“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, June 23, 2017

“Can this be religion? Am I not mistaken?”

“While bowed at the altar with others who were seeking the Lord, all the language of my heart was: ‘Help, Jesus, save me or I perish! I will never cease to entreat till my prayer is heard and my sins forgiven!’ I felt my needy, helpless condition as never before. As I knelt and prayed, suddenly my burden left me, and my heart was light. At first a feeling of alarm came over me, and I tried to resume my load of distress. It seemed to me that I had no right to feel joyous and happy. But Jesus seemed very near to me; I felt able to come to Him with all my griefs, misfortunes, and trials, even as the needy ones came to Him for relief when He was upon earth. There was a surety in my heart that He understood my peculiar trials and sympathized with me. I can never forget this precious assurance of the pitying tenderness of Jesus toward one so unworthy of His notice. I learned more of the divine character of Christ in that short period when bowed among the praying ones than ever before. One of the mothers in Israel came to me and said: “Dear child, have you found Jesus?” I was about to answer, “Yes,” when she exclaimed: “Indeed you have, His peace is with you, I see it in your face!” Again and again I said to myself: “Can this be religion? Am I not mistaken?” It seemed too much for me to claim, too exalted a privilege. Though too timid to openly confess it, I felt that the Saviour had blessed me and pardoned my sins.” Testimonies for the church, vol. 1, pg. 17.

“Can this be religion? Am I not mistaken?” will be the confessions of multitudes before and during the Latter Rain. They had known only a code of ethics or a form of religion, but they had not known the experience and the power from above, even if some had professed to have experiential religion. Some had been in the last day true religion, but had not surrendered to the Person behind the true religion. They were schooled in what the Spirit of Prophecy described as true religion. They had outwardly conformed to that aspect of the inspired counsels’ high standard; they had gone through the motions, and therefore they believed that they had experiential religion. They were as schooled in the requirements of true religion as the above twelve year old girl who thought she was right with God. She had been brought up as a Christian. She had learned many Christian values. Her sense of missionary work had been woven into her religious life; she and her mother had sewed clothing for missions. She knew and loved all the hymns. She studied her Bible and knew it well. Yet, when true religion came, she didn’t recognize it. She had not known Jesus personally; and His rest that remaineth for the people of God had been eluding her.

In God’s mercy, many folks who are fully devoted to religion often receive many chances to meet Him. He sees their true condition today. He reads the chastisement of their peace that comes from separation from His Spirit. He knows our hearts, our natural rebellion, and our unbelief. If He were to deny us all the many opportunities for surrender, who would be saved? None would surrender, none would be converted without His continual call of mercy. Yet, despite His many opportunities to know Him, how few have surrendered to Jesus! Its the sad rhetorical answer from Jesus in Luke 13:23-30.

The incentive He uses to draw us is loaded with beautiful, relevant promises. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:10). But, how few have experienced true religion of “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17), as young Ellen finally did? Jesus strives with His church, yet most will not surrender. Their unwillingness to enter into a full view of Jesus, His loving-kindness and His perfect righteousness, will make it impossible for the majority to survive Jacob’s troubles. Many will enter into the great time of trouble believing they are prepared. Yet, they will not have surrendered all that is within them. They will not have fallen on the Rock and been broken, and therefore will not have given themselves fully to the service of God.

Up to the final moments while peacetime remains in the world, they will complain about His temporal and spiritual scourging that He brings for His purpose in their purification. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12:6,7). They will fight the “chastisement of our peace” (Isa. 53:5), which was the same mental oppression that young Ellen suffered, and which our holy Schoolmaster Father of all, deems necessary for all of us in order to receive His eternal crown of life. Whether religious or irreligious, rich or poor, famous or not, elite or commoner, free or bond, the standard arrogant attitude to the Father’s convictions is, “my life may not be good enough for You, but its good enough for me.”

But, the Schoolmaster’s answer to their arrogance is, “If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye [illegitimate], and not sons.” (Heb. 12:8). No one justified and born of the Spirit would deny the Father is continued punishment for their sanctification.

How does the Schoolmaster chasten us spiritually? Through His Law: its painful description of righteousness and its condemnation of our sins. But, if sinners disdain His uncomfortable convictions and evade His Law, then He sends them His providential consequences for breaking His Law, “receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Rom. 1:27). Without His chastisement of our peace and consequences for our sins, no one would ever need a Saviour—a Saviour from sin. If they won’t let Jesus be their Saviour from sin, then He will be no Saviour at all. But, Satan loves to give us his religion without our sins being the condition for “salvation”. It was called Ashtoreth worship and Diana worship “whom all Asia and the world worshippeth”. (Acts 19:27). Today it is called Mary worship, the Mass, mysticism, and Spiritual Formation, after which the whole religious world hastens. In all of these false religions the common denominator is coming into God’s presence without His strong convictions of their horrific sins and without His Son as their only, mighty Mediator between the Almighty Judge and them.

They love their idols and appetites and human gods. They hate conviction and they hate the gospel message that they are not worthy to go straight into Almighty God’s infinitely holy presence. They can’t accept being to blame for their flaws and sinfulness. Their pride won’t allow them to live under any shame and guilt. No one can point a finger of accusation at them—not even God. “Who are You to judge Me?” They hate knowing that they are judged by God, because they don’t know the love of God and the ever-ready mercy of His Son for them. Therefore, they can’t trust Them with Their diagnosis of their sin disease or Their regimen of obedience to righteousness with help from above for their recovery from sin. They utterly resist the calling of God’s Spirit.

