Jeroboam: a Kingdom Gained and a Kingdom Lost

1 Kings 11:26‑40  •  52 min. read  •  grade level: 10
 
THE Word of God deals in facts, not theories. Man has been put upon trial in every possible way. The result of these trials has been constant failure. " Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning." The scriptures are the testimony of God as to what is in man, and His testimony to what He is in Himself. Scripture is also given for our admonition. Paul writing to the Corinthians, 1st Epistle, chap. 10, so uses the Old Testament,-drawing examples and warning from the records of the past, as also instruction and stimulus for faith to day. The actions of men, and the state of the Heart which led to them, is put prominently before us. Sometimes we glean from the actions themselves, the whereabouts of a man's thoughts; at other times the Holy Ghost more explicitly declares the condition of soul. Thus we have a "sure word of prophecy, unto which we do well to take heed." " By the word of thy lips, I have kept me from the path of the destroyer." " Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." We need faith, not experience. The latter is imperatively given to us in Scripture-God's testimony of what was in man, brought out in given circumstances, but existing in man before its development. It is also God's testimony of what is in us. Circumstances may develop this also. But where Faith is in exercise and the scriptures accredited, we do not require to be put upon trial, or to learn by our failure the knowledge of our weakness. Faith accredits God's testimony. We have in the Bible the record of our weakness. Every failure in man related there confirms it. We have also the source of strength in dependance or faith in God. The knowledge of the former works humility and trembling, and in a healthy state of soul knits us closer to God; and, conscious of our weakness, we roll ourselves upon Him.
" His soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: hut the just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:44Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)).
Thus facts, not theories, are revealed in the word of God. Now the subject before us is pregnant with meaning. A kingdom was given to Jeroboam by the appointment and power of God, and was lost by his own efforts to retain it. The call to the kingdom was of God, and the power to sustain in it, His also. God in His gifts has calculated for circumstances. He may use them to prove whether man will confide in Him; but to be swayed in our judgment by them, is to put circumstances above God, and thus to forget that He is Almighty. Unbelief in his power and Godhead does not end in departure from Him only, but to follow another; as in the case of Israel, " Up, make us gods to go before us." So in the case of Jeroboam, " he set up calves in Dan and Bethel." But let us look to the narrative. The chapter opens with the account of Solomon's idolatry: "For it came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For. Solomon went after Ashtaroth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcolm the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, etc. etc." (ver. 9.) " The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice." In ver. 14, we read, "the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom." In ver. 23, we read, " God stirred up another adversary, Rezon, the son of Eliadah," etc. And again, in ver. 26-40:-
"And Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: and \he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel. Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (but he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is as right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom [ chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: but, I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have alight alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not forever. Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
An absolute promise of God is given to Jeroboam in the 31st verse, " I will give ten tribes to thee." The ground of God's judgment upon Solomon in the 33rd verse, viz., his idolatry, the condition of blessing to Jeroboam in the 38th verse, viz., God acknowledged in the kingdom. For God to promise and to perform is one. "Hath he said, and shall he not do it?"
Rehoboam, left to the unrestrained exercise of his own will, provokes the people to rebellion. In chapter 12, verse 15, we read, " The king hearkened not unto the people, for the cause was from the Lord, that He might perform the saying which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat" verses 16, 17, 18, 19. In verse 20, " It came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel." " There was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only."
Thus the word of the Lord was fulfilled. Jeroboam reigned over the ten tribes of Israel. They unanimously elect him. God forbids the king of Judah to fight against him, commands every man to return to his house, saying, " For this thing is from me." If Jeroboam reflected on his elevation and the manner of it, nothing could be more manifestly of God, and, because of God, the maintenance of his position secured. What cause for gratitude and thanksgiving, what ground of confidence! Yet it is exactly when in the most favorable position, when there is no excuse for unbelief, that which is in the heart of man is betrayed. Happy for us that, in Christ, " God can be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly."
" Then Jeroboam built Shechem in Mount Ephraim and dwelt therein; and went out from thence and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David; if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah." Now this reasoning of Jeroboam would have been consistent in a man, whose advancement had been the result of his own wisdom and strength. Forethought is eminently useful in worldly matters. What a man can attain unto, he may be deprived of; and he is justified in weighing his affairs well over. When we say "justified," we mean there is consistency in such conduct, with the avowed principles of the carnal heart. But it was otherwise with Jeroboam, he owed his kingdom to God. He was chosen of God, called of God, and set up in it by the mighty power of God, and the absolute possession of the throne secured to him, and his seed after him, so long as he walked in the fear of God.
