(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 20) The Heavenly Glory of Christ Lord's Day 19 Psalter No. 414 St. 2 Read Rev. 6 Psalter No. 181 St. 2, 3 Psalter No. 424 St. 4 Psalter No. 195 St. 2, 3, 4 Beloved, What a revelation of Christ's eternal triumph was given to the apostle John on Patmos when he heard one of the four beasts say as with a noise of thunder, "Come and see." "And I saw and behold a white horse; and He that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto Him; and He went forth, conquering and to conquer." The Lamb that was found worthy to take the book of God's counsel that was sealed with seven seals, and to open its seals - that Lamb, slain before the foundation of the world had opened the first seal of that book. All the saints and the four beasts that represent the entire creation and the twenty-four elders, twelve representing the Old and twelve representing the New Testament, in whom therefore the entire elect church is comprehended, worshipped the Lamb, giving Him honour and glory. The Lamb, that was slain; that in the fulness of time gave Himself into the hands of His enemies, with Whom they could do as they pleased; the Lamb that being nailed on the cross humbled Himself unto death, that Lamb now sits on the white horse of His victory, and bears the crown that was given Him. For He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. His victory is indicated by the colour of His horse upon which He proceeds, conquering and to conquer. He is risen from the dead and has destroyed him who had the power of death, that is the devil. Death could not hold Him. On the morning of the third day He arose from the grave. When the angel from heaven, His servant, descended, the earth quaked upon its foundations, His enemies fled and became as dead men. He triumphs eternally and saves His people from death. Yea, He has ascended to heaven. All evil spirits of the air fled before Him and He took His place at the right hand of His Father. There John sees Him in the spirit. From there He works and He rides upon the white horse of His victory throughout the entire world. He had a bow from which he shoots the arrows into the heart of the King's enemies that His people may bow before Him and surrender to Him. With His sword He will crush His enemies. He will break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. But those that were purchased by His blood, those that were given to Him by the Father, those He shall wound with an arrow from His bow. He shall take away their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. He shall pluck them from the claws of Satan and break the enmity of their heart in order that they may learn to know and acknowledge Him as their Lord and King. He shall wound the head of their enemies and the hairy scalp of such a one as goes on still in his trespasses. In Him they shall conquer. From day to day He goes forth through the world to save by the foolishness of preaching those that believe. To that end He sits at the right hand of His Father, exalted to the highest power and glory. No enemy shall hinder His progress for all are conquered and made His footstool. In whatever distress His church may be, whether they must go through water or through fire, He shall deliver it, and continue His conquering work until the last elect shall have been brought in. Oh how great then for God's upright people is the comfort that lies in the heavenly glory, which Christ obtained when He took His place at the Father's right hand and which shall fully be revealed when He returns one day to judge the quick and the dead. To that heavenly glory of Christ we would draw your attention as we consider the nineteenth Lord's Day of our Heidelberg Catechism. Lord's Day 19 Q. 50. Why is it added, "and sitteth at the right hand of God"? A. Because Christ is ascended into heaven for this end, that He might appear as head of His church, by whom the Father governs all things. Q. 51: What profit is this glory of Christ, our head, unto us? A. First, that by His Holy Spirit He pours out heavenly graces upon us His members; and then that by His power He defends and preserves us against all enemies. Q. 52: What comfort is it to thee that "Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead"? A. That in all my sorrows and persecutions, with uplifted head I look for the very same person, who before offered himself for my sake, to the tribunal of God, and has removed all curse from me, to come as judge from heaven; who shall cast all his and my enemies into everlasting condemnation, but shall translate me with all his chosen ones to himself, into heavenly joys and glory. Hence we must now speak of the heavenly glory of Christ, I. in His sitting at God's right hand; II. in His work for His elect, and III. in His return for judgment. After the instructor has spoken to us of the exaltation of the Lord in the resurrection and ascension, he draws our attention to the glory that Messiah has at the right hand of His Father, and that He shall one day display perfectly when He comes upon the clouds to judge the quick and the dead. In the viewing of this glory of the Mediator the instructor is not merely objective, but he also points to the profit God's people receive from this glory. In the first place we are instructed concerning the Lord's glory in His sitting at God's right hand. The Twelve Articles of Faith point particularly at His sitting