The Work of Christ -
Past, Present and Future
by Arno C. Gaebelein
The Word of God reveals, that all things were created by and for the
Son of God. "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not
anything made that was made" (John 1:3). "For by Him were all things
created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,
or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him" (Col. 1:16).
When this perfect creation was ruined by the entrance of sin, when
man fell and all creation on account of that fall was brought into
the bondage of corruption, the work of redemption became a
necessity. No creature of God was fitted or fit to do this. Only the
Son of God, the Creator Himself, could undertake this mighty work
and accomplish it to the Praise and Glory of God. To do this great
work, He had to appear on this earth in the form of man.
The Word of God reveals, that all things were created by and for the
Son of God. "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not
anything made that was made" (John 1:3). "For by Him were all things
created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,
or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him" (Col. 1:16).
When this perfect creation was ruined by the entrance of sin, when
man fell and all creation on account of that fall was brought into
the bondage of corruption, the work of redemption became a
necessity. No creature of God was fitted or fit to do this. Only the
Son of God, the Creator Himself, could undertake this mighty work
and accomplish it to the Praise and Glory of God. To do this great
work, He had to appear on this earth in the form of man.
A Threefold Aspect.
This work of the Son of God has a threefold aspect. It is a past
work, a present work, and beyond the present, there is His future
work. His work and service will terminate when He delivers up the
kingdom, so that God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:24-28). This
threefold aspect of His work corresponds to His threefold office as
Prophet, Priest and King. It has a special meaning for the church.
In Ephesians 5:25-27, we read of this. He loved the church and gave
Himself for it; this is His past work. Since then He is sanctifying
the church by the washing of water by the Word, and in the future He
will present it to Himself, a glorious church. In virtue of this
threefold work of our Lord, believers are saved, are being saved,
and will be saved. This threefold work has also a significance for
the people Israel. When he came and went to the cross, He died "for
that nation." (John 11:51-52). During the present age His earthly
people are not cast away; their miraculous preservation on earth,
their continued, separate existence is due to Himself. In the future
when He appears as their Redeemer and claims the purchased
possession, He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And to this we
might also add the relation of His work to creation itself, the
nations of the earth, and to Satan and his rule.
These brief remarks show the importance of distinguishing between
this threefold aspect of His work. A Christian who is ignorant of it
must be confused in his conception of the truth. He is unable to
understand the Word of God, and is unsettled, and even miserable in
his Christian experience. Such, alas! is the present condition of a
large number of professing Christians. Many are ignorant of what the
finished work of Christ on the cross means. On account of this
ignorance, they are ever trying to do what God has done for them.
How many more are at sea about their position in Christ, and know
next to nothing of the priestly work of Christ. The confusion is the
greatest in respect to His future work as King. Our theme is
therefore an important one. But even God's people. who in a measure
have laid hold of these truths, need constantly to be reminded of it
and need to have all this through the Spirit's power, as a greater
reality in their lives.
PART 1 - His Past Work.
His past work was accomplished by Him when He became incarnate. It
was finished when He died on Calvary's cross. We have therefore to
of all these fundamentals of our faith.
I. The Work of the Son of God is
foreshadowed and predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures.
II. The Incarnation of the Son of
III. His Work on the cross and what
has been accomplished by it.
Throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, God announced beforehand
the work of His Son. This is a great theme and one which needs to be
emphasized. These foreshadowings and predictions were made in
different ways. First we might mention the appearance from time to
time on earth of a supernatural Being. This Being was the Son of
God. As soon as sin had entered, He appeared on the scene seeking
those who were lost. He Himself announced the promise, that the seed
of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. He indicated in
Genesis 3:15, His incarnation, His redemptive work on the cross and
His final victory over the enemy of God. Then He covered the
nakedness of His creatures by making them coats of skin. For the
first time in the Word of God, it was made known by this act what
the blessed fruit of His atoning work would be.
Manifestations of Jehovah
And the same Jehovah appeared in visible form unto Abraham. He came
as traveler accompanied by two angels. He ate in the presence of
Abraham, who worshipped and addressed Him as Lord. This Being was
none other than the Son of God, the same who after His resurrection
appeared to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus as a traveler,
and who, at another occasion, ate of a honeycomb and a piece of
fish. In His presence Abraham interceded. This Lord, who visited
Abraham later, made fire and brimstone fall from heaven upon Sodom
and Gomorrah; He executed judgment. He appeared unto Jacob and was
the mysterious man who wrestled with him at Peniel; later Jacob
called Him "The Angel, the Redeemer." Repeatedly we hear of Him as
"The Angel of the Lord," not a created angel, but an uncreated
Being. Moses saw Him in the burning bush, and heard His voice. And
while He is spoken of as the angel of the Lord, He revealed Himself
as Jehovah and made this Name known to Moses. He was with Israel in
the wilderness and dwelled with them in the Glory cloud. He guided
them, supplied their need, protected them, judged them and
over-threw their enemies. To Joshua He appeared and manifested
Himself as "The captain over the Lord's hosts." Manoah and his wife
saw Him, and witnessed His ascension into heaven, in the smoke and
fire of the sacrifice. Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel gazed upon His
Glory. All these were but foreshadowings and glimpses of the two
great manifestations of the Son of God on earth, as they are
necessitated by His work, His manifestation in humiliation and His
manifestation in power and glory.
Other Foreshadowings of His Work.
But there are other foreshadowings of His work. All the divinely
given institutions and many of the historical events recorded in the
Old Testament foreshadow His work. History, as recorded in the Old
Testament, is the preliminary history of the incarnation. The whole
sacrificial system of the levitical priesthood told out beforehand,
in many ways, what the great redemptive work of the Lamb of God was
to be. Each offering and sacrifice revealed the different phases of
His work on the cross, as well as His holy and spotless humanity.
The sufferings of Christ and their meaning for lost sinners were
thus made known. From Abel's lamb to the last lamb, which died
before the true Lamb of God uttered the never to be forgotten words
on the cross, "It is finished," the thousands of lambs and bulls and
goats, the innumerable herds of animals slain, were all types of the
one great sacrifice, brought on Calvary's cross. The tabernacle in
all its appointments, down to the minutest details, had some meaning
in connection with the Person of Him who is "Wonderful" and His
wonderful work. And what else could we say of the historical events,
such as the Passover, the passage through the Red Sea, the brazen
serpent hung up in the wilderness. And to this we might add how men
in their experiences, like Isaac, Joseph, David and others
foreshadowed the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should
Direct Bible Prophecies
Still more numerous are the direct prophecies announcing the
different phases of the work of Christ. That He should appear as
man, how and where He should be born, His life, His service, His
miracles, all was repeatedly foretold by the Prophets. But the great
mass of predictions concern His sufferings as
the sin-bearer and His glories as the King. None of the details of
His sufferings were omitted. Think, for instance, of the predictions
contained in the 22nd Psalm. Death by crucifixion was unknown among
the Jewish people. No nation in touch with Israel, living at that
time, put human beings to death in that way.
It was reserved for cruel Rome to invent death by crucifixion. Yet
in this Psalm there is given by divine inspiration a complete
picture of that unknown mode of death by crucifixion. We read of His
hands and feet pierced, the bones out of joint, the excessive
thirst, the tongue cleaving to the jaws. And so we find His
resurrection, His presence with God, His coming again and His
Kingdom of Righteousness and Glory foretold in the Prophets.
The Inspiration of the Old Testament
We emphasize these facts of divine foreshadowing and prediction,
because in these last days thousands of men have arisen throughout
Christendom who boldly deny the inspiration of the Old Testament.
They would have us believe that all these wonderful predictions are
of human origin. They brand nearly everything as legend, and declare
that there are no Messianic predictions in the Bible, that God did
not speak to the Prophets concerning His Son and His work. Such a
denial of the revelation of God in the Old Testament Scriptures is
but the vanguard of the denial of the Son of God and His work.
"Denying the Lord that bought them" (2 Peter 2:1), is the leading
phase of apostate Christendom in the last days. It is Anti-christianity.
This denial is preceded by a denial of the written Word of God. The
higher criticism, so called, is Satan's leaven which leavens the
theological institutions of Christendom and is fully preparing an
empty Christian profession for the reception of the Man of Sin.
To believe that these marvelous, harmonious predictions and
foreshadowings contained in the Old Testament are the productions of
clever men, legends put together by evil men, who claimed to have
received them from God, is far more difficult than to believe that
they are given by divine revelation.
II. The Incarnation of the Son of God
And now let us turn to the great truth and fact of the Incarnation
of the Son of God. When the fullness of time had come, that is the
appointed time, the Son of God appeared on earth in the form of man.
