach the Word of God, then the Dark Ages into which we will lapse will eclipse the first one.
In closing, here is a statement made by Dr. John R. Sampey, late president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and whose classes we were privileged to attend: “Young men, when you get out in the pastorate and begin to visit among your members, you will go into the homes of some aged saints of God. As you sit and talk with them, you will be impressed with their knowledge of God’s Word. When you ask them where they attended Bible School or if they took a Bible correspondence course, you will receive a negative answer; and finally, you will ask them outright: ‘Where did you learn the Bible?’ Then, they will tell you they learned it on their knees before God, the only place where it can be learned.” This, from the president of a great seminary!
The Protestant Church is no more the authority for individual Christians than is the Catholic Church. The sole authority for an individual Christian is the Word of God under the leadership of the Spirit of God. May He have mercy on the preachers, teachers, churches and denominations that dare to place themselves between the lowliest Christian and the Word of the Lord!
LOOKING FOR HIM
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Deb. 9:27, 28).
Many there are who believe in the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but not many are looking for Him. We believe the following characteristics distinguish those who are looking for their Lord:
1. There is an abiding faith in and an absolute hope of joy in His imminent return, based on a firm belief in the Word of God. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (John 14:1-4). “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Deb. 3:5, 6).
2. There is manifested a real love for His appearing. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (II Tim. 4:8). Loving His appearing becomes so much a part of one that it is the chief topic of conversation and the motivating principle of the daily walk.
3. There is such an ardent longing and such an earnest desire for Him and His presence that one constantly cries out, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
4. There is a confident, patient waiting for Him, uninfluenced by failures, disappointments, and all manner of discouragements by unbelieving friends. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh”(James 5:7, 8).
5. So sure is one of His soon return that he makes personal preparation for it and is ever ready. “And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s passover” (Ex. 12:11). “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10). “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Rev. 19:7, 8). “UNTO THEM THAT LOOK FOR HIM. . .”
Matt. 3:11-“1 indeed am baptizing you in water for repentance; but He who is corning after me is mightier than I: His sandals I am not worthy to carry; He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire.”-(Weymouth)
Here John speaks of baptizing in water. He tells us that when Jesus comes He will baptize in the Holy Spirit and in fire. In considering baptism, keep in mind the one who officiates, the one who is baptized, and the element into which one is baptized. Concerning John’s baptism, which also is similar to Christian baptism, John was the baptizer, repentant sinners were the ones who were baptized, and they were baptized in water.
So-called Spirit baptism finds Jesus doing the baptizing, believers are the ones baptized, and the Holy Spirit is the element into which they are baptized. I Cor. 12: 13 is a little confusing because of the mistranslation of the preposition “en.” In the King James, it is translated “by,” but the Greek translation is “in.” This makes the statement read, “For in one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” The Holy Spirit baptizes no one. On the other hand, all believers are baptized by Jesus Christ into the Holy Spirit, and since all believers are baptized by Christ into the Holy Spirit, they are one body.
John said that not only would Jesus Christ baptize in the Holy Spirit but He would also baptize in fire. This takes place at the end of the age, very likely in connection with the judgment seat of Christ. I Cor. 3:12-15, tells of the trial of a Christian’s works by fire. The literal translation of the salvation of a man whose works are destroyed as described in the fifteenth verse is, “yet so as through fire.” Our Lord, speaking in Mark 9:49, calls attention to the fact that all Christians shall be salted with fire, that is, shall be purified, refined, or sterilized. Rev. 2: 11 promises that the overcomer shall not be hurt of the second death, which is some aspect of fire.
Do not confuse this baptism in fire with purgatory, because it has to do only with Christians after the rapture of the saints.
These things are mentioned in the hope of stimulating a deeper study of the three baptisms of Scripture: baptism in water, baptism in the Holy Spirit, and baptism in fire.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
In the gospel of Matthew, there are three extended discourses by our Lord: THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT in Chapters 5, 6 and 7, THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM in Chapter 13, and THE OLIVET DISCOURSE in Chapters 24 and 25. Since there are nearly as many different interpretations of the Word as there are interpreters, and since so many modern interpreters have delivered these three discourses over to the Jews, it seemed good to me, the Lord willing, to set forth in order why I think the Scripture teaches that these three discourses have a relationship to the Christians of the church age. Matthew 5:1,2 states explicitly that the Sermon on the Mount was spoken to His disciples. There is a vast difference in the general use of the word disciples as used here and as used in Matt. 10:1 where His commands were given to His TWELVE disciples. I was not one of the twelve. Therefore, Matthew 10 was not spoken to me. But I am one of His disciples, and Matthew 5, 6 and 7, THEREFORE, was written to me as well as to all of His disciples.
So many with whom I am acquainted try to make the Sermon on the Mount to be the Laws of the Kingdom, to be those statutes which will prevail during the Millennial reign of Christ. I want to show in this discussion that the conditions which will prevail during the Millennium are not the same conditions for which the Sermon on the Mount was written.
1. Evil is dominant in the period for which the Sermon on the Mount was given-Matt. 5:6 shows that a premium is placed on hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
2. Strife and discord are prevalent-in verse 9, peacemakers are to be especially blessed.
3. Corruption is widespread-in verse 13, the disciples are called the salt of the earth, preventing the entire corruption of the age.
4. Moral darkness covers the earth-in verse 14, Christians are designated the light of the world.
5. The love of money is everywhere present-chapter 6:19-24 reveals that the disciples are torn between love for mammon and love for God.
6. Theft, adultery and divorce are everywhere present-the Sermon on the Mount in Matt. 5:28, 31 and 6:20 warns the disciples against such indulgences.
7. False prophets are abroad in the land-in Matt. 7:15-20, the disciples are warned against them.
8. Food, clothing and shelter occupy the time and attention of most of the disciples-our Lord urges the disciples to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first.
9. The Kingdom is not present-in Matt. 6:33, Jesus urges His disciples to seek the Kingdom, and in Matt. 6:10, He urges them to pray for His coming Kingdom.
10. Ambition, jealousy and pride predominate-in chapter 5:3, special blessings are offered to the poor in spirit.
11. Persecution will be very much in evidence-chapter 5:11,12 states the disciples will be blessed if they are persecuted.
12. Wrong doing is present-in chapter 6:14, the disciples are urged to forgive.
13. Christ is hated-in chapter 5:11, the disciples are to be persecuted because others hate Christ.
14. Satan is still at liberty-free-in chapter 6:13 (ASVI, disciples are to pray to be delivered from the EVIL ONE.
15. The Lord is absent-in chapter 6:16. the disciples are to fast, and they do not do that when the Lord is present.
16. The poor are still in evidence-in chapter 6: 1. instructions are given to the disciples as to how to minister to the poor.
17. The Kingdom is not yet established-the whole of the Sermon on the Mount is filled with FUTURE heavenly hopes and FUTURE heavenly rewards which will all be PRESENT when the Kingdom is established.
The Sermon on the Mount is written to those who hope to enter into the Kingdom of the heavens and share the honor and glories with the Lord when He shall rule and reign for a thousand years.
The Sermon on the Mount is, in fact, rules and regulations to be observed by all who would inherit the Kingdom. Matthew 6:33 is the key verse of chapters 5. 6 and 7. Seeking the righteousness of God and to enter into the Kingdom are cause and effect. Those who seek to attain the righteousness of God through obedience to the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount shall inherit the coming Kingdom. In fact. the whole of the gospel of Matthew is written for prospective residents of the Kingdom, of which the local church may be described as the nursery.
“Things Commanded” (Matt. 28:201 include the Sermon on the Mount.
ACQUIRING AND USING KNOWLEDGE
There are three ways in which an individual can glean from the writings of others as manifested in the habits of three different insects:
1. The grasshopper: This insect never seeks food until it is hungry and then takes only what it needs. This is typical of the individual who never seeks any information until he needs it and then seeks only that.
2. The ant: This one not only seeks food to satisfy its present hunger but also stores up vast supplies to be used during the winter months. A such like reader not only seeks the information he needs but develops a good file and index system and stores an abundance of material for future reference.
