The Radiant Woman

Revelation

The Radiant Woman

October 28th, 1962 @ 10:50 AM

Revelation 12:1-6

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
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THE RADIANT WOMAN

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 12:1-6

10-28-62    10:50 a.m.

 

 

On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the eleven o’clock morning message entitled The Radiant Woman.  In our preaching through the Bible, after these many years, we have come to the Revelation.  And in our preaching through the last and the climactic book, we have come finally to chapter 12.

This is at a great division in the Apocalypse.   The first eleven chapters, under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, brings the consummation of this age: when the kingdoms of this world, the sovereignty of this world, becomes the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ [Revelation 11:15].  And in the days of the voice of the seventh trumpet, the mystery of God is finished [Revelation 10:7].

And there is a preview, a prophetic outline, of that ultimate denouement [Revelation 11:15-19], in the last part of the eleventh chapter of the Book.  Then in chapter 12 – in the exact middle of the Apocalypse – in chapter 12, there begins an outline of the details, filling in the great, broad prophetic preview that is stated at the end of chapter 11.  And in chapter 12, we begin with some of the personages who are going to figure so greatly and mightily and unusually in these last days of God’s purposes in the earth.  There will be introduced to us several of these key characters: personages who will move across the pages of history in this final time.  And we’re going to see some of them now, as we begin reading in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse:

 

And there appeared a great wonder – semeion, sign – And there appeared a great sign in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars;

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

And there appeared another wonder – semeion, sign – and there appeared another sign in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth; and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child as soon as it is was born.

And she brought forth a male Child, a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that – the old Greek word, like our word "archaic," that ancient serpent, known, introduced to us in the beginning – And the great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent, called the Devil – there are many demons, one devil – and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

[Revelation 12:1-9]

 

And in the message this morning, we have time just for an introduction. There appear in this passage, in the order that they are introduced, these personages: that woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars, that radiant woman [Revelation 12:1]; second, the great red dragon [Revelation 12:3]; third, the man-child destined to rule all of the nations of the world [Revelation 12:5]; fourth, Michael [Revelation 12:7]; and fifth, the remnant of the seed of the woman [Revelation 12:17].

The identification of Michael is simple.  Several times he appears in the Old Testament.  He’s called the great prince who stands for the nation Israel [Daniel 10:21, 12:1].  He is the archangel, the only one named as such in the Word of God [Jude 9]; Michael.  And we shall speak of him, I pray, in detail next Lord’s Day.

Second, the dragon – and he is specifically pinpointed: The great, red Dragon, that ancient serpent called the devil and called Satan [Revelation 12:9].

Third, the man-child: "And the woman brought forth a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron" [Revelation 12:5].  That is an exact quotation in the Septuagint version, the Greek version – that is an exact quotation from the great messianic psalm, number two [Psalm 2:9].  The Man-Child is the Messiah, the Lord Christ, destined to rule all the nations and families of the earth and to preside as Lord God over all creation [Revelation 11:15].  That is Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ of God.

There remains then, the woman [Revelation 12:1].  Who is she?  There have been many identifications of this radiant woman.  There are many who say that she is Mary alone – Mary: the Virgin Mary.  But the identification of this radiant woman with the human mother of Jesus is impossible and unspeakable and almost ridiculous, when you see the biblical story of that woman. 

In verse 6: "And the woman after she gave birth to the Child fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, and there she is cared for one thousand two hundred sixty days" [Revelation 12:6].  And again: "And to the woman," in verse 14 of this twelfth chapter, "were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time" [Revelation 12:14] – three and half years – "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed" [Revelation 12:17].  To apply those Scriptures to the Virgin Mary would be silly.  There’s no such thing ever was or ever would be.  It is inconceivable!