The Word which was in the beginning, the Word that was with the
Father, the Word that was God, the Word by whom all things were
made, that Word was made flesh and dwelt on earth. He who subsisted
in the form of God, emptied Himself and took upon Himself the form
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
The incarnation is a deep mystery, the depths of which human reason
can never fathom. We must approach it in the spirit of deep
reverence. Take off thy shoes from thy feet for the ground whereon
thou standest is holy ground! In the first chapter in the Gospel of
Luke, we have the record of the divine announcement of the
incarnation as it was made to the virgin, who had found favor in the
sight of God. As she sat in the house, perhaps engaged in holy
meditation, the angel Gabriel appeared unto her with the message
from the throne of God. Was there ever such a message given to
Gabriel before? Great as the revelation was which he was
commissioned to carry to praying Daniel, the communication to the
Virgin Mary here is far greater.
The Incarnation Announced.
We read in Luke 1:35: "And the angel answered and said unto her, The
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall
overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born
of thee shall be called the Son of God." Let us notice the two great
statements given about His incarnation. "The Holy Ghost shall come
upon thee." From the Gospel of Matthew we learn the full meaning of
this statement. "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy
Ghost." Therefore His human nature was produced in the virgin by the
creative action of the Holy Spirit. Because His human nature was
thus produced, it was a nature without sin; not only did He not sin,
but He could not sin. He was sinless, absolutely holy, because He
was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
The second statement is: "And the power of the Highest shall
overshadow thee." This is not a repetition of the same truth as
contained in the first statement. If this too would mean the Holy
Spirit, we would have to conclude that the Holy Spirit is the Father
of Him who became incarnate. We read at once after this second
statement, "Therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of
thee shall be called the Son of God." The power of the Highest does
not mean the power of the Holy Spirit. It is none other than the Son
of God Himself. The eternal Son of God, He who is God, overshadowed
her and this overshadowing meant the union of Himself with the human
nature created by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary.
He is called "that Holy Thing." He is something entirely new, a
Being which cannot be classified. And then we read again, "That Holy
Thing shall be called the Son of God." It does not say "shall be the
Son of God;" such He ever was. Incarnation did not make Him Son of
God. He shall be called Son of God; God manifested in the flesh.
Much time could be spent in adding to these remarks, or in reviewing
the different attempts which have been made to explain the great
mystery. We might also enumerate all the evil teachings and theories
which are the results of attempted explanations. But all this would
be but waste of time. No human mind can fathom the depths of the
incarnation, nor fully grasp the wonderful personality of the
God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Far better it is to abide by these
simple declarations of the Word of God, than to enter into
speculations, which can never solve this great mystery.
A certain American statesman was once asked, "Can you comprehend how
Jesus Christ could be both God and Man?" The great thinker replied,
"No, sir; I cannot. And I would be ashamed to acknowledge Him as my
Saviour if I could, for then He would not be greater than myself."
This is very true indeed. With joyful and grateful hearts we believe
the great revelation given to us in God's holy Word, that God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and that the Son
of God left Heaven's Glory and came to this earth. He emptied
Himself and appeared in the form of the creature. This, however,
does not mean what an evil theory, by the name of "Kenosis,"
teaches, that He emptied Himself of His Godhead. He emptied Himself
of His outward Glory. The child which rested on the bosom of Mary is
the One, who ever was in the bosom of the Father. Listen once more
to the language of the 22 Psalm. "I was cast upon thee from the
womb: Thou art my God from my mother's belly. Thou didst make me
hope when I was upon my mother's breasts." What mere human child
could have ever said this truthfully? Nor is this the language of a
poet. The child born in Bethlehem alone could speak thus.
The Foundation of the Gospel
The incarnation is the great foundation of the whole Gospel. No
incarnation means no Gospel, no Hope and no God. The person who
denies this truth has no right whatever to the name of Christian. At
no time has the denial of this great foundation truth been so
pronounced and wide-spread as in our times.
Men believing themselves wise, in possession of greater knowledge
than former generations, turn their backs upon revelation. The
miracle, including the incarnation, is denied. And this denial is
not from the side of outspoken infidels alone, but those who profess
to be teachers of Christianity are the foremost leaders in it. We
mention Reginald Campbell and his followers in the so-called "New
Theology." And the hundreds of evangelical preachers, who wished
this man Godspeed during his recent visit to America, who passed
resolutions of thanks, after listening to his subtle infidelity,
are, in the light of 2 John 10, partakers of his sin. And then there
is that Anti-Christian system, known by the name of Christian
Science. In its so-called philosophical, in reality, satanic
utterances, it opposes the revelation of God and denies that Jesus
Christ is come into the flesh. That
evil book, "Science and Health," to
which we readily accord inspiration, not from above, but from below,
teaches "The Virgin Mary conceived the idea of God and gave to her
ideal the name of Jesus;" and again "Jesus was the offspring of
Mary's self-communion with God."
It is a comfort to believers in these evil days to remember, that
such a rejection of the doctrine of Christ, His Person and His work,
is predicted in the Bible to take
place immediately before the Lord comes.
The end of the age is upon us. These denials
will not decrease, but become more numerous.
The Purpose of the Incarnation
And what was the purpose of the incarnation? By incarnation the
invisible God was made known to man. The Lord Jesus Christ is the
image of the invisible God. No man hath seen God at any time, the
only Begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared Him.
As One with the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ could say, "he that
hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
The attributes of God were made known by Him in incarnation.
We behold the holiness of God in that holy
life, which was lived on earth to glorify the Father.
He manifested omniscience. He knew what was in men and knew their
thoughts. He manifested the power of God in controlling the forces
of nature, commanding the wind and the waves, turning water into
wine. He had power over disease, over the demons and over death. He
revealed the love and the compassion of God.
By incarnation the Son of God brought likewise the Word of God to
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past
unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken
unto us by His Son" (Hebrews 1:1,2). He confirmed the Law and the
Prophets, therefore all criticism of the Old Testament attacks the
authority and infallibility of the Son of God. He also revealed the
will of God, made known the Father and the fact of eternal life, and
the eternal and conscious punishment of the wicked. He predicted the
great future events concerning Himself and His Kingdom, the end of
the age and His visible Return.
The incarnation was necessary in anticipation of His work as the
Priest of His people. He was to be after His death on the cross and
after resurrection, the merciful and faithful High Priest. Such He
is now. He took part of flesh and blood, we read in the second
chapter of Hebrews, that He might be a merciful and faithful High
Priest. He was tempted in all things as we are, with the exception
of sin. He suffered in being tempted so that He might be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities and succour them that are
tempted. And all He was to be and is now, the Second Man, the last
Adam, the head of the church, the head of the new creation, all and
much else necessitated His incarnation.
However, the great purpose of the incarnation of the Son of God
was His work of redemption. For this
great purpose He came into the world.
He came that, after a life, which completely
glorified the Father and upheld His holy law and vindicated God's
rights as the lawgiver, He might accomplish the great work of
atonement. John stated this great work the Son of God came to do in
a brief sentence. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin
of the world." Sin, that accursed thing, had to be taken out of the
way. Propitiation for sins had to be made. A sacrifice had to be
brought which would glorify a holy God and satisfy, as well as
exalt, His righteousness. Peace had to be made. The sins of many had
to be paid and the full penalty of them to be borne.
Incarnation in itself, the marvelous and ever blessed humiliation of
the Son of God by taking on the human form, His holy blessed life,
His loving words, words of life and peace, yea, all He did in deeds
of love and compassion could never accomplish this. Incarnation
brought God to Man, but could never bring man back to a holy God.
Incarnation could not make an end of sin, nor make it possible for a
righteous God to show mercy to the fallen and the lost, in a
righteous way. This great work of
redemption could only be accomplished by His death on the cross.
For this He had come. He came to put away sin by the sacrifice of
Himself. The Author and Prince of Life came that He might give His
Life a ransom for many. The good Shepherd appeared to give His life
for the sheep. By His death alone, the great work of redemption
could be accomplished.
III. His Work on the Cross and What
Has Been Accomplished by It.
And now let us consider His work on the cross and what has been
accomplished by it. But who is able to speak worthily of this theme
of all themes? Who can fathom the solemn yet blessed fact, the death
of the Son of God on the cross? What tongue or pen can describe the
sad, yet glorious truth, that the Just One died for the unjust, that
Christ died for the ungodly! He who knew no sin was made sin for us!
And what human mind can estimate the wonderful results of His work
on the cross!
Some Christians speak as if the death on the cross, the work
accomplished there, is so fully known to them, that they do not need
any more instruction on it. They tell us that they search for deeper
things. There can be nothing deeper than the death of God's Son on
the cross. Depths are here which are unfathomable. We must ever turn
back to the cross. Always we shall learn something new. With
unspeakable Glory upon us and greater glory before us in eternal
ages to come, the cross of Christ and the Lamb of God which has
taken away the sin of the world can never be forgotten. But we shall
never know what that death on the cross meant for Him and what it
meant to God.
Made Sin for Us:
In Hebrews 10 we read of the sacrifices which were offered by the
Jews year after year. These sacrifices could not take away sin. Then
He, the Son of God, stepped forward and made His great declaration.
