XXXV May 1952
know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He,shall stand at the latter day
upon the earth." - Job 19:25.
ALL the wide field of knowledge spread before the mind of man, is there
anything to compare in value to this sublime statement, "I know
that my Redeemer liveth"? Nothing indeed! The sweep of eternity, and
the glory of everlasting life are in those words. It is not of such
knowledge that an Apostle says, "Whether there be knowledge, it shall
vanish away," but this is eternal in its nature, and unlimited in its
possible expansions. Instead of its vanishing away when time has merged
into eternity, the knowledge of our great Redeemer will only then be
taking on its perfect dimensions, and entering into its unhindered exercises.
In this present state, while we tabernacle in the house of our pilgrimage,
we can at most survey but "the outskirts of His ways," gathering
some little measure of the joy that comes through knowing Him, a joy to be
most wonderfully increased when "that which it perfect is come."
When it shall be ours to awake in His likeness, endowed with perfect
powers of reception and reaction, beholding our Redeemer as the fairest
among ten thousand, and in a greatly enlarged comprehension of how much
our redemption cost Him, surely we will exclaim in supreme amazement,
"The half was never told!"
we ponder these words, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," we
cannot fail being impressed immediately with their clear, unqualified
tone. There is no hint of possible misinformation, or any suggestion of
presumptive assurance on the part of the one who makes this claim. With
the utmost confidence he affirms, "I know." Neither can we fail
to note the very personal tenor the words contain. It is of no general
inclusion in a redeemed class he speaks, but of a distinct personal
possession, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." This personal
character of the statement we should not overlook. It is but another of
those inspired utterances of the Scriptures manifestly intended to be
appropriated by the true children of God. Being thus given by our Father,
it is no presumptive act or claim on the part of His obedient child to
repeat it, and say in perfect confidence, "I know that my Redeemer
liveth." God does not teach um to say of Him, "The Lord is our
Shepherd"; but, "The Lord is my Shepherd." Neither is it to
be the timid hope that He is such, but the confident claim that the
relationship is real and blessed. Therefore of Him whom we thus know as
the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, we can affirm, "I know Him whom
I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I
have committed unto Him." Thus it becomes the right of each member of
His Church to say in a happy assurance of being personally loved and
watched over, "My Beloved is mine, and His desire is toward me."
- Song of Solomon 7:10.
we must be deeply impressed also with the significance of the last' of
these words, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." This is a
particularly - important word indeed. It is because that last word is true
that Paul can pass on to us such a word as this, "Wherefore He is
able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing
He ever- liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25.) Yes, He
lives, and so we shall live also. He lives; therefore death has lost its
terror and its power, and it has become our heritage to voice our victory
through Him and say, "O death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is
thy victory?" He lives, and having appeared in the presence of God
for us, who aught to our charge can lay? He lives, and hidden in Him, we
are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus and for Him. He lives;
therefore ours is a lively hope, and a blessed hope because we are to live
with Him as sharers in His immortal life. Blessed truth!, "He that
hath the Son bath life"-- life for the ages of the ages.
we observe, then, the confident tone running all through these inspired
words, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," what "foundations
of sapphire" they are on which each heart may rest. And just here let
us take in the wider sweep of the patriarch's confident affirmation-such
of it as we with our spiritual hopes may rightfully appropriate. How much
it means to say with job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, . . whom I
shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another."
(Job 19:25-27.) How great our loss if we allow such a testimony to be
vitiated by our unwillingness to take God at His word, and fail to
remember in a practical way that "God, willing more abundantly to
show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel,
confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was
impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have
fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we
have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth
into that within the veil; whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even
Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."
(Heb. 6:17-20.) In view of such a foundation for faith shall we not take
the Scriptural attitude and say, "We believe, therefore have we
spoken," and standing on the Rock of Ages, we affirm, "I know that my Redeemer liveth."
I Will Manifest Myself to You
the many inspired statements by which we are furnished with a basis for
our faith that our Redeemer liveth, and that all our confidence may be
settled and at rest in Him, are these words we love to meditate on:
"This same Jesus shall so come again." How full of comfort and
strength those words must have been as they fell upon the ears of His
disciples on the Mount of Olives! He had left them gazing heavenward as He
returned again to the Father, there to be highly exalted above every
name that is named. And how had He left them? -- depressed? dismayed?
feeling sad and forsaken? No, indeed! With what surprise we read these
words: "And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with
great joy." (Luke 24:52.) What words could have given them this joy
more than the words spoken by the angels as Jesus passed beyond human
sight? "This same Jesus," unchanged as to His character, shall
be the One you shall see again; therefore, retain all your precious
memories of His gracious words and acts, keep fresh in mind all you have
witnessed of His love and sympathy, and know that such He remains and such
He will be when He comes again to receive you unto Himself. Surely herein
was the reason why they went back to assemble in the upper room in such
joy. Though waiting days may seem long, and many heavy trials be their
portion ere He returned, yet He had left them looking upward, not to
weep, but to rejoice evermore.
those words mean less to us than to those disciples of long ago? The Jesus
to whom - we have been drawn, and to whom we have been bound with cords of
love which naught can sever, who is He but the same Jesus these dear
Apostles have taught us to know as "the same yesterday, today, and
forever." He is none other than the same Jesus whose instructions
caused the hearts of His first
followers to burn within them as they listened to Him opening up the
Scriptures concerning Himself. He is the same Jesus concerning whom we
gladly join ourselves with those ' early disciples, confessing, "To
whom shall we go? Thou only hast the words of eternal life." These
Gospel records are surely intended to bring us into the same immediate
circle of close fellowship with
Jesus, and under the same heart-warming and life-changing influence as
those first followers experienced. Ours is no far-off, historical Jesus,
largely limited like other great teachers to the generation living
contemporaneously with Him. He is the same Jesus for all generations. His
words were a living force nineteen hundred years ago, and are no less
throbbing with energy today. His acts in those far past days are still
perpetuated in the life and experience of men and women today. "As
many as touched Him were made perfectly whole" is the story in the
Gospel, and it is the same even now-yea, is it not our own happy
before His crucifixion Jesus had made this promise to His own: "He
that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest
Myself to him." (John 14:21.) This promise embraces the last and
least of those whom He calls His own. It assures to every such one the
unquestionable proof that his Redeemer lives, and loves, and cares. To the
chosen Twelve many infallible, proofs of His resurrection were given, and
these proofs were intended to constitute, as eye-witness testimony, the
basis for our faith. But in another and most potent way we are to personally
know that our' own Redeemer
lives. We are not left with the, written record alone as our assurance
that Jesus lives. There is an abundance of lessons stored up in the
several Gospel records of His different
appearances after leaving Joseph's tomb, which, if applied to our own
experiences, will leave us exclaiming with Paul, "Last of all He was
seen of me also," and therefore, "I know that my Redeemer liveth."
