They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels (Mal. 3:17).
“The Lord of Hosts!” The revelation of our God in this name is as a mighty fortress; His majesty and omnipotence is so assuring to frail, sinful creatures. Our God is Lord of the multitude of the heavenly host, Luke 2:13, the holy angels, those heavenly intelligences who excel in strength, who do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word (Psalm 103:20). “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshipeth thee” (Neh. 9:6). He is Lord of all the human race; he is Lord of the host infernal, the devil and all his angels, those wicked spirits whom God hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day, even unto everlasting fire which God hath prepared for them (Matt. 25:41). God reigns over all the hosts in heaven and earth and hell; all are subject to his omnipotence
If God be for us who can be against us? “They shall be mine.” Who are these? They are described in the preceding verse; they are those who “feared the Lord, and thought upon his name”; they are the true worshippers of the Lord, they hallow the name of God in their hearts; his name was in their thoughts. Not as an enemy who with mighty power has made his entrance, not as an intruder, not unwelcome, but they thought upon his name reverently, believingly, affectionately, prayerfully and profitably. The name of the Lord is not meaningless, but as his name is, so is he. Therefore those who thought upon his name lived in very intimacy with the glorious dear name of their God and Saviour.
“They that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalm 9:10). It is Jesus, our Redeemer, who brings near and declares so fully and blessedly the name of God; he sings into the hearts of his people the praises of our Father in heaven, “saying, I will declare thy name, unto my brethren; the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb. 2:12). Look through the scriptures and see how manifold are the revelations of his name, and in every aspect in which his name is declared we find all our sufficiency and blessedness. In every condition, at all seasons, his name so answers all our needs, and thinking upon his name our hope revives and our trusting souls say, He will surely be to me, a poor sinner, all that his name declares. “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” The earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1). The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8). All things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 1:16). But in a way more intimate than all this the elect of God are his, “for the Lords portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (Dent 32:9). “Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exod. 19:5). They are the Lords in his eternal election of them in Christ Jesus (Ephes. 1:4); they are his by redemption, bought with a price (I Cor. 6:20), they are his by sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth (I Peter 1:1), they are the Lord’s in communion with him, and as instructed in the faith of the gospel in many intimate ways they are made to taste the blessedness that they are the Lord’s. Yet all this does, not fully set forth the preciousness of the words, “They shall be mine.” They are now his jewels, he has begun his good work of making them up; but there is to be that final, completing, crowning work wrought by the Lord in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, when I make up my jewels. The chosen of the Lord shall each and all of them, in their body and spirit which are his, be made up, and in all spiritual and eternal excellency be conformed to the image of Jesus, the ascended, glorified Redeemer; and though sin and death have put their disfiguring hands upon them, and hold them in their grasp as lawful captives, “they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” Is such a hope of all this blessedness mine? “In that day.” This is all the gospel day, unto the end of the world, to the end of time.
The personal experimental beginning of this day with each one of these “my jewels” is that moment when God quickens them into divine life. He begins the transforming good work in them, Phil. 1:6, which he continues from that moment to perform. He is making up his jewels, and thus wrought by the Lord, moulded by him, his own workmanship are they until the day of Jesus Christ; the day when all the jewels shall be gathered together in one, perfected, made up, and in all their immortal splendor they shall shine in the beauty of Jesus. He that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God, who also hath given us the earnest of the Spirit (2 Cor. 5:5). The work of the Holy Spirit quickening our souls with divine life animates us with holy fear and sacred love toward the everlasting God and his dear Son Jesus Christ. We are moved by his divine power to love holiness, to love God’s truth. Yes, most blessed is the work wrought in us; we are moulded, transformed, animated in our souls to see the beauty of the Lord, and as shown to us by the Spirit, the attributes of the Lord absorb our delighted eyes, and beholding in the light of life, by faith the loveliness of God in the face of Jesus Christ, he is our souls admiration, our loved and worshipped one; and looking to Jesus, in faith apprehending his atonement and righteousness, our hearts in hope say, Who is He that condemneth? We are perfected forever, we are washed from our sins, redeemed from the curse of the law, justified, beautified, accepted in our beloved Saviour, the head of the church. This is in faith, in our hope we thus speak, for we are not yet actually what we shall be. Ah, while we are pilgrims below, in our Adamic life and nature, we feelingly know that we are yet poor, sinful, vile mortals, often constrained in the bondage of corruption to sigh and moan forth our sorrows and desires before our God. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
“In that day when I make up my jewels.” That day is spoken of a number of times in the scriptures; it is that day spoken of by the apostle Paul: “Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that, which I have committed unto him against that day.” “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 1:12; 4:8). It is designated the day of Jesus Christ; “He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). It is the day of redemption, unto which believers are sealed (Eph. 4:30). It is that day of God, that appointed day, “For God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). It is the last day, the resurrection day (John 6:44-54). There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust (Acts 24:15). In that day “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day” (2 Thess. 1:7-10). And in our text, “that day when I make up my jewels.”
