Saturday, April 1st, 2023
the Fifth Week of Lent
the Fifth Week of Lent
There are 8 days til Easter!
Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament Godbey's NT Commentary
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Acts 2". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ ges/ acts-2.html.
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Acts 2". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
- Henry's Complete
- Clarke Commentary
- Bridgeway Bible Commentary
- Coffman's Commentaries
- Carroll's Biblical Interpretation
- Barnes' Notes
- Bullinger's Companion Notes
- Calvin's Commentary
- Bell's Commentary
- College Press
- Church Pulpit Commentary
- Smith's Commentary
- Dummelow on the Bible
- Constable's Expository Notes
- Darby's Synopsis
- Ellicott's Commentary
- Expositor's Dictionary
- Hole's Commentary
- Meyer's Commentary
- Gaebelein's Annotated
- Gann on the Bible
- Morgan's Exposition
- Gill's Exposition
- Everett's Study Notes
- Geneva Study Bible
- Haydock's Catholic Commentary
- Commentary Critical
- Commentary Critical Unabridged
- Gray's Concise Commentary
- Parker's The People's Bible
- Sutcliffe's Commentary
- Trapp's Commentary
- Kretzmann's Commentary
- Lange's Commentary
- Grant's Commentary
- Wells of Living Water
- MacLaren's Expositions
- Henry's Complete
- Henry's Concise
- Poole's Annotations
- Pett's Commentary
- Peake's Commentary
- Preacher's Homiletical
- Poor Man's Commentary
- Benson's Commentary
- Sermon Bible Commentary
- Horae Homileticae
- The Biblical Illustrator
- Coke's Commentary
- The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- The Pulpit Commentaries
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
- Wesley's Notes
- Whedon's Commentary
- Calvin's Commentary
- Henry's Complete
- AEK Concordant NT Commentary
- Abbott's NT
- Orchard's Catholic Commentary
- Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary
- Contending for the Faith
- Daily Study Bible
- Expositor's Greek Testament
- Family Bible NT
- Godbey's NT Commentary
- Alford's Greek Testament Commentary
- Meyer's Commentary
- Bengel's Gnomon
- People's NT
- Robertson's Word Pictures
- Schaff's NT Commentary
- Vincent's Studies
- Burkitt's Expository Notes
- Daily Study Bible
- McGarvey'S Commentaries
- Box on Selected Books
- Dunagan's Commentary
- Hampton's Commentary
- Ironside's Notes
- Luscombe's NT Commentary
- Restoration Commentary
- Utley Commentary
- Kelly Commentary
- Zerr's N.T. Commentary
1. The Kairites (so named from the Greek word which means time and occurs in the phrase “times and seasons”) are scholarly critics who make times and seasons a specialty of investigation. These tell us the day of Pentecost was Sunday. Our Savior was crucified on Friday, April 14th. This would make Pentecost the first Sunday in June, and the notable epoch on which the dispensation of the Holy Ghost was inaugurated. The celebrated Dr. Gordon denominated Pentecost “the birth of the Holy Ghost.” Though this strikes us as strange phraseology, yet it is not without a degree of plausibility. Of course, such a statement does not ignore the pre- existence of the Holy Ghost, as He is none other than the very and eternal God, co-existent with the Almighty from all eternity. The same is equally true of the Son; yet He was born in Bethlehem. The Son of God was as real in the old dispensation as in the new, excarnate in the former and incarnate in the latter; but just as truly a Savior of the antediluvian as of the present generation. Before Pentecost the Holy Ghost was in the world in all ages; but it may be said that He operated on human hearts extrinsically, i. e., from without. E. g., while the minstrel played, the Holy Ghost came on the Jewish prophet. When Samson arose and shook himself the Spirit of God came mightily on him. As the Son of God when born in Bethlehem came into a human body, so the Holy Ghost in the day of Pentecost came into the bodies of the disciples, thus incarnating Himself in human bodies and inaugurating His own dispensation, whose crowning glory is the incarnation of the Holy Ghost. When the Holy Ghost radically purifies a human spirit and moves into it, thus incarnating Himself in a human being, a new order of administration and operation at once supervenes, in which the incarnated Holy Spirit operates intrinsically, i. e., from within upon the external world, using the person thus occupied as a medium, spiritual, intellectual and physical, to transmit His omnipotent heavenly influences to all with whom He comes in contact. Hence you see that the incarnation was an indispensable prerequisite to make the church truly aggressive in the conquest of the world to Christ. Hence our Savior told His disciples that they would do greater works after He had gone to His Father; because He must go up and receive the Father’s approval of His expiation of a guilty world before the divine administration can be magnified by the incarnation of the Holy Ghost in the people of this world. This is really the glorious earnest of the grand restitution. When the Holy Ghost thus incarnates Himself in a human being, He brings in the “age to come” (Hebrews 6:5), i. e., the millennium, a prelibation of the glorious millennial reign of our descended Lord. The grand ultimatum of the gospel dispensation is this incarnation of the Holy Ghost, in which we are actually married to Him (because He is none other than the Spirit of Jesus), and this spiritual wedlock verifies the Bridehood of Christ, anticipatory of the glorious celebration of the heavenly nuptials in the presence of the Father and multiplied millions of unfallen angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven, which shall immediately follow the rapture of the bride, for which we are this day in constant outlook. Our Lord ascended into heaven on Thursday. Flooded with the thrilling anticipations of His glorious prophetical fulfillments in the descension and incarnation of the Holy Ghost, they go away to their mission hall on Mount Zion, thrilled with jubilant expectations. Some think the Lord will honor His ascension day and send the Comforter before the sun goes down. In this they are mistaken, and a night of prayer brings deep illuminations into their hearts. Friday, ever memorable for the crucifixion of our Lord and the redemption of the world, brings a new inspiration to the rising tide of faith, intensified by Peter’s fervent exhortation: “Surely this is the glorious day when our Lord will baptize us with the Holy Ghost and fire!” Friday is fled and gone, and Saturday, the good old Jewish Sabbath, ushers in. James and John are eloquent, thrilling all with their inspiring exhortations: “Surely our Lord will honor the good old Sabbath of Moses and the prophets, and augment the hallowed memories of this glorious day by sending down the promised enduement.” Another night of prayer conduces to grander spiritual illuminations. Sunday ushers in. Mary’s eyes sparkle while eloquent inspiration leaps from her lips: “Surely our Lord will honor the glorious day of most hallowed memory when He broke the fetters of the tomb and arose triumphant over sin, death and hell!” These wonderful days, clustered about with the ineffaceable memories of stupendous miracles, unspeakably sacred to every loving disciple, have all flown away, and “hope deferred maketh the heart sad.” Monday ushers in, fraught with no inspiring memories. Now prostrate on the floor they cry to God. The Holy Ghost, with the effulgent lamp of His infallible scrutiny, goes down into the profound subterranean regions of their fallen spirits, revealing to Peter his cowardice, to Thomas his doubts, to James and John their ambition, and to all the dark dens of hissing serpents, the dismal lairs of roaring lions, the filthy kennels of snapping dogs and the loathsome bogs of croaking frogs, swelling toads and poisonous scorpions, constituting the dismal debris of inbred sin, the Satanic heredity of Adam the first. Tuesday follows, redeemed by no hallowed memories. So they sink deeper into the dismal subterranean regions of original sin, contemplating with unspeakable mortification the gorgon horrors of hereditary depravity revealed to the quickened spiritual eye by the infallible Heart-Searcher. Wednesday is commemorated by a deeper sinking out of self and still profounder illuminations revealing the horrors of inbred sin. That day is commemorated in the experience of many reaching bottom-rock. Thursday ushers in like a sun-burst from a world of clouds. Many exclaim, “Glory to God, for the triumphant ascension of our Lord on this hallowed day one week ago!” Mary in advance of her dispensation had known the sweet experience of entire sanctification, sitting at the feet of Jesus, felicitously oblivious of all the world; as had Nathanael, an “Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.” Fortunately, these two disciples stand on the high plane of cloudless sunshine beneath the clear sky of Beulah land, roaring inspiring shouts to their brothers and sisters amid the swellings of Jordan’s terrifying floods. Old Peter is one of the first to heed the inspiring appeals of Mary and Nathanael, and dares to walk out in naked faith and trust the cleansing blood radically and thoroughly to purify his heart from all the vacillations and cowardice which had flooded him with intolerable disgrace (Acts 15:9). John, with brilliant countenance, swings clear by faith alone. Now they follow in platoons. Finally, doubting Thomas, with faltering tread, dares to set down his foot on Jordan’s stormy billow. Friday floods them all with the ineffaceable memories of Calvary, when the Lord redeemed the world by His flowing blood. Hence, the blood has honored that memorable day from dewy morn till dusky eve. It is significantly a day of victory. Saturday, the good old Jewish Sabbath, literally signifying the perfect rest of the soul in Jesus, is truly a crowning day on the battlefield of faith so memorable the last nine days. Wonderful and glorious is the soul rest into which they sink away. The second Sunday morning of those memorable ten days now gilds the Oriental skies, while the fair-fingered Aurora, the daughter of the dawn, is moving on tip-toe over great Mount Olivet. This is our Lord’s glorious resurrection day. The battle has been fought on the bloody fields of consecration and faith and a ten days’ prayer-meeting without intermission. They have gone down to the bottom-rock of Consecration and prayed up to the triumphant altitudes of Faith. The battle is fought, the victory won and Hope has spread her eagle pinions ready for her celestial flight. They have spent the ten days on their knees and prostrate on the floor. But they are done praying. They have prayed up to the highlands, where heavenly visions, in seraphic splendor, roll in floods of unearthly glory, inundating that memorable mission-room with an electrical panorama of the long-anticipated descending Comforter. Hark! the roar of a cyclone fills the firmament. Behold! forked-tongues of flaming fire sit on every brow and flood the room with an unearthly illumination. That mission-room can no longer hold the fire-baptized one hundred and twenty. What a stampede down stairs! all mouths wide open, stentorian voices roaring like lions, arouse the city, and one hundred thousand people rush from all directions to see what is the matter. I visited a great convocation of scholarly clergymen and high-steeple officials with long plug hats, sleek coats, tooth-pick shoes and golden-headed canes, with long faces and lugubrious countenances and deep sighs, consulting either with other, “How to reach the masses.” Here the problem is solved once for all. Get the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire and they will reach you.
