Volume 2

The Lord's Coming

J.B. Stoney

Page: 469

Revelation 22:15 - 21

J.B.S. The first thing here is the fact of a distinct communication from the Lord. "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star". Then in verse 17 there is response to it. No one could know that communication but someone near Him. No one could respond to it but someone near Him. I hear people singing about the coming of the Lord who are not feeling the solemnity of it, they have not the gravity of it before them, they are not in a condition to say, "Come". No one can say "Come" but the Spirit and the bride. You may say it is individual, but the individual must have condition of heart and the sense of the relationship, to be able to respond to this communication and say, "Come".

Rem. Being interested in His interests would be part of it.

D.L.H. The thought here is not our going up to Christ, but His coming to enter on His rights. J.B.S. The prominent idea is that Christ is coming to reign. You could not have the day without the morning star. There is first the rapture, for when He comes, we come with Him. I do not think the wife of a rejected king would be satisfied that her husband should come for her, and not have prominently before her that he was coming to reign where he had been rejected. From Thyatira onward the prominent thought we get is Christ's coming to reign. It is the event looked for.

Ques. Is there not the fact of the rapture in verse 17?

J.B.S. The rapture is included, but there is more. The first wave of His power manifests itself with

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reference to His own. All who belong to Him will be brought under the effect of it. It will gather up every one who belongs to Him. I do not say the church only, but all who belong to Him. Rem. "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself". He will set them up under Himself.

J.B.S. Yes; according to the different families. We shall meet the Lord in the air. He is the first-fruits. He is unattended when He comes for the bride.

W.M. You said something of the morning star yesterday, what did you mean?

J.B.S. That the morning star is the harbinger of the day; you know when you see it that you are close upon the day.

Were you ever out before daybreak and saw the morning star? Then you knew that the day was at hand. "The day star arise in your hearts" refers to the rapture. The first mark of His favour is to take us out of this place; but it is not according to the heart of the bride to look only for relief when His day is at hand; the morning star truly is the harbinger of that day.

J.P. Is the day star arising in your heart condition?

J.B.S. I think so, you are looking for Him.

D.L.H. Has the truth of the rapture taken too prominent a place with us so as to obliterate the thought of His coming to take His rights?

J.B.S. Exactly. Responsibility is lost sight of. His coming is looked for because He will take us out of all the trials here. The rapture is spoken of only once in Scripture (1 Thessalonians 4), and it is implied in John 14.

J.P. Is it the rapture in John 14?

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J.B.S. It is so only by inference. It is to take them to Himself. It involves the rapture.

J.P. What is the "Where I am", is it the Father's house?

J.B.S. The point is Himself, to take them to Himself.

T.H.R. In that chapter it is all carrying them to His side.

F.H.B. In John 14 you do not get the idea of reigning.

J.B.S. No; but any true heart would not think of being with Him without thinking of His rights. "I will come for you", not send for you. A faithful heart looks for His rights, not only for its own relief.

D.L.H. If the rapture were not unfolded in 1 Thessalonians we should not have thought of it in John 14.

F.E.R. If we had not 1 Thessalonians 4 we should know nothing about the rapture.

Ques. Is not the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15

J.B.S. That is not the subject, but the resurrection. There is more about the day than the rapture in 1 Thessalonians. In chapter 1 we have waiting for God's Son from heaven which was to set up His kingdom.

J.P. Does not "all be changed" in 1 Corinthians 15 refer to the rapture?

F.E.R. It does not refer to it. The rapture refers to our being "caught up", not to the being changed.

Ques. What then is the mystery there? "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed".

F.E.R. The change is not the rapture. The rapture is catching up. The mystery is the change. It all forms part of the victory over death effected here, and does not go on to taking us to heaven.

J.B.S. It only shows how the rapture is before your eye, and not His coming. Where the rapture is

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the thing prominently before the mind, the rights of Christ are not truly in your heart.

F.E.R. I think putting the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15 spoils the whole force of the passage; it is what takes place on earth, not the rapture. The Corinthian epistle is for the earth; the resurrection of the body does not in itself go beyond earth. In 1 Corinthians saints are God's temple and Christ's body, and God gives them the victory over death.

