Truth & Testimony Vol. 1 No. 3, 1991.

Contents

Hymn and Music-Perfect Activity of Rest Complete

With the Lord in the Boat

The Old in the New Explained

Jacob's Last Words

From our Archive-The Pattern of the House (cont'd)

The Epistle of Jude verses 22 and 23

News from the Field

A Letter from a Leper

Book Review

Quotations from Scripture are generally taken either from the King James translation or Mr. J. N. Darby's translation. Quotations taken from any other translation will be indicated in the course of the article, or in a footnote to the article.

Allanhurst Hymnal 139a

Perfect activity of rest complete,
Thine own will serve Thee through eternity,
And, casting crowns of glory at Thy feet,
They will bow down in silent ecstasy.
Our eyes will contemplate Thy majesty,
The beauty of the Bridegroom throned above,
And there sound forth the untold mystery
Of Thine immeasurable grace and love.
Thy saints, Lord Jesus, dwelling in Thy light,
As Thy reflection evermore will shine;
Participating in that glory bright,
Thy church will bear Thy radiance divine.
Thou wilt behold the object of Thy choice,
Thy spotless bride for whom Thou, Lord, has died;
And in the travail of Thy soul rejoice,
Thy perfect love for ever satisfied.

(Translated from the French of H. Rossier.)

With The Lord In The Boat

LUKE 8: 22-25

This incident is told three times in the New Testament, indicating its importance. It vividly presents a wonderful Person, both God and Man-the unknowable Son; for nobody comprehends the Son. We can know the Father if the Son reveals Him to us, but no one can know the mystery of the Son. Those who seek to explain to our finite understanding how Godhead and Manhood can be in one Person, only spoil the truth, and present a false Christ to us in some important particular.

Here we have a real Man, tired out by His unremitting service, who fell asleep (the word implies a deep sleep). Only in His Manhood could the Son of God suffer tiredness, hunger, thirst, physical pain and death. God the Son became a Man in order that He might endure all these things, yet His Person never changed. The One who was in the form of God and equal with God, was the same Person who became obedient to the death of the cross. (Philippians 2: 6-8).

The disciples were doing what He had told them to do. He had said, "Let us go over unto the other side". Why then did the storm arise to impede them? It is when we are in the pathway of God's will that Satan's forces are aroused against us. Satan is happy to leave us in calm waters when we are going our own way, but when we are in the line of God's interests we experience the force of the adversary. They cry out in fear, "Master, Master, we perish". What unnecessary fears and anxieties may strike the hearts of believers!

Then we see this wonderful Person arise from His sleep, and with all the power of the infinite Creator rebuke the winds and the waves so that there is an immediate calm. No mere man could do such a thing! This was the Person who had gathered the waters under the heaven unto one place (Genesis 1: 9); who had made the sea stand up as a solid wall to give the Israelites passage.

Then He turns to His astonished disciples and says, "Where is your faith?" These disciples had had the faith to enter the boat with their Master, but it was not great enough to keep them at peace. Many receive Christ as their Saviour and Lord and have faith to commit their souls to Him for eternity; but their faith falters when something unexpected happens in their pathway here. Let us pray that the Lord may increase our faith so that we are prepared for the storms and never lose our confidence in Him.

We have a Great High Priest in Heaven who is both God and Man. Having been through all human adversity and sorest temptations-sin apart-He sympathizes with our infirmities and is eager to help us. With all the power of Deity, He will give grace to help in time of need. We may have to wait His time, but He is always with us in the boat and therefore we cannot sink.

If we are disobedient like Jonah, and the storm is produced by God not Satan, yet still His arm is outstretched to save us. If we confess our sins (Jonah 1: 10), and repent (Jonah 2: 7), He will bring us through to dry land (Jonah 2: 10).

"The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". (Philippians 4: 6-7). W.R.D.

The Old in the New Explained

HOSEA 11: 1. MATTHEW 2: 15.

"Out of Egypt have I called My Son".

In the series of communications made through Hosea, there is repeated reference to the unfaithfulness of the ten tribes, referred to as Israel or Ephraim. King, princes, priests and people had all turned away from Jehovah (Hosea 7: 3; Hosea 4: 8-9). In the first seven verses of Hosea 11 attention is drawn to the love and care which He had bestowed upon them, yet the people were bent on backsliding from Him. The prophets were sent to call them to repentance but even "As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images" (Hosea 11: 2). Warning is given to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin not to emulate this behaviour, though it is foreseen that they would do so and their fall is also foretold (Hosea 4: 15; Hosea 5: 5; Hosea 12: 2). The people that had been called out of Egypt, the Nation which Jehovah had deigned to call "My son, even My firstborn" (Exodus 4: 22) was being set aside. Already the ten tribes had "not My people" written upon them (Hosea 1: 9). Into this breach steps One Who, like the Nation before Him, is called out of Egypt. The context here in Matthew 2 shows how this was fulfilled. While there is this similarity there is also an essential difference. Israel became Jehovah's son by His calling the Nation to that place. Son is not what Christ became but what He is in His eternal Being John 5: 17-18). We have seen previously that Matthew 1: 23 shows Christ to be God. Matthew 2: 6, in its context in Micah 5: 2, shows Him to be Jehovah. Here it is added that He is "My Son". It is striking that, in drawing attention to the Deity of the Lord Jesus, Hebrews 1 also lays emphasis upon these three glories of Christ. (Hebrews 1: 1, 2, 5, 8, 10). His Sonship is connected with His Deity. In other words He has been Son for as long as He has been God-from all eternity. As He was called out of Egypt with what delight must the Father have looked upon His Son. Unlike the Nation, He would not fail, but glorify God where, and in everything in which, the Nation had dishonoured Him. R.F.W.