at God's right hand after speaking of the ascension of Christ, and the Catechism inquires about the "why" of that addition so that the glory of the exalted Mediator shall shine forth the more. For in His ascension the fellowship between Him and His church on earth is not broken, as we already heard in the previous Lord's Day. On the contrary, the Lord remains with His people with His majesty, grace and Spirit, but He entered heaven and shall not be seen on earth anymore before His return. But His glory is profitable for His purchased church, and they must not only consider the fact of His ascension, but must continuously by faith see Him sitting at God's right hand, so that by His power they shall seek the things which are above, and that their conversation should be in heaven where their Head and Lord is. That is why it is added: "and sitteth at the right hand of God." But we must not take that expression literally, for God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and hence has no body, nor a right hand. Sitting at His right hand is the highest glory given to the Mediator by the Father. Is not the right hand the place of honour? Solomon, "the king rose up to meet his mother, and bowed himself unto her and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand." How the king honored his mother! Thus we also sing of the glory of the heavenly Bridegroom and His bride: "Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir." At the right hand is the place of honour. In Scripture God's power and majesty are often spoken of as His right hand. "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." Christ then was promised the highest honour and glory when it was said that He would sit at God's right hand. "The Lord said unto my Lord, sit Thou at My right hand until I make thy enemies Thy footstool." (Ps. 110:1). The Lord spoke of that glory to the high priest, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds in heaven" (Matth. 26:64), while Paul in the epistle to the Hebrews lets the full light fall upon this glory as a glory far above that of the holy angels: "To which of the angels said He at anytime, Sit on My right hand"? After the deepest humiliation Christ is crowned with honour and glory above all creatures. The Father has glorified Him with the glory which He had before the world was. In heaven the angels which remained standing and the saved elect always give Him honour, and the fact that He sits at God's right hand should continually inspire His dear people to sing psalms to His Name. The revelation of His glory caused John on Patmos to fall at His feet as dead, and everyone who by the grace of God may see Him in His heavenly glory with spiritual eyes bows in the dust before Him. "Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy" (Psalm 99:9). There in heaven whence He ascended and where according to His human nature He remains until the end of time He is said to sit. We also read of Stephen that he "looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." It makes no difference in the glory of Jesus itself whether He is said to sit or to stand, but there is a difference for God's people in the exercises of the soul with respect to that glory. He stands so that also with His heavenly glory He may serve His church, always ready to help her, taking her up in glory in the hour of death. His sitting denotes the sweet rest which the Mediator now enjoys after having finished His labors perfectly. The priest of the Old Testament stood in the sanctuary; their work was never finished, the blood of bulls and of goats could not satisfy God's justice. But this priest after the order of Melchizedec gave perfect satisfaction. He sits in eternal glory, resting with divine contentment. Thus as Mediator He shares in the full love, favour, and fellowship with His Father. Do not consider this the glorification of the Son as of the Second Person in the Godhead, but of Him as Mediator, for the glory of God itself cannot be decreased, nor increased. As surety He was forsaken by His Father, but after completion of His work which was laid upon Him, He was taken up in His Father's eternal favour. In heaven Christ sits upon His throne "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet" (I Cor. 15:25). Thus He rests in subjugating all His enemies, ministered unto by the angels, and glorified by those who were bought with His blood, and have entered into glory. "And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, 'King of kings, and Lord of lords'" (Rev. 19:16). "Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11). In accordance therewith our Catechism says, "Because Christ is ascended into heaven for this end that He might appear as Head of His church, by Whom the Father governs all things." He was the Head of His church, also before His exaltation. He was that from eternity; as such the church was elected in Him. The church on earth was never without its Head; how could she have existed? But when has Christ begun to show more especially, more decisively and more domineeringly (to His enemies) that He is the Head of His church? When He was glorified at His Father's right hand. Out of His glory He would especially prove Himself to be the Head. "And He is the Head of the body, the church; Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the prominence" (Col. 1:18). How this shines forth in the spreading of the Gospel, the middle