But what manifest unbelief we have in verses 26 and 27,-" And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall this kingdom return to the house of David. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord," etc. Circumstances touching his security harass his mind. The thoughts of his heart take the place of the testimony of God by the prophet. He reasons about matters which were only intelligible to faith, and the result is blind infidelity. When he said, "Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David," he boldly impugns God's faithfulness; in fact, what was it but to say incredulously, " Doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?"
His place and his throne were from God, and the security depended upon God also. Circumstances, propitious or otherwise, had nothing to do with God's promise. The gift was absolute, conditional only as to Jeroboam's conduct when in possession. God had said, in verse 38 of the 11th chapter, "I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee." Jeroboam sees the kingdom in danger, then his life also-" They shall kill me;" his eye looking at circumstances, and his heart overwhelmed. Neglecting God, he takes counsel of others "and made two calves of gold." His ruin is accomplished by the very means he took to secure his safety. Lacking faith in God for the present, leads to the denial of his power in the past. Momentous warning! "Behold thy gods, 0 Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; and he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin." But his iniquity does not end here. He imitates the order of worship as practiced in Judah, observing feasts and ordaining priests of the lowest of the people. And he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel, the 15th day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart. What a terrible picture is this of the baseness of man: Jeroboam disowns God's care and perverts His worship. The prophet, in the 13th chapter, denounces judgment on the altar, and that by a branch of the house of David. This works no repentance in Jeroboam. In verses 33 and 34, we have presented to us his downward career in sin and apostasy. Chapter 14 verses 1 to 16, open out the domestic judgment upon him in the death of his child (yet removed in the grace of God, "because in him there was found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam"), and closes with the awful threatenings of the dispersion of Israel for the sin of Jeroboam; " And he shall give Israel up, because of the sin of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin."
" The word of God is quick and powerful." The lapse of ages does not impair its efficacy, nor the force of circumstances obscure its adaptation. The living God by His Spirit applies it in power to the hearts of his children to-day, and when reading the records of the past, we seem but to deal with the present. They that worship God now, must worship Him in spirit and in truth-the worshippers, poor sinners in themselves, yet in Christ kings and priests unto God and His Father and our Father, because His. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Thus, believers in Jesus are called to a kingdom, as in Heb. 12:2828Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (Hebrews 12:28), "Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." The position of God's people on earth must needs answer to their destinies in heaven. Fellowship with God the Father, and the Lord Jesus, sustained by the power and presence of the Holy Ghost in their midst, " a peculiar people, a chosen generation, to show forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:1010Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)).
There is no other access to God but through Jesus. No medium of intercourse but by the Holy Ghost. Wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, the Lord is there. His Spirit remaineth with us always. Nothing more monstrous than in the face of such direct testimony to introduce man's will into the scene; no greater delusion than human arrangements. To restrain the outbreaks of the flesh by order in the flesh, is but to restrain one sin by setting up another. And strange it is that man dare to " intrude into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." The efficacy of ordinances does not consist in themselves, but in that they are given of God. The virtue of them arises from their being His. He meets his people in his own appointed way; and faith apprehends his presence. When saints are gathered together in the name of Jesus, and in dependence upon the Holy Ghost, they are in the way of God's appointment and consequently of blessing. To the eye of the carnal reasoner, such an assembly, without ostensible bonds of union or outward guarantees for order and decorum, is held together by a rope of sand. Their work is regarded as fugitive and ephemeral. The most favorable opinion is, that it may continue for a generation, but die out with it. But such arguments surely avail nothing. It is our duty to serve God to-day. The generation to come is safe in his hands. But we find it easier to affect care for the future, than to do right in the present, and to satisfy conscience by trusting God afar off, than when he is nigh.
