The Overcomers (continued)
The House of God and the City of God (continued)
Were we asked what are the major lines and subjects of Divine revelation throughout the whole Scriptures, we should say with considerable conviction that they are:
1. The Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. His Cross - death, burial and resurrection.
3. The Church or House of God.
4. The Coming Again of Christ.
5. The City of God.
There are other phases, but these taken relatively are the primary themes, or aspects of one theme.
While the Person of the Lord Jesus as God manifest in the flesh is the sum of all revelations, it requires the Cross to give the full meaning and reveal the full value of that manifestation; it demands the Church to display the full content of that manifestation ultimately; and it calls for the City to define the nature of that manifestation. In leading men on to the appreciation of the Person, God begins with the Cross. If the House is the House of the Divine Son, and if the City is the City of the great King, then the House and the City are based upon the Cross. Moreover, if the House and the City are for the glory of God in Christ and His universal worship, then the Cross represents the nature of worship and the way of glory.
To put this more precisely: If the Lord has in view a people for His glory, by whom the content of the Son of Man is ultimately displayed to the universe, then this people will be fundamentally a people of the Altar. This we believe to be the all-inclusive theme of Scripture. The Cross is the central recognition of the eternal rights of God. At the Cross and in the Cross all the rights of God from eternity to eternity are recognized and acknowledged. That is central to Calvary. God has rights. God's rights are that the whole universe should render Him undivided, unrivaled, unreserved worship, acknowledged, unrivaled, unreserved worship, acknowledging that all things are His by right, and that no one else in the universe has a right before Him. That great fact is here gathered up in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He brings to God in His own Person His rights, offering Himself in the greatness of Who He is and what He is - the rights of God.
God, by His Son, created the world for His glory. The Holy Spirit was Agent in the creation of the world for the Glory of God, in order that the whole earth should be full of His glory. The Holy Spirit is likewise Agent in the redemption of the world for the Glory of God. It is of perhaps deeper significance than we have recognized that the great song of the redeemed at the end, when the work of Calvary is consummated, is gathered up into one sentence: "Hast redeemed ... to God" (Revelation 5:9). Redemption is unto God: it is bringing back to God His rights, and the Holy Spirit is the Agent in this redemptive work which has the Glory of God as its objective, just as the Holy Spirit was the Agent in creation for the same end.
Worship, then, with all its depth and fullness, is the key word. In the great consummation when God is to be worshiped in the whole universe, and the different songs of worship break forth - the song of one company, " a hundred and forty and four thousand", worshiping God and the Lamb (Revelation 7:4), and then the song of the 'great multitude which no man can number' worshiping God and the Lamb (7:9) - there is the unveiling of the worship of the beast, and that is another consummation. The two consummations of worship are there unveiled.
The worship of the beast s one which has been going on ever since lucifer secured a following, a reverence from angels in high estate in heaven. When he found it in his own heart to make a bid for the place of the Almighty - to exalt his throne above the clouds, to ascend into the heavens, to be equal with the Most High (Isaiah 14:13-14) - he managed to gather to himself a company, all with the intent of drawing heaven's worship away from God to himself; and ever since that lifting up of his heart in that infamous ambition another worship has been going on. He drew that company with him, the company of angels "who kept not their own principality", and are "kept in everlasting bonds under darkness" (Jude 6). Then he appeared on the earth, and sought again to usurp the place of God in the worship of His Creation here; and in this he succeeded, and became, by reason of a conquest and the consent of man, "the god of this age", "the prince of this world."
(continued with # 15 - (The Two Worships)