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Notes for

The Revelation

 

Chapter Seven


1. By the phrase "after these things" John is telling us that now he was shown a new thing, but the subject matter does not necessarily follow in chronological order from what went before. In this case he learns about the "sealing" of the Christians which enables them to stand through the events of the sixth and seventh seals.

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2. Daniel 12:1 The great time of trouble is here described

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Deuteronomy 4:30-32 What to do in this time

When you are in tribulation, and all these things are come upon you, even in the latter days, if you turn to the LORD your God, and shall be obedient to His voice; (for the LORD your God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven to the other, whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is, or has been heard like it?

Hebrews 1:13-14 Angels will be our protectors

But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants.

Isaiah 33:15-16

To him that "walks righteously" is the promise: "Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure."

Isaiah 41:17

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls;

yet shall they that fear Him "rejoice in the Lord" and joy in the God of their salvation.

Psalm 121:5-7

The Lord is your keeper: the Lord is your shade upon your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil: He shall preserve your soul.

Psalm 91:3-10

He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust: His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come nigh you. Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation; there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come nigh your dwelling.

Yet to human sight it will appear that the people of God must soon seal their testimony with their blood as did the martyrs before them. They themselves begin to fear that the Lord has left them to fall by the hand of their enemies. It is a time of fearful agony. Day and night they cry to God for deliverance. The wicked exult, and the jeering cry is heard: "Where now is your faith? Why does not God deliver you out of our hands if you are indeed His people?" But the waiting ones remember Jesus dying upon Calvary's cross and the chief priests and rulers shouting in mockery:

Matthew 27:42

He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.

Like Jacob, all are wrestling with God. Their countenances express their internal struggle. Paleness sits upon every face. Yet they cease not their earnest intercession.

Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who have kept the word of Christ's patience. With sympathizing tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress and have heard their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander to snatch them from their peril. But they must wait yet a little longer. The people of God must drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism. The very delay, so painful to them, is the best answer to their petitions. As they endeavor to wait trustingly for the Lord to work they are led to exercise faith, hope, and patience, which have been too little exercised during their religious experience. Yet for the elect's sake the time of trouble will be shortened.

Luke 18:7-8

Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night to Him? . . . I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.

The end will come more quickly than men expect. The wheat will be gathered and bound in sheaves for the garner of God; the tares will be bound as fagots for the fires of destruction.

Ezekiel 7:1-6 The close of probation will come

Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Also, you son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. Now is the end come upon you, and I will send My anger upon you, and will judge you according to your ways, and will recompense upon you all your abominations.

And My eye shall not spare you, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense your ways upon you, and your abominations shall be in the midst of you: and you shall know that I am the LORD.

Thus says the Lord GOD; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come. An end is come, the end is come: it watches for you; behold, it is come.

2 Chronicles 16:8-10 A message to God’s people

Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you did rely on the LORD [at that time], He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. Herein [in this latest matter] you have done foolishly: therefore from henceforth you shall have wars.

Then Asa [the king] was wroth [angry] with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

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3. What is the seal of the living God? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read, for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind of this Satanic angel has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord's adopted sons and daughters and cannot kill them. The sin of the transgression of the law of God has been taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God's commands.

Hebrews 4:3-6 There is a "rest" for the people of God

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: [Psalm 95:11] although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. [Genesis 2:2]. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief...

Exodus 28:36-38 The "seal" is demonstrated on the mitre of the high priest

And you shall make a plate of pure gold, and engrave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron's [the high priest] forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

2 Timothy 2:19 Name equals character

Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His. And, Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity [stop sinning].

Romans 8:18-19 The universe is waiting for this to happen

In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. J B Phillips' translation.

Ezekiel 9:1-7 A detailed description of the sealing

He [Jesus] cried also in my ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the [rebellious] city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lies toward the north, and every man [had] a slaughter weapon in his hand; [these are really Satanic angels, for God's other creatures follow the command "Thou shalt not kill".]

and one man among them was clothed with linen [a righteous angel], with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brass altar [this was in the courtyard which represented the earth].

And the glory of the God of Israel [the Son of God's brightness] was gone up from the cherub, whereupon He was, to the threshold [or doorway] of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. [The ones who are upset and sorrowful for the sins in the world].

And to the others [the destroyers] He said in my hearing, Go you after him through the city, and smite [I can no longer protect them]: let not your eye spare, neither have you pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary [or church, with the foolish bridesmaids].

