The Message to the Church in Philadelphia



By B. W. Newton.*



(This article was originally printed in the ‘Patmos’ Series.) 


[*From the October/December, 2004 issue of “Watching and Waiting” - the quarterly magazine by Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony. 

See also “The Throne of the LORD” by Ivan Foster.  Also included is “Inspiration” by P. W. H.  Lessey,

(From the October/December 1995 issue.)]






This passage stands in marked contrast with the address to the Church in Laodicea.  To that Church not one word of commendation was given!  There was nothing in their then practical ways that Christ could praise; not one feature that He could say was acceptable and pleasing to God!  Yet they knew it not: they were utterly unconscious of it: their eye was so dim, they were so accustomed to try things by a false standard, that they knew not their ways were displeasing to Him!  This is often the case.  Believers can little trust the estimate they form of themselves unless they keep closely to the Word of God, unless they seek to keep His standard watchfully before their eyes.  But, lest we should think that all attempts to serve God are hopeless, we find this address to the Church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3: 7-13).  All was commendation there!  There was not one single thing that Christ made the subject of blame; not one single thing that He did not make the subject of praise, even though there were things that were in themselves weak and poor; for observe, all “He who was faithful and true” could say of their strength was, that they had “a little strength



But that which chiefly marked the distinctive character of this Church was, that they had “kept the word of His endurance  They had regarded Christ’s directions and not despised His words, and that will ever be found to be a path of “endurance  Were I to say to you “those paths will be very difficult to walk in; you will find many things to which you naturally cleave must be given up, many friendships and associations, etc. will have to be broken; many sacrifices made; you had better yield to circumstances and become acquiescent.  Do not seek to maintain too steadfast a testimony for Truth, but give way, for it will cost you too much faithfully to adhere to: spare thyself: do not for the sake of a truth which does not seem a very important truth, or that practice which does not seem a very important practice, do not for the sake of it incur detriment to thyself.”  Now suppose I address you so, that would not be “the word of Christ’s endurance;” that would not be teaching you “to endure;” but on the contrary to “give way,” feeling it would be too great a sacrifice of things deemed desirable here.



But suppose I were to say the reverse: suppose I said “hold fast these things; buy the truth and sell it not; keep it with a tenacious grip; compromise it not either by thy words or by anything thou doest; and if thou hast to give up things in consequence, well, give them up; bear what is to be borne; let the yoke rest on thee.” Those would be words of “patient endurance  And the Philadelphians had done this: they had not tried to make Christian Truth flexible, to be bent by circumstances like a rule of lead; but they had striven to make circumstances conform themselves to it as a golden rule: therefore, as a reward, they were given the promise of being “kept from the great coming hour of temptationthe hour of Satanic delusion!



Now, though those to whom this was first addressed have been removed, these same features may be found in others, and whenever God sees this same character of “endurance,” He would recognise a Philadelphian so to speak, and to such, this promise in all its certainty shall remain.  Scattered they may be and few, but they shall be regarded as successors in the place of blessing that the Philadelphians were then ostensibly [believing and] holding.  So we must not suppose that these promises have lost their practical power.  God does not look on them as dependant on outward circumstances, but He looks to see where the same characteristics are rooted in the heart; and wherever they are, He says ‘There exists the family which I have promised to protect and preserve



Great indeed is the promise of “protection,” and the blessings are two-fold: those which are granted here and those which are granted above [and hereafter].  If Christ speaks of final blessing to be known in the New Jerusalem - the City of God - He also speaks of a present blessing here; of having the “Key of David,” and of being able as a Steward to open all the resources of the place of the Great King!  When the hour comes for the glory of God to be displayed, this is one of the great offices Christ will hold visibly and manifestly to ISRAEL.  Why will Israel be so blessed, but because heaven is open above their heads, as the evidence of the relation in which the glory and riches of heaven will stand to them!  Therefore Christ is regarded as the great Eliakim of that day (Isaiah 22).  But He says ‘though that is postponed to the day of future blessing, yet remember, I hold the “Key of David” now, and am able to give you these resources of strength only  This power was recognised by Mary His mother in the days of His humiliation, and though He seemed to rebuke her it was only to try her faith.  “Mine hour (i.e. of glory) is not yet come  Nevertheless, she said “Whatsoever He saith unto you do it;” and she waited for a great blessing; a blessing that indicated creative power; that indicated joy given where there was sadness - for whine is the emblem of joy - and “He spake the word and it was done



