GOD is faithful, and He "teaches dependence on His infallible faithfulness." He delights to bless according to the goodness of His own nature. In faithfulness He calls the attention of a people to their condition when they have departed from Him. God proves His faithfulness in the way He takes them up in grace and reveals Himself in His ways.
The testimony of the prophets is a proof of the merciful kindness of God. Their testimony also unfolds the governmental dealings of God. Prophecy unveils the evil which has given the occasion for the divine message. The character of the message also reveals the heart of God whose love never grows weary. When He uncovers the sin of His people He feels it according to the measure of His love for them.
Prophets often give voice to their own thoughts .as their hearts feel the condition of things. They may not rise to the height of God's character and nature, God always reserves to Himself the right to act in His Sovereign goodness. The poor heart of man cannot rise to the supreme goodness of God, he is too familiar with his own littleness and weakness; but God uses the occasion of the weakness and unfaithfulness on the part of man to prove His Own grace and faithful love to helpless men.
God does not save men and maintain them in a state of sin as though sin were of no account and He indifferent to it. He brings the evil out into the light and makes man know his sin that he might be reconciled truly and fully, with his conscience and heart reached, so that his restoration might be real.
The voice of the prophet is full of sorrow. Even when he calls for rejoicing, anticipating a coming day of deliverance, he thinks of the condition of the people, and what brought them into it. The prophet is aware of the evil against which he is called to witness, and he feels the state of decay according to the love of God, for he represents God. He speaks for God, and gives the testimony of His character and purpose, when a people who have been set in relationship with Hun have departed from their original place, where they have been established by His revealed power and will. In faithfulness to His Own nature God must condemn the departure, but He finds His resource to meet it in a new principle of grace to bring about His purpose,. God does not merely restore when the failure of a people is complete, It is then that He reveals His resource in grace and this necessarily refers to Christ, for all the glory is to be His, and by Him comes the grace.
The coming of Christ, God's anointed is proof that all other means to bring man into lasting blessing have failed, all trial is over and God has fallen back upon His Own deep counsels of wisdom, love, and power. When the testimony given anticipates the coming day of deliverance, hope is awakened in the hearts of a believing remnant, who sorrow over the evil but look on to a future and sure incoming blessing. The grace that gives the testimony awakens the hope.
The message of Malachi is the last sent to Israel until the coming of John the Baptist who proclaimed the Messiah. He does not speak of the judgement of the nations and the restoration of Israel . He sees the defection and voices the mind of the LORD about it, while he encourages faith sustained by grace amidst the evil.
Malachi looks at the state of the people after their return from their captivity at Babylon . They were connected with Jehovah not merely by outward prosperity, but by their worship which did not now glorify Him. The Prophet's heart was filled with sorrow because the people and priests were unaware of their departure from their first zeal, and were indifferent to his rebuke though he was the mouth-piece of Jehovah.
It was no longer a question of recovering the people to former blessing, though the Prophet promises a rich blessing if they would only put Jehovah's grace to the proof. The promise, too, of the Messiah was, given to sustain the hope of waiting faith, and as a warning to the unfaithful and unrighteous. The Messiah came but was driven out of the world; heaven received Him out of sight, where He remains for the present, hidden in God, but known now to faith. Once more faith awaits His coming. At His first coming He offered Himself to put away sin and remove the judgement for His Own; He will come a second time for the salivation of those who wait for Him (Hebrews 9:26-28), All prophecy looks on to the display of the Divine glory which is the end of God's ways, and Christ is the centre of all the counsels of God by which He glorifies Himself.
The Church is not the subject of prophecy, it has the communications from the Father and the Lord through individual vessels according to its relationships, and it is the depository of the truth which it is responsible to maintain the believer has the mind of God in communion by the word in the power of the Spirit. Prophecy has its place and value for the Christian who is made wise by it and his conscience is reached by the moral force of the communications that strike through the conscience and bring the soul before God for, itself. This is always good. We enjoy divine communications as the mind and will are enlightened by the knowledge of God, and when we are subject to the revelation that God makes of His mind and will In His governmental dealings.
