"The things that are."

Rev. 2, Rev. 3.

H. C. Anstey.

Christian Friend vol. 16, 1889, p. 182 etc.

The Church looked at, first, in her relation to Christ; second, in her relation to the world; and, third, in her consequent condition at the second coming of the Lord.

These three may be easily traced in these two chapters. In addressing the Church on earth, just prior to His return, the Lord puts before her the real origin of her condition. He tells her that the beginning was departure in heart from Him, that her heart then went out after the world, and that thence has arisen all her present condition - a condition in which He will find her at His return. This condition He places fully before us in the last four churches. Her relationship to Himself and to the world He shows us in the first three.

In reading these addresses we must remember that the whole professing Church on earth is addressed, but that those in view are they "who have an ear to hear." These are exhorted to overcome individually, when the mass is going on either with satisfaction or indifference. The mass, which calls itself the church, is satisfied with its condition, and indifferent to the thoughts of Christ. In this state of things individuals are exhorted to overcome.

It is as cast out of the world that God gives to the Lord (i.e., as Man) the knowledge of His future purposes. The book we are reading is the "Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." The Lord by the hand of John, an exile in "the isle that is called Patmos," communicates these purposes to the Church on earth. And He is first shown to John as invested with all authority. He is the "Ancient of days" (see Daniel 7:9), and holds the keys of hell and of death as the "LIVING ONE" who was once dead. These purposes of God to be executed by Him are those of judgment. He is about to return to the earth to execute God's final judgment in and upon all in this scene, in the midst of which we live and move every day. He "hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man." (John 5) "His servants" stand here in the relationship of John 15:15 - "His friends" - and as such He would communicate to them all that is about to come to pass on the earth. It is imminent judgment, and this is the subject of the book.

I. The Church in her relation to Christ.

First, then, He speaks to the whole Church (in His message to Ephesus) of her relationship to Himself. She owes her existence to Him. He is the "Alpha" of God's ways (Rev. 1:11); and "He loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." Unchanged in His affection for her, He tells her that she has "left her first LOVE."

Though fallen from that condition which marked her when the "first works" were done in all the freshness of that "first love," how precious to Christ is the Church! He would seek to remind her of this. She was taken out of the world to be for Him. He says, "I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." And this is truly His voice, and what the Spirit with to her and to us, my brethren, today. The first works refer to what she did on earth, and at the commencement. These were done with the eye upon Christ. How changed is every thing done by her now, as seen by His eye. "Works" are still there (v. 2), but the pitcher is broken at the fountain; the spring that caused Him to delight in them is gone.

We are carried back to the relationship between Christ and the Church at the beginning in order to get the sense in our souls of how vast the fall. As first seen, in the midst of all the rubbish of this world, no love existed in her. "Hateful and hating" was her condition then, as Titus 3:3 says. And it was when she was in that condition that He saw her. "Having found one pearl of great price, He went and sold all that He had, and bought it." He went down to the bottom of the waters of death and judgment to have her for Himself. "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." And thence it was that in her sprang up that which never existed before. "We love Him because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19.) He speaks then of her love, and His heart is conscious that her love is defective.

And why does the Lord thus address her and us? (for every true believer forms a part of the true body and bride of Christ in the midst of this vast profession which has taken up this responsibility and name.) It is that true bridal affections, and "first works" which manifest them, may be awakened in us, and that hearts may shake themselves loose from all that worldliness which burdens and crushes the Church in her testimony, and may start out afresh for Christ. For as we read on in these addresses we shall see that worldliness is the defect. The WORLD has come in, and this is the worm which is gnawing at the root of a simple testimony here for the Lord. Oh for the heart to realize - the heart of each Christian individually - that the Lord is jealous lest any thing intervene between us and Himself! To have every thought, every motive, every action consciously under His eye, and subject to Him, "to the Lord." (Col. 3:23.) How it tests us to ask, Did you do that to the Lord, and desiring only His approbation? These were the first works; the motive power was affection for Him. It is what the apostle Paul refers to when he says, "The love of Christ constraineth us." Love, the constraining spring of service, and the only motive power that satisfies the heart of Christ. May the Lord lead us into this path more distinctly, that we may be found doing all that we do with the eye and the heart occupied with Himself. Every thing done with reference to the Lord, who "loved the Church, and gave Himself for it," and who is so soon coming back to receive her to Himself.