Jacob's Last Words

Jacob's last words to his sons in Genesis 49 are quite thrilling because of their far-reaching scope. On his deathbed the patriarch prophesied what would befall the twelve tribes descending from his sons. These prophetic views extend to what was then the distant future, right down to the time of the millennium, when Israel under the reign of Christ will be the centre of blessing for the whole earth. As Christians we also learn many practical lessons from this chapter, as these things were also written for our instruction (Romans 15: 4).

1. THE ORDER OF JACOB'S SONS IN GENESIS 49.

As appears from the table below the order of Jacob's sons in Genesis 49 only partially follows their order of birth.

Genesis 29, 30, 35 (birth) Genesis 49 (blessing)

Reuben (Leah) Reuben

Simeon (Leah) Simeon

Levi (Leah) Levi

Judah (Leah) Judah

Dan (Bilhah) Zebulun

Naphtali (Bilhah) Issachar

Gad (Zilpah) Dan

Asher (Zilpah) Gad

Issachar (Leah) Asher

Zebulun (Leah) Naphtali

Joseph. (Rachel) Joseph

Benjamin (Rachel) Benjamin

In blessing his sons, Jacob first addresses the sons of Leah, putting Zebulun before Issachar. Then follow the sons of the maids, of whom Naphtali is the one mentioned last. Both sons of Zilpah, Leah's maid, are given a place between the two sons of Bilhah, Rachel's maid. Finally, we have Joseph and Benjamin-the two. sons of Rachel, the wife whom Jacob loved more than Leah and for whom he served his father-in-law Laban a further seven years.

This order agrees with the rules of the birthright as they were set down by Moses later on (Deuteronomy 21: 15-17). For the son of the loved wife could not be favoured at the expense of the first-born, who was the son of the unloved. The fact that Reuben did forfeit his birthright was entirely his own fault. He had gone up to his father's bed and committed adultery with Bilhah, his father's concubine and therefore he was deprived of his privileges (Genesis 35: 22; Genesis 49: 3-4; 1 Chronicles 5: 1-2). The position linked with the birthright went to Judah, the fourth son of Leah (Simeon and Levi were passed over because of their violence against the inhabitants of Schechem: Genesis 34). The wealth linked with it, however-the first-born was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance-went to Joseph, the first son of Rachel, the loved one. Or rather it went to Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph's sons, whom Jacob had blessed previously and more or less adopted as his own sons (Genesis 48). Thus Ephraim and Manasseh obtained a place of their own among the tribes of Israel (Deuteronomy 33: 17). So we see that both Judah and Joseph are given a prominent place in the blessings of Jacob, Judah receiving the position of a ruler, and Joseph the wealth laid up for the first-born.

It is also remarkable that, unlike Ishmael in the story of Abraham, the sons of the maids do not take here a separate or inferior place, but are blessed together with the other sons of Jacob. Of Ishmael God said that the son of the maid should by no means be an heir with the son of the free woman (Genesis 21: 8-21). From this principle Paul draws the conclusion that there is a clear distinction between Jews and Christians, between those in slavery and those who are free (Galatians 4: 21-31). However, in the blessings of Jacob the difference between Israel and the Church does not play a role. While Abraham is the "father" of both a heavenly and an earthly offspring, Jacob is more especially the progenitor of Israel after the flesh. Jacob's twelve sons give a complete picture of God's earthly people. In accordance with God's government they are blessed together, for in Scripture the number twelve is always connected with God's rule over His people.

Now if the order of Jacob's sons in Genesis 49 is determined neither by their birth nor by their mothers, what principle is used here? The answer is that prophetic and spiritualfactors are taken into account as well, which render these blessings a splendid picture of the history of Israel until the last days.

2. A PROPHETIC HISTORY OF ISRAEL AND OF THE WORLD

I am convinced that this chapter gives a brief outline of man's history as a whole, because this is really centred around Israel. In the first three sons we see how natural man failed right from the beginning. Reuben is guided by his lusts, while Simeon and Levi use means of violence. These two evils, inner corruption and outward violence, have been the two principal evils ever since the fall of man. Time and again, these things can be found in both the history of mankind and that of Israel. The sin of Adam and Eve was their lust, and they had to be driven out of God's presence. The sin of Cain, his violence. The judgment of the flood was caused by the subsequent corruption and violence that filled the earth. Even after the flood there is no apparent improvement. Man wants to make a name for himself and starts worshipping idols; we also hear about Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord. Then, with the calling of Abraham, God makes a new start in that He separates a nation from the other nations in order that it should serve Him and belong to Him alone. However, Israel's history too, is one of sad failure, in the wilderness as well as in the Promised Land. Corruption and violence mark the last chapters of the book of Judges and the first chapters of 1 Samuel. But then God brings relief through King David, whose birth is mentioned even in the book of Ruth.