Malachi speaks of the state of evil and the insensibility of the people to it, and he pronounces the judgement of the LORD, against it, which makes his message such a solemn one. The nearer a people are brought to God the greater their responsibility, and when they fail to respond to the grace shown them, especially after failure, they are the more guilty. It is when a people become indifferent to what the LORD is for them, and there is nothing left but to pronounce sentence of judgment on the pride. that has blinded the eyes, that we get to understand the feelings of God about His people, and hear the expressions of His unfailing grace that preserves faith and encourages the faithful to stand fast in the patience of hope, holding fast to the word of the LORD, The faithful find precious comfort in communion one with another as they speak of their common salvation, and of the coming glory to be shared with them by Him Who has purchased the right over things by His obedience unto death.
“I have loved you" (ver. 2). The tenderness of these appealing words has moved human hearts since the creation of man. The first recorded speech from the lips of man sprang from his newly awakened love when God brought to him the woman who was to be the companion of his happiness. Centre and head of a creation subject to him, happy but short of one joy the greatest, which was kept back until he possessed all else, Adam had now the pleasure of sharing with one suited to him but of her own order, all the delights of creation God had given him. Adam possessed all, he now shared all; Eve owned nothing, but had all in Adam. Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and now Adam was to know the joy of sharing his happiness with one in closest communion with him. God was beginning to display Himself in creation by the unfolding of His ways in relationship, man was beginning to know relationship in his own sphere, and the knowledge came with love. Man was constituted to love and to respond to love. The activity of love was to find its scope in man's relationship with his fellow beings. The fair scene of the Garden of Eden was soon spoilt by the entrance of sin. The devil cast doubt into the mind of man by suggesting that God withheld the best gift lest man should become like Him. It took root in the mind of man, awakened lust, and bore fruit in disobedience. Man sinned against God in the garden and when driven out he added sin against his neighbour when Cain killed his brother. God looked down upon a world that developed out of such a beginning, and in the fulness of the time He came into it to reveal Himself according to His Own nature in love and grace; between whiles. He unfolded His ways in government. Under the government of God man has been tried in every way, and although he has failed under all tests this has not altered the purpose of God. His counsels of predetermined blessing were purposed In Himself before man was put on trial (2 Timothy 1:9). Man has failed as a responsible creature and God has been cast back upon His own counsels and His sovereign right to bless according to the goodness of His nature, and. He has revealed His righteousness in so doing. The first man Adam and his race have failed, but all will be headed up in perfect blessing in a new creation in Christ the second Man, the last Adam. A new order of man, a new race, will share His joys, and in that scene of glory the Church, the bride of Christ, the Lamb's wife, will appear the loveliest of all, to be the companion of His happiness to share His joys and the pleasures of that vast universe of bliss where neither sin nor sorrow can ever come.
In the development of His ways God had separated a people to Himself, and in them His ways and government were to be known (Deuteronomy. 4 and 32) . He took them near to Himself and entered into special relationship with them and was known to them by the covenant name Jehovah, the LORD GOD of Israel (Exodus. 3:13-15); they had departed from Him in heart, but His love could not forget them. He waited in long-suffering kindness for their return and sent prophets to cry in their ears, "Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem , saying, Thus saith the JORD: I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when you wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown (Jeremiah 2:2). "I aim married unto you" (Jeremiah 3:14). Such was the language of His jealousy (Zechariah 8: 2) when Jerusalem turned to false gods and gave her hand to strange lovers. He remembered that He had been the one object of their affections in the wilderness; and of this He reminder them.
They had been driven into captivity because of their idolatry and their breaking of the law. They had forgotten the Sabbaths of rest which the LORD had commanded (Leviticus 25:4.), and had spent seventy years in Babylon while the land rested, even as Jeremiah had prophesied (Jeremiah 25:11) j . A remnant had returned under the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1: 2,3) . The temple had been rebuilt, and the city wall repaired when Nehemiah went over (Nehemiah 2:17), but all had not been well. The work had slackened and the prophet Haggai had roused the people from their lethargy (Ezra 5:1; Haggai 1:8) ; but now all the early zeal had gone, and most of the people were insensible to their low and indifferent state. Yet the LORD said, "I have loved you." If the protest of love will not am awaken a response what will?
