Hope of the Lord's Coming: No. 2

Revelation 22:12
There is also another striking illustration of the true practical effect of the hope of our Lord's coming in the Israelitish jubilee. Every fiftieth year the trumpet of the jubilee was to be sounded; and the value of the land was reckoned from that time. The reason was this. If an Israelite had waxen poor, and had been obliged to sell any of the land that had been allotted to him according to his tribe, when the jubilee trumpet sounded it came back to him again. It was said that " In the year of this jubilee, ye shall return every man unto his possession." The consequence was, that if an Israelite wished to sell his land, the value of his green fields was reckoned according as the jubilee was near or distant. " If thou sell ought unto thy neighbor, or buyest ought of thy neighbor's hand, ye shall not oppress one another: according to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: according to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee." (Lev. 25:14-1614And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbor, or buyest ought of thy neighbor's hand, ye shall not oppress one another: 15According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: 16According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. (Leviticus 25:14‑16).) The directions were minute and clear. They showed that if any one washed to sell his fields, their value would be little or nothing if the jubilee trumpet were expected soon to sound. And is it not really the fact, that, if we are waiting for God's Son from heaven, the best earthly possessions will have little value in our eyes? Whereas, if we are not looking for the Lord, and give way to the thought that He will not come for many years, then will not earthly possessions be highly valued by us? No doubt this jubilee year was typical of the coming of Messiah to His people on earth, and then putting them into possession of those earthly blessings which Jehovah promised them; but we are using it now to illustrate the solemn fact that the hope of our Lord's coming must necessarily draw our minds and hearts to where He is, and detach us from minding earthly things, or esteeming anything here beyond its present blessing, or as we can use it for the glory of God. We may be sure of its being a true test of our hearts. " According to the number of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price thereof," was said to the Israelite as to his land: and can we be valuing anything we have at a high price, if we are really waiting for God's Son from heaven? With the man of the world, who is without God, and having " no hope," it must be otherwise. He knows nothing better than what he sees; but the child of God, knowing he is purchased with the Savior's blood, that he has received the Spirit of Christ, and that the Lord Jesus is coming to take us unto Himself, that we may be ever with Him, cannot but see that his place is not to be sleeping as others, but going forth to meet the Bridegroom. And if really thus occupied, how can he be laying up treasures upon earth?
Look also at Jeremiah. The prophet had been taught to look for the judgment of God upon the sinful nation. He was shut up in prison, and the army of the king of Babylon besieged the city. He knew that God would deliver the city into hi& hand. It was a humiliating and serious moment, and the prophet had declared to Zedekiah, king of Judah, Though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper. But the faithful prophet had the word of the Lord, and he knew and told the people that after seventy years God would deliver His people from captivity, and bring them again into their land. This was the hope of the faithful in that day. Appearances were all against it. There was no sign of such a thing—nothing in what they saw to warrant such a return of blessing. But God had said it. They had His word for it; and to a faithful heart nothing more is required. And so now. There is no human appearance of the Lord's coming to take us to the Father's house—no sign that He is at hand—no circumstances occurring to prove to others that He is coming quickly; so that the scoffer still says, All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. But the word of the Lord is, " I come quickly!" and He bids us watch and wait for Him.
As to Israel's future, who were then on the point of being led into captivity, the prophet could say, "Thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good will toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord> thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord; and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into this place, whence I caused you to be carried away captive." (Jer. 29:1014.) Thus the prophet had a clear and unquestionable revelation from Jehovah as to the future deliverance from captivity and blessing of the Jews; and so we have the clearest instruction as to the Lord's coming to take us into glory, to be forever with Himself. Now the prophet Jeremiah so believed the word of God as to His people, that he laid out his money accordingly. This showed that he really believed the word of Jehovah. He bought the field of his cousin, Hanameel, weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver, " subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances." Jeremiah says, " Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days: for thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Houses, and fields, and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.....Fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate, without man or beast: it is given into the hands of the Chaldeans." (Jer. 32:43, 8-1543And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. (Jeremiah 32:43)
8So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. 9And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. 10And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. 11So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: 12And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. 13And I charged Baruch before them, saying, 14Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. 15For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. (Jeremiah 32:8‑15)
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This was the prophet's hope in his day, and so real was the word of God to his soul, that he laid out his money in reference to it And did not our blessed Lord say, as to us, "Whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay?" and again, " Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just"? Did He not also say, " Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also?'' (Luke 10; Matt. 6:20, 2120But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:20‑21).) And are we really laying out our money in such a way as to be looking for the Lord's recompense when He comes? Are we so living, and walking, and acting, as those who believe with our hearts His own words, " Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be?"
