They shall speak of the glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy power;
to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious
majesty of his Kingdom."—Psa. 145:5-12 .
VARIOUS ARE the view-points from which mankind regards its Creator. The world of mankind in general notes merely his mighty acts, without appreciating his glorious character. This is suggested by the Prophet, saying, "I will speak of [meditate on] the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous deeds, and men shall speak of thy terrible acts: but I will declare thy greatness." (Vss. 5,6.) The world speaketh of its own, and according to its intelligence respecting the Almighty; but the Lord's people, specially instructed by him and taught of the holy spirit, know of the Lord and his greatness in a sense that the remainder of mankind know them not.
As the Apostle declares, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. ...But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit." (1 Cor. 2:14,10.) As our Lord again declared, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom." "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear." (Mark 4:11; Matt. 13:16.) We are not, then, to be surprised at the wide difference of understanding of God and of his mightiness and of his character, as viewed by the saints and by the world; rather we are to expect such a difference of view. The Apostle explains the reason, telling us that the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, so that the glorious light of God's goodness, shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, does not shine into their hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the divine character and plan. (2 Cor. 4:4.) And he explains again that we who were at one time in darkness, are now enlightened by the Lord, having been translated out of the dominion of the prince of darkness, into the dominion of God's dear Son. (Col. 1:13.) And it is this enlightened class that the Apostle urges should make progress in the knowledge of the Lord, growing in grace, growing in knowledge, and thus growing in the love of God and in the appreciation of his character. He urges this, saying that it is necessary, to the intent that we may comprehend with all saints, the lengths and breadths, and the heights and depths, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth all [human] understanding.—Eph. 3:17-19.
Alas! the great majority of Christian people, while they have escaped from much of the blindness of the Adversary, are still subject to his confusing errors and misrepresentations of the truth, and are thus blinded still in great measure to the divine plan; looking at things more from the human standpoint than from the divine standpoint, and framing their creeds and confessions accordingly. Ah, they forget how the Lord has declared, "My plans are not your plans, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my plans than your plans." (Isa. 55:8,9.) Because of this measure of blindness that rests upon the mass of the nominal church—even amongst Protestants—it follows that, not seeing the divine character and plan in their true light and beauty, the vast majority of Christian people cannot take the standpoint of the saints in this prophetic testimony before us, but they take rather the standpoint of the natural man: when they think of the Almighty they think rather of his wonderful and terrible acts than of his own greatness, because they know comparatively little of the glorious honor of his majesty, and do not see how his wonderful deeds declare his greatness.
From the standpoint of the average Christian, God is anything but gloriously honorable in his majesty; indeed, thinking of the Almighty from the standpoint of their creeds, the majority of noble-minded Christian people feel ashamed of God and of his plan. One class declares that his glorious honor and majesty [R2712 : page 310] is manifested in his election of the Church to glory and eternal life, and in the passing by of the great majority of others, condemning them to an eternity of torture—and that since "known unto the Lord are all his works," God foreknew and foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, and thus purposed the eternal torment of the vast majority of his hundreds of millions of human creatures before creating them. Can these dear Christian friends declare the honor and majesty, the greatness and goodness, of their Creator? No! Hindered by such a false view of God's plan and of his mighty works, they cannot discern in such a course either justice, or love, or any other great or honorable quality, that they should honor or reverence it. Hence, like the world, they merely take note of the mighty power of Jehovah, and fear him, but are unable to take the position of the saints and to glorify his name and declare his righteousness.
Another large body of Christian people repudiate the foregoing false view, asserting another equally untrue, and almost equally dishonoring—tho their thought is to glorify God, and to relieve his character of the stain of injustice, inequity and lovelessness with which the foregoing view would besmirch it. These, therefore, claim that God loves every member of the race, and is doing, and has been doing since the fall, everything within his power to rescue Adam's fallen race from their difficulties. But with such a view how could they extol the greatness and the honorable majesty of the Almighty? If for six thousand years he has been unable to accomplish anything, where is the power, where is the honor and majesty to be seen?
