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EVANGELIST

MORTGAGE BURNING AT LOUISVILLE, OHIO

4ee fo^e 2?

Vol. xci

January 4, 1969

No. 1

1ST

EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor of Publicatdons Rev. Spencer Gemtle

Board of Editorial Consultants

Woman's Missionary Society

Mrs. Cliarlene Rowser National Laymen's Organization

Mr. Floyd Benshoff

Missionary Boatxi Mrs. Marion M, Mellinger

Sisterhood Miss Kathy Miller

Board of Ohristian Education:

Youth Commission Miss Beverly Summy

Adult Commission Rev. Fred Burkey

Published biweekly (twenty-six issues per year)

THE BRETHREN PUBLISHING COMPANY

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Phone: 323-7374

Terms of Subscription:

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Prudential Conunittee:

Elton Whitted, President; Riohai-d Poorbaugh, Vice President; Rev. George W. Solomon.

\n This Issue:

Notes and Comments 2

Editorial: "Loser of the Day" 3

The Board of Christian Education 4

The Missionary Board 7

"Paradise Regained"

by Rev. R. Glen Traver 10

"Religion in Review"

by Norman B. Rohrer 14

"Love's Description"

l)y Rev. Kent Bennett 16

News from the Brethren 20

Report of Chiu-ches 21

"SDS Is Alive and Doing Well" 24

The Brethren Layman 25

"Finding the Boat into HistO'ry's Mainstream a Report on the Conference of Historic Peace Churches" by Maynard Shelly 28

World Religious News in Review 30

NOTES and COMMENTS

SOME NEW PERSONNEL

AS OF JANUARY 1, 1969, Mrs. George (Jessie) Solomon has resigned her po- sition as clerk in tlie bookstore. Since May of 1967 Mrs. Solomon has worked in the store and was in charge of the Sunday school or- ders from the local churches.

To take her place, Mrs. Spencer (Eleanor) Gentle has been hired. She has been work-: ing in the store since December 1, 1968, and' is becoming well acquainted with the work. She assisted in mailing out the Sunday school orders for the present quai-ter, thus becom- ing acquainted with the stock room and the code numbers of the material. Mrs. Gentle has worked part time for the past few years in the print shop mailing out The Brethren i EvangeUst and the adult quarterlies.

WHEN I WOULD BOAST

Sometimes I feel inclined to boast,

"I'm really pretty good. I tiy to treat my fellowmen

The way a Christian should.

"I love my neighbor as myself.

I serve the living God. I walk the paths where Jesus' feet

With painful steps have trod.

"I really Jiaven't many faults.

And what I have are small," I swell my chest and in my pride

I'm feeling ten feet tall.

And then I take another look

Down deep withm my heart, I see haw much I've fallen short;

How far I've missed the mark.

My i-ighteousness? As fUthy rags,

When seen in God's pure light. I've such a long, long way to go.

Lord, help me w'm the fight,

Norman McPherson

January 4, 1969

Page Thre«

ycKtCe

REMINDER.

''Loser of the ©i

aif

T^HE LOSER of the day is Mrs. Madalyn E. *■ Mayes Murray O'Hair. Coming- in to the of- fice tliis morning we were listening to a Detroit, Michigan, radio program whose announcer always names the "loser for the day." Today Mrs. O'Hair was given the honor.

Mrs. O'Hair was disturbed because the Astro- nauts, as they orbited the moon, read such "drib- ble from Genesis." She bemoaned the fact that we citizens paid millions of dollai-s for this great ichievement then had to be insulted by having this "dribble" read. She was disgusted to think that these men would give glory to a "non-existing jod" instead of to the technicians who, because jf their intelligence, conceived and created the ma- chine that orbited the moon. She was asking that etters of protest be written to the space agency xnd to congressmen.

The announcer on the radio station commented ;hat these men were not 011 the earth and there- fore they had the privilege to read what they de- sired, and certainly the Scripture which they read ivas most appropriate for the occasion. In an- louncing Mrs. O'Hair as the "loser of the day" he ilso said: "boo to you, Mrs. O'Hair!"

This woman is the loser because she refuses to •ecognize certain realities of life.