Then, there are those who say this radiant woman represents the church.  But, when they do that, they turn around diametrically oppositely the apocalyptic vision recorded here in the twelfth chapter, for this woman, whoever she is, gives birth to the Messiah.  To say that the church gave birth to Jesus is a diametrical opposite turning around of the actual truth.  It is Christ who gave birth to the church.  The church is taken out of the side of Christ.  We are born out of His flesh, and His blood, and His bones [Ephesians 5:30].  In His sobs and tears and cries and cross and agony, the church was born.  As Eve was taken out of the side of Adam, and Adam said, "This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh . . . Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife" [Genesis 2:23, 24].  "This is a great mystery: but I speak," said Paul, "concerning Christ and His church" [Ephesians 5:32].  As Eve was taken out of the side of Adam, so the church was born out of the riven, open, bleeding side of our Lord.

In order to get away from that plain contradiction, there are those who identify this woman as being the church and as giving birth to Christ.  In order to avoid that contradiction, they say that this means the birth, the forming, of Christ in the life of the believer.  And then there are those who say it refers to the coming of Christ in judgment.  But in any event, however you try, it is a wresting, a wrenching – it is a violation of the plain, simple vision here in the Apocalypse.  This woman gives birth to the great Messiah, who is destined to rule this earth [Revelation 12:5].

Well then, who is this radiant woman?  She is plainly identified in the Holy Scriptures.  We read from the ninth chapter of the Book of Romans, when Paul refers to the

Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Whose are the fathers, and of whom concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

[Romans 9:4-5]

 

So the woman who gave birth to the Messiah is the nation and the family and the people of Israel.  It is Israel who produced Christ.  The woman who bore in her womb the great Savior of the world, the Lord who is destined to rule over all men in earth and all the hosts in heaven; Christ is the fruit of the womb of Israel.

And when you do that, everything in the Bible will beautifully and marvelously fit together.  Israel is called a married woman again and again.  Israel is referred to as a mother again and again.  And Israel, in her rejection and in her captivity, is referred to as a widow and as a divorced woman [Jeremiah 3:8].

But, always, the church is referred to as a chaste, virgin bride, who is some day to be presented to Christ as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:2: "I have espoused you as a chaste virgin bride unto Christ."  And for the bride of Christ to be found in this condition, travailing to give birth to a child, would be of all things inconceivable and greatly, vastly, indescribably inappropriate.  The church in the Scriptures is never referred to as a mother.  She is always the bride.  As John the Baptist said of the Lord, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom . . . And I stand, a friend of the bridegroom, rejoicing in his voice."  [John 3:29]

It is Christ who has the bride [John 3:29].  And at the great and ultimate consummation of the age, when the Lord shall appear [Revelation 19:11-16] – look, "the marriage supper of the Lamb has come, and the bride hath made herself ready" [Revelation 19:7].  And as Paul delineated it beautifully in the fifth chapter of Ephesians, the church is the bride of Christ, to be presented chaste, a virgin, pure, holy unto Him [Ephesians 5:25-32].

Israel always is a mother, giving birth to children.  When Zion travails, children are born unto God [Isaiah 66:8].  But the church, the bride of Christ, is unmarried until the great marriage supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:6-9].  So, this woman, a mother giving birth to the Messiah, refers to the nation Israel.

And you can see that also in her description: "She is clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" [Revelation 12:1].  That is a description that is taken from the thirty-seventh chapter of Genesis and verse 9: "And Joseph dreamed a dream . . . behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance unto me" [Genesis 37:9].  It refers to Israel and the family of Jacob.  The twelfth star is Joseph himself – the sun and the moon and the eleven stars, and he the twelfth!

So, this glorious, radiant woman [Revelation 12:1] is prefigured back there in the life of Joseph: sold to the Gentiles, but glorified and exalted by the Lord; sold into captivity, sold to the Gentiles [Genesis 37:28], carried into the nations of the world, but, in the promise and purpose and elective call of God, raised to an exalted position [Genesis 41:38-43] with her Son, the Messiah, who is destined to rule the earth [Revelation 12:5].  The woman, then, is Israel, the chosen family and people of God.  And the Man-Child is the Messiah, our Lord Christ.