Now this was an instance of the way Christ was able to unlock and supply everything.  It was not limited; so that whatever faith asks wisely according to the mind of God, “that” He says “I can do  Is not this a rich and great blessing in an hour when Satan is to be allowed to open other door, to give access to his resources?  Glorious, resplendent indeed, will that hour be with everything in which nature glories.  Satan could shew all the glory of the world in a moment, therefore he has his resources.  And we know what is to be the end thereof!  Yet that is what civilised humanity is about to come to, when men will rejoice for a season, but “perish for ever  So, if we expect that tribulation to come, when there will be a dearth, not of bread but of hearing the Word of the Lord; when it will be a sealed book (Isaiah 29); we see the blessing of this promise that, in that day the door should remain open before all those who have Philadelphian faith!  But it is connected with practical grace.  “To him that hath shall more be given,” and where this practical grace is found, God is able to meet it with multiplied grace.  So always remember the connection between practical grace and the increase of practical blessing.



Then in verse 9, another promise is given.  How continually do we see the effect of Satan to bring into contrast with that which assumes to belong to Christ because of ceremonial ordnances and outward ritually-defined position!  We can easily understand how it would be so.  There had been a ritual order established by God religiously among the Jews of old by means of appointed ceremonies, as also there is a governmental order established in the world by God under kings, governors, magistrates etc.  (It may be a Nero, but if in the place of authority, we must bow to him as having authority of God.  God may displace him, but it is not for us to raise the hand against him).



Now, whilst that principle is introduced by God into the government of the world, has He introduced it into the government of His Church?  The corruptions of Christianity have said “Yes, whenever you see a person outwardly appointed, there is to be recognised the real authority of God; the real power of the Spirit of God  But it is not so.  In the Church of God “grace” and “spiritual gifts” are always needful in such a matter as being elders of a local Church.  Even the apostles never thought of creating those who should be capable of ministering to the Church of God.  It was made dependant on Christ alone.  But what a temptation for men under Satan to arrogate to themselves this power, to displace Christ, and to say ‘We can appoint persons, and when they are appointed they have the authority of God towards His people like magistrates in the world  And through the consciences of God’s saints may have been uneasy under this and felt it a delusive lie, they have been outwardly acquiescent in it!  Now these Philadelphians were not.  When they saw persons pretending to be the Israel of God who were not, they disowned the claim; and now Christ praises them for this!  So false ritualism may constitute a congregation (“synagogue” means congregation); but Christ calls it the congregation of Satan!



“They shall come and worship before thy feet and know that I have loved thee  How, and in what way this will be performed it is not for us to say.  Christ says that so it shall be; therefore, those who have maintained these Philadelphian principles will be acknowledged as ‘loved ones;’ the synagogue of Christ - a congregation of blessing - when others will be marked as being “the synagogue of Satan



Verse 11.  See the importance that is attached to these addresses to the Churches to ‘holding fast,’ because it is the reverse that is now seen in the professing Church.  It is the special characteristic of the “overcomers,” and we find here an exhortation given.  “Exhortation” is often made the means of causing those developments of grace in the saints of God which He, in the purpose of His own grace, intends there should be in them.  “Hold fast that which thou hast” is a necessary warning to us all.  We have to consider what it is that we have received from God - what instruction, what doctrine, what practice, what truth in any sense - and then keep fast hold of it and not let it go.  We always have to remind ourselves of the things we have received lest they should slip from us.* It is wonderful how things which we thoroughly know are often allowed to evaporate from our hearts!  We sometimes see in outward things a substance vanish, when touched by another substance that science brings near to it; and this, Satan by his skilful hand is able to bring something that eliminates some of the most precious things which our souls have known: so what need we have of watchfulness!


[* See “The Throne of the Lord” in Part Two.]



Observe the definition of the word “overcome” in verses 10, 11 and chapter 2: 6.  It is made dependant on ‘holding fast  Persons who “hold fast” are “overcomers  Those in the professing Church who fall away - who do not continue to the end - let the treasure go; they let slip from their grasp; Satan snatches it from them, or earthly things cause them to relax their hold.