Then they began at the ancient/ men which were before the house. And He said to them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go you forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

John's attention has been diverted from the book and its seals. The next portion of the book (the 6th) cannot be opened until the confirming of the Christians takes place as they enter fully into His "rest". God is waiting, the audience in heaven is waiting, John is waiting. All are waiting while the bridesmaids sleep! Matthew 25:5. History has stalled! Since 1844 nothing has advanced in God's kingdom. The literal Saturday/Sabbath has been preached, but not the Sabbath "rest" which accompanies it.

See Joshua and the Angel

Some more notes on the sealing of God's friends

 

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4. 2 Timothy 2:19-26; 3:1-7 What the seal produces

Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His.

And,

Let every one that names [or takes] the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour [like the wise bridesmaids], and some to dishonour [like the foolish bridesmaids]. If a man therefore purge [or separate] himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, and meet [or fit] for the Master's use, and prepared to every good work.

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes [arguments or debates]. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will [be able to] give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The seal of God is simply a steady settling into the truth, both intellectually and practically, so that we cannot be moved by error or temptation.

That's the seal - now...

For some advice on being SAVED, read "That Prayer"

For information on being LOST see "Notes on the Lost"

 

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5. Romans 2:28-29 The word "Jew" means a lot

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

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6. 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 Birthright is no longer reckoned by genealogy

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as [or because] he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's [who married an Egyptian, Genesis 41:50]

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 Few living Christians at the second coming

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep [in the grave]. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

These twelve tribal names are indicative of the twelve character types of the people who make up God's kingdom. They are not meant to be taken as literal Jews, but are a cross-section of the kingdom - the last surviving followers of God. These are they who do not see death, but are alive to welcome their King when He returns for the great resurrection. The character of Levi is reinstated in his family along with the character of Joseph to make twelve, but the character of Joseph’s son Manesseh replaces the character of Dan, the "snake in the grass".

If we take the meanings of the names we may receive a message from God.

Judah = [Give] praise

Reuben = [to] see a son,

Gad = a company [of saints],

Aser = happy,

Nepthalim = wrestling,

Manesseh = forgetting,

Simeon = hearing,

Levi = joined [with the universe]

Issachar = hired [or adopted],

Zabulon = dwelling [with]

Joseph = [and] adding

Benjamin = [to the] Son of the right hand, not a son of sorrow!

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6a. In all ages the Saviour's chosen have been educated and disciplined in the school of trial. They walked in narrow paths on earth; they were purified in the furnace of affliction. For Jesus' sake they endured opposition, hatred, slander. They followed Him through conflicts sore; they endured self-denial and experienced bitter disappointments. By their own painful experience they learned the evil of sin, its power, its guilt, its woe; and they look upon it with abhorrence. A sense of the infinite sacrifice made for its cure humbles them in their own sight and fills their hearts with gratitude and praise which those who have never fallen cannot appreciate. They love much because they have been forgiven much. Having been partakers of Christ's sufferings, they are fitted to be partakers with Him of His glory.

The heirs of God have come from garrets, from hovels, from dungeons, from scaffolds, from mountains, from deserts, from the caves of the earth, from the caverns of the sea. On earth they were "destitute, afflicted, tormented." Millions went down to the grave loaded with infamy because they steadfastly refused to yield to the deceptive claims of Satan. By human tribunals they were adjudged the vilest of criminals.

But now "God is judge Himself." Psalm 50:6. Now the decisions of earth are reversed. "The rebuke of His people shall He take away." Isaiah 25:8. "They shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord." He has appointed "to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Isaiah 62:12; 61:3.

They are no longer feeble, afflicted, scattered, and oppressed. Henceforth they are to be ever with the Lord. They stand before the throne clad in richer robes than the most honored of the earth have ever worn. They are crowned with diadems more glorious than were ever placed upon the brow of earthly monarchs. The days of pain and weeping are forever ended. The King of glory has wiped the tears from all faces; every cause of grief has been removed. Amid the waving of palm branches they pour forth a song of praise, clear, sweet, and harmonious; every voice takes up the strain, until the anthem swells through the vaults of heaven: "Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb." And all the inhabitants of heaven respond in the ascription: "Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever." Revelation 7:10, 12.

In this life we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption. With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended. The plan of redemption will not be fully understood, even when the ransomed see as they are seen and know as they are known; but through the eternal ages new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted mind. Though the griefs and pains and temptations of earth are ended and the cause removed, the people of God will ever have a distinct, intelligent knowledge of what their salvation has cost.

The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified.

Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore - humbled Himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father's face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary's cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song: "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and has redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!"

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7. 2 Timothy 3:12-13 The way it is

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Acts 14:21-22 All must suffer tribulation

And when they [Paul and company] had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God [through redemption].

Titus 2:15; 3:1-8 The "way" of salvation

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness to all men.

