FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 176
THE SEVEN ANGELS with the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES [continued]
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
“Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God…”
PART ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX
“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb…” (Rev. 15:3)
When Israel, standing on the banks of the Red Sea, looked back and saw their old masters dead upon the shore, their hearts thrilled with joy and the sands of the desert vibrated and re-vibrated as Moses led in the song of victory and deliverance. The allusion here is to the Israelites of old who, after having passed through the Red Sea dry shod, thus securing perfect and blessed deliverance from the bestial system of Egypt, stood upon the shore singing the song of Moses, Miriam and the women playing their timbrels, while their enemies with their chariots and their chosen captains perished in the waters (Exodus 15).
Here is another sea — a sea of glass and fire. Here is another company, standing on another shore that has won the victory over its enemies. Who might this company be? What might be the sea upon whose shore they sing the song of triumph and praise to their Lord and Deliverer? Methinks I have stood upon that very shore. As surely as the raging sea bespeaks multitudes of surging, clamoring, restless, sinning humanity, so does the exquisite sea of glass represent an assembled throng of transformed saints in whose hearts the spirit of the Lamb rules. This great sea of the sons of God is calm, serene, tranquil, and quiet — the bestial nature has been dealt with and these abide in the peace, joy, righteousness, and power of the kingdom of God. Ah, yes, I have stood upon that shore, yea, and do stand with an innumerable company of men and women whose faces are set and whose hearts are fixed to do only and completely the will of the Father. These are they who live and walk in the Spirit, the firstborn-destined who are being delivered from the power of the beast. The glassy sea is here mingled with fire — the fiery trials and processings by which the Father purifies His sons, sharpening their vision, whetting the appetite for things eternal and heavenly, slackening the desire for all that is earthly and worldly.
How the courts of heaven ring for joy as this illustrious company sings the song of Moses the servant of God! But there is a new note and a new stanza in that song. Not only is it the song of Moses but it is also the song of the Lamb! Truly this is one of the most fascinating songs mentioned in all the Word of God! The song of Moses and the Lamb — whatever can it mean? In transfixed wonder John caught the echo of this mighty anthem as it burst from the lips of those who have conquered the power of the beast — the bestial nature of man, and the bestial system of the world. It is the song of the great leader of Israel just after he and his followers had passed in safety through the Red Sea. It is the song of Moses because it voices the praise of those who, like Israel of old at the Red Sea, have been miraculously delivered from an awful tyranny and bondage.
Now what is the song of the Lamb? The teachers and preachers in the church systems suppose it means that the blood-washed throng, the believers out of all the ages, around the throne of God in heaven, whose toils are over and done with forevermore, are those singing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” And among this throng they include all who are saved by free grace alone, including all the baby Christians and all the carnal Christians in all the carnal church systems of man, and including those who achieved an eleventh-hour death-bed repentance, and now stand with all the saints of all the ages before the throne of God in heaven singing, “Worthy is the Lamb!” If this is your conception, my friend, you frustrate the meaning, for that is not the thought conveyed by the Holy Spirit in this beautiful passage. The seer of Patmos, who was in the spirit on the Lord’s day saw, not a company saved by free grace, but a company of full overcomers who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. These overcomers stand upon the sea of glass mingled with fire, having been purged and purified in the consuming fire of God, now having the harps of God, and it is they who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb!
The Lamb is first and foremost our Lord Jesus Christ, together with the body of the Lamb, that glorious company which has followed Him all the way to Mount Zion by way of Mount Calvary. The song of the Lamb is not the song of sinners saved by grace, as glorious as that is; it is the song of joy out of sorrow, of peace in the midst of storm, of perfection out of suffering, of light out of darkness, of righteousness triumphing over sin, of victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, of life conquering death. It is the song of the OVERCOMER! The “Lamb” bespeaks the humiliation and suffering that leads to life and exaltation. Ah, there is no victory without a battle, no overcomer without the powers of death and hell. My soul, consider! What was that which to the seer of Patmos made the harmony complete? It was the vision of a vast multitude taking up the song — the experience — of the Lamb of sacrifice. There was a time when, to that multitude, the spectacle of sacrifice would have brought discord to the heart; but in the completed harmony it brings joy. The sweetest music is the song that is born of experience! Until we thoroughly understand how suffering is the preparation for reigning, we shall never be enthralled by the song of the Lamb. Do you not know, precious elect of the Lord, that this was from the outset of your call to sonship the goal of your being — to be made perfect through suffering? It was for this that your first innocence was clouded. It was for this that your first joy was dimmed. It was for this that you were lowered from the garden of God to the field of thorns and thistles. It was for this that your first hope was shaken — that you might reach mount Zion by the steps of mount Calvary. The minor chords of testing and trial played together with the chords of faith and patience to harmonize into the symphony of perfection and glory. The wilderness of the Son of man is better than the garden of Adam. The morning stars sang together over your untried nature; but there awaits a yet grander music — when the harps of God shall proclaim that you have conquered all and stand triumphant in His image!