Then, we have a chronological date that tells the whole story and meaning of this Revelation: "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days" [Revelation 12:6].  And to the fourteenth verse: "And to the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time" – for three and a half years [Revelation 12:14].

And that period of time is repeated again and again in the Apocalypse.  In chapter 11, verse 2: "And the holy city" [Revelation 11:2] – which is Jerusalem. No other city in the Bible is called the Holy City.  And in verse 8 it is distinguished as the place where our Lord was crucified [Revelation 11:8].  And our Lord was crucified in Jerusalem – "And in the holy city, there shall the Gentiles tread under foot the outer court forty and two months" [Revelation 11:2].  There’s that same time period.  In the second verse of chapter 11, in the third verse of chapter 11, the same thing again: "And I will give power unto My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days" [Revelation 11:3].  And in chapter 13 and verse 5, here it is again: "And power was given unto the beast to continue forty and two months" [Revelation 13:5].

Over and over and over again, that time period, an identical time period, is referred to: three and half years; 42 months; 1,260 days; a time, times, and the dividing of time – or a time, times, and a half of time: always that same identical period of time.  And it is in this period that the woman flees into the wilderness, where she is separately cared for of the Lord God [Revelation 12:6].

Well, I know exactly where that time is, for this is the revelation that God made to Daniel.  The Lord said to Daniel – and it’s recorded in the ninth chapter of his prophecy – that "seventy weeks of years are determined upon thy people" until the great and final consummation [Daniel 9:24].

"Seventy weeks of years" – that’s the way the Revised Standard Version translates it, which is the exact translation – "Seventy weeks of years are determined upon thy people until that great final millennial consummation" [Daniel 9:24].  And in the vision, God divided those 70 weeks of years into two parts, 69 weeks of years and one week of years [Daniel 9:25, 27].

God pulled apart like this.  God pulled apart the 69 from the one.  And at the end of the 69 weeks of years, God says, "The Messiah shall be cut off" [Daniel 9:26].  From the time of the decree of the building of Jerusalem until the time when Messiah shall be cut off is 69 weeks of years [Daniel 9:25-26].  Then the seventieth, and final week, in which God deals with the Jewish nation, is pulled off here by itself.  And that last week is divided in two: "in the midst of the week," as Daniel says in verse 27, chapter 9.  That last and final week is divided in two; three and half on this side, three and half on that side; 1,260 days on that side, 1,260 days on that side; 42 months on that side, 42 months on this side; a time, and times, and dividing of times on that side, a time, and times, and dividing of times on this side.  That’s where that period of time comes from.  It is the last prophetic week, at the end of which God shall bring in the kingdom, at the end of which the great denouement of this world shall find its ultimate and final consummation [Daniel 9:27].

So when I turn to the Book of the Revelation and read where this woman flees into the wilderness, where God cares for her three and half years – half a week of years, 1,260 days, 42 months [Revelation 12:6] – I know immediately where I am.  We have come to the great and final end time of this world [Daniel 9:27].  And this is "the day of Jacob’s trouble" [Jeremiah 30:7].  This is the day of the great, last, terrible and indescribable persecution.  And this is the day that God hath wrought out, in which He will exalt His nation as they turn, in repentance and in faith, to accept their rightful Lord, their King Messiah, destined to rule the nations of the earth [Revelation 12:5, 19:11-16].

Now, when you read this, all of this vast period in which we live is left out, not referred to:

 

She brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her Child was caught up to God, and to His throne.

And the woman fled into the wilderness.

[Revelation 12:5-6]

 

In that gap there, between verse 5 and verse 6, all of this period of grace in which we now live intervenes.