You need no advertisement but the stentorian shout of new-born souls and Spirit-filled pilgrims. Peter’s seniority is recognized in his leadership, complimented with the first gospel sermon on that wonderful occasion. O, that sermon! of which Luke gives us but a brief epitome. It was a clap of thunder from beginning to end, sheet-lightning flooded with dynamite.
Modesty and cowardice have been burnt up with the fire of the Holy Ghost. So the illiterate fisherman faces kings and potentates, the combined authorities of church and state, panoplied by all the persecutionary power of earth and hell, and without a flicker looks them squarely in the face and arraigns them at the judgment bar of God Almighty, charged with the murder of His Son, the Savior of the world. The countless multitude stands appalled, as if the archangel of doom had come down and was blowing his mighty trumpet, waking the dead and gathering the world to the judgment- bar. Amid the forked lightnings of this first gospel sermon, preached without preparation, grammar or logic, thousands fall prostrate, as if a battery of a hundred cannons had been simultaneously turned on them.
They make Jerusalem roar and reverberate, “What must we do?” Now that the lightning of conviction has sent panic to listening myriads, immediately the hundred and twenty-five baptized men and women disperse in all directions, preaching with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Do you see Mary Magdalene mounted on David’s tomb preaching to the thunder- riven multitude falling round her and crying for mercy? Look at Thomas the doubter, his doubts all burned up with Holy Ghost fire, standing on the wall of Jerusalem, with a voice like a lion, preaching to the appalled multitude! O, that wonderful day! never to be forgotten, memorialized by the incarnation of the Holy Ghost. The world had never seen such a day since from Sinai’s melting summit, amid lightning bolts, deafening thunder and heaving earthquakes, Jehovah God came down and launched the Mosaic dispensation. Again He is come in the culminating miracles of fiery Pentecost to inaugurate the last dispensation, destined to prepare the world for the glorious theocracy, never to go into eclipse.
TONGUES OF FIRE
3. The tongue symbolizes the gospel whose dispensation is here and now inaugurated. God has never given but one definition of His minister, “a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1:7). Satan is the great counterfeiter. He counterfeits everything that God does, in that way fooling the people till he can dump them into hell. The world is to-day chock full of the devil’s religion, in which he deceives people by millions, Pagans, Moslems, Papists and Protestants, making them believe he is God. Despite all the chicanery of hell, honest Bible readers, illuminated by the Holy Ghost, have no trouble to detect the devil’s counterfeit. The way to heaven is so plain “that wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isaiah 35:0). God’s gospel is all fire. We need two tongues to preach it, corresponding with the two great works of grace in the plan of salvation.
As we see here, both these tongues are flames of fire; the one to preach hell- fire to alarm them, bring them to repentance and keep them out of hell; and the other to preach heavenly fire to Christians to sanctify them wholly with the real fiery baptism, burning out of them everything that will not do for heaven, and thus sanctifying them wholly to dwell in the glorified presence of God, world without end. The most stupid ignoramus can discriminate between fire and ice. It is equally easy for honest people to distinguish between God’s religion and Satan’s. The former burns up all sin and fills you with heavenly fire, while the latter freezes you into an iceberg. The devil’s religion freezes you here and burns you in hell through all eternity. Good Lord, have mercy on the north-pole churches, with their icebergy members and their cultured pastors. Who can contemplate the wholesale delusions of the devil in the icebergy churches and not recognize the awful fulfillment of the latter-day prophecies of our blessed Savior? “Because iniquity doth abound the love of many shall wax cold.
WITH THE HOLY GHOST
4. In the old dispensation the Holy Ghost operated extrinsically in the people. It is the crowning glory of the gospel dispensation to be filled with the Holy Ghost, in which case He operates on us intrinsically. The law must be satisfied before the glorious Retribution, back to the Edenic state in which God filled Adam and Eve like angels, can take place. The incarnation of the Son defeated the devil and magnified the violated law; thus sweeping every difficulty out of the way and lifting the flood-gate of perfect love to pour its Niagaras of full salvation into the consecrated believing heart. Hence the crowning glory of the Pentecostal dispensation is the filling of the heart with the Holy Ghost. We find the gospel standard uniformly recognized throughout the history of the apostolic church. It was not only the indispensable qualification of the gospel herald, but it was a sine qua non in the deacon, entrusted with the temporal interests of the church, as well as the eldership, charged with the graver responsibilities of the immortal soul. At this point Satan long ago maneuvered to derail and thus blast the purity and blight the glory of the Christian Church; seducing the fair Bride of Christ to receive his black hand in wedlock, deck herself in all the ornamentation of the world, and verify the horrific prophecies pertaining to the harlot of Babylon. Revelation , 12 th and 17th chapters. If the church had remained true to the Pentecostal doctrines and experiences she would long ago have enjoyed the honor of conquering the world and bringing back her glorified spouse to be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. The filling is impossible unless preceded by a radical emptying, a complete evacuation of our spiritual being by all evil. This is the negative experience under the cleansing blood, the invariable antecedent of the glorious positive experience, i. e., the impletion of the Holy Ghost. If you are true to the infallible Monitor, you can always have at your command the needed information relative to this glorious and extraordinary experience, as He is sure to reveal to you an emptiness in your heart, “an aching void” the world can never fill. Spirit filled people alone constitute the Bridehood of Christ (Matthew 25:0). Our Lord proposes to rule the world during the coming millennial age through the instrumentality of His Spirit-filled, transfigured Bride (Revelation 20:6). He is now depending on the Spirit filled members of the Bridehood to preach the gospel of the glorious coming kingdom to all nations, calling out the elect and thus preparing the world for His glorious return to reign in righteousness (Matthew 24:14). Reader, I abjure you, by the infinite value of your soul and the infinitesimal glories of the coming kingdom, that you get truly filled with the Holy Ghost and by doubtless faith and martyr obedience keep filled, on tiptoe watching and waiting to hail your Lord descending on a cloud (Revelation 1:7).
5-9. On this occasion an unprecedented double miracle was wrought by the Holy Ghost on not only the speakers but all the hearers. This double miracle moved like a span of cyclones through the multitude, bringing the gospel with lightning velocity and unerring intelligibility to all. On the speakers was miraculously conferred the power to speak in all of the languages represented in that vast cosmopolitan assembly. Those “ignorant and unlearned” men and women preached fluently in languages which they knew not. Of course they knew substantially and experimentally what they were preaching, but they did not know the words and sentences they spoke.
In their dispersions the hundred and twenty men and women, all preaching with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, spoke in the language of the people with whom they were providentially associated. An illiterate disciple happens to encounter a multitude of people speaking the Coptic language, as they were citizens of Egypt. She preaches fluently in Coptic, though she knows not a word of it. Bartholomew happens to encounter a multitude from Rome speaking the Latin language, of which he knows not a word, yet he preaches fluently in Latin. Thus there is a thorough accommodation to all the dialect vicissitudes of that cosmopolitan audience. As Peter was the leading speaker and the Greek not only the vernacular of the apostles, but the great learned language of the world, of course he delivered that memorable introductory sermon in that language. Then the hundred and twenty, dispersing in all directions, preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven in the language of the people they providentially met.
But there is another hemisphere of this wonderful double miracle wrought by the Holy Ghost in unutterable mercy to expedite the inauguration of the gospel dispensation and give it a supernatural impetus at the beginning, a glorious earnest of the coming millennium, as the filling of the heart with the Holy Ghost is really the millennial reign in the soul. Now the second hemisphere of this glorious miracle was wrought on that vast multitude “from every nation under heaven.” The supernatural power of the Holy Ghost wrought with the multitude a qualification in each human spirit, quickening the intellect and enabling every person to hear in his own native language.
8. E. g., while Peter was preaching in Greek the Parthian heard him in his native Chaldaic tongue, the Median, the Elamite and the Mesopotamian each heard in his own native dialect. And regardless of the language spoken by any One, every auditor heard in his own language. To human apprehension this was miraculous superfluity, as either of these miracles covered all the ground, and to our diagnosis precluded the necessity of the other. But in this double miracle we have a wonderful manifestation of the divine beneficence and the superabundance of redeeming grace (Romans 5:20). This double miracle largely accounts for the paradoxical efficiency of the gospel on that wonderful occasion when the world saw a brilliant prelude, adumbrating the ineffable glories of the coming kingdom.
