"A Candlestick of Pure Gold: of Beaten Work" Exodus 25:31

"The Testimony of Jesus"
Revelation 1:9

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May -- June, 1969 Vol. 47, No. 3



OUR last issue of the paper was in the press before we could give fuller information regarding the change of premises, and we had to be content with inserting a slip. We sought your prayers very earnestly on this matter because it involved so much of concern for the right place, and quite a heavy piece of work. The Lord very graciously answered prayer. Every attempt that we made to get new premises was thwarted by the authorities because we are in a residential area. We did have the question as to whether we should move right out of the London area, but there seemed to be no seal of God on this. Eventually, in a very quiet way (just like the Lord) we were reminded that accommodation existed outside the 'Fellowship Centre', at the back. A large hut, where years ago the literature was dispatched, still stood empty and a 'workshop' of considerable size was also available. The use of these places is not outside of the law, and so willing hands got to work clearing, cleaning and painting. We have been able to secure a small and comfortable house nearby for the residence of Miss Guy and Miss Read. This all has one particular advantage: for these recent years the element of uncertainty and tentativeness has kept us in suspense, but now there is a sense of release from this and we are hoping that concentration will result.

What the Lord means in the larger realm of the ministry we do not know, but this will become clear as we go on. Just now the year seems to be filling up with many calls for wider ministry, and your prayers are much needed if all these are of the Lord.

It is never very difficult to surrender to the seeming hopelessness of the situation in Christianity. Indeed, it is a constant battle to believe that there can really be at the end a true expression of the Church as it is revealed in God's Word, especially when we have seen more clearly and fully what the Divine mind is as to the Church. It is impossible to describe the real state of things, not only in general, but in the churches themselves. If one were asked to put a finger on the point upon which most of the trouble turns, I think that I should say with considerable emphasis: the absence of real spiritual discernment. In such a large degree the Lord's people do not see Leaders, and those responsible, do so many foolish and unwise things, constantly making for fresh complications and creating situations which will sooner or later mean confusion and regret. It was because of this that the Apostle fell [49/50] on his knees and prayed that "a Spirit of wisdom and revelation" might be given to believers and the Church. Impulse, reason, human judgment, sentiment, and the ways of the world so much govern decisions, choices and procedure, and often, because of disappointment and spiritual death, there is a leaping to an apparent alternative which seems to promise better things, but after a time proves to be an illusion and a mirage. That prayer of the Apostle should be taken up in desperate earnestness, as confusing spirits are so desperately in earnest to deceive and confuse. Ask the Lord to raise up ministries for eye-opening, and ministers whose eyes have seen! But, let there be no mistake about such ministry. Spiritual enlightenment is the one thing that Satan is most positively and vehemently opposed to. He will do anything to prevent this, or discredit it. Because of this the Apostle so much appealed for prayer that "utterance might be given" him, and "a door might be opened to speak the mystery". It was for this that he said that he was "an ambassador in bonds". Such ministry costs everything! The battle is against letting something go, lowering the standard, and compromising in order to obtain wider acceptance. The Lord keep us faithful to "the whole counsel"!

We thank you again for your co-operation, and for the many letters of appreciation and encouragement. - T. Austin-Sparks



IN the Scriptures there are many ways in which the Holy Spirit's work is spoken of. There is the 'receiving'; the 'filling'; the 'baptizing'; the 'enduing'; the 'gifting'. It is not our purpose to consider the meaning of this variety of expressions, but to dwell upon one other, namely, the anointing. The anointing throughout both Old and New Testaments is shown to be both general and particular; comprehensive and specific.

The first thing about the general aspect of the anointing is that, because it is the Spirit of God who is the anointing Spirit, the anointing is God joining and uniting, and committing Himself to whatever or whoever is anointed. It means that whenever and wherever the anointing rests there God has to be reckoned with. To touch that is to touch God. To obtain a real knowledge of this truth and fact we have only to read those parts of the Book of Numbers which deal with the Levites, the Tabernacle and the vessels thereof. Life and death were bound up with all these as anointed because thereby God was bound up with them. In the New Testament this comprehensive aspect is first related to Christ and then to the Church.

The very word or name 'Christ' means Anointed. "Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed ..." (Acts 10:38). To Him God was committed. To touch Him was to touch God, as history has proved. In the end everyone is going to be judged and their destiny fixed according to their attitude and decision regarding Jesus Christ. What a tremendous amount of detail is comprehended by this inclusive truth!

When we pass to the Church we find that, according to the New Testament


On the Day of Pentecost a company of over five hundred men and women were constituted the Church of God by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. That company came under the anointed leadership of the exalted Lord Jesus, for inclusive anointing was always upon the head. From that time the Church carried into the world the implication of God: and rulers, empires, and peoples had to reckon with God in the Church. All that was true of Christ as the Anointed passed from Him as Head down to the Church, His Body. It was not what the people were, or are, in themselves, but because of the anointing although anointed people are such because they do not stand on their own ground, but on the ground of Christ.

It is taken for granted in the New Testament that truly born from above, baptized believers have the anointing, and surprise is expressed if the evidence is not present (see Acts 19:2-3, R.V.). Place alongside of this reference 2 Corinthians 1:21, etc. The very place of believers as "in Christ" places them under His anointing, or in Him, as the anointed One.

But while the Holy Spirit is comprehensive and [50/51] many-sided in meaning, the anointing is everywhere in the Bible the term which has the particular meaning of position and function, office and purpose. Satan (Lucifer) in his unfallen position is said to have been the "anointed cherub that covereth" (Ezekiel 28:14). It was evidently a particular position and function. So, prophets, priests and kings were anointed for their position and their vocation. In the same way the Tabernacle and all its vessels and instruments were anointed to fulfil a particular purpose, and nothing could have a place or fulfil Divine purpose without the anointing. Everything and everyone had to be anointed for a specific use and purposely and no instrument could either choose its own function and position, or do the work of another. All this was God's law of efficiency, effectiveness, harmony and blessing. Life and death were bound up with this principle.

The anointing has always been within the Divine sovereignty, and never in the choice, power, or hands of men. It is a very serious thing to either get or be put into a position for which God has not acted by the anointing.

When we come into the New Testament this law of the anointing is very clearly recognizable as to both Christ and the Church. First the sovereign act , then the many and various functions. Both in the major appointments, such as Apostles and Prophets, which mainly relate to the Church universal, and in the particular functions in the local expression of the Church, the New Testament is very clear. The Holy Spirit is seen to be the custodian of the gifts, functions, appointments, and enduements in the churches. It is God's order; to overlook, to ignore, to violate, to exceed this law is to mean an affront to the Holy Spirit. This will result in confusion, limitation, and divisions. Where men have put their hand upon a work of God the subsequent history has invariably been twofold: divisions and the relegating of such men to a place where discredit rests upon them, and their place of full usefulness has been lost. On the other hand, there is a no more heartening and inspiring truth revealed in the Scriptures than that, by the anointing every member of Christ has a particular function and value. The anointing is different from natural ability and qualification. The least gifted naturally is not thereby disqualified from Divine usefulness, and the most gifted or qualified naturally has no advantage here. The anointing is unique. Just put together 2 Corinthians 1:21 and 1 Corinthians 1:26-30, and all of 1 Corinthians 2.

In the Tabernacle of Israel there were great vessels under the anointing, and there were such humble instruments as the snuffers, but even the latter were anointed. Now, be careful! It was anointed snuffers. There are plenty of people who take on themselves the function of snuffing. They will snuff anything, and snuff out anything. The snuffers of the Tabernacle were not for reducing or extinguishing the light of the testimony, but for keeping it fresh and from making an unpleasant atmosphere. It needs the anointing for such a ministry.

There is another thing that we must always remember, and it is that every vessel, function, and place derives its value from its relatedness to all the others. Indeed, no one vessel however important, has either meaning or anointing apart from all the others. The anointing is one , although in a variety of operations. The lamps demand the snuffers, and the snuffers are absurd without the lamps.

All that we have here said is only an indication and pointer to a very large and important realm of Divine truth; many volumes would be required to exhaust and expound it all. But surely if this be God's truth, it is enough to -- at least -- indicate

(1) the real nature of the Church, churches and their function;

(2) why there is so much weakness and confusion, and loss of Divine impact;

(3) why the enemy is so concerned to counterfeit the Holy Spirit and thereby defeat the anointing of which he was once deprived. This latter will be a particular characteristic of the last times. That is why in the Scriptures, the anointing had such a close and vital place with warfare. Think on that!


"And the Lord said to the serpent ... I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: He shall bruise thy head ..." (Genesis 3:15).

"... the old serpent ... and they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their life even unto death" (Revelation 12:9, 11). [51/52]

THE Testimony of Jesus is first mentioned in the Scripture by the Lord Himself in the above words (Genesis 3:15). It is all gathered up in that one clause: "He shall bruise thy head." The two things combine in that clause: "He", the Person, and "shall bruise thy head", the work; and that with a certain special significance: "thy head", which is 'thy dominion, thy government, thy sovereignty, thy crown'. Then we have the Cross introduced immediately as the scene and centre of the establishing fully and finally in Him of this Testimony, the central element of the Cross being the Blood of the Lord Jesus. The Blood; that is the central factor in the Testimony of Jesus -- the Blood of the Lord Jesus. I want to remind you of the inclusiveness of the Blood of the Lord Jesus, that in the first place it has to do with sin. It is immediately related in that passage in Genesis to what had taken place and to what had entered into the world. Sin, and sin in all its aspects; sin as transgression, overstepping the mark; sin as lawlessness, revolt against God; sin as shortcoming, coming short of the Glory of God; sin in every form in every way. The Blood of the Lord Jesus has to do with sin in the meeting of it, the destroying of it, and ultimately in the wiping of it from the universe. The Blood of Jesus Christ is directed against sin.

Then, in the second place, it is related to all that is meant by that symbolic word: "the flesh". And the flesh here does not mean merely the principle of sin, but it means the kind of person man is when he has fallen into sin. That is the fallen race, the species which came into existence when sin entered in -- an entirely different type of being from that intended by God. "He is become flesh" (Genesis 6:3). The Blood of Jesus Christ has to do, not only with the sin as the principle and the law of the fallen race, but with the race itself; not only to wipe sin from the universe, but to wipe that race from the universe; to put away that kind and type of man and make possible and secure a new creation, a man, not after the flesh type, but the Man after the Spirit type, such as Christ in resurrection.

The Blood, in the third place, is related to the consequences immediately following upon sin and the race becoming what it did when sin entered. That is death. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." "And," says the Spirit through Paul "as by one man's disobedience ... death passed upon all for that all have sinned," and death is the universal and immediate consequence upon sin and the sentence concerning the race. Death in all its range and depth; death in every realm, spirit, soul and body. The Blood testifies concerning death and has a work to do in that realm.