But, for all who could not allow their conscience to be blinded by self-indulgence of whatever variety, the “Spirit of God” (Rom. 8:9) can weigh in on the soul, as it did for young Miss Harmon. And in their soul’s distress and agony, they will be driven to the Saviour. The Schoolmaster Father of all, uses His Law as His front, through which He creates in His children a superhuman need for mercy. From His superhuman chastisement of peace they wrestle with surrendering their will to the will of God. But even after they surrender their self-will, they still have yet to surrender their heart. They search for the only One who can save them from the condemning will of God found in His Law, and they find their Mighty Helper—“the body of Christ” (Rom. 7:4), Christ and Him crucified. They receive His  spiritual insight to comprehend that it was their exceeding sinfulness that caused the suffering until death of the beautiful, only-begotten Son of God. Their heart is broken as they surrender to His mercy and self-sacrifice. They are now justified by their humbling and by the surrender of the heart.

“Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24). They have cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). And the remedy came from “God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:25). “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12,13). They have been born again. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:6). Finally, they have the long sought “Spirit of His Son”; they have “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9) and peace with God. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made [them] free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1,2).

Now they love to obey God, as Mahana loved to obey and please Johnny Lingo. “For this is the love of God, that [they] keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1Jn. 5:3,4). With the crucified, drooping, and expired body of His Son ever invading their satisfying memories, and the Spirit of His resurrected and ministering Son motivation them, they now love to do the will of God that they had for so long wrestled with. “By [whose will, as codified in His Law,] we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb. 10:10). “That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Heb. 10:10).

And they look back on the long, traumatic chastisement of their peace, and are grateful for His merciful scourging, as with Ellen’s new heart and spirit, and in her new life, which she penned it so precisely and beautifully:

“There was a beautiful pink flower in the garden called the rose of Sharon. I remember approaching it and touching the delicate petals reverently; they seemed to possess a sacredness in my eyes. My heart overflowed with tenderness and love for these beautiful creations of God. I could see divine perfection in the flowers that adorned the earth. God tended them, and His all-seeing eye was upon them. He had made them and called them good. “Ah,” thought I, “if He so loves and cares for the flowers that He has decked with beauty, how much more tenderly will He guard the children who are formed in His image.” I repeated softly to myself: “I am a child of God, His loving care is around me. I will be obedient and in no way displease Him, but will praise His dear name and love Him always.” My life appeared to me in a different light. The affliction that had darkened my childhood seemed to have been dealt me in mercy for my good, to turn my heart away from the world and its unsatisfying pleasures, and incline it toward the enduring attractions of heaven.” Ibid., p. 19. A new capacity to know and love God spread throughout her whole heart.

Abundance of church work does not constitute or create surrender and conversion. Many have built up their eternal home without a correct foundation. That foundation must be God’s condemnation and our affliction, and then Christ’s humbling our heart and His justification, both His humbling and justification working together to result in peace with God and a new heart to obey Him. That true foundational, abbreviated version is in the profound promise of Christ, “whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken.” (Matt. 21:44). The foundation of salvation is “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21). They become “the temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Cor. 6:19), “which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Heb. 8:2).

They must see themselves as “exceeding sinful” before they will need the brazen Serpent hanging on the pole. They must tremble at believing that they have committed the unpardonable sin a thousand times. Them only can Christ forgive and “purge [their] conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3).

What does the Lord mean by “dead works”? He means an outward, formal religion; a Christless, Spiritless, loveless religion. He means being warm on the outside, but cold on the inside. It means loving “the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:43). Acting happy on the outside, but inwardly being a ravenous wolf, a salivating predator toward the children of God. Clean outwardly but polluted inwardly. Looking good and going through the motions for the benefit of human acceptance and influence and power. He means pleasing men “that ye might affect them” (Gal. 4:17), serving and perpetuating the sinner’s unbelief and self-sufficiency, assisting and being an accomplice to their natural lack of fidelity to the living God and in their ultimate damnation. “[Jesus] said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15). On the contrary, Paul said, “Do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10)

“Dead works” are not the same as obedient works of the Law. Jesus didn’t come to destroy the Law or the Old Testament. The problem with “dead works” is that they are good works but they come from a dead heart. Dead works are not genuine heart service to God for His pleasure, but sevice for men and for self-pleasure.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-19).

Jesus didn’t come to destroy the Law from Sinai; but He did come to destroy what the religious rulers had done to the Law. “They say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matt. 23:3,4). “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20).

We are not made right before God through some great Christian work. This was the very issue that Christ and His apostles battled in the New Testament, as well as it being the prophets’ key issue of the Old Testament. Baal worship was a system of atheistic humanism as much as was the Judaism developed in Babylonian captivity, and in the current Protestantism (and often in Adventism) today.