9. Who are the Elamites? They are Jews from Elam, a country in Persia. Who are the Medians? They are Jews from Media, a great country bordering on Persia and the Caspian Sea. These are the very countries into which they were carried in their Babylonian captivity. Now you see, instead of being lost, they have perpetuated their fidelity to the religion of their fathers through these seven hundred years since the first Babylonian captivity under Shalmanezer, and here we see their faithful delegates at Jerusalem in their places in the great national camp-meeting away down at the end of the Jewish dispensation. Follow this catalogue of names and you will find, as it says, that the Jews are here from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). Whereas, the great problem of the lost tribes is poetical rather than real, one thing is true, and that is, that during their captivities they lost their tribehood, so that they did not return in their tribal identities and organizations. Doubtless many of the ten tribes returned with Judah and Benjamin in the exodus of Nehemiah, while countless numbers of Judah and Benjamin remained in the countries of their captivity. You must remember that the period of oppression expired very quickly after their captivity, under the conquest of Cyrus, the Medo-Persian who destroyed the Babylonian Empire, and not only emancipated all the Jews but rebuilt the temple with his own money. Of course, the Jews who remained were no longer in captivity, but bona fide and honored citizens of the Persian Empire. Therefore, while they lost their tribehood they retained their identity as loyal members of the house of Abraham; and the very fact that we see them all represented in this grand religious convocation away down at the end of the Jewish dispensation is demonstrative proof that they had retained their membership and perpetuated their fidelity to the Jewish religion through all of these ages. The Jews, by reason of their enterprise, had settled in all the prominent cities of the known world during the old dispensation, which in that respect is a grand dumbration of the new. The Jews in all ages are God’s peculiar people, whether under the smiles of loving approval or under the awful castigatory rod of His righteous judgments. Just as the Jews at the close of the Mosaic dispensation were dwelling in every country under heaven, and thus representing it, so they are now dwelling beneath every sky, speaking every language and dialect, cultured in the institutions of every nation, and thus under the providential hand of Abraham’s God, they are now in a wonderful though mysterious manner being prepared for the metropolitanship of the globe, when the elect remnant will be gathered from the ends of the earth, rebuild Jerusalem, receive with shouts of welcome their own glorious descending King, and come again as in former days to the front of the world, there to abide during the glorious theocracy which shall girdle the globe with salvation and holiness unto the Lord. Thus in the present age, God in a wonderful manner, in the dispersion and culture of the Jews in every nation under heaven, is preparing them for the millennial metropolitanship of all nations. We must remember that the primitive church was all Jews, including apostles, disciples and converts. Here we have a catalogue of the most prominent nations of Asia, Africa and Europe, all represented by their delegates from the Jewish synagogues in their midst. These delegates represent all Israel in their dispersion, throughout the inhabitable globe. The very fact of their presence in this great national and ecclesiastical convocation, which has existed since the days of Moses, is demonstrative of their identity with the Jewish Church and nation during all by-gone centuries, seven hundred years since their first deportation into Babylon. Away with the chimera of the “lost tribes.” They were not lost then; neither are they now lost. They simply lost their tribehood, which in no way affected the integrity of Israel. So is their tribehood still lost. We seldom now find a Jew in the Old or New World who knows to what tribe he belongs. In the final gathering into Palestine, only a remnant will come home (Romans 9:27) but doubtless in that remnant all of the tribes will be represented, though they know it not.
THE LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL NOT LOST
9-12. Volumes have been written, and weary eyes amid nocturnal lucubrations have toiled through the intervening ages hunting the lost tribes of Israel. It is rather a joke on the hypercriticism characteristic of modern times. The Bible is the book of all books. When John Wesley got sanctified he says he became “ Homo unius libri,” a man of one book. All other books must bend to the Bible, and they are only valuable as they corroborate and elucidate the Word of God. You have nothing to do but look at these verses and examine your dictionary, and you will find the so- called lost tribes all gloriously represented in this great national camp- meeting, i. e., the Pentecostal festival commemorative of the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. The Jews had three great national camp meetings at Jerusalem every year, i. e., Passover in April, commemorative of the emancipation out of Egyptian bondage, Pentecost in June, celebrious of the wonderful birth of the Mosaic dispensation, and the Feast of Tabernacles in September, reminiscent of their gratitude to God for His abundant harvests.
The Jews are the people of God’s providence; and consequently always have been and always will be the most enterprising people in the world.
This day, though long driven from their own country, vagabonds among all nations, persecuted, scathed and pealed, they stand at the front of the world’s finances and rule the great kings of the earth, and through them the nations buy their money power. Only fifty thousand returned out of Babylonian captivity, responsive to the proclamation of Cyrus, under the leadership of Nehemiah. When I was in Palestine three years ago there were a hundred and twenty thousand there, in contrast with only ten thousand ten years previously. Thus we see how rapidly, in fulfillment of the prophecies of the latter days, they are gathering home. You have but to look at this Scripture and you will see that the Jews from every land of their captivity are here represented. In the old dispensation, as well as in modern times, the Jews migrated into all countries, and settled among all nations, pursuant to their industrial enterprises. Bear in mind once for all that this is a Jewish meeting in the metropolis of the Jewish world, and Gentiles have nothing to do with it. In reading your Bible you inadvertently leap to the conclusion that these different nations here mentioned are Gentiles, which is not true; they are “Jews and proselytes” (Acts 2:10). There is no mention of a Gentile in this vast assembly. The apostles and disciples are all Jews, the natives are all Jews, as are the visitors, as none but Jews came to the great national and ecclesiastical assemblies. Of course, there might have been a few Roman Gentiles incidentally there, but there is no mention of them. Who are the Parthians? They are Jewish delegates, bona fide members of the Mosaic church all the way from far-off Parthia, tenaciously adhering to the covenant of Abraham. Where is Parthia? It is a country in Persia, into which the Jews were carried in the Babylonian captivity. As only a small remnant returned under Nehemiah, the balance being settled and engaged in business so they did not see proper to leave, it does not follow that they repudiated the religion of their fathers; but on the contrary they stuck to it through all these intervening centuries, and now we find their delegates sent by their synagogues in the far-off land of their captivity and their adopted country.
13. The E. V. says, “of new wine.” A mistake. Oinos, “new wine,” the simple grape juice, an innocent, reviving, nutritious drink, does not here occur: but glencos, “fermented wine,” which was a slow intoxicant. Satan had not yet invented alcoholic wine, the intoxicant of the present day. That oinos, “new”, wine, was what Paul recommended to Timothy for his health, as a valuable sanitary drink. The alcoholic wine of the present day would have made them drunk by nine o’clock, which was too early for their fermented wine to take effect, whereas the oinos, the simple expressed juice of the grape, was not an intoxicant.
15-18. Peter proves by Joel the fulfillment of the latter-day prophecies on that notable occasion. The Edenic dispensation has come and gone, winding up with the terrible calamity of the Fall. The Antediluvian dispensation ran its race and went into the dark eclipse of Noah’s flood. The Patriarchal culminated in Egyptian slavery, the awful plagues and the destruction in the Red Sea. The Mosaic launched from Sinai is now tottering like a drunken man and hastening to its awful slaughter by the Roman armies. Even the dispensation of our Savior’s ministry, a wicked world and a fallen church united to obliterate in the bloody tragedy of Calvary. On this notable day, as Peter proves by Joel, the last dispensation is inaugurated. It is the climacteric glory of all, since the plan of salvation emanated from Eden under the preaching of Jehovah, i. e., the Excarnate Christ. The effulgent glory of this dispensation shines out in the faces of Spirit-filled saints. Man enjoyed the indwelling God before sin entered. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (John 3:8). Hence, humanity must get back to the Edenic glory of the indwelling God. Christ must be incarnated an as expiatory Sufferer under the law, before the Holy Ghost can be incarnated as an indwelling Sanctifier. Hence the descension and incarnation of the Holy Ghost is confirmatory proof of the validity of Christ’s atonement, the perfect satisfaction of the violated law and the coronation of Christ, Mediatorial King in heaven. While in the former dispensation a prophet here and there succeeds in looking through the dim lights of type and prophecy, and by a mighty supernatural faith bounding forward into the anticipatory Pentecostal experience, now the types and symbols have all gone into the eclipse of glorious fulfillment. Not only our illiterate boys and girls, but even our servants, both male and female, are to receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire, be filled with the Holy Ghost and thus become burning incarnations of the Holy Ghost, before whose martyr heroism and seraphic light, princes and potentates pale and retreat and platoons of devils stampede. Aunt Amanda Smith comes from Southern slavery, by way of the wash-tub, to the front of the gospel ministry, where the princes of America, Europe, Asia and Africa learn wisdom at her feet. Bob Burkes, without a knowledge of the alphabet, gets sanctified, and edifies the multitudes, preaching alternate sermons with Dr. Carradine. Here we see that the Lord still speaks to His saints in dreams and visions; but these simple media of communication are even more prominent than in the former dispensation. In the latter all barriers are swept away. It is the glorious privilege of all God’s children to become the incarnations of the Holy Ghost, thus spiritually entering the glorious millennial theocracy and living anticipatively in the triumphs of the coming kingdom. We are well assured that we are not only living in the last days, which began at Pentecost, but we are in the time of the end. John said he was in the last hour; then we must be in the last moment. Totton and Dimbleby, the greatest chronologists of the age, expire the “Gentile times” with the vernal equinox of 1898. According to Lunar Chronology, used by the Jews and Mohammedans, the “Gentile times” expired seven years ago. The Calendar Chronology, generally used in Europe, runs them out in thirty-five years, and the Solar Chronology, used generally in America, runs them out in seventy years. Daniel’s period of the Tribulation (last chapter) is forty-five years. The Rapture of the Bride takes place before the Tribulation. Hence you see three out of four of these chronologies give us the Rapture overdue. Besides, the world is literally flooded with fulfillments of the latter-day prophecies.