J.B.S. The object is the resurrection of the body.

J.P. Is not the proper hope of the church the Lord's coming for her?

F.E.R. I would say that Christ Himself is the hope of the church, all other thought of His coming is merged in this, all is merged in Christ. When the hope is realised, the church is merged in Christ; all is found in Christ.

J.B.S. I agree with that thoroughly.

F.H.B. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ". Are there two distinct things in that passage?

J.B.S. They are connected together, but this passage is in a different connection from that of Revelation 22. The true way is to stick to the scripture before us for the interpretation of itself. It is all one in that verse in Titus 2:13: "The blessed hope and appearing". Nothing is accomplished till He comes. The bride is looking for Him to come. The great point of the Book of Revelation is that Christ is coming to reign. You must look at the book as a whole, it is one letter. John's ministry went on "till I come". "If I will that he tarry till I come". When the Lord gave the book He could have come from that moment.

Ques. Then is Revelation all the kingdom?

J.B.S. Yes.

F.E.R. It is all in harmony with the general spirit

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of John's line; he brings God in. You cannot understand any of these passages without seeing the point of John, and that is to bring God to earth. It is the very contrast to Paul, who takes the church to Him in heaven; John brings God to earth in Christ.

J.B.S. Yes; I have often noticed how John brings in Old Testament scriptures, and have said -- John is Enoch intensified. Enoch prophesied, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints"; and yet he himself was taken up to heaven.

F.E.R. Yes; Paul must be brought in to complete what John presents.

J.B.S. In the last days in 2 Timothy, in order to meet the state of things, you must be fully acquainted with Paul's teaching.

G.G. The responsibility of saints ends at the rapture.

J.B.S. Yes; but you will have to pass the judgment-seat after that. You must not lose sight of responsibility.

G.G. Will not the judgment-seat be before the appearing, and the responsibility question be gone into there?

J.B.S. Yes. You get your place in the kingdom assigned to you there. Everything in the kingdom is on the ground of righteousness. Everything in heaven is on the ground of pure grace.

J.P. What is the effect of looking for the rapture?

J.B.S. Looking only for the rapture produces laxity, because your thought is that you will be taken out of all here.

J.P. But the Spirit did not reveal it for laxity

J.B.S. No, surely not; but they were full of the appearing. There is no fear but you will be right as to the rapture, if you are right as to the appearing.

F.E.R. I think the right thing is to think of the Person who is coming. If the Spirit and the bride say "Come", it is to some One.

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J.B.S. Yes. Such an One is coming. I do not believe any but the bride could understand the communication. You must be near enough to hear it and to respond to it.

G. G. What is the force of the root and offspring of David?

J.B.S. He is the King. Everything belonged to David, though the rejected king. Christ is of David, and He is about to come and reign. In the address to Philadelphia, He has the key of David, though He be the rejected King. Where the Corinthians failed was they reigned as kings without Him.

D.L.H. Does not, "Ye shew forth the Lord's death till he come" associate us with Him as the One rejected from this scene during that rejection till He receives His rights?

J.B.S. Yes. "Till he come" embraces the whole interval from His rejection here till He come and is owned as rightful King. In the Lord's supper, if I announce the simple fact that He died, I expect nothing in the place where He was rejected, where He died -- nothing between His death and His coming.

T.H.R. "Till he come" is His coming into everything that is His. I should think of the coming of the Lord as bringing God into this scene -- and what it will be to Him to do that, not how it will affect us.

J.B.S. Yes, as Enoch was looking for the Lord to come with ten thousands of His saints, and yet he is caught up himself.

F.E.R. A person is not rightly looking for the Lord if he is not in His interests here.

J.B.S. Only two could understand His mind and be here for Him, the Spirit and the bride. You must go back to Paul to see how the church in union with Christ is devoted to His interests. F.E.R. I thought it was what was characteristic of the Spirit and the bride on the earth to say "Come".

J.B.S. If I have heard His announcement, the

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natural answer is "Come". I do not ask anything but "Come".

