I am he that liveth, and was dead; and I am alive for evermore

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” (Rev. 1:18.)

FLOWERS! Easter lilies! speak to me this morning the same dear old lesson of immortality which you have been speaking to so many sorrowing souls.

Wise old Book! let me read again in your pages of firm assurance that to die is gain.

Poets! recite to me your verses which repeat in every line the Gospel of eternal life.

Singers! break forth once more into songs of joy; let me hear again the well-known resurrection psalms.

Tree and blossom and bird and sea and sky and wind whisper it, sound it afresh, warble it, echo it, let it throb and pulsate through every atom and particle; let the air be filled with it.

Let it be told and retold and still retold until hope rises to conviction, and conviction to certitude of knowledge; until we, like Paul, even though going to our death, go with triumphant mien, with assured faith, and with serene and shining face.

O sad-faced mourners, who each day are wending
Through churchyard paths of cypress and of yew,
Leave for today the low graves you are tending,
And lift your eyes to God’s eternal blue!

It is no time for bitterness or sadness;
Twine Easter lilies, not pale asphodels;
Let your souls thrill to the caress of gladness,
And answer the sweet chime of Easter bells.

If Christ were still within the grave’s low prison,
A captive of the enemy we dread;
If from that moldering cell He had not risen,
Who then could chide the gloomy tears you shed?

If Christ were dead there would be need to sorrow,
But He has risen and vanquished death for aye;
Hush, then your sighs, if only till the morrow,
At Easter give your grief a holiday.
—May Riley Smith.

A well-known minister was in his study writing an Easter sermon when the thought gripped him that his Lord was living. He jumped up excitedly and paced the floor repeating to himself, “Why Christ is alive, His ashes are warm, He is not the great ‘I was,’ He is the great ‘I am.'” He is not only a fact, but a living fact. Glorious truth of Easter Day!

We believe that out of every grave there blooms an Easter lily, and in every tomb there sits an angel. We believe in a risen Lord. Turn not your faces to the past that we may worship only at His grave, but above and within that we may worship the Christ that lives. And because He lives, we shall live also.—Abbott.

The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom

“Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Matthew 27:51

No mean miracle was wrought in the rending of so strong and thick a veil; but it was not intended merely as a display of power—many lessons were herein taught us. The old law of ordinances was put away, and like a worn-out vesture, rent and laid aside.

When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because all fulfilled in Him, and therefore the place of their presentation was marked with an evident token of decay. That rent also revealed all the hidden things of the old dispensation: the mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleamed forth above it.

By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not as Moses, who put a veil over his face.” Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in Him. The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was broken up. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood. Hence access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus.

There is no small space laid open through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the rent reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace. Shall we err if we say that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvellous manner by our Lord’s expiring cry was the type of the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion? Our bleeding Lord hath the key of heaven; He openeth and no man shutteth; let us enter in with Him into the heavenly places, and sit with Him there till our common enemies shall be made His footstool.

I will fear no evil – for Thou art with me

“I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” Psalm 23:4

Behold, how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss!

Let us have confidence, then, in the blessed Spirit’s power to comfort us. Dear reader, are you looking forward to poverty? Fear not; the divine Spirit can give you, in your want, a greater plenty than the rich have in their abundance. You know not what joys may be stored up for you in the cottage around which grace will plant the roses of content.

Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily powers? Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain? O be not sad! That bed may become a throne to you. You little know how every pang that shoots through your body may be a refining fire to consume your dross—a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul. Are the eyes growing dim? Jesus will be your light. Do the ears fail you? Jesus’ name will be your soul’s best music, and His person your dear delight. Socrates used to say, “Philosophers can be happy without music;” and Christians can be happier than philosophers when all outward causes of rejoicing are withdrawn.

In Thee, my God, my heart shall triumph, come what may of ills without! By thy power, O blessed Spirit, my heart shall be exceeding glad, though all things should fail me here below.