What we need is true religion, today in the calm before the Latter Rain storm and its by-product in the great time of trouble. We need the scourging of the Spirit of Prophecy writings, and then see Jesus uplifted as our only hope for righteousness by faith. We need heart conversion, to experience faith that comes from hearing Jesus’ precepts and seeing His person, and which also leads back to Jesus. Then beholding Jesus through His Father’s Law, we stand on a mighty Rock and are safe from deception. We will truly have that gift of God about which Ellen ruminated, “Can this be religion? Am I not mistaken?”

But, to everyone else the genuine conversion and sealing will appear as a mistake, an intoxication, and part of the false revival and strong delusion. Looking at the beauty of flowers and trees, as in a heavenly daze? The children of God, seeing the original Edenic glory of God upon His creation, will be assumed by frightened friends and family to have schizophrenia or a bipolar disorder. To everyone not experiencing Jesus’ true religion, it will be a scary excitement, an unaccountable power, of which they have never tasted. But it is strange to them only because their pride and unbelief never allowed them to enter into the spiritual oppression from God, and His gifts of surrender and salvation.

The controversy between the children of God moved by the new power so strange to their atheistic brethren is heard from the similar troubles that David suffered from his fellow Israelites. “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?” (Ps. 42:3). But all who like Ellen do suffer in the spirit and flesh, and enter into God’s call to holiness, will know that it is authentically of God. These 144,000 will see Jesus through faith in His Spirit and will receive a power to do the whole will of God. They have been “enlightened, …have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost.” (Heb. 6:4). They “have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” (vs. 5). Setting aside all humanly devised requirements and doctrinal constructs, they will live unto God. They will serve God through His Law by the Spirit of His Son. But all who make void the Law of God will never taste of the Spirit of life of the Christ Jesus in the Law and in the cross, the seven Spirits of God through the “Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes” (Rev. 5:6).

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.… For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:16,19,20).

“I through the Law am dead to the Law”. What will the 144,000 experience in regard to this death to the Law? What did Paul mean? Does it mean that the Law of God told Paul that he didn’t have to keep the Law of God anymore? Does it mean that God says that we don’t have to obey Him anymore? If that were correct, wouldn’t it be comparable to Christ’s statement, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25)? In the Torah you’ll never find a commandment to disregard the Torah. Neither will you find it in the New or Old Testament “gospel ” (Heb. 4:2). Rather, just the opposite:

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:15-20).

“And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.” (Deut. 8:19). Moses’ warning against worshiping other gods was the same as Paul’s. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Gal. 3:1). “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that we have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8,9). 

Did the Lord invest Moses with authority? Very much so. Every principle of righteousness in the Law and allegiance to the Lord Jesus would continue for 1,500 years, and then continue its effectiveness in the church. The difference between the old and new covenants is that all the symbolic ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Jesus, as a “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14).

But the principles of the Law’s righteousness are eternal, principles which Paul jealously guarded and perpetuated.

Did the Lord invest Paul with greater authority than Moses? In Galatians 2:16-20 did Paul destroy everything Jesus had given Moses to bless the world? No, Paul and Moses were invested with equal authority to provide, promote, and preserve “the everlasting covenant” (Isa. 24:5), the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6, cf Rom. 1:16). Jesus used both to end the dead works of atheism and paganism, among the Gentile world, and within His professed people.

Paul quoted the Old Testament endlessly, resetting the ancient Hebrew religion back to its original service to the one true Godhead of Father and Son. But, the Jews had become so accustomed to corrupted religion that they couldn’t recognize in Paul’s doctrine the original religion of the Mosaic Law and Jehovah’s teaching prophets. God’s religion has always been one of immutable grace and truth, justice and mercy.

“If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” (Deut. 30:10-14).

(Paul’s version of Deuteronomy 30:10-14.)
“But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” (Rom. 10:6-8).

The Mosaic Law of the Lord first required a relationship with the Lawgiver, and then obedience to Him. Obedience with a faith relationship with Jesus, such as David had, has always been the only acceptable obedience to God. David wasn’t the only one in the Old Testament to have the gospel, but he saw it more clearly than anyone else during that time. “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). Only the obedience from faith and love, which David surely had, could ever please God and end in true, whole-hearted obedience, and in heaven-bestowed success and prosperity. “And he [who meditates on the Law of the Lord day and night] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:3). “I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, They Law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8).

Paul and Moses fought for the same goal: Christlikeness, being filled with trust in and love for His “grace and truth” (John 1:14).

“For Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in Thy truth.” (Ps. 26:3).

“I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.
Withhold not thou Thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth continually preserve me.” (Ps. 40:10,11).

“For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds.” (Ps. 57:10).

“Lord, where are Thy former lovingkindnesses, which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth?” (Ps. 89:49).

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake.” (Ps. 115:1).

“I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.” (Ps. 138:2).

“For Christ is the end [“result”, the “goal”] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 10:4). Jesus must be our focus, but if the condemning call of God has brought us to Christ for His merciful justification, then the Law of God will forever be riding in the background and ever making its way into our life. This was Christ’s message also. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15).

Faith and obedience to His Law are perfectly compatible and forever inseparable.

The Son of David knew the union of grace and truth, faith and Law better than David did. As the temple veils had red threads woven in and out of blue threads, resulting in purple fabric, Christ’s teaching wove the two polar opposites of mercy and justice, lovingkindness and truth, into one beautifully attractive message for the people to His love.

“Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. … He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles [the distant people] shall wait for His law.” (Isa. 42:1,3,4).

“The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” (vs. 21).

Christ was prophesied to exalt the Law of God and cleanse it from all the human tradition with which Judaism had corrupted it. And the distant people would flock to His law and religion. He would create in them a heart to obey Him.

“And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.” (Jer. 24:7). But that gift of God would not come without hardship and affliction, chastisement of peace and scourging, that is, depending on each individual’s rebellion. “And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.” (Jer. 24:9,10).

But, the end of the Lord’s extreme measures come as a blessing. “We … have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (Jas. 5:11). Some of whom God is calling are looking heavenward, wistfully praying for peace of heart and mind. They will be heard when their prayers are free of self-justification. “Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?” (Luke 18:8).

Some of whom God has called today are at the beginning their narrow, somewhat lonely sojourn with the light of justification shining brightly behind them and just a single gleam of the hardly conceivable, full victory down at the end of a long tunnel. Others are in the middle of their tunnel, with their first justification shining somewhat dimmer, the eternal day ahead of them shines brighter on their path. And still others, as they near the end of their “long home” (Ecc. 12:5), “a light … shineth in a dark place,… the day [dawns], and the day star [arises] in [their] hearts” (2Pet. 1:19). The justified see their path growing confidently into a perfect day, “as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.” (Ps. 19:5). They can say without hesitancy, “The LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him” (Isa. 30:18)!

Just as “the LORD turned the captivity of Job” (Job 42:10) after Job’s mouth was stopped and he abhorred himself like Paul did in Romans 7:24 (see Job 40:4,5; 42:6), once the modern Israel of Christ is humbled and dependent on their Lord, then He turns around their captivity.

“In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.” (Jer. 31:29,30).

Once the dust of His anger has settled, then His church understands His protective, jealous, and unselfish love for them. Thus, they are His workmanship. Through His punishing affliction, He created in them a cleansed heart to know Him.

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:33,34).

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My Laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 8:10-12).

“And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 31:28).

“And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.
And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.
I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.” (Eze. 36:23-29).

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” (Jer. 31:23-25).

And the relieved prophet, poor anxious Jeremiah, once more spoke for His expectant Lord, “Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.” (Jer. 31:26).

This reward may speak of the earth made new, or a foretaste of it in this life. But, either way, it only comes to those who repented of unbelief and sin, and discovered the true, Law and grace religion not to be repented of—and not a mistake, as did that beautiful young woman, Ellen Gould Harmon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"What does this say about Jesus?"

“Hmm, what does this say about Jesus?”

“[Ye] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:39, 40, margin).

In the original Greek, John 5:39 can read as a command, “Search the scriptures”; or, it can read as an indicative statement, “You search the scriptures”. In other words, His statement, “in [the scriptures] ye think ye have eternal life”, Jesus was saying that 2,000 years ago the scribes and Pharisees were searching the Old Testament Bible because they believed the words to hold some kind of mystical force. They believed that the words themselves, rather than the words of a Person, held power. They did not comprehend the relationship that David saw together with the high standard and Jesus, their Author. “Thy precepts” (Ps. 119:4), “Thy commandments … Thy righteous judgments … Thy statutes … Thy word” (Ps. 119:6-9), “the judgments of Thy mouth.” (Ps. 119:13). David’s praises of the Law were also, and more so, prayers to the Lawgiver. To David, His commandments were not boring, bland, monotone “The Law”, but exciting, relational, life-giving, “Thy Law”. To David, there was a huge, loving Person above and beyond the holy, just, and good Law of God. They were Jesus’ speech which David heard in his spirit. They were the wonderful event in the life of Matthew, still arousing his warm memories of blessed times with Jesus, when he wrote, “Seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying…” (Matt. 5:1,2). David’s sanctified spirit answering to the Spirit of the Person behind the Law, to the One authoring the Law, made His commandments filled with interaction and power to obey—full of life and health, success and prosperity. But, the Jews received no life from the words of the Law, or from the Person inspiring the words, because they could never see His words as promises, “in which it [is] impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18). “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ.” (2Cor. 3:14).

“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom. 9:30-33).

Without a friendship with Jesus—no matter how holy and just and good could be the words—the words were unpalatable and unwanted to hearts estranged from God and His Spirit. The scriptures, apart from the revealed love connected with their loving Speaker, created resentment and pride, reacting in anger toward everyone around, and resulting in self-sufficiency and hypocrisy. Separating the written truth from Jesus—who is the Truth incarnate—is the psychology of sin, the mystery of iniquity.

Contrariwise, joining with the Word of God who, “from everlasting” (Hos. 5:2) dwelt in the bosom of God, and abiding with Him and His word, are the psychology of righteousness. This is simple science, yet wise science. “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31,32,34-36).

Not receiving love from the Author of the scriptures, they received no life from the scriptures, and thus neither any peace and rest. The words’ deeper, spiritual meaning was inconceivable to them, and therefore empty of motivation to obey. The rabbis, however brilliant, could not comprehend the meaning that Jesus put into the Holy Writ. Without seeing Jesus in His words, they could have no faith in Him, neither receive His gift of the Spirit and rest. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.” (Heb. 4:9,10). They could not enter into the experience that David had with the scriptures. “They could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:19).

