Even So Amen
March 19th, 1961 @ 10:50 AM
EVEN SO, AMEN
Dr. W. A. Criswell
3-19-61 10:50 a.m.
On the radio you are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled Even So, Amen. You who are in this holy place are aware that the table is set and prepared for the memorial of the Lord’s Supper. This is our church covenant day, the announced beginning of our revival services. Now we have two services when we have the Lord’s Table; this service is one of preaching and worship and evangelism, and don’t anybody leave until the service is over. Then at the end of this hour of preaching and appeal, you will have opportunity to be dismissed if you do not wish to stay for the second service. There are two distinct services. This one is the hour of the exposition of the Word of God, and the next service will be the period of meditation and consecration in the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup.
Now the service this morning, the text and the sermon is the answer of the apostle John to the glorious and incomparable announcement of the coming of our Lord. In the first chapter of the Revelation, John had greeted the seven churches of Asia from the Father, “Him who is, and was, and is to come; and from the Holy Spirit of God which is before the throne; and from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead and the Prince of the kings of the earth” [Revelation 1:4-5]. Then this glorious ascription of praise: when he mentions the name of Jesus, his heart abounds in adoration and worship, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood; and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” [Revelation 1:5-6].
Then follows the text, the theme of the Apocalypse, this incomparably glorious announcement, “Behold, [idou], behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him” [Revelation 1:7]. And then the text of the morning, the answering cry of the heart of the sainted apostle: “Even so, Amen”; nai, amēn [Revelation 1:7].
That same heartfelt expectancy, that glorious acquiescence is found in the concluding chapter of the Revelation when the apostle said the same two words again: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen” [Revelation 22:20]. Even so. The early apostles and those first primitive Christians lived in the daily expectation and hope of the appearing of our Lord. When they saw one another, when they greeted one another, when they bid farewell to one another, they would use the word maranatha, if they were Aramaic–“Till He come, the Lord is coming.” Maranatha. Or, if they were Greek, they would say achri hou elthe: “Till He come—till He come” [1 Corinthians 16:22]. “Now, even so, amen. Amen” [Revelation 1:7].
Who is it that is coming, and whom are we to expect? Who is this “Him?” When in the ascription of praise, the apostle John says, “Unto Him who loved us [Revelation 1:5] . . . To Him be glory and dominion” [Revelation 1:6]. Who is this “He” in the great announcement: “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him” [Revelation 1:7]? Whom are we to expect? Who is this “I” in the closing of the Apocalypse: “Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so. . .” [Revelation 22:20]?
The identification of this One who is coming is sure and certain: “From Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness [Revelation 1:5], unto Him… . Behold, He cometh” [Revelation 1:7]. And then he identifies the One who has spoken unto him in this first chapter, the One who says:
I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Write what thou seest in a book. Send it to the seven churches of Asia. . . . And I turned to see the voice which spake unto me. And being turned, I saw the Son of Man—Jesus Christ.
That Somebody, that Someone, that Some-Person whom we are looking for, descending in clouds of glory and power, is none other than the Christ-Man, the Lord Jesus. We are looking for Him: “. . . this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go. . . .” [Acts 1:11].
We are looking for, we are expecting the Lord Jesus, the One with the stigmata, the nail prints in His hands and feet [Luke 24:39-40; John 20:24-27] and the scar of the spear thrust in His side [John 19:34]. We are looking for the Man, Christ Jesus. We are looking for our Savior, whom death could not kill, and the grave could not hold, and the sepulcher could not keep [Matthew 27:45-28:7].
We are looking for the Lord Jesus, who sat wearied on the well in Sychar of Samaria [John 4:6]. We are looking for the same Lord Jesus, who taught by the blue waters of Galilee, who climbed the steep hills of Judea [Luke 7:17]. We’re looking for the same Lord Jesus, who took into His arms little children and blessed them [Mark 10:13-16], who spoke words of comfort to His disciples [John 14:1-14], who bare our sicknesses and carried our illnesses [Matthew 8:17].
We are looking for the Man, Christ Jesus, the same Lord and the same Savior, that blessed face, that holy voice, that heavenly emissary, that Savior who opened for us the gates of glory [Psalm 24:7]. We are looking for Him: the Man, Christ Jesus.
We are looking for Him in the flesh, the same Lord. God the Father has no body. He has no bones and no flesh. God is spirit [John 4:24]. The Holy Spirit has no body. He is spirit. But Jesus is not a spirit. Jesus has flesh and bones such as you have:
And when they saw Him, they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
And Jesus said, Why are you troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, such as ye see Me have.
