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Christ Company’s Figurative Beheading
“And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God... And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Rev. 20:4
The Pastor referred to Revelation as a beautiful symbolic book picturing very much truth. He said that the chapter from which his text was taken contained in itself several pictures in a few words covering the entire Millennial Age. Satan’s binding at the beginning of the age is first shown; then the judgment of those who are sitting upon the thrones of earth, which judgment has now begun; then the exaltation of the governments of the world, while capable perhaps of giving some blessing, are not satisfactory and must soon give place to the new Government under God’s dear Son, which will bring blessing to all the families of the earth.
A brief mention is made respecting what shall occur at the close of the thousand years of Christ’s Reign. After men have been made perfect, they must be tested, while Satan shall be “loosed for a little season,” prior to his destruction. Then going back to the beginning of the Millennium, the Revelator depicts the Great White Throne, before which all the world, the living and the dead, are to be brought for judgment, for trial, during that thousand years. They shall receive the wonderful opportunities of the glorious kingdom of Christ.
HOW THESE SOULS ARE “BEHEADED”
But the Pastor’s subject related to a part of Verse 4. He declared that here, as elsewhere in Scripture, the word soul signifies person. Through erroneous doctrines this word has come to have attached to it a wrong meaning, as being something that people POSSESS rather than something that they ARE. St. John the Revelator was given a vision of the persons who would be beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God. He was given a foreview of what would be beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God. He was given a foreview of what would be their portion--first of suffering, then of glory and reward. Their reward would be to live and reign with Christ. These are a special class, who had been beheaded for a certain reason. The word “beheaded” here is symbolic. All the true Church were to be beheaded. We know that Christ and the majority of the Apostles were not literally beheaded. And but few of Jesus’ followers have been beheaded literally.
The Bible shows, said the speaker, that God has appointed that those who come into Christ shall renounce their own headship, their own will, and receive instead the will of Him whom God has chosen to be their Head Jesus Christ. They are to be members of Christ’s Body. “God hath given Him (Christ) to be the Head over the Church which is His Body.” (Col. 1:18:Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 1:27) Jesus is the great Mediator of the world. During this Gospel Age, God has been preparing a Church class, who are to be the members of the Body of this Mediator and to be associated with Him in His great future work for mankind. The first members of this Body were the Apostles. These freely gave up their lives in the Cause of Christ. They gave up their wills, submitting themselves to the will of God they were beheaded.
Down through this present Age members have been added to Christ, first from the Jews, then from the Gentiles from every nation, kindred and tongue. The only way that any one can become a member of this anointed body of Christ is to present himself a sacrifice to God, first trusting in the sacrificial merit of Jesus. He is our great Substitute, who has redeemed us from the death penalty resting upon Adam’s race. Accepting Him thus, and presenting ourselves to God through Christ, His merit is imputed to us and we are accepted as joint-sacrificers with Jesus, who then becomes our Head. We are thus beheaded. Our own will is dead. So all during this Age there has been a little company of people who have taken a course different from that of the remainder of the world, different from that of the apostate systems. These become sons of God. They are dead with Jesus as human beings, and are begotten to a new, a spiritual nature. Col. 3:3
WHAT THIS BEHEADING SIGNIFIES
The Pastor emphasized the importance that all those who make a consecration of themselves to God understand clearly that they are thus renouncing all the hopes and ambitions of the world, for the far grander and Heavenly hopes now held out to those who become disciples of Christ, who deny themselves to take up their cross and follow Him. The question for each one who has made this choice is, Am I faithfully following in the footsteps of Jesus? Jesus gave up His will wholly to the Father. He said, “I Came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” We are to follow His example, to walk in His steps. We are to lay down our lives for the brethren, as He laid down His life.
The losing of our heads, our wills, does not mean that we actually have no will, but that our wills are fully submitted to God’s will. Whatever we see to be contrary to His will for us is to be wholly relinquished. We may be sure, said the Pastor, that our Savior when on earth, being a perfect man, had a will, a strong will, but that will was entirely submitted to the will of His Heavenly Father. “Not My will, but Thine, be done,” was His expression. “The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I not drink it?” He said.