He Calleth His Own by Name
mind we go back to those memorable days, long past now, when Peter and the
others were being revived to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus
from death. We recall that by several appearances and under various
circumstances He established their faith in the fact of His being alive
again. One by one their doubts had vanished, and they are well prepared
to go forth to declare that He is alive for evermore. On the basis of
their testimony we share the lively hope and the joy which came to them,
and which in all after days filled them with a fervor of devotion to their
risen Lord. But in this present study of those several appearances
subsequent to His leaving Joseph's tomb, we will not concern ourselves
with examining the testimony of those eye witnesses. Our purpose now is to
note how those same manifestations by which He proved to them that He
was alive may each one of them be so duplicated in our own personal
experience that we also may know of a certainty "that my Redeemer
God's ways are not as our ways. What a reversal of our ideas His often
prove to be. The Scriptures abound with illustrations of how differently
God acts from ways conforming to the wisdom of men. And nowhere is this
more strikingly shown than in His choice of the favored one to whom He
would first reveal Himself, and to whom He would give the first commission
to proclaim His resurrection. Our choice would doubtless have been one
of those destined to be His twelve "chosen witnesses" -- perhaps
the loving John. But not so our Lord's choice. Neither was it a matter of
mere chance. Every one of those appearances, the time, manner, and the
individuals to whom He would appear, were of our Lord's own ordering;
therefore, His choice of Mary for this great honor was purposely ordered,
and deeply significant. Need there be any doubt of this when we gather
up and weave together the threads of gold and silver of her record of
devotion to Him before Gethsemane and Calvary?
Magdalene was the first to visit the tomb in which Jesus had been laid.
None loved Him more than she did. Her memory was stored with His gracious
words, and she, as the one who had much forgiven, loved much in turn. Hers
had been a true, pure, and unselfish devotion to her Lord. How well she
illustrates those admirable qualities of unadulterated devotion to the
person of Christ. No marvel, then, that Jesus in His responses to that
love likewise illustrates how highly He values the heart worship by which
He is crowned Lord of all in the affections. Thus it was that He revealed
Himself first to the heart in which this pure love burned strongest. And
"this same Jesus" will always come first and fullest to the
heart where pure ardent love abounds, to the heart truly confessing,
"All I want I find in Thee."
Mary His first words were, "Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest
thou?" These are words of tender solicitation, yet identification requires
more, but only one word more, a single word -- her name, "Mary."
Ah yes, this loving heart, this unselfish heart, was the first to thrill
to the words of our risen Lord, and the first to feel the inexpressible
joy bound up in these words from the lips of the Good Shepherd, "He
calleth His own sheep by name." How intimate He makes friendship with
this loving heart now, and how greatly He adds to that blessed intimate
relationship by the words that next He speaks, "My Father, and your
Father; My God, and your God." Can we not believe that in all her
after life those few priceless, blessed moments "in the Garden with
Jesus" never lost their sanctifying influence in her life? If Jesus
would preserve the fragrance of the outpoured spikenard, and send it
floating down the centuries, surely He has likewise preserved for us the
rare incense of this first intimate meeting in that far-away garden, to
the end that all loving, pure hearted, unselfish, devoted followers might
hear Him call their names, and join them each to Himself in the same
blessed words, "My Father, and your Father; My God, and your
it a mere flight of emotional religion to say, "The love of Jesus
what it is, none but His loved ones know"? is it compatible with
strong, vigorous, and practical Christianity "to steal awhile away
from every cumbering care"? And is it only a fancy that we hear Jesus
say at times, "Come ye yourselves apart, and rest awhile"? Is it
only a poetical but impractical ideal of Christian life that is embodied
in the words, "Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord"?
Is it inconsistent with the teachings and example of Jesus to say
truthfully, "And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells
me I am His own"? Is it idleness to sit quietly meditating on His
life-giving Word, yea, even though we have heard Him say, "The fields
are white and ready to harvest"? To these and other similar questions
we let Mary's boon answer. Better still, we will let Jesus' own conduct
instruct us -- He who so often withdrew from the company of even His own
disciples in order to be alone with God. And we will add to this the long
line of His devoted servants of the now closing age of grace, who, like
Mary, have borne testimony to the afterward of blessing sure to come to
such as cultivate the inner heart qualities of adoring worship,
heart-communion, and heart-hunger for Christ Himself. All these, out of a
rich personal experience of intimate fellowship with Jesus, have testified
with confidence and in a joy unspeakable, "I know that my Redeemer
liveth." Like the renowned Moody, they could say when questioned
regarding their faith in a risen Christ, "Why yes, I know He is
alive, I was talking with, Him this morning."
The Testimony of Knowing His Forgiving Love
we might well express surprise over the wide difference between our
thoughts and God's higher thoughts. We come now to consider the first of
our Savior's manifestations to His chosen disciples. Surely this would be
the privilege of John, he who has the unique distinction of being called
"the disciple whom Jesus loved. But not so. Through Mary, the first
messenger to tell of His resurrection, a special message had been sent to
Peter. And Peter was the first to see Him, according to Paul's order of
His appearances. (See 1 Cor. 15:4-8.) And why Peter? Again we remark that
each of our Lord's manifestations was of His own ordering and arrangement;
therefore, a depth of significance attaches to each of them. His choice of
Peter for this first joy presents no difficulty or wonder when we remember
that He was indeed "the same Jesus" who had so particularly
prayed for him that his "faith fail not." This seeking out Peter
would prove to them all that Jesus had not changed. If not at that
particular time, surely in subsequent days it would all come back to mind
and gladden their hearts immeasurably. Would they not remember the loving
Shepherd who "left the ninety and nine" to seek the one sheep
now in special need of His care? Could they forget how "there is joy
in heaven" over a repentant heart, and fail to rejoice themselves
that one of their immediate circle who had "gone out and wept bitterly"
should be so quickly sought out by the risen Jesus? Surely not.
would we know more about what took place at this meeting between Peter and
Jesus. Had Luke and Paul not mentioned it in the brief manner they did, we
would not even have known there was such a special privilege given to
Peter. There would have been a complete silence concerning it, but a
silence golden in its significance-a silence which is eloquent in its
meaning to us all. There are moments in our lives and in our individual relationship
to Jesus, the High Priest of our profession-moments when a soul pours
out its confessions and regrets alone with Him-that are too sacred even
to Him to permit the intrusion of any other.
much we rejoice in this for ourselves, and how greatly we need to remember
it concerning every other penitent spirit. How often Jesus speaks
forgiveness and peace to a broken heart as He meets such alone in the
quiet prayer chamber, and there seals up the sacredness of that hour in
His own heart and ours. How glad we are that we have at least been told
that first "He was seen of Cephas, then of the Twelve." How it
helps us to know of a certainty that our Redeemer is the unchanging,
too have stumbled, O so many, many times. There have been some regrettable
failures; tears of repentance have filled our eyes again and again. With
shame of face we think back over mistakes we have made, and over displays
of weakness we deplore. - We have had occasions over and over when we
needed to go again to the comfort of this promise: "If we confess our
sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9.) And when confession has
brought His answering peace into our hearts again, how we have rejoiced to
say with the repentant Psalmist, "If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark
iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee,
that Thou mayest be reverenced." - Psa. 130:3, 4.
forgiveness of our sins and shortcomings is a wonderful boon indeed, but
such forgiveness is meant to be more than just a blotting out of that
which has grieved Him and saddened us. The crowning effect of our being so
graciously forgiven is in the sweeter and deeper joy such revelations of
God's grace through Christ may bring to us. It is the heart-felt union
with our High Priest into which we are brought through our conscious need
of His appearing in the presence of God for us, which union in its
realities and effects enables us to say confidently, thankfully, and
humbly, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." And so into our lives
there comes, as there came to Peter long ago, the unquestionable proof
that we are individually loved and watched over by a living, loving Lord.