And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet.
And while they yet believed not for joy . . . He said, Have ye here any meat?
And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
And He did eat before them.
Flesh and bones–immortalized, glorified, resurrected! [Luke 24:1-8]. The same marvelous inexplicable miracle that happens when we eat. And by the inexplicable mysterious process of God, the alchemy of heaven, these things on the table are translated, transmuted, sublimated, quickened into lives, into you. Then there is one other, a higher step. It is immortalized, and quickened, glorified, transfigured into the heavenly, spiritual image of God. One miracle is just as inexplicable as another. You can as well explain one of them to me as you can the other.
But this is the same Lord Jesus, raised from the dead. And we are looking for and expecting that same Christ-Man in the flesh, descending on clouds of glory from heaven [Revelation 1:7]. Jesus is in heaven [Acts 1:9-10; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 12:2]. His Spirit is in our hearts [1 Corinthians 6:19-20], but our Lord is in heaven, and He looks down upon His children. He bows His ear low to hear us when we pray. He encourages us by making the way before us, and He sends the power and presence of His Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our services.
We are looking for the Lord Jesus from heaven [Philippians 3:20]. Stephen saw Him, when they stoned him to death. Before he was ground and crushed into the dust of the earth [Acts 7:59], he lifted up his eyes and saw the Lord Jesus [Acts 7:55]. Paul met Him on the road to Damascus: the Man Christ Jesus. “Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord replied, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. I am Jesus of Nazareth” [Acts 22:6-8], the same Lord Jesus. John saw Him on the isle of Patmos: “And I turned to see the voice that spake unto me. And being turned, I saw the Son of Man” [Revelation 1:12-13], the Son of Man, the same Christ Jesus.
And I have talked to saints who have seen Him since. Sometimes, when they babble of the green pastures and the still waters and they speak of angelic music and heavenly choirs, and sometimes they will say, “And I behold His glorious face; and I see the Lord.” Isn’t it Jesus we want to see? Not enough to have a letter from Him. Not enough to have the third Person of the Trinity in our hearts and in our services. “We would see Jesus” [John 12:21], cried the Greeks at the great feast, and the cry of the Greeks is the cry of God’s people today. “Sir, we would see Jesus.” And it is Jesus someday that we shall see. “Even so, Amen” [Revelation 1:7].
A long time ago, I heard a man tell a story. I can’t repeat it. He told it with a brogue as though a foreigner was speaking. But the story went like this: this man, an immigrant, unlettered and unlearned, this immigrant was converted. And he was so happy in his conversion. And his heart so swelled with joy and gladness that he said, as he stood to testify and speak for the Lord, “Some day, in heaven I want to see my Savior first of all. I want to see Him first of all.” Then the story went on, and his father and his mother died. And they asked him, “Is it still Jesus first?” And the immigrant replied, “When I get to heaven, I still would see Jesus, first of all.” Then the story went on, and other members of his family died; a child died, and a son died, and his wife died, and finally the old immigrant in his age was left alone. And they asked him then, in the twilight and the sunset of life, if it were Jesus still first of all? And at the end of the way, after all of his friends and all of his family had gone on before, the convert still replied, “I want to see Jesus first of all.”
I don’t know whether that was the basis of a beautiful hymn, but I wish we’d sing it and we don’t. It’s by blind Fanny Crosby. It’s in our hymnbook, and it is entitled, “My Savior, First of All.” It’s a beautiful hymn:
When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
Oh, the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come,
And our parting at the river I recall;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home;
But I long to see my Savior first of all.
Thro’ the gates of the city in a robe of spotless white,
He will lead me where no tears will ever fall;
In the glad song of ages, I shall mingle with delight;
But I long to see my Savior first of all.
Shall we see Him? Could it be really true: the same Lord Jesus? Is it He that we are expecting from heaven? To avow the certainty, and the reality, and the visibility, and the personality of Jesus Christ in His return, the Scriptures asserted again and again—to reiteration, they enforce assertion. And to assertion, they add avowal, and they say it again and again, “this same Jesus . . . shall so come.” This same Lord “. . shall return in like manner” [Acts 1:11]. “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven [1 Thessalonians 4:16]. . . .and every eye shall see Him [Revelation 1:7]. Our Lord in the flesh, it is Jesus we’re going to see, “Behold, behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him”; nai, amēn, “Even so, even so, Amen” [Revelation 1:7].