3. The bee: This insect gathers from all the flowers nectar which passes through its own system and comes out honey which is used not only to satisfy present hunger but also that of future generations. Such a reader gleaning from all sources allows such knowledge to pass into and through his own system of thinking. and as the Holy Spirit leads, such knowledge comes out at the time and in the precise way to be a blessing to others. Of course, the last is preferred.
KING OF THE JEWS
I want you to study the following passage of Scripture very carefully and determine whether it is spiritual or literal. Luke 1:30-33: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold:
(1) thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son;
(2) and shall call his name JESUS;
(3) He shall be great;
(4) and shall be called the Son of the Highest;
(5) and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David;
(6) and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever;
(7) and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.”
“To the ungodly, God presents eternal life as His gift. Believe in the finished work of Jesus for you, and you are saved in Christ. Rejoice. But when you become a believer, and already possess eternal life, there is a prize set before you, to be sought for by diligence and effort. You are elected to eternal salvation. But a place in the glory of the thousand years of Christ’s earthly reign is a reward to be granted by Christ according to works.”
MILLENNIUM-This word is a combination of two Latin words: mille meaning thousand, and annum meaning year-a thousand years. This expression does not appear in the Bible and I think perhaps the doctrine of the Kingdom has suffered greatly by the use of the word Millennium instead of the words the kingdom of heaven, which mean, “the rule of the heavens over the earth.”
I John 4:3-“Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
II John 7-“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (R.V.)
Two forms of The Greek verb “to come” are used in these references to the Lord’s “coming in the flesh.”
“Eleluthota” is the perfect tense and means “has come” (I John 4:2,3). “Erchomenon” is the present participle and means “is coming” (II John 7).
The one denies that HE HAS COME in the flesh, the other denies that HE IS COMING AGAIN in the flesh, and both attitudes are characteristics of the anti-christ.”
CALL UPON ME
.. And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (psalm 50:15).
Early in my ministry this verse of Scripture came to be peculiarly mine in that many were the times that I claimed the promise. I would call upon the Lord, He would deliver me and I would give Him the glory. Eventually, there came those days when I would call upon the Lord and deliverance was not forthcoming. Such experiences called for heart searching as I tried to learn why my prayers were unanswered. On one occasion, I went back to this Psalm and began to study it and the Lord directed my attention to the verse immediately preceding, which is as follows: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.” I remembered from Phil. 4:6 that thanksgiving was to be an integral part of prayer; but the shocking part of the verse was the command “Pay thy vows unto the most High.”
Like many other Christians, I have been guilty of making vows unto the Lord in the hope of appeasing Him, or compromising after a fashion. As I would seek to bargain with the Lord, I would promise Him something on the condition that He would do certain things, little realizing exactly what I was doing. I have made vows unto the Lord and forgotten some of them even for years, only to have them suddenly brought to my attention. I want to say that it is not pleasing unto the Lord, according to the New Testament, for Christians to make vows. The Old Testament states that it is better never to make a vow than to make a vow and not keep it. But through experience and personal contact, I have come to appreciate the fact that many prayers are not answered because of vows which have not been kept.
Notice the order in verses 14 and 15. First, offer unto God thanksgiving. Second, pay thy vows unto the most High. Third, call upon the Lord in the day of trouble. Fourth, the Lord will deliver. And last, thou shalt glorify Him.
When we come into the presence of the Lord to make known our request, there should be humble thanksgiving offered unto the Lord for His manifold blessings: life, salvation, providential care-which includes food, clothing, shelter-and the many precious promises that are given. Ingratitude is a too common sin among many Christians. In II Tim. 3, Paul tells us that one of the major sins in the last days will be the sin of unthankfulness. I have the privilege of dining with many Christians and I am constantly amazed at the large number who begin to partake of the Lord’s bounty at the table without giving thanks. We should pause many times daily and thank the Lord for manifest blessings.
Then pay thy vows unto the Lord. I have been with many Christians in time of death, adversity and have heard many make vows unto the Lord. For instance, one vows to attend church and Sunday school regularly if the Lord will spare his life and raise him up from the sickbed; another vows to pay his tithes unto the Lord if the Lord will do certain things; another vows to give up some bad habits if the Lord will raise his child from its deathbed; another vows to give two tenths to the Lord if He will prosper a certain business venture. I could go on indefinitely, telling of vows which individuals have made in my presence of what they would do if the Lord would do certain things. I have seen the Lord do the things asked and the individuals straightway forget their vows, The carelessness of people in regard to the vows which have been made unto the Lord!
The Lord says pay thy vows and then-not until then-call upon Him in the day of trouble. Perhaps, one reading this article just now is conscious only of unanswered prayer. Search your heart under the leadership of the Spirit of God and see if there be unfulfilled vows on your part, The promise of God is unequivocal. You pay your vows, then call upon Him. He says He will answer-which means He will hear your prayer, He will grant your request, He will give you the desires of your heart; and then He wants you to give Him the glory. I have had more than one individual ask me to come and pray with them concerning illness, surgery, financial difficulties; and when the Lord heard and answered the prayer, the glory was given to the doctors, the hospital, to their contacts or their own business judgment, but never a thought of giving the Lord the praise, honor and glory.
Any of you who are desirous of a closer walk with the Lord, a more blessed and personal fellowship and answered prayers, read with me once again these two verses: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High; And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me,”
THE WORLD AND ITS GOD
The world or world system under which we live today, and have since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, is that system in which man seeks primarily the well-being of humanity (himself), This is done by seeking to achieve the best possible results by educational, economic, social and even religious advancement APART FROM GOD. Man is seeking to organize and establish the best world possible and to achieve the best possible living conditions that can be attained without God.
The spiritual leader, organizer and director of this great world system is Satan himself (Luke 4:5, 6). Herein, he declares that the Kingdoms of this world are his and that he can give them to whomsoever he wills. Satan attracted Eve and caused her to embark upon a career for PROGRESS, that is, SELF-IMPROVEMENT THROUGH THE PURSUIT AND ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGE. The only thing which stood in the way of Adam and Eve’s doing the will of Satan was a direct command of God to the contrary. Eve did then what man has done ever since-set himself as judge over God by questioning and then passing judgment upon the expediency of the divine command. Man presumed to criticize the Word of God. Man, by his ignoring God and His Word, has developed a very complete and great system according to his own way of thinking. This world system, with Satan as its founder and ruler, has become the god of this age. This satanic world system, accepted by Adam and Eve and by the majority of people in the world today, has the following characteristics:
1. This world system has its own philosophy, which is man’s account of the origin, course and end of all that is. However, this philosophy changes from time to time and thereby proves its own falseness. Man does not know, nor can he know apart from God the origin, course and end of the universe or its contents.
2. This world system has developed its own science. The supernatural is eliminated completely and all that exists is rationalized; that is, explained away. Man denies the existence of God; therefore, God could not become man. However, man can become like God; therefore, man is God.
3. This world system has established its own government. Denying the existence and authority of the Lord God Almighty, man exalts himself to be the head and authoritative source of all power. Man elects himself – makes his own laws and attempts to govern self. The lowest form of government conceivable to the mind of man is a democracy wherein man assumes to be his own governor. Man will not, therefore, cannot govern himself.
4. This great world system has provided itself with “amusements.” The word “muse” means “to think,” and the prefix “a” negates that to which it is affixed. Thus muse (to think) becomes amuse (not to think). The multiplicity of amusements is evidence enough of the fact that man is determined not to think about his origin or goals, about God and his relationship to Him, about eternal hell and his part in that. The tragedy of tragedies is to be found in the fact that the church of the living God, which is God’s institution on the earth for teaching eternal verities, has abandoned its God-given task and has gone into the amusement (nonthinking) business. The average church of today will not even permit its minister the privilege of thinking.
5. This great world system has developed and established its own religion. In this religion, the conscience of man is soothed, his fears of judgment are removed and he lives in perfect peace and harmony with the world, the flesh and the devil. In this religion, there is no hell, neither is there any heaven. Hell and heaven are but emotions of the individual and are simply an inner experience. Man has trained and educated his conscience to the point that he no longer experiences a sense of guilt when he acts contrary to the Word of God. This world system seems to have for its goal the eradication of any and every thought of God from the minds of man and the destruction and abolition of the Word of God as the authoritative Word of God.