The first address of the seven (Rev. 2) is to Ephesus. The fitness of this being first is manifest. This assembly had been fully instructed by the apostle Paul as to the relationship of the whole Church to Christ. It is in that epistle that we learn that the Church on earth is "His body." There we learn too that each Christian is a "member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." We learn too that Christ "loved the Church, and gave Himself for it;" a love so great, that "for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church."

The Church is not considered in these addresses as the body of Christ, though that was the truth committed to Ephesus in Paul's epistle to that assembly, but as the responsible woman - responsible, as knowing this truth, to be true to the relationship existing between herself and the Lord. The relationship is not affected by failure to answer to its claims. Ephesus is addressed as in the relationship, and she, (representing the whole Church) is declared by Him who has loved her, and still loves her with a perfect love, to have been, and to be still, untrue to Christ. "Thou hast left thy first love." Her heart was not His, His alone. She had left Him, and another had her affections. It is the world, and He fully unfolds it in what follows. In the meantime each Christian is exhorted to hear what the Spirit says in this address, as to the Church's present condition, and to "overcome" in the midst of it, a responsibility resting upon every believer in Christ, wherever found; but observe, whatever the cost, it is one which, when responded to in the power of the Spirit, will lead into present food for the soul. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

II. The Church in her relation to the World.

This is presented in two aspects in the two addresses which follow. In the first (that to Smyrna) the world is seen in its own true character - that of a persecutor. This is in harmony with the Lord's own words in John 15, 16. It is the only proper attitude which the world can assume if the Church is true to Christ. The Church should never know the world, save as a persecuting world. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." If the Church has ceased to know the world thus (as a persecutor), then God has given to individuals to prove it, when through grace there has been given to any a recovery from the worldliness into which the whole Church has sunk. It is a great favour, given to us individually from God, to know the true character of the world, and to be called on to prove it in our walk on earth.

Hence there is no fault found with the assembly at Smyrna. He does not blame. She is the persecuted one, as He had been, and therefore in her proper position with respect to the world, and the Lord only comforts and encourages her. "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) … Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The object of the enemy, who is the god of this world, is to turn aside the Church from being true to Christ. This he attempts by persecution, seeking to "wear out" the saints by it; and it may even go on to death, as it has often done in the times past (Acts 22:4), man's histories too agreeing with God's that this has been so. The object of the world, and of Satan, its prince, is to oblige saints by persecution to give up Christ. The tendency of the natural heart is to faint under opposition and continued pressure.

But the Lord cares for this persecuted condition of His Church, and is beyond it: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The overcomer may have to go on to the death of the body; but if so, he shall "not be hurt of the second death." It is what is beyond and after death that is presented for our encouragement. "I will give thee a crown of life." When the world has done its worst, the Lord is found on the other side.

We have thus far seen what the Church on earth was to be in her relation to Christ. We have also seen what she was to be in her relation to the world. These are true for us today. The failure of the Church to maintain both brings us to the condition of Pergamos, which is the next in order of the seven. May the Lord meanwhile arouse us all to increased devotedness to Himself.


Revelation 2: 12-17.

The Church is in fellowship with the world. This is what the Lord reveals in His message to Pergamos. The Church is not a stranger on earth; she is dwelling where Satan's seat is. Satan's seat, or throne, is this world. Here only is the sphere that owns, nor will any other ever own, his sway, and in it she is seen by the Lord's eye; not hastening through it, as through a defiled and defiling scene, to which she does not belong, but dwelling in it, as though at home there. And the Lord presents Himself to the Church in this condition as "He that hath the sharp sword with two edges." By presenting Himself to her thus, He declares that He will sever the unholy league into which, as one seduced, she has entered. There can be no tolerance of it. "All judgment" is committed unto Him, and upon the world it must fall, however unfaithful the professing body may be. And fellowship with the world, while professing at the same time to be for Christ, is the Church's condition.

