LATE DR E.W. BULLINGER The Three Spheres of Future Glory.
THERE is still something more to learn concerning the dispensations before we can rightly understand the unique position and wonderful teaching of the later Pauline Epistles written from the prison in Rome.
These dispensations are commonly spoken of as: two, the old and the new, but we must bring them, as all else, to the bar of the written Word to see whether we have learned from man. or from God, from tradition or from revelation.
To some extent we shall all agree.
1. We shall all be agreed that the great subject of the Old Testament prophecies is a restored Israel and a regenerated earth (Matt. 19. 281. It is surely unnecessary to quote the many prophecies which tell of the time when the earth shall be full of the knowledge and glory of the
Lord as the waters cover the sea (Num. 14:21,. Ps. 72:9, Isa. 6: 3 ; 11:9,. Hab. 2.:14).
We are at one with all our readers in taking these prophecies in their literal meaning ; and in not attempting to explain them, or rather fritter them away by any spiritualizing interpretation which deprives them of all their truth and power.
We all look forward also to the time when " He that scattered Israel will gather him" (Jer.
31:10).; when they " shall all be taught of God " (John 6. :45, Isa.51:13); when "the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our LORD, and of His Christ" (Rev. 11: 15) ; and when the earthly Jerusalem shall be restored in more than all its ancient glory.
That kingdom and sphere of blessing and glory will be on the EARTH
; and the new Israel with a heart of stone changed to a heart of flesh and with a new spirit, will bring forth "the fruits of righteousness " (Ezek. 36.2.1-36, Matt. 21.
23). This will be the regeneration (or Palingenesia) when the apostles will be seated " on twelve
thrones judging the tribes of Israel " (Matt. 19. 28).
This will be the first and lowest sphere of blessing. I twill be on
EARTH, and under the whole heaven. These are the
people of the saints of the Most High " Dan. 7: 27) [More]
In GENESIS we shall understand the record of Creation
for we shall see in it the counterpart of our new creation in Christ
Jesus (II Cor. v. 17).
In the light which shined out of darkness (Gen. i. 2, 3) we shall see
the light which has shone "in our hearts to give the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face (or person) of Jesus Christ" (II
iv. 6). No wonder that those who know nothing of this spiritual light of
the New Creation know nothing of the light that was created on the first
day as revealed in the record of the old creation. 1
The natural man sees only a myth and an old wives' fable in the Creation
record, and seems actually to prefer the Babylonian corruption of
primitive truth. [More]
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I
live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for
me." (Galatians 2:20).
"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the
world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing nor
uncircumcision, but a new creature" (Galatians 6:14,15).
These last words the Apostle Paul sums up his important letter to the
churches of Galatia, and he emphasizes the great sum and substance, the
essence and marrow of the Gospel of Christ, and of true Christianity.
This is utterly and entirely opposed to the world and to the world's
religion. The world is that which is opposed to the Father (I John
2:16). The world has always been willing to support religion, and even
Christianity, provided it has been allowed to alter it, and adapt it,
and put its own marks upon it. And in all ages Christians have been
willing to comply with this condition, and have allowed its
The Scriptures reveal to us many new things. In Isaiah 42:9, we read:
"New things do I declare"; and God goes on to speak of the new song
which is to be sung in view of His work for restored Israel. We read in
Lamentations 3:22,23, "The Lord's mercies are new every morning." We
read in Ezekiel 36:26, of "a new heart and a new spirit."
In the text before us we read of the new creature. We read in Ephesians 2:15, of
"the one new man"; in Revelation 21 and 22, of "the new heavens
and the new earth," also of "the new Jerusalem," and of a
glorious time when it will be said, "Behold, I make all things new."
Perhaps the most important of all these wondrous things is that which is spoken
of in our text, because without this new creation, none of the other new things
can be known or enjoyed. Having this, we have all the others.
When dealing with "words"
and "language", certain rules or concepts must be applied
for those "words" or that "language" to be
intelligible. If there were no methodical approach to the formulation
and utilization of that language, it would be impossible for anyone to
use it, let alone understand it for its intended purpose and
communication. Language and its composite "words" are
designed for one thing and that is communication. [More]
The one great requirement of the Word
is grounded on the fact that it is "the Word of truth." And
this fact is so stated as to imply that, unless the Word is thus rightly
divided we shall not get "truth"; and that we shall get its
truth only in proportion to the measure in which we divide it rightly.
The Requirement is thus stated in II Tim. 2:15: "Give diligence to
present thyself approved to God, a workman having no cause to be ashamed
rightly dividing the word of truth." [More]
The one great subject which runs through the whole Word of God is Christ: the
promised seed of the woman in Gen. 3:15.
This verse marks the depth of the ruin into which man had descended in the Fall;
and it becomes the foundation of the rest of the Bible.
All hope of restoration for man and for creation is centred in Christ; who in
due time should be born into the world, should suffer and die; and, in
resurrection, should become the Head of a new creation, and should finally crush
the head of the Old Serpent, who had brought in all the ruin. Christ, therefore,
the King, and the Kingdom which He should eventually set up,
become the one
great subject which occupies the whole of the Word of God.
Hence, He is the key to the Divine revelation in the Word; and apart from Him it
cannot be understood. [More]
"Then believed they His words: they sang His praise. They soon forgat His works: they waited not for His counsel" (Psalm 106:12,13)
These are solemn words, because they record a solemn fact. They are true, not only of Israel but of God's people in all ages. They refer to that tendency in the heart of each one of us to cry unto the Lord in our trouble, and then to need the exhortation, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness" (Psalm 107:8), and even to sing His praise and then forget His works.