Every opening of the scrolls should have been a time of worship. Each reading could have been their time of intercourse with Jesus, as it was with their father, David. But, the religious leaders weren’t reading the Bible as words sent from above. Theirs was atheistic Bible study. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it was atheistic worship of God. Can God accept such worship? No, of course, not. Essentially they were worshipping and learning from a false god, because the god they worshipped and studied under―though studying the inspired scrolls―had a whole different character than the character of the “only true God” (John 17:3). Their god was the Law. Their god was script and concepts, which, separated from the personality of their Author, only kill and steal and destroy by further emptying needy hearts. Their god wasn’t a God of attentive love and tenderness as Jesus was and is, but an enervating god of chilling letters and numbers. To them the Bible was literature for glorying in the Jewish genius, and science and tradition to battle the Hellenizing and Romanizing inroads upon their Jewish young people. The leadership wasn’t sitting at the feet of Jehovah, but at the feet of Satan. They weren’t eating from the tree of life, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Could that be happening today in the church? The eternal principle that history repeats itself still applies today. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” (Ecc. 1:9,10).

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:11,12).

We can easily run into the same problem today that plagued the Jews of old. Unbelief. Where did their unbelief come from? It came from learning the wrong God, studying under an empty god of only letters and information. They weren’t studying the God of the Bible, Jesus, who was full of more than just information. He was full of communication and communion. His words communicated love and life.

But, I have fallen victim to the trap that the Jews of old fell in—reading the Bible for only information. I didn’t believe that God could love me, just as billions around the world think. Sinners who see their sin to be “exceeding sinful” (Rom. 7:13) naturally have a hard time believing anyone could love them. That would include God and Jesus, in spite of John 3:16. They have been surrounded by people who didn’t love them, or who had no patience with their shortcomings and mistakes. Why should the holy God, the God who can’t live with this world, the God who is surrounded by loving, loyal servant angels and doesn’t need to be worked up by trouble-makers on Earth, why would He want to be bothered with us? If we were in His shoes, we wouldn’t want to be bothered with street urchin untouchables.

But, we don’t know God and His only begotten Son, and we don’t desire to wear Their shoes. We don’t know the divine self-sacrificing love, self-sacrifice being all that They know. Two verses alone prove that.

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:33,34).

Loving these kinds of enemies, forgiving those who persecute us. That kind of love for vile people like us is unearthly. We don’t find that love in anyone else within humanity’s past, present, or future. Cursed is the human who trusts in another human for that kind of love. It’s only found in our King and in His only begotten Prince.

“For [God] hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus].” (2Cor. 5:21). Satan has sought to make us personify sin. But God made Jesus to personify sin long enough for the reconciliation to happen between us and God, and then Jesus could help us personify the same righteousness of God.

Even though God making His Son “to be sin” can initially seem foreign to our thinking, esteeming and deeming a Child to be abhorrent, and treating Him like the devil, isn’t so hard to understand. Isn’t that what makes child abuse? Isn’t children seen as abhorrent by parents and others a common practice on our planet? If treating others like sin would never happen there would be no child abuse, child slavery, prostitution, murder, inquisitions, and so many other causes of misery in the world. All who are enslaved and abused have been viewed as a plague to the world, a pestilence that must be destroyed. They must learn to conform to the Christless, loveless, joyless, miserable rulers of this world; and if they don’t conform, they are kicked out of the group and treated as hopeless. They must therefore be hated and beaten into submission, re-educated, re-programmed, and made void of all joy; otherwise, they must be driven from this world.

Hard-hearted people excommunicated them and cut them off. How did the self-imposed Jewish leaders become as hard-hearted as the world’s religious leaders? It came by feeding on a loveless, joyless god. Maybe they were introduced to this god through their parents and grandparents, who had also fed off of the same loveless god. This has been the problem from the very beginning, and Solomon says everything from the past continues to repeat today. The evil education we see in people today was the same education in Christ’s day that descended all the way down from Cain’s day. Nothing has changed. We’ve been studying from a subtle, vindictive master who hungers to devour the children of God in order to dig at his hated Creator.