To us as to him Jesus has come in the tenderness of a divine,
understanding love, not to berate us for our mistakes, not to dishearten
us by His scathing exposures of our weaknesses, but to throw around us the
sacred shroud of a silence none may intrude into. and there melt our
hearts with the assurances that he knows our limitations, that He still
cares for us with an undiminished solicitation, and that in a love
unfailing, He holds us in His own right hand, and will not let us go,
These proofs of His love we have known, and therefore this testimony we
may speak forth to His praise, "I
know that my Redeemer liveth."
- J. J.
(To be continued)
The Sufferings of Christ and the Glory to Follow
1 Peter 1:10-12
SUBJECT of the sufferings of Christ is one that vitally affects every
member of the New Creation, the Little Flock, for it embraces the
conditions and experiences which must be endured before the work of -God
in them is complete, before the great hope the Lord has placed before them
can be realized. This hope is to attain unto a glory no less than that of
the "glory of God" and a sharing in his life and nature.
is a truth that we have long since learned and concerning which the
Scriptures are explicit, that if we would share with our dear Lord, by
invitation' from him, in all the unseen glories of eternity, then we must
be "dead with
and must deny self, take up our cross and follow in his steps.
our knowledge of the Heavenly Father, that he is love, we
readily realize that he has not designed this course of suffering, nor
does he allow the experiences entailed in such, for their own sake. On
the other hand, it must be accepted, firstly, that such sufferings are
necessary, both in the case of Jesus, the One pre-eminent (although he was
perfect), and also in the case of I his followers who, by nature, are
imperfect; and, secondly, that there must be a design and purpose to be
fulfilled in and through such sufferings-a purposely and use which the
Heavenly Father will apply in due time.
it not fort the many definite promises and statements in the Word to the
effect that there should be some from amongst men who, invited to follow
Jesus and to suffer with him, will also share his immortal life and
divine glory, we could never presume to entertain such a, hope. It is
beyond all power of human thought even to conceive this, as the Apostle
affirms. But that his is and will be the wondrous experience and destiny
for some, there can be no, doubt. It is an integral part of his eternal
purpose. The Lord God has "sworn by himself because he could sware by
none greater" that his purpose will be Performed. (Heb. 6:13-20.) As we read
these words we are surely caused the more to love and reverence
our Father when we realize the fact so clearly stated that he did
this-swore by himself that he would assuredly fulfill his word of promise
-- so that "we might have strong consolation [mighty encouragement],
who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us, which
hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which
entereth within the vail." It was we then
whom the Father had in view.
proceeding we wish to read verse 11 of our text (1 Pet. 1:11) from the
Diaglott: "Examining closely to what things, or what kind of season,
the spirit which was in them was pointing out, when it previously testified
after these the glories."
also gives - "For Christ."
THE GREAT SALVATION
we summarize the teachings of these verses, they draw attention to the
special salvation that God has purposed for some, as distinct from the
general one common to all of Adam's posterity; that the Prophets, being
given a vision of this but understanding it not, sought to know the time
of its fulfillment. Further, that the Anointed (Christ Jesus and his
footstep followers) would suffer
then afterwards enter into glories beyond the human. The Prophets knew it
was not for them and that they ministered unto others. This salvation is
so wondrously great that even the angels desired (stooped down) to look
into and understand it, but they, too, were unable to do so.
salvation is it of which the Apostle Peter writes -- this concerning which
the Prophets inquired, and the holy angels sought to understand? In the
earlier verses of this chapter (1 Pet. 1:3-5), we are told briefly that
this relates to an incorruptible inheritance -- a salvation to
heaven itself-and that this is reserved in heaven for the "Elect according to the foreknowledge
of God" (1 Pet. 1:2); and more wondrous still, that these are
the power of
God for it -- the inheritance reserved for them, while they
on earth, are kept by God's power.
far transcends the salvation which will be realized in due time by all
the willing and obedient of mankind. It comprehends all the vast realms of
the universe; brings its recipients into membership in the divine family,
the life and nature
himself -- a new creation indeed. The same Apostle states that we are
"called unto his eternal glory"
Pet. 5: 10) -- the glory of God himself that reaches on into the limitless
realms of eternity, never diminishing, never fading. Jesus was the first
to declare and reveal the truth of this salvation -- "He brought
life and immortality to light through the Gospel," and those who
heard him, having been enlightened, faithfully reported its truth.
Scriptures speak of this as the "Mystery hid from ages and
generations," also that it was "hid in
God." (Eph. 3:9.) So that it was impossible for any, either
in heaven or on the earth, whoever they may be, to understand this mystery
Father was pleased to reveal it. This he did first to his only begotten'
Son, the anointed Jesus, who was to be the chief and all-glorious head of
the chosen company. It would seem that not until Jordan when "the
heavens were opened unto him," and later during his
spirit-guided meditation in the wilderness, did our dear Lord and Master
understand fully this loving, gracious design of his Father; how he, the
Son, was to have a Bride gathered from amongst sin-stricken mankind,
redeemed, glorified, made "higher than the kings of the earth,"
to sit in his throne; be his brethren. (Heb. 2:11.) The Father had concealed
(hidden away) this in himself. Elsewhere we are told it is
"God's eternal purpose." - Eph. 1:9; 3:9-11.
is this great salvation accomplished for those who by nature are
"children of wrath even as others"? The Scriptures make it
abundantly clear that it is possible only by the will and power of God,
and through the atoning merit of the shed blood of Jesus -"He is the
Way, the Truth, and the Life"; He "is the propitiation for our
sins and not for ours only"; by him, through the veil of his flesh a new and living way has been opened up for
us. - 1
GOD THE BUILDER AND THE TEACHER
the Father, whose sovereign will determines the individual call, and
vouchsafes the power to accomplish his will in the called ones as they
continue faithful to him, also lays down the conditions and marks out the
course these must follow in obedience .to him, in order to evince their
love, their supreme delight and desire to please him. Jesus was the leader
and forerunner, and for him it was a course of suffering,- sacrifice, and
a voluntary death. It is, and must be, the same for each of these
sons, Jesus' brethren, whom the Father has begotten. - James 1:18; John
1:12, 13; Heb. 5:4; Col. 1:12 (Diaglott); Eph. 1:19; 3:20; 1 Pet., 1:5; 2
Pet. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:23.
latter truth and fact is clearly stated by the Apostle in Hebrews 2:10:
"For it became him [God], of whom are all things, and by
all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of
their salvation perfect through sufferings." And again (Phil. 1:29)
-- "For unto you it is [graciously] given in the behalf of Christ,
not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his
sake." The well known words in Romans 12:1 and 8:17, as well as many
other passages, emphasize the same truth. The prerequisite conditions to
sharing with Jesus in his glory are a faithful following in his steps,
involving sacrifice, suffering, and a voluntary death.
work which the Father is thus accomplishing throughout this Christian era
and which is now fast drawing to its close, is the great "Mystery hid
from ages and generations but now made manifest to the saints,"
referred to also as a New Creation and as "God's workmanship."
