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AXES AND AXIOMS
BEAUTIES AND BOUQUETS
First, barren trees that do not beautify the garden… axes and axioms. We start by concluding some points on Jehovah’s Witness, and then moving more generally to heresies, and then still more, to world movements, see the double arms of the nut-cracker at work, and the necessity to leave nuts to those who enjoy them, and get on with wool production.
I speak as to sheep ...
I AXES AND AXIOMS
A. FIRST THEN MORE on the Jehovah’s Witness heresy.
Russell is the founder of the movement, and his proclamation that Christ returned to earth in 1874 (compare with the actual program in A Spiritual Potpourri 16 and Answers to Questions Ch. 5 along with SMR Ch. 8, and see Matthew 24:29-31 with 24:23-26 which warns of false blips of surreptitious christs arriving incognito) is as ludicrously and recklessly astray as are the other doctrines which as we saw in Ch. 2, create a new saviour who, of course, not being there, cannot save.
Russell proclaimed, and let us face the fact, he PREDICTED that all saints would be raised in 1914. Later they decided that Christ returned in 1914 to the Temple (MOST invisibly) and cleansed it in 1918. AGAIN, it is rather like the housework of the lazy maid, who DOES everything, but NOTHING happens! NO saints were noticeably raised in 1914.
This is so like the Seventh Day Adventist fiasco*1 again unfulfilled and again readjusted as to what in the earth the failure is supposed ot mean, that one wonders why people who can read Deuteronomy 18, which in the theocratic State of Israel, prescribed the death penalty for those who misused the Lord's name in their unfulfilled predictions, did not realise that this was the end of the road. No more is the death penalty prescribed here, for such a thing; but the divine antipathy to plagiarism, misuse of His name is still as intense and immense as in Jeremiah 23, where he challenges people to compare what HIS WORD does with what the words of false prophets do! (Jeremiah 23:10,28-29).
is the end. The rejection of the deity of Christ is the end. The rejection
of the resurrection of His body is the end. We have it in triplicate. But
for those who have been stirred in the mud by the forks, let us attend
a little further.
GETTING THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE WITH A PORTMANTEAU OF WORKS
And there IS!
What then is the invented works program for the invented christ with the invented wandering body (or written-off one, Russell was confused as well as wrong), in order to gain an illusory salvation from the god who is not there (Psalm 96 tells us that "ALL the gods of the nations are idols!").
Their christ as with so many other sect inventions, is not good enough to save people, as is required altogether and forever in Ephesians 1:11, 2:8-10. He merely opens the door so that you can clinch the thing yourself, hence becoming co-saviour, though there is again, ONLY ONE , as in Acts 4:11-12, and HE, as noted from Isaiah, is GOD.
So the poor people involved in this catastrophe of biblical debasement are required to do it themselves. They have to have "a full chance to prove, by obedience or disobedience, their worthiness of life eternal" - (Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, volume 1, p. 158). The salvation through faith by grace, the salvation which is a gift by grace (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:15) is deleted. Fair enough in one sense, FOR THIS heresy: because as the ONLY ONE who CAN GIVE you eternal life (Romans 6;23) which CANNOT pass away (John 10:27-28) is the ONLY GOD there is, who became incarnate as Christ, as predicted (Micah 5:1-3). Leave HIM out and you leave HIS WORK out to! It is a barren series of negations.
Hence Paul for such a heresy as this, needs re-writing as well as the Gospels, in Romans 3:23ff.; and what he commends being condemned (Galatians 1), and what he affirms being denied, the curse of the Gospel proclaiming apostle rests squarely on this movement from Galatians 1:8-9.
Again, if as in Galatians 3:14, you cannot get there by obedience to the law, and if there WERE a law of works which COULD have done it, this was it (Romans 7:14, Galatians 3:21), and so the evil premiss falls doubly. There IS no other law which could do it, even the law of God not being able, for it is not of works lest any man should boast: this works effort by men is not the divine design (Romans 3:27-28, Ephesians 2:8-10); and it is NOT of this law. On the contrary, right from Abraham the same salvation has come (Romans 4:25ff.), and it is for us as for him, "by promise" (Galatians 3:18), for "the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." The tutor simply increased the stringency of the awareness of the extreme sinfulness of sin (Romans 7:13). Never did it "save" (Romans 4). Grace was NEVER displaced. Obedience was ALWAYS a result (Psalm 32, Matthew 7:18 and 15:13 - where the fruit is the result of the planting, not vice versa, which would in any case be ridiculous even in imagery!).