Now, ostensibly, the position we are called to occupy, answers to the kingdom given to Jeroboam-the title to it similar-chosen of God, and called and exhorted to have faith in Him. The danger we have to guard against answers also to the one Jeroboam fell into-looking into circumstances apart from God, and striving by our own devices to maintain our standing-we say ostensibly: for the object of God in having a people in the world was to show forth his praise "that hath called us to glory and virtue." The weakness of man and the subtlety of Satan might hinder the manifestation of this; but the gifts and calling of God being without repentance, nothing can separate us from His love in Christ. But this very security brings corresponding responsibilities. We are saved to glorify God. The knowledge of our salvation is given to us, that whilst here we may act to His Glory, and testify to His Grace; we own doctrinally it is of Him, and by Him, and through Him are all things, yet practically we engage to do much for ourselves. We are in danger also of confining the sense of our privileges to individual blessing, instead of seeing them also in their corporate character. The safety of the individual believer, is based on God's covenant with Christ, upon which he relies: but the blessing of the saints assembled together, is equally so. Believers "are builded together for a habitation of God, through the Spirit; " " one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all." No promises are more secure for the individual believer, than those for the blessing of saints assembled together in the name of Jesus. As in the individual there are many changes, so also in the gatherings of the saints. There needs daily purging of heart, and application of the promises to the soul of the individual: there may be more difficulty, but there is equal occasion for soul-discipline in the assembly. We are not wearied so readily in looking to ourselves, we break down in the care of others; and unless our souls are fortified by the word of God and prayer, we sink from the pressure of trial, into indifference; or, wearied with combating the wills of others, determine on the unrestrained exercise of our own. But God has written confusion on man's efforts. And even men of God have wandered furthest from his thoughts, when they have sought to provide for emergencies in the church before they have appeared, or to obviate their manifestation by discipline of their own. The chaos around us in the Religious World, the very vanity and vexation of all things, are God's warnings to us, to "cease from man;" man would not trust God for His Church, and has sought to restrain disorder by bonds of his own. How utterly has this exercise of will proved abortive, and brought in confusion which nothing can remedy, the end of which is revealed to be judgment.
" Separation from evil is God's principle of unity." Such a step taken, necessarily isolates from systems around, and throws the soul upon God. The subtlety of Satan has acted upon man, to develop arrangements prohibiting blessing to the saints. The eyes of His people are opening to this, and the question is forced -upon us, Whither shall we go for aid? Blessed be God fp'. His Grace! His Spirit remaineth with us always. Jesus is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. Wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, his presence is vouchsafed. Manifest blessing has resulted from restored confidence in the basis of the Church, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone. Believers have been blessed, and made a blessing to others-the realized presence of God;-giving fullness of joy. The inheritance is discovered-the position taken-Almighty God pledged to sustain us in the blessing He Himself has provided. The times are at hand when the elect shall scarcely be saved. That they may be secured, God, by His Spirit, is opening their eyes to the danger; and, conscious of weakness, they are thrown necessarily upon him. Blessed necessity! The abounding evil around giving occasion for the super abounding grace of God. Let us beware that the thoughts of our heart do not take the place of the testimony of God. Appearances may be against us-circumstances daily arise to embarrass us-but they are permitted of God for the development of faith in Himself to the praise of his glory. " No weapon formed against thee shall prosper." Our manifold failures are so palpable, that our enemies already rejoice in our discomfiture, and account that the revival of truth which has blessed us was but a delusion: yet even this shall but serve to increase our dependance upon God. We have the elements of destruction in ourselves, but the energy of life in God. He identifies Himself with His people. He has raised the desire in our hearts to be identified with Him. When Pharaoh purposed the destruction of the children of Israel, God ordered them to encamp between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon. The enemy found them-God's eye was there too, and their deliverance is accomplished. So now the enemy is triumphing in our weakness, and purposing the injury of the body of Christ. But God orders us into the citadel, " the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and are safe." There is danger! let us flee unto God to hide us. Let us not lean to devices of our own, nor write in our folly the sentence of death on our position and privilege instead of upon ourselves. " For we have the sentence of Death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead." What may we not expect from his mercy?
The Body, The Church.
Jesus had shed his blood, was risen, and by the right hand of God exalted. If God had been glorified in him, He also glorified Him in Himself, and that straightway. The Son of Man ascended up where He was before. He was glorified with the Father's own self, with the glory which he had with the Father before the world was.
Nor was his glorification without result to others. If on earth the Son of David could not disown the higher glories of his person, but rather led on the faith of a poor woman of Canaan to that infinite source of grace beyond, which, while it brought down to a real sense of the depth of degradation and woe, abounded but the more in streams of healing mercy: if on earth, "lie could not be hid," what was the suited blessing that flowed down from the God-exalted Man, crowned with glory and honor in heaven? Were those He loved to taste no savor of His joy above? Was there to be no peculiar, no present power of fellowship with Him, and worthy of Him, who was set at God's right hand " in the heavenly places far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come.
On the contrary, it is precisely in this interval between his session on his Father's throne, and his coming to take his seat on his own throne, that the great mystery of Christ and the Church finds its place, development, and revelation. God, whose earthly purposes had been seemingly frustrated but really secured, though for a time in abeyance, uses the cross meanwhile as the basis of other and higher counsels (settled in His mind before the world was, but until now hidden in Himself), and thereupon exalts the crucified Lord of Glory, and sends down the Holy Ghost, not only as the one and Divine witness of what and where Christ was, but as the gatherer, by his own presence here below, of an assembly from among Jews and Gentiles, brought into the participation of the heavenly glory of Christ-in a word, as the formative agent of the Church, which is Christ's body, "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all."