And here it can be noted that whereas in all the mighty works necessary to bring into being the manifold wonders of
creation in the universe, the Scriptures reveal that God delegated the
responsibility to his only begotten Son, the, Logos. (John 1:3.) The work
of bringing into being and to perfection this New Creation
is his and
his alone. The Father has not assigned this task to any of the mighty and
powerful angelic agencies, for "We are his
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hash before ordained
that we should walk in them." - Eph. 2:10.
this class our Lord spoke in John 6:45: "It is written in the
Prophets, and they shall all be taught of God. Every man, therefore that hath,
heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me." The hearing and learning of the Father takes place before
these come to Jesus, as-these words plainly state. So then, before we came
to Jesus, the Father had his eye upon us, ordering the affairs and
circumstances of life, teaching us in various ways, and bringing us by
devious paths-bringing us to Jesus. All Scripture testifies to this, and
as each one looks back, the experiences of life confirm and prove its
truth. How truly can 'we sing, "All the way my Savior leads me";
yes, all the way.
is for this reason that our Lord declared to Pilate: "For this cause
came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every
one that is
of the truth [taught
of the Father] heareth my
Is it possible therefore to think that our coming to the Lord, the
yielding of cur lives to him, and the Father's acceptance of us, were
through any fortuitous circumstance, that it was the result of anything we
did of ourselves, or could do? Surely not, but rather, the result of the
Father's great love, of the Father's grace and care. Yes, how true are the
words: "He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love
and thus He bound me to Him." And to the extent that faith lays, hold
upon the assurance of the Father's love and care, even before we came to
him through Jesus, and upon the realization of such Divine grace in all
the way since, the more complete will be cur rest and peace, and we shall
be safe from all corroding care.
Psalmist declares (Psa. 65:4): -- "Blessed is the man whom thou
choosest and causest
to approach unto thee." God makes the choice, rid then causes his chosen ones
to approach unto him. And this responds to the heart's longing and
desire of those who are called -- whose "hearts are perfect toward
him." (2 Chron. 16:9; Matt. 5:6.) Who called us? Only God could. Who makes us "meet [fit] for the inheritance
of the saints in light"? The Apostle replies (Col.
1:12): "God hath qualified us." (Diaglott.) His alone is the right and the power.
THE SUFFERING SERVANT FORETOLD
stated by the
Peter in our text, the Prophets foresaw and foretold One who was to come
and who would suffer. Isaiah saw the suffering "Servant of
Jehovah." The Psalmist foretold One who would be holy, without sin,
and yet forsaken of God. They also were given visions of the coming One,
their Messiah, who was to have glory and honor and whose dominion and rule
would traverse and cover land and sea. But they could not, any more than
the Jews in our Lord's day, associate the two.
men of old saw an earthly glory only. It was not until Jesus came and
expounded the meaning and hidden wisdom of the Law and the Prophets, that
the true implication and character of the truths they contained a d
foreshadowed concerning himself, and the purpose of God in and through
him, was seen and disclosed.
DIVINE TRUTH UNDERSTOOD BY REVELATION
as these Prophets and servants of God were, they could not understand.
Although they searched diligently, God purposely limited their
understanding and veiled the truth from their eyes. The due time had not
come. This teaches us that earnestness, sincerity, and much searching on
our part, will not alone reveal and bring the truth to us. There must be the due time,
and then also the seeking and earnestness on the part of those who
"hunger for, righteousness'' and truth. How blessed are we in the
knowledge God has granted to us. That which we have received by Divine
grace, is what these men and even the angels so earnestly desired to know.
There is a further
lesson in this, namely, that truth, divine truth -concerning the secrets
of the Lord, comes only by revelation from God.
The holy spirit which operated thus to enable these
men to foretell,
withheld from their minds the understanding of ~he things they recorded.
The same spirit later and in the
due time, declared, unfolded, and expounded the meaning to others, to
those for whom it was intended.
the Pastoral Bible Institute
lovers of our Lord Jesus and friends of the truth are welcome to attend
the Annual Meeting of the Institute to be held at 2 pm., Saturday, June 7,
1952, in the office of the Institute, at 177 Prospect Place, Brooklyn 17,
N. Y., as announced in our April issue. In addition to the primary business
of the elect''-on of d rectors, opportunity will be given for
consideration of such other matters as may properly come before the
of the Institute who are not receiving the "Herald" in their
own naive, or the name of a member of the immediate family, bit who are
readers of the "Herald," should so inform the office at once, so the proxy forms may be sent them.
addition to the present directors the following has been placed as
T. P. TILLEMA, Schenectady, N. Y.
Pilgrims in The Earth
THE eleventh chapter of Hebrews the example of Abraham is set before us.
"By faith," it reads, Abraham "became a sojourner in the
land of promise; as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac
and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for the
city which hath the foundations, whose architect and maker is God... .
having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
earth." (Heb. 11:9, 10, 13, R. V.) By faith Abraham 'became a
-sojourner and so by faith we too are to live as strangers, for we are
called to be pilgrims of the narrow way which leads through this world to
"the city which ,bath foundations." This has been illustrated
for us by John Bunyan, who recorded Christian's "Pilgrim's
Progress" from the city of Destruction to the Celestial City.
Christian summed up the purpose of his pilgrimage in words that every
consecrated follower of Christ will echo. As he stood prepared to resist
the Prince of this world, he asserted his loyalty to God: "I like His
service," he said, "His servants, His Government, His company
and country better than thine. . I am His servant and I will follow Him .
. . for I am on the King's highway, the way of holiness."
statement left no room for doubt or divided loyalty but exhibited, as an
example to us, wholehearted single-mindedness. The word "single
minded" always reminds us of the Apostle Paul who emphasized the
need for us to be single-minded and epitomized our status in five words:
"Our citizenship is in heaven." (Phil. 3:20, R.V.) Using a
military illustration, he expressed a similar thought in the words,
"'No man that warreth [as a good soldier of Jesus Christ] entangleth
himself with the affairs of this life." (2 Tim. 2:3, 4.) In the
letter to the Colossians he adjures us: "Set your minds on the things
that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth." (Col.
3:2, R.V.) All these are different ways of expressing our Lord's words
of guidance. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth . . .
for where your treasure is there will your heart be also." - Matt.
and other Scriptures help us to understand our personal status in this
"present evil world." They are also fundamental to our
understanding of sanctification, because it is only in so far as we are
sanctified or "set apart" in the pilgrim's "way of
holiness" that we have any standing whatever before God. Just as John
Bunyan's word-pictures help us to see our part clearly, so we are helped
by the example of Abraham to understand God's arrangement for us. It is
also helpful to compare Abraham, who lived the life of a pilgrim, and was
described as "the friend of God," with Lot who, although
"his righteous soul was vexed" at the sinfulness of the
Sodomites, nevertheless maintained his association with the affairs of
that city of destruction. This comparison illustrates how false it is
for Christians to assume that they should continue to remain in worldly
organizations hoping thereby to exercise a reforming influence. On the
contrary, like the Israelites of old, we are to be a marching people, for
we are called to leave the affairs of this world for the land of promise.
