Seven…to be Maintained in a Day of Reduction

 

Issue No 1

Martin Cook – Word in a meeting for prophetic ministry, Tunbridge Wells, 17 August 2017

Numbers 29:1, 12-14, 32-36   Mark 8:6-9  Revelation 1:10-16, 20.

I desire, with the Lord’s help to say a little as to seven months, seven bullocks, seven loaves, seven baskets, seven lamps, seven stars, seven assemblies and seven overcomers.  The thought of seven brings before us what is perfect, and what is maintained.  I believe that at the moment there is so much that would cause us to be downhearted and discouraged.  However, when we see things from the divine side, we see that things are being maintained.

 

The Seventh Month

The seventh month was the climax of the Jewish year.  It was a time of blessing for God’s people, when the ingathering took place.  It was also the time of sounding of the trumpets.  This time can be likened to the period which commenced 185 years ago when beloved Mr Darby left the church.  The trumpets sounded, and God spoke in a clear and distinctive way.  ‘Wherefore come out from the midst of them, and be separate’ (2 Cor 6:17 KJV).   Persons who were faithful to Christ stood aside from the professing church, and received unique and precious teaching – the truth of Christ and the assembly, the Head in heaven and the body here.  What flowed was the enjoyment of eternal life and the understanding of the truth of the local assembly.  One and another continued to minister in the first half of the 1900’s, opening up the truth of the sonship of Christ, the service of God and the worship to the Holy Spirit.  It was truly a time of rich blessing amongst the people of God.  God spoke clearly, many were affected, numerous localities were formed, and it was a time of great increase and blessing.

But in more recent years, we have seen reduction. This is what we have in Numbers 29. What started with thirteen bullocks, gradually reduced, but it never got to less than seven.  I think that this is the point we have reached now.  Let us lay hold of the fact, beloved brethren that  some form of what is collective and honouring to the heart of Christ will remain until the end of the dispensation.  I trust I shall be identified with it.  As I said earlier, we never have less than seven bullocks.   The supper is maintained: ‘For as often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye announce the death of the Lord, until he come’ (1 Cor 11:26).  God is pleased in that which speaks to Him of Christ.  He will not suffer the enemy to triumph.

 

Seven Loaves and Seven Baskets

I move on to the seven loaves and seven baskets. The seven loaves speak of the all-sufficiency of Christ to maintain what is pleasing to Himself in the scene of His rejection. What struck me was that after all had eaten and had been sufficed, there were seven baskets remaining.  These were not hand baskets: the bible dictionary describes them as hampers. I think Mr Coates said it would probably have taken two or three people to carry them[*].  The Lord said in Matthew, ‘For where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them’(Matt 18:20). It struck me that where two or three are prepared to carry the basket, there is provision to carry on.  After that great period of blessing amongst the Lord’s people of which we have spoken, things can be maintained.  We could say that there is a hamper for every local assembly in Revelation.  The Lord says that for each locality where His people are found, there will be the ability to continue: the overcomer will be found.

 

Seven Assemblies

When you look at the seven assemblies, you say that you find admixture: not all is as it should be, but, thank God, the thought of seven assemblies goes through to the end.  The Lord told John to bear testimony to ‘the things that are’ (Rev 1:19):  the present circumstances, and how the Lord views them.  He is walking in the midst of the seven golden lamps.   Whatever the state of the church may be publicly, it continues to be a golden lamp from the divine viewpoint.  The Lord knows what the state of each soul is in every gathering. Those eyes as a flame of fire take account of us.  He wants us to be like one of the seven stars in His right hand.