Beyond just question, it is in reference to this new and heavenly assembly that scripture speaks of the closest identification with Christ, of oneness with him as his body. By such a oneness, it is not merely meant that persons here and there, few or many, had been and are objects of the love and quickening power of the Son of God. Life is not, nor does it produce this oneness; abstractedly, it finds and leaves the recipients of it individuals still. Life did not set aside for this world, for those who possessed it, the remarkable characteristic and divinely sanctioned separation of Jews from Gentiles: much less did it sever externally believing Jews from their unbelieving kinsmen according to the flesh, whatever the mutual sympathies, hopes and conferences one with another, of them that feared the Lord. If there were devout Gentiles, and there is little reason to doubt that God in his mercy raised up such (witness Cornelius), before the gospel of His grace could righteously be preached, they served Him, worshipped Him, but as Gentiles nevertheless. There was no fusion of these with the godly Jews. The faith of one might be admirable in the eyes of the blessed Lord himself-"so great faith he had not found, no, not in Israel." Still it did not hinder his remaining a Gentile. Faith in itself did not, and could not, alter that, as regards this life. It was reserved not for the gift but for the Giver of faith to work a strange, unlooked-for and total reversal of the ancient order. So as to the Jews, though they had the gifts and calling of God, if any believed, the faith of individuals wrought without doubt a moral separation, and sufferings were the consequences; and the new life has affections as proper to it as are depraved lusts to the old life; yet were not the faithful Jews formed into a manifested holy company here below, they lived as Jews, they died as Jews. It would have been sin in them to have relinquished their prerogatives and standing as Jews. Even in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, was not abolished. It existed still-nay, had his sanction, when he forbade those commissioned in the days of his flesh to go into the way of the Gentiles, or to enter into any city of the Samaritans.
Now the doctrine of the epistle to the Ephesians, chaps. 2, 3, is that consequent upon the cross, an entirely novel and different work of God commenced: a work which, belonging to, and awaiting its perfect display in the heavenly places, has an actual existence on earth, and most momentous effects in this present time. The point is not Christ dying for the Jewish nation, nor God thereby reconciling all things to himself. It is not His death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, nor for the blessing of any Gentiles who may be saved during His future reign; none of which things perhaps would be questioned by a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven. But the doctrine there enforced is that God founded upon the cross and accomplished by the Holy Ghost thereon given, a platform and structure wholly without parallel in the millennial age, when the old outstanding differences will be resumed, as abundantly appears from the Psalms and Prophets. Ephesians, chap. 2:11-18 thus contrasts it with their previously existing relations, the one dispensationally nigh, and the other afar off.
" Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
That is, in and for the Church, such fleshly distinctions are done away. Beyond a doubt, in the Church's glory accomplished on high, they will be unknown. But the Apostle goes further, and particularly insists that they are, and ought to be, unknown now. No man, not even Christ known after the flesh, is the key-note of the Church: " yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." The Church can rest on nothing short of death and resurrection. She rejoices in her head glorified in heaven, and knows herself even now one with him there. Consequently she is raised alike above the high estate of the Jew, as above the low estate of the Gentile. " For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." If the mass of those gathered into the Church were dark, outcast Gentiles: if they could not say, We are " Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever"-they received a better adoption and a more surpassing glory; not merely covenants connected with earthly things and presented by a Messiah (whatever His own personal dignity), as minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, but the unsearchable riches of Christ freely given, which it was meet for the God of grace and glory to bestow upon the far-off penury and wretchedness of those who possessed nothing!
This was "the mystery" which was specially entrusted to the Apostle Paul, made known unto him by revelation, " as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ; which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel." In previous ages the Spirit had quickened souls: there was nothing strange in that. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," said the Son of God, not yet lifted up. The extraordinary thing was, that, when the Jews perverted their singular endowments to sin and insult the most aggravated against God, not aiding only, but provoking and inciting the Gentiles to, the crucifixion of their own Messiah, occasion was taken of the breach thus of necessity made between God and a guilty world, to introduce a secret hitherto undisclosed, but now unveiled. The elect nation had consummated their corruption and violence. God's name was blasphemed among the heathen through those who were separated to be the grand depositary of His oracles and the witness of His character on earth. What remained, if thus the earth and its choicest people were in rebellion? HEAVEN; and so, in the depths of divine compassion, and wisdom, and love, God began to assemble a body neither Jewish nor gentile properly, though chosen out of either, both made one, both reconciled in one body, destined for a sphere as alien from the most exalted as from the most debased of earth.