Then, in the fourth place, the Blood of Jesus Christ not only deals with the consequence and the fruit, but with the cause and the root, and Satan himself is involved in this mighty issue in the Blood of Jesus Christ. He is taken up in the Testimony of Jesus, and taken up in two capacities:

Firstly, he is taken up as "the prince of this world" -- "The prince of this world cometh"; "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out."

Secondly, to Satan as "him that had the power of death, that is the devil". It is not only the death, but him that had the power of death, and the word "power" there is neither the familiar word: "dunamis" -- force, nor: "exousia" -- authority, but it is the other word: "kratos", which means 'to hold'. It is the grip of death; the one who holds in his hands death, the one who has the hold of death; and in that connection the Blood speaks concerning him, that through death -- and the Lord Jesus getting for a moment into the hold, the grip of death -- He should destroy him that had the hold of death, that is the devil.

So the Blood deals with him in both those capacities. That is the Testimony of Jesus as in the Blood of the Lord Jesus.


Now we see that the main issue in the Testimony of Jesus, in and through and by His Blood, is the issue of life and death, or death and life. That is the main issue. Oh, do follow me closely, for you will see in a moment some of the great content of this thing. The main issue in the Testimony of Jesus as by the Blood of Jesus is the issue of LIFE AND DEATH. If the Lord's people recognized that enough, they would have their ground set and fixed, they would know exactly what their business is in the world, and they would have a full explanation of all that which they meet in the spiritual realm when they become related to the Testimony of Jesus. IT IS THE ISSUE OF LIFE AND DEATH. It is not only of sin and sanctification, and it is not only the issue of an old man and a new man, but in all that, and over all that, and around all that is the far bigger issue, the issue of life and death. And until this main issue is recognized the whole question of sin, and of the new man, and the new race, and the bringing in of the new creation, and of the escape of men and women from the power of Satan unto God could never be. You will be held up until you recognize the main issue. Where does the whole question [52/53] of sanctification begin? Where does the whole question of a new creation begin? Where does the whole question of the emancipation of souls from the grip of Satan begin? It all begins at the place where the power of death is met. It is not sins with which you and I are contending, nor merely with the old creation. We can be locked up and bound and tied by the absorption and obsession with our old man and never get anywhere. We can be locked up and tied hand and foot with all kinds of truth and teaching about sanctification, the question of sins or sin specifically, and get nowhere because we are not recognizing the main issue. The main issue is death, the power of death, and we have got to come to that central issue of the Blood of the Lord Jesus -- the question of life and death. That is the Cross at its heart. Unless the Lord had settled that issue once and for all in His Blood in the Cross then all other matters would have failed entirely and there would have been no complete Gospel.

Then, that being the Cross and the content of the Cross, we see what the Testimony of Jesus is in essence. It is the Testimony to life, making possible a new creation. That Testimony, when it really is recognized at its centre, is a Testimony concerning life which is brought into being upon the basis of death being destroyed, death having its power broken, and him that had the power of death being nullified. When that Testimony comes into being, and it is recognized, and anyone enters into that Testimony and makes that their testimony, what happens? Immediately the murderer is brought out.


He who, as the Lord Himself said, was a "murderer from the beginning", always has acted in that capacity towards any who were called into the Testimony of Jesus, whether in the Old Testament or in the New.

Abel was the first to take up the Testimony in history. What was Abel's testimony? The Blood! Whether Abel understood all the content of that symbolic thing or not is not our concern for the moment, but God understood what it meant. He had established it, and it was His way through all history. That fragment in the Hebrew Letter has governed all sacrifice in the mind of God: "without shedding of blood there is no remission." The Blood was the key from the first movement of sin in this world in the mind of God, and Abel himself stepped into that Testimony of the Blood with all its significance concerning sin, death, the race, and him that had the power of death -- and immediately the murderer came out and Abel was murdered, not by Cain, but through Cain; and so it has always been! When later Abram set up his altar and divided his sacrifice, the conflict commenced. You read about it in Genesis 15. The vultures descending, the beating off until the sun went down, the horror of great darkness -- and then the coming through of the Lord. What is it linked with? It is linked with the revelation of the Lamb and the Blood of the Lamb by which his seed, after four hundred years in Egyptian bondage, was going to be emancipated. The Lord gave him the revelation of His method in the earth. What was that for? To get a people who should be in the nations apart from the nations, for the Testimony of Jehovah. Israel was to be God's corporate testimony in the earth, amongst the nations, and be constituted and sustained upon a principle of blood, the shed Blood. And when the Lord would come forth to reveal the nature of the Testimony in the earth as corporate in His people, Abram meets the impact of the horror of great darkness, and there is set up in the very atmosphere a state of conflict. You carry it on in the case of Moses himself: the conflict in Egypt, and the continual conflict through his life.

This is the explanation of the attack upon Elijah, when he had erected his altar and stood for the maintenance of the Testimony of the Lord in Israel. When he stood on Carmel for that Testimony by his altar, and that Testimony had been established and vindicated against the false prophets, nay, against all that produced the false prophets and their system -- the power behind -- THEN JEZEBEL THREATENS HIS LIFE. Satan anticipated Moses by the slaughter of all the innocents to get one, as he anticipated Calvary in the Lord Jesus by the slaughter of the innocents to get One . And here, in the case of Elijah, because he is standing for the Testimony in Israel, the best and most suited instrument to Satan, Jezebel, is taken up, and Elijah's life is threatened. This is the key to all those murderous attempts in the Old Testament upon individuals and upon companies of the Lord's people. It is the explanation of the Book of Esther, when Haman would have all the Jews massacred. Why? Because they were God's instruments in the earth. The devil is against the Testimony in that people; they are the target because they are the testimony. Stand in this true Testimony of the Lord Jesus, in the power of the Holy Ghost and not in the theory of the thing; stand in it truly, and as sure as anything is certain the enemy of life will come out, and that is the explanation of all your experience in the work of God, and in your own personal life, in body mind and spirit. I am saying one of the most tremendous [53/54] and solemn, and yet one of the truest things when I say this.


Now we take up the whole thing when we take up a part, because there is no part. You are in it or you are out of it, and you cannot have a bit of it. Immediately, by faith and in the Holy Spirit, you become really, vitally related to the Testimony of Jesus, you are in that great issue, that supreme issue of the Blood -- the conflict between life and death, death and life. You are in it, and in that realm there is only one thing, and that is


There can be no passivity nor generalities in that realm. You cannot afford to take recreation in that realm. The praying has to be fighting prayer, and, oh, there is need for a revival of fighting prayer! The ceasing to say prayers, pray prayers, to take these jaunts in prayer all over the place, and come right to the mighty issues and battle through in the Name of the Lord. There needs to come more real fighting prayer into the Lord's people. You ask the Lord to give you the warring faith of the Son of God in prayer! It means that there has to be a very strong stand taken in that warring faith, and a refusal to be diverted by circumstances and appearances. Is the Testimony to you something which, if it were taken away and you have nothing left, you go with it, or is it something you have taken on and that you can change as you change your clothes? Will you be stripped of everything if that Testimony of the Lord Jesus is taken from you? If it is like that, you will say: 'Well, there is one thing which for me is a matter of life or death, and that is the Testimony in which I stand, the Testimony of the Lord Jesus.'

"And they overcame him because of the Blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death." Does that sound like a contradiction? "Unto the death." Abel was killed. But "they" are not dead, and Abel is not dead. Paul, like Jesus, was slain. But they live in "the power of an endless life" because Jesus has conquered death and "him that had the hold on death". By His Cross and by His Blood He conquered!


THERE are certain truths and concepts which dominate the whole Bible, and which are gathered into a single word. They are like a bunch of keys which, if you possess them, unlock the entire revelation of the mind of God. The most inclusive of these is the word 'Name' as relating to God. You have only to look at the pages of a concordance where the word occurs and you will feel overwhelmed by the number of occurrences in every book. And not just the number of occurrences, but the immense associations and connections of the Name. I wonder how many books would be needed to write something on all these statements about the Name! Here is indeed a theme that would keep preachers going for years! It is not only the titles of the Lord; that is wonderful enough; but it is what is meant by the Name of the Lord. We can do no more than approach it; never exhaust it.


1. The Name of the Lord is the full content of His character. It is what He is by nature and constitution.

This has always been an idea in naming. Sometimes it is prophetic. The Lord led to the giving of a name because the named would be what the name meant or implied. The Bible has much on that line, both as to people and places. Sometimes He changed names with the implication of a changed nature. Without giving a specific designation, such as Jehovah, El Shaddai, etc., on numerous occasions it is just: "the name of the Lord", "My name", "My great name", "My holy name", and so on, meaning just what and who God is.

Allied to this concept God is shown to be exceedingly jealous for His Name. Indeed, the great things which God is on record as having done for or against those concerned are said to have been acts of jealousy for His Name. The effectual ground of appeal to God for intervention and help has been that of His Name, His very character. God must be true to His character. To 'take the Name of the Lord in vain' is to use it out of harmony with His character. God has a reputation and He cannot allow that reputation to be injured. He called a people out of the nations for His Name, which meant showing forth what God is like. When that people, in character and conduct, [54/55] violated the principle of the Name, He flung them from Him and no more called them "My people".

This was the one and sole burden of the Prophets. They were raised up and anointed for the sole purpose of dealing with what was contrary to the Name -- the character of God. The Name of the Lord is a solemn and glorious trust, a trust to be guarded and honoured. But we must remember that it is not only the title of a Person, but the very character of the Person, which is to be guarded as a most sacred deposit or entrustment!

This is the clue to Jesus Christ. Note His jealousy over His Father's Name! Note how that affected His own walk in this world. He came in and for His Father's Name, reputation, honour, glory and rights. His life and His work had His Father's vindication as all-governing. God has taken two thousand years to answer the discrediting of His Name as embodied in His Son. Israel has been, and is, God's terrible example of God's jealousy over this fact: that Jesus Christ bore, lived, died and wrought for the Name of God. He was a revelation of what God is like and they slew Him ! This is a clue to Christianity. Christians are said to be "baptized into His Name", and to have His Name called upon them (Matthew 28:19: James 2:7). Hence, God is jealous over those who truly bear His Name. To touch them is to touch Him!

But this is a trust and it should be an incentive to life and conduct worthy of Him. It should be the motive in our attitude toward any situation which involves His honour. A proof of this principle of the Christian life is that any true Christian cannot hurt the Lord's Name and character without the Holy Spirit giving a sense of grief. The Holy Spirit is the present custodian of the Lord's Name and honour, and He is very sensitive to His trust. A mark of spiritual maturity is an increasing sensitiveness to the pleasure or displeasure of the Lord; just as a mark of immaturity is that things contrary to the Lord -- in speech, act, conduct, dress, appearance, discourtesy, vulgarity, rudeness, etc. -- can be indulged in and repeated without that inward sense of shame. To bear the Name of the Lord means a jealousy on our part for the honour of the Lord, and "They that honour me, I will honour, saith the Lord". As Christians who carry the Name of the Lord, to be true to that Name we ought to be progressively taking on the character of the Lord. Paul said: "And they glorified God in me." The Name, therefore, is a challenge to character.