For it is very evident that the Church as addressed here has not cast off the profession of His faith and name. She does profess to be His, however unfaithful she is. He tells her this. "Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith." Yet while He can own this, He does not withhold that the doctrine of Balaam is there also. And how feeble, how imperfect the Church's testimony! And if she is untrue to her calling, the Lord will show her what true faithfulness is. Antipas, not the Church, is His faithful witness. How touching the allusion, if the Church has any heart to respond to it, when He says, "Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth!" "My faithful martyr," says the Lord - words which He should have been able to use as to the whole company. But this is impossible. The Church in fellowship with the world can no longer be the "faithful witness." And Antipas gives up his life as a testimony in the midst of the Church that should have been true to her absent Lord.

But there is more than this, more than the inability of the Church to be a faithful witness. There is a reason for it. The Lord continues, "I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam." This is positive wickedness. It was an endeavour to seduce the people of God, and at any price, into association with the world. For in speaking of Balaam, the Lord throws back the veil, and shows that which destroyed all possibility of devotion to Him. That hidden spring, working under the assumed guise of "increased liberality," is friendship with the world. Toleration accepted, there is then only a short step to amalgamation, and this is "the doctrine of Balaam." God's thought, the one great thought which can be traced like a golden thread running from Genesis 1:2-3, down to Revelation 22:14-15, is not toleration, not amalgamation, but everywhere "SEPARATION" from what is evil. "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." You can introduce no toleration of evil, and His thought for His people is consistent with Himself. It is ever so; and even Balaam, the deluded tool of the enemy, has to declare that separation is God's thought. "The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." (Nam. 23.) But, unable to curse God's people, and compelled to speak only what the Lord would have spoken concerning them, what did Balaam teach? He "taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."

There are always steps to be traced in decline in the history of our souls, and we can trace them here. Forgetting her true relationship to Christ, who is not on earth, how easy for the Church to forget that His place is hers. As He was not of this world, so the Church is not of it. As He is heavenly, so she is also, for she is His body. The first thing that we read about Israel after Balaam had failed to curse God's, people is this, "And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab." So the Church is said by the Lord to be "dwelling" where Satan's seat is, dwelling in the midst of the place where the Lord had no place. He had on earth "not where to lay His head." And what was the next step with Israel, and the next step in the Church's decline? Why, as dwelling there, Balaam's counsel is, "Let us be all together; let us be social;" and, oh, what a subtle delusion is this of the enemy - this plea of friendship! "And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel." (Num. 25:1-3.) And we see in this address to the Church on earth that she has repeated Israel's history, and that this is why the Lord refers her to it. The false prophet is within the Church, and the result of his doctrine is manifest in her present condition. He is teaching that she may eat things sacrificed unto idols; that she may enjoy Moab's food. He is teaching that she may, without fear, form alliances with this world, and so stop to rest (on her way to GOD'S rest) among those who have never any intention of going there.

And if we admit the complete analogy and parallel, as seen in the past history of Israel and the present condition of the Church, we must, notwithstanding, thank God that it is He in His grace who calls our attention afresh to it. Still more is it to be regretted that any who call themselves Christians should now, nevertheless, remain blind and deaf to what is said - unable to "hear what the Spirit with unto the churches." For if it is fairly admitted, and people do fairly admit (without apparently any exercise of conscience), that they do not understand even these two chapters which are especially and only addressed to the Church; is there not both blindness and deafness as to what is the Church's present condition? Yet the Spirit says as to this Book of the Revelation, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." He attaches a special blessing to the reading, and hearing, and keeping of what He here puts before us. And how can the soul keep what it has never in faith received?

One other matter the Lord speaks of before closing this address to Pergamos, and it is with reference to the Nicolaitanes. Much has been written as to the meaning of this word, and as to what these people were, and perhaps much of what has been said is right. As there is not in Scripture any explanation of the meaning of this word, nor of the word Pergamos, we may calmly weigh what godly men have written to explain each. It has been said that the word Pergamos has some relation to the Greek word for marriage, and that it points to the "marriage of the Church and the world." No doubt there is some important meaning for each word, and for the use of each. Enough is written in the Word, however, for us. The Nicolaitanes have been mentioned before in the address to Ephesus. We may compare these two references to them. We learn then, from Revelation 2:6, that although the Church has left her first love, she is not yet quite prepared to sanction that thing which the Lord hates. He says, "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate." But He does not thus speak to Pergamos. Again he refers to the Nicolaitanes, but He cannot now say that the Church hates them. No; as He has said that she allows within them that hold the "doctrine of Balaam," so now she allows within also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes," "which thing I hate."