It is also the song of the Lamb because it speaks of the triumph of God’s elect which leads them into the glorious liberty, image, and power of God’s Christ. It is sung by those who have GOTTEN THE VICTORY OVER THE BEAST — that is, those who through grace and by the inworkings of HIS LIFE were delivered from the delusions of the bestial spirit and system of this world to follow the Lamb to Mount Zion. It is a song of experience, and only those who have overcome all things and stand in the glory of God within the precincts of the throne zone are able to join in that paean of praise!
People entertain all sorts of ideas about the song of Moses and the Lamb. Many view these as two different songs, the first about God’s saving power and deliverance, the second about God’s grace and mercy. While those elements are certainly included, it does not by any means imply that this company is singing two songs, one of Moses and another of the Lamb, but that the same song is at the same time the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. Truly, the song of Moses is the song of the Lamb! Even as Moses taught his people to sing his song, so the Lamb teaches His people to sing this song. And essentially they are alike; singing the same theme, for the song of Moses is caught up into the greater glory of the song of the Lamb. Thus, the song of Moses and the Lamb is really one song sung only by the overcomers!
How can we know this? Because John gives us the song! Consider what he says. “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying…” And then the song begins! We don’t know the melody of the song, but that is of no importance, for the great truth the Holy Spirit would impress upon us is that throughout the scriptures a “song” denotes a “message.” In fact, a song represents both praise and a message. It is praise that bears a message, or beyond that, praise which is birthed out of revelation and experience with God. You can tell the spiritual level of a person by the songs he sings! A person’s “song” will always express his depth of understanding and relationship with God. When we receive new revelation from the Lord, experientially inworked into our lives, a new song is created. I look back over old sermons, and sometimes I have to say to myself, “I could not preach that again.” Thank God, He has been teaching me through the years of my walk in Him, leading into a fuller knowledge of truth and a deeper walk in the Spirit. Oh, yes! There is continuously a new song — a new revelation, a new message, a fresh word, a higher experience in God for this day, and for all the days to come! Those who sing the new song have outgrown the old ones. They no longer express our experience or satisfy our needs.
God is even now preparing a people, a royal priesthood, sons of the most High; and while the church world continues on with its time-honored traditions and childish delusions, singing about flying away to cabins in the corner of gloryland, or to mansions over the hill-top, a people is arising in the earth with a new and wonderful vision — to become kings and priests unto God — their hearts vibrating with the melodious strains of a new song, the song of a people with a purpose, a company gathered out of the generations, grown up into the fullness of Christ, conquering every enemy within and without, which in due time shall be led forth to reveal to creation the manifest expression of His image, character, and nature, the revelation of His glory, power, and dominion, with an outflow of life, light, and love sent to change the course of history, transform the nations, and restore all men and all things back into God. This is the company standing upon the sea of glass mingled with fire, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. And what a song it is!
Ah, those who receive this call, those who hold this vision, those who cherish this hope, those who participate in this dealing and share in this experience, indeed sing the song of Moses and the Lamb! This song can be sung by none but those apprehended those who have conquered to stand upon the sea of glass and fire. This is the ineffable, preeminent Song; ineffable because it strikes a chord, the vibration of which cannot be discerned by the carnal man; preeminent because it is the Song of the Lamb who stands in the midst of the throne, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the High Priest of our profession, who in all things has preeminence!