It must be ever remembered that the one greatest object of the great adversary is to dishonour the Lord's Name, and this brings the Lord's people into the great battle of the ages.

Both the individual Christian and the Christian Church are the trustees of the Lord's Name. What a lot of history of suffering and adversity is associated with this truth! It explains a whole mass of the troubles which the assemblies experience. If Christians were more awake to what is involved in their troubles -- individually and collectively -- how much more would their jealousy for the Lord's honour make them act and react differently! Their motive would be: "For the Lord's sake!"

2. The Name of the Lord is the embodiment of His work.

For the sake of His Name He has worked and does work. He makes Himself a Name by His works, and we can count on Him to work for His Name's sake. His works are many: He saves for His Name's sake; He keeps; He gives grace; He sanctifies; He corrects; He delivers; He chastens; He leads in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake'.

What a Rock of confidence, assurance, comfort, is the Name of the Lord when we view it in this light! What a ground of appeal we have when we really hold an issue to His Name! "What will you do for your great name?" was the appeal in a very difficult and threatening situation long ago (Joshua 7:9).

"I wrought for my great name", said the Lord (Ezekiel 20:9).

All the mighty work of Christ by His Cross is now gathered into His Name. All the power and ability to work by His servants is in virtue of His Name. (See the book of Acts.) All the ultimate overthrow of the adversary's kingdom, and the bowing of every knee will be in His Name. His Name is called ... because He saves! Effectual work is when the workers correspond to, and stand upon the Name.

3. The Name of the Lord is the embodiment of His Purpose.

God is the God of eternal purpose. To that purpose He has committed Himself. Being Who and What He is, He could never undertake anything that He could not finally accomplish. To be defeated in, or cheated of His purpose would mean losing His Name, His reputation, His character. This can never be! Hence, infinite persistence, patience, pains, are components of His Name, and if He is finally resisted by an instrument and vessel of His purpose, He will make another vessel. The first generation that came out of Egypt resisted Him unto death -- their death -- but He raised up [55/56] another generation and realized His purpose through them. He is the God of Hope because He cannot be ultimately defeated. The valley may be full of bones, very many, very dry, and very scattered; God holds the key of hope in the power of resurrection. Resurrection is God's unique answer to otherwise utterly hopeless situations. Hence He is called "the God who raiseth the dead". He will eventually stand possessed of His purpose for His Name demands it.

For the weakest soul who pleads His Name He will show His jealousy, if only and truly it is for His Name's sake! His Name stands or falls with such, and it cannot fall!

We are very deeply conscious of how utterly inadequate our effort to extol the Name has been and we can only hope that, as a part of this ministry, it will serve to make some impression. Our common and familiar language and phraseology concerning the Name of the Lord needs redeeming from the commonplace. To say: "hallowed be thy name", and "In the name of the Lord Jesus" to every prayer needs to have the immense significance of what we say restored and recovered. Indeed, the numerous mentions of the Name in Scripture need to have a new impact and meaning as we come on them.

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth in and is raised above" (Proverbs 18:10).

"They that know thy name will put their trust in thee" (Psalm 9:10).

"In the name of our God we will set up our banners" (Psalm 20:5).

"I will set him on high, because he hath known my name" (Psalm 91:14).

"Dear Name! The rock on which I build,

My shield and hiding-place;

My never-failing treasury, filled

With boundless stores of grace."




[Harry Foster]

JOSEPH had a lovely house in Arimathaea, but he liked best to journey up to Jerusalem to the lovely house of God. The Jewish Temple was indeed beautiful, but unhappily much went on there which was not pleasing to God. Joseph, however, was one of those who hoped for the better days when the kingdom of God would really come. He expected it in his lifetime, but in any case he wished to arrange that even if he died he should be buried as near as possible to Jerusalem, which he regarded as the capital city of the coming kingdom.

So he made enquiries and found that just outside the city walls there was a garden for sale. He found the owner and bought it, not because he wanted a garden, but because he knew that in it there was a great solid rock which would serve his purpose well. He arranged for workmen to get busy carving out a great cave from the side of this solid rock and then he had the cave prepared for a tomb, feeling that by this means he could be certain, even if he died, of being near to the house of God. It was a rich man's tomb, but then he was a rich man, and did not have to bother about the great expense.

It may seem strange to us that a man should be planning his own funeral, but to Joseph the place of his burial was a very important matter. He found comfort in thinking that when he was dead his body would lie so near Jerusalem, which was the nearest place he knew to the kingdom of God.

Now Joseph was not only rich; he was an important man. He belonged to the council of seventy rulers who were in charge of the religious life of his people. When the Lord Jesus came to Jerusalem to preach about this kingdom of God which he was expecting, he naturally listened carefully, and he came to the conclusion that Jesus was certainly the Christ for whom he had been looking.

The difficulty was that none of the other rulers would accept Jesus. They were full of spite and unbelief, so much so that when Joseph's friend, Nicodemus, tried to put in a good word for Jesus he met with a very hostile reception. This made Joseph decide that the best thing to do was to keep quiet about his own convictions. Of course he would never agree to the Council's plots and threats, but would just keep silent. So he became a "secret believer", a man who was convinced of the truth but afraid to commit himself. Even when Jesus was condemned to death he kept silent.

Poor Joseph! As he stood by the Cross and saw [56/57] the sufferings of the Lord Jesus he felt more miserable than ever that he had been ashamed to show open friendship to Him. Then when with a great triumphant shout of "It is finished!" the Saviour died, he could bear it no longer, and determined to throw aside his fear and take his stand on the side of the Lord Jesus.

But it was too late! What could he do now? Jesus was dead, and soon His family and friends would come and take His body away from that horrible Calvary and bury it. But no! Jesus had no friends to do this for Him. There were only a few frightened women there, and what could they do? Then it was that he realized that there was something after all that he could do. His lovely new tomb was in a garden just by the side of the hill. He no longer felt any fear, so he boldly went in to the Roman Governor and asked permission to bury Jesus of Nazareth. The permission was given. He and his friend, Nicodemus, heavy with sorrow and full of shame at their previous cowardice, took the body and gave it a most honourable burial.

When Joseph put the stone over the mouth of that cave he thought that his heart would break. He had failed his Lord. And yet, though he did not realize it, he had been used in a wonderful way to fulfil God's Word. Many hundreds of years before either Joseph or Jesus were born Isaiah had prophesied that Jesus would die among the wicked and yet be buried with the rich. The Jews fulfilled the first part by having Him crucified between two thieves, but how could the rest of it be fulfilled? How could Jesus have His body kept safe in a rich man's tomb? Joseph was the answer. He provided the tomb.

It must have been wonderful for him to find on the resurrection morning that the tomb was no longer needed, and that he could now openly show his love to Christ. No more secrecy for Joseph! He was filled with the Spirit and glad to confess Christ as his Lord.

And no more worrying about where he was to be buried, either. The kingdom he looked for had truly come. With a heart full of love and rejoicing in eternal life, he thought no longer of death and tombs, but of his new brothers and sisters in the faith. So he gladly sold all his possessions -- including the garden tomb!

Joseph's story teaches us a wonderful lesson. It is that God can look after every detail of our lives if we commit them to Him. Through Joseph He provided His Son with just the right tomb in the right place, where His body could wait for the Easter morning of resurrection. Which helps us once again to say that "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). The Lord Jesus proved it. Joseph of Arimathaea proved it. What about you? - H. F.

Some years ago a much-used servant of God gave a series of messages which have been a great help to many Christians. From that series we have selected the following, believing that it well help many at this time.


[J. S. H.]

"Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me" (Matthew 11:6).

"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not he offended" (John 16:1).

One of the greatest perils of the Christian life lurks in the common pathway of discipleship. It is the peril of being offended in Christ. The fellowship to which the Gospel summons us inevitably brings a constant new and humiliating discovery of self, an unvarying disturbance of established order in our lives, as His will corrects and opposes our own; and a ceaseless effort to attain to the ideal; that is, to make our lives as followers increasingly correspond with His as Forerunner. And the danger is that we are apt to break down under the test and training of it all, to go back and walk no more with Him, to become, in fact, offended in Him. It is always possible, despite every sincere profession of the soul, that what God meant for blessing should become blight to us by our misconceptions. It is always perilously possible that the light of today may become deep and impenetrable darkness tomorrow, by our failure to obey and keep step with Him, by our lagging behind or turning aside from the compelling guidances of Christ's companionship. Men have, in this way, unconsciously and imperceptibly put themselves far out of the range [57/58] of Christ's ordinary influences; and have become, like the derelicts of the ocean, occasions of danger and disaster to countless other lives.

But Christ, with that absolute frankness which is a large part of His attractiveness to men, cannot be held to blame for such pitiful defections. For He never disguises the otherwise unthought-of possibility. In His Evangel He combines welcome with warning as none other has ever done. His Word, while it opens the very heart of God to our consciousness, opens also our own hearts to us. By Him we come to know the Father, and by Him also we come to know ourselves. He reveals the entire faithfulness of God to us, but He reveals also the instability of our own wills, and the untrustworthiness of our own emotions. He treats us not as ideal but as real men; and forewarns us of the destruction that wasteth at noonday, as well as of the pestilence that walketh in darkness. Hence it is that to the most earnest and self-convinced of us all He says: "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me. " The implicate is obvious and ominous. But the reality and richness of His grace is the sufficient and silencing answer to every one of our fears. The blessedness of the unoffended, despite all the danger without and the weakness within, is the possible acquisition of each one. And it is blessedness indeed.

Now it is necessary to remember the meaning of the word "offend". In its original form it is the very word we frequently use -- scandalize, and has the force of causing to stumble. So we may translate and expand this saying of Christ as being: 'Blessed is he who does not find in Me any cause of stumbling, who can keep his feet in My ways; who is not tripped up by any obstacles in the path into which I have directed him.' He uses the word quite frequently in this sense; as, for instance, when He speaks of a man's hand or eye being a cause of stumbling to him, when He denounces those who cause little ones to be offended, and when He declares that in the day of His glory all things that offend shall be rooted out of His Kingdom.

But He never uses it so surprisingly as when He declares the possibility of men finding occasion of stumbling in Him. We are prepared to find it in the world, in the opposition of the devil, in the proven insincerity of others -- but in Him![?] This is surely the most startling of all His warnings. For in Him we have already found life and salvation, guidance and peace, inspiration and satisfaction. And now to contemplate finding in Him also any cause of offence fairly staggers us. Had this word been applicable to men of the world, it would have occasioned little, if any, surprise. For instance, we are not greatly taken aback when those who knew Him so familiarly should treat Him so contemptuously and say: "is not this the carpenter's son?" Nor are we entirely unprepared to find that the Pharisees were offended in Him when He spoke to them of the evil thoughts, adulteries, murders, and the like, which proceed from the hearts of men; for his words convicted them of sin. We are not much surprised that He should be a rock of offense to those who are avowedly disobedient to His demands. But that His own friends, those who really know Him, and have been admitted into the intimacies of fellowship with Him, should find cause of offence in Him is passing strange. And its very mystery warns us to take heed to ourselves.