This world system seeks to free women from the position and relationship to man established by God. This world system seeks to do away with the national and racial differences established by God. This world system seeks to abolish capital punishment which was established by God as the basis of all civil government.
The only antidote for this world system, which is gaining adherents without number, is a return to the Lord God Almighty and His Word, the Holy Bible. Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Matthew 4:4: “But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
The Book of The Revelation belongs to a small but ever increasing number of books of the Bible that are being set aside as unworthy of serious attention on the part of Bible students. Why is this especially true with the Book of Revelation? Why is it so lightly esteemed? Why is it sorely assailed as unintelligible? I think the answer to these questions is to be found in the fact that the teachings of Revelation oppose themselves to human thought.
In the first place, the Book of The Revelation deals with the supernatural-not the supernatural that belongs to the past but the supernatural that belongs to the future; and we might say in the light of the signs of the times, the immediate future. Christianity has degenerated in our country into a code of ethics, with the supernatural practically eliminated. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the majority of Christians today are SADDUCEES; that is, they believe neither in angels nor the resurrection nor the supernatural.
Secondly, the Book of The Revelation describes the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ in a manner that is unbearable to the human mind. It also reveals the nominal church and (;he world as they are before God, with the judgments of God upon them impending. Such truth is always repulsive to man, who imagines himself to be eternal and infallible.
Thirdly, the Book of The Revelation is made up in the main of a description of these horrible judgments upon the nominal church and the world at the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. These appalling threats of judgment do not commend themselves to man as worthy of any consideration on his part.
Fourthly, the Book of The Revelation contains a description of the heavenly Jerusalem, that mighty metropolis, that center of the new heavens and the new earth, built by God and not by man. Again, we find man totally disinterested on the whole in the handiwork of the Lord God.
In brief, The Revelation is discarded and ignored by the majority of Christians today because it shows up man and reveals God in their true light. Believe the promise of God in Revelation 1:3.
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10, 11).
Paul had just left Thessalonica where a church had been established which he called the model church (I Thess. 1:7, 8). I was a little surprised to read that the Bereans where called more noble than the Thessalonians. A close study of the 11th verse which is quoted above will reveal wherein their nobility was found.
In the first place, they rendered very candid attention to the new truths which Paul was preaching. This is an exercise that befits finite minds. Since there are realms of truth beyond all finite minds, it behooves man to be docile and tractable. Man knows so little-and even that imperfectly-that he does well to give heed when one speaks as from the Lord. These Bereans were open-minded. This is a characteristic very rare among men, for somehow or other man grows up with preconceived ideas and concepts that blind him to all that does not blend with his own ideas. Nothing is more repugnant to him than a teaching pulpit. It is nobility of the highest order to be able to listen honestly to new truths.
In the second place, these Bereans gave a proper examination to the new doctrines enunciated by Paul. They were not as most listeners-passive listeners from whom the truth would flee in a few hours. They set to work to examine the Scriptures. They examined these Scriptures independently. They were not swayed by the authority of others. They took the scrolls in their own hands, unrolled them, read, studied, meditated, sought meaning with a willingness to believe the truth. Perhaps our great failure is not searching the Scriptures for ourselves. They examined the Scriptures perseveringly, they examined the Scriptures daily. Proverbs 2:1-5 tells how one is to search the Scriptures if one is to know the will of the Lord. The Bereans yielded to the new truths. Many believed the things which were taught by the Apostle Paul. Their faith was an intelligent faith. It was the result of investigating the Scriptures. It gave them living conviction.
“Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you unto all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). Here we read that the Spirit will guide-not drive nor force-but guide into all truth. Three groups of people need a guide-the blind, the weak and strangers.
Those who are spiritually blind need the Spirit of the Lord to guide them into truth. Those who are weak in the faith need the Spirit of the Lord to hold and lead them into the truth. Those who are strangers to the things of God need the Spirit of the Lord to lead them into the paths of learning. Herein I believe you will find some of the things which distinguished the Bereans as being more noble than the Thessalonians.
Only those who are clean can discern the truth of the Word of the Lord. Cleanness is set forth in the Word of God as correspondence between the hoof and the mouth. Only the animals with cloven hoofs and that chewed the cud were clean. The cloven hoof speaks of the walk. The chewing of the cud speaks of mastication and digestion, which is meditation. Only as a Christian walks in righteousness and meditates upon the Word of God can he discern Its truth.
Three “Except’s” concerning entrance into the Kingdom.
1. “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ” -John 3:5
2. “Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:3
3. “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:20
FRIENDS OF MAMMON
In Luke 16:1-13, we have our Lord’s parable of the unjust steward. This parable has proved an enigma to many students of the Word because of the King James translation of the 9th verse: “And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” This is an incorrect translation and obscures the true meaning. The better translation is the following: “And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends BY MEANS OF the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles.”
The mammon of unrighteousness is nothing in the world but money. Contrary to many students of the Word, money is not the root of all evil. It is the LOVE of money which is the root of all evil. This unjust steward had squandered and dissipated his master’s property for reasons other than his master’s benefit. The steward was punished by being removed from office and his task given to another. The steward then began conniving with just debtors of his master by reducing their bills considerably under their true value. In this way, he made friends with many who, when he would be out of work, could take care of him. The lord or master (not Jesus) of the unjust steward commended the evil conduct of the steward in that the steward, seeing his loss of income, began to make provision for the future, though in an illegal way.
In verse 9, Jesus says to His disciples, “Make friends to yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness (money).” The mammon of unrighteousness (money) provides food, clothing, shelter, friends, position and honor while one is here on the earth. Christians who have a heavenly hope will not need food, clothing, shelter, etc., in heaven; so the Lord Jesus Christ urges the Christians to use their money here and now to gain rewards, prestige, positions of honor in the coming kingdom of our Lord. See Matthew 6:19-24 and Galatians 6:6-9.
Let us now consider the Jewish aspect of this parable, which more than likely is the fundamental basis of interpretation. This steward may well be a type of the nation of Israel into whose hands our Lord entrusted His business – the oracles of God, the Messiah and world-wide witness. Israel refused to use the blessings of the Lord for the honor and glory of the Lord, seeking only her own wealth and comfort here on the earth. Because of Israel’s disobedience to the Lord, He sets her aside as His steward and delivers the responsibility to the Gentiles. Matthew 21:43: “Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
Because Israel cannot dig or work in the soil (outside of the Land she is not an agricultural people), neither can Israel beg (because of her pride and neither is it necessary); therefore, the Jews – outside of the land, set aside as God’s steward – devote themselves by hook and crook to provide for the necessities and luxuries of life enumerated above, by the use of money.
Since the Lord has entrusted His goods to the Gentiles who will bring forth the fruits thereof, they are exhorted to so handle the Lord’s business as to secure rewards and treasures which will benefit them in the life to come. If the Jews are shrewd enough to use the mammon of unrighteousness (money) for their benefit here on the earth, Christians in their own generation should be wise enough to use their mammon of unrighteousness (money) to earn rewards which will be enjoyed during the millennial reign of Christ.
What Jesus said to His disciples was this: Make to yourselves friends by the means of the money God has placed in your trust, so that when our Lord appears you will not be made ashamed from Him.
In II Cor. 11:4, Paul calls attention to the fact that the Corinthians had been receiving another gospel concerning another Jesus than that which he had been preaching. In Gal. 1:6-9, Paul admonishes the Galatians not to believe any other gospel than that which he had preached. Because of these and similar statements, many are confused and do not understand various aspects of the gospel described by the following titles: The gospel of the kingdom; the gospel of the grace of God; Paul’s gospel; the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ; and the everlasting gospel.
Some think that these are all different gospels; others think that they all refer to the same thing. The fact of the matter is, there is but one gospel. The word gospel itself means good news. There are different aspects of the gospel; that is, there are different emphases set forth in these descriptive titles mentioned above. We will consider each in the order listed.
