Part 1 – Ultimate Triumph Series.
For the sake of congregational folks that are here, I hope that what I have to offer will be acceptable to you. I am first of all thinking about those delegates and am going to be speaking to them, so you will forgive me if I speak about a few technical things – not too many. Those who were here last night will probably hear some faint echoes of Pastor Frank’s thunder. Last night was an amazing assault on us. He rapid-fire bombed us with an arsenal of material. It was awesome! Most preachers would take a year to say that. Toward the end I was getting exhausted from just assimilating it. I expected him to drop any minute from sheer weariness. He did a masterful job. There is a little bit of jealousy in there of course but … Now in these night services I am going to talk to you on what is in your advertisement – the theology of victory. I have called it “Ultimate Triumph” – just to be ordinary. I am going to deal with it under the following 3 headings. Tonight I am going to deal with ultimate triumph as it is prophesied in the Old Testament. Tomorrow night – God willing – I am going to talk about ultimate triumph inaugurated in the Gospels and Acts. Then on Friday night I am going to deal with ultimate triumph consummated in the Epistles and Revelation.
Now obviously what I am doing here is a Bible survey on the whole question of God’s intention in history. Not our intention or our reading of events or our political forecasts or evaluations but God and what He is saying. In the morning sessions I am dealing with the Apostle Paul. One of the things I said this morning about Paul was that his own miraculous and dramatic conversion was basic to his eschatological outlook in his writings. Paul realised that as God had arrested him on the Damascus Road – dramatically and unexpectedly – Paul says that God is the one who is going to arrest mankind. God is the One who will bring men to Himself. We must go and we must respond and we must be people who are mentally alert to what brother Frank was teaching on “Harvest Theology” – that was excellent. We must understand that God hasn’t left us to do the harvest alone. Jesus Christ said, “Lift up your eyes and look to the fields – they are white unto harvest”. He didn’t say everyone grab a sickle and start to hack away. You will notice what He said next; “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest and He will send labourers”. Unless this whole harvest thing is bathed in prayer and a recognition that if God doesn’t send us and if God doesn’t go with us then we labour in vain. We mightily need God! So I felt what I heard in the offerings of the musical group tonight and came through to me in the Spirit saying, “We need you Lord – we need You!”. I felt that was the most authentic thing I had heard in all of that. We need You! The history of revivals has got a sovereign touch to it. God is there to provide that dynamic.
Now I am going to deal with a technical aspect before we go into a kind of canonical appreciation of the Old Testament references to ultimate victory. I want to deal with what brother Frank last night called “the hermeneutic”. Some of us are very acquainted with this. I think the first theology class I ever did was on hermeneutics and that is a lot of years ago. Hermeneutics is based on the Greek myth of “Hermes”. Hermes was the messenger of the gods. He had wings on his feet and carried messages for the gods. When we are talking about hermeneutics, we are talking about the message from God and rightly interpreting that message for we are all godly “Hermes”. We have to take a message from God and understand what that message is and not get our own message mixed into it. So hermeneutics becomes the study of the principles of interpretation that will guard against the imposition of ourselves, our thinking, our philosophy and so on into God’s message. Now I may not understand His message. God says “Go tell them 1-2-3-4”. I say “God I don’t understand that”. He says, “I didn’t ask you to understand it – just go tell it”. Now many times when men are interpreting the Bible they abandon a principle of hermeneutics – that we are here to carry God’s message and not create our own. The principle here won’t mean anything to some of you but I hope you delegates will hear this. I hope you will hear this because I wish I had known this years ago. It is a principle of hermeneutics – should the New Testament influence the way the man interprets the Old Testament? Brother Frank answered that last night and made it very clear – it was excellent. He said that a proper way of interpreting the Bible is that everything in the Old Testament must come through the grid of the Christ event. How Christ and His apostles interpret the Old Testament is how we understand it.