Well, is that the way God writes prophecy?  Is that the way, as you read in the Book, you find God outlining His great purposes in history?  He leaves out vast periods and vast millenniums inside of a very chapter, inside of a verse, inside of the same syllable?  Yes, that’s the thing that you find all through the Word of God, for, you see, you and I live in time, which is a creation, just like matter is.  And we see things happen a day at a time.  Things come around a corner a day at a time. And we see things come to pass a day at a time.

They don’t happen like that to God.  The great sovereign God, who stands above this earth [Isaiah 40:22], King above the flood [2 Peter 2:5] – the great sovereign God looks upon all of time as though it were present.  He sees it there, here, there, there, there.  It is all present to Him.  And God sees the end from the beginning [Isaiah 46:10].  And there’s no such a thing as things happening as a surprise to the Lord God, as they happen to us, for He sees the whole story from the day of its beginning to the day of its consummation. 

And when God makes a prophecy, He doesn’t write it out as we do in the annals of history, the chronological events as they happen day after day.  But, God will follow a thing through, here to the end, in one sentence, and pick out just those things that are pertinent to the prophecy.  And one of them may happen here and another one may happen here and another one may happen here.  And there may be a millennium in between the things that God is saying that are going to come to pass.

Now, I want you to see that in the Book.  And until I see that in the Book, it has no prophetic meaning whatsoever.  What God says is an unintelligible jumble.  But if I can see how God says and how God previews and how God looks at history, why, immediately it has a vast and infinite meaning.

All right, now, look at it here.  In the fifth verse: "And she brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His throne" [Revelation 12:5].  Well, you’d think He had no life at all.  You would think He never lived at all.  He was born as a child, and caught up to the throne.  His ministry is not referred to.  His life is not referred to.  His death is not referred to.  The atoning sacrifice of Christ is not referred to.  It is skipped over, all in one breath: "And she gave birth to the Child, and the Child was caught up to God in heaven" [Revelation 12:5].

Well, what about the great ministry of the Lord?  What about the great atonement of the Lord?  Well, God here is talking about something else.  He is not – He is not chronologizing the life of Christ.  The Lord has another intent and purpose.  And He is speaking of those things that are pertinent to what He is talking about, and the great prophetic preview that is now before us.

Like the Apostle’s Creed: "Born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate."  There’s that same thing again.  You’d think the Lord didn’t live.  But, the idea of the Apostle’s Creed was a great doctrinal statement, emphasizing the virgin birth of the Lord and the blood atonement of the Lord.  And the rest was not under review in that doctrinal statement.

So it is with the Lord: the way He prophesies, the way He writes things in His Book.  And He leaves out great gaps and great periods of time to us in what God will prophesy as coming to pass.  Now, that is all through the Word of God, everywhere in it.  I want you to look, for example, at a passage that Jesus used, and how the Lord used it.  In the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah:

 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed

Me . . . to preach good tidings to the poor – and on and on –

and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.

[Isaiah 61:1-2]

 

That’s all in one breath.  "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God" [Isaiah 61:2].  That’s the way it is in Isaiah.

Now, you look at it over there as Jesus – and the Book of Isaiah was given to Jesus,

and He found the place where it is written,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor . . .

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord – period.

[Luke 4:17-19]

 

Right in the middle of a phrase, right in the middle of a clause, right in the middle of the sentence, right in the middle of a great prophecy, the Lord cuts it off – right in the middle.

But, the prophecy said: "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God" [Isaiah 61:2].  But, between those two is already two thousand years.  The great day of the vengeance of our God and the judgment of the Lord God upon this earth is yet future, after the Lord said this passage was fulfilled in Him, which happened two thousand years ago.

That enormous gap – never seen by the prophets, never revealed to the prophets – they never saw it.  Paul says in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians that this age of grace and the body of Christ, the church, was a mustērion hidden in the heart of God and unknown, until the Lord revealed it to His apostles [Ephesians 3:3-11].  Consequently, in these prophecies, you will find the great outline of the age and the destiny of the nations in one sentence sometimes.  And millenniums are covered, but you’d never know it until a further revelation.