MIRACLES OF THE END
19, 20. These two verses describe the miracles of the end of the present age. You see how Peter couples them right on to the miracles of Pentecost; because he expected the Lord to return to the earth and set up His kingdom in his day.
Matthew 16:28: “There are some of those standing here who may not [not “shall not,” as E. V.] pass away until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Matthew 24:34: “This generation may not pass [not “shall not,” as E. V.] till all these things are fulfilled.”
From these and many other Scriptures we see the gracious possibility of our Lord’s return to the earth during the life-time of the apostles and their contemporaries. The Greek in these passages has the contingent tense.
There are no contingencies with God. The contingency was all on man’s side. As man always fails, so he failed in the Apostolic Age. There was a gracious possibility for man to preach the gospel to every nation during that generation; in which case our Lord would have returned on the throne of His millennial glory before that generation all passed away. All the apostles and saints expected to see the Lord return and “be caught up to meet him in the air,” which would have taken place if that generation had pushed to the ends of the earth and preached the gospel to every nation, as they could and should have done. These verses (19 and 20) describe the momentous miracles of the Tribulation. Luke Chapter 21), in his description of our Savior’s sermon on the judgments, preached on Mt. Olivet the day before He suffered, speaks of oceanic inundations during the Tribulation destroying multitudes. John describes the Armageddon wars deluging the world and heaping the battlefields with mountains of the dead. When the governments all fall (Daniel 7:9) the rabble will rise, burn, rob and murder indiscriminately. Hence the bloody and fiery phenomena of the 19th verse. The smoke of conflagrations, gun powder and the vapor from the oceanic inundations and bloody battlefields will darken the sun and make the moon look red as blood. We have every reason to look out for these miracles immediately, as they are the next on the prophetic program.
TIME OF WAITING
21. “And it shall come to pass that whosoever may call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” If the Pentecostians had proved true to the wonderful enduement of the Holy Ghost, they might have peregrinated the whole known world and preached the gospel to every nation, in which case the Lord would have returned to the earth before that generation had all passed away (Matthew 14:24; Matthew 16:28.) But like humanity in all ages, they failed. Man has always been a failure and always will be. He failed in Eden, winding up with the Fall; he failed in antediluvian times, swept away by the righteous judgments of the flood; he failed in the Patriarchal dispensation, landing in Egyptian slavery; he failed in the Mosaic dispensation, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies and the dispersing of the Jews to the ends of the earth; he also failed in the Savior’s ministry, blindly rejecting and crucifying Him. The prophecies are equally explicit as to his egregious failure in the Gospel dispensation, plunging blindly and precipitately into the horrors of the great Tribulation. Is not this very discouraging? Does it not prove that the plan of salvation is a failure? To both of these questions we respond an emphatic negative. The plan of salvation is a glorious success to all who willingly appreciate it. The very fact of man’s failure in all dispensations, and under all environments, is the grandest incentive conceivable, inspiring all truly and intelligently awakened souls to abandon humanity, world without end, and sink into God. Man never was created for independency. Hence whenever he undertakes it, failure and calamity inevitably supervene. When the Pentecostal generation failed to preach the gospel to every nation, a period came on, designated
“the time of waiting.” Meanwhile the Son is waiting on the Father to verify His promise, “Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool” (Acts 2:34.) At the same time the Son is waiting on the Church to preach the gospel of the kingdom to every nation (Matthew 24:14); while the Church at the same time is anxiously watching and waiting the return of her divine Spouse, who flew up to heaven from Mt. Olivet.
During this period of waiting, in which the Father alone knows the end and the time of our Lord’s return, the commandment is repeated, rigid and explicit: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man cometh.” In this twenty first verse, we have a terse, clear and beautiful revelation of the gracious economy during the time of waiting. In our hurried rush to evangelize every nation on the globe, we have no time to bother with human ecclesiasticisms. They are utterly out of harmony with gospel expedition and New Testament simplicity. What do you mean by human ecclesiasticisms? I mean the human appropriation of the divine ecclesia. This word used by the Holy Ghost simply means the souls He has called out from this wicked world and separated unto God. The Holy Ghost Himself in regeneration and sanctification brings the New Testament church into existence, Himself organizing the same with bishops, i. e., pastors, elders, and deacons. The human usurpation of the ecclesia has girdled the world with popery, prelacy, and priestcraft, locking the nations in the Briarian arms of spiritual Babylon and dumping millions into hell. In this verse, oh! how beautifully, simply and unmistakably does the Holy Ghost define the gospel economy and the plan of salvation: “Whosoever may call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” So what are we to do? Why! simply go to the ends of earth and prevail on the people to “call on the name of the Lord,” i. e., to pray to God. All who fall in line, begin to pray and keep on to the end of probation, fly right up to heaven, as God’s Word is infallible as Himself. Instead of all the Christians on the globe running to the ends of the earth, preaching Jesus and getting all the people to pray, we have the nations humbugged by intriguing priests and tyrannized by ecclesiastical laws unheard of in the Bible. The apostles were “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13). Yet they were fully competent to the great work of the gospel ministry. Instead of wearing out your nerves, eyes and brain by poring over dry-boned theology, get the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, and run like Samson’s foxes, preaching hell- fire to sinners till you get them all on their knees praying to God to save them from the burning pit. At the same time preach heavenly fire to Christians till you get them all on their knees crying to God for the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire to sanctify them for heaven.
CHRIST, DAVID’S SUCCESSOR
22-35. We find in these Scriptures that Christ was predestinated to suffer and die to redeem the world. While this is true, it was perfectly optionary with Judas, the Jews and the Romans to betray and crucify Him pursuant to their own diabolical malice and turpitude. We must remember that God is not tied to the prophecies, but the prophecies to God, who sees the end from the beginning and with whom everything is present. We read in Samuel that when David came to Keilah in his flight from Saul, and the Keilites received him with gusto and enthusiasm, assuring him of their fidelity and support, illuminated by that spiritual gift, denominated in 1 Corinthians 1:12, “discernment of spirits,” he read them like books and saw falsehood and treason in their countenances. Turning the problem over to God on his knees, he inquires of the Lord, “Will Saul come down to Keilah?” The answer comes promptly, “He will come down.” Then David proceeds to inquire, “Will the men of Keilah deliver me up?” The answer comes promptly, “They will deliver thee up.” David was acquainted with God’s method of dealing with man, he understood the perfect compatibility of human contingency with divine providence. Hence he understood “Saul will come and the Keilites will deliver you up if you stay.” Consequently he leaps from his knees, roars a loud bugle blast, orders march at double-quick, till they all precipitately skedaddle away from the traitors who were ready to purchase royal favor with the head of David and his men. From this inspired history we learn that even the divine predictions are compatible with the perfect freedom of the human will. What was the result? Saul, close on David’s track, heard that he had fled away from Keilah, turned his course in the direct pursuit of David and did not come down to Keilah. Hence, we see that neither of these predictions ever took place; because David having fled, Saul did not come down, and, of course, the men of Keilah did not deliver up David to Saul. David understood the voice of the Almighty when He responded to him at Keilah, “Saul will come down and the men of Keilah will deliver thee up,” though there is no mention of any possible defalcation; yet David well understood, “He will come down” if you stay, and “they will deliver you up” if they have a chance. Hence, David immediately fled, thus preventing the coming of Saul to Keilah and his own betrayal by the Keilites. From this and innumerable Scriptures we learn the co-existence and compatibility of divine sovereignty and free agency, though our poor little minds may not be able to reconcile them. If Judas, Caiaphas and Pilate had never been born, nevertheless my Lord would have died to redeem the world with His blood. He came for that glorious philanthropy and, regardless of human or Satanic agency, would have verified it.
25. “I foresaw the Lord always before me, because he is my right hand that I may not be shaken.” These words are applied to Christ; like much of David’s testimony this is only applicable to David’s greatest Son. We must bear in mind that the humanity of Christ is our only exemplar. The great importance of sanctification consists in the fact that it saves us from human leadership, which is always uncertain, fraught with peril, conducive to the damnation of millions. Truly sanctified people have no Leader but Jesus and no Guide but the Word, Spirit and Providence. The carnal clergy in all ages have fought sanctification with uncompromising virulence, from the simple fact that it takes the people out of their hands and turns them over to God, thus interrupting their cherished ecclesiastical policy of human leadership. In the fact that the man Jesus is our great and only Exemplar, we are assured in this verse that it is our privilege to enjoy spiritual apprehension of His constant presence. As the advocate in criminal court stood on the right hand of the accused while he defended and delivered him from the hands of his enemies, so it is our privilege to enjoy a constant spiritual apprehension of the inspiring and consolatory presence of the great Deliverer.
27. “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.” We have two words used by the Holy Ghost and translated “Hell” in E. V., i. e., “Hades,” which in R. V. is not translated, but transferred very correctly to our language, while the other word Gehenna in R. V. is constantly and correctly “Hell.” The difference between the two is simply that of genus and species, Hades being a generic word simply meaning the “unseen world,” from Alpha, “not,” and aidoo to “see.” Hence Hades, the unseen, includes both heaven and hell. We have this illustrated in Luke 16:0, where the rich man and Lazarus are in the same world, actually enjoying conversational proximity. But Dives is tormented by the flame of fire. Hence he is in hell properly so called; while Lazarus is in that intermediate Paradise called Abraham’s bosom, because it was the receptacle of all the spiritual children of Abraham, i. e., the Old Testament saints, saved in the Abrahamic covenant and there detained in a state of felicitous captivity (Ephesians 4:8) till the Abrahamic covenant was sealed and ratified by the blood of Christ The dying thief went to this paradise the very day of the crucifixion, (Luke 23:43), notwithstanding certain wicked heretics have had the audacity to even change the punctuation of the Greek in this passage in order to sustain the most senseless of all heresies which even brutalizes you by taking away your immortal soul. As our Savior assured the women in the garden that He had not yet ascended into heaven, though He had already, pursuant to His prediction on the cross, met the saved thief in paradise, i. e., in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:0), the intermediate paradise of the old dispensation, where the saints enjoyed unmingled bliss, awaiting the great redemption on Calvary, and their risen and glorified Lord to lead them all into heaven, throwing wide the pearly portals evermore to stand ajar while angels welcome every saint into the New Jerusalem, the city of God, the home of the angels and glorified saints.