" God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us," say the Jewish saints in Psa. 67, " that thy way may be made known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." Such is the order of blessing in the world to come: the Jews in the inner circle, and in the outer the Gentiles through them glad and singing for joy, for God governs in righteousness. The blessing of the nations was an ancient and reiterated truth; proclaimed to Abraham (Gen. 12:33And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)), renewed to the seed (22:18), repeated to Isaac (26:4), and to Jacob (28:14). It was bound up in terms with the promises so well known and cherished, which guaranteed the highest seat on earth to the seed of Abraham. Is a most certain and familiar pledge of Gentile blessing in the promised seed-is this, so often and not obscurely referred to in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, the mystery which has been " hid from ages and from generations, but is now made manifest to the saints"? Can that with propriety be said specially and absolutely to be hid, which was among the simplest and most frequently recurring household-words of the people of God, from the time of the first promise to the patriarchs? There is no secret nor silence about that which was published from are to age, and declared from generation to generation. What was made known to the fathers, and indeed to all Israel, cannot be, for this very reason, the mystery of Christ—that peculiar mystery, " which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit."
Some, I am aware, through unbelief and a consequent lack of spiritual intelligence and heed to human tradition, have unwittingly sought to neutralize the specialty, and thereby the nature and being of " the mystery," by the assumption that it had been revealed from the beginning, and that it was always, though dimly, understood by the Old Testament saints. The answer is plain and direct: the Apostle Paul says positively that "it is now revealed." From the beginning of the world it was hid in God (Eph. 3:99And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Ephesians 3:9)). To the apostles and prophets it was now revealed, and to none previously- ὡς νῦν ἀπεκαλύφθη τοῖς ἁγίοις ἀποστόλοις αὐτοῦ καὶ προφήταις ἐν πνεύματι. Certainly it is not to the apostles at the present and to the prophets at a former time. It is now revealed, and that to persons joined together as a common class to which the revelation was then made;-as the structure of the words necessarily implies to any competent to judge of such a question, shutting out, therefore, the idea of any prophets being referred to before the Pentecostal mission of the Spirit. The prophets alluded to in the text, were of the present economy as much as the apostles were; and therefore the words, far from weakening, tend directly to strengthen the distinctive character of " the mystery," as a thing wholly unrevealed in former times.
The character, also, of the Abrahamic blessing of the Gentiles, is totally different from that of " the mystery." "In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," etc. (Gen. 22). All the nations are to be blessed in the seed; but they are, and are here regarded as being, distinct from it. They are no more to be confounded with the seed, so as to form one common body, than are the enemies whose gate is to be the possession of the seed. It and the nations are assuredly to inherit a blessing. But if it be the same blessing, will. any one maintain that it is after the same mode or in the same measure? If it be so-if the seed and all the nations of the earth are blessed indiscriminately and alike, where is the marked and characteristic prerogative of the seed of Abraham? Or is there, in truth, no peculiar privilege for his seed after all? If, on the other hand, it be not so, and the seed is to have its own proper promised place by divine favor, higher than all the nations who are blessed in it, then is the oath to Abraham most clearly distinguished from " the mystery " wherein no such differences exist, but the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and joint-partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.
Let it be repeated, that Eph. 2;3 do not teach the permanent and illimited setting aside of Jewish exaltation above the Gentile. To such a superiority in this world the Jews had a lawful title, until Christ, rejected, ascended into heaven; and such a superiority will be theirs when He returns again. But there is the abolition of everything of the sort for that which spans the interim; in other words, for the intermediate calling of the church; because the church is not a mere aggregate of units-of believing persons throughout all ages, but a special body gathered, by virtue of the Holy Ghost actually present and dwelling in them as a temple, for association with the heavenly glory of Christ, as the redeemed Jews in the millennium will be the nearest and most favored objects of his earthly rule.
It was, then, the personal presence of the Holy Ghost, descended from heaven, which was the power of the unity established here below in the church; a unity not merely of life-of doctrine-of services, but of the Spirit; the unity formed and perpetuated by the Holy Ghost Himself (Eph. 4:33Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)). The disciples, like saints before them, were believers before Pentecost; but they were then, and not before, united to Christ in heavenly places as His body. That which unites to Christ, constituting us members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, is not the faith which the Spirit communicates as He has ever done, but the Spirit Himself personally given, as was the case at Pentecost.