When God separated a people to Himself, it was not merely that He might be the God of Israel, but a God to Israel. He will not only have the people for Himself, but He will be their God, and "Happy is that people whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 144:15). This Psalm records many examples of the statement made in the text. The first refers to the deliverance from Egypt. For a brief moment we see them in the attitude of faith: "Then believed they His word, they sang His praise" (verse 12). They are on the wilderness side of the Red Sea--"THEN." The waters that opened just now for their salvation and closed again for the destruction of their enemies roll between them and the house of their bondage. They are celebrating in their song the triumphs of God's right hand. They measure everything by it. Not only do they sing of what it has done, but by faith they celebrate victories yet to come, Exodus 15. Compare verses 12 and 13 with 15-18, and note the repeated "shall," "shall,"
The God of all grace who hath called us unto His eternal glory, by Christ
Jesus, after that we have suffered awhile, make you perfect. stablish,
strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
Amen" (I Peter 5:10,11).
These words contain a prayer for a very special blessing. But in order to
obtain it we are cast upon the God of all grace -- God, who performeth all
things for us. Thus we have in this verse four things:
(1) The God of all grace.
(2) His effectual calling.
(3) The necessary suffering.
(4) The certain blessing.
There is one thing that the Christian needs more than he needs any
other thing. One thing on which all others rest; and on which all others
It is certain from the Word of God, and alsofrom our own
experience, that "we know not what we should pray for as we
ought". But "the Spirit Himself helpeth our infirmities"
(Romans 8:26). He knoweth what we should pray for. He knoweth what we
need. He maketh intercession for us and in us. He teacheth us how to
pray, and in Ephesians 1:17, we have His prayer set forth in these
words: "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in
the knowledge of him."[More]
There are few subjects that are made more of in the word of God, and there are few subjects that are more set at nought by the traditions of men, than the doctrine of the Resurrection. I believe that it was the late Mr. Spurgeon who lamented the fact that our English theology, while it was rich in every department of Christian doctrine, does not contain a single satisfactory work upon it; and a reference to a bibliography of the subject, such as you find in Alger's Future State, will convince anyone of that fact--a fact as instructive as it is remarkable. We are all constantly confessing in our Creed, "I look for the resurrection of the dead". Do we look for it`? We are all as constantly confessing, "I believe the forgiveness of sins". Do we believe it? I think that the two may go together; and we may say of them that all the thousands who take the Christian name upon their lips know little about the forgiveness of sins, and look but little for the resurrection of the dead. It was with special reference to the
resurrection that our blessed Lord said to His enemies, "Ye do err, not
knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God".
Scripture shuts us up to
the blessed hope of being reunited in resurrection.
That is why the death of believers is so often called "sleep"; and dying is called
"falling asleep"; because of the assured
hope of awakening in resurrection. It's language is, "David fell on sleep" (Acts 13:36), not
David's body, or David's soul. "Stephen ...
fell asleep" (Acts 7:60). "Lazarus
sleepeth" (John 11:11), which is explained,
when the Lord afterward speaks "plainly",
as meaning "Lazarus is dead" (v. 14). [More]
There are few subjects that are made more of in the word of God, and there are few subjects that are more set at nought
by the traditions of men, than the doctrine of the Resurrection. I believe that
it was the late Mr. Spurgeon who lamented the fact that our English theology,
while it was rich in every department of Christian doctrine, does not contain a
single satisfactory work upon it; and a reference to a bibliography of the
subject, such as you find in Alger's Future State, will convince anyone of that
fact--a fact as instructive as it is remarkable. We are all constantly
confessing in our Creed, "I look for the resurrection of the dead". Do we look
for it`? We are all as constantly confessing, "I believe the forgiveness of
sins". Do we believe it? I think that the two may go together; and we may say of
them that all the thousands who take the Christian name upon their lips know
little about the forgiveness of sins, and look but little for the resurrection
of the dead. It was with special reference to the resurrection that our blessed
Lord said to His enemies, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power
of God". And we err with regard to this subject of the transformation of His
people, because we are ignorant of what the word of God has to say about it; and
we are ignorant, upon the other hand, about all that flows from the knowledge of
the forgiveness of sin, because we are ignorant of the blessed standing and
privilege which He has given us. [More]
Many writers, from the earliest
times, have called attention to the importance of
the great subject of Number in Scripture. It has
been dealt with, for the most part, in a fragmentary
way. One has dealt with some particular number, such
as "seven"; another has been content with
a view of the primary numbers, and even when
defining their significance, has given only one or
two examples by way of illustration; another has
confined himself to "symbolical numbers,"
such as 10, 40, 666, etc.; another has taken up such
symbolical numbers in their relation to chronology
or to prophecy; another has collected examples, but
has dealt little with their meaning.
There seemed, therefore, to be room,
and indeed a call, for a work which would be more
complete, embrace a larger area, and at the same
time be free from the many fancies which all,
more or less, indulge in when the mind is occupied
too much with one subject. Anyone who values the
importance of a particular principle will be tempted
to see it where it does not exist, and if it be not
there will force it in, in spite sometimes of the
original text. Especially is this the case when
chronology is dealt with, the greater uncertainty of
dates lending itself more readily to the author's
God, Who studded the sky with jewels and carpeted
the earth with colors, has written His revelation in language which reflects the beauties of His visible creation. The diction of the East
and of the Scriptures is full of fine figures, over which we walk with
ruthless tread, seldom stopping to admire the blooms beneath our feet.
It is the voice of feeling as well as fact. Nor is its beauty merely
ornamental. Unless our eyes are opened to their presence and we feel
their force, we may fail to enter beneath the surface of bare facts,
into the heart of God's truth, and be led astray by mere externals.