NOT to Abraham only did it come by faith, says Paul; the SAME is the case with us (Romans 4:25ff.). Those justified by faith are also assured of eternal life: Romans 5:1 making the justification past and complete, and the succeeding verses making it clear that just as justification means friendly relations based on sin's cover, so MUCH MORE then does it result that "WE SHALL BE SAVED FROM WRATH". Hence Ephesians 2:8-10 is merely making clear what is so clear all over the word of God: you become a HAVING BEEN SAVED PERSON (literally) through grace by faith, and you therefore HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE (Ephesians 1:11) and were chosen from the first (Ephesians 1:4).
will a rich man enter heaven ? How will one rich in his own ... works,
personality, self-acclaim, church-acclaim for his works or whatever, ENTER
? It is EASIER for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. It needs
a miracle. This is called grace. It GIVES you place, but YOU HAVE TO ABANDON
YOUR PORTMANTEAU. You get into heaven ONLY if Christ ONLY is your Saviour
(Acts 4:11-12), and it is NOT of works which would allow boasting. Thus
if YOU made ALL the difference, then compared with those who DID NOT DO
SO, you might well boast. The ACTUAL salvation PRECLUDES the possibility.
It is the gift of God; and the gift is itself BY GRACE (Romans 5:15, 6:23,
John 6:51-54, 4:14). He who ONCE drinks, eats is to live for ever.
BOTH are affirmed in these declarations.
FICTIONAL FANTASIES DO NOT SAVE OR LEAD TO SALVATION
3:226-29 is not deleted by contradictions of the book of Revelation. Fantasies
lack force and do not open the doors. They are pure illusions. In Galatians
3:26-29 we find "you are all sons of God through
faith in Christ Jesus" just as
"he who is born of God, his seed remains in him"
(I John 3:9); and you "are all one in Christ Jesus", not in some series of echelons of 144,000 and others who live in some other way, imagined by Russell.
anyone could not credit that such a flat contradiction of Galatians by
anyone who does not simply throw the Bible away and start a brand new religion
by rising from the dead, himself, and so on, let us quote from "Let
God be True" - Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1952:
"However, that life will not be the same for all. The Bible plainly shows that some of these, that is, 1440,000, will share in heavenly glory with Christ Jesus, while others will enjoy the blessing of life down here on earth (Revelation 14:1,3, Micah 4:1-5)" - p. 298.
This dream is faded. The 144,000 in Rev. 7 are Jews. You do not become a Jew by works, but by birth. The tribal symbolism of Rev. 7 is beyond anything you or I can do. These are allied in this chapter, to the whole multitude which no man can number, who are the redeemed. They are sealed (signified in Ephesians 1:5-7), and are the Lord's, like all Christians. The numberless multitude are clothed in white robes, standing before the throne of God in heaven (Rev. 7:9). Their cry is this: "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
"Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from ?" - asks one (Rev. 7:13). These ? They are then declared to be those who
came out of the great tribulation and
b) have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.
It is THEREFORE, the scripture expressly declares, that they serve God day and night in His temple. It is similarly because of this that HE dwells among them. Their end is endless, their life eternal, their Shepherd God, who wipes away every tear from their eyes.
are the INNUMERABLE multitude. ALL that is promised is theirs. Their seat
is heaven, their Lord is God. How then are there CLEARLY only 144,000 ?
Does the fact that God brings up in symbolic terms such as abound in Revelation,
the JEWISH believers, not occur to the reader , in realising that THEY
are thus PART of that WHOLE people, ONE is Christ Jesus, for as many were
baptised into Christ (I Cor. 12:13) are ALL ONE.
It is impossible.
