Till He Come: Part 2

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Part 2
God delights in seeing His people happy, fully conscious of the place of nearness to Himself which He in His kindness and love has made theirs in Christ Jesus; and it is only as they are entering into that happy nearness, and enjoying that love, that they can give Him acceptable worship-worship which God can delight in—worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:2323But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23); Phil. 3:33For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Philippians 3:3)).
When a poor, heavy-laden sinner obeys the voice of the Lord Jesus, and comes to Him (Matt. 11:2828Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)), he not only gets his load of sin and guilt removed and taken away forever, but he is brought into living union with the very One that removes it; he becomes a child of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:2626For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)). He is no longer a stranger and foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints, and of the household of God; he belongs to that heavenly family (Eph. 2:1919Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:19)), and the Father's house is his proper abode (John 14:22In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)). He is no longer of this world, even as Christ is not of this world; but his hopes and interests and his all are bound up with Christ and them that are His (John 17). The Holy Ghost takes up His abode in that saved sinner (1 Cor. 6:19, 2019What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19‑20)), who is forever separated to God (Rom. 8:3939Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)). There was a time when this blessed union was manifested to the world, and God would have it so today; but, alas! it is not.
I have often thought that the present divided and scattered state of the Church of God very much resembles that in which His ancient people Israel were found in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah. Israel was scattered; the ten tribes were lost among the nations; and the temple was in confusion.
But Hezekiah knew they were not lost to God, though they were lost to man. God knew every one of them, and where they were; therefore when Hezekiah had cleansed the house of God, with all its vessels, and had arranged things as far as he could, according to God's word, we find the table of showbread was put in its proper place, according to its ancient order, which was that it should be set before the Lord with its twelve cakes (or loaves) upon it, six in a row; and there was put pure frankincense upon them, that it might be on the bread for a memorial. The loaves were renewed every sabbath day (Lev. 24:5-85And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. 6And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord. 7And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 8Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. (Leviticus 24:5‑8)).
The twelve loaves (or cakes) represented the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, and the pure frankincense, the sweet savor of Christ, which God ever beheld upon those whom He had brought nigh to Himself.
This Hezekiah knew; therefore he set the showbread table in order before the Lord, and all the other vessels; thus, as it were, reminding God of His people and also of His unchanging love and purposes concerning them (2 Chron. 29:1818Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the showbread table, with all the vessels thereof. (2 Chronicles 29:18)). Hezekiah then sent messengers to the few which were left, to tell them of what he had done and to invite them to come and take their right place before God, and eat the passover in God's appointed way at Jerusalem, and God would be gracious to them. But they mocked the messengers and laughed them to scorn; nevertheless, divers of them humbled themselves and came (2 Chron. 30:5-115So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. 6So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. 8Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. 9For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 10So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. 11Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 30:5‑11)).
How far does this resemble the present state of those whom God has made nigh unto Himself by the precious blood of His own dear Son? Divided they are, and almost hidden in the systems of men; but God has in these last days worked marvelously by His Word and Spirit, and caused a few to see where they were, and to come forth and humble themselves and take their right place at the Lord's table, according to His word (1 Cor. 11:23, 2423For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23‑24)), fully owning their weakness and failure; but willing to do that which is right and be obedient to Him in all things, knowing that though they have changed, yet He is the same; He changes not.
In the days of Haggai the prophet we have a very encouraging scene brought before us in reference to this state of things. A small remnant of God's people had just returned from a long captivity in Babylon, where God had sent them in chastisement for their disobedience. But they are now brought back again into their own land, and God calls upon them to build His house at Jerusalem, which was in ruin. He told them that He was with them according to the word which He covenanted with the m when they came out of Egypt. So His Spirit remained among them; therefore they were not to fear (Hag. 2:4, 54Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: 5According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. (Haggai 2:4‑5)).
God had chastised them for their sins, as a father does his children, and sent them into captivity over and over again before their enemies, because of their disobedience; still, He Himself remained the same as He ever was. His Spirit had never left them, but was still among them, so that they had nothing to fear, but to do according to His word, and He would be gracious to them and take pleasure in what they did.