The setting of the first of these gives us the key to their significance. John the Baptist was languishing in prison on the shores of the Dead Sea as the outcome of a life of the utmost faithfulness. He had been tremendously loyal to Christ, splendidly in earnest concerning his mission, wonderfully courageous in giving forth the message committed to him, and yet it had all ended in a dungeon.

What a test for such a man!

It seemed as though his faith, his self-restriction, his willingness to decrease that Christ might increase, had all been unrecognized and unvalued. His experience so entirely contradicted God's assurance, that it is easy to understand the perplexity of mind which led him to send his disciples to Christ with the pathetic query: "Art thou he that should come?" For here is One who has avowedly come to deliver captives, and yet He does not deliver the man who, more than all others, seemed to have claims upon Him. He has proclaimed His own mission in terms of sympathy and love for the heartbroken, and yet here is a crushed and heartbroken man of whom He apparently takes no notice.

Is it to be wondered at that at last doubt overcomes faith, so that he sends the messengers to Christ in the hope that He will declare Himself plainly, and interpret such utterly inexplicable and contradictory experience to the one who had at immense cost to himself maintained a devoted loyalty to the Son of God? Christ's only answer to these messengers is an exhibition of His sovereign power over the forces of destruction and death, and an injunction that they should tell John what they had seen, and give to him this message which calls for a new triumphant trust on his part: "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me." For it means that in the pathway of blessing the providence of testing will always be experienced. Its implication is that there is true peace only for [58/59] that man who will trust Christ when he has no external aids to faith, who believes Him when he sees only the seeming denial of his confidence, and who holds to his loyalty without stumbling when His treatment tests his endurance to the uttermost.

The second of these words of Christ helps us to understand how His message to John applies to ourselves: "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended." Spoken as they were on the eve of His departure, when the fierce tests of discipleship were about to be experienced by His followers, they imply that they will need to stay their souls on the things He has told them concerning His purpose and power, if they are to avoid the peril of stumbling and going back from Him. For they are bound to come into experiences of test and strain as they carry out their consecration vows; and "in those days", says Christ, "be true to your own best experience of Me. Rest on that which no man can take from you -- the personal knowledge you have of My grace. Hold to those things I have spoken and shown to you. Be loyal to Me. Trust Me entirely, despite every unexplained mystery and seemingly unnecessary tribulation. And you shall not be stumbled but strengthened by these very things which are all of My ordering."

Now it is not disloyal to Christ to say this: that He not only masters men but mystifies them also. While He blesses them He bewilders them too, so incomparably higher are His ways and thoughts than ours. He persuades us to love and loyalty; but He puzzles us too, often to the point of distraction. He certainly answers the questions of our hearts; but at the same time He arouses even more than He answers. And in the life of every true follower of Him, there will always be, as there was in His own, some great unanswered "Why?" None of us will ever be exempt from the need of acquiring by faith and patience the blessedness of the unoffended.

For think of an ordinary and typical instance of offence. It is not commonly a matter of open backsliding, of heartless renunciation of the truth, or of bitter denial of past experience. Rather does it begin with the disappointment of some hope, the failure of an expectation, the weariness of an unanswered prayer, or the ache of a heart which seems to evoke no sympathetic answer from God. All this generates an unspoken and almost unspeakable distrust; and as we brood over it, a sense of injustice grows, a feeling that we have not been treated quite fairly by Christ, which becomes positive resentment. Until, after a while, His yoke becomes irksome; we challenge His right to control our lives so; and it all ends in a secret repudiation of His mastership, and often in an outward renunciation also of all spiritual interests and aims. This is a typical cause of offense in Christ. And how many there are all around us of whose lives it is a true description! From small beginnings of distrust the largest disasters grow. If two parallel lines are produced into infinity, there will never be any variation of the distance between them. But let them diverge at any point by only a hair's breadth. Then the farther they are produced, the wider the divergence becomes, until at length there is a universe of distance between them. So with our fellowship with Christ. The smallest distrust or disobedience is charged with the potentiality of the infinite; and if undiscovered and unchecked, will eventually put an eternity of distance between the soul and the Saviour. If, therefore, we can estimate some of the unchanging certainties of discipleship; explore some, at least, of the perilous causes of offense in Christ; and at the same time also establish a new relationship of implicit trust with our Lord, we shall be saved from this threatening peril. And this is surely the aim of His forewarning Word.

There is first of all the severity of His requirements. When we first come to Christ the pathway seems to be strewn with roses, and the air seems filled with sweet and soothing perfumes. For while Christ is absolutely frank with us, and veils nothing of the hardships and conflicts we must endure, our own powers of apprehension are so limited that we see but one thing at a time, and that one thing is that Christ meets all the need of which we are then immediately conscious. Hence we march to a glad strain with which our hearts are in tune. But before long we discover that the conditions of companionship are severe. For instance, we find that a real separation from the world in spirit and purpose is entirely necessary to the maintaining of fellowship. We find that we cannot march to two tunes at once -- and the world's strains are seductive indeed. We learn that we cannot keep step at the same time with Him and with popular opinion, with Him and the world, nor always with Him and the outward professing Church.

And when this discovery is made, it often means that men are offended in Him. For His demand involves a costly disturbance in the regulation of home and business and social life, according to His order. It means possibly for some the relinquishing of a kind of popularity which exists only because of shameful silence regarding Him. It involves others in the severance of ties which have become a large part of their life, and the sacrifice of material prosperities which partake of the nature of unrighteousness. It means for all the [59/60] end of self-indulgence, a crucifixion in order to a coronation, a dethronement in order to an enthronement.

And when all this comes to be clearly apprehended, then it is that men are offended in Christ. When He says: "Cut off thy right hand; pluck out thy right eye; forsake all that you have; take up the cross and follow Me", then comes the test which determines everything. Then too often men go back to walk no more with Him. Not because they do not understand Him, but because they have come to know Him too well! When He comes to be recognized, not only as the Christ of the sympathetic heart, but also as the Christ of the steadfastly set face, then great is the blessedness of the unoffended.

Then there is the mystery of His contradictions. It often seems as though Christ were unsympathetic with our best desires, with those desires which have originated in our fellowship with Himself. You want, for instance, to do some great service and to fill some great sphere; but Christ's answer to your longing is to set you down to face the difficulties of a small work in a place where there is little, if any, recognition of your toil. You ask for spiritual service, and all that has been granted is a monotonous round of secular duty. And you are in danger of being offended in Him, just because there seems so little justification for His treatment of your high aim.

Or, you have asked the gift of rest, and claimed His great promises on this head; but the answer has come in the necessity for stern and continuous conflict. The fires of temptation blaze around you, not less, but far more fiercely than ever, and you are both puzzled and provoked at such a fulfilment of the Word upon which you have hoped. Or, you have desired to have a life less burdened and strained, but His only response has been to impose other and heavier burdens upon you. And you are well-nigh offended in Him. The mystery of it all baffles every serious purpose, and the temptation to distrust is at times almost too much.

Now it will help us if we remember the simple fact, that He knows and does just what is best both for the development and repression of our lives. In reality, He is only unsympathetic with our egotisms. He only seeks to destroy within us anything savouring of self-love, self-pride, and self-sufficiency, and to reproduce in us something of the beauty of His own character. In His contradictions rightly apprehended we may always see the expression of His perfect wisdom with regard to our own highest interests, and the interests also of the Kingdom in which He has given us a share. Then "blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended", who accepts the direction of Christ as His love, and trusts Him, 'when to simply trust Him seems the hardest thing of all'.

Beyond these causes is yet another in the slowness of His methods. We come to Him and put our lives under His control, expectant of immediate realization of a deliverance which shall lift us beyond all concern regarding temptation and opposing forces. But how disappointingly slow is this realization; and how hardly won are our victories even when we are reinforced by His Spirit.

Quite early we find that life is not a song, but rather a strife; that the grace of Christ is not a mere ecstasy but rather an energy which works painfully for righteousness in us; and that it takes all the watchfulness of which we are capable to occupy the ground already conquered, as well as to conquer fresh territory. And the slowness of Christ in this matter of our own spiritual conflicts is often the cause of offense to us. For it disappoints our hopes, and contradicts our misconceptions as to anything like a passive and easy victory over our strong enmities. But in reality, this method, slow though it may seem to us, is the only one He could possibly pursue, having in view the greatness of His purpose and the contrariety of our nature. And every experience of victory, however small and insignificant, is prophetic of an ultimately complete triumph.

If you go into the Observatory at Greenwich you will see there a delicate instrument, by means of which the astronomers measure the distances of the stars, as well as their magnitude. Upon a sensitive mirror is reflected the light of the star points; and a measurement of the angles at which any two of the rays meet furnishes sufficient data for all the astounding calculations of millions of miles. And so it is in our lives. By estimating what Christ has already done we are assured of His unvarying purpose. Every bit of experience of His power to sanctify, to cleanse, to redeem, to deliver, is prophetic of the whole -- "that he who hath begun the good work will perfect it." And if we cling to this fact, we shall find it an inspiration to the steady continuance of faith, and shall not be offended because He works so slowly -- and surely.

The same is true also in regard to the progress of the Kingdom whose interests we are called to serve. How often we find in the slowness with which spiritual results are achieved a cause of offence in Christ. We begin by expecting that when we lift up Christ we shall immediately see crowds flocking to Him. We imagine that we have but to [60/61] work faithfully in the service of God and man, and results are certain to be apparent. But how different is the realization! How hardly souls are wooed and won! How true it is that tares grow up with the wheat! How certain that he who goes forth bearing precious seed must needs weep as he goes!

And the difficulty of believing that God is on the field when He is most invisible is too much for many who commence to work for Him with high hopes and valiant beliefs which seem all unjustified. Like the disciples, they think that "the Kingdom of God should immediately appear"; and in the discipline of their enthusiasm, and the conversion of their consecration into continuance, they are apt to be "offended". Now it would not be difficult to bring instance upon instance to prove that, in spiritual work, when results are least visible they are often most real. The worker who will go on without the stimulus of outward success, who will continue His witness even when he is met by cold indifference, who will carry out Christ's work in the unfailing inspiration of knowing that it is His work, is the one who gets the blessedness of the unoffended. And part of it is in the certain harvest of all his sowing, and the sure reward of all his service.