Observe, it is not " unity of spirit." That is the theme pressed upon the Philippians (1:27): " Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ; that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel;" and compare chap. 3:16. Nor has the apostle forgotten elsewhere to pray for the saints at Rome, that the God of patience and consolation would grant them to be like-minded one toward another, according to Christ Jesus, that they might with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace as this is, the exhortation in Eph. 4 is of a higher order. It is not so much the spirit of themselves, or of one another that they were to think of, but the Spirit of God, the unity of the Spirit. Moreover, the apostle does not tell them to form a society by community of object, agreement of opinion, or likeness of manners. Certainly it was not an optional alliance which they were called upon to frame. The Spirit of God makes the unity. Their business is, "endeavoring to keep it (or, observe, τηρεῖν) in the bond of peace." How humbling to man and exalting to God: how encouraging, wholesome, and strengthening to His saints! To one who has entered, howsoever little, into the divine estimate of what the church is, and will be, in the counsels of God, or even of what the church originally was when, gazing into the heavenly face of Him who loved her, she reflected by the Spirit somewhat of the light of God's glory which she had seen there; to the heart of such a one, grieving over the wreck of the deposit that was committed to the frail and treacherous hands of man, and humbled at his puny and ineffectual and proud efforts to repair the ruin which he can no longer disguise-to such, I say, O what a relief to know and feel that even here in the desert it is not "my flock," nor "our church," but the church of God, the body of Christ, the unity of the Spirit! These are the living realities with which we have to do; and at all cost to repudiate in ourselves, or in others, corporately and individually, all that denies them. That single-eyed unflinching allegiance to the wideness of God's heart about His people must, in a time of general departure from Him, lead into an isolated path, I do not doubt, however paradoxical it may seem. That it may appear to be a severe exclusive narrowness to those who are not weaned from the worldliness and unbelief of essays on a grand scale, is possible; but for the faithful there is no choice. "Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach."
None of course would deny that, as men, as sinners, as Jews and Gentiles, there are certain things possessed in common with others. There is a unity of mankind, as such or fallen, as under law and without law. There is a continuity in the administration of the promises, dispensationally, on earth, according to which Rom. 11 views, first, the Jews as the natural branches of the olive-tree; then, some of them broken off because of unbelief, and the Gentiles, or wild olive-tree, graffed among them; and afterward, upon the Gentiles not continuing in the goodness of God, the Jews graffed again into their own olive-tree. Again, there is a unity which dates higher up than the olive-tree of earthly witness-that of all the faithful, who, in the acknowledgment of common sin, look to a common Savior, as there will be a blessed and holy communion of such as have part in the first resurrection. But all these unities are demonstrably distinct from "the unity of the Spirit." With the redeemed, it is true, the Spirit had to do, inasmuch as He it is who had given souls to believe God's salvation in Christ. That, therefore, was not, whereas the unity of the Spirit is, a new thing; for never before had He come to abide in redeemed sinners, and thus to make them one with Christ glorified on high and one with each other here below. Satan had his union of Jews and Gentiles in the cross of the Son of God; and in that cross the foundation was laid for God's union, effected by the presence and indwelling of the Spirit in those who enjoy the exceeding riches of the grace of Gad in his kindness towards them through Christ Jesus. "There is one body and one Spirit."
Another remark, connecting itself with the foregoing, needs to be made. Those who form the Church, whatever may be their distinctive endowments, share many blessings with all saints who ever have been and ever may be. Election, redemption, faith, saintship and heirship in the kingdom are doubtless our privileges, but they are not the exclusive property of the Church. They are common to all believers. So true is this, that they may be traced in the spared and blessed Gentiles, in the striking scene described in Matt. 25:31-4631When 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: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:31‑46). There the Son of man is supposed to be already come and seated upon the throne of his glory, and he separates, among all the Gentiles (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη) gathered before him, the sheep from the goats. The gospel of the kingdom had been preached, it may be observed, for a witness to all those Gentiles (πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι) before the end came; and the ground of the sentence is laid in the reception or rejection of those whom Jesus, as the. King, (for his royal rights are now enforced, displayed and acknowledged), designates as his brethren, a class evidently distinct from, though coming in contact with the sheep and goats. To the sheep, set at his right hand, the King says, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world." That these are believing saints, redeemed by the blood of Christ, none perhaps would dispute; and the passage affirms that the kingdom which they inherit was prepared for them from the foundation of the world: terms, which differ indeed from those in Eph. 1 (which show how the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in him before the foundation of the world) but sufficiently decisive of the fact that God prepared a special inheritance for these living Gentiles, whatever might be the small amount of their spiritual intelligence.