He Is the Owner

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just . . . he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 18:4-5, 9)

What an awesome statement! The eternal Creator of all mankind asserting His ownership over each man’s soul to do with it what He deems proper.

What is the worth of one eternal soul created in the image of God? The Creator is the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. Indeed, the earth and all the galaxies are His, but there is something about a soul that is of far greater worth. A soul can choose, can worship its Maker, and can reflect the very nature of God. Nothing else in all creation has these powers. Yet He owns all souls. He has an unquestionable right to them, and they will never be taken away, for He has created them. Furthermore, their numbers are growing, for He has given His subjects the command and power to reproduce. At each conception He supplies a newly created, eternal soul. Truly, His wealth is great!

How should we respond to His ownership? By obedience! By choosing to act according to His will as revealed in reason, our conscience, and above all, in His written Word, we ascribe to Him the glory due Him. We must jealously guard our affections, reserving the adulation which He deserves for Him alone. We must lovingly care for His creation, including the many fellow souls whom He brings across our paths.

Above all, we must avail ourselves of His gracious provision of mercy and forgiveness through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ. At that point, He performs another creative act, for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature |or creation|: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). JDM

Very Good

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)

On several occasions during the Creation Week, God had declared aspects of His creation as “good” (vv. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). But once His crown of creation was in place, the very image of Himself (vv. 26-27), He pronounced it all “very good” and ceased His creative activity (2:1-3).

Just what does it mean to be “very good” in God’s eyes? This term is used elsewhere in the Old Testament by men and regarding men, but here God Himself, the sinless, ever-living One, declares creation to be just what He wanted–able to accomplish and fulfill each of His plans and desires for it. Whatever else may be said about this creation, at the very least it must have been without death, being a phenomenon anathema to Him.

Death is identified as “The last enemy that shall be destroyed” (1 Corinthians 15:26). “Death reigned from Adam to Moses” (Romans 5:14), and “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Indeed, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). The source of this condition is known as the curse pronounced on all of creation due to man’s rebellion against God (Genesis 3) as had been promised (2:17). Even today “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and since all sin, all must die. Truly, sin has ruined God’s original sinless, deathless, “very good” creation.

But the story does not end there. The very Creator who pronounced the awful curse of death as the penalty for sin has Himself died to pay that penalty and one day will repeal the curse (Revelation 22:3) and abolish death (21:4). The creation will be returned to its original created intent, and all will once again be “very good.” JDM

We too are lepers

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.” Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This evening it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves.

When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it.

Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth; and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips.

What comfort does the text afford to truly awakened sinners: the very circumstance which so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign and symptom of a hopeful state! Stripping comes before clothing; digging out the foundation is the first thing in building—and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest works of grace in the heart. O thou poor leprous sinner, utterly destitute of a sound spot, take heart from the text, and come as thou art to Jesus—

“For let our debts be what they may, however great or small,
As soon as we have nought to pay, our Lord forgives us all.
‘Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large:
While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge.”

The Unfailing Presence

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:15)

This is the first of many promises of God’s unfailing presence with those who trust Him. The words of our text were spoken to Jacob on his flight from the unwarranted wrath of Esau. Those expositors who unjustifiably accuse Jacob of fraud when he secured the birthright promised to him by God before his birth (Genesis 25:23) should note that God never rebuked Jacob, but instead promised His perpetual protecting presence.

Note also God’s promise to Joshua: “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5).

There is also His promise to His chosen people, Israel: “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people” (1 Samuel 12:22).

There are many other such assurances in the Scriptures. One that especially reveals God’s heart is Isaiah 41:17: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”

The most precious of all, however, is the assurance to all New Testament believers that “I will never |literally ‘never, never, never’| leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Paul teaches after an exhausting list of possibilities that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). “Lo, I am with you alway,” Jesus said, “even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). HMM

by Henry Morris, Ph.D. © 2013 Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved.

The Scarlet Hope

by Henry Morris, Ph.D.

“Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.” (Joshua 2:18)

These words were spoken to Rahab by Joshua’s spies after she had protected them from discovery by the officials of Jericho. She had testified to the spies that “the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). Therefore, “by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab’s spiritual salvation came because of her faith in the true God; she soon entered into the covenant family of Israel and eventually even became a member of the family line leading to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). Her physical deliverance, on the other hand, and that of her family depended on a “line of scarlet thread” suspended from her window, identifying her home as “under the blood,” so to speak, when Jericho fell and all its other inhabitants perished.

This thin, blood-red line constituted a very slender hope for Rahab in the midst of such a scene of judgment and total destruction, but it sufficed. It is fascinating to note that the Hebrew word for “line” (occurring here for the first time in the Bible) is everywhere else translated by the key word “hope.” Perhaps “line” soon came to mean “hope” because of this very experience, when a “scarlet hope” extended all the way from a repentant sinner to the very God of heaven! Note the same thought with the same word: “For thou art my hope, O Lord God” (Psalm 71:5).

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John
3:3). HMM

© 2013 Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved.

The Ongoing Battle

Evening Verse of —Morning and Evening

“Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.” Revelation 12:7

War always will rage between the two great sovereignties until one or other be crushed. Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; the very pretence of it would, in fact, be the triumph of the powers of darkness. Michael will always fight; his holy soul is vexed with sin, and will not endure it. Jesus will always be the dragon’s foe, and that not in a quiet sense, but actively, vigorously, with full determination to exterminate evil. All His servants, whether angels in heaven or messengers on earth, will and must fight; they are born to be warriors—at the cross they enter into covenant never to make truce with evil; they are a warlike company, firm in defence and fierce in attack. The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord is daily, with all his heart, and soul, and strength, to fight against the dragon.

The dragon and his angels will not decline the affray; they are incessant in their onslaughts, sparing no weapon, fair or foul. We are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition: the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed by the myrmidons of hell. The church may become slothful, but not so her great antagonist; his restless spirit never suffers the war to pause; he hates the woman’s seed, and would fain devour the church if he could. The servants of Satan partake much of the old dragon’s energy, and are usually an active race. War rages all around, and to dream of peace is dangerous and futile.

Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and for ever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with Him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords to-night, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!
—Morning and Evening

———-

November 30
“And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.” (Jer. 45:5.)

A PROMISE given for hard places, and a promise of safety and life in the midst of tremendous pressure, a life “for a prey.” It may well adjust itself to our own times, which are growing harder as we near the end of the age, and the Tribulation times.

What is the meaning of “a life for a prey”? It means a life snatched out of the jaws of the destroyer, as David snatched the lamb from the lion. It means not removal from the noise of the battle and the presence of our foes; but it means a table in the midst of our enemies, a shelter from the storm, a fortress amid the foe, a life preserved in the face of continual pressure: Paul’s healing when pressed out of measure so that he despaired of life; Paul’s Divine help when the thorn remained, but the power of Christ rested upon him and the grace of Christ was sufficient. Lord, give me my life for a prey, and in the hardest places help me today to be victorious.—Days of Heaven upon Earth.

We often pray to be delivered from calamities; we even trust that we shall be; but we do not pray to be made what we should be, in the very presence of the calamities; to live amid them, as long as they last, in the consciousness that we are held and sheltered by the Lord, and can therefore remain in the midst of them, so long as they continue, without any hurt. For forty days and nights, the Saviour was kept in the presence of Satan in the wilderness, and that, under circumstances of special trial, His human nature being weakened by want of food and rest. The furnace was heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated, but the three Hebrew children were kept a season amid its flames as calm and composed in the presence of the tyrant’s last appliances of torture, as they were in the presence of himself before their time of deliverance came. And the livelong night did Daniel sit among the lions, and when he was taken up out of the den, “no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” They dwelt in the presence of the enemy, because they dwelt in the presence of God.
—Streams in the Desert

When you read the Bible all the way to the end you find We Win to the Glory of God!