Coming into the world He saith, "Sacrifice and offering Thou
wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared me: In burnt offerings
and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure" (verses 5-6). The
body prepared puts before us again the fact of incarnation.
That body was a prepared body, a holy body, an undefiled body, a
body in which sin could not dwell and on which death had no claim.
But when He took on that body, He likewise said: "Lo, I come to do
Thy will, O God." In the tenth verse we read, "By the which will
[the will of God, which dates back before the foundation of the
world], we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all." Through the eternal Spirit, He offered Himself
without spot to God. The holy Lamb of God, with no spot or blemish
upon Him, shed His precious blood on the cross, to procure
redemption. But what it all meant
for Him who was as truly Man as He is God! Here was a Being
perfectly holy, One who had always pleased God and did His will,
yea, His meat and drink was to do the will of Him that sent Him. Sin
was the horrible defiling thing to Him. He, too, like the holy God,
hated and hates sin. And yet such a One was made sin for us. He had
to stand in the place of guilty sinners and all the waves and
billows of divine judgment and wrath had to pass over Him. He drank
of wrath to the last drop.
He suffered in a fourfold way:
1. In Himself.
Before He ever approached the garden of Gethsemane, He was troubled
in His spirit. We hear Him say, "Now is my soul troubled ... Father,
save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour"
(John 12:27). He looked on towards the cross. And why that agony in
the garden? Why was His sweat as it were great drops of blood? Why
the repeated prayer, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass
from me?" How many dishonoring explanations have been written of the
Gethsemane suffering, as if He was afraid to die or that the devil
tried to kill Him there to prevent His death on the cross, and that
He feared the devil. But what was it? He suffered in Himself. His
holy soul shrank back from that which a holy God must hate, that
which He hated -- SIN. He was about to be made sin and He knew no
sin. What suffering this produced in the Holy One of God to take all
upon Himself and to stand in the sinner's place before a holy
sin-hating God, our poor finite minds cannot realize.
2. He suffered from men.
This he had foretold. When man, guilty man, cast himself upon the
willing victim, all the wickedness and vileness and cruelty man is
capable of committing was brought out and spent upon the blessed Son
of God. The scourging, the buffeting, the mocking, the spitting and
the shame connected with it, the shame of the cross, He despised.
How that sensitive body must have quivered under it all!
3. He suffered from the devil.
He had tempted Him. Nothing was left undone, what this being could
do. All his cunning and powers were brought into use, with the one
purpose to keep Him from going to the cross and dying in the
sinner's place. And when at last he could not keep Him from going to
the cross, then he cast himself upon the victim and heaped all his
hatred and malice upon Him. He used man in all this awful work and
no doubt the legions of demons. And in all this the Son of God was
as a lamb, which is dumb before the shearers. He opened not His
4. But the greatest of all, He suffered from God.
With hushed breath, we must speak of this. It
is the Holy of Holies of the great work on the cross; the
impenetrable mystery of the atoning work of the Son of God. From the
darkness which enshrouded the cross and the blessed sufferer on the
accursed tree, there came the mournful cry: "My God, My God, why
hast Thou forsaken me?" It made known the awful suffering, which the
Lamb of God, the substitute of sinners, endured from the hand of a
holy God. He was smitten and afflicted of God. Have you noticed that
in the 22 Psalm this cry of the sufferer on the cross stands first?
Man would have written the sufferings of Christ in a far different
way. The descriptions of the sufferings not written by inspiration
would have been in this wise: The physical sufferings, how they
scourged Him, all the sickening details of that which even cruel
Rome called the intermediate death, would have been pictured. Then
would have followed a description of how the nails were driven into
the blessed hands who had lovingly touched so many weary, sin-laden
and disease-stricken bodies. All the agony of the cross and its
shame would have been described first by man. Then how the multitude
mocked and darkness came over the entire scene, then last of all, it
would have been stated, He cried, My God, My God, why hast Thou
forsaken me? But the Holy Spirit in this great Prophecy puts the cry
of deepest agony first. Why? Because in that hour the great work of
atonement, propitiation, sin-bearing, judgment and wrath enduring,
was once and for all accomplished. In this same Psalm we read what
men energized by Satan's power, did unto Him. But man could not put
Him to death. It is written, "Thou [that is God] hast brought me
into the dust of death." God's own hand rested upon Him. "The LORD
hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). "It pleased
the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief" (Isaiah 53:10).
And elsewhere we read, what refers to the same atoning work of our
Lord when He stood in the sinner's place.
"All Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me" (Ps. 42:7).
"Thine arrows stick fast in me" (Ps. 38:2).
"Thy hand presseth me sore" (Ps. 38:2).
"Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit" (Ps. 88:6).
"Thy wrath lieth hard upon me" (Ps. 88:7).
"Thy fierce wrath goeth over me" (Ps. 88:16).
"I suffer Thy terrors" (Ps. 88:15).
But what it all meant for the Son of God! Who can tell out His
sorrow and deep affliction? Never shall we fully discover the
greatness of the price which was paid. The death of the cross, it
has been truly said, stands perfectly alone. It can never be
repeated and because of its eternal efficacy, will never need to be
"It Is Finished"
And this great work He came to do, is finished. "It is finished!"
thus He spoke on the cross and the words assure us that all is done.
The rent veil and the open tomb tell us "It is finished." But what
has been accomplished in this blessed work? We cannot fully grasp it
now as long as we look into a glass darkly.
When at last we are brought into His Presence, transformed into His
own image, when we shall have share with Him in His glorious
inheritance, when at last sin and death are no more and a new heaven
and new earth are called into existence, then shall we more fully
know what that work has accomplished. All, ALL we have and are, all
we shall have and shall be as His own, has its blessed source in the
cross of Christ. He died for all. He gave Himself a ransom for all.
He tasted death for every man. He is the propitiation for the whole
world (not for the sins of the whole world, else the whole world
would be saved). It means His work is available to all sinners. Upon
that fact that He died for all, the Gospel is preached to lost and
guilty sinners. Christ died for the ungodly.
"Whosoever will" -- "Whosoever believeth," these are the precious
conditions of the Gospel of Grace which sound forth from the
finished work of Christ on the cross. And all who believe on Him and
accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, for them He bore
their sins on the cross. Each believing sinner can look back to the
cross and can say, He "loved me, and gave Himself for me." He paid
my debt. He bore my sins in His own body on the tree. He stood in my
place. He was my substitute. He tasted death for me.
Much of the evil teachings of the present day, such as universal
salvation, larger hope, millennial dawnism, etc., emanate from the
fact that propitiation and substitution are not correctly
understood. Propitiation is the Godward side of the sacrifice of
Christ, with this God is satisfied. The propitiation is for the
whole world. This does not mean that the whole world is therefore to
be saved. He bore the sins of many -- not the sins of all. He was
the substitute on the cross only for such who believe on Him.
And what do we possess who have believed on Him, own Him as our
Saviour and our Substitute? Many Scriptures might be read in answer
to this question. We cannot do so, but shall mention briefly a few
things which all believing sinners share on account of the finished
work of Christ on the cross.
We have a perfect justification. All our sins are forever put away,
because they were borne and paid for by His death on the cross. The
Blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. All has
been righteously and forever settled. "Who shall lay anything to the
charge of God's elect? It is God who justifieth. Who is he that
condemneth? It is Christ that died" (Rom. 8:33-34). "There is
therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus"
We have perfect Peace with God. Peace has been made in the blood of
the cross. It can never be unmade. We have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Peace. So many Christians think
their peace with God depends on their walk and service. If they sin,
they think they have lost their peace and their standing before God
and unless they are restored, they will be lost forever. Not our
walk and service, not anything we have done, we do or shall do, is
the ground of peace with God, but what God has done for us in
Christ's atoning work on the cross.
Then we have a perfect acceptance and standing before God; perfect
nearness and access to God. We are made nigh by the blood. With no
more conscience of sins, we can stand in God's own presence, purged
and cleansed, complete in Him, as near to God as He is.
His blessed work on the cross has made an end of the old man. We are
dead to the world, to self, to sin, to the law. The old man was
crucified with Christ. "sin shall not have dominion over you" (Rom.
6:14). This is the blessed message from the cross. We have
deliverance from the power of darkness and a perfect title to an
eternal inheritance. No uncertainty is attached to all this. We have
salvation, are saved, forever secure, Sons of God, Heirs of God
indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and much else, on account of the
finished work of Christ on the cross.
