The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 7
The All-corrective Dynamic, continued
The Cross, Christ crucified, is the great corrective.
How often we have said that if only our gatherings and gathering-place were full of the life and light of the Lord, and the power of the Cross was manifested in His gathered people, there would be a spontaneous forsaking of all that divides and weakens the testimony! It is difficult to set down all that we see in this ultimate presentation of Him as alive, Who became dead,and is risen for evermore.
What it amount to, in the Passover and its counterpart or full unveiling, is that God MUST be ALL. That which takes His place, or divides place with Him - the idols of men - may just be anything which is of any consideration before or beside this one thing: is it wholly and undividedly the Lord and His glory? Our institutions, organizations, traditions, enterprises, even denominations, associations, etc., may obscure or limit the Lord. The answer is a new captivating, all-mastering and over-circling vision of Christ in all His Divine fullness and significance. The last movement before "Behold, I come quickly" must be a Christ-movement.
The Consummation of the Ages
We concluded our last chapter with the words: "The last movement before 'I come quickly' must be a Christ-movement'. If this book of "the Revelation" is finality, then it is - in that very connection - the book of the fullness and finality of Jesus Christ. Above we have used the word "consummation," the etymology of which is: "to bring into one sum, to perfect, to bring together." This is exactly what this book does. It is the summation of the ages. It comprehends the whole Bible and bounds all history. It compasses creation, redemption, and perdition. It embraces heaven, earth, and hell. It connects with God, man, and satan. In it there are no less than four hundred allusions to the Old Testament. When all is said, the one question that arises is: "Is there one thing - one issue - that interprets and explains everything?" Yes, there is! The all-inclusive issue is:
The Purpose of God in the Eternal Government of This World
In our other series of messages on the Holy City we are seeing that - not only at the end of this book but at this end of all time - universal government is represented by the City, both in fact and nature. It is the symbol of universal authority vested in, and mediated by Christ and His Church. It is the nature of the Son of God as Son of Man. That is why "judgment begins at the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17) as in the first chapters, representatively.
This inclusive issue is seen (in this book) to relate to the purpose of God
1. in creation;
2. in redemption;
3. in His Son;
4. in Israel;
5. in the Church;
and that is the way in which to read and study the book! The book is the revelation of final restoration and recovery in Christ Jesus.
A revelation has been given in (a) the Old Testament; (b) the New Testament - brought to its greatest fullness through the Apostles Paul and John.
That revelation has been departed from, both by Israel and the Church. Its greatest fullness was given through Paul to the churches in Asia; hence it is there that the comprehensive message of judgment unto recovery is focused. But that was intended to reach through all time to the end, and that message shows that there are always those, a remnant, who stand and make up the difference of Christ in God's people (Col. 1:24). So, what we have seen in our first three chapters is a fundamental presentation of God's Pattern and God's way, i.e. His Son and the Cross.
The consummate issue, then, is brought into view in two ways:
1. A personal presentation of Christ; and
2. A comprehensive designation of Christ in His titles.
As to the latter we have:
1. "Jesus Christ, the faithful witness".
"Jesus" - the Man. The title of His humanity before His exaltation. When He is so called, almost invariably the connection is with His earthly life before 'being glorified.' After that, as a rule, there is added 'Lord" - 'Lord Jesus,' or 'Jesus, our Lord', etc. It is quite a mistake now, as with a whole body of people, to say just 'Jesus, Jesus'. That title, or name, is used only to identify Him with the designation that follows. This One Who is majestically and gloriously unveiled, is none other than the One Who came into this world at Bethlehem and lived a life as a Man here.
"Christ" = Messiah, the Anointed. "This Jesus" was, by anointing, made Prophet, Priest, and King, for all men, in the midst of God's new Israel, the Church. 'Anointed' is His official title to carry out a Divine mandate. It is God committed to Him.
(continued with # 8)