They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels (Mal. 3:17).
All the time that Jehovah’s jewels are on the earth they are led and taught by the Spirit, and as they are moulded by his ministrations into more and more intimate knowledge of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
No other hands but the Lord’s gather and make up his jewels. “I make up my jewels.” He knows just where they are, he knows with what riches of glory he will have them adorned to shew forth his praise. “He will be glorified in them, and admired in all them that believe in that day.”
The apostle John was shown the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. The light and glory of the jasper stone is derived from the sun. The light and glory of the city is from Jesus Christ, the Lamb is the light thereof (Rev. 21:11-23). So the eternal excellencies in which the souls of the elect are wrought, made up in the new birth, are all derived from Christ, they are in that life by which our souls are quickened. So we now live unto our God, in the life, in the graces of the preeminent jewel, even Jesus Christ; we are in Christ, and Christ is in us; we are new creatures. Is it verily so with us? Then love and truth and holiness inspiring, renewing, lifting up the inward man, we worship God in our spirit, and find peculiar, divine delight in the law of our God. Yes, it’s God who hath wrought us, made us thus.
The inheritance reserved in heaven for the saints is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away (I Peter 1:4). How shall then corruptible man inherit such an inheritance? In our defiled Adamic condition it is impossible; but Jehovah, who hath predestinated his chosen unto this inheritance will fashion them; yes, they shall be wrought by his transforming power for this selfsame thing. The jewels are made up by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. This brings them near in reconciliation, in peace, in atonement with God, for by that sacrifice they are perfected forever (Heb. 10:14). Their sins and blots and spots are all purged.
Wonderful, wonderful! How precious is this to the soul! The blood of Emmanuel cleanses us from all sin O wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). Contemplate also this, “The righteousness of Jesus Christ is unto and upon all that believe.” In such a glorious robe the jewels are perfect in God’s sight, for Christ’s comeliness is put upon them. By faith, of the operation of God, we enter into this blessedness. The comforter, the Holy Ghost, takes of the things of Christ and shews them unto us, and this is our sacred comforting earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession. O this earnest is so blessed! Yes, we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, and we (amidst the tribulations of our pilgrimage) abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost of its unfading, immortal, infinite fullness.
That eternal excellency, loveliness of the church set forth in the gospel is so comfortingly apprehended in our faith and hope in our Saviour, and though now we have only the hope, the earnest of the spirit in our hearts, yet so gladdening and assuring is this foretaste to us poor sinners that having this hope in us we say, we shall be like Jesus, our Saviour and head, for we shall see Him as He is.
In that world of immortal glory we shall then in our very being be without sin, and robed in all spiritual beauty we shall be conformed in all things to the image of our precious Christ. We shall be incorruptibly glorious forever with our God. The church is Christ’s fullness, the fullness of Him who filleth all in all. He filleth His people with His spirit, life and graces. Thus He makes up His church, He makes her meet, Col. 1:12, to present her to Himself a glorious church, having neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing; but holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 5:27). Having ransomed her by His precious blood there shall be a final gathering together in one, even in Christ Jesus, of all the special treasure of Jehovah even in that day when I make up my jewels, saith the Lord of hosts.
Not one jewel, not one saint, not one vessel of mercy, will be missing, and not one but what will be most gloriously and eternally made up in the likeness of their Lord and Redeemer. The apostle Paul says, “Not as though I had already attained, neither were already perfect” (Phil. 3:12). He so well knew (as all believers in Jesus know) that the good work of making up the jewels is but begun, to be performed unto the day of Jesus Christ. But, though now it doth not yet appear what we shall be, yet we are not left in the dark, not left to conjecture what we shall be, we shall be like Jesus, for we shall see Him as He is. This is the hope in us (I John 3:3). We shall then appear with our head, our preeminent ONE, with our precious Christ in glory, and be glorified in His glory. So transitory, fading, unsatisfying, are all terrestrial things. Ah, even though we have the first fruits of the spirit, nevertheless through the bondage of corruption in which we are found tabernacling we are found groaning within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body (Rom. 8:23).
Our natural bodies are corruptible, mortal, they are therefore in their earthy condition incapable of participation in that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for the ransomed ones. “Now this I say, brethren, (saith the apostle) that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” Our bodies then in death return to the earth from whence they were taken (Gen. 3:19; Eccles. 12:7). Our bodies are the members of Christ, bought with a price, Christ’s precious blood. Shall these blood-purchased bodies of His jewels remain the prey of death forever? No indeed, He will raise them up at His coming, at the last day, fashioned like unto His own glorious body. Be of good cheer, believers in Jesus, contemplate with earnest expectation that which we are waiting for; here are the glad tidings, of the hope of the gospel. “Behold, I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” This is, the final, completing work of the Lord in making up His jewels. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him” (Heb. 11:5). Elijah was taken up into heaven without seeing death (2 Kings 2:11). They were “changed” when God translated them from earth to heaven; changed from natural to spiritual, their manhood, mortal and corruptible, put on immortality and incorruption.
What a work is this, that our bodies shall be changed to be fashioned like unto the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ, changed from the image of the earthy to the image of the heavenly; by redemption, regeneration and resurrection made up eternally glorious. All the stains, wrinkles, blemishes and spots removed, in immortality and incorruption the glorified church shall possess with Jesus all the blessedness of eternity, and in ceaseless adoration, in everlasting gratitude, “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” O dear brethren, how blessed is this hope to us poor, tried sinners. No more shall sin intrude to stain, to deface and annoy; there shall be no more sighing, no more crying and tears; there shall be no more curse and no more death; never shall there come any symptom of mortality, pain and sickness; wrinkles, blemishes, spots, never shall be known. The jewels all made up in immortal youth and beauty shall bear the image of the heavenly. “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts.”
FREDERICK W. KEENE
THE LONE PILGRIM
Volume 6, No. 67