This period in Israel's history is reflected in Jacob's prophecy concerning Judah, the royal tribe, where nothing but praise is heard (Judah=praise). It is a "Golden Age" for Israel, when the nations around them are subdued. The words of Jacob and Shiloh ( = he who brings rest) probably refer in the first place to Solomon, the king of peace. But it is obvious that they reach far beyond him, as is shown by the words that the sceptre would not depart from Judah until the arrival of Shiloh, to whom the obedience of the peoples would be. This prophecy as to Shiloh is therefore a Messianic prophecy. Judah was to have a prominent roll until the coming of Christ, though later on this was limited to the kingdom of the two tribes and reduced to an even lesser degree after the return from the Babylonian captivity. While it is true that the nations have even now become obedient to Christ by the obedience of faith (Romans 16: 26), yet we have to conclude that this prophecy extends further into the future. Our Lord was rejected and the universal peace and prosperity about which Jacob speaks was postponed until Christ's second coming. Then He will reign as the Prince of Peace, and His dominion will be to the ends of the earth.

Then we see what happened after the prosperous times of David and Solomon, and also after the rejection of the Messiah: assimilation with and subjugation to the nations, ending in complete apostasy. This is shown in type in Zebulun, Issachar and Dan. Here again, the prophecy has a twofold import, a historical one and a future one. Israel came gradually under the influence of the surrounding nations, which resulted in its subjugation to these nations (e.g. Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia) and its serving their idols. Here we find Zebulun in connection with the sea of peoples and nations (Isaiah 17: 12-13; Revelation 17: 15). Zebulun (= dwelling) was fully oriented towards the nations and to Sidon especially, from which the worship of Baal originated which was brought to Israel by King Ahab (1 Kings 16: 31-33). Issachar ( = wages) then submitted to forced labour and became a slave. In Dan ( = judge) the power of the serpent (i.e. Satan) was fully embodied, so that Israel was brought down and rendered powerless. Scripture often connects the tribe of Dan with idolatry (Judges 18; 1 Kings 12: 29-30). Israel left the one true God and finally rejected the Messiah when He came to them in the form of a bond-servant. This marks the end of the history of Israel, and of the first man in responsibility. It has become one great fiasco, and only the salvation of the Lord could bring relief (verse 18). This salvation was seen in the cross and resurrection of Christ.

Then there is also a future aspect in verse 18 regarding the salvation and restoration of Israel. Jacob's short prayer is the turning point of this chapter. After Christ's rejection, the above process of decay and apostasy repeated itself. Israel was dispersed among the nations, having become more and more dependent on them, and this has been their situation until today. Now we come to the future application of these verses. Dan is a type of the antichrist who will reign over ("judge") Israel with the support of the head of the revived Roman empire and of Satan himself (Revelation 13). Idolatry will then reach an all-time high, and the faithful remnant of Israel will wait anxiously for intervention of God's salvation.

At that point God will bring about a change in the lot of His people. In answer to the prayer of verse 18 He will reveal His salvation. Dan marks the absolute low point, and from there on Israel's history takes a turn for the better. Gad, Asher and Naphtali show the results of God's salvation in the end time. Gad ( = band) is still being endangered by hostile troops, but in the end he is victorious and drives the enemy out of the land (Micah 5: 1-9). Asher ( = happy) enjoys an abundance of food and shares it with others. Naphtali ( = wrestling) rejoices in the freedom of the victor and sings the song of salvation.

Finally, Joseph and Benjamin give a twofold picture of the glory of Christ in the millennium. Joseph ( = He will add) is a special type of the Messiah who was rejected by His brothers but exalted by God to sit at His right hand, thereby becoming the Saviour of the world. The Father looks down on Him in favour, and He receives the richest blessings. Benjamin ( = son of the right hand) is more typical of the earthly aspect of Christ's reign. At His appearing and the dawn of the Kingdom, Christ will destroy all His enemies. He must reign until the last enemy-death-has been abolished at the end of the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 15: 24-28), "in the evening" (Genesis 49: 27), and the millennium will give place to the eternal state.

To sum up, the first three sons of Jacob show us natural man's corruption. Reuben ( = behold, a son) behaves as an unworthy son, and Simeon ( = hearing) and Levi ( = united) are allied in doing evil. Three sons are special types of Christ and show us how He intervenes: first Judah, and finally Joseph and Benjamin. The meanings of their names and of the others have been given already. The third group of three-Zebulun, Issachar and Dan-marks the downward line of Israel's decay and apostasy and also the apostasy in the end time. In the last group of three-Gad, Asher and Naphtali-we have an upward line again, and we learn how Israel will be restored and will see the salvation of the Lord. Genesis 49 is a prophetic history, of which several parts have already been fulfilled in the course of Israel's existence, while other parts are still awaiting their fulfilment in the end time.

(To be continued, if the Lord will.)

H. Bouter Jr.

From Our Archive

MINISTRY OF THE WORD AT THE ABERDEEN CONFERENCE

Wednesday Evening, Speaker: Hamilton Smith. September 13th, 1922.

The Pattern Of The House

(Ezekiel 43: 10-12 and Acts 2)

cont.

Having made these preliminary remarks, I will ask you to turn to Acts 2 in order to present a few definite facts that will bring before us the pattern of God's House in a practical way. As we look abroad to-day,

we see Christendom broken up into innumerable sects, each having a special form of Church government, holding distinguishing creeds and conducting their services according to special forms and ceremonies. We see, too, vast numbers of societies and organisations for sending out missionaries, and generally conducting religious work, and in them all we see devoted men for whom we can truly thank God.

But, beloved brethren, as we look abroad at Christendom; as we see all this vast machinery for carrying on the service of God, we may well ask ourselves, Is this what God intended? Is all this religious machinery God's way of carrying on His work? Is it according to the pattern? This, surely, is a proper question to ask, and in order to answer this question we must go back to the Book, for the simple reason that it is not possible in a day of ruin and departure from the truth, to look abroad on this earth and see any concrete illustration of the House of God.