So now God has in His goodness and love given some of His people to see where they had gotten through disobedience to His Word; and He has enabled them to turn to Him from the things around, to serve Him, the living and the true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
He has also given them to remember that His Holy Spirit is with His people, having taken up His abode in all them that believe, according to the words of the Lord Jesus when He said, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:16, 1716And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16‑17). This is as blessedly true today as it ever was; and all believers are by this one Spirit baptized into one body, of which Christ is the Head, and they are the members (1 Cor. 12:12, 1312For 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. 13For 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. (1 Corinthians 12:12‑13)).
What joy it gives to know this, notwithstanding all that has taken place since the Lord Jesus ascended up on high! The Holy Ghost has never left the Church of God; but He is still down here dwelling in each individual believer, to guide and direct them in all things, especially when they are gathered together in the name of the Lord (see 1 Cor. 14). His delight is to open their understandings, so that they might understand the Scriptures, and so make God's Word clear and plain, and the future bright and glorious to their souls (John 16:1313Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. (John 16:13)). The Holy Spirit is to
believers now what the Lord Jesus was to His disciples when He was down here. He is that other Comforter-One in all things like Himself. He is also the only true power by which they can worship God. And they get the help and joy of His presence just in proportion as they are subject to Him. He is not seen by men, but to faith is as really present as if He were, and as truly interested in everything that concerns God's people now as the Lord Jesus Himself was when He was personally among them. Would that we all knew the joy and blessedness of it.
God's people Israel had twelve loaves to represent them before the Lord, because they were twelve distinct tribes, though but one family. But it is not so with believers now; they are all one in Christ Jesus; He is the Head, and they the members; therefore they are but one body and one loaf, as it is also only one table.
How beautifully simple this is; and how plainly it shows that while believers are in different parts of the world, mixed up too with all manner of things, yet, wherever that one loaf is on the Lord's table before God, they are every one of them presented to Him by it! Scattered and divided as they are, still they are by the one loaf shown to be one, and they cannot get away from it, just as Israel could not help being presented before God by the twelve loaves on the showbread table. Though they were buried among the nations, and mixed up with things from which they ought to have been separate, yet God's purposes were not altered, and His Word also remained the same.
So it is now with all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ. He died, and by His death gave to them everlasting life; therefore they are one in Him. Their standing is also in Him, however unconscious they are of it. And God beholds the pure frankincense upon them, all the sweetness and preciousness of His own dear Son. They are accepted in the Beloved with all His acceptability, loved as He is loved; their sins are forgiven according to the riches of His grace (John 17:2323I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23); Eph. 1:6, 76To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:6‑7)). "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb. 2:1111For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Hebrews 2:11). He has made them a part and parcel of Himself, "members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones" (Eph. 5:3030For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (Ephesians 5:30)). This the one loaf shows forth in the most simple and beautiful way, and blessed are they who know the joy of it.
This oneness of believers with Christ and each other was brought about by His resurrection "from the dead."
As soon as He left the grave, He said to Mary Magdalene, "Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God" (John 20:1717Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)).
Never were such words uttered before; indeed, they could not be uttered, because this blessed relationship did not exist till the Lord Jesus died and rose again. He said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accompli s he d!" Luke 12:5050But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! (Luke 12:50). He could not tell them what He so longed that they should know till He had passed through death and resurrection.
What a glorious position believers are in! They are associated with Christ forever, and soon will be with Him in eternal glory. It is only the question of a few short days at the most, and then they will see His face and hear His voice, and be with Him, and like Him for evermore (Phil. 3:20, 2120For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who 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 3:20‑21)).
Believers are now in this little interval between these two great events—the cross and the glory—forever delivered by the one and hastening on to the other; and at any moment they might be called away from this scene, to take their places with Himself in the glory. He "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body."
May all who know the joy of this blessed hope be kept very true and real for Himself and very separate from this evil world, till He come, never forgetting His parting words, "This do in remembrance of Me." The time is short, the opportunity for faithfulness in a scene like this will soon be over and gone forever. We shall not then have the happy privilege of showing the Lord's death in a world where He has been rejected and crucified. This is one of the greatest testimonies we can bear for Him while He is away, as we thereby show that every blessing and every hope and joy we have come to us through the blood of His Cross.