TEXT FOR PRAYER
Our Only Hope of Overcoming
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” beginning on page 205, the last paragraph:
“The only hope for us if we would overcome is to unite our will to God’s will, and work in cooperation with Him, hour by hour, and day by day. We can not retain self, and yet enter the kingdom of God. If we ever attain unto holiness, it will be through the renunciation of self, and the reception of the mind of Christ. Pride and self-sufficiency must be crucified. Are we willing to pay the price required of us? Are we willing to have our will brought into perfect conformity to the will of God? Until we are willing, the transforming grace of God can not be manifest upon us.”
We shall now kneel and pray for understanding that our hope of having a home in God’s Kingdom depends upon uniting our will with His will, and upon laboring in cooperation with Him; that holiness depends upon renouncing self and accepting Christ; that pride has no place in the Christian’s heart; that the transformation of the grace of God is obtained by our conforming to His Word.
This afternoon we shall study the sixty-second chapter of Isaiah. The very first things we need to know about this chapter is whether it was written especially for the people of today or especially for the people of yesterday, and whether its message is to be given to the church or to the world. To find out we shall read the eleventh verse:
“Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” Isa. 62:11.
“Behold,” says the Lord,” I have proclaimed unto the end of the world,” not unto some other time. This Divine proclamation, therefore, is for those who are living in the time of end. To them the chapter is now unsealed, and their commission is to take it to the daughter of Zion, to the church. You cannot therefore, afford to excuse yourself from this call for service.
Verse 1 – “For Zion’s sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”
Here we are told that the Lord will continue thus to speak, not for the sake of the world, but for the sake of the church so that she may eventually stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb; that He will thus continue “until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”
This implies that the righteousness of His people at the proclamation of this chapter is but dimly, if at all, going forth, and that “the salvation thereof” is not now as a lamp that burneth, but as a lamp the light of which is gone out. His mighty effort is nevertheless to bring forth a great change: The righteousness of Christ is to shine forth as bright as the sun. The conclusion then is that without this additional message the church will never reach her goal, and any one’s unconcerned attitude in this urgent call for service is sure to bring his doom. God’s true people are, nevertheless, to awaken and embrace the call. To them, as a church, says the Lord:
Verse 2 – “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.”
The righteousness of Zion shall be so pronounced that the Gentiles shall be attracted by it, and all their kings by her glory. It is for this very reason that the present church name will not then be befitting her.
As you know, there are now hundreds of church names in the world, – as many names as there are isms, all of which are named by the mouth of men, although God recognizes but one church. Many of the names even suggest Divine competition. For instance, do not the names, “Church of Christ,” and “Church of God,” make Christ and God competitors?
Whatever the “new name” be, it will entirely befit the church in her righteousness as here projected.
We are now living in a confused world. Some are of Paul and some of Apollos, of Cephas, Peter, John, and James, some of God and some of Christ. Christians are thus bickering and quarreling among themselves, one speaking against the faith of another, and at the same time all are trying to convert to Christ the non-Christian world! What darkness! To the church, which God is now creating, He says:
Verse 3 – “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”
The church here projected is to be made up only of a righteous spirit-led people, her new name is doubtless to express this fact. Wonderful, indeed, to be the Lord’s “crown of glory,” and His “royal diadem.” You certainly cannot afford to let this glory get away from you. Act today.
Verse 4 – “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
Because the Lord is to delight in her, and also because her land is to be married to her, she is also to be called Hephzibah, and her land Beulah. The church, in times past, has been forsaken a number of times – once in Egypt, then in Babylon, in Rome, and so on – but she is never again to be forsaken, and her land is never again to be left desolate.
Verse 5 – “For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.”
Marriage signifies an everlasting union. Thus the church has the promise that her homeland shall now forever be her’s, and her sons (converts) shall never part from her.
Verses 6, 7 – “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
Not that He will set, but that He has already set watchmen that shall never neglect their duty night or day. And so you that now make mention of the Lord ought not to keep silence, but praise Him and speak of His wonderful love and Truth. Now is your opportunity to promote His cause, to make it your chief business, your chief interest, your highest joy. Now is the time to say, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” Psalms 137:5, 6. To this end pray and work. Give Him no rest until He makes Jerusalem a praise “in the earth.” Let this be your delight as you are His delight.