Judgment never changes the heart of man, which only grows harder under it (e.g. Pharaoh; also Revelation 26: 21). Judgment is God's strange work (Isaiah 28:21), it is His last stroke: against evil when all pleading is of no avail. Evil has entered the fair creation, God must deal with it in His time and when the days of His long-suffering patience are over He will put down all wickedness for every with a mighty hand
God waits with patience and merciful kindness while He is dealing with a people through whom He is making His name and ways known. In grace and mercy He spares and favours them (Deuteronomy 4). He draws them near to Himself where He can bless them in grace, for grace is the activity of His love according to the fulness OI His heart towards those who stand in need. When a people weary of grace it is evident that they do not want God in any way, it is then that He must close up the manner and time when He is revealing Himself in grace amidst the evil. The evil that rejects grace cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely in opposition to the goodness of God, whether that evil be found in a nation or in the wide creation where He desires to be known according to His nature of love.
The LORD had chosen Jacob. Esau had despised his birthright, therefore the LORD hated him. If a man holds lightly the place, privileges, and blessings God has given him, and gives them up for present pleasure and momentary advantage, God will take away his benefits, and though he seeks them again with tears he with not find them. Esau did not repent with tears, but wanted the blessing without repentance.
The LORD loved Jacob, He had chosen him to the exclusion of all others; then why did he not respond? Jacob in his day feared the LORD. Many and bitter were his experiences before he was brought to the place where he could know the presence and the name of the LORD. But where now in his descendants was the fear due to the LORD of hosts, the respect due to His majesty, the honour claimed by His holy name? The priests had despised His name, and held the place of worship in contempt. They had offered the poorest of the flock instead of the lambs of the first year "without blemish." They had polluted the table of the LORD. They sought their own gain. Worst of all they were insensible to the evil of their degraded practices. It could truly be said of them, "Like people, like priest" (Hosea 4:9) . The guilt of a people may be forgiven. A low state through neglect and weakness may be revived. But what could be done for a people who had tasted richly of divine favour and fallen so low that they did not feel the loss of former glory, were without, any sense of the dishonour brought on the name of the LORD by their perverted ritual and only answered, "Wherein have we despised Thy name?" "Where in have we polluted Thee?" How can a people be made aware of that which is lacking in their worship? What will bring home to the conscience that the LORD refuses offerings that can be easily spared? God searches the motives of the heart. The Jew could bring a tenth of his increase and find It acceptable in the sight of the LORD; but that is not enough for a Christian believer to bring to Him Who gave all; His love demands all in return.
When God calls the attention of a people to their state to show them the measure of their responsibility, He always goes back to their beginning. The LORD planted a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1, 2); what had happened to it? (ver. 4). The glory of the LORD had appeared in Israel (2 Chronicles 7: 1, 2) ; what had caused the glory to depart? (Ezekiel 11) ; a remnant of Israel had returned from Babylon touched at heart (Ezra 9: 8) into what state had they fallen? Malachi unveils the coldness of their hearts.
If Christian's looks back at the lovely picture of the Assembly (Church) at the beginning of its history, and also see the power that was in evidence when the Spirit first manifested His presence in the Church, as unfolded in the early chapters of the Acts, they will learn what the Church was in its first beauty formed by God. If they compare the former state with the present disorder they will discover the measure of their responsibility, and the extent of the Church's departure. Why is the Church so broken into fragments? Why is it so weak? Scripture tells us why very plainly. The Apostle Paul anticipating the breakdown warned Timothy of the incoming evil; some would depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4). He wrote of worse to come in a yet future day when there would be a general apostasy (2 Timothy 3). The decline of the Church had begun in his day, the mystery of iniquity was already at work (2 Thessalonians 2:7); we are witnesses of its development. God has not left believers without a means to them in a day of confusion. When Paul was leaving the public sphere of his work he had no thought in his mind that he was leaving a successor to care for the saints, but he commended them "to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). It is against the Word of God the opponents of God strike hardest today.
The failure began when the Church departed from her first love, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy fist love" (Revelation 2:4). The decline is complete when a company on true Church ground, responsible to shine the light of truth in the world, sinks down into a self-satisfied and lukewarm state nauseating to the Lord, when it can no longer be tolerated. (Revelation 3:16-17). Because iniquity abounds the love of many waxes cold. But He says to those who through grace keep word and do not deny His name "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Revelation 3:10).