Therefore in order to get a true conception of the House of God-and here we are faced with a difficulty-we must get it in an abstract way. Abstracting our mind from all that we see around, we must seek to get before us the pattern of the House of God as presented in Scripture, going back to Pentecostal days. I think we shall get some true thought of the pattern of the House in a practical way, and, as I have said, we must have the pattern before we can talk of the law of the House.

In the opening chapter of the Acts we are faced with three great facts. First of all, redemption is accomplished. In Acts 1: 3 we read, "To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion". His sufferings then were over-redemption was accomplished. That was one great fact. Two other facts follow-the Lord Jesus Christ is received up into glory-the Holy Spirit is received upon earth. The Church could have no existence apart from the accomplishment of these three stupendous facts. Redemption must be accomplished to remove everything that would hinder God having His Church; then the Lord Jesus Christ must take His place in glory, and the Holy Spirit must come down to earth.

Now, dear friends, I want for just one brief moment to press those two latter stupendous facts, because every essential truth of Christianity hangs upon them. To-day there is a Man, a real Man, in the glory, and there is a Divine Person on earth. When I say there is a Man in the glory-you must not for a moment think that I am forgetting that the Man, the Lord Jesus Christ in the glory, is "over all, God blessed for ever"; He is that, but still the way Scripture presents the truth is that He has gone back to the glory as a Man. Stephen looked up and saw the Son of Man at the right hand of God.

Then, on the other hand, there is a Divine Person on the earth, and mark you, the One that has come down from the glory has come to represent Christ in you and me. That is to say the Lord Jesus Christ has taken a place in the glory as Lord, and the Holy Spirit has come down to make the Lord known in our hearts, and the Person that has come down is as great as the Person that has gone up-hence He is perfectly adequate, and perfectly competent, to take of His things and show them to you and me.

Well, the Holy Spirit comes down, and in Acts 2 He descends upon the hundred and twenty disciples gathered together. He doesn't come upon the twelve simply, but He comes upon the hundred and twenty. Before that day, you will remember, according to that word in John 11: 52, the children of God had been scattered abroad, but now, at this moment when the Holy Spirit came, they were gathered together in one, and not only that, but the Holy Spirit indwelt them-they were sealed by the Spirit-and He was with them, and the result was that the House of God came into existence in a new way. The people of God formed the dwelling place of God on earth.

Now I want to present to you in a simple way seven facts in this chapter that I think will give us an idea of the pattern of God's House. If we get the pattern of God's House into our souls, we shall be able to see whether or not we have departed from it. Now the first great mark of God's House must of necessity be that it is the place where God dwells. Hence the first great thing that comes before us in this chapter is the presence, power, and control of the Holy Spirit. Now you will note how the instant the Holy Spirit comes, everything that these disciples do is in the power, and under the control, of the Holy Spirit. They proclaim the glad tidings, but it was, "As the Spirit gave them utterance". In Acts 4: 8, we read, "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers," etc., that is to say, when opposition arose, it was met in the power of the Holy Spirit. Then if we pass on we find in Acts 6 a question arises as the temporal needs of the saints, and immediately men are chosen to meet this difficulty who are "full of the Holy Ghost".

Then in the end of that chapter Stephen meets opposition, in the power of the Spirit. In the end of Acts 7 Stephen endures persecution, but he does it in the power of the Spirit -as we read, "He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God". In the mighty power of the Holy Spirit he was able to face martyrdom. Passing on to Acts 8: 29, we find Philip, the evangelist, receives his instructions from the Spirit, and so we find, if we follow on, chapter after chapter, that the Holy Spirit is present in the House of God to take entire control.

Now, beloved brethren, I think we may well pause for one moment to ask ourselves this question, have we not in great measure lost the sense of the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit? What was the origin of the ruin of Christendom? Was it not the loss of all sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit? The outstanding sin of Christendom is that it has so largely set aside and ignored the Holy Spirit. By its religious organisations and religious machinery it has, to a large extent, shut out the Holy Spirit.

The presence and control of the Spirit is then the first great mark of the House of God, and apprehending this, we shall be able to measure how great has been the departure from its pattern.

Before passing on, let me say that if the presence of the Holy Spirit is the first great outstanding feature in the House of God, it must involve that where the Holy Spirit is there can be no room for the flesh. Hence you will see in these early chapters of the Acts, that though the flesh seeks to intrude, yet, again and again, the flesh is dealt with. In the case of Ananias and Sapphira religious reputation is sought by lying, and is dealt with by the Holy Spirit; then in Acts 6, the flesh murmurs and is dealt with by the Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is, the flesh must be excluded. Oh! brethren, looking around, we see, together with the loss of all sense of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit there is the allowance of the flesh in almost every form. We have practically said that the Holy Spirit is not able, that He is incompetent to move souls, and we have resorted to all kinds of fleshly methods to try to reach and to touch people. By music, and choirs, and pathetic solos, and other fleshly methods the Holy Spirit has been ignored, forgetting that only by the Holy Spirit can souls be reached, and that He is adequate to meet every possible emergency that can arise in the House of God.

Let me then repeat that the first great mark of the House of God is the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. May God give us to see how far we have departed from the pattern, and may He bring us back to it.