First of all, regai'dless of what she has to say, :he Word of God will stand through eternity. The A'ords which these Astronauts read have always Deen true and they will continue to be true

throughout eternity. This is a fact of life and those who do not believe it will he the losers I

Second, God created man and He is the One who gave man the intelligence to discover the laws of the universe to use them for his own good. And let it be said that God allows these "miracles of invention" as He pleases, not at man's time- table. There are those who feel that we should not attempt going to the moon and they even find reason in the Scripture for this belief. We Chris- tians should remember that God will allow us to get to the moon if in His wisdom and in His plan for us He desires it. If not, man will never make it there! All of this is in God's hands. Tliose who do not believe this are the losers!

Third, we should be most thankful that we have such men as the Astronauts who believe in God! lAIen who believe that God did create the universe and who can see the handiwork of God's hands as tiiey soar around the moon! These men ai-e the winners !

As this is being written news has come that the Astronauts have landed safely; how thankful we should be that God has answered our prayers in their behalf! The reality of answered prayers is something else that Mrs. O'Hair cannot accept as a reality of life. Again, she is the loser!

As Christians we should grieve for the soul of this woman ! Let us remember her in our prayers, often !

Page I "our

The Brethren Evangelist

^^i^FTo^

DIARY-

The New Arizona Brethren (ABC) Camp

The 1968-69 National Brethren Youth Project "Cash fm- Camp" in well uiiderioay. Many youth groups are hard at work raising the\ $14,000 fjual for this project. Below is an histo7ic account of the ABC. Camp decelopinent. In fulure issues !Jou ivill see pictures and accountsi

of the new camp site. j

October, 1966 The ABC "District" Camp Committee, composed of members from the Tempe (Papago Park) and Tucson Brethren Churches, discussed the need of better facilities for the growing number of campers, es- pecially in the Junior and Junior High age groups. The High School youth love the climate and beauty of the mountain scenery, the old barn where activities are held during tlie seasonal rains, and the rushing sound of the deep-banked creek that flows right through the camp in back of the cabins. However, the creek poses a prob- lem of how to keep the Juniors out of the ditch. The clear flowing waters through, over and aroiund the stones, and the small fish are a natural temptation that capture the imagination, especially of boys! Too many sore throats result from the accidental (?) dunkings, besides the cool, rainy evenings. Nurse Bai-bara Craft is swamp- ed with caretaking of temporai-y invalids.

February 5, 1967 A report had been given stating that in the fall of 1966 several members of the ABC Camp Committee and interested persons had investigated several leads concerning possible campsites. One place seemed particularly atti-active; a ti^act of hilly, ixicky land, covered with beautiful scrub oak trees near a newly-developed lake area, was available for lease from the government. A committee was appointed to investi- gate.

June 35, 1967 - - A report on an initial investigation of the government property (65 miles south of Tucson) near Parker Canyon Lake revealed that 5 to 10 acres of land was available on an indefinite time lease plan. The government would help develop the area for camp use if we pro\ide the buildings and access road. It looked a little discouraging because of the Umited amount of land. Also, I'eports indicated that the Federal Go\'ern- ment had issued 99-year conti-acts to other organizations, then later issued eviction notices, giving ten years to evacuate the area. This we didn't want to happen to us! What about the buildings, etc.?

September, 1967 The ABC Camp Committee gener- ally agreed that the solution to our problem would be the acquisition of our own property to develop as we see our needs increase. Some properties were discussed, and picture slides were shown of the areas under discussion. iVIore definite ideas were needed, and it was moved to proceed with this plan, and bring back future reports with more specific plans for acquiring a property.

February H, 1968 Bailey Battiste, chairman of the investigating committee, reported that a property near Patagonia was for sale. It was a 25 acre plot of ground, fenced in, a 200 foot well hole (without water) had been abandoned on the property. A very beautiful piece of land, for sale tor $7,000. This was for 20 acres, leaving 5 acres for the owner's own use. i

Seven-Man Backing Group, and a Private Lender. After an individual offered to lend $8,000 for the purchase of the campsite and finish drilling a well on the site, seven; men from the Tucson Brethren Church banded together to back the pix>ject of buying the property, guaranteeing- the annual interest on the loan, and finishing the drilling for water. The property was immediately purchased ( March, 19(38) the owTier lowering his price to $6,750 and throwing in the entire 25 acres. Tiiis we understoo<: as the blessing and approval of the project by the Lord himself! In faith, we took on the wonderful project an( reix»rted at our Third Annual Arizona Conference neai Casa Grande, in April, 1968, that the property had beer! purchased. By camp time, 1968, water had been fount on the property at 350 feet. The bill for drilling came tc $3,550. This meant we needed more money, even to paj the balance, and some extra cash for operating. (W(' camped, as in previous years, in 1968 at our familial campgrounds near Kohls Ranch, Arizona.)