For we ourselves also were sometimes [before becoming Christians] foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration [rebirth], and renewing of the Holy Ghost [as our Guide]; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that you affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

Romans 12:1-2 Washing our robes (practising using righteousness)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

John 1:29 It is Jesus who does it

The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and says, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

Matthew 26:64 Are You the Son of God?

Jesus says to him, You have said: nevertheless I say to you, Hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

 

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8. Psalm 3:8

Salvation belongs to the LORD: Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah.

 

Who is a Christian?

It is said that no man can number this group simply because no man has ever seen them together before this. But it could not be done on earth today because no man can tell who is, or is not, a Christian (nor who has been except God tells us). Neither will it be done in the new world, not because it is beyond the capability of mankind to count any group, since that is simply a matter of calculation, but because in the new world numbers are not important. God knows all who are in His family and that is enough for us.

2 Samuel 24:1-10 We should rely on God for strength

And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel [His protection had to be withdrawn for a while], and he [Satan] moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number you the people, that I may know the number of the people. [I want to know how strong my kingdom is – only number those capable of fighting].

And Joab said to the king, [I pray] now the LORD your God add to the people, how many soever they be, a hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?

Notwithstanding [his objection] the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel. And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lies in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer. Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon, and came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beersheba.

So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people to the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech You, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant; for I have done very foolishly.

Isaiah 43:5-13 Called from the east and west to sit with Abraham

Fear not: for I am with you [God says]: I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him.

Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

You are My witnesses, says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore you are My witnesses, says the LORD, that I am God. Yes, before the day was I am He; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand: I will work, and who shall let [or hinder] it?

In all ages the Saviour's chosen have been educated and disciplined in the school of trial. They walked in narrow paths on earth; they were purified in the furnace of affliction. For Jesus' sake they endured opposition, hatred, calumny. They followed Him through conflicts sore; they endured self-denial and experienced bitter disappointments. By their own painful experience they learned the evil of sin, its power, its guilt, its woe; and they look upon it with abhorrence. A sense of the infinite sacrifice made for its cure humbles them in their own sight and fills their hearts with gratitude and praise which those who have never fallen cannot appreciate. They love much because they have been forgiven much. Having been partakers of Christ's sufferings, they are fitted to be partakers with Him of His glory.

The heirs of God will come from garrets, from hovels, from dungeons, from scaffolds, from mountains, from deserts, from the caves of the earth, from the caverns of the sea. On earth they were "destitute, afflicted, tormented." Hebrews 11:37. Millions went down to the grave loaded with infamy because they steadfastly refused to yield to the deceptive claims of Satan. By human tribunals they were adjudged the vilest of criminals.

But now "God is judge Himself." Psalm 50:6. Now the decisions of earth are reversed.

Isaiah 25:8

The rebuke of His people shall He take away.

Isaiah 62:12

They shall call them, "The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord."

Isaiah 61:3

He has appointed "to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."

They are no longer feeble, afflicted, scattered, and oppressed. Henceforth they are to be ever with the Lord. They stand before the throne clad in richer robes than the most honored of the earth have ever worn. They are crowned with diadems more glorious than were ever placed upon the brow of earthly monarchs. The days of pain and weeping are forever ended. The King of glory has wiped the tears from all faces; every cause of grief has been removed. Amid the waving of palm branches they pour forth a song of praise, clear, sweet, and harmonious; every voice takes up the strain, until the anthem swells through the vaults of heaven: "Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb."

And all the inhabitants of heaven respond in the chorus: "Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever."

In this life we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption. With our finite comprehension we may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we will fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended. The plan of redemption will not be fully understood, even when the ransomed see as they are seen and know as they are known; but through the eternal ages new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted mind. Though the griefs and pains and temptations of earth are ended and the cause removed, the people of God will ever have a distinct, intelligent knowledge of what their salvation has cost.

Those of us who would follow Christ must be grounded upon the principles of truth. We need to understand what the Bible teaches in regard to faith, and sanctification through the truth. We must be so established in this knowledge that we cannot be moved to take false positions on the doctrine of holiness, but will be able to illustrate in our lives the practical workings of this heaven-given principle. The people of God must be able to distinguish between the genuine and the spurious.

Sunday-keepers

Matthew 7:21

Not every one that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.

As we have just read, there are those who profess holiness, who declare that they are wholly the Lord's, who claim a right to the promises of God, while they do not render obedience to His commandments. These transgressors of the law claim everything that is promised to the children of God, but this is simply presumption; for John tells us that:-

1 John 2:4-6

"He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in Him. He that says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked."

Jesus says, "I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." John 15:10. Therefore obedience is the true sign of discipleship.