This “song” is undoubtedly the truth of the divine purpose of the ages, or the “present truth,” as we often call it. Many of those who now read these lines sense the establishment of a new order by the glorious appearing of Christ within. Within my innermost being there is an understanding and a hope that refuses to be quieted or stilled. It is the hope of overcoming all things, awaking in His likeness, with a greater glory and power than anything we have known in the past. My spirit sings the glad Hosannas of a new morning of joy, because of the vision of the greater glory and life of Christ now being raised up in His body on earth. And that song within persists until it purges out all the negative influences of the past, and cleanses me throughout. Ah, my beloved, does your spirit within you sing the glad Hosannas of this new day? Does this new song, this fresh word, this pristine working of life and resurrection power purge out all the error, carnality, sin, and death, making you pure even as He is pure?
This indeed is the glory of this new day to which we are come! The glory of Christ is now arising upon His elect sons. He is among us now in a new and greater degree of His presence and His greater presence within is imparting a glorious song of joy and victory. Our long battle for the land of our inheritance is coming to an end. We are approaching the throne where reigns the King! We are assured that a new day is dawning not only for us, but for all the nations and for all the peoples of earth! God is about to fill the whole earth with His glory! The song within is Christ giving a fresh word of promise and fulfillment! If we have learned this “song,” there is surely much cause for “abounding with thanksgiving,” for it means that our great and heavenly Father has taken us into His confidence and revealed to us the hidden things of His eternal purpose. Thereby He has dispelled the darkness with which we were surrounded, and brought us out of our Babylon of confusion. The many unanswered questions which raised only doubts and fears within, have been clarified by the clear revelation of the Spirit. Now we see His glory as it is made up of His infinite wisdom, almighty power, divine righteousness, and unconditional and abounding love. Truly the Lord has put a song in our mouths — the song of Moses and the Lamb! It is a song which grows more melodious as we continue to sing it unto the Lord and to one another, and ultimately to every nation and people and to all creation! And what joy and peace that song will bring!
As I pointed out, we don’t know the melody of the song in a literal way, but that does not matter, for the great truth is that throughout the scriptures a “song” denotes a “message.” You could put a hundred different melodies to the words and not one of them would change the message! The message is what God is after and it is also what the overcomer is after. And the message is just this: “Great and marvelous 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.” (Rev. 15:3-4) Now, my beloved brethren, see if you can sing that song! Someone says, “Well, they are just words, I think I can sing it!” But you see, dear one, it’s not a song like the songs of earth — “song” is the symbol, the code word signifying a message. Hear the message…see if the message strikes a chord in your heart see if the message resonates in your spirit.
See if from the depths of being you can confidently proclaim, “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways.” It is the acknowledgement that all His ways in us, all His works in us, all His dealings in our lives, and everything He has injected into our experience to conform us to His will and image, the good and the evil, the blessings and the tragedies, the joyful and the sorrowful — all is just and true. Sometimes I write to people and say, “do trust you are experiencing God’s very best” — and truly His best is what HE KNOWS is best for us even if we do not comprehend it! Daily the Lord manifests His faithfulness to us and we bear witness that His ways are altogether right. There is no denying of the testings and provings that come our way, yet in the spirit the fruits of His dealings are immense and amazing!
Beyond the manifold blessings and the unspeakable glory — also every bitter experience, every valley of the shadow of death, every sorrow and seeming tragedy, all the suffering, testing, proving, pruning, stripping, and fires of purification were just and true — and the wonderful truth gaining access and blooming in our hearts is that all of God’s works in us are great and marvelous — wonderful and awe-inspiring! Oh, yes! Can you sing that song? Can you truthfully say, “I have never grumbled against your will, I have never accused you concerning the things that have happened in my life, I’ve never blamed you for any problems and disappointments, I’ve always confessed that you were just and true and faithful in everything that came my way.” I do not ask whether you can make yourself sing it, but is it the spontaneous, rapturous melody humming in your soul? He who sings this song does not question God as to why this or that happened, or why God let it happen, or why it never seems to end sometimes. “I trusted you, and look what happened.” That’s not the right song! Those who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb have come to the place where they are assured and know beyond any hesitation or doubt that always and in all things God is in control, there is divine purpose in all things, and nothing can happen outside of God’s will. Oh, what a song is this!
