THE CHURCH'S DESTINY
"...the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him...and they shall reign
for ever and ever" (Rev.22:3,5). Service is not only our privilege now, but also the Church's blessed
prospect for eternity, for which eternal vocation of course, we have to be prepared and qualified now.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians that it is the vocation of the saints to judge the world and judge the angels
(1 Cor.6: 2,3). This is the most astonishing idea, in this Corinthian context, for their church hardly
seemed to provide promising material for such a high vocation. Nevertheless, the truth that the redeemed
are destined to reign with Christ, is repeatedly referred to in Revelation.
The Lord Jesus told His disciples that they were the light of the world. While that is true, it is equally true
that the world is largely unable and unwilling to appreciate that light, even when it shines. The day will
come however, when the Lamb-illuminated Church will provide help and guidance to the nations
(Rev.21: 24). In this aspect. of things, we see the Bride as Queen -consort of the Lamb sharing His rule of
loving service. In the divine concept, to rule is to serve.
It is quite impossible for us dwellers on earth and in time, to visualise how the eternal ages of untiring
service provide for the fulfillment of our destiny. Whom will we rule? Whom will we serve? There is
much that we do not understand in this connection, but that does not lessen the thrust of this final vision
which speaks of "the healing of the nations" (Rev.22:2) and the ministration of blessing to them (Rev.21
:24). The Bride's destiny is closely connected with that of her divine Bridegroom; the Church will always
be at His side, not just for personal enjoyment, but for "Universal ministry".
This should not lessen our devotion to the service of the Gospel now -far from it. Service in God's eyes
arises not from some outward obligation but from an inward attitude of heart, which is in fact the Spirit of
the Master (John 13: 15). Not that we should wait for eternity in the hope of a place and honour there, but
rather that, because of eternal prospects, we should be the more devoted to the task of serving others and
seeking to win men for Christ. If service is to be our future vocation, then we must stick to it now. It may
prove that our present activities form a kind of apprenticeship. When we think compassionately of needy
men, we must always remember that when we least expect it, the cry may ring out, "Behold, the
Whatever else Revelation 11 may mean, it does give us some indications of the life of witnessing, which
characterizes those who in due course are raised up and hear the great voice saying unto them, "Come up
hither" (Rev.1;1 :12). Though we may not clearly identify the two prophets as to who they are, like them
we shall also be raised, hearing the voice of the Lord at His coming. This blessed hope will surely
empower and encourage us in our witness for Christ in this hostile world.
The first point to note is that there are Christ's minimum of two. The Church's Testimony in the world
involves individuals but should never be individualistic. We need one another. The next is that although
their testimony is on earth, their origin and source of supply is in heaven. They are "the two olive trees,
and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth" (v.4). Every believer needs to be in
intimate relationship with the Lord, and to know the constant supply of the Spirit, but especially if men
are to stand true to God in a world which is spiritually Sodom and Egypt, and where their Lord was
Is this Jerusalem in apostasy? Is it not a reminder to all witnesses that although the Church may have
times of relative tolerance or even popularity, the world in which it witnesses is essentially, deeply,
hostile to the Lord of Whom it testifies? Life may be relatively peaceful for us, but the time is coming
when the painful aspect of living for Christ, as here mentioned becomes real. How ever, for them and for
us all, there is the comfort in knowing that the great testimony, the Ark of the covenant, though hidden in
heaven, is the unfailing assurance of God's faithfulness to His people who battle on earth (v. 19). Though
hated and attacked, we will only be overtaken by death when our task here is completed (v. 7) and in
God's good time His witnesses will be vindicated in a striking way. The manner of their going up to
heaven in a cloud gives at least a hint of that great conclusion to this Dispensation which is described in 1
Thess. 4: 13-18, which we call rapture. The Lord sustain us all in this lively hope.
YE ARE MY WITNESSES—9
"And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch
saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:39). What a joy Philip brought in his life!
God had brought Philip at the right time, when the eunuch was reading Isaiah 53. Because Philip had
obeyed God implicitly, he was able to give the message straightway to the eunuch. He knew from the
very Scripture portion, what the Lord wanted him to speak. It is by obeying God's commands that God's
servants will receive His message. There is no need to be worried about it.
By obeying God fully, one can enjoy God's favor.
We have seen how God allowed persecution to spread far and wide. God is sovereign. He knows how to
defeat the devices of the enemy, only if we give complete charge of ourselves to Him. At that time, Saul
was the most bitter enemy of the Gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ. The same Saul became Paul, the most
devoted servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since his conversion, the Lord used his ministry and his
testimony in a wonderful way. He suffered much for the Gospel's sake.
The Lord called Saul by his name. He said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Saul's
fellow-travellers heard a voice and saw a light, but did not hear what Jesus said. We have to make sure
that the Lord speaks to us saying, "My son, my daughter, thy sins be forgiven thee", and then we receive
His peace and joy. But signs and dreams are not proofs of salvation.
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose,
and was baptized"(v.18). The mystery of baptism is, whether they are apostles or others, they all had to
be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no exception. Our spiritual growth depends
upon obeying God fully. When the Lord spoke to Saul on his way to Damascus, Saul said to Him, "Lord,
what wilt thou have me to do?" (v.6). The Lord said to Saul, "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be
told thee what thou must do". Then the Lord appeared to Ananias and told him to go to Damascus to meet
Saul. If you want anyone to do any job for you, a very important job. you will say, "It is very, very
important. You must do it". It has the same meaning here. "You go to Damascus and' will tell you what
you must do". That was the first message given to Saul.
Paul obeyed in baptism immediately. That is how the early believers began to grow spiritually. After
baptism, you find courage coming into you. "But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the
Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ" (v.22). So by obedience, we become
We have seen in chapter 9 that the Lord broke the plan of Peter to teach him a very important lesson. He
went to Joppa to pray for Dorcas and he stayed there. Unless the Lord broke Peter's pride-, He could
never show him His plan. Peter was still proud of his nationality as a Jew. He ministered only to the Jews
even though the Lord commanded them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. In chapter 10 we
find how God had to teach him that lesson. Peter became hungry while they were preparing food. So he
went to the housetop to pray. Rather than grumbling, he began to pray. You also do not be angry when
the food is late. There on the housetop the Lord spoke to him. He saw a sheet coming down from heaven
with all kinds of creatures in it. He heard the voice of God saying, "Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean" (vs. 13, 14). This
happened thrice. God of holiness and grace cannot ask anyone to do anything that is wrong. God was
speaking to Peter and he had to obey. But because of his self- righteousness he said, "No, Lord," as
though God was making a mistake. God cannot make a mistake. We must obey though we cannot fully
understand what God tells us. That is how God taught an important lesson to Peter.
At first, God sent an angel to the house of Cornelius (v.3). Even though the angel was sent to him, the
way of salvation had to be explained by Peter only. That privilege is given only to men and not to angels.
The honour and privilege to be His witnesses is given to us. Again we see how the Apostle Peter
preached about the power of resurrection. "Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him
openly...whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (vs.40,43). Now this message on
resurrection is very, very important. It is through that message that God's power it manifested, and lives
are changed. And this is the message; the One Who was crucified and buried, rose again.
"Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized... ?"(v.47). As soon as they were born
again, they were baptized. We find that this is God's plan. Through baptism we grow spiritually and enjoy
fully the power of resurrection and understand our spiritual equality with all believers.