1. The gospel of the kingdom of the heavens: John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness, saying, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand.” (The word heaven in connection with the kingdom in Matthew is always in the plural.) In Matt. 4:17, we learn that Jesus began to preach the same gospel. In Matt. 9:35, we read the following: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” In Mark 1:14, 15, we read that Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, announcing that “the kingdom of God is at hand; therefore, repent ye, and believe the gospel.” That is, believe the good news; not the good news of salvation by grace, because that had not yet been announced, neither made possible by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. But, believe the good news of the coming kingdom.
If you will read also in this connection Matt. 10:1-10, you will learn several characteristics of the gospel of the kingdom:
First, it was addressed only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, never to the Gentiles.
Second, it required repentance and public confession on the part of Israel (see Matt. 3:1-12; Acts 2:32-41).
Third, the preachers of the gospel of the kingdom were given credentials by the Lord to establish their authority as heaven-sent ministers. These credentials were signs, wonders and miracles. Included in these were the power to heal, the ability to raise the dead, to speak in foreign languages without previous study or knowledge, to cast out demons, to handle poisonous serpents, to drink deadly poison and to cleanse lepers.
Fourth, the gospel of the kingdom was not to be preached to the Gentiles.
Fifth, this gospel of the kingdom was preached to the children of Israel as long as the kingdom of heaven was offered to the nation of Israel on the basis of national repentance.
Sixth, the offer of the kingdom to Israel on such basis was withdrawn at the time of Acts 28:28: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”
Seventh, with the setting aside of Israel as a nation, God began to take out of the Gentiles a people for His Name (see Acts 15:13-18).
Eighth, the offer of the kingdom and the preaching again of the gospel of the kingdom with its accompanying signs, wonders and miracles cannot take place until the fulfillment of Rom. 11:25; that is, it cannot take place until the rapture of the saints, after which the gospel of the kingdom will again be preached.
The preaching of the gospel of the kingdom has nothing whatever to do with the preaching of the gospel of the grace of God. And the confusion of these two gospels-with many earnest, honest, sincere Christians in this dispensation of grace trying to re-establish and perform again the signs, wonders and miracles which belong only to the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom-has made shipwreck of the faith of many Christians. The FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM IS THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
2. The gospel of the grace of God: In Acts 20:24, the Apostle Paul tells us that he testified the gospel of the grace of God. This good news is stated succinctly in I Cor. 15:3, 4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” This is the good news of salvation by grace. See Eph. 2:8-10. Since Christ has already died for our sins, neither repentance nor baptism constitutes a part of this gospel, though they have their places after one has been saved. The sin question has forever been settled; it is the Son question which now remains.
In John 3:18, we learn that no one goes to hell because of his sin, neither is anyone saved because of repentance and baptism. The only reason anyone is saved is because he has received the good news that Christ has died for his sins; that is, he has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. The only reason one goes to hell is because he has not believed the good news of the grace of God; that is, he has not believed on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this connection, we do well to remember that the Gospel of John was written to tell individuals how to be saved (John 20:30,31), and not one time do the words repent or repentance occur in this Gospel.
The most amazing thing in this enlightened Christian era of Bible study and teaching is that so few Christians have any concept of the grace of God or of salvation by grace. No signs, wonders or miracles are associated with the gospel of grace. They are not necessary. The Holy Spirit of God takes the Word of God and bears it home to the heart of the individual, producing conviction of sin and revealing the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF THE GOSPEL OF GRACE IS THE SALVATION OF THE LOST.
3. Paul’s gospel: In Rom. 2:16; 16:25; II Tim. 2:8, we have expression of Paul’s gospel. This is not another gospel but just a different aspect of the good news. In Paul’s gospel, the emphasis is upon rewards for obedient saints who have been saved by the grace of God. In the prison epistles – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, II Timothy – Paul emphasizes the fact that whereas we are saved by grace, all rewards are meritorious, that is, based upon works.
Paul’s gospel is the great mystery which was revealed to him but which had been kept secret or hidden until that time. Many erroneously believe that the mystery which was revealed to Paul was the church. But the church came into existence sometime before Paul’s salvation, and we have Paul himself stating that he persecuted the church before his salvation (Gal. 1:13). THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF PAUL’S GOSPEL IS THAT IF A CHRISTIAN IS FAITHFUL, OBEDIENT AND SUFFERS WITH CHRIST, HE SHALL REIGN WITH CHRIST. OTHERWISE, SUCH A CHRISTIAN WILL STILL BE SAVED WITHOUT WORKS AND REWARDS, BUT AS THROUGH FIRE. See II Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17; I Cor. 3:14, 15.
4. The gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ: In II Cor. 4:4, the King James translation, “the glorious gospel of Christ,” should be translated “the gospel of the glory of Christ.” THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF THIS ASPECT OF THE GOSPEL IS THE GLORY OF CHRIST WHICH IS TO BE MANIFESTED TO THE WHOLE UNIVERSE WHEN CHRIST RETURNS AND ESTABLISHES HIS KINGDOM. The majority of Christians know of the humiliation and shame of the Lord but little, if anything, of His coming glory. The significance of the scene on the Mount of Transfiguration was to give unto Peter, James and John a preview and foretaste of that coming glory. We are to pray for His coming in power and glory. We are to love His coming in power and glory. We are to talk, teach and preach of His coming in power and glory. What shame and reproach are heaped upon the Lord by individuals who constantly state that they care not whether the Lord returns.
In I Tim. 1:11, attention once again is called to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God which gospel had also been committed to Paul. We need to remember constantly the two foci of the ellipse of our Lord’s ministry, which are His first advent, culminating in the cross, and His second advent, culminating in the revelation of His glory. There is no understanding the person, life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ without an understanding of these two centers of His activity. The gospel of the grace of God centers around the first, which is the cross. The gospel of the glory of Christ centers around the second, which is the throne and crown.
5. The everlasting gospel: Rev. 14:6 tells ~f an angel flying in the midst of the heaven, preaching the everlasting gospel. (This is not a preacher in an airplane, flying to preach the gospel of grace.) In verse 7, we see that THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL IS THE SANCTIFICATION-GLORIFICATION-OF GOD BY AND IN HIS WHOLE CREATION. Since God spoke the universe into existence, man, with few exceptions, has denied the creative power of the Lord God. As the activity of this present heaven and earth draws to a close, an appointed angel flies through the heaven, preaching the everlasting gospel; that is, proclaiming the good news that, because of God’s creation of the heavens, the earth, the sea and the fountains of waters, God-the Triune God-is to be worshipped.
There is but one gospel, but this one gospel has several facets or aspects. Each facet calls for the emphasis to be placed upon some particular aspect of the good news, and the aspect emphasized determines the title by which the gospel in that instance shall be labeled.
DISQUIETING AND DISTURBING
The Word of the Lord tells us that there are three things that disquiet the inhabitants of the earth and a fourth one which completely wrecks the household. In Proverbs 30:21-23, we read: “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious women when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.”
Once again, I call attention to the fact that this is the Word of the Lord and did not originate with man, but is completely overlooked and even denied in most Christian circles today.
1. The first thing which disquiets and disturbs the order as established by God since sin entered into the world is for a servant to become a ruler or for a servile nation to reach a place of authority and responsibility over nonservile nations. The reason is because persons of low birth are harder on the populace when opportunity presents itself than those born in high stations of life. One has said, “A servant ruling becomes the most insolent, imperious, cruel and tyrannical of all masters.” Even though elevated to the position of ruler or equal to those born in high stations, the former servant or servile people cannot rise above servile habits. The world is being disquieted today as never before because of this very reason. The whole world trembles when one of the above mentioned comes into a place of freedom in action. The whole and complete arrangement of society as established by God is shattered. Such a one seeks to indemnify himself in his present highness for his former lowliness.
2. Equally disquieting is a fool who has all he can desire. Rolling in plenty, he despises the poor and needy and considers that his possessions entitle him to respect, though he has no virtues at all. Such a one becomes arrogant, troublesome and dangerous. Very few who suddenly come into riches prove to be a blessing to mankind.
3. The odious woman. Such a one described here is one who, because of provoking hatred and repugnance, is not fit company for society. At length this very unattractive and repulsive, witch-like individual enters into a state of matrimony but, being unamiable and vindictive, completely destroys peace and happiness for friends, becoming a most disquieting influence in the world.