The second great fact that comes out in this chapter is that the House of God is the place where the disposition of God towards men is made known. This is one great leading thought in the House of God. Hence, immediately the House of God is formed, men begin to hear, in all their different languages, the wonderful works of God. We get some of these wonderful works brought out in verses 22-36, how that God was with the Lord Jesus Christ; how He delivered Him up; how He was crucified; how He was raised from the dead; how He was received up into glory; and then mark what Peter says in verse 38: "Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost". I do not think we always stop to think what a remarkable verse that is. Peter is speaking to the people who had spat in the face of their Messiah; they had nailed Him to the cross; they had crowned Him with a crown of thorns; they said, "Away with Him. Not this Man, but Barabbas". But the marvellous thing is that immediately the House of God is formed there goes out from the House of God this wonderful message which tells to the world the disposition of God to those very people who had cast out His Son. This is what Peter tells them-in spite of what they had done; in spite of the fact that they had rejected the Messiah and spat in His face and crowned Him with a crown of thorns, such was the heart of God, that He can say, "Repent, and be baptised every one of you"-not a single exception-"in the name of Jesus Christ", and you will receive the remission of your sins, and the greatest possible gift-"the gift of the Holy Ghost". Now that was the magnificent message that went out from the House of God.

Hence you will see another great feature of the House of God is that it is not only the place where God dwells, but it is the place where God is made known. Brethren, if we give up the gospel, we shall depart from the pattern of the House. And so you will find in chapter after chapter of this wonderful book that the gospel is told out, and the fact of the gospel being given up so much to-day in Christendom only shows how great the departure has been from the pattern.

Let me add in connection with making known the gospel, that not only is the House of God the place where God is witnessed to, but it is the place where God is witnessed to by God's witnesses. That is to say in the House of God, God chooses to take up whom He likes to do His work; and, as a matter of fact, He takes up very often very simple people, as we read, in 1 Corinthians 1: 26, "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are might; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in His presence". That is to say that God will have a wonderful witness going forth from His House, but He will have that witness carried out by His own witnesses, and His witnesses are for the most part the poor and feeble of this world. So in Acts 2, we read, "Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?" Galilaeans, of course, were the simple country folk-the peasantry-and Peter an "unlearned and ignorant" man was their leader, and for the most part the witnesses of God have been all through the ages the simple and poor of this world. God on occasions may take up a rich man, or a noble man, for some special work, but generally, as of old, so to-day, God's witnesses are chosen from the despised of this world.

Passing on, we have in verse 41 a third fact. The House of God was formed by a people who were separate from this world. It says, "Then they that gladly received His word were baptised: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls". They were a separate company. Baptism, as we all know, presents the idea of separation. There was in that day, and there is in this day, the great world system, dominated by the power of evil and the will of men, but on the other hand there was a new circle formed by God, and in that circle the Holy Spirit dwelt. Dominated by the Holy Spirit, and the flesh excluded, there was a circle of life and light and blessing. The converts were separated from this world's circle, and were brought into the Christian circle by baptism-the figure of death. They said in substance, "We are dead to that world in which we once lived; we have left it in order that we might come into that new circle of life and love where God dwells". Now, dear friends, look around at Christendom, and what a sight we see! We see the world and Christians so mixed up that you cannot tell the difference. Does this not show how great has been the departure from the pattern of the House of God?

A fourth fact is in verse 42: "They continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine", or the Apostles' teaching. The House of God is not a place where we are left in ignorance to follow our own way, and do the best we can; no, it is the place of divine teaching. For us to-day we have the Apostles' doctrine enshrined in the epistles. In Acts 2, it was limited to what was then known; today, we have the whole revealed mind of God in the Scriptures, and Paul's doctrine, which has come out since the day of Pentecost, is most important. The fact that the Apostles' doctrine is so lightly set aside today only marks a further stage in the downward course of departure from the pattern. Brethren, we want to get back to the Word, and have our thoughts formed by the Apostles' teaching.

The fifth fact is, they continued in "fellowship". Fellowship, we know from 1 Corinthians 1: 9, is the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord-not fellowship with His Son, but fellowship of His Son. Fellowship is a very simple thought; it means that we participate in common, and that involves a bond which binds us together. We participate in common in the dominion and administration of the Lord Jesus Christ; we own one Lord. He is the bond of our fellowship, and, beloved brethren, we are responsible to be true to that fellowship.

The sixth fact is "they continued . . . in the breaking of bread." In the breaking of bread we formally commit ourselves to fellowship in the death of Christ. "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" It is something we do ourselves. Baptism is the

act of another. We could not baptise ourselves. But when we take the Lord's Supper, it is something we do. We formally commit ourselves to the death of Christ, and that means, beloved brethren, a very great deal. It surely means that now we are responsible to allow nothing that is contrary to Christ's death, that we are not to go on with that for which, and to which, Christ has died. Alas! in this respect, how great has been the departure from the pattern.

The seventh fact is, "They continued . . . in prayers." Here then is the last great mark of the House of God. It is marked by being a place of prayer. As we read in the Old Testament the House of God should be the place of prayer for all nations, so, too, when you come to the doctrine in the Epistle to Timothy we see a very great deal is made of prayer. "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands". It is the place where we can get in touch with God on behalf of men in a perishing world around us. And being the place of prayer, it is the place where we express our dependence upon God.

Here then we have seven marks of the House of God-IT IS THE PLACE WHERE THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLS and WHERE HIS PRESENCE IS KNOWN.

IT IS THE PLACE FROM WHICH THE GOSPEL GOES OUT. It is the House of God that sets forth the disposition of God to this poor world. It is then not only the place where the Holy Spirit dwells, where the Gospel is told out, but it tells of SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD. It is the place too, where we have DIVINE LIGHT, CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP EXPRESSED IN THE BREAKING OF BREAD and in PRAYERS.