Now I want to show you that there is a contrary hermeneutic abroad and I am going to deal with that right now. Back in the last century a prominent scholar by the name of Benjamin Jawett who was then Regis Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford published a famous lecture in which he came against that principle of interpretation. He said in essence that whatever the prophets said at the time is the meaning of that prophetic word. So you must go back – pick up the historical milieu – pick up the historical context and the geographical environment, the social and philosophical environment, the national and international, tribal and intertribal environments. You must understand that what that prophet was saying at the time and that’s all it means. The result was that men became Old Testament scholars as they searched for the historical meaning of many of those things. Now how many of you have read the Old Testament and acknowledged when you are through reading something that you don’t know what it means? In fact the Old Testament isn’t your favourite sector is it? That is because much of what they said in language and in situations that were designed to be interpreted.
Now in more recent times – and I am quoting from an excellent article by Bruce Waltke (who is an outstanding scholar and at the time he wrote it was Professor of Old Testament at Regent College in Vancouver). Dr Waltke is an expert in Old Testament and coming from him it carries more weight than from someone who isn’t acquainted with Old Testament material. But he goes on to show that while Benjamin Jowett established that as a hermeneutic that many brought into that it also has a modern supporter in the person of Dr Walter Kaiser. None of this is said pejoratively. It is dealing with scholarly factors. Dr Walter Kaiser – academic dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School – came close to concurring with Jowett. Now here’s what Dr Kaiser says; “In no case must later teaching be used exegetically or in any other way to unpack the meaning of the individual text which is the object of our study”. Now he is agreeing with Jowett – what he is saying is that you can’t take an Old Testament Scripture and interpret it from a New Testament standpoint. You have got to move yourself back – watch now. I am sure this isn’t what Dr Kaiser means but I have read many of his works. This is where it ends up. That you may your way back through the grid of the Christ event and you come back and you stand in the milieu where this thing has been said and try to find its total meaning there. Now what that does is it makes the Bible flat and wooden and it takes away the whole Biblical concept of progression. The Bible is not a flat book. The Bible is a ramp-like book. It starts here and it finishes up here. It doesn’t finish down. It is progressively unfolding as I will show you in a moment. When we get into our Scriptures it is progressively unfolding. So Dr Waltke in a very scholarly proper way in this article which was published about eight years ago said, “I want however to defend the Church’s traditional view”. Notice – the Church’s traditional view. The New Testament has priority. Now why did Dr Waltke call it the church’s traditional view? Because to any of us who think about post-apostolic Christianity our starting point is St Augustine. Augustine was the one who coined the couplet; “The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed”. Even in our limited material tonight we are going to talk about things in the Old and give them a meaning that we wouldn’t have arrived at if you stayed right with the text because it was concealed. It was there but it was latent and dormant and waiting for the reign of the New Covenant insight. So Dr Waltke says;
“The New Testament has priority in unpacking (that’s a theological slang word) the meaning of the Old Testament according to the Reformers the way the whole Scripture interprets parts of Scripture. If the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church fulfil the promise of the Old Testament as the New Testament affirms then these promises expressed in terms appropriate for the earthly form of God’s Kingdom in the Old dispensation find their literal form of the Kingdom in the New dispensation”.
Things that were literal in the Old – when they come through the grid of Christ – blossom out to have a much larger meaning than they have when they were birthed. For example when David as a prophet represents the Lord as saying about His royal son; “I have installed My king on Zion, My holy hill” (Psalm 2). According to the New Testament the text points to the ascension of Christ. Well you go back to Psalm 2; “I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” – if you stay in the Old Testament (and I have spent a lot of time in Psalm 2) and have read everything from extreme liberalism to agnosticism to legalistic evangelicalism. I have run the gambit in investigating Psalm 2. There are a whole bunch of scholars that want to say that what was being talked about in Psalm 2 was some Oriental kind talking about his son and He was going to set his son – all very local and historical and very mundane – located in history and finished. Well if you stay back in Psalm 2 then you probably have some grounds for that kind of thinking. But when you come into the New Testament and the New Testament says in essence; “Let me tell you what Psalm 2 meant” and you say, “I don’t want to know – I’ve been in Psalm 2 for 20 years and I have studied it backwards and forwards and I know the geography. I know the history. Don’t tell me what the New Testament says. I have been in Psalm 2”, then, oh you are forsaking your own mercy. You have to admit you don’t know what Psalm 2 is talking about. You don’t know what Father is talking to what Son. Now wake up and go to sleep right. The New Testament says that when Yahweh said, “I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” – that God the Father was saying, “I have set My Son Jesus Christ at My right hand to reign over the people and reign over the nations”. How many understand where I am going with this? Okay I will leave that – but it is a hermeneutical principle that you interpret the Old Testament from the New. It’s not all that open and shut because the question is what comes through the grid and what stays on the other side? The priesthood doesn’t come through, the animal sacrifices don’t come through, a lot of the civil laws don’t come through – so what comes through? You have to decide what comes through.