Verses 8, 9 – “The Lord hath sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of My holiness.”
God’s people have been robbed time and again, and the most outrageous and unreasonable robbery that they have suffered has been, and still is being done by their own brethren in the faith! How? – At every upward step in Truth throughout church history and down to this day, those who have ever embraced new, unpopular truths, have in every instance been thrown out of the church which they helped build. This has been done only because on the one hand the majority have ever ruled, and on the other hand only the minority have ever been susceptible to present Truth, to “meat in due season.” The time is here, though, in which all manner of robberies shall cease. To those who are being cast out, this encouraging counsel and promise is given:
“Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His Word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” Isa. 66:5.
Verse 10 – “Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.”
The Lord now repeatedly asks everyone within the hearing of His Voice to fearlessly go through Zion’s gates and say to her, “Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.”
We therefore cannot do otherwise but go through, for it is our God-given duty to prepare the way for the people. We must build a highway, a way for them to come over to the light of God and thus to His Kingdom. We must gather out every obstacle that stands in the way, and must lift up a standard for the people, a standard which they can see and follow as it leads ahead. What could the standard be? – The very standard which the people are to see and to follow is Jesus in His Truth.
Verse 11 – “Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.”
This verse, as we learned at the beginning of our study, clears two things: First, that this chapter definitely contains a message to the church at the end of the world; second, that since it proves that this chapter is now for the first time being unsealed and brought to our attention, we are sent with a message to the church, and definitely shows that we have come to the time of the end, the time in which man-made institutions are forever to pass away.
The word “behold” suggests that we should now take notice and be able to see that our salvation cometh and that while His reward is with Him, His work is still before Him. What is His reward? – What else could it be but life forevermore? So it shall be that the first fruits, the 144,000, the servants of God who are soon to stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb shall be the first to be rewarded. As servants of God they shall carry on the work that is “before Him,” the work of gathering the second fruits. As set forth by Isaiah the prophet:
“And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape [from the slaying of the Lord, verse 16] of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.” Isa. 66:19, 20. The choice is now yours, either to line up with God’s Truth for this time, to accept His salvation and to prepare for the work that is before Him, for the gathering of His saints, or to remain aloof and to be spued out.
Let us make the better choice now lest we soon find ourselves in outer darkness, there to weep and to gnash our teeth.
Verse 12 – “And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”
If you do all that the Spirit of God bids you to do, you shall be of “the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord,” “sought out,” “not forsaken.”
And now to summarize: The study opens with the words, “Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed to the end of the world,” to the church of today. She is to be the Lord’s “crown of glory” and His “royal diadem.” No longer will she be called “Forsaken,” nor will her land be called “Desolate”; that these titles are to be changed respectively to Hephzibah and Beulah, meaning God will delight in His people and their land; that God is to rejoice over His church as a bridegroom rejoices over His bride; that He has now set watchmen upon the walls of Jerusalem, who shall never neglect their duty; that they shall not keep silence, but they shall praise the Lord, and be zealous to do whatever they can in the furtherance of His Kingdom; that He has sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength, that He will no longer give His children’s meat to the enemy, that strangers will no more rob them of that which they worked for, that what they produce will indeed be their own; that His people have again and again been robbed of their spiritual light; that when the light of God came to them, the enemies barred the light away from them at least for a time; that we are now admonished to “hear the Word of the Lord,” for which cause the brethren (fellow church members) hate us so that they cast us out from among them. This they do in the name of the Lord, but they shall be “ashamed” when He appears to our joy and to their shame; that we are commanded to go through the gates of Laodicea and to prepare the way for the people; to cast up the highway, to remove the barriers, to raise a standard for the people, to show to them that the Lord has “proclaimed unto the end of the world,” to tell the “daughter of Zion” that her salvation is coming, that His reward is with Him, and His work before Him; that those who escape the slaying of the Lord will be sent to all nations and to the isles of the sea, to the people who have not heard of the Saviour; that they shall bring all their brethren to the house of the Lord.
You certainly now see Zion’s reward and God’s mighty effort to inform you of this Truth. You surely will do all you can to escape God’s vengeance and to join this laymen’s movement for the gathering of the people.