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    The Desire of Jesus Gratified

    In the desire which Jesus expressed to His Father in the prayer just before the crucifixion, He gave a most winning interpretation to the divine goal of the gospel: “Father, I desire that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me.” John 17:24. It may seem a strange idea to some, but we must recognize that the heart of God longs for fellowship with the heart of man. Love cannot abide alone. Love must have some object. Love seeks for a response from the object of love. The God of love created man for His glory by bestowing upon him a heart tuned in love to respond to infinite love, thus forming a basis for mutual fellowship between a holy God and man made in His image. Such was the fellowship mutually enjoyed before man, by his own inexcusable act, cut the cord of love, and opened the channel of envy and hatred. Thus did man become the ally of Satan in his effort to overthrow the kingdom of love.SOTW 111.1

    But infinite love could not be quenched even by the overt act of rebellion against it. The act was beyond measure hateful to God, but the doer of the act was still loved. And so the provision which originated in the heart of love “before times eternal” (2 Timothy 1:9) became operative in the gospel of the grace of God; “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” John 3:16. The Father sent the Son, and the Son came voluntarily, in order to restore the reign of love, and thus to renew that communion which had been interrupted by a deliberate separation from God. The good news is that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. But how much was involved in this divine act!SOTW 112.1

    The specific goal of the covenant of grace was that God might come into the possession of man in his inmost being, and that man might come into possession of God in reality.SOTW 112.2

    “The great lack of our religion is-we need more of God. We accept salvation as His gift, and we do not know that the only object of salvation, its chief blessing, is to fit us for, and bring us back to, that close intercourse with God for which we were created, and in which our glory in eternity will be found.... And that only is a true and good religious life, which brings us every day nearer to this God, which makes us give up everything to have more of Him. No obedience can be too strict, no dependence too absolute, no submission too complete, no confidence too implicit, to. a soul that is learning to count God Himself its chief good, its exceeding joy.”SOTW 112.3

    This is Christianity indeed.SOTW 112.4

    The gospel of the deliverance front the power of sin and of the goal of the covenant of salvation is forcibly set for thin the promises of God relating to the rescue of the children of Israel from their life of bondage in Egypt. Read thoughtfully this message to Moses:SOTW 112.5

    “I have remembered My covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an out stretched arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God; ... I am Jehovah.” Exodus 6:7.SOTW 112.6

    Here we find the keynote which sounds throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. The sum of all Christian experience is found in these words of Moses to the children of Israel:SOTW 113.1

    “Thou hast avouched Jehovah this day to be thy God, and that thou wouldst walk in His ways, and keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and hearken unto His voice: and Jehovah hath avouched thee this day to be a people for His own possession, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldst keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations that He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be a holy people unto Jehovah thy God, as He hath spoken. “Deuteronomy 26:17-19.SOTW 113.2

    God the possession of His people, and the people the possession of God, perfect obedience to all the commandments of God as the basis for mutual intercourse between God and His people, and a life of holiness unto God in complete separation from the world,-this is the meaning of the gospel. “My people” and “your God” (Isaiah 40:1) are the constant reminders of the covenant of mercy, and the pledge of ultimate salvation. God will not forget “His people.” Romans 11:2. But the full realization of this blessed mutual fellowship between God and His people is necessarily deferred until the last barrier that separates is removed, and God and His people meet in the New Jerusalem. Of this we read:SOTW 113.3

    “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more.... And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3. This is the goal of the gospel.SOTW 113.4

    I have now to show that this desire of Jesus that those who were given to Him should be with Him and behold His Blank Page glory and share in it, can be satisfied only through His completed work of grace. He took the flesh, that as the God-man “He should taste of death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9. He died for our sins. 1 Corinthians 15:3. He was raised for our justification. Romans 4:25. He ascended to heaven and took His place on the throne of grace, that as our priest He might present His atoning sacrifice as the just basis for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 8:1, 2. But all this might have been done without attaining to the real goal of the gospel-that face-to-face intercourse which will be the exalted privilege of those who are with Him where He is. How is this to be realized? Let Him tell us.SOTW 113.5