As to the particular tableau in Revelation 14, their not knowing women in context both near and far, is simply their not having an affair with that wicked lady, the HARLOT (who is focussed in Revelation 17 after this, and her ilk, in Ezekiel 16, 24, where the false and misled among the Jews in their rebellion against God are compared with just such women). She ? as noted in SMR pp. 946ff., she is Rome as a central part of the defective, syncretic religion of this world. She, that harlot is pictured as on the beast's back, though of course he removes here ungraciously, but what would you when you are dealing with a combination of beast and harlot! (Rev. 17:15ff.).
To what then is this reference to women, adultery, fornication being avoided, to lead us ? To purity of faith, that is all. Such faith is unmixed by the adulterous evils such as Israel rebelled to accept, as is depicted in the actual marriage of Hosea to a harlot, for emphasis! They stayed firm in faith, not squandering the priceless heritage of Christ for the religious equivalent, so frequently found in scriptural imagery, of having dealings harlotry. THEN we see in some detail, THE HARLOT, in Rev. 17. THAT fate, these have avoided. If they had not done so ... they would have trifled with God who forbad continuance in her midst (Revelation 18:4).
What we are being told, then, is this: that they did not receive "the mark of the beast", did not fall to false religion, in particular to the seductive sirens of beast religion, advanced by the false prophet and the second beast, sounding like a dragon, but dressed like a lamb (Revelation 13:15-16). IF they had so fallen, they WOULD NOT have been the Lord's people (Revelation 14:9-10), so that what is here celebrated is not hero-worship, but the Lord's delivering power for His people, what He is able to accomplish in them!
As to that mark, all whose names have NOT been written in the book of life will worship him (Revelation 13:8). He, being bestial in spirit, sets out to kill them, to foreclose on all commercial dealings by them. It is indeed a massive task to proceed against him; and these who, being chosen of God by grace through faith, and all that not of themselves (Ephesians 2:8), DO NOT FALL, are now shown before us in this chapter. They are focussed in this relevant vignette, as the program of God is unfolded step by step.
It is thus that we see them in Revelation 14, rejoiced over.
Without fault before the throne of God (because of the blood covering of Christ as in I John 1:7-2:2), they are another segment like a passing parade being saluted by a commanding General.
IS NO OTHER GOSPEL, NO OTHER SALVATION (Acts 4:11-12, Galatians 1:7-9)
and to INVENT ONE again simply incurs the quite formal Biblical curse enunciated
by Paul in this connection in Galatians 1.
There is NEVER ANYWHERE any suggestion that salvation is not a gift, is not a gift by grace, can be generated by man, in part or whole, and there are flat contradictions of that very thing, allied by the most severe denunciations against ANY change from the Gospel preached by Paul. If ONCE God says it, you believe it. But this He says constantly! These (Revelation 14:4) are among those "redeemed". They are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:9-11, I Cor. 1:21-22, Romans 3:23-27, Galatians 3:1-5, 5:1ff, 6:14). There neither is nor can be, nor is there in the slightest degree tolerated, any OTHER WAY, any addition (Galatians 3:1-13). The method is one, the message is one, the power is one, the grace is one, the acceptance is one, the procurement is free, the result is eternal.
When God speaks, you cannot alter (Proverbs 30:6, John 14:21-23, Galatians 1:6-10, Revelation 22, Deuteronomy 4, 12, Matthew 5:17-20, Jeremiah 23:28-29). You cannot change. You cannot add. You cannot invent. The JW religion does all of that, and hence is not biblical, and is to be founded on its own recentfounder.
course, when you see that it is a mere foundering in the rapid wreck zone
of plentiful and much misused human imagination, you at once conceive its
place in judgment (Galatians 1), and hence far removed from the people
whom God has called BY that ONE Gospel (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms
17, The Kingdom of Heaven...
Appendix). Actually, those sealed (Ephesians 1:13,11) are also and
there stated to have been predestined in the first, chosen in Christ before
the world was founded. On ALL He puts HIS seal, whether in Rev. 14 or in
Ephesians 1. This signifies they are HIS, and will be KEPT by His power,
for what He has promised to His own and His sealed, all things. None are
to imagine special seats in 144,000 or elsewhere (Mark 10:35-45). Such
an attitude, as Jesus here reveals, is in fundamental contrast with the
truth. "If by grace, then it is no longer
of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace"
It is BY GRACE.
It is NOT of yourselves.
It is BY FAITH through grace as well as NOT of yourselves.
