The Consummation of the Ages
concluded our last chapter with the words: "The last
movement before 'I come quickly' MUST be a
Christ-movement." If this book of "the
Revelation" is finality, then it is - in that very
connection - the book of the fullness and finality of
Jesus Christ. Above we have used the word 'consummation',
the etymology of which is: 'to bring into one sum, to
perfect, to bring together'. This is exactly what this
book does. It is the summation of the ages. It
comprehends the whole Bible and bounds all history. It
compasses creation, redemption, and perdition. It
embraces heaven, earth, and hell. It connects with God,
man, and Satan. In it there are no less than four hundred
allusions to the Old Testament. When all is said, the one
question that arises is: 'Is there one thing - one issue
that interprets and explains everything?' Yes, there is!
The all-inclusive issue is
The Purpose of God in the Eternal Government
of this World
other series of messages on the Holy City we are seeing
that - not only at the end of this book but at the end of
all time - universal government is represented by the
City, both in fact and nature. It is the symbol of
universal authority vested in, and mediated by Christ and
His Church. It is the nature of the Son of God as Son of
Man. That is why "judgment begins at the house of
God" (1 Peter 4:17) as in the first chapters,
inclusive issue is seen (in this book) to relate to the
purpose of God
(1) in creation;
(2) in redemption;
(3) in His Son;
(4) in Israel;
(5) in the Church;
and THAT is the way in which to read and
study the book! The book is the revelation of final
restoration and recovery in Christ Jesus.
revelation has been given in (a) the Old
Testament; (b) the New Testament - brought to its
greatest fullness through the Apostles Paul and John.
revelation has been departed from, both by Israel and the
Church. Its greatest fullness was given through Paul to
the churches in Asia; hence it is there that the
comprehensive message of judgment unto recovery is
focused. But that was intended to reach through ALL time
to the end, and that message shows that there are always
those, a remnant, who stand and make up the difference
for the recovery of the fullness of Christ in God's
people (Col. 1:24). So, what we have seen in our first
three chapters is a fundamental presentation of God's
Pattern and God's Way, i.e. His Son and the Cross.
consummate issue, then, is brought into view in two ways:
(1) A personal presentation of Christ; and
(2) A comprehensive designation of Christ in His titles.
the latter we have:
"Jesus Christ, the faithful witness" (1:5)
- the Man. The title of His humanity before His
exaltation. When He is so called, almost invariably the
connection is with His earthly life before 'being
glorified'. After that, as a rule, there is added
'Lord' - 'Lord Jesus', or 'Jesus, our Lord', etc. It is
quite a mistake now, as with a whole body of people, to
say just 'Jesus, Jesus'. That title, or name, is used
only to identify Him with the designation that follows.
This One Who is majestically and gloriously unveiled, is
none other than the One Who came into this world at
Bethlehem and lived a life as a Man here.
= Messiah, the Anointed. "This Jesus" was, by
anointing, made Prophet, Priest, and King, for all men,
in the midst of God's new Israel, the Church. 'Anointed'
is His official title to carry out a Divine mandate. It
is God committed to Him.
(2) "Faithful and True
is the same as "Martyr", "Faithful unto
death". His testimony - "the testimony of
Jesus" - is forever sealed with His Own Blood. A
vast amount of the Bible is gathered into this.
(3) "The Firstborn of the
position and relationship. Priority to be followed by
others in resurrection. There could be no resurrection
for any until Jesus was raised, but then 'a new and
living hope' sprang to birth for all born-anew believers.
(4) "The Ruler of the kings of the
resurrection He won universal Lordship. What Satan
offered Him on the ground of compromise, and He refused
and declined, He has gained through no compromise, but
obedience unto death.
brings us to the all-inclusive issue - the issue which is
greater than Caesar AND Satan - His victory.
(5) "The First and the Last"
particular use of this title in relation to this book.
This is the end! The end is to see everything where, and
as, God - at the beginning - intended it to be. 'All
things summed up in Christ' (Colossians 1:16-20). Pause
here with your New Testament open at 'Ephesians',
(6) "The Living One" (1:18)
became dead" - not 'I was killed'. The Roman Empire,
the Jewish nation, the kingdom of Satan, all conspired to
kill Him, but "No one taketh it from Me. I lay it
down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and to
take it again. This commandment received I from My
Father" (John 10:18).
am alive unto the ages of the ages, and I have the keys
of death and of Hades." Here we have two things:
(a) The purpose of His 'becoming dead', His
voluntary death. This is in verse 5, and it is summed up
in a mighty "US" -
"Loveth US" - "Loosed US" -
"Christ loved the Church."
Christ loosed the Church from Satan's authority.
Christ made the Church a "Kingdom and Priests".
"The keys of death and Hades."
The right and authority to deliver from the sum of human
sin and Satan's power thereby, which is death. Read in
here 1 Corinthians 15.
Death, and subsequent captivity -
imprisonment - cannot prevail against the Living Lord and
His Church. Death is the power, and Hades is the realm in
which the system of death operates. Christ has plundered
both, and taken their power into His Own hands.
"He plunged in his imperial strength
To gulfs of darkness down;
He brought his trophy up at length;
The foiled usurper's crown."
Again, we have to place the Cross over the
The Throne is the Throne of the Lamb!
(b) The second thing intimated
here is the one which relates to the final issue in a
primary way. It is going to be the ground of the real
controversy, connected with everything. Because it
requires so much consideration, we shall do no more than
mention it now. It is just what is THE meaning of
our Risen Lord's exultant cry: "I am
alive for evermore." Yes, that is it!
The Life of the Ages. Life Triumphant;
You may be sorry that we break off there
for the present, but this is enough to bring us face to
face with the mighty issue of this book - even that of
God's eternal counsels.