No doubt in these Philadelphians there was a humble not a proud consciousness of this ‘holding fast  They clearly valued what they had received from Christ.  They were like Levites to whom the boards and curtains and vessels of the Tabernacle were committed.  It was a happy service in a waste howling wilderness to be entrusted with the care of the holy Tabernacle of God.  There was not a socket that was not borne along by their means as well as the Ark, the Mercy seat, and all the holy vessels.  They thought about them; they considered them; they did not say ‘this pin is useless,’ etc. they remembered it was God’s Tabernacle.  Not one thing was valueless, each had its place; and thus, while they thought about this, they found that their particular business in the wilderness.



And so with God’s Truth.  It is a holy harmonious combination which we have to bear along for the blessing of our own souls and the souls of others; thus we shall be likely to hold that Truth fast.  But suppose we turned from it to something not connected with Truth at all, then most likely some of its precious things would be forgotten!  It is very important for the soul to remember Paul’s injunction to Timothy with respect to the care of Christ’s Truth, “Meditate on these things: give thyself wholly to them



Then as to the future (verse 12).  There is a certain adaptation in the encouragements which God gives to the practical apprehension of the souls to whom they are spoken; and this is of great importance to those who desire to be strengthened and comforted by them.  Not that all the promises will not be given finally to all saints, but God cannot always use them as a practical stimulus to hearts, because they do not all appreciate them, so we find that we should naturally expect, that the highest promises are put before persons who have made the highest advance in practical grace.  The promise to this Church is “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of God  The word “pillar” denotes that which sustains a fabric, and the “Temple” is used as an emblem of the system of the government and worship of God.



Men have their buildings; their systems; and they know who have been and who are ‘pillars’ in them, and they honour them.  They are able to point to this one or that as a support and sustainer of those buildings, and praise the skill and energy and wisdom to which they feel indebted.  Think e.g. of the Church of Rome and other wicked systems,* whose sustainers [of false teachings] are marked with honour.  These would be ‘pillars’ in the temple of Satan; but God will by-and-by govern, and there will be certain holy principles connected with that [future] government and worship, and it is said of the saints that they shall sustain these!  It is His intention to use His saints in all these things that will by-and-by give blessing to the New Creation of God!  He could do it without them if He pleased, but, for their sakes, for their honour, for their blessing.  He will cause them to be those on whom things so momentous in their consequences will rest in order to be sustained; so that indeed believers will feel themselves to be necessary according to God’s appointment, for the carrying out of things on which the blessing of all will hang.


[* NOTE. There are other ‘wicked systems’ of interpretation being introduced and taught amongst Protestant Churches also!  The ‘Church of Rome’ is not the only church rejecting millennial truths today!



There is no greater happiness perhaps than being employed and being necessary to the carving out of that, the momentous importance and value of which we well know.  If the temporal comfort and happiness only of a household depended on a certain relation being sustained we should feel it no doubt a privilege to be the sustainer of anything that would bring blessing to that household.



Now, if there be a blessed happy feeling in this, and if we feel it an increased joy when the things which we sustain are the [millennial as well as the] eternal things of God, so that we are even here to be employed about them, what will it be when all the counsels of God are evolved anf manifested, and when we are employed in sustaining them?



“And he shall go no more out  We shall not be as we are now, called away to ‘things which perish in the using,’ things which have to do with earning our bread.  We shall not be called away any more by the necessity of these things.  The priests of old might have to go out from the sanctuary; from its fragrance, from its light: they might have to go away into the waste howling wilderness where defilement was around them.  They might say ‘we will remain where the increase is, where the light is burning: we had rather be sheltered by that than be in the midst of a scene where sorrow is  Still, then it was needful for them to go there.  But an hour is coming when “we shall go no more out  All will be encircled by the blessings of redemption.  All will then be enclosed within the cords of the Tabernacle.  All will be brought within its blessed circumference.  All will be shrouded in the canopy of God, so there will be no need to “go out



Then as to the other blessings.  “I will write upon him the NAME of My God, and the Name of the CITY of My God, and I will right upon him My new Name  Three great spheres of glory to which believers are to have access!  That which pertains to the throne of God; that which belongs to the heavenly city of the saints; and that which pertains to Christ as Head of the New Creation of God; to walk within them, to be as it were at home in them!  From none of those spheres are those who overcome* (i.e, all the family of faith) to be excluded!  They are to be allowed to enter; to know them; to contemplate them: to view them as things with which they have fellowship, because of that being written on them which gives access and title to enter, and designates them as belonging there finally!