The reader, as a Christian, will see the inconsistency, and weigh the value of what is said to the Church respecting this evil. She is said to hate their deeds, then to allow within them that hold their doctrine. You see that the PERSONS are allowed. But "God is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34.) And the Church must be governed by God's Word; she does not make it, she is taught by it. It says, "If ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin." (James 2:9.) And "God accepteth no man's person." (Gal. 2:6.) When once there is a departure from a right path, with an assumption of rectitude, the Word of God must, in some form or another, be given up, however much of it may be retained. But for the Church, as well as for individual Christians, there is then no way of recovery but by the Word of God; and if we do not use it as the way of recovery, HE must and will maintain the truth. And the address to Pergamos closes thus: "Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth." It is the unsparing judgment of all evil.

May we give heed to the word that follows to the overcomer: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit with unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." And, seeking to be delivered from what the Lord condemns, may we be found individually feeding upon Christ in the sense of the immensity of God's present favour to us. Amen.

The Threefold Division of the Book.

We have drawn the reader's attention to a threefold division of the Book of Revelation, given to us by the Spirit of God in Revelation 1:19. We again direct his earnest attention to it. It will keep him out of the maze of different interpretations given by many earnest men in answer to these questions, which must again and again present themselves to all diligent students of this important book; namely, What part of the book is already fulfilled? What part is now in progress of fulfilment? and, What is yet future?

The following are the three divisions to which we refer as given to us in this verse. John was bidden to write in a book - 1st, The things that he had seen; 2nd, The things that are; 3rd, The things that shall be after these.

No careful reader would deny that the first things that John was here bidden to write about were those that he had seen in the vision of Revelation 1. By no possible means can we construe the words "hast seen" into "shall see," so as to make them include all that he should see as detailed up to the end of the book. The language is most precise: "Write the things which thou hast seen;" that is, if we interpret it simply, "Write what you have already seen." This is the first division and first part of the book, ending with chapter 1. We then come to the second division of the book, "The things that are." What are these? "Are" means to exist. What existed at the moment? Evidently the varied conditions of the Church on earth, as seen in the seven different localities mentioned in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3. - The "things" are told us which the Lord commends, and the "things" which He condemns, in the Church wherein all His interests are centred. Revelation 4 begins the third division of the book with the words of verse 19 - "After these things" - so that we have all three before us. And since the words are precise, "After these things," the third division of the book is all unfulfilled, because "the things that are" are still around us, and the Church is yet on earth as the seven golden candlesticks to sustain in this dark world a light for Him (whose eye even now, as then, discerns and scrutinizes all) "who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks" today.

It is important for us to have a sense in our souls of WHO it is who condescends to tell us His estimation of the "things that are," in order that we may have some perception of the value of the communication. He is the "Ancient of days" of the Book of Daniel, yet the One who stoops to lay His right hand on the poor exile of Patmos, in order to make him know that he has not to fear since he has to do with Him "that liveth, and was dead," now to die no more, but who is alive for "the ages of ages." He is the Almighty God of the Old Testament; the "Alpha and Omega" of all God's purposes; and, blessed for us to know, He is the One that John sung of in the 6th verse of the first chapter - the "I Jesus" of Revelation 22:16. If Jesus is before us as the glorified Man, He is none the less all these, and the Spirit of God would have us to know this, and He records it. Reader, have we grasped WHO it is? WHO tells us where His interests are today, so that in any little measure they have become our interests?

We have not to consult Church history to learn the past condition of the Church, nor have we to plunge into the Babel that exists among her doctors to know her present or future condition. All is unfolded here up to the end, when she will be rejected as the light-bearer. I know what He thinks of that which professes to be for Him as I read these two chapters, and that is of more moment to me than volumes of Church history, coupled with the opinions of all her doctors; for the "things that are," if (as here) they are fully described, are still.