4. A handmaid who supplants her mistress. This is one who comes into the home as a servant but stealthily wins the husband’s affections, alienating his wife and children, and becomes mistress of the home herself, thereby causing utter ruin. These four disquieting infl uences described by the Lord God Himself can- not happen or come to pass except for the complete denial of the existence of God and an absolute disregard for His Word.
In conclusion, I want to say that, according to the Word of God, possibly the most disquieting influence in the world today is the aspiration of the servile people to leave the position in which God placed them and usurp that belonging to others.
The late Dr. Scofield used to say that when we are first converted we have to change from natural to spiritual, but after being saved a while, we need another conversion to become natural again-in a different sense of course. So many of us allow ourselves to become rather stilted and unnatural in our own desire to be spiritual, we lose that sweet, gracious warmth that should characterize us as Christian men and women.
At the time of the birth of our Lord, there was no room for Him in the affairs of men. Neither is there room for the Lord today. Love for the Lord is displaced by the care of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the pleasures of this life.
Gen. 11:1-9; Dan. 3; Rev. 17. The above Scriptures tell of the tower of Babel, of the city of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and of the mystery of Babylon under the Antichrist, and in these three experiences are three attempts of Satan to establish a universal religion. The ecumenical councils of today are part of the plan of Satan to bring into existence the mystery of Babylon described in Rev. 17.
Satan has always inspired great towers – great buildings – great schemes. These appeal to and are ministered unto by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
Satan delights in gathering great bodies, in forming great parties, in organizing great groups, in building vast temples and edifices, in establishing great institutions and in founding great denominational bodies. The key words in his plans and methods are organize and unite. He revels in compiling enormous figures and raising vast sums of money. Having done this, he then prevails upon mankind to fall down and worship all of these things and to say, “Is not this great Babylon which we have builded!”
This is the devil’s idea of religion and his followers are legion. But God does not like it a bit and brought it to nought on the plains of Shinar, on the plains of Dura, and He shall bring it to nought when it is headed up in the great world church under the Anti-christ. Our Lord said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there will I be also.” Do not look for the Lord in the magnitude of man’s elaborate schemes and buildings. Rather, listen for the still, small voice.
“It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.”
THE BOOKS OF HEAVEN
The Word of the Lord mentions various and sundry books in relation to the names and lives of individuals both saved and lost. I want to list a number of these books with a few words about each:
1.THE BOOK OF OUR MEMBERS: “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being un perfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).
This seems to be the same book mentioned in Ex. 32:32 and Rev. 20:15. The full description of this book in Psalm 139:11-16 reveals that this is a book in which the name of every individual conceived is written at the moment conception takes place. This is the book out of which many names are erased. I would judge the ones to be erased would be those reaching the age of accountability and living out their appointed days without accepting Christ as their Saviour. All infants dying before the age of accountability and all who mature physically but are mentally incapacitated are safe in that their names are not erased.
2. THE BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE or OF WORDS: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name ” (Mal. 3:16).
This book contains the record of words that are spoken, which calls to mind Matt. 12:36: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” It is also well to remember in connection with this book of words James 1:26 and 3:1-12. The importance of the tongue and giving expression to thoughts cannot be overestimated, and we should never forget that the book of remembrance is a record of our words.
3. THE BOOK OF DEEDS: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works ” (Rev. 20:12).
Herein we learn of a book which has all of the deeds of the lost. This being the judgment of the dead at the great white throne, the dead being those who are separated from God because of unbelief in the Lord Jesus Christ; the judgment is to determine the extent of their punishment in the lake of fire and brimstone. See Matt. 10:15 which reveals degrees in punishment. That there is a book of deeds for the saved is revealed in Rev. 3:5: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
This book out of which names of Christians are blotted is not that of eternal life, because those to whom the Lord gives eternal life shall never perish (John 10:28), but this is equivalent to the loss of garments (personal righteousness) in Rev. 16:15. It is also comparable to the loss of crowns, as set forth in Rev. 3:11. It is the same as forfeiting the privileges of birthright as did Reuben and Esau, though they did not forfeit their sonship.
4. THE BOOK OF TEARS: “Thou tellest my wanderings; put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book” (Psalm 56:8)? The truth expressed here is that the tears of God’s children are kept in remembrance before the Lord. They are caught and placed in a bottle, as well as recorded in a book-tears because of our sins, tears shed on behalf of loved ones who are lost, tears shed because of failure to understand and appropriate the promises of God, any and all tears shed because of our relationship to the Lord in any aspect whatsoever. No tear that is ever shed because of the Lord or our relation to Him is forgotten by the Lord.
5. THE BOOK OF CURSES: “Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And He said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said He unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for everyone that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and everyone that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it ” (Zech. 5:1-3).
The flying roll described herein is a scroll or a book in which is inscribed the curse that goes over the face of the whole earth, in particular the curse upon those who steal and those who swear. Two manifest and very common sins of today are those of theft and swearing. Theft reveals disregard for another’s property; swearing reveals disregard for the honor and glory of the Lord. The nature of the curse is not revealed but it is sufficient to know that God has pronounced a particular curse upon those two gross sins so prevalent today.
6. THE BOOK OF FUTURE EVENTS: “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof” (Rev. 5:1, 2)? This book of seven seals is the book containing the judgments and blessings of God which take place after the rapture. In fact, from chapter 6 onward we have the revealing of future events contained in this sealed book. This is called The Revelation, which means a showing forth, a making known, a causing to understand. So important is this book that God has promised particular blessings as set forth in the following verse: Rev. 1:3: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Should you desire a blessing from the Lord, read the book of Revelation.
7. THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world ” (Rev. 13:8).
See also Rev. 21:27. First of all, I want to call your attention to the fact that the word name in Rev. 13:8 is singular and not plural, as the King James translation has it. This reveals unto us that there is individual action and judgment according to whether or not one’s name is in the Lamb’s book of life. Those who dwell upon the earth (an expression describing those who remain after the rapture and who are not of the elect, either Jew or Gentile) do not have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life; therefore, they are lost. The very name itself reveals that this particular book of life contains the names of those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
Hebrews 12:23 speaks of the “church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven,” and I would judge that since they are in heaven the book in which their names are written is the Lamb’s book of life.
The mention of books may call to your mind the old hymn we used to sing, “Is My Name Written There?” I know my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life because I have personally received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. That is a book from which no names are ever erased, because salvation is by grace through faith and not conditioned by or upon anything that I might do.
There may be other books which are mentioned by the Lord in His Word, but these are the ones which I have in mind just now.
PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE
Since two of the gods worshipped so devoutly today are Philosophy and Science, it seemed good to give a few words from the New Testament pertaining to these two subjects.
When the New Testament was written the world was divided into two great schools of thought, the Easten and the Western. The Eastern was of Persian, Syrian, Chaldean and Egyptian origin and was called Science, which comes from the Latin word for knowledge. The Western school of thought was of Grecian and Roman origin and was called Philosophy, or love of wisdom.
Now let us see what the Bible says about each:
1. SCIENCE: “0 Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called ” (I Tim. 6:20). Here we learn from the Spirit of God through Paul that Science opposes the truth of God and Christians are to avoid it as a ma. jor enemy of Christianity.
2. PHILOSOPHY: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ ” (Col. 2:8). Here the Spirit of the Lord reveals that the basis of Philosophy is the traditions of man and it does not come from Christ. Therefore, since Philosophy is vain and deceitful, we are to beware of it since it spoils those who are in Christ.
How tragic that today with few exceptions modern education is based upon these two errors, Science and Philosophy, rather than upon the Word of God, which states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.”
THE KINGDOM TAKEN FROM ISRAEL
“Therefore, say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof “(Matt. 21:43).
Because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah, and because of their subsequent crucifixion of Him, God withdrew from the nation of Israel the offer of the kingdom of the heavens. This included, among other things, the right and privilege of ruling over the earth from the heavens with the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Lord then extended the offer of the kingdom rule to another nation which would, and if it would, bring forth the fruits thereof.
We give the following summary of such action as given in Matt. 21:33-46:
1. The nation of Israel had failed God as stewards of the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens.
2. They slew the Son who was the Heir, with the intention of seizing the kingdom for themselves on their own conditions and not those of God.