When in a ruined state, to own and confess our failure is the first step to find blessing. This does not limit what the Holy Spirit can do for us in a poor state; it puts us in the place where He can do what he desires to do without finding the will of man opposing. He finds a true humility which is the first demand of His dignity and which makes it possible for Him to act through the vessel subject to his will in moral way by the Word. He is given His place.
What could the LORD do to make His people feel the coldness of their hearts? Love is sensitive and can brook no rival; Israel had moved Him to jealousy and now He would move them to Jealousy (Deuteronomy 32:21; Romans 10:10; 11:11). " For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,“ Says the LORD of hosts." If there be any slumbering affection jealousy will goad it into activity, and awakened desire will pursue its purpose of heart that no fears or dangers can turn from its course.
The LORD must prove the state of His people. They might sleep, but if there be any love it will hear the voice of the Beloved (Song of Solomon 5: 2). Their love may be slow but it will respond (ver. 5, 6). He may withdraw Himself a little to draw the affections after Him but His soul is soon set upon the chariots of His willing people (Song of Solomon 6: 12, JND.). Although we are reading of the Jew who has yet to learn the Beloved is His, the moral applications of these Old Testament pictures to the individual Christian are precious. Divine principles do not change though their application may vary. Christians are admonished, exhorted, and day of their responsibility by the words of the prophets. They would do well to pay heed.
The Jews look forward and the character of their affection is that of desire, the love the Assembly (Church) knows is deeper, more settled, because of the revelation that has been made. Redemption has been accomplished, and the relationship existing between Christ and the Church is now realized by the presence of the Holy Spirit. This character to the love known, though the Church awaits the marriage and the glory. The Church is responsible to keep herself according to the revelation made and the existing relationship but departure from her first love (Revelation 2: 4) aroused the jealousy of Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire as He walks amidst the Candlesticks the Assemblies, responsible to shed the light of truth in the world. He recalls to the Assemblies their first bright days, and warns them against the characteristic evil of the time. The prevailing evil in the world finds an entrance into the Church through the negligence of Christians; but in faithfulness and grace He adds a promise to the overcomer. The Church was responsible to keep her first estate, but she left her first love (Revelation, 2: 4). Viewed as the house of God, the order of the house has become corrupt, and the presence of the Holy Spirit is denied in practice.
There is no restoration for a fallen Church as there will be for Israel . There may be revival in the Church; there is no thought in Scripture of a return to former brightness as there will be for the Jew. The ruin of the house is beyond repair, though the foundation stands sure (2 Timothy 2:19). But it is prophesied of the temple to be built when Israel is restored, "The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, saith the LORD of hosts." (Haggai 2:9 JND).
The LORD will awaken Israel by provoking them to jealousy (Romans 10:19). He does not do that to the Church; she has no rivals, but Christ does present Himself to the bride as the coming glorious One to awaken a longing in her heart that she might cry with the Spirit, "Come" (Revelation 22:17).
The servant of Christ whose heart is in unison with His knows the jealousy of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:22) and feels the' strength of that sentiment in his own heart, "For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). All that intrudes to attract the heart away from Christ arouses the righteous anger of the one who is jealous for the interests of the Lord. Constrained by the love of Christ the heart that is in communion will long after those whose affections are growing cold, and seek to persuade and beseech them in the name of Him whose love is as strong as death, to receive His love, and give Him His rightful place in their hearts and lives. The faithful servant will do it by every moral means the Word of God supplies. To love is to be faithful.
When the priests, those who led the people and who ought to have been faithful in their approach to God, were not giving glory unto the name of the LORD, it was little wonder if the people fell away. God cares nothing for the form when the heart is astray. Their solemn feasts were an abomination; they offered corrupt things, and did not lay it to heart to give glory unto the name of the LORD. The zeal for the LORD found in Levi of old was gone. The law of truth was once in his mouth, why had he departed out of the way?
If the people dealt treacherously the leaders were to blame because they failed to maintain the holiness of their worship and were weary in the service of the LORD. Pleasing themselves the leaders proved unfaithful shepherds and Ezekiel's words of reproof were applicable to them. "Woe to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you with wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not, the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was lost: but with force and cruelty have ye ruled them (Ezekiel 34: 2, 3, 4). "Behold I am against the shepherds" (ver. 10).