BRETHREN YOUTH PROJECT, 1969 VERSION

The 1969 BYC Conference Project was adopted: at tempt to raise $14,000 for the ABC Camp! The new,' thrilled and amazed leaders of the ABC Camp! Thin amount would offset our present investment and bu;i equipment to start developing the camp! It might evei help erect the first basic building!! We could have hope< for such a project maybe in the future not even tha much! but for 1969! Another blessing of the Lon and sign of His approval! Brethren Youth, you hav no idea how much you have entered the project of deve'i oping Arizona Brethren Oamp, tx> say nothing of aidtn.i the Southwest District Conference! (We still say it i) Great!)

Submitted by Clarence StogsdU; Pastor, Tucson Brethren Chui"Ch, an Conference Moderator (Southwest), 196' December 12, 196'

January 4, 1969

Page Five

ABC PICTORIAL ACCOUNT

The staff has fellowship "after hours" 1965 In the "kitchen." L to R: Duane Dickson, Jan Sayman, Clara Flory, Lawrence Parker, Helen Dickson, Barbara Craft, Barbara Dillon, Esther Parker, Clarence Stogsdill, Iris McKinney.

Jasper Price (Tempe) lights cook stove fire for heat in a rustic cabin ABC Camp observed by Mark Berkshire July, 1964

Bill Craft and Scott McKinney with their catch from the creek. Taken Mt. Meadow Ranch ABC Camp near Payson, Arizona, July, 1962.

A silly skit, put on by faculty in the old barn ABC Camp— 1964. Note amazed campers!

Page Six

The Brethren Evangelist

We furnish our own light gas lantern

near the Headquarters building, being lighted by

Fred Burkey, July, 1967. Two campers

are supervising

■■«t

Goals are measuring sticks

. . . How is your youth group measuring up? The 1968- 69 National Youth Goals are as follows: *1. Each local B.Y.C. group send in one annual offer- ing to help support the work of the National Of- fice. This offering should by the end of the year, at least equal or surpass one dollar per member 10 poimts *2. At least one B.Y.C. delegate to:

A. National Conference 5 points

B. All state and district functions (camps, ral- lies, retreats, conferences, etc.) 5 points

3. Reports to your church by those attending sum- mer camp, district and national conferences 10 points

4. At least one public service per year. iPreferablj' on Youth Sunday in May) 10 points

*5. Each group maintain attendance at a weelcly pray- er meeting and Bible study 10 points Each group participating in the National B.Y. Pro- ject and setting a percentage of the National Goal to be raised by that group 10 points A report of your activities sent in to National B.Y.C. at least three times a year (including pic- tures when possible) and the statisitioal Report by July 1 10 points

■8. Evei-y B.Y.C. member in your local group carrying

a B.Y.C. membership card 5 points 9. Group participation in these projects:

A. Joint meeting preferably with other B.Y.C. groups 5 points

B. B.Y.C. Visitation Program 5 points

C. Benevolent work within your local churcli or city 5 points

*10. Learn the Brethren Youth (Ttovenant by having your B.Y.C. pray it together regularly, and by devoting at least one meeting in the month of October in study and analysis of Covenant 10 points

'Banner Society Meet 80 out of 100 points

6.

7.

*Honor Society Meet all 100 points

'■'Indicates changes in goals since last year

... and speaking of Goals . . .

. . . How is your local goal for the National Project com- ing? Many groups are working enthusiastically and well to accomplish our $14,000 goal to help the Souithwestern District purchase and equip their camp.

The people of Arizona have been camping for several years in rented facilities and have called their camp ABC (Arizona Brethren Camp). RecenUy the opportunity pre- sented itself for this newest Brethi-en (Dliurch district to purchase their own camp and in faith they began this venture.

When the project idea of helping this camp was pre- sented to the youth delegates at the August Conference, they immediately saw the challenge of helping train, convert and challenge young people in the years ahead through the camp effort.

Promotional pieces are now being prepared that will be comhig to each church soon. Watch for them and more information in the Evangelist in the weeks ahead. You will see for yourself what the camp area looks like and the need wUl be presented.