So the subtle, vindictive master provides humanity with a version of the “word of God” that is without a knowledge of God’s love. Humanity is kept back from seeing Jesus, the beautiful, loving, godly and holy, only Begotten One. They aren’t allowed to believe the hidden nuances of the only Begotten’s righteousness. And they weren’t permitted to ask about His love and become familiar with true love, that is, a parent’s self-sacrificing love. Satan wouldn’t let them conjecture, with imagination trained by the Bible, that God and His gift of His Son both love Their flawed, little children with an everlasting love, loving them as children to die for. “The accuser of our [the angels’] brethren” (Rev. 12:10), “he who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger” (Isa. 14:6), kept hounding them with their shameful past so that they would assume that the Creator could never desire to be with them forever. They believed themselves to be unwanted, uncared for. But, the Bible shows a different heart and mind in God. (By the way, did you catch that the angel’s call us their brethren? Even the angels have forgiveness and pity for our plight due to choosing Satan as our master.)
So, back to our original thought, Is our God a real Person, a God full of love, or a god of empty letters and numbers? Are we learning of Jesus, or of Satan? Is information all that we get from studying the Bible, or do we hear His loving voice from the Bible still communicating with people today? What are we studying in the Bible? Or better yet, Who are we studying in the Bible? The right question makes a big difference. Are we searching to see Jesus? Do we go to the Bible to hear the voice of a Wonderful Counselor? Do we go there to unite with a faithful and true Friend of sinners who is also faithful to and loved by His Father, thus He is provided as the perfect go-between us and the great Judge? Why do we “search the scriptures”? Have we fallen into the same trap as the scribes and Pharisees, the rabbis and priests of old? Are we seeing or are we missing the generous compassion of the Son of God? Do we have something to say about Him to the poor in spirit ones around us? Are we having difficulty gathering gems of His beauty, for a word in season to him that is worthy?
If Jesus hasn’t been materializing in your thoughts, ask the very effective question as you read the Old Testament, “What does this say about Jesus?” Try this question when reading the Bible or some other Bible-related book. Try it when walking through the woods or when meeting with people. “What does this say about Jesus?” It’s a simple question, but it is full of power; it’s full of life. Let that question become your prayer; let it be your habitual prayer. You will be surprised at what pops into your head because you opened your mind to Jesus and to His works.
Something happens between our soul and the Saviour when we ask how a verse or promise or story relates to Jesus, the Creator of that verse and promise and story. That question makes an opening for Jesus to get Himself into our hearts and minds by His Spirit. He made us in His image; we are spiritually-genetically like Him. At creation we received His spiritual genes. Even the worst examples of humanity have His Spirit codified in them. Everyone is like spiritual Uranium ore, sparkling with potential radiation and worthy of divine-atomic power “dunamis” (Mark 9:1, cf Luke 1:35), if they will be purified through His processes. Even the weakest of us are on His wavelength; He can detect us all. Some may be a stellar Christian, like a mighty Mercury tightly bound to the Son and whirling around Him doing His business. Others may be only a poor in spirit Pluto, barely hanging on to the Son’s gravitational attraction. They may be in and out of a perfect path, wobbling as they go. Yet He’s got them; the focus of their paltry Christian walk is in Him. Nevertheless, our whole race’s openness to His spirit has been confused, corrupted, damaged by sin, and in great need of His justification and His sanctification.

Hence, the need for the holy, habitual question from everything we see, hear, and read, “What does this say about Jesus?” “What does this open to me of Jesus?” “How does what I’m reading or seeing or hearing reveal Him to me?” “Lord! I need to see your love!” When we ask this question, He will show us how it all reveals Him. When we make this question our habit, He will walk with Jesus. Christ’s love will keep us from wobbling and falling; and with exceeding joy He will present us faultless before His Father’s glory.

That question needs to be asked constantly as we go through the day. When we are out and about, whatever we see, whatever we hear, ask yourself what it all says about Jesus. Everything around us are all His creations. “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers” (Col. 1:16). The works glorify the hands that made them. This is what Jesus said.

“Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” (John 14:11).

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do.” (John 14:11, GNB). All of His works testify of Him. He dwells in their praise. “Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Ps. 22:3).

For instance, when we looked at the film, “Johnny Lingo”, we asked: “What does this say about Jesus?” Well, we had known that Jesus is our Lord and we, the church, are His spouse. But, in a new way we saw illustrated to our minds and hearts how Jesus delivers us from our old man, and how we become His. Isn’t that what we see between Johnny Lingo, Mahana, and the old man who constantly degraded her? Her father worked as accessory to her destruction, exacerbating that old man in her and making her condition more intolerable and hopeless and dead. The father’s anger at life (maybe his bitterness began from the loss of his wife), his natural selfishness, was misdirected at his only daughter. Added to all that, in many cultures around the world, it’s considered a curse to have a daughter.

Mahana was redeemed from her ugly old man when she was bought by her discerning, respectful, and attentive Johnny. And likewise we are bought back and restored by our Jesus. During His work of healing, “Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love…. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God.” Steps to Christ, p. 12. And no clearer picture could be seen, of His deepest care and His constantly overlooking our great evils, than on the cross. It was not only to ensure our faith in His soon-coming heavenly ministry for us, but it was because He couldn’t help Himself when He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” seems like the Father’s grand statement of all eternity. These words to begin Jesus’ great heavenly ministry He must have memorized and practiced before His Father and rethought upon from forever, something like Neil Armstrong’s “One giant leap for mankind” statement, which he must have memorized and NASA had planned to be splashed upon American minds as he descended the steps of the lunar module onto the Moon. The announcement of Christ on His cross went viral throughout heaven and the unfallen worlds of the cosmos.

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God…. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:4,6).

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6:6).

“The Angel...redeemed me from all evil.” (Gen. 48:16).

In Jesus’ angelic, holy example He presented the standard which He would require of us, and by His self-forgetful and considerate gentleness He proved to us that He truly wanted us. This beautiful picture we see in Johnny Lingo toward his childhood crush, Mahana. What does this say about Jesus? Johnny spent an exorbitant amount to buy Mahana and restore her. This is the message of the Bible. Jesus spent an unheard of amount to buy us, all that He owned—He mortgaged even His own eternal life, to give us His eternity with His much appreciated Father—to gain our trust and to awaken in us love for Him.