    On the night before His crucifixion, when He had reached the last stage of His suffering obedience, He made a promise to His disciples which assures the last act in the drama of redemption; “Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3.SOTW 115.1

    Many and precious are the blessings which are granted to us while we are here on our journey heavenward,-the forgiveness of our sins, the gift of righteousness, the peace which passeth all understanding, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,-but there is yet much more for us. The demonstrated triumph over death in that day when “all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth” (John 5:28, 29), and the being caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and the ever being with the Lord, are yet future; and I now place special emphasis upon the fact that these crowning blessings can be realized only by the personal return of our Lord to the same world which He visited more than nineteen hundred years ago, when He took our flesh.SOTW 115.2

    I do not overlook the claim made by many that at death the soul of the believer is ushered at once into the immediate presence of the Saviour, but I rely upon the words of inspiration:SOTW 115.3

    “This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.SOTW 116.1

    The full significance of the little word “so” in the next to the last sentence should not be overlooked. The apostle Paul is speaking of the last things, the resurrection of the righteous dead and the translation of the righteous living, and he enters into quite definite particulars. Those believers who are living at the time of the second advent will have no advantage over those who have died in the faith, for those who have fallen asleep will first be raised, then the living will be changed, and all will go together to meet the Lord, and so, in this way and in no other way, will they ever be with the Lord. Here is the Scriptural basis for comfort for the sorrowing, and not the unscriptural claim that our departed friends are now in heaven with Jesus. We must abide by the word of the Lord.SOTW 116.2

    In view of the fact that the desire of Jesus to have His followers with Him can be fulfilled only by His returning for them, and that this is the consummation of His work in dealing with sin at the cost of His life, it is only to be expected that much prominence should be given to the second advent.SOTW 117.1

    “Bickersteth affirms, after careful examination, that one verse in thirty of the New Testament relates to the second coming of Christ. If to these are added the numerous references in the Old Testament to the same momentous event, surpassing the allusions that are made to His first coming in the proportion of at least twenty to one, some conception may be formed of the prominence given in the word of God to the doctrine here advocated.”SOTW 117.2

    Christianity is preeminently a religion of hope, the hope of the coming of Jesus to take His people to be with Himself. And so we read: “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4.SOTW 117.3

    “What St. Paul affirms of the Old Testament Scriptures generally is, that directly or indirectly they are all prophetic, all looked forward to and prepared for Christ. Similarly, all believers now look forward. St. Paul’s words are applicable to the Christian Scriptures quite as thoroughly as to the Jewish; for they also are for our learning, that we by the exercise of that patience, necessarily implied in the fact that we have not as yet the full possession of the promise, and by the comfort given us by the strong conviction of our faith that Christ will come again, may have hope-the hope-that as Christ has come once to open the way of salvation for man, so He will come again to perfect His work.”SOTW 117.4

    And this perfection of His work will result in the gratification of His expressed desire that those who believe on Him should be with Him.SOTW 117.5

    If the whole Old Testament, rightly interpreted, forms one unbroken Messianic prophecy, what shall we say of the New Testament, in which one verse in every thirty directly refers to the return of Jesus? Surely we cannot waive all this teaching aside on the authority of a merely human philosophy. Those who really accept Jesus as their Lord must give due weight to His own utterances concerning His way of saving the subjects of His grace. Let us listen to some of this instruction with reference to His coming again:SOTW 117.6

    “Be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44. “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory.” Matthew 25:31. “Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 26:64.SOTW 118.1

    “Watch therefore: for ye know not when the Lord of the house cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13:35-37. “Take heed to yourselves, lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you suddenly as a snare: for so shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of all the earth. But watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:34-36.SOTW 118.2

    These few utterances show how much His return to take His followers to Himself occupied the thought of Jesus. Should we, who are the objects of His love and His desire, think any the less of it than He did? Surely not.SOTW 118.3

    “In earth’s dark hour God’s word gives light,
    Its rays dispel the thickening gloom;
    The path to glory now is bright-
    The Bridegroom soon will come.
    Then lift your voices, saints, and sing
    Your sweetest strains to Zion’s King-
    The thrilling cry, we hear it sound,
    ‘Prepare to meet your Lord.’”
    SOTW 118.4

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