Someone says the 10 Commandments don’t come through. That’s true – they don’t come through as the 10 Commandments but nine of the ten are reiterated in the New with one notable omission. The Sabbath law doesn’t come through. Why? Because the Sabbath law was a dispensational law – don’t abandon that word completely. There are two dispensations – the Old and the New. The Sabbath was for the Old and was fulfilled in Christ because Christ finished the work of redemption and we now live in constant Sabbath. We have entered into His rest! So nine came through – you say well the 10 Commandments don’t come. No – not as a block. Nine are repeated here. Alright what is our hermeneutic? Whatever the New Testament says about the Old – that is what is valid. Now I could go on but let’s start now. That was just a gratuitous preamble. (*laughter*).
Our subject tonight is
I. “Ultimate Triumph as Prophesied in the Old Testament”.
That is Roman numeral 1. It is the only Roman numeral you will get tonight. All the rest are capitals so subtle;
God’s Original Plan.
I suppose in the last ten years I have spent more time in Genesis that I have in all the prior years of my life. Somehow I have begun to realise that God said an awful lot of things in Genesis that He didn’t intend should be changed. While they had to go through some kinds of historical changes, He has never changed His mind. I want you to listen to Genesis 1:26-28. Genesis 1:26-18 expounds or at least declares God’s original intention for His earth and that intention has not changed. The process of it has been interrupted by sin, displaced by disobedience, substituted by human expediency, played around with by humanism, all fouled up in modern scientism but at the end of the day these verses will be fulfilled. Let’s read them; “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion (rule)”. Let me say something about that. It doesn’t mean bullying the creation. That doesn’t mean God granting blind, selfish control over everything. When I hear about man taking wild animals and locking them in a compound and for ten dollars a shot some wealthy guy who haven’t got the time or the energy or the guts to go out and hunt in the wild, to then come and shoot that animal – that is not responsible dominion. You may disagree but we will probably have to face that act on the Day of Judgement as an irresponsible ward that God gave him to govern – not to abuse.
“Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the foul of the air and of the cattle and over the earth and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them”.
It wasn’t Adam and Bruce He created.
“And God blessed them and said unto them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it”.
That came out in the eighth chapter of John when Satan’s seed among the Jews came to Jesus and taunted Him. Jesus spoke sharply to them and said, “You are of your father the devil” – the serpent’s seed. But now notice now the change in the pronoun. “It” – singular. Or the American Standard Version (which is one of our most accurate versions) says “He”. It is possible to say “He” given the Hebrew noun there. “He shall bruise thy head” – that is singular. “And thou shalt bruise his head”. Genesis 3:15 becomes the beginning point for the getting back to the Genesis 1:26-28 purpose. God had started now the long historical journey where there will be enmity between the divine seed (plural and corporate) and the demonic seed (plural and corporate). That journey will only be interrupted when one called “He” – the seed singular – who Paul in Galatians underscores when he said, “It was said not the seed many but the seed as one even Christ”. He won’t fool around with enmity. He will call a crisis at a place called Calvary and He will put His heel on the head. The only way you can kill a snake is to smash its head. You can cut it in half and it won’t die. Cut it in ten pieces and it will still wriggle. You must hit the head. At Calvary Jesus Christ crushed the head is final – biting the heel is an incident. The victory is guaranteed here – it is guaranteed to be the seed of the woman. The struggle is not to be is not to be indefinite. It does end in the complete defeat of the serpent. Remember our struggle – ultimate triumph.