We have seen the Church in what should have been her true relation to Christ (Ephesus, pp. 153, 219), that of "first love." We have spoken, too, of what would then have been her attitude towards the world (Smyrna, p. 220), the "persecuted one." We have also seen what is her present condition as to Christ - the first love left - as well as what it is toward the world  - fellowship with it. (Pergamos, p. 234.) And now the four following aspects of the Church's condition, all of which run on to the end of her earthly history (since the coming of the Lord is before us in each), are the natural outcome of these first three. And although there can be no doubt that in a general way all seven assemblies and their conditions are necessary at any moment to present me with a perfect picture of "the things that are," yet as the first three show how the ruin was wrought, so the last four instruct us as to what the ruin is, or the condition of the Church at the coming of the Lord. This event brings before us in each of them an event which is presented in other passages of the New Testament as the one HOPE of the Church.

The Church's condition at the Second Coming of the Lord; or, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

Thyatira is the next in order. The Lord reveals Himself here with eyes as a flaming fire; i.e., in piercing judgment. Nothing could be worse as to the state of the Church. Jezebel is the governing power, and by her name we are carried back to Israel's apostasy in the days of Ahab, when she fed the prophets of Baal at her own table, and persecuted the prophets of the Lord. It is a similar case. Children are born of her whom the Lord says that He will "kill with death." But she is here the mother; and it is the voice of the Church of Rome that says, "He who has not the Church [of Rome] for his mother, has not God for his Father." Thus we now have, in this phase of the Church's history, the greatest outward assumption at the moment of the grossest wickedness within. She is an actor, teacher, and seducer. But this is always the case. Where the voice of the spirit is not heard calling for judgment on the evil, there will always be found the greatest assumption of rectitude; and in this case she assumes to be henceforward THE CHURCH on earth, distinctly and exclusively so. This is Jezebel and her children. But the Lord's eye discerns another company. These He addresses as "the rest in Thyatira." They have not received this doctrine, or the teaching of Jezebel, and He encourages them, "That which ye have hold fast till I come." He who overcomes in Thyatira shall have "power over the nations." Now, this is the very thing that Home has sought. The Lord will give it to the Church in His own time. When He reigns she shall reign with Him; but the order is, "If we co-suffer, we shall also co-reign." (2 Tim. 2:12.) Suffering comes first, and as He was, so the Church must be - the rejected one on the earth. And while He says to the assembly, "I know thy works," He cheers the overcomer as "he that keepeth my works unto the end;" and he shall have the "Morning Star" for his portion through the gloom of the night.

May we be found so separating ourselves in heart and association from all these things herein condemned, that we may enjoy even now this portion of the overcomer. Amen.

II. Sardis.

Rev. 3:1-6.

That which the assembly lacks is presented to each in the manner in which the Lord speaks of Himself. He addresses the church of Sardis as "He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars." Now, while we have not Jezebel and her doctrine in Sardis, we have not in her the unhindered and unquenched energy of the Spirit. There is truly "a name to live," but the power of life is always the energy of the Spirit, and that is wanting. However, we see that there is a measure of recovery from the doctrines of Thyatira, so that we have before us Protestantism in the church of Sardis, the second phase of the Church's condition at the coming of the Lord. His coming is referred to in what He says in verse 3. Doctrinal correctness is not enough. Hampered by human arrangements within, and clogged by state associations (i.e., by the world) without, the Spirit of God does not bring out and develop in the assembly the life proper to it. Hence the works are defective. "I have not found thy works perfect before God." The Spirit of God quenched, and human methods substituted to carry on the works within - all this, coupled with the worldly pride given by "a name to live," reduces the Church to the level of the world. Hence the Lord's coming bursts upon her, as upon it, "as a thief" - unexpectedly. "I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." The coming of the Lord to be watched for as the hope of the Church is lost to it, and night and sleep have overcome her instead. But there are some in Sardis who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with the Lord in white; for they are worthy. In these white garments the overcomer too will be arrayed.

III. Philadelphia.

Rev. 3:7-13.

The Lord presents Himself here as the One who can open and shut; that is, whatever seems to oppose, He has all power, all ability in Himself. He commends the cleaving to the Word, and the non-denial of His name. We see here a great recovery from the Sardis condition. Not only are the doctrines taught in Thyatira refused (for keeping His word implies this), but also the Spirit of God is controlling, so that the walk and ways, the character, and (including all) the name of Christ is not denied. He will accomplish all the rest. "Behold, I have set before thee an opened door, which no one can shut, because thou hast a little power, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I make them of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie; behold, I will cause that they shall come and shall do homage before thy feet, and shall know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee out of the hour of trial which is about to come upon the whole habitable world to try them that dwell upon the earth. I come quickly: hold fast what thou hast, that no one take thy crown:"*

*The rendering of the New Translation.