OUR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
cannot be citizens of the heavenly Kingdom and also retain the rights of
earthly citizenship. On the other hand, the Scriptures tell us that
"the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," and that the
present ruler is a usurper. Thus from one standpoint' it could be
thought that we have full rights because we are children of the heavenly
owner. But when we consecrate our lives to the Lord's service, we
voluntarily forfeit our earthly rights in material things. God then gives
them back into our keeping - as his stewards, allowing us to use part of
them to meet our rightful obligations and to provide for our moderate
needs (which is why we offer thanks for our food and other temporal blessings). Paul touches on
this subject in 1 Corinthians 9:9, 10, and in the seventh chapter he also
adjures, "those who use the good things of this world as using them
sparingly for this world as we see it is passing away." - 1 Cor.
the tenth chapter of that Epistle, Paul urges us to be level-headed in the
use of the good things of the world and, except where love dictates
otherwise, to accept the necessities of life without question as from the
Lord. The example quoted by the Apostle in that chapter has a very
practical significance for us. Do we not all know of earnest Christians
who in their desire to insure that, what they eat or use shall not have
come from sources that might offend the conscience, have in fact become
involved in political disputes? How easy it then becomes to assume that
our obligations extend to the "Christianizing" of worldly
affairs. Others will soon recognize the honesty and fairness of the
Christian and seek to persuade; him to use these qualities in the
settlement of worldly disputes. If this temptation should ever come to one
of us, may we always remember our Lord's reply, "Who made me a judge
or a divider over you?" - Luke 12:14.
ON BEING CONTENT WITH OUR EARTHLY POSITION
the twelfth chapter of Luke's Gospel we read how Jesus explained the
completeness of our dependence on the Heavenly Father: "Take no
thought for your life, what ye shall eat: neither for the body, what ye
shall put on ... consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap: which
neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them and seek not ye
what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, live not in careful suspense
[margin]. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and
your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things." - Luke 12:22,
24, 29, 30
is helpful to consider these words of our Lord in relation to the example
set by Abraham. When God called him, he was living in the rich city of Ur where the standard of
living was luxurious. He did not seek to retain these privileges, however,
nor even to remain there and be content with necessities alone. He turned
his back on it all in favor of a pilgrim life. So we too are called to
turn our backs on such security and pleasure which the world can provide
and be content to let God lead us and care for us in the pilgrim way.
expressed the spirit of this teaching of our Lord in new terms appropriate
to the conditions of life of the Gentile converts. "Let each one
remain in that vocation in which he-was called. Wast thou invited when a
slave? Let it not give thee concern (but if indeed thou art able to become
free prefer it) for the slave being called by the Lord is the Lord's
freeman, in like manner the freeman being called is Christ's bond-servant.
Brethren let each one remain with
that vocation in which he was called. (1 Cor. 7:20-22, 24, Diaglott.) The
lesson implied in this passage is clear. Our energies are to be directed
not towards self-expression but to self-suppression. If the Lord does
not choose to alter our earthly status, neither should we try to do so. We
are to "remain with God," for our ambition is "to be found
worthy" by God and not by men.
affairs are inseparable from cares, worry, unrest, and dissatisfaction: If
we take part in them or
interest in them it will not be possible for us to "rest in the
Lord." "He that is entered into His rest," we are told in
the Epistle to the Hebrews, "hath ceased from his own works."
(Heb. 4:10.) This peace is one of the hallmarks of the citizen of the
Kingdom of heaven. 'It is evidence of his faith in his Heavenly Father, a
faith which keeps him free from the worries of worldly cares. It is a
source of great encouragement to us that Paul, that energetic and tireless
servant of the Lord, could delight in the quiet contentment which comes
from faith in the Lord. "I have learned," he wrote, "in
whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be
abased and I know how to abound." (Phil. 4:11, 12.) And again in -his
First Epistle to Timothy, "Godliness with contentment is
gain." (1 Tim. 6:6.) "Be ye content with such things as ye have;
for himself bath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any
wise forsake thee."-Heb. 13:5, R.V.
OUR RELATIONSHIP TO EARTHLY AUTHORITIES
seems difficult sometimes to reconcile our loyalty to the Heavenly King
with such forthright statements as that of the Apostle Paul, "Be
subject to principalities and powers" (Titus 3:1), but it becomes
much clearer if we think of ourselves as strangers and pilgrims-not
citizens of this world. Paul described us as "ambassadors for
Christ," a title which makes our position abundantly clear. Earthly
ambassadors owe their loyalty to the ruling power which they represent,
but they have to conform to the laws of the country to which they are
accredited. They too are "set apart" from the citizens of
foreign country in which they serve. The two countries may be at enmity
with leach other, but the life and welfare of the ambassador is
guaranteed by the power of the state which he represents. Similarly our
King is all-powerful and is able to keep us out of the power of the
Prince of this world. Soon our King will withdraw his ambassadors, but
until then, we are to "be subject unto the higher powers. For there
is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordered of God." -
Rom. 13:1, margin.
"to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (1
does not imply that we are to share the responsibilities of the earthly
authorities or the evil practices of their subjects. In the
same way a British or American ambassador to a heathen country would not
be required to become a heathen. If there were any public observances of
the law which he found irreconcilable with the dignity of the country
which he represented, he would be expected to be discreet and not provoke
antagonism by openly flouting them. Similarly we are instructed that
"the servant of the Lord must not strive" (2 Tim. 2:24), for
as Jesus told Pilate, "If my kingdom were of this world, then would
my servants fight" (that is, contest publicly-Young). (John 18:36.)
It is as ambassadors or spiritual aliens therefore that we are to
"submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake . . . For so is
the will of God that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance
of foolish men." (1 Pet. 2:13, 15.) The fact that we know that the
kingdoms of this world are soon to give way to the Kingdom of Heaven only
adds to our responsibility. "Seeing that these things are all to be
dissolved," wrote the, Apostle Peter, "what manner of persons
ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness?" - 2 Pet. 3:11,
clouds of the great Day of the Lord grow thicker, and we may soon be faced
with the problems of our attitude to the contestants in a world at war.
Are we sure that we are not already subconsciously identifying ourselves
with one side or the other, or are we facing the future as independent
service of the King of kings? If we are, to avoid getting drawn into, the
rival whirlpools of militarism or militant pacifism it will not be
sufficient for us merely to decide what our attitude is to be
to actual participation in war effort.
We may have to decide, for instance, whether we should eat or wear commodities
which come to us as part of war effort or under the protection of armed
power. In the eighth chapter of 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul will
guide us in dealing with such problems, although we shall need to alter the setting and circumstances to suit the present
OUR RELATIONSHIP TO OUR EARTHLY EMPLOYERS
Apostle Paul presents this relationship in somewhat different, terms and
emphasizes the diligence with which we are
to pursue our daily employment, and the respect we are to show to those
who employ us. "Let as many servants as
are under the yoke
count their own masters worthy of all honor that
the name of God and his doctrine may be not blasphemed." (1
Tim. 6:1.) In Paul's
letter to Titus he wrote, "Urge slaves to be submissive to their owners
in all circumstances, and to try their best to please them. Teach them not
to contradict or pilfer, but to show such praiseworthy fidelity in
everything as to
recommend the teaching about God our Savior by all that they do." (Titus
2:9-10, 20th Century
attitude, the Apostle Peter asserted, must be shown "not only to the
good and gentle, but also to the froward." - l Peter 2:18.
it seems unnecessary for the Apostle Paul to urge Christian believers not
to pilfer from their employers, but time can be stolen as well as goods.