The principle of overcoming goes through to the end.  There is an overcomer in every local assembly – hopefully more than one.  Indeed, there are enough overcomers to carry the basket, and maintain what is due to the Lord.  The overcomers are feeding on Christ; they are feeding on the richness of what has been given in the ingathering.  Let us thank God for the ministry that we have been given: we would have been so impoverished without it.   We were reading in Haggai yesterday, ‘The word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, and my Spirit, remain among you: fear ye not’  (Hag 2:5).  Think of what is available to maintain that which is available for the pleasure of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, even in a day of reduction.  Let us be found beloved, where the Lord has set us, seeking to carry what has been committed to us (typified in the basket), feeding on what is of Christ, and knowing that, as we seek to do so, He holds us in His right hand.  He will maintain us for His pleasure till He comes.

May the Lord bless the word for His Name’s sake.

 

 

[*]An Outline of Mark’s Gospel (CAC Vol 9) p 81

Note: Quotations from scripture are, unless otherwise indicated, from the Darby Translation 1890

Edited by: Daniel Roberts, Strood, Kent  (daniel@adayofsmallthings.com)

Revised by Martin Cook and checked by others,
January 2018

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A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – The Revelation

he Book of Revelation presents the return of the Holy Spirit’s witness to God’s relationship with the earth. At first we have the church, as an earthly witness, but then the saints of the heavenly calling are seen only in heaven. It sets the stage for the return of God’s First-Begotten to the world. Then we have a prophetic view of God’s judgments, the book introducing the King of kings and Lord of lords Himself to execute judgment and to set up the kingdom which shall never be removed. He is accompanied by the heavenly saints.

lay-preaching

The Book of Revelation presents the return of the Holy Spirit’s witness to God’s relationship with the earth. At first we have the church, as an earthly witness, but then the saints of the heavenly calling are seen only in heaven. It sets the stage for the return of God’s First-Begotten to the world. Then we have a prophetic view of God’s judgments, the book introducing the King of kings and Lord of lords Himself to execute judgment and to set up the kingdom which shall never be removed. He is accompanied by the heavenly saints.

At the beginning and end, we have the thoughts and feelings of the saints:

  • The first refers to the cross, and its bearing on the saints, looking back at their own part in that which laid the foundation of Christ’s title. This brought judgment on the world.
  • At the end we have the saints’ own portion with Christ Himself. They look forward to His glory. Meanwhile they are conscious of it and its present fruit.

Ch. 1 presents God as supreme and eternal. We have the Holy Spirit in His attributes of divine administration, and Christ in His glory as connected with the earth. He is coming. He calls John’s attention to His glory on earth, not in service but in judgment. He walks in the midst of the candlesticks, the place of light in the world, judging the state of the churches. We find a divine person, the Son of man having subordinate representative authority in His hand: the stars and the angels of the churches. These are the things that were seen.

Next we have ‘the things that are’. We get:

  • Ephesus – departure from first love.
  • Smyrna – persecution
  • Pergamos – the world its dwelling-place
  • Thyatira and Sardis – false teachers seducing the saints; their corruption settled there, and the saints thus to wait for Christ’s coming, who is given to them in His own heavenly unseen associations, and the visible kingdom too.
  • Philadelphia – a little power
  • Laodicea – spued out of His mouth

In the four first churches it is a question of personal fidelity od that church to Christ. Christ is walking amidst the candlesticks. In the last three, the stars are not said to be in His hand; they all refer with warnings or promises to the coming of the Lord.

The vision then switches to heaven. The world’s judgment flows from there, and the saints are viewed as enthroned and crowned there. God’s throne of judgment is set up in heaven, and the ministers of His government proclaim His glory, while the saints worship.

Ch. 4-5: The Lamb appears; His glory is celebrated. Heaven owns His title to open the book of God’s ways, and the angels stand around the inner circle of those connected with the throne (24 elders, 4 living creatures). The elders give their reasons for worship. The Lamb now opens the book.

Ch. 6: The providential history of God’s dealings in the Western Roman earth is presented. We see the martyrs who cry for judgment. There is a universal subversion of the subsisting powers, so that men are alarmed as if the day of the Lord were come.

Ch. 7: The remnant of Israel is marked out for preservation; the multitude of the Gentiles to be spared are owned.