You also sing that HE is the Lord God Almighty, and the King of kings? I am reminded of something I read some years ago. At that time Bolivia, South America, was facing a national election and the nation was divided between the Christians and the Mayans. As a group of brethren in New York joined in intercession for Bolivia while the election outcome was still unknown, the following prophecy was given:
The leaders you see are not the leaders. Many of the leaders in the church who call themselves apostles and prophets are not. Present world leaders and those being elected are not the true leaders.
As it was in the days of Moses, Pharaoh was the recognized leader, but God was leading through Moses.
In the day of (another) Pharaoh, Joseph was the true leader.
In the day of Saul, David was God’s anointed leader.
In the day of Ahab, Elijah was leading through the Word of the Lord.
In the day of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was leading through his revelation of God.
In the day of the king of Assyria, Hezekiah’s prayer and God’s answer through Isaiah were leading.
In the day of Jeremiah, the kings were not leading: Jeremiah alone pronounced the seventy years of captivity and the coming judgment.
In the day of Herod, John the Baptist was the forerunner for Jesus Christ Himself, who was and is leading.
Though the nations rage, the Lord sits on His throne. They think they are in power, but the Lord puts His hook in their noses and brings them where He wants them to be. (Ezekiel 38:4)
It is God who raises up leaders and takes them down, and His true, chosen leaders are about to emerge — those who have been in the time of transition and preparation, who will speak with a clear voice God’s will and heart for this day.
Many of the leaders you see are not the leaders, Jesus is leading, and His true leaders are emerging.
The song continues, “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?” Who is the fool that would dare to doubt God’s authority and power, who is the fool who would blame God for anything? The inference is that all the fools of the world shall, in the final outcome, fear the Lord and glorify His name. ALL shall honor Him and give Him glory! Is that the song within your heart, my beloved? “For Thou only art holy.” Can we not see by these beautiful words that our only hope of holiness is Him living in us?
The song goes on, “For all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” Can you sing that song, my beloved brother, my precious sister? Oh, I would to God that all who name the name of Christ could sing that song! How many people in hundreds of nations around the world have lived and died through long millenniums without ever hearing the only saving name known to man? It is strange that those who call themselves Christians, who believe that God is the all-wise Creator, that God is all-powerful and infinite in love, and that His Christ died for every man and is Himself Lord of all, will, in the very next breath consign the vast billions of earth’s inhabitants to eternal damnation in hell. A television preacher taught on this very subject one day, and assured everyone that if those heathen went to hell forever it certainly wasn’t God’s fault. He used the illustration of a snakebite victim who couldn’t make it to the hospital in time to be healed. What an absurd, weak, and inattentive God that preacher serves!
What a commentary on the Christians’ weak faith that they so often speak and act as if the kingdom of God might perhaps not win out, as if the gates of hell might ultimately prevail, as if the unbelief of Adam were stronger than the claims of Calvary and the sin of man more powerful than the precious blood of Christ! Perish such craven fears! God plans and executes; what He initiates, He completes. Redemption is not a lifeless philosophy, but a living force, and a divinely omnipotent power. The Savior of the whole wide world is not a dead Christ lying in a tomb to which we make pilgrimages, but is “the first and the last, and the Living One…alive forevermore” and “has the keys of death and of hell” and “has all power in heaven and in earth” who “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Let us then sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, let us sing with all our heart and might that ALL NATIONS SHALL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE, FOR THY JUDGMENTS ARE MADE MANIFEST! Let us press on in full assurance that His kingdom shall consume all other kingdoms and that His cause will triumph in all realms everywhere until GOD IS ALL IN ALL!
There are millions of sincere believers today who are defiled by the carnal-minded doctrines of the harlot church systems and they can neither learn nor sing this song! Their hearts are unable to confess the glad truth that all nations shall come and worship before our glorious Father because His judgments are made manifest. Either they suppose that all the nations from Adam until now are beyond restoration to the love and salvation of God, or they hold to the erroneous notion that God’s judgments only punish and destroy men or drive them to blaspheme His name. Their hearts are unable to perceive the wonderful truth that it is indeed the manifest judgments of God which induce all the nations to come and worship before the Lord! Somehow they cannot sing that song! How my ransomed soul exults with joy unspeakable and full of glory, giving thanks to God for birthing this glad anthem deep within my spirit so that now I can sing the song of Moses and the Lamb! Isn’t it wonderful!