Remember, our Project motto this year is:

Januarj' 4, 1969

Page Seven

WHEELS IN ARGENTINA

IRetA. 70ci£ceifft ^ccrtcd

' I 'HE national workers and missionaries 1 in Argentina have long known the value of tent campaigns and evangelisitic outreach in plazas and parks. In the churches the Gospel falls mostly on the ears of the Christian. Evangelism cam- paigns in the open offer a personail confron- tation presenting the claims of Christ. However, the equipment used and the pro- cedure was not all entirely satisfactory and in late 1967 plans were drawn for an Audio-Visual Trailer to be built to specifi- cations to handle these campaigns in the future.

This was planned to be a two-wheel aluminum trailer of approximately 9 feet long and 5% feet wide with all equipment self-contained and room for li\ing quarters for the evangelists traveling witli the unit.

Previously it was necessary for the e\-an- gelists to sleep in the tents and it was most inconvenient to pack up clothing be- fore meetings and turn the tent into a proper meeting place. If it rained the tent had to be lowered and many times clothes and equipment got wet. It was determined that with a trailer they would ha\-e living and sleeping quarters and a place to keep their clothing in good shape to be present- able for the meetings. Also, the equipment could be kept clean and dry.

A gasoline generator is used to supply the light for the tent and due to the noise O'f the generator it had to be located a good distance from the tent. Also, the generator could not be left out at night and had to be carted to and fi-o. With the trailer it was decided to build the genera- tor into a compartment on the side to pro- \'ide power for the projector and the lights,

with only a cable running from the trailer to the tent. In another compartment there would be a storage battery for the ampli- fier.

The permanent moiuiting for the elec- tronic equipment used, such as the amplifi- er, projectors and tape recorder, would l<eep them much cleaner and in better condition than when having to mof^-e them about so much of the time.

The Signal Lights organization of The Brethren Church had the Audio-Visual Trailer for theii- 1967-1968 project and along with some contributions from Dail\- Vacation Bible Schools, $1070 was foi-ward- ed to Argentina. Recently the Tiosa, Indi-

Crowds such as these are present at the various campaigns

Page Eight

The Brethren Evangelist

Evangelistic Mobile Equipment is the official name for the Audio Visual Trailer

ana, Ohurcdi advanced project fluids in the amount of $500, also, for this trailer.

The national church of Argentina took the responsibility of paying for the chassis, frame and outside shell of the trailer and tlie Argentine National Women's Society raised funds to provide the amplifiers, speakers and microphone. The money from the Signal Lights was to outfit the trailer with gas sto\-e, chemical toUet, water tank, interior walls, beds and cabinets as well as the transfoi-mers and lighting system used for the meetings.

All of this became a reality when in the month of August this new equipment for e\-angelistic work was put to use. The of- ficial name for this is E.M.E, or Evangelis- tic Mobile Equipment. During the month of August, tills new audio-visual aid was used in the Rosario area. During use the rear door of the trailer, hinged at the bottom, lets down to be used for a ramp for load- ing and unloading equipment or stays in a platform position to hold the speaker giv- ing the message.

In September, meetings of film showings and evangelistic messages were presented in small villages seldom reached with the salvation message little vUlages such as Venado Tuerto and Firmat. Many were touched by the message. In September and October, many hundreds of people attended e\'angelistic campaigns in which the tent and the new sound trailer and equipment were used.

The little community of Soldini had the first opportunity to use these new facilities. Films and spiritual messages were used two nights. Pastor Tomas Mulder reports that many from the small village remained

after the sei-vices to speak to the evangel- ist and one of these later accepted Christ as his Lord and is attending the local church. Many of our pastors availed them- selves of new equipment with good reports from all.

Pastor Juan Arregin of the Colon Church, in giving testimony to his e.xperiences in the use of the new equipment, states that in four meetings, 916 people were reached. Three hundred of these were high school .students.

"With respect to the campaign itself, I must say that it has been a wonderful ex- Iierience and a great blessing in my life. First of all. the appearance of the sound trailer adone attracts attention and is an effective medium of presenting the Gospel. I believe it is equipment which God has placed in our hands for touching many souls with the message of salvation and that even if iwe do not see immediate re- sults, we have made contact with people who have manifested interest and the Lord wUI perform the work in their hearts. With respect to the campaign in the city of Colon, one man who came to see the fiim and for the first time had heard the Gos- pel, confessed Christ as Savior the follow- ing Sunday.

"We are able to say that the film pre- sentation awoke in him a desire to know- that which God wanted to tell him and after know-ing something more of the love of God (from the message) he decided to accept Christ as his Savior. Without doubt we will experience like results in the other places we have been places such as Maria Teresa and Firmat.