Let’s take one other instance of it.  In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Isaiah:

 

And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him . . . .

And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid . . . .

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

[Isaiah 11:1,2,6,9]

 

There’s that same thing again: "There shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots" [Isaiah 11:1].  That’s the Lord Jesus, the Messiah coming out of the loins of Israel, coming out of the loins of David.  Though cut down – the Branch – yet it sprouts up in Jesus.  "And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall . . ." [Isaiah 11:6] – why, man, that hasn’t come to pass yet.  But, the first part of that prophecy was fulfilled two thousand years ago in the birth of Jesus [Matthew 1:20-25].  But, the last part of that prophecy will not come to pass until the millennial kingdom of Christ in this earth [Revelation 19:11-16, 20:1-9].

But, the prophet never saw it. As he looked at it, those two vast mountain peaks stood side by side: the coming of our Lord [Isaiah 11:1-2] and the establishment of that millennial kingdom in the earth [Isaiah 11:6-9].  And it was only as we drew near to the peaks, that we saw there was a distance in between.  One of them was in front of the other.

The whole Bible, in its prophetic message, is like that.  So in this passage, in chapter 12 of the Revelation, this Man-Child is born and is caught up to God in heaven [Revelation 12:5]: no reference to His life, no reference to His death, just that He is caught up to the throne of God in heaven.  Then, this whole period of grace is omitted.  And the whole story of the church is omitted [Revelation 12:5-6].

Why?  Because He, God, is dealing here with Israel, with this woman who gave birth to the Messiah [Revelation 12:1-2].  And Israel has no scriptural history in this day of grace.  The clock stopped for Israel when she rejected her Messiah and the 69 weeks was closed [Daniel 9:25-26].  And in this present day, Israel is like any other people.  They are lost without Jesus.  They have to repent.  They have to turn.  They have to accept Christ as their Savior.  They have to be born into the kingdom of God.  They have to be regenerated, just like we are [John 3:3,10].

There is no difference today between a Jew or a Greek or a barbarian or a Roman or a Greek or a Scythian or anybody else [Colossians 3:11].  We’re all alike today [Galatians 6:7-10].  And we become members of the household of faith by trusting in Jesus as our Savior [Acts 16:30-31].  That lost Jew, that lost Gentile, that lost foreigner, that lost alien, that lost indigenous, that fellow-citizen, all of us are alike today.

But, God says, but there is coming a time when this age is finished and when the purposes of God for His church are done.  There is coming a time when the church is taken out of this earth [1 Thessalonians 4:13-17].  There is coming a time when that clock will start again with Israel [Romans 11:25-29].  And that will be your seventieth week, this last week that is pulled off out here by itself.

And this Revelation has to do with that last and climactic week. This is the day, here in the Apocalypse, of Jacob’s trouble.  This is the day of his agony.  This is the day of his great indescribable sorrow.  But, this also is the day when God is dealing with him, and when the Lord is bringing to focus the great elective purposes of the Almighty in this earth.  And this is the day.  This is that final week when God shall purge His nation, as He purged the Gentiles at its beginning; when God shall purge His people; and when they, at the revelation of their Lord, shall look upon Him whom they have pierced [Zechariah 12:10], and a nation shall be born in a day [Isaiah 66:8], and Israel shall be converted [Romans 11:26] and become the joy, with her Messiah, of the whole earth [Psalm 48:2].

What an astonishing and an amazing thing!  And that’s what Israel today cannot see.  And that’s what John the Baptist in his day could not see, for when John the Baptist came, he announced the coming of the kingdom [Matthew 3:2].  And he said the ax is laid unto the root of the tree [Matthew 3:10], and the Lord is going to winnow the chaff from the wheat with His winnowing fan [Matthew 3:12].

