Notes of a Discourse

Revelation 1:4; Revelation 22:16-17
1:4-7; 22:16-17
THE character in which God is presented in this book is not that in which He stands to the Church. If we speak of God as connected with the saints, it is as Father; with Abraham, God Almighty; but now He is made known as Father. Then when Christ had gone up on high, He further declared it. (John 17) Now the Father's name is not that on which this book is founded at all. It is as Jehovah, God supreme in power. The names of God carried a meaning with them. If to Abraham He was the Almighty, it was Abraham's business to trust in His Almightiness. To Israel, “thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.” (Deut. 18:1313Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. (Deuteronomy 18:13).) God was putting the first man to the test, trying what could be made of Adam. It has been done—He has pronounced on the tree—He has dug about it, &c.—He came for fruit and found none. Then, seeing all the leaves on it, He said, “no man eat fruit of thee henceforth forever.” Then, man's righteousness being nothing, God brings in His own righteousness. If they had to walk rightly, we have to walk rightly. If I am calling in question whether I am a child of God, I have no power to walk as one. If I am not owning Him as Father, I am not on the proper ground of a Christian. I say you are not taking up the name in which believers stand with God. So John, speaking of little children, says, “I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.” That is a settled thing, otherwise you are under law. Tube under law is to judge the flesh. Grace begets children, the law does not. The moment I get on the ground of law, I am making myself responsible to God for what He put Adam on to. If I were to say to my child, ‘I command you to love me, and if you do not, I will whip you,' could I ever expect to get love? The law is able to judge, but never to make a child. One is the test of the old man, the other is the gift of God to the new. If you think you can be under the law without being destroyed, you destroy the law. What brings me out of law, is the consciousness that I am cursed under it.
Then I come to another thing. Has God done nothing? Christ is the end of the law, has taken all the curse, died under it, and I enter into an entirely new place, Christ having gone through all this. I am a child after redemption is accomplished, or else I would be destroying the law. Christ has magnified it. He has gone and taken away the weight of the sin, and I am called a child. You cannot take the responsibility of a Christian unless you are a Christian. I have no claim of duty until I am in relationship to God. Law says, Do and live; but I have tried that. God brought the law in with a definite purpose. Take law now, and see how long you will love God with all your heart. The law must have righteousness; but I have a better one, cleansed from sin, made a son: then duties come from the relationship from which they flow. You say you abide in Christ: then you must walk as Christ walked. Now this brings us on the ground that the government of the world is outside the particular relationship in which you stand to God. Besides having the consciousness of the relationship, I have this care in providence also; “a sparrow falleth not to the ground without your Father.” I cannot get out of the consciousness of being a child. I may fail as a child, but I must be a child so to fail. Now there is a government of the world, but it is not directly applied to make a measure of good and evil. There was a direct dealing with a people; hereafter He will deal with the Jews by law, with Gentiles without law. If I have given my child no orders, I cannot punish him for disobedience. God will judge this world in righteousness; He says not so to the churches. When the great white throne comes, (chap. 20,) there will be the direct application of judgment to soul and body. Besides the final judgment, we get God coming out in this book to punish the world for their iniquity. (Chap. 29.) Nothing in it relates to the Father and the Son, because the Spirit here is giving a title of God, which is to be the groundwork of the whole book. It is God in judicial dealings. Even when he is styled “Father,” (as in chap. 1. and 14.,) it is in relation to Jesus Christ, to the Lamb.
Thus, too, I find in chap. 1:4, not the Holy Ghost, but the seven Spirits of God sent out and judging all things. Then, when I hear of Christ, it is as the “Faithful Witness,” not as the sacrifice, or being at the right hand of God, but “Prince of the kings of the earth.” Where am I in all this? Am I only to be under the Almighty? That is not the way I know God—not the way I know Christ. Kings are of the earth, I shall be in heaven. I get nothing here which tells me what He will be for me; and yet so distinctly conscious is the heart of a believer of what Christ is for him, and he to Christ, that the instant He says, I am the Faithful Witness, we hear “unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” &c. I have got, through grace and redemption, into the relationship. I know Him; He is mine, He has made us kings and priests; if He reigns, I shall reign with Him. What is left out is the Revelation, is answered in the heart of the saint. Let me ask you, in passing, Have you got that? Let Christ be named in any way, is the link in your heart so plain, so distinct, so happy, that you own the relationship? Just as a child hearing his father is coming home after a long absence, his heart immediately responds to it, and he says, Oh, that is my father! Are you living in the consciousness that He loved you and washed you, and has made you a king and a priest? He washed me: that is the way I know Him.
