Meditations on Prophetic Portions of the New Testament: Chapter 6

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I might observe, as introducing the present meditation, that prophetic truth in the New Testament is given in fragments. There is no one digested treatise on the subject till we reach the Apocalypse. Prophetic truths lie scattered through the gospels and epistles, and all the fragments we have been able to glean in them We get, put together in order and consistency, in the book of the Apocalypse.
These four short and fragmentary passages suggest to our thoughts " the redemption of the purchased possession." What does the Spirit mean by saying that? In these pregnant and fruitful words we get three ideas presented to the mind. 1st, that there is the purchase of the possession; 2nd, that there is the redemption of the possession; and 3rd, that there is an interval of time between the purchase and the redemption. If words mean anything, they mean this.
Now the possession itself is the creation of God; and when we get the creation in a purchased and redeemed condition, we have what is called the " new creation "; and when we get to that in its fullness, we shall be in " the world to come." That is the subject we will now look at.
When was the possession purchased? when will it be redeemed? and what is the difference between purchase and redemption? The purchase was by the blood of Christ. Redemption will be by the power of Christ. Purchase was the fruit of His first coming. Redemption (or appropriation) will be the fruit of His second coming.
Is there anything logically difficult in this passage? Nothing can be simpler. We make difficulties for ourselves by our partialities and early prejudices. I say, then, that the inheritance has been purchased already, and the blood of Christ has paid for it. Now look at Col. 1:19,2019For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:19‑20), and tell me if it is not so. " By Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things on earth or things in heaven." Does reconciliation confine itself to believing sinners? No, it does not, The value of the blood of Christ will be felt throughout the whole creation. Here you get the great mystery, that the possession has been purchased, —reconciled,—brought back to God in a new character. Now I linger over a few thoughts here, for I want to get them impressed on our spirits. For we speak of things which for many years have lain outside the range of Christian thought. Could you stand forth before the world, on the authority of that verse, and say, the efficacy of the blood of Christ is to stretch beyond the believing sinner?
Then when we come to Phil. 3:2121Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21), we get redemption by power when Christ comes the second time. Here it is a question of ability. " He is able to subdue all things.'
That is power,—put forth for the redemption of all things. If Col. 1, taught me the purchase of all things, both in heaven and earth, Phil. 3, teaches me the redemption of all things by Christ, who has ability to subdue all things unto Himself. We are now passing the interval between purchase and redemption. Is your body yet redeemed from pain and sorrow? Redemption by power has not yet gone forth in your behalf. You are in corruptibility-within the clutch of disease and every malady. It is an age of humiliation; you are the companions of the rejection of Christ, and left in your miserable circumstances of life.
Now these two things we find put together in Eph. 1:1414Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14), " The earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession." Then, when we go back to Gal. 5:55For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (Galatians 5:5), we find one little intimation of a hope—" We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." We are in the righteousness of God by faith, and by the Spirit in us we are looking out for something, the object which the righteousness of faith entitles us to look for.
When I come to analyze that hope, I find it is the new creation. If we turn to Rom. 8, we shall have that verified. The creation was made subject to vanity—that means decay and ruin—in Gen. 3, under the touch of the sin of Adam. " Not willingly:" the trees of the wood and the beasts of the field had not sinned, but Adam had sinned. This passage tells us in a larger and brighter form than the others, of the redemption of the inheritance, not of its purchase. " The creature itself also shall be delivered." That is redemption by power, and is it not in company with the other Scriptures?
Now let me ask you, is this to be a surprise to us? Have I had notices, in earlier times, of the difference between purchase and redemption? To be sure I have. How beautifully we see it reflected in the book of Exodus! Was not Israel redeemed by blood in chap. 12., and by power in chap. 14.? In chap. 12., if the blood had not been on the lintel, the first-born among the Israelites would have fallen as surely as the first-born among the Egyptians. There was no question yet between Egypt and Israel, but between God and Israel. As a sinner you are cast alone and entirely with God. The blood of Christ has settled that and so, when the blood was put on the lintel, Israel was not yet delivered from Egypt, but from the claims of God. They need not fear the sword of the destroying angel. But when we pass on a few chapters we get then the question between Israel and Egypt. Christ is the Purchaser and Christ is the Redeemer, and when Israel stood with the hosts of Pharaoh behind and the Red Sea before, the One who had passed over the blood on the lintel looked forth from behind the cloudy pillar and delivered them.
This is the difference between the old and new creation. Supposing I had been in the garden of Eden, could I have looked in the face of the serpent and defied him? No, I must take care and beware of him. And could I have looked in the face of the Creator, and rested in having everything settled between Him and me? No, I was yet to be tested. But in the new creation I can look at the enemy and say, " he has been conquered for me; " and I can look at God and say, " He has been satisfied for me." Shall I, by-and-bye, have to keep myself on the watch because of the serpent? I shall be able to say, the trail has been blotted out forever and ever. But we are passing the interval now between purchase and power. Do you see yourself purchased but not yet redeemed by power? And are you passing the time of your sojourning here in fear, as knowing that power has not yet been put forth to quell the strength of the enemy? How softly, yet how gladly, should we pursue our journey day by day! The moral glory of such a position is inestimable: a creature, carrying in spirit the sense of entire acceptance with God, yet walking softly; happy as to God, yet mindful of his ways because power has not been put forth as to the circumstances around!
Now, let me ask you again, if we had figures of purchase and power in Old Testament times, had we figures of the purchased and redeemed thing? Yes; the new earth in the time of Noah was that.
Is Christ in this world the representative of God in power as King of kings and Lord of lords? No; He is the representative of the Father. The day will come when He will say, " He that hath seen me hath seen the King of kings." God has not yet thrust Himself forward in kingly power, but 1 Timothy tells us that " in His times He shall show who is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords." Is there not blessedness in the thought that the Lord has come forth as the image of God the Father to tell the secrets of the Father's bosom, and to reflect the grace of the Father's heart? When He comes forth as the image of the King of kings, we shall have a world kept in beautiful order. Have you that now? No; you have a purged conscience.
Well, then, we have figures in the Old Testament of these things. Noah's new world was that. Egypt under Joseph was that. The feast of tabernacles was that.
The land in the palmy days of Solomon was that. God is telling out, in figure after figure, the story of the redeemed thing, and when we come to Rev. 5, we find the thing rehearsed in the praises of "every creature which is in the heaven and on the earth, etc.
Now I will close with one other thought. In the Gospels-say the Gospel by John we see the Purchaser at His work. In the Apocalypse we get the Redeemer at His work. In John, we see the Lord doing the work of His first coming, and there He is set before us simply as the Lamb of God. John speaks of Him as " The Lamb of God which taketh away," etc. But when we see Him doing His work in the Apocalypse, we see Him not only as the Lamb, but as the Lion. The Lamb must be associated with the Lion, to redeem by power; so He is not only the " Lamb slain," but the "Lion of the tribe of Judah." "Do not weep," says the angel; " the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed to open the book " of the inheritance. He is not acting now as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the Lamb rejected. By-and-bye the hosts of Pharaoh will fall on the banks of the Red Sea, and we shall celebrate redemption by power, as now we enjoy redemption by blood.
(Continued from page 140)1
(To be continued, D. V.)
1. The present " Meditation" is properly a continuation of page 120: see foot-note to page 133.