Now I am not proposing anything that is not possible to-day. We are in the midst of ruin; everything is broken up, but still we have the pattern of God's House, and if I once see the pattern, there are two things before my soul; first, I must refuse everything that is not according to the pattern, and, secondly, I am responsible to walk according to the pattern.

One more remark before I close. In taking you back to Pentecost it is needful to sound a warning note, because we hear a very great deal to day of going back to Pentecost, but what people mean, alas! is this, they want to make something of themselves by getting back to the outward power of Pentecost; they would like to get back to tongues and healing and miracles. I have no such thought. But what I do say is this-that while I have no thought of trying to go back to the outward power of Pentecost, yet I would seek to get back to the divine principles of Pentecost, and you will see that all I have brought before you this evening is quite possible to-day. The Holy Spirit is still here; the gospel can still be preached; it is still possible to be separate from this world; we still have the Apostles' teaching; it is still possible to walk in fellowship, to break bread, and to pray. There is not a single mark of the House of God, that I have brought before you, that is not possible to be walking in the power and blessing of. Hence we can go back to Pentecost for divine principles, but I do not go back for outward power.

Do not let us presume to reconstruct anything, or set up to be a pattern of the House. We shall break down if we do. All we have to do is in all simplicity to seek to walk in accordance with the principles of that House, and, brethren, I say again, I don't go back to Pentecost simply for outward power.

If I want power-and I do want power-I say do not go back to Pentecost, but on to glory, and, beloved brethren, I delight to look on and see the power is coming. A day of display is coming. There will be power and there will be display, but you must look on for that. I know there is a tendency to look back and say that the days that are gone were the best days. Sometimes it is said the times of the early brethren were the best days; and I have no doubt they were saying what wonderful days they had in the days of Wesley and Whitefield; and I am sure they again would talk of the days of Samuel Rutherford and the Covenanters; and if you had lived in Aberdeen and got in touch with Samuel Rutherford, he might have said, "Ah! if you had only lived a hundred years ago in the days of Luther;" and Luther was looking back to the days of St. Augustine; and he again was looking back to the days of the Apostles; and so they were all looking back, and all looking the wrong way.

It may be we live in a day of great failure, we are a feeble folk, but the best days are coming; they are not behind; they are on before. Look on. The glory of the latter House shall be greater than the glory of the former. In spite of all the breakdown, and all the ruin and all the weakness, the best times are coming, and in that great city-the holy City, New Jerusalem-I see the glory and power and display, and the weakness and the failure will have gone for ever, for the former things are passed away, and I see the purposes of God fulfilled in spite of the failure of man, so that, I repeat, if we want power and glory, we must look on, and if we want divine principles to guide us in the present moment we must look back.

May the Lord give us a deeper sense of the pattern of the House according to His own mind, and may that pattern be transferred from Scripture to our hearts and minds so that we may seek to walk and live

according to the principles and pattern of God's House! H.S.

The Epistle of Jude

VERSES 22 AND 23

Jude is something of a unique epistle. Although other New Testament Scriptures give various details relative to the apostasy, in Jude we have the whole course described. Certain men have crept into the Christian profession (verse 4), that is the start. Enoch's prophecy to execute judgments upon all (verses 14, 15) declares the finish. And of course we are now in days of apostasy, so this epistle has a special voice to ourselves.

It is delightful to trace that there is a company who have found mercy, even though this apostasy is all around them. They are beloved in God the Father (verse 1) as in the Revised Version and J. N. Darby translations. Three times they are addressed as beloved (verses 3, 17, 20) and they are exhorted to keep themselves in the love of God. It seems like John's writings dropped into the middle of Jude, suited ministry for closing days as we might glean from the mystic reference in John 21: 22. This little company who have found mercy, and look for mercy (verse 21), are set to work. They have to contend earnestly for the faith (verse 3) and to build themselves up on their most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. In other words they are not to get over occupied with the apostasy but rather take heed tothemselves and to the doctrine (1 Timothy 4: 16). In so doing they both save themselves and those that hear. It is "those that hear" which are our special interest in this paper. If we have contended earnestly, if we have built up ourselves, if we have prayed, then there is bound to be a genuine concern for others, and this brings us to the verses 22 and 23 of Jude. Are-there two classes in these verses or three?

Here is the King James version translation, "And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh"-two classes. The J. N. Darby translation is substantially the same but in a footnote he adds, "I am disposed to think . . . the passage should read . . . And some who dispute, correct: and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating . . . etc. Perhaps this is the best reading. He tells them in fact to make a difference. If men contested, he put them to silence; if not, he saved- them with fear, snatching them out of the fire, hating every trace of evil". Again he sees two classes. There is however still a further suggestion. This comes from W. Kelly. His translation reads: "And some convict when contending, others save, pulling them out of the fire, and others pity with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh"-three classes.

A consideration of the manuscripts and the differing authorities for these differing translations is probably beyond most of us, but there is another factor which would seem to weight in favour of the W. Kelly translation. Looking at Jude as a whole it is manifest that he has a predilection for groups of three.

Here are a few examples:

(1) These who creep in are ungodly, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (verse 4)

(2) Three examples of judgment, Egypt, angels and Sodom and Gomorrha. (verses 5,6, 7)

(3) Three further examples quoted, Cain, Balaam and Core. (verse 11)

(4) Those who defile the flesh, despise dominion and speak evil of dignities. (verse 8)

(5) The saints are beloved in God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ and called. (verse 1)

(6) Mercy, peace and love are invoked upon them. (verse 2)

(7) Of three activities, building, praying and looking are present imperatives. (verses 20, 21)

(8) The doxology at the close is before the whole age, now and to all the ages. (verse 25)

Let us then look again at W. Kelly's translation.

