The Foundation of Recovered Testimony (continued)
The All-Uniting Ground
We know that in the times of Josiah and Hezekiah the nation was divided and in strong conflict; ten tribes against two. It would have been impossible to restore or get an expression of unity by any organizational recourse, or any friendly gesture. Jehoshaphat resorted to a compromise with Ahab, but with disastrous consequences. Hezekiah ignored the division and disunity and sent his appeal to ALL Israel. It is true that his call was met with laughter, scorn, and ridicule by some, but a great number responded favorably. "They made proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even unto Dan that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel, at Jerusalem." What a tremendous lesson and principle this is with regard to all efforts to secure unity in broken Christendom, evangelical Christianity, and all realms of broken fellowship! It would truly work if all concerned really and truly understood and embraced the true meaning of the Cross - "Christ our Passover!"
No other ground or means will ever secure the kind of oneness mentioned by the High Priest as He was about to offer the one great sacrifice on the Cross (John 17).
(c) There is the third feature which comes into view in those Old Testament instances of revival and recovery. It is that the Passover was -
The All-Corrective Dynamic
Idolatry was rife and widespread in the land. Altars and monuments to other gods were numerous. But nothing was said in the appeal as to these things. 'Come to Jerusalem and restore the Passover to its central place' was all that was mentioned. They came; the Passover was the one object and interest. It was a time of such blessing from God that nothing like it had been known for very many years. So blessed was it that the people wanted to extend the period beyond the appointed time, and they did. But that was not the end. As they returned to their own homes they passed those objects of false worship which had before been their life of devotion, and they smashed the lot! Nothing before would have displaced those altars and idols. But a taste of the real thing did what nothing else could do. How we ought to stand still and consider this! There are so many things which both divide us and account for our spiritual weakness, and all our efforts and plans to change that situation are so abortive and unsatisfactory. If only we could meet on the sold ground of the Cross - the infinite love and grace of God, so costly, and so eternally efficacious - and of an inward sight of our Redeemer-Saviour, the work would be done!
"I have seen the face of Jesus,
Tell me not of aught beside."
The Cross, Christ crucified, is the great corrective.
How often we have said that if only our gatherings and gathering-place were full of the life and light of the Lord, and the power of the Cross was manifested in His gathered people, there would be a spontaneous forsaking of all that divides and weakens the testimony! It is difficult to set down all that we see in this ultimate presentation of Him as alive, Who became dead, and is risen for evermore.
What it amounts to, in the Passover and its counterpart or full unveiling, is that God must be ALL. That which takes His place, or divides place with Him - the idols of men - may just be anything which is of any consideration before or beside this one thing: is it wholly and undividedly the Lord and His glory? Our institutions, organizations, etc., etc., may obscure or limit the Lord. The answer is a new, captivating, all-mastering and over-circling vision of Christ in all His Divine fullness and significance. The last movement before "Behold, I come quickly" must be a Christ-movement.
(continued with # 11 - (The Consummation of the Ages)