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SISTER Mary Hill Terry, of Oak Lane, Philadelphia, Pa., asks some thoughts from us on the words: “The sword of he Lord and of Gideon.” These exact words occur twice in the seventh chapter of Judges, and nowhere else, but the doctrine involved in them occurs throughout the Bible, from the first of Genesis to the last of Revelation. Gideon was of a poor family in Manasseh, and was the least in his father’s house. Him the Lord chose to be the savior of Israel from the Midianites. In his advance against the foe he began with thirty-two thousand men, but by siftings which God applied to this host they became reduced to three hundred before God would allow Gideon to lead them against the enemy. These Gideon divided into three companies of one hundred each. He provided them all with strange weapons: a trumpet, an empty pitcher and lamps in the pitchers. Gideon led them all, saying, “When I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be, that as I do, so shall ye do.” So, following their leader, the time came when they broke their pitchers, lifted aloft their lamps, blew their trumpets and cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Gideon is a type of Christ. The fact that the multitude with him was reduced from thirty-two thousand to three hundred before attacking the enemy, shows that the leadership of Christ against all that arrays itself contrary to truth is always manifested in connection with a remnant according to the election of grace. The visible church is never through all the ages other than a little flock, and never comprehends within itself the whole of spiritual Israel. There are always seine of the Lord’s people in every age who are never called into membership in the visible church. Were all the subjects of grace to be brought into the church here on earth, there would be the danger of trusting in numbers and forgetting that their dependence is in the Lord, just as Israel might have done had they gone thirty-two thousand strong against the Midianites. That the visibility of the church always has been in a little flock is shown by Gideon’s division of the three hundred into three companies of one hundred each, representing the three great dispensations in the travel of the church: from Adam to Moses, from Moses to Christ, and the present or gospel era. In each and all of these great periods of time the remnant according to grace has never had but the one and the same leader, the spiritual Gideon, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As he commands them to do, so they do. All of them, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, looked to him and testified of him; they saw eye to eye. Gideon’s origin was poor and lowly, being the least of the poorest in Israel. Jesus was curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth, he was born of a woman, and she not a queen of earth, but a poor peasant woman of Judea. Jesus in the earth suffered poverty and misery, pain and woe, the depths of which no one of his people can experience. The blasts of the trumpets sickened the hearts of the enemy with fear. Jesus in the wilderness being tempted of the devil, always answered him with the word of God: t is written thus and so. The visible church, though always a remnant, has always demanded a “Thus saith the Lord” to substantiate any and every thing that claims to be truth. This word of God is the trumpet that divides and tears into sects the armies of the aliens. Not believing the Scriptures, and not being able to gainsay or disprove them, they try to wrest them to their own ends. The empty pitcher is an empty earthen vessel; in it is the secret or hidden light. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may he of God, and not of us.” This treasure is, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Jesus, the man, was an earthen vessel, and an empty one; that is, the world, sin and the devil, had no part in him. There was no guile in him. In this earthen vessel was a wonderful light: the fullness of the Godhead bodily. All that can be seen or known of God in grace is manifested in Jesus: God in the flesh. Through suffering, crucifixion and death, this earthen vessel, the man Jesus, became broken, for he says, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” Only through the breaking of this earthen vessel could the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shine in the hearts of the elect of God in all the earth. As earth’s sun was setting when he bowed his head and gave up the ghost, so heaven’s glorious morning dawned in the hearts of the church when the Son of glory rose from the dead. The breaking of the pitcher and the freeing of the light, the death of Jesus and the consequent glory of his resurrection, are the sword of the Lord by which he triumphs over the world, the flesh and the devil. God-given faith in this wonderful victory implanted in the soul of the feeblest child of grace gives him the victory that overcomes the world. This is the secret of how the Lord can take a worm and thresh a mountain. The weapons of the army of heaven are not carnal, but spiritual; they appear foolish and absurd to the world, but, through God, are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. While we do not know exactly what was in the mind of the late Elder Gilbert Beebe when he placed these words, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon,” at the front of the SIGNS, We do think no more fitting expression could have been selected for the motto of our family paper, because Elder Beebe, in his publication, desired to know among the brethren nothing but “Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” and strongly emphasized “Thus saith the Lord.” Here are the trumpet, the broken pitcher, the exalted light, all a very effective weapon when wielded at the dictation of the antitypical Gideon, with which to slay error and defend the flock of God. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” L.

Elder H. H. Lefferts

Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 17.
September 1, 1914