« PreviousContinue »
THE SALUTATION (REV. 1:4-6)
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia, Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.” This salutation to the seven churches in Asia, saying, “Grace and peace unto you," proceeds from three sources: first, from the Father himself, which is and which was, and which is to come; and second, from the seven spirits which are before his throne; and third, from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness.
FIRST. THE SALUTATION OF THE FATHER HIMSELF This salutation carries with it an important doctrine, and therefore instead of saying in plain language that it comes from the Father, it is said to proceed from him “which is, and which was, and which is to come.” Again (4:6-8) it is said, “And round about the throne were four beasts full of eyes before and behind,- and they rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
Again, John was shown as it were a sea of glass before the throne, and them which had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God, and they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy, for all nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest.” This is what Moses and the Lamb (the prophet like unto Moses) say in this song, of the Father, of him who sits upon the throne, calling him by his proper titles including his memorial name, “ Lord God Almighty," and they say of him, “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy"; and the four beasts (the glorified saints) say as above, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” These titles and sayings, to be properly understood, refer us back to the revelation which God made of himself, especially in the days of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And in the day when God brought the seed of Abraham his friend out of Egypt by the hand of Moses, the Lord said to Moses (Exod. 6:3), “I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them."
The Lord appeared to Abraham to make a covenant with him, a covenant which covers the whole work of human redemption and embodies all the mighty works which God did in delivering the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt with a high hand and an uplifted arm. by signs and miracles
and wonders such as had never before been seen in all the earth. It also covers what he did when he raised up another prophet like unto Moses, unto the people of Israel, in whose mouth he put his word, and by whose hand he wrought signs and miracles and mighty wonders, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil, whom he raised from the dead and showed openly, and in whom he showed the hope of man's salvation and immortality by resurrection from the dead. Moreover, it also covers all the mighty works that God will yet do in the latter days in executing the judg. ments written, both upon Jew and Gentile; and in the resurrection of the just and unjust, and in the reign of Christ and his brethren in the earth over the whole house of Israel and the nations, until the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed, when God shall have put down all rule and authority by the hand of his Son whom he hath made strong for himself. This will be accomplished at the end of the thousand years' reign, when the thousand generations also shall have fully run their course, for the covenant made with Abraham by the word and oath of God is to continue for a thousand generations.
Now in view, therefore, of the fact that all God's mighty works of human redemption with the families of the earth from the time of Abraham to the end, and in putting down all rule and all authority and power that his will may be done in the earth, as it is done in heaven, - I say in view of the fact that all these things are comprehended in, and guaranteed by the covenant that God made with Abraham, God declared his name to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, a name that would cover all these things and set forth his ability to carry into execution and perform them to the last jot and tittle. By that name God made himself known to Abraham, the father of the faithful, as it is recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Genesis, saying, “And when Abraham was ninety years old, and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God. Walk before me and be thou perfect, and I will make my covenant with thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abraham fell on his face, and God talked with him saying, As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham, for a father of many nations have I made thee."
Therefore when God made promises to Abram and embodied them into a covenant, and then proclaimed to Abram his name which signified his ability to perform what he had promised, saying, “I am the Almighty God,” he at the same time changed Abram's name from the one he had to one that should express his faith and hope, saying, “Thy name shall be Abraham, for a father of many nations have I made thee.” Now Paul says, touching Abraham's faith in God's ability to do what his
"God Almighty " imports, "For when the Lord brought him forth abroad, and said to him, Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them, and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be, and Abram believed in the Lord, and the Lord counted it to him for righteousness "; commenting on this, Paul says of Abraham, “Who against hope believed in hope that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken. So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years
old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb; he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was able (that is almighty) to perform, and therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness (Gen. 15).
Now the Lord said to Moses that he appeared to these three men, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, which signified his ability to perform all that he had promised to them. But by his name Jehovah, he was not known to them.
THE LORD'S SECOND NAME, JEHOVAH When the Lord revealed himself by his name, "God Almighty,” to Abraham, Isaac, and to Jacob, he did not inform them, nor say to them as to whether there were other almighty gods beside himself, or not. Abraham believed in the Lord that appeared to him and said, “ Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Abraham believed in the God that appeared to him, accounting that what he had promised, he was able to perform.
From the fact that the Lord had yet another name by which he was not known to the patriarchs of Israel, it follows that the name, God Almighty, does not cover all his attributes, although he had spoken to Abraham after his name had been changed saying, “ I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and thy seed after thee.” God's second name was not made known unto Abraham's posterity in the line of Isaac and Jacob until he had fulfilled his promise to them, even as he said to Jacob, “ Fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will there make of thee a great nation.”