Two things will characterize those who are really looking for the Lord Jesus—readiness to serve, and clearness in testimony. Our Lord said, " Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord." (Luke 12:35, 3635Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. (Luke 12:35‑36).) This is not merely accepting the doctrine, but so believing it, so influenced by it, as to lead the soul into exercise about honoring Him now, and to inquire, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Instead of sleeping, as do others, the long, flowing garment is rolled up, and fastened round the waist, so that whatever, or whenever, the Master's word may be, such are ready to do His will. It is manifestly taking the place here of a servant of Christ during His absence. The heart is in tune with His own desire to occupy till He come. It is not the slothful servant, who knew His Lord's will and did it not; but the soul, conscious that time is short, that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, that the end of all things is at hand, occupied in this one thing of carrying out the Lord's will during His absence. How simple, and yet how happy, this is! How contrary to His mind, how grieving to the Holy Ghost, to be intellectually taken up with prophetic events, and yet for the heart to be cold toward Himself. Surely it is high time to awake. The night is far spent, and the day is at hand, and our salvation is nearer than when we believed. No rules, no ecclesiastical arrangements, will effect this. No human organization can bring this about; no, it is intensely individual. It is the exercise of faith, and love, and hope in our Lord Jesus Christ which alone can produce the girded loins. The eye and heart looking upward for the bright Morning Star, and crying to Him to "Come," while the soul burns with desire for the salvation of sinners, and cries, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." How opposite all this is to the cold, dry, formal acceptance of a doctrine! How different it is where the truth is so received into the heart as to kindle real earnestness, and draw out fervency and devotedness to the Lord, and care for those around, for the glory of His name!
But, with the girded loins, the lights also should be burning. The direction of the burning flame is always upward—it points to that which is above the earth, while it communicates light to those around. It makes everything manifest. Such, too, should we be. Such a clear, unmistakable testimony should be given by us, always pointing to Him who is at the right hand of God, our heart& always in warmth and energy going upward to Him, so that others may perceive that we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, and are going out to meet Him. It is a sad thing when friends and neighbors do not know us as on the Lord's side. The light must be dim indeed when passers-by fail to observe it. The oil must have got very low, and the wick have been sadly neglected, for the light to be not manifested. You may drop in on a drowsy, sleeping friend, and find his lamp flickering, and almost obliterated by the corrosion of a neglected wick, but he no sooner is awakened, than he discovers his neglect, and by trimming the lamp, and replenishing it with oil, it speedily burns as brightly as ever. Such it may be, in a spiritual sense, with many of the Lord's people now. When the soul grows careless under, it may be, a pleasant and prosperous course, it becomes, before it is aware of it, drowsy and sleepy. The pleasing circumstances of outward ease so satisfy the heart naturally, that God is for a time forgotten, His word neglected, and secret prayer and praise laid aside; so that, instead of being servants waiting on the tip-toe of expectation for the coming of the Lord, and being a bright testimony to those around, the light is almost gone out, and the flowing garments have become entangled with the cares of the world, its pleasures, and its lusts. Oh, that by the power of the Holy Ghost we might all be aroused, so that, with fervent hearts going upward to our Lord in earnest prayer and grateful praise, and distinct testimony going out to those around, it might be manifest that we are not merely holders of the doctrine of our Lord's coming, but really as men that wait for their Lord. What a marvelous change there would be in life, walk, and testimony, if the coming of our Lord were known in our souls in the reality of hope. Still, He says, " I come quickly;" and, before He does come, He would have us count upon the sufficiency of His grace!
It is very clear that our loving Lord Jesus desires to have us with Himself. He said (and " He is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever"), " Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am." It is not here, His coming to us where we are, for that surely He does, for He never leaves us nor forsakes us; and in a very especial way, " Where two or three are gathered together in my name," said He, " there am I in the midst of them." But His desire expressed to the Father is, that we should be with Him in glory where He is. His heart longs to have the objects of His love with Him. And not only so, but that we should behold His glory, for this He knows, and this only, could give us perfect satisfaction. Not only, then, has He given to us the glory which the Father has given to Him, but His heart's desire is that we should be with Him, and behold Him, who was here a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, in the place of highest exaltation, and feast our souls with everlasting delight in gazing upon Him, and contemplating His personal glory. What a satisfying object for our hearts He ever will be• We shall soon see Him! What a change then!
" No more struggle, no more woe,
No more tossings to and fro;
No more sorrow, pain or sighing,
In the home to which I go.
No temptation to enthrall me,
And disturb my peaceful breast;
In the ' Father's house' of glory,
There the weary are at rest.
Come, O hasten, my Beloved!
Quickly come, my loving Lord!
All my heart and soul are hanging
On the promise of Thy word;
Come, my best, my only treasure,
In Thy brightness I would shine;
I my own Beloved's ' lily,'
Thou my ' tree of life' divine."