We never get this by law. You may command yourself till you are tired, but you will never get into it thus. The law never forms any relationship with God, never gives any faith to the heart: not a fiber that hangs down from God can attach itself to a soul under law. The law gives no object. What does it tell use to look at? Why, at myself! It gives me nothing to trust in. We want something that will take us out of our wretched selves. I see Christ come down; I see that He loved me in all my sins. But how do you know God will have you? Have me! why, Christ came and died for me. I have One, who is just what I want, to take me out of myself. If He did come to me, as the blessed God, when I was a poor wandering sheep, there is something more: He laid down His life for me, and took me out of the place of death I was in, and put me into Himself. I am now in the second Adam, entitled to say I am not in the flesh but in the spirit, and so saved I stand as one alive from the dead. What would it be if I were not this? I should be in the flesh and lost. But I am not.
When you say your hope is in Christ what is it you mean! Is it in a living Christ who has not died? Is it a hope that He will die for you? You say, no. Is it in a Christ that has died for you? You may say, plea! Are you washed from your sins? because that is what He has done by dying. Do you say you are washed from some of your sins, but not all! That is nonsense, because He died for you before you ever committed any one sin. He gave Himself for you, stock and fruit and all. Perhaps your feeling is, I cannot say He died for me; I hope. Well, what Christ do you hope for? Believe in Him with all your heart, and there is not a single charge against you. If you can say he loved you, and washed you from your sins in His own blood, then you believe in Him and would not give Him up for all the world. Still you maintain you cannot say He died for you. But God says He has, and you must believe God. It is not the belief that you have an interest in Him that you are called to believe, but to believe in Him. I do not say you will take it in at once. God may leave you awhile without the consciousness or enjoyment of it: that is quite possible: but, then, I say there is not a single sin against you. You may not be conscious of it from pride and self-righteousness. He smashes us to pieces that we may know there is no good in ourselves. You say, I do not know whether I have accepted Him. I tell you, God has accepted Him. Where the need is not felt, He may go on to break down the heart till we do feel it.
Turn to the end of the last chapter, verse 16, and you find the same thing. “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
Here He is in a peculiar and hidden way; not as Son of Man, as in that passage, “Behold He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” How many would wail now if they saw Christ coming? Those to whom, when we bring Christ in, it is a terror to their consciences. The thought of the Lord's coming is terrible to a bad conscience or a selfish heart. “The bright and morning star!” How many would hail Him if He came now? The morning star is seen before the sun rises, seen by those who are not here for the sun to rise on. They are awake in the night, and being so, they have the knowledge of Christ in heaven. It is when Christ is hidden in God, where we by faith see Him as the morning star, while the world is asleep. We see Him inside the cloud, but when He comes out, “every eye shall see Him.” It is not merely the fact of being saved; that was at His first coming, but this is at His second coming. It is known in the heart of a child of God, I should say more properly of the Bride, in virtue of the relationship.