It is true that there are many who have never had the light of present truth, who, through the grace given them of Christ, are keeping the law as far as they understand it. Those who are thus living up to the best light they have, are not of the class whom the apostle John condemns. His words apply to those who boast of believing in Jesus, who claim holiness, while they lightly regard the requirements of the law of God. While they talk of the love of Jesus, their love is not deep enough to lead to obedience. The fruit they bear, shows the character of the tree. It proves that their faith is not genuine. Yet this class, though entitled to nothing, though they have no right to the promises of God, boldly claim all His blessings. While they give nothing, they claim everything. They close their ears to the truth, refuse to listen to the plain "Thus says the Lord," but by professing holiness they deceive many, leading them away by their pretentious faith that has no foundation.

Saturday-keepers

Some have fallen into the opposite error. They acknowledge the claims of God's law, and teach the people the duty of rendering obedience. They believe in giving everything, but do not see that they must take as well as give. They fail to have that trust, that faith, which keeps the individual abiding in Christ. They claim little, when they might claim much; for there is no limit to the promises of God.

Through a lack of faith, many who seek to obey the commandments of God have little peace and joy; they do not correctly represent the sanctification that is to come through obedience to the truth. They are not anchored in Christ. They are not "at rest" in Christ. They are Saturday-keeping, not Sabbath-keeping. Many feel a lack in their experience; they desire something which they have not; and thus some are led to attend the false religion's meetings, and are charmed with the sentiments of those who break the law of God.

It is our privilege and duty to preach faith, to present the love of Christ in connection with the claims of the law; for neither can be rightly understood without the other. In every talk (or reading) the love of God, as manifested in Christ, the sinner's only hope, should be dwelt upon until the listeners realize something of its power and preciousness.

If this is done as it should be, it will not be said of us that we teach the law but do not believe in repentance, faith, and conversion.

We need these subjects to be blended as God has blended them; then will the truth be presented in its completeness, not as a mere theory, but as a power that will transform the character. It will then be preached in demonstration of the Spirit and with power. Then those who have accepted the doctrines of the Bible will not be unfed; they will feel the living influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is no safety, much less benefit, for us in attending popular meetings; let us rather search the Scriptures with much carefulness and earnest prayer, that we may understand the ground of our faith. Then we shall not be tempted to mingle with those who, while making high claims, are in opposition to the law of God.

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9. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1 There are only two groups in this world

Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial [Satan]? Or what part has he that believes with an infidel?

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

In these Scriptures two parties are brought to view. One party permitted themselves to be deceived and took sides with those with whom the Lord has a controversy. They misinterpreted the messages sent them and clothed themselves in robes of self-righteousness. Sin was not sinful in their eyes. They taught falsehood as truth, and by them many souls were led astray.

We need now to take heed to ourselves. Warnings have been given.

Can we not see the fulfillment of the predictions made by Christ and recorded in the twenty-first chapter of Luke? How many are studying the words of Christ? How many are deceiving their own souls and cheating themselves out of the blessings that others might secure if they would believe and obey? Probation still lingers, and it is our privilege to lay hold of the hope set before us in the gospel. Let us repent and be converted and forsake our sins, that they may be blotted out.

Luke 21:33-36

"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

Shall the warnings given by Christ be passed by unheeded? Shall we not make diligent work for repentance now, while Mercy's gracious voice is still heard?

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10. Jeremiah 30:6-7 Another time of tribulation

Ask y0u now, and see whether a man does travail with child [in childbirth]? Wherefore [why] do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

We have been following two lines of thought and now we must have two explanations.

#1.

There is silence as the book is laid down at the end of the revelation, and heaven is nearly emptied as most of its inhabitants accompany Jesus on His journey to earth for the great resurrection of the saints. This takes place while the seven last plagues are falling and the saints on earth are caught up in "Jacob's trouble".

When Christ arrives out in space and His people see Him, then there is a time of silence on earth too. Before His presence "all faces are turned into paleness." Upon the rejecters of God's mercy falls the terror of eternal despair for it is written, "The heart melts, and the knees smite together, . . . and the faces of them all gather blackness." Nahum 2:10. Even the righteous cry with trembling: "Who shall be able to stand?" The angels' song is hushed, and there is a period of awful silence. Then the voice of Jesus is heard, saying: "My grace is sufficient for you." The faces of the righteous are lighted up, and joy fills every heart. And the angels strike a note higher and sing again as they draw still nearer to the earth.


#2.

There is silence as the book is laid down at the end of the lesson in heaven after Christ's triumphant return from the second advent, and the redeemed from this earth realise something of the enormity of what Jesus has done for them.

Isaiah 64:4

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside You, what He [Jesus] has prepared for him that waits for Him.

 

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