Is not this one of our greatest difficulties? With a heart full of love
for the Lord and of devotion to his purposes is it not doubly hard
sometimes to give our full energies to our employer during the hours for
which we are paid? In the Epistles to the Colossians and to the Ephesians
we are told, "Whatsoever ye do,
do it heartily as to
the Lord and not unto
men." (Col. 3:23.) "Be obedient ... in singleness of your heart,
as unto Christ; not with eye service as menpleasers, but as
the servants of Christ, doing
the will of God from the heart: with good will doing service as to the
Lord, and not to men." - Eph. 6:5-7.
we may ask, how can we show such diligence without getting so involved
that we cannot put work out of our minds in our free time? The Apostle
does not suggest that we should become devoted to our daily work for its
own sake, or for the purpose which our employer has in mind. Only the
Lord's service calls for our devotion. We are to work for our employers
"heartily as unto the Lord," as an example to unbelievers and
as evidence to our Heavenly Father of the honesty with which we
discharge our earthly responsibilities. Our spiritual "work" for
him is on
a different plane. It is this into which we "throw our heart and
soul," for we carry out
every trifle in a spirit of loving devotion to him.
our earthly responsibilities appear to be intruding into
our thoughts at times when
they have no business to be there, we
need to ask ourselves
whether they are drawing our heart away from the Lord, remembering our
Master's warning that "Where 'your
treasure is there will your
heart be also." In its early stages it may seem absurd to think that
a small overflow into sanctified time constitutes any sort of "treasure"
to us, but most things have small beginnings, and "how great a matter
a little fire kindleth." - James 3:5.
we are exhorted not to add to our earthly responsibilities, but to remain
content with our earthly position whether the Lord appears to lift us
up or cast us down. In
short, to follow the example of the Apostle Paul and learn in whatsoever
state we are therewith to be content. - Phil. 4:11, 12.
FOLLOWING IN HIS STEPS
Lord, who gave us the supreme example of life as a pilgrim and stranger,
seemed in his first and, last days on earth to give this thought a special
emphasis. He was born in an ante-chamber used by travelers a place for
which the writers of the original MSS. used the special Greek word "Kataluma"
translated in the
Authorized Version as an "Inn." On his last evening on earth he
chose an upper room, reached apparently through a similar ante-chamber,
which the translators of the Authorized Version described as a
although the original Greek word was
opening and closing scenes fitly symbolized the life of "the Author
and Finisher of our faith,"
who made the pilgrimage before us and who explained his pilgrim status
in the simple words, "I am not of this world."
us therefore follow in his footsteps, and in so doing respond to the
Apostle's exhortations. "Show tact in your behavior to the outside
world, making the most of every opportunity." (Col. 4:5, 20th
Century Version) , and
"make thyself a pattern
of the faithful, in word, in life, in love, in faith, in purity." -1
Tim. 4:12, Conybeare.
Points and Principles to be Observed
STUDYING the Book of Revelation we should bear in mind, first, that it is
in its greater part the prophetic history of the Gospel Age, the final
three chapters only relating to the Kingdom Age.
Gospel Age is an exceedingly important one in the Divine Plan, being the
Age during which the most important part of all God's creation -- the
Christ class -- is formed and prepared for its future work, through the
operation of the Word and of the Spirit of God.
visions of Revelation have to do, then, very specially with the Christ of
God; they may be
constitute the Photo Drama of the New Creation. Each of the visions is
related either to the Church class, or to the Divine Word, or to the
opponents of these, in some way. To keep these facts clearly in mind will
help greatly to an understanding and appreciation
of the visions.
great basic feature of the Divine Plan -- the Permission of Evil -- is
also clearly seen in many of the visions, this feature of the Divine
purposes being very
throughout the Gospel Age.
The Revelation is a highly' symbolic book; virtually everything in it is
described in a symbolic manner; that is, the things depicted represent
something other than, and greater than, the word or symbol used.
may be understood almost as a fixed rule, that the more literally any of
part of a vision is taken, the more likely it is that the interpretation
incorrect; and conversely, that the more consistently the symbols are treated as symbols, the
greater the probability that the true meaning of the vision will be
The visions came directly from Christ, through an angel, to John. They
would be given
to him in a
definite order: we might say, in a perfect order. John had nothing to do
with the arranging of the visions. It is important to remember this in
reference to any matter arising from the arrangement of the visions.
The symbols used in the visions, again, are all of divine choosing; they
spring from the mind of God, not from that of John. This is a further fact
of definite importance.
respect, the Revelation is very different from the Epistles. The latter
proceeded from the minds of the Apostles, guided and stimulated, of
course, by the Holy Spirit; whereas in the Revelation, John simply
described what he heard and saw.
The basis of the symbols is the Divine Word -- particularly the Old
Testament. It may probably be stated with certainty that there is no
symbol used in the Revelation but what can be found somewhere in the Old
Testament, or in the, early part of the New Testament, that is, in the
Gospels, so much of which are the words of Christ himself.
principle is of help in the consideration of such symbols as the white
stone of Rev. 2:17, the four horses of Rev. 6, and so on, the explanation
of these -- as of all other symbols
Revelation -- should be sought for in the Scriptures, not outside them.
The mind of God is a balanced mind. That which proceeds from him will also
show balance; and the Book of Revelation will certainly show this quality
in a positive degree.
may expect, therefore, the visions to, be balanced in their time application. It is extremely unlikely that a
preponderating number of the visions will relate to the harvest or closing
the Gospel Age, leaving the greater part of the Age, nineteen centuries
long, to be covered by one or two
example, any exposition of the Revelation that explains the opening
Seals, the sounding of the Trumpets and the outpouring of the Vials as referring to the closing thirty or forty years of
the Age is most unbalanced, and therefore extremely unlikely to be
more probable is it that the early part of the Age, the middle part, and
the closing part are all represented, each in its proper proportion.
Sequence of the visions. The fact that one vision follows another in the
written book does not necessarily mean that the one follows the other in
its outworking; although it may do so. Some of the visions certainly
follow others chronologically. Common sense must be used in this matter;
and sanctified common sense in conjunction with one or other of the
principles already stated, will usually settle such a matter correctly.
Note the aphorism that "history often repeats itself": by which
is meant that events often run in parallel series, those at one point of
time bearing a
resemblance to others occurring later.
suggests the possibility that a symbol, or even a whole vision, may have
more than one fulfillment; and this would account for some of the
different expositions of the Revelation by different writers.
as in the case of prophecies generally, where there is often a double
fulfillment (major and minor) or a true fulfillment and one or more
applications of the prophecy (as, for example, the application of Psalm
2:1, 2, by the Apostles to their own time -- see Acts 4:25, 26 -- whereas
the true fulfillment of the Psalm is in our own day, at the end of the
Age), so with the visions of the Revelation; it is probable that where
different interpretations are in question, one of them is likely to be the
true fulfillment of die vision, while the others are minor fulfillments
or applications only.*
between an application and an
can perhaps be seen the more readily by comparing them, say, to a ready
made garment and a tailor-made costume respectively. The-former is
rarely a good fit -- it has to he altered here and there to make it fit
reasonably well; while the latter fits at once, readily
a suggested interpretation involves the straining, or contradicting, or
any part of the vision, this is usually a fairly
sure proof that it is not a true interpretation, but an application only.