Their slights had touched His love to the quick, and their unfaithfulness to the LORD revealed itself in their relationships with one another. The betrayal of Jehovah's trust uncovered, the treachery of their hearts. Brother dealt deceitfully with brother. They intermarried with the heathen, and turned to strange gods and were figuratively to the daughter of a strange god; yet they did not holly deny the claims of Jehovah, but still sacrificed to Him., and so exposed their double-mindedness and treachery. They lightly put away their wives, and had not God made them out? The LORD hated putting away. Where was the LORD to get a godly seed when a man dealt treacherously with the wife of his youth? The LORD attaches great importance to the godly maintenance of natural relationships, and wherever these are slighted under pretence for any reason spiritual or other the way is open for licence and corruption.
Their worship was false and unacceptable, their business relationships perfidious, and their homes were loveless. Yet they pretended to worship, praying' endlessly and ostentatiously (Matthew 23: 5, 14). They wearied the LORD with words and said, "Wherein have we wearied Him?" The apostle Paul encountered the same pretentious mind at Corinth where Christians were making a show of their gifts. He said, "But in the assembly I desire to speak five words with my understanding that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Corinthians 14:19 JND). Endless unedifying speeches caused none to glorify the Lord.
They carried on their evil and attached the name of the LORD to it, and even said that He delighted in it, asking, "'Where is the God of judgment?" It did not occur to them to ask, "Where is the God of mercy?"
They ask for the God of judgment and the answer is given quickly. The LORD will come suddenly to His temple, but not before He sends His messenger, for the LORD will not appear in judgment until He in mercy warns. God is merciful and has no pleasure in the death of men (Ezekiel 28:31, 32), and as said in the New Testament, He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come "to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Faith is encouraged in an evil day by the promise of God's intervention and the hope awakened maketh not ashamed. Also God tells man what is coming so that he will not be able to give his idols the credit, or profess to have known them of himself. (See Isaiah 48: 3-8; also chs. 44:10; 47:13).
We kn6w from this passage and comparing it with others that the messenger was John the Baptist, We can see too, that the second coming of the LORD is connected with His first coming. Without stopping to enlarge on the first coming the second is seen in full result. In the parenthesis between the two comings the Church is called out apart from the world; it does not belong to its order. At His second coming the LORD will appear as a Refiner. The One for whom they were waiting would come, "But who may abide the day o-f His coming?"
Has the Church grown weary waiting for the Lord and said, "My Lord delayeth His coming? He will come at such an hour as ye think not, and to those who do not expect Him it will be as a thief in the night (Revelation 3:3). As He walks amidst the assemblies the eyes of His Jealousy mark out all that causes unfaithfulness. But He is faithful and will purge away the worthless, for every man's work ill be tried with fire to leave only the enduring and precious for eternal gain and enjoyment. By the revelation freed from that which offends.
When Judah and Jerusalem are refined their offerings shall be pleasant unto the LORD as of old. The LROD will come near to judge, and will swiftly remove all that is defiling; He must have pure worship
He is Jehovah, the unchangeable, the eternal, and faithful in His love to His people else they would have been consumed.
Called to return to that which the LROD had commanded and to do the first works they asked, "Wherein shall we return?" So unfeeling were they to their departure. Were they no giving God worship? Yet the testimony of the prophet is that they were robbing God. HE would not accept their offerings, and withhold true worship is to rob God. If God be not given His place and exalted in worship, and if He be not recognized in the favours He has bestowed, then He is deprived of His rights that His holy nature claims. But they say "Wherein have we robbed thee?" The answer is, "In tithes and offerings." God was robbed, but the people grew no richer but poorer.
If we are spiritually poor and there is no increase then be sure we have not given God that which is due to Him. We cry for increase and there is decrease and wonder why; God is not getting the firstfruits. Bring tithes and offerings and give freely to the LORD and your own store is increased. Even the heathen say, "The gift of the gods takes root in him who gives it away." They grow richest who give most to God. Do no say, the LORD has given little gift, say rather we have given little praise, not walked enough in His company, and drawn little on His grace.
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (ver. 10). If we are straitened we are straitened in ourselves. If the day be dark and we complain of little light, if the only way to retain our small store is to constrict our circle, it is because we give little. We give as we learn to offer thanks unto God for His unspeakable gift, and then we find our riches are increased beyond measure by all that He has given in Christ.
The wondrous patience and grace of the LORD are seen in this last message in which the fullest blessing is offered to all who will receive it.