At the very darkest moment of human history when Adam and Eve and the serpent stand trembling in the Presence of a holy God and the earth is already starting to wilt and the trees are bowing their heads and the earth is starting the long sob of lostness – in that awful dark moment God lights a hope and says that the seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. There will be ultimate triumph! Now I hope you can hear me with your internal ear – ultimate triumph is not in the future. Ultimate triumph accomplished when Christ conquered principalities and powers and made a show of them openly triumphing in His Cross and rose from the dead and ascended into the Presence of God to take over the reigns of cosmic government. That’s where we triumphed. We are working out the triumph now! The triumph doesn’t wait for the Second Coming – we are living in the triumph – we are walking in the triumph! That is the theology of harvest. There is nothing in the Old Testament prophecies that doesn’t throb with hope and throb with the ultimate intention of triumph. So let’s hurry on. You say – you hurry. I’m trying! (*laughter*). Alright.
This is the great covenantal source. Genesis 12:1-3;
“Now the Lord said unto Abram, ‘Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto a land which I will show thee and I will make of the a great nation and I will bless thee and make thy name great and I shall be a blessing and I will bless them that bless thee and I shall curse them that curse thee and in thee all the …”. Jews shall be blessed? All the rich shall be blessed? All the poor shall be blessed?
No. No categories. “All the families of the earth”. Let’s say it together! Notice how God categorises the human population. Into families. Why? The essential unit of social structure is the family and we have heard that and therefore understand why there is such an onslaught in biblical relationships between male and females and the structure of biblical families. Satan knows that if he can strike the family then he can strike the fundamental unit of God’s social intention. What does God say to Abraham? “All the families of the earth will be blessed”. God is a word Person – He is not an ethic Person. He is not a God of the blacks or a God of the whites or a God of this or that. He is a God of the whole earth. Abraham says, “Will not the Judge of the earth do right?”.
Moses and Israel.
Exodus 19:3-5; “And Moses went up to God”. Now this Scripture is the great foundation stone of Israelite ethnic significance. But the Jews misread it. Listen to what it says.
“And Moses went up to God and the Lord called out to him out of the mountain saying, ‘Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob and tell the children of Israel saying I have seen what I did unto the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagles wings and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore if you will obey My voice indeed and keep My covenant then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people for all the earth is Mine”.
Now what is God saying? God said, I don’t want you to misunderstand what I am saying to you, you are going to be special. But you are going to be My missionaries because all the earth is Mine and I am giving you this place in the nations and I will give you the oracles of God and I will give you the priesthood and I will give you a special revelation not for you to hog but to export. What did Israel do almost from the beginning? “Jehovah belongs to us. The Gentiles are dogs – have nothing to do with Gentiles. He is our God. Canaan is our land. It’s ours”. We do it in the church. God never called you and me into redemption to be introverts. He called us to be His messengers. I tell you one thing the Southern Baptists have over a lot of us – every new convert from the moment he comes in understands that he must take what he’s just got to someone else and he must tell them the same thing. It goes on and on and it’s a principle in God that we have frustrated. We have to bring our sinners to church to get them saved. Sinners don’t go to church – very few of them. God didn’t say “I want sinners to come to church”. He said to us, “Go out into the world and get them”. We say, “Lord we will pray for 3 weeks for sinners to come in”. He says, “You can pray until your ears fall off – I told you to go. You are not going to reverse My verdict by your prayers. Now you go out and get them!”. That is what we were singing about tonight. Go get them!