And to all this we add that on the cross He loved the church and
gave Himself for it. There He died for Israel and as a result the
remnant of that people will some day be delivered from iniquity and
perverseness, as Balaam beheld them, no iniquity in Jacob and no
perverseness in Israel (Numbers 23:21). Groaning creation will
ultimately be freed from the bondage of corruption and brought into
the liberty of the sons of God, because He shed His blood on the
cross. All things in heaven and on the earth (not things under the
earth) will be reconciled in virtue of the death of Christ on the
Ye Are Not Your Own
Let us remember as such who have been reconciled and have redemption
through His blood that we are bought with a price. Ye are not your
own. "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your
body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:20). Through
His death we are positionally dead; all who believe on Him have
died. We are dead to the law, to the world, to sin. But are we truly
living, walking and acting as such who have died, dead to sin and
alive unto God? A child of God who walks after the flesh practically
denies the power and value of the blessed finished work of Christ on
Let us exalt in our lives, by our words and deeds, the cross of
Christ. "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of
our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I
unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
PART 2 - His
The great work which the Lord Jesus Christ, God's well beloved Son,
came to do was to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. This
finished work of the cross is the basis of His present work and His
future work. What mind can estimate the value and preciousness of
that work in which the Holy One offered Himself through the eternal
Spirit without spot unto God! He procured redemption by His death on
the cross. In His present work and much more in His future work, He
works out this great redemption into result.
There is much confusion in the minds of Christians about the present
and future work of Christ. Many speak of the Lord being now the King
of kings and Lord of lords, reigning over the earth. They speak of
Him as occupying the throne of His father David in heaven. The
church, according to this teaching, is His Kingdom, and that kingdom
is gradually being enlarged under His spiritual reign until the
whole world has been brought into this kingdom.
All this is wrong. The Lord Jesus Christ will reign over the earth;
He will have a kingdom of glory, of righteousness and peace on this
earth; the nations of the earth will have to submit to His
government, but all this is still to come. It will be accomplished
with His visible Return to the earth, when He will claim as the
second Man the dominion of the earth. His kingly rule is future. His
present work is of another nature.
1. The Bodily Presence of Christ in Glory.
Our blessed Lord gave on the cross the body, which He had taken in
incarnation. That body died. It was the only part of Him, which
could die. But that body so dishonored by man, scourged and nailed
to the cross, could not see corruption. He arose from the dead. The
mighty power of God opened that grave and raised Him from the dead.
This mighty power of God, which brought Him forth is the power which
is towards us who believe. It is on our side (Eph. 1:19). And God
not alone raised Him from the dead, but He gave Him glory (1 Peter
If I were to teach on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, I
would demonstrate two things. First, that He actually arose; the
indisputable fact, that He who had really died, who was dead bodily,
arose bodily, and, in the second place, the all important meaning of
The Apostle Paul writes in that great chapter in First Corinthians,
"If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your
sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished"
(1 Cor. 15:17-18). In other words, if the Lord Jesus Christ came not
forth from the tomb, where His blessed body had been laid and where
it rested for three days; if He did not leave that grave in a bodily
form, His death on the cross would have no more meaning than the
death of any other human being. Then that blood which was shed could
never take away our sins and give the guilty conscience rest.
Furthermore, the countless beings, who passed out of this life
trusting in Christ, would have all perished. But Christ rose from
the dead. There can be no doubt about it. The witnesses for it are
His Physical Resurrection
His resurrection from the dead was God's answer to His prayers with
strong crying and tears.
"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and
supplication with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to
save him from death, and was heard in that he feared" (Heb. 5:7).
This took place in Gethsemane. The answer to His prayers and tears
came from God on the morning of the first day. His resurrection from
the dead was the "Amen" of God to His triumphant shout on the cross,
"It is finished." By raising Him from the dead, God set His seal to
the work of Christ on the cross. God gave His witness by it that the
work, which was demanded by His holiness and righteousness, had been
fully accomplished. Guilty man can now be righteously acquitted from
his guilt because God's eternal righteousness was upheld and
satisfied by His own Son in that He paid the penalty.
Even before God rolled away the stone, He had shown that the work
done was pleasing to Him. It seemed as if God could not wait for the
third day. His hand took hold of the veil, which hid the Holy of
Holies from the eyes of man. He rent that veil from top to bottom.
He showed thereby that He, the Holy God, could now come forth in
fullest blessing to man, and man bought by such a price, can
approach into the presence of God and be at home with Him, a loving
Father. Sinners saved by grace can enter into the Holiest by the
of Jesus, by the new and living way.
And how did He come forth from the grave? It has already been
stated. He arose with the body He had taken on in incarnation, the
body which could not see corruption. He left the grave in a
corporeal form. It was not a phantom, but a tangible body. The nail
prints were still seen in His hands and in His feet. The side showed
the place where the spear had entered. He appeared in that body in
the midst of His disciples and showed unto them His hands and His
side. And when at another time they cried out for fear, He said,
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and
see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke
24:39-40). And while they believed not for joy, He proved His
corporeality by eating a piece of broiled fish and of a honeycomb.
But while it was the same body it was also a glorified body. Such a
body, like unto His own glorious body, we shall receive some blessed
day in exchange for the body of humiliation; for this redemption of
the body we still wait as well as those who have fallen asleep in
Passing through the Heavens
In this body He left the earth and passed through the heavens into
heaven itself. What a scene that must have been! What must have
taken place after He had been lifted up and disappeared out of sight
from the gazing disciples! They saw Him as He was lifted up, the
same Lord Jesus, until the glory cloud, the Shekinah, took Him up
and in that cloud He was taken into the heavens, where the physical
eye could not follow. What a triumphant entrance into the heavens it
must have been! Perhaps the mighty Archangel accompanied Him, the
victor over Sin, Death, the Grave and Satan; for the Archangel will
accompany Him some day in His descent out of heaven. The Lord went
up with a shout (Psalm 47:5). He will return with the victor's
shout. When He comes back, He will be attended by the mighty angels.
May not these heavenly hosts have been present as He ascended on
high? And as the Man Christ Jesus passed upward through the
territory, which is still the domain of Satan, the prince of the
power in the air, the wicked tenants of the air fell back in fear
and trembling. The glorified Man passed on, upward, higher and
higher. Nothing could arrest His progress. The mighty power of God
raised Him up. Through the second heaven He passed, where the
wonderful stars, the creation of His own power, describe their great
orbits around their fiery suns. He is still attended by angels, and
the angelic hosts beheld Him, who were also the witnesses of His
sufferings, His death and resurrection. At last a place was reached
where every angel had to halt. Even the Archangel had to cover His
face and cry, "Holy! Holy!" Yonder is the third heaven and there
stands the glorious throne of God. The glorified Man advances alone;
He ascended on high into the immediate presence of His God and our
God, His Father and our Father. The welcoming voice of God Himself
bade Him to take His seat on His own right hand until His enemies
are made His footstool. What must it have been when the only
begotten Son returned to His eternal dwelling place as the First
begotten, and God as well as He Himself beheld the host of redeemed
sinners brought by Him into that Glory!
The highest place was given to Him, who died on the cross, far above
all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name
that is named. There He is now the Man in the Glory. Once more let
me state it, the Lord Jesus Christ is corporeally present in the
highest heaven. Everything depends on this. If His physical
resurrection and corporeal presence in the highest heaven is denied,
His present work and future work are an impossibility, and we rob
ourselves of every comfort joy and peace. Then, too, His atoning
work on the cross has no meaning for us.
A Fundamental Truth Denied
And too often this great truth of the bodily presence of Christ in
heaven is denied in these days of departure from the faith. They
teach His resurrection was a spiritual one, that He lives only by
His words. The denial of the literal resurrection of our blessed
Lord and His presence in heaven has become very widespread. Three
evil systems especially deny it.
As a sect this denomination is small, but the leaven of Unitarianism
is leavening Christendom. All this criticism of the Bible, the new
theology, a more liberal religion, but all aiming at the essential
Deity of our blessed Lord, His incarnation and resurrection from the
dead, is the leaven of Unitarianism. At a recent annual service of
the British and Foreign Unitarian Association the chairman observed
that "earnest and thoughtful men, occupying pulpits once dedicated
to the propagation of doctrines strictly orthodox, were now
preaching a Gospel, which for liberality and broadmindedness even
surpassed the Unitarianism of three or four generations ago."
This new science is not new, but is the revival, through satanic
powers, of ancient Gnosticism, a denial of every article of the
faith once and for all delivered unto the saints. Prominent in this
system is the denial of the physical resurrection, and the bodily
presence of the Lord Jesus in Glory. It is the masterpiece of Satan.
Its phenomenal growth attracts to its ranks such of the Christian
profession, who were never saved or whose knowledge of the truth of
God is insufficient. There will be no abatement of this great
delusion. It will continue to grow and become more powerful as the
Gospel is denied and God's Word rejected.
This is another great and widespread system. In it Satan appears
even more so than in Christian Science as an angel of light. It is
offered throughout this land as "food for Christians" and goes by
the name of "Bible Study." One meets it everywhere. What is it? It
is an amalgamation of several of the evil theories concerning the
Person of Christ, denying, like Unitarianism and Christian Science,
the absolute Deity of our Lord. "Pastor" Russell in his books also
denies the physical resurrection of Christ. According to this system
the body of our Lord was either dissolved in its natural gases or is
preserved as a memorial somewhere. This, of course, means the denial
of His bodily presence in heaven. But think of it! To say that the
body of our Lord was dissolved in its natural gases, when the Word
so clearly states "He could not see corruption."