wall of partition lies broken, and He brings in His elect out of both Jews and Gentiles. The hour is come, of which He spoke to the seeking Greeks, when the Son of man shall be glorified in bringing forth fruit as the corn of wheat brings forth fruit when it dies. Since He has been sitting at the right hand of the Father, He has brought the other sheep which were not of the Jewish fold, and it shall be one fold and one Shepherd. In every sinner that bows before the King of Heaven we can see that Christ is the Head of the church, by Whom all that the Father has given Him shall be brought in. That Head guides and governs the body. Thus it shall be as Paul says, "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (Eph. 4). That is also the purpose of the government of the glorified Mediator. He is the Head to govern. His church is subject to Him. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is Savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." That government is for the salvation of His people. The true freedom lies in subjection to Christ. In this government the church is also safe. "Even He shall build the temple of the Lord, and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." However not only the church is subject to Him, but the Father governs all things by Him. "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." Nothing and no one escapes the government of Christ. The holy angels are His servants, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation; and the spiritual wickedness in high places as well as the powers of hell, and the raging powers of magistrates and nobles, all both in heaven and on earth, all is subject to Him; the Father governs all things by Him. He is set at the Father's right hand in heavenly places, "far above all principality, and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, and the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." Mark well, beloved, the great distinction in exercising the government of Zion's King. Of Him Simeon already spoke in the temple, "This Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel", and that word is confirmed in the government of Him to Whom the Father gave all power in heaven and on earth. He shall break His enemies with a rod of iron. "Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." And those enemies are not only the openly profane, mockers, drunkards, adulterers, but by nature we are all enemies of God and Christ, you and I; and with us all others who were brought up and remained under the Word of God, also the Orphan, the Arabs who humbled themselves before God, but whose heart remained unrenewed. All of us await the judgment of Him by Whom the Father governs all things. On the other hand, by regenerating grace He brings His people under His blessed government for their salvation. He saves their souls from death and He preserves them and governs them that no enemy shall harm them. Christ exercises that royal dominion in the administration of His Holy Spirit and by means of the preaching of the Gospel. Thus He rules in the midst of His enemies by the rod of His strength out of Zion. (Psalm 110:2). He rides upon the white horse of His victory and has a bow in His hand, and a crown was given unto Him, and He went forth, conquering, and to conquer. By the strength of His Spirit and Word He goes forth through the world. His people glory in Him: "The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King." He gives His people the laws by which He Himself governs them, thus fulfilling His promise: "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts" (Jer. 31:33). Thus He causes them to walk in the midst of the paths of judgment, and saves them out of all dangers, so that not one that was given Him by the Father shall be lost. He cares for them as their Head. He can also save them, since not anything in heaven nor on earth can resist Him. Therefore He can also comfort His disciples, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against My Church", and therefore not one of His people shall be lost. "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." Christ is also the representative Head of His people. With Him they are made to sit in heaven, and He presents them which were His delights from eternity to His Father as a chaste virgin, not having spot or wrinkle, so that the Father Himself declares. "Hephzibah" (Isa. 64:2) which means, "My delight is in her." Oh, glorious Immanuel! To that end then the Lord Jesus sits at God's right hand that He might appear as Head of His church, by Whom the Father governs all things. That glory and dominion, however, the Lord did not obtain for Himself. He was, is, and remains very God, the Almighty. He became His Father's Servant, and bought His people with His blood and sits at the Father's right hand for the benefit of His people. They receive all the benefit and profit. Thus we come in the second place to the consideration of the heavenly glory of Christ II in His work for His elect. As the Third Person of the ever blessed Godhead, God the Holy Spirit distributes various gifts, even to the reprobates. But those are natural gifts of sciences and arts, and even of common convictions. But as the Spirit Whose work of grace has been merited by Christ, He grants heavenly gifts. Sometimes He distributes to His people extraordinary gifts, as those given to the apostles at Pentecost when they began to