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Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 4

"God's Full Intention Governs Everything That He Does" (continued)

4. The Final Mention

The final mention of any particular matter in the Bible is usually a key to all its meaning. That is something that we must think about! We find certain things mentioned again and again in the Bible; but when we come to the final occasion where that thing is mentioned, we usually find the key to all that has been said about that matter before. If you take a particular matter, where it is mentioned for the last time, and then note the setting and the context and the relationship, you will get the full meaning of all that has been said about that before.

Now that is a statement that I have made, and you will need to think and to work on that, but I will help you by taking just one illustration. In the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation twenty-two and verse two, we have the last reference to "the tree of life." Now when we go right back to the beginning of the Bible, we have "the tree of life" mentioned, but we are told nothing about it - it is just referred to as something that exists. We have no explanation, we are not told what that tree is, or what it means; it is just referred to as "the tree of lie." We have to go to the end of the Bible for the explanation, and when we come to this last chapter of the Bible, by the context and relationship, we have a very large explanation.

Let us look at the passage. Revelation 22: "And He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb," - note the context, "the throne of God and of the Lamb." You have got to read the whole book of the Revelation to understand that! There is a tremendous amount in the early chapters of this book about "the throne of God and of the Lamb." And you need to understand what the throne of God is and what is the significance of the throne of the Lamb - in the midst of the throne is a Lamb!

Now in relation to "the throne of God and of the Lamb," there is "a river of the water of life ... in the midst of the street thereof. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner (kinds) of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be therein: and His bondservants shall serve Him." There is "the tree of life." It bears immortal fruit. There is no place for death here. Its fruit is born every month: that is fruit immortal, or fruit without death. The leaves of this tree are for the health of the nation. I am sorry that in most versions the word "healing" is wrongly translated. I do not know what the word is in your translation, but the original is not the "the healing of the nations," but for "the health of the nations." You may ask, "What is the difference?" Well, one is the removal of disease, and the other is the prevention of disease.

In Revelation 22, we have come to the time when the spiritual diseases of the nations have been healed, but the health of the nations needs to be preserved. It is a state that is to be maintained. Thus, the leaves are not for healing, they are for preservation. And so it says: "And there shall no longer be any curse."

You see, you have got the whole history of the Bible in those words. You have got all that came on the nations through Adam's sin. You have corruption and death - moral disease - the result of a curse. All that is now cleared up, and "the tree of life" represents Victory of Live over all that, Life Triumphant, and Life Abundant. Here the full meaning of "the tree of life" is revealed. And it is like that with all other matters. When you come to the last mention, you have the key to the whole subject. That is a principle of the interpretation of the Bible.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 5 - "5. The Only Real Value Is the Spiritual")

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