Surely all would confess that any bright, honorable man, if granted the one-hundredth part of the omnipotent power of the Creator, could accomplish more in one hundred years than all that has been accomplished in six thousand years, toward the rescue of the race from ignorance, superstition and sin! How, then, could these dear Christian friends who, with good purpose of heart, are nevertheless blinded by a false theory—how could they tell forth the glorious honor of the divine majesty, and show this and his greatness from his wondrous deeds? Surely they would be dumb in any such effort.
Only those who see the divine plan of the ages, and the relationship between the past, the present, and the future, are in any degree able to make known the greatness of our God, his glorious power, and his honorable majesty. This class is referred to by the Revelator as singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb—they sing in the sense of declaring in harmonious and beautiful cadences the relationship of the types and figures of the Law and the Prophets of the Mosaic dispensation with the antitypes of these of the Gospel dispensation; showing that all things written in the Law and in the Prophets are finding glorious fulfilments in the Lamb of God and in the great plan which the heavenly Father is working out through him.—Rev. 15:3,4.
The Revelator tells us the substance of this song; namely, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!" But what great and marvelous work has God performed, and how shall we see that he is both just and true in all his ways and dealings? From the standpoint of those who can sing this song everything must be clear as noonday!
First amongst the great and marvelous works of the Almighty was the sentence of death upon father Adam and his posterity because of disobedience—not a sentence of eternal torment, which would be as unjust, and unreasonable, as it is untrue and contrary to the Word of God—not the false presentation respecting this divine act that is held forth in all the creeds of Christendom,—but the great and marvelous act which God [R2713 : page 310] declares he accomplished when he let fall upon our race the sentence of death, which has brought in its train all the various disasters and difficulties, mental and physical, to which our fallen flesh is heir, all of which are tending to, and resulting in death, the penalty. As we look at this marvelous work, we must concede that it was just (in that it was merited), that it is true (in the sense of not being an unreasonable penalty), true in the sense that it was exactly what God forewarned father Adam the penalty of disobedience would be. "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
But Jehovah's first great and marvelous work of condemnation was, after four thousand years, followed by another great and marvelous work; viz., the work of redemption. How stupendous this work of the ransoming of all Adam's race of hundreds of millions by the sacrifice of one man! How great and wonderful indeed this act, and how just and true, and how fully in harmony with every feature of divine justice and love! Even the philosophy of the ransom is explained to the Lord's people,—how that all mankind were included in one man's sentence, to the intent that in due time the penalty of sin could be paid on behalf of all mankind by the one sacrifice for sins, "the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all." (1 Tim. 2:5,6; Rom. 5:12,18,19.) Was not this a great and marvelous work? Who that realizes the lengths and breadths, and heights and depths of this manifestation of divine justice and divine love, can do aught else than sing this song of Moses and [R2713 : page 311] the Lamb, declaring to all who have ears to hear it, "Great and marvelous, just and true are thy ways, Lord God Almighty." But few see it clearly; and hence few can sing this wonderful story to others.
But there is still another feature to this song, and it is glorious also, tho it pertains not to the things that are past, but to the things yet to come. It declares, "Who shall not reverence thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?" It looks forward to the time when this great redemption, accomplished by the blood of the Lamb, shall be made available to every member of the human family. It looks forward to the glorious Millennial age, to the time when, under divine providence, the knowledge of the Lord, essential to faith, and to any acceptance of his favor and mercy through Christ, shall be extended to every creature,—who indeed will not reverence the Lord and glorify his name? Surely, as the Scriptures have declared, at that time, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess," and while this bowing and confessing may at first be compulsory, and not with all the volition of the heart, yet the Scriptures assure us that ultimately all who will not come into heart harmony with the Lord and with all his gracious arrangements and provisions, shall be cut off from amongst the people,—in the Second Death. (Acts 3:23.) So that ultimately, instead of the universe being filled with hundreds of millions who to all eternity will wail and gnash their teeth and blaspheme God's holy name in agony—instead of this the time shall come when every tongue in heaven and in earth shall be heard praising God, and giving honor to him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb, forever; for by that time all evildoers, all lovers of unrighteousness, shall be cut off from amongst the people.