Ch. 8: The first four trumpets are the specific judgments on earthly prosperity and the power of the Western Roman Empire.

Ch. 9-11: The next two judgments are on the men of the East. Then we get a parenthesis: the great Western beast. A testimony is given, which comes to a close before the end of the period of the second woe. At last we have the seventh trumpet, which closes the whole scene.

Ch. 12: A new vision of special dealings is now opened, more connected with the religious condition of men. The Jewish people are seen, as heaven sees them, in the counsels and purposes of God. So a Son is to be born, Christ, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron. The whole church is united to Him. But this is taken to heaven and God’s throne, out of the way of the dragon. The woman – the Jewish people in the latter day in distress – flees from three and a half years’ persecution into the wilderness. There is war in heaven. Satan is cast down, having great rage, knowing that his time is short. His career in heaven is ended. He can no longer accuse the saints on the earth, but he persecutes the Jews. They flee, so he turns to persecute the witnesses amongst them.

Ch. 13: Next, we see the earthly agents: the beast, with seven heads and ten horns, who receives his power from Satan for 1260 days. He blasphemes what is heavenly, and persecutes the saints. Then a second beast, in the prophetic and royal character of a messiah, exercises his power, making the world worship him. He does miracles, and gives breath to the image which he has caused to be made.

Ch. 14: We now have the remnant who suffer like Christ. We also have the testimony, judgments and warnings of God. Finally, we have the judgment of the earth, and the destruction of the wicked by the Son of man.

Ch. 15: Another great sign follows, not necessarily at the same time or immediately after it. It reaches down to the the throne of the beast. The saints, who pass through the time of tribulation, are viewed as at rest. The sea of glass is mingled with fire.

Ch. 16: The vials are poured out. They are on the earth, and particularly strike the beast’s kingdom, and those who dwell in it. Then all the kings of the earth gather themselves together. The smiting does not correct them, but galls their pride. Finally, the last judgment of God is executed even on Babylon, the beast remaining to be defeated by the Lamb.

Ch. 17-18: We have a description of what the woman is: how she rides the horned beast, corrupting all nations. The Lamb overcomes both of them. Babylon is Rome.

Ch. 19: After Babylon is judged, the marriage of the Lamb takes place. He comes forth out of His heavenly seclusion, as King of kings and Lord of lords, to be revealed in the earth. As he comes out as the word of God in judgment, the saints, witnessed in righteousness in the fruit of their works, accompany Him. The beast and the false prophet (the second beast), are taken and cast to their final doom, their royal character having disappeared. The rest are slain. This is the judgment of power and war.

Note that the rapture of the church belongs to the church revelation, so it could not come into the Book of Revelation. However, we see the saints in heaven.

Ch. 20: Then Satan is bound, and shut up in the abyss for a thousand years. Sessional judgment follows. All the heavenly saints are on thrones, for this is royal judgment, and judgment is given to them – this is the first resurrection. After that we have the second resurrection, in which the dead are to be judged and condemned.

Ch. 21:1-8: Heaven and earth flee away; death and hades give up all. God is all in all in a new heavens and new earth.

Ch. 21:9-22:5: The Spirit returns to give a description of the heavenly Jerusalem during the millennium (as He had of Babylon and its relationship to the earth).

Ch. 22:6-21: After warnings to those who are in the time of the book, Christ comes forward Himself as the One who had given the revelation. This draws out in the bride, with whom is the Spirit, to express the desire of His coming. Expressed is her position – towards Christ, towards those who hear the word, and towards sinner. John seals the book with his own desires those of the church, ‘Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The re-introduction of God’s government into this world in Christ, in this book, and the discovery of the heavenly position of the church, is full of interest and doctrine. Meanwhile judgment of the world and its course, is confided to the church which closes the book both historically and doctrinally, the church herself being above the world.

This closes the canon of scripture.

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  October 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original