[* NOTE. Not all who are of the family of faith will be judged as overcomers [Gk. “conquerors]!  Hence, the need of the Holy Spirit’s exhortation and encouragement to those within “the CONGREGATION in Laodicea” (Rev. 3: 14):-


19 “I as many as I love, I reprove and admonish: be zealous, therefore, and REFORM.  20 Behold, I have stood at the door, and I knock; if any one may have heard My voice and opened the door, I will come into him, and he with Me.  21 The CONQUEROR, I will give to HIM to sit down [with Me] in My THRONE, as I also conquered, and sat down with My Father in His THRONE. 22 (Let him who HAS an ear, [Literally: “let him the one having an ear”] hear what the SPIRIT says to the CONGREGATIONS:” (Rev. 3: 19-22, Translated from the Greek).]



It is right our minds should be directed to these future blessings.  Feeble are even our best thoughts about the things which are reserved to be known by-and-by fully!  Suppose we were brought to God and yet had no power to love Him there.  Suppose we felt the glory overwhelming; the holiness overwhelming; we could not be said to “live” there.  Or, if we were placed in the heavenly City and felt unsuited to it, saying ‘we felt it is a blessing, but it is too high, we cannot feel it is our home,’ that would not be fulness of blessing.  Or, if we were brought to see the peculiar glory of Christ which, when John saw, we read “He fell down at His feet as dead  If we were brought to see that, without having the same power of life communicated to us, that too would overwhelm us.  But His promise here is, that He will so write on those who shall have full power to live and act in every one of those distinct spheres of glory!



May we remember these are the heritage of the feeblest that believe: given by Him “Who is faithful and true.”  I beseech you to remember these things are true because God has said they are true, not because we appreciate  and apprehend them.  That will vary according to our faith and grace and power of apprehension.  If we choose to measure what God has said by our own thoughts, no wonder that our thoughts darken everything; but, if we remember that His Word is true and faithful, and that He intends we should credit it so that we may learn to live by faith and not by sight then we shall find that the true basis for the establishment of our souls’ comfort is firm beneath our feet!



*       *       *



[Part 2]


The Throne of the LORD



By Ivan Foster



(This is a summary of a message given at a Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony meeting in London on 25th June 2004.)








The theme of these meetings this year is “Jerusalem,” and our present subject is “The Throne of the LORD  When God gave these prophecies, He meant them to be understood in their plain sense.  He did not give them in a code so that certain persons might have the task of unscrambling all the things that He had said.  That is not how God works.  This subject leads us to look at an event that is going to take place, and we shall look at some of the Scriptures that describe that particular event.



No matter how the prophecies seems to conflict with the governing principles of the world at this present time, we can ignore that, because when the Lord returns, there will be great changes.  There are principles that govern the world in December that make the prospect of a flowering garden and a verdant forest and a field that is lush with grass seem impossible.  But that which binds and holds nature in winter is set aside by the time summer comes round.  The restraints under which nature has been held are cast off, by the wonderful providence of God, in summer time.  That is how it is going to be when the Lord returns.  We are now in the winter time experience in the world, and we see pictures in God’s Word of a world that is in the midst of a summer, the like of which it has never known [since] before [God’s curse was placed upon it at the Fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3: 17, 18)].  We may ask how such a [future] change can be, but nature teaches is every year how it can be.



We turn to Jeremiah 3: 17, where we read, “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered into it, to the Name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagine of their evil heart  If Jerusalem in this text does not mean Jerusalem [upon this earth], everybody can become a prophet, and one person has as much right as anyone else to what they think it means; and everybody can have their own speculations.  That is how the devil would have it; he loves confusion amongst the people so that they do not know what a prophetic utterance means, except they seem convinced that it does not mean what it says!  It is sad that there are so many brethren and sisters in the Lord, and we will be with them for all eternity, but on this subject they are adamant that it does not mean Jerusalem.  When God says, “At that time they shall call Jerusalem they ask, What do you mean, Lord?  And the Lord has a right to answer back and say, What do you mean when you ask what do I mean?  I mean what I say; I am talking about the city of Jerusalem [which is presently situated in the Promised Land, UPON THIS EARTH]!*


[* These additional words are for the benefit of all the Anti-millennialists who speak much about a Jerusalem in Heaven; but they have nothing to say about the Jerusalem upon this earth!]