The song of Moses and the Lamb reveals the two-fold ministry of the sons of God: judgment and mercy. On the one hand they shall exhibit His surpassing grace, while, on the other hand, they bring His manifest judgments in the earth. The more the spirit of revelation unfolds the truth, the clearer we see God’s judgments in proper perspective, that they are corrective in nature and designed to bring forth a state of rightness in the earth. They are not executed, as many believe, in unmerciful and unholy vengeance, for mercy and grace shall balance the score. Judgments are desperately needed, but they are ever tempered with mercy, and when they have fulfilled their purpose, the judgments end, and the whole earth shall be full of His life and glory. Mercy recognizes the need of justice. Mercy knows that every mountain and hill must be brought low, but mercy is there to fill up the valley once the subduing has taken place. As the Psalmist wrote, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.” (Ps. 89:14). And again, “I will sing of MERCY and JUDGMENT: unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing.” (Ps. 101:1). Truly these words are reminiscent of the song of Moses and the Lamb!
With this thought of judgment and mercy firmly in mind, let us consider some certain and indisputable promises of God to specific peoples and nations. We all know the awful magnitude of the sin and judgment which came upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Jude tells us that they are “set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal (Gr: age-during) fire.” (Jude 7). The fire was not quenched until it had finished its work and those cities were so completely destroyed that today there is no remaining trace of them to be found. Archeologists can only conjecture as to where they may have been located. One would think that after such a complete work of judgment you could just forget about Sodom and Gomorrah and forever “write them off.” And yet, the Lord holds forth the promise of the eventual restoration of such an infamous city-state as Sodom! Not only that, but His engagement to do this is linked up to His promise to restore the people of JUDAH!
Speaking to backslidden Jerusalem as to a harlot, God declares to her in His great mercy, “As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she or her daughters, as thou hast done, and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou didst multiply thy abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done. When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, THEN WILL I BRING AGAIN THE CAPTIVITY OF THY CAPTIVES IN THE MIDST OF THEM. When thy sisters, SODOM and her daughters (including Gomorrah)…SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate. For thus saith the Lord God: I will deal with thee as thou hast done…nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed. WHEN THOU SHALT RECEIVE THY SISTERS, thine elder (Sodom) and thy younger (Samaria)…I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.” (Eze. 16:48-62)
All of this will be much easier to understand when you remember that Sodom, Jerusalem, and Samaria are only a short distance from one another. They were sister cities. This promised restoration of all three — has this wonderful thing been accomplished? History shouts aloud that it has not — not yet! But fear not, dear ones, for the same God of faithfulness and omnipotence who declared, “And so ALL ISRAEL shall be saved,” also promises, “SODOM shall return to her former estate.” Not their former estate of wickedness, certainly, for then the long ages of judgment would prove fruitless. Jesus saw this coming restoration of Sodom when He announced to the citizens of Capernaum, “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works that have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, IT WOULD HAVE REMAINED UNTO THIS DAY. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable (favorable) for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment, than for thee.” (Mat. 11:23-24)
When these two cities rise up in the Day of Judgment, under the ministry of the manifest sons of God, it will be far easier to bring the people of Sodom into obedience to the kingdom of Christ than the people of Capernaum. According to the estimation of Christ, although the people of Sodom were extremely vile and wicked, yet, if the mighty works which were done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED. Seeing that such is the case, if God should fail to manifest His sons and show such wonderful works to the people of Sodom, He would be most unfair and altogether unjust! Capernaum, therefore, will have to be dealt with much more severely! These verses can have no other meaning. And if the judgment is the same for the people of both of these cities — eternal damnation in hell-fire — then Christ’s promise that it will be “more tolerable” for the people of Sodom in the day when God’s judgments are made manifest is absolutely meaningless. How unscriptural and ridiculous are the ignorant traditions of men!