2. The Present Work of Christ; What It Is
As Man in Glory, crowned with glory and honor, He is occupied in a
present work. He is in the presence of God as the Heir of all
things. He is the upholder of all and all things consist by Him.
This great universe, with its innumerable stars and suns, is under
His control; it belongs to Him. How man ever since the fall attempts
to penetrate the mysterious depths of the universe! Scientists with
their glasses scan the heavens and try to regain the knowledge of
creation, which was lost by the fall of man. Their discoveries
astonish us. How marvellous the heavens are! How they declare the
glory of God and the firmament His handiwork! Often too has the
search of fallen man into the depths of the universe demonstrated
the truth of God given by revelation in His Word. And yet the great
questions we ask of astronomers concerning this great universe are
answered with "we do not know." Some day in the twinkling of an eye
we shall know more about this great universe than all the knowledge
gained by fallen man. But this universe rests in the hands of the
Man in Glory. He is the great central sun around which all revolves.
We do not know if there is any work to be done in connection with
the great bodies which we see in the great space about us. We do not
know what changes go on there. But we do know that all is in His
hands. All is under His control.
We must also think of the angels, the heavenly hosts. He has been
made, after His passion, "so much better than the angels, as He hath
by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Heb. 1:4).
What may go on in this great world above, the world of unseen
spirits, who can tell? But they are all under His control. How He
sends them forth and uses them in His providential dealings with His
people on earth, and how He restrains through these unseen agencies
the wrath of the enemy and the evil work of demons, we do not know
fully. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister
for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14). This and
much else, though not fully revealed, and hidden from us, belongs
also to His present work. We mention this that we might have a
higher estimate of our Lord and realize anew what a mighty and
wonderful Lord we have.
But there is a present work of our Lord in Glory, which is fully
revealed in His Word.
In the first place, He is the Mediator between God and man and being
preached as such to the world, He exercises His office as the
Mediator throughout this present age (1 Tim. 2:5-6). Besides this
Mediatorship, He has a service which concerns those for whom He died
and who, by personal faith have accepted Him as their Saviour.
The Lord Knoweth His Own
"The Lord knoweth them that are His" (2 Tim. 2:19). What a blessed
thought of comfort and cheer it is, which should forever banish fear
and unbelief! The Lord, the One seated there in the Holiest, knows
us personally. He knew us before we ever were in existence. He saw
us before the foundation of the world. He knew all our vileness and
the depths of degradation. He knew us as we wandered in our sins.
His loving eyes followed us then. He sought us in His love and
brought us to Himself. He gave us His life and dwells in us. Each
believing sinner, saved by grace, is one Spirit with the Lord. "I
know my sheep." He calleth each by name, like a Shepherd calleth his
own sheep. Again He said "I know them." What a comfort it should be
to our hearts, that He knows each of us by name. He knows our
circumstances, trials, difficulties and temptations. He knows our
conflicts and our tears. "He knoweth the way that I take."
It is very precious! In the 32 Psalm we find the comforting word for
one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, "I will
guide thee with mine eye." ... That eye up yonder, that eye which
measures the depths of the universe, which follows every planet,
that eye which neither sleeps nor slumbers, that all-seeing eye
rests upon us. He is occupied with each. The millions of His people
who have lived and died, who passed through life and are now at home
with Him, were each individually the objects of His care. His loving
eye was upon the multitudes of martyrs. He knew and watched that
poor tortured saint, who was cast with broken bones into a dungeon
to starve to death. His power and love rested upon those who were
burned or cast before the wild animals. For each He served and
worked. And so He does still. Oh, the preciousness that each
believer is under the loving care of the Man in Glory, the object of
His love. Let us turn to a few Scriptures which reveal this fact.
Living For Us
In Romans 5:10 we read: "For if, when we were enemies, we were
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
What life is meant by which we are saved? Some have applied it to
the life of the Lord Jesus Christ before His death on the cross, as
if that righteous life, that perfect life, had any saving power in
it for us. Hence the teaching that the righteousness of His life is
imputed unto us. This is wrong. The life, of which this verse
speaks, is the life which He lives now in the Presence of God. When
we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.
And now being reconciled, much more are we saved by His life. By His
life there, because He is there, we are saved and kept down here.
Another passage in Romans may be linked with this. Romans 8:34: "Who
is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is
risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh
intercession for us."
The risen Christ is at the right hand of God and maketh intercession
for us. However, not in the Epistle to the Romans is this present
work of Christ as the intercessor of His redeemed people revealed,
but in the Epistle to the Hebrews. There we read in the ninth
chapter, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with
hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Heb.9:24).
And again in chapter 7:24,25: "But this man, because he continueth
ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to
save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever
liveth to make intercession for them."
But notice all this is not spoken of those who are unsaved and live
in sin. The unsaved who are not yet Christ's, have no share in all
this. For the unsaved world the Lord is not the intercessor. He
declared this truth first of all in His high-priestly prayer, when
He said, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world" (John 17:9).
This was also foreshadowed in the Old Testament. The High Priest in
His garments of Beauty and Glory had upon his shoulders two onyx
stones, and upon his breast a breastplate with twelve stones. Upon
both the onyx stones upon the shoulder and the twelve stones on the
breastplate there were names engraven. But these were not the names
of the Egyptians, the Jebusites, the Amorites or the Hittites, but
the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Our high priest in the
highest heaven carries His own upon His shoulders, which typify His
power and upon His bosom He carrieth them; the bosom tells us of His
love. We are the objects of the power and the love of Him who
appears in the presence of God for us. The fact that the names of
the Israelites were engraven upon these precious stones also has a
meaning. If they had been written there, they might be blotted out.
They were engraven and could never be erased. It tells out the
blessed truth of our security.
Two other passages in Hebrews reveal some of the blessed details of
the present priestly work of the Lord in our behalf. "Wherefore in
all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he
might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to
God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that
he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them
that are tempted" (Heb. 2:17,18). "Seeing then that we have a great
high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was
in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us
therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:14-16).
The first passage tells of the propitiation He made for the sins of
the people. He suffered, being tempted, and this is the basis of His
intercessory service. The passage from the fourth chapter tells us
how He was fitted while on earth for this great office work. While
down here He was tempted in all points as we are, apart from sin.
From sin within He could never be tempted for no sin was in Him. He
has gone through the trials, the difficulties and sufferings a man,
who depends on God is subject to while in this world, with the
exception of sin. He has known while on earth every possible
difficulty. Now He can be the merciful and faithful high priest and
as such enter into all our sorrows and trials. He sympathizes with
us in all our conflicts and difficulties down here. However, He does
not intercede for the flesh -- He has no sympathy with sin. By His
gracious and unbroken intercession in the sanctuary, He upholds us
individually in the path down here. He gives strength to endure. If
it were not for that intercession, we all would fall by the way. How
often God's people fear troubles and difficulties, losses and
bereavements, which might possibly come. What, if this favored child
should be taken from me, how could I stand it? Or, if I should lose
her whom I love? Or my health should fail? Perhaps my business and
income stops, how could I ever stand it? Often that which we fear
comes upon us. That loved one is taken and is put into a grave.
Health fails and the income stops; instead of plenty there is want.
But with the trial, with the loss, there comes such a strength to
bear it all, and more than that, real joy and songs of praise. It is
because the great High Priest lives and intercedes. He knows all
about it and in the tenderness of His love and the might of His
power, He takes us in His loving arms whenever trials and troubles
come upon us. At all times under all circumstances He is our
representative before God and thinks of us.
And so it is with our temptations and our warfare with the wicked
spirits. The enemy we have is most powerful and intelligent. He
knows how to spread his nets. His wiles are most subtle. If Satan
had his way he would overthrow and destroy completely the people of
God on earth. If it depended on our strength, we would soon fall.
But He knows. His eyes watch the enemy as they watch us. Peter's
case illustrates this perfectly. He saw the old serpent as he moved
on his way towards Peter. He knew the cunning plan Satan had
conceived to ensnare Peter. In Judas he had entered and taken
complete possession of the disciple, who was never born again. He
planned to fell Peter completely and rush him afterwards into
despair. But Satan did not reckon with Peter's Lord. Before the plan
could ever be carried out, the Lord had prayed for Peter that his
faith may not fail. And though Peter denied the Lord and fell, the
Lord's gracious intercession kept him through it all. And this is
still the case with us. He prays for us before that foe can ever
approach us and thus we can be victorious in the conflict and should
we stumble and fall, as it is so often the case, then He is the
great shepherd "who restoreth my soul." How much we owe to this
blessed, precious present work of our Lord in Glory no one knows.
What blessed revelation there will come to us when we shall know as
we are known, when we look back over our lives and behold what the
intercession of the Lord Jesus accomplished for us and all the
Saints of God! We have a great high priest who is passed through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God.
Another phase of His priestly present work is recorded in Heb.