No city has been given more names than Jerusalem.  Descriptive terms have been used which indicate that the city has had a most chequered history.  Her name means ‘Teaching of Peace’ and surely hints at what she is destined to become under Christ.  She has seen many rulers from good men like David, Solomon, and some of the kings just prior to the Babylonian captivity.  She has been conquered many times and ruled over by wicked nations; indeed, it was only in 1967 that she came back under Jewish rule after a period that stretches back long before [the First Advent of our Lord Jesus] Christ.  She has been destroyed twice and there is due to be a further attempted destruction according to Zechariah 14: 2 - “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city



When we see the spirit of animosity that is directed towards Jerusalem and the Jewish people today, it is easily understood how there will be a future time when men will seek to destroy Jerusalem, and commit these awful atrocities that are here spoken of.  There are those who live to destroy the nation of Israel.  That is the political slogan or political manifesto of some of the Arab groups.  They live to wipe out Jerusalem.  There will come a day when they will launch that very scheme and come very close to success.



This future destruction will almost have taken place and the endeavour will only be prevented from complete and utter victory by the return of Christ, as He intervenes to save His people from the Antichrist’s plan to utterly wipe out Jerusalem and its inhabitants and all that are of the nation of Israel.  That which Hitler attempted on a smaller scale will be attempted by Antichrist to its full measure.  But as with Hitler so with Antichrist.



This intervention will see the city, presently described by heaven as “the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also out Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11: 8), enter into its glory as Christ takes up His royal residence there.



Our text speaks of “that time  When reading the Word of God, it is necessary for us to go through it literally - word by word - not to miss anything.  If you casually look at a text, you will form a very casual understanding of what has been said, and you may well be completely amiss.  The verse speaks of “that time” and “they  It is to be noted that the name spoken of here is one given to Jerusalem by “they”!  Who are “they”?  It is that people who shall be gathered to it because Christ is in residence there.  In other words, it is the nations of the earth referred to in our text.  Look at the verse; it will speak for itself.  That is proper Bible interpretation - the Scriptures interpreting themselves.  Ungodly nations, who previously had walked in the evil imagination of their hearts, on that day, shall give Jerusalem this marvellous name, “the Throne of the LORD  That name is given by the Gentile nations to Jerusalem because, when Christ will have come to Jerusalem, He will take up His rule and shall reign.



The title given to Jerusalem, by the nations of the earth, suggests three significant things to me regarding the city in the millennial reign of Christ.







That is what the throne is all about.  At the coronation of our present Queen, she sat upon her throne, and her subjects sang about her gloriousness.  The glory of the person of the Queen was manifested on that day as never before, and probably never since.  Her power, authority, dignity and majesty were seen that day as she sat on her throne.  So, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to Jerusalem and it becomes the throne of His glory, His glory will be manifested at Jerusalem as never before.  It becomes the platform upon which is displayed the glory of the monarch.  Joseph was great in Egypt but he was second to the occupant of the throne.  “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou” (Genesis 41: 40).  It was upon his throne Solomon displayed his greatness and glory.  “Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.  The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.  And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom” (1 Kings 10: 18-20).



1. Christ’s glory will be visible to the whole earth.  “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isaiah 60: 1-2).  His glory shall be seen upon Jerusalem.  It will be like the rising of the sun, only it is a rising which will be seen and felt by the whole earth.  It is a glory which will supplant in many ways the function of the sun.  “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.  Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thy everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended” (Isaiah 60:19-20).  The light of God’s glory shall shine over Jerusalem (Revelation 21: 22-23; 22: 5).



2. It will bring joy to the earth.  Coronation days are happy days.  We read in 1 Kings 1: 39-40 of the happy occasion when Solomon was crowned.  “Zadok the priest took an horn of oil … and anointed Solomon … and all the people … rejoiced with great joy  Throughout the Scriptures there are little pictures of what will happen in Jerusalem when it becomes the throne of the Lord.  There is such a picture here at the time of Solomon’s coronation.  God’s king was come to the throne, but what was happening at the same time?  Adonijah wanted the throne and was angling to have himself proclaimed king.  Only in the providence of God, word came to David as to what was going on.  David took steps and put Solomon on the throne.  The true king was enthroned even as the usurper, Adonijah was celebrating.  That is going to happen when the Lord Jesus comes again.  There will be the Antichrist, the usurper, who will seek to set himself up as king, and his people will be rejoicing, just as Adonijah.  And Antichrist’s day of rejoicing will be brought to a terrible end by the news that God hath set His King upon the holy hill of Zion.