There is the first group, "And some convict when contending".

And then the second group, "Others save, pulling them out of the fire".

And then the third group, "Others pity with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh".

I am indebted to a brother for putting it briefly this way:

DISPUTERS: convict

DITHERERS: pull them out of the fire

DEFILED: pity them

This classification is also so true to everyday Christian experience that it seems to be a translation worthy of our consideration and judgment. We have disputers with us every day perhaps, they are to be convicted, though even apostles did not always accomplish this, as we see with a Diotrephes and Alexander the coppersmith. But at least we can seek to bring the Word of God to bear upon every such case. Then, happily, from time to time, we do see souls delivered from ecclesiastical systems of bondage, for God's testimony and praise.

But then there are others, like those held in the grip of the Eastern apostasy of Islam where we can only pity them and pray for them, and trust that the Lord will raise up a witness for Himself in situations quite beyond us.

What has prompted this paper is the evident need with us all to be more concerned for others. If we are really in the positive gain of Jude's exhortations as to ourselves it will inevitably make us more concerned in our relations with others. The suggestions of three groups seems eminently suitable and acceptable and it is offered for the judgment of the reader.

D.W.P.

News from the Field

January 16, 1991. Dear brothers in Jesus Christ,

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Gavrilut Radu. I am 38 years old and an engineer. I am married and I have three children. I am a Christian since 1975. When God started His work in my life I was attending a Baptist Church. From the very beginning this prayer was born in my heart: "Lord, I want Your will to be done in my life, no matter what the price I'll have to pay". And I really couldn't know the price at that time. I saw the wrong practices of the Baptist sect and, because I wanted to be at the Lord's disposal, to say what He gave me to say, very soon I had to face them. But God was with me. All these "fightings" lasted for five years. For example, I understood that I couldn't break bread with them, especially because I knew for sure some of their members weren't born again and others didn't believe in the unity of the One Body, so that they had their supper. There were other young people in whose lives God started to work, my wife was also one of them.

Reading Mackintosh's book "The Assembly of God or Jesus Is Enough" * caused me great joy. I also read, last year, Trotter's book, "Five letters about Worship and Ministry in the Spirit" I read it in Romanian, I don't know its original title). I found it to be the same Spirit that works in us. The same things were sown in my heart as well, of course not so crystallized like in those books. At that time I didn't know that there were brothers and assemblies of brothers in other countries. I could learn more about that only after the revolution. Before, we were not allowed to have Christian books or to be visited by brothers from abroad. We too, the brothers from Marghita with who I have fellowship, were suspected by the "Securitate", being on their "black list" because they couldn't understand why we didn't belong to one of the 14 official, legal sects allowed in our country. Actually, praise the Lord, we now have no problem from this point of view. I would like that the present circumstances should serve to advance the gospel.

There are more places in our country where brothers gather in the Name of Jesus Christ. We are beginners but we have confidence that He, who began His good work in us, will bring it to completion.

I would like to be visited by true brothers that come to Romania; there is the possibility of translating them from English. In our country there appeared books printed especially by baptists or pentecostals, they are not only of uncertain value but I didn't find in them that gospel by which I believed. We, the brethren from the west with whom I have fellowship, (I mean the brothers from Romania, we live in the west of our country) have no connection with the pentecostal-charismatic movement, on the contrary, we consider it a great danger, a movement on totally unsound base.

I would like you to send me, if possible, a catalogue with the books printed by you. I'm sorry that actually we are not able to pay for such books but I hope the time will come when we won't have to beg for them. I suppose you know we are lagging behind from all points of view.

Waiting for your answer I wish you grace and peace from the Lord,

Your brother in Christ,

Radu Gavrilut.

{*In the U.K. this bears the title "The Assembly of God or, the All-Sufficiency of the Name of Jesus".}

A letter from a leper

Extract from a Letter written by H. G. Brand from Yokohama, Japan, on 12 September, 1892.

"Hatton, the poor leper who was converted through brother Maki, who attended him as physician, went to be with the Lord about ten days ago. Through his prayers his brother was brought to the Lord, and has now been breaking bread for more than a year. I enclose the letter Hattori wrote him just before his death".

To my young brother Kanoko Goro, (translated by Yojire Asada)

I Jisaburo, leave the following words to my dear brother Goro, for I am now about to sleep.

I wish you to fulfil Jisaburo's last desire, by managing as follows. I have passed my whole life in calamities, and in the pain of sickness. The pleasures and happiness of the world did not accompany me, though the tears of sorrow and grief have always filled my eyes.

To write thus seems to be bewailing my misfortune, but it is not so. It is to make you know how much I am beloved by God. I am certainly a most miserable creature in the world, but our God hath loved us and chosen us in our Lord Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world.

He hath given me this affliction by which my pride has been broken. I have been manifestly compelled to forsake all, and depend on God. It is written that the great merciful God scourgeth him whom He loveth. Ah! how delightful, how joyful it is, to leave this sin-loving world, filled with discontent and evil, and enter the glory of God! But my disagreeable corpse will still remain, though my soul has left this wretched world, and gone to the happy Paradise, so I ask you to hide it. I am satisfied if you merely bury it, because it is like my shadow. Do not manage it luxuriously, according to the principle of the world, but be simple in all things. To call Buddhist priests, to read canons, to visit the tomb for worship, or to establish grave stones, are all useless.