But perhaps over and above these suggested causes of offense in Christ is the unreasonableness of His silences. I have every sympathy with John the Baptist in his perplexity: 'If this is really the Christ, why does He not act as Christ? Why does He do nothing to deliver His captive herald, or to bring peace to his troubled heart?' One visit from Christ would have changed his prison to a palace. One hand-clasp from Him would have transmuted his gloom into glory. But He did not give it. Just so was it also at Bethany, when He left Martha and Mary to their sorrow for two long and weary days. I sympathize with them in their utter inability to understand His delay in the light of His love; and in the implied protest of the word with which they at length greeted Him: "If thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." His silence seemed so entirely unreasonable. And still does it seem unreasonable when He apparently pays no heed to our prayers, and we cry as to a silent heaven. Who does not know this bitter experience and the subtle temptation lurking there? You have prayed for the conversion of loved ones, but they are apparently today as unyielding and impenitent as ever. You have prayed for temporal things which seemed entirely necessary, and no answer has come. You have sought relief from some pressing burden, but no lightening of the load has been given; and today it is heavier than ever. And the thought that Christ's silence is unreasonable is never very far away. Loyalty to Him is strained sorely, almost to breaking-point. It is almost excusable to be "offended" in Him. But as with John in prison, and the sisters at Bethany, and hosts of others in all ages, He is not unmindful, however His silence may seem to point to it. He is training them, and us, to undaunted faith, to live in the realm of the unseen and eternal; to walk in His own steps. Sometimes what we call unanswered prayer proves beyond question a greater blessing than the desired answer could possibly have been. When Christ responds to our requests in the negative, we may be certain that the positive would have been for our undoing. He withholds secondary mercies to teach us the importance and value of the primary. His denials are our enrichments, not our impoverishments. For His purposes are vastly bigger than our prayers; and while His speech may be as silver, His silence is as gold. "Blessed is he whosoever shall not he offended in me."

'These things have I spoken unto you; that, despite the severity of My requirements, the mystery of My contradictions, the slowness of My methods, the unreasonableness of My silences, ye should not be offended.' What things were these? What will secure His people against the peril of defection? What are the permanent securities of our faith? In a word, the sureness of His way before us -- "I came from the Father", "I go unto the Father", "I am the way." Then the certainty of His love towards us -- "The Father Himself loveth you." And the constancy of His union with us -- "Ye in Me and I in you." These are the germ-truths of all His forewarnings. And their expansion is in the lives of His people. Blessed is he who resting upon these facts of God, makes them the factors of his own life; and goes on unoffending and unoffended, always radiant with "the peace that passeth all understanding", and increasingly becoming part of the world's illumination as he reflects is Lord.

But let us beware of putting any undue value upon our mere perception of this truth. Let us beware of over-estimating the strength of our own resolves and resources. Let us beware of saying anything like: "Though all men should be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended." Rather, in a sensitive, humble dependence on Christ, which always expresses itself in iron devotion and loyalty to His Word, let us seek to live as men of manifested faith. For this is the condition which governs all the blessedness of the unoffended. - J. S. H. [61/62]


[Harry Foster]

Reading: Joshua 1:1-9.

"Certainly I will be with thee" (Exodus 3:12).

"And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (Exodus 33:14).

"As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee" (Joshua 1:5).

I WANT, as the Lord shall enable me, to bring to you this word as it came to Joshua, who stood on the threshold of an altogether new life, with the land open before him. His whole attitude and purpose was that of Hebrews 6:1: "Let us go on!" And what would be the secret of it all? "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." You will remember that there was a moment when the Lord said to Moses: "Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward" (Exodus 14:15); and the purpose of this word is to remind ourselves that the Lord who calls us to go on is the Lord who is leading us on. It is not our strength and our responsibility to go on, it is His, and He pledges Himself and gives Himself to us for that. So my thought is not so much to open up an exposition of Scripture as to impress this deeply on our hearts: God says, 'I am with you!' "The Lord thy God is with thee." He was with Moses -- and how was He with Moses? That is what we want to consider, in order to know the kind of God who says to us: 'I am with you.' Moses His servant is dead, but Moses' God is not dead! He is still alive, and He is still the same! "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee."


What was the first characteristic of God's presence with Moses if not that it was a matter of Divine grace? Moses, of course, is the one who is always used to represent the Law, and in some senses he does; but I think he is used very often in that case not so much because he introduced the Law, but because the Law which he introduced and his name became associated, and thus his name became associated with a line of things which were opposed to grace. So in the New Testament it is often Moses, as it were, versus Christ, the Law as against grace; and yet there never was a man in all the record of Scripture who lived his whole life not upon the basis of a legal relationship with God but upon the basis of pure grace.

Turn to the eleventh chapter of the letter to the Hebrews. Here you will read about a mighty man of faith, but before you read about the faith of Moses you find something that happened before ever he had consciousness. The faith was not first of all in him but in his parents. God was with Moses before ever he made the grand decision to be with God. Just let that come home to your hearts! For it is true of you, if you are a man or woman of faith. God alone knows how true it is of all of us! Before ever Moses came to mature years and decided that he would be God's, God provided a love and a faith that took him and presented him to God. Is that not grace? God began the movement, where Moses was concerned. If Moses was going on it was because God started him going on, and so he began on the basis of pure grace.

And then you know how he broke into things when he became forty years old, and, as it seemed, spoiled every purpose that God had for him and had to flee for his life. If the beginning of Moses was grace, the call of Moses was sheer grace, for, after leaving and abandoning all that could be for God, and the forty years' caring for sheep, Moses himself did not resolve in the end that, after all, he would go on. God met him and said: "Certainly I will be with thee!" What grace! When Moses went away to the land of Midian he had forfeited everything. Everything was a failure, a breakdown and a miserable fiasco, and he reveals what went on in his own heart by the names of the children that were given to him. Joseph did the same. When Joseph married in Egypt, he called his first son Manasseh -- "God hath made me to forget": 'The past is finished and my father's house is all gone.' He called his second son (and second thoughts are usually best in the spiritual life) Ephraim: "fruitfulness". Moses called his first son Gershom -- "I am a stranger here": 'I have lost everything, my home, my own people and my adopted people, my mother's home, my foster-mother's home, my prospects, everything that might have been, and even my God. I am a stranger here!' I suppose he felt that he deserved that, for he had cut across God's purpose and got in the way, and all this had happened to him. Mr. Legality was belabouring him rather hard! He [62/63] had another son -- and again second thoughts are best, for he called this one Eliezer: "God is my help." He remarked when he put that name upon the boy: "The Lord saved me from the sword of Pharaoh" (Exodus 18:4). 'I am not dead. Every thing else may have gone wrong, but I am alive, and I am alive by the mercy of God!'

So the whole atmosphere of this call, so far as Moses was concerned was the sheer grace of God to him. God had pitied him and had been his help. And it was the sheer grace of God to the people of Israel. Make no mistake about that! Stephen says that they thrust Moses from them, saying: "Who made thee a prince over us?" They rejected him. Open the third chapter of the book of Exodus, and what do you find? Does God say to His people: 'Well, you are a lot of fools! I have provided you with a man who was to be your deliverer and your judge, and you have rejected him. It serves you right!' The Lord said: "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt ... and I am come down to deliver them" (Exodus 3:7). It is the grace of God all round whichever way you look at it. Neither Moses nor God's people, Israel, have any claim upon Him at all. If they ever had, they had forfeited it. Oh, but "who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity?" (Micah 7:18). He wipes the slate clean. He remembers these erring people, and He remembers Moses, and appears to him in a flame, a burning flame that goes on burning.

Moses did not turn aside to that bush because it was a burning bush. He must have seen thousands of burning bushes; but they all burned out. This was a bush that burned, and went on burning -- the burning flame of God's love and His grace. Moses turned aside to that. The Lord was saying to him: 'I am still here. I still stand by My word and by My promises! Come now, and I will send thee, but not as though I was going away from you, certainly I will be with you!'

"As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." Moses had died, but Moses' God is still alive. The word to Joshua is the word to us, if we will take it. Let us go on! How shall we go on? "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee, I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." But He was with Moses as a God of grace, and if you go through the story with that in view you will be struck by how true it was, how at every turn and step of the way somebody failed, somebody, as it were, let God down. The people doubted Moses, they doubted Aaron, they sinned and yet all the time God went on with His people and He never forsook them. The cloud was always with them by day and the pillar of fire by night. For forty long years God was with them, and always as a God of grace. When Moses sought the revelation of the Divine glory, you will remember that what he received was a revelation of God's grace, and his whole basis of appeal to God for the people had to be this -- the pardoning mercy and love of God. That is not just a matter of sentiment. It is very precious to the heart, and we can never make too much of it: that the God who says He will be with us is supremely marked by this -- that He is the God of all grace. His basis of relationship with us is not a legal one, but of sheer sovereign grace. I say that it is not merely a matter of pleasant thought. Going on depends upon that! Move off the ground of grace and progress is immediately arrested. You see, the Lord said: "Certainly I will be with thee!" What basis is there for certainty except in God's grace?

Now the people again and again, and yet again, had a question about God. They said: 'Is the Lord with us? Can God provide a table in the wilderness?' God said: "Certainly I will be with thee!" The only ground of assurance is the ground of grace. Move off that ground and your life becomes a big question mark; and how many of the children of God today have their life curled up into a question mark, doubting, wondering, sometimes full of confidence, and at other times in the depths of despair! "Certainly I will be with thee!" With thee! 'Well, Lord, it must be on the ground of sheer grace if there is any certainty about Thee being with me!' "Certainly I will be with thee!" You see, Moses, at any point of the way, could have given up, and would have given up if he had not lived upon this basis.

If you look at the matter from a purely earthly, reasoning point of view, you will say that the man who lives with the law always before him -- what is right and what is wrong -- will live a holy life, and the man who says that God's grace is glorious and wonderful and abounds to the chief of sinners will do all sorts of things he ought not to do. That is what men have always said, reasoning as men. But how does it work actually? Like this: Here is a breakdown and a failure. Legality says: 'The Lord is angry with me. The Lord has broken with me and it is no good!' And what does such a man do? He plunges into more sin! After all, that is what the people of Israel did again and again. They had broken with the Lord and so they went headlong on their foolish way. The same failure and breakdown, and yet a sense of the infinite mercy and pardoning love of God, even to me, melts my heart, and I long never to fall in that way again. That is how it works spiritually, though [63/64] the opposite is man's reasoning about it. I think it was John Wesley who said that the great mark of people who believe in salvation by works is that they never do works and never have any confidence about salvation. Legality brings a question. It does not bring a passive hopelessness, but a positive drive of despair. "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity?" What a holy life Moses lived, not merely because he knew God as a holy God, but because he knew in his own heart something of the infinite riches of the grace of God to an undeserving sinner, and, knowing that, he was able to say: 'Let us go on!' That was the mark of this man all those forty years in the wilderness. We are going on because God is going on, and God is going on, as far as we are concerned, because He is such a God of grace that He says even to us: "Certainly I will be with thee!"