It is, in addition, the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
The RESULT is that you CANNOT boast (Ephesians 2:8-10).
HOW MANY TIMES must the Lord repeat it!
But that is the nature of sin.
It is RESISTANT, INSISTENT, PERSISTENT;
but the love of God is stronger.
Those who are Christ's are kings and priests, because Christ has made them (Rev. 1:6), the Father has called them so, the power of God has transformed them so (Romans 1:16), the Gospel liberty has granted them so and the eternity from the drinking of THIS water which the Lord gave (John 4:13-14), freely (Isaiah 55:1ff.), requires that they NEVER thirst again, but have in them a well of water springing up into eternal life, this being part of the therapeutic realisation from the gift of the water in the first place, just as the once eating the bread of life leads to being raised up at the last day, and eternal life likewise (Cf. Chapter 6 above).
ALL ONE, in the ONE Gospel, unchangeable and totally of grace, in boast free territory (Romans 3, Ephesians 2), Christians can only pity this JW style division of goats, one for the earth, and one for heaven. Goats ? But of course, and alas! for none rejecting Christ's death or bodily resurrection or salvation without works as a condition in any style, sense or degree, and so inventing another gospel, CAN be accepted: since the only works that are good enough are HIS, who IS deity and MUST be received as Saviour, who GOD ALONE is (Isaiah 43:10-11, Acts 4:11-12, John 8:24,58, I John 1:1-4, John 20:28, 8:42 with 8:58, Romans 3:26, Hebrews 1:1-3, 1:8, 2:14-18). Alas this innovation of creating two categories, then, both in fact lost, and so merely sub-divisions of 'goats' in scriptural terms (Matthew 25), despite the enormous efforts made to justify themselves, act only bring the deluded to meet the predicted result for such presumption as in Matthew 7:15, 21-23.
Citing works is itself deadly as we here see. It is NOTHING to do with them. You do not cite a car's performance as the way its engine is made.
Results are just that. The birth is free, the water is free, the blood is free, the grace is free, the remission is free; and to make it cost is farce; but almost worse, it is appalling intrusion into the very interstices of the love of God and its grace. See Romans 3:24, Galatians 3:1-13, 6:14, Isaiah 55, Romans 5:15, 5:1-11. CERTAINTY of salvation (as in the last text noted) FOLLOWS from the ABSOLUTE CHARACTER OF GRACE. It cannot follow otherwise; and in such sects as these, it is not ... available. THAT is not only anti-scriptural (John 10:9,27-28, John 4:14), but a travesty of salvation, reaching with one's own polluted imperfections to the efficacy of the perfect!
As with all error, there is NOT ONLY the error itself; there are the ... implications.
may want to read now That Magnificent Rock Ch.
3, and SMR pp. 520-532.
A WORD FOR THE WISE
? Those not planted by the Lord have no hope (Matthew 15:13 - note
Those planted by Him have no peril (John 10:98,27-28, Ephesians 1:11, 1:4,
I Thessalonians 5:9-10, Romans 8:20ff., 5:1ff).
Another Christ with another plan of salvation contributes to the work of another 'church' which is not another. It is not strange that they virtually curse the one which IS His, and consign it to the devil! Their position being formally cursed by the apostle, they curse what curses it; but the word that stands, is God's.
as in I Cor. 11:19, these heresies serve a function. They force people
to think through, governed by the word of God and grace, the things of
the faith. The faith, the word of God ?
It responds like a sports car to the accelerator and thrusts us with joy to exclaim with His saints, with the 24 elders seen in heaven as the ending of this Age awaits the action of one worthy, a post only Christ fills:
is what redemption does.
Thus have the heresies abounded, always with false christs, always with false gospels, other but not authentic, invented, not biblical, always with needless works, the very parading of which DISqualifies; and often this is accompanied by denunciation of the church of God on the part of the heresies or their propounders, as with one element of Seventh Day Adventism, as with Rome at the Council of Trent (NEVER disallowed by ANY modern pope, but on the contrary, admired and bound again recently), as with the Jehovah's Witnesses. It is like a plague. These symptoms, however, are common to them!
What are some of the methods to accomplish this cattle rustling ?
First, they all flatly contradict readily available basic premisses and principles of the Bible, as has been shown extensively in each case.