You should abolish all such things, for I desire the name of Hattori Jisaburo to be quickly forgotten in the world, but do anything according to the will of the brethren and sisters in the Lord. It is important to be simple in all things, and not to incline to the condition of the world.

Now I ask you this one thing, to give me satisfaction. Dear young brother Goro, I have no time to write any other letter, for my fixed time is over. Consequently, present my compliments to my two uncles Noda, and to my elder brother Kamataro. Brother Goro, we have received much kindness from our uncles Noda, so that you must be obedient to them, and often call on them, to console them in their old age, and also do this for our mother.

Be truthful before all men, and stedfastly keep the principles of the Bible, no matter what the result may be. Salute our holy brethren and sisters.

Glorify the Lord's Name in all matters. On all occasions bear the witness of the Lord, because of which you will be hated by all men; but do not be afraid, Rather rejoice. Pray always for my family, and for all saints.

I go to the Lord before, and wait for you. Rejoice and give thanks to God for my sleep.

I have many things to write, but there is no time, for I am hastening on to sleep, so I present to you one volume, the Bible. Read it in the presence of the Lord, and refresh yourself morning and evening. I now stay my pen. H.J.

Brother Hattori Jisaburo fell asleep in Jesus, 2nd September 1892.

Book Review

John Nelson Darby by W. G. Turner. 106 pages, paperback. Chapter Two, London, England, 1990. Price 4.50.

"The continued influence of this servant of the Lord is much in evidence to this day", states the first sentence on the back cover of this little paperback. True indeed, for the teachings rediscovered in God's Word by Darby and his co-labourers have affected millions of Christians, most of whom, today at least, are totally ignorant of Darby's name and contribution to their spiritual good.

Dispensational teaching, especially about the difference between Israel and the Church, the truth of what the Church is and how it is to function, the rapture, and the clear prophetic picture of future events, was again brought to light through the indefatigable labour and prolific pen of this remarkable man.

Classic Gold Medalist at Trinity College, Dublin, as a young man Darby later translated or collaborated in translating the Bible into English, French, and German and his textual studies and notes have been used as the basis for translation of God's Word into other languages as well. He never married, but like the apostle Paul spent much of his life in worldwide travels in the service of his blessed Master. What has been collected and preserved of his writings fills more than fifty good-sized volumes, all done before the invention of typewriters and computers, and most still valued and kept in print today.

Born in a well-to-do family and trained for the legal profession, he gave this up for conscience sake after his conversion, becoming a curate in the Church of England. He served in this capacity in a wild and remote part of Ireland where his life was characterized by devotion and self-sacrifice rare among the Anglican clergy of his day. A keen student of God's Word, as a young man he courageously acted upon the principles he discovered therein. In consequence, he soon found himself outside the church establishment, having begun meeting with other godly believers, many of them young like himself, in simplicity around the Lord Himself. While such meetings began at Dublin in the second half of the 1820s, the Spirit of God was doing a similar work in other countries as well, and it did not take long for such groups to find one another.

J.N.D., as he is commonly called, soon became known and appreciated as an outstanding teacher and leader among these assemblies of "brethren", as they were termed, his facility with languages and his extensive travels helping in the cause.

But as to the book before us, its front cover calls it a biography. It would be most difficult, however, to confine a biography of this versatile yet controversial servant of the Lord to the space of a hundred pages. The book is essentially a tribute, though it does not gloss over Darby's weaknesses. W. G. Turner wrote much of it ninety years ago. His book has been reprinted a number of times in English and has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, and German as well. He is long with the Lord. Now Edwin N. Cross, the compiler of this edition, has amplified it with information written by others as well. Vast portions of Darby's life, travels, and service are not covered by this book, especially those areas that involved controversies and sad divisions among the "brethren" with whom his life was identified.

A complete, detailed account of Darby's life and ministry is not necessary to understand the principles he stood for and was used of God to teach. The more closely one looks at a man, sad to say, the more one tends to see his personal flaws and failures which cannot help but have their bearing upon his service and place in life. This little book, while not the comprehensive biography of Darby some might desire, will serve to give a good picture of him in the spirit of Philippians 4: 8.

Eugene P. Vedder, Jr. Grace & Truth.

Understanding Prophecy

'' . . . We need not go beyond Scripture to understand prophecy. It is right spiritual use of what is in the Word of God, and I bless God for it. If you find the simplest man who only studies with diligence the Bible in his mother tongue, and is led by the Spirit of God, he has the elements and the power of a true interpretation. But as sure as a man tries to find an interpretation here and there, by the help of history and antiquities, of newspapers, and what not, he is only deceiving himself and his hearers. Such is the universal moral sentence of God upon the soul that searches, in what is of man, the proper key to God's secrets. I must find it from God Himself by a right use of what is in His own Word''.

W. K. (Lectures on the book of Daniel).

Expand All | Collapse All

God
Bible
Christianity
Christian Living
Marriage & Family
Church
Rapture
Prophecy
Topics by author
Commentaries
Overview
Old Testament
New Testament
Index by Author
Lectures
E-Books
Magazine
Audio Teaching
Meet Christians
Study Meetings
In the Hall
In the Home
Study Meetings in UK
Conferences
Plumstead Conference
Children's Corner
Links
Site Updates

Copyright © Biblecentre.org :: Free for personal use
Publication only with prior permision from Biblecentre