I don’t want to go get them – I will pray or I will give. No – you go! Where do I go? Well go where they are! Paul got edgy down in Athens because he was alone and didn’t have his friends with him and he went around kicking idols and didn’t know what to do so he thought I will go down to the marketplace. So he went down to the Greek marketplace looking to get a word in somewhere. Now people went to the market to buy meat and vegetables but it was also the meeting place of the common people – they went there to talk. So they would buy their groceries and join a group and fuss away. The philosophy of the Greeks was divided into two major philosophies; Epicureans and Stoics. So Paul was wandering around in the market and said, “Well I will go and join these fellows”. They are talking about the Epicureans and the Stoics and someone said, “Mister, do you have any comment on this?”. So Paul said, “Yes let me tell you about my philosophy” and started to tell them about Jesus. They said, “This guy is cracked! What new thing is this? Let’s take him up to Mars Hill where our big philosophers are always in dialogue”. So they dragged Paul up to Mars Hill and he stood among the philosophers and preached one of the greatest sermons of his life – whatever some people say. Acts 17 is one of the most neglected passages in the New Testament and yet it spells out the divine philosophy of history. Where did it all start? Down in the vegetables. (*laughter*).
“Why do the heathen rage” (Psalm 2) “And the people imagine a vain thing? Kings of the earth take counsel against the Lord and His anointed saying, ‘Let us break their bones asunder and cast away their cords from us’. He that sitteth in heaven shall laugh and then shall He speak to them in His wrath and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion!”.
Now this is a marvellous Scripture – I haven’t got time to go into it – but this is a marvellous Scripture. Do you know what we are permitted to do? We are permitted to sit in on a conversation with the Trinity. We are allowed to sit in on something the Father said, and the Son is telling us what the Father said. The Son says, “I will declare the decree. The Lord said unto Me …”. Now in your Bible if it is correctly capitalised, whenever ‘Lord’ is spelt with capital letters that is Jehovah. Whenever it is spelt with small letters that is Messiah and you must remember that.
“I will declare the decree – the Lord Jehovah said unto Me, ‘Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee – ask of Me (Jehovah) and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession”.
Is that ultimate triumph? Do you think Jesus asked? He not only asked – He got! Listen to the response of the Father to His asking. Matthew 28:18; “All authority is given to Me in heaven and on earth”. Someone said, Jesus is up in heaven. What’s He doing in heaven? He is reigning over the earth! Someone might say that He can’t reign until He sits in Jerusalem over there with all the trouble. I don’t think He can reign better in that Jerusalem than He can in the eternal Jerusalem! All depends where your Jerusalem’s are. The Jerusalem down here is in bondage with all the children but the Jerusalem which is above which is the Mother is always free.
Psalm 22:27-28; “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord”. Let’s say, ‘All the ends of the earth’. “And all the kingdoms of the earth shall worship before Thee for the kingdom is the Lord’s and He is the Governor among the nations”. Let’s say He is the Governor among the nations. That makes Him Boss doesn’t it? Someone says, oh won’t it be wonderful when Jesus Christ comes back and reigns? Well what’s He doing now? Someone may suggest that He is sitting in a vestibule waiting to be crowned. You are crazier than a coot! You haven’t read your Bible! We see Jesus crowned with glory and honour! Hallelujah! Psalm 45:4-5, 17. Oh this is beautiful. It is repeated in Hebrews 1:8 and therefore underscores the hermeneutic principle I gave you in the beginning. “Thy throne oh God is forever and ever”. Let’s say it together! For how long? For ever and ever! So He is reigning now!
“The sceptre of Thy Kingdom is a right sceptre – Thou lovest righteousness and hated wickedness therefore God thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows”. Listen now. “I will make Thy name to be remembered in all generations therefore shall the people praise Thee forever and ever”.
All generations. Let’s say all generations. The people call this a post-Christian era right now. There may be a bit of a lull but there is no post-Christian era. There is a lot of good things going on right now but we always want to look at the negative. The only place that there isn’t much going on right now is America! God has got everything in charge. America got all excited when communism fell. Who will get excited when America can’t pay its deficit? I recently got a new book by Moises Silva – a very brilliant professor at Philadelphia/Westminster seminary. He is a linguist and deals in languages. It is a wonderful book but I was reading it and I came to this chapter where he started out with a scenario. The year is 2750 A.D. The leading world power that is in Africa has just made a decision about languages (and of course Great Britain and America no longer exist). I thought to myself, “My God, I never thought of that”. Then I thought that I should think about it because as a boy in Canada I went to school every morning and up on the front wall was a map and the bulk of it was in red – the British Empire ruled. We sang songs like “The sun never sets on the British Empire” and “Britannia rules the waves”. Those were the days when they could send a gunboat up the river into China and get a British citizen who was held, wrap him in a Union Jack and ride him back down the river. No one could withstand the powerful fist of the British Empire. Now what is the British Empire? A whimper at best. Britannia rules the waves? Britannia scarcely rules the English Channel!