But this song continues, and has yet another strain. It declares, "Thou only art holy"—all holiness, all perfection, wherever it is found, must proceed from God, the great fountain of holiness. How strange, then, that any of God's dear people (and we ourselves were once amongst this number) should so misunderstand the divine character and plan as to misrepresent the same as being the very essence of unholiness, injustice, unkindness, inequity, lovelessness, toward the great mass of God's creatures! It will indeed be a glad day when all shall reverence God's name, and when all shall recognize that he is indeed the fountain of holiness.
But there is still another strain in this song, and it is a grand one also, like all the others,—reaching down into the Millennial age. It declares, "All nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." "All nations" will include, not only all the nations then living, but all the nations of the dead, just as does the promise which God made to Abraham, saying, "In thy seed [the Christ, Head and body] shall all the families of the earth be blessed"—all nations.
How few, how extremely few, are able to learn this song! How extremely few learn it so well as to be able to sing this song to the glory of God! How many who supposedly were trained to sing "the good tidings of great joy" for all people, are in the pulpits to-day singing totally different songs; some of them songs of "Evolution," declaring that there was no fall, consequently no redemption from a fall, and consequently that there is to be no recovery from a fall; but that man is grandly climbing up, up, up, and proving to be his own Savior, and hoping to attain they know not what,—they know not when.
Others are singing the song of Calvinism, predestination, foreordination and election. Others are singing the song of Arminianism, and hoping that God will be able to accomplish much in the future through their assistance,—which they hold he has unsuccessfully been trying to do for six thousand years. Others are singing the song, "In union there is strength," and seeking to combine for what they term a "social uplift," or "the salvation of society." Others are singing the song of works and universal salvation. But how few are able to sing this song of Moses and the Lamb, or to see how God's great and marvelous works of the past reflect gloriously upon his character, both for justice and love, and give us the best of all assurances for the working out in the future of the glorious plan which he has already outlined and begun!
And we are told the reason why so few can sing this song—that it is only for those to sing who have "gotten the victory over the beast and his image and his mark and the number of his name." These symbols, representing earthly institutions which now hinder and bind and enslave the Lord's people to creeds, must be overcome by every soul that would hope to be able to appreciate this song, and to sing it in his daily life to others according to his opportunities. Those who try to sing this song while yet in Babylon find their mistake.
Coming back to the Prophet's testimony respecting the message, showing forth the Lord's honor and majesty, we find in the 7th verse a wonderful testimony to the central feature and greatest manifestation of the divine character and plan. The Psalmist says (Leeser's translation), "The memorial of thy abundant goodness shall they loudly proclaim, and they shall sing joyfully of thy righteousness." What [R2713 : page 312] memorial has God given us of his abundant goodness? Which of all his great and wonderful works could be thus termed a memorial of divine favor? We answer that this memorial, this great act, was none other than the gift of God's dear Son, to be our redemption price, as the Apostle declares, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9.) But as very few realize the great act of justice accomplished in the sentencing of father Adam and his race to death, so very few can appreciate, as a special manifestation of God's abundant goodness, the death of Christ as the full offset for Adam's sin, the full ransom, the full payment of his penalty and that of his race.
The reason for this is that they esteem that the ransom was paid only for the Church, a little flock. From this standpoint it was not a manifestation of the abundant grace and goodness of God, but of a very limited grace and favor for a very limited number, a handful, as it were, out of the great mass of humanity. But when we come to see that our Lord Jesus' sacrifice was "a propitiation for our sins [the Church's sins] and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," and that this "ransom for all" is "to be testified in due time" to all, and made available to all, that ultimately all may benefit thereby if they will, and return to harmony with God and to eternal life,—from this standpoint only can we see the greatness of that transaction, finished at Calvary, and how it is a "memorial" of God's abundant goodness. And only such as see this can heartily and loudly proclaim it, and sing joyfully of the righteousness of God, which not only was manifested in the righteous penalty against sin, but which again manifested itself in the righteous payment of that penalty on behalf of every creature.