3. It will answer the deepest longing in the hearts of God’s [Pre-millennial] saints.  Moses saw much of the power of God displayed, from his interview at the time he was at the burning bush, to the judgments upon Egypt, and the miracles in the wilderness and yet he sought to see more.  He asked the Lord, “I beseech thee, shew me Thy glory” (Exodus 33: 18).  God’s people likewise have that deep longing to see Christ’s [millennial] glory, and they are “looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2: 13).







The Lord reign’s now, but there is a day coming when His reigning over men will take on new dimensions.  “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (Zechariah 14: 9).  He is King now, but He permits things now which He will not permit when Jerusalem becomes the throne of the LORD.  The “day” spoken of here is very clearly [defined* and] identified.  It is the day that begins with the universally recognised description of Christ’s return.  “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,” (Zechariah 14: 4).  Our text clearly supports this assertion.  “And all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the Name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall any walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart  Here is evidence of the rule of Christ inaugurated.  The Gentiles have turned from their “imaginations” to walk under Christ’s law.  Rebellion has given way to submission and obedience.


[* Genesis 2: 17; 5: 27. cf.  2 Peter 3: 8.]



1. It is a universal reign.  “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11: 15; see also Isaiah 52: 10).  There will be a compliance with God’s law that has never been since before the fall of man.  As it was in Israel in the days of Joshua and in the days of Solomon, so it will be throughout the nations of the earth.  “And (Joshua) said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you” (Joshua 22: 2).  “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him” (1 Chronicles 29: 23).  Sin is not utterly eradicated from the earth (Revelation 20: 7-9), but overt and outward rebellion as we see it today, will be.



2. It is a reign in which [the nation of] Israel will be exalted.  Isaiah 60: 1-4, 10-11; Amos 9: 11-15 are verses which speak of the nation of Israel, not the [whole] church as many like to think.  It will be the day in which that prayer, requested in Isaiah 62: 7, is answered.  “And give Him on rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth  “And I cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.  And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against Me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against Me.  And it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I purpose unto it” (Jeremiah 33: 7-9; Zephaniah 3: 14-20; Joel 3: 15-17.).



3. There will be a universal enforcing of Christ’s rule.  That is not a feature in Christ’s reign today.  This suppression of sin is epitomised in the imprisonment of the devil (Revelation 20: 2-3).



4. It is a reign in which the subjects of Christ will enjoy the bounty of the earth.  What politicians vainly promise today but cannot deliver, men will enter upon in the days of Christ.  Peace and security, prosperity, good health and lengthened days will feature in Christ’s [millennial] kingdom.  “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2: 4; Isaiah 65: 21-23; Zechariah 8: 4-5).



As was hinted in the days of Solomon (1 Kings 10: 21), so it will be in reality in Christ’s day (Isaiah 60: 17-18).  The physical well-being of mankind will greatly improve (Isaiah 65: 19-20; Amos 9: 13).  That promised to Israel, but which she never obtained because of sin, will then become the experience of men.  “Thou shalt keep therefore His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever” (Deuteronomy 4: 40; Psalm 34: 12-22).  “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11: 6; Isaiah 35).



The physical earth will be blessed under Christ’s [millennial] rule (Acts 3: 20-21; Romans 8: 21-22).







How different all this will be from what we see and hear in this present evil age!  If we love the truth, revealed concerning the millennium, we ought to be praying that the Lord will give us some little taste of these blessings even now.



1. All nations will journey there to worship the Lord.  “All the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the Name of the LORD” (Jeremiah 3: 17).  “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established at the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2: 2, 3).  “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11: 10).  “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldst be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49: 6).  “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee” (Psalm 22: 27).



2. The Jew will [then] be the Saviour’s instrument in the gospel.  “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8: 23).  “Now if the fall of them (the Jews) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness (Romans 11: 12).



3. The ordinances of the gospel then will be more glorious than ever known before.  “And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more” (Jeremiah 3: 16).  Man’s sins made the ordinances of God to be hated in the past (Isaiah 1: 11, 15; Jeremiah 6: 20; Amos 5: 21).



4. Whatever the ordinance, the means of [eternal] salvation remains the same.  “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13: 1).  “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12: 10).  “Behold He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.  Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1: 7).



5. The cause of truth shall flourish as never before.  “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11: 9).  “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2: 14).  No revival has ever produced such a result, even at a local level.



Such are but some of the glorious consequences of Jerusalem becoming the throne of the Lord.






“He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me:” (Matthew 10: 38).