I can still hear Winston Churchill growling; “I am not about to sit by and watch the dispossession of the British Empire in my day” – but he did! (*laughter*). Do you know how young you are in world influence? Post-World War 2 and we can no longer wrap Union Jacks around ourselves and say that we are here forever. Hey we have scarcely arrived and we may be leaving soon! (*laughter*). You say I don’t like you talking like that. I’m sorry about that. I have got my airplane out of here. Let’s not feel obliged to export our culture. Let’s preach the Gospel and produce Kingdom culture! Psalm 72:8-11;
“He shall have dominion also from sea to sea”. Say it! From sea to sea. “And from the river to the ends of the earth”.
Is that ultimate triumph? It may not happen till 2750 A.D. I can wait. (*laughter*). You know there is something inherently proud and boastful about every generation that thinks itself is the end-time generation. Who do you think you are? I get so fed when people talk about the end-times. I think it’s a gimmick! The whole age is the end times! God now at the end of the age – this whole age is the end times! It’s all the last days! We’re in the last days, the best days, the great days, and the messianic days – days when He is going to rule from sea to sea! Jesus shall reign where’er the sun doth its successive journeys run. We don’t sing kinds of hymns anymore. We sing snappy little ones like; “God get me out – oh God get me out!”. (*laughter*). Let’s drop down quickly to (v11). Psalm 72. “All kings shall fall down before Him – all nations shall serve Him”. Does that sound like ultimate triumph? You bet it does. Alright quickly – Psalm 89:3-4;
“I have made a covenant with My chosen – I have sworn unto David My servant. Thy seed will I establish forever and build up Thy throne to all generations”.
How many? All generations. You say, “We are the generation!”. Really?
I remember I was speaking in Michigan when I was travelling with William Branham and I had the afternoon meeting and it was packed in a beautiful auditorium with a great centre aisle. I was just finishing my teaching and suddenly there appeared coming through the door with several thousand people watching – about 12 people all garbed in white robes. As I finished my message, they came sweeping down the centre aisle and approached me. One woman with some teeth missing and in terrible need of some Listerine said, “We are the glorified sons of God”. (*laughter*). I will never forget my answer. “Oh” I said, “I had expected so much more”. When I hear people talking about this being the end time generation I just think of the woman with teeth missing and in need of Listerine and keep thinking, “I expected so much more”. I am being mischievous tonight. (*laughter*).
Psalm 110:1-2 – oh boy I could get bogged down here. This is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament. “The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Thy enemies a footstool for Thy feet”. Is that ultimate triumph? You say why are you doing this? Because if you don’t live and breathe and move in ultimate triumph, then you are in danger of dying in despair because all kinds of it is being sold in Christianity today. I won’t buy it! I must get away from Psalm 110. (v2); “The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion and rule thou in the midst of thine enemies”. Whose ruling? Come on – whose ruling? Christ is ruling!
Frank dealt with this last night. Isaiah 2:2-4;
“And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established at the top of the mountain and it shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it”.
Say it! All nations shall flow unto it. Someone says well that hasn’t happened yet. There is a little phrase that you need to be aware of that the prophets keep using and they say “In that day”. How long is a day? This day has already lasted 2, 000 years! Paul christened this day in his Corinthian epistle and said, “Now is the day of salvation. Now is the hour of the accepted time”. What is this day? The day of salvation. Now what does a day have? It has a morning, an afternoon and an evening. Benjamin Warfield, the great Princetonian theologian said, “We may yet be in the infancy of this age”. It could be instead of 11:59pm as prophecy mongers suggest so you get frightened, it could be actually 9:00am!