1 Peter 3:19: “Being put to death in the flesh and quickened in the spirit, by which going, he proclaimed to the spirits in prison.”
This is the pillar of popery and modern theories of a second probation for sinners after they die in sin. It is radically and literally untrue as manipulated by those heretics. The capital S in “Spirit” in E. V. was put there by the translators, because they thought it meant the Holy Spirit, which is incorrect, as this construction would break up the antithesis with “flesh.” The simple meaning is that while our Savior’s body was put to death, His human spirit, not the Holy Ghost, was quickened by the Holy Ghost, so that His human spirit leaving His dead body on the cross [poor soul- sleepers even deny that Jesus had a soul] went down to the intermediate world and proclaimed to the lost millions of hell. The E. V. erroneously translates ekeeruxen, which simply means “proclaim as a herald,” “preach,” thus leading the people to believe that Jesus preached the gospel to the disembodied sinners in hell. The word which means to preach the gospel is not in this passage, but it simply means to proclaim as a royal herald. What did our Savior proclaim to the inmates of Hades? He proclaimed His own victory, gloriously and eternally won on the cross of Calvary. The devil had been after Him to kill Him all His life, vainly congratulating himself that if he could kill the man Jesus, the final victory would perch on his black banner, and he would have nothing to do but add this world to hell and reign forever without a rival. While the devil is paradoxically intellectual, his spirit is black as the midnight of hell, uncheered by a solitary ray. Hence he leaped to the conclusion that if he could kill the man Jesus, the last battle was fought and the final victory won. Therefore hell roared with shouts over the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane, cheered and enthused more and more by the successive reports of His condemnation by Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate, meanwhile the black couriers constantly arrive from Calvary, reporting the bloody culmination of their hellish enterprise. Finally, Satan, sitting on his ebon throne in the center of the pandemonium, has ordered ten thousand tall demons to subscribe in glowing capitals, “Victory,” on the black walls all round the palace of damnation. Demoniacal hands have half written the word. Suddenly thunderclaps and lightnings flash from the opening portals of the pandemonium appalling all the inmates of the bottomless pit. Lo! Hark! Who comes there? It is none other than the human soul of Jesus. He has left His dead body on the cross and now walks into hell, the herald of his own victory won on Calvary. He proclaims in the face of all devils hell’s eternal defeat and the redemption of the world. With the tread of a conqueror He walks round the pandemonium, with His Own hands pulling down the trophies of four thousand years of successful warfare and treading them beneath His triumphant feet. The tall peers of the pit wail on all sides, acknowledge Him conqueror and beg Him to depart. He now approaches Satan, the King of Darkness, sitting on his ebon throne in the center of the pandemonium; seizing him by the throat and dragging him down, puts His foot upon his neck, thus verifying the first promise made by Jehovah to Adam and Eve in fallen Paradise: “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” Having proclaimed His victory in hell, He now crosses that abyss impassable to finite beings, but not to Him, intervening between the flaming hell of Dives and the Abraham’s bosom of Lazarus (Luke 16:26), and there, pursuant to His promise on the cross, meets the thief before midnight, while it is yet Friday, the Crucifixion Day. As the thief died under the old dispensation, he went to that intermediate paradise, i. e., Abraham’s bosom, the jubilant rendezvous of all the souls saved under the Abrahamic covenant in the former dispensation, there in joyful anticipation to await the verification of the covenant by the blood of Calvary. The thief runs to meet Him with a tremendous shout, Father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the Hebrew children and all the mighty hosts of Old Testament saints rend the firmament with triumphant shouts congratulating King Jesus on the victory won. Now the good old Jewish Sabbath sets in, the most wonderful they had seen in four thousand years. Oh! what an ovation! Golden harps are impoverished in the attempted proclamation. The first day of the week supervenes at midnight, eternally commemorated by the abolishment of the intermediate paradise, the emancipation of all the captives (Ephesians 4:8), and the resurrection of our glorious Lord. Here begins that wonderful ascension (Ephesians 4:9), when our Lord “descended into the lower parts of the earth” [which never did mean the grave], the Savior leading the way with the patriarchs and prophets on His right and on His left, followed by the mighty hosts of Old Testament saints, jubilant and ecstatic, reaching the sepulcher at day- dawn, calling His body into life and re-entering it; meanwhile the sacramental host, all invisible because they are disembodied spirits, accompanying our risen Lord the forty days of His abiding with His disciples, and ascending with Him from Mt. Olivet, constituting the mighty trophy of His victory, whom He leads into the heavenly metropolis and presents before the Father. David’s prophetic eye in Psalms 24:0 caught a glimpse of this wonderful scene, while our Lord, accompanied by the mighty hosts of Old Testament saints, sweeps through trackless ether, passing rolling worlds, glowing suns, wheeling spheres, and flaming comets, finally draws nigh the celestial gates, saluted by seraphic voices:
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and let the King of Glory come in.” “Who is this King of Glory?” “he Lord, mighty to save and strong to deliver.”
The pearly gates fly high and swing wide, multiplied millions of celestial seraphs shout long and loud, “Welcome home, welcome home, welcome home, O King of Glory, Conqueror of Mt. Calvary. Heaven is stirred with such an ovation as archangels never knew, infinitely eclipsing the tremendous shout of the sons of God at creation’s birth. Amid the jubilant congratulations of angelic millions, the triumphal procession, led by King Jesus, moves through the city and halts before the great white throne, “Father, here am I, and the children thou hast given me.” Now Abraham mounts a celestial pinnacle and testifies, followed by the thrilling witnesses to the wonders of redeeming grace, while multiplied millions of unfallen angels listen spell bound. Since our Lord has led the way, heaven is now accessible to every disembodied saint, nothing to do but die, and sweep with a shout into glory.
29-35. When I was in Jerusalem and visiting this spot, on which they were praying when the Holy Ghost fell on them, my guide pointed me out David’s tomb right there in full view. Silly heretics have construed the statement (Acts 2:34), “For David has not yet ascended into the heavens,” as an argument for soul-sleeping, i. e., that David had no soul to go to heaven. It is a humiliating illustration of the perversity of human sectarianism to sacrifice all truth, reason and intelligence to sustain their poor little foolish creed. The obliquity of sectarians is always ready to bend all of the Bible to their creed, instead of bending their creed to the Bible, or throwing it away altogether, as certainly God’s plain Word is all the creed and all the authority His children need or have any business with. The Bible, like all other good books, is in harmony with practical truth and common-sense. There is no allusion whatever to the soul of David, which had long ago left the body; but Peter at this point is simply speaking of the resurrection of Christ, simultaneously showing that this prophecy could not refer to David, though spoken by him, because his body had not yet risen, which he proved by pointing out his sepulcher.
30. “Therefore being a prophet and knowing that God swore to him with an oath that one from the fruit of his loins should sit upon his throne.” Peter uses this testimony of David to prove the kingship of Christ. He was born King of the Jews. Paul says (Romans 2:28-29):
“He is not a Jew as one outwardly, neither is circumcision that it is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart; in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.”
Hence, you see that Jesus was born King of Saints. When Pilate wrote this superscription on His cross above His head in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the language of religion, learning and law for everybody to read, “This is the King of the Jews,” he wrote an eternal truth. That was the reason why he could not change it afterwards at the request of the Jews. The word Inri, which you so frequently see above crosses at Roman Catholic grave-yards and other places, is a combination of initials and stands for Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Ioudiourum, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
David, the brightest type of Christ in the Bible, powerfully symbolizes Him in His regal capacity. As David had two coronations, first, he was crowned king of his own tribe at Hebron, and seven and a half years afterward he was crowned king of all the tribes of Israel at Jerusalem, so Christ in His first advent was crowned King of Saints when He ascended up to heaven, when He comes in His glory He will be crowned King of all the nations upon the face of the earth. David never occupied an earthly throne. His kingdom was the divine theocracy centralized in heaven and overlapping on the earth. God said: “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will do all my wills.” The reason why David was a man after God’s own heart was not because he was infallible, for he was not, but because he had one fixed and settled policy and purpose in all his administrations, and that was not to do his own will but the will of God (Acts 12:22). Much has been said about the perpetuity of David’s throne; great volumes written in an attempt to substitute other dynasties, even of other nations, in lieu of what is regarded as the forfeited throne of David, and thus fulfill the Scriptures. When we undertake to help out the Bible, we always make a mistake and get into trouble. The Bible, like God, does not need any help. If you will throw away your creeds and part company with the devil, the Bible will do its own talking. Here it is positively specified that Jesus, the lineal descendant of David, was born King of the Jews in David’s royal line. To be sure, He never reigned on earth. Instead of crowning Him King they killed Him, but here Peter proves demonstratively that he was crowned in heaven King of the Jews and successor of David to sit upon his throne. The Bible is clear in this succession of David and perpetuity of his kingdom on the mediatorial throne in heaven. As to David’s earthly throne, instead of all these efforts to find it perpetuated among the Gentiles, which is utterly chimerical, turn with me to the Jerusalem council of apostles, elders and brothers, highest authority this side of heaven, and you find the matter fully explained and the problem solved. Acts 15:16 : “After these things [i.e., the preaching of the gospel to all the Gentiles in the present dispensation] I will return and build again the dynasty of David or the throne which hath fallen down, and will rebuild the ruins of the same and set it up again.” Here we see positively that the temporal wing of David’s throne had an interregnum at the time of Christ and the apostles, which is to continue until the King returns in His glory. Then He is going to rebuild the throne of David, restore his kingdom on the earth, destined, as the same Scripture goes on to say, “to encompass all the nations of the globe.” Hence, we see that David’s kingdom in the earth is to have this interregnum, which obtained in the former dispensation and continued to the end of the gospel age.