“Come, take up the cross, and follow me:” (Mark 10: 21).



“One fruitful cause of [a disciple’s] failure might be called ‘Shrinking the Cross  We use the word “cross” in the general sense.  Good men have given their various ideas as to just what the cross is, in the life of to-day.  Without giving it any specific meaning, we might define it as any exercise, more or less distasteful and irksome to the natural, carnal man, which, if carried out heartily and consistently, yields spiritual benefits.  Taken in this light, it is evident that different individuals have different crosses.  What may be a cross for one person may be perfectly easy and convenient for his neighbour.



It is evident that service to God which is so convenient as to demand no exertion, is a poor test of virtue; hence it remains for the crosses which stretch and strain the moral fibre, to prove the strength of heart-affections for Christ.  The idea is simply this: a real [Spirit-filled] Christian willingly goes through ‘hard things’ for Christ’s sake, and like his Captain, is made ‘perfect’ through suffering. - Howard B. Bitzer.



“All those who challenge the enemies of mankind, and draw their swords against all evil must expect to be struck back, to be wounded - nay, they must be prepared to die.  When therefore difficulty and persecution come [for Christ’s sake and the truth of His word], instead of giving up, the Christian should say, ‘This is what I expected; this proves I am in the right place.  I have promised God I would bear the cross, and here it is; therefore, I will take it up and carry it.  Now I have a chance of proving that I am [by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s power in my life] made of the right stuff  He should always bear in mind for his encouragement that his reward will not be according to the measure of his visible success, but the character of his fightings:” - General Booth.



“Let us take up the cross,

Till we the crown obtain;

And gladly reckon all things loss,

So we may Jesus gain


                                                                                                          Charles Wesley.



To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for all; it consists of the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us. – J. H. Newman.



*       *       *






Study it carefully, ponder it prayerfully;

Deep in thy heart cause its precepts to dwell.

Slight not its history, think of its mystery;

None can e’er prize it too fondly or well.



Faithful its prophecy, better than sophistry;

God’s book is holy, and each word is pure.

Why doubt His faithfulness?  Why question truthfulness?

Things God has spoken are certain and are sure.



*       *       *



In this sceptical age that boasts of its learning and scientific achievements, the Bible is considered by many to be antiquated and on that account it is rejected and consequently neglected.  To many it is a closed Book, while others mishandle it and distort its message.  Again, there are those who imagine that it can be improved and made more acceptable to present-day readers if it is brought more into line with what is considered to be modern thought and expression.  This idea has given rise to many translations [and paraphrased versions], some of which are positively misleading and dangerous.



It is, perhaps, little realised how important it is to hold firmly the doctrine of inspiration, to deny which means that we have no guide, no standard by which to regulate our life, no [prophetic] lamp or light for our pathway, no message and no revelation of God’s way of salvation.  If reliance cannot be placed upon Scripture, we might well ask, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do  To question the Divine authority of Holy Scripture is to hearken to that subtle enquiry made long ago - “Yea, hath God said?” which, if heeded, will lead to unbelief and disobedience, as it did on that occasion, with its sorry consequences.  Let us consider one or two matters which should convince any intelligent person of the accuracy of the claim that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God



Its Inexhaustible Contents



The Bible never becomes commonplace.  It is never affected by time, and it will outlive all the ages of human history.  Its perennial freshness with the entire absence of sameness is remarkable and marks its unique character.  Think of the number of commentaries that have been written; of the numerous works, expository and otherwise; of the unnumbered messages that have been given from its pages, oral and written.  It is no exaggeration to say that volumes have been written on the Bible, yet it has not been exhausted or deprived of its freshness.  It is a vast continent of Truth yet to be explored.  It nay be likened to the manna which was given in fresh supply daily to the Israelites in the wilderness.



Again, the Scriptures are as a spring of water, the spring remains and the water is always fresh and the supply undiminished, no matter how often we may draw therefrom.  When Sir Walter Scott was nearing the end of his earthly course, he called his man in waiting and said, “Read me out of the Book  What other book can meet the need at every stage and step of life?  Read again 2 Timothy 3: 16-17.  How fitting are the lines written by Elizabeth Scott in the 18th century. 


“The powers of earth and hell, in vain, against the sacred Word combine:

Thy providence through every age securely guards the Book Divine.

Thee, its great Author, Source of light; Thee, its Preserver, we adore.

And humbly ask a ray from Thee, its hidden wonders to explore”.