Now, in our modern world and in our modern theology and in our new day, what strange identifications are made in the coming of our Lord. Who is coming: “Behold, He cometh with clouds” [Revelation 1:7]. What is the coming of the Lord, and what are we to expect? Ah! strange things. In my reading, as I look at some of these greatest theologians and most famous of all preachers—as I read their books and look on their pages, I can hardly believe my eyes. George Buttrick, in his famous book, The Parables of Jesus, page 237, says: “What then is the coming? It is the divine unexpectedness of our experience–temptation, sorrow, opportunity, gladness, grief–watch therefore.” And I haven’t time to continue.
May I choose one other? One of our great preachers, one of our great preachers, and I don’t call his name. I have the book here and the page upon which this little excerpt I have copied. Listen to him:
I believe Jesus came in 70 AD, in the destruction of Jerusalem. I believe Jesus came in the downfall of the Roman Empire. I believe He came in the Mayflower, which brought the little company from Holland. I believe He came when the Constitution of the United States was dedicated. In July 1914, when the Serbians shot the Archduke of Austria, I have the feeling that Jesus came when the nations of Europe plunged the earth into a bloody holocaust.
And on and on it goes.
They say Jesus came at Pentecost. They say Jesus came in these philosophical truths of modern metaphysics. Some of them say Jesus came in the Enlightenment and the technical advances of the nineteenth century. Others of them say that Jesus comes in death. Others say that Jesus comes in the diffusion of the Christian message over the world. Others say Jesus comes in the civilization that has uplifted the standards of mankind. And in every way that you can imagine as you read, they identify the coming of our Lord.
And as I read it, and sometimes as I listen to those men, I pick up my Book, and I say again: who is this “He” who is coming? Who is this “I”–“Surely I come quickly” [Revelation 22:20]. Who is this precious, gracious, lovable, comforting Savior who says in the fourteenth chapter of John, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again” [John 14:2-3]. Who is this “I”? Whom are we to expect? “Let not your heart be troubled: I will come in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” “Let not your heart be troubled: I will come again in the downfall of the Roman Empire.” “Let not your heart be troubled: I will come again in the diffusion of the Christian message over the world.”
“Let not your heart be troubled: I will come again in the technological and scientific advancements of the nineteenth and the twentieth century.” “Let not your heart be troubled…. I will come again” [John 14:2-3]. Whom are we to expect? Who is this “I”? My dear people, they have so diffused Him in history, they have so confounded Him with death, they have so spiritualized Him into a shadowy unseen presence, they have so allegorized Him into myth and fairy tale and fiction, until I can almost hear our Lord saying to us as He said to His disciples, “Handle Me, and see that it is I Myself; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have” [Luke 24:39]. Whom are we to expect? Who is this “I” will come again? [John 14:3]. And who is this great announcement subject, “He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him”? [Revelation 1:7]. If I can believe the Book and if I can accept in faith the promises of our Lord, I am to look for Him [Philippians 3:20]. It is our Savior who is coming [Acts 1:11], that same blessed face, those same gracious hands: our living, loving, worshipful Lord. Mary knew Him by the sound of His voice when He pronounced her name. He had a way of calling her name, unlike anybody in the earth. And when He just said, “Mary,” she turned, and falling at His feet cried, “Rabboni, my Master” [John 20:16]. He was known in the way He pronounced her name.
John recognized Him in the way that He folded up the napkin. Our Lord had an idiosyncracy, a turn, a way of folding up a napkin. And when John followed Simon Peter into the sepulcher and saw the napkin folded up in a place by itself, he said, “This is my Lord,” and he believed [John 20:3-8].
And Cleopas and the other unnamed disciple knew Him in the way that He said grace at the table. And at the eventide as they said down for the breaking of bread, He prayed, and they recognized Him in the kind of a prayer He said at the table. And they knew Him. And they knew Him [Luke 24:30-31]. And in the gray mist of the morning, the shadowy figure standing by the side of the sea, saying, “Put the net on the right side, and thou shall catch,” and when they caught, the disciple that Jesus loved said to Simon, “Simon, that is the Lord! That is the Lord” [John 21:4-7]. He still has the personality, the traits, the idiosyncrasies that make us, us, that make you, you, and make Jesus, Jesus. And when He comes, we are looking for the same Lord Jesus, our Savior in the flesh [Acts 1:11].
“I know,” said Job, “that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom mine eyes shall behold, and not another” [Job 19:25-27].
“Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him; nai, amēn, Even so, Amen” [Revelation 1:7]. We are looking for the Christ-Man, the Lord Jesus. May I say one other word? That is the mark of the true disciple and the believer in Christ, that he is looking for our Lord in the flesh.
Now, I want you to look at this: the same apostle John who wrote the Revelation, who wrote the Apocalypse, the same apostle John is writing a letter to the elect lady and her children. And in 2 John [verse] 7, he writes, “Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ—and you have it translated—is come in the flesh” [2 John 1:7] Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ erchomenos. Now, in the Revelation, I want to show you how that word erchomenos is translated. In the first chapter of Revelation and the next verse from my text, verse 8:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was—
erchomenos—which is, and which was, and which is to come, erchomenos: You can’t translate it any other way—
I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and erchomenos
the One that is to come, which is to come.
Well, let’s translate it right then, let’s translate it right—
Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ erchomenos—
translate it right—
who confess not that Jesus Christ is to come in the flesh!
[2 John 1:7]
Many deceivers in the pulpit, in the theological chairs, in the world of philosophy and metaphysics, in the secular and materialistic world, many deceivers coming who say, “You’ll never see His face; there’s no Lord who is actually coming.”
“Who confess not Jesus Christ erchomenos, coming in the flesh” [2 John 1:7], but to us who believe and to us who bow in His presence, and to us who lovingly read and are persuaded of this blessed Book, to us—we are looking for the same Lord Jesus in the flesh with body and bone, as we have: our risen and glorified Christ Jesus, Nai, Amēn. Even so, Amen” [Revelation 1:7].
When the Japanese military took over Korea from the civil administration of Japan, we had forty churches, forty little Baptist churches, with five thousand members. And because they were so faithful in meeting together, the Japanese military called the president of the convention together. And exhausting questions, hour after hour, interrogated what these Baptists believed in Korea. After hours of exhausting interrogation, they finally got down to the second coming of Christ. And the interrogators of the Japanese military authorities said, “And what do you believe about the second coming of the Lord?” And the pastor and the president of our convention said, “We believe that this same Jesus shall so return as He went away” [Acts 1:11]. And the Japanese military said, “And then what?” And the pastor said, “And then shall every knee bow; and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” [Philippians 2:10-11].
And the Japanese military said, “Does that include our great divine emperor?”
And the pastor replied, “Sir, it includes your emperor, for our Lord is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.”
And the Japanese military said, “Do you believe this for yourself alone, or do all of you believe it?”
And the pastor replied, “Sir, we all believe it.” And they gathered up all forty of our pastors and put them in prison.
And after three and four years of trial and persecution beyond description, the pastor who was the convention president—and he was answering the questions—the pastor died of terrible exposure and privation. And one by one, the other pastors, one by one, died; and when finally the few that remained were liberated, two of them died upon their liberation. That’s the stuff that God’s believing disciples are made of, “Do you believe this for yourself? Or do all of you believe it?” And our pastor and president replied, “Sir, we all believe it.”
“Behold, He cometh,” and we all answer with the apostle John, “Nai, Amēn. Even so, Lord Jesus” [Revelation 1:7].
“He which testifieth these things saith, “Surely I come quickly.” I come. Our Lord coming. “Amen. Even so [come], Lord Jesus” [Revelation 22:20].
That’s our faith, that’s our hope, that’s our comfort, and that’s the consummation of this age for God’s children, someday to look upon His blessed, blessed face, immortalized; a body like His, glorified; a new creation in a new city, in a new home, in a new fellowship [Revelation 21:1-5]. “Amen, even so, Lord Jesus” [Revelation 1:7, 22:20].
And that’s our appeal to your heart, to believe with us in this great, great consummation of the age. This is not all—the flower that withers and the grass that perishes, and the clods that fall so heartbreakingly upon an open grave, that isn’t all—there is another chapter, there is another stanza, there’s another verse, there’s another word, there’s another sentence, there’s another line, there’s another world; it’s the world of God and the children of the Savior, the Lord Jesus.
Come, come, come, believe with us. Worship with us. Pray with us. Love the Lord with us. Lift up your face to heaven with us. Give your life to our Christ with us. Down one of these stairways, come. Into the aisle from side to side, come, “Pastor, I give you my hand. In faith, I give my heart to Jesus. This is my family, we’re all coming this morning.” As the Spirit shall say the word and lead the way, would you make it now? Come down here where I stand, come down here and give the pastor your hand. By confession of faith, or baptism, or statement, or letter, how ever God shall say the word, make it this morning, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.