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"Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their
beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a
two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon
the heathen, and punishment upon the people; to
bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with
fetters of iron; to execute upon them the
judgments written."—Psalm 149:5-9 .
WE ARE frequently asked whether we understand that there is to come a time when the Lord's people, the saintly ones, while still in the flesh, will have a full understanding of the entire Word of God, including the dark expressions of Ezekiel, Zechariah, Revelation, etc. In reply we usually remind the questioners that eighteen hundred years ago St. Paul wrote, "Take unto you the whole armor of God," including the "Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God"; and that we are, therefore, to understand that St. Paul himself and other Christians of his time had the "Sword of the Spirit." We are sure, however, that they did not understand certain portions of the Word of God which were not then due to be understood; for instance, that portion of Daniel's prophecy which the angel said was to be sealed up until "the time of the end," and many other prophecies which were not then unfolded. This has always been more or less true ever since. Prophecy unfolds gradually. Today more is due to be understood than ever before.
We are not to understand that the Bible will have no value in the incoming Age, but rather to the contrary of [R5804 : page 346] this. Our thought is that the Bible will be used then, not so much as the sole means of communicating God's will, but as a source of information, much as we now use histories. It will enlighten men respecting the Divine promises and supervision of the world and respecting God's laws, etc. There is nothing to indicate that every matter of which the Bible treats will be seen clearly by the Church while we are on this side the veil. The Apostle says that "now we see through a glass, obscurely"; but that beyond the veil we shall see "face to face." We shall see clearly; for we shall then be like our Lord. "Now we know in part, but then we shall know even as we are known."—1 Corinthians 13:12.
The Scripture which tells us that the Bible will be used in the future, tells us that all the world will be judged by the things written in these books, and informs us that the books will be opened (the books of the Old and the New Testaments), implying that up to that time they were not opened. (Revelation 20:12.) They are open now to God's people in a large measure. We believe that there has been "meat in due season" for the Household of Faith in every time. There was not so much knowledge of spiritual matters necessary in the past as in the present; hence never before have the books been so widely opened as they are today. Now the entire Plan of God shines very clearly. But we do not know of anything in the Scriptures which says that these books will be understood in every detail by the Lord's people on this side of the veil, on this side of the resurrection change.
In speaking of this present time, as we think, the Prophet David says, "Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their beds." The children of God should be joyful at all times—even in tribulation, knowing that these experiences work out for us a development of character and a preparation for the Kingdom glories. The Psalmist here foretells that the saints at this time are at rest upon their beds, while they sing God's praise. This statement might be meaningless to us until we understand from other Scriptures that these beds represent creeds or the sum total of one's religious belief.
While some are reclining on a short creed bed, which cramps and fetters them, and the narrow covers of which cannot give them warmth and comfort, the true saints of God have at this time beds of full and proper size, and a cover which is warm and ample. They are shown in this prophetic picture as taking their ease, resting in faith, while others are restless and uncomfortable. But while thus resting in these good beds, representing their mental attitude and heart condition, and while praising the Lord, they are using skilfully the "two-edged Sword." This Sword in their hands is the Bible. The thought is not necessarily that God's people have absolute knowledge of every feature of God's Word; but that they have all the knowledge needful to the efficient use of the Sword at this time, all the knowledge designed for the saints now, when this prophecy applies.
"Let the high-sounding praises of God be in their mouth," urges the Psalmist. We believe that this is more and more becoming true. The saints can praise God more intelligently and fully now than ever before. We can see our Lord's character better, because much of the ignorance, misconception, mysteries and obscurity have fled away. God's Word is shining out with more brightness than ever. We cannot see that our Brother John Calvin could have had very much of the high-sounding praises of God in his mouth; for it is surely not a high-sounding praise to declare that our God would assign thousands of millions of humanity to an eternity of torture. Nor can it be said of people of today who teach this same horrible doctrine, that they have the high-sounding praises of God in their mouths.
God's name is blasphemed, and His glorious character traduced and misrepresented every day. The world is told that God has a devilish Plan—that He has made a hell in which to torture a very large part of humanity; and that He has the devils there already doing the torturing, and that this will go on throughout eternity. There are no high-sounding praises connected with any such beliefs and teachings. But the Lord's people who keep close to His Word are now able to tell forth the wondrous Story of God's Love, Wisdom, Justice, and Power as never before. And the Truth is surely accomplishing a work in the binding and fettering of error. We believe that the words of the Psalmist in this text are being fulfilled at this time. To some extent at least we are already engaging in the great work here depicted.