But if there are blessings common to all believers of every age, the Holy Ghost, on the other hand, could not personally come down, and abide in men on earth, according to the scriptural figure springing up in them as well as flowing out, until Jesus was glorified in heaven. But when he took his seat there as the exalted head, the Holy Ghost was sent down for the purpose of gathering a body for Christ. This and this only is called in Scripture "the Church of God," and its unity hinging upon the baptism of the Holy Ghost, is, as we have seen " the unity of the Spirit." Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18), is the first occurrence of the word " Church " i.e. assembly, in the New Testament. It is important to observe that there it is spoken of as a thing not merely unmanifested, and unordered, but as not yet existing. It- was not built, nor building yet: " upon this rock I will build my Church." Secondly, the promise that the gates of Fades shall not prevail against it, cannot allude to the indefectibility, much less to the infallibility of the Church on earth. Thirdly, Christ's Church is mentioned as altogether distinct from the kingdom of heaven, the keys of which (not of his Church) the Lord promises to give to Peter.
The unity of the Church as Christ's body will surely be displayed perfectly in the dispensation of the fullness of times, when God will gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth. But does not this Scripture teach, that the Church, if for the time on earth, to itself as the heavenly witness of the grace of God, will then form part of a common system? I answer, that the passage seems, on the contrary, to keep distinct the Church in her own peculiar and pre-eminent seat of the affection and glory of Christ. For, first, the apostle speaks of the heavenly things and the earthly things being headed up in Christ, which is deduced in Colossians 1:15,1615Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For 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: (Colossians 1:15‑16), from His claims as Creator, though asserted by Him as the firstborn of every creature; in which latter text we have affirmed his supremacy by right of creation over all things that are in heaven and that are in earth. Next, it is added,-" In whom [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will; that we should be to the praise of His glory who first trusted in Christ: in whom ye also," etc. Just so, after the statement of His headship over all things, the Epistle to the Colossians turns to another headship,-" And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." Neither heavenly things nor earthly things are the Church, though they may be the inheritance of her who is co-heir with Christ. God " hath put all things under His feet, and given him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body." Instead of being included in " all things under His feet," she enjoys and participates in His supremacy over all, in virtue of being one with Him. Sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, she looks for an inheritance such as becomes Him who has purchased it, and Him who is its earnest; such as becomes, may we not add, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, " to whom be glory in the Church throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
But although it is in " the dispensation of the fullness of times" that the glory of Christ, shared by the Church as His bride, will be revealed, so that the world itself shall know it, yet was there a testimony to it, produced and manifested by the power of the Holy Ghost in the one body on earth. When the apostle spoke of the saints being "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit," was this unity a thing ideal, future, and only to be achieved in heaven? Or was it not an actual, present fact, made good here below by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven? Is it not true that "now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is known, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God? " And the unity of the Spirit, which the saints should endeavor to keep, where was it if not on earth? Will the saints in heaven be endeavoring to keep it there? And the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers given of Christ, Himself ascended up far above all heavens,-where were they, and where still are the gifts of Christ? Where and to what end is exercised the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ? Does the perfecting (καταρτισμός) of the saints, does the work of the ministry, does the edifying of the body of Christ find their sphere in heaven? Is it there that we are in danger of being tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine? Or is it on earth that we meet with " sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive "? and there that we "grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part maketh increase of the body into the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4)? It was here, in the Church, that each joint of supply wrought, contributing nourishment to the whsle: it was here, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, that the body made increase. It is in this world, and in this world only, that " all the body, by joints and bands having nourishment administered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God," as it is assuredly here that the Spirit would have the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts, to the which also we are called in one body (Col. 2, 3).
In writing to the saints at Rome (ch. 12), hitherto never seen by the apostle, and therefore in man's judgment at least, connected in no peculiar way with him, as was the case with regard to the Colossians, it is just the same: " As we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Evidently, it is not a tie which was going to be established, but a relationship then and really existent. Membership is not with a local church, but with the body of Christ; though, on the other hand, if one be not in fellowship with the assembly of the members of Christ where one resides, there can be for such no fellowship with them anywhere else.