Campaign at Villa Constitucion showing the trail- er with loud speakers thereon.

Jiiniiary 4, 1969

Page Nine

"Now, it ought to be the task of the church to pray for these souls who have been reached with the message of sa]\'a- tion." (Juan Arregin, Testigo Fiel, Octo- ber issue).

The new sound equipment on wheels is a symbol of the Argentine Brethren Church. It is indeed a church on the move for our Lord Jesus Christ. The national worker and his fraternal companion, the missionary, covet your prayers as we enter a new year with the purpose of reaching new souls for Christ our Lord.

Campaign in Beinal with tent and Audio-Visual Trailer. Pastor and Mrs. Anton at the gate. The tent was set up in a lot of an annex of the Beriial Church

Film showing in the tent at A'illa Constitucion campaign

EMORI ALS

In lo\ing memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Ramseyer, Mr. Floyd E. Ramseyer of Smithville, Ohio contributed a gift of $200 to the Lost Creek mission work.

An annual memorial of $10.00 was given to the KryiDton Mission in memory of Reverend Joseph I. Hall by his daughter, Mrs. Lula Hall Poffenberger, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Two \'ery fine Christian ladies, Mrs. May Bissett and Mrs. Sue Bowman were remembered with a memorial gift of $20.00 to World Missions from the Woman's Missionary Society of New Lebanon.

A. J. and Pearl R. Dimcan were remembered by their daughter, Miss Lilly P. Duncan, Fayetteville, W. Virginia, with a memorial of $25.00 to World Missions.

A memorial in the amount of $290.94 was sent to the Mlssicnary Board in honor of Florence Cleaver of the Falls City, Nebraska Church for her many years of service in the Loird's work there. At the time the memorial was received, she was residing in a nursing home.

Your loved one's name wUI be perpetuated at the Mis- sionaiy Board and his witness wiU live on through our continuing ministry in missions.

Note: When a Memorial Gift is received along with the name of the nearest relative, a memorial card will he sent to the family in your name.

Page Ten

The Brethren Evangelist

PARADISE REGAINED

Revelation 22:1-21

Part XLIII

by REV. R. GLEN TRAVER

CHAPTER 22 actually Is a continuation of John's vision of the new Jerusalem, begiui in tihe previous chapter (note; the original Greek does not have chapter or verse divisions). The main emphasis of both chapters is the eternal state and status of all God's redeemed, de- scribed foi' us in more Old Testament prophetical image- ry. Again, we would want to emphasize the right of each one to decide for himself Whether this imager.\' should be interpreted literally or symbolically. It seems to this writer, that symbolical interpretation which seel<s for spiritual truth from verbal word-piotures best fits John's total Revelation pattern. While we would respect those who disagree with this approach, we would also ask for their Charity towards those who see other- wise. Certainly, in the realm of prophetical interpreta- tion, there would be no room for petty dogmatism or bigotry !

Whate\-er our method of interpretation, we need to note carefully the close proximity between the images making up Uiis last vision of eternity and those images making up our first glimpse of human histoi-y, as record- ed in Genesis. The story of God and man begins in a gar- den — and, here in Revelation, tliat stoiy is pictured as ending also in a garden (actually, it is a beginning i-a.tli- er than an ending). In tlie begimiing, it was tlie garden of Eden (Genesis 1-3) now we find it the heavenly garden, the eternal city of God the new Jerusalem. Betw'een the beginning and the ending of the stoi-y of God's deaUngs with man, we liave the account of man's creation and fall, his expulsion from the garden of Eden, his continual search for spiritual restoration and renew- al, and the answer through Christ and His cross. Man's sin cmd its consequence ( viz, physical and spiritual deatli) appear as but an unnecessary parenthesis be- tween God's original intention for man (viz, eternal fellowship and communion with the divine) and the ul- timate consimunation of this intent (to be discovered and enjoyed now only by those wlio accept His redemp- tion through Christ).

Our main concern, in our study of this lasit chapter of Revelation, will center upon this eternal Paradise of God its physical description of the spiritual truths such is meant to convey. We may differ as to the inter- pretation of many of these symbols, but there is one thing we can all agree upon Ciod certainly has pre- pared for His own an eternity worth all that it miglit cost us, in this life, to gain. This last chapter of the Bible accentuates this truth in language clear and strong. In the words of John Milton's famous epics, in Genesis

1-3 we have the story of Paradise Lost, and Ixere in Rev- elation 22, we liave the picture of Paradise Regained. Tile Paradise described.