Why? Because nothing short of such a demonstration of determined and joyful love can bring to life our dead hearts’ affections for Him and For His beloved Father. And He knew this. So, He went over and above to prove to His Father and to all heaven that His overtures to us were proper and upright, and would never to be questioned in the eyes of the whole universe. He not only communicated to us that He only wanted our good, but He taught the deepest lesson ever known to the unfallen beings, the lesson of the true Law of the kingdom—self-sacrificing love for the least lovely, the least in moral worth. And His gift of a new heart and a new life of obedience, manifested to the eyes of the billions in the heavens, drove His lesson home to the hearts and minds of His universe of perfect people. His demonstration of self-sacrifice so pleased His Father that His Father regained the right to sweep away all the old man’s nasty accusations, and make His Son’s earnest hope His great reality—to have us forever without any regrets in the hearts of His Father or of the angelic hosts, in light of the insubordinate, repulsive, abominable old man who had lived in us.

Like Mahana saved from bondage to her old man through Johnny’s love for her, in the tenderness and care from Jesus we have new life; we have new hope, new purpose. We have a new will to obey His commands and to do His work. We want to please Him in all things and to serve Him. His love for us, believed by us, redeems us from all evil. Our old man could never die without the grace and kindness of the Son of God. Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer! All this we experience by proxy in the transformed, humble, wondrous Mahana, in her love and happiness, and through others in the Bible who Jesus bought back.

“If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” (Eph. 4:21,22).

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” (Col. 3:9,10).

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1Pet. 1:18,19).

“Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old; the rod of Thine inheritance, which Thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein Thou hast dwelt.” (Ps. 74:2).

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28).

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor. 6:20).

Mahana could have rated a dowry of ten cows! And the church of Christ will rate the praise of all heaven. And Jesus will sing over His transformed, humble, and wondrous bride. 

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17).

Because Jesus made everything happen, all that we see in Johnny Lingo can be transferred to the Son of God in the plan of our salvation. “All things were created by Him, and for Him.” (Col. 1:16). Everything lovely testifies of Jesus. If there be any virtue, if there be anything to praise, it all testifies of Jesus.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). To everything true and honest, just and pure, lovely and of good report, ask, “What does this biblical/ extra-biblical person/ event/ experience/ object/ concept in this life tell me about the Prince of heaven? What details does it add to my paltry knowledge of Him?” Think on these things because they all testify of Jesus’ uprightness, His purity and loveliness, His praise-worthy character and good news to us.

The great Physician now is near,
The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
Oh, hear the voice of Jesus.

Sweetest note in seraph song,
Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
Sweetest carol ever sung,
Jesus, blessed Jesus.

Let the healing image of Jesus in our forehead, derived from Johnny Lingo and from others we have met, lead us like a script that guides the mouths and body movements of actors. Let the grand over-arching question remove all misconceptions and lies about the holy Son of God, and prepare the way for His Latter Rain, “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” (Acts 3:19,20). Let the question that reveals Jesus guide us to remove all obstacles and idols, when “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached unto the whole world for a witness to all nations” (Matt. 24:14). Through the big question may we be a “voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isa. 40:3). “Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” (Matt. 25:6).

“We are to be earnest in our efforts to clear the King’s highway, to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Fervency of spirit must be brought into our service for the Lord. The lamps of the soul must be kept filled and burning.” Christ Triumphant, p. 46. As much as He longs to remake the broken connection with us, before Jesus will come to us we must choose to see and know Him. “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The song of the Prince

“…that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7).

The story of Johnny Lingo and Mahana tells of how discerning love looked past a young lady’s tattered appearance, and how it understood that she had never been loved. Johnny had known her from childhood, and he is very familiar with her father’s unending berating her. Johnny knows her heart and mind, and he also knows that he can bring out beauty and goodness from Mahana. Known as a shrewd businessman, Johnny is also a shrewd man of love for Mahana. His wisdom and love of life have always allowed him to see overlooked bargains in the business world. And that same acumen and heart allows him to see the true luster in Mahana. So he makes the deal with her father that allows him to marry her. During that transaction to buy Mahana from him, Johnny has nothing railing to say to her father, but treats him with the dignity that becomes a wise son-to-be. From a rag-tag, unkempt, and hopeless girl this loving husband turns Mahana into the highest valued princess of her south Pacific island. Johnny did this in two ways: by the price he paid for Mahana, immediately exalting her self-worth; and by his continued kindness to her.

All of this can be seen in the heart of “the Messiah the Prince” (Dan. 9:25).

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6,7).

Jesus had set His love upon His human gems. He alone could see the worth of this miserable world  and bring out our deep, hidden luster that was defiled by the filthy earth and crushed by the destroyer. He came as the Lamb of God, to win our love to Him as He would lay down His life at our hands.

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

He has redeemed us, bought us, from our ugly old man that was under the control of Satan.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1Pet. 1:18.19).

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Rev. 5:9).

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4-7).

“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” (Eph. 3:9-12).

This beautiful and touching salvation of His spouse, the church, is wonderfully illustrated in the simple, short film from 1969, Johnny Lingo. In Johnny we can hear the tender call of Jesus for us to come to Him, and to trust in Him as someone who is completely opposite to our old master, the ugly destroyer. Patiently and kindly, He awaits our response.