A. P. Adams has written a masterful monograph on the restoration of Sodom and I here share a portion of his scholarly wisdom. “We need not dwell upon the history of the destruction of Sodom, all are familiar with it, or may very easily make themselves so. We know that the city was so wicked that ten righteous persons could not be found within its walls and God destroyed them all by ‘a horrible tempest’ of ‘fire and brimstone’ (Ps. 11:6). ‘Terrible!’ you exclaim, ‘what extraordinary sinners they must have been to have deserved such a fearful visitation as this!’ Why, no, they were not sinners above all men (Lk. 13:4); in fact they were very ordinary sinners, not near as bad as many cities that are referred to in the Bible. Their sins were just the ordinary transgressions of all populous and wealthy cities, ancient and modern. What were they? ‘Behold, this was the iniquity of Sodom; pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy; and they were haughty, and committed abomination.’ (Eze. 16:49-50). These are not extraordinary, unusual sins. What city ever existed, or does now exist, that could not be truthfully charged with every one of the sins enumerated above? Many a city has been far worse than this! The above language would not begin to describe the ‘iniquity’ of Paris, London, or New York. But more surprising still, Sodom did not begin to be so bad as the so-called ‘holy city of David,’ proud and magnificent Jerusalem! The sin of Sodom was ‘a very little thing’ in comparison with the city of Jerusalem (Eze. 16:47). Think of it! We know that the sin of Sodom was ‘very grievous’ (Gen. 18:20). What then must have been the sin of highly favored Jerusalem, if in comparison therewith the sin of Sodom was ‘a very little thing?’
“Suppose we take the orthodox view of this case and see how well it will stand investigation. The case of Sodom is clear-cut and unequivocal. We know that the Sodomites were exceedingly wicked sinners (Gen. 13:3). We know that when they were destroyed there were no righteous persons among them. We know that they perished in their sins, and that none of them escaped, all were destroyed (Lk. 17:29). Hence it is positive that these wicked sinners have all gone to an endless hell, if the orthodox view is correct. Is such a view in harmony with the Bible teaching in regard to Sodom? As we have already noticed, the sin of Sodom was comparatively ‘a very little thing.’ If the doom of Sodom for this comparatively ‘very little’ sin is endless torment WHAT OUGHT TO BE THE DOOM OF JERUSALEM? What ought to be the doom of Capernaum, and of the cities that reject the Gospel? for they also are worse than Sodom (Mat. 10:14; 11:23-24). Sodom did not sin against light; they knew nothing of the true God or of Jesus Christ the Saviour. I know that Lot was among them, a righteous man, but we have every reason to believe that he was more interested in his worldly prosperity than in the moral welfare of those around him.
“At any rate, rejection of the truth is not mentioned in the enumeration of the sins of Sodom. Would their guilt have been any greater, if they had committed that sin? Certainly it would, for it is on that very account that other cities are spoken of as worse than Sodom. This was the very reason why Jerusalem was worse — because it sinned against great light; this was the very reason why Capernaum was worse; and this was the very reason given by Jesus Christ Himself why it should be ‘more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment’ than for those cities that rejected the Truth. How does the idea of its being ‘more tolerable’ for one than for another in the future process of judgment, comport with the idea of the same endless torment for all? Not at all! It is arrogant nonsense to talk about more or less tolerable endless torment, and anyone ought to be ashamed to believe or advocate any such absurdity.
“But graver still is the question — how can we vindicate the justice of God in His dealing with Sodom if the orthodox view is correct? Jesus plainly tells us that if Sodom had had the light and advantages that other cities had, IT WOULD HAVE REPENTED; that light was withheld through no fault of theirs, and they perished in their sins and are lost. Why did they not have that light? Why did not Sodom have as good a chance for salvation as any other class of human beings? That they did not, Christ plainly declares, and now their doom is sealed and they are hopelessly lost, according to the popular view, when if they had had as good an opportunity as others they would have been saved! You cannot reconcile this case with justice and equity on the ground of prevailing theology. ‘I will bring again their captivity, the captivity of SODOM,’ says the Lord. ‘Thy sister SODOM and her daughters shall return to their former estate.’ What does the personal, plural pronoun their refer to? the city or the people? The people, of course! So all through this beautiful prophecy, the most cursory reading will show that by the term Sodom is meant in every case the inhabitants of that ancient city. The pronouns ‘they,’ ‘their,’ and ‘them’ cannot refer to the city or to the land specifically, but to the people — the inhabitants of Sodom!” — end quote.