F.E.R. Yes; people might argue that there is very little of bridal affection to be found; but the point is, it is the natural characteristic response of the bride to say, "Come".

T.H.R. it embraces the whole of what has gone before. The bride hears the whole communication, "I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star".

J.B.S. If it were heard there would be an effect on others. If I were practically saying, "Come", I should affect others.

T.H.R. You would take up the characteristic of the bride and affect others.

J.B.S. Every Christian is part of the bride, and the fact is you get into your true place.

F.E.R. It is where we all began. We hear it, and then say, "Come". That is how you learn it, how you come into it. You learn what is proper to the Spirit and the bride; you say, "Come".

H. Do we "hear" by the Spirit?

J.B.S. You could not hear in any other way.

J.B. just go back to John 14. I am not clear as to what you said about that. He said it to comfort their hearts.

J.B.S. He was comforting them to stay here, not to take them away. He was going to leave them, and to comfort their hearts during His absence, He says, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also". To take them away was not His immediate object.

J.B. But He was going to take them away to Himself after a bit.

J.B.S. Ah, yes, that is just it, "after a bit", we all agree to that; but He leaves you here first. He has left you here a good long bit, and He comforts the heart

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during the time with the promise, "I will come to you", meaning Himself.

F.E.R. It was in regard to feelings about saints who had died that the rapture is brought in. It was comfort about the dead, not about the living.

J.P. What is our "gathering together unto him" in 2 Thessalonians 2:1? Is it the rapture? J.B.S. Not exactly. It is included. In John 14 the rapture is inferred, but not stated. That and 1 Thessalonians 4 are the only places where the rapture is referred to. 1 Thessalonians 4 is the only statement of the rapture.

D.L.H. It is important to see that the revelation of the rapture is only introduced to comfort the saints about their dead, not to comfort them about themselves.

F.E.R. In Revelation 12 the rapture is involved in the catching up of the man child; it must include the church as well as Christ, but then Satan is cast down. Satan is not cast down now, or the church would be in heaven. There is no more church here when the church is caught up.

J.B.S. Not a bit of it is left on the earth after the rapture. It is not that there are not converts, but not belonging to the church.

F.E.R. They do not come out of the Christian sphere. It is the sphere of enlightenment now, the sphere enlightened by the gospel.

J.B.S. The 144,000 in Revelation 14 are singing the song which originated in heaven; they are near enough to learn it, but they are not the company who originated it. There will be different families in the future in relation to God. The idea that if the Lord were to come we should be caught up produces laxity, if dissociated from the truth of "the day". He will hold you responsible for the state in which He finds you when He comes.

Ques. What is the hope of seeing Him as He is?

J.B.S. What could delight your heart more than to

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see Him as He is? Hence remember you must be like Him to see Him. This promotes responsibility, "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure". You lose the sense of responsibility if only the rapture is before you.

H.H. Hence the rapture is a means to an end?

J.B.S. Yes. Who is really waiting for Him? The one who is occupied with His interests here, but you cannot be in concert with His interests if you do not realise union with Him.

F.E.R. Many may serve Him who do not know union.

J.B.S. Yes; but not intelligently.

F.E.R. You must have Christ dwelling in your heart to serve Him intelligently.

J.B.S. Yes, you are in identity with His interests then.

D.L.H. Must not the servant be equipped? May there not be too much haste in going out into service?

F.E.R. Yes. You cannot come out from God if you have not gone in to God.

J.B.S. As in John 15, he must abide in Him. It is easy for a man to say, I will go to India and preach; he is taking only one line of Christ's interests -- preaching. The test is to stay in a place for the Lord and work it thoroughly. If you are there for God His grace will be given to you, and the qualities of a good servant will be developed there. You will be approved unto God.

T.H.R. It is very important to remember the fitting of the vessel; many go out before the vessel is fitted.

J.B.S. I agree with one who said, If you want to break your heart stay in the church. It is the wear and tear of self in preaching the gospel. It is the breakdown of self to help the church. No one can understand the present state of things who does not understand Paul's teaching. Otherwise you have not

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God's present object before you, and that object is to have a bride for His Son.