3. The Jews were miserably destroyed in 70 A.D. by Titus and the Roman legions. Their city, Jerusalem, was burned with fire.
4. A new nation was to be appointed to be stewards of the kingdom of the heavens in the place of Israel.
5. The realization of that stewardship was to be on the condition of bearing fruit.
6. This new nation is described in I Pet. 2:9, 10. These people once were not a people of God, neither were they the recipients of God’s grace. A good description of them is given in Eph. 2:11-13.
7. Those who become prominent in the kingdom to rule and reign with the Lord are the ones who, in this age, bring forth fruit for the kingdom after they have been saved. To be saved is to be in the body of Christ. To bear fruit enables one to be taken “out of the body of Christ” and become a part of “the bride of Christ.”
8. Notice a description of this new nation-THE TRUE CHURCH- in I Pet. 2:9,10:
(a) As being kin to Christ, they share His life as an elect race.
(b) As a royal priesthood, they are equipped for service to and for Christ.
(c) As a holy nation, the church reveals the kingdom of the heavens and rules with Christ in the day of His reign.
(d) As a people for God’s possession, the church reveals that the victory is the Lord’s.
All of the above depends entirely on the bearing of fruit for the kingdom, whereas eternal life is dependent only on the grace of God through faith. I judge, therefore, in the light of the above, that the true church is composed only of those Christians who bear fruit for our Lord, all other Christians remaining in the body of Christ.
IS GOD REAL?
Many people are rebelling, and justly so, against the modern theology, “God is dead.” Yet as I talk to so many fundamentalists and pre- millennialists, I find that while they say God is not dead, they do not believe He is real; that is, their concept of God the Father is that He is simply “a gaseous mass permeating the ether.”
They seem to think it is heresy to speak of God having hands, eyes, ears, mouth, feet, heart. They even go so far as to say they do not believe He is seated on a throne or that He has a throne in the heavens. Then they end up by saying they do not believe that heaven is real, neither the tabernacle in heaven, the blueprint or pattern which was shown by God to Moses to be the model for the tabernacle in the wilderness.
I have also learned from many of them that none but the illiterate and woefully ignorant believe that God is a real Person with a real body. They quote a mistranslation from John 4:24, “God is a Spirit.” But the literal translation is, “God is Spirit.” They equate Spirit with phantom, not knowing that the terms spirit and body are compatible.
The same passage says that we must worship Him in spirit and we do that in our bodies. We don’t have to leave our bodies, as a phantom or ghost, in order to worship God. I Cor. 15:42-44 treats of a spiritual body, which simply means that our bodies, being flesh and bones even as was our Lord’s resurrected body. will be animated by the Holy Spirit. I think that God being Spirit means that while He has a body, animation comes from the Holy Spirit.
I want to call your attention to a few passages of Scripture which tell us of God’s body and what it is like. Gen. 1:26 tells us that man was created in the likeness of the image of God. An image always refers to a physical likeness visible to the eye. There was nothing wrong with man as created by God. In his physical body, he belonged to God’s creation of which He said, “It was good.”
In Phil. 2:5, 6, we learn that God has a form; and the word form means shape and structure which has an external appearance and is visible to the eye. Heb. 1:3 speaks of Jesus being the express image of God’s substance. Substance is composed of elements which are tangible, visible, and possess form. In John 14:8, 9, when Philip asks to see the Father, Jesus tells him that, “. . . he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” That is, “As you look upon Me here in My physical body, you know exactly how the Father looks.”
Those who deny the reality of God’s person say that the simple-minded, in their attempt to describe God or picture God in their minds, ascribe to God human characteristics. But I cannot find anywhere in the Bible that the human characteristics, so-called, of God were given Him by man. On the contrary, it is the Holy Spirit who speaks of God’s hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth, throne, etc.
God’s original purpose in the creation of man was to bring into existence one like unto Himself with whom He could have fellowship and one who would do His will. Had Adam and Eve eaten of the tree of life as commanded by God, rather than the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would have been preserved or perpetuated in their literal bodies of blood, flesh and bones.
I think the desire to do away with the body of the Lord God Almighty is because of a false view that matter is evil. Such is not the case, for it was of matter that God said, “It was good.” The deterioration of human bodies is the result of sin and not the cause of sin. I do not believe one can really understand the Word of God unless he knows that God, heaven, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are real.
When Moses desired to see the face of the Lord, God refused; but He did permit Moses to see His back parts after He had passed by (see Ex. 33:18-23). Also in Isa. 6:1-7, we read about Isaiah seeing the Lord on His throne and God cleansing him of his iniquity, that he should not perish because of having seen the Lord. Since no man could see God and live, it required a special dispensation by God in the cleansing of Isaiah, that he die not because of having seen the Lord.
One question arises in the minds of many people: namely, if God is real and has substance, form and body, how can He be omnipresent? Answer: God is omnipresent in the Person of the Holy Spirit. See John 3:13. Here we have Jesus physically present on the earth but also present in heaven in the Spirit.
Personally, I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that the reason the Spirit of God magnifies the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in I Cor. 15 as the great doctrine of Christianity is because His resurrection in a physical body establishes the fact that because He has a body, God also has a body and we, too, shall possess glorified bodies (but bodies nonetheless) throughout eternity. Selah.
Christianity, as a molder and determining factor in shaping the lives and thinking of the people with which it comes in contact, has fallen from the high pinnacle it once occupied. Originally, the Christian people based their deliberations and policies upon the WORD OF GOD. In the new mold, its convictions and principles are based on the philosophy of man rather than the Word of the Lord. The Christian church used to say, “Thus saith the Lord. . .” Today, it says, “Dr. So-and-So recommends. . .” For instance, God’s Word says in Gen. 3:16 that man shall rule over the woman. Today, however, women occupy public office and in many instances exercise authority of rulership of the office over men. Again God’s Word says in Gen. 9:25-27 concerning Ham and his descendants, that they are to be the servants of the other peoples of the earth. Today, the Christian church has committed itself to obliterating the distinction between these races and is seeking to establish a society based upon the philosophical heresy that men are created equal. It is interesting to note in this connection, however, that God never created but one man and he fell from the high estate in which he was created. Since then he has begotten sons and daughters in his fallen, sinful, iniquitous and degenerate likeness, and the only equality is that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Man is striving now to strike once again at the Word of the Lord and do away with the foundation stone of civil government. The campaign by church and state to eliminate capital punishment is just this. In Gen. 9:6, we read, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man.” Here we have the very basis of all civil government, which is divine in its origin because of this foundation.
Further recognition of this truth is expressed on other occasions in the Word of God. After the flood subsided, the Ark rested on Mount Ararat and man came forth to begin a new civilization. God laid down the fundamental principle of civil government-capital punishment of the murderer. The reason for the institution of this law is to be found in the verse quoted above where man slew another man. By so doing, he destroyed that which was originally made in God’s image and likeness. Such flagrant disregard for God’s image and likeness is punishable only by the execution of the murderer. It is erroneous to refer to the commandment of Ex. 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” This commandment is not a repudiation of Gen. 9:6, but rather gives another basis for the assessment of the penalty against murder, that is, capital punishment. A man under no circumstances is to kill another man, but if he does, then by man (meaning society) shall the murderer be executed. God is not unmindful of extenuating circumstances and makes ample provision for what we call justifiable homicide.
In Numbers 35:30-34, we have a description as to how the execution of the murderer is to proceed. Notice in verse 30 that the murderer is to be put to death by the mouth of witnesses, that is, eye witnesses are called before the tribunal to give testimony as to how the crime was committed. The justice of God is also manifested as stated in this same verse: A person is not to be executed on the testimony of one witness alone. It must be by the testimony of two or more witnesses of the crime. At once, we see that the execution of the indicted murderer must not be on circumstantial evidence, and this eliminates the execution of one on the testimony of only one individual who could be a perjurer. In verse 31, the Lord further describes the procedure in the trial and specified that if a person has been adjudged guilty of murder in the first degree, he shall be executed. To give him life imprisonment, to assess a fine, or to combine the two, is not the penalty to be given a murderer in lieu of execution.