The Psalmist continues, "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works" (vs. 8). Is not this just what we should expect in our Creator, if we recognize him to be the full embodiment of Justice and of Love and of Wisdom and of Power? And yet how different is this description of the divine character from the general view, as held by the masses of Christian people, blinded by the Adversary and misled by their creeds! Instead of thinking of the Lord as gracious, do they not think of him as awfully ungracious, and have they not pictured him, not only in their creeds but also in their hymns of praise, as being awfully bitter and malignant against his creatures, ungracious, pitiless, full of anger and of no mercy? Have they [R2714 : page 312] not, on the contrary, represented that Jesus our dear Redeemer must plead with the Father, and show his wounds and appeal for us, ere any compassion could be exhibited, and then only in the most limited degree?
But not thus false was the Prophet's view of Jehovah, given by inspiration. Jehovah is gracious and full of compassion; he knows that the motions of sin are in our flesh, tending downward, and in his great mercy and compassion he has provided in Jesus for our every difficulty, our every trial, for the covering of our every weakness and imperfection, and with those who become his people, and who even haltingly seek to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, he is slow to anger and of great mercy. False ideas of the divine character and the divine dealings with the world of mankind have not only perverted the hopes of God's people as respects the world, but have also inculcated in their hearts misconceptions of God's sentiments toward his Church, so that the majority of his people do not appreciate the kindness, the mercy, the love, the compassion of our Father in heaven, and failing to appreciate these they have more or less of the fear of which the Apostle speaks, saying, "Fear hath torment," and correspondingly they lack "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" to rule in their hearts. It is only when by the grace of God the eyes of our understanding are opened to see how our heavenly Father is not against us, but for us, and how under his providential arrangement all things are working together for good to those who love, and who are seeking to attain to the gracious things which he has offered them in his Word,—only then are we enabled to know him, appreciate him, and to offer him, in the best and fullest sense of the word, the tribute of our hearts and the praise of our lips.
Now we come to the climax, as it were, of our text, and note that while the Lord's saints see his greatness and honorable majesty connected with every feature of the divine plan, and while they are telling these good tidings to others, and speaking of his mighty doings in the past, their message would not be complete without a testimony respecting his glorious Kingdom. "They shall speak of the glory of thy Kingdom"—the Millennial Kingdom. They cannot tell of the majesty of the divine plan and not tell about the Kingdom. To tell of the fall, and to tell of the righteous sentence upon the fallen race, and to tell of the redemption accomplished through the precious blood of Christ, and that it was paid on behalf of every member of the Adamic race, would not finish the good tidings of great joy. It is necessary, therefore, to speak of the glory of God's Kingdom, and to talk of his power as it will be manifested in that Kingdom. As the sentence and the execution of the sentence manifest the justice of God; and the redemption [R2714 : page 313] through Jesus manifests the love of God, so the Kingdom of the Lord will manifest his power to save to the uttermost all those who come unto the Father through the Son.
The glory of the Lord's Kingdom will not consist, as some have supposed, of some saints sitting with the Savior on a bright cloud and looking over the battlements of heaven to see the remainder, the numberless millions of mankind, writhing in agony. O no! If this were all that we could say of the Kingdom of our God we should rather prefer to say nothing. There would be no glory in such a Kingdom; it would be an everlasting reproach to the King that he had conceived a plan which had resulted so horribly, so indescribably bad, that it should mean the eternal torment of hundreds of millions of his creatures. Nor will the glory of the Kingdom consist, as some others of God's dear people suppose, in a manifestation of a handful of saints, the glorified Church, with the Lord, and with the remainder of the race blotted out of existence without ever having had knowledge and a full opportunity under favorable conditions to avail themselves of the great memorial of God's love, the redemption. O no! There would be no glory, but a discredit to such a Kingdom and to so meagre an outcome to the great "memorial."