Now the heavens must retain Him until the time of the restoration of all things spoken of by the prophets. The prophets have said a lot of things that haven’t come to pass in that day! But if it is 9:00am then who says it can’t happen at noon? Or at 3pm? You say, well what am I going to do if this isn’t the end times? You do what David did if you have got any brains – you save your generation and then fall asleep. I had hoped to get out of it, you might moan. Well you will get out of it but in a different way to that you had planned. (*laughter*). Isaiah 9:6-7. I am going to wind this down. I am not finished with it but I never will be. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given and the government will be upon His shoulder”. There is a delightful play on words here. The government shall be upon His shoulder. Do you know that Jesus Christ governs the universe with one shoulder? That’s all the nations get. “And when He has found it (the lost sheep) He puts it upon His shoulders”. I am much more important to the Great Cosmic Shepherd than the nations. A shoulder for them – both for me. Someone said, who do you think you are? It’s just what I am saying. No more – no less. I require two shoulders!
“The government shall be upon His shoulder and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace and His government shall be in great trouble and start to decrease and humanism shall drive it out of existence” … Oh I am sorry. (*laughter*). Wrong translation! “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end”. There shall be no end!
Isaiah 11:6, 9-10; “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid”. That’s the way with the Garden of Eden. “The calf and the young lion. They shall not destroy each other for the earth (not heaven) shall full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand as an end sign for the people to which the Gentiles seek and His rest shall be glorious”.
Ultimate Triumph. Let me give you some Scriptures and then I must stop. Isaiah 42:1-4, Isaiah 49:5-6, Isaiah 52:13-14. Oh I would like to take a few moments on Ezekiel 47. I want you to notice two things here – firstly that there is movement. I will be dealing with this tomorrow with the principle of gradualism. But Ezekiel is a tremendous book – it is highly symbolical. It is a big book and it is the symbolical representation of the ideal government of God. Notice “afterward he brought me again to the door of the house and behold waters issued”. There is nothing turgid or stagnant about God in history. God never becomes a place for producing mosquitoes. If you get in the flow of the issue of the water of God through history you will never grow barnacles on your bottom! A ship metaphor there. Waters issued! They are coming out from under the threshold of the house for the forefront of the house which stood towards the east and the waters came down. They issued and they came down. “They came down from the altar”. What altar? The altar of Christ’s cross and redemptive act. All these life giving waters are flowing from His life giving work 2000 years ago and they are issued and they are coming down. Watch these action words! “Behold they ran out waters on the right side … issued … came down … ran out”.
“Behold the waters were to my ankles … to my knees”. What is happening? The waters are getting deeper! “… to the loins … a river that I could not pass over for the waters were risen”. Issued – came down – poured forth – a river that could not be passed over and on and on. “Many trees” which equal fruitfulness. “Down into the desert and behold the waters shall be healed”. What waters? The Dead Sea – salt seas. This water comes down into the depths of our lost ness and suddenly it comes alive. Oh it is a tremendous story. (v9); “There shall be a great multitude of fish; everything shall live whither the river cometh”. What have we got here? The river starts and it is to the ankles. Then the knees. Then the loins. Then its waters to swim in. This is the progression since Christ’s redemptive act in history and before it is over, the whole earth will be redemptive waters to swim in. You say I like my pessimistic view better. Well go live with it then. I like the Bible view! Ultimate Triumph! Jesus shall reign where’er the sun doth its successive journeys run!
Let me make one quick exegetical comment and I will let you go. How many of us have quoted John 7:37-39, “In the last days … out of his belly will flow rivers of living water”. We always thought that if I drink out of Him, then out of me will flow rivers of living water. Let me suggest that it is possible with good scholarly exegetical work to read it another way. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me thirsting and who believes in Me as the Scriptures say shall flow rivers of living water”. Now the one from whom water flows is not the one who receives but the One who is the source. Jesus Christ is saying I am the source – out of Me will flow rivers of living water. The minute you see that you think of Ezekiel’s river. What’s flowing out of it? Water destined to fill the earth. I believe in ultimate triumph. Live in it! Never buy despair again!