The Character of its Teaching



To do justice to the study of the teaching of the Bible, would take us beyond the limit within which this article must be kept.  What are the themes of which the Bible treats?  To mention but a few will enable us to have some conception of the great scope of Bible teaching.  What does it declare concerning God, creation, man, sin, salvation, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, the present age, the second coming of Christ, the Kingdom of God?  What other book can instruct us regarding such weighty and important matters?



What is the scriptural teaching concerning God?  The Bible declares that God is eternal, that He is infinite and therefore no man by searching can find God.  It declares that He is sovereign and there is none like Him and therefore His equal cannot be found.  It declares that God has perfect knowledge and therefore He knows the end from the beginning, and all between.  In the same Book, God Himself declares that all His counsel shall stand and that He will do all His pleasure.  The Scriptures also declare that God is holy, so holy that the seraphim veil their faces in His presence.  He is also inflexibly righteous in all His ways and all His works are done in truth.  His character is also disclosed in the unfolding of His attributes, all of which blend perfectly in His Eternal Being.  Could we find such a sublime and exalted description of God anywhere apart from the Scriptures?  No other book in the world can give such a delineation of Deity as the Bible.



What does Scripture say concerning man?  The Bible declaration is very different from what man gives of himself.  Romans 3: 10-18 is an awful, but true description of mankind apart from the grace of God.  It is a humiliating picture but a true one, and experience and history alike confirm its accuracy.  Sin is never passed over or made light of in Scripture, but it is always shewn to be what it really is and the description given is so true to life that it cannot be denied by any honest person.  Yet this same Book declares not only the doom of the persistent sinner, but it also declares God’s way of salvation, and its teaching concerning many other matters of weight and importance is such as to confirm the fact of its inspiration.



Fulfilled Prophecy



Fulfilled prophecy presents an unanswerable argument for the inspiration of the Scriptures.  In the Old Testament a prophet was known to be true if what he spoke came to pass, otherwise Israel would know that God had not sent that prophet.  It was the test set by God Himself in order that the people might be able to discern between the true and false prophets, for, as Peter warns in his epistle, “there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2: 1).



It is an impressive fact that many prophecies have been [literally] fulfilled, which provides a sufficient reason for confidently expecting the [literal] fulfilment of the rest.  Who could have foreseen the rise, course and future of Israel’s history, much of which has been fulfilled?  We could have foretold the Incarnation, even to the place where Jesus [God’s true Messiah] should be born, the manner of His death, His future return and reign upon the earth?  How striking are the words of Isaiah, “Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment”. Predicted 700 years before His first coming.



What explanation can there be of such utterances, many of which have been [literally] fulfilled, other that the one given in Peter’s second epistle, “Holy man of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”?



Think of the prediction made by that strange character Balaam who admitted that he could “not go beyond the word of the LORD … to do less or more He uttered a remarkable prophecy which runs thus – “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Seth  And this was faithfully recorded by Moses, the servant of the Lord (Numbers 22: 18; 24: 17).



The Unity of the Bible



No book in the world at any time or in any age has had such a wide and differing class of writers as the Bible.  It consists of 66 books containing a variety of subjects and which were written in the most varying circumstances, and by authors drawn from all walks of life.  To mention a few only, some were patriarchs; others were shepherds; others again were scribes; others fishermen; some were prophets; one was a physician, another a tax-collector, etc.  Yet the Bible is one book, it is an organic unity.  It has been noted by some that the ethical and spiritual lessons in the Bible agree.  We cannot enlarge upon the fascinating subject, but a careful reading of the Bible will enable us to see how the principle of unity marks the whole book.  It is true to say that the Old Testament CONTAINS the New Testament, and the New Testament EXPLAINS the Old Testament.



Again, the different parts of the Bible are neither contradictory nor independent of each other, but rather they are complementary and supplementary.  In the Old Testament redemption is needed, promised and predicted.  In the New Testament the Redeemer is present, proclaimed, and predicted to come again.  Across the Old Testament may be written the words “Expectation.” And across the New Testament may be written the word “Realisation  And thus we find all through the Bible, harmony and unity.  Indeed both are necessary, for without unity, harmony is not possible, and without harmony, unity cannot be found.  Is not this sufficient to put beyond all dispute and all doubt, that all Scripture is inspired by God?  (see 2 Timothy 3: 16-17).



-        By P. W. H.  Lessey.