Because our Lord Jesus fully gave up His will to God and was obedient even unto the ignominious death of the cross, the Father highly exalted Him, giving Him a name “far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named.” (Eph. 1:20,23) And we, His church, if faithful to our Heavenly Calling are to be exalted with Him, and under Him as our Head. The Bible presents a beautiful picture: God, the Father of all; our Lord Jesus Christ next to the Father; the Church; the Body, or Bride, of Christ, next; then the lower spiritual orders of being; lastly, will be the restored world, when God’s great Plan is complete. How wonderful it seems! said the Pastor. How much more wonderful than anything we could possibly have conceived of ourselves! What a great and good God we have!
GOD’S CHARACTER LONG TRADUCED, NOW UNDERSTOOD
The speaker then dwelt upon the great misconceptions of God’s character which have for so many centuries beclouded men’s minds. Those nations calling themselves Christian have made God out as worse even than heathen nations represent their gods. While we declared, “God is Love,” we pictured Him in our creeds as the veriest Demon taking pleasure in carrying out a Program which would mean an eternity of torture to thousands of millions of our race. But while we were long blinded by the Adversary to thus think of our gracious God, we have great cause for thankfulness that through Divine blessing our eyes are now opening more and more widely, and we can see something of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of God’s LOVE.
When we see how the Father has exalted our Savior for His faithfulness, we who are following in Jesus’ footsteps have sure grounds for faith that God will also exalt us with Him. Otherwise we might be inclined to say, “Oh, it is too wonderful! The thought that we have been invited to be sons of God and to share the Divine nature with Jesus seems too marvelous for belief.” But when we see how the Father fulfilled His promises to our Lord and Head, and realize that we have been called to share His glory and Throne as His Bride, surely we can believe. Jesus verifies the Father’s promise to us, saying, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His Throne.” Rev. 3:21
DOOR TO HIGH CALLING STILL OPEN
The Pastor stated that he believes there is still opportunity for some to gain this “High Calling.” He believes the “door” to this great favor is not yet closed. There is a little time remaining. If any could gain the whole world and yet lose this great prize, they would be losing much oh, so much! Nothing that earth can offer can compare with it. All the wealth of a multi-millionaire would be as nothing. Many millionaires have great trouble and sorrow.
When we give up our wills to the Lord this is not all. We are then to take up our cross and follow Jesus. We are to carry out our consecration vows. Our time, our influence, our money, our property, our ALL, now belong to God.
The Lord does not mislead us into thinking that fulfilling our consecration is something easy. It does not mean merely going to Church. It means living as Christ lived. It means walking the way of the cross even unto death. The world will consider such a course very foolish. They will say “Don’t do it! Have some pleasure in Life. Don’t give up your will to anybody!” This would be sound advice if our will were to be given up to any other than God Himself. The Adversary would like to make us think that giving our will to God is a most foolish thing, and then he will endeavor to entrap us so that we are completely in bondage to his will, which is a wholly evil will.
CONTRAST OF SATAN’S SNARES AND GOD’S GUIDANCE
Satan also seeks to ensnare and destroy the individual will through Hypnotism, Mesmerism, etc. It is a dangerous thing.Were it not that God has implanted a strong will in mankind, we cannot doubt that Satan and his evil angels would long ago have led the entire world into complete captivity to sin. He puts light for darkness and darkness for light. We are to be on guard against the machinations of these evil spirits through Spiritism. All these are methods by which the Adversary seeks to seize and capture the will. When our will is given to the Lord, however, it means the turning of it in a direction that will bring our own highest blessing and welfare. Our will is not captured, but guided and strengthened in the right way. We have found by experience how unsatisfactory has been the result of trying to guide ourselves, of following our own will, without the leading of the Lord. Our very best endeavors, unaided by Divine Grace, are very defective and the results disappointing. How glad we are, then, to have the Lord take charge of us and guide our wills and our efforts! We know that thus we are safe.
If any one, said the speaker, is afraid to trust the Lord for fear that He will require something that would be harmful, he had better hold on to himself until he comes to see how fully he can trust the Almighty God with safety. If He were the God we once supposed Him to be, we might well be afraid to place ourselves in His hands. But since we have learned of His love for us, of His wonderful provision for us notwithstanding our fallen condition, of His provision of Restitution for the world, and of the High Calling for the Church, we can well exclaim: “Oh, this is the very personification of Justice and Love!” We rejoice in this great, loving God, and are so glad to give ourselves to Him and call Him our Father.
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