Unequivocally, God has decreed that the murderer (such status being determined by trial) shall be put to death. The reason for this is to be seen in verse 33.
The reasoning of man as he seeks to eliminate capital punishment proceeds from ignorance of the Word of the Lord. Man says that God is love and since He is love He will not cause man to be put to death. The fact of the matter is that because God is a God of love, He destroyed all flesh from the face of the earth, with the exception of those saved in the Ark which Noah built. On another occasion, He destroyed Pharaoh and all his hosts by drowning them in the Red Sea. Again, He caused 185,000 to be slain in one night, and He also caused 70, 000 men to die by pestilence. Careful study of the Word of God will reveal the Old Testament truth that God Almighty Himself executed literally hundreds of thousands of men and women. All of this was necessitated by the entrance of sin into the world, and that sin still continues.
Capital punishment is not limited only to the Old Testament. Let us consider the New Testament. In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira were stricken down by God in the church service. Acts 12:23 records the account of God executing Herod. In Rom. 13:1-7, there is the setup of civil government and all the ramifications of its administration according to the Word of the Lord. Read this passage carefully and follow along as it is commented upon: “LET EVERY SOUL BE SUBJECT UNTO THE HIGHER POWERS.” The expression higher powers does not have to do with the heavens or so-called spiritual powers but rather with the higher power of government ranging from local government in the ward to the national administration in Washington, D.C. All power, civil and spiritual, is of God. There is no power but that which originated with God; therefore, to resist the power-to refuse to execute the lawfully judged murderer-is to resist the ordinance of God, and they that do so, shall resist to their own condemnation. Rulers and officers are ministers of the Lord. In distinguishing between the office and the personal life, or qualification of the officer, it is the uniform-his symbol of authority-that determines our respect.
In verse 4, of this particular passage of Scripture, we read that the officer does not bear the sword in vain. In modern vernacular, we would say that he does not carry that pistol for nothing. The custom of the law is that if an individual is slain while resisting arrest, there is no indictment of the arresting officer simply because of the authority of the office which he occupies. He is a minister of God for justice. Weare admonished, therefore, by the Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul, to be subject to these governmental authorities for conscience’s sake. We are exhorted by God to pay our taxes to support them. Anyone refusing to do so is violating the laws of God. Civil government is of divine origin, and the foundation stone of civil government is capital punishment. Where there is no capital punishment, or where the law is disregarded concerning this punishment, there is a breakdown of civil government.
God makes clear in His Word that there is ample provision for justifiable homicide. Referring again to Numbers 35:16-23, the Lord distinguishes between murder with malice aforethought, and accidental murder. Ample provision is made for the freeing of one who accidentally or unintentionally and without malice or enmity, murders an individual.
If ever there was a need for a return to the Word of God and for a stand to be taken on its principles, today is the day. But churches, Christian leaders and Christian organizations all combine to do away with the WORD OF GOD and are seeking to establish civilization on the wisdom of man, which is foolishness in the sight of God.
THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
Possibly no area of Bible truth is so neglected as the doctrine pertaining to the church. It has been my delight for several years to study, pray and meditate upon various passages of Scripture touching upon church truth.
I have come to some very definite conclusions in regard to the church and am listing below some of these without any discussion. The primary purpose of this is to stimulate thought on the part of you, the reader:
1. The church is composed of a certain specific number of chosen ones, neither Jew nor Gentile, but Christian.
2. This group is taken out of the great body of New Testament saints and is very small in number compared to the total number of Christians.
3. Those making up the church, having already been saved by grace, are chosen on the basis of their works, obedience, faithfulness, perseverance and conformity to the likeness of Christ.
4. This group will be sovereigns in the coming kingdom of our Lord, rather than subjects. As the queen consort, they will rule and reign with Christ.
5. This group will have qualified by overcoming, according to Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.
6. This group will have won one or more of the proffered crowns and thereby qualified themselves to rule and reign. No crown, no rule.
7. This group will have prepared and kept their wedding garments, thereby appearing in His presence clothed as the bride.
8. The Body of Christ is one thing – the bride, which is the church, is something else.
9. One must be very careful to distinguish between grace and works, as well as between salvation and rewards.
10. One can be saved without any good works (I Cor. 3:15).
11. One must possess good works in order to receive rewards (I Cor. 3:14).
12. One cannot be a member of the true church unless a member of A church.
13. Membership in the church is not the same as being saved. There are many saved who do not belong to any church.
14. Exclusion from a local church involves exclusion also from the true church (Matt. 16:19; John 20-23).
15. Many are called (saved), but few are called out (chosen to rule and reign). Many are saved, but few of the saved make up the church.
16. There are many vessels in the GREAT HOUSE, some to honor (to rule and reign), others to dishonor (subjects in the kingdom).
17. The true church is also called the church of the first born (Heb. 12:22-24). The church of the firstborn is composed of those Christians who do not forfeit their rights of primogeniture by disobedience or unfaithfulness. Those who forfeit their birthright are demoted from the position of firstborn and become just subjects of the kingdom.
The above are a number of thoughts which have become convictions pertaining to the doctrine of the church.
CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT FELLOWSHIP
In these days when evangelists, politicians, educators of all nations are crying out, “ONE WORLD … ONE RACE … ONE TASK … ONE GOSPEL … ONE CHURCH … ONE COLOR … ONE SEX,” several significant trends are to be noticed.
The first one to which I desire to call your attention is the swiftness with which Rome is moving to get all the Protestant churches into her fold. The great whore of Revelation 17:1-5 is calling her harlot daughters home, and they are beginning to hear and respond. Roman priests are being invited to join the regular Protestant ministerial alliances in many cities. Of recent date, Catholic priests have supplied in Baptist pulpits with the loud acclaim and approval of Baptist leaders.
For years Protestants, unsaved Jews and idolatrous Catholics have conducted conferences on JEWS, CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS. The question which arises out of this growing fellowship, so-called, of Protestants with Catholics is this: Is there Scriptural ground and basis for saved Catholics and saved Protestants to meet and worship together as such? THE ANSWER IS NO. In fact, the Lord forbids Catholics and Protestants to have fellowship one with the other. I Cor. 5:11 forbids all union and communion with Rome. The Spirit of the Lord says through the Apostle Paul, BUT NOW I HAVE WRITTEN UNTO YOU NOT TO KEEP COMPANY (not to associate with, not to have fellowship with) WITH ANY MAN WHO IS CALLED A BROTHER (that is, one who is called a Christian, whether he is genuinely one or not) IF HE BE AN IDOLATOR; WITH SUCH AN ONE NO NOT TO EAT (that is, we are not to partake of the Lord’s Supper with them).
The worship of Rome is idolatrous by their own definition and practice. The Roman Church says there are three kinds or degrees of worship: (1) “Latria,” which is worship due to God alone; (2) “Hyperdulia,” worship due only to the Virgin Mary; (3) “Dulia,” worship due to saints, angels and images. Since “hyperdulia” and “dulia” are inferior degrees of worship and it might be argued that they are forms of idolatry, we will content ourselves with a brief discussion of “latria” alone, which is WORSHIP DUE ALONE AND ONLY TO GOD.
The Council of Trent issued a Creed which every convert or believer (member) of the Roman Church MUST accept and is Rome’s final answer to the Reformation. This Creed of the Council of Trent says that the BREAD AND WINE of the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) are to be adored with LATRIA-THE WORSHIP DUE ALONE TO GOD. Not only the BREAD AND WINE but the IMAGES OF CHRIST, THE CROSS, THE CROWN OF THORNS, and the SEAMLESS ROBE are also to be worshipped with LA TRIA; that is, the bread, wine, images of Christ, His crown, His robe and His cross are to be worshipped as God with the worship due only to God.
This is open, unadulterated IDOLATRY, of which the Holy Spirit speaks in I Cor. 5:11, forbidding fellowship of Christians with such idolators. Thus it is manifest that God forbids association or fellow hip with Roman Catholics in any of the following ways which are in evidence today; Namely, to have a Catholic priest occupy the pulpit, become a member of the ministerial alliance, assist in weddings or funerals or any other so-called acts of Christian worship. This is not to unchristianize a Roman Catholic, but God forbids fellowship in worship with them as long as they practice idolatry, and this they do so long as they worship the bread, wine, images of Christ, the robe, the crown, the cross with “latria,” which according to their own definition belongs ONLY TO GOD.