“Now the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years,” and during that long sojourn there, they became familiar with their abominations and learned their modes of worship, and served the gods of Egypt; for they worshipped many kinds of gods, even as the Lord testifies of them by the hand of the Prophet Ezekiel, saying, “ In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them to bring them forth of the land of Egypt, unto a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands, then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt, I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me; they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness, and I gave them my statutes and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them" (Ezek. 20:6-11).
Now as concerning the gods that the children of Israel were accustomed
to see in the land of Egypt, and the idols which they saw among the nations which they passed by when they came out of Egypt, and the idols which they might afterwards see among the nations which dwelt in the land of Canaan, Moses said to them, “ For ye know how ye have dwelt in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the nations which ye passed by, and ye have seen their abominations and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold."
Therefore as the children of Israel had seen the idols of the Egyptians, that they were many, and would also see many more among the nations through which they would pass and among whom they would afterwards dwell when planted in that goodly land, and as they had already been defiled by them, and as the Lord knew that they would corrupt themselves by them, even in the latter days, therefore the time had now come to bring them out of Egypt and take them unto himself to be his inheritance, and to instruct them and make them know and understand that the gods of the Egyptians and the nations were no gods, that they were the works of error, and that in the time of their visitation they should perish with those who worshipped them; but that on the contrary to all this, there was but one true God, and that he was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and that they were now to avouch him to be their God, and they were to become his people, and to serve him only.
The name therefore by which the Lord made himself known to Moses, and through him to the children of Israel, is a name that comprehends and is expressive of the great central doctrine of the Holy Scriptures; namely, that there is but one God; that there are not two, or three, or a mulitude of them, but instead there is but one, and the name by which that doctrine is taught, is Jehovah. And the meaning of this name, whether it is translated Jehovah or Lord is easy to be ascertained and established by grouping together a few of the Scriptures that treat of this matter, as follows. The Lord sent his angel in whom he had placed his name, to bring up his people out of the land of Egypt by the hand of Moses, which he did with a high hand and an uplifted arm; and he brought them through the Red Sea and brought them into the wilderness and to Mount Sinai, and there he showed them a spectacle such as none of the gods of the nations could manifest. The great lesson that the Lord intended to teach them by all this is rehearsed to them by Moses in the following language (Deut. 4:31-39), saying, “For the Lord thy God, he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it. Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?”
Now for what purpose was all this done? Moses adds, “ Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God, that there is none
else beside him.” Moses continues to make this great truth more emphatic, saying, “Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee, and upon the earth he showed thee his great fire, and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. And he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt, to drive out nations from before thee, greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. Know therefore this day, and consider in thine heart that the Lord, he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath; there is none else.”
These great things, therefore, that Moses set forth in the above, were intended to impress upon their minds and hearts the true meaning of the great name Jehovah, by which the Lord was making himself known to his people. Again the Lord speaks expressly concerning this matter through the prophet Isaiah (44:6), “ Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts. I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.” Again, verse 8, “Fear ye not, neither be afraid, have not. I told thee from that time, and have declared it? Ye are my witnesses. Is there a god beside me? yea, there is no god, I know not any.” And we might inquire, If God himself only knows of one, how does it come that modern doctors of divinity profess to know of three? Again (45:5) the Lord says, “I
“ am the Lord (that is, I am Jehovah), and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” And again the Lord says (42:8), “I am the Lord (Jehovah), that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
The prophet may then well say (40: 18), “To whom then will ye liken God, or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” And again the Lord says of himself (46:5), “To whom then will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?” To this demand the sectarian teachers, Protestants and Catholic, in these times answer, saying, There are three persons in the Godhead that are to be compared to you, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are the same in substance, and equal in power and glory. But this false doctrine of the sectarian guides is contradicted by the Psalmist,
Who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?” (Ps. 89:6). In verse 8 the question is asked, “O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee?” The answer is contained in the question: There is none. And if there is none in the heaven equal unto the Lord, is there any in the earth that can be compared to him? The Prophet Jeremiah says on that point (10:6-7), “There is none like unto thee, O Lord, thou art great, and thy name is great in might; who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain, forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all the kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.”
This should be sufficient and satisfactory. Nevertheless, what saith the second part of the law, the Book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5), “Hear, O Israel, , The Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Now this is the first and chief commandment of all the oracles that God has given to man