Secondly, they often choose doctrines not popular, or being of God, requiring a spiritual understanding and often, sound teaching. Those who, in churches, yet do not know the Lord, and have not been taught, are like stragglers in a flock, raw material for wolves, whether in sheep's clothing or not; but ESPECIALLY for those who put on these garments of deception.
Thirdly, they tend to impart by craven fear. IF you do not DO what we COMMAND, or REQUIRE, THEN you are damned. Now let us be clear. IF you ignore God, you are none of His (II Timothy 2:19). The fear that is craven is cast out by perfect love (I John 4:18). The sort of fear involved here however is one which "has torment". THAT it is which goes: not the spiritual reverencing in confidence by faith, of the Lord, which is "the beginning of wisdom" and indeed is "clean" (Psalm 19, Proverbs 1) and "endures for ever". But these sectaries stampede the cattle with selfish and unspiritual fear, prompting them to do what is neither godly nor good, in the name of saving themselves by their works in this measure or that, and so accomplish their marauding mission, whether knowingly or by their own delusion (as in II Thessalonians 2:10-11).
ALso involved richly, is this: to confuse consequences with causes.
Thus GOOD TREES in FACT bear good fruit (Matthew 7), but they must first be PLANTED BY THE LORD (Matthew 15:13). When people try to plant trees by the fruit they CANNOT bear without FIRST being planted, we arrive at a combination of fantasy and presumption, which the Lord rejects. It is outrageous.
Next, they tend to MAKE CONSEQUENCES THE AIM OF THEIR SELF-SAVING (in whole or in part ) WORK!
That is like trying to bring water out of a pipe, and forgetting two things: that the pipe has to be there first, and you have to be connected to the reservoir.
They tend to make their victims want more to escape the painted dog's teeth, than stay in the field, and they jump all fences on the way from the salvation they might perhaps have seen (cf. Luke 11: 52ff.)..
Next, they tend to stifle any bellowing from the cattle, for the protection of the herdsman by their constant yapping and nipping at the heels, striving, so that the cattle stampede, moving foolishly and without reflection such as is apt, in a still and faithful in heart; and so by various strategies on the run, they run away from grace.
? Yes, those such as meeting this goal in the number of proselytes gained,
in the number of Aves said, or beads passed through the fingers, or Sundays
voided of their due significance of the resurrection, by meeting instead
on the Saturday, in violation of all glory to God (see Biblical Blessings,
C. THE NUTCRACKER IS NOT SWEET - PONDEROUS POLITICS
There is, as we have seen at some length in the Epilogue before this Appendix, a huge socio-political work to be accomplished along with the more explicit work of the heresies, as the Adversary tries very hard to unstick the church, divorce people from the church of God, and at the same time, try to divorce it from the word of God, so that confusion might be perfect and complete as in Macbeth, another murder case. Our Head of course Christ, and His realities are addressed violently to this day, though impotently now on His flesh. This however is not so on what is, or purports to be, His body!
Thus in the political case, you SHOULD, it is asserted, have this veneration, this respect, this sense of awe and wonder, or even this SURVIVAL necessity approach, which makes you do PRACTICALLY ANYTHING to keep your job, your world, your water, your skies or whatever else. The PRICE ? Submission. The UN case which we were watching in the Epilogue above, is a good modern case; but it has flowered, like fleurs de mal, often enough in Russia, in China, in the Holy Roman Empire and so on. TAKE away the LIBERTY of religion ? Of course not! says the UN credo. OF COURSE, says the new assemblage of religious 'leaders' called selectively by the UN.
? As we have just seen in the Epilogue, it is allegedly in order
to prevent all those little unpleasantnesses among religions, when one
is miffed because somebody else grabs someone for his, from theirs, and
so on. Not good, not good! they chant, perhaps like the animals
in Orwell's Animal Farm, chanting, Two legs good, four legs bad! The
mere fact that God is, that He has spoken, that He has sent Christ, that
NO ONE has ever come near to HIS performance, that He demands acceptance
of what He says: all this is ruled out of court without discussion.
Their self-contradictory position is not new:
They know what they cannot know, and exclude what they have already excluded themselves from being able to assess!