speak in tongues, and also after that when they performed signs and wonders in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Especially does the glorified Head of His church pour out in His members the heavenly gifts by which they receive communion with Him for salvation. The most important work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ. The second question of the nineteenth Lord's Day speaks of this. The question, "What profit is this glory of Christ our Head, unto us?" is answered thus by our instructor, "First, that by His Holy Spirit He pours out heavenly graces upon us His members." Christ's mediatorial work must be glorified in us. Alas, what good will the glorification of the blessed Emmanuel do us if we have no part with Him? He took His church to heaven with Him; He has placed His own at the right hand of the Father; in Him as their Head they are glorified. Christ must work out this representative glorification in their heart. Although God's elect partake of all salvation in Christ, nevertheless, by nature they are estranged from God, and they hasten on to eternal perdition. Now notice what profit they obtain here on earth out of the glory of Christ their Head. He pours out the heavenly graces in them by His Holy Spirit. That Spirit He sent from His Father on Pentecost. Only after He had entered His glory could the Holy Spirit come; but then He did come, and it is the Holy Spirit Who applies to those that are purchased by Christ that which they have in Christ, Who pours out the heavenly graces in them; Who glorifies Christ in them. In him who was a stranger both to God and to his state of misery, God works a knowledge of God and of self. He plants in the soul faith which we all lack, however fine our confession may be. He opens for the poor embarrassed sinner the room there is in the mediatorial work of Christ and causes the wearied soul to hear the Savior's invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He works true communion between Christ and His people and grants them to enjoy the happiness and blessed comfort. He causes them to hate sin, inclines the heart to holiness and makes them walk in God's law. "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be My people." That Spirit assures them of their reconciliation with God in Christ, and restores them into communion with God. And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father'" (Gal. 4:6). Among the heavenly graces patience is also included, for the Lord knows that His people need it, since they must go through many tribulations to enter the Kingdom of heaven. In short, in those heavenly graces which Christ pours out upon His people by the Holy Spirit, are included all the things that belong to the obtaining of salvation and to the preparation for glory. He pours it out in such an abundant measure that Isaiah prophecies concerning it: "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground." Oh, that is why the prophets have testified so gloriously of the glory of Christ. How David sang of that glory when the ark was brought up to Zion, for it was on that occasion that Psalm 68 was written, "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou has led captivity captive; Thou has received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord might dwell among them." How much more then should the liberated church rejoice in these gifts of her glorified Head. Alas, God's people live so little in the liberty that is in Christ; unbelief and doubt, lack of the fear of God and whatever other reasons there may be, prevent her living in the state given her by Christ. Still there is in the graces of the Holy Spirit such a fulness for utterly miserable sinners. Here it is, "Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved." Here is food for the hungry, righteousness for the guilty, here are the wells of water springing up into everlasting life, if only our soul may come by faith to the glory of Christ. Oh, what a privilege it is if we may truly understand by faith the mediatorial suffering and death of the Lord, and may receive healing out of His stripes. If God's people may know themselves to be in Christ, sitting at God's right hand, then they exclaim with Paul, "Yea, rather That is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us." "Him has God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." In that exaltation the church is also safe, in spite of the bitterest opposition. Christ manifests His glory to His enemies by preserving His people. "That by His power He defends and preserves us against all enemies," says the instructor. Against all enemies. Oh, they are so very many that hate God's church and in the service of Satan roam about to destroy God's people, if that were possible. They are the evil spirits about us and above us, the rulers in the air; they are the God-dishonoring thoughts thrown by the powers of darkness into the hearts of God's children to distress them; the terrors of Satan with whom they wrestle while God hides His face. It is the world that hates God's children with their terrible powers, because they are not of the world. It is sin that opposes our life, not only outside of us, in friend or relative, in our home and in our child, but that works also in our own heart to draw us away from God's commandments, among which is the terrible unbelief that doubts God and His grace. From without and from within the work