Coldness of heart finds its excuses in many words and returns its answer, "What have we spoken so much against Thee?" "It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinances, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?"
But love working in grace awoke a response in the hearts of those who feared the LORD and thought on His name; "they spake often one to another.'" (See also Luke 2:38; Hebrews 3:13). The listening ear of the LORD heard a voice that was sweet to Him: "Thou that dwellest in the garden, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it. Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or a young hart upon the mountain of spices" (Song of Solomon 8: 13, 14). Heaven recorded their words: "And they shall be mine saith the LORD in that day, when I make up my jewels" (ver. 17). Their faith tried amidst unfaithfulness is found better than gold and silver tried in the fire. In that day when the refiner's fire will try every man and search all motives the LORD will spare them. "I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him" (ver. 17). He will indeed spare the godly remnant of Israel in the time or Jacob's trouble. The believer who now keeps the word of His patience, will be kept out of the coming trial that will come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Revelation 3:10).
"The day cometh that shall burn as an oven" (ver. 1). That day will try every man, and will leave neither root nor branch of the wicked. The Christian, too has to keep in mind that day of searching when the wood, hay, and stubble which has been built into the house of God m earth will be consumed and lost, leaving the gold, silver, and precious stones to abide for ever (1 Corinthians 3:11-17).
But if the day of burning is coming, so too will the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings to bring in lasting blessing -- Peace, Security, and Prosperity for His people. Before that day Elijah, the Prophet of judgement will come to restore the name of the LORD in Israel , and return the hearts of the people back into natural channels, restoring natural affection in families, else there remains nothing for the whole earth but a curse.
While the Prophet has spoken faithfully for the LORD and it has been a word of judgment, yet it is with love in his heart. Though they had failed individually man with man; collectively as a people toward God in their worship and by their alliance with the nations around; and in the bonds of union with the wife of their youth, the message if full of grace, for grace alone has power to restore truth to hearts.
If there is burning there is healing. If God has been robbed He is able to restore abundantly. If their hearts have wandered the LORD calls them back to make them realize that none can take the place of His beloved people (Song of Solomon 7:10.
There remained nothing more to be said until John the Baptist came to announce the Messiah, he came in the spirit and power of Elijah for those who had faith to receive it (Matthew 11:14 ; Mark 9:12, 13; Luke 1:17).
The Messiah came but He was refused; now Israel must wait until He comes in His power and glory from heaven, to deliver as well as refine.
The Church has a more glorious hope; she awaits her heavenly Bridegroom who will come to receive her to Himself when the days of His patience are over. If in the days of her responsibility she has slipped her hand into the hand of the world, she must be warned and reminded of her heavenly calling and destiny. When the tale of judgement is fully told in the book of Revelation for the Church's instruction and warning, the Lord Jesus presents Himself "I Jesus… I am… the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride says, Come" (Revelation 22:16, 17). It will be a joyous meeting for those who await His coming and whose hearts are attuned with bridal affection. If all will not rise now to such intimacy of love, nor enter into the blessedness of the relationship already existing between Christ and His Assembly in union by the Spirit, where two or three are gathered together in His name owing the truth and fact of that union, counting on His grace, He will make them realise His presence and give them to taste a love past all human knowledge. The character of that love can only be known by one whom He loves as Himself, and who knows her relationship to Him, who now glorified, nourishes and cherishes her as His own flesh (Ephesians 5:18, 29). As Adam possessed all things before God gave Him a companion to share his happiness, so Christ was glorified and became the head of a new creation before God gave Him the Church to share His joy and glory. The Church owns nothing in her own right but possesses all in Christ in a scene where all is of God. Even now faith anticipates the day when all shall be made to know that Christ lives His own however their faith may be tried, and the heart of the waiting bride is filled with joy as she hears the words, "I have loved thee" (Revelation 3:9).
God will not forsake His people and the last words in the Old Testament given in grace though they warn of judgement, prove His faithfulness both to His erring people and to His infallible purposes to bless them' "The gives and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:19).
The faithful look forward to and love His appearing. It is a marked characteristic of Christianity to love the day when the Lord will appear in His great glory. We cannot practically love His appearance if we do not delight in the setting up of His glory. It also will be the day when the results of the believer's responsibility are made manifest.