Therefore it is a great mistake to think we have to find David’s kingdom perpetuated in the earth, as this would preclude the interregnum which the Scriptures positively reveal. Hence the conclusion of the problem is the simple fact that Jesus Christ, the lineal Son, royal Heir and Successor of David, was born King, and, though prohibited and crucified on earth, He was crowned King when He ascended into heaven, and actually there sitteth on the throne of David, thus perpetuating his kingdom forever. Since David really had no earthly throne, but as king of the divine theocracy, his throne was in heaven, the capital of his kingdom, while it overlapped down in the earth and gave Israel a prelibation of the blessedness of the heavenly kingdom, of which Jerusalem, in the glory of David and Solomon, proximately symbolize heaven, and David’s earthly throne was but the temporal counterpart of the heavenly. Hence the temporary dilapidation of David’s earthly throne does not invalidate the eternal perpetuity of his kingdom, realized in the mediatorial administration of Christ in heaven and destined in the coming millennial age, adumbrated in the days of David, to reach down and girdle the globe in the glory of the heavenly kingdom. We find interregnum s in many of the time-honored kingdoms of the earth, such as Rome and Britain; but these interregnum s do not invalidate the perpetuity of these kingdoms. Neither does the interregnum of David’s throne on earth invalidate the eternal perpetuity of his kingdom, especially in view of the fact that the heavenly nucleus of that kingdom is literally perpetuated in the glorious reign of King Jesus. The very fact that God said to Jesus on His congratulation and coronation, “Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool,” involves the unequivocal promise on the part of the Father to shake down every rival potentate in all the earth, whether political or ecclesiastical. The incarnation of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost was a positive confirmation of the coronation of Christ in heaven, as the law must be fully satisfied before the promised restitution can be consummated in the incarnation of the Holy Ghost, actually restoring the human to full spiritual freedom and ushering in the millennial victory. Of course, Luke here gives us but a brief epitome of Peter’s sermon, i. e., the salient points. God in the Abrahamic covenant promised the gift of the Holy Ghost. That covenant must be sealed with the blood of Christ before the Holy Ghost, the Restorer and Comforter, can be given.
33. “Therefore, exalted at the right hand of God, having received the promise of the Holy Ghost with the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear.” You see Peter’s logic. The discussion of the Holy Ghost filling the disciples is demonstrative proof that Christ has satisfied the Father with His atonement, actually been received and ratified in heaven, crowned at the right hand of God Mediatorial King, received the Holy Ghost and sent Him down His own Revelator and Successor whom He had promised to send down.
THE AWFUL INDICTMENT
Now the illiterate fisherman faces the multitude, boldly arraigns hierarchs and politarchs for the awful crime of murdering the Son of God. The mighty logic of the Holy Ghost sweeps away all the human and Satanic refuges of lies.
36. Peter with the boldness of an archangel certifies and proves by David and Jacob that God has received, crowned and sceptered that same Jesus whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ. Thus he charges the mighty men of church and state with the blackest crime that ever cursed humanity. Nothing but the supernatural presence of the Holy Ghost in Peter kept them from killing him on the spot. See an illiterate fisherman prove more than a match for all the power of earth and hell.
The supernatural presence of the Holy Ghost, indisputably manifest in Peter and the one hundred and twenty, despite the combined powers of church and state, earth and hell, settled down on that multitude a superhuman conviction like a nightmare from the eternal world, paralyzing resistance, confounding contradiction, demolishing the impregnable citadels of deep- seated prejudice, smashing the mighty bulwarks of tradition and priestcraft, undermining and demolishing mountains of church-pride and ploughing the very foundation of the hierarchy, flooding the multitude with a Niagara of consternation, uncoping hell and unveiling the devil, revealing the Gorgon horrors of the bottomless pit, the matchless altitudes of glorified humanity and the transcendent possibilities of the glorified Christ and the incarnate Holy Ghost. The flashed lightnings of conviction sweep away all decorum, annihilate all sense of propriety and dumfound all the courtesies inspired by an audience of one hundred thousand delegates from all the Jewish synagogues beneath the skies.
37. Peter is shouted down by a swelling tide of mournful wails: “What must we do?”
38. “Repent ye, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” As Peter’s introductory sermon is broken up by the uproarious wailing of eight thousand penitents, amid whose bitter cries soon mingle the vociferous shouts of three thousand new-born souls, the one hundred and twenty take the work into hand, dashing in all directions, preaching and expounding the way of salvation, the Holy Ghost wonderfully using their joyous instrumentality, utilizing the double miracle, empowering every one to hear in his own language and every disciple to speak fluently in all of the languages of that heterogeneous throng, thus restoring all the confusion at the Tower of Babel. Sad to say, heretic, Catholic and Protestant have woefully perverted this beautiful 38th verse, adroitly turning it to support the Popish dogma of baptismal regeneration, which has deluded and sent multitudes to hell. In the E. V. “repent and be baptized” are grammatically and logically co-ordinated a bald error. In the Greek, “repent” is second person, plural number and imperative mood, applying to the entire multitude, while “be baptized” is third person, singular, applying only to the subject of “repent.” Hence, none are to be baptized but those who have repented. That simple fact knocks the Popish dogma of baptismal remission beyond the North Pole. “Repent” is metanousate, from meta, “change,” and noos, “the mind.” Hence, it means “change your mind.” You have no right to give this or any other Scripture a more metaphysical interpretation, from the simple fact that the Bible is not a metaphysical, but a spiritual book. Consequently, unspiritual preachers in all ages have run it into heresy and nonsense and made it a passport to hell. When God created man He put His mind in him. The devil, in the fall, succeeded in knocking it out and putting his old filthy carnal mind in its place. Hence, change of mind, indicated by the word “repent,” means to get rid of the carnal mind and receive the mind of Christ. The churches abound in people as ignorant of repentance as baboons, hosts of preachers in the same dilemma. You remember that sermon by John Wesley, which all Methodist preachers are required to study, captioned “The Repentance of Believers”? That is in harmony with the true meaning of the word. You have the carnal mind till you are sanctified wholly. It is conquered and bound in regeneration, but destroyed in sanctification. The repentance of a sinner and the consecration of a Christian are generally identical but specifically different. They are both a giving up. The sinner in repentance gives up all of his bad things to the devil and leaves him forever; the Christian in consecration gives up all of his good things to God to be used for His glory forever. This is what John Wesley meant by the repentance of a believer, i. e., his entire consecration of all to God for time and eternity. Hence, when repentance has finished its work you are not only converted but sanctified wholly. I heard so many sermons preached from this text by unconverted preachers when a boy I do thank God for His mercy which alone protected me from the horrific hell-traps they set to catch poor ignorant people like me. “Misery likes company.” They were in the devil’s trap of water regeneration, and they did their best to catch all they could. Although repentance not only invariably secures remission of sins but prepares you to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the glorious positive side of entire sanctification and the climacteric achievement of the gospel dispensation launched at Pentecost. If the Hydrolators ( i. e., water worshipers, as abominable in the sight of God as any other form of idolatry) would only take the whole verse, press and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost they would come out right after all. But they pervert the first clause and throw away the second. Consequently they have nothing left but the water. “For remission,” E. V., does not necessarily mean “in order to remission,” as the Hydrolators construe it. When I was in California last winter a man was hung for murder. He was not hung in order to commit murder, but because he had already committed it. Hence “for remission,” not in order to get it, but because you have it. The E. V. is right in harmony with the Greek. There we have it, “and be baptized every one of you unto the remission of your sins,” i. e., confirmatory of the fact. You can not confirm a thing till you have it. We see from this wonderful verse which rings out the keynote of that salient response to the cries of the panic stricken multitudes, the two distinct marks of grace in the plan of salvation, i. e., remission of sins as a result of repentance and confirmed by water baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, the glorious hyperbole of the gospel dispensation. Mark the word “gift” here in the singular number. The Holy Ghost confers gifts on the sinner, i. e., conviction, repentance, regeneration, justification and adoption to bring him into the kingdom. Then when you are truly converted, it is your glorious privilege to receive from the Father and the Son the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” i. e., the Holy Ghost Himself as an indwelling Sanctifier and Comforter. This was the crowning glory of the Pentecostal experience, consummating full salvation. After you have received the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” and thus been sanctified wholly, it is still your precious privilege to receive the greater gifts of the Spirit, nine in all (1 Corinthians 12:0), by which you are enabled to save others, these gifts of the Spirit constituting your impregnable panoply and preparing you for the Lord’s battle-field.