Certain parallelisms in the arrangement of the visions are to be noted,
for example, that between the seals and the trumpets, where numbers 1 to 6
are described in sequence, followed by two interposed visions, and finally
the seventh. And parallelisms of symbols are to be noted also, for
example, that between the trumpets and the vials, where the same
symbolic parts of the earth are affected in several of the two sets of
interpretation which does not take note of these facts and explain them is
obviously likely to be incorrect.
The Authorized Version, generally unreliable as a true text of the
Scriptures, is particularly not to be depended on in a study of the
Revelation. Numerous additions to the text have been made by the ancient
copyists, and in some cases these additions are such as to quite alter the
meaning of the verse.
example, the addition of the word "even" in Rev. 3:4, changes a
commendation into a sneer; the addition of the word "us" two
times in Rev. 5:9-10, conveys the entirely erroneous thought that the
living creatures and the elders were the redeemed ones who are to be kings
and priests in the future; the addition of the words "and see"
in Rev. 6:1, 3, 5, and 7, suggests that the command to "Come"
was made to John, whereas it was obviously made to the riders of the
before drawing any definite conclusions from the actual wording of any
verse, make sure that the wording is correct by comparing it with one or
more of the modern versions of the Scriptures now available, for example,
the Revised Version, Weymouth, Moffatt, the Diaglott, or Tischendorf's
The interpretation of any vision should conform to the same standards of
Truth which are to be applied to the interpretation of any other part of
the Divine Word; namely, it must be in harmony with (1) facts, (2) reason,
(3) the Scriptures as a whole, and (4) the Divine character, which is one
of infinite Wisdom, Justice, Love, and Power.
more briefly, one might say that the interpretation must be in harmony
with the Divine Plan of the Ages.
the interpretation of any vision is out of harmony with the Divine Plan,
or with any of the above four standards of Truth, it cannot be accepted as
a true explanation of the vision.
All the above points and principles are to be taken careful note of, and
kept in mind, when studying any part of the Book of Revelation. The more
carefully they are noted and observed, the greater the probability of
reaching a correct solution concerning any symbol or any vision. It is,
we suggest, the non-observance of one or other of the above principles
which leads so often to incorrect interpretation of the Revelation
- H. Hudson, Eng.
A booklet by, the above writer, "The Four Horses and Horsemen of the
Apocalypse," is available at mailing cost -- five cents each, three
for, ten cents.
you please discuss the following Scripture found in Job 19:25-27?
with all Scripture, this passage will be best understood when studied in
relation to its context.
it is part of Job's reply to Bildad. In Job 18:17-21, Bildad had
threatened job that his name and memory should perish; that posterity
would either utterly forget him, or remember only to condemn him with
horror and amazement.
this threat job here replies by making a solemn and formal appeal to
posterity. So far from forgetting or condemning him, he is sure that
subsequent generations will remember the story of his faith and patience,
and the end of the Lord concerning him, with sympathy and admiration; he
is certain that he has at least one thing to say which the world will
never let die, one bequest to make which cannot fail to bear his name
honorably down the stream of time. This treasure is the truth that there
is to be a life beyond the grave, a retributive life, in which every man
will receive the due reward of his deeds.
moral truths are never discovered by nations or races, but by individual
men. And yet even the wisest and most forward-looking men rarely discover
a truth much in advance of the thoughts and yearnings of their own race,
in their own generation. As a rule the new truth is in the air of the
time; many have some dim consciousness or presentment of it, and are
groping after it, if haply they may find it. And at last one man, one
happy man, prepared for the achievement by the peculiar bent of his
nature, or gifted with vision and the spirit of consecration, driven
onwards, perhaps, by peculiar personal experiences into untrodden
regions of thought, grasps the present and widely-diffused but evasive
truth, and gives it clear expression.
this common process of discovery it is probable that we have an
illustration in the case of job. There are many indications that even as
far back as his time, the thought of a better and more enduring life, a
strictly moral life, hidden from men by the darkness of death, was in the
air; that the best and highest minds
were reaching after it and yearning for it. And in job this general
thought took form, this common yearning rose to articulate expression,
this widespread hope became a living and vitalizing faith. His personal
experience, the wrongs and calamities he endured, the doubts and
conflicts these miseries bred in his heart, prepared and qualified him to
become the interpreter of the general heart of his time, to discover the
truth which alone could satisfy it. It was simply impossible for him,
since he believed the great Ruler of men to be just and unchangeable, to
conclude that the God whom he had done nothing to offend was really
hostile to him, though he seemed hostile; or that he would always continue
to him, never acknowledging his integrity. And as he had lost all hope of
being redeemed and vindicated in this life, as, therefore, he could no
longer admit the present life to be a
retributive one, he was compelled to look for, till he discovered it, a
life beyond the grave. He
realizes that, for him, 'the present life is about to end. To the
"world of tomorrow," therefore, he must look, if his hopes are
to find fruition. This,
seems to us, is the gist of the matter; this
line along which job's thoughts traveled to the lofty conclusion he
spring of living water that threw up the beautiful fountain of hope which
still attracts our eyes.
wonderful hope of Job is contained in Job 19:25-27, cited in the question.
However, before we consider it in detail, let us note the brief preface by
which it is introduced in Job 19:23-24. We quote them from the American
may become of his other words, some of which he elsewhere admits he
loathed, and would retract (Job 42:6), he wishes the words he is about to
utter to remain. They express his deepest, his unalterable, convictions.
His previous speeches reflect all
fluctuating and uncertain moods and emotions of his heart -- his doubts
and fears, his cravings and aspirations, his indignation against God and
man; but now "he is going to say only what he is sure of, what he knows. And, therefore, he wishes his words to be written down
book formed of skins or parchments, as scholars tell us the etymology of
the Hebrew word denotes; he would have them enshrined in the most
permanent form of ancient literature. Nay, more, he is conscious of such
value in his words that even parchment is not durable enough for him. He
would have them cut
deep in the rock, raised
above all accidents of time, that they may speak with an eternal tongue to
the fugitive generations of men. And, in very deed, his wish has been
more than fulfilled; for, as Chrysostom, commenting on these verses,
finely says: "Job's words have not been written down with an iron
stylus, as he desired, but far more durably. Had they been written as he
wished, time would have obliterated them; but they have been inscribed in
the imperishable records of Holy Scripture. They are graven on the rock of
God's Word, and there they are still read, and minister, comfort to all
all this is only preface. The Inscription itself, as we have already
noted, is contained in Job 19:25-27. According to one scholar, "In
the Hebrew it is written throughout in the true monumental, or lapidary
style, the style appropriate to words which were to be so laboriously hewn
and engraved. The thought is crushed into the fewest possible phrases, the
phrases into the fewest possible words; and, as might be expected in so
memorable a sentence, a sentence designed to quicken thought and hope in
many generations, at least some of the words are capable of a double
sense, and the full intention of the whole is not to be arrived at save
with labor and pains," Let us take this remarkable Inscription, then,
word by word.
to the scholars, the Hebrew word denotes absolute perception, absolute
cognition, absolute, certainty of knowledge. It is no mere guess,
speculation, yearning, that we are to hear from job, but that of which) he
is profoundly and unalterably convinced; the very best and surest thing he
has to tell us.