Then, if Moses had dealt with the Lord upon a basis of legality as far as the people were concerned, he would have left them behind. He would have broken with the people of God and said: 'I am going on alone!' And that is another great danger of legality, and therein lies the saving virtue of the power of the grace of God. It binds us to God's people in love. God went a very long way with Moses, and went so far as to say to him: 'We have finished with this undeserving, miserable crowd of offenders. I will wipe them out, and we two will begin again.' And Moses rejected that. He said: 'No, Lord, it is Thy people, and we are all going on together!' and though some, as we know, fell in the wilderness, the purpose of God went on in His people, and Moses was saved from a spirit of separateness by the grace of God. He never despaired of God's people, though they were enough to provoke despair. He clave to them and pleaded for them before God. He was not blind to their faults. He was a nursing father, but not an indulgent father. Oh, but his heart was full of love to them! He never forsook them, with all their faults; he brought them in intercession, faults and all, to God.

That is very important, dear friends. Let us go on, but not alone. Let us go on in our home, where there are other children of God, but not alone; not cancelling the others out -- wiping them out, as it were -- and saying: 'They are not going on, so I will leave them and go on!' The grace of God is such that, while it is true these others may have grieved Him and failed Him, He has not forgotten them and has not left them. How can you and I ignore them, in our assemblies, and in all our contacts with God's children, wherever they are found? There is a sense, I know, in which we must press on, whatever others do, but there is also a sense in which we will not. Because of the greatness of God's grace we will not despair of His people. We will not harshly and critically rule them out. We will bring them to Him in prayer, if by any means we may prevail yet further on the grace of God, that His people may indeed go on with Him.

So this matter of knowing the grace of God is very important, and has far-reaching effects upon our life. Because Moses knew the infinite grace of God, he went on. The people often turned away from him, criticized him, grumbled at him, murmured against him, and slighted him, but that is another great blessing about the grace of God -- it produces a spirit of meek patience in the heart. The opposite of meekness, of course, is pride. Pride is the mark of legalism, pride at being different, pride of being better, pride of position, or resentment because of personal injustice. The more we are steeped in the grace of God, the more careless we become about our own little rights, and the more we are able to go on and not be offended, even with those who are sometimes very difficult to go on with. That was Moses' experience, at any rate. He was the meekest of all men. I do not think he was so naturally, but because he was taken up with the amazing grace of God, and that sense of God's grace made him put himself in his right perspective. He saw how little he was, how puny and how foolish, and his attitude to these critical people was jealousy for the Lord indeed, and concern for the responsibility which he had to bear, but also, who was he that he should fight for himself?


"As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." Do not begin to think that Moses was a wonderful man. If you do you miss the point. Do believe this: Moses had a wonderful God. "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.... Certainly I will be with thee ... My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." That was a great feature of God's being with Moses -- the rest of heart that He brought to His servant, since the Lord's presence with him was the Lord's undertaking of all responsibilities for him. Let us go on -- not in a strained, burdened, worried giving of ourselves to this matter of spiritual progress, but with a blessed casting of all our care upon the Lord. Spiritual progress must be restful, or it is not progress. It is not that fretful worry and questioning, straining, and sometimes, praying, that [64/65] produces spiritual progress. There was an occasion when the Lord said to His servant, who was evidently crying to God to come in and work mightily: "Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward" (Exodus 14:15). 'Count on Me! My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest!' What a restful life!

Moses was responsible for many thousands of people for forty years. He had nothing with which to make provision for them. He turned to the Lord sometimes out of rest, demanding in desperation what he should do. How could he give them water? They were ready to stone him, but how could he give them water? How could the Lord provide flesh for a great multitude like that? But, whatever else the Israelites died of, they never died from lack of water. The Rock followed them -- the Lord was with them. And not one of them died from hunger, and not one of them died from malnutrition because they only had manna. They all died, but they did not die of that. The Lord was sufficient. Moses never had to produce anything, for God did it. I am quite sure that as Moses looked back on his life there were incidents that he regretted, and he must have wondered why he was so foolish as to get in a fret and strain and worry, when all the time he had God's presence pledged -- "Certainly I will be with thee." That did not mean that he left everything to God and sat back and enjoyed himself. The life of Moses, at least during those last forty years was not a contemplative life, but a life of action, with many responsibilities which he never shirked. He was a worker. And yet you have only to read the last chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, which tells of Moses' death, to find that he was never more alive. Whatever he died of, it was not the worry and tear of the wilderness life. He was a "hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated" (Deuteronomy 34:7).

What does that mean? Please do not begin to play foolishly with the Word of God, as God's children do, and believe all sorts of things that the Scriptures do not warrant, such as: 'The Lord will always keep you strong and well and young, and you can always trust Him to send you money from some miraculous place, and to do extraordinary things for you.' It does not mean that at all. The spiritual meaning behind is that Moses had not to contribute his natural energy to carry through the purposes of God. God did it, and Moses was at rest even while he served God.

"As I was with Moses ...". Do you believe that? And yet, how lacking in rest are our lives, and what a strain we get into! I think that prayer, and certainly prayer about our own affairs, should never be a matter of strain. It may need persistence, but not strain. You remember the great battle with Amalek, and Moses' attitude -- his hands up lifted to God -- which brought about the victory. It is true that he tired, and was weary, but it was not his energy that was winning the battle. In a sense, though it was not restful, it was an attitude which betokened rest, a claim upon God, and the strong, maintained affirmation that this was the Lord's battle and He would be triumphant in it. Moses kept his watch and lifted up his hands, but it was not his energy that won the battle. God did it so long as Moses counted upon Him. 'As I was with Moses, undertaking and providing, bearing the responsibility, so I will be with thee. My presence shall go with thee.'


How was God with Moses? Personally! We are told that there was no other such as he who had communion with God face to face. 'The Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Exodus 33:11). "As I was with Moses ...". Did God mean that? Yes, He did, but the pillar of cloud disappeared just about the time that Moses died. Joshua was entering into the land with no pillar of cloud, no visible presence of the Lord, no opportunity of speaking to Him face to face as Moses did, yet God said to him: 'As I was with Moses personally, Myself, speaking to him face to face, so I will be with thee!' Then the Lord introduces a new element into the situation which has never been there before: "This book of the law ...". What does He mean? The Lord has many ways of speaking, but it is the same Lord Himself who is speaking. 'Moses had the cloud: Joshua, you have the Book. I spake face to face with Moses in the cloud. Keep tryst with Me, and I will speak face to face with you in the Book.'

It is true that the Lord now speaks face to face with us, not in a pillar of cloud, but through the Book. "As I was with Moses ...". Oh, Moses did not receive what he had as a mere code of laws and regulations. He received everything as a personal communication from the Lord. This Book is given to you, dear friend, not as a means of rules and regulations, but as a medium by which God wants to speak to you 'face to face, as a man speaketh to his friends'. Of course, if we do not expect that, we do not get it, but when we do expect, is it not [65/66] true that we get? The Lord never says: 'Seek ye My face!' in vain. Oh, what a privileged man Moses was! Whenever he was in a difficulty the cloud came down and the Lord told him just what to do. How lovely to be Moses! 'As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee ... My personal presence shall be the solution to every problem of yours.' It is not a matter of looking in the Bible to see what it says as a kind of principle and rule of life, so much as seeking the Lord in His Word.

"Beyond the sacred page, I seek Thee, Lord,

My spirit pants for Thee, Thou living Word."

God said to Joshua: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth." "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." That is the secret of going on. I think that often the plunges we make in wrong directions are the result of finding something in the Word, or, more often, hearing somebody say that something is 'what it says in the Word', but the safe way is to seek the Lord in His Word. We shall go on, and we shall not turn to the right hand or to the left. "The meek will he guide in judgment, the meek will he teach his way" (Psalm 25:9). "As I was with Moses ...". Do you believe that?

"As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." Who is the 'I'? You remember the revelation that came to Moses about the Name of God: "I am that I am" -- 'I always shall be what I am! I always was all that I ever shall be! I am!' The unfailing unchanging, eternal, faithful, enduring character of God. That is how Moses knew Him. The burning bush burnt on and on -- and that is God. The other bushes burn out so quickly. That which is merely natural and human catches fire sometimes in a great blaze, but how quickly it passes and is gone! But God goes on.

More than four hundred years before; this Joseph's family had gone down into Egypt. Long before that God had spoken of this very thing to Abraham, and all through those hundreds of years His purpose was to bring His people into the land. Abraham was dead; Isaac and Joseph were dead. Another order of things had come. But God was not dead, and His purposes were still the same. Even if Moses dies, God is still alive, the same God with the same purpose. Do let us take hold of that -- He is the unchanging, enduring God. You remember that in the letter to the Hebrews it says that Moses endured and, as you know, the New Testament force of that word is always one of time, and not just an enduring for a moment. Moses endured, and if we are going on, we have to endure. If we are going to reach God's goal it is perhaps a matter of endurance as much as anything else. Oh, shall we be the bushes burning with a natural flame and burning out, or shall we burn with a Divine flame and burn on, not being consumed? Moses became, as it were, a burning bush, for he endured. How? 'Wonderful man, Moses! Great faith, Moses! Tremendous strength of purpose and will and character!' No! A wonderful God was with Moses: "My presence shall go with thee." I AM is with Moses. God is true to His purpose and faithful to His declared aim. This dispensation has gone on for a long time, and in the Church the flame of revelation and of devotion to the Divine purpose has flickered, has faltered, has sometimes been ablaze, and sometimes apparently extinct, but through these hundreds of years God has never moved one fraction of a centimetre from His own Divine purpose. His flame has burnt on, and will to the end, and we are called to that eternal purpose.

We are called to endure. "Certainly I will be with thee. As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee." Oh, do not let us get preoccupied with our side of things. Let us more and more concentrate our attention on the Lord who is with us. That is the important thing.

I have not yet said how Moses endured. How did he endure? "As seeing him ...". That is the explanation of all those wonderful things you find in Hebrews 11 about Moses: faith that chooses, that renounces, that endures. It is all a matter of God's revelation, of His presence, and of Moses simply but firmly putting his hand into God's hand and clinging to the Divine promise of God's presence. That is the other side of the picture, but it is the most real and the most important side -- the invisible One who meant everything to Moses.

Just a last word. Moses, we might think, was rather a heavy, grim, burdened, dull kind of man. Do we think that? "Let us go on!" So often that rather sounds as if it is going to be a hard, tough, grim affair, but I do not think that is true of Moses at all. He had many burdens and cares, and doubtless shed many tears, but I read the last words that Moses spoke -- and there must be special importance in the last words: "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, a people saved by the Lord" (Deuteronomy 33:29). It is a glorious life, this life of going on! And I read a Psalm that was written by Moses, the man of God, and in it I find these words: "Satisfy us early with thy mercy that we may rejoice and be glad all our life" (Psalm 90:14). It is a blessed thing to be going on when God is with you. "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." - H.F. [66/67]



"And Jesus himself, when he began, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli ... the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God" (Luke 3:23, 38).