“My jewels.” In my mind I have been looking, upon those two words, and have been awhile absorbed in the sight. But how shall I find words to depict the scene that has been before me? I have seen they all are fondly loved by the Lord. As the words, “my jewels” signify, they are his “special treasure,” and if they are his peculiar treasure his heart is in them (Matt. 6:21). His heart and his eyes are with them perpetually, 1 Kings 9:8, and in the gathered, clustered, made up jewels I see ONE resplendently, preeminently, transcendently glorious, and all the others shine and are glorified in the likeness of this chiefest ONE. “My Beloved is white and ruddy the chiefest among ten thousand” (the standard bearer) (Solomon’s Song 5:10). This preeminent one is Jesus, Col. 1:18, in whom it pleased the Father all fullness should dwell. Who is Jesus? Very many do not know who he is; of his being and person they have no scriptural apprehension. There are many others who have a theoretical knowledge of him, and yet in the sacred, true sense do not know him, that is, they have no spiritual, intimate knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, whom to know is life eternal (John 17:3). As all the making up of Jehovah’s jewels is ever in association with Jesus, the preeminent, chiefest jewel, it will become us to contemplate this altogether lovely ONE. His majesty, glory exaltation and eternal excellency are such that he has a name above every name (Phil. 2:9). Christ Jesus, the head of the church, is none other than the incarnate Word. Being in the form of God, the brightness of his glory, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God; in him dwelleth all the fullness of the God-head bodily. This is the most wonderful theme presented in the scriptures, and I should like to speak to you, at some future time upon the subject, but just now simply wish to look at Jesus our Lord as the preeminent, most glorious jewel in the gathered peculiar treasure of Jehovah.
Jesus was verily of the seed of Abraham; to him was given the spirit without measure. Yes, that “holy thing” which was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb, of the virgin Mary was taken into indissoluble union, by the Son of God to himself, and thus he that is Jesus, verily the virgin Mary’s child is verily God. Christ Jesus, the last Adam, the second man is the Lord from heaven, 1 Cor. 15:45-47, and to him, our Jesus, (our fellow, Psalm 45:7, the man Jehovah’s fellow, Zech. 13:7), every knee shall bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11). While he was upon the earth there were some who were eye witnesses of His majesty, 2 Peter 1:16, they beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). O what exaltation our manhood has in Jesus, that the eternal Son of God has taken it into immediate union with Himself. Yes, He was made flesh and dwelt among us. I mention again that Jesus, the virgin’s very child, is the preeminent jewel of Jehovah; no other one, save the child Jesus, has such union with God or hath such infinite and eternal exaltation. He is endowed, anointed (the man Christ Jesus) and glorified with the glories of God; in him dwelleth all the fullness of the God-head bodily. All the attributes of God, all the beauty of the Lord Jehovah, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, shines in the face of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus irradiates the brightness of Jehovah’s glory. And when our beloved Christ, the Son of God, had by himself purged our sins he sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high, and to him Jehovah the Father saith, “Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool” (Acts 2:34-35). Christ is the head of the chosen congregation, and all the excellencies of the church (“my jewels,” “ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s”) are derived from and are ever found possessed by them in union with Jesus the anointed one, the head of Jehovah’s peculiar treasure.
Of Jesus, God the Father speaks, ;“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:1). As then Jesus, the chiefest among ten thousand, is now glorified in heaven, so all the chosen in him stall be gathered unto him in eternal glory in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, when I make up my jewels. The ultimate and the eternal purpose of God in Christ Jesus our Lord; (many of the purposes of God decreed in eternity relate only to temporal things, and are consummated in time, but this in Christ Jesus extendeth in eternity) the ultimate purpose of God therein is his own eternal glory in having near unto himself in highest exaltation the congregation of his chosen of Adam’s race; a church redeemed, regenerated; immortal, incorruptible, glorified beings; the objects of his love from eternity, who shall worship him forevermore, and who in immortal delight shall dwell with him in eternity. How near unto him and exalted they are, and eternally shall be, can be seen in its infinite height and glory in, Jesus Christ, the head of the church. But let it be confessed that while we are on the earth we are capable of attaining to the knowledge of this only in part; it is but glimpses that we can endure of such glories (I Cor. 13:9-12).
Jesus, verily the seed of Abraham, verily the virgin Mary’s child, was in the moment of his conception by the Holy Ghost in her womb taken by the word, the eternal Son of God, into unity of person with himself. The word was made flesh; John 1:14, the Son of God was made of a woman (Gal. 4:4). How near then is our manhood unto God in the person of Christ. Of all that are born of woman not one has this nearness, the infinite and eternal exaltation and glory, save Jesus, the virgin’s first-born child He is our Life, our Head, our Husband, our Redeemer, our High Priest; and such an one became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and O, he was made higher than the heavens, for above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named. We see him crowned with glory and honor, and to him, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that our Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Has Jesus this nearness and exaltation? Then his ransomed church shall be brought into eternal participation with him in this nearness, blessedness and eternal weight of glory.
“In that day when I make up my jewels.” They are the Lord’s, his work is perfect. O that transforming work of God in quickening us, when we were dead in our sins; in being born again of incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. In this the hidden man of the heart is made up, beautified, endowed by the Holy Spirit with imperishable graces. From the moment the Lord quickens the soul into divine life his working goes on; yes, it is continued all the time of our earthly sojourn. These vessels of mercy are afore prepared unto glory. Who are these jewels, these vessels of mercy? Elect human beings. “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:24). “Now he that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing (that mortality should be swallowed up of life) is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the spirit” (2 Cor. 5:5).
FREDERICK W. KEENE
THE LONE PILGRIM
Volume 6, No. 66