It is rather like being all the more certain you are mad, because you have just exhibited all the signs of sanity. It is perverse and foolish indeed. When folly rules, wisdom does not listen.
It is a sort of political-social-academic (very often) tic, which distorts the human face, in spite of all reason. (Cf. SMR pp. 375ff..)
It is also of course, in the end as in the type of thrust in view, to give unlimited (seeming) power to the devil and his chosen instruments.
ONE THING none of them can ULTIMATELY stand is to have ANYONE over them. They may talk of your individual SELF-fulfilment, SELF-esteem, SELF-interest (someone just got a Nobel prize for talking about this as if it were a rule, and applying such things as he indicated, though this simply excludes God Almighty as He is - a significant ... omission), SELF-development and SELFishness; and of the WORLD's need, and the need of feed, and the need of being agreed, and so on, until they might make crocodiles cry.
This marvellous kingdom of selves is to be so unselfish and spiritual and altogether to be desired, that one wonders why it has never showed its great talents before in all the multiple conquests for such exalted motives so often, in history. But alas, the selves have their own ideas, and they do not hit it off in company with all the other ones, all suitably made ignorant, all irrational without God and all measuring themselves either by themselves, without knowing themselves, or by some other standard invented by themselves, which merely externalises, but does not change, the insoluble nature of their 'problem'. They seem to like to study it for millenia, and the results, and to be devising ever new ways of doing the same old thing, until, at the last, everybody will just HAVE to do what they say (unless as Christians they prefer death if necessary and given power, answer instead of agreeing as in Luke 21:15).
These TWO then use methods, SECTS and HERESIES, and POLITICS AND ITS POWER, whether knowingly or as deluded or confused. Their methods are most significantly, those of stampeding. If one does not work; try the other. If the other fails, try the one. Of course, it is perfectly obvious when you look at all the facts, the lurk is to use BOTH simultaneously with as much POWER for EACH as you can get, and in such a way that they act in CONCERT.
For that, you see, you have to have some political and religious unison (that is precisely why the events noted in the Epilogue above, are EXCEEDINGLY important prophetically and actually for this world). In this, the political and military power is to have the second beast of Revelation 13, helping the world to worship it. Into that, we went in News, Facts and Forecasts Ch. 13 (News 121 cf. Biblical Blessings Ch.2). Things, prophetically, are purring along, and some cannot seem to hear this purr, because of all the yowling, of which Middle East productions are only one of MANY!
THE MEASURE OF IT
just as heresies divide, and tend to confuse and encroach on churches,
so political-social alienation proceeds to invade "religion",
to undercut churches as a whole, and at one stroke, by
As the heresies stampede towards confusion, so the other 'beast" stampedes towards self-interest and necessary conformities, thus creating in the wrath of God the shortages they try to solve, by storming the heavenly heights with their talk.
You cannot puncture heaven however. It only produces wrath (Revelation 9 shows the developments in their actual perspective).
pincers, therefore, like a military movements, these forces act to crush
the churches that are real, either by obstruction, destruction, or synthesis
(under the pressure, you see) with what is alien, so removing the efficacy
of the thing, and reducing it to oblivion in the strategic areas. It is
rather like being so brilliant that you 'solve' the world's water problems
by adding polluted water to pure, to ... "make it go further"!
Thus the darkness is to settle (it may have help from a nuclear Winter, which would be an impressive scenario and lighting effect, making of allegory, almost actuality);Why then they could get about the "serious business" of finding out why they are (the ultimate identity crisis) - and seeing where they ... CAN GO. They do not, of course, quite care to realise where they are in fact going. Some things are in bad taste.
the church, it is hoped (the one with power which so ANNOYED the priestly party of old - as in Acts 3 -4), is no more;
the State (with its devil's messiah, the "man of sin" of II Thessalonians 2) and its 'religion' rule, so much helped by the second beast (Revelation 13:11ff.), and THEN ? What then ?