Another striking example of God’s dealings with nations and His future plans for them is found in the ancient nation of Assyria. It was once one of the six great empires that have ruled the civilized world, preceding Babylon. In Zephaniah 2:13-15 the Lord pronounced His judgment against Assyria, saying, “And He will stretch out His hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and He will make Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.” Today, thousands of years later, there are still only some dirt mounds covering the site of Nineveh, nor does the kingdom of Assyria exist anymore at all! How thoroughly does God execute His word!
But now, hear this! “And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day…yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. And the Lord shall smite Egypt: He shall smite it and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord. In that day there shall be an highway OUT OF EGYPT TO ASSYRIA, and the ASSYRIAN shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall ISRAEL be the third with EGYPT and with ASSYRIA, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, BLESSED BE EGYPT MY PEOPLE, AND ASSYRIA THE WORK OF MY HANDS, AND ISRAEL MINE INHERITANCE.” To say that there will not be a restoration of the nation of Assyria and that God will not save that nation would be a blatant repudiation of the Word of God. And notice, too, Egypt today is a Moslem nation and the State of Israel is gathered in unbelief, a secular State; but according to the above prophecy Egypt also shall come to know the Lord and SERVE HIM AS A NATION ALONG WITH ISRAEL AND ASSYRIA. What anticipation this stirs in our hearts!
Now hear the words of the Lord against two other peoples, Moab and Ammon. “Therefore as I live, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation.” (Zeph. 2:9). This judgment would seem to be final, and would be if the judgment of Sodom is forever sealed in eternal punishment — but it is only final until the judgment is completed! For God says of Moab in Jeremiah 48:47, “YET will I bring the captivity of Moab in the latter days…” Again, in Jeremiah 49:6 the Lord promises concerning Ammon, “And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the Lord.” If one reads only a portion of God’s words, the facts are too few to calculate rightly the curve of God’s purposes. May the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God enable us to see beyond the weeping of the night that we may behold the JOY THAT COMETH IN THE MORNING!
When every judgment shall have fulfilled its purpose, the judgments will end, and ALL NATIONS shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. “And He will destroy in this mountain (the kingdom of God) the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil (of ignorance and blindness) that is spread over all nations. And He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord shall wipe away tears from off all faces. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in HIS SALVATION.” (Isa. 25:7-9)
The Lord is King! Lift up your voice,
O earth; and all ye heavens rejoice:
From world to world the joy shall ring,
The Lord Omnipotent is King!
The Lord is King! Who then shall dare
Resist His will, distrust His care,
Or murmur at His wise decrees,
Or doubt His royal promises?
The Lord is King! Child of the dust,
The Judge of all the earth is just;
Holy and true are all His ways:
Let every creature speak His praise.
One Lord, one empire, all secures;
He reigns, and life and death are yours:
Through earth and heaven one song shall ring,
The Lord Omnipotent is King!
“Great and marvelous 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.” (Rev. 15:3-4)
Nothing is more evident in the Word of God than the fact that God has a great and wonderful plan which He is working out among the nations of earth. Many saints recognize that God has a predestined purpose for each of His people, an appointed end for Israel, a glorious purpose for the Church, and a foreordained plan for the overcoming sons of God. We must also understand that the Lord has a determined plan and purpose for ALL NATIONS. God is actively dealing with NATIONS!
From the first dawn of human history God has had the formation, development, and destiny of nations in mind and purpose. The present nations of earth had their origins in the early days following the Great Flood. In Genesis chapter ten is found a most remarkable and comprehensive list of the descendants of Noah who became the heads of the families and tribes which subsequently developed into nations. Even so-called higher critics have often admitted that the tenth chapter of Genesis is a remarkably accurate historical document. There is no comparable catalog of ancient nations available from any other source. It is unparalleled in its antiquity and comprehensiveness. You would do well to read the entire chapter.
The descendants of Noah migrated over the whole face of the earth, forming tribe after tribe, city after city, and nation after nation. Let all men know that it is the Almighty God who is the designer and architect of all the nations in the world! The time periods and localities in which nations flourish have all be pre-arranged by the will of Him who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” (Eph. 1:11). The truth of this cannot be made any plainer than it is by Moses when he declares, “When the most High divided the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.” (Deut. 32:8). Paul refers to this very passage when he says, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord.” (Acts 17:26-27) How plain it is that it was GOD who, from that long-ago beginning, set the bounds of habitation or the national boundaries of all nations. These boundaries were established in relation to the vast multitude of Israel peoples and with a view to their being able to seek after the Lord.