Nor will the Kingdom be, as some others of God's dear people have conceived it to be, one in which Christ and his Church shall, during the Millennial age, bless merely the living nations of the world, and bring to them the blessings which God has promised, but leave all the remainder of the race who have died for six thousand years, from Adam down to the present time, in darkness, in ignorance, in death, without any opportunity under that Kingdom. O no! A human plan might thus favor the millions living at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, but forget or ignore or pass by the hundreds and thousands of millions who have gone down into the great prison-house of death; but God's ways are not as man's ways nor his plans as man's plans. The glory of the Kingdom of which we are authorized to speak, is a Kingdom which is to bless all nations, the dead who have gone down into the tomb, as well as those who have not yet gone into death. It is a Kingdom in which God's power will be most marvelously manifested.
Let us "talk" together now of his power as the Prophet has suggested. It will be a mighty power which will overthrow the reign of sin, which will bind the power of Satan that he shall deceive the nations no more, and which will establish the Lord Jesus and his glorious Church in power and great glory, with dominion over all the earth, with authority to execute judgment,—to punish sin and to reward every effort toward righteousness. But the power of God as it will be manifested, will be still greater than all this; it will be a power which will lift up out of the miry pit of sin, out of the weaknesses of the flesh, out of his imperfections, mental, moral and physical, every member of the human family who desires to make progress and to return to the grand perfection of human nature represented originally in father Adam, and from which he and all in him fell, through disobedience. In this sense of the word it is a resurrection power, raising up, up, up, from the low conditions of sin and death to the high conditions of perfection and righteousness. It not only will thus take hold of the people who will not at that time have fallen asleep in death, but this mighty power of the Kingdom will take hold also of those who have gone down into the tomb, and who are in the great prison-house of death; even as our Lord declared, that he will open the prison-doors and say to the prisoners, "Show yourselves; come forth." "And all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth" (John 5:28,29), and the coming forth shall be unto a resurrection by judgment—that so many as will, may avail themselves of the blessed privileges and opportunities of that great judgment day (the Millennial age), and profit by the stripes and corrections in righteousness which will then be administered, and grow in grace, grow in knowledge, grow in love and grow in perfection of being, until by the close of the Millennial age, if they will, they shall have arrived back again into full harmony with God, and received fully all the perfections of human nature lost through the fall, and redeemed by the great "memorial" of divine favor.
No wonder, then, that the saints, when they glorify God, speak of the glory of his Kingdom and talk of the mighty power of God which shall then be manifested, and how then shall be made known to the sons of men God's mighty acts; how they shall then see clearly the meaning of the original sentence as they do not now see it; how they shall then see clearly the meaning of the great redemption, as they do not now see it, and how they shall then see clearly the provision of divine power in the Kingdom for their blessing;—that seeing these mighty acts of God in their true light, they also may glorify the Father which is in heaven, and they may appreciate the majesty of his Kingdom.
The Prophet intimates that all the saints shall have the privilege of thus declaring the Kingdom, and of thus honoring the name of our God; and this seems to be literally fulfilled to-day, for the Lord seems to [R2714 : page 314] be bringing to the attention of all of his saints (his consecrated people everywhere) the present truth; to the intent that they may have its light upon their pathway, making manifest unto them the glorious character of our God, through a knowledge of his great plan of the ages. Moreover, the Lord seems to be putting it within the power of every one of his saints to thus glorify his name and to speak forth the truth to others. To some he has granted the talent of oratory and opportunity to use it and to speak forth his praises in this way; to others he has granted a talent for private conversation, that they may thus tell of his Kingdom and speak of his glorious majesty and make known his plans to such as have hearing ears. To others still he has given the privilege of declaring his message through the circulation of the printed page; and to some he seems to have given opportunities for using all of these various methods of singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. And we may rest assured that none can be of the company of the Lord's saints in this time, and know of his goodness and his wonderful honor and majesty, and not have a desire to tell the good tidings of great joy to all who have an ear to hear; and those who are most earnest, most zealous in proclaiming the message, are sure to have the most blessing in their own hearts, and in their own experiences, and to grow the most in grace, in knowledge and in love.
"I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous deeds. Thy saints shall glorify thee; they shall speak of the glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy power, to make known unto the sons of men thy mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of thy Kingdom."