13:15. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God
continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his
name." He presents our spiritual sacrifices to God. Our worship, our
praise and our prayers we address to God, the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, are all imperfect, but as they are presented to
God by Him, they are acceptable unto God and delight the heart of
God for that reason.
But there is a second aspect of His work in Glory in the presence of
God for His people. He is our advocate with the Father. Some
Christians think that the Priesthood and Advocacy of Christ are one
and the same. They are not. His advocacy is that which restores us.
In the first Epistle of John we read of this phase of His present
work. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye
sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1).
In the preceding chapter our wonderful privilege as the children of
God is made known. We are to be in fellowship with the Father and
with His Son Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Fellowship with the
Father is when we delight ourselves in His blessed Son, who is His
delight, when we share the Father's own thoughts about Him. The Son
knoweth the Father and He has revealed Him and brought us into His
own relationship with the Father. Fellowship with His Son is to
enjoy this relationship with the Father. The condition for the
enjoyment of this privilege in reality, fellowship with the Father
and with His Son is, that we walk in the light as He is in the
light.These blessed things were written that we sin not. Sin cannot
rob us of our salvation, but it mars the enjoyment of that
fellowship. The standard is that we sin not, and if we live in
constant enjoyment of that blessed fellowship into which grace has
brought us, we do not sin. But how often this is not the case. We
fall into sin. Then the blessed revelation is given: "If any man sin
we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous."
How grateful we ought to be that it does not say: If any man repent.
The Lord's intercession as advocate is independent of our repentance
or of our asking Him to do this for us. It is the exercise of grace
in His own loving heart toward us to restore our souls, to put us
back into the place where we can enjoy His fellowship. The moment
the believer sins on earth, He acts as the Advocate above. The Holy
Spirit then likewise acts in that He applies the Word to convict and
cleanse. The cleansing is by the water, the Word, and not a second
time by the blood. Then follows confession from our side and the
restoration is effected. Also notice that it does not say "we have
an Advocate with God," but "with the Father." It is a family matter,
and the Father is a Father who can do nothing but love those whom He
has brought to Himself through His Son. The conception that the
Father is angry with His sinning child on earth, and that the Son of
God by His pleadings inclines the heart of God to be merciful, is an
Another reason why He acts thus as Advocate is Satan, the accuser of
the brethren. He still has access into the presence of God. The day
will come when He is cast out of heaven, but that day will not come
until the church has been caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the
Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out
into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a
loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength,
and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the
accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our
God day and night" (Rev. 12:9-10).
Because Satan accuses God's people before God day and night, the
Advocate is there to rebuke him. Every attack by accusation of the
sinning children of God, the Lord Jesus Christ meets with the fact
that He made propitiation; He died for their sins.
He Shall not Fail nor be Discouraged
And this work of Himself as our Priest, the merciful and faithful
High Priest and our Advocate goes on up yonder uninterruptedly. In
Isaiah we find a word which speaks of Him, "He shall not fail nor be
discouraged." Well may we apply this to His present work as Priest
and Advocate of His own. As Priest He will never fail.
He will never fail in being about His own, in keeping them and
sustaining them, in sending them help from the sanctuary in time of
need. As Advocate He will not be discouraged. The same old failures
in our lives, which humble us and break us down, but He continues in
this service in behalf of His poor sinning people. Some Christians
do not believe in the fundamental doctrine of the Gospel, that a
child of God in possession of eternal life can never be lost. They
think it depends on their walk and service. If one of His own could
ever be lost again, if even the weakest, the most imperfect could be
snatched out of His hands, His present work would be a failure as
well as His finished work on the cross. But read the great high
priestly prayer He left for us in John 17. There He prays the
Father, who heareth Him always, that His own may be kept.
His Work for the Church
Another aspect of His present work is what He does for His church.
We can but briefly indicate what this means.
He is in glory the Head of the church. The church is His body, the
fullness of Him, that filleth all in all.
Every believing sinner is a member in that body. The risen Lord
Himself adds new members to that body. He puts each member into the
body as it pleases Him. Each member is guided and directed by
Himself. He supplies this body with gifts.
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,
evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of
the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the
body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of
the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the
measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13).
Thus He builds up from the Glory His own body. Some day that body
will be complete. Then we all come unto the measure of the stature
of the fullness of Christ. That will be when we see Him as He is.
Then His present work in behalf of His own, His coheirs, will be
finished. Brought home from this wilderness to the Father's house --
safe home -- there will be no need any longer for His power and love
to sustain us. No more tears will then be shed, no more wounds of
pain and sorrow to be soothed, no more help is needed for the time
of need; all that is passed. Nor does He then need to exercise His
office as Advocate, for we are delivered forever from the presence
of sin and sanctified wholly body, soul and spirit. Sinning is then
an impossibility. What a happy, glorious day that will be!
3. The Practical Results of His Present Work in the Christian's
The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is in Glory occupied with us
should lead us into a holy life which glorifies Him. That loving eye
is never withdrawn from us. If we were to remember this constantly,
what a power this would be in our lives! How many things would
remain undone, how many words unspoken, and how many other things
done, if we were constantly conscious of that eye which is upon us
individually. He represents us before God, and we are to represent
Him before men. A Christian is called to manifest Christ to be His
representative. And such a life, which is unto His Praise and Glory,
is made possible through His blessed intercessory work and His
presence in heaven. A true Christian life depends much on this heart
occupation with the Person and work of Christ. As His presence up
yonder and His service for us is a reality to our hearts through the
power of the Holy Spirit, we shall walk worthy of the Lord, and His
blessed work for us will constantly be felt in our lives here on
earth. What a joy it is then, as we reckon only with Him, who knows
us, to serve Him, to depend on Him. And how we should shun anything
which grieves Him.
Encouragement for Prayer
These blessed facts of the Lord's loving interest in us and our life
in this present evil age, surrounded by dangers and evils of all
kinds, will be a great encouragement to us in our prayer life. We
can go and tell Him all about that which troubles us. If He is
interested in everything which happens to us, down to the smallest
matter, then we can go to Him in prayer and tell Him about it. Some
Christians teach that we should not do this, but leave it all in His
hands without praying for it, satisfied that His will be done. But
this is contrary to Scripture, for it says that in everything by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving we are to make our
requests known (Phil. 4:6). He delights to have us tell Him, and
like John's disciples we can go to Him and tell Him. His ear is
always open. If in His service we become tired and weary, we can
tell Him, for He was tired on account of the way. If hungry or
without a resting place, He knows what that means, for He passed
through this. If lonely and our best services are misunderstood, or
the fiery darts of the enemy are aimed against us, we can speak to
Him about it. All this can be so very real to us if we but go on led
by His Spirit.
Deliverance from Worry
It should make an end of all worry and anxiety. We may possess a
divine carelessness. Be careful for nothing. Have no anxiety. Why
should we worry or be anxious? Worry is the child of unbelief.
Anxiety can never stay if the eyes of the heart behold the man in
Glory and faith realizes that all is in the hands of One "who doeth
all things well." Worry and anxiety accuse Him. Martha did that when
she was encumbered with much service and then said to Him, "Dost
Thou not care?" Each time we give way to anxiety, we act as if He
did not care. But He does; and He would have us rest in faith and
commit all to Himself.
Sharing His Work
In conclusion we must not forget that He permits us to have some
share in this blessed work of His. While He prays for us, we can
pray one for another, and for all the saints. He intercedes; we can
intercede. He washes our feet, typical of the cleansing by the Word.
We are to wash one another's feet. He carries our burdens, but the
exhortation also is that we carry one another's burden. He forgives
and restores. We are to forbear one another, and forgive one
another, even as Christ forgave us (Col. 3:13).
Part 3: His Future
The Lord Jesus Christ, who finished the work on earth the Father
gave Him to do, who is now bodily present in the highest heaven,
occupying the Father's throne and exercising His priesthood in
behalf of His people, is also King. To Him belongeth a Kingdom and a
kingly Glory. He has therefore a kingly work to do. While His past
work was foretold by the Spirit of God and His priestly work
foreshadowed in the Old Testament, His work as King and His glorious
Kingdom to come are likewise the subjects of the Word of God.
Predicted by the Prophets
His kingly work was announced by Gabriel to the virgin. "The Lord
God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall
reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there
shall be no end." (Luke 1:32,33). According to this message He must
occupy the throne of His father David, He must reign and possess a
Kingdom. This is but heaven's confirmation of what God's prophets
for many centuries had uttered in announcing the coming of the
Messiah. The entire prophetic Word has its climax in the visions of
the King and the Kingdom, He will receive on this earth. These
visions of glory to come, for Him who was despised and rejected of
men, are the glittering stars shining throughout the dark night of
the past and present age. They dazzle the eyes of faith. They
inspire hope and courage. We quote a few Scriptures which relate to
the Christ as King.
"Yet I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare
the decree: the LORD has said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day
have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen
for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy
possession" (Ps. 2:6-8).
"...He shall judge the world in righteousness." (Ps. 9:8).