There are the Word and the Name, and there is around us today a tendency to separate these two things - a great assumption of "keeping the Word," and but little understanding of not "denying His name." Now, the name not only brings before me a person, but always what characterized the person who bore the name. The Spirit by which He moved, and which stamped His path as one separated from all the self-will that marks men, this Spirit ever guided the Lord here. But Christians bear that name, for by profession they belong to Christ, and are professed followers of Christ. The word of God may be gloried in, but it must not be severed from the Holy Spirit, who alone can wield it, and who so wields it that He first forms me according to it. My path thus becomes very simple. The word of God has supreme authority, and the Spirit within me so uses it, that as I walk I do not deny His name, who as Man was ever led and guided by the Holy Ghost, according to that Word, in a path well pleasing to God. May the Lord guide and exercise as to this both reader and writer, that this may be daily and more and more seen in us!

When, through little strength, the tendency is to give up, the overcomes is characterized by "holding fast." Power is not in us. All power is in the Lord; we must be subject in the power of an ungrieved Spirit to the Word; He does the rest. And the one who overcoming has learnt it shall be made "a pillar in the temple of my God," the Lord says, "and he shall go no more at all out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven, from my God, and my new name."

IV. Laodicea.

Rev. 3:14-22.

The last of the four conditions in which the Lord will find the assembly is now before us. The Lord presents Himself as the "faithful and true witness." This is what the professing Church has totally failed to be. He speaks from outside the assembly, the professing company on earth, although His proper place in the assembly is not outside, but "in the midst." (Matt. 18:20.) He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock." He is not only outside; the door is also shut against Him. Within there is nothing but self-satisfaction and self-exaltation - the first man reigns supreme.

The Church is not only totally ignorant of her loss of the Lord's presence with her, but boasts that "she" is "rich, and increased with goods," and has "need of nothing." Rich, but without Christ; has no need, but with Christ outside the door. Alas! how Satan has wrought to manufacture a system that shall blind the eyes of his dupes! for who is disturbed? Are we not rich? Our goods multiply, and is not the "cause" triumphing? If we once numbered our missionaries by tens, do we not number them today by hundreds? Our places of worship increase. Our theological colleges, are they not springing up all over the land? Are they not filled with young men, all diligent students for the ministry? It is the voice of Laodicea, ignorant of the end in dishonour and shame of the Church's history on earth.

But the Lord is seeking individuals. "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." If there is a heart desiring more of Himself, He will come in to refresh and satisfy that heart at a time when indifference to the claims of the Lord, coupled with immense assumption, mark the professing assembly. This word of cheer is what the spring of the oasis is to the thirsting desert traveller. This the Lord today is for the individual soul who will hear "His voice, and open the door." But the end is not far off. It is when she is full of self-gratulation and indifference to Christ that her final rejection is pronounced. She is then repulsive to Him, and He says, "I will spue thee out of my mouth."

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

We close by drawing the special attention of the reader to these just quoted and final words of the Spirit, addressed to those who are part of "the things that are." Professing Christians, these words apply to us. We must fix our individual Christian positions today somewhere. We are somewhere in His sight, amidst "the things that are" - the professing Church on earth. Where are we? "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." He knows exactly where each one stands, and He is (in these words) speaking to you and to me as individuals. It is, "He that hath an ear, let him hear;" and the voice is the Spirit's voice telling me the mind of CHRIST, "who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks" today. God give to us grace to respond to the voice, and not to turn away the ear to those who say, "Speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits." (Isaiah 30.) For now "the days are at hand, and the effect of every vision." (Ezekiel 12: 23.) Moreover, the time is short. He whose messages to the churches we have been considering, He who "loved the Church, and gave Himself for it," and He who "testifieth these things," saith, "Surely I come quickly." May the writer and reader be able truthfully to respond, in the conscious sense of being delivered through grace from that which the Lord here condemns, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Amen. H. C. A.