Hebrew the word is Goel. This
word Goel was the name for the next of kin who, among the Hebrews, was
bound to redeem a kinsman who had fallen into debt or, bondage, and to
avenge his blood if, he had been slain in a quarrel. Job's choice of this
remarkable and most expressive word may have been, in part, determined by
a thought he had already expressed in Job 16:18, where, while formally
appealing to the earth not to hide his innocent blood, he really appeals
to the very God (who had shed his blood) to avenge it, to avow and establish
his innocence appeals to
you please. It is no mere man, no human kinsman, that Job had in his
thoughts. The best men he knew had already turned against him. It is God
himself that job has in mind who will be his Goel, that God of whose
eternal justice he was so fully persuaded as to believe that he would
raise and vindicate the very man whom he himself had smitten to the earth.
In the light of the New Testament we
what job could not have known, that the Son would be the Father's active
agent in this, as in all other matters (1 Cor. 8:6); that the Umpire,
Daysman or Arbiter for whom, in Job 9:32-35, he had expressed himself as
longing, one capable of bringing him and God together in judgment, and of
enforcing his decision even on the Almighty, was to be none other than
the Messiah -- our Lord Jesus, in resurrection glory.)
Goel liveth. That is to say, this Goel did not come into existence
centuries later, but was already existing, when the book of Job was written, and when job himself was living. This much, at least, the word
implies; this much, at least, was in job's mind.
Goel will rise up even after he himself has gone down into the grave; rise
up, as the word hints, like a conqueror, a redeemer-a redeemer being always
a conqueror; for how should he deliver the captive save by subduing his
tell us that the original word is ambiguous, and may be taken substantively or adverbially. Those who take
it in the first way render it by the word "Survivor" or the
"Last One." They understand Job to mean that this Goel
who is to appear for him,, is absolutely the "Last One"; and
that, as job's
Survivor, he is bound to vindicate and avenge him. Most scholars, however,
hold to the view that the more common Hebrew usage requires the word to be
taken adverbially, and render it by "at last." Such understand
that job, either because he did not know (or did not wish to say) when his
deliverance should come, left the time of it indefinite. He simply throws
it forward to some distant date, in "the world of tomorrow."
again, commentators tell us that we have an ambiguous phrase, capable of
more than one sense. "Upon the earth" is the rendering of both
Authorized and Revised Versions, and is, perhaps, as good and probable a rendering as any. Rotherham, however, and several
others translate: "Over (my) dust. Whichever translation be accepted,
it could hardly be taken literally. Job could scarcely have meant that his
victorious Goel would literally stand upon the earth, whether over his
tomb or elsewhere. It seems better, therefore, to take the phrase metaphorically,
and to understand it as equivalent to "after my death."
without adding anything to the sense of the words, the contents of the
verse may be summarized thus: "I, for my part, know
that my Goel already exists, and is preparing to take up my cause; that
God himself will be my Goel, that he
a kinsman's part for me, both
redeeming me from my miseries and wrongs, and avenging me on those who
have inflicted them upon me. When he
will come I know not, nor how nor
this I know, that at last, long after I have sunk into the tomb, he will
appear for me, clad in robes of victory and of judgment."
if Job meant no more than that, he surely took the strangest way of
conveying his meaning. Any man whose body is torn to pieces, devoured,
destroyed, reduced to dust, could not be other than dead, if words have
any force or significance. Moreover, if Job intended to predict only an
occurrence so common as the restoration of life, health and wealth, to
one emaciated by disease and broken by misfortune, why does he introduce
his prediction with such an amazing pomp and emphasis? Why speak as though
he had made, some grand discovery of truth so invaluable
and transcendent that it deserved to be cut deep in-the rock, to abide for
ever? The whole tone, no less than the express words, of the Inscription,
demand a far larger interpretation than this.
again, according to the scholars, we have an ambiguous expression. For the
word is translated variously, "from," "in," "out
of," "without" my
"from" being the literal translation.
Job would be in a body of flesh. or-with out such a body when, at last, he
would "see" God, he,
of course, did not know. However, it seems most unlikely that, at the time
he uttered these words, he even concerned himself with such a question. He
had just reached the positive conviction that after his death, God himself
would vindicate his integrity and that he, Job, would see him do so. With
such a hope suddenly invading his mind and taking instant but full
possession of it, it seems most unlikely that he would at once begin to
wonder as to What the nature of his body at that time would be; whether
flesh or some other substance. Such a consideration would have
been well nigh impossible to him. That Job, rising from his long agony,
his long inquest, to a sudden recognition of a great light of hope burning
behind the dark curtains of death,
and so far streaming through them as to give him courage to sustain a
burden otherwise intolerable, should at once fall into a speculation as to what his body would be like,
would be contrary to all the laws which, experience proves, govern the
human mind at a crisis such as that at which he had arrived. All he knew (but
this he surely did know) was
that somehow, after his loathsome body had been destroyed, God would
redeem him; but whether he would then be in a body of flesh or not he
could not tell and did not speculate.
the light of the New Testament, we, the Gospel-Age Church know that in job's case, it will be
in his flesh that he shall see God.
Goel, for any vindication of which he were to be unconscious would have no
value to him. A deliverance of which he remained insensible, would be no
deliverance to him. Not-he must see
this point he is insistent, recurring again and again to it, even in this
brief inscription. For example, note the very next words: "Whom I
moreover, see "for
is to say, as the Revised Version makes clear, see "on my side"; redressing
the wrongs which he himself has inflicted, and clearing the character
which he himself has brought under suspicion; no longer an adversary but a
champion; no longer against
also, in the next clause of the verse: "And mine eyes shall behold, and. not
another." Here. again, while he does not mean to assert that no one but himself will
be aware of his vindication, he does surely mean that when his
vindication comes, he himself, will know it. Not (only) the eyes of
others shall see his Vindicator (and know that he is indeed Job's
Vindicator), but his
own eyes shall see him.
speaking of a time to come when in his flesh he will "see" God,
we are not to understand job's utterance to be in conflict with the
teaching of New Testament writers, who inform us that "No man hath
seen God at any time"; "whom no man path seen nor can
see." (John 1:18; 1 Tim. 6:16.) Rather we are to understand job's
words to be in harmony with such expressions as "all flesh shall see the salvation of God"; "look unto me
and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth" (Isa. 52:10; 45:22); or,
as Christians today sometimes remark: "I see God's hand in this, that or the other matter."
summarize then: Job had lost confidence in the doctrine he had once held,
and which his comforters (?) still urged upon him, that in this
present life every man receives, his due. That, since it is Contradicted by the most intimate
facts of his own experience is no longer credible to him. But he has not,
therefore, lost confidence in the justice of God; he is simply driven to
the belief that the divine justice is of a
than he had
hitherto conceived; that it covers a wider space and demands longer
periods of time for its full development, periods which stretch beyond the
narrow span of this present life, into the "world of tomorrow."
knew and was sure that God would appear for him and' redeem him; but he
did not know how or when. And having come to this happy conclusion, the
cry of his heart was "How long, O Lord, how long!" This we may
gather from his closing words: "My reins be consumed within me,"
or, as another translates: "My heart pines away within me." His
very'; hope evidently filled him with a sick, an almost heartbreaking,
longing for its fulfillment; such a longing as filled the heart of St.
John who, on hearing the words of Jesus; "Surely, I come
quickly," responded (as have all the footstep followers of the
Master since), "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." - Rev. 22:20.
P. L. Read.