But all of this is drab, apart from the faithfulness and the love of the Lord, and the wonderful and exhilarating power given in grace to the elect, who are selected and selectively removed, having been foreknown before the earth so much as had the benefits of actual existence (Ephesians 2:8). These are those, moreover, who have been chosen in pure grace without works (Ephesians 2, Romans 5, 3), since ONLY by grace could ANY of us EVER HOPE to be ANYWHERE near to heaven; and ONLY BY Christ's cover and resurrection, as Shepherd, we have ENTRY THROUGH AND BECAUSE OF HIM ALONE (Colossians 3:11, Philippians 3:21, Romans 4:25ff., 11:6, Ephesians 2:1-10).
us therefore consider -
II THE BEAUTY AND BOUQUETS
First, do not fuss over the tableaux in Revelation, the vignettes, the aspects: understand them, but TRUST in the LORD, for the one who trusts in Him shall not be ashamed.
Second, trust in the ONE WHO IS, not in invented christs.
Third, trust in the GOSPEL written, not in invented gospels.
DO look at the flowers of grace, not at the weeds of works.
Your best works are inadequate for heaven and its gates re open only to the perfect work of Christ, and to those covered by it (Ephesians 1:6, Philippians 3:7-9, Acts 4:11-12, Romans 3:23-27, 8:29ff.).
LOVE the Lord, REJOICE in His gift, DELIGHT in Him, TRUST also in HIM, and HE will give you the desires of your heart (see Psalm 37:1-6).
Remember, the LORD looks on the HEART, and the one who confesses with his lips the Lord Jesus and believes in his/her HEART that GOD has raised Him from the dead, shall be saved (Romans 10:9).
STAY your mind on Him, remembering this:
will keep him in perfect peace
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD,
is everlasting strength."
"For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day" - II Timothy 1:12,
It is as one who declares this: "Finally thered is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
These are the things that REALLY FOLLOW and are EQUALLY AFFIRMED from the free gift of salvation by the work of ONE who is GOD, and who has no need to negotiate, temporise or bargain (I Peter 3:18, Philippians 2:1-10). He has done it, said it and it is finished (Hebrews 9:12-10:14).
Isaiah 33:17 also expresses this distinct rejoicing in words, which the Christian heart both can and does have, in spirit:
eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will see the land that is very far off..."
again, "The work of righteousness will be
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever"
Christ told this to His disciples: "Therefore
you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice,
and your joy no one will take from you." -
John 16:22. How COULD
they ? It is because it does not AT ALL depend on men, that they can do NOTHING. The joy is permanent, inherent following the resurrection of Christ, declared to be the Son of God with power by the spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4, I Peter 1:2-7). The Christians in Peter ? They are 'elect of God'. To what then are they elected, in Christ (Ephesians 1:4) ?
"To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." Then there is John 10:9,27-28, Ephesians 1:11, I Thess. 5:9-10, Galatians 3 and 5: all filled with peace and certitude, as is Philippians 3:20-21:
? By faith. You believe into Him.
Christ ? HE is ALL (Colossians 1:11).
AKIN to the above and useful for comparison are the following:
For Code Procedures to be found numerically in Revelation, see SMR pp. 889ff., 959ff., Biblical Blessings Ch. 6, Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 5.
In a quite similar way, the 144, 000 in Jewish context (Rev. 7), displays the consummation with care and industry, and the certainty apart from any merely empirical considerations, of God's control and rescue of as many as are called by Him in His ancient people of Israel, in the gospel (as in Romans 11).
Just so, in the next vignette (Rev. 14), you are expected to REALISE that this usage of symbol, as is demonstrably rich in this work of Revelation, is a PARALLEL, and to DISCERN in what respect this is so. It is so in that
a) there is a generation back of it - whether of Jews racially, or of Christians spiritually, from any race.
b) there is this same total control, none left out, nothing merely accidental, and hence with a figure gaining meaning from its former use, and extending that meaning in spiritual terms.
c) there is a divine focus on ALL His works, intense and wonderful where salvation is concerned:
rescues being effected whether
from the EXCEEDINGLY unlikely seeming site of a nation
which still OFFICIALLY rejects Christ, once formally slain in Jerusalem;
or from the EXCEEDINGLY unlikely other source of pagan Gentiles, awash with cultural folly, national pride and the inflammations innumerable of fleshly bodies, minds and spirits.
These displays, vignettes,
foci, in turn relate to similarly refreshing and arresting vignettes
as are seen for example in
Much more could be said, but this will suffice to produce the point.