Nor can language be more explicit than that of 1 Cor. 12,-" But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." The composition of that one body depends upon the baptism of the Holy Ghost. By Him are baptized into the body of Christ, Jews, Gentiles, bond or free; it matters not. The great fact is, that Jesus exercises His heavenly rights. He baptizes with the Holy Ghost; and they who are thus baptized become the immediate and the especial field of His presence and operations, the body of Christ,-the body subsisting on earth, and acted on by the Spirit when the apostle wrote. The diversities of gifts, of administrations and of operations, will not be in heaven. Their province is the Church on earth. It is here that the manifestation is given to every man (i.e., in the Church) to profit withal. If any reasonable doubt could be harbored about the word of wisdom to one, the word of knowledge to another, and faith to a third, there can be no question in the believer's mind, that the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, divers kinds of tongues, and their interpretation, are not prospectively for heaven, but for earth now. It is the one and self-same Spirit who energized all these, distributing to each. For the many members constitute but one body-" by one spirit are we all baptized into one body." The importance of these last words will be better estimated, on comparing with them Acts 1:4,54And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:4‑5); and particularly the clause, " Ye shalt be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." At the time the disciples were believers. They had life, and life more abundantly, we may say. Jesus, the quickening Spirit, had breathed upon them, and said, " Receive ye the Holy Ghost," etc. He had also opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. But none of these things is the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Pentecost first beheld the accomplishment of the promise of the Father. Then, and not before, were believers baptized with the Spirit. But it is this baptism which introduces into, and forms, the one body-it is the Spirit, thus present and baptizing, who began, organizes, and recruits the body of Christ. Hence is it, that coincident with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we first hear, in the Word of God, of this new body, and of membership therein. Whatever the privileges (and there were many) which existed before, that which is distinctively called in the Bible the church of God, appeared here below, as the consequence of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, dwelling in the disciples, and baptizing them, Jews or Gentiles, into one body.
" But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked; that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." 1 Cor. 12:18-2718But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: 25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:18‑27).
When the members are together in heaven-when our vile body is changed, fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself, will any " seem to be more feeble?" Shall we think any to be" less honorable" there, and "upon these bestow more abundant honor?" That this is a present care flowing out of the sense God gives us of the exigencies and of the preciousness of Christ's body here below, is exactly what I am contending for. Does any one believe that such will be our employment when Christ presents us to himself a. glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing? But if not, these members are members of the body then on earth, for God hath tempered the body together, " having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body (in heaven there is no danger of schism); but that the members should have the same care one for another." "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it: or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it," clearly not in heaven, but on earth. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular:" where and when is this?
"And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps in governments, diversities of tongues." Manifestly, these are gifts in the Church, the whole Church on earth. The apostle addresses, no doubt, the Church of God that was at Corinth; and it is very clear that the New Testament frequently speaks of assemblies in this or that locality: that is, Churches (compare Rom. 15:1, 51We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1)
5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: (Romans 15:5)
; Gal. 1:2, 222And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: (Galatians 1:2)
22And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ: (Galatians 1:22)
; Col. 4:15, 1615Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. (Colossians 4:15‑16); 1 Thess. 1:1; 2:141Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:1)
14For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: (1 Thessalonians 2:14)
, etc. But, besides this, which is not disputed, as well as the application of the term in Heb. 12:2323To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23), to the congregation of the firstborn which are written in heaven, viewed as a completed thing, however anticipative Faith might say, " Ye are come" to it, even as to the other components of the glory; besides, in short, the local and future senses, 1 Cor. 12:2828And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28) is an instance of another sense of the most important bearing, as may be seen in the Epistles of Paul; the Church, as a body here below, in a breadth as extensive as the baptism of the Spirit. That entire society, or corporation, wherein He dwelt and wrought, was the Church in which God set apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. Certainly it was impossible to say that He had set all these in the Corinthian assembly, nor will it be maintained that He is to set them in the Church universal gathered on high. There is, then, a third and large sense of "the Church," in which unity is predicated of all the members of Christ existing at one time in the world, whatever might be the distance separating their bodies; and that in virtue of one Spirit baptizing them into one body. The body of Christ, like the natural, is susceptible of increase, as Scripture plainly indicates; but, as in the natural body, the identity subsists when the old particles have given place to new, so the body of Christ is the body still, whatever the changes in the members in particular. He who, by His presence, imparted unity at its beginning, conserves unity by His own faithful presence. He was given to abide with the disciples forever.
In fine, by " the Church " is meant not a junction of various co-ordinate, much less conflicting societies, but a body, the one body of Christ, possessing the same privileges, and calling and responsibility on earth, and looking for the same glory in heaven as the Bride of Christ. If a man was baptized by the Spirit, he was thereby constituted a member of the Church; if he had a gift, it was to be exercised according to the proportion of faith for the good of the whole; not ministry, not membership pertaining to a Church, but to the Church; each joint belonging to the entire body, and the entire body to each joint (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 3, 12, 14; Eph. 1-4; Col. 2; 1 Tim. 3:1515But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15); Rev. 22:1717And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)).