Verse 1 pictui-es for us eternal Ufe in terms of "a pure river of water of life, clear as ciystal." In the dry and hot lands of the East where water is always at a premiimi this synibolism of water as a flowing river would naturally suggest life, and the possibility of its continued existence. Se\'eral Old Testament prophets, as well as our Lord, also spoke of eternal Mfe in terms of water living waters, or rivers of waiter (cf. Isa. 55:1; Ezek. 47;l-7; Joel 3;18; Zeoh. 14;8; John 4;10-14, etc.).

John sees tliis water as bemg "clear as ci-ystal," per- liaps implying that our identity with God as the very source of eternal life means also our identity with Him in a life of impeccable riglateousness and holiness. In verse 3, John writes; "And there shall be no more curse" (RSV; "There shall no more be any thing accursed"), which teUs us that (^d's people are to be (and will be) a holy people "Holiness unto the Lord" is surely to be our eternal watchword and song!

This river of living water is seen by John as also pro- ceeding out of the throne of Ckxl and the Lamb (lb). This identifies God and Christ together as the veiy source from wiiich our eternal life origmates (The Holy Spirit also impUed). Those who are eternally identified, in them shall have life, for, they are life (cf., Johji 14:6). The life which this river of water symbolizes, then, is divine life and is for all who find their life in the triune (jod of heaven.

Verse 2 pictures this river as flowing in the midst of' the street of the new Jerusalem, and being bordered on both sides by "the ti^ee of life." It lis not necessary for us to figure out this strange sight (i.e., a river flowing) down the middle of the street with one tree bordering, both sides), if we see it as a symbolism which seems to serve the purpose of adding emphasis to this truth con-i cei-ning the saint's possession of eternal life. There seems to be a direct allusion to the tree of life which was to be found in tlie gai'den of Eden, and to which Adam and Eve were deprived access tKCause of their sinful disobed- ience (cf.. Gen. 3:22-24). Here, In Revelation 22, this tree is now seen easily accessible to all the redeemed saints in gloiy. Tlius, in this one symbolism alone, we hajve a play on the general theme: Paradise Lost Paradise!, Regained! That which Adam and Eve lost by being oastii out of the garden of Eden (viz, eternal life within thej circumference of conmiunion and fellowship with God),!

January -t, 1969

is now seen as restored eternally Uirough the saving efficacy of Christ here described (in vei-se 1) as "the Lamb."

The further mention of this tree as bearing twelve kinds of fi-uit and yielding that fruit eveiy month, se«ms to re-emphasize the fact that this life which is ours in Christ, is a life boith comtinuous and unending. Also, the mention of the leaves of the tree as providing healing for the nations, implies that the eternal life which is ours in Clu-ist, vvUl meet every need ye'a, in Him, there will be no further need or needs only complete and constant satisfaction and bUss (cf.. Psalm 16:11; 23:1, etc.).

Verses 1 and 3 mention the throne of God and of the Lamb wliich, iti the light of other such references (cf., chaptei'S 4, 5, 7, 14, ajid 19), suggest to us the sovereign rule and authority of the eternal ti-iune God. Tliis throne of God ajid the Lamb is here pictured as being hi the new Jerusalem and, thus, is meant to teach us tiiat all life and activity wUl forever centei" in tliem and that they shall be the veiy fooal-point of all worship and service (3b: "and his servants sliall serve him").

Some would recoiU at this thought of heaven being a place where we wiU have to perform an eternal sei-vice, but, in the words of John Walvoord: "What greater pi-ivilege can saints have in the eternal state than being servajits of the Lord? Who would want to be perpetu- ated in eternal idleness and uselessness? Even if the new Jerusalem were viewed here in its millennial sitate, those who are in the new Jerusalem are either resm-rect- ed or translated saints; and if it is fitting for them to be servants in such a situation in time, it is also fitting that they can be servants in eternity. This is a picture of blessedness in service rather than of arduous toU" (The Revelation o( Jesus Christ, p. 331).