Johnny has paid for her and he stands at the door of her old hut, holding out his hand to beckon her. Mahana starts to come out of her hut, but draws back into the dark shadows again. But Johnny’s arm and hand never lower. Understanding her fears, he gently, softly commands her to take his hand.

“Mahana…” (She comes out and slowly, cautiously places her hand in her husband’s and he confirms her trembling faith by his strong love for her). Johnny will never treat her contrary to that initial expression of love. He will never give her any cause to suspect anything insincere from him. Likewise Jesus and the people of His tender call.

“The voice of My beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled.” (Song of Solomon 5:2)

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isa. 41:10,13).

“And I have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art My people.” (Isa. 51:16).

Johnny had a wisdom that was driven by love for Mahana. And that is exactly the wisdom that God promises to give us through the self-sacrificing love of His Son toward us. “Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Cor. 1:30). Of ourselves we are weak and nothing. All our goodness and beauty are only in response to His everlasting love.

And what is Mahana’s hushed  response to Johnny’s wedding gift of a gilded mirror, after all the constant, self-forgetful attention and healing love of her husband?

“I wish I had a gift for you!”

Is this the response of the church to the constant gifts and incessant loving-kindness from her eternal Husband? And Johnny’s immediate, gracious, sincere, private whisper to Mahana’s longing is the same as Jesus’ to His church’s awakened love for Him, isn’t it?

“Your gift to Me can be seen by all who look at you.”

“... even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27).

Then Mahana comes out to see Mr. Harris the trader, and he is utterly shocked at the beauty he had never before seen in her.

“Good morning, Mr. Harris!”

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev. 19:7,8).


(Mahana looks very different with a happy smile, nicely brushed hair, and a beautiful red flower in her hair that was no doubt picked by Johnny for his beloved, his dove).

Isn’t this what Jesus says to His church, to you and I, “My love, My dove, My undefiled” (Song 5:2)?

Mahana must go for some water. Will you please excuse her?”

(Even in her outward beauty, she works with her willing hands. Mahana gladly takes a container and happily, obediently walks down to the beach to get water. Maybe she will use it to wash clothes.)

“O satisfy us early with Thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou has afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil
Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children.

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it.” (Ps. 90:14-17).

“I’ve loved her since we were children. She was always beautiful.”

How long has Jesus loved His bride, the church that has suffered under the constant berating of the “the accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10)? Since our very beginning.

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer. 31:3).

“Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” (Isa. 43:4).

“None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” (Eze. 16:4-16).

Mahana is overcome with the love and kindness of her husband. She is under his control of love; and only the control of love is permissible. Love doesn’t enslave under a whip, but under the voluntary power of self-sacrificing, disinterested love.

“(Mr. Harris) I don’t understand what happened.” “ (Johnny) It was the cows!”

Jesus knew if He had sent an angel to pay for our redemption that we, in our sordid past, could never, in full confidence of acceptance, stand before His Father. No, the greatest ransom would be paid for the dearest of all creation.

“How does she feel, the woman who is sold for one or two cows? No. This could not happen to my Mahana.”

Jesus knows how to not only make us happy, but to make us a powerful, highly prized, infinitely valued and obedient bride--an eight cow wife. The infinitely superior price that He paid for His redeemed will exalt them among every other creation. The cross will forever raise an anthem among the heavenly hosts as well as from His wife--Adam’s redeemed children throughout the centuries of human woe. His redeemed church since the beginning will be Jesus’ queen sitting next to Him on His throne and before His Father’s throne.

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:12).

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” (Rev. 3:21).

Jesus is jealous for His redeemed queen. The devil better watch out to never overstep his limitations for testing and purifying the redeemed wife of Christ. “The day of vengeance of our God” (Isa. 61:2) is soon to arrive when He comes for His wife in great glory with power and joy.

“Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isa. 41:11-13).

“More than happy, Mr. Harris. I wanted her to be an eight-cow woman [higher in rank than the highest cow ranked wife in that society].”

“(Mr. Harris) In her father’s hut Mahana believed she was worth nothing.”
“(Johnny) Yes, and now she knows she is worth more than any other woman on the island.”

As Mahana’s self-worth was the making of her husband, Johnny, so our consolation and confidence and consecration has been the crafting of Christ our Lord. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10).

Christ and His love are revealed in more than the scriptures, but also in the varied experiences of life. He is able to use the circumstances of life in the furthest reaches of the world to devise a revelation of Himself and His everlasting covenant of love. Let us search the exceeding riches of His grace and kindness toward us in the written word and pasted upon the pages of this life. Let us see Him and then conceptualize what the Bible wrote to tell of its Author, the Son of God. Then let us receive Him and His exceeding love, as Mahana did Johnny’s pitying tenderness, and we will see the salvation of the Lord.

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with [other] women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Rev. 14:3).

Love of Christ so freely given,
Grace of God beyond degree,

Mercy higher than the heaven,

Deeper than the deepest sea.
All That Thrills My Soul, Hymn 189

“Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” (Matt. 25:6).

Watch this touching and beautiful 23 minute film on Youtube at,

And, as you watch the tenderness of Johnny, remember how tender and touching Jesus wants to be to you. The Song of Solomon was a glorious message to Israel, but “a greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 25:6) today. He is knocking at our hearts, saying “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20).