of God is attacked, and the church is distressed. But never fear! There is a mighty Helper. By His power Christ defends and preserves. That power is a power, to which all must yield, both in heaven and on earth, and under which all enemies shall be crushed forever. Christ rules in the midst of His enemies. Why then should the church of God fear? Alas, sometimes all things seem to come at once, internal and external forces joining hands and threatening destruction and death. If then Christ in His glory shows Himself, if it be only through the lattice, then, oh, then all must flee. Then Satan releases his hold; then the violence of the world does not harm; then sin is held under. Yea, then the soul by faith agrees once more that Christ in glory defends and preserves His own. Then God's people sing: "Thou knowest all my woes, O treasure Thou my tears; Are they not in Thy book Where all my life appears? My foes shall backward turn When I appeal to Thee, For this I surely know, That God is still with me." In the hard battle which must be fought to the end by those that shall be saved, only the glorified Emmanuel upholds them and His unconquerable strength leads them on to victory. In that strength God's people shall go into the midst of the battle and shall not turn back. "We lift our heads aloft, for God, our shield, is o'er us; Through Him, through Him alone, whose presence goes before us, We'll wear the victor's crown, no more by foes assaulted, We'll triumph through our King, by Israel's God exalted." No, for God's children there is no danger. They do not fight to win the battle, but the victory has been attained by their eternal King, who triumphs in unspeakable glory at His Father's right hand and defends them, guards them, and leads them surely to eternal triumph. Everywhere and always the enemy lost the battle, whether through Pharaoh he wants to destroy Israel in Egypt, or whether he calls Balaam to curse the people, or whether through Rabshakeh he rages at the gates of Jerusalem, or whether he threatens their destruction in Babylon by Belshazzar, always he loses the battle; his prey is taken away, the serpent's head is bruised, although for the benefit of God's people the prince of darkness is permitted to wage the severe battle which he carries on with his last breath. This caused Luther to sing, "The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him." Out of the glory of its Head the church is comforted in the fearful battle of life, but the church is also called to be active. Internally it must fight against sin, and externally it must carry forth the holy principle of the Word of God. No, God's children may not seek to avoid the conflict, they may not leave the nations, church and school to the godless. They are called by their King to take their arms to fight in the consciousness of His power, the battle which shall end in their victory. Our nation would never have fallen away so far if the people of God had been more faithful in following their King. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life", said the Lord to His church at Smyrna. What great profit then the glory of the Head brings to His church. Truly the fact that He is at the right hand of His Father where He appears as Head of His Christian church, by Whom the Father governs all things is more than His death. Cast your eye not only on high, but also into the future, perhaps in the distant but still in the certain future, in which the work of the Lord for the salvation of His own will be completed. He Who has departed shall come again, and that return of Christ shall be the crown upon His work and shall bring perfect salvation to His people. Of this glory of Christ the instructor speaks in the last question, saying, "What comfort is it to thee that 'Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead'"? Thus we have come to our last main thought, by which we III view the heavenly glory of Christ in His return to judgment. Ah, I know that thousands and thousands ridicule this most important doctrine of our Christian religion. More and more people are turning away from the expectation of eternal bliss and dream of an earthly paradise. Heine sang for his socialistic friends, "We want to bring a paradise upon this earth below, and here enjoy true happiness." Thus they show that they are truly of the earth earthy; sunk away in stark materialism, entirely blind and dead for the spiritual, heavenly and eternal good that Christ merited for His own, and of which He shall some day make them partakers for ever. Is it strange that man who tries to make himself entirely loose from the Word of God, and seeks to quench the spark of the knowledge of God that still glimmers within him, does not cast his eye to heaven to expect Christ? Is it strange that the clouds that he sees day by day and upon which the Mediator ascended to heaven, do not speak to him any more of the return of Him Who shall judge the quick and the dead? So many generations have already cast their eyes on high and waited, but, in vain; the unhappy ones reason, considering the long suffering of God slackness, until it becomes evident, and they shall experience that God is not slack concerning His promise, but shall judge also the wicked, whose scoffing shall end in eternal destruction where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. No, there in that burning fire the atheist shall not be able to deny God, as