"All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For
the kingdom is the LORD's: and He is the governor among the nations"
"Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting
doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of
Glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of Glory" (Ps. 24:9-10).
"O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of
triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; He is a great King over
all the earth" (Ps. 47:1-2).
"He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and the poor with
judgment." "Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations
shall serve Him." "His Name shall endure forever ... all nations
shall call Him blessed" (Ps. 72:2,11,17).
"Also I will make Him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the
earth" (Ps. 89:27).
"Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness..." (Is. 32:1).
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David
a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jer. 23:5).
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man
... and there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that
all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion
is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His
kingdom which shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:13-14).
"Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out
of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he
shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and
shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon
his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both"
"And the LORD shall be king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9).
All these prophecies and many more speak of the Lord Jesus as King
and bear witness of His Kingdom. The glories of His Kingdom are
likewise described by the holy men of God, the mouthpieces of the
Spirit of God.
Not Yet Fulfilled
Were these predictions fulfilled since the Lord Jesus Christ
suffered on the Cross? Have they been fulfilled since He entered the
Father's presence in Glory? Is He now exercising His kingly rule and
authority? Is the promised Kingdom of righteousness, of peace, of
power and glory now on this earth?
These questions arise at once in reading these divine predictions.
They must be answered in the negative. The Lord Jesus Christ has not
even begun His work as King. The Kingdom promised unto Him, He has
not yet received. There is now no such Kingdom of glory and power on
The New Testament Evidence
The New Testament furnishes the most complete evidence that our Lord
is not King over all the earth, and that His kingly rule is still in
the future. The notion that the church is the Kingdom in which the
Lord Jesus Christ rules as King, and that the Old Testament
predictions of the Kingdom glories are realized spiritually in the
church, is a pure invention. Nowhere is the church called the
Kingdom, nor do we find the Lord Jesus ever called "the King of the
Church." He is the Head of the church, which is His body. The New
Testament still looks forward to the Kingdom to come. The Lord has
left the earth to receive a Kingdom and to return (Luke 19:11-28).
He occupies the Father's throne, which is not His permanent place,
for He is to have His own throne. "When the Son of Man shall come in
His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon
the throne of His glory" (Matt. 25:31). He waits in heaven for the
time when all enemies will be made the footstool of His feet (Heb.
10:13). "But now we see not yet all things put under Him" (Heb.
2:8). No nation serves Him and the Kingdoms of this world are not
His Kingdoms during this age. They will become His and heaven will
resound with many voices 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" (Rev. 11:15). But that is future. When the
seventh angel sounds His trumpet, when heaven opens and He appears
as King of kings, crowned with many crowns (Rev. 19:11-16), then He
will receive the nations for His inheritance.
1. How Christ Begins His Future Work
The beginning of Christ's future work is revealed in 1 Thessalonians
4:15-18. This Scripture contains a great and unique revelation,
unknown in the Old Testament. The Lord had made the promise to His
disciples, "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that
where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3). He did not tell them
in what manner He would keep this most precious promise. In the
first Epistle to the Thessalonians the Lord gives the details of His
coming for His own, and how He will fulfill the promise given to His
disciples. He promises that He will descend from heaven with a
shout. When He accomplished His work on the cross, He gave a shout,
for He cried with a loud voice "Tetelestai" -- "It is finished!" As
the risen One, He met His beloved ones and said "All Hail!" The
Greek gives only one word, "Chairete" -- "Oh! the Joy!" This is His
resurrection shout, the shout of joy and victory. And when He
ascended He went up with a shout (Ps. 47:5). First Thessalonians
4:16 tells us He is going to descend with a shout. He passed through
the heavens in His glorious ascension and entered into the presence
of God, His Father. Some day He will arise from the place He
occupies on the Throne of God. He will leave the place on the right
hand of the Majesty on high and pass out of the third heaven. Once
more He passeth through the Heavens, not upward but downward. He
comes to call His Saints to meet Him. The meeting-place is not the
Mount of Olives, Jerusalem or any earthly place; the meeting-place
will be in the air. We repeat, this is a revelation, which is not
found in the Old Testament prophetic Word, nor did the Lord announce
it fully in His earthly ministry. According to the passage
containing this revelation, the shout of the Lord as He descends
into the air will be followed by the resurrection of the dead in
Christ. All the Saints of God will be raised physically from the
graves. This includes the Old Testament and New Testament believers.
When this shout is heard and the righteous dead are raised, all
belonging to Christ and living in that day, will be caught up
together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air. For the
sake of some, we add, that all who have accepted the Lord Jesus
Christ as Saviour, who received eternal life and the Spirit of God,
belong to Him and their blessed Hope and destiny is to be "caught up
... in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." Some teach that in
order to share this rapture certain attainments are needed. Such,
however, is not the case. No service, suffering, separation or any
works we do, could ever fit us for such a marvelous event. Grace has
accomplished it for us. In 1 Cor. 15:51-52 we read: " Behold, I shew
you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
in a moment ..." The "all" means all that are Christ's at His
Coming, independent of their knowledge about dispensational truths,
independent of their waiting for Him, or any other thing. That they
belong to Him and are redeemed by His precious blood is a sufficient
title to be caught up and to meet Him in the air.
Of this double company, saints who died and who will be raised from
the dead, and saints who live and will be changed in a moment and
caught up to meet Him, we find a hint in His words in John 11:25-26.
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live (Resurrection). And whosoever
liveth (when He comes) and believeth in Me shall never die (The
changing of living believers). Believest thou this?" May we answer
Him, Yea, Lord, I believe. We may not understand all the details of
this wonderful event, an event which will come suddenly, but we can
believe His promise and wait daily for its glorious fulfillment.
This is the blessed Hope of the Church. For this we are told to
wait. Ere He begins His judgment work, before the last scenes of
tribulation and wrath can be enacted upon this earth and He returns
as the King of Glory to claim His blood-bought inheritance, He will
come into the air to meet His redeemed host and co-heirs. This is
the first event in connection with His future work.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
All judgment is to be executed by the Lord Jesus Christ. "For the
Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son"
(John 5:22). Up to the present time no judgment work has been done
by Him. Nor have His people received their crowns and rewards for
service and faithfulness. The meeting of the Saints in the presence
of the Lord will be immediately followed by the judgment seat of
Christ. "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ"
(Rom. 14:10). "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor.
5:10). No unsaved person appears before this judgment for they were
not raised from the dead, nor changed in the twinkling of an eye.
This judgment concerns only believers. This judgment, however, does
not decide their eternal salvation. That was settled when they
believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. The words of our Lord in John
5:24 make this clear. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting
life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death
unto life." "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which
are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). The works and the service of His
people will be dealt with by the Lord in this first judgment act in
His future work. Of this we read in I Cor. 4:5 "Therefore judge
nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to
light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the
hidden counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise
Everything will be made manifest before that judgment seat. The
unconfessed sins in the believer's life will be brought to light and
all hidden things will be uncovered. Then the works of the believer
will be made manifest. "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for
the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and
the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's
work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he
himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" (I Cor. 3:13-15). It will
be the time when God's people will receive their rewards and crowns.
Then the Apostles, the faithful martyrs, the self-sacrificing
missionaries and servants of God will receive praise and reward for
their labors. The judgment seat is the award seat of Christ. In view
of this the Apostle wrote to the faithful Thessalonians: "For what
is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the
presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our
glory and joy" (I Thess. 2:19-20). And the Apostle John exhorts:
"And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear,
we [the apostles and teachers] may have confidence, and not be
ashamed before Him at His Coming" (1 John 2:28). All believers in
Christ are saved and have eternal life; but not all receive a
reward. Their works will be consumed by the fire of that judgment,
for they were nothing but wood, hay and stubble. They will go
rewardless, while the faithful saints, who toiled and served, who
spent and were spent, following closely in His steps, will receive
rewards. What these will be, no Saint does know at this time.
When all is accomplished in connection with this judgment seat of
Christ, He will lead His Saints into the Father's house, that they
may behold His glory (John 17:24). He will present the church to
Himself, "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any
such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph.
5:27). He presents His church "faultless before the presence of His
glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24).
2. His Future Work in Connection with the Earth
When the Saints of God have left the earth and met the Lord in the
air, when the events took place we have briefly outlined, then the
Lord Jesus Christ will begin from heaven a work which will be
severely felt on the earth. He begins to deal with the world in a
series of judgments. From the Book of Revelation we learn that the
"Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to
open the book, and loose the seven seals thereof." (Rev. 5:5). The
book He receives contains the judgments decreed for this earth with
its apostate masses. The Lamb is seen opening the seals of the book,
and as He breaks the seals the events described under each seal
happen. It is His work in judgment. In the eighth chapter of
Revelation an Angel is seen before an altar with a golden censer.
"And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the
altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and
thunderings, and lightnings and an earthquake. And the seven angels
which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound" (Rev.