But, there was no ax laid at the root of the tree.  And there was no winnowing fan.  And the kingdom didn’t come.  And John, in his despair and in his discouragement, sent word to Jesus, and said: "Lord, I do not understand.  Are You the one that was to come or do we look for another? [Matthew 11:3]. I can see the Suffering Servant Minister in You, but where is that Messiah who is to rule with a rod of iron, who is to chop down the tree of iniquity, and to separate the chaff from the wheat?  Where is that Messiah that I announced in preaching the gospel of the kingdom"? [Matthew 3:1]

You see, John the Baptist fell into that same error: that there was just one coming of the Lord, and when He first came at that time, He was going to judge the earth and establish His kingdom.  John never saw the great gap in between the first and the second coming [Hebrews 9:28], the dying of our Lord [Isaiah 53:2-10] and the reigning of our Lord [Isaiah 9:6-7].  John never saw it.  Paul said the reason he didn’t see it was, it wasn’t revealed unto His apostles [Ephesians 3:3-5].  The prophets never saw it.  And that’s the veil that covers Israel’s heart today [2 Corinthians 3:15-16].

In Panama City I spoke to one of the ablest, finest Jewish merchant-women I ever met in my life.  And I said to her, "Why don’t you accept Christ?  Why don’t you believe in your Messiah?  Why don’t you?"

And she replied to me, "Well, I have a very plain and simple answer and reason for that."  She said, "When Messiah comes, all things will be different. There will be no more war.  There’ll be no more hate.  But, everything will be perfect when Messiah comes.  I know He hasn’t come because everything is just as it was: bitterness and hatred and persecution and violence.  Therefore, I know the Messiah hasn’t come."

You see, the veil is over her heart.  She hasn’t been able to see that, in the purposes and in the providences of God, and in the elective choices of the Lord, that the Lord was coming one time to die for our sins, according to the Scriptures [Isaiah 53:8-11, 1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 10:4-14].  But, there’s another chapter, there’s another verse, there’s another ending – but, He is coming the second time to rule with the rod of iron [Revelation 12:5], personally, visibly.

This dull and stolid earth shall look up and see our coming King [Revelation 1:7].  And these are the days of that unveiling, that returning, that correlation, that crowning of Jesus Christ [Revelation 19:12].  And in it, according to the purposes of God that never change, Israel, the mother of the Messiah, shall have a worthy, a noble, and a glorious part [Revelation 12:1-6].

Ah, if I could pass a human judgment upon it, I’m glad – I could not conceive of a more tragic thing imaginable than for the Lord to go back to heaven and His brethren, James and Joseph and Jude and Simeon, be here in unbelief.  But, the Lord appeared to His brethren before He returned to heaven – the Lord appeared to them and won them to Himself [1 Corinthians 15:6].  I could not imagine a greater tragedy in the face of the false religions of Islam, of Buddhism, of Romanism, of Hinduism, of Shintoism, and here are the people of God, who gave us that Book, every syllable in it, who gave us the Messiah through travail, and then they never have a part in that ultimate consummation.  I’m glad – if I could pass a human judgment upon the purposes of God – I am glad that the Lord will remember them.

And with us and with them, and with all who now will associate themselves in the body of Christ [Ephesians 5:30], we shall also be members of the household of faith, fellow heirs with the patriarchs: sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [Matthew 8:11].  O the blessedness, and the gloriousness, and the incomparable preciousness of what God hath in store for His people: for them and for us! [1 Corinthians 2:9].

While we sing our song, somebody you, give his heart to Jesus this morning.  A family you coming into the fellowship of the church this morning; a couple you as God shall open the door, as the Spirit of the Lord shall make the appeal, as God shall press the invitation, would you make it this morning?  "Pastor, today, in simple faith, I give my heart and life to Jesus."  Or, "We are coming into the fellowship of the church by promise of letter, by letter, by statement, by baptism."  As God shall say, as the Spirit shall lead, make it this morning, while we stand and while we sing.