In tlie light of other Scriptures, liowever, we do not have to tliink of ourselves as mere servants of the triune God m heaven. Rather, our service wHl be that of chil- dren, or sons (cf., Romans 8:15-16; I John 3:1-2, etc.). This means that our eternal service wHl be bathed in filial love and affection which will make it a service of eternal joy and blessing. The fh-st pai-t of vei-se 3 may also serve as an allusion to the curse placed upon labor in the garden of Eden (cf.. Gen. 3:17-19), wliich now is seen as eternally lifted. In heaven, all of our labor will be sweet because there will be no intrusion from evil and liostUe forces and, thus, all trial, test, tempta- tion and pain will be foa-ever banislied.

The latter pai-t of verse 5 also tells us that we shall not only serve the ti-iune God ui Pai-adise (heaven), but we shall also share in His eternal reign. Again, this im- plies sonsliip rather than mere servitude. Some see this as prophetical of the IVIillennial reign with Clu-ist (wiliich would allow for a literal intei-pretation of our sharing together with Him in His eai-tWy rule over the peoples and natioris). Howevei-, the entire context seems to be dealing witli eternity proper, rather than merely with the Millemiiimi. The imagery of both sei-ving and reigning may seem, on the siui'ace, to be mcongruous. However, in the light of Chi-ist's eternal triumph over all unright- eousness and sin and the promise of Scripture that we shall share with Him in the same service will lose Its bui-densome charaoteristics and take on tlie very semblance of a rule and reign. Barclay puts it very succinctly: "The vision ends with the promise that the people of God wUl reign for ever and ever. At last in

Page Eleven

His service, they will find their perfect freedom, and in perfect submission to Hmi they will find the only true royalty (The Revelation ol John, vol. 2, p. 285).

The blessedness of both our service and our reign in eternity is pictured foa- us, in verses 4-5a where we are promised that we "shall see his face; and liis name shall be in (our) foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and (we) need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth (us) light." Tiiis seems to suggest

the most blessed fellowship and intimate commimion

reminiscent of that known and enjoyed by Adam and Eve before the fall (cf., Gen. 3). The promise that we shall see His face reminds us of God's face bemg hidden from Moses on IVIoiunt Sinai (Ex. 34:20) and the promise of John, m his fh-Sit ei>isitle, that we shall see Him even as He is (I John 3:2). In heaven there shall be no separa- tion between God and His redeemed saints only unin- terrupted communion, sweet and blessed. The mention of His name bemg upon our foreheads suggests our eternal lilceness to the divine indeed, even our being stamped with His very image (I Joihn 3:2). Again we are remind- ed of the fall cf Adam and Eve, in the gai-den of Eden, which resulted in then- losmg both their intimate fellow- ship with God, and His moral and spu-itual image. In essence, then, John is telling us that, what Adam and Eve lost through then- rebellion and sin we shall liave eternally restored through oui- personal identity with CJod (through faith in Christ and His redemptive minis tiy).

Verse 5 provides a most fitting close to this descrip- tion of Paradise regained, repeating once again the glor- ious Uuith first presented in 21:23-25. We ai-e again told "that there shall be no night there." Tliis could imply that the dai-kness of sin's night is now forever abolished through the light of Christ's glorious presence (cf., 21:23b). However, more likely this is anoitlher way of saymg that, in Christ, Paradise will be made up of a new heaven and a new earth where there wiU be no need of created Ught (either that of God or man of the sun or of a candle), because God himself, shall for- ever shine in us and through us, emanating His glory and grace. Precious Paradise promises.

There are several precious Pai-adise promises sprink- led throughout this chapter wliich deserve our brief at- tention. For instance, in verse 6a, John hears this angel which had transported him (m vision) to "a great and high mountain" (cf., 21:10) saying unto him: "These sayings are faithful and true." The reason for their bemg "faithful and tme," rests upon the fact that the One, Who is behind the declaration of tliese sayings, is Himself "faitlifiU and true" (cf., 1:5 and 3:14, where Jesus is declared to be the "faithful and true witness"). The Word of God ever stands or falls upon the very in- tegrity of Christ and His stedfast cliai-acter. Because He can be ever depended upon (cf., John 14:6, where He declares Himself to be "truth"). His Word is sure and thus, certain of fulfillment.