8:5,6). This Angel is the Lord Jesus Christ. He casts down the fire
of divine displeasure and judgment upon the earth. The seven
trumpeting angels with their judgments for the earth are sent forth
by Him. Then come seven other angels, who pour out the bowls filled
with the wrath of God. We cannot examine all those judgments
separately. There is no human being who can realize what they all
mean and what it will be when the Lord deals with this earth in
Israel and the Nations
Israel and the nations will pass through those judgments executed
from above. Christendom apostate, God defying and Christ rejecting
Christendom, will, like Pharaoh, be hardened by them. They do not
repent, but rather believe the strong delusion and accept the man of
sin with his lying wonders. The Jewish people will in part be
restored to their land. The great tribulation centers in their land
and will be felt there in its severest form. The apostate portion of
the Jews will worship the false Christ and will therefore be visited
by these righteous judgments. But there is also a remnant of
God-fearing Jews, who believe the Word of God, who expect the
Kingdom and the King. While these believing Jews suffer, they also
serve. They are the last messengers of the King. They herald once
more the Gospel of the Kingdom and will bear witness of it to all
the nations of the earth, before the end comes (Matt. 24:14).
Nations Learning Righteousness
"When Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world
will learn righteousness" (Isaiah 26:9). A work of salvation will go
on during those seven years of judgment, tribulation and wrath. A
great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, and
kindreds, and people, and tongues, come out of the great tribulation
and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb (Rev. 7:9-17). They heard and believed the final testimony as
preached by the Jewish remnant. Heathen nations will accept the
Gospel of the Kingdom, while apostate Christendom is excluded, for
they received not the love of the truth, but had pleasure in
unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2).
His Glorious Appearing
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be
darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall
fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And
then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then
shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son
of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory"
(Matthew 24:29-30). "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" (Rev. 1:7). "And
I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse: and he that sat upon
him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge
and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were
many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He
Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His
name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven
followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and
clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He
should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron:
and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of
Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name
written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Rev. 19:11-16).
The King in His Glory
Every eye shall see Him, when He appears in glorious majesty as the
King of Kings. His glory will cover the heavens (Hab. 3:3). Every
tongue which denied Him will be forever hushed. His second,
personal, visible and glorious coming will be the crowning and
unanswerable proof of His Deity. His incarnation and all the work He
accomplished on earth and in glory, can then no longer be denied.
His glorious appearing will silence all His enemies. His rejection
ends and His glory as God's appointed King and ruler over this
earth, He purchased with His blood, begins. Every knee must then bow
before Him and every tongue confess that He is Lord. And when He
appears in all His glory, He does not come alone. His Saints come
with Him. When He appears, then shall we also appear with Him in
glory (Col. 3:4). In that day of triumph and glory, He will be
glorified in His Saints and admired in all them that believed (2
Thess. 1:10). Wonderful spectacle it will be, when He brings His
many sons with Him unto glory! All will be conformed into the same
His feet will stand once more upon the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4).
Before Him is Jerusalem and all nations are gathered against it to
battle (Zech. 14:2). The Beast will be their leader, while the Man
of Sin, the Anti-christ, will do his dreadful work in the city
itself. The remnant of Israel in great distress will then pray and
look for deliverance. The coming of the King will bring that
deliverance. They will shout then for joy and say in that day, "Lo,
this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this
is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in
His salvation" (Isaiah 25:9). They will welcome the once rejected
One. "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt.
23:39). And He will fight against those nations. The great battle of
Armageddon will then take place. "The beast, and the kings of the
earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him
that sat on the horse, and against His army" (Rev. 19:19). But their
opposition will suddenly be broken to pieces. "And the beast was
taken, and with him the false prophet [the Anti-christ] that wrought
miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received
the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped the image. These
both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone"
On His Throne
"When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy
angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory"
(Matt. 25:31). The judgment which will then be executed by Him is
not a universal judgment (the dead are not mentioned), but it will
be a judgment of the living nations in the day when He appears the
second time. Some nations are put on His right side and He calls
them "the blessed of my Father;" they inherit the Kingdom which will
then be established on the earth. That these righteous nations are
not church saints is obvious, for the church, as we have seen, was
caught up in the beginning of His future work to meet Him in the air
and is associated with Him when He comes in power and glory. Then
there are other nations which are put on His left hand and they
shall go away from that judgment throne into everlasting punishment
(Matt. 25:46). But what is the standard of this judgment? What they
did to the Lord's brethren or what they did not unto them. The
Lord's brethren according to the flesh are the Jews. During the
tribulation period believing Jews will preach the Gospel of the
Kingdom to all nations (Matt. 24:14). The nations who believed this
last offer of mercy treated the messengers in kindness; those who
did not believe the message did not treat them in that way. And when
this great judgment is passed, His Kingdom of righteousness and
peace will be established on this earth. Righteousness will begin to
reign as grace reigns now through righteousness.
3. The Glories of His Kingdom
"And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a
kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not
be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume
all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2:44). "I saw
in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with
the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancients of days, and they
brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and
glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages, should
serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not
pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Dan.
7:13-14). A closer study of these two fundamental passages from
Daniel's great prophecies will establish the fact that this promised
Kingdom comes with the second coming of Christ. It will be preceded
by a judgment blow at the earthly kingdoms; Nebuchadnezzar beheld
this in his prophetic dream.
This Kingdom is an earthly Kingdom and all the nations will be
gathered into that Kingdom. Jerusalem and a converted Israel will be
the center of it. The Lord Jesus Christ and His Saints will reign
with Him over the earth and over this Kingdom. And what will be His
work then? But a few of the many things can be mentioned. "He shall
speak peace unto the heathen [nations]" (Zech. 9:10). "With
righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for
the meek of the earth." (Isaiah 11:4). "He shall bring forth
judgment to the Gentiles" (Is. 42:1). "And He shall judge among the
nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their
swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation
shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war
any more" (Isaiah 2:4). He shall also "set up an ensign for the
nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather
together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth"
(Isaiah 11:12). "And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in
that day, and shall be my people" (Zech. 2:11). "And the LORD shall
be King over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9). "Behold, a king shall
reign in righteousness" (Isaiah 32:1). "A King shall reign and
prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jer.
Many more passages predicting and describing the Kingdom and its
glories might be added. All these blessed words mean exactly what
they say. Righteousness and peace will characterize that world-wide
Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. His glory will cover the earth as
the waters cover the deep. Nations will worship Him. "He shall have
dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of
the earth" "Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations
shall serve Him." (Ps. 72:8,11). Every wrong will be righted on
earth and present-day evils and oppression, crime and vice, poverty
and sickness will be abolished. Only He has the power to do this.
Oh! the glories of the Kingdom! May we pray, "Even so, come, Lord
Jesus." Thy Kingdom come.
"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the
manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject
to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected
the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be
delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty
of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth
and travaileth in pain together until now (Rom. 8:19-22) Sin has
brought a curse upon creation. The thorns and thistles are the
result of the fall of man as well as the blight and misery which
rests upon a creation, which was pronounced good by the Creator. But
this condition into which creation has been plunged will not
continue forever. A better day is coming. Groaning creation is to be
delivered. The curse will be removed. This cannot be the work of
man. Scientists attempt to set things in order in this ruined
creation; but they fail. The things which destroy, the heat and the
drought, the storms and earthquakes, cannot be arrested by the arm
The Son of God wore the crown of thorns. The curse was put upon Him.
And He who created all things and paid for redemption by His
precious blood, will, with omnipotent power, deliver groaning
creation. It will take place when the sons of God are manifested.
The sons of God (the redeemed) will be manifested with Him, as we
have seen, in the day of His visible appearing. Then the great
vision of Isaiah will find its fulfillment. "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. And the cow and the bear shall feed;
their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat
straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of
the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice
den" (Isaiah 11:6-8).
All Under His Feet
The dispensation of the fulness of times has come (Eph. 1:10). All
things are put under Him. All His enemies are made His footstool. He
is Lord of all. The glorious reign of Christ, in kingly glory, in
fulfillment of the Prophet's visions, will be followed by another
The Great White Throne
The second resurrection, that of the wicked dead, takes place at the
end of the Kingdom reign of Christ. This great judgment and the
final destiny of the wicked is revealed in Rev. 20:11-15. The Lord
Jesus Christ will be the judge in that awful scene, for it is
written that all judgment is committed unto the Son (John 5:22).
Then Cometh the End
"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to
God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all
authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies
under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death ...
And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son
also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that
God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
Then He will create a new heaven and a new earth, the eternal
dwelling place of redeemed and glorified mankind. "And I saw a new
heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1). "And He that sat upon the
throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me,
Write: for these words are true and faithful" (Rev. 21:5). "And
there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb
shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see
His face; and His Name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall
be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the
sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for
ever and ever" (Rev. 22:3-5).
This will be the ultimate result of the blessed Work of Christ. His
past work is finished. Soon His present Work may end and then His
future, kingly work begins, when He comes the second time.
"Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
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