he did here; there his conscience will no more be silent; there the hated Nazarene shall eternally be glorified in their destruction. For this will be the worst part that Christ shall cast all His and His people's enemies into eternal perdition. That is not only the atheists and those who scoff at the return of Christ; the line of separation which God draws does not lie between the visible church and those who openly serve the world, but the threshing floor of the church shall also be purged. The Lord shall separate the wheat from the chaff. One day the chaff shall be burned with unquenchable fire; all the open and secret enemies shall be cast into eternal perdition. But God's elect shall be translated to Himself into heavenly joys and glory. What comfort lies then in the return of Christ for those who are no stranger to the grace of God. That awful day will be the day of their eternal victory. When He was in the days of His flesh Christ once placed Himself before God's bar for their sake, and took away the curse that rested upon them, and reconciled them to God. There is no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus. Shall not then the enemy whose aim is to destroy God's people, be greatly disappointed? They shall be cast into perdition from which deliverance is impossible. They shall find their place in the fire that shall not be quenched. But God's poor people shall be taken up to Christ. That is the expectation that shall strengthen them in all their sorrow and persecution. It shall not last forever. That shall come to an end when God's people shall have served the Lord's counsel. Then when also their body shall be quickened, they shall enter into the joy of their Lord. "And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning." Oh, that the eye of God's people were focused on the day of the Lord's coming, singing with the church of old the psalter number we shall now sing together: No. 424 St. 4. "Let all the streams in joyous union Now clap their hands and praise accord," etc. Application Tremble, oh sinners. Cry, blasphemers and worldlings because of your judgment. Quake, all ye unconverted of heart, even though you live under the Word and have embraced a true doctrine. Christ ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, but He will return. In that return He shall condemn you eternally, unless you bow before God in this life and make supplication to your judge. How much more impressive is the testimony of Christ's return in these so serious times. The day of Christ's return shall surely come. Upon that awful, majestic day the hope of God's children is fixed. Marvel at it with strong yearning to be a partaker of the blessed hope of God's people. For even now in this time state they enjoy the comfort of that return, and one day they shall thereby receive the full salvation. In this time state, says the Catechism, the second coming of Christ comforts the Christian so "that in all my sorrows and persecutions, with uplifted head I look for the very same Person, who before offered Himself for my sake to the tribunal of God, and has removed all curse from me, to come as judge from heaven." Sorrows and persecution are the legacy of the church of God, according to the will of its blessed King. "In the world ye shall have tribulation," said He. Nothing shall alter this arrangement of sovereign love. Through many tribulations, through times of great distress the church with Christ its Head, goes forth to its glory. And in sorrow and persecutions, in labor and affliction, in illness and poverty, mourning and grief, the Lord does not forsake His own. Then do let the wicked see that your hope is not in vain. The poor world has nothing that can give real comfort. In afflictions and trouble their head hangs low. Music, liquor, sports and narcotics are needed to dull their grief. But, O ye that are bought by the blood of the Lamb, lift up your heads and be encouraged in your sorrows and persecutions, for your Lord and King is coming. Too little does our soul look up to heaven. How much the church of God is bound to the earth, and much she misses the comfort of which the instructor teaches us. May true faith be strengthened, that our soul may wait for the Lord as they that watch for the morning. Come, people, examine yourselves, loosen the bonds that keep your soul captive. Our very dark times in which the Lord evidently has a controversy with the inhabitants of the world, make us hear the cry, "The Bridegroom is coming," so that the wise virgins may awake and not lag with the entire creation that "groans and with earnest expectation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.' That we also may expect Him Who "shall translate me with all His chosen ones to Himself, into heavenly joys and glory." Oh, what that will be! He shall wash away all tears from your eyes, sorrow and sighing shall flee away forever. With a perfect soul and a glorified body you shall serve your King eternally, without sin according to the desire of your heart. Before the foundation of the world the Father chose you out of so many millions and ordained you for the salvation of which you here became a partaker by faith, and in which you with the innumerable elect shall enter when Christ comes again and shall call to you, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Amen. (continued in part 21...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-20.txt .