BY way of linking up with what we have already been talking about, let me remind you that we have said that the whole of the New Testament is occupied with three things -- the mission, the meaning and the message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God -- and we have said that every one of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament contains some aspect of that mission, that meaning and that message of Jesus Christ. That is, the whole New Testament presents Jesus Christ in three ways. Then we proceeded to see some of these aspects in the New Testament books. In Matthew's Gospel we saw the foundation of all Christianity, which is the absolute lordship and authority of Jesus Christ. In Mark we saw the activity of the Lord Jesus as under the government of His Father. Working backward, we saw that all work for God must come out of subjection to God. Of course, there is a great deal more to be said about both of those Gospels.

Now we go on to the third of these Gospels, the Gospel by Luke.


We must ask: Who was Luke? because we can only arrive at the message as we know the man. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that God's method is always to pass on His message through the spiritual history of the messenger; not to get a man to go to the library and study books, but to make the messenger the book. People have to be able to read the messenger and see the message of Christ in him. I think I dare not apply that any more closely!

This is particularly true in the case of Luke. We know that he was a companion of the Apostle Paul. He joined Paul at a certain time and in a certain place, and was his fellow-traveller for a great deal of the time of his ministry, and then, at the last, in the prison in Rome, Paul wrote: "Only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11). We know from the Letter to the Colossians that Luke was a physician, for Paul speaks of him as "Luke, the beloved physician" (4:14). I think there is a great deal bound up with that, for it is a little sidelight on a lot more. You know that the Apostle Paul is the only apostle who speaks about the Church as 'the Body of Christ', and in many ways he likens the Church to the physical body. He speaks of the members of the Body as hands and feet and ears and eyes, with all the members dependent upon one another, needing one another, and all making one Body. Paul uses a Greek word which our doctor friends will appreciate: "syndesmos". Syndesmology is the science of ligamentary tissues, and it is by the ligaments that all the members are joined together and function.

Now, where did Paul get all that? I can see Paul and Luke travelling along together on their long journeys and talking about the Church. Presently brother Luke says: 'Paul, isn't the Church very much like the human body, with all the members and all the ligaments and all the functions making one body?' And Paul says: 'Thank you, brother Luke. I am sure the Holy Spirit has taught me something. Some day, when I get time, I will put that in writing.' And Paul did get a lot of time in his room in prison, and he wrote his letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians, which are all about the Body.

That is all very interesting, but I think there is a message in it. We have several doctors here with us, and you doctors ought to have very special light on the Body of Christ and you ought to use your knowledge for spiritual purposes. But not only doctors. Surely this says that we ought to use all our special knowledge for spiritual purposes.

Well, let us get back to Luke. We know that he wrote two volumes. Volume 1 is his Gospel, and Volume 2 is the Book of the Acts. Again, who was Luke? Well, we have said that he was a physician, but he was a Greek, the only Greek of the four Gospels. Then he tells us that he spent a time in research. Now, in order to be a doctor, of course, he had to do a lot of research; but then he turned from his medical research to research about the history of Jesus. In the first chapter of his Gospel he tells us that he made it his business to find out very carefully all that could be known about Jesus. [67/68]

Now Luke, not being a Jew, did not know the Old Testament to begin with, so the first thing he had to do was to get the Old Testament and he worked his way carefully through it right from the beginning. He has put it down here in chapter 3! He takes Jesus and then he works his way right back through history, all through the Old Testament, until he reaches Adam. That was a good piece of original research! Luke says that he wanted to give his friend Theophilus the most definite, positive data concerning Jesus. Not only did he study the Old Testament closely, but he took a journey to Nazareth to do a very delicate thing -- I think a thing that only a doctor could do. He went to ask the mother of Jesus about His birth, and he puts it down here. Mary told Luke the secrets of how Jesus was born.

Well, evidently Luke took more than one journey to make some enquiries. It looks as though he went to Bethlehem to see the registrar of births and deaths and to find in the records the ancestors of Jesus. Need I go into more detail? You have it all here in the first chapters of his Gospel.

So Luke was a very careful, particular student, but note this: he intended to write all this down for his friend Theophilus. That was all that he had in mind, but the Holy Spirit had a great deal more in mind. Luke did not know that he was writing the Bible. It never occurred to him that twenty centuries afterward a group of people would be in a mountain village called Aeschi studying what he wrote to his friend Theophilus, and through all the centuries between his writing it and today people have been studying his writings. The Holy Spirit had greater thoughts even than Luke's.

We never know what the Holy Spirit is going to do with what we write. Although we do not write the Bible, we may write a letter, or a little booklet, and years afterwards we discover that someone has had a blessing all through the years from that letter or from that little book. Pray whenever you write! Ask that the Holy Spirit may make you do better than you know.

Of course, all these are just fragments of the message, and not the real message. We are going to get to that very soon.


Luke takes up Jesus with Adam, then he takes him up as a little babe, and then he lands Him in glory. Do you notice the last thing that he says in his Gospel? "And he [Jesus] led them out until they were over against Bethany: and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50-51).

Now we have come right on the line of the message: the son of Adam, the Babe of Bethlehem, the glorified Man in heaven. Luke takes up the Child of Adam and makes Him the glorified Man in heaven. Do you see the immense context of Luke's Gospel? The context is the whole human race from beginning to end. Adam was the first of the human race. Created by God with a great divine intention. It says concerning him: "Thou madest him to have dominion" (Psalm 8:6). God's thought in Adam for the human race was that it should have dominion. That is the revealed intention of God for the human race, but we know of the human tragedy: the human race in the first Adam lost the Divine intention. Put a circle round that word 'lost' and we have the heart of Luke's message.

The human race lost its Divine inheritance because it lost its right relationship with God. The whole of this Gospel by Luke is summed up in one verse: "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost" (19:10). Note the terms: "The Son of man came to seek and to save." That is the mission and the meaning, and the message! In Adam universal dominion was lost to the human race. In Abraham an elect people lost their heritage; the seed of Abraham, after the flesh, lost their heritage. The New Testament is largely about that. That elect race was called by God to fulfil a special vocation -- a heavenly vocation amongst the nations of this world. God said to Israel: "The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail" (Deuteronomy 28:13). They were called by God to be the governmental instrument among the nations, but that elect race lost their heavenly vocation.

"The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost": lost to Adam, lost to Abraham, lost to Israel, but found in the Son of Man.

The whole of the Gospel of Luke is concentrated into one chapter, the best known chapter in the whole of the New Testament -- chapter fifteen. Everyone knows what is in Luke 15! It is the chapter of lost and found things. Its setting is very significant, for it begins with these words: "Now all the publicans and sinners were drawing near unto him (Jesus) for to hear him", and official Israel, in the persons of the Pharisees and the scribes, murmured: "This man receiveth sinners." That was a funeral march to the Pharisees and the scribes, but it was music to the sinners' ears! Then Jesus began to speak to the Pharisees and the scribes, and he gave them these three [68/69] stories: The Lost Sheep, the Lost Piece of Silver, and the Lost Son.


Israel had always been called 'God's flock', and God had always been called the 'Shepherd of Israel'. Jesus takes up that thought and says, in effect: 'Israel is no longer God's flock.' Really, He is implying that Israel, like the ninety and nine, is lost in its own self-righteousness and traditional security and exclusiveness. So He enlarges the concept and says: 'I have other sheep which are not of this fold, and those other sheep are these publicans and sinners.' In the rest of the New Testament the Lord's servants are called shepherds. Peter said to the elders of the Church: "Feed the flock of God" (1 Peter 5:2), and "When the chief Shepherd shall be manifested" (1 Peter 5:4). We know that Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11) and when Israel is lost another Shepherd comes and has another flock. He makes up another flock out of Israel and out of the gentiles. Here is Luke! The new flock and the new Shepherd. From that which was lost He has found a greater flock than the one which was lost. How did this sheep get lost? The prophet Isaiah cries: "All we like sheep have gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6), and how did we go astray? How did we become lost sheep? "We have turned every one to his own way." That will take us back to the beginning of the human race when Adam chose his own way and the human race was lost.


There are many interpretations of this parable, but the most commonly accepted, and I think the right Ones is this.

When a young woman was betrothed and married in Palestine her husband gave her a string of silver pieces. I expect you have seen pictures of such a young woman. You wear your necklaces round your neck, but they wore them round their foreheads. You wear a ring on your finger when you are married. Your husband gave you that when you were married and said, or meant: 'I give you this ring as a token that you are mine. I have taken you to be my own. This ring, or this string of silver pieces round your head, is the token that you have accepted me as your master and lord, and husband.'

Now there was a superstition connected with that string of silver pieces. If a woman lost it, or even one silver piece, everyone said: 'That means she has been unfaithful to her husband! She is not faithful to her marriage vows.'

Do you see the meaning of the story? Israel was the lost bride -- the prophet Jeremiah said that the Lord espoused Israel to Himself, but they forfeited their honour as the Lord's bride. Israel lost the wonderful relationship of a bride to her husband, and the cry of all the prophets was that Israel was an unfaithful wife. You see what Jesus is saying to the Pharisees and the scribes? 'You have been unfaithful to your marriage vows to Jehovah! You have lost the most sacred relationship that anyone can have.' No wonder this woman is seen lighting the lamp and searching every corner of the house until she finds her lost piece of silver! Jesus enlarges the idea of the lost bride. Yes, there may be some in Israel who will be found in the Bride of the Lamb at the end, but that Bride is a bigger thing than Israel. He is making His Bride out of publicans and sinners.

I may not take the time to carry you over to the later New Testament to show you the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God "as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2), nor to speak about the marriage supper of the Lamb, but by these very references you can see that something was lost, but that which has been found is very much greater than that which was lost. The human race lost its honour because it lost its Lord, but the Revelation in the New Testament is of a Bride "without spot or blemish or any such thing" presented to the Bridegroom.


Israel was formerly called 'God's son': "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn: and I have said unto thee, Let my son go ..." (Exodus 4:22-23). Israel occupied the most wonderful position that it is ever possible to occupy. There is nothing more wonderful than to be sons of God, to be those whom God Himself has begotten, to be those who have been born out of heaven, to be those who bear the Name of God, to be those whom God brings alongside of Himself and honours them to represent Him. All that, and much more, is meant by sonship.

Now the Lord Jesus, when He saw what Israel had lost, came to seek and to save that idea of God, to recover sonship. Sonship is a special Divine conception and is the dearest thing to the heart of God. Therefore it is the most wonderful thing that can ever be true of man, and it is that principle [69/70] which is at the heart of this parable which we call 'The Prodigal Son'. All the wonderful privilege and honour of sonship has been despised by this prodigal. All that Divine conception has been regarded as of no account, and he goes out into the world and repudiates his sonship. Of course, he comes in the end to recognize what he has done. Jesus is very true to principle, and He makes this prodigal son say: "I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son" (verse 21). There are principles in ever one of those sentences. Israel forfeited that high position and honour. It is the principle of sonship that is the supreme factor governing!