FOR ALL AGES AND NATIONS
39. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to you who are afar off, so many as the Lord our God may call.” This verse is positive, unequivocal and unmistakable, confirmatory of the great New Testament truth that the promise of the personal incarnated Holy Ghost appertains to every human being on the globe whom the Lord may call by His Word, Spirit and Providence to come and participate in the glorious gospel feast, now ready and free to every fallen son or daughter of Adam’s ruined race. While the concession of God’s pardoning mercy, extended to all, is generally conceded, ecclesiastical autocrats and theological heretics pertinaciously repudiate the second great work of grace, i. e., the reception of the personal Holy Ghost as an indwelling Sanctifier and Comforter. Not only is this verse clear and unequivocal, but Peter at the house of Cornelius and in his testimony before the apostles at Jerusalem most unequivocally certifies that the Gentiles received the same identical spiritual enduement which the apostles received on the day of Pentecost. While these Scriptures are so positive, clear and conclusive as to preclude the possibility of misapprehension and leave no conceivable apology for cavil; yet it is a significant fact that bold heretics this day from Dan to Beersheba are persistently and indefatigably laboring to convince the people that no one but the apostles ever did receive the Holy Ghost, whereas a hundred and eight of the original disciples who received Him on the first morning of Pentecost were not apostles, and a number of them were women. Why do these bold heretics labor so hard and so persistently to flatly and positively contradict and refute the plain and unmistakable Word of God? Brother Godbey, what is heresy? And who is a heretic? The original meaning of heresy is to separate; thence a heretic is one who separates himself from God and takes issue with God; while heresy is doctrine dissimilar to God’s Word and out of harmony with it. The martyrs were all stigmatized heretics and burnt for heresy, because they separated from the corrupt clergy and the fallen church. If you will retain in your mind the definition of heresy, i. e., separation from something, the analysis is plain and easy. When a church becomes corrupt and heretical because it is separated from God, it invariably falls into the hands of carnal ecclesiastical autocrats and despots who are ready to persecute all who dare to separate from them. You must not forget that Satan is the great counterfeiter and counterfeits all truth. He calls evil good and good evil; hell, heaven, and heaven, hell; and calls himself God, and he is the god of this poor fallen world (2 Corinthians 4:4). His intelligence so far transcends that of every human being as to enable him to cunningly manipulate the greatest intellectualists and the most profound scholars. He has but one available competitor, and that is God.
So infinite is the devil’s intellectual perspicacity above that of all human beings that he has no trouble to radically and completely deceive all classes from the simpleton to the philosopher, from the barbarian to the most scholarly theologian on the globe. Hence the only possible availability against his devices is to receive the light, wisdom, word and personal incarnation of the Holy Ghost. So long as He dwells in you, though you be an illiterate Hottentot, you will prove more than a match for an army of devils. If you let God conquer you, capture and move into you, you can then conquer “the world, the flesh and the devil.” If you do not let God conquer you, you can be conquered by most insignificant things, e. g., a filthy old cigar, the sickening quid or the nauseating old pipe, or almost any other silly and senseless device of the devil. As an independency, man never has stood and never will. The devil puffs him up with egotism and inflates him with the silly delusion of personal independency, merely that he may gouge his eyes out, wrap him around his black fingers, toss him for a foot-ball, the sport of demoniacal millions to kick around the black walls of hell through all eternity. Since the Fall, Satan has been “the god of this world,” and so few people have been acquainted with God that the leaders of church and state, blinded by the fogs of hell and led away by the sophistries of the pit, have literally developed a general tergiversation of the maxims and dogmata of all ages and nations, political and ecclesiastical.
The devil takes the very phraseology of the Bible, radically perverting and cunningly manipulating it to the damnation of the superstitious votaries of religion. Consequently the devil’s deluded ecclesiastical tyrants in all ages have hounded, persecuted and martyred the children of God under the vociferous and odious imputation of heresy. As heresy means separation, and the saints of God could not be true to Him without separating from the wicked rulers of fallen ecclesiasticisms, of course they were heretics from their standpoint but not in the sight of God and the light of His Word. With the above exposition of Satan’s counterfeit applications and interpretations of heresy and heretics, you are prepared to put your eye on Jesus and His Word and receive the true interpretation of heresy and see who the actual heretic is. God alone is true and right. Hence all spiritual leaders who separate from Him are heretics in the divine estimation and in the light of all Christian intelligence. Since the Bible is the only book of truth in all the world, other books only being true so far as they harmonize with it, therefore all departure from God’s revealed Word is heresy. During the first three centuries, while martyrdom was the order of the day, the expectation of every Christian and the glory of the church, there never was a schism. When the Emperor Constantine professed the Christian religion and suddenly elevated the despised, down-trodden, persecuted church from the lion’s mouth and the burning stake to the palace of the Caesars, they immediately assembled in the council at Nice, Bythinia, the Emperor Constantine presiding over the council, sitting in a golden chair. They proceeded to make a human creed, thus formulating the celebrated Nicene Creed, the prolific mother of all the creeds of Christendom, which have multiplied upon the face of the earth like the Grecian warriors springing up from the dragon’s teeth sown by Cadmus. The martyrs were burnt for disharmony with the creed interpreted by the sinister policy of a corrupt clergy. When the holiness people go into creed-making the shroud of the grand movement is ready for her interment. Every deflection from the plain Word of God is heresy. The Old Testament abounds in beautiful and instructive symbolisms, all of which are literalized in the New. Hence the New Testament, in whose dispensation we live and which really contains all the truth of the Old, focalized, literalized, verified and elucidated, is the creed of Christendom. It is plainer and more easily understood than any of the human creeds. Hence there is no apology for their existence. If your creed is in harmony with the Bible you can well afford to drop it and use the Bible. If it is out of harmony with the Bible, throw it away quickly or the devil will get you. A sectarian is the devotee of a human creed, whether written or unwritten. He is a poor, deluded idolater, worshipping a silly, pusillanimous human dogma, hatched in the bottomless pit and propagated on earth for the delusion and damnation of souls. Any man will die for his god, whether he be a Christian martyr, worshipping the true God in heaven and earth, or a bloodthirsty Mussulman, worshipping the false prophet, or the Pagan devotee of Brahma, Buddha, Grand Llama or Foh. The present age is awfully cursed with human heresies. Our Savior describes them, “compassing sea and land to make one proselyte, simultaneously making him two-fold more the child of hell!” Well said, because they have no power to take away his old sins: all they can do is to administer to him the rites and ceremonies of theirs, persuading him that he is a Christian when he is not, thus making him a hypocrite as well as a sinner, and doubling the mess for devils to devour in the barbecues of hell. We would all do well to emulate the zeal and perseverance of the devil. Oh how his preachers run to the ends of the earth, undergo hardships and surmount difficulties to propagate their heresies and make proselytes. Now, reader, I hope henceforth you will know no authority but God’s Word, taking it as it is, zealous least any one explain it away. Paul calls it a two-edged sword. If you give it a chance it will cut the heads off your idols till not one survive, and thus you will have nothing left but God and His sweet precious Word. Why do preachers with fine collegiate educations hold on weeks together preaching themselves hoarse to convince the people that they can not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, thus flatly contradicting God’s plain and unmistakable Word? There is but one possible solution, and that is, that these are verifying Paul
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder: for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no surprise if indeed his ministers are transformed as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)
The world is thronged with the devil’s preachers, as the Holy Ghost through Paul so faithfully warns us. They tell you, you can not receive the Holy Ghost, and that no one has received him since the apostles. Why? Because they are personally ignorant of the Holy Ghost in His regenerating and sanctifying power as a personal indwelling Illuminator and Comforter; they judge all others by themselves. They are like the African king who said that all the people in the world were black, from the simple fact that he had never seen a white man. Now, reader, will you be stupid enough to follow Satan’s ignorance instead of the blessed Savior and God’s infallible Word, which, as you see here, positively certifies this promise of God to bestow upon His children the gift of the Holy Ghost, “is to you and to your children, and to you who are afar off, so many as the Lord our God may call”? If you are puzzled amid the clamor of contradictory sectarian shibboleths, just get on your knees and ask the blessed Holy Spirit, while you open your Bible and read it, to reveal it to you. If you are truly honest, your creeds and idols all dead, and yourself dead to everything but God and His Word, you will have no trouble, but always receive the needed light. The reason why the masses of religious people are so easily manipulated by the devil’s preachers is because they know so little about God’s Word. The blessed Holy Spirit will invariably shed the light on His precious Word, necessary to guide the honest, humble soul in the way of all truth and righteousness. If you are truly walking with God in the light of His Spirit shining on His Word you can detect heretics at once, because they bend the Bible to their creed, thus incurring the awful woe pronounced on the man who “handles the Word of God deceitfully.” It is awfully wicked to tinker with God’s Word and bend it to your creed, whether written or unwritten. The Bible, like God, bends to nothing, while everything in all the world is to bend to it. How blessedly consolatory that the way to heaven is so plain, “that wayfaring men though fools may not err therein.”
42. “And they were persevering in the teaching of the apostles, and in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and prayers.” The three thousand were suddenly and unexpectedly caught in the whorls of this Pentecostal cyclone, warped in oblivion as to their distant homes and plans of speedy return, thrilled and enraptured with the new teaching of the apostles, revelatory of all the wonderful and paradoxical events connected with the history of Jesus, the Christ of prophecy, who had already in fulfillment of the prophecies come into the world, suffered and died, ascended into heaven, been crowned and sceptered King of the Jews and poured out the Holy Ghost on them, the Omnipotent Successor and Revelator of the ascended Christ, thus inaugurating the glorious gospel dispensation, predicted by inspired seers four thousand years. The three thousand all have the same wonderful experiences of personal salvation. Hence unutterably sweet their fellowship, as they are filled and thrilled with the edifying word; they are constant in prayers and daily partake of the holy eucharist instituted by our Lord to commemorate His vicarious sufferings till He shall ride down on the throne of His millennial glory.
