The Word of God and the Coming of the Lord
We do not believe in making much of what may appear to be signs of the coming again of our Lord, for we may be so easily mistaken in these and injure souls by turning them to sensational and passing events rather than to Christ. Our business is to minister the truth as to the One who is coming, to so speak of Him and occupy the hearts of His saints with Himself, that they will long to see Him, and will cry, "Come, Lord Jesus." But there are some signs we cannot evade; they force themselves on our notice continually and shout at us wherever we turn. One of these is the way the Word of God is treated by many who have professed to have heard it, and to have become His servants as a result of it. How presumptuously they treat the Holy Word!
It is JESUS, our Lord, who, in this last chapter of the Revelation, declares Himself to be the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, who testifies that every word of it is sacred, and not to be tampered with; and solemnly warns those that hear it of the terrible and eternal pains and penalties that those must suffer who dare either to add to it or take from it. But this solemn warning seems to have no weight, and the Lord Jesus Himself seems to have no authority with these men, who set their boasted learning above His Word, and think themselves competent to criticise it, and to say what of it is truth and what is error, what is the Word of God in it, and what the ecstatic dreams of a fallible man.
To those who are subject to the Lord and to His Word, and delighted to be so because of the joy and blessing that such subjection gives now, and the certainty and hope that it gives as to the future, "the words of the prophecy of this book" are infallible and sure, and so, indeed, are the words of all Scripture, and to them this profane and impious tampering with the words of Scripture is a sign of the last times, in which men are casting off the fear of God and despising His Word, and taking "counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us".
It is by His Word that God holds and exercises the consciences of men, but if they refuse to accept the Word as the Word, and arrogate to themselves the right to choose and refuse those parts of it that suit their moods and whims, what hold has God upon them? They have in this cast away His cords from them and broken His bands asunder, and they imagine that they are free.
This is a sign of the last days, and with it the Lord connects His coming again: "He who testifies these things saith, Surely, I come quickly." Shall we not then, as we see His Word so mishandled, expect Him? When men will not have the Word of God, which is a word of grace and warning, to enlighten and correct and restrain and bless them, but will go their own wilful ways in defiance of His Word and will, is it not then the time for Him to appear who will judge the world in righteousness? And when those who by solemn oath have pledged themselves to be the faithful custodians of His Word are faithlessly treating it as a conglomeration of truth and fable, is it not the time for the Faithful and True Witness to appear? And since the time has come when they will not endure sound doctrine but, having itching ears, heap to themselves teachers, who deny that judgment is coming, and scoff at the thought of God's intervention in the affairs of the world, and are both adding to and taking from - chiefly taking from - the words of the prophecy of this book, is it not the time for Him to fulfil His word, and come quickly?
The Last Word to His Church
It is His last word, and is it not as sure as any other word that He has spoken? Shall we accept every other word in this book as the Word of God and have a doubt about this? It is His last word, and it is a word from His heart for the heart of His church, His bride, and it is the heart that will understand it and not the head. He had said unto John of the whole book, "These sayings are faithful and true; and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show unto His servants the things that must shortly be done. Behold I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book"; and will not he be blessed who keeps this saying, and treasures it as the last word of the Heavenly Bridegroom, the bright Morning Star? And what will the response be from the heart that treasures this saying? There can be but one. "Amen, come, Lord Jesus."
It is His last word in this book in which we hear the thunders of heavenly praise; in which we see the pride and crimes of men challenge the very supremacy of God and call aloud for the wrath that is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness, and which shall crush them utterly; in which the Lamb girds on His victorious sword and triumphs over all His foes, for He is King of kings and Lord of lords; and in His last words in this book the voice of judgment changes to words of love; the voice that makes the earth tremble now speaks in tender tones to the hearts of His saints, that in them there might be awakened a response to His desire, and that that response might find expression in a cry that will be as sweetest music to Him, "Come, Lord Jesus." He has heard this cry from many lips.
"They tasted His love and their souls were on fire,
While they waited in patience His face to behold."
Is not this the time when He should hear it afresh? Nothing short of His coming, His presence, can satisfy the hearts of those who know that they are loved by Him. And His coming is drawing nigh. It ever was nigh to His heart; we shall show how near it is to ours by going forth to meet Him with this cry upon our lips.
Let all who love the Lord remember that He cannot come to put the world right and establish God's righteousness in the earth, until He has taken His church, His bride, out of it. We can hasten that glorious day for which all creation groans, by looking earnestly for Him and crying with hearts expectant and fervent, "Come, Lord Jesus."
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