Deut. 16:22: “Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the Lord thy God hateth.” Ex. 20:4: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (The editor is indebted to D. M. Panton for much of the above.)
From time immemorial, Utopia has been a dream of the peoples of the world-a state. . . a place. . . a country in which all conditions would be perfect. The Bible speaks of a thousand years of peace-the millennial reign of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Of late, we have heard much of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and the Great Society. These philosophies envision a time in which all nations, peoples and races will be one world, one language, one government, one church, one people, with one ruler.
Such a dream and hope is admirable because it is based upon Scripture. But man’s efforts to bring into being such a state is doomed to failure, like an inherent weakness in a child with an inherited disease. This concept is good because of the need for a centralized government; a ruler with universal authority and complete control is absolutely essential to the welfare of the nations of the world. But before such a state can exist, there must be found a competent, supreme ruler to govern.
The question arises, Where is such a man to be found? There have been world rulers before now-Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, Alexander the Great, the Caesars. There have been others like Oliver Cromwell, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini, who had aspirations of becoming world dictators. None of these ever succeeded in exercising complete control of any given area.
The population explosion has introduced problems so vast and complicated that no human brain can grasp them, much less master them. Each passing day, it becomes more and more evident that man is not going to be able to introduce a Super-State or the Great Society. No man appears on the horizon, capable of dealing with the situation as it now exists throughout the world. The slowness of the processes of “evolution” (?) renders it impossible for a man to evolve today to take control, and only destruction lies ahead.
The human race is not improving; instead, it is growing worse and worse, and the conditions existing in our cities today under the march of so-called civil rights reverts to the jungle and has none of the marks of civilization. The world is longing for, looking for and dreaming of a superman who will bring order out of this present chaos.
This hope for a superman is not a dream alone, because a Superman is in the offing. He not only is a Superman, He is a supernatural Man, He is the God-Man, prophesied in the Word of God, from Gen. 3:15 as the Seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent, on through the entire Bible. The world is longing for and looking for this Superman and He must be found; yea, He will be found.
The world will have a choice for a superman. He will be Satan’s man and will be known as the anti-christ. The Lord God Almighty has a choice and His Man will be the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the sources of so much grief and sorrow in the world today is because of the conflict between these two messiahs, striving for the allegiance of men-Satan’s false messiah, the anti-christ; and God’s true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us that until the Lord Jesus Christ returns there will be no peace. There will be wars and rumors of wars. There will be continual conflict between the forces of unrighteousness (Satan’s kingdom) and the forces of righteousness (Christ’s kingdom), until those here upon the earth become so degenerate that the Lord will return in judgment, after which He will establish the Super-State which is known as the millennial reign of Christ, an actual reign of a thousand years here upon the earth.
ANNUAL TIME PERIODS. . . . . OF MAN
Accepting Bishop Ussher’s date of the creation of Adam as being approximately 4000 B.C, we find time divided into three specific periods of years.
1. LUNAR YEAR, composed of 12 months, 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.8 seconds each. Roughly speaking, this is 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes and 34 seconds; 6000 such years from 4000 B.C. came to a close about 1821-22.
2. The Bible speaks of the PROPHETIC YEAR of 12 months of 30 days each, or 360 days; 6000 prophetic years came to a close about 1911-12.
3. SOLAR YEAR: 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45-51 seconds; 6000 of these from 4000 B.C. will come to a close about 2001-02.
There are approximately 180 years between the end of the lunar 6000 and the solar. This 180 years definitely seems to be the time of the end. Practically all modern inventions have been discovered or have come into being since the close of the 6000th lunar year. The midnight cry-rediscovery of the truths of the second coming of Christ- came to pass about 1825. The increase of knowledge in the study of prophecy has taken place since then. The development of the internal combustion engine, resulting in the automobile and airplane, mass production of automobiles, and flights into space have all come within that period of time.
We are approaching the end of the 6000 solar years, but only God the Father, and Son and Holy Spirit knoweth the day and the year.
THE WHOLE PLAN OF SALVATION GOD’S PART AND MAN’S PART
There are some today who recognize the foreordaining and electing love of God in the salvation of a sinner but refuse to recognize man’s part. On the other hand, there are those who fully recognize man’s responsibility but completely ignore God’s electing love. The Scripture truth recognizes both. By that, we mean that no one is saved unless he is chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Also, no one is saved unless there is a personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour.
The Lord Jesus Christ has set forth these truths in a most remarkable fashion in Luke 15. Get your Bible and open it to this chapter. Here we have discussed the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Some commentators list these accounts as three different parables; consequently, they fail to see any connection between the three and thereby lose the truth which Jesus seeks to teach. Notice first of all, that this teaching has to do with lost people. You will see in verses 1 and 2 that these lessons cannot be applied to the backslider. In the second place, you will note in verse 3, the Scripture says that He spake this parable unto them. The three accounts-the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son-are three parts of one parable. Discuss the parable of the lost son without reference to the lost sheep and the lost ” coin, and you have a perverted view of salvation; likewise, discuss the lost sheep or the lost coin without a presentation of the lost son, and you still have a perverted concept of the plan of salvation. It takes all three to give the complete picture. The shepherd is the Lord Jesus Christ; the woman typifies the Holy Spirit, and the Father is God Almighty.
The first lesson we gather is that all three persons of the Godhead are active in the salvation of a lost individual. In the account of the lost sheep, the fact is emphasized that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, goes after the one which is lost until He finds him. When He finds him, He puts him on His shoulder and brings him home. He then calls in his friends and neighbors, and they rejoice over the lost sheep being found. You will note it was a sheep that was lost. There are those who think that before salvation, a lost person is a goat, but after he is found, he becomes a sheep. God, however, sees this lost person as a sheep because he was chosen in Christ for salvation from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; II Thess. 2:13). A precious truth is set forth here. Everyone who is chosen is going to be saved without the loss of a single one. (See John 17:6, 9, 10, 12, 20, 21, 24.)
In the account of the lost coin, the woman with the lighted candle seeks diligently until she finds the coin. (The feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit is noted in more than one place in Scripture.) Here we have the account of Him working on the inside to find that which is lost. The Holy Spirit works within. In this instance, there must needs be a candle lighted in order to guide in the search. The Word of God is the candle. “Thy Word is a lamp un. to my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). The woman with the candle seeking the lost coin typifies the Holy Spirit using the Word of God to find the lost individual and bring him to a realization of his lost condition.
In both of these stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin, notice that the lost objects are passive; that is, all of the searching and finding is done by God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Many stop here in their evangelism and leave it all to God, disclaiming any responsibility on the part of man; but the parable is not complete. We have the third part-the lost son.
Here the sinner is called a son, but he is a lost son. You recall how the Lord spoke of Israel as being lost. He called them the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The individual who is chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world for salvation is already reckoned by God to be a son, but he is a lost son. Note a few things relative to his condition: he is in a far coun. try; he is wasting his substance in worldliness; there is a famine and he is in want (wordly pleasures, desires and appetites can only end in want because man was not made for these things and they cannot satisfy); there is no man who can give him what he needs-only God Almighty can supply it.
In verse 17, we read that he came to himself. He realized his need and the inability of any man to supply it. He knew there was help with God the Father, and he came to Him. (How shall the lost hear unless someone tells them? This is our part as the Lord leads us.)
The lost son decided that he would go to his father. Herein is the second part of salvation, that is, man’s part. This lost son, even though chosen, elected, predestinated and foreordained to be saved, had to exercise his own volition and get up and go home to his father. Had he not done so he would still have been in the pen with the swine.
Now here is the whole story of salvation in just a few words. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself chooses one from the beginning; the Holy Spirit through the Word of God brings conviction upon that one of his lost and undone condition and reveals to him that Christ died for him; then the lost person must personally, individually, and willfully receive Jesus Christ as his own personal Saviour.
God definitely saves, and man definitely receives.