F.E.R. The revelation of the rapture to the Thessalonians proves they did not know the truth of union; they would then have had no question about it.

G. G. Who is one "athirst"?

J.B.S. It is the remnant character here, looking after everybody; a converted person not satisfied is one athirst. You must have God's object. J.N.D. said, "That in John 17 He first sets us as Himself in the presence of God, and then sets us as Himself before the world". The great defect in service is, that many have not a correct idea of gift. A gift is a distinct impression which the Lord has given you from Himself, by which you are characterised.

J.P. What do you mean by saying we must go in to God before we can come out?

J.B.S. How could you come out if you have not been brought in? You are actually brought into the scene of divine resources, and then you come out into a scene of contrariety. The English got on better in Russia than the Russians. The latter trust to their furs, but the English take care to go out warm. Christ always came out from God.

F.E.R. If you come out from God you come out impressed from where you have come from. J.B.S. This properly you get in the assembly; it is not so much what you hear, but the effect of the Lord's presence there. You are impressed by Him. I cannot give you a better illustration than Psalm 23. You lie down in green pastures in a scene of boundless resources. You cannot be in power except you are set for God's object. Christ has fulfilled all God had for man. He manifested in divine lustre every desire which God had for man.

F.E.R. The great thing is to see the continuance of Christ in the church.

J.B.S. Yes, His body and His endowment. If

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you do not understand God's object, you cannot be in the line of His power.

F.E.R. Israel was completely superseded in His Person when He was here -- the temple -- the vine, etc., and now the wonderful thing is that it is continued in the church; because it is His body it is to be the exemplification of Him here, and the body is according to the Head.

J.B.S. It is not one person who could be an exemplification of Him, but the body.

F.E.R. If you had gone in to God you would understand what God's thought was.

J.B.S. You may know every word of truth, and yet not have the grasp of it.

-.H. Ephesians 1:17 -- what is the spirit of wisdom and revelation?

J.B.S. God's thought about the mystery in connection with Christ. He was rejected from the earth, and God cannot acknowledge anyone but Christ. When Christ was rejected and refused, the secret of God came out, even that Christ's body was here. Wonderful wisdom! If Christ be refused, God has ordained that millions of saints shall be eventually His COMPLEMENT fully displayed. Satan was utterly outwitted!

D.L.H. Is the spirit of wisdom and revelation the full knowledge of God or of Christ?

J.B.S. Of God.

F.E.R. I do not think the world has done well for itself in getting rid of the Lord.

J.B.S. Not at all. It has caused nothing but confusion. A wicked man never did a wise thing.

D.L.H. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". You cannot get wisdom outside of Christ. Christ is the wisdom of God.

J.B.S. Yes, we get everything through Christ. The result of this reading should be that we all are more set for God's object. It is lamentable to me how

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little His object is before souls. I take up religious papers, and there is not a word about it. If you have not God's object, you cannot be in power. It reminds me of the anecdote of the two captains, who met at the entrance of the trade winds. One decided to take the benefit of them and run on in their course. The other said he would try to pass between them, and when the first was returning he found his friend still in the doldrums. It has been a great help to me to see if you have God's object, the Spirit of God is with you. Daniel had his heart where God's heart was; he had God's object before him. When all was gone in Israel, he opened his window and prayed three times a day toward Jerusalem, though it was in ruins. Saving souls is not God's object, it is only a part of it.

D.L.H. Many not seeing this, and not having God's object before them, say all is over now, and only what is individual is left.

J.B.S. It only shows that all is over with themselves. It is wonderful how people see the colour of themselves in others. If you say, "It is all over", it shows where you are yourself. If my house is on fire, that is the time for me to work and to try to save it. Luke 12 gives us the true character of a servant who is looking for his Lord's return. He is set for Christ's interests now on earth, he is thinking of what concerns Him. In any household if the master be expected home all the servants are on the alert, that all may be in good order to greet him. So will it be with you, if you are really looking for Christ's coming.

F.W.B. We should not be rightly looking for His coming otherwise.

J.B.S. No.