Why did this son leave the father and the home? The prince of this world deceived him and told him that he could have something better in the world. Oh, that is what the great deceiver is always doing! He deceived Adam that way. He has deceived the whole human race in that way. He deceived Israel in that way: 'You can have something better in this world.' Jesus said that he was a 'liar from the beginning', and men are finding out today what a lie this world is.


Now, having said all that, I have only now come to the message. What is the message of Luke? The Son of Man has come to secure a redeemed, new humanity. Paul calls Jesus 'the second man, the last Adam' (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47). Out of Jews and gentiles Jesus is redeeming a new humanity. Listen carefully! The message of this Gospel, and of the New Testament, is this: God is not now particularly interested in Jews, nor in gentiles, nor in Protestants, nor in Roman Catholics, nor in Baptists, nor in Methodists, nor in Dutch Reformed, etc. God is not interested in those things at all! He is interested in men. All God's interest is in man, let the man be British, or Swiss, or German, or French, or any other nationality, white, black, yellow or brown. That does not matter to God, for His only concern is with man . Are you a man -- and God called both woman and man 'one man' -- and are you of the human race? God is interested in you as mankind, to take out of the nations, and out of the denominations, a people for His Name. Are you a "minister"? God is not particularly interested in you as a "minister", but He is interested in you as a man, and that is true of every other category. You do not think, do you, that because a man is a "minister", a servant of God, God lets him off when things are wrong? God does not say: 'Well, he is my servant so I will overlook all his faults.' Nor does He say: 'Oh, he, or she, is My child, so I will not take any notice of what is wrong.' No, God's concern with us is as people. The Son of Man came to seek and to save a lost humanity, and to make Himself the Shepherd in that humanity, to make His Bride out of that humanity, and to make His sons out of that redeemed humanity.

Where do we end? Where Luke ends, with the Son of Man, as the representative of the new mankind, glorified in heaven.

I hope I have not made you tired. It is all too wonderful and too big! I could only give you a little hole through which you see a new world, but do remember that in all God's dealings with us He is seeking to make another kind of humanity.

The Convocation at Wabanna, Mayo, Maryland, is to be held this year from the 7th to 14th July. Ministry will be shared by Mr. DeVern Fromke, Mr. Stephen Kaung and the Editor. Fiends wishing to attend should write early to: Mr. E. L. Chase, 1370 Ray Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23502, U.S.A. [70/71]


We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received from 28th January to 28th March 1969:

Aberdare £3, £3; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia £9 13s. 7d.; Barking £3; Belfast £1; Bexhill-on-Sea £1; Brentwood 10s.; Bristol 10s.; Bromley £6, £5; Burnham-on-Sea 10s.; Burnley 14s. 8d.; Canterbury £1, £2; Chardonne, Switzerland £3 17s. 4d.; Coulsdon £2; Crediton £1; Cromer 10s.; Deal £3, £30, £5, £5; Dudley £1 1s.; Eastbourne 10s.; Farlington £1; Feltham 6s. 2d.; Gateshead £5; Glasgow £4, £2, £5, £2; Gormley, Ontario £1 18s. 7d.; Greystones £5; Gy, Switzerland £5; Hassocks £5; Hastings £5; Heathfield 10s., £1, £1; Helsingfors, Finland £3; Hong Kong £2 13s.; Horley £7 16s. 3d.; Hunter's Quay £2; Ipswich 4s.; Keighley £2; Keith £1; Kells 6s.; Kirkcudbright 10s.; Lancing £1; Leamington Spa £5; Leask, Sask. £7 14s. 6d.; Leicester 5s.; London E.12 14s.; N.W.3 £2 14s. 8d.; N.W.10 £1; S.E.15 £1; S.E.22 £1; S.E.23 £1, £5, 10s., £5, 5s.; Louth £10; Mato Grosso, Brazil 10s.; Mt. Waverley, Victoria £2 6s. 5d.; Nairobi, Kenya £2 2s.; Newcastle-upon-Tyne 10s.; Nicosia, Cyprus £5; Norwich £15, £2, £3; Nottingham 12s. 6d.; Ottawa, Ontario £8; Penticton, B.C. £3 17s. 3d.; Peterboro, Ontario £1; Port Jervis, N.Y. £1 0s. 10d.; Regina, Sask. £1 18s. 7d.; Rozenburg, Holland £1; St. Austell £2; St. Lucia, Australia £1 7s.; Salzburg, Austria 10s.; Sevenoaks £1; Sheffield £1; Shrewsbury 8s. 6d.; Somerset, Tasmania £1 17s.; Southend-on-Sea £5; South Molton £1; South Shields £1, 12s. 6d., 6s., 10s., 10s.; Strasbourg, France £4; Swansea £1; Torquay 10s.; Tunbridge Wells £1; Ventnor 16s. 5d.; Vevey, Switzerland £4 16s. 5d.; Wanganui, New Zealand 10s.; Weston, Ontario £3 17s. 3d.; Whitstable £10; Yarmouth, Nova Scotia £2; York 10s., £5; Zürich, Switzerland £2. Total: £295 2s. 5d.

Annandale, Va. $10; Arlington, Va. $5; Barnstead, N.H. $2; Beaumont, Texas $2, $6; Bergenfield, N.J. $10; Birmingham, Ala. $10, $10; Coleman, Texas $1; Dayton, Ohio $3; Granite City, Ill. $5; Greenwich, Mich. $2; Hacienda Hts., Calif. $1; Haddon Hts., N.J. $30; Hebron, Maine $25; Houston, Texas $3; Irving, Texas $20; Jamaica Plain, Mass. $6; Kokomo, Ind. $5; Lancaster, Calif. $10; Lansdowne, Pa. $5; Largo, Fla. $5; Los Gatos, Calif. $10; Lynchburg, Va. $10; Marionville, Mo. $2; Martinez, Calif. $15; Matthews, N.C. $5; Mt. Vernon, N.Y. $50; Nagano Ken, Japan $10; N. Hollywood, Calif. $3; Paradise, Calif. $5; Pasadena, Calif. $5; Philadelphia, Pa. $5; Pickens, S.C. $3. Salzburg, Austria $1; Upper Black Eddy, Pa. $2; Waltham, Mass. $5; Wellesley, Mass. $15; Woodland Hills, Calif. $10. Total: $332.00.

Calgary, Alta. $5; Campbellford, Ont. $6; Cobokonk, Ont. $5; Don Mills, Ont. $20; Orillia, Ont. $2; S. Burnaby, B.C. $2; Westmeath, Ont. $5. Total: C$45.00.

Copenhagen, Denmark DKr. 50.00.
Gümligen, Switzerland Sw. Fcs. 40.00.

AESCHI, 1969

If the Lord so wills, the conference in Aeschi, Switzerland, will be for the period:
Saturday evening, 6th September, to
Monday morning, 15th September, 1969
Further details and forms of application for accommodation, which will be available in English, French and German, can be obtained from:
The Conference Secretary,
Witness and Testimony Literature Trust,
39, Honor Oak Road,
London, S.E. 23, England. [71/72]


The books and booklets listed below can all be ordered by post from the addresses given at the end of the list. More detailed information about the literature is available on application to the Witness and Testimony office in London.

By T. Austin-Sparks    
   Vol. 1 ALL THINGS IN CHRIST   8/6 ($1.80)
   Vol. 2 (Cloth boards) 7/6 ($1.60)
  (Art paper covers) 6/- ($1.28)
WHAT IS MAN?   7/6 ($1.60)
  Vol. 2 5/- ($1.07)
WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 1) (Cloth boards) 6/6 ($1.39)
  (Art paper covers) 5/- ($1.07)
WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 2) (Cloth boards) 4/6 ($0.96)
  (Art paper covers) 3/6 ($0.75)
OUR WARFARE   4/6 ($0.96)
   CHRISTIAN LIFE   4/6 ($0.96)
   THE FINAL CRITERION   4/- ($0.85)
   TESTIMONY IN FULLNESS   3/9 ($0.80)
THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST   3/9 ($0.80)
   (Some Considerations on the Prayer-Life)   3/6 ($0.75)
   THE LORD JESUS CHRIST   2/9 ($0.58)
IN CHRIST   2/- ($0.42)
HIS GREAT LOVE   1/6 ($0.32)
UNION WITH CHRIST   1/6 ($0.32)
   (Incorporating Union with Christ in Consecration,    
   The Ministry of Elijah and Stewardship)    
CHRIST -- ALL, AND IN ALL   8d ($0.15)
"I WILL OVERTURN"   6d ($0.10)
THE SUPREME VOCATION 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
A GOOD WARFARE 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
6d ($0.10)
4d ($0.07)
2d ($0.04)
CHRIST OUR LIFE 2d each ($0.04)
  or 1/6 per dozen ($0.32)
By H. Foster (Booklet)    
2d ($0.04)
By Various Authors    
   (Each volume contains a number of separate messages )

THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY Vol. 1 3/- ($0.64)

Vol. 2 3/3 ($0.69)

Vol. 3 3/6 ($0.75)
   The three volumes, when ordered together:   9/- ($1.92)
For Boys and Girls    
By G. Paterson    
   (170-page cloth-bound book. Illustrated)   5/- ($1.07)
By H. Foster    
   (All with illustrated art paper covers)    
READY FOR THE KING (48 pp. Illus.)   1/6 ($0.32)
ON WINGS OF FAITH (52 pp. Illus.)   2/- ($0.43)
BURIED TREASURE (48 pp. Illus.)   2/- ($0.43)
OPENING IRON GATES (40 pages)   2/3 ($0.47)
Published by SURE FOUNDATION (U.S.A.)    
By DeVern Fromke    


Printed in Great Britain by Billing and Sons Limited, Guildford and London [72/ibc]

[Inside back cover]


The six issues of the magazine, bound together, to form a volume with light blue art paper cover, are available for the following years: 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968. Price per volume (1 year): 5/- ($0.70).

Certain back issues of the paper are also available and will be sent to those who desire them at cost of postage only. Please indicate the date of the issue(s) required.

POSTAGE AND PACKING: For postage and packing please add the following to the total amount of the books ordered:
Orders totalling less than £1 -- please add 2d in the shilling.
Orders totalling more than £1 -- please add 2/6 in the £.
To the U.S.A.: Please add 10 cents in the dollar.

Orders for literature and requests for "A Witness and A Testimony" should be addressed to:
39 Honor Oak Road, London, S.E.23, England.
Telephone: 01-699 5216

Witness and Testimony literature can also be obtained from:

M.O.R.E., Westmoreland Chapel,
P.O. Box 68505, 1505 South Westmoreland Avenue,
Indianapolis, Los Angeles,
Indiana 46268, U.S.A. California 90006, U.S.A.
Convocation Literature Sales, Evangelical Literature Service,
1370 Ray Street, (Mr. Donald J. David),
Norfolk, 158 Purasawalkam High Road,
Virginia 23502, U.S.A. Madras, 7, India.


[Back cover is blank]

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