Yes, God set the bounds of habitation for all nations and planted Israel of old at the crossroads, to the end that ALL NATIONS should seek after the Lord. Out of Israel came the Christ; out of Christ has come the church, His bride (Eph. 5:21-33); out of the church comes the manchild, the overcoming sons of God who are destined to reign with Christ and deliver the whole creation that it might be fulfilled which God promised father Abraham: “And in thy seed shall ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.” (Gen. 22:18). ALL NATIONS shall be blessed! What a prospect! From the very beginning God not only designed the nations of men that dwell upon the earth; He also planned and purposed to bless them — each and every one of them! This signifies not merely the blessing of Israel, nor the blessing of the church, nor the blessing of the saints of God within the nations; it is THE NATIONS THEMSELVES that must come under the gracious hand of God in blessing and quickening. Oh, the wonder of it!
The sweet singer of Israel sang of this blessed hope in the spirit of prophecy: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us; that Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among ALL NATIONS. Let the people praise Thee, O God; let ALL the people praise Thee! O let THE NATIONS be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt JUDGE THE PEOPLE righteously, and GOVERN THE NATIONS upon earth…yea, ALL KINGS shall fall down before Him: ALL NATIONS SHALL SERVE HIM.” (Ps. 67:1-4; 72:11). What a word! It is obvious that all nations do not today serve the Lord, neither do all kings (rulers) fall down before Him. China does not serve the Lord; neither do its rulers acknowledge Him. Iran does not serve the Lord. Japan does not serve the Lord. Great numbers of nations do not today serve the Lord, and few of their rulers fall down before Him. But the day is surely coming when all nations shall be joined to the Lord and fulfill their obligations to Him as their Maker and Savior. If that day never comes, then the Bible will have to be relegated to the scrapheap of ancestral errors. But the promise is sure: “Arise, O God, judge the earth: for Thou shalt INHERIT ALL NATIONS, ALL NATIONS whom Thou has made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify Thy name. For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things.” (Ps. 82:8; 86:9-10)
Many precious “fragments” reveal God’s ultimate purpose for mankind, when “ALL the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and ALL KINDREDS OF THE NATIONS shall worship before Thee, for the kingdom is the Lord’s and HE is the governor among the nations.” (Ps. 22:27-28) For further confirmation of God’s gracious intention toward the nations let us consider the second Psalm. In this wonderful prophecy the Father is addressing the Son, saying, “Ask of me, and I WILL GIVE THEE THE NATIONS FOR THINE INHERITANCE, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.” (Ps. 2:8). Surely the will and plan of God is revealed in this most gracious request, and surely this was the purpose for which Jesus came and was sent. “The Father sent His Son to be the Savior of THE WORLD” (I Jn. 4:14). With this divine plan in view, well may David triumphantly sing, “O let THE NATIONS be glad and sing for joy, for Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth…God shall bless us, and ALL the ends of the earth shall fear (reverence) HIM.” (Ps. 67:4-7). “ALL NATIONS shall call Him blessed…and blessed be His glorious name forever, and let THE WHOLE EARTH be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.” (Ps. 72:17-19)
And this, precious friend of mine, is the message of the song of Moses and the Lamb! All the holy sons of God sing that song, for it is the song of redemption for all men and every nation. Only the overcomers stand upon the glassy sea intoning this hymn of salvation for all! Only the enlightened elect of the Lord, in whose hearts have been birthed the beautiful truths of the reconciliation of all and the triumph of the kingdom of God, are able to learn that song and sing that song! Out of all the inhabitants of the earth, only those who have received the call to sonship, leaving the precincts of religious Babylon, and coming under the purifying fires of God mingled in the crystal sea have been given voice to intone the beautiful strains of the song of Moses and the Lamb! The multitudes in the church systems of man have not and cannot at this time learn this song, because of their unbelief. Oh, ye blessed sons of God, lift it up on high, let the refrain ring throughout the unbounded heavens and reverberate unto the extremities of earth — for the time is at hand!
To be continued…
FROM CANDLESTICK…, Pt. 176 [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY 1