43. The occasion is rife with the miraculous manifestations of the Divine presence. The supernatural audience of every man in his own language and equally supernatural utterance of the one hundred and twenty in all the diversified languages spoken by the nations of the globe as the Jews in their dispersions then and now speak the language of the nation whither they sojourn, “and there was a great consternation on all,” regardless of age, sex, rank or nationality, a mighty consternation from God out of heaven overawed the multitudes, all electrified through and through with the realization that God Almighty has Jerusalem in His hand.
COMMUNITY OF GOODS
44, 45. A number of concurrent events superinduced this community of goods:
(a) The suddenness of the Pentecostal revival catching thousands of those delegates from Jewish synagogues in “every nation under heaven,” who had only brought supplies for their expeditious peregrinations, and were consequently dependent on the Jerusalem saints for support;
(b) amid the rage of men and devils, the magnates of church and state arrayed against the despised Nazarenes and determined to crush them in blood, obliterating the very memory of Jesus from the earth, there is every probability of forfeiting their estates by confiscation;
(c) all the primitive Christians were on the constant outlook for their Lord to return from heaven and take them away, as He had said with His valedictory lips, “Behold! I come quickly.” In that case, of course they would have no use for their estates. Amid these environments and inspirations we do not wonder at the forty-fifth verse, i. e., “They continued to sell their real estates and private properties and distribute the same to all as any one had need.” Should all Christendom practice the community of goods? It would certainly be very pertinent as well as altogether probable amid the circumstances which peculiarize the Pentecostians. But remember God makes the circumstances; they are His providences, and we have no right to make them.
46. “And they were daily persevering with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house; they received their food with gladness and purity of heart, praising God and having grace toward all the people.” Here we find that the hundred and twenty, augmented by the mighty force of the three thousand converts, turned loose on the metropolis and the surrounding country, preaching from house to house. This explains the reason why five thousand more were speedily converted, at once swelling the Pentecostal church to eight thousand. The great delinquency of the present age is this original policy of preaching to people in their homes. Here we see that they entered family circles indiscriminately, preaching and praying till they convert them to the Christhood of Jesus, the great salient truth and fact of apostolic preaching, then they seal their profession of discipleship by baptism and confirm them by the eucharist. This is the grand open field for the holiness people to win a crown of glory, evangelize the world and bring back our King. So let us go preaching from house to house as they did at Pentecost. When I was sanctified thirty years ago I at once became an indefatigable household preacher. I ran all over my circuit regardless of membership in my church or any other, entering every house and preaching the living Word. My conference soon fell into the habit of sending me to the hardest and deadest appointments in all the land. While I ran into every house, prayed and preached in every home, prevailing on them to come to my meeting, which I kept running the whole year, God came down, shook the whole country with the tread of a spiritual earthquake, mighty revivals swept like cyclones, and while all the churches in my boundary were signally blessed and received many additions to their membership, I used to go up to my annual conference at the end of the year and report in my own pastorate three times as many members as I began with. Sad to say, the apostolic household preaching in the church of the present day is a lost art. The preacher goes round calling on his own members only, talks to them a few minutes about “Vanity Fair” and does not so much as pray for them. He would better stay at home. Such pastoral visiting is an insult to the common salvation and a grief to the Holy Ghost.
47. “And the Lord was adding daily unto them those being saved.” You all see the R. V., in harmony with the Greek, leaves church out of this passage. Doubtless the word was added by some of the ecclesiastical conservators of the Dark Ages. A considerable amount of the interpolations which have been added during the intervening centuries have an ecclesiastical signification, plainly illustrating the indisputable fact that they were put in by the clergy to augment and sustain their authority. The Greek Testament gives not a solitary instance of the modern church-joining. It simply says, “The Lord added unto them,” i. e., unto the apostles, the visible representatives of God’s spiritual kingdom, without the slightest intimation of church-joining. “Such as should be saved,” in E. V., is incorrect. The true reading is, “Those being saved,” i. e., the people who are in the process of salvation, the Holy Ghost having them in hand and moving forward His work of their personal salvation. Regeneration is primary salvation; sanctification is full salvation; while glorification [which is reached in two ways, i. e., transfiguration and resurrection] is final salvation, hence no one is saved in a final sense till soul and body are both glorified and reunited. Then probation is forever ended and we are finally and eternally saved, even from the liability of falling, as some of the angels did while they were on probation; as we will not be on probation when we go to heaven, having passed through our probation here, never to be again tried. Modern church joining, as preaching from the popular pulpit, is not only utterly unscriptural, but an awfully dangerous heresy. It leads people to believe that they get into the Church of God in that way, and that when they join the Church they actually have entered the Church of God, which is utterly untrue. The Church of God, in the language of the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, is called Ecclesia. It is from ek, “out,” and kaleoo, “call.” The Holy Ghost is the only Caller, however. He may use a human being to call you out of this world, which “all lieth in the wicked one,” i. e., the devil (1 John 4:19). Therefore, when you respond to the call of the Holy Ghost and leave the world, identifying yourself with God, you then and there enter and become a member of the divine Ecclesia, which is the only Church of God in all the world. The Church of God is identical with God’s family. Just as your children are all born into your family, and not joined in, hence a genuine regeneration wrought by the Holy Ghost makes you a member of God’s Church without ever giving your hand to the preacher or receiving water baptism. It is certainly your privilege, and may prove a means of grace, to identify yourself with a visible organization of God’s people; but such a transaction has nothing to do with making you a member of God’s Church. He Himself attends to that when He regenerates your soul. It is a deplorable fact that the popular mind in modern times has been literally hallucinated by the heresy of church joining. Multiplied millions are thus deluded with the idea that they are members of God’s Church when they are simply members of a human organization, which in countless instances has no record in the Lamb’s Book of Life. What is the visible Church? It is the material bodies of the children of God on the earth. Do you believe in church organization? Certainly. God is a great organizer. He organizes everything in the universe. When regenerated people are properly officered, so as to be fully efficient in the illumination and evangelization of the world, they constitute a well organized church. What are the officers of the Church of Christ? The bishop, having charge of the spiritual interest; the deacon, having charge of the temporal interest, and the eldership, comprised of persons possessing spiritual seniority, having charge of the general interest, and all to be filled with the Holy Ghost and invested with the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-11) necessary to qualify them for the duties of their offices. How shall we find these officers? The Holy Ghost knows them all. If we will be true to Him and of one accord on our knees, He will point them out to us in due time. (See Vol. 3, on Pastoral Epistles.) God help us all to see this fatal heresy of modern church-joining. Millions of people join a popular church and take a false comfort, believing they are in the Church of God. While we have no criticism for the enrollment of names for the convenience of the deacon or bishop (pastor), we do deplore the emphasis which is laid on it and the importance attached to it, causing millions of people to rest in carnal security, vainly congratulating themselves that they are in the Church of God, when they are not within a million of miles of it. The emphasis should be laid on the spiritual birth, which alone and of itself brings you into the Church of God; while sanctification confers on you full rights and privileges as a bona fide member, making you eligible to the offices of the Church. I joined the Methodist Church before I was converted, and the devil strove hard to acquiesce me and to get me to depend on that membership. Fortunately, grace prevailed and I got powerfully converted out in the woods all alone. Then and there, in the absence of every human being, I entered the Church of the First-born. The roll is not kept on the register of a popular church, but in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Good Lord deliver you from the silly superstition that men or devils can turn you out of a church! The only way to do that will be to steal Jacob’s ladder, climb up to heaven, purloin the Lamb’s Book of Life and cancel your name from its shining columns. Good Lord, give sense as well as religion, so we will not be bamboozled by Satan’s demagogues calling themselves preachers. Remember, all who leave this world members of the Church of God are sure of heaven, and none others. So you must hurry up and settle this problem of your church membership. If you belong to the grandest church in America, and are not truly regenerated and sanctified, instead of going to heaven when you die, devils will drag you into hell. Can regenerated people go to hell? No. Though regeneration of itself, without a preacher, a drop of water or an official board, makes you a bona fide member of God’s Church, yet it only adapts you to a state of probation which is confined to this world. “Without the sanctification no one can see the Lord” (R. V., Hebrews 12:14). You can not keep regenerated unless you seek holiness according to your light. In case of delinquency, you forfeit regeneration and fall into a backslider’s hell. If, seeking holiness according to your light, you have not received entire sanctification till God calls you away, He, in mercy, takes the will for the deed. Like the infant, you pass out under the blood, which cleanses you from all unrighteousness, giving you the full benefits of the atonement. As the old theologians say, you are sanctified “ in articulo mortis,” i. e., “in the article of death.” Thus, while regeneration makes you a bona fide member of the Church on earth, it does not qualify you for the heavenly state; since membership in the Church militant is compatible with the depravity incurred by the Fall (which, even in regeneration, is kept subjugated): the heavenly state requires entire sanctification (Hebrews 12:14). Hence, regeneration constitutes you a bona fide member (not an officer) of the Church militant on earth; while entire sanctification alone qualifies you for membership in the Church triumphant in heaven. Water baptism, eucharist and church register are simple visible signs of your membership in the family of God. The signs are all right in their place, but in no way essential to the reality, which frequently exists in blessed reality without them.