The original Greek has the latter part of verse 6 de- scribe God as "the Lord God of the spirits of the proph- ets," which Barclay says, "means the God Who inspired the minds and the spirits of the prophets, the God Who spoke to and in the prophets." He continues: "This means that the messages and the words and the visions wliich came to John came from the same God Who in- spired the great prophets of the Old Testament, and

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The Brethren E\angfelist

that they must l)c accepted as equally divine and treated with equal seriousness" (Ibid., p. 286), Thus, in this \-erse, we ha\-e the preciotis promise that these visions of John are wholly reliable because they are backed up both by JesuB, Who is the very source of all that is "faitliful and true," and by the Father Who also spoke through His prophets (cf., Rev. 1:1),

The second promise in this chapter is that dealing with the sui-e and sudden coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (this promise repeated three times Ta, 12, and 20). This is, in reality, a three-fold promise. First, our Lord (Who is now the speaker) promises that He will come and that "quickly" (i.e., with lightning-like speed, and thus, probably referring to the rapture rather than the revelation). Second, He promises that His coming will result in blessing for aU who wUl keep (obey) "the say- ings (conimandmeratis) of the prophecy of this book" (7b). And, third, our Lord promises that He will rewai'd "every man accordmg as his work shall be" (12b). Leh- man Strauss makes the following relevant appUcation to this three-fold promise: "These last three prom;ise3 of Christ's return are connected with oiu- responsibiliity to obey the Word (22:7) with oiu: stewardsliip and rewai-d (22:12) and with our comfort and consolation (22:20). What a difference there would be in otu- individual lives, in our homes, and in oiu- churches if we held these facts before us daily" (The Book of the Kevehition, p. 361)!

A third major promise, in this chapter, is foimd in verse 10 and comes in these most interesting words, "for the time is at hand." Walvoord says concerning this ex- pression, and the prohibition not to seal "the sayings of the prophecy of this book" (10a): "John is especially commanded not to seal the sayings of the prophecy be- cause the time (Greek, kairos), or proper season, is at hand (Greek, eggys) or neai-. The time period in which the tremendous cojisummation of the ages is to take place, accoirding to Jo'hn's instruction, is near. The in- determinate period assigned to the church is the last dis- pensation before end-time events and, in John's day as in ours, the end is always impending because of the im- minent return of Christ at tlie rapture with the ordered sequence of events to follow" (op. eit., p. 334).

This prohibition, gi\-en to John, not to seal the sayings of the prophecy of Revelation, seems to be in direct con- trast to the admonition, given to Daniel, to do that \'ery thing (cf., Daniel 8:26 and 12:9). This prohibition, then, is another way to say that this present age is the age of actual finalization and fulfillment of aU God's plans and purposes for men. At the end of this age, all prabation and free will will come to an end, and we will, each one, stand before God to give a strict account of all our deeds performed in the flesh and be judged accordingly (vs. 11-12). Barclay quotes the ancient commentator, An- dreas, as e.x]>laining Christ's words here as saying: "Let each man do what pleases him; I will not force his choice." Barclay then continues: "This may well be the meaning. Jesus Christ may well be saying: 'I use no compulsion; the only weapon I use is appeal; as a man chooses to make himself, so let him be; for only if he al- lows me to do so, can I remake him.' This, then, would be another of these warnings that eveiy man is writing his own destiny" (op. cit., p. 288).

Wrapped up, then, hi this promise of Christ's imminent coming is the implied admonition for u's to prepare while we still have time, for, the time wUl come when it will be forever too late to change either our character or our

eternal destiny. God, the righteous Judge, wUl ultimate- ly judge each and every one of us, and bless oi' damn us according to our works (which reflect our acceptance or rejection of Clu-ist and His claims upon our lives). Our Lord, here, both promise and warns that that time is vei"y neai-!

One further promise is to be noted in verse 14, which guarantees blessing upon all "they that do his command- me;iits." AU the better manuscripts read "those who wash their robes," which places tlie main emphasis upon God's grace rather than man's works. Barclay, how- ever, shows deep insight when he comments on this phrase: "This plu-ase shows man's part in salvation. It is Jesus Christ Who in His Cross has pi-ovided that grace and that sacrifice by which man alone can be forgiven; but man has to appropriate that sacrifice; he has to wash his own robes, as John would put it, in the blood of Jesus Christ. To take a simple analogy, we can supply soap and water, but we cannot compel a person to use them. So those who enter into the city of God are those who have accepted and appropriated the sacrifice of Jesus Christ" (Ibid., p. 290).

Those who are not so washed in the blood of Calvary's Lamb are again described for us, in verse 15, where we have a direct warning from Christ that all such shall be f oi'ever shut out of the eternal city the very Para- dise of God (cf., also JMatt. 8:11-12 and 25:41, 46). Only those who wash their robes in ithe blood of Christ (i.e., appropriate, through faith, the merits of His death on