THE mind of the Lord is known to no man, past, present, or future, save unto them to whom God himself has revealed it. Communication from one to another may tell of the wonders of salvation, we may read in the Scriptures of divine truth the testimony of Jesus; but the knowledge and the understanding of it cannot be reached by any man until the light of divine truth illuminates his mind and heart and soul from a heavenly source, by the Spirit of God which dwelleth in all them who know him and the power of his word. Education, learning, researeh, or any attainment of the natural mind, cannot reach to the heights or delve into the depths of the mysteries of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Luke, the beloved physician, wrote, “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein them hast, been instructed.” This is prophecy. We also have this record, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readelh, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Again, the apostle writes, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” I make these few quotations in order that you may clearly perceive that prophecy is the direct result of revelation, and not arrived at by study, or by any methods that the natural mind can conceive of. From beginning to ending the Bible is directly or indirectly the testimony of Jesus, and the apostle tells us in (he Revelation, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Those who were denominated prophets in the olden time were prophets indeed, for they were set apart by the Lord to fulfill the office of the prophet, but prophecy in its spirit and in its fulfillment embraces much more than that, for the testimony of Jesus (which is the spirit of prophecy), is presented to the church of Christ in every experience of every child of God. They not only speak the truth as it is revealed in their experience, but they act it in their daily life. We see so many little lambs as they are entering into the spiritual life, trying, with fear and trembling, to hide those exercises of their heart which causes them to hope yet fear, and the more they try to hide them, the more clearly they manifest them to the clear eye of the church, which quickly perceives the little spark of God’s grace as it kindles in the tender heart, lighting up the soul, routing the hidden things of darkness and bringing into motion the wheels and springs of the heart and mind, calling into the light surprise, fear, trembling, hope, joy, peace and every spiritual emotion in their regular order, and by the same spirit. All this is testimony of Jesus, and the very spirit of prophecy. As in every age where true prophecy has been found, false prophets have arisen to oppose them, as also every other gift in the church, there is that opposing element which always marks the enmity between the flesh and the Spirit. In the beginning of time this opposition was clearly manifest by the serpent in the garden, who prophesied falsely to Eve, saying, “Thou shalt not surely die.” And in each succeeding year since that memorable conversation in the early morning of life, the two great powers of light and darkness have been deadly foes, and in constant conflict. Yet from the time that sin entered into the world, (and blackened the whole face of nature, even to the abundant growth of foul and nauseous weeds, blotting and staining the once green fields of God’s creation,) the light of true prophecy has gone forth through all the earth, with its gracious power to illuminate the hearts of all the sons and daughters of men who have been born into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. How plainly marked is this enmity of the flesh, when the Lord calls one of his servants to the work of the ministry. When the purpose of the Lord concerning them first dawns upon them, their first act is to rebel against every impulse in that direction, and to try to throw off the burden of the word that is placed upon them; the enemy of righteousness is at work in every fibre of their flesh, and so the conflict goes on in all its severity, until superabounding grace makes subject all the powers of darkness. And now with them, (as in all other subjects of (Sort’s grace,) they become passive to the work set before them, but with that overwhelming sense of their unworthiness and unfitness which mars their happiness in this present life. Yet the joy of the work laid upon them far surpasses and eclipses the trials and tribulations which go along with it. The motions of the spirit of prophecy in the subjects thereof are entirely spontaneous, they come unbidden, and when present are uncontrollable. In other words, they are elements in the spiritual life, a component and essential part of that life, by which we are moved and led into obedience’ and knowledge of the truth; they are manifestations in us of Christ our hope of glory. If we ever do walk in obedience to the truth, it is because we are walking not after the flesh, but in the light of truth, which is the life of Christ. There can be no true prophecy except it relates to Christ, and testifies of him, for he is the light of all divine inspiration and also the object of it. The flesh can testify only of itself, but the Spirit testifies of Christ, whose Spirit it is, for (as the apostle says), “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” In this spiritual life wherein dwelleth righteousness, God revealeth the secrets which alone belong to him, he revealeth in our hearts the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our all in all, our salvation, our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption. By this knowledge we are qualified to prophesy. In God our life is hid with Christ, hidden from all the world save the church of the living God. The members of Christ’s body speak a language which the world understands not, a strange language which they have not learned, yet it is a pure language, but not of their country, it is the pure language of Canaan, and clear as the noonday sun to the traveler in the land of Canaan. The revealed secrets of God and divine prophecy go hand in hand, for the one is but the telling of the other to them to whom the secrets have also been revealed. And each one is ready to say with the prophet Daniel, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons: he removetlh kings and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” So also with the prophet Amos, “Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it? Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Brethren, when God reveals his Son in you, tell it. Confer not with flesh and blood and try to reason it away, but tell it to your brethren, they are competent judges in the Israel of our God. If the Lord giveth thee light, let your light shine, that you may glorify your Father in heaven, proclaim it on the housetops if need be, that Jesus may be exalted a Prince and a Savior. Ye are lively stones, and not mere, clods of earth, testify to the things which ye ‘have seen and heard and handled. Make your Master’s house a house of prayer and praise, and not a place of merchandise. Zion is beautiful, and it is made so by the light of the Spirit of God shining in his people, and that shining being made manifest in all the acts of their life. So let us walk as becometh children of light, and prophesy according as God reveals unto us the hidden things of his treasure house.
B. F. COULTER.
Philadelphia, Pa., Mareh 25, 1904.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 72, No. 9.
May 1, 1904