Having finished this book, all at once, the Spirit and the bride say, Come. Not only does the bride say it: if only she said it, he might not come; but you have the authority of a Divine Person for saying, Come. The Holy Spirit is down here; and He being in us, we have the very thing that gives the full value of the relationship; not as the seven Spirits governing, but as the Holy Ghost dwelling in the bride. And the effect of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us is also the Spirit of adoption. But now the peculiar character of Christ is as the Bridegroom. The moment Christ is named, she desires Him. It is Impossible that you can satisfy the heart of the believer without Christ. The more I know Him, the more I desire Him. As a Christian I have the consciousness of living in Christ. I have known Him on earth—I have the blessedness of a present relationship—I belong to heaven I am only a stranger on earth, taking a journey. Christ was in the world, not of it. The home and affection of that life were in heaven, to which it belonged. This being so, I should earnestly insist on the enjoyment of this relationship. We get out of this consciousness if we are not walking with God. You who have got out of the seventh of Romans cannot get back into it. You cannot be under the law if dead unto law. You cannot say, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” I either believe I am risen; or if my shield of faith is down, I may get into despair.
We find here the consciousness of relationship. Do you think we can say, Come, without that? He comes to set me before the judgment-seat, where all will be brought to light, and there will be nothing not manifested. I shall be in glory before then. Are all saints saying, Come? Where does the heart go? I ask why are saints not saying, Come? He does not blame, but says, “Let him that heareth say, Come.” First take the place of the bride, then say, Come. The moment you love Him, you will long for Him to come. The first thought is Christ; the second, the coming glory. There are precious souls to be saved, so we can wait for them to be gathered in. Quite right it is to wait, but should you not like to see Him? Christ comes Himself. He wants us, not for anything in ourselves, but because He loves us. And is there nothing in your heart that echoes to His voice?
Prophecy concerns the government of God on the earth; but it does not touch the affections of my heart. I am not longing for Jerusalem to be built, or for Babylon to be destroyed, but for Christ. You may go first; better to wait there than here. But are you looking and longing for Christ? The Spirit of God has given to the conscience and then to the heart the consciousness of the relationship. What next? Am I indifferent to the world? Not so. That would not be the Spirit of Christ. I believe in One who loved and gave Himself for me, when I was a miserable sinner. When I was lost, I found this blessed One. But that is not all. That I might know and enjoy the consciousness of his love, He sent down his Spirit to dwell in me. I have not got Christ yet, but I have got the living water. Believers have the Spirit, but not the Bridegroom. There is a want in the heart that this world can never satisfy. I know what it was to be athirst, but I have got what satisfied my thirst. We long for more because we like it, not because we are athirst. Having the Spirit, I therefore say to the poor world, You may be seeking like Noah's dove to get rest, and cannot. The soul may try to hide its nakedness, but it will not do. Now there are many things which may satisfy the old man—vanity, and a variety of other things. When I look at the poor world, if I have a heart I long for their salvation. here I am enjoying Christ—His love a spring of joy in my own soul everlasting, because He is everlasting. How did I get it? It is all the free goodness and grace of God. I look at Christ, and feel I am the bride, and long for the Bridegroom. Therefore I say, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” If I have the Spirit, which makes me look for the Bridegroom, I have that which makes me say, Come. To say that earnestly, I must have the consciousness of having my own thirst quenched. I shall be a sorry witness for Christ if I have not peace myself. That would not do at all; because He does give peace. And I will tell you how perfect the peace. It is “my peace” — “my joy” — “my glory.” “The glory thou hast given me, I have given them.” The way Christ gives, is giving us Himself, and all that he has in Himself, making us partakers of the divine nature. That is the Christ we have to do with. We are in the world to be a witness of what He is: that is our responsibility as Christians. All our thoughts and feelings are to flow from the relationship to Him into which we are brought. Can I think God would have me unhappy When I believe that Christ drank that cup of wrath, was it to leave my peace uncertain? We want warnings, but what for How to behave as children—as Christians. They are addressed to Christians, not founded upon any doubt or uncertainty as to what Christ has done for us, but on the contrary, his word is, “a little while and I will come,” and fetch you home, and my joy will be to make you happy. Meanwhile, the Holy Ghost in our hearts gives us the present, living, conscious enjoyment of relationship. He will have His Bride in the house He has built for her—in the Father's house.
The Lord gave us not only to know it, but to abound in thanksgiving and praise for what he is going to display. And if there is